American Samizdat

Sunday, September 10, 2006. *
Kim Gordon was been fired from her job at a Tennesee nuclear fuel plant after she called "replacement workers"--brought in to take the jobs of striking union members--"scabs". The United Steelworkers union, which represents the striking workers, has filed a charge with the NLRB over the incident.

Management justified the firing by saying that Gordon -- who is a salaried worker and not part of the union bargaining unit -- "demonstrated your lack of respect for your fellow employees by referring to the newly hired employees as 'scabs.' This term is derogatory and demonstrates your intent to try to intimidate and harass employees who have been hired to replace the striking union employees."

And what does it demonstrate when someone takes the job of another worker who strikes for better working conditions?
The Scab (attributed* to Jack London)

After God had finished the rattlesnake, the toad, and the vampire, he had some awful substance left with which he made a scab.

A scab is a two-legged animal with a corkscrew soul, a water brain, a combination backbone of jelly and glue.

Where others have hearts, he carries a tumor of rotten principles.

When a scab comes down the street, men turn their backs and angels weep in heaven, and the devil shuts the gates of hell to keep him out.

No man has a right to scab so long as there is a pool of water to drown his carcass in, or a rope long enough to hang his body with.

Judas was a gentleman compared with a scab. For betraying his master, he had character enough to hang himself. A scab has not.

Esau sold his birthright for a mess of pottage.

Judas sold his Savior for thirty pieces of silver.

Benedict Arnold sold his country for a promise of a commission in the British army.

The scab sells his birthright, country, his wife, his children and his fellow men for an unfulfilled promise from his employer.

Esau was a traitor to himself; Judas was a traitor to his God; Benedict Arnold was a traitor to his country.

A scab is a traitor to his God, his country, his family and his class.

*The attribution, though common, is probably apocryphal. London did deliver a speech entitled "The Scab" to a meeting of the Oakland branch of the Socialist Party in 1903. It is a stirring speech (despite London's sexist criticism of women workers for taking "men's" work).
posted by The Continental Op at 7:11 PM
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