Can the Working Class Speak?

The concept behind Working People is incredibly simple: I talk to working-class folks from around the country, from all walks of life, and I record it. We talk about their life stories. We talk about where they grew up. We talk about family, friends, school, politics, and whatever else comes up. And we talk about their working lives … their dreams, their victories, and their struggles.

I’d be lying if I said that the deep, scorching need for some kind of human connection that led me to start the podcast wasn’t also intertwined with the underlying political aim of building a sense of shared struggle and solidarity among workers. And the inspiration for this, once again, came from a familiar source.

As all of us in the family slogged onward in an endless, arduous struggle just to get by, Pops took to driving for Uber on nights and weekends. And it broke my heart. Knowing more than enough about Uber’s slimy, exploitative, low-paying model, it broke my heart to see him, like so many others, being taken advantage of. But something happened that I hadn’t expected. Pops found something he desperately needed, something that I think gave him the courage to share his story with me on the podcast, something that had been entirely absent in every other area of his life. While working as an Uber driver, he simply started talking to people: to the immigrant nurse he was driving to her second job, to the middle-aged husband who had lost everything in the Recession and had nothing for retirement. He discovered intimacy and honesty and solidarity with strangers, with fellow workers. And, in talking to them, he began to learn he wasn’t alone.   

Read the rest at Current Affairs

 

Go to the GEO front page