adding page this day:
David Graeber (@davidgraeber) tweeted at 5:44 AM – 11 Dec 2016 :
Brilliant! I don’t smoke but this makes me wish I did, if only as an act of class defiance. Off Our Butts https://t.co/JbTpSt1yuU (http://twitter.com/davidgraeber/status/807929170273648644?s=17)
How smoking bans extinguish solidarity
Anti-smoking legislation is, and always has been, about social control. …to keep us looking for the enemy in each other instead of in those who are making a killing off cigarettes and anti-smoking campaigns alike. It legitimates the privatization of public space, limits popular assembly, and forces the working class out of political life into private isolation via the social technology of shame. It whitewashes the violence exacted on the poor by the rich to make it all seem like the worker’s own doing. It is, in short, class war by another name.
Neither does the “public” protected by public health initiatives include people of the working class, no matter what color they are. If it did, initiatives would be directed first and foremost at the process of production, not consumption. And I mean production of everything. After all, anyone who works for minimum wage already expects organ damage, physical pain, a reduced quality of life, and an untimely death. And that, no doubt, is why the “If You Smoke You’ll Get Sick” warnings on packs aren’t working very well to inspire this particular group to quit: working shit jobs for shit pay is making the working class sicker, faster. And yet the promoter of “public health” does not concern herself with how the workers must soon enter the building to demolish rotten fiberboard all day. She is interested only in what they consume outside the door on their brief ten-minute breaks. Why should this be?
Car emissions, soda pop, pharmaceutical medications, and nano-weaponized drones all have the potential to disturb the healthful existence of the young white bourgeois child, yet her mother supports these ventures with her taxes and consumer choices while spitting insults at the smoker waiting at a bus stop: she’s just a toxic bag of body parts, after all.
Now, in 2016, cigarette smoking in North America is indeed more common among people living in poverty. They smoke because they do not have the time or money to eat properly, because other, more respectable mind-altering drugs are not available to them, because it is something to enjoy.
They do it because their jobs (when they still exist) are so boring and physically painful that they would rather die. Yet professionals in the wellness industry routinely describe their smoking social inferiors as “stupid” and “irrational” on the basis of their supposedly self-undermining lifestyle choices.
rat park ness
science of people ness.. we have no idea
It’s by now an iron law that whenever the poor are discussed, so are their “bad life choices.” If professionals can’t do something properly or fast enough, they can readily avail themselves of a diagnosis of one or another “health problem”—even something as vague and generic as “stress” or “burnout.” These are conditions that are imagined to have stricken them randomly—as opposed to a malignant, self-inflicted malady tied to their lifestyle, upbringing, or that sketchy antidepressant they stupidly decided to take. Even though so many children of the professional class clearly have asthma due in part to the persistent bourgeois hygiene neurosis (the antibacterial hand gel all but mandated by this neurosis being a proven contributing factor),
they and their germophobe parents deserve empathy, time off, and specific disability rights. By contrast, working-class smokers deserve only reproach and are asked to tiptoe around the expansive, socio-moral and self-induced sensitivities of the rich.
thinking of the juxtaposition of patti and the b&w laureaters
This wildly differential diagnostic treatment, which draws on age-old caricatures of the poor as case studies in lapsed self-control, parallels the entirely differential structure of empathy in the working-class workplace: whenever low-income workers can’t do something properly or fast enough, they are simply fired, and anything that would otherwise qualify as a health problem or disability is chalked up to “personal failure.” After all, this is someone who made the “bad choice” to live in poverty in the first place.
In fact, the smoker needs nicotine to function just as the suburban professional needs his car, and if she can’t perform at work for even just two days, it will actually matter. She may lose what little food access she has. Furthermore, this smoker’s daily activities, paid and otherwise, which would be curtailed by the pains of nicotine withdrawal, are generally important for the greater social good.
interpretive labor ness
An obvious early casualty is the caregiving labor involved in the “second shift” duties of working mothers in the domestic sphere. Huffington Post writer Linda Tirado says it all:
When I am too tired to walk one more step, I can smoke and go for another hour. When I am enraged and beaten down and incapable of accomplishing one more thing, I can smoke and I feel a little better, just for a minute. It is the only relaxation I am allowed. It is not a good decision, but it is the only one that I have access to. It is the only thing I have found that keeps me from collapsing or exploding.
And so the lowest-paid workers continue to smoke, with public smoking restrictions serving only to inspire working-class shame and ruling-class belligerence. Whether because workers smoke or their friends do, the traditional places of working-class congregation are now closed to them—the pub, the diner, the park, and even the sidewalk. It is no coincidence that fifteen feet from the door stands the gutter
yeah.. ugh.. who are we
If the lifestyle lords of the ruling class want us to quit smoking, they can provide us with the resources required to spend a quarter of our waking hours drinking kale smoothies, doing yoga, and attending trauma therapy just like them. As long as they fail to meet such elementary demands of mutual social obligation, they deserve much worse than a little second-hand smoke.
they blame the poor for contaminating the world, while funding paramilitary offensives in defense of filthy transnational mining projects and neocolonial oil-and-resource wars—conflicts that will make the world much less safe for their children than a smoldering cigarette ever could.
If state and capital are going to steal our precious energies and vast hours of our lives to line their pockets with profit, leaving us with poor sleep, insufficient rent money, and a diet of 7-Eleven specials as we provide the country’s most basic services, the very least we deserve is to enjoy our cigarettes in peace. So if anyone asks, it’s not that smoking should be permitted because cigarettes can be proved an absolute good, which they cannot, but simply because *for the time being we happen to smoke them.
Smoking bans (or smoke-free laws) are public policies, including criminal laws and occupational safety and health regulations, that prohibit tobacco smoking in workplaces and other public spaces. Legislation may also define smoking as more generally being the carrying or possessing of any lit tobacco product.
The first modern attempt at restricting smoking was imposed by the then German government in every university, post office, military hospital, and Nazi Party office, under the auspices of Karl Astel’s Institute for Tobacco Hazards Research, created in 1941 under orders from Adolf Hitler. Major anti-tobacco campaigns were widely broadcast by the Nazis until the demise of the regime in 1945