,hl=en,siteUrl='http://0ldfox.blogspot.com/',authuser=0,security_token="v_SeT2Tv8vVdKRCcG9CCW-ZdIfQ:1429878696275"/> Old Fox KM Journal : Damn the Torpedoes--Full Steam Ahead: Bill Ayers to the rescue.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Damn the Torpedoes--Full Steam Ahead: Bill Ayers to the rescue.


Who Made That?  

By Bill Ayers  4-24-14  

A year ago today 1,133 garment workers died in Dhaka, the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, when an 8-story factory making clothes for national brands like Gap and Benetton, collapsed; 2,500 other workers were pulled from the wreckage. Several companies hastily signed an “accord” requiring stricter safety standards, but Target and Walmart, e.g., refused, saying they would conduct their own safety inspections—you can trust us. In this past year hundreds of garment workers world-wide have died in fires and accidents. All of this is a cruel reminder of the iron logic of capitalism: maximize profit in the giant endlessly grinding vortex of accumulation. Rapacious, callous, petty, predatory, corrupt—capitalism nurtures our vilest qualities while trampling on and constraining our moral imaginations and our most generous instincts. The revolutionary Martin Luther King, Jr. [sic] railed against the triple evils of racism, militarism, and materialism, calling for a new age of racial justice, global justice, and economic justice. 
 Today is a moment to remember, a day to open our eyes anew, a time to be astonished at the injustices we participate in and visit upon one another but also at the alternatives and the possibilities within our reach.
 There are creative ways to express yourselves, and here’s a modest one: wear your clothes inside-out today, and ask yourselves and everyone you meet: who made that?
Those who fail to study history, miss the point.  Here is another headline that Dr. Ayers may have missed:

a fire broke out at the Triangle Waist Factory in New York City. Within 18 minutes, 146 people were dead as a result of the fire.

That shocking tragedy provoked amazing reforms in child labor, fire protection, building inspections, and labor organization resulting in the International Ladies Garment Workers Union.  Everyone loved the ILGWU.  They even had a jingle could hear on the radio and sing along.

They had a good run.  It got harder and harder though to make a living in cut & sew operations, first in NYC and then in NYS because of local closed shop labor laws.  So the fabricators and sewing was moved to non-union jurisdictions like N. Carolina and Virginia.   The upside is that while there were no more jobs for cut & sew seamstresses and operators in NY, is that there were no more fires at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory on 14th Street.

Things got tight even in these non-union, right to work states, so the jobs went overseas.  To Bangladesh.  I don't know about the fire escapes in Bangladesh, or the fire inspectors, or the OSHA guys, the rescue squads, hospitals, Parking Violations Bureaus, or OTB parlors they might have like our "advanced industrial nation" here, but we seem to have successfully protected thousands of Americans and American immigrants from death and perilous injury.    

Aren't unions wonderful at protecting the American worker.  Give em a raise!

As David Dubinsky, President of the ILGWU, said at the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the fire in 1961: "These were our martyrs because what we couldn't accomplish by reasoning with the bosses, by pleading with the bosses, by arguing with the bosses, they accomplished with their deaths."

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