Columnist and Senior Associate Editor
How does a liberal columnist survive among so many conservatives and libertarians at TAP? Well, it helps to grow up in a conservative state and in a family of Republicans. As a child James leafleted for Barry Goldwater's presidential campaign, supported the Viet Nam War, and read Ayn Rand. As James grew older his opinions changed, and he learned to fight for them, outnumbered as he was.
As an almost life-long resident of Orlando, Florida, it seemed quite natural to go and work for the Walt Disney Company, which James did for 23 years, beginning as a ride operator and finishing his Disney career as a technical writer.
Along the way James' liberal activism was honed as a member of District 1908 of the Transportation/Communications Union at Disney, where he served as a shop steward, district trustee, and finally as President and Treasurer, representing the interests of 3,000 Disney employees. His arguing skills were honed in disciplinary hearings, safety meetings, and the negotiating table at Disney, while his writing talents were put to use as a writer and editor of the district's newsletter Signals for nine years.
James says, "The most fascinating part of my job was as a member of a team negotiating labor contracts in concert with other unions and Disney management where issues of pay, personal safety, work rules, and health insurance are involved. Try it yourself sometime to see how important issues become when millions of dollars are on the table."
James also managed to get an education and a Master's degree in Liberal Studies. He has also taught Rhetoric and Composition at Valencia Community College and his written work has appeared in e-zines like Blue Ear Magazine, Philosophy News, and the Coastal Voice. He is currently working on a nonfiction book with former TAP columnist Ian Foster.
Says James, "My twin passions these days are for science, which tells us what the world is actually like, and political philosophy, which tells what we could make of it. ***
© 2001 James Hall
COPYRIGHT © 2001 BY THE AMERICAN PARTISAN. All writers retain rights to their work.