Company by Company

There’s a lot of stuff that relates to the issue of forced labor, and obviously, it’s very difficult to discuss it on a 5 minute appearance on a comedy show. I will keep posting related articles and links to groups who are doing different things to fight the issue.

Fighting against labor slavery is not as simple as catching a few bad guys here. Labor slavery only happens in sectors of the economy that are already horrible and VERY unprogressive. Like agriculture. You never see, for example, slavery cases popping up in the auto industry or the airline industry, because the people who work in these industries are protected by unions. And yes yes yes, we’ve heard a lot about how bad unions are, but if they help keep workers from being enslaved, well, gee, thumbs up.

Fixing the problem of forced labor in agriculture is actually not that complicated. As Kerry Trueman, co-founder of, a netroots organization advocating sustainable agriculture, progressive politics and a less-consumption driven way of life, writes in The Huffington Post:

Bowe expresses the hope that Americans would rather not knowingly purchase goods made by slave labor. He’s also optimistic about the power of organizations like the Florida-based Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) to shine a light on this very dark side of our food chain. CIW’s mission is to help migrant workers, bring their exploiters to justice, and shame corporations into raising their standards.

They’ve succeeded in getting the Department of Justice to prosecute some of the worst subcontractors, and they’ve also persuaded Yum! Brands, which owns Taco Bell, to pay an additional penny per pound directly to their tomato pickers. That may not sound like much, but, according to Bowe, it will nearly double the pickers’ wages. And, pressured by CIW and a coalition of church and student-based groups, McDonald’s has agreed to a similar program.

Fixing the problem of forced labor requires awareness of the problem and willingness to push for change. Company by company, and with an increase in political pressure on our politicians, it’s the kind of situation that can and will be radically improved.

Anyway, thanks to everyone for the nice response here in the blog, on MySpace and via e-mail. Please keep coming back, even if there’s nothing interesting here for a while.


One response to “Company by Company

  1. John I saw you on CSPAN2 in a book review meeting and wanted to say thanks for being one small voice in raising people’s awareness to this whole subject of what globalism is versus mostly the propaganda that comes from our government and Wall st. Our federal government has become mostly a puppet of corporate interests and anyone who studies it can see that the solution to this will not come from them and the corporations who benefit from this new form of exploitation at the expense of everyone else. They are nationalizing expenses and privatizing profits for themselves.

    This whole cycle of cheap foreign made consumer products feeds on itself as more people are pushed out of the middle class and need cheaper goods to simply survive.

    The fact that we are consuming the seed corn of future USA jobs is beyond the vision of most people since they live in the present.

    I do my small part in blogging and periodic letters to my congressmen to say I do “something” as opposed to capitulation and putting it out of my mind; I also have three daughters who I can see will not live as well as I did even though all are highly educated. Education by itself will not guarantee the availability of a good job in such a future as we can see in Eastern Europe or India.

    Globalism has become the rebirth of the dark ages of capitalism with its new brand of robber barons now called Oligarchs or Plutocrats.

    The core problem I see is that we have created a global economy with no equivalent global political system to provide checks and balances.

    Also there is a new form of human organization that has been created in China and is being mirrored in other countries like Russia.

    The consists of a hybrid two layer organization with the highest level one of totalitarian nature that sets strategic direction for the country and also preforms daily enforcement of diversions from that plan.

    The lower level is capitalism that can reward its winners with unlimited wealth as long as they follow the strategic plan and support it politically. Personal freedoms are totally controlled by the upper layer.

    You might consider the current state of government and corporate union as a form of this upper layer also but enforced with economic and legal measures not the end of a gun or threat of jail.

    Given the nature of human behavior and the power of greed I am not optimistic that a form of global government will evolve in time to regulate this mega trend before all kinds of social distress are evident including wars over commodities.

    This is all a classic case of “it has to get worse before it gets better” and it will be too late to correct his in any rational way when that tipping point comes.

    The future of the USA is most likely for more haves and have nots and we ourselves will start to look and behave more like third world countries do today with their extremes of wealth and poverty.

    Having said that I encourage you to continue the fight to raise awareness and let us hope a mass movement will evolve that will reverse what is mostly a pessimistic outlook for us all currently………

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