Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: We Asked for Sweatshops!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

We Asked for Sweatshops!

How many of us boycott stores that abuse their workers' rights?

Before you lie and answer "yes I do," let me make on point clear, that most of us, are not concerned about workers' rights, and working conditions when we are shopping. In fact, we boycott stores that are "over-priced." However, tables turn when we work for such companies that abuse workers' rights and do not pay legal minimum wage.

To blame Wal-Mart for opening sweatshops, and not treating their workers right, is not the main issue, for it is a side effect of a larger and a more serious issue.

Lisa Featherstone's "wal-mart P.R War," is a great article, and provides quiet details about the rising accusations about how Wal-Mart is abusing its workers. However, there are several other corporations, such as Wal-Mart, that are establishing sweatshops around the world. This practise cannot be corrected by dealing with these companies' P.R. For they are hired to speak on behalf of the corporation. In fact, many of us attend anti-sweatshops campaigns, and anti-wal-mart seminars, but besides these "feel good about yourself," activities, we don't really sit and analyze the real issue.

The issue is that, our government is taking the concept of laissez faire too literally, and because of this, corporations like Wal-mart are able to do what they want to do. How many of us ever stop and wonder if the item that we are buying at a dollar store, is really worth a dollar? For there are many items in dollar stores whose net value is not really $1.00. However, those items are provided to us, after abusing the rights of a worker in Haiti, India, or china. These workers are paid around $1.00 - $2.00 a day, to mass produce our daily items and materials that we buy and use. If these items are produced in a factory in which workers are paid minimum wage, and their rights are respected, dollar stores would first go out of business, and then of course, the price of the cheap items at Wal-Mart and many other large stores would sharply increase.

We must understand, that fighting with Wal-Mart and its PR, is not the real solution. Even if we fight and correct Wal-mart and convince them to treat their workers in a respected and legal manner, we would still be left with many other companies that abuse their workers. We must go deeper into the issue, and try to eradicate the rising "sweatshops."

"It's obvious that the sweatshop problem has been increasing and expanding in this country since the 1980s, and it's out of control," says Barbara Briggs, senior associate at the New York-based National Labor Committee, which monitors workers' rights in the United States and in U.S. factories overseas. "

The above statement clearly states the rising sweatshops, and to decrease the number, we must return to our government, ask them to install strict regulatory policies for these corporations, in which their net profit, workers' salary and everything else must be monitored. For many conservatives, this will be a shocking and dangerous solution, but for too long have we lived with the "hands-off" theory, and apparently it has not worked from Wall Street to Wal-Mart.

Instead of fighting Wal-mart, we must fight for a congressional solution so that in one campaign we are able to eliminate ALL sweatshops.


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