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8 Signs You’re a Slave Instead of an Employee

Literal slavery is a horrible practice that still persists into the modern age. But, I want to talk about another form of human exploitationemployment slavery, which can also ruin a persons life. Generally, I consider this a self-inflicted slavery because its ultimately a persons choice to work under such conditionsbut I also understand that brainwashing can occur, creating the illusion that theres no way out.

Slavery (in general) exists because of the inclination among people to obtain the benefits of human resources, while providing little (or nothing) in return. Human work is the most intelligent, efficient way to create a system of wealth and power. For the morally bankrupt, such benefits are sought for free.

Employment, in the best case scenario, is a business deal of mutual benefit. But in other instances, the company is expending such minimal resources that they are taking advantage of you. In the worst case scenario, through a combination of slave-driving principles and psychological techniques to break you down, such a job can morph into something very similar to actual slavery.

If you dont know any better, its easy to fall into slavery conditions. Here are signs that your sense of freedom in life is totally gone:

Because of the way employers conveniently ignore yearly inflation, todays minimal wage is not enough to maintain any semblance of a normal lifestyle. Minimal wage makes some sense in small businesses just starting out. But, In America, $8.25 an hour, or less, from a large, billion-dollar corporation is inexcusable. In this case, your annual wages cost a second of the companys hourly profits. In other words, your hard work is a very bad deal for you, and a killer opportunity for the suits upstairs.

Youre lucky you even have a job! is a psychological taunt that bad employers use to try and keep their wage-slaves from believing they can do any better. Such statements are made to maintain a sense of control. Understand, voluntary slavery is not a rare phenomenon. It happens when a person is brainwashed into the belief that they have nowhere else they can go.

If your manager uses psychological put-downs like this to denigrate your professional abilitiesunderstand that its being done for a reason.

The idea of getting a raise and a promotion may be dangled in-front of you, but youve seen no evidence to suggest that it really happens. In fact, only a very small percentage of your co-workers ever obtain this goal, and they tend to be the cronies of upper-management. If this is the case, then what exactly is your reason for working at this company?

Inconvenient hours are inevitable in jobs, but some companies will abuse the system. This ranges from illegally denying overtime pay, to scheduling month-long bouts of cloping (working until closing hours late at night, then opening hours the next morning) that leaves the employee physically and emotionally drained.

An employee in this system may feel the intense pressure by the bosses to conform to abusive hours, under the threat of being denied promotions or even getting fired for seeking better treatment.

Americas two-week annual vacation time is one of the weakest in the Western world, and American workers tend to not even use it. This is because many employers will hint that vacationers are likely to end up on the shit-list of not getting promoted. They may even hint that unruly vacation-seekers will be the first to get laid-off or fired at the earliest opportunity.

A system of slavery does not allow free-time for individuals to maintain their own lives outside of their work. This could cause dissent and break the system of total control. An unspoken methodology among abusive managers is to destroy the lifestyles of employees so, instead of tending to family or hobbies, they work at full capacity.

Feeling motivated based on high-standards and being scared to go below those standards is one thing, but being genuinely scared of the people youre working for is another.

Slave-masters maintain systems of fear, to break down their subjects and perhapsin timebuild them back up. For the best example of thisplease see Theon Greyjoy in Game of Thrones.

Psychological and verbal abuse is usually what occurs. An abusive employer understands exactly what strings to pull to generate feelings of shame or guilt, and theyll use the professional context to destroy a subjects sense of self-worth, perhaps by implying worthlessness at the vocation theyve devoted their life to.

In other instances, the abuse is very overt and could include yelling, tantrums and even physical assaults. But the outcome is the same: the employee living in a constant state of paranoia, fear, and subservience.

Read carefully the ten warning-signs youre in a cult by the Cult Education Institute. Some of these that could be very applicable to a workplace include: absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability, no tolerance for questions or critical inquiry, the leader (boss) is always right, and former followers (employees) are vilified as evil for leaving.

If the job feels less about, you know, getting the job doneand is more about the influence, charisma and infallibility of the bossthen get the heck out of there. This means the person in charge is getting a side-benefit to running or managing the workplace: power and dominance.

The number one sign youre a slave and not an employee is that youre working an unpaid internship, and its not for college credit. You may be promised great benefits and valuable connections, at what amounts to harsh workplace conditions, long hours, and zero pay.

A huge mistake I see young professionals make, and it really irks me, is naivety about peoples intentions. I went to film school for my bachelors, and many students I knew lusted after top internships at film studios or with big names in the entertainment industry. Such internships are often offered regardless of college credit.

When a person is blindsided by their desire to make it and get in with big names, they are likely to make bad decisionsand unscrupulous employers will prey on this desire.

Internships are great IF its part of a students actual curriculum. It means hands-on work and real experience versus useless classrooms. But, the questionable non-credit internships I warn about also exist to lure young people into systems of slavery. Its gotten so bad these types of arrangements are quickly becoming illegal in California.

The reality of such internships is that the slave-drivers only desire one thing: unpaid work. There is NO promise that you will move up or land any type of a paid job. When your internship finishes, they will discard you and find the next victim.

The biggest reason to avoid internships is the mentality behind the deal. Imagine a law firm or a film studio that is a multi-billion dollar operation. How hard would it be to throw their new recruit at LEAST minimum wage? The fact such a company would, despite their huge profits, still desire unpaid labor is indicative of a slave-driving mentality that funnels wealth to the top at the expense of the people on the bottom making it possible.

As a professional, it would be best for you to avoid doing any type of business with any individual or company that possesses a philosophy like this.

Employment-slavery situations are common. Very common. But ultimately, the biggest factor in determining how bad it is, is a single question: are you happy?

If you are happy at $8.25 an hour with no benefits, because you like the people you work with, you like the nature of the work, and you feel its moving you somewhere you want to bethen its not slavery. Youre making an investment thatll either pay off, or it wontbut at least you enjoy what youre doing.

However, if you are miserable in your current conditions, its quite possible that the uneasy feeling in your gut is your intuition telling you that someone is taking advantage of you.

Employment is supposed to be a business contract, and an exchange of services. Never a system of control. Sometimes, just the willingness to walk away is your strongest defense against a terrible job situation.

For more about avoiding systems of employment-slavery, please see my short books: Freedom: How to Make Money From Your Dreams and Ambitions, and How to Quit Your Job: Escape Soul Crushing Work, Create the Life You Want, and Live Happy.

(For more books, also check out the Developed Life bookstore, http://www.developedlife.com/bookstore).

Original post:

8 Signs You’re a Slave Instead of an Employee

Letter: Par for the column – Glenwood Springs Post Independent

Vince Emmer, your golf metaphor for big government is a really, really sad attempt to dis big government. But columns have always been the work of a duffer.

First thing your metaphor misses is there is a par to each hole. You don’t make us understand what constitutes under and over the balance line that would be consensus. What is the bogey or the hole in one, spending wise?

Next most golfers play 18 holes, and the game is much more about the back nine than the front end.

But of course your brand of economics never ventures onto the back nine, where the sand traps of wage slavery and rust-belt industry are negotiated only by Asian players.

Case in point, saying each household owes $56,000 a year is just a fear tactic. With the current tax structure, and the many ways government finances debt, nobody actually owes this. Instead we pay forward a portion of the earning (which the government is borrowing, interest free) plus various fees and taxes to local agency, where one chooses to be a member of the same civility. This would be the front nine.

The back nine is the fact that the structure of government is much the same as corporations, in that they are champions or duffers to the extent they can carry debt.

The ability to carry debt in capitalist societies keeps the operation under par even with forays into the woods like Afghanistan and Iraq, and breath test-qualified mortgage-backed securities, etc. If you equate the per-household equivalent in the corporate world, it would be the cost passed onto consumers, hidden fees and the fact banks are borrowing peoples savings at a rate as close to interest free as it can manage.

But of course, our current neo-liberal economist and business school caddies don’t even know the difference between the putter and the driver in this matter. Face the fact governments are financed by more than one club and must always play the full round, while business can spin off debt into subsidiaries and spend their time in the clubhouse.

Eric Olander

Glenwood Springs

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Letter: Par for the column – Glenwood Springs Post Independent

On Monuments and Minimum Wages – The American Prospect – The American Prospect

The statue of Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va.

At 9 p.m. last Tuesday night, city workers began to enclose in plywood the Confederate monument that sits in Birminghams Linn Park. By the following afternoon, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall had announced that he was suing the city for violating state law.

Activists in Birmingham first began calling for the removal of the 52-foot Confederate Soldiers and Sailors monument in 2015, after white supremacist Dylann Roof murdered nine parishioners in a Charleston, South Carolina, church. That, in turn, prompted Gerald Allen, a state senator from Tuscaloosa, to introduce the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act to prohibit cities from removing or altering historic monuments more than 40 years old without the approval of a state committee. The predominantly (if not entirely) white Republicans who control the legislature passed the bill along party lines. Republican Governor Kay Ivey signed it into law in May.

Birmingham Mayor William Bell ordered the monument to be covered amid a renewed and urgent call from activists and officials to remove such tributes to the Confederacy, after white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia, rallied around a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee and proceeded to attack counter-protesters, killing one woman. Several citiesfrom Baltimore to San Antoniohave since taken down Confederate monuments while others debate similar actions.

Mayor Bell, who is black, says he doesnt necessarily want to remove the statuedespite demands from local activistsbut he does think it should provide a broader context that condemns the Confederacy, rather than celebrates it. The Confederacy was an act of sedition and treason against the United States of America and represented the continuation of human bondage of people of color, Bell told the Prospect in an interview. Its anathema to anyone supportive of the United States government to have such a structure sitting on public property.

Furthermore, he points out, Birmingham didnt become a city until 1871, during the post-Civil War Reconstruction era. And the monument wasnt erected until 190550 years after the war endedwhen a local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy commissioned the memorial as a gift to the city.

Its my desire to no longer allow this statute to be seen by public until such time that we can tell the full story of slavery, the full story of what the Confederacy really meant, Bell told reporters last week. Now, Bell says, the city is exploring its legal options in light of the states lawsuit. The state attorney general is asking a district court to fine the city $25,000.

I don’t believe that the legislative body has the authority to dictate what monuments or statues we have on public property. Thats a right that the municipal government should control, Bell says. This was built with private dollars and is now protected by the state. The city should have the power to eliminate any source of contention and to maintain public tranquility.

THE STATE OF ALABAMA’S CRACKDOWN ON BIRMINGHAMis just its latest attempt to limit the authority of the majority-black city, which has a black mayor and a majority-black city council. In February 2016, the Birmingham city council approved a $10.10-an-hour minimum wage. Two days later, the Republican-controlled legislature passed a law prohibiting Alabama cities from passing such ordinances and voiding a wage hike for tens of thousands of Birminghams low-wage workers.

The experience of Birmingham is indicative of a broader GOP-led assault on the political power and home rule of Southern cities, home to large black populations, often led by black politicians, and, increasingly, purveyors of progressive policies that seek to improve upon the low standards of state law. From the removal of Confederate monuments to the enactment of local minimum wages, Republican-controlled statehouses are preempting blue citiesand undermining black voices.

These are nothing more than 21st-century Jim Crow laws, Johnathan Austin, chair of the Birmingham City Council, said of the monument removal and minimum-wage preemption laws in an interview with the Prospect. The state of Alabama is trying to control the [states] largest cityand largest black city by prohibiting us from governing ourselves.

Twenty-five statesincluding nearly every Southern statehave laws that prohibit cities and counties from setting their own minimum wage. The five states that have no minimum wage of their own (Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee), adhering to the federal minimum instead, are in the South. Now, at least six states have laws limiting the power of cities to remove Confederate monuments, with most passed in the last couple years. All of them are in the South, where Republicans control every single legislative chamber. Despite their calls for local control and fewer regulations, state Republicans are now regulating both the cultural and economic authority of localities.

Last year, state legislators passed the Tennessee Heritage Preservation Act of 2016, which requires public notice, hearings, and a two-thirds majority vote of the legislature in order to remove historic monuments. In 2015, North Carolina signed the Cultural History Artifact Management and Patriotism Act, an Orwellian amalgamation of nouns that requires a state historical commission to approve any removal of monuments. Georgia, Mississippi, and Virginia also have similar laws.

In Memphis, a majority-black city, officials are ready to suethe stateif it denies its a new waiver request to remove a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis downtown, as well as a statue of Confederate General and Ku Klux Klan founding member Nathan Bedford Forrest. The move came after the city tried and failed to slog its way through the byzantine maze of GOP-instituted regulations protecting such statues. The matter may very well end up before the state Supreme Court. Legislators in Tennessee, which has the highest proportion of minimum-wage workers in the country, also passed a law in 2014 that prohibits cities from enacting minimum-wage ordinances higher than the state level, which is chained to the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour.

As Barry Yeoman reported for the Prospect last week, protesters in Durham, North Carolinaa liberal city stripped of its authority to take down monuments by the right-wing legislaturefound a way around that impasse by pulling down a Confederate statue themselves. I understand why people felt this was the most expedient way, Jillian Johnson, an African American member of the city council, told Yeoman. There was no legal way to make it happen.

Meanwhile, the Durham council has also been barred from increasing the minimum wage (save for city employees) by the same infamous legislation that restricted transgenders bathroom use.

Durham is just one of dozens of Democratic-controlled citiesAtlanta, Birmingham, Charlotte, Charleston, Durham, Jackson, Nashville, Memphis, and so on, the blue dots in red stateswhich have lost the authority to raise wages for their (predominately black) workers struggling to get over the poverty line or to remove prominent monuments to a racist and oppressive ideology so their residents dont have to see a general fighting for slavery looking down on them as they go to work.

Republicans insist that protecting these monumentsthe majority of which were built in the early 1900s or during the 1960sare about preserving the history and heritage of the South. Just as they insist that prohibiting local increases to the minimum wagewhich hasnt been lifted on the federal level in eight yearsis about protecting low-wage workers from job loss.

In these ways, GOP lawmakers are actually memorializing the values of the Antebellum South: White supremacy and lowor, rather, nowages.

This article has been corrected to clarify that the city of Memphis has not yet sued the state, but intends to if its waiver to remove its Confederate monuments is denied, and that one of the statues is of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

Originally posted here:

On Monuments and Minimum Wages – The American Prospect – The American Prospect

FANTASTIC NEGRITO Addresses Current Events in New Tracks – Broadway World

When FANTASTIC NEGRITO released his Grammy award-winning album The Last Days of Oakland in 2016, it received critical acclaim for its honest look at racism, gun violence, wage slavery, and other challenges facing our country. That continues with the re-release of the album on September 1, 2017 via Cooking Vinyl, which features two new tracks, “Push Back” and “The Shadows”, which anticipated the events of today.

Almost prophetic in its subject matter, both “Push Back” and “The Shadows” reveal the soul of an artist trying to make sense of the political world around him that affects not only the governments but the fate of families, especially for people of color. Tackling the results and lack of progress from the current Administration head on in “The Shadows” (“I got trouble on my mind / I’ve been reading the headlines / That man that said “you’re fired” / Brought the Devil out of retirement”) and the Border Wall and immigration in “Push Back” (“They’re trying to build a wall / But that won’t help at all”), these two tracks are a direct response to the current state we as a country are in.

“Being African American in this country is f****** brutal,” he explains. “It’s painful and we, as individuals, have a way to combat that. And Fantastic Negrito for me is a way to combat that.”

In addition, Fantastic Negrito will be supporting Sturgill Simpson on his Fall U.S. tour. TOUR DATES Supporting Sturgill Simpson

SEP 07 Smart Financial Centre / Sugarland, TX SEP 08 Verizon Theatre / Grand Prairie, TX SEP 09 AUSTIN360 Amphitheatre / De Valle, TX SEP 14 Radio City Music Hall / New York, NY SEP 15 Merriweather Post Pavilion / Columbia, MD SEP 16 Blue Hills Bank Pavilion / Boston, MA SEP 19 Fox Theatre / Detroit, MI SEP 21 Fox Theatre / St. Louis, MO SEP 22 Huntington Bank Pavilion / Chicago, IL SEP 25 Red Rocks Amphitheatre / Morrison, CO SEP 28 Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall / Portland, OR SEP 29 Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall / Portland, OR SEP 30 Marymoor Amphitheater / Redmond, WA OCT 06 The Greek Theatre / Los Angeles, CA

Fantastic Negrito’s The Last Days of Oakland took home the 2017 Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album Grammy Award. While blues is an integral part of Fantastic Negrito’s overall foundation, his music defies genre, blending hip hop, rock, and other styles to create a sound that led Pitchfork’s Greil Marcus to say “he could be inventing the blues for the first time.”

He made his national television debut as Fantastic Negrito on the season finale of Fox’s Empire, performing both his single “Lost in a Crowd”-the track that brought him to national attention, winning NPR’s inaugural Tiny Desk Concert Contest-and the hit song “Good Enough” alongside “Empire’s” Jamal Lyon.

Photo Credit: Max Claus

Excerpt from:

FANTASTIC NEGRITO Addresses Current Events in New Tracks – Broadway World

Letter: Environmental damage is not Christian – Roanoke Times

What if The Bible was written by divinely-inspired men, but not by God? Imagine if there were a Goddess as well as a God. Imagine that homosexuality is a quality of a beautiful, special class of people…

Why doesn’t our nation strive for peace by all means, and end wage slavery in the developing world? Why have we taken and mutilated the land of Native Americans, and killed off most Native Americans? Why have we caused environmental damage worldwide? This is not Christian.

I love just as Jews, Muslims, Africans, Native Americans, Asians, and Christians. We are all sisters and brothers in the love that we believe in. Think about how the military-industrial complex is treating our aforementioned brothers and sisters. This is a nightmare. My question to the dominant group of Christians is, what are you really afraid of? Use common sense at this point. The truth will set you free. We are in the middle of our own fascism. Millions are dead from war, millions are in wage slavery. Read “Killing Hope” by Blum, http://www.workersrights.org and “Made in China” by Ngai to begin to change. We are not a Christian nation.

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Letter: Environmental damage is not Christian – Roanoke Times

Why the West should care about Thailand’s new fight against fishing slavery – PRI

Thailands $7 billion fishing trade is among the worlds biggest. In recent years, its also been one of the most severely scandalized an industry blighted by reports of slavery on fishing trawlers. Many of these tales recall 18th century-style barbarity at sea.

Each year, Thailands docks have traditionally launched thousands of trawlers into the ocean, often with crews of roughly 20 men. Most are not complicit in forced labor. But less scrupulous captains have taken advantage of the oceans lawlessness.

In port cities, theyve bought men from Myanmar and Cambodia for $600 to $1,000 per head. Duped by traffickers, the migrants come to Thailand seeking under-the-table work in factories or farms.

Instead, theyve found themselves hustled onto fishing boats that motor into the abyss, thousands of miles from civilization, where they are forced to fish for no pay. Various investigations have uncovered thousands of cases.

As one deputy boat captain of a Thai trawler told GlobalPost: Once a captain is tired of a [captive], hes sold to another captain for profit. A guy can be out there for 10 years just getting sold over and over.

Related: Read our award-winning investigationSeafood Slavery

But Thailand is now installing a new system that if effective could seriously reform an industry that has been murky for far too long.

Were trying to change as fast as possible, says Adisorn Promthep, director general of Thailands Department of Fisheries. We want to make sure no vessel escapes our scope.

Installed last year by Thailands military government, Adisorn is charged with bringing transparency to a business marked by opacity.

For years, fish have been routed through a dark supply chain that obscures their origins. This has given exporters plausible deniability with regard to forced labor.

Practically everyone has acknowledged the accounts of escaped or freed slaves, who have come ashore reporting tales of murder and beatings aboard trawlers. But there has been genuinely no way of proving whether this pound of mackerel or that box of fish sticks was sourced from a captive.

This is not a concern limited to Asia. It has serious implications for shoppers in the United States and European Union, two primary importers of seafood from Thailand.

Recent investigations by Greenpeace have implicated Nestl Purina and The J.M. Smucker Company producers of Fancy Feast and Meow Mix cat food, respectively in sourcing fish from factories accused of forced labor violations. Other reports have shown Costco and Walmart entangled in tainted supply chains allegations that led both to join a Seafood Task Force to clean up criminality in the seafood industry.

Here are some key elements of the Thai governments new plan, which is designed to reduce overfishing as well as root out forced labor.

Obscuring the origins of fish caught on dodgy vessels has traditionally proved rather easy. The fish is often offloaded to a massive mothership, a sort of way station and marketplace floating on distant seas, hundreds of thousands of miles from Thai shores. There, slave-caught fish gets mixed in with legit catches.

But under new rules, Adisorn says, every batch of fish will be recorded in an extensive digital log book. Once fully operational, this will illuminate the entire supply chain so that any factory, any consumer, should be able to check where the fish actually came from.

Thai authorities have actually banned offloading fish from trawlers to motherships for the time being. This applies to any boat officially flying the Thai flag and is designed, in part, to stop captains from buying and selling captives on motherships.

There is a caveat: These transshipments may be allowed if monitored by onboard observers. These observers are paid roughly $120 per day an incredible salary, considering Thailands daily minimum wage hovers around $10. These observers are technically freelancers. But they will be trained by Thailands fisheries department. Their main job is to collect data on the supply of fish in parts of the ocean prone to overfishing.

But the Thai government also expects them to deter illegal labor practices on board. Only a few dozen have been trained for deployment so far.

Every boat that can carry 60 tons or more will be outfitted with a GPS-style monitoring system that is just like the navigator in your car, Adisorn says.

Captains used to file paper documents about their whereabouts. Thats no longer good enough, Adisorn says. We need to know where theyre located. At all times.

Moreover, most of the boats now undergo rigorous inspections at newly installed control centers every single time they leave or return to port. Thai officers wont just check equipment and inspect nets full of wriggling fish. Theyre also supposed to check that crew records match the actual fishermen on board.

If a captain has 10 laborers, and one isnt supposed to be there, the arrest happens at the port, Adisorn says. The prosecution starts right there.

We have about 10,000 vessels total that we have to check. We cant check all of them, he says. Last year, officials tried to do that, he says, and managed to cover roughly 85 percent. But sometimes, when you try to do too much, the quality isnt good enough.

The officers have since been ordered to conduct more intensive checks on fewer boats a shift to give them ample time to properly scrutinize each crew. Adisorn recalls one recent case in which an officer, skeptical about a young fishermans age, pulled the worker off the boat and checked his bone density at a local hospital. He turned out to be underage.

This complex set of rules and tracking systems is now roughly 80 percent operational, Adisorn says. Such a sweeping effort to sanitize the Thai fishing industrys turbid supply chain will face great resistance from many factions. Among them: unscrupulous officials, corrupt factory owners and uncooperative boat captains.

The current government of Thailand, a junta that seized power in 2014,is also an unlikely crusader for liberty. Critics of the royally backed army government can be treated as seditionists. Some have been locked away for mere Facebook posts.

But the governments anti-slavery plan is already earning cautious praise from Greenpeace, an organization that is more often railing against the fishing industrys abuses.

I actually think theyre trying to do the best they can, says Anchalee Pipattanawattanakul, a Bangkok-based campaigner for the group. They want to show theyre being transparent. They mostly want the EU to see them as progressive.

Two years back, the EU sowed fear among Thai officials by threatening to ban all seafood shipments from Thailand if illegality continued unabated. That threat remains in place.

These reforms were also prodded along by the US State Department, which ranked Thailands trafficking problem in a tier alongside the worlds worst offenders such as Haiti or Sudan.

The US has since lifted Thailand from that bottom ranking a move to acknowledge a wave of prosecutions and asset seizures against traffickers that add up to more than $21 million.

Meanwhile, Thai officials privately note that US pressure has relented under President Donald Trumps administration, which has proved uncommunicative and not terribly interested in the trafficking issue.

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Why the West should care about Thailand’s new fight against fishing slavery – PRI

FANTASTIC NEGRITO Addresses Current Events in New Tracks – Broadway World

When FANTASTIC NEGRITO released his Grammy award-winning album The Last Days of Oakland in 2016, it received critical acclaim for its honest look at racism, gun violence, wage slavery, and other challenges facing our country. That continues with the re-release of the album on September 1, 2017 via Cooking Vinyl, which features two new tracks, “Push Back” and “The Shadows”, which anticipated the events of today.

Almost prophetic in its subject matter, both “Push Back” and “The Shadows” reveal the soul of an artist trying to make sense of the political world around him that affects not only the governments but the fate of families, especially for people of color. Tackling the results and lack of progress from the current Administration head on in “The Shadows” (“I got trouble on my mind / I’ve been reading the headlines / That man that said “you’re fired” / Brought the Devil out of retirement”) and the Border Wall and immigration in “Push Back” (“They’re trying to build a wall / But that won’t help at all”), these two tracks are a direct response to the current state we as a country are in.

“Being African American in this country is f****** brutal,” he explains. “It’s painful and we, as individuals, have a way to combat that. And Fantastic Negrito for me is a way to combat that.”

In addition, Fantastic Negrito will be supporting Sturgill Simpson on his Fall U.S. tour. TOUR DATES Supporting Sturgill Simpson

SEP 07 Smart Financial Centre / Sugarland, TX SEP 08 Verizon Theatre / Grand Prairie, TX SEP 09 AUSTIN360 Amphitheatre / De Valle, TX SEP 14 Radio City Music Hall / New York, NY SEP 15 Merriweather Post Pavilion / Columbia, MD SEP 16 Blue Hills Bank Pavilion / Boston, MA SEP 19 Fox Theatre / Detroit, MI SEP 21 Fox Theatre / St. Louis, MO SEP 22 Huntington Bank Pavilion / Chicago, IL SEP 25 Red Rocks Amphitheatre / Morrison, CO SEP 28 Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall / Portland, OR SEP 29 Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall / Portland, OR SEP 30 Marymoor Amphitheater / Redmond, WA OCT 06 The Greek Theatre / Los Angeles, CA

Fantastic Negrito’s The Last Days of Oakland took home the 2017 Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album Grammy Award. While blues is an integral part of Fantastic Negrito’s overall foundation, his music defies genre, blending hip hop, rock, and other styles to create a sound that led Pitchfork’s Greil Marcus to say “he could be inventing the blues for the first time.”

He made his national television debut as Fantastic Negrito on the season finale of Fox’s Empire, performing both his single “Lost in a Crowd”-the track that brought him to national attention, winning NPR’s inaugural Tiny Desk Concert Contest-and the hit song “Good Enough” alongside “Empire’s” Jamal Lyon.

Photo Credit: Max Claus

Excerpt from:

FANTASTIC NEGRITO Addresses Current Events in New Tracks – Broadway World

On Monuments and Minimum Wages – The American Prospect – The American Prospect

The statue of Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va.

At 9 p.m. last Tuesday night, city workers began to enclose in plywood the Confederate monument that sits in Birminghams Linn Park. By the following afternoon, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall had announced that he was suing the city for violating state law.

Activists in Birmingham first began calling for the removal of the 52-foot Confederate Soldiers and Sailors monument in 2015, after white supremacist Dylann Roof murdered nine parishioners in a Charleston, South Carolina, church. That, in turn, prompted Gerald Allen, a state senator from Tuscaloosa, to introduce the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act to prohibit cities from removing or altering historic monuments more than 40 years old without the approval of a state committee. The predominantly (if not entirely) white Republicans who control the legislature passed the bill along party lines. Republican Governor Kay Ivey signed it into law in May.

Birmingham Mayor William Bell ordered the monument to be covered amid a renewed and urgent call from activists and officials to remove such tributes to the Confederacy, after white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia, rallied around a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee and proceeded to attack counter-protesters, killing one woman. Several citiesfrom Baltimore to San Antoniohave since taken down Confederate monuments while others debate similar actions.

Mayor Bell, who is black, says he doesnt necessarily want to remove the statuedespite demands from local activistsbut he does think it should provide a broader context that condemns the Confederacy, rather than celebrates it. The Confederacy was an act of sedition and treason against the United States of America and represented the continuation of human bondage of people of color, Bell told the Prospect in an interview. Its anathema to anyone supportive of the United States government to have such a structure sitting on public property.

Furthermore, he points out, Birmingham didnt become a city until 1871, during the post-Civil War Reconstruction era. And the monument wasnt erected until 190550 years after the war endedwhen a local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy commissioned the memorial as a gift to the city.

Its my desire to no longer allow this statute to be seen by public until such time that we can tell the full story of slavery, the full story of what the Confederacy really meant, Bell told reporters last week. Now, Bell says, the city is exploring its legal options in light of the states lawsuit. The state attorney general is asking a district court to fine the city $25,000.

I don’t believe that the legislative body has the authority to dictate what monuments or statues we have on public property. Thats a right that the municipal government should control, Bell says. This was built with private dollars and is now protected by the state. The city should have the power to eliminate any source of contention and to maintain public tranquility.

THE STATE OF ALABAMA’S CRACKDOWN ON BIRMINGHAMis just its latest attempt to limit the authority of the majority-black city, which has a black mayor and a majority-black city council. In February 2016, the Birmingham city council approved a $10.10-an-hour minimum wage. Two days later, the Republican-controlled legislature passed a law prohibiting Alabama cities from passing such ordinances and voiding a wage hike for tens of thousands of Birminghams low-wage workers.

The experience of Birmingham is indicative of a broader GOP-led assault on the political power and home rule of Southern cities, home to large black populations, often led by black politicians, and, increasingly, purveyors of progressive policies that seek to improve upon the low standards of state law. From the removal of Confederate monuments to the enactment of local minimum wages, Republican-controlled statehouses are preempting blue citiesand undermining black voices.

These are nothing more than 21st-century Jim Crow laws, Johnathan Austin, chair of the Birmingham City Council, said of the monument removal and minimum-wage preemption laws in an interview with the Prospect. The state of Alabama is trying to control the [states] largest cityand largest black city by prohibiting us from governing ourselves.

Twenty-five statesincluding nearly every Southern statehave laws that prohibit cities and counties from setting their own minimum wage. The five states that have no minimum wage of their own (Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee), adhering to the federal minimum instead, are in the South. Now, at least six states have laws limiting the power of cities to remove Confederate monuments, with most passed in the last couple years. All of them are in the South, where Republicans control every single legislative chamber. Despite their calls for local control and fewer regulations, state Republicans are now regulating both the cultural and economic authority of localities.

Last year, state legislators passed the Tennessee Heritage Preservation Act of 2016, which requires public notice, hearings, and a two-thirds majority vote of the legislature in order to remove historic monuments. In 2015, North Carolina signed the Cultural History Artifact Management and Patriotism Act, an Orwellian amalgamation of nouns that requires a state historical commission to approve any removal of monuments. Georgia, Mississippi, and Virginia also have similar laws.

In Memphis, a majority-black city, officials are ready to suethe stateif it denies its a new waiver request to remove a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis downtown, as well as a statue of Confederate General and Ku Klux Klan founding member Nathan Bedford Forrest. The move came after the city tried and failed to slog its way through the byzantine maze of GOP-instituted regulations protecting such statues. The matter may very well end up before the state Supreme Court. Legislators in Tennessee, which has the highest proportion of minimum-wage workers in the country, also passed a law in 2014 that prohibits cities from enacting minimum-wage ordinances higher than the state level, which is chained to the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour.

As Barry Yeoman reported for the Prospect last week, protesters in Durham, North Carolinaa liberal city stripped of its authority to take down monuments by the right-wing legislaturefound a way around that impasse by pulling down a Confederate statue themselves. I understand why people felt this was the most expedient way, Jillian Johnson, an African American member of the city council, told Yeoman. There was no legal way to make it happen.

Meanwhile, the Durham council has also been barred from increasing the minimum wage (save for city employees) by the same infamous legislation that restricted transgenders bathroom use.

Durham is just one of dozens of Democratic-controlled citiesAtlanta, Birmingham, Charlotte, Charleston, Durham, Jackson, Nashville, Memphis, and so on, the blue dots in red stateswhich have lost the authority to raise wages for their (predominately black) workers struggling to get over the poverty line or to remove prominent monuments to a racist and oppressive ideology so their residents dont have to see a general fighting for slavery looking down on them as they go to work.

Republicans insist that protecting these monumentsthe majority of which were built in the early 1900s or during the 1960sare about preserving the history and heritage of the South. Just as they insist that prohibiting local increases to the minimum wagewhich hasnt been lifted on the federal level in eight yearsis about protecting low-wage workers from job loss.

In these ways, GOP lawmakers are actually memorializing the values of the Antebellum South: White supremacy and lowor, rather, nowages.

This article has been corrected to clarify that the city of Memphis has not yet sued the state, but intends to if its waiver to remove its Confederate monuments is denied, and that one of the statues is of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

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On Monuments and Minimum Wages – The American Prospect – The American Prospect

Why the West should care about Thailand’s new fight against fishing slavery – PRI

Thailands $7 billion fishing trade is among the worlds biggest. In recent years, its also been one of the most severely scandalized an industry blighted by reports of slavery on fishing trawlers. Many of these tales recall 18th century-style barbarity at sea.

Each year, Thailands docks have traditionally launched thousands of trawlers into the ocean, often with crews of roughly 20 men. Most are not complicit in forced labor. But less scrupulous captains have taken advantage of the oceans lawlessness.

In port cities, theyve bought men from Myanmar and Cambodia for $600 to $1,000 per head. Duped by traffickers, the migrants come to Thailand seeking under-the-table work in factories or farms.

Instead, theyve found themselves hustled onto fishing boats that motor into the abyss, thousands of miles from civilization, where they are forced to fish for no pay. Various investigations have uncovered thousands of cases.

As one deputy boat captain of a Thai trawler told GlobalPost: Once a captain is tired of a [captive], hes sold to another captain for profit. A guy can be out there for 10 years just getting sold over and over.

Related: Read our award-winning investigationSeafood Slavery

But Thailand is now installing a new system that if effective could seriously reform an industry that has been murky for far too long.

Were trying to change as fast as possible, says Adisorn Promthep, director general of Thailands Department of Fisheries. We want to make sure no vessel escapes our scope.

Installed last year by Thailands military government, Adisorn is charged with bringing transparency to a business marked by opacity.

For years, fish have been routed through a dark supply chain that obscures their origins. This has given exporters plausible deniability with regard to forced labor.

Practically everyone has acknowledged the accounts of escaped or freed slaves, who have come ashore reporting tales of murder and beatings aboard trawlers. But there has been genuinely no way of proving whether this pound of mackerel or that box of fish sticks was sourced from a captive.

This is not a concern limited to Asia. It has serious implications for shoppers in the United States and European Union, two primary importers of seafood from Thailand.

Recent investigations by Greenpeace have implicated Nestl Purina and The J.M. Smucker Company producers of Fancy Feast and Meow Mix cat food, respectively in sourcing fish from factories accused of forced labor violations. Other reports have shown Costco and Walmart entangled in tainted supply chains allegations that led both to join a Seafood Task Force to clean up criminality in the seafood industry.

Here are some key elements of the Thai governments new plan, which is designed to reduce overfishing as well as root out forced labor.

Obscuring the origins of fish caught on dodgy vessels has traditionally proved rather easy. The fish is often offloaded to a massive mothership, a sort of way station and marketplace floating on distant seas, hundreds of thousands of miles from Thai shores. There, slave-caught fish gets mixed in with legit catches.

But under new rules, Adisorn says, every batch of fish will be recorded in an extensive digital log book. Once fully operational, this will illuminate the entire supply chain so that any factory, any consumer, should be able to check where the fish actually came from.

Thai authorities have actually banned offloading fish from trawlers to motherships for the time being. This applies to any boat officially flying the Thai flag and is designed, in part, to stop captains from buying and selling captives on motherships.

There is a caveat: These transshipments may be allowed if monitored by onboard observers. These observers are paid roughly $120 per day an incredible salary, considering Thailands daily minimum wage hovers around $10. These observers are technically freelancers. But they will be trained by Thailands fisheries department. Their main job is to collect data on the supply of fish in parts of the ocean prone to overfishing.

But the Thai government also expects them to deter illegal labor practices on board. Only a few dozen have been trained for deployment so far.

Every boat that can carry 60 tons or more will be outfitted with a GPS-style monitoring system that is just like the navigator in your car, Adisorn says.

Captains used to file paper documents about their whereabouts. Thats no longer good enough, Adisorn says. We need to know where theyre located. At all times.

Moreover, most of the boats now undergo rigorous inspections at newly installed control centers every single time they leave or return to port. Thai officers wont just check equipment and inspect nets full of wriggling fish. Theyre also supposed to check that crew records match the actual fishermen on board.

If a captain has 10 laborers, and one isnt supposed to be there, the arrest happens at the port, Adisorn says. The prosecution starts right there.

We have about 10,000 vessels total that we have to check. We cant check all of them, he says. Last year, officials tried to do that, he says, and managed to cover roughly 85 percent. But sometimes, when you try to do too much, the quality isnt good enough.

The officers have since been ordered to conduct more intensive checks on fewer boats a shift to give them ample time to properly scrutinize each crew. Adisorn recalls one recent case in which an officer, skeptical about a young fishermans age, pulled the worker off the boat and checked his bone density at a local hospital. He turned out to be underage.

This complex set of rules and tracking systems is now roughly 80 percent operational, Adisorn says. Such a sweeping effort to sanitize the Thai fishing industrys turbid supply chain will face great resistance from many factions. Among them: unscrupulous officials, corrupt factory owners and uncooperative boat captains.

The current government of Thailand, a junta that seized power in 2014,is also an unlikely crusader for liberty. Critics of the royally backed army government can be treated as seditionists. Some have been locked away for mere Facebook posts.

But the governments anti-slavery plan is already earning cautious praise from Greenpeace, an organization that is more often railing against the fishing industrys abuses.

I actually think theyre trying to do the best they can, says Anchalee Pipattanawattanakul, a Bangkok-based campaigner for the group. They want to show theyre being transparent. They mostly want the EU to see them as progressive.

Two years back, the EU sowed fear among Thai officials by threatening to ban all seafood shipments from Thailand if illegality continued unabated. That threat remains in place.

These reforms were also prodded along by the US State Department, which ranked Thailands trafficking problem in a tier alongside the worlds worst offenders such as Haiti or Sudan.

The US has since lifted Thailand from that bottom ranking a move to acknowledge a wave of prosecutions and asset seizures against traffickers that add up to more than $21 million.

Meanwhile, Thai officials privately note that US pressure has relented under President Donald Trumps administration, which has proved uncommunicative and not terribly interested in the trafficking issue.

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Why the West should care about Thailand’s new fight against fishing slavery – PRI

Letter: Environmental damage is not Christian – Roanoke Times

What if The Bible was written by divinely-inspired men, but not by God? Imagine if there were a Goddess as well as a God. Imagine that homosexuality is a quality of a beautiful, special class of people…

Why doesn’t our nation strive for peace by all means, and end wage slavery in the developing world? Why have we taken and mutilated the land of Native Americans, and killed off most Native Americans? Why have we caused environmental damage worldwide? This is not Christian.

I love just as Jews, Muslims, Africans, Native Americans, Asians, and Christians. We are all sisters and brothers in the love that we believe in. Think about how the military-industrial complex is treating our aforementioned brothers and sisters. This is a nightmare. My question to the dominant group of Christians is, what are you really afraid of? Use common sense at this point. The truth will set you free. We are in the middle of our own fascism. Millions are dead from war, millions are in wage slavery. Read “Killing Hope” by Blum, http://www.workersrights.org and “Made in China” by Ngai to begin to change. We are not a Christian nation.

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Letter: Environmental damage is not Christian – Roanoke Times

India: Modern Slavery in Granite Quarries – Sri Lanka Guardian

( August 24, 2017, New Delhi, Sri Lanka Guardian) New research, commissioned by the India Committee of the Netherlands and Stop Child Labour, reveals that modern slavery, low wages, unsafe and unhealthy working conditions are rampant in granite quarries in South India. In some quarries, especially in waste stone processing, child labour is found.

There is an enormous gap in working conditions between permanent workers (mainly supervisors) and casual workers (70% of the workforce). The first group receives safety equipment, insurance and an employment contract, while the casual labourers doing the dangerous manual work, lack those fundamental labour rights.

The research shows that granite sourced from the investigated quarries is imported by 33 natural stone companies and 3 banks from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Spain, The Netherlands, United Kingdom and the USA*. China is also a major importer, processor and re-exporter of Indian granite for the international market. Only a few companies are member of a sustainability initiative aiming to improve working conditions in the natural stone sector, but these initiatives still hardly tackle the deplorable working conditions in granite quarries. The draft report was sent to all 36 companies and banks, but only 5 reacted.

Focus on links between quarries and importers

India is a top exporter of granite, widely used for wall and floor tiles, tomb stones and kitchen tops in western countries. Western governments are an important end-buyer of granite for buildings, pavements, public squares etc. Half of the total world exports of raw granite comes from India.

The research was conducted in 22 quarries and 6 waste stone processing sites in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka in South India. These three states account for 75% of the granite production in India. Almost half of the sampled quarries have direct linkages with foreign importers. Other quarries also produce granite for export markets, but this is traded through intermediaries.

Modern slavery

More than 70% of the workforce in granite quarries are casual labourers employed on a daily wage or piece rate basis. With wage advances of one to three months wages and high interest loans, the quarry owners are tying workers to the job. Nearly 25% of the workers are recruited by providing loans, with annual interest rates of 24% to 36%. More than half of the migrant workers owe large amounts to quarry owners or contractors. This creates debt bondage, as workers must clear the amount before they can change employer. In nine quarries this form of modern slavery is prevalent.

Middlemen are recruiting worker, mostly migrants, but offer them no contract and do not respect legal requirements. Migrants constitute around two third of the total workforce in granite quarries. Workers are mostly from so-called lowest caste of Dalits or Adivasi (tribal people). They are extra vulnerable due to their low social status in Indian society.

Health and safety in great danger

None of the workers hired through middlemen have access to a mandatory retirement scheme nor are they covered under health insurance, while these workers are most exposed to health risks.

Quarry workers face many occupational hazards and often get injured. Deadly accidents often remain unreported. Workers are also exposed to noise and dust causing work-related illnesses, like the incurable lung disease silicosis. Around 62% of the workers report that they are not receiving safety equipment such as a helmet, goggles, boots, respirator/mask and gloves, except during labour inspections.

Less child labour but still present

Child labour (below 18 years) used to be rampant in granite quarries in the early 2000s, but declined because of interventions by the government, industry and civil society organisations. However, the research revealed instances of child labour in main quarry operations in seven of the sample quarries. None of the investigated sites have a prevention and rehabilitation system for child labour in place.

Child labour is still rather prominent in waste stone processing. Nearly 80% of waste stone processing is done by women and children. Children below 14 years account for nearly 3% of the waste stone processing workforce and 5% of this workforce is between 15 and 18 years old.

Low wages, grossly inadequate housing and no active workers organisations Considering the long working hours, wages in half of the researched quarries do not meet the legal requirements. Overtime is sometimes paid by providing snacks and alcoholic drinks. Daily wages are fixed, depending on work classification, between 3.55 and 6.19 a day. Housing provided for the workers is grossly inadequate. They share small rooms, with little ventilation, water or sanitation facilities and no privacy. Half of the quarries lack clean drinking water while toilet facilities were only observed in four big quarries. In none of the researched quarries an active labour union is present.

Recommendations

The report is offering recommendations to companies, sustainability initiatives, the Indian government and the European Union and its member states. Human rights due diligence by granite companies is needed to systematically eradicate rights violations, increase transparency, conduct risk assessments and implement improvement plans. The Indian government has to enforce existing labour laws and European member states should strengthen their public procurement policy (e.g. for granite).

Download the reportThe Dark Sites of Granite: Modern slavery, child labour and unsafe work in Indian granite quarries What should companies do?here:www.indianet.nl/TheDarkSitesOfGranite.html.

Download the 8 pagesummaryof the report:www.indianet.nl/pdf/TheDarkSitesOfGranite-abstract.pdf.

Originally posted here:

India: Modern Slavery in Granite Quarries – Sri Lanka Guardian

Wage slavery – Wikipedia

Wage slavery is a pejorative term used to draw an analogy between slavery and wage labor by focusing on similarities between owning and renting a person. It is usually used to refer to a situation where a person’s livelihood depends on wages or a salary, especially when the dependence is total and immediate.[1][2]

The term wage slavery has been used to criticize exploitation of labour and social stratification, with the former seen primarily as unequal bargaining power between labor and capital (particularly when workers are paid comparatively low wages, e.g. in sweatshops),[3] and the latter as a lack of workers’ self-management, fulfilling job choices, and leisure in an economy.[4][5][6] The criticism of social stratification covers a wider range of employment choices bound by the pressures of a hierarchical society to perform otherwise unfulfilling work that deprives humans of their “species character”[7] not only under threat of starvation or poverty, but also of social stigma and status diminution.[8][9][10]

Similarities between wage labor and slavery were noted as early as Cicero in Ancient Rome.[11] With the advent of the industrial revolution, thinkers such as Proudhon and Marx elaborated the comparison between wage labor and slavery,[12][13] while Luddites emphasized the dehumanization brought about by machines. Before the American Civil War, Southern defenders of African American slavery invoked the concept of wage slavery to favorably compare the condition of their slaves to workers in the North.[14][15] The United States abolished slavery after the Civil War, but labor union activists found the metaphor useful. According to Lawrence Glickman, in the Gilded Age, “References abounded in the labor press, and it is hard to find a speech by a labor leader without the phrase.”[16]

The introduction of wage labor in 18th century Britain was met with resistance, giving rise to the principles of syndicalism.[17][18][19][20] Historically, some labor organizations and individual social activists have espoused workers’ self-management or worker cooperatives as possible alternatives to wage labor.[5][19]

The view that working for wages is akin to slavery dates back to the ancient world.[22] In ancient Rome, Cicero wrote that “whoever gives his labor for money sells himself and puts himself in the rank of slaves.”[23]

In 1763, the French journalist Simon Linguet published an influential description of wage slavery:[13]

The slave was precious to his master because of the money he had cost him… They were worth at least as much as they could be sold for in the market… It is the impossibility of living by any other means that compels our farm labourers to till the soil whose fruits they will not eat and our masons to construct buildings in which they will not live… It is want that compels them to go down on their knees to the rich man in order to get from him permission to enrich him… what effective gain [has] the suppression of slavery brought [him?] He is free, you say. Ah! That is his misfortune… These men… [have] the most terrible, the most imperious of masters, that is, need…. They must therefore find someone to hire them, or die of hunger. Is that to be free?

The view that wage work has substantial similarities with chattel slavery was actively put forward in the late 18th and 19th centuries by defenders of chattel slavery (most notably in the Southern states of the US), and by opponents of capitalism (who were also critics of chattel slavery).[9][24] Some defenders of slavery, mainly from the Southern slave states argued that Northern workers were “free but in name the slaves of endless toil,” and that their slaves were better off.[25][26] This contention has been partly corroborated by some modern studies that indicate slaves’ material conditions in the 19th century were “better than what was typically available to free urban laborers at the time.”[27][28] In this period, Henry David Thoreau wrote that “[i]t is hard to have a Southern overseer; it is worse to have a Northern one; but worst of all when you are the slave-driver of yourself.”[29]

Some abolitionists in the United States regarded the analogy as spurious.[30] They believed that wage workers were “neither wronged nor oppressed”.[31]Abraham Lincoln and the Republicans argued that the condition of wage workers was different from slavery, as laborers were likely to have the opportunity to work for themselves in the future, achieving self-employment.[32] The abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass initially declared, “now I am my own master”, upon taking a paying job.[33] But later in life, he concluded to the contrary, “experience demonstrates that there may be a slavery of wages only a little less galling and crushing in its effects than chattel slavery, and that this slavery of wages must go down with the other”.[34][35] Douglass went on to speak about these conditions as arising from the unequal bargaining power between the ownership/capitalist class and the non-ownership/laborer class within a compulsory monetary market. “No more crafty and effective devise for defrauding the southern laborers could be adopted than the one that substitutes orders upon shopkeepers for currency in payment of wages. It has the merit of a show of honesty, while it puts the laborer completely at the mercy of the land-owner and the shopkeeper.”.[36]

Self-employment became less common as the artisan tradition slowly disappeared in the later part of the 19th century.[5] In 1869 The New York Times described the system of wage labor as “a system of slavery as absolute if not as degrading as that which lately prevailed at the South”.[32]E. P. Thompson notes that for British workers at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries, the “gap in status between a ‘servant,’ a hired wage-laborer subject to the orders and discipline of the master, and an artisan, who might ‘come and go’ as he pleased, was wide enough for men to shed blood rather than allow themselves to be pushed from one side to the other. And, in the value system of the community, those who resisted degradation were in the right.”[17] A “Member of the Builders’ Union” in the 1830s argued that the trade unions “will not only strike for less work, and more wages, but will ultimately abolish wages, become their own masters and work for each other; labor and capital will no longer be separate but will be indissolubly joined together in the hands of workmen and work-women.”[18] This perspective inspired the Grand National Consolidated Trades Union of 1834 which had the “two-fold purpose of syndicalist unions the protection of the workers under the existing system and the formation of the nuclei of the future society” when the unions “take over the whole industry of the country.”[19] “Research has shown”, summarises William Lazonick, “that the ‘free-born Englishman’ of the eighteenth century even those who, by force of circumstance, had to submit to agricultural wage labour tenaciously resisted entry into the capitalist workshop.”[20]

The use of the term wage slave by labor organizations may originate from the labor protests of the Lowell Mill Girls in 1836.[37] The imagery of wage slavery was widely used by labor organizations during the mid-19th century to object to the lack of workers’ self-management. However, it was gradually replaced by the more neutral term “wage work” towards the end of the 19th century, as labor organizations shifted their focus to raising wages.[5]

Karl Marx described capitalist society as infringing on individual autonomy because it is based on a materialistic and commodified concept of the body and its liberty (i.e. as something that is sold, rented, or alienated in a class society). According to Friedrich Engels:[38][39]

The slave is sold once and for all; the proletarian must sell himself daily and hourly. The individual slave, property of one master, is assured an existence, however miserable it may be, because of the master’s interest. The individual proletarian, property as it were of the entire bourgeois class which buys his labor only when someone has need of it, has no secure existence.

Critics of wage work have drawn several similarities between wage work and slavery:

According to American anarcho-syndicalist philosopher Noam Chomsky, the similarities between chattel and wage slavery were noticed by the workers themselves. He noted that the 19th century Lowell Mill Girls, who, without any reported knowledge of European Marxism or anarchism, condemned the “degradation and subordination” of the newly emerging industrial system, and the “new spirit of the age: gain wealth, forgetting all but self”, maintaining that “those who work in the mills should own them.”[45][46] They expressed their concerns in a protest song during their 1836 strike:

Oh! isn’t it a pity, such a pretty girl as I Should be sent to the factory to pine away and die? Oh! I cannot be a slave, I will not be a slave, For I’m so fond of liberty, That I cannot be a slave.[47]

Defenses of wage labor and chattel slavery in the literature have linked the subjection of man to man with the subjection of man to nature; arguing that hierarchy and a social system’s particular relations of production represent human nature and are no more coercive than the reality of life itself. According to this narrative, any well-intentioned attempt to fundamentally change the status quo is naively utopian and will result in more oppressive conditions.[48] Bosses in both of these long-lasting systems argued that their system created a lot of wealth and prosperity. In some sense, both did create jobs and their investment entailed risk. For example, slave owners risked losing money by buying chattel slaves who later became ill or died; while bosses risked losing money by hiring workers (wage slaves) to make products that didn’t sell well on the market. Marginally, both chattel and wage slaves may become bosses; sometimes by working hard. It may be the “rags to riches” story which occasionally occurs in capitalism, or the “slave to master” story that occurred in places like colonial Brazil, where slaves could buy their own freedom and become business owners, self-employed, or slave owners themselves.[49] Social mobility, or the hard work and risk that it may entail, are thus not considered to be a redeeming factor by critics of the concept of wage slavery.[50]

Anthropologist David Graeber has noted that, historically, the first wage labor contracts we know about whether in ancient Greece or Rome, or in the Malay or Swahili city states in the Indian Ocean were in fact contracts for the rental of chattel slaves (usually the owner would receive a share of the money, and the slave, another, with which to maintain his or her living expenses.) Such arrangements, according to Graeber, were quite common in New World slavery as well, whether in the United States or Brazil. C. L. R. James argued that most of the techniques of human organization employed on factory workers during the industrial revolution were first developed on slave plantations.[51]

The usage of the term “wage slavery” shifted to “wage work” at the end of the 19th century as groups like the Knights of Labor and American Federation of Labor shifted to a more reformist, trade union ideology instead of worker’s self-management. Much of the decline was caused by the rapid increase in manufacturing after the industrial revolution and the subsequent dominance of wage labor as a result. Another factor was immigration and demographic changes that led to ethnic tension between the workers.[5]

As Hallgrimsdottir and Benoit point out:

increased centralization of production… declining wages… [an] expanding… labor pool… intensifying competition, and… [t]he loss of competence and independence experienced by skilled labor” meant that “a critique that referred to all [wage] work as slavery and avoided demands for wage concessions in favor of supporting the creation of the producerist republic (by diverting strike funds towards funding… co-operatives, for example) was far less compelling than one that identified the specific conditions of slavery as low wages…[5]

Some anti-capitalist thinkers claim that the elite maintain wage slavery and a divided working class through their influence over the media and entertainment industry,[52][53] educational institutions, unjust laws, nationalist and corporate propaganda, pressures and incentives to internalize values serviceable to the power structure, state violence, fear of unemployment[54] and a historical legacy of exploitation and profit accumulation/transfer under prior systems, which shaped the development of economic theory:

Adam Smith noted that employers often conspire together to keep wages low, and have the upper hand in conflicts between workers and employers:[55]

The interest of the dealers… in any particular branch of trade or manufactures, is always in some respects different from, and even opposite to, that of the public… [They] have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public… We rarely hear, it has been said, of the combinations of masters, though frequently of those of workmen. But whoever imagines, upon this account, that masters rarely combine, is as ignorant of the world as of the subject. Masters are always and everywhere in a sort of tacit, but constant and uniform combination, not to raise the wages of labor above their actual rate… It is not, however, difficult to foresee which of the two parties must, upon all ordinary occasions, have the advantage in the dispute, and force the other into a compliance with their terms.

The concept of wage slavery could conceivably be traced back to pre-capitalist figures like Gerrard Winstanley from the radical Christian Diggers movement in England, who wrote in his 1649 pamphlet, The New Law of Righteousness, that there “shall be no buying or selling, no fairs nor markets, but the whole earth shall be a common treasury for every man,” and “there shall be none Lord over others, but every one shall be a Lord of himself.”[56]

Aristotle stated that “the citizens must not live a mechanic or a mercantile life (for such a life is ignoble and inimical to virtue), nor yet must those who are to be citizens in the best state be tillers of the soil (for leisure is needed both for the development of virtue and for active participation in politics)”,[57] often paraphrased as “all paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind.”[58]Cicero wrote in 44 BC that “vulgar are the means of livelihood of all hired workmen whom we pay for mere manual labour, not for artistic skill; for in their case the very wage they receive is a pledge of their slavery.”[59] Somewhat similar criticisms have also been expressed by some proponents of liberalism, like Silvio Gesell, and Thomas Paine,[60]Henry George, who inspired the economic philosophy known as Georgism,[9] and the Distributist school of thought within the Catholic Church.

To Marx and anarchist thinkers like Bakunin and Kropotkin, wage slavery was a class condition in place due to the existence of private property and the state. This class situation rested primarily on:

and secondarily on:

Fascism was more hostile against independent trade unions than modern economies in Europe or the United States.[62] Fascist economic policies were widely accepted in the 1920s and 1930s and foreign (especially US) corporate investment in Italy and Germany increased after the fascist take over.[63][64]

Fascism has been perceived by some notable critics, like Buenaventura Durruti, to be a last resort weapon of the privileged to ensure the maintenance of wage slavery:

No government fights fascism to destroy it. When the bourgeoisie sees that power is slipping out of its hands, it brings up fascism to hold onto their privileges.[65]

According to Noam Chomsky, analysis of the psychological implications of wage slavery goes back to the Enlightenment era. In his 1791 book On the Limits of State Action, classical liberal thinker Wilhelm von Humboldt explained how “whatever does not spring from a man’s free choice, or is only the result of instruction and guidance, does not enter into his very nature; he does not perform it with truly human energies, but merely with mechanical exactness” and so when the laborer works under external control, “we may admire what he does, but we despise what he is.”[66] Both the Milgram and Stanford experiments have been found useful in the psychological study of wage-based workplace relations.[67]

According to research, modern work provides people with a sense of personal and social identity that is tied to

Thus job loss entails the loss of this identity.[68]

Erich Fromm argued that if a person perceives himself as being what he owns, then when that person loses (or even thinks of losing) what he “owns” (e.g. the good looks or sharp mind that allow him to sell his labor for high wages), then, a fear of loss may create anxiety and authoritarian tendencies because that person’s sense of identity is threatened. In contrast, when a person’s sense of self is based on what he experiences in a state of being (creativity, love, sadness, taste, sight etc.) with a less materialistic regard for what he once had and lost, or may lose, then less authoritarian tendencies prevail. The state of being, in his view, flourishes under a worker-managed workplace and economy, whereas self-ownership entails a materialistic notion of self, created to rationalize the lack of worker control that would allow for a state of being.[69]

Investigative journalist Robert Kuttner analyzed the work of public-health scholars Jeffrey Johnson and Ellen Hall about modern conditions of work, and concludes that “to be in a life situation where one experiences relentless demands by others, over which one has relatively little control, is to be at risk of poor health, physically as well as mentally.” Under wage labor, “a relatively small elite demands and gets empowerment, self-actualization, autonomy, and other work satisfaction that partially compensate for long hours” while “epidemiological data confirm that lower-paid, lower-status workers are more likely to experience the most clinically damaging forms of stress, in part because they have less control over their work.”[70]

Wage slavery, and the educational system that precedes it “implies power held by the leader. Without power the leader is inept. The possession of power inevitably leads to corruption… in spite of… good intentions… [Leadership means] power of initiative, this sense of responsibility, the self-respect which comes from expressed manhood, is taken from the men, and consolidated in the leader. The sum of their initiative, their responsibility, their self-respect becomes his… [and the] order and system he maintains is based upon the suppression of the men, from being independent thinkers into being ‘the men’… In a word, he is compelled to become an autocrat and a foe to democracy.” For the “leader”, such marginalisation can be beneficial, for a leader “sees no need for any high level of intelligence in the rank and file, except to applaud his actions. Indeed such intelligence from his point of view, by breeding criticism and opposition, is an obstacle and causes confusion.”[71] Wage slavery “implies erosion of the human personality… [because] some men submit to the will of others, arousing in these instincts which predispose them to cruelty and indifference in the face of the suffering of their fellows.”[72]

In 19th-century discussions of labor relations, it was normally assumed that the threat of starvation forced those without property to work for wages. Proponents of the view that modern forms of employment constitute wage slavery, even when workers appear to have a range of available alternatives, have attributed its perpetuation to a variety of social factors that maintain the hegemony of the employer class.[44][73]

Harriet Hanson Robinson in an account of the Lowell Mill Girls wrote that generously high wages were offered to overcome the degrading nature of the work:

At the time the Lowell cotton mills were started the caste of the factory girl was the lowest among the employments of women…. She was represented as subjected to influences that must destroy her purity and selfrespect. In the eyes of her overseer she was but a brute, a slave, to be beaten, pinched and pushed about. It was to overcome this prejudice that such high wages had been offered to women that they might be induced to become millgirls, in spite of the opprobrium that still clung to this degrading occupation.[74]

In his book Disciplined Minds, Jeff Schmidt points out that professionals are trusted to run organizations in the interests of their employers. Because employers cannot be on hand to manage every decision, professionals are trained to “ensure that each and every detail of their work favors the right interestsor skewers the disfavored ones” in the absence of overt control:

The resulting professional is an obedient thinker, an intellectual property whom employers can trust to experiment, theorize, innovate and create safely within the confines of an assigned ideology.[75]

Parecon (participatory economics) theory posits a social class “between labor and capital” of higher paid professionals such as “doctors, lawyers, engineers, managers and others” who monopolize empowering labor and constitute a class above wage laborers who do mostly “obedient, rote work”.[76]

The terms “employee” or “worker” have often been replaced by “associate”. This plays up the allegedly voluntary nature of the interaction, while playing down the subordinate status of the wage laborer, as well as the worker-boss class distinction emphasized by labor movements. Billboards, as well as TV, Internet and newspaper advertisements, consistently show low-wage workers with smiles on their faces, appearing happy.[77]

Job interviews and other data on requirements for lower skilled workers in developed countries particularly in the growing service sector indicate that the more workers depend on low wages, and the less skilled or desirable their job is, the more employers screen for workers without better employment options and expect them to feign unremunerative motivation.[78] Such screening and feigning may not only contribute to the positive self-image of the employer as someone granting desirable employment, but also signal wage-dependence by indicating the employee’s willingness to feign, which in turn may discourage the dissatisfaction normally associated with job-switching or union activity.[78]

At the same time, employers in the service industry have justified unstable, part-time employment and low wages by playing down the importance of service jobs for the lives of the wage laborers (e.g. just temporary before finding something better, student summer jobs etc.).[79][80]

In the early 20th century, “scientific methods of strikebreaking”[81] were devised employing a variety of tactics that emphasized how strikes undermined “harmony” and “Americanism”.[82]

Some social activists objecting to the market system or price system of wage working, historically have considered syndicalism, worker cooperatives, workers’ self-management and workers’ control as possible alternatives to the current wage system.[4][5][6][19]

The American philosopher John Dewey believed that until “industrial feudalism” is replaced by “industrial democracy,” politics will be “the shadow cast on society by big business”.[83]Thomas Ferguson has postulated in his investment theory of party competition that the undemocratic nature of economic institutions under capitalism causes elections to become occasions when blocs of investors coalesce and compete to control the state.[84]

Noam Chomsky has argued that political theory tends to blur the ‘elite’ function of government:

Modern political theory stresses Madison’s belief that “in a just and a free government the rights both of property and of persons ought to be effectually guarded.” But in this case too it is useful to look at the doctrine more carefully. There are no rights of property, only rights to property that is, rights of persons with property,…

[In] representative democracy, as in, say, the United States or Great Britain [] there is a monopoly of power centralized in the state, and secondly and critically [] the representative democracy is limited to the political sphere and in no serious way encroaches on the economic sphere [] That is, as long as individuals are compelled to rent themselves on the market to those who are willing to hire them, as long as their role in production is simply that of ancillary tools, then there are striking elements of coercion and oppression that make talk of democracy very limited, if even meaningful.[85]

In this regard Chomsky has used Bakunin’s theories about an “instinct for freedom”,[86] the militant history of labor movements, Kropotkin’s mutual aid evolutionary principle of survival and Marc Hauser’s theories supporting an innate and universal moral faculty,[87] to explain the incompatibility of oppression with certain aspects of human nature.[88][89]

Loyola University philosophy professor John Clark and libertarian socialist philosopher Murray Bookchin have criticized the system of wage labor for encouraging environmental destruction, arguing that a self-managed industrial society would better manage the environment. They, like other anarchists,[90] attribute much of the industrial revolution’s pollution to the “hierarchical” and “competitive” economic relations accompanying it.[91]

Some criticize wage slavery on strictly contractual grounds, e.g. David Ellerman and Carole Pateman, arguing that the employment contract is a legal fiction in that it treats human beings juridically as mere tools or inputs by abdicating responsibility and self-determination, which the critics argue are inalienable. As Ellerman points out, “[t]he employee is legally transformed from being a co-responsible partner to being only an input supplier sharing no legal responsibility for either the input liabilities [costs] or the produced outputs [revenue, profits] of the employer’s business.”[92] Such contracts are inherently invalid “since the person remain[s] a de facto fully capacitated adult person with only the contractual role of a non-person” as it is impossible to physically transfer self-determination.[93] As Pateman argues:

The contractarian argument is unassailable all the time it is accepted that abilities can ‘acquire’ an external relation to an individual, and can be treated as if they were property. To treat abilities in this manner is also implicitly to accept that the ‘exchange’ between employer and worker is like any other exchange of material property … The answer to the question of how property in the person can be contracted out is that no such procedure is possible. Labour power, capacities or services, cannot be separated from the person of the worker like pieces of property.[94]

In a modern liberal-capitalist society, the employment contract is enforced while the enslavement contract is not; the former being considered valid because of its consensual/non-coercive nature, and the latter being considered inherently invalid, consensual or not. The noted economist Paul Samuelson described this discrepancy.

Since slavery was abolished, human earning power is forbidden by law to be capitalized. A man is not even free to sell himself; he must rent himself at a wage.[95]

Some advocates of right-libertarianism, among them philosopher Robert Nozick, address this inconsistency in modern societies, arguing that a consistently libertarian society would allow and regard as valid consensual/non-coercive enslavement contracts, rejecting the notion of inalienable rights.

The comparable question about an individual is whether a free system will allow him to sell himself into slavery. I believe that it would.[96]

Others like Murray Rothbard allow for the possibility of debt slavery, asserting that a lifetime labour contract can be broken so long as the slave pays appropriate damages:

[I]f A has agreed to work for life for B in exchange for 10,000 grams of gold, he will have to return the proportionate amount of property if he terminates the arrangement and ceases to work.[97]

In the philosophy of mainstream, neoclassical economics, wage labor is seen as the voluntary sale of one’s own time and efforts, just like a carpenter would sell a chair, or a farmer would sell wheat. It is considered neither an antagonistic nor abusive relationship, and carries no particular moral implications.[98]

Austrian economics argues that a person is not “free” unless they can sell their labor, because otherwise that person has no self-ownership and will be owned by a “third party” of individuals.[99]

Post-Keynesian economics perceives wage slavery as resulting from inequality of bargaining power between labor and capital, which exists when the economy does not “allow labor to organize and form a strong countervailing force”.[100]

The two main forms of socialist economics perceive wage slavery differently:

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Wage slavery – Wikipedia

On Monuments and Minimum Wages – The American Prospect

The statue of Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va.

At 9 p.m. last Tuesday night, city workers began to enclose in plywood the Confederate monument that sits in Birminghams Linn Park. By the following afternoon, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall had announced that he was suing the city for violating state law.

Activists in Birmingham first began calling for the removal of the 52-foot Confederate Soldiers and Sailors monument in 2015, after white supremacist Dylann Roof murdered nine parishioners in a Charleston, South Carolina, church. That, in turn, prompted Gerald Allen, a state senator from Tuscaloosa, to introduce the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act to prohibit cities from removing or altering historic monuments more than 40 years old without the approval of a state committee. The predominantly (if not entirely) white Republicans who control the legislature passed the bill along party lines. Republican Governor Kay Ivey signed it into law in May.

Birmingham Mayor William Bell ordered the monument to be covered amid a renewed and urgent call from activists and officials to remove such tributes to the Confederacy, after white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia, rallied around a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee and proceeded to attack counter-protesters, killing one woman. Several citiesfrom Baltimore to San Antoniohave since taken down Confederate monuments while others debate similar actions.

Mayor Bell, who is black, says he doesnt necessarily want to remove the statuedespite demands from local activistsbut he does think it should provide a broader context that condemns the Confederacy, rather than celebrates it. The Confederacy was an act of sedition and treason against the United States of America and represented the continuation of human bondage of people of color, Bell told the Prospect in an interview. Its anathema to anyone supportive of the United States government to have such a structure sitting on public property.

Furthermore, he points out, Birmingham didnt become a city until 1871, during the post-Civil War Reconstruction era. And the monument wasnt erected until 190550 years after the war endedwhen a local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy commissioned the memorial as a gift to the city.

Its my desire to no longer allow this statute to be seen by public until such time that we can tell the full story of slavery, the full story of what the Confederacy really meant, Bell told reporters last week. Now, Bell says, the city is exploring its legal options in light of the states lawsuit. The state attorney general is asking a district court to fine the city $25,000.

I don’t believe that the legislative body has the authority to dictate what monuments or statues we have on public property. Thats a right that the municipal government should control, Bell says. This was built with private dollars and is now protected by the state. The city should have the power to eliminate any source of contention and to maintain public tranquility.

THE STATE OF ALABAMA’S CRACKDOWN ON BIRMINGHAMis just its latest attempt to limit the authority of the majority-black city, which has a black mayor and a majority-black city council. In February 2016, the Birmingham city council approved a $10.10-an-hour minimum wage. Two days later, the Republican-controlled legislature passed a law prohibiting Alabama cities from passing such ordinances and voiding a wage hike for tens of thousands of Birminghams low-wage workers.

The experience of Birmingham is indicative of a broader GOP-led assault on the political power and home rule of Southern cities, home to large black populations, often led by black politicians, and, increasingly, purveyors of progressive policies that seek to improve upon the low standards of state law. From the removal of Confederate monuments to the enactment of local minimum wages, Republican-controlled statehouses are preempting blue citiesand undermining black voices.

These are nothing more than 21st-century Jim Crow laws, Johnathan Austin, chair of the Birmingham City Council, said of the monument removal and minimum-wage preemption laws in an interview with the Prospect. The state of Alabama is trying to control the [states] largest cityand largest black city by prohibiting us from governing ourselves.

Twenty-five statesincluding nearly every Southern statehave laws that prohibit cities and counties from setting their own minimum wage. The four states that have no minimum wage of their own (Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee), adhering to the federal minimum instead, are in the South. Now, at least six states have laws limiting the power of cities to remove Confederate monuments, with most passed in the last couple years. All of them are in the South, where Republicans control every single legislative chamber. Despite their calls for local control and fewer regulations, state Republicans are now regulating both the cultural and economic authority of localities.

Last year, state legislators passed the Tennessee Heritage Preservation Act of 2016, which requires public notice, hearings, and a two-thirds majority vote of the legislature in order to remove historic monuments. In 2015, North Carolina signed the Cultural History Artifact Management and Patriotism Act, an Orwellian amalgamation of nouns that requires a state historical commission to approve any removal of monuments. Georgia, Mississippi, and Virginia also have similar laws.

In Memphis, a majority-black city, officials are ready to suethe stateif it denies its a new waiver request to remove a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis downtown, as well as a statue of Confederate General and Ku Klux Klan founding member Nathan Bedford Forrest. The move came after the city tried and failed to slog its way through the byzantine maze of GOP-instituted regulations protecting such statues. The matter may very well end up before the state Supreme Court. Legislators in Tennessee, which has the highest proportion of minimum-wage workers in the country, also passed a law in 2014 that prohibits cities from enacting minimum-wage ordinances higher than the state level, which is chained to the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour.

As Barry Yeoman reported for the Prospect last week, protesters in Durham, North Carolinaa liberal city stripped of its authority to take down monuments by the right-wing legislaturefound a way around that impasse by pulling down a Confederate statue themselves. I understand why people felt this was the most expedient way, Jillian Johnson, an African American member of the city council, told Yeoman. There was no legal way to make it happen.

Meanwhile, the Durham council has also been barred from increasing the minimum wage (save for city employees) by the same infamous legislation that restricted transgenders bathroom use.

Durham is just one of dozens of Democratic-controlled citiesAtlanta, Birmingham, Charlotte, Charleston, Durham, Jackson, Nashville, Memphis, and so on, the blue dots in red stateswhich have lost the authority to raise wages for their (predominately black) workers struggling to get over the poverty line or to remove prominent monuments to a racist and oppressive ideology so their residents dont have to see a general fighting for slavery looking down on them as they go to work.

Republicans insist that protecting these monumentsthe majority of which were built in the early 1900s or during the 1960sare about preserving the history and heritage of the South. Just as they insist that prohibiting local increases to the minimum wagewhich hasnt been lifted on the federal level in eight yearsis about protecting low-wage workers from job loss.

In these ways, GOP lawmakers are actually memorializing the values of the Antebellum South: White supremacy and lowor, rather, nowages.

This article has been corrected to clarify that the city of Memphis has not yet sued the state, but intends to if its waiver to remove its Confederate monuments is denied, and that one of the statues is of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

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On Monuments and Minimum Wages – The American Prospect

Why the West should care about Thailand’s new fight against fishing slavery – PRI

Thailands $7 billion fishing trade is among the worlds biggest. In recent years, its also been one of the most severely scandalized an industry blighted by reports of slavery on fishing trawlers. Many of these tales recall 18th century-style barbarity at sea.

Each year, Thailands docks have traditionally launched thousands of trawlers into the ocean, often with crews of roughly 20 men. Most are not complicit in forced labor. But less scrupulous captains have taken advantage of the oceans lawlessness.

In port cities, theyve bought men from Myanmar and Cambodia for $600 to $1,000 per head. Duped by traffickers, the migrants come to Thailand seeking under-the-table work in factories or farms.

Instead, theyve found themselves hustled onto fishing boats that motor into the abyss, thousands of miles from civilization, where they are forced to fish for no pay. Various investigations have uncovered thousands of cases.

As one deputy boat captain of a Thai trawler told GlobalPost: Once a captain is tired of a [captive], hes sold to another captain for profit. A guy can be out there for 10 years just getting sold over and over.

Related: Read our award-winning investigationSeafood Slavery

But Thailand is now installing a new system that if effective could seriously reform an industry that has been murky for far too long.

Were trying to change as fast as possible, says Adisorn Promthep, director general of Thailands Department of Fisheries. We want to make sure no vessel escapes our scope.

Installed last year by Thailands military government, Adisorn is charged with bringing transparency to a business marked by opacity.

For years, fish have been routed through a dark supply chain that obscures their origins. This has given exporters plausible deniability with regard to forced labor.

Practically everyone has acknowledged the accounts of escaped or freed slaves, who have come ashore reporting tales of murder and beatings aboard trawlers. But there has been genuinely no way of proving whether this pound of mackerel or that box of fish sticks was sourced from a captive.

This is not a concern limited to Asia. It has serious implications for shoppers in the United States and European Union, two primary importers of seafood from Thailand.

Recent investigations by Greenpeace have implicated Nestl Purina and The J.M. Smucker Company producers of Fancy Feast and Meow Mix cat food, respectively in sourcing fish from factories accused of forced labor violations. Other reports have shown Costco and Walmart entangled in tainted supply chains allegations that led both to join a Seafood Task Force to clean up criminality in the seafood industry.

Here are some key elements of the Thai governments new plan, which is designed to reduce overfishing as well as root out forced labor.

Obscuring the origins of fish caught on dodgy vessels has traditionally proved rather easy. The fish is often offloaded to a massive mothership, a sort of way station and marketplace floating on distant seas, hundreds of thousands of miles from Thai shores. There, slave-caught fish gets mixed in with legit catches.

But under new rules, Adisorn says, every batch of fish will be recorded in an extensive digital log book. Once fully operational, this will illuminate the entire supply chain so that any factory, any consumer, should be able to check where the fish actually came from.

Thai authorities have actually banned offloading fish from trawlers to motherships for the time being. This applies to any boat officially flying the Thai flag and is designed, in part, to stop captains from buying and selling captives on motherships.

There is a caveat: These transshipments may be allowed if monitored by onboard observers. These observers are paid roughly $120 per day an incredible salary, considering Thailands daily minimum wage hovers around $10. These observers are technically freelancers. But they will be trained by Thailands fisheries department. Their main job is to collect data on the supply of fish in parts of the ocean prone to overfishing.

But the Thai government also expects them to deter illegal labor practices on board. Only a few dozen have been trained for deployment so far.

Every boat that can carry 60 tons or more will be outfitted with a GPS-style monitoring system that is just like the navigator in your car, Adisorn says.

Captains used to file paper documents about their whereabouts. Thats no longer good enough, Adisorn says. We need to know where theyre located. At all times.

Moreover, most of the boats now undergo rigorous inspections at newly installed control centers every single time they leave or return to port. Thai officers wont just check equipment and inspect nets full of wriggling fish. Theyre also supposed to check that crew records match the actual fishermen on board.

If a captain has 10 laborers, and one isnt supposed to be there, the arrest happens at the port, Adisorn says. The prosecution starts right there.

We have about 10,000 vessels total that we have to check. We cant check all of them, he says. Last year, officials tried to do that, he says, and managed to cover roughly 85 percent. But sometimes, when you try to do too much, the quality isnt good enough.

The officers have since been ordered to conduct more intensive checks on fewer boats a shift to give them ample time to properly scrutinize each crew. Adisorn recalls one recent case in which an officer, skeptical about a young fishermans age, pulled the worker off the boat and checked his bone density at a local hospital. He turned out to be underage.

This complex set of rules and tracking systems is now roughly 80 percent operational, Adisorn says. Such a sweeping effort to sanitize the Thai fishing industrys turbid supply chain will face great resistance from many factions. Among them: unscrupulous officials, corrupt factory owners and uncooperative boat captains.

The current government of Thailand, a junta that seized power in 2014,is also an unlikely crusader for liberty. Critics of the royally backed army government can be treated as seditionists. Some have been locked away for mere Facebook posts.

But the governments anti-slavery plan is already earning cautious praise from Greenpeace, an organization that is more often railing against the fishing industrys abuses.

I actually think theyre trying to do the best they can, says Anchalee Pipattanawattanakul, a Bangkok-based campaigner for the group. They want to show theyre being transparent. They mostly want the EU to see them as progressive.

Two years back, the EU sowed fear among Thai officials by threatening to ban all seafood shipments from Thailand if illegality continued unabated. That threat remains in place.

These reforms were also prodded along by the US State Department, which ranked Thailands trafficking problem in a tier alongside the worlds worst offenders such as Haiti or Sudan.

The US has since lifted Thailand from that bottom ranking a move to acknowledge a wave of prosecutions and asset seizures against traffickers that add up to more than $21 million.

Meanwhile, Thai officials privately note that US pressure has relented under President Donald Trumps administration, which has proved uncommunicative and not terribly interested in the trafficking issue.

See the original post here:

Why the West should care about Thailand’s new fight against fishing slavery – PRI

Letter: Environmental damage is not Christian – Roanoke Times

What if The Bible was written by divinely-inspired men, but not by God? Imagine if there were a Goddess as well as a God. Imagine that homosexuality is a quality of a beautiful, special class of people…

Why doesn’t our nation strive for peace by all means, and end wage slavery in the developing world? Why have we taken and mutilated the land of Native Americans, and killed off most Native Americans? Why have we caused environmental damage worldwide? This is not Christian.

I love just as Jews, Muslims, Africans, Native Americans, Asians, and Christians. We are all sisters and brothers in the love that we believe in. Think about how the military-industrial complex is treating our aforementioned brothers and sisters. This is a nightmare. My question to the dominant group of Christians is, what are you really afraid of? Use common sense at this point. The truth will set you free. We are in the middle of our own fascism. Millions are dead from war, millions are in wage slavery. Read “Killing Hope” by Blum, http://www.workersrights.org and “Made in China” by Ngai to begin to change. We are not a Christian nation.

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Letter: Environmental damage is not Christian – Roanoke Times

Wage slavery – Wikipedia

Wage slavery is a pejorative term used to draw an analogy between slavery and wage labor by focusing on similarities between owning and renting a person. It is usually used to refer to a situation where a person’s livelihood depends on wages or a salary, especially when the dependence is total and immediate.[1][2]

The term wage slavery has been used to criticize exploitation of labour and social stratification, with the former seen primarily as unequal bargaining power between labor and capital (particularly when workers are paid comparatively low wages, e.g. in sweatshops),[3] and the latter as a lack of workers’ self-management, fulfilling job choices, and leisure in an economy.[4][5][6] The criticism of social stratification covers a wider range of employment choices bound by the pressures of a hierarchical society to perform otherwise unfulfilling work that deprives humans of their “species character”[7] not only under threat of starvation or poverty, but also of social stigma and status diminution.[8][9][10]

Similarities between wage labor and slavery were noted as early as Cicero in Ancient Rome.[11] With the advent of the industrial revolution, thinkers such as Proudhon and Marx elaborated the comparison between wage labor and slavery,[12][13] while Luddites emphasized the dehumanization brought about by machines. Before the American Civil War, Southern defenders of African American slavery invoked the concept of wage slavery to favorably compare the condition of their slaves to workers in the North.[14][15] The United States abolished slavery after the Civil War, but labor union activists found the metaphor useful. According to Lawrence Glickman, in the Gilded Age, “References abounded in the labor press, and it is hard to find a speech by a labor leader without the phrase.”[16]

The introduction of wage labor in 18th century Britain was met with resistance, giving rise to the principles of syndicalism.[17][18][19][20] Historically, some labor organizations and individual social activists have espoused workers’ self-management or worker cooperatives as possible alternatives to wage labor.[5][19]

The view that working for wages is akin to slavery dates back to the ancient world.[22] In ancient Rome, Cicero wrote that “whoever gives his labor for money sells himself and puts himself in the rank of slaves.”[23]

In 1763, the French journalist Simon Linguet published an influential description of wage slavery:[13]

The slave was precious to his master because of the money he had cost him… They were worth at least as much as they could be sold for in the market… It is the impossibility of living by any other means that compels our farm labourers to till the soil whose fruits they will not eat and our masons to construct buildings in which they will not live… It is want that compels them to go down on their knees to the rich man in order to get from him permission to enrich him… what effective gain [has] the suppression of slavery brought [him?] He is free, you say. Ah! That is his misfortune… These men… [have] the most terrible, the most imperious of masters, that is, need…. They must therefore find someone to hire them, or die of hunger. Is that to be free?

The view that wage work has substantial similarities with chattel slavery was actively put forward in the late 18th and 19th centuries by defenders of chattel slavery (most notably in the Southern states of the US), and by opponents of capitalism (who were also critics of chattel slavery).[9][24] Some defenders of slavery, mainly from the Southern slave states argued that Northern workers were “free but in name the slaves of endless toil,” and that their slaves were better off.[25][26] This contention has been partly corroborated by some modern studies that indicate slaves’ material conditions in the 19th century were “better than what was typically available to free urban laborers at the time.”[27][28] In this period, Henry David Thoreau wrote that “[i]t is hard to have a Southern overseer; it is worse to have a Northern one; but worst of all when you are the slave-driver of yourself.”[29]

Some abolitionists in the United States regarded the analogy as spurious.[30] They believed that wage workers were “neither wronged nor oppressed”.[31]Abraham Lincoln and the Republicans argued that the condition of wage workers was different from slavery, as laborers were likely to have the opportunity to work for themselves in the future, achieving self-employment.[32] The abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass initially declared, “now I am my own master”, upon taking a paying job.[33] But later in life, he concluded to the contrary, “experience demonstrates that there may be a slavery of wages only a little less galling and crushing in its effects than chattel slavery, and that this slavery of wages must go down with the other”.[34][35] Douglass went on to speak about these conditions as arising from the unequal bargaining power between the ownership/capitalist class and the non-ownership/laborer class within a compulsory monetary market. “No more crafty and effective devise for defrauding the southern laborers could be adopted than the one that substitutes orders upon shopkeepers for currency in payment of wages. It has the merit of a show of honesty, while it puts the laborer completely at the mercy of the land-owner and the shopkeeper.”.[36]

Self-employment became less common as the artisan tradition slowly disappeared in the later part of the 19th century.[5] In 1869 The New York Times described the system of wage labor as “a system of slavery as absolute if not as degrading as that which lately prevailed at the South”.[32]E. P. Thompson notes that for British workers at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries, the “gap in status between a ‘servant,’ a hired wage-laborer subject to the orders and discipline of the master, and an artisan, who might ‘come and go’ as he pleased, was wide enough for men to shed blood rather than allow themselves to be pushed from one side to the other. And, in the value system of the community, those who resisted degradation were in the right.”[17] A “Member of the Builders’ Union” in the 1830s argued that the trade unions “will not only strike for less work, and more wages, but will ultimately abolish wages, become their own masters and work for each other; labor and capital will no longer be separate but will be indissolubly joined together in the hands of workmen and work-women.”[18] This perspective inspired the Grand National Consolidated Trades Union of 1834 which had the “two-fold purpose of syndicalist unions the protection of the workers under the existing system and the formation of the nuclei of the future society” when the unions “take over the whole industry of the country.”[19] “Research has shown”, summarises William Lazonick, “that the ‘free-born Englishman’ of the eighteenth century even those who, by force of circumstance, had to submit to agricultural wage labour tenaciously resisted entry into the capitalist workshop.”[20]

The use of the term wage slave by labor organizations may originate from the labor protests of the Lowell Mill Girls in 1836.[37] The imagery of wage slavery was widely used by labor organizations during the mid-19th century to object to the lack of workers’ self-management. However, it was gradually replaced by the more neutral term “wage work” towards the end of the 19th century, as labor organizations shifted their focus to raising wages.[5]

Karl Marx described capitalist society as infringing on individual autonomy because it is based on a materialistic and commodified concept of the body and its liberty (i.e. as something that is sold, rented, or alienated in a class society). According to Friedrich Engels:[38][39]

The slave is sold once and for all; the proletarian must sell himself daily and hourly. The individual slave, property of one master, is assured an existence, however miserable it may be, because of the master’s interest. The individual proletarian, property as it were of the entire bourgeois class which buys his labor only when someone has need of it, has no secure existence.

Critics of wage work have drawn several similarities between wage work and slavery:

According to American anarcho-syndicalist philosopher Noam Chomsky, the similarities between chattel and wage slavery were noticed by the workers themselves. He noted that the 19th century Lowell Mill Girls, who, without any reported knowledge of European Marxism or anarchism, condemned the “degradation and subordination” of the newly emerging industrial system, and the “new spirit of the age: gain wealth, forgetting all but self”, maintaining that “those who work in the mills should own them.”[45][46] They expressed their concerns in a protest song during their 1836 strike:

Oh! isn’t it a pity, such a pretty girl as I Should be sent to the factory to pine away and die? Oh! I cannot be a slave, I will not be a slave, For I’m so fond of liberty, That I cannot be a slave.[47]

Defenses of wage labor and chattel slavery in the literature have linked the subjection of man to man with the subjection of man to nature; arguing that hierarchy and a social system’s particular relations of production represent human nature and are no more coercive than the reality of life itself. According to this narrative, any well-intentioned attempt to fundamentally change the status quo is naively utopian and will result in more oppressive conditions.[48] Bosses in both of these long-lasting systems argued that their system created a lot of wealth and prosperity. In some sense, both did create jobs and their investment entailed risk. For example, slave owners risked losing money by buying chattel slaves who later became ill or died; while bosses risked losing money by hiring workers (wage slaves) to make products that didn’t sell well on the market. Marginally, both chattel and wage slaves may become bosses; sometimes by working hard. It may be the “rags to riches” story which occasionally occurs in capitalism, or the “slave to master” story that occurred in places like colonial Brazil, where slaves could buy their own freedom and become business owners, self-employed, or slave owners themselves.[49] Social mobility, or the hard work and risk that it may entail, are thus not considered to be a redeeming factor by critics of the concept of wage slavery.[50]

Anthropologist David Graeber has noted that, historically, the first wage labor contracts we know about whether in ancient Greece or Rome, or in the Malay or Swahili city states in the Indian Ocean were in fact contracts for the rental of chattel slaves (usually the owner would receive a share of the money, and the slave, another, with which to maintain his or her living expenses.) Such arrangements, according to Graeber, were quite common in New World slavery as well, whether in the United States or Brazil. C. L. R. James argued that most of the techniques of human organization employed on factory workers during the industrial revolution were first developed on slave plantations.[51]

The usage of the term “wage slavery” shifted to “wage work” at the end of the 19th century as groups like the Knights of Labor and American Federation of Labor shifted to a more reformist, trade union ideology instead of worker’s self-management. Much of the decline was caused by the rapid increase in manufacturing after the industrial revolution and the subsequent dominance of wage labor as a result. Another factor was immigration and demographic changes that led to ethnic tension between the workers.[5]

As Hallgrimsdottir and Benoit point out:

increased centralization of production… declining wages… [an] expanding… labor pool… intensifying competition, and… [t]he loss of competence and independence experienced by skilled labor” meant that “a critique that referred to all [wage] work as slavery and avoided demands for wage concessions in favor of supporting the creation of the producerist republic (by diverting strike funds towards funding… co-operatives, for example) was far less compelling than one that identified the specific conditions of slavery as low wages…[5]

Some anti-capitalist thinkers claim that the elite maintain wage slavery and a divided working class through their influence over the media and entertainment industry,[52][53] educational institutions, unjust laws, nationalist and corporate propaganda, pressures and incentives to internalize values serviceable to the power structure, state violence, fear of unemployment[54] and a historical legacy of exploitation and profit accumulation/transfer under prior systems, which shaped the development of economic theory:

Adam Smith noted that employers often conspire together to keep wages low, and have the upper hand in conflicts between workers and employers:[55]

The interest of the dealers… in any particular branch of trade or manufactures, is always in some respects different from, and even opposite to, that of the public… [They] have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public… We rarely hear, it has been said, of the combinations of masters, though frequently of those of workmen. But whoever imagines, upon this account, that masters rarely combine, is as ignorant of the world as of the subject. Masters are always and everywhere in a sort of tacit, but constant and uniform combination, not to raise the wages of labor above their actual rate… It is not, however, difficult to foresee which of the two parties must, upon all ordinary occasions, have the advantage in the dispute, and force the other into a compliance with their terms.

The concept of wage slavery could conceivably be traced back to pre-capitalist figures like Gerrard Winstanley from the radical Christian Diggers movement in England, who wrote in his 1649 pamphlet, The New Law of Righteousness, that there “shall be no buying or selling, no fairs nor markets, but the whole earth shall be a common treasury for every man,” and “there shall be none Lord over others, but every one shall be a Lord of himself.”[56]

Aristotle stated that “the citizens must not live a mechanic or a mercantile life (for such a life is ignoble and inimical to virtue), nor yet must those who are to be citizens in the best state be tillers of the soil (for leisure is needed both for the development of virtue and for active participation in politics)”,[57] often paraphrased as “all paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind.”[58]Cicero wrote in 44 BC that “vulgar are the means of livelihood of all hired workmen whom we pay for mere manual labour, not for artistic skill; for in their case the very wage they receive is a pledge of their slavery.”[59] Somewhat similar criticisms have also been expressed by some proponents of liberalism, like Silvio Gesell, and Thomas Paine,[60]Henry George, who inspired the economic philosophy known as Georgism,[9] and the Distributist school of thought within the Catholic Church.

To Marx and anarchist thinkers like Bakunin and Kropotkin, wage slavery was a class condition in place due to the existence of private property and the state. This class situation rested primarily on:

and secondarily on:

Fascism was more hostile against independent trade unions than modern economies in Europe or the United States.[62] Fascist economic policies were widely accepted in the 1920s and 1930s and foreign (especially US) corporate investment in Italy and Germany increased after the fascist take over.[63][64]

Fascism has been perceived by some notable critics, like Buenaventura Durruti, to be a last resort weapon of the privileged to ensure the maintenance of wage slavery:

No government fights fascism to destroy it. When the bourgeoisie sees that power is slipping out of its hands, it brings up fascism to hold onto their privileges.[65]

According to Noam Chomsky, analysis of the psychological implications of wage slavery goes back to the Enlightenment era. In his 1791 book On the Limits of State Action, classical liberal thinker Wilhelm von Humboldt explained how “whatever does not spring from a man’s free choice, or is only the result of instruction and guidance, does not enter into his very nature; he does not perform it with truly human energies, but merely with mechanical exactness” and so when the laborer works under external control, “we may admire what he does, but we despise what he is.”[66] Both the Milgram and Stanford experiments have been found useful in the psychological study of wage-based workplace relations.[67]

According to research, modern work provides people with a sense of personal and social identity that is tied to

Thus job loss entails the loss of this identity.[68]

Erich Fromm argued that if a person perceives himself as being what he owns, then when that person loses (or even thinks of losing) what he “owns” (e.g. the good looks or sharp mind that allow him to sell his labor for high wages), then, a fear of loss may create anxiety and authoritarian tendencies because that person’s sense of identity is threatened. In contrast, when a person’s sense of self is based on what he experiences in a state of being (creativity, love, sadness, taste, sight etc.) with a less materialistic regard for what he once had and lost, or may lose, then less authoritarian tendencies prevail. The state of being, in his view, flourishes under a worker-managed workplace and economy, whereas self-ownership entails a materialistic notion of self, created to rationalize the lack of worker control that would allow for a state of being.[69]

Investigative journalist Robert Kuttner analyzed the work of public-health scholars Jeffrey Johnson and Ellen Hall about modern conditions of work, and concludes that “to be in a life situation where one experiences relentless demands by others, over which one has relatively little control, is to be at risk of poor health, physically as well as mentally.” Under wage labor, “a relatively small elite demands and gets empowerment, self-actualization, autonomy, and other work satisfaction that partially compensate for long hours” while “epidemiological data confirm that lower-paid, lower-status workers are more likely to experience the most clinically damaging forms of stress, in part because they have less control over their work.”[70]

Wage slavery, and the educational system that precedes it “implies power held by the leader. Without power the leader is inept. The possession of power inevitably leads to corruption… in spite of… good intentions… [Leadership means] power of initiative, this sense of responsibility, the self-respect which comes from expressed manhood, is taken from the men, and consolidated in the leader. The sum of their initiative, their responsibility, their self-respect becomes his… [and the] order and system he maintains is based upon the suppression of the men, from being independent thinkers into being ‘the men’… In a word, he is compelled to become an autocrat and a foe to democracy.” For the “leader”, such marginalisation can be beneficial, for a leader “sees no need for any high level of intelligence in the rank and file, except to applaud his actions. Indeed such intelligence from his point of view, by breeding criticism and opposition, is an obstacle and causes confusion.”[71] Wage slavery “implies erosion of the human personality… [because] some men submit to the will of others, arousing in these instincts which predispose them to cruelty and indifference in the face of the suffering of their fellows.”[72]

In 19th-century discussions of labor relations, it was normally assumed that the threat of starvation forced those without property to work for wages. Proponents of the view that modern forms of employment constitute wage slavery, even when workers appear to have a range of available alternatives, have attributed its perpetuation to a variety of social factors that maintain the hegemony of the employer class.[44][73]

Harriet Hanson Robinson in an account of the Lowell Mill Girls wrote that generously high wages were offered to overcome the degrading nature of the work:

At the time the Lowell cotton mills were started the caste of the factory girl was the lowest among the employments of women…. She was represented as subjected to influences that must destroy her purity and selfrespect. In the eyes of her overseer she was but a brute, a slave, to be beaten, pinched and pushed about. It was to overcome this prejudice that such high wages had been offered to women that they might be induced to become millgirls, in spite of the opprobrium that still clung to this degrading occupation.[74]

In his book Disciplined Minds, Jeff Schmidt points out that professionals are trusted to run organizations in the interests of their employers. Because employers cannot be on hand to manage every decision, professionals are trained to “ensure that each and every detail of their work favors the right interestsor skewers the disfavored ones” in the absence of overt control:

The resulting professional is an obedient thinker, an intellectual property whom employers can trust to experiment, theorize, innovate and create safely within the confines of an assigned ideology.[75]

Parecon (participatory economics) theory posits a social class “between labor and capital” of higher paid professionals such as “doctors, lawyers, engineers, managers and others” who monopolize empowering labor and constitute a class above wage laborers who do mostly “obedient, rote work”.[76]

The terms “employee” or “worker” have often been replaced by “associate”. This plays up the allegedly voluntary nature of the interaction, while playing down the subordinate status of the wage laborer, as well as the worker-boss class distinction emphasized by labor movements. Billboards, as well as TV, Internet and newspaper advertisements, consistently show low-wage workers with smiles on their faces, appearing happy.[77]

Job interviews and other data on requirements for lower skilled workers in developed countries particularly in the growing service sector indicate that the more workers depend on low wages, and the less skilled or desirable their job is, the more employers screen for workers without better employment options and expect them to feign unremunerative motivation.[78] Such screening and feigning may not only contribute to the positive self-image of the employer as someone granting desirable employment, but also signal wage-dependence by indicating the employee’s willingness to feign, which in turn may discourage the dissatisfaction normally associated with job-switching or union activity.[78]

At the same time, employers in the service industry have justified unstable, part-time employment and low wages by playing down the importance of service jobs for the lives of the wage laborers (e.g. just temporary before finding something better, student summer jobs etc.).[79][80]

In the early 20th century, “scientific methods of strikebreaking”[81] were devised employing a variety of tactics that emphasized how strikes undermined “harmony” and “Americanism”.[82]

Some social activists objecting to the market system or price system of wage working, historically have considered syndicalism, worker cooperatives, workers’ self-management and workers’ control as possible alternatives to the current wage system.[4][5][6][19]

The American philosopher John Dewey believed that until “industrial feudalism” is replaced by “industrial democracy,” politics will be “the shadow cast on society by big business”.[83]Thomas Ferguson has postulated in his investment theory of party competition that the undemocratic nature of economic institutions under capitalism causes elections to become occasions when blocs of investors coalesce and compete to control the state.[84]

Noam Chomsky has argued that political theory tends to blur the ‘elite’ function of government:

Modern political theory stresses Madison’s belief that “in a just and a free government the rights both of property and of persons ought to be effectually guarded.” But in this case too it is useful to look at the doctrine more carefully. There are no rights of property, only rights to property that is, rights of persons with property,…

[In] representative democracy, as in, say, the United States or Great Britain [] there is a monopoly of power centralized in the state, and secondly and critically [] the representative democracy is limited to the political sphere and in no serious way encroaches on the economic sphere [] That is, as long as individuals are compelled to rent themselves on the market to those who are willing to hire them, as long as their role in production is simply that of ancillary tools, then there are striking elements of coercion and oppression that make talk of democracy very limited, if even meaningful.[85]

In this regard Chomsky has used Bakunin’s theories about an “instinct for freedom”,[86] the militant history of labor movements, Kropotkin’s mutual aid evolutionary principle of survival and Marc Hauser’s theories supporting an innate and universal moral faculty,[87] to explain the incompatibility of oppression with certain aspects of human nature.[88][89]

Loyola University philosophy professor John Clark and libertarian socialist philosopher Murray Bookchin have criticized the system of wage labor for encouraging environmental destruction, arguing that a self-managed industrial society would better manage the environment. They, like other anarchists,[90] attribute much of the industrial revolution’s pollution to the “hierarchical” and “competitive” economic relations accompanying it.[91]

Some criticize wage slavery on strictly contractual grounds, e.g. David Ellerman and Carole Pateman, arguing that the employment contract is a legal fiction in that it treats human beings juridically as mere tools or inputs by abdicating responsibility and self-determination, which the critics argue are inalienable. As Ellerman points out, “[t]he employee is legally transformed from being a co-responsible partner to being only an input supplier sharing no legal responsibility for either the input liabilities [costs] or the produced outputs [revenue, profits] of the employer’s business.”[92] Such contracts are inherently invalid “since the person remain[s] a de facto fully capacitated adult person with only the contractual role of a non-person” as it is impossible to physically transfer self-determination.[93] As Pateman argues:

The contractarian argument is unassailable all the time it is accepted that abilities can ‘acquire’ an external relation to an individual, and can be treated as if they were property. To treat abilities in this manner is also implicitly to accept that the ‘exchange’ between employer and worker is like any other exchange of material property … The answer to the question of how property in the person can be contracted out is that no such procedure is possible. Labour power, capacities or services, cannot be separated from the person of the worker like pieces of property.[94]

In a modern liberal-capitalist society, the employment contract is enforced while the enslavement contract is not; the former being considered valid because of its consensual/non-coercive nature, and the latter being considered inherently invalid, consensual or not. The noted economist Paul Samuelson described this discrepancy.

Since slavery was abolished, human earning power is forbidden by law to be capitalized. A man is not even free to sell himself; he must rent himself at a wage.[95]

Some advocates of right-libertarianism, among them philosopher Robert Nozick, address this inconsistency in modern societies, arguing that a consistently libertarian society would allow and regard as valid consensual/non-coercive enslavement contracts, rejecting the notion of inalienable rights.

The comparable question about an individual is whether a free system will allow him to sell himself into slavery. I believe that it would.[96]

Others like Murray Rothbard allow for the possibility of debt slavery, asserting that a lifetime labour contract can be broken so long as the slave pays appropriate damages:

[I]f A has agreed to work for life for B in exchange for 10,000 grams of gold, he will have to return the proportionate amount of property if he terminates the arrangement and ceases to work.[97]

In the philosophy of mainstream, neoclassical economics, wage labor is seen as the voluntary sale of one’s own time and efforts, just like a carpenter would sell a chair, or a farmer would sell wheat. It is considered neither an antagonistic nor abusive relationship, and carries no particular moral implications.[98]

Austrian economics argues that a person is not “free” unless they can sell their labor, because otherwise that person has no self-ownership and will be owned by a “third party” of individuals.[99]

Post-Keynesian economics perceives wage slavery as resulting from inequality of bargaining power between labor and capital, which exists when the economy does not “allow labor to organize and form a strong countervailing force”.[100]

The two main forms of socialist economics perceive wage slavery differently:

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Wage slavery – Wikipedia

8 Signs You’re a Slave Instead of an Employee

Literal slavery is a horrible practice that still persists into the modern age. But, I want to talk about another form of human exploitationemployment slavery, which can also ruin a persons life. Generally, I consider this a self-inflicted slavery because its ultimately a persons choice to work under such conditionsbut I also understand that brainwashing can occur, creating the illusion that theres no way out.

Slavery (in general) exists because of the inclination among people to obtain the benefits of human resources, while providing little (or nothing) in return. Human work is the most intelligent, efficient way to create a system of wealth and power. For the morally bankrupt, such benefits are sought for free.

Employment, in the best case scenario, is a business deal of mutual benefit. But in other instances, the company is expending such minimal resources that they are taking advantage of you. In the worst case scenario, through a combination of slave-driving principles and psychological techniques to break you down, such a job can morph into something very similar to actual slavery.

If you dont know any better, its easy to fall into slavery conditions. Here are signs that your sense of freedom in life is totally gone:

Because of the way employers conveniently ignore yearly inflation, todays minimal wage is not enough to maintain any semblance of a normal lifestyle. Minimal wage makes some sense in small businesses just starting out. But, In America, $8.25 an hour, or less, from a large, billion-dollar corporation is inexcusable. In this case, your annual wages cost a second of the companys hourly profits. In other words, your hard work is a very bad deal for you, and a killer opportunity for the suits upstairs.

Youre lucky you even have a job! is a psychological taunt that bad employers use to try and keep their wage-slaves from believing they can do any better. Such statements are made to maintain a sense of control. Understand, voluntary slavery is not a rare phenomenon. It happens when a person is brainwashed into the belief that they have nowhere else they can go.

If your manager uses psychological put-downs like this to denigrate your professional abilitiesunderstand that its being done for a reason.

The idea of getting a raise and a promotion may be dangled in-front of you, but youve seen no evidence to suggest that it really happens. In fact, only a very small percentage of your co-workers ever obtain this goal, and they tend to be the cronies of upper-management. If this is the case, then what exactly is your reason for working at this company?

Inconvenient hours are inevitable in jobs, but some companies will abuse the system. This ranges from illegally denying overtime pay, to scheduling month-long bouts of cloping (working until closing hours late at night, then opening hours the next morning) that leaves the employee physically and emotionally drained.

An employee in this system may feel the intense pressure by the bosses to conform to abusive hours, under the threat of being denied promotions or even getting fired for seeking better treatment.

Americas two-week annual vacation time is one of the weakest in the Western world, and American workers tend to not even use it. This is because many employers will hint that vacationers are likely to end up on the shit-list of not getting promoted. They may even hint that unruly vacation-seekers will be the first to get laid-off or fired at the earliest opportunity.

A system of slavery does not allow free-time for individuals to maintain their own lives outside of their work. This could cause dissent and break the system of total control. An unspoken methodology among abusive managers is to destroy the lifestyles of employees so, instead of tending to family or hobbies, they work at full capacity.

Feeling motivated based on high-standards and being scared to go below those standards is one thing, but being genuinely scared of the people youre working for is another.

Slave-masters maintain systems of fear, to break down their subjects and perhapsin timebuild them back up. For the best example of thisplease see Theon Greyjoy in Game of Thrones.

Psychological and verbal abuse is usually what occurs. An abusive employer understands exactly what strings to pull to generate feelings of shame or guilt, and theyll use the professional context to destroy a subjects sense of self-worth, perhaps by implying worthlessness at the vocation theyve devoted their life to.

In other instances, the abuse is very overt and could include yelling, tantrums and even physical assaults. But the outcome is the same: the employee living in a constant state of paranoia, fear, and subservience.

Read carefully the ten warning-signs youre in a cult by the Cult Education Institute. Some of these that could be very applicable to a workplace include: absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability, no tolerance for questions or critical inquiry, the leader (boss) is always right, and former followers (employees) are vilified as evil for leaving.

If the job feels less about, you know, getting the job doneand is more about the influence, charisma and infallibility of the bossthen get the heck out of there. This means the person in charge is getting a side-benefit to running or managing the workplace: power and dominance.

The number one sign youre a slave and not an employee is that youre working an unpaid internship, and its not for college credit. You may be promised great benefits and valuable connections, at what amounts to harsh workplace conditions, long hours, and zero pay.

A huge mistake I see young professionals make, and it really irks me, is naivety about peoples intentions. I went to film school for my bachelors, and many students I knew lusted after top internships at film studios or with big names in the entertainment industry. Such internships are often offered regardless of college credit.

When a person is blindsided by their desire to make it and get in with big names, they are likely to make bad decisionsand unscrupulous employers will prey on this desire.

Internships are great IF its part of a students actual curriculum. It means hands-on work and real experience versus useless classrooms. But, the questionable non-credit internships I warn about also exist to lure young people into systems of slavery. Its gotten so bad these types of arrangements are quickly becoming illegal in California.

The reality of such internships is that the slave-drivers only desire one thing: unpaid work. There is NO promise that you will move up or land any type of a paid job. When your internship finishes, they will discard you and find the next victim.

The biggest reason to avoid internships is the mentality behind the deal. Imagine a law firm or a film studio that is a multi-billion dollar operation. How hard would it be to throw their new recruit at LEAST minimum wage? The fact such a company would, despite their huge profits, still desire unpaid labor is indicative of a slave-driving mentality that funnels wealth to the top at the expense of the people on the bottom making it possible.

As a professional, it would be best for you to avoid doing any type of business with any individual or company that possesses a philosophy like this.

Employment-slavery situations are common. Very common. But ultimately, the biggest factor in determining how bad it is, is a single question: are you happy?

If you are happy at $8.25 an hour with no benefits, because you like the people you work with, you like the nature of the work, and you feel its moving you somewhere you want to bethen its not slavery. Youre making an investment thatll either pay off, or it wontbut at least you enjoy what youre doing.

However, if you are miserable in your current conditions, its quite possible that the uneasy feeling in your gut is your intuition telling you that someone is taking advantage of you.

Employment is supposed to be a business contract, and an exchange of services. Never a system of control. Sometimes, just the willingness to walk away is your strongest defense against a terrible job situation.

For more about avoiding systems of employment-slavery, please see my short books: Freedom: How to Make Money From Your Dreams and Ambitions, and How to Quit Your Job: Escape Soul Crushing Work, Create the Life You Want, and Live Happy.

(For more books, also check out the Developed Life bookstore, http://www.developedlife.com/bookstore).

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8 Signs You’re a Slave Instead of an Employee

Fran works six days a week in fast food, and yet she’s homeless: ‘It’s … – The Guardian

Once a customer has barked their order into the microphone at the Popeyes drive-thru on Prospect Avenue, Kansas City, the clock starts. Staff have a company-mandated 180 seconds to take the order, cook the order, bag the order and deliver it to the drive-thru window.

The restaurant is on short shift at the moment, which means it has about half the usual staff, so Fran Marion often has to do all those jobs herself. On the day we met, she estimates she processed 187 orders roughly one every two minutes. Those orders grossed about $950 for the company. Marion went home with $76.

Despite working six days a week, Marion, 37, a single mother of two, cant make ends meet on the $9.50 an hour she gets at Popeyes (no apostrophe founder Al Copeland joked he was too poor to afford one). A fast food worker for 22 years, Marion has almost always had a second job. Until recently, she had been working 9am-4pm at Popeyes, without a break, then crossing town to a janitorial job at Bartle Hall, the convention center, where she would work from 5pm- to 1.30am for $11 an hour. She didnt take breaks there either, although they were allowed.

I was so tired, she says. If I took a break I would go to sleep, so I would work straight through, she says.

Even with those two jobs, Marion was unable to save and when disaster struck she found it impossible to cope financially. Last month, the city condemned the house she rented the landlord had refused to fix faulty wiring and the leaking roof and she was made homeless.

Her children, Ravyn, 15, and Rashad, 14, are now living with a friend, two bus rides away. Because of the time and distance, Marion hasnt seen them in a week. She and her dog Hershey, a goofy milk-chocolate colored pitbull, are sleeping at the apartment of fellow fast food worker, Bridget Hughes: Marion on the sofa, Hershey on the balcony.

Its a downtrodden two-bedroom apartment in a sketchy neighborhood. Sex workers stake out the busier street corners; many of the houses are boarded up or burnt out. The detritus of drug addiction litters the streets.

While she tries to save for a deposit on a new home, Marion is sharing with Bridgets husband, Demetrius, and their four children. Not having a home, honestly, you guys, it makes me feel like I am a failure. Like I have let my kids down, says Marion, sitting among the plastic bags that hold her life. The rest of her familys belongings are stored in a van downstairs, a van she cant drive because she hasnt got the money to get it insured.

After she quit her janitorial job, hoping to find something more flexible so she could see more of her children, Marion started interviewing for a second job in fast food. I have always needed two jobs. You basically need two jobs to survive working on low wages, she says. Working so hard for so little security makes her feel like I am getting nowhere, she says. My family is not benefiting. Im working so hard to come home, and still I have to decide whether I am going to put food on the table or am I going to pay the light bill, or pay rent.

It makes me feel like a peasant. In a way its slavery. Its economic slavery.

Unsurprisingly, Marion seems depressed. She looks down when she talks, raising her big, sad eyes only when she has finished. But her whole face lights up when she talks about her kids. They are my world, she says. [They] brighten up my soul. She worries that all this pressure is bad for her self-diagnosed high blood pressure. Like 28 million other Americans, she doesnt have health insurance. She hasnt seen a doctor in her adult working life.

Bridget and Demetrius are hardly doing better. She earns $9 an hour at Wendys, Demetrius makes $9.50 an hour working at a gas station. Rent and bills, including childcare, come to about $800 a month, and they are barely scraping by, living paycheck to paycheck. Hughes says she has missed her childrens graduations, doctors appointments. She tears up as she explains how economic necessity meant she was forced to return to work two weeks after she last gave birth, and had to give up breastfeeding.

But Marion and Hughes are fighters, figureheads in what some see as the next wave of the civil rights movement. The pair are leading voices in Stand Up Kansas City, the local chapter of the union-backed Fight for $15 movement, which is campaigning for a nationwide increase in the minimum wage. And they are determined to make a difference.

The Fight for $15 movement is probably the most high profile, and successful, labor movement in the US, and has successfully pushed for local raises in the minimum wage across the country, mostly in Democratic strongholds. Trump comfortably won Missouri in 2016, although the major cities Kansas City, St Louis and Columbia voted Democrat. But the pair are confident that by coming together, the millions of Americans working low wage jobs can effect change even now.

Its not just us, its all across America, says Hughes. She says she felt invisible before the Fight for $15 movement.

On 14 April 2015, campaigners held what was then the largest ever protest by low-wage workers in US history. About 60,000 workers took to the streets in cities across the country calling for an increase in the minimum wage.

When protesters came to Marions restaurant, she says most of the staff moved to the back of the restaurant to distance themselves from the activists while her corporate boss smirked and laughed as they read their demands and said what they needed. I looked at him and I thought, You dont have these worries, she says. How can you laugh at someone elses pain? And I am going through the same thing. Thats when I joined the Fight for $15.

There is wave. There is momentum. I think that with all of working together, we will win $15 in the end, she says.

Its been almost a decade since the Great Recession, and America has witnessed a record 82 months of month-on-month jobs growth. The national unemployment rate now stands at a 4.3%, a 16-year low. But month after month, it is the low-wage sectors fast food, retail, healthcare that have added new jobs. Wage growth has barely kept pace with inflation. The national minimum wage ($7.25) was last raised in 2009.

Across the US, 58 million people earn less than $15 an hour; 41 million earn less than $12. In Missouri, Kansas City and St Louis councils recently passed local ordinances that would have increased the minimum wage to $13 an hour by 2023 in Kansas Citys case.

But backed by local and national business interests, Missouris governor, Eric Greitens a bestselling author, former Navy Seal and a rising Republican star has moved to roll back the increases, arguing businesses cant afford raises and will leave. Liberals say these laws help people, Greitens said in a statement. They dont. They hurt them.

Not so, says David Cooper, senior economic analyst at the Economics Policy Institute. We have decades of research on this and it all concludes that increases in the minimum wage have had negligible impact on jobs growth, he says. The academic debate is currently about whether that impact is a small gain in growth or a small drop. Either way, he says, a small rise in the minimum wage has an outsized impact on low wage workers. A $1 an hour rise from the current minimum of $7.25 would give the average low wage worker $2,000 more a year, says Cooper. That is a huge injection of income, he says.

The intense lobbying against an increase is simply a device to keep wages as low as possible so that employers can capture as much profit as they can, he says. Polls show that the majority of Americans are in favor of an increase. At least 40 cities and states around the country will raise their minimum wages in 2017, thanks largely to ballot measures. Those measures will deliver raises of around $4,000 a year for more than one-third of the workforce in states like New York and California, according to the National Employment Law Project.

But Greitens is not alone in fighting back, helped by a study of the impact of Seattles minimum wage hike by the University of Washington, which seemed to suggest higher wages had translated to fewer jobs. That the methodology of that study has been heavily criticized (utter BS, according to Josh Hoxie, director of the Project on Opportunity and Taxation at the Institute for Policy Studies ) and stands in contrast to piles of studies that found the opposite hasnt negated its popularity with anti-wage hikers.

Marion isnt in it for the politics. She is in it for the money, money that means one thing for her: getting her family back together and giving them a secure life. We pick her up at Popeyes and drive to a pleasant Kansas City suburb. Cicadas thrum as she beams strolling from the car to hug her daughter Rayven and goddaughter Shi Ann.

Shi Ann, in her rainbow hued LOVE T-shirt (the O is a butterfly), plays with princess flip-flops and squirms, giggling in Marions arms. Princesses dont put their fingers in their mouths, laughs Marion. I ask Rayven how it is living without her mum. The idyll is over. Tears fill her eyes. Marion goes inside so we cant see her cry.

Later, Marion says Rayven wants to leave school at 16 and get a job in fast food to help out. Ideally, her mum wants her to go to college but nothing is ideal for the Marion family at present.

After the visit, we drive back into the city to All Souls Unitarian church where Marion and Hughes are set to address a panel of academics, union leaders and others. The neighborhood is a world away from their own. A giant Louise Bourgeois spider menaces a manicured lawn at the Kemper art museum close by. The two women are unintimidated. They hold the room with ease as they talk about their fight with humor and a confidence that things will change.

Guests ask why they dont go back to school, get higher paid jobs. Hughes has a college degree but as the daughter of a low wage worker said she could only afford community college. Employers saw her degree as worthless, and she ended up $13,000 in debt. She did have a job in a tax office but lost it only to find that thanks to Missouris business-friendly rules, she was barred from working for another tax office by a non-compete agreement. (Fast food franchisor Jimmy Johns imposed a similar agreement on its workers but dropped it last year after a public backlash.)

Barred from tax office work, Hughes said fast food was all she could find.

Marion says the argument that fast food workers should leave for other, better paid, jobs misses the point. People like fast food. The companies that make it make fortunes. We are the foot soldiers for these billion-dollar companies. We are the ones doing the work and bringing the money, she says.

At the top of America, when it comes to Trump and them, their goal is to keep us down, she says. Between these billion-dollar companies and Trump, its a power trip.

They can afford to pay more and, she believes, eventually they will. We are still coming. No war has been won over night and we are not giving up.

More than that, she likes working in fast food. I love it. Im good at it. Just like Martin Luther King said, If you are going to be a road sweeper, be the best damn sweeper there is, she says. I dont know. Its just this society is all messed up.

Read the rest here:

Fran works six days a week in fast food, and yet she’s homeless: ‘It’s … – The Guardian

Letter: Environmental damage is not Christian – Roanoke Times

What if The Bible was written by divinely-inspired men, but not by God? Imagine if there were a Goddess as well as a God. Imagine that homosexuality is a quality of a beautiful, special class of people…

Why doesn’t our nation strive for peace by all means, and end wage slavery in the developing world? Why have we taken and mutilated the land of Native Americans, and killed off most Native Americans? Why have we caused environmental damage worldwide? This is not Christian.

I love just as Jews, Muslims, Africans, Native Americans, Asians, and Christians. We are all sisters and brothers in the love that we believe in. Think about how the military-industrial complex is treating our aforementioned brothers and sisters. This is a nightmare. My question to the dominant group of Christians is, what are you really afraid of? Use common sense at this point. The truth will set you free. We are in the middle of our own fascism. Millions are dead from war, millions are in wage slavery. Read “Killing Hope” by Blum, http://www.workersrights.org and “Made in China” by Ngai to begin to change. We are not a Christian nation.

Originally posted here:

Letter: Environmental damage is not Christian – Roanoke Times

Secrets of slavery at your local car wash: Workers paid little or nothing for 11-hour shift and forced to live in … – Mirror.co.uk

Thousands of workers in hand car washes are thought to be victims of modern slavery , paid little or nothing for an 11-hour shift and forced to live in squalid accommodation.

Many are trafficked into the UK on the promise of paid work before becoming trapped in debt bondage, owing money to their bosses which they stand no chance of ever repaying.

Mirror investigators working with the anti-slavery watchdog found evidence to suggest thousands of mainly Eastern European people could be trapped working on forecourts and car parks.

Unable to speak English, they can work for up to 11 hours a day for little or no pay, and when their shift is done go home to makeshift accommodation, made from shipping containers.

Those who try to quit are threatened with violence or even deportation.

The Government believes up to 13,000 people are victims of modern slavery, which PM Theresa May dubbed the great human rights issue of our time.

The Daily Mirror visited 10 hand car washes and found all displayed at least two of the five tell-tale signs of modern slavery.

Kevin Hyland, the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, whose office drafted the five signs, said: These findings are really powerful.

People think this is something happening on distant shores, on different continents, but actually they need to realise slavery is happening in our cities, towns and villages.

This is something many people will unwittingly see every day without realising whats behind it. These people washing our cars up and down our high streets are potentially victims of modern slavery.

Campaigners say many washers are trafficked into Britain before being told their travel here has cost more than expected.

They can be paid around 40 for 11 hours work, but wages are docked to cover accommodation. Washers are told to work off the debt, but the pay never covers it.

Many do not have immigration papers and bosses threaten to report them if they try to quit.

Only one of the 10 facilities we visited had equipped workers with waterproofs and full protective clothing. At seven out of the 10 staff were unfamiliar with the English language.

Nine of the 10 lacked professional facilities, often with dangerous electrical wiring.

At all 10, we saw three or more workers washing one car, and we witnessed up to seven to a vehicle.

At two out of 10 sites, we found evidence to suggest washers were being housed on-site. We saw metal shipping containers equipped with satellite dishes, surrounded by barbed wire and rubbish bags. Workers were reluctant to have conversations with the public and when approached repeatedly pointed us to a boss.

A car wash service could cost from just 2.99, with a valet service starting at 9.99.

The Car Wash Advisory Service said around 1,000 of the estimated 16,000 hand car washes observe any regulatory requirements and many staff get below the minimum wage, usually cash in hand.

Mr Hyland added: Decent hard working Brits are using these car washes and they arent aware what they are seeing. Sometimes you have six to nine people washing a car.

By the time they have paid for all the other costs and insurances how are they ever going to pay the minimum wage?

We talk about modern slavery being a hidden crime. Sometimes its actually hidden in plain sight.

The National Crime Agency said it was helping in 300 police operations targeting modern slavery, with victims as young as 12.

Last week 11 members of the Rooney family in Lincolnshire were convicted of running a modern slavery ring.

If you suspect someone is being exploited, call the police, or the Modern Slavery Helpline on 0800 0121 700.

5 tell-tale signs of exploitation

1: Lack of protective clothing suitable for contact with industrial cleaning chemicals – workers often wear tracksuits or jeans with trainers or flip flops.

2: Unprofessional facilities – no water drainage, no appropriate electrical wiring, temporary signage only, no public liability indemnity insurance and no visible first aid equipment.

3: Three or more people washing a single car despite low prices of around 5 – this cannot add up to cover the minimum wage, let alone other overheads.

4: Staff unfamiliar with the English language and showing signs of coercion – indicators of control include signs of anxiety and exhaustion in workers and a “supervisor” who is usually polite to customers, yet controls staff.

5: Signs that people both live and work on site – unsuitable metal containers near toilet facilities and hanging laundry.

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Secrets of slavery at your local car wash: Workers paid little or nothing for 11-hour shift and forced to live in … – Mirror.co.uk


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