Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

A Mailroom Manifesto

by Michael Colby

The unknown purveyors of bioterrorism have now sent their potent blends of Anthrax to numerous U.S. locations, targeting, for the most part, elite figures of the government and media. But what they haven1t apparently realized is that in our heavily classist system, these elites never come close to their own mail. In fact, the task of mail opening is way down the totem pole of privilege, usually relegated to some dank basement in the swanky towers of power.

Tom Brokaw didn’t come close to his mail. Tom Daschle didn’t come close to his mail. And even though the Anthrax-laden letters were addressed to both of these men, it was dozens of their underlings who actually became contaminated. And now there isn’t an executive in this nation who will dare wander down to the mailroom anytime soon.

But in every groovy office place in the nation the big bosses are issuing crocodile tears to their mail-opening staff, trying to make it seem like they “care” but not sticking around long enough to risk being contaminated themselves ? either by the Anthrax or the mail-opening ruffians.

I happen to know several people who-unfortunately–have as part of their job description the task of opening corporate mail. And they1ve all reported to me about how their bosses have made overtures toward their safety in the last few days. There have been offers of masks, gloves, and condescending lectures about how to 3be careful with any suspicious mail2 (no shit), all delivered in a way that assumes the folks in the mail dungeons aren1t even aware of what the hell1s been happening in the nation for the past month or so. You know, kind of like “Mr. Roger1s comes to deliver a safety warning.”

But offers of 25 cent plastic gloves, two dollar masks, and worthless lectures aren1t what the people in the mailrooms of this nation need right now, especially since those who felt they needed such items purchased them long before their bosses came waddling into their cramped spaces. And not one of the mailroom folks who I know have been offered what they1re truly looking for in these difficult times: a frigging raise. Nor, for that matter, have any of them been offered the same benefits package as those who are up on the “top floors.” No, the bosses will keep their offers confined to cheap gloves and masks because it always comes back to the “bottom line.”

In this instance, the offer of such contrivances like gloves and masks in the face of something like Anthrax amounts to little more than guilt reduction on the part of the bosses. In this new spirit of faux-patriotism, they feel like they have to “do something,” even though any reasonable person should know that the Anthrax would make its mark with or without such protection. It reminds me of the 3duck and cover2 days of the 1950s when our government taught our citizenry how to climb under their desks and cover their heads in case of a nuclear attack. In other words, good luck.

In the new bioterrorism war we1ve found ourselves in, the mailroom workers are on the frontlines. They’ve unwittingly become our Marines, and they certainly didn’t sign up for this tour of duty. Worse, they1re not paid nearly enough to take on such risks.

Which all leads me to suggest that if the Bushes, Brokaws and Daschles of the world want to keep pushing us deeper and deeper into this nefarious war, why don’t they put themselves on the frontlines for a while. If Bush wants bin Laden dead so badly, give him a gun, knife and bayonet and let him go do the dirty work. It1s one thing to sit up high in their chairs and talk about the “moral imperatives” of killing people, but it’s quite another thing to put your butt within the range of danger. And they can start by opening their own mail.

Mailroom workers of the world: Unite! CP

Michael Colby is the editor of the Food & Water Journal.

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


October 24, 2016
John Steppling
The Unwoke: Sleepwalking into the Nightmare
Oscar Ortega
Clinton’s Troubling Silence on the Dakota Access Pipeline
Patrick Cockburn
Aleppo vs. Mosul: Media Biases
John Grant
Humanizing Our Militarized Border
Franklin Lamb
US-led Sanctions Targeting Syria Risk Adjudication as War Crimes
Paul Bentley
There Must Be Some Way Out of Here: the Silence of Dylan
Norman Pollack
Militarism: The Elephant in the Room
Patrick Bosold
Dakota Access Oil Pipeline: Invite CEO to Lunch, Go to Jail
Paul Craig Roberts
Was Russia’s Hesitation in Syria a Strategic Mistake?
Lara Gardner
Why I’m Not Voting
David Swanson
Of All the Opinions I’ve Heard on Syria
Weekend Edition
October 21, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Wight
Hillary Clinton and the Brutal Murder of Gaddafi
Diana Johnstone
Hillary Clinton’s Strategic Ambition in a Nutshell
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Trump’s Naked and Hillary’s Dead
John W. Whitehead
American Psycho: Sex, Lies and Politics Add Up to a Terrifying Election Season
Stephen Cooper
Hell on Earth in Alabama: Inside Holman Prison
Patrick Cockburn
13 Years of War: Mosul’s Frightening and Uncertain Future
Rob Urie
Name the Dangerous Candidate
Pepe Escobar
The Aleppo / Mosul Riddle
David Rosen
The War on Drugs is a Racket
Sami Siegelbaum
Once More, the Value of the Humanities
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
Neve Gordon
Israel’s Boycott Hypocrisy
Mark Hand
Of Pipelines and Protest Pens: When the Press Loses Its Shield
Victor Wallis
On the Stealing of U.S. Elections
Michael Hudson
The Return of the Repressed Critique of Rentiers: Veblen in the 21st century Rentier Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Drumbeats of Anti-Russia Confrontation From Washington to London
Howard Lisnoff
Still Licking Our Wounds and Hoping for Change
Brian Gruber
Iraq: There Is No State
Peter Lee
Trump: We Wish the Problem Was Fascism
Stanley L. Cohen
Equality and Justice for All, It Seems, But Palestinians
Steve Early
In Bay Area Refinery Town: Berniecrats & Clintonites Clash Over Rent Control
Kristine Mattis
All Solutions are Inadequate: Why It Doesn’t Matter If Politicians Mention Climate Change
Peter Linebaugh
Ron Suny and the Marxist Commune: a Note
Andre Vltchek
Sudan, Africa and the Mosaic of Horrors
Keith Binkly
The Russians Have Been Hacking Us For Years, Why Is It a Crisis Now?
Jonathan Cook
Adam Curtis: Another Manager of Perceptions
Ted Dace
The Fall
Sheldon Richman
Come and See the Anarchy Inherent in the System
Susana Hurlich
Hurricane Matthew: an Overview of the Damages in Cuba
Dave Lindorff
Screwing With and Screwing the Elderly and Disabled
Chandra Muzaffar
Cuba: Rejecting Sanctions, Sending a Message
Dennis Kucinich
War or Peace?
Joseph Natoli
Seething Anger in the Post-2016 Election Season
Jack Rasmus
Behind The 3rd US Presidential Debate—What’s Coming in 2017