Tag Archives: Labor

Working to Play, Playing to Work: Mexican-American Baseball & Labor in Southern California

Tropics of Meta

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“I remember traveling to Lake Elsinore, which was a long way in those days,” reminisced Zeke Mejia in 1996. “But the only ride we could get was from a friend who hauled fertilizer in his truck, so all the guys crawled inside … and tried not to breath during the ride. By the time we arrived to play well we all smelled like fertilized fields. We did it because we loved the game.” 1

For Mejia and thousands of other Mexican Americans laboring in Southern California during the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, baseball served as a means to at once demonstrate belonging in the United States, while simultaneously asserting their own identity. In Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside counties, Mexican American baseball teams dotted the landscape, creating a human geography of social, economic, and political connections that helped buoy working class communities, and even contributed to unionization efforts amid widespread…

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My Letter to Santa Claus:

Imperator Fish


    Dear Santa,

    It’s not easy for me to write this letter.

    I have been an admirer of yours for many years.  I have been impressed with the way you have embraced reform within your own organisation, and not shied away from making brave decisions.

    I have supported you during the tough times, and when things have been good. I was right behind you when the elves launched legal proceedings after you made them all redundant and hired them back as independent contractors at half their hourly rates. What did they expect? That they could continue to do nothing for most of the time, working barely two months in a year while collecting a generous salary? And when you finally broke into the lucrative Chinese market I celebrated your success.

    But being a friend sometimes means having to be a critic. I want you to succeed, but I also want you…

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Coming Out as a Scholarship Student at Columbia: Invisible Labor & Class-Lines

Koko Jaeger

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Ever since May 1st, I’ve been thinking a lot about labor.

May 1st is, of course, international workers’ rights day: one day of the year. But our economy is driven by blue collar workers every day of the year, not just on the first day of Spring when those who are willing choose to recognize it for 24 hours.

I am lucky enough to attend a really wonderful undergrad college at a really wonderful university and I am hugely grateful for that and for the opportunities it affords me. Full disclosure, though, I am here on an incredible scholarship, without which I would absolutely not be able to afford tuition to this school.

Here at Barnard, and at the greater Columbia University, the grass is always tidy, the paving stones are always swept and, in the Barnard dorms anyway, the bathrooms are cleaner than any dorm bathrooms have a right…

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