Modern day slavery, first world sweatshops and reinvention of the Dickensian poorhouse!

This year, having spent most of my working life attempting to pursue a career, of sorts, I find myself drudging away my life in a perfunctary manner in a factory. I have done well paid factory work in the past and althought not terribly stimulating, it has allowed me to live a decent standard of life. Not so with my recent experience at a certain handbag factory. Having been upsold the opportunity as a potential career restart, I am left with the certainty that, nowadays, the only viable alternative to a horrendous third world sweatshop, for a greedy CEO and upper management, is to establish equally horrendous sweatshops here at home. To capitalise upon, and exploit, the sickly desperation of the increasingly marginalised masses!
As you walk into the production area of the aforementioned handbag factory, the first impression is the slightly musty, metallic taste of toxic, carcinogenic leather dust! But still more bitterly toxic, there is a sultry mood cast over the enormous purpose built room, like a plague of soulessness! But for the shabbily superficial veil of modernity, evident in the lighting, the shoe-styles and the smell, it could be a scene from circa a century ago! Patriarchial male privilege still rears it’s ugly head alongside, for me, the relatively new penomenon of ‘cis-privilege’! By ‘modern’ standards of equality this all has to be battened down tight and out of sight but it is there all the same, virulent as ever! Nowadays, of course, gender presentation has to be taken into account, so the women who seem to gain acclaim are the ones who appear to nip their fallopian tubes with their bobby pins before work each morning and actually pretend to be men! This seems to me, as a highly experienced and capable girly girl, to actually be the antithesis of equality, in which the poor ladies who enjoy presenting in their birth gender are demeaned by jumped up ‘prodigal sons’! ‘Mother’s little soldiers’, egged on by their self ordained, hetero normative cis-privilege, keeping the discrimination barely legal with condescending comments of ‘darling’, or some such passive aggressive put down! People endure rather than enjoy their working life and the concept of, ‘career’, is widely regarded as a standing joke! The ‘inmates’ less smile at each other than grimace with sickly resignation, offering cursary snippets of gallows humour, in a vain attempt to sweeten the bitter reality of a life which had clearly not gone according to plan!
“You alright me babs”? followed by a snappy, “Not too bad I s’pose! ‘Cept I’m ‘ere me lover, roll on friday eh”! A large industrial unit crammed like a sardine tin with disenchanted drones, wishing away their lives one hour at a time. Dispirited worker bees, drudging for an eternity in the hope that retirement will afford them enough to die with the thought that life was worthwhile. Of course this is not the reality for anyone unlucky enough to get stuck in the rut of a twenty first century factory.
Even just twenty years ago, factory labour came with the one redeeming feature in that it was relatively well paid! Nowadays, on minimum wage criteria, it is neither a working nor living wage and the only ones who really thrive are either ‘grown up kids’, still living at home or, stereotypically, bored housewives earning a second supplementary income. Abandon hope all ye who enter, for all else suffer in these circumstances! For my own part, I have ended up ‘working-poor’, homeless and suffering from chronic anxiety disorder and depression. The breaking point for me arrived when I actually found myself staring at a handful of fifty or so ‘tramodol’, contemplating the ‘midnight express’ out of this undeserved prison sentance.
Everyone involved in modern factory work hates their life it would seem. Whereas a century ago, the hateful situation would be unashamedly inhumane, a smog belching coal fired purgatory of hazards and hopelessness. Nowadays, the scene is superficially dressed to impress. Like any two bit hooker, garnished with patent leather and cheap perfume, the Dickensian squalour remains, albeit masked behind a shabby thin veneer of melamine and a fraudulently farcical, assumed air of sophistication. Nonetheless, this wolf in sheep’s clothing remains a transparently disguised workhouse even by Dickensian standards. A place where dreams of many are crushed and destroyed in the pointless pursuit of fads and fashions for the rich and privileged.
Inequality has never been so prevalent. Social injustice runs rife and lives are broken in the line of duty! I used to hate the upper middle classes, but I have realised, as the years have passed, that I find the so called working class more despicable! They have been bought for a handful of shiny trinkets, captivated in the same manner as kidnap victims with a perverse form of political ‘Stockholm syndrome’.
The upper middle classes are just wankers! The working class, on the other hand, have allowed themselves to be subjugated by wankers. They have allowed the self ordained overlords to control their medicine, habitat and nutrition; to smash the unions and push them into the margins; whilst all the while they continue to vote for these same thieving sociopaths. You couldn’t make this up, so bizarre the truth, it beggars belief.
For the last half a year, (six whole months I will never get back), I have been unfortunate enough to be tricked into such slavery! From my humble perspective, I can see the allegorical connection between our, homogenously palletable, middle class totalitarianism and the, getting bolder by the minute, passive-aggressive bullying of the hideously inefficient modern corporate machine! Admittedly, the workhouse governors no longer beat and chain their slaves but slaves we are all the same. My problem is that I do not fit the model for a docile, submissive and bovine slave! I am a Dominant, a bossy bitch who will tear out your eyes with my fingernails, figuratively speaking of course, should you dare to cross swords with me. This said, I have been reduced to a ‘mental health patient’ by the particular establishment by whom I have been exploited. My kindly GP, a young and progressive doctor who prefers a holistic approach to wanton distribution of anti depressants and tranquilisers, prescribed me ‘valium’ purely on the basis that I was wearing my work uniform, (apparently my coworkers are his biggest subscribers to mental health medication)! It is worthy of note that I had no prior mental health issues, before my spell in this concentration camp which hides itself in the mendips masquerading as a manufacturer of quality fancy goods.
Even the uniform seems to have been ‘designed’ to scream at full volume the message, “you are a slave”! It is a drab grey polo shirt of the sort you would expect to see on a prison inmate. In some ways this, in itself, is inoffensive as many companies have godawful uniforms! The actual insult hidden in this statement, stems from the knowledge that said uniform is supplied by, and for use in the manufacturing arm of a fashion design establishment so, taking this into account, it can only be interpreted as a deliberate insult. Even more sinister, it has been purposely designed to present as the complete antithesis of the power dressing of the upper eschelons. The management class power dresses, while dressing subordinates with the sole intention of disempowering them!
The state of politics, currently, has become the model for these ‘workhouses’, it would appear. The draconian regime of the nanny state has entrenched itself even into our daily lives, if we are unfortunate enough to be marginalised, in the bus lane of life or at the bottom of the eponymous ‘greasy pole’!
Draconian rule requires the majority of the populus to be living ‘outside of the law’! If everyone is above board then a totalitarian state has no leverage, no power to apprehend at will without, of course, resorting to ouvert abuses of power which would lead to civil unrest, causing the whole shooting match to disintegrate into anarchy. There has to be a climate where the masses are living above their means and so have to supplement their inadequate lifestyle with something shady! It doesn’t matter what this is, drugs, prostitution, petty shoplifting, ‘creative accounting’ or smuggling duty free; the point is that while the passive-aggressive dictatorship publicly vilifies the perpetrators of these minor misdemeanours, they secretly encourage this trend. It makes dictatorship so much simpler, if every citizen can have their collar felt at the drop of a hat. A nation living in fear is easy to control!
Similarly, the modern business uses an unrealistically contrived system of reward and punishment, offset by an regimen of ‘divide and conquer’, to supress and enslave. Unattainable targets and ridiculous rules are enforced to ensure that the path to the rarefied heights of success remains jealously guarded by a privileged few. Those prepared to go ‘above and beyond’, by bullying and spying on colleagues, or perhaps just performing well on one’s knees in an ‘extra curricular capacity’, might gain a glimpse of this apparent ‘nirvana’!
Times are hard, and desperate times do indeed call for desperate measures. Nobody is born for slavery and so many juggle two or more diabolical positions in order to maintain some semblance of dignity; struggling through exhaustion, on caffeine and uppers to keep out of the firing line. Something has to give in this hideously unbalanced arrangement. I have decided to take the plunge and chance my arm on ‘anything but this’! I write and articulate myself, as well as communicating my ideals in imagery and bitch and stitch my soul and imagination into bespoke costume! I have escaped, penniless but with my essence intact; positioned by a good humoured stroke of fate, in the form of homelessness, way too distant to make the daily drive to this modern sweatshop. I am terrified but I have relinquished ‘Mother’s little helpers’ and, in any case, nothing can be worse than drudging over two grand fashion accessories for not enough pay to make rent! It occurred that the only way to show these exploiters, is to strike; to refuse their pitiful titbits that merely serve to maintain slavery; to rise up, slam our fists on the fat cat CEO’s desk and shout “NO! no more”!

What is the point of Trolls?

Well now! I have been somewhat incapacitated now for about three months. I am in convalescence from my recent GRS procedures.

What, with all the shenanigans and hoohah bubbling and boiling in the bible bashing belt of the US, this itself is a contentious matter! To cut a long story short, I have had way too much time on my hands and become somewhat emnbroiled in the ongoing wrangle over bathroom usage in the backwater regions and badlands!

This passage is not about that! Whilst I am concerned and empathic for the indignities and injustiuce some of my US sisters and brothers face, (trans folk are all related, cut one and we all bleed), the matter has raised an altogether different, secondary concern. I am talking about internet trolls! Whereas, once upon a time, if one encountered a troll one would bring down one’s mighty staff, striking the ground with an almighty blow and a bellow of, “You shall not pass”, nowadays trolls are much more insiudious! They hide behind their laptops, armed with nothing but their tabloid opinions and narcissistic personality disorders, and loiter around contentious online debates like sexual predators outside public lavatories! They are easy to spot because they never show their true face or identity; they lure you in like any other predator with disarming banter or hypnotic wiles. Meanwhile they voyeuristically probe you and your social media, until they have that juicy morsel to use in their attack.

Much the same as the ones of Middle Earth, there are different types of troll! There are aggressive ones; there are devious ones; concern trolls who trick their way into your confidence with feigned support which turns to venom and vitriol if the debate doesn’t go their way! They are any one of an infinitely diverse range of potential mixes of several elements:

  1. The hellfire preacher! You know where you are with this one as the bible clutched under one arm and the crucifix brandished high are dead giveaways; the crazed wild eyes and complete lack of reserve mean these ones, you can see coming a mile off!
  2. The outraged Tory! These are evident to a lesser extent, despite their extreme opinions. They state their case articulately and with a polititian’s sense of ‘spin’! Their trap set they wait for an alternate opinion to manifest and then the battle begins!
  3. The Concern Troll! Their rhetoric is in the art of deception. They inveigle their way to your confidence with flattery or false concern for your wellbeing, waiting until you are in their power hook line and sinker, before they pounce!

These are three of the many typical troll types. Of course the troll genome is as widely diverse as any other species; they range from armchair tabloid journalists, through high school bitch cheerleader or broom cupboard psychoanalyst to the scary psychotrolls who leave you wondering whether they are sitting in the blacked out car across the street, with a sawn off shotgun, trolling you on your own wifi connection no less! The one thing they all have in common is they are out to get you! The troll is an emotional parasite, and will suck your energy like a vampire drinks your blood! They will push and push, overwhelming your ability to do anything else but fend off their attack.

It might be aggressive, interrogational, asanine or puerile but it will be cleverly aimed to get a rise from you! You might be aware that you’re being trolled. The voice of reason will be repeating in the back of your mind, “don’t feed the trolls, don’t feed the trolls”, but they are clever. Before you know it you will be exhausted and emotionally bereft with a ragged exit wound in the back of your soul! Note to self, must find out the online emogee for *rolling my eyes*, or *resting bitch face*!

I guess that’s almost all I want to say. As a transgender woman, I am a magnet for narcissists and trolls. Something in their consciousness is programmed to home in on anything that their limited understanding perceives to be a vulnerability! I present a fair point in any discussions I choose to take part in so my troll experiences rapidly degenerate into tirades of abuse. This is one of the dangers of having an ouvertly transgender or otherwise diverse online profile!

So whether they are the screaming evangelist, the emotional interrogator, or just the *mean girl in the high school movie*, there remains one question to be answered:

” What is the point of Trolls”?