May Meetup: The Politics of Restaurant Workers- 4 Article Exploration

May Book Club is a Book Club Twist… 

We are focusing on 4 Published (short) Articles on Restaurant Workers. With the Restaurant Association pushing for a bill that would apply different minimum wage laws to tipped workers, it is worth some thoughtful consideration!

We’re mixing it up a bit this month by reading three articles addressing the politics of workers in restaurants! The reading is short, but the discussion will be rich.

See Below for PDFs of the Articles!

Restaurant Eliminates Tips, Gives Employees $35,000 a Year – Eater

Former Wall Street Trader Solves Restaurants’ Biggest Problem – Business Insider

Ethical Dining and Restaurant Workers Rights _ Food Politic

The Upwardly Mobile Barista – The Atlantic

Why Do All the Black Kids Sit Together in the Cafeteria? Conversations about Race &Antiracism Resources

For February Book club we will be discussing: Why Do All the Black Kids Sit Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel. See below for more on the book, talks with the author, and resources for antiracism work in many contexts!

This insightful exploration of the varieties of Americans’ experience with race and racism in everyday life would be an excellent starting point for the upcoming national conversations on race that President Clinton and his appointed commission will be conducting this fall. Tatum, a developmental psychologist (Mt. Holyoke Coll.) with a special interest in the emerging field of racial-identity development, is a consultant to school systems and community groups on teaching and learning in a multicultural context. Not only has she studied the distinctive social dynamics faced by black youth educated in predominantly white environments, but since 1980, Tatum has developed a course on the psychology of racism and taught it in a variety of university settings. She is also a black woman and a concerned mother of two, and she draws on all these experiences and bases of knowledge to write a remarkably jargon-free book that is as rigorously analytical as it is refreshingly practical and drives its points home with a range of telling anecdotes. Tatum illuminates “why talking about racism is so hard” and what we can do to make it easier, leaving her readers more confident about facing the difficult terrain on the road to a genuinely color-blind society. — Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Recommended Books

  • The Anti-Racist Cookbook, A Recipe Guide for Conversations About Race That Goes Beyond Covered Dishes and “Kum-Bah-Ya” by Robin Parker and Pamela Smith Chambers (2005)
  • *Black Pioneers in a White Denomination by Mark D. Morrison-Reed (1980)
  • Dismantling Racism, The Continuing Challenge to White America by Joseph Barndt (1991)
  • *Can We Talk About Race? And Other Conversations in an Era of School Regregation by Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D (2007)
  • *SOUL WORK, Anti-Racist Theologies in Dialogue edited by Marjorie Bowens-Wheatley and Nancy Palmer-Jones (2003)
  • *Uprooting Racism, How White People Can Work For Racial Justice by Paul Kivel (2002)

Links and Articles:

Feel free to add comments with suggestions for more books and resources!

Free Software, Free Society!

December 2014 Book: Free Software, Free Society!

Free PDF of Book: Free Software, Free Society

Goodreads Review by Ka:

When it comes to the social impact of technology, there are few people quite as passionate about the subject as Dr Richard Stallman. As founder of the Free Software Foundation, Stallman has for at least the last three decades been the most prominent advocate for ‘free software’. As he reminds us throughout his book, the ‘free’ in free software refers to freedom rather than any monetary value. He defines the four key characteristics of free software as follows:

A program is free software if the program’s users have the four essential freedoms:

The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).

The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).

The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3). By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

Understanding the above is crucial, for it serves as the foundation of Stallman’s approach to software and society. The latter in particular is what sets Stallman apart from many others, for he believes that the free software ideal is a social movement that must be fought for at every turn.

Reading his thoughts on the subject, one finds an often uncompromising and idealistic attitude that sees the fight for free software as an ongoing battle for human liberty.

As a programmer himself, Stallman shares with us his own early experiences at MIT and how restrictive proprietary software helped to shape his views.

Later interesting essays touch on the importance of free software in schools, why science must push copyright aside, the problems with DRM and why he prefers the term ‘free software’ instead of ‘open source’.

As well as arguing for the many benefits of free software in all of these areas, he suggests that the use of offering discounted proprietary software to schools is a strategy to get users hooked on such software from an early age.

He frequently also touches on the security implications of using proprietary hardware and software. Since such technology takes control out of the hands of the user and uses hidden code, we can never be certain of what it is doing without our knowledge – whether this be tracking or using back-doors for malicious intent. All such users effectively have to place blind faith in the provider and be willing to cede control.

As well as discussing the importance of copyleft licenses, His essays touch on other important aspects of technology, arguing for instance that current patent laws make it far too easy for vague software patents to be approved. Such bad patents seemingly approved by people with little understanding of the technology then in turn stifle software development and technological progress.

The increasing use of SaaS (software as a service) also comes in for heavy criticism, with Stallman arguing that this is even worse than proprietary software executed on a user’s own computer, since all activity is taking place on and under the control of someone else’s server.

Stallman’s strongest critics might no doubt dismiss his views as the ramblings of a techno-hippie, but to do so would be grossly unfair. Whether you are a passionate believer in free or proprietary software, Stallman’s views as a technology philosopher deserve to be heard. While one might disagree with him on the size of technology’s wider social impact- that there is an an effect would be hard to argue against.

As technology continues to creep further and further into every corner of our lives, essentially becoming a mainstay of our identity, it would not be too much of a stretch to argue that its characteristics will in turn shape the future society and identity that we ultimately end up with.