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The New Slavery

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Message David Cox
Recently Chinese officials have raided Hongtong Shanxi an area of Northern China and rescued almost 500 workers from slavery type conditions. The workers were forced to work in brick kilns, iron mines and coalmines. Some 29 of the workers were children and some were mentally disabled. Of course the easy thing to do here in fat and happy America is to look down our nose at the Chinese. That's the most wonderful aspect of outsourcing the corporate capitalist has the ability to bring about these conditions and yet stay at arms length saying, tisk tisk. Is it a stretch to believe that the coal or the bricks or iron mined by these slaves would not have been used for the products that fill our Wal- Marts shelves today? Globalism is but a synonym for slavery, the hunt for the cheapest workforce on the planet, so how could the inevitable outcome of slavery be a surprise to anyone? The corporate master doling out bread in a reverse auction of labor, no different from the Incas or the mid evil serf. The old style practice of American slavery was abolished in 1863 for areas in rebellion meaning play along and you can keep your slaves but this was soon replaced by a more modern version. After the US civil war as areas of the south's agricultural empire attempted to rebuild a new improved slave was introduced. No longer could a man own another man we had trampled out the vintage where the grapes of wrath were stored, now a man could own a man's debt. The sharecropper borrowed money from the landowner and shared the profits from the crops. If however the crop failed the new slave still owed his debt to the master they shared only profits while the slave assumed all the risks. In the industrial north the same abuses were rampant child labor, virtual slave labor unsafe conditions, inhumane hours were common in America until the New Deal. The rise of labor unions was a direct response to low wages and unsafe working conditions. The capitalists and bankers fought back with all their might against every reform as an unfair intrusion into their rights. Even today the party line is to get government off our backs unless of course it's their ox gored (no pun intended) then they run straight to the courts seeking relief. This week the Extreme Court ruled in a case involving the California teachers union limiting how the union may use the dues of its members for political actions. Some union members objected to supporting pro-choice candidates preferring instead pro-life anti union candidates. Now as it stands Judas may go to court for his right to sell out Christ, the party that bemoans too much litigation is always ready to help Judas split the union. If you as a shareholder of a corporation don't approve of the boards political action contributions you can sell your stock or fight to change the board. Try your luck at suing the board and see how far that gets you, imagine Barry Bonds traded to an American league team hiring a lawyer arguing to do away with the designated hitter because it is unfair to him as a position player. But the extreme court is just another brick in the wall of the fortress to protect the right to exploit and control workers and to protect the new slavery. In the 1970's the American worker maintained his life style with one income in the 1980's and 90's two incomes and now two incomes with two jobs. As the great slave master maintained while on the campaign trail, "How very American!" How loving and compassionate is our great slave master, concerned as he is about the poor suffering masses crossing our southern borders. His deep love for the poor Iraqi peoples plight if US troops were to withdraw from the blood bath he created. His compassion for his new and future slaves is touching while totaling lacking is any concern for the current crop of slaves now doing the fighting. He calls for his slaves in New Orleans or tornado victims in Kansas to be strong and self-reliant as he reminds us the slave masters role is to lead and to give orders not to assist. Meanwhile back in China the slavery story is the lead item in the state controlled media for remember this is a communist country that does not share our values of freedom and justice. "The workers were not paid and were forced to work 15 to 16 hours a day and finish their meals within 15 minutes. The workers slept on the ground in a dark room without heating in the winter." " In a raid carried out on May 27, police in Shanxi freed the 31 migrant workers, and detained five suspects. Among the detainees were Wang Bingbing and four others. Police are still hunting for three alleged accomplices, including Heng Tinghan, from central China's Henan. The bank accounts of Wang Bingbing's brick kiln have been frozen." What! They've frozen their bank accounts! Those dirty communists! Don't they understand the blessing's of liberty would they have frozen Enron's bank accounts as well? Ken Lay's rights had to be defended conviction or not he died before damages could be assessed and it would be unfair to assess damages on a dead man. But those communists not content to meddle with honest businessman who might have made a slight oversight or transgression are not satisfied with just paying out monetary damages they want even more! "The rescued workers from the brick kiln of Caosheng Village will get back their wages in arrears," said Cheng Jinzhong, vice chairman of Hongtong County Association of Trade Unions. Local authorities have decided that each migrant worker will be paid for 1,410 yuan (about 200 U.S. dollars) monthly, three times the minimum monthly salary standard in Hongtong. Ten teams consisting of workers from different departments of Hongtong County government will leave for 12 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, where hometowns of the 31 migrant workers are located, on Saturday to deliver these migrant workers' wages, plus 1,000 yuan in compensation and a written apology to each worker." An Apology! A written apology, can you imagine that? If Ken Lay wern't dead already this would have killed him. Of course in America the workers would hired lawyers and waited ten years to get a judgment and then watched it overturned. Then on appeal they would get a fraction of it maybe and then split that with their attorney. The Chinese workers will get 2,410 yuan right now this month, plus a written apology. You might say, we'll that's not that so much, but its 2,410 yuan more than the workers in Bhopal India got from Union Carbide plus an apology. Can we in America look down our noses at anyone anymore? Don't we have migrant workers working 15 or 16 hours a day in this country? Don't they lock workers in the Wal-Mart stores at night and hold waitresses and lowest paid workers accountable for shortages? Don't we legally pay our workers slave wages without an apology? And if they rebel we out source what jobs we can and insource the rest. Insourcing is the practice of hiring foreign labor at a price cheaper than Americans can afford to do it for. Americans can do carpentry and clean carpets and paint houses but they want to be paid for it and they want to be able live with their families while they do it. Unwilling to live six to a one-bedroom apartment the American worker is replaced. These millions of illegal immigrants who come here do you suppose they crossed the sands of a burning desert for liberty or income? The affects of globalism have depressed Mexican wages 25% forcing a mass immigration not unlike Darfur. Globalism creates a cycle of ever increasing poverty for the world's workers, a new feudalism of living at the pleasure of your liege lord the corporation. It encourages environmental degradation and spoilage of the earth's resources after all if our fellow man is no more than chattel what value does a tree or a forest hold? Slavery has not gone away it's only changed it's clothes but the stakes are inestimably higher because we are not talking about a cotton patch or a rogue state anymore but the policy of whole world. The Chinese for their part deserve kudos' for airing a situation that could have so easily been covered up, would Fox or CNBC have been so forthcoming? The Chinese regardless of ideology have stood up for the dignity of mankind while we in this country debate and trade off a minimum wage increases for more war funding attempting to balance poverty verses death and poverty. Is this the best way we can grow our big orchards? Is this the best way we can grow our good fruit? To fall like dry leaves to rot on my topsoil And be called by no name except deportees? (Woody Guthrie) Police rescue further 220 slave workers in N China 2007-06-15 16:15:02
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I was born and raised in Chicago in a liberal Democratic home my Grandfather was a labor union organizer my Father a Democratic district committeeman my Mother was an election judge. My earliest memories were of passing out Kennedy yard signs from (more...)
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