Jonathan goes digging into the world of the global sweatshop, talking with global workers rights advocate Shawna Bader-Blau on the eve of the fourth anniversary of the Bangladesh factory fire …
Two years ago, Rana Plaza collapsed in Bangladesh, killing 1,138 garment workers and injuring 2,400 others; many of the injured live today with physical problems that make it hard for them to work, not to mention the grief many of them live with because of loved ones killed in the disaster.
This was murder, plain and simple. The deaths of the 1,138 must be remembered because they were victims of greed, the greed that is the linchpin of the economic system around the world, including the U.S., that places profits before the lives of people.
Recently, I mentioned Seymour Hersh’s observation that, while most people count sheep to fall asleep, Henry Kissinger, who orchestrated the massive secret, illegal bombings of Cambodia, must count burned and maimed Cambodian babies. Which makes me wonder: has Amancio Ortega picked up a version of the Kissinger habit, counting overworked Cambodian slaves who have made him the fourth richest person in the world?
There has been this back and forth about how to improve conditions between the companies who make a profit on the backs of dead people…well, truly, that’s the reality of profits in the garment industry — you either die standing up at work, die later because your body is broken down from slaving away for pennies or you die quickly, or perhaps slowly, when places like the Rana Plaza collapse. Now, there is a new turn in the story — and I remain skeptical still that much will change.
Uh, it’s not a come on…seriously. If it’s a casual day, and you are just lounging around your house or walking the streets, just curious if your clothes carry a Gap or Old Navy label. Yeah, you know what’s coming — blood, sweat and tears put that on your back.
Well, I saw a day or two ago that the Administration was going to cut off Bangladesh’s trade preferences. In one sense, okay, finally. But, on the other hand, it’s sort of a minor thing if you are thinking “this will protect workers”.
I’m typically quite critical of the traditional media’s refusal to write about workers’ struggles on a regular basis, and without the “free market” spin. But this is an example of a strong story.
Gee, scratch your head. Hundreds of people die in a horrific garment factory fire in Bangladesh. Then, just yesterday, 120 people die in a poultry factory in China. Is there a connection? Of course.
I personally don’t need anything more to be outraged about the murder of hundreds of garment workers in the Bangladesh factory collapse. But, in these situations, a little something can trigger more outrage. I lost it after reading this.
The ghastly industrial killing field in the garment factory in Bangladesh has now claimed over 1,100 lives. Hard to even fathom. But, there is a sliver of hope that out of this massacre of workers will come a little improvement.
The toll has risen to more than 800 in Bangladesh. I suppose that must be a threshold of human death and suffering that even Wal-Mart can’t ignore. So, the Beast of Bentonville and some of its sidekicks are getting together to set, uh, labor standards.
Bodies. More bodies. More horror.
I’m not sure what the ILO has in mind or can do — it is hostage to the politics of inertia. But, at least there is a chance this will keep the pressure on.
In the horror of the collapse of the garment factory building in Bangladesh, I’m left to thinking how many people have died over many years of exploitation in garment factories and others factories in places like Bangladesh — and the unfortunate reality that the people most responsible for those deaths will never be held accountable: CEOs of U.S. corporations.
When I first read about the horrendous fire in Bangladesh, I immediately thought of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in New York in 1911 — more than 100 years ago. In many ways, nothing has changed. In some ways, somethings have changed.
I’ve been writing about labor rights and the world economy for so long that I was a bit suspicious after first reading Elizabeth Becker’s May 12th piece in The New …