Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Today I am on strike, day 8

I'm rather tired of all this now.

I'm tired of the disrupted schedule -- getting up at different times each morning, picking my child up from school different times each morning, never sure if I'm going to have a pleasant evening in bed reading or if I'm going to have the fires of my anger stoked until I can't fall asleep until after midnight. I'm tired of not getting to do my research, I'm tired of having to decide what counts as "work" and what doesn't so that I don't inadvertently strike break. I'm tired of wearing basically the same outfit each day, because even though the snows have let up I still have to dress for 2 hours in the cold every day.

What I'm not tired of is standing on the picket. Today's main picket was in the afternoon, in a part of campus south of me and thus inconvenient in both time and place. When I found out that there was going to be an alternative picket arranged for the morning, at a department I walk by after dropping G. off at school, I happily opted to join that instead. So I spent two hours this morning with people from the history department, most of whom I didn't know, and one of whom happens to specialise in 19th C labor law! I put on my medievalist hat and we had some excellent conversations. (We all agreed that while 'medieval' is often used as a pejorative, in the current context we really wish we could make universities medieval again -- every undergraduate has to take logic, and universities are governed by officials elected from the academic pool. Wouldn't that be amazing?) We all commented on how unexpectedly lovely these opportunities have been -- going so far as to joke that we should perhaps go on strike once a term, every term, or, since that joke is perhaps a bit in bad taste, we should require vast numbers of academics to stand outside in the streets for two hours a day every day for a week. The cross-collaboration that this would lead too would be amazing!

At the start of this strike, "solidarity" was a rather empty buzz word for me. But now, I feel like I am anchored in a community that is larger than the sum of its parts, and it's actually pretty amazing.

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