By Jim Hightower on February 11, 2014

You know what America needs? More jobs, that's what.

Not Walmart-style "jobettes," but real jobs, stable ones with a good salary and benefits, union jobs so workers have a say in what goes on, jobs that have strong protections against discrimination. A job you could make a career, do useful work, take pride in it, earn promotions, and be respected for what you do.

Believe it or not, there is at least one place where such jobs still exist. But -- and you really aren't going to believe this -- those in charge are pushing like hell to eliminate them, turning positions that ought to be a model for American job growth into just another bunch of jobettes. The place? Your local post office.

Right-wing government haters in Congress, along with the corporate executives now sitting atop the US Postal Service, claim that in order to "save" this icon of Americana, they must decimate it. These geniuses are privatizing the workforce, selling off the invaluable community facilities, and shrinking services. Hello -- the workers, facilities and services are what make the post office iconic and give it such potential for even greater public use.

Their latest ploy is a "partnership" with Staples, the big-box office supply chain. In a pilot program, 82 Staples outlets have opened "postal units" to sell the most popular (and most profitable) mail products. Rather than being staffed by well-trained and knowledgeable postal workers, however, the mini-PO's will have an ever-changing crew of Staples' low-wage, temporary sales clerks with weak performance standards and no public accountability.

Cheapening postal work might be good for a few profiteers like Staples, but it will diminish postal service -- and it's exactly the wrong direction for America to be going. For info and action go to www.apwu.org.

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Photo: Flickr user Donald Lee Pardue, creative commons licensed.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).


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