[WSMDiscuss] #Googlewalkout

Örsan Şenalp orsan1234 at gmail.com
Sat Nov 3 16:44:37 CET 2018

Dear Jai, and all,

I really can not estimate what Peter would have said in reaction to
this news. But I remember from our last meeting that this was one of
the biggest expectations he had. The other two were the increasing
interaction between Chinese, as well as from other BRICS' workers'
organizing efforts, with the workers from global north, and then
between them and the knowledge/digital workers. What we are seeing is
that the things that were not so likely to happen or too far of a
possibility are happening now. Yet the same is true for otherwise.
Peter was hoping that fascists like Bolsonaro would not rise to power,
especially in Brasil where WSF was born, yet unfortunately, that too
happen. So times are getting more and more interesting and painful at
the same time...

In solidarity,

On Sat, 3 Nov 2018 at 01:13, JS CACIM <jai.sen at cacim.net> wrote:
> Friday, November 2, 2018
> Örsan – thanks for posting this news !
> Forgive me, but while my first reaction was of course ‘Wow, that’s big, and this is important’, my immediate second reaction was my mind recalling someone you knew, and who was one of our most active, and creative, and often acerbic, list members on WSMDiscuss (and before that, on this list’s predecessor, WSFDiscuss), the late Peter Waterman, who was also perhaps our most militant labour internationalist (and also ‘cyberian’ as he termed it, or cyber citizen); and to how he would have reacted to this news…
>             Peter was however also a close personal friend of mine, and we worked together / were co-editors of books for close to fifteen years; and so, try as I might, this second thought has now completely eclipsed the other, and so I'll leave it to others to react more substantively to this news.  And where since many on this list knew Peter, you could perhaps even add in what he might have said ?
>             JS
> For those who don't know of Peter :
> The late Peter Waterman (1936-2017) taught for many years at the Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, in The Netherlands, and while there, was founder and editor of the Newsletter of International Labour Studies. After retirement from 1998, he published various monographs, (co-)edited compilations and numerous academic and political papers – the latter almost all to be found online -, and self-published his autobiography (From Coldwar Communism to the Global Emancipatory Movement : Itinerary of a Long-Distance Internationalist, available @ http://www.into-ebooks.com/download/498/). His work was published in English (UK, USA, Canada, India), German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish. He had papers posted on the Montevideo-based Choike portal and compilations on the Finland-based Into website, and a blog on UnionBook. He was associated with, amongst others, the Programa Democracia y Transformación Global (Lima), with two online journals, Interface : a Journal for and about Social Movements, the Global Labour Journal, and with the Indian Institute for Critical Action - Centre in Movement (CACIM) in New Delhi. At CACIM he co-edited books on the World Social Forums. After retirement he had invitations for teaching, lectures, and seminars from universities and/or movement-oriented bodies in Peru, South Africa, Sweden, Finland, Hong Kong, Germany, South Korea, the US, Ireland, and the UK.
> On Nov 2, 2018, at 7:12 PM, Örsan Şenalp via WSM-Discuss <wsm-discuss at lists.openspaceforum.net> wrote:
> #Googlewalkout employee interviews | Vox
> https://snuproject.wordpress.com/2018/11/02/googlewalkout-employee-interviews/
> Nearly 17,000 Google employees walked off the job yesterday.
> The Google walkout was about sexual harassment as well as a lack of
> transparency and accountability at the company, employees said.
> Google employees in Cambridge, Massachusetts, join a worldwide walkout
> in protest of company policies on sexual harassment.
> -------
> Nearly 17,000 Google employees walked off the job yesterday as part of
> a massive, worldwide protest against the company’s mishandling of
> sexual harassment cases.
> The walkout, which was organized by seven Google employees, was a
> response to a New York Times report on the multimillion-dollar payouts
> offered to high-level employees who had been accused of sexual
> misconduct. Some protesters carried signs that read, “Happy to quit
> for $90m,” a reference to the exit package Google gave Andy Rubin, the
> creator of Android, who was forced to leave the company in 2014 after
> an employee accused him of forcing her to perform oral sex on him.
> “What do I do at Google? I work hard every day so the company can
> afford $90,000,000 payouts to execs who sexually harass my coworkers,”
> read another.
> It was also an opportunity for Google employees — who have repeatedly
> clashed with senior management on a number of topics, from censorship
> in China to the company’s role in government projects — to put forth a
> vision for a better, more equitable company.
> “A company is nothing without its workers,” the organizers wrote in a
> piece for the Cut. “From the moment we start at Google, we’re told
> that we aren’t just employees; we’re owners. Every person who walked
> out today is an owner, and the owners say: Time’s up.”
> Some of the employees who chose to speak with me about why they
> protested asked to be referred to by a pseudonym and to not specify
> which campus they work at, but felt that it was important to come
> forward. Two of the three people who agreed to speak with me are men,
> as are nearly 70 percent of all Google employees, according to the
> company’s annual diversity report.
> All of them emphasized that despite enjoying their jobs, they felt
> responsible for creating an environment where anyone could thrive,
> regardless of gender, race, or ethnicity, and where no one was afraid
> to report harassment or assault. They also referred to past Google
> controversies, like the sexual harassment reported by former Google
> software engineer Kelly Ellis, who quit the company in 2014 because of
> its “sexist culture”; and the fact that internal company
> communications, including a video from an all-hands meeting, were
> leaked to the right-wing website Breitbart.
> Despite the massive size of the protests and the fact that Google
> sanctioned the walkout, support for it wasn’t universal. One employee
> told me that there were “people in the company who are against the
> walkout” and disagree with the organizers’ demands. (It’s worth noting
> that James Damore, the author of an “anti-diversity” manifesto who was
> fired in 2017, had plenty of ideological allies at the company.) Those
> who did participate in the walkout, though, view it as a necessary
> step in the ongoing fight toward equity and transparency at one of the
> world’s biggest companies.
> Their responses have been condensed and edited for clarity.
> Ashley*, a major US campus that isn’t Mountain View
> I’ve worked here for 11 years. I’m now a manager with around two
> people in my group. I have never experienced direct gender-based
> discrimination at Google, which I count myself lucky for. I have heard
> many other people’s stories, however — enough to make me sure that
> there’s an overall problem.
> I decided to participate because I wanted the execs to get the message
> that this is something a lot of people care about. Whether I
> participated was going to be visible to the people in my office,
> because there are literally five women at my site at this level.
> “I’ve been seeing more and more of a rift between the top-level execs
> and the rest of the company”
> We need to end forced arbitration in case of harassment and
> discrimination. I would also like a real commitment to end pay and
> opportunity inequity. I would be okay with starting with pay, which is
> easier. Transparent data on gender, race, and ethnicity compensation
> across all levels — accessible to all Google employees — would be
> really nice. This is something the US Department of Labor asked Google
> for, and [Google claims] it’s too expensive to provide while also
> claiming there is no gap. That doesn’t make sense to me or a lot of
> other people.
> I’ve been seeing more and more of a rift between the top-level execs
> and the rest of the company, and I’ve seen it growing slowly over
> time. It seems like some people are actively trying to make it worse.
> We have a real problem with [people] leaking internal communications,
> especially to right-wing sites, in a way that’s extremely divisive
> [and] corrosive to the idea of trust and open communication within the
> company, which is something that we really used to rely on. Google
> used to have this weekly meeting where the execs would take all kinds
> of hard questions from the employees, and they would field them pretty
> honestly and transparently. That was great. Without that kind of
> channel, it’s been pretty tough.
> I’ve been working in the tech industry for about 20 years, and this is
> the most concerted effort I’ve seen by engineers in the tech sector
> [to address these issues]. Today was really astonishing. Frankly,
> there were more men than women walking out — that’s the demographics
> [at Google]. But it’s great to have allies.
> I didn’t say anything either way to my team, because I didn’t want
> there to be social pressure to do it or not do it. But at 11:08, my
> entire team stood up simultaneously around me and I got shivers. I got
> up too, and we all walked out together.
> Jacob*, a West Coast campus
> I participated to show solidarity and support for my co-workers.
> I’m a guy; it’s so much easier to shoot the shit with other guys, and
> stuff like that helps [professionally]. But I don’t think that’s what
> this walkout is about. This walkout dealt with things that are a lot
> more severe. I had heard stories regarding Kelly Ellis. That was the
> first Google [sexual harassment] story that broke out a few years ago.
> What’s most important is getting rid of [forced] arbitration. Uber got
> rid of it after their big scandal, and I think Google needs to follow
> suit.
> We need accountability, transparency, and making sure it’s easier for
> people to report harassment. I’ve never reported harassment, but from
> what I’ve heard from my friends, it is not fun. It’s scary as hell.
> [The person you’re reporting] might not be your boss but your boss’s
> boss. They have all the power over your career. If they do a shitty
> thing, we should be empowering employees to say, “Hey, stop that.”
> That’s what I think the demands are trying to cover.
> Alex, Mountain View campus
> I’ve heard too many stories from friends, some co-workers, about being
> sexually harassed or assaulted at Google, but also in other parts of
> the tech industry or more generally. I work with several women
> engineers, and I really think it’s important for them to feel safe and
> to actually be safe at work and in general. I don’t want these people
> to be in a position where they have to be constantly worrying about
> that sort of thing.
> “I have worked with an overwhelming majority of men. That, in and of
> itself, leads me to think that the fact that I am male-identified and
> male-presenting makes things easier for me.”
> I have worked with an overwhelming majority of men. That, in and of
> itself, leads me to think that the fact that I am male-identified and
> male-presenting makes things easier for me. It’s been mostly subtle
> things, like [women] being interrupted more often [or] ending up in
> all note-taking responsibilities for meetings. Sometimes managers and
> team members are good at trying to fix [that], but those more subtle
> things are not always very obvious. It’s the nature of privilege that
> as a man, some of these things I just don’t see and I’m just used to,
> unfortunately.
> We need more employee representation and more ability for employees to
> [raise concerns with] people who are actually on their side. I think
> there’s not much trust in human resources to do the right thing for
> employees. There’s a lot of trust that they’re going to do the right
> thing for the company, which is sometimes the same thing, but
> sometimes it’s not.
> I also think there’s a dearth of transparency about compensation.
> Several of us have asked, in the past, for the company to release
> salary data, so we could look at it ourselves and say, “Well, it looks
> like this is biased toward a particular demographic.” Management has
> been reluctant to do that, claiming it would put them at a competitive
> disadvantage, which I frankly don’t buy.
> Transparency and letting employees have a seat at the table are two
> things that would be most impactful in letting us address these
> issues, not just in terms of gender but also race. I like my job, but
> everybody has concerns.
> If you participated in the Google walkout and want to talk about your
> experience at the company, you can contact me by email here.
> *Names have been changed.
> original post: https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2018/11/2/18056390/google-walkout-employee-interviews
> ________________________________________
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> ______________________________
> Jai Sen
> jai.sen at cacim.net
> www.cacim.net / http://www.openword.net.in
> Now based in New Delhi, India (+91-98189 11325) and in Ottawa, Canada, on unceded Anishinaabe territory (+1-613-282 2900)
> CURRENT / NEW publications :
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> Recent publications :
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