Thursday, January 7, 2016
Interview for Beyond the Wall of Injustice zine
Beyond the Wall of Injustice
zine coming soon in 2016
1) Let's say I have a friend who got out of jail, has a felony, and needs to find work. What suggestion would you
Well this depends on what city you live in. There is an organization made up of formerly incarcerated people
called All of Us or None, who is working on a campaign to “Ban the Box,” to end discrimination in the work place of
people with felonies or violent misdemeanors. Los Angeles where I live still has a lot of work to do in terms on
banning the box (where employers ask if you have felonies), but other cities have eliminated the question from job
applications. For poor and working class men of color in particular but poor people of color in general, police
harassment, and jail and prison becomes more likely, in a country with over 2 million people in prison, mainly for
non-violent crimes. Understanding that having a job in this capitalist society is necessary part of survival. I would
suggest going into the non-profit sector, even though we understand that these organizations are a contradiction,
and are not a solution to systemic oppression, we should just approach it as a job, and nothing else, you will deal
with similar bull shit. I have a record, a “violent misdemeanor” not a felony, but it's treated the same by most jobs.
I did not know this in the beginning until I started seeing jobs turn me down. I started working for labor unions as
an organizer, because even though they check your record, they don't discriminate based on this, at least not all
of them, some do. They pay better than most jobs, but you have to deal with long hours and bull shit from union
bosses. I think we need to start creating our own cooperatives as a model, but also to provide a means to survive,
while we destroy the system of capitalism.
For more info check out http://bantheboxcampaign.org/
2)Another friend is a high school drop out, and has no college degree and needs to find work, but wishes to work
for non-profit groups who make a difference. What web site should the person look at, and what suggestion would
Usually non-profits post job listings on Idealist.org
also just going on Craigslist the jobs section has non-profits (watch out for scams though)
If you are looking to work for a union they usually post on unionjobs.com
3)Does a college degree really make a big difference in getting a job?
Actually there are a lot of folks who graduate from college, and are out of a job, or are getting paid minimum wage
or similar wages.
What's more important nowadays is experience, and your network (who you know)
4)Let's say a single parent is very interested in getting a college education, but can't due to full time work and
watching their kid. What can they do?
There are programs that can help single parents, some community colleges offer day care, also Cal Works is a
5)You come from an activist movement. How come they never talk about realistic future stuff when they get older
like: paying bills, careers, money budgeting, savings for a future kid's school, and having funds for a parent's
This is a problem with the movement in general Jay. A lot of us come from the working class, or “lumpen
proletariat” and organizing full time becomes unrealistic, when we have to survive, and sometimes have a family.
Many activists come from the middle class, or have parents that help them, which allows them to live this “super
activist lifestyle.” At the end it becomes very self-righteous and elitist excluding other people at the bottom who
have harder time surviving and balancing work and the movement. For me, it's just about finding the balance,
working with people you care for and trust and building the long lasting relationships, commitment, and level of
combativity and discipline that will take to wage this fight. As a father personally, this means mainly working with
my son, to make sure he will be a good human being and a warrior. Our struggle has to be generational. Meaning
we have to think of the future generations, how we are preparing them, and what we are doing to protect the
planet they will inherit.
6)Tell us about some of the jobs you had in the past, and how did you find them?
I've had different jobs, I mean as someone who is rebellious and anti-authoritarian, I don't get along with bosses, or
conform very well. I've worked for unions, those have been the longer jobs I've had, but there is always something
that bothers me about these corporations. I think we want to build a cooperative at the moment, I'm tired of bosses.
7) What are some good and bad stories of some of your jobs you had in the past.
8)Why are some of the activists that I have met, always anti-money and are always so broke? Some can barely
pay rent. What can we do about this problem?
I think I spoke to this question already.
9.I have a good friend who is undocumented and worked hard at a restaurant and at bars, and has $10,000 in his
savings. He is also going to college. Why is it that people from other countries seem to work harder and know how
I think it's the work ethic, but also it's also true in other countries people rest well but work hard. They have a more
relaxed lifestyle as well. The u.s. Creates this idea where there are bad workers and good workers, hard workers
and lazy workers. How can someone be motivated to work, if all your money is going to bills, and you're barely
getting by? Where you have to work 3 jobs in order to survive with the wages we are getting? Undocumented
people in particular are super-exploited and aren't paid the correct wages, and many times get their wages stolen
from them by their employers. There are cases where individuals can save, but sometimes it just comes down to
hustle, but we are getting exploited regardless.
10)How do you picture Los Angeles if all the undocumented people left the city?
Capitalism in general relies and lives off the super-exploitation of undocumented people, they are the ones who
cook, clean, pick your food, etc etc etc, and don't get paid enough to do it. This system creates the situation
where they are systematically are held at the bottom, and those are the only jobs they can get while denying many
people of work as a whole. They can pay undocumented workers less, and have them living in fear so they don't
complain or organize. Undocumented people however have always been in the front lines, even though people try
to patronize and undermine their potential and their rage.
Joaquin speaking at Class Struggle Anarchist Conference 2008 NYC