The Pit

If CalSERVE Is So Progressive, Why Won’t They Pay Me A Living Wage?

But the truth is, this problem is a systemic infection of the entire ASUC.

The following op-ed is presented anonymously at the request of the author, a staff member in a CalSERVE-affiliated ASUC Senator’s office.

I really thought CalSERVE was the progressive party around here. I applied for a position in ASUC Senator [REDACTED]’s office because I thought that was the way to make a difference at this school. But after the better part of a semester working here, I can’t deny the truth of experience. The whole thing is a sham. If CalSERVE was truly as progressive as they say they are, they would pay me a living wage?

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of other problems I’ve been through since I started working here. But I can handle a toxic environment full of self-important people. I can handle devoting far too much time to that environment, sacrificing my grades, social life, and overall sanity to this job. I can handle having to clean up the messes of fall slating and legislative obstruction that’s more about minor interpersonal squabbles between senators than actual ideology.

But at the very least, I would expect that a party supposedly devoted to justice would compensate me with $18 an hour. But I don’t even get that—in fact, I get zero money. The only thing I have to show for my hard work is an official ASUC Senator [REDACTED] quarter-zip. That I had to pay my boss for. That’s right, my labor has been so thoroughly exploited by the bourgeoisie that I’ve received negative compensation for my work, while the people who get the glory and the spotlight actively profit from their offices.

Needless to say, this isn’t what I expected from the so-called “progressive” party of ASUC at all. But the truth is, this problem is a systemic infection of the entire ASUC. Regardless of party, all of us who work for ASUC Senators are subject to a bourgeois class of party bosses and elected officials who shamelessly exploit our labor for their own gain. And after trying absolutely every possible option to push for change from within, from privately grumbling about it to thinking about maybe asking why this isn’t a paid position, I have come to the conclusion that reform is impossible and the only way to fix the system is to unite the working class, smash the instruments of the capitalist machine, and establish a dictatorship of the proletariat. Let the ruling parties tremble at a Communist revolution! Office staff of the ASUC, unite! You have nothing to lose but your quarter-zips!

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