October 25, 2004

The seduction of fall and the politics of brillaince

Category: Politics — Biella @ 9:18 pm


Like it always does, the fall has taken grip of me. Its brilliant reds and oranges bring the blue sky to life, the dying greens becoming a precious frame instead of the dominant color. Fall seduces me like no other season does. It may be because it was the one season I never saw until I was 18. Whatever its magnetic force of attraction is, it puts me in the right state of being: contemplative yet highly alert; an inner happiness is marked by a side of saddness. It is a time where I feel perfectly justified in retreating, in burrowing deep into my thoughts and my work. I usually am most productive in the fall which may be sheer incorporated habit. Years and years of school will do that to ones thinking…

One of the the elements that I love most about fall is the persistence of life in the face of death or withdrawl. Before shedding thier leaves into a state of symbolic death, the trees are defiant, they explode into a briallance of reds, and oranges, as if to let the world know there is still plenty of life in there despite its upcoming state of hiberation.

Defiance. That is what signators of this petition written to the executive director of the AAA’s feel. Defiant, pissed, and let down. We all received a thoughtful email last week about the hotel strike and lockout in the Hilton, which was the location of our meeting. At the time, it seemed like the AAA as an organization was taking into serious ethical account the implications of supporting the hotel during the time of such a serious strike. They conducted a poll and even though the majority of respondents said they would either want to cancel or move to San Jose (where we recieved offers of financial help from the city), the moved the meetings to Atlanta in mid December and no less to another f*cking Hilton.

Wow, what a shocker. And as said by one class mates after the decision was made –> “The AAA rules, like Imperial Swine.” Any respect I had for the org is going to be hard to find. For a discipline that has been fraught by its colonial legacy and which has I think done a really amazing job at being reflective and critical about the implications of power and knowledge, the organizations representing the disciple has taken the path of least resistance, has reinscribed the conventional order of things, it has ignored the input from its members, and yet this is one of the worst elements, it does so claiming it has taken the input of its members into account though in fact they NEVER even offered (another Hilton in a different city) as one of their decision. In other words, they were entirely cowardly and shady.

Now, a group of folks (notably grad students on the job market) are left in an awful bind for those are the only members (aside from some members of the different sub associations who have to meet) who really have to go. I mean, the job market is so tiny to begin with, missing your first round interview can have serious implications for your future. Of course these are the poorest members and thus will suffer from the money lost from changing plane tix and losing out on hotel reservations.

What I find so sad is that the AAA’s and its members had a chance to make a statement, to be defiant, to explode into a firm support and make a difference, even if limited and temporary, that would have struck and stuck in the minds of the workers and hopefully the Hilton. As a group of professionals, while we won’t ever make the salaries of doctors or lawyers, our privilege is way beyond anything these hotels workers will ever face. A life under a minimum wage job in San Francisco is no easy life, and worse, these are folks who service largely the affluent. Yet, as an organization we were unwilling to make a stance of support of the workers and also worked “behind closed doors” with Hilton so that we 1) still have to meet in thier hotel 2) and are bound to them again in 2006. Either they used some amazing scare tactics, or the AAA’s are totally spineless. And who are they trying to please in this case? They knew many member would not cross the picket lines. Did they think that moving acorss the country so you don’t have to face the garbage was going to be ok for those who did not want to cross the line? I mean most people who did not want to cross the line, I would hope (and I believe) were doing it for the issues and not to avoid feeling lame by doing so.

Anyway, politics to me is a little like making some brilliance in the face of a bad situation. In the case of our lovely fall leaves, it is just the order of nature that leads to such stunning beauty. But people, by sacrificing and making contributions where they can, in the face of unjust practices, can also make themselves into defiant objects, brining some brilliance into a world otherwise marked by a lot of ugliness.

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

XHTML ( You can use these tags):
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> .