Marc Norton came of age during the war in Vietnam, at the height
of the mass revolutionary movement against imperialist war and racism.
Marc has been a member of San Francisco's hotel, restaurant and culinary workers union, UNITE HERE Local 2, since 1976.
He is also a member of the
Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).
Marc was a bellman at Hotel Frank, a small hotel in downtown San Francisco, for twelve years. He went on involuntary leave after Wells Fargo Bank foreclosed on the hotel in 2010.
Many years ago, I was sitting in a San Francisco bar with several hotel and restaurant workers, discussing who would make a presentation, at an upcoming union meeting, in opposition to the latest sell-out deal by our in-bed-with-the-bosses (at the time) union officials.
I suggested that the presentation be made by one of the elders in the group, a man named Karl Kahn. Karl had worked for decades as a dishwasher at the Sheraton Palace. I explained my suggestion by saying that Karl came across as a regular guy, not like some "intellectual."
Karl got mightily offended. "Who are you," he thundered, "to tell me that I am not an intellectual?"
Karl was right, and I was wrong. This site is dedicated to the memory of Karl Kahn, and to the proposition that every working class person can and should use their intellect as a weapon in the fight for justice.
"Nothing so contributes to the reproduction of class in our society, aside from property relations, as the institutionally enforced intellectual division of labor. It dissects knowledge into academic ghettos and attempts to freeze working-class people out of the intelligentsia altogether... Those of us who lack the credentials must be excluded from the intelligentsia because the inclusion of our voices, the legitimation of our voices, calls into question the legitimacy of the whole system...
"Working-class people can and must become intellectuals. We can and must study diligently, debate, self-criticize, restudy, and continually sharpen our ability to play intellectual hardball."
Full Spectrum Disorder, page 190
(Soft Skull Press, 2004)