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Fast Food = Ecocide: Not All Worker Strikes are Radical | Mickey Z.

Photo credit: Mickey Z.Photo credit: Mickey Z.

Mickey Z. -- World News Trust

Aug. 7, 2013

"We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them."

- Albert Einstein

Radical Denial Quiz #1: You log onto Facebook and find an invitation to an activist event. Which of the following three scenarios is real?

1. Keystone XL Pipeline workers from across the country have bravely announced that they are going on strike and are asking the community to have their backs. Since publicly launching their campaign, workers report winning a series of workplace victories, including raises, more hours, and most recently, a repaired air conditioner on the hottest day of the year. But despite these victories, workers are still facing unlawful practices in response to their organizing, including terminations, reduction of hours, threats of retaliation and many other unlawful actions intended to discourage employees from organizing but workers aren't giving up the fight.

2. Goldman Sachs workers from across the country have bravely announced that they are going on strike and are asking the community to have their backs. Since publicly launching their campaign, workers report winning a series of workplace victories, including raises, more hours, and most recently, a repaired air conditioner on the hottest day of the year. But despite these victories, workers are still facing unlawful practices in response to their organizing, including terminations, reduction of hours, threats of retaliation and many other unlawful actions intended to discourage employees from organizing but workers aren't giving up the fight.

3. Fast food workers from across New York City have bravely announced that they are going on strike and are asking the community to have their backs. Since publicly launching their campaign, workers report winning a series of workplace victories, including raises, more hours, and most recently, a repaired air conditioner on the hottest day of the year. But despite these victories, workers are still facing unlawful practices in response to their organizing, including terminations, reduction of hours, threats of retaliation and many other unlawful actions intended to discourage employees from organizing but workers aren't giving up the fight.

Answer: 3 (of course)

That same Facebook event page talks about McDonald’s workers who were “forced to work in a hot kitchen without air conditioning in the middle of a heat wave” and thus “walked off the job until their safety was ensured.”

Now, if I stood up at an activist meeting and suggested we organize to support the mistreated men and women working hard to, say, stop and frisk people of color, I’d be laughed out of the room. However, while racial profiling is nowhere near as destructive as the global animal by-products industry, activists of the meat-eating variety continue to occupy full-blown denial and/or intransigence on this urgent and crucial issue.

Define “Safety”

The Keystone pipeline is a nightmare and you’d be hard-pressed to find any radical willing to fight for the workers involved. But tar sands production isn’t consuming and destroying one-third of the planet’s land surface; the meat-and-dairy-based diet is.

Goldman Sachs is a contemptible den of thieves and does not inspire activists to stand in support of their employees. But this financial giant isn’t the number one source of human-created greenhouse gases; the meat-and-dairy-based diet is.

The meat-and-dairy-based diet is also responsible for -- among many other nightmares -- unspeakable animal cruelty, exploited human workers, more profits and control for the 1%, deforestation, topsoil depletion, overfishing, water pollution, rapid species extinction, the proliferation of GMOs in our food supply, a human health holocaust, and the hierarchical privilege of speciesism.

We’re told those McDonald’s workers “walked off the job until their safety was ensured.”

News Flash: Their “safety” won’t be ensured until death emporiums like McDonald’s are shuttered forever.

No sentient being is safe when “radicals” and “activists” are lining up in the name of making the fast food industry a more agreeable place to work. Of course the workers stuck at these jobs need help, but is anyone willing to think long-term? What kind of vision for the future are we promoting when we make it more palatable for humans to give their daily energy as a cog in an ecocidal machine?

Occupy the Future

Do we want to make prisons a fun and fulfilling place to work, too? Should we make sure that Monsanto workers have functioning air conditioners and respectful bosses? How about the persecuted people digging holes to install a fracked gas pipe or working long hours to keep Bank of America humming along? Surely the “community” should “have their back,” too.

Hey, comrades, I have a great idea: Let’s help unionize the poor oppressed folks who spy on us 24/7 at the NSA!

Reality Check: Not all workers or jobs are created equal. Sure, in a culture likes ours, the vast majority of jobs directly or indirectly contribute to the inherent brutality. But some gigs are more violent than others. In particular, any job supporting the global animal by-products industry is part homicide, part suicide, and all ecocide.

Before any of you get all self-righteous about how I’m ignoring the needs of workers on the lowest economic rung, perhaps you should do some research on the long-term cost of making your local fast food restaurant more amenable as a workplace.

Radical Denial Quiz #2: How much longer will you be a willing participant in a way of life that is systematically wiping out the eco-system?

#shifthappens

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Mickey Z. is the author of 11 books, most recently the novel Darker Shade of Green. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on an obscure website called Facebook. Anyone wishing to support his activist efforts can do so by making a donation here.

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