Monday, August 4, 2008

[Jim's Eclectic World] New comment on Yellowstone and class.

Jim Macdonald has left a new comment on your post "Yellowstone and class":

Hey there,

Thanks for the kind words and the comment.

On foreign workers, I say in the other piece on the company towns of Greater Yellowstone that they too represent a special class - typically workers who are not poor in their own country. Or else, how do you come up with the initial $2,000? College students, professional types, etc. I'm sure I came to Yellowstone originally poorer than most of the foreign workers.

But, the class distinctions and hardships relative to society are the same; one of the points I think I was making in some of these essays was that it's even ironic that people who are relatively privileged get thrust into the lower rungs of the class system as it exists in Yellowstone. It must be doubly so for a foreign worker from a college or professional background suddenly thrust into a position in the United States where so many are xenophobic, so many have stereotypes of immigrant workers, and where these people have been lied to by their employers and put into the unenviable place of having to work extra jobs just to make it back or to earn the money for their own studies or their families.

Anyhow, it's very nice to see someone thinking about these things in terms of her own experience. And, having done the grad school thing, taught classes, dealt with the various family and societal issues faced by students, it was all the more refreshing to read things from experience I can relate with.

If there was something I didn't feel entirely comfortable with in your essay was your words hedging a bit on your support of unions. I definitely agree that the big unions are largely corrupt or out of touch with their workers, but the union concept is essential to resistance against classism in society. I guess I take a wobbly approach - where workers themselves are the direct participants in their union leadership - but that's the exception unfortunately rather than the norm.

Take care and thanks again. Be sure to pop me an email if there's something you'd like me to read.

Posted by Jim Macdonald to Jim's Eclectic World at 8/4/08 2:25 PM
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