Liberation Road

Kindergarten Wisdom, Capitalist ‘Logic’

The weekly newsletter of the México Solidarity Project 2-4
A group of kids and their teacher are indoors in their kindergarten classroom. They are building with blocks together.
 January 27, 2021/ This week’s issue/ Meizhu Lui, for the editorial team

‘All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten’

Author Robert Fulghum had it right in the book by that title he wrote some 35 years ago. Take only what you need. Share your toys. Don’t hit other kids.

The good news: Fulghum had a bestseller with that perspective. The bad news: Capitalist societies run by the opposite rules. Winner takes all, even if by cheating. Ignore any suffering you wreak on your way to the top. Whoever grabs the most toys wins. To “succeed,” in short, we have to un-learn the lessons of kindergarten.

We all have our stories about work, about watching people get robbed of the value of their labor, of their dignity, even of their health and lives. US companies in México have done more than their share of that robbing. Maquila owners excel at squeezing from the most desperate. They see their employees as more disposable than face masks. At Covid’s height, they ordered workers to keep working, without masks, even after the Mexican government asked companies to close down.

The workers involved protested and moved to form their own union. The response? Local officials had worker lawyer Susana Prieto arrested for “inciting riots,” and she’s still, months later, sitting under house arrest and facing threats to her life. More on the struggle around her in this week’s issue.

Does work have to rest on conflict between owners and workers? Must an ever larger share of the rewards from work go to those who don’t actually work? Must those who do suffer brutal repression? Not if workers themselves own and manage their own workplaces.

In our Interview this week, activist Pablo Correa explores the emerging world of cooperative workplaces, enterprises where we have everyone pulling in the same direction, not two sides pulling apart. Cooperation. A no-brainer. We learned that in kindergarten.

The about 850 members of May First Movement Technology host over 2,000 websites on the group’s collectively owned hardware. Their mission in both México and the United States: to advance “the strategic use and collective control of technology for local struggles, global transformation, and emancipation without borders.” Pablo Correa, a May First board member from México, recently shared more about May First and the Mexican cooperative movement with the México Solidarity Project’s Jeff Elkner, himself a tech activist with the NOVA Web Development co-op.

To read the rest of this exciting bulletin click here!