Groth: Now, of course, Trashman was an overtly political strip. How much Marx had you read? How much had you actually studied of revolutionary politics?
Spain: I went through a period where I read a lot of philosophy. Something about Marx really rang true. When I first started bringing Socialist stuff around the factory, I thought, “Ah, I’d better be real careful about this stuff.” What I found out was that guys in the plant were real receptive and there’s a real sense of class war on the plant floor, because they’re really trying to squeeze as much work as they can out of you. We were all young guys, and we also wanted to fuck off as much as we could. So that struggle was definitely there. The whole piecework thing, which they cram down your throat, is in reality a wage cut. They see how much you’re producing. In order to get the wage that you’re getting, you have to produce more, and then if you produce anything over that, they give you a bonus along with a lot of hype about productivity and competitiveness. But it’s a transparent shell game. And everybody understands this. Yeah, there are certain aspects of Marxism that … it seems to be the idealization of the working class. It seems like wishful thinking. Workers are just as capable of reactionary attitudes as anybody. There are certainly a lot of wealthy progressive and humanistic people.
But on the shop floor, it’s very clear that you’re getting screwed and they’ll screw you as much as they can, and you’ve got to fight back. And if you’ve got a good union, you’re in a lot better shape than if you don’t, so … so much of that stuff rang true. Marx is a little dense. German philosophy talk is a little hard to understand, but the Weekly People would explain things in an understandable way. I’ve read more Marx as time goes by. I just did a cover for a book called How to Read Marx.