To become an expatriate

I haven’t had much to say here recently, mostly because my sense has been that I’ve pretty much already said everything I have to say on current events, in one form or another. It’s possible something will crop up in my research that will fertilize some comment here, but for now, I can only watch with horror the Republican primary debacle in which one candidate after another self-destructs in a race to see who can appear most fascist or most elitist. The last two apparently left standing, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, have repeatedly appeared to have defeated themselves, only to somehow be resurrected. Whichever of these candidates survives the process, it appears that Barack Obama, who clearly does not deserve re-election, will cruise to it easily.

Meanwhile, I am forced to confront not only the futility of my words here, but the futility of my life in the United States in general. To make a long story short, I have suffered abuse for over fifty years here, dating back presumably before my earliest memory on a roadside in the state of Washington, in which my father had whipped me and told me not to get back in the car, to the torment of fellow students in primary and secondary schools (though I am straight, I experienced the harassment C. J. Pascoe describes in Dude, You’re a Fag that is meted out by students to fellow students who do not conform to athletic white, teen male archetypes[1]), to what passes for jobseeking and employment in this country, to the humiliation of unemployment and of being forced to rely on food stamps and general assistance—even with a Master’s degree.

This is not just about futility. It is about trauma from multiple sources endured over a lifetime, a lifetime first of arrogantly believing that surely my intelligence would eventually overcome, to coming to feel stupid for failing to succeed, to an education into the way this country really operates. In the latter, I have been repeatedly astounded as I have thought I had grasped the depth and breadth of corruption in this country, only to learn that it was vastly broader and deeper than I thought possible. I have shared much of that learning on this blog in its various incarnations. And I have given up trying to fathom the depth and breadth of corruption here.

That’s hardly to say that such corruption does not exist elsewhere. But rather a recognition that many other countries take better care of their citizens. And a recognition that I have suffered enough—or rather, too much.

The time has come for me to leave. For the trauma I have endured leaves me in a position where it is untenable for me to accept what this country considers normal in jobseeking and employment and that where I cannot compromise, I cannot be employed in this country. Though I doubt I am eligible, the logic is of a need for asylum: I have repeatedly been denied the opportunity to earn a living in contravention of article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I have been consistently denied a livable income and health protection in contravention of article 25. I live in a country which denies not only the rights of the Universal Declaration but even the rights of the U.S. Constitution in contravention of articles 28 and 29. I have endured what David Barash and Charles Webel call structural violence.[2]

I am well aware that objectively, my situation is better than that of many others in this country. Thanks to family, I still have shelter. And I am assured of having food to eat. I do not know how others endure. Perhaps I lack their strength. But I know that neither they nor I should merely endure. We should live.

I do not yet know where I will go. I almost don’t care, except that I need to be able to get my cat in without unduly traumatizing her, and that I need to escape the notion that workers exist to be abused. I’ve spent the last few days assembling what for me are minimum conditions—conditions that are completely unreasonable in the United States. They’re posted on my Friendica profile. Under the section entitled “Work/Employment,” I write,

I was last employed teaching public speaking as a graduate student at CSU East Bay. Unfortunately, because my position was a position that was only open to graduate students, graduating meant giving up that job. I wouldn’t have left it otherwise; I had a lot of fun doing it. Unfortunately, I graduated in June 2009, right into the depth of the “great recession.”

The vast majority of my previous employment and jobseeking experience has been abusive in a multitude of forms. As a consequence of my education, I understand the motivation for this abuse, but I am not interested either in participating in or being subject to it. If your game includes dishing this sort of abuse out, you deserve to suffer much, much more than I have. And I have suffered plenty. I am looking for work under specific conditions:

1) I am not interested in joining a force of workers who are treated as infinitely replaceable. Capitalists have worked long and hard to force workers into this position. And now there are something like 30 million people in the U.S. who need more employment than they have. The situation enables employers to abuse their employees in the name of “efficiency.” It’s awful interesting how “efficiency” is almost always about workers, almost never about managers, and absolutely never about the greater good–environmental or social (and please don’t even bother me with an “invisible hand” mythology).

2) I am not interested in participating in the standard paradigm for non-elites who are to send in their resumes and have them added to the round file. See #1 above. This scam keeps human resources people busy but doesn’t translate into employment.

3) I am not a marketer. I cannot even market myself. This makes #2 even more problematic. It also means that I am not interested in the contemporary notions that two years constitutes “long-term employment” and that workers should, in effect, be continuously marketing/prostituting themselves so as to avoid being forced into unemployment because their positions no longer conform to a “fast-moving,” “dynamic” business environment.

4) I am not interested in hearing about how my degrees are irrelevant. Capitalists have refused to invest in training themselves, and when people invest years of their lives and rack up student loan debt seeking the skills that employers claim to want, employers turn around and export those jobs. This is simply another scam so capitalists can get visas to bring workers in from overseas whom they can pay a fraction of a living wage.

I am highly educated and I have more than paid my dues. I expect to be compensated accordingly, respected, and valued. This is my right (see the Universal Declaration of Human Rights).

Realizing that this absolute minimum is unachievable in the United States is a realization that I must leave.

  1. [1]C. J. Pascoe, Dude, You’re A Fag: Masculinity and Sexuality in High School (Berkeley: University of California, 2007).
  2. [2]David P. Barash and Charles P. Webel, Peace and Conflict Studies (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2002).

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