globalization

Conditions are arguably even worse in the international fish industry. At Walmart, you can buy inexpensive bags of frozen crawfish and shrimp. As with clothing subcontractors, Walmart signs contracts with suppliers that provide shellfish at low cost. And as in the apparel industry, Walmart’s pressure for low prices means seafood suppliers squeeze every cent out of labor. In 2012, the Worker Rights Consortium issued a report excoriating Walmart for contracting with C.J.’s Seafood, a crawfish processer that brought guest workers from Mexico to its Louisiana processing facility. C.J.’s forced them to work sixteen to twenty-four-hour shifts and locked them in the plant. Workers were threatened with deportation if they complained. Despite these threats, a worker named Ana Rosa Diaz, who had left her four children at home in Tamaulipas, Mexico, to find work, called the National Guestworker Alliance and reported the conditions. This started a series of investigations, including by the U.S. Department of Labor. Scott Nova, executive director of the Worker Rights Consortium, said, “The extreme lengths of the shifts people were required to work, the employer’s brazenness in violating wage laws, the extent of the psychological abuse the workers faced and the threats of violence against their families—that combination made it one of the most egregious workplaces we’ve examined, whether here or overseas.” This pressure and bad publicity led Walmart to suspend the contract, but not to change its own labor practices or take any responsibility for the manufacturing of its products.
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Please help the garment workers in Bangladesh. The Global North is wreaking havoc on the Global South in the name of globalization, and the victims, largely, are the women of the Global South, women who need money.  If these women don’t migrate to the Global North (the first world) for domestic work, or if they aren’t forced out through trafficking schemes, they’re largely stuck working in free trade zones or sweatshops. They’re stuck in deplorable conditions. They’re being paid starvation wages. They’re beaten when they don’t meet absurd production targets. They’re hired young and fired young. They’re, on average, paid 11 cents an hour. They work 14-20 hours a day, seven days a week, with an average of two days off a month. Often their wages are withheld for no reason. They sleep between shifts, curling up next to their sewing machines. The air is contaminated, the bathrooms unsanitary. There’s little to no ventilation in these factories, and they often set on fire. With no safety exits, women perish. 

This isn’t just happening in Bangladesh. This is happening worldwide. Your beloved Disney contracts factories like that of the Shah Makhdum factory in Bangladesh. Walmart. Gap. Old Navy. Sears. Corporations of the Global North are robbing the Global South and then exploiting them as labor sources.

What can you do? You can be aware. You can pressure companies to improve conditions. You are a consumer, you have the power. But don’t pressure these companies to pull out, as this will leave these women with no source of income. Pressure them to improve conditions. Threaten to boycott if they do not. If they claim they have, ask for proof, ask for follow up, ask to see the funds. Make sure the women working at these factories are making more than starvation wages, for when they do, they can afford medicine, rent, water, food. They can move on from their factory jobs.

Please help. Please watch this documentary,“The Hudden Face of Globalization”  x, by the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights. Visit their website, familiarize yourself,

Research the factory collapses, the factory fires, the human rights atrocities. Please remember to also research corporations inaction when regarding these tragedies. 

Support the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity.  Donate.

Visit the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety’s website.

Remember this is worldwide. Remember you have the power. Remember these women.

How Obama’s Free Trade Deal Lets Corporations Edit America’s Social Contract

Progressives who usually make up President Obama’s base supporters are mounting loud protests against his newest proposal on international trade, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), as a key Democrat in the Senate reportedly prepares to strike a deal that would send the TPP hurtling toward passage.

While people do need to work, the idea that American companies are beneficent organizations helping out the world’s poor with the gift of a job in a sweatshop is ridiculous. A corporation can still save money on labor costs and workers don’t have to die on the job. They don’t have allow foremen to sexually harass women at work. They don’t have to contract with people who force women workers to undergo pregnancy tests to get hired. They don’t have to allow their products to be produced in factories that collapse. We can have a global economy that operates ethically and prosecutes those who violate standards. Walmart, Apple, Nike, and Target certainly don’t want that. But the workers of the world want it and we should too. We should be fighting with the leaders of Bangladeshi worker movements for ethical standards in corporate behavior and with Vietnamese workers in opposing the Trans Pacific Partnership, which are both real demands from these movements.
First, capitalism has been so successful over the last few centuries in “conquering” the earth that the field of operation for its destruction has shifted from a regional to a planetary level. And second, the exploitation of nature has become more and more universalized, because nature’s elements, along with the social conditions of human existence, have increasingly been brought into the sphere of the economy and subjected to the same measure, that of profitability.
—  John Bellamy Foster, The Vulnerable Planet: A Short Economic History of the Environment
Confronting imperialism is not just a matter of demonstrating loosely, a carnival. The people are face-to-face with a power that does not stop at anything and commits the most dastardly crimes against people and nations, including the use of atomic bombs. And it will stop at nothing. The biggest power on earth, which is out to maintain its number one position as international gangster, is also the main author of globalisation. It is out on a war juggernaut against nations and peoples in the name of combating terrorism. It refuses to be put on trial for crimes against humanity. It cannot be advised, reformed, or made to listen to. They only understand the language the Vietnamese spoke to the Americans or the way the Algerians answered the French imperialists. The massive peace movement of the eighties did not stop the deployment of nuclear arms in Europe, nor could the US and British imperialists be persuaded to not to invade Afghanistan and Iraq, despite active opposition of millions of people around the world.

Further, to stop them from sending mercenaries to occupy other countries would require defeating them on their home turf. That is, in the final analysis, imperialism and imperialist armies would have to be smashed and liquidated in their own countries of origin. The anti-war and anti-globalisation movement cannot set for itself a lower target than this. This system that brings war, misery, starvation and death to millions around the world has to be smashed and a new world needs to be built upon its ashes where imperialism would be no more than trash in the dustbin of history. The people of the world have to advance human history to get rid of the monster of imperialism. It is not the end of history as Fukuyama says, rather it is on the threshold of a golden era in human history, which the humanity has never seen before.
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Welcome to Hell (HD) Spanish fandub by Nox Hell on YouTube

Irish dance and the evolution of race.

By Lisa Wade, PhD

“No. We’re Italian. We don’t Irish dance,” said Kristi Corcione’s mother in 1973. The proscription wouldn’t last a generation. Today her daughter trains for the World Irish Dance Championships. 

Irish dance has left Ireland and the ethnic communities in which it used to be quietly practiced.

Irish dancing schools have sprung up in Israel, Japan, Norway, Romania, Russia and many other countries not known for their Irish populations. Competitions… can now be found in Hong Kong, Prague and St. Petersburg, among other far-flung cities. More than 5,000 competitors from 20 countries are expected in April at this year’s World Championships in London.

At the New York Times, Siobhan Burke gives the credit to Riverdance, a phenom that “exporting [Irish dance] to an international audience of more than 24 million.”

The spread of Irish dance is a great example of the social construction and evolution of our invented concepts of race and ethnicity.

When it was whites who made up the majority of U.S. immigrants, it really mattered if you were Irish, Italian, or some other white ethnicity. The Irish, in particular, were denigrated anddehumanized. If one wasn’t Irish, it certainly wasn’t a group that most people would want to associate themselves with.

Over generations, though, and as new immigrant groups came in and were contrasted to Europeans, the distinctions between white ethnics began to fade. Eventually, ethnicity becameoptional for white people. They could claim an ethnicity, or several, of their choice; others would accept whatever they said without argument; or they could say they were just American.

Once the distinctions no longer mattered and the stigma of being Irish had faded, then Irish dance could be something anyone did and others would want to do. And, so, now anyone does. The three-time winner of the All-Ireland Dancing Championship in Dublin is a black, Jewish kid from Ohio.

Today, the big Irish dance production is “Heartbeat of Home,” a show that Burke describes as a “multicultural fusion” that delivers “plenty of solid Irish dance steps.” Irish dance is evolving, borrowing and melding with other cultural traditions — and it increasingly belongs to everyone — in the great drama of ethnic and racial invention.

Thanks so much to @Mandahl, a proud grandmother of two world class Irish dancers, for suggesting I write about this!

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.