Morning Belz, April 29
New video out, from the Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Ala. As usual, we got everyone we could on camera and tried to be fair to them and the people who spoke to us off camera. Amazon fought hard against unionization, and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union struggled to get its message across. How much of that was due to coercion and how much was due to a lack of will to organize, or inadequacy in the organizing effort, is a tough question to pie-chart out right now. All three things were true to one extent or another. Time will probably tell.
No links today because I have to head out to a few CBD shops right now to ask folks about the war on drugs.
Went down a bit of a James Baldwin rabbit hole on YouTube last night, and started adding the videos to a playlist. The one I quote below is particularly striking, because he’s confronted by a smart and forceful Yale professor who in the late 1960s more or less argues that Baldwin is too negative. Cavett appears to feel the same way, and the viewer can see that Baldwin, swimming upstream, manages to pierce the blindness of the other people on stage, at least for a moment.
“You’re asking me to do something impossible. You’re asking me to take the will for the deed. I don’t know what most white people in this country feel. I can only conclude what they feel from the state of their institutions. I don’t know if white Christians hate Negroes or not, but I know that we have a Christian church that is white, and we have a Christian church that is Black...I don’t know whether the labor unions, their bosses, really hate me. That doesn’t matter. But I know I’m not in their union. I don’t know if the real estate lobby is against Black people, but I know the real estate lobbies keep me in the ghetto. I don’t know if the Board of Education hates Black people, but I know the textbooks they give my children to read and the schools that we have to go to. Now, this is the evidence! You want me to make an act of faith, risking myself, my life, my woman, my sister, my children, on some idealism which you assure me exists in America, which I have never seen.” — James Baldwin, 1969, The Dick Cavett Show
About: I was a newspaper reporter for 14 years, most recently at the Minneapolis Star Tribune. I explained why my family left Minneapolis here. Now we live just outside Chattanooga and I work on Scuffed News, a project that either succeeds by July or will have to be abandoned. This is my newsletter. Please share it with anyone you think might enjoy it. And please consider supporting this work with your money on Patreon.