Starb*cks

23Apr09

Starbucks consumer whoreOn the Starbucks boycott: Carol Gould at PJM, Paul Pederson via Engage, Eric Trager at Contentions.

Note: there are reasons to fight back against Starbucks, which have nothing to do with the conservative crusade against American modernity, nor the idiotic anti-Zionism of the “lobby” conspiracy – namely its appalling treatment of workers. The fight for unionisation at Starbucks, led by the IWW, is a good fight. The idiocy of the anti-imp/conspirationist “left” is perfectly revealed by a comment by one Max Shields at Dissident Voice:

Starbucks doesn’t need a union; it needs a boycott for two important reasons: its front of Zionism in the US, and as a large chain, as a major disruption of local economies where local brewers and coffee houses have been beaten down and put out of business.

Fortunately, Starbucks is collapses along with the American economy.

Starfucks CNTPrecisely what Starbucks needs is a union, not a boycott, just as precisely what the oppressed in Palestine need is concrete, effective, worker solidarity, not empty gestural play-acting.

Click on images for sources.

/////Also against the politics of gesture and spectacle:

K-Punk, via Will/Gadge, on academics’ activism:

New forms of industrial action need to be instituted against managerialism. For instance, in the case of teachers and lecturers, the tactic of strikes (or even of marking bans) should be abandoned, because they only hurt students and members (at the college where I used to work, one-day strikes were pretty much welcomed by management because they saved on the wage bill whilst causing negligible disruption to the college). What is needed is the strategic withdrawal of forms of labour which will only be noticed by management: all of the machineries of self-surveillance that have no effect whatsoever on the delivery of education, but which managerialism could not exist without. Instead of the gestural, spectacular politics around (noble) causes like Palestine*, it’s time that teaching unions got far more immanent, and take the opportunity opened up the crisis – their crisis, our opportunity, as Harvey rightly characterises it – to begin to rid public services of business ontology. (When even businesses can’t be run as businesses, why should public services?)

*Examples: 1, 2, 3, 4.

Also: Grundlegung, against spectacle.

/////Relevant to the IWW stuff above, their pal at the Institute for Conjunctural Research argues that

“it seems only new forms of syndicalism/trade-unionism, decoupled from the legacy (and legality) of merely sectoral or corporativist struggle, and entirely separate from party structures, could build a transversal front for a kind of radical reformism.”

The image on the right, a Wobbly classic, illustrates this point. Note the contrast between the call for unity-in-difference implicit in this image, on the one hand, and the cult of absolute difference in the Palestinian (or any other) nationalist project embraced by the anti-imp “left”.

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