Violence is bad anti-capitalist praxis

Old Ass ArthurThere are many justifiable bones to pick with several of the major institutions and corporations presently operating.

All too often “subversive” actions against these powers, however well intentioned they may be, end up doing nothing aside from hurting people who are in low-paying jobs with little-to-no power within that workplace.

Vandalizing the bathroom of some fast food chain may seem like a quick and easy way to cost the company some money. But that company doesn’t want to pay to remove the dick you drew in permanent marker on the wall, and they won’t.

They’ll send someone making minimum wage in there when the restaurant isn’t terribly busy and they’ll make them clean it until it’s gone. Not as overtime, just as part of their regular duties.

It won’t be the CEO, the owner, nor the manager—it will be someone at the bottom of the company. News of your revolutionary dick drawing probably won’t go much further than the shift manager, not wanting to cause a fuss with the higher-ups.

The only person who will feel the sting of your action is the high school student; the parent who had to take the job to feed his/her family; the immigrant whose foreign degree is not recognized by employers in his/her field; the recent graduate who left school to find a stagnant and impenetrable job market, but needs something to pay down their debt; the lowest of the low.

And through it all you’ve cost the company literally nothing.

Vandalism is an extreme case; most people don’t go around doing it. The hostile ways in which it is considered acceptable to treat the employees of these institutions and corporations is far more common.

Who hasn’t dreamed of righteously telling off the telemarketer who so rudely interrupts your dinner with their annoying, repetitive phone calls? The answer is anyone who has ever worked as a telemarketer.

The person you just yelled at and hung up on had no choice but to call you. If they were to explain to their boss that they didn’t make any calls between 4:30 and 6:30 because it was likely that all of their potential clients would be eating and, therefore, unwilling to purchase whatever it is this employee was told to sell, their boss would say “well, you wasted half of your time here today, [sic] don’t come back tomorrow.”

This isn’t a matter of someone callously ruining your meal. This is what happens when businesses like call centres hang an axe over their employees’ heads and fire workers left and right if their numbers aren’t up to snuff.

When you take time out of your meal to dehumanize and villainize an employee who is at the lowest tier of their workforce, you only add to the demeaning nature of their jobs.

All to push a point that isn’t really much deeper than “this phone call is inconvenient for me.”

With so many call centre jobs being relocated to countries in South East Asia, this indignation increasingly takes the form of thinly veiled, unexamined racism.

On top of it all, your attempt at demonstrating the ethical problems of call centres is entirely in vain.

The person making the call is never someone who makes high-level company decisions. Usually they’re just someone who is occupying the only job available to them.

They are not the face of the corporation in question and they probably don’t want to be making these calls any more than you want to receive them.

The actual company, by the way, is likely calling you by proxy since most hire firms like Transcom to handle customer service work like this.

I encourage you to critically consider what effects your actions against these companies actually have.

About Pat Reddick 84 Articles
Pat was co-editor of Volume 49, along with Matt Rappolt. He's primarily interested in arts coverage, often editorializing on arts issues. He graduated from Trent with a Bachelor's degree in English Lit. Pat hosts or co-hosts several programs at Trent Radio, such as Media Are Plural. You can follow him on Twitter, or watch him eat through his kitchen window. In his spare time Pat reads a lot (q.v. English major), plays video games, and writes fiction. He has a blog or something but I couldn't find out too much about that.