This is our truth, tell us yours
Recently I came across documentary footage which highlighted the appalling working conditions of those in the tree felling industry. Its a world most of us know little about. Working class men with little education are often shipped off to “camps” with little contact with the outside world. Forced by economic necessity into this dangerous, often life threatening work, this documentary shows that current regulation of the industry must change.
Despite the forced smile of the “lumberjack” here, I cannot help wonder why so many men in uniform are necessary. lurking in the background. Whilst he may be smiling for the camera their presence suggests that beneath the smiles all is far from well. Are they there to stop him escaping the “camp”?
Of course those who profit from his labour, to whom he is simply a pair of arms, a mere body to despoil the forests, present him as happy, parade him singing before the film makers. However by an analysis of his song we can see the grim reality. Indeed I believe these coded messages were hidden within the song, put there in a desperate attempt to convey the full horror of life for men in logging, or as I refer to them, the lumberjacked men.
Lets look at the chorus “I work all night and I sleep all day” Clearly the shadowy controllers of this poor unfortunate do not allow regular breaks, despite Canadian law, showing that the legalization of logging simply does not work, despite the claims of paid logging lobbyists.
I can only admire the courage of the unnamed (logging having removed his humanity) singer, since despite the demand he “work all day” he defiantly proclaims,” I go to the lavatory”. He refuses to give up, he defies his controllers, those armed, uniformed men. For us in our privileged houses, far from this exploitation going to the lavatory is a choice, something we take for granted. For him it is an act of rebellion, and it strengthens my resolve to rescue him from the humiliating life where even basic bodily functions are controlled by others.
Given this I think we can ignore the claim he has Wednesday off, to go shopping. This is what the paid logging lobby would like you to believe, the myth they sell, and people preferring to believe the myth swallow, just as they believe the idea anyone would chose to live this life.
Hard as it is to contemplate the reality of this life, of those in this life, I believe it is my duty not to shy away as so many do, not to be seduced by comfortable arguments about choice, but to ensure that this entire industry is criminalized, and those who profit from it thrown into jail for the harm they do.
Their true nature, their lack of concern for the broken lives they leave in their wake is shown when the singer mentions his complete lack of safety equipment. Logging is, as anyone can tell you, a dangerous thing to do. So dangerous we cannot even call it work, since of course no one would chose a job which routinely endangers their lives. (Economic coercion is still coercion and makes a mockery of the idea of choice) Given this, dressing in “suspenders and a bra” shows a callous disregard for his safety.He is just a piece of meat to them, disposable and replaceable Indeed it may be intended to humiliate as well as endanger him, to further show their power and control.
If the legalization of logging worked would workers in lumberjacking be allowed to wear nothing but suspender, bra and high heels? Clearly our current system is failing and we need to change how we view this paid rape of mother earth.
It seems clear that the closing seconds were not meant to be captured on film, no longer laughing for the camera, we see him pelted with refuse, mocked, running into the forest in a desperate attempt to escape. But can he ever truly stop running after what he has seen?
On a wider note the commodification of the natural environment which this documentary shows harms all of us. Rather than seeing trees as the things of beauty they are it reduces them to mere objects, and those in the logging industry are complicit in this objectification. How can we claim to love the planet when this love is reduced by their tawdry actions. They may call themselves lumberjacks, but they are just paid chainsaws, trapped by their false consciousness into believing they are simply workers.
Join me now in our campaign to end paid logging, at LogOff.com. We are applying for funds from a number of churches, feminist organisations, NGOs, governments and political parties. We already have the support of the Women’s Equality Party who believe that logging should be much more tightly regulated and are pushing for a national register of loggers. Change can happen, we can stop this evil trade in human misery.
The serious bit-
Think this sounds just ever so slightly silly? It is pretty much every thinkpiece by a non sex worker ever, every person who thought “oh why dont they legalise brothels” every armchair expert who cannot it seems stay silent about sex work. It is also the attitude of those more committed to harming sex workers rights, the swerfs and antis who do not need to listen to us, because they have seen one thing, and that is all they ever need.
Make 2016 the year where non sex workers luke warm takes on sex workers are consigned to the dustbin of history.
Its also important to recognise that most of the claims of swerfs and antis have as much factual basis as the Lumberjack song. An ideological screed by Melissa Farley or claim to have read a heavily fictionalized book is not a valid response to “citation needed,”
I am of course aware that logging is dangerous, and there is no intention to minimize or mock the actual risks loggers face.