Saturday, February 04, 2017

C'est intéressant w/c 30 Jan 2017

Emel Mathlouthi: Kelmti Horra
Kelmti Horra became one of the anthems of the Arab Spring, particularly in Tunisia, where protest singer Emel Mathlouthi is from. I just heard it this song yesterday doing some research at work. She has an incredible voice - its power reminds me of Mariza's, though hers is clearer.

I am those who are free and never fear
I am the secrets that will never die
I am the voice of those who would not give in
I am free and my word is free

Bargaining with Silicon Valley (Dissent Magazine)
Some choice quotes in here, to make you wonder what the rich dudes of Silicon Valley have in their heads:
- certainly a sense of power: "[They] are preternaturally gifted with powers of prediction. (...) Of course, predicting the future is easier when you have the money and power to determine it."
- a somehow disingenuous ignorance of what their ideas could bring about. Think about their lofty goals of transforming the future of work: "The defining feature of the gig economy isn’t really that workers accept jobs through an app on their phone: it’s that they work with no benefits, no job security, and no unions."

The article reminded me that actually this is not the future of work. It is what work used to be like, and still is for some people: "Designating employees as independent contractors is an old trick that tech companies have merely taken to new extremes. Long before Uber and company, this kind of misclassification was pervasive in the transportation industry, as well as construction, agricultural work, and many other sectors."

The final paragraph is a call to arms: "If there’s a cue that labor could take from Silicon Valley, it’s that it pays to envision a bolder future. Rather than genuflecting in hopes of being dealt a kinder fate, labor could focus on making its own destiny—one where all workers have collective bargaining rights and access to universal public benefits. That’s no more outlandish, after all, than the idea that a handful of tech magnates ought to decide what society will look like in years to come."

I joined a union this year.

Love and Black Lives, in Pictures found on a Brooklyn St (New York Times)
A beautiful dive into the life of a black couple through their photo album, from pre-WWII to the 1970s. The writer found the photo album next to a pile of rubbish on a Crown Heights street, and slowly pieced their life together by talking to neighbours, finding family members, going through archives. From the Great Migration to segregation in the armed forces, to the jitterbug and social clubs, and community life, it's a moving account of a life of great changes.