Framing

Old Port workers on strike. Typically, the media is covering it through the lens of “honest working people” inconvenienced by the strike. Whenever there’s a strike, the news value is the inconvenience to others — traffic, delays, services closed. Why workers are on strike, what’s at stake, etc., either goes unmentioned or is buried deep in the story. Context is a secondary concern. It’s not accidental. Just as it’s not accidental that newspapers and news programs have business sections/segments but not a labour section.

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This framing, introduced by the media replicated in our everyday conversations, is what makes solidarity all but impossible. Instead of supporting teachers or nurses, we reflexively spit on them for inconveniencing our vacation, for having better working conditions than ours, etc. Instead of seeing their gains as inspiration for what we could do in our own workplace, we see them as unjust (“I don’t have x benefit at my job!”) and we seek to strip them of their “excessive” benefits, to bring them down to our level of insecurity.

“I don’t have what you have so I wanna take it away from you.” Should be instead: “what you have is awesome, I’m gonna fight to get it too.” This intra-class jealousy is devastating for class solidarity. “Bus drivers make more than me! Fuck his strike! I’m gonna be late for work!”

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