Thursday, July 28, 2011

Interngate and the efficiency of Class Warfare

Don't know about you, but I quite enjoyed the intensity of the most recent episode of interngate, fought like all good battles by the forces of good an evil, neatly grouped in easily identifiable formations.

It made me realize that in the tactical arsenal of the discerning theoretician there has rarely been an option more powerful than the Class Warfare. As asymmetric than asymmetric warfare itself but much more reliable, class warfare has a history that is surprisingly similar with the history of this business of hours, in the sense that it has always involved a lot of obfuscation and "coordination" but rarely has it helped the "beneficiaries" on behalf of whom the war is always waged.

Have a good look around - it will be hard to find a place where class warfare is not fought this very moment, be it by a politician temporary adopting the accent of a mortal while campaigning in some shithole full of potential voters or by some visionary leader sacrificing his health to lead his dim-witted people out of the darkness, from the back seat of a Merc S600 doing 100miles an hour past the galaxy's second filthiest slum.

And I'm not making this shit up. I know it because I am often following the Class Warrior's S600's in my HRI branded Land Cruiser and I spend much of my time patting their backs or the lesser backs of their numerous minions.

And why the trouble? Well, I do it for the poor and the vulnerable, me. I am a class warrior.

The truth is I do feel guilt for my privileged upbringing, my liberal art education and my six post-graduate degrees which I earned at six different "respectable" education establishments. And it is indeed this class guilt that has been the foundation of my brilliant career and of my willingness to trade a mediocre job in the private sector complete with small suburban house somewhere in Ohio for a series of dignified residences and the opportunity to slap backs with dignitaries, the world over, on behalf of the poor and vulnerable.

It's hard, but someone's gotta do it.

And I can't be alone in my suffering, because as far as I can tell most HRI employees have a similar background, with the visible exception of the occasional token colleague, usually holding only three degrees themselves rather than six, a convenient detail that will also ensure that we are intellectually aligned and that we have "continuity of ideas".

Of course I never held a real job until I was 36, after which my expectations were quite high, what with my six degrees, so I finally accepted a management position with a HRI affiliate quickly impressed by my pile of degrees, and I learned fast that competence, or the absence thereof, must never be regarded as a limiter in one's own professional growth.

I also learned to make good use of the intern, a skill that continues to served me well in an industry that loves as much free labour as it can get. Of course, some HRI interns get higher stipends than the salaries of their senior "local" colleagues, which is a class warfare in a class of its own, often fought drunkenly over $10 beer at the local night-club, the parking-lot of which comes alive at night with hundreds of drivers waiting in hundreds of vehicles for hundreds of interns to return them safely to their respective accommodation.

The truth is, it's all very complicated. But who am I to miss an opportunity to simplify a complicated reality in order to prove my class warrior credentials on the internet? So, in less than 140 characters, here is my position on interngate:
Now, if you are still concerned with interngate and wonder what you can do, here is a solution: You should start up a charity that fund-raises and puts together pay packages for less privileged people who want to do internships with HRI but can't afford to do unpaid work. Just remember, please, we only accept people with at least two degrees from "respectable" institutions.


  1. where do you find these interns?
    Hell i just had one who could hardly speak english, was a vegan and exercise freak(nighttime jogging in nairobi? really?), refuted the medical benefits of cigarettes and scotch.....cost me at least 12.5 hours of my own time....

    never again i say.

    I charge for my time and labour, and i dammed well expect others to do so to me.
    you pay peanuts, you get monkeys as they say.

  2. You have to be clear about your use of the term 'class warfare'. The problem with old-school class warfare was, as Marx or somebody put it "The emancipation of the working class is the task of the working class itself", which makes it very hard for entrepreneurs to make a buck out of it.

    HRI is engaged in modern class warfare, a highly complexified struggle, full of contextualised intricacies and problematicised issues, which require many years of study and at least six university degrees to understand. Obviously, poor people won't be able to achieve this degree of education.

    It's a shame that poor people have little role in class warfare, but for their own good, it's best to have well-paid professionals, such as yourself, "managing for effective outcomes" on their behalf.