rlbourges

Ode to the National Employment Agency

In Current reading, Hautvoir, Local projects, notes, The Great Strike on November 7, 2013 at 7:13 am

Kafka. The Castle crossed with The Trial. Everything was set. Everything checked, re-checked, validated three times. Emails confirming all was well.

Except.

Zeal? Pettiness? The fun of watching someone a-l-m-o-s-t get something going and oops, watch the something get away?  Whatever. The deal’s off. She can’t take the job. We can’t hire her for the pittance we were going to pay her, or even for a king’s ransom. Someone (nameless, faceless, not to be disturbed except by registered mail he/she may or may not answer some day) someone from the national employment agency has decreed the hiring unacceptable.

We are welcome to croak at will. Others will watch us croak – from a distance – and get their secret thrills telling themselves that’ll teach us to go out on limbs. Or set out to sea instead of making puddles in the park.

What is an activist? I’ll tell you: someone moving all limbs so as not to drown in the salty brine. Then, they have the nerve to tell  you to give it more depth.

***

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On December 4th 1909, the women working in Graulhet’s tanneries voted a strike for a salary increase; at the time, their salary was half that paid  the men. The following day, the men walked out with them. It was the start of a strike that lasted one hundred and forty-seven days and mobilized support across France. The strike ended with the women obtaining a twelve percent salary increase, a slightly shorter work week for all, and union workers exhausted by the length and the harshness of the conflict.  In the meantime, some two hundred and fifty Graulhetois children had been sent to the neighboring towns  of  Carmaux, Albi, Mazamet, Décazeville, Cagnac or Toulouse, to be fed by others when their parents ran out of money.

source : Here.

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