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Modern School Donating Member (558 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-02-11 11:08 PM
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Sabotage, As American As Apple Pie

This Monday, on the public radio program Marketplace, host Kai Ryssdal mentioned that U.S. businesses will lose $1 billion over the next few weeks because of employees doing their holiday shopping on the internet at work instead of doing their jobs.

The OWS movement might learn something from this.

Their calls for people to stay home on Black Friday were not only ignored, but this past Friday ended up being one of the busiest retail shopping days ever.

My guess is that people have recession fatigue and desperately want to celebrate the holidays like they used to, whether or not they have jobs or economic certainty. They want this so badly that they are willing to risk their jobs by doing their shopping on the boss dime.

While most are not doing this deliberately to undermine the profitability of their employers, it is a consequence of their behavior. Workers do this all the time in other subtle and not so subtle ways and for various reasons including dissatisfaction with the job, boredom and revenge. They do things like taking home office supplies, extending their lunches, surfing the internet and corresponding with friends via email. People sometimes pad their time cards or prolong their time in the toilet or at the coffee machine.

All of these are forms of sabotage and it is as commonplace as work itself.

The IWW (Wobblies) promoted sabotage as a tactic to help workers win their grievances at work, by slowing down efficiency and profit-making. Their propaganda often included the image of a sabot, the Dutch shoe that workers often threw into the looms during the 19th century to slow down production. In fact, the word sabotage comes from sabot. The Wobblies used the word sabotage to include any tactic that slowed down efficiency, including deliberately slowing down production, working to rule, bungling duties.

Considering that the majority of Americans do not seem ready to join the OWS movement in the streets and encampments, nor do they seem ready to boycott holiday shopping, perhaps a better tact for the movement would be to follow the example of the IWW and call for mass acts of sabotage in the workplace.

For those who are lucky enough to have jobs and who cant afford to lose them by playing hooky to join an OWS protest, there are plenty of things that can be done at work to gum up the machinery of capital and cut into profits with minimal risk. The options are virtually infinite with a little creativity and caution. Numerous examples can be found in Martin Sprouses book, Sabotage in the American Workplace.

Modern School
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MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-02-11 11:26 PM
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1. Well, this is a "buyer's market"--when it comes to job seekers.
Employees who engage in deliberate sabotage, impacting their productivity an the productivity of the company, could find themselves out on the street without a job, unemployment benefits, a reference, or a "sabot" for their foot, never mind one to throw in the machinery.

Everytime I see that video of the disgruntled employee peeing in the coffee pot, that they drag out on the basic cable "Most Horrible Things" shows, I have to think that guy didn't that he'd get caught either. I'm guessing he believed he too was engaging in a "minimal risk" bit of sabotage.

If you work for a big enough company, they have an overarching network to keep track of productivity--it's why they are such dicks at the corporate level to employees they don't feel are sufficiently productive. If you work for a little company, you may just be shafting owners who are operating on a thin profit margin.

I think positive actions have more lasting effect than negative ones--but that's just my POV. Draw people to you with the power of your ideas, don't fuck everything up for sport just to "make 'em take notice."
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CatholicEdHead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 11:25 PM
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2. I first thought of Star Trek VI when I read this
Lt. Valeris: Four-hundred years ago, on the planet Earth, workers who felt their livelihood threatened by automation, flung their wooden shoes, called sabo, into the machines to stop them . . . hence the word: sabotage.
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limpyhobbler Donating Member (184 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-06-11 10:13 PM
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3. Depends on the workplace, right?
If you work for a big mean nasty impersonal corporation, maybe.

Consider just slowing your work down.

If you work for a Mom and Pop ice cream shop, or pizza shop, or whatever, then no way, don't do it.

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