My Turn: How racism thrived after the war – Concord Monitor

In a recent and valuable My Turn, Katy Burns wrote about the Souths Lost Cause campaign launched several decades after the Civil War. Its efforts to glorify slavery and the Confederacy included the erection of most monuments currently targeted by the rapidly emerging Black Lives Matter movement.

The column speaks of northerners going home to work after the war while southerners sulked for years until launching their campaign, but this jumps over some important matters and I want to describe two of them.

First, the home that northerners returned to was highly racist. The war, after all, was fought over chattel slavery, not over racism, and most northerners shared the racial stereotypes of southerners. Recently I looked at an event in Indiana, the state where I grew up, and it illustrates my point. In 1850, Indiana held a constitutional convention. At it, delegates adopted Article 13 that prohibited Black people from moving to Indiana and also created a fund to remove free Black Indiana residents to Liberia.

Almost every speech during the five-day debate on the Article referred to Black inferiority and white supremacy in terms nearly identical to those of southern defenders of slavery. In 1851, the electorate adopted the new constitution overwhelmingly. Article 13 was voted on separately and adopted 113,828 to 21,873. At least five other northern states adopted equivalent constitutional amendments of legislation at about that time.

My second point is that the South didnt sulk after the war. Its planter elites immediately set out to snatch what victories they could from the jaws of defeat, and they had substantial success. For example, they sought and obtained the return to planters of 850,000 acres of land confiscated by the Union Army, preventing its redistribution to freed men. Planters frustrated the implementation of another land redistribution act, the Southern Homesteading Act.

Their efforts helped curtail the life of the Freedmens Bureau, a remarkable Reconstruction program that helped many ex-slaves gain education, the vote, and work. The program lasted only four years (and its schools an additional three years).

The South lobbied to remove northern troops and end Reconstruction, something it accomplished in a dozen years.

But the biggest challenge to the planter elite was regaining their earlier wealth. Before the War, the South was the richest region in America primarily because of King Cotton. In 1860, for example, cotton accounted for $191 million of the nations $333 million of exports. England, textile capital of the world, bought 80% of its cotton from the South.

Cotton was also vital domestically. For example, the 1860 Census reported that New Hampshire had investments of $23 million in 150 types of industries including over half ($12.5 million) in cotton goods manufacturing. Cotton alone accounted for 12,700 of the states 32,000 manufacturing jobs.

The planters key roadblock to regaining their prior wealth was, of course, the loss of the machines that had made that wealth possible slaves. Yet by 1870, just five years after the end of the War, cotton was again the nations largest export and would remain so until the Great Depression. This amazing victory from the jaws of defeat occurred because the South found an immediate cheap labor substitute for slaves ex-slaves. The story of how this happened is important.

In the decades leading to war, northern abolition efforts intensified; e.g. rapid growth of the Underground Railroad and attacks on slavery such as Uncle Toms Cabin. But during that same period, southern defenses of slavery escalated. Traditional defenses based on God, Nature, prosperity, science, and Christian humanity became more aggressive, but most importantly, the South devised a major, new defense.

It characterized the emerging system of industrial capitalism in the North as wage slavery, criticized it harshly, and argued that its own economic system of chattel slavery was superior and far more humane. The argument was pointed and its rhetoric often acerbic as seen, for example, in these excerpts from early southern sociologist George Fitzhugh. The northern system gives license to the strong to oppress the weak (and creates) the grossest inequalities of condition. Fitzhugh saw the strong as vulgar landlords, capitalists and employers psalm-singing regicides, these worshippers of Mammon (who) think they own all the property (and that) the rest of mankind have no right to a living except on the conditions they may prescribe.

The weak were wage slaves such as women and children (who) drag out their lives (in) the bowels of the earth [i.e. in mines] harnessed like horses. pallid children (who work in) some grand, gloomy and monotonous factory fourteen hours a day, and go home at night to sleep in damp cellars, the same cellars where aged parents too old to work are cast off by their employer to die.

Industrial capitalism created such evils as income ceases if a worker gets sick; laborers are at war with one another; child labor is common; retailers take advantage of ignorance and charge enormous profits; underbidding (by workers) never ceases resulting in wages too low to subsist and ending by filling poor-houses and jails and graves. Frequent riots and strikes were other problems as was widespread begging. One writer noted that you meet more beggars in one day in any street of the city of New York, than you would meet in a lifetime in the whole South.

The imagery of the wage-slave defense is as stark as Harriet Beecher Stowes attacks on slavery, and the arguments are ones that any socialist or union organizer would have made. In fact, these arguments would soon mobilize a progressive challenge to big industrial capitalism in the North beginning in the Gilded Age (1880 1910).

But what is most interesting about this southern attack on wage slavery is that, when the war ended chattel slavery, the South immediately adopted wage slavery in its place. Under slavery, slaves were property controlled by owners. In the new order, ex-slaves were freemen (free employees, sharecroppers, or tenants) controlled by contract.

The new scheme was possible because emancipated slaves deprived of promises of land desperately needed a way to survive and were readily exploited through contractual arrangements. Heres a simple example signed weeks after the wars end:

I, the within-signed woman of color, do hereby bind myself with E. W. Reitzell as laborer on his plantation from this the 1st day of August, 1865, to the 1st day of January, 1866. I further agree and bind myself to do all the work he may require of me, to labor diligently and be obedient to all his commands, to pay him due respect, and do all in my power to protect his property from danger, and conduct myself as when I was owned by him as a SLAVE.

These labor contracts, together with various techniques that forced freed men to renew them, confined millions of black farmworkers to southern plantations for two or three generations beyond the war until the Great Depression and after.

(Paul Levy lives in Concord.)

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My Turn: How racism thrived after the war - Concord Monitor

Modern slavery laws could be updated to tackle ‘sweatshops’ amid Boohoo allegations – iNews

Priti Patel is believed to be considering new laws on modern slavery in light of new revelations about illegal working conditions at fast fashion suppliers, citing concerns that existing legislation is not fit for purpose.

According to The Sunday Times, the Home Secretary reportedly believes that cultural sensitivities are preventing police and councils from confronting illegal sweatshops for fears of being labelled racist.

Fashion company Boohoo has appointed Alison Levitt QC to lead an independent review into allegations that their factories were paying staff below minimum wage and not complying with safety rules.

Its board was said to be shocked and appalled by the allegations.

The move follows an undercover investigation by The Times last week that revealed workers in a Leicester factory were being paid as little as 3.50 per hour.

Shares in Boohoo, which also owns fast-fashion brands Nasty Gal and PrettyLittleThing, plummeted nearly 40 per cent following the report, while Asos, Next and Zalando all dropped the fast-fashion brand from sale.

Poor working conditions are reported to be widespread for textile industry employees, who are largely of Asian descent.

Raj Mann, the police contact for Leicesters Sikhs, said some factory owners were cliquish and shared information about cheap workers and approaching raids and inspections.

The local authorities have known these sweatshops exist for decades but theyve been loath to do anything about it for fear of being accused of picking on immigrant or refugee communities, as a lot of the exploited workers are of Indian background, he said.

Within the Asian community people generally turn a blind eye to workers in the community who are on less than the minimum wage. They see it as being better than earning nothing at all.

Sara Thornton, the independent anti-slavery commissioner, said financial challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic make workers more susceptible to exploitation.

As people have lost their jobs, they are increasingly desperate and will take exploitative work because at that point its the most rational option for them.

On the other side is that if employers are feeling desperate about getting their businesses back on track, they might also feel that they want to cut corners, she said.

At the moment the home secretary can injunct a company and require them to make a modern slavery statement. Thats never happened in five years but thats as powerful as it ever gets at the moment and I think it should be more.

Additional reporting by Press Association


Modern slavery laws could be updated to tackle 'sweatshops' amid Boohoo allegations - iNews

The founding fathers and the fexing question of slavery | New York Carib News – NYCaribNews

The date marking the birth of any nation is a cause for celebration.July 4, 2020, marked 244 years since the United States threw off the yoke of British colonization.The victors gathered in Philadelphia not just to celebrate but to write a constitution that institutionalized the democratic process.

The constitution reflected the historical period and included sacrosanct rights such as the Bill of Rights that has withstood the test of time.That would include freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, the right to due process, and certain stipulations that were reserved for the states in the federal system.

The original constitution defined African Americans and indigenous Americans as three-fifths of a man.Only white men with property were given the right to vote.Property-less whites were initially excluded from the political process.

Many of the founding fathers were slaveholders like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.Slavery was more widespread in the South but merchants in the Northern States were engaged in the slave trade as they owned many of the ships that transported Africans in the onerous Middle Passage.

Not every African who was captured made it to the Caribbean or to the United States.W.E.B. DuBois in his research estimated that millions of Africans died during the horrendous conditions during the Middle Passage, the voyage from West Africa to the New World.

Thomas Jefferson who served as Ambassador to France and as President of the United States had a long-lasting relationship with a female slave, Sally Hemmings, who became the mother of Jeffersons offsprings.Jefferson was not just a founding father but the author of the Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal.

At the time of Americas independence and the writing of the constitution, not much of any discussion dealt with the contradiction of slavery and the notion of equality.

The crop that buoyed production in the West Indies was sugar and in the United States, the crop essential to early capital accumulation was cotton and less so, tobacco.

Dr. Eric Williams, the historian and former Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago wrote the classic, Capitalism, and Slavery.

Williams thesis is that abolition that took effect in the Caribbean in 1833 had nothing to do with just humanistic efforts in the Mother country but was propelled that the capitalist developmental process which needed slavery in the early stages of capital accumulation, slavery was indispensable but as capitalism moved from mercantilism to industrial capitalism, free labor was necessary for further expansion.

Slavery became an impediment to the further development of capitalism in Britain and thus emancipation synchronized not with the weakened planter class but with the political hegemony of burgeoning capital industrialists.

In the case of the United States where industrial capitalism was concentrated in northern states, northern capitalists were willing to co-exist or look the other way on the question of slavery.Where the tension boiled over is on the question as to whether slavery would be allowed to expand to the western region and thus diminish the political influence of Northern states and expand the power of the slave states.

This contradiction of plantation slave labor and industrial capitalism with the need for free labor began exploding in the middle of the nineteenth century.

There is the saying that the unexamined life is not worth living.Normally this saying applies to individuals but it is also applicable to a nation-state. Often in a nation, extreme nationalism becomes the traditional line of march, and there is an absence of introspection.

Such reflex action of repeating ad nauseum about the greatness of the nation becomes more of a weakness than it is representative of strength. The boasting of American exceptionalism and that America is the greatest nation on the planet thwarts the developmental process.

What the movement Black Lives Matter is communicating not that just all lives matter but it is necessary for America to come to terms with slavery, with Jim Crow, with the Confederacy, and with systemic racism.That kind of intellectual honesty and introspection is essential to making America a coveted city on the hill.

Even after the thirteen amendments were incorporated into the Constitution, conventional historians like Ulrich Bonnell Phillips were writing works making the case that the slave system in America was comprised of the happy darkies.This falsehood was rejected by non-conventional historians like Herbert Aptheker, Eugene Genovese, Herbert Gutman, W.E.B. DuBois, and John Hope Franklin.

Slavery is by its very nature a vicious, exploitative, and malicious system.Despite its undemocratic nature, the sons and daughters of the confederacy were willing to wage a Civil War to preserve such an evil way of life.

Over 600,000 lives were lost in the bloody civil war yet when the remnants of the Confederacy were allowed back into the Union the Federal Government looked askance and allowed them to establish a system of racial dehumanization.

The Trump administration in celebrating Americas independence defines patriotism and the love of America in the most simplistic way possible.Even more frightening in celebration of 244 years of independence the focus was not on the humanity of the American people but on the arsenal of advanced weaponry that as a country we have assembled.

Trump engaged in typical intellectual dishonesty and defined the Black Lives Matter Movement as constituting folks who do not love America.

We have arrived at a momentous moment in American history that entails Truth and Reconciliation. There are times when a nation must fight in wars but a nation has to be mindful that it does not develop a praetorian culture that glorifies death and war and is oblivious to health care and a runaway pandemic as we are experiencing in the United States.

The country cannot deny the prevalence of systemic racism and police brutality.This entails intellectual honesty not the perpetuation of mythology.The country must learn from the Movement Black Lives Matter and put behind us the worst aspects of frontier capitalism.

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The founding fathers and the fexing question of slavery | New York Carib News - NYCaribNews

Leicester: Up to 10,000 could be victims of modern slavery in textile factories – Sky News

As many as 10,000 people could be working in slave-like conditions in textile factories in Leicester.

Leicestershire MP Andrew Bridgen has told Sky News a "conspiracy of silence" has allowed factories in the city to continue to exploit workers over many years.

"You've got a systemic failure of all the protections in Leicester that would prevent this from happening," Mr Bridgen said.

"I've estimated it's around 10,000 individuals who are effectively in modern slavery providing garments for internet retailers."

The claim comes on the same day a report based on police records found that across Britain there are at least 100,000 slaves.

The study by the Centre for Social Justice think-tank and the anti-slavery charity Justice and Care claims the issue is likely to intensify in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

A spike in COVID-19 cases in Leicester that led to the first local lockdown has drawn attention to the city and claims of widespread exploitation.

Leicester City Council estimates there are around 1,500 textile factories across the city.

Most are small businesses - workshops housed in crumbling buildings that are in desperate need of repair.

Smashed windows are patched up with cardboard. Fabric is draped so it's impossible to see inside.

For decades there have been claims some factories pay workers well below 8.72 per hour, the national minimum wage.

The government's Health and Safety Executive is investigating allegations some factories forced people to work in unsafe conditions during lockdown.

"The internet retailers have flourished during the COVID crisis because their competition has been shut down. So we've seen a huge extra demand for the products," said Mr Bridgen.

Many of the factories lie within the Leicester East constituency of MP Claudia Webbe.

She says she has been contacted by anonymous workers who are too scared to speak out publicly because many are in the country illegally.

"Machinists are being paid 3 an hour, packers are being paid 2 an hour. That is what seems to be the standard," she said.

Outside one factory a worker who asked not to be named told Sky News she is paid between 5 and 6 an hour.

"Very little money" she said, in broken English.

Immigration officers patrol the streets outside the factories and a multi-agency investigation is under way.

Many feel it is long overdue.

When asked if claims of widespread exploitation in the city are an "open secret", deputy mayor Adam Clarke replied: "You call it an open secret. It's just open.

"There are doubtless workplaces in the city that are unsuitable.

"We've been aware of this for a very long time and have been working with enforcement agencies to try to ensure that there is effective regulation enforcement.

"The network of agencies that have responsibilities is just too complex.

"There are just too many organisations, HMRC [HM Revenue & Customs], the GLAA [Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority], the HSE [Health and Safety Executive] and others have enforcement responsibilities. There needs to be one enforcement body and that needs to be set up as quickly as possible.

"This is a systemic issue that is borne out of poor regulation, poor legislation and exploitation at every level.

"You have to ask yourself who actually has the power to change this? And that buck stops with government."

A Home Office spokesperson said: "We take all allegations of modern slavery extremely seriously and are determined to ensure ruthless criminals who exploit vulnerable people face the full force of the law.

"The National Crime Agency and others are looking into the appalling allegations about sweatshops in Leicester and the home secretary has been clear that anyone profiting from slave labour will have nowhere to hide."

Immigration vans patrol the streets. The atmosphere is tense.Becky Johnson, Midlands correspondent

On East Park Road in Leicester among a row of shops, cafes, a bank and a police station stands the imposing Imperial Typewriter building.

At first glance it looks like a run-down relic of a bygone era.

But as you walk into the courtyard behind the building, it's like entering a land that time has forgotten.

Many of the windows have been smashed and patched up from the inside with cardboard. Fabric is draped across any windows that still have panes of glass. It's impossible to see in.

There's rubbish everywhere. The fact it's raining doesn't help.

Some people appear on a staircase, only to see me and run back inside.

There are several doors into the building, each with multiple names of clothing manufacturers above them.

I venture through one of the doorways and find myself on a rickety metal staircase.

I go up several floors before I find a door to knock on. When a man answers and I tell him I'm from Sky News he doesn't want to talk to me.

Other doorways lead to a maze of corridors. It's not clear which doorway belongs to which business.

It's the same story at the other factory buildings.

People are on edge as soon as they see we have a TV camera. They start to film us on their phones.

"The workers are all frightened," a delivery driver told me.

When I try to ask workers what they're paid, most simply reply that they don't speak English.

A Home Office immigration van patrols the streets. A police officer in plain clothes and an inspector from the city council leave a factory. The atmosphere is tense.

A man stops me and tells me he has information for me, then darts a look over his shoulder, sees something and runs off.

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Leicester: Up to 10,000 could be victims of modern slavery in textile factories - Sky News

Anti-slavery authority updates on Leicester textile trade investigation with more factory visits are planned – Leicestershire Live

The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority says it has found no evidence of modern slavery in visits it has made to Leicester textile firms in the past week.

The Government anti-slavery agency is one of the bodies investigating conditions in some of the 1,000 plus garment manufacturers in the city.

It follows reports that some workers in the trade were being exploited and paid as little as 3.50 an hour - below the minimum wage.

In a statement, the GLAA said it has been working to ensure that regulations are being followed in factories in Leicester during the coronavirus pandemic.

A spokesperson said: It follows concerns about how some businesses in the city have been operating before and during the localised lockdown introduced by the government at the end of June.

Multi-agency visits involving officers from the GLAA, Leicestershire Police, Leicester City Council, National Crime Agency, Health and Safety Executive, Leicestershire Fire and Rescue and Immigration Enforcement have been carried out over the last week.

Officers from the different agencies spoke to business owners and workers to discuss concerns and provide advice around how protect workplaces from the risk of coronavirus.

Further visits will be carried out in the coming weeks.

The GLAA said no enforcement has been used during the visits and officers have not at this stage identified any offences under the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

The HSE has however said it issued an improvement notice to a factory that was found not to working in Covid-secure conditions and is investigating two others.

GLAA Head of Enforcement Ian Waterfield said: We are committed to working with partners to ensure that workers in Leicester are safe during the coronavirus pandemic and are not having their employment rights eroded or abused.

Allegations of labour exploitation are something we take extremely seriously and we will continue to take appropriate action to safeguard potentially vulnerable workers.

We would also encourage the public to be aware of the signs of labour exploitation and report their concerns to us, by calling our intelligence team on 0800 4320804 or emailing .

Management at the Boohoo fashion giant have said they are grateful to the Sunday Times for highlighting alleged sweatshop conditions at a Leicester factory apparently making items for it.

The Manchester-based online retailer has been hit by suggestions that suppliers to it in Leicester were paying workers below the minimum wage - and making staff work through the lockdown.


Anti-slavery authority updates on Leicester textile trade investigation with more factory visits are planned - Leicestershire Live

Faith: Visions of peace – Lifestyle – The Intelligencer

Leaders like Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi embodied compelling visions of peaceful progress.

On Independence Day last weekend, we celebrated the unification of 13 former British colonies into an independent and sovereign nation.

The fateful moment is enshrined in a document, the July 4, 1776, Declaration of Independence.

This was a transcendent vision, a dream worthy of risking everything to achieve: Government by consent of those governed. It would take years to evolve the details and enshrine them in our national Constitution, and that quest has never ended.

As our nation matured, amendments and a body of interpretive law have documented the ongoing realization of that vision. In service of our vision we ended slavery, gave women the vote, and banned segregation. And were not done yet.

Great leaders come to embody transcendent vision. This week we celebrate Nelson Mandela. We credit him with leading South Africa out of apartheid. He was a man of character, conscience, and big ideas.

His life was one of service to humanity. He sought to bring people together, to find constructive solutions, to make peace. His power was not grounded in fear of his strength; he did not "speak softly and carry a big stick." He was not physically imposing. But he had vision and courage.

Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. also embodied compelling visions of peaceful progress. Their vision, like Mandelas, rallied millions to rise up in non-violent rebellion against things as they were. The dream of things as they could be inspired individuals to place themselves in harms way to make real the dream of freedom, dignity, equality and peace.

Newtowns Edward Hicks, a celebrated Quaker, was and is known by his paintings of a vision in which lions and oxen are at peace with each other. The paintings symbolize our aspiration to achieve a world where people no longer prey upon each other, where fear and violence are replaced by loving communities that resolve differences amicably.

Today, we face a deep rift in American society that is an affront to our national vision of equality and justice.

Each of us is confronted by the realization that all Americans do not share equally in the blessings of liberty.

Privilege is accorded to those who are raised with wealth, and especially to those who are born of wealthy white parents. As a nation, thats not our dream for America. It doesnt square with the example and teaching of any of our spiritual leaders.

We need to learn to wage peace. Waging peace starts with a vision that transcends our individual need for comfort and inspires us to take personal risks for the greater good. Peace is a neglected vocation. West Point and Annapolis teach the art of waging war, but nowhere do we have great institutions that teach us the arts of peace. Locals may point to Langhornes Peace Center, but you cant go there for professional credentials.

Learning to wage peace requires spiritual self-awareness. Certainly there are peace techniques, tactics and strategies. But these are not what empowered King, Mandela and Gandhi. These leaders possessed an inner guiding light. They acted with dignity and humility. They spoke of and served a vision that overshadowed their personalities a transcendent vision for humanity that called them to take risks and endure hardships.

Now, in these troubled times, each of us is called to examine what matters most and to ask, "What vision of America is bigger than I and more important than my life and my comfort? What social or political norms encumber me? What spiritual insights inspire me?

"How, with divine assistance, can I personally wage peace in service to my vision?"

Richmond Shreve is a member of the Newtown Friends Meeting and lives in Newtown. From a Faith Perspective is a weekly column written by members of local faith communities.

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Faith: Visions of peace - Lifestyle - The Intelligencer

Dropping the Freeholder Title Even as We Continue to Codify Pay Discrimination for Farmworkers – InsiderNJ

When we see an easy consensus under Trentons golden dome it has been my lived experience that more scrutiny is usually required.

Upon closer inspection, such a call to action may reflect the desire to ride the wave of change rather than actually doing something that might be radical but necessary. The open-ended need for campaign cash to ensure incumbency acts as a throttle for just how fast real reform is permitted to proceed.

And, so it is with the call by Governor Phil Murphy, Senate Majority Leader Stephen Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin to change the title of County Freeholder to County Commissioner. It was floated amidst the Black Lives Matter moment and a national pandemic that is killing people of color at a shockingly disproportionate rate.

This bit of window dressing will be a windfall for sign painters, graphic designers and auto detailers in all 21 counties but wont address the accelerating wealth inequality we are experiencing amidst a further notice public health crisis without precedent.

Theres no doubt that by being the state that hung on to the Freeholder term the longest, we betrayed just how entrenched white male property owner supremacy has always been in our politics.

But the Freeholder nomenclature is the least of it. It stuck for so long because protecting wealth and its privilege were the core function of our state for so long.

New Jersey was at best ambivalent about slavery, voting along with Mississippi, Kentucky, and Delaware to initially reject the 13th amendment abolishing the institution.

We only signed off after Lincoln was dead and the Civil War was over in 1866. (Delaware waited until 1901.)

While New Jerseys great white men of the 19th century were reluctant to hurt slave owners bottom line, they also wanted to make sure creditors could enforce their terms with the full force of the law including depriving debtors of their liberty, no matter how small the debt.

As historian Peter J. Coleman notes in his seminal accountDebtors and Creditors in America the state saw itself as the essential enforcer for all creditors.

By 1829 one New Jersey prison held five times as many debtors as criminals, and of the 117 prisoners in the Belvidere and Flemington prisons, about a quarter owed less than five dollars and more than half had been in custody for over thirty days, Coleman writes.

According to the Boston Prison Discipline Society, the incidence of imprisonment for debt was higher in New Jersey than in any other state, and prisoners were commonly held in filthy and neglected conditions for the most trifling of debts.

Into the 20th century, the State of New Jerseys energetic promotion of corporations over the public interest prompted Lincoln Steffens, one of the original muckrakers, to call us the traitor state.

While other states attempted to push back on the corrupting influence of big money that defined the Gilded Age and made anti-labor abuses of the Robber Barons possible, it was New Jersey that granted them legal sanctuary to avoid accountability through the proliferation of trusts.

EVERY loyal citizen of the United States owes New Jersey a grudge, wrote Stephens in McClure Magazine in 1905. The state is corrupt; so are certain other states.But this state doubly betrays us. Jersey has been bought and sold both at home and abroad; the state is owned and governed today by a syndicate representing capitalists of Newark, Philadelphia, New York, London, and Amsterdam.

He continued. The offense which commands our special attention, however, and lifts this state into national distinction, is this: New Jersey is selling out the rest of us. New Jersey charters the trustsAnd the point to fix in mind at present is that when, a few years ago, the American people were disposed to take up deliberately and solve intelligently the common great trust problem, New Jersey, for one, sold to the corporations a general law which was a general license to grow, combine, and overwhelm as they would, not in Jersey alone, but anywhere in the United States.

To this very day, our state carries forward racially discriminatory policies that disadvantage workers of color to the benefit of corporations, even as our elected leaders describes themselves as progressives.

Consider New Jerseys minimum wage increase passed last year with great fanfare. It included a two-tier track where agricultural workers pay was permitted to lag behind most other non-farm employees who would see $15 in 2024. For farmworkers, that happy day does not come until 2027.

This discriminatory abuse of farmworkers can be traced back to President Franklin Roosevelts need to win southern votes for his New Deal by exempting farmworkers from the Fair Labor Standards Act which lifted so many other workers out poverty.

According to New Jerseys Department of Labor website, twenty years into the 21st century, New Jerseys farmworkers are still not entitled to overtime.

As the essential workforce, including farmworkers and their families, face the ongoing threat from COVID19, the practice of continuing such regulatory exemptions must end.

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Dropping the Freeholder Title Even as We Continue to Codify Pay Discrimination for Farmworkers - InsiderNJ

Leicester lockdown unveils the truth about its fast fashion industry – Euronews

Fast fashion and a lockdown boom in online ordering has exacerbated poor working conditions at a UK factory and could have helped fuel a local spike in COVID-19 cases, it has been claimed.

The organisation Labour Behind The Label (LBTL) says a company which supplies online retail giant Boohoo has been found to be exploiting workers, paying illegal wages and failing to safeguard its employees against COVID-19.

Workers told Euronews that the factories have not been made COVID safe: "it was as normal as before [coronavirus]. No gloves, no masks, no social distance, nothing at all," says Nick Sakhizadah, a textile factory worker.

During an interview with our correspondent, some of the factory owners attempted to intimidate Sakhizadah and the other workers for "telling the truth", which he says is part of the problem.

Colin Whyatt, regional organiser for trade union GMB in Leicester, believes around two thousand factories employ illegal workers which he says could mean tens of thousands of illegal employees who are vulnerable to trafficking and modern slavery.

Whyatt added that at an ethical trade conference he attended four years ago, auditors admitted to turning a blind eye to these poor conditions because of a loss in revenue if the factory was forced to close.

Leicester East MP Claudia Webbe told Euronews that the government could have stepped in earlier. She says: "I just wonder, if this was a different community whether help would have been provided much sooner so that workers weren't exploited in this way".

The campaign group say Boohoo accounts for 80 per cent of Leicester's capacity and they have for years set garment producers in competition against each other to drive prices down.

LBTL found a very recent order from Boohoo for 1 million pairs of cycling shorts to be produced in Leicester for 1.80 per pair (unit) including packaging, labelling, factory overheads, labour costs and delivery. These shorts have been reportedly sold on Boohoo and its sister site Pretty Little thing for between 3-10.

At the same time, Sakhizadah says he has been paid considerably less than minimum wage during lockdown. He says: "I'm working for free and taking this big risk".

Megan Lewis from LBTL says: "Brands like Boohoo make a huge profit by pushing prices as low as they can, and this is why they have allowed the situation to go on like this.

She adds: "For too long, brands have distanced themselves from their suppliers, when they know that exploitation is an inevitable outcome from their poor purchasing practices demanding low prices and fast production times.

Susan Harris, Director of Legal Services at GMB, says it is not compulsory for an employer to admit a trade union into the premises. In addition, Harris says there is often mistrust and a reluctance from workers in this industry to join a trade union:

If people were encouraged to join unions, if we had the right to visit workplaces and have access to workers to question if there was any failure by the employer to comply with legislation - whether that relates to Health and Safety, wages etc - then this type of exploitation would be reduced or eliminated.

Data from the campaign group details that around a third (33.6%) of workers in Leicester's garment industry are born outside of the UK and most of the workers come from minority backgrounds.

Workers who are not born in the UK are more vulnerable to abuse and exploitation due to their immigration status or language skills.

"If people don't know their rights, they don't know that they can complain or know how to complain. And if you then factor into that lack of knowledge with the fact that many of these workers will not have English as their mother tongue then the conditions exist for unscrupulous people to exploit workers," outlines Harris.

We need better legislation and regulation within the industry and the government must step up to make these changes," says Lewis from LBTL. "The government must also take responsibility for the wider economic and racial inequalities that leave workers vulnerable to such exploitative labour."

LBTL are now calling on Boohoo to commit to transparency and to take more responsibility of their supply chain.

"Boohoo must commit to paying living wages for all workers in their supply chain and crucially, they should commit to supply chain transparency. Other brands have published lists of factories and workshops where their clothes are made, and Boohoo must do this too.

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Leicester lockdown unveils the truth about its fast fashion industry - Euronews

What Does July 4th Mean To Me? | The Crusader Newspaper Group – The Chicago Cusader

By Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.

America celebrates July 4, 1776 annually in the name of a tea-dumping party but leaves Black folks uninvited to the party.We dont see our history or ourselves in the celebration.

No, we can come to the nations Capital and enjoy the music and pageantry on the Mall.But America leaves us out of our history because of the big lie of white supremacy and Black inferiority. The idea that whites are the host and Blacks are the parasites still lives in the psyche of many whites and is present at the celebrations even today.Theres nothing on July 4, as currently celebrated, that speaks to our history or presence during this day.

Slavery was a worldwide phenomenon. The year 1772 was a watershed of sorts in the history of slavery.It could be called the beginning of slaverys end, because the legal framework upon which it was based began to crumble in England with the landmark decision inSomerset v. Stewart.

James Somerset was a slave bought in Virginia by Charles Stewart, a Scots merchant and customs official with quite close Chesapeake ties.Stewart left Virginia for England in 1768, taking Somerset with him.In 1771, Somerset took his leave of Stewart and refused to return to a state of permanent servitude.He was soon arrested and imprisoned, but his case was taken up by Granville Sharp, an inveterate opponent to the institution of slavery as antithetical to the British constitution and English common law.

In a decision handed down by William Murray, (Baron later Earl) of Mansfield and Chief Justice of the Court of Kings Bench, the court narrowly held that a master could not seize a slave in England and detain him preparatory to sending him out of the realm to be sold and thathabeas corpuswas a constitutional right available to slaves to forestall such seizure, deportation and sale because they were not chattel, or mere property, they were servants and thus persons invested with certain (but certainly limited) constitutional protections.

Although Mansfield took great care to phrase his holding in such a way that it could not be used for a broader precedent in determining the legal status of slaves or their rights, it was widely perceived quite differently on both sides of the Atlantic. Many, including many slaves, understood Somerset to have effectively abolished slavery in England (Somerset himself believed so).Its impact was profound in the American colonies as some slaves invoked it to seek their own freedom.

In America, by July 4, 1776 African Americans had been here since 1619, already in slavery for 157 years.The international slave trade and our free labor had made cotton king and America rich. What made Britain determined to hold on to its American colonies was the profitability of the slave trade and the free labor of Black slaves in the production and harvesting of cotton, tobacco, rice and indigo.

As we reflect back, for us the American Revolution of 1776 only meant that our lack of humanity would be denied for another 75 years after ratification of the Constitution by Rhode Island on May 29, 1790 and 85 years until the 13thAmendment ending slavery was ratified on December 18, 1865.

After the 1776 revolution and the failure of the Articles of Confederation to form a strong enough central government, in 1787 the Founding Fathers came together in the Philadelphia Convention and were wrestling with many governing issues, including what to do with the slaves and the slave states in their new U.S. Constitution.They came up with three compromises: (1) the North was significantly outnumbered in the southern slave states in population so the South proposed to count their slaves as three-fifths of a person for purposes of congressional representation in the U.S. House to better balance their lack of congressional power; (2) they agreed to continue the international slave trade for another 20 years until 1808; and (3) they continued to augment southern slave power in the slave-holding states by creating the Electoral College to elect our president.

In 1820, the Missouri Compromise occurred admitting the slave state of Missouri and the free state of Maine simultaneously in order to keep the free-and slave-state balance of power in the U.S. Senate and, except for Missouri, prohibited slavery above the Mason-Dixon line.

In 1822, an educated and skilled carpenter in Charleston, South Carolina, Denmark Vesey, was accused of plotting a slave revolt the rising for July 14, but whites discovered it and executed him on July 2.

Rev. Nat Turner destroyed the idea that slaves were content with their status by leading a slave rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia in 1831 that killed more than 50 whites and took two months to put down.

The Compromise of 1850 following the Mexican-American War temporarily settled the issue of the spread of slavery westward into the newly acquired Texas territory by using the idea of popular sovereignty, possibly delaying the start of the Civil War.It also included a strengthened northern hated Fugitive Slave Law, allowing slave owners to hire bounty hunters to track down escaped slaves and return them to their southern masters.

Frederick Douglass gave his speech, What Does Your 4thOf July Mean To Me, on July 5, 1852 in Rochester, New York, where Douglass had made his home after escaping from slavery and becoming the pre-eminent anti-slavery spokesman of his day.Douglasss condemnation of slavery was brutal and unsparing.

Hisspeech was just two years before Sen. Stephen Douglas introduced the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act around the idea of popular sovereignty, allowing settlers to decide whether slavery would exist in a new state, and that rekindled Abraham Lincolns interest in politics. The Kansas-Nebraska Act also led to the 1854 founding of an anti-slavery Republican Party in Ripon, Wisconsin; it was five years before theDred Scottdecision denied Black citizenship and said we had no rights a white must respect. The speech eventually led to the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates in the Illinois senate race; it was given seven years before the 1859 John Brown Raid at the Harpers Ferry munitions plant to give guns to slaves to fight for their freedom; eight years before Lincoln was elected the first Republican president; and just nine years before the start of the Civil War in 1861 after the secession from the Union of 11 Confederate states.

Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation as a propaganda piece on January 1, 1863 freeing the slaves and allowing him to enlist Colored Troops to fight the Confederates and change the course of the war; the Civil War was followed by three Reconstruction Amendments, the 13th, 14thand 15th; the compromise of 1877 removed federal troops from the South leaving the freedmen unprotected. An 1896Plessy v. Fergusondecision established 58 years of apartheid; aBrowndecision in 1954 that ended legal apartheid; and a Civil Rights Movement that delivered a 1964 Public Accommodations Act, a 1965 Voting Rights Act and a 1968 Open Housing Act.

Even today the coronavirus has exposed African American lifethat we are dying the most because we have the most pre-existing conditions of diabetes, heart and lung disease, obesity and more, making us more vulnerable; that we have many of the most essential, but lowest paying jobs as workers at senior homes, as ambulance, bus, cab, Uber and Lyft drivers, meat packers and chicken processors; and we are the people most in need but without health insurance.

The protestors are saying, what is your Independence Day to me when I can have a knee put on my neck and lynched in public view with the camera rolling like George Floyd, shot in my bed like Breonna Taylor, shot in the back like Rayshard Brooks or shot by extra judicial racist forces like Ahmaud Arbery.

I cant celebrate a day when the Black unemployment rate, even in good economic times, is twice that of whites. Its hard to celebrate public inner-city schools filled with Black, brown and poor white students who arede factomore segregated today than in 1954 when Brownwas decided, because whites moved to the suburbs and took their taxes and jobs with them.Its hard to celebrate when you cant afford the rent because the minimum wage has been $7.25 for over a decade or a bank wont give you the same home loan they give to a white with similar income and credit.

But I see hope on the horizon. Never has the cause of Black Lives Matter and equality for African Americans been so widespread with whites, Hispanics, Asians and Native Americans marching in the streets together for justice.Removing the Confederate statues and military base names and the names of people like Woodrow Wilson from buildingswhose white race supremacy views are offensivegives me hope.

It has become increasingly clear that Blacks are not the bottom of the economy in America; were the essential foundationof the nations economic strength.

I look forward to a 4thof July when Blacks, too, can celebrate the riches and all the benefits of our 400 years of labor.

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What Does July 4th Mean To Me? | The Crusader Newspaper Group - The Chicago Cusader

ASI exposed to Boohoo slavery investigation via ethical funds – Portfolio Adviser

Updated: ASI divests from Boohoo with damning assessment of its response to slavery investigation

An Aberdeen Standard Investments fund that invests in UK companies with good employment practices is one of four responsible investment products that hold Boohoo, which now is under investigation for slavery in its supply chain.

Boohoos shares dropped 13.9% by midday Monday after The Times revealed over the weekend that UK workers were paid as little as 3.50 an hour to make clothes destined for the fast fashion business. The minimum wage in the UK for people over 25 is 8.72.

The National Crime Agency is now investigating modern slavery in the Leicester factories involved at the direction of the home secretary.

It is not the first time substandard working conditions have been exposed among Boohoos factory workers with a Channel 4 investigation in 2017 revealing similar findings.

See also: A global systemic issue: the risks of modern slavery

Boohoo is the largest holding in Lesley Duncans ASI UK Impact Employment Opportunities fund, which has an objective to investment in companies that promote and implement good employment opportunities and practices.

It represents 3.4% of the portfolio, according to FE Fundinfo. The IA All Companies fund launched in February 2018.

Several other Aberdeen Standard funds with broader responsible investment mandates also invest in the company: the ASI UK Ethical Equity fund, also run by Duncan (pictured), has a 4.7% allocation and the ASI UK Responsible Equity fund has 3.6%.

The Premier Ethical fund also has a 3% allocation to Boohoo, according to FE Fundinfo.

The ASI allocations come despite the fact Standard Life Aberdeen stated in its modern slavery statement that it could drive change by taking environmental, social and governance factors into consideration when investing.

An Aberdeen Standard Investments spokesperson said the business had been engaging with Boohoo on its supply chain management for some time and would be speaking to management in light of the slavery allegations to understand what action they are taking in response.

We continue to monitor the appropriateness of all the holdings in our values-led funds on an ongoing basis, the spokesperson said.

Premier Miton said it had been in contact with Boohoo and will assess their response.

See also: Will investors call time on fast fashion?

But the responsible investments are not the funds with the largest holdings.

The Merian UK Mid Cap fund has a 12.5% weighting while the Quilter Investors Equity 1 fund, also run by Merian, holds 11.2%. Merian UK Dynamic Equity holds 10.7%.

A Jupiter spokesperson, speaking on behalf of the Merian funds, said the company had done site visits to several of Boohoos UK suppliers and had been engaging with the company over supply chain management. We have been given strong assurances by management that any suppliers found to be in breach of the companys strict code of conduct will be terminated immediately and we will continue to engage with the firm regarding this situation.

Both Jupiters and Premier Mitons modern slavery and human trafficking statements focus on their own supply chain with no mention of the companies they invest in and therefore deem themselves low risk.

The Global Slavery Index, which Jupiter uses to determines the countries, goods and services most at risk of being involved in slavery, states 136,000 people in the UK suffer under modern day slavery.

See also: Investors lose patience over slavery in supply chains

By Jessica Tasman-Jones, 6 Jul 20

Read this article:

ASI exposed to Boohoo slavery investigation via ethical funds - Portfolio Adviser

Saira Khan: It’s time to stop the dreadful slavery to 3.50-an-hour fashion – Mirror Online

The way we conduct ourselves and treat others has been thrown into sharp focus recently, due to the coronavirus and the Black Lives Matter movement.

So when you hear of vulnerable people being exploited in order to line the pockets of billionaires, it makes you sick to the core.

There were allegations this week that workers in garment factories that supply fashion chain Boohoo were being forced to come into work while sick with Covid-19.

Claims also emerged that they are paid as little as 3.50 per hour, and work in squalid and dire conditions.

It all came to light when Leicester was singled out to stay in lockdown because of a recent spike in Covid-19 cases.

The outbreak seems to be concentrated around the citys clothing manufacturing centre, where it is claimed many of the factories and workshops failed to properly shut down during national lockdown.

Local councillor Mustafa Malik said: Certainly, there are factories that abided by the regulations, but there were some which were just breaching all those rules.

Thulsi Narayanasamy, a labour rights researcher, investigated conditions in Leicester earlier this year and noted: Ive been inside garment factories in Bangladesh, China and Sri Lanka, and I can honestly say that what I saw in the middle of the UK was worse than anything Ive witnessed overseas.

Im particularly enraged by the fact that the majority of workers in this industry are of BAME backgrounds the most vulnerable to Covid-19.

They often live in multi-generational homes, so can easily pass on the virus to their loved ones, some of whom will have underlying health issues.

Campaign group Labour Behind the Label focused a recent report on Boohoos influence in Leicester, where 75-80 per cent of its garments are reportedly produced.

It is a national disgrace that vulnerable people are being paid less than the minimum wage while business owners such as Boohoos Mahmud Kamani and Carol Kane have become billionaires by selling cheap fast fashion.

Ordinary people in the UK do not want to be associated with brands that ignore the welfare of workers and this was clearly demonstrated when 2billion was wiped off Boohoos value.

Thats what you get if you put profits before values.

Read more:

Saira Khan: It's time to stop the dreadful slavery to 3.50-an-hour fashion - Mirror Online

‘We don’t want words, we want action’: Black student activists call for ‘a comprehensive culture shift’ at the University – University of Virginia The…

Editor's Note: This article is part of a series by The Cavalier Daily exploring a list of demands submitted to President Jim Ryans racial equity task force by a group of Black student activists and also a separate list of demands published by the Black Student Alliance. The full series of articles is linked below.

After gathering over 1,900 signatures from University community members and 180 signatures from student organizations on an initial draft of a letter and list of demands to be sent to University President Jim Ryan, a group of predominantly Black student activists submitted a revised statement and list of demands June 12 to the new racial equity task force recently formed by Ryan.

The group of students had initially published their statement and list of demands June 1 in response to a statement released May 31 by Ryan addressing nationwide protests in response to the murder of George Floyd and police brutality. In their response, the students expressed disappointment towards Ryans initial statement and called upon him and the University to not be complacent when it comes to fighting against systemic racism and inequality, which the University regularly fails to do.

Ryans initial statement released May 31 was met with criticism from community members for what they saw as its failure to sufficiently address the underlying causes of ongoing national protests. Ryan subsequently released a follow-up statement June 3 in which he recognized his previous statement as having been inadequate and announced the formation of a new racial equity task force assembled to address the growing list of recommendations, suggestions and demands regarding the subject of racial equity at the University. Based upon their findings, the group will present to Ryan in August a concrete and prioritized set of recommendations about the best steps forward, including actions that can be implemented right away.

The students list of demands is divided into 13 short-term, mid-term and long-term goals, including the following four mid-term goals and two long-term goals upon which have been elaborated.


Replace the current implicit bias module offered to incoming students with a new module focused on the history of U.Va.:

In fall 2017, the University implemented a requirement for all first-years to take upon arriving on Grounds an implicit bias module, designed to make students aware of their own subconscious biases and prejudices. However, the student authors of the petition argue that the module is insufficient.

Frankly, from interacting with non-people of color on campus and white folks, I dont think that the [implicit bias training] is enough, said Sarandon Elliot, a rising fourth-year College student and one of the letters authors.

In lieu of the implicit bias module, the students call for complete engaging modules that present a nuanced detailing of the history of racism at U.Va. and that are focused on the macro and micro levels of racism as it pertains to systemic racism at the University and beyond.

In their list of demands, BSA also included the [expansion of] current curriculum and increase[d] funding of initiatives committed to combating racism.

Provide comprehensive anti-racism training for all residential advisors, senior advisors and Housing and Residence Life staff members:

The students call for not only the implementation of reading requirements for Housing and Residence Life staff members but also training for residential advisors to lead group discussions on cultural competencies and implicit biases. Furthermore, the students urge the Universitys administration and the Housing and Residential Life leadership to work to increase the amount of [Black, Indigenous, and People of Color] residential advisors and senior advisors on Grounds.

Currently, approximately 43 percent of residential advisors identify as white, 16 percent as Black, 18 percent as Asian American and 9 percent as Latinx. Among senior advisors, 44 percent identify as white, 12 percent as Black, 28 percent as Asian American and 4 percent as Latinx.

Elliot described how the University environment can be so overwhelming for Black students in particular.

The last place you want to feel like youre being judged or that you cant talk to anyone is when you go back to your dorm your home, she said. I think it would be really important for Black students to see another Black or Brown face and be like, I feel like I can speak to them about any issues I have.

Provide required, comprehensive programming at New Student Orientation regarding the Universitys history of slavery and racial injustice:

The students call upon the University to provide a comprehensive program to incoming first-year students known as Unpacking Privilege that would act as a crash course for students before later completing a more in-depth module on race and the University as highlighted in a previous demand.

Although the students recognize efforts made to make orientation the best experience possible, the students also argue that orientation programming is currently lacking dialogue of race and racism in order to gain a better understanding of place. The recommended curriculum for the crash course includes three sessions revolving around the history of slavery at the University, systemic racism and privilege.

I think that one of the biggest things with history is that it can be used as either a teaching tool or propaganda, [such as with] Confederate monuments, Elliot said. I think its really important to tackle [history] honestly.

New Student Orientation sessions for incoming first-year and transfer students will be conducted online, and programming will occur throughout July.

Among the Orientation Leaders working this summer, approximately 32 percent identify as Black, 24 percent as Asian American, 22 percent as white, 7 percent as Latinx and 5 percent as multiracial.

According to an email statement to The Cavalier Daily from Sarah Dodge, assistant director for Orientation and New Student Programs, their team take[s] a critical eye to [their] program each year and assesses how they have accomplished outcomes aligned with their three core principles of discovery, development, and diversity.

We acknowledge that context matters and that the individual stories of new students and their experiences matter, Dodge said. As an office we work to amplify the voices and stories of our new students. We aim to create an environment where new students can engage across differences and share their perspectives with one another.

Create more professorships, fellowships, and tenure-track opportunities for Black faculty entering the University and endow the Carter G. Woodson Institute, specifically the Fellowship program, and expand the Institute to occupy all of Minor Hall:

With regards to the number of Black faculty members at the University and resources for classes focused on Black politics and history, the two separate demands call for the University to increase the number of full-time, tenured Black faculty in all schools and for the establishment of an endowment for the Department of African American and African Studies, the Carter G. Woodson Institute.

As of 2019, there are 108 African American faculty members across all schools at the University, or about 3.7 percent of all faculty members. While the number of African American faculty members has increased in the past decade, their overall representation among all University faculty has only grown from about 3.5 percent in 2009 to 3.7 percent in 2019. While the University does not release specific data regarding the number of African American faculty members with tenure, people of color made up about 26 percent of all tenure and tenure-track faculty in 2019 as compared to 20 percent in 2015.

Amidst claims of potential racial bias and inconsistencies in the process, Assistant Curry School Professor Paul Harris was denied his chance at achieving tenure this past spring by the Curry School Tenure and Promotion Committee a decision which Harris, who is Black, appealed but was also denied by University Provost Liz Magill.

The students also ask for additional course opportunities for undergraduate students relating to the history of Black activism and Black politics at the University. During the fall semester, the University currently plans on offering about three dozen courses across several academic departments relating to a variety of historical, social and political topics relevant to African American and African studies.

For the Woodson Institute specifically, the students call for the establishment of an endowment as means of securing long term and consistent funding for the department and its endeavors, adding that similar endowments have already been created for other departments at the University such as the Department of Politics and the School of Music.

With regards to the physical space in which the Woodson Institute is housed currently occupying several office spaces in Minor Hall the students ask that the department be given the entirety of Minor Hall to better accommodate more space for additional faculty, fellowships, and professors.

The Institutes Pre and Post-11 doctoral Fellowship programs have produced over a hundred scholars who have gone on to be employed in many prominent institutions throughout the country, the demand reads. Thus, the Woodson Institute is a crucial source for the training and distribution of Africana Studies The current political climate has exposed the underlying presence of systemic racism and injustice worldwide. Therefore, now, more than ever, there is an increasing need for students to be equipped to facilitate conversations regarding race.

Elliot said that symbolic initiatives by the University to recognize its racist history such as the recently-completed Memorial to Enslaved Laborers are insufficient in addressing deeper, systemic racial disparities.

I think that U.Va. in particular has been trying to deal with their legacy of slavery on campus and the effects of it, Elliot said. When you look at higher ed in general, why is it that there are [fewer] Black and Brown professors? Its because of the legacy of slavery, its because of the legacy of Jim Crow its all built up on one another.

She added that current University leaders must take a meaningful role in addressing the current impacts of this legacy by actively supporting Black students.

Jim Ryan and the administration can build all the fancy monuments they want, but until they recognize that this is our legacy, and this is how we still continue to play into it today [through] not hiring Black faculty or not giving Black students voices and places to be creative and express themselves, [theyre] not supporting the Black community, and theyre a part of the problem, Elliot said.

The BSA statement also reiterates the longstanding demand for increasing funding for the Woodson Institute and African American and Afrian studies and programs at the University more broadly, including dramatic increases in Black, full-time faculty at the University that is at least proportional to the approximately six percent of Black students that currently make up the University population.

Established in 1981, the Woodson Institute achieved department status in the fall of 2017 after years of advocacy from members of the institute. At the time, Prof. Deborah McDowell, director of the Woodson Institute and Alice Griffin Professor of English, said she hoped that institutes new status would allow it to receive a greater budget allocation from the University to fund a graduate program and fellowships. By the fall of 2018, the institute had hired two new faculty members and observed substantial increases in enrollment for classes offered in the department. At that time, 56 students had declared a major in the department.

In 2018, the Woodson Institute had an annual budget of $1,378,442 and by 2020, it has grown to nearly $1.7 million a roughly 23 percent increase. By comparison, two other academic departments in the College that tend to offer classes relating to historical, social and political topics relevant to race relations and African American and African studies the Department of Sociology and the Department of History received $3,126,830 and $4,929,779 in 2018, respectively. In 2020, the History Department budget has grown by roughly seven percent to $5,284,480, while the Sociology Departments budget has increased by two percent to $3,174,784. For the 2019-2020 academic year, the College had a combined total of $381,435,265 at its disposal for covering its expenses.

Across the three departments, there were 66 tenure-track and general faculty members in August of 2017, increasing to 82 positions by August of 2019. In 2017, 11 of these individuals identified as Black of African American, increasing to 14 in 2020. It is unclear how many of these individuals have full-time tenured positions.

Prof. McDowell did not respond to requests for comment for this article.


Require all students to take a course on race and ethnic relations in America as a requirement to graduate throughout the University

The students argue that the incorporation of anti-racist teachings into University-wide curriculum requirements is fundamental to transforming the overall embodiment of the Universitys values because of the Universitys history and relationships with enslavement and Confederate values.

The students recommend the courses should be modeled after existing race and ethnic relations courses to avoid politicizing the content.

A lot of people at this school...dont know how race functions, and they dont know how to get uncomfortable about talking about race, said Lauren Cochran, a rising third-year Batten and College student and one of the demand authors. You really have to make sure that these people are educated before they graduate on race and ethnic relations.

With the Universitys transition to the New College Curriculum, most incoming first-year College students in the fall of 2020 will be required to take one two-credit course in each of the four Engagements, one of which is entitled Engaging Differences. According to information provided on the Colleges website, through the Engaging Differences courses, students can expect to consider how we encounter one another across social boundaries, perform and express our differences, clash, develop prejudices and construct forms of discrimination.

The other schools of the University do not have similar requirements for a course with an explicit focus on addressing prejudice and discrimination.

Cochran highlighted how students in all professions will encounter people of different races and therefore everyone should know what a microaggression or other acts of prejudice and discrimination might look like.

Scholarship programs specifically for students who are descendants of enslaved laborers who built the University and surrounding Charlottesville community:

Among the recommendations included in the Presidents Commission on Slavery and the Universitys 2018 report presented to then-President Teresa Sullivan was the creation of African American scholarship programs. The Commission asserted that, despite being barred by a 4th Circuit Court decision from using race as a factor in admissions, the University should still make a visible commitment to increasing the number of African American students who enroll.

In their statement, the students stressed that the University should not only contact already known descendants of enslaved laborers at the University to inform them of scholarship opportunities but also continue to seek out records of unknown descendants in order to inform them of the scholarship opportunities as well.

According to Elliot, this particular demand is significant because of the historical obstacles to education that Black people have faced in the wake of slavery and the Jim Crow era.

It wasnt until the summer of 1950 that the first Black student matriculated at the University. Gregory Swanson, a graduate of Howard Law School, applied to take graduate school law courses at the University but was denied. Swanson sued the University, and his case was successfully appealed in the US Circuit Court of Appeals thanks to the help of NAACP lawyers Thurgood Marshall and Charles Houston.

Swanson dropped out in 1951, but in June 1953, Walter Ridley received a doctorate degree from the Universitys school of education, and one month later, E. Louise Stokes-Hunter became the second Black person and first Black woman to earn a degree at the University, also receiving a doctorate in education. In 1959, Engineering student Robert Bland became the first Black undergraduate student to earn a degree at the University.

To Elliot, creating scholarship programs for the descendants of enslaved laborers who built the University and were not paid for their labor is the least we can do for folks.

They never got those reparations, Elliot said. Their ancestors never got a paycheck. They couldnt send their kids to school.

With regards to shifting the broader culture at the University, Elliot emphasized that the students work on their statement and list of demands is a continuation of work done by previous students at the University.

People have been fighting this fight long before us, like BSA and Living Wage [Campaign], and I think there is still so much work to be done, Elliot said. Sometimes I feel like progress at U.Va. is almost like a facade, like were not really getting to the root issues of things.We dont want words. We want action.

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'We don't want words, we want action': Black student activists call for 'a comprehensive culture shift' at the University - University of Virginia The...

How to dismantle an entire nation in 12 easy steps – The Herald-News

Whether or not you believe in making America great again, it's pretty clear right now that things, they ain't so great.

From a sputtering economy to burgeoning racial unrest, from a spiking pandemic (if you believe in that sort of thing) to a worsening climate (ditto), from our present-day divisiveness to our uncertain future, one can only wonder: how did it come to this?

The mess we're in now didn't start this year. And, believe it or not, it didn't start four years ago. No, today we're reaping a harvest of problems that have been swept under the rug for decades, if not centuries. And that rug is falling apart.

It took a long time to build up this country. Yet our efforts to tear it apart seem to be moving at a much faster pace. So how, you may wonder, does one destroy America? Here, then, is a primer on how to dismantle a nation in 12 easy steps:

Create the greatest country the world has ever known, but compromise on one key issue: slavery. And then allow the injustice that springs from that decision to continue to haunt the nation for the next two-and-half centuries.

Create a country built on tired, poor huddled masses yearning to breathe free, a system which works pretty well for the first 100 or so years, then spend the next 100 or so trying to figure out how to close the barn door a bit, and, finally, the last four unable to find a compromise between opening it up completely to let everyone in and building a wall across it to keep everyone out.

Defeat Germany and Japan in World War II. Then rebuild their countries. Keep South Korea from being overrun by the North. Then rebuild their country. Bolster up South Vietnam with billions in arms, material and cash. Then lose the entire investment. Invade Iraq. Then rebuild their country. Invade Afghanistan. Then spend the next 19 years rebuilding and policing their country. All this over the course of 75 years, while our own infrastructure slowly falls apart.

Allow more and more of the nation's wealth to trickle into the pockets of fewer and fewer people. Then establish laws to make sure it stays there. Put more and more of a tax burden on the middle class, forcing it to blame either the entitled rich or entitlements to the poor for its ever-diminishing slice of the American pie.

Cut pay and benefits of workers in the private sector to a minimum, all while compensating CEOs at a rate nearly 300 times higher than the wage of an average employee even when that company is losing money, downsizing or going bankrupt.

Create fabulous pay and benefits for workers in the public sector, along with mathematically unsustainable pension packages that will enable them to retire years earlier than their private-sector counterparts. Have circuit and state supreme court judges (who draw pensions from those same plans) uphold them as constitutionally inviolate.

Raise children to take great pride in their own uniqueness, but neglect to teach them humility. Shelter them from competition while praising them for mere participation. Above all, provide them with instant gratification for all their wants and needs. And then wonder why they turn on you when they become adults.

Ignore or ridicule any scientific explanation of how the increase in temperature, pollution and population is affecting the environment. Downplay this current pandemic thing as nothing more than the common flu. Dismiss mask wearing and social distancing as unpatriotic and stupid.

Create a culture of divisiveness that highlights only the differences between men and women, old and young, right and left, black and white, straight and gay and any other category that can be exploited. Dismiss the concept of "one nation, one people" as another relic of our failed past.

Judge those who came before us by today's standards without fully understanding their challenges. Rewrite the past without reading history. Preserve myths that are blatantly false. Condemn those who shouldn't be condemned; defend those who shouldn't be defended.

Allow political activity to be dominated by fringe elements from the far right and far left, and force the rest of the country to choose between one or the other. Label all Republicans as fascists and all Democrats as communists. Discourage any interaction between the two camps. Dismiss compromise as weakness.

Finally, utilize the greatest advances in history technologies raising science, medicine and communication to unimaginable heights merely to spread lies, rumors and cat videos via cell phone.

And it's those damn cat videos that will finally do us in.

Bill Wimbiscus is a former reporter and editor at The Herald-News.

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How to dismantle an entire nation in 12 easy steps - The Herald-News

Seven ways to help garment workers – The Guardian

Garment workers around the world experience low wages and exploitation. This is nothing new, but Jessica Simor QC, a barrister at Matrix chambers who has worked extensively on issues of fair pay and human rights in fashion, says: Covid has thrown a much brighter light on the inequity of the whole system. [It] has exposed the incredible imbalance between the worker, the factory owner and the retailer the biggest force lying with the retailer.

The Covid-19 pandemic has created fresh injustices. Throughout lockdown, garment workers in countries such as Bangladesh, Cambodia and Vietnam have faced destitution and starvation as big-name fashion retailers have cancelled 20bn in orders. A lot of these fast fashion companies have pulled contracts where fabric has been ordered, received, cut and sewn, said Raakhi Shah, CEO of the Circle, at an emergency panel the not-for-proft organisation held this week on fast fashion and slavery. The brands havent fulfilled their side of the agreement. And these thousands of garment workers have been left destitute.

In Leicester, where exploitation has been known about for years, the context of the coronavirus has refocused attention on garment workers forced to work throughout lockdown, despite high levels of infection.

It is easy to feel helpless but, says Shah: There are lots of ways that you can make a difference around this.

Speaking of whether change is possible to what, at times, seems an intractable problem, the Circles founder, Annie Lennox (formerly the Eurythmics frontwoman), dialling in from Los Angeles, said: Its like climbing a mountain, its not going to be overnight, but it is possible.

Some things, such as donating to funds for garment workers facing destitution, can make an immediate difference. Others involve collective action and require longer term, structural change.

Throughout the pandemic, organisations such as the Clean Clothes Campaign, Labour Behind the Label and Remake have put pressure on brands to pay factories for cancelled orders. Some brands have paid, some have refused to pay and some, according to the environmental journalist Lucy Siegle, who chaired the panel, are saying that they have, [but] they havent quite in the way that we need them to, for instance delaying payments or paying for parts of orders but not others.

Expecting factories to foot this bill when factories dont necessarily have any accumulated wealth is outrageous, says Siegle.

The Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) has created a tracker to show which brands have paid in full and which havent. It gets its intelligence from factories and workers, says Siegle, and is a good way to put pressure on those companies that have yet to pay up. Primark, for instance, according to WRC, pledged to pay for about $460m in orders it had previously cancelled, but did not, however, disclose what percentage of its total unpaid commitments this figure represents. C&A, which reinstated some orders after initially cancelling them, is delaying delivery and payment for as long as a year on some of the orders it has nominally reinstated.

Individual action needs to feed into structural reform, says Siegle, who suggests people should join Labour Behind the Label or support the Clean Clothes Campaign. She also advises emailing brands to call on them to pay up. Remake has a #PayUp petition calling on brands to pay suppliers, in full and in a timely manner, for all orders that were paused or cancelled because of the pandemic each time the petition is signed, executives from the brands who have not paid receive an email notification.

The Circle launched a fund, called The Women and Girls Solidarity Fund, which is supporting female garment workers 80% of the workforce are women at the start of lockdown. These women are often the sole breadwinners for their families and the fund provides them with emergency food packages and supplies such as face masks and soap.

Just 20 buys a food parcel and they have already managed to help thousands of families. While Shah calls the Circles emergency fund a sticking plaster in the short term, it is vital, given that, without it, many garment workers might have faced starvation.

Remake also has a number of funds it has set up to allow people to donate to garment workers in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Los Angeles.

Time and again fast fashion brands defend their actions by saying its what the consumer wants. Shah says those with purchasing power should be at the forefront now.

One way to disrupt the system is by voting with your wallet. Speaking at the panel, Livia Firth, the founder of Eco-Age, says consumers actions can send a strong message. Only by slowing down will we send a very strong signal that we are not going on like we have for the last 20 years. Lets show them that the consumer doesnt want it.

Siegle, though, believes the situation has gone beyond advising people how to shop more responsibly: This is an emergency, she says. She thinks individuals should question their stance. Whether its about warehouse staff in the UK or garment workers in Bangladesh or Leicester, its about who you stand with. A lot of people are so loyal to brands and are always giving them the benefit of the doubt. [The brands] are not going to change. Go and stand alongside the garment workers and warehouse staff, the workers in Leicester who have been denied union representation for years, not just now.

She says people need to be more informed: If you usually spend a portion of your day on social media looking at clothes on Pretty Little Thing or Boohoo, could you devote some of that time to reading the Clean Clothes campaign liveblog and might that cause a liberation and cognitive shift?

The long-term work needs to be on structural reform and holding these brands and retailers to account, says Siegle.

She advises going back and reading reports, from those by the Circle on the living wage to the Environmental Audit Committees 2019 report Fixing Fashion, none of the recommendations of which, including a suggested 1p per garment levy to tackle fast fashion, were taken up. Why werent those recommendations taken up? asks Siegle. We need to demand that they are.

Referring to Leicester, she says: These are illegal working practices and you have a right to contact your MP and call for a transparent inquiry into working practices around fast fashion companies.

Simors concern now is that criminal proceedings follow holding those responsible who should be held responsible. She is concerned that the victims will be further victimised and we will end up with the victims suffering more because it is quite possible that a number of them were here unlawfully, were trafficked or were asylum seekers. It is important, she says, that we keep an eye on this story.

What has happened in Leicester is shocking, and there are hopes that the reaction to the exploitation of workers there may have some positive knock-on effects for how we react to abuses of those working in the garment industry around the world.

Its always a bit shocking when this race to the bottom happens in our context, says Firth. We always consider the lives of people close to us more precious than the lives of those in far away countries.

As Siegle puts it: Even out your response to it. It might sound obvious, but its about having the same outrage for what is happening to those making clothes for fast fashion in Cambodia or Pakistan as those in Leicester.

Simor wants us to take note of the use by Priti Patel of the word slavery in reference to exploitation in Leicester. It is extremely important, she says, that the home secretary has used the word slavery about these practices. If the home secretary is willing to recognise this as slavery in Leicester, then the question arises as to how this can be acceptable anywhere in the world? Thats something that has to be challenged and we have to take ministers on.

Obviously, UK laws apply in Leicester, but in other countries where garments are being produced for consumers in the west, the UK has no jurisdiction. But, says Simor: We need corporate responsibility to extend to where products are made. We have to somehow come up with some kind of controls within our jurisdiction that have an impact on those other jurisdictions.

She cites cases of the EU legislating for actions and inactions outside of the EU, such as those involving conflict diamonds, data breaches, bribery and even the food supply chain.

Most of those areas are simply concerned with money or data and what were saying is theres no reason you cant extend those ideas and principles to human beings, she says. While she is working on a project to develop law that takes some of the ideas from those bits of legislation and apply them to wage laws, EU law isnt necessarily something individuals can have an impact on.

What individual action needs to do, says Siegle, is feed into structural reform its the same as climate. For starters, we can be more aware: Its great if someone wants to inform themselves and if they want to become a barrister, that would be great!

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Seven ways to help garment workers - The Guardian

Take It Down!: Symbolic Politics Is Just That – Common Dreams

At this moment faculty, students, and administrators at our universities are busily meeting to discuss the renaming of buildings. At Emory in Atlanta, there is a call to rename Longstreet Means residence hall. The case against the name is this: Augustus Longstreet fought for the confederacy and Alexander Means supported the confederacy and wrote about his familys slaves in his journals. William & Mary has begun a working group of administrators, alumni, students, faculty and staff to develop principles on the naming and renaming of buildings, spaces and structures on campus. While these are new efforts emerging in the wake the murder of George Floyd and the protests that followed, they are also part of an ongoing effort by universities to address the sins of the past.

In 2011 Emory made a very public apology for the universitys ties to slavery. Emory regrets both this undeniable wrong and the universitys decades of delay in acknowledging slaverys harmful legacy, then-President James Wagner said. In 2015 William & Mary worked in earnest to remove the most visible manifestations and iconography of the Confederacy from campus. Every version of the argument for redressing faults in the past takes a similar form (in President Wagners words): society must admit its mistakes [in the past] so it can deal with future challenges. Emory, Wagner says, must live by those words as well.

Emory and William & Mary are anything but unique in this ongoing process of atonement. Statues are coming down across the United States and in Europe. Christopher Columbus, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, the Confederate War Memorial in Dallas, Silent Sam in Chapel Hill have all come down, confederate flags are no longer welcome at state capitols and sporting events. To this we say: good riddance.

Perhaps more disturbing is the fact that students at the University of Wisconsin are calling for the removal of the Abraham Lincoln statue on the Madison campus. Not only did Lincoln lead the United States in a civil war against southern traitors and their slave economy, but the statue was paid for in part by freedmen, a celebratory dedication to a hero. At this moment, debate is swirling around the fate of a statue in Washington, DC. The statue depicts Lincoln holding a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation. Kneeling at his feet is an unshackled black man. This week the Boston arts commission voted unanimously to remove a replica of the statue that stands in the Boston Common. What is the argument against the sculpture? Some say it diminishes the agency of black people in securing their own liberation. Others suggest it promotes white supremacy. Like the Lincoln statue in Madison, the Boston and DC statues were paid for by donations from freed slaves. When the statue was unveiled in 1876, Frederick Douglass delivered his most famous speech, the Oration delivered on the occasion of the unveiling of the Freedmens Monument. And if the Freedmens Monument is up for destruction, what do we do about Douglass himself? It was Douglass who, on his travels to Ireland to meet with the great abolitionist Daniel OConnell, came to the conclusion that the main cause of the extreme poverty and beggary devastating Ireland during the potato famine was Drunkenness. Even Douglass repeated the colonial powers racist rationale for dominating and starving a colonized people. If our monuments are memorials to moral purity, then our streets may end up very clean.

From the sublime heights of statue iconoclasm, to the more mundane business of commodity rebranding, name changes are under way for some commodity icons including Aunt Jemima, Uncle Bens, Cream of Wheat, Mrs. Butterworths. All of these products are in the process of a rebrandand of course a new rolloutin light of their dubious racial associations. Consider as well the fact that several Realtor groups are dropping the master bedroom and bathroom terms from their listings, and the owners of a popular Jewish deli will implement new training and have changed bagel names that referred to Black athletes and musicians on the menu.

No doubt every moment of protest and unrest is accompanied by confusion and mistakes as well as progress and success. Some of these actions are a long time in coming and bring about positive changes. Others, less so. But what we want to address here is the fact that all of them are politics in the symbolic register. Consider, for instance, the logic of Wagners claim; it is basic to every version of the naming controversy: society must admit its mistakes so it can deal with future challenges.The thought is right, but the logic is unclear.

We are inevitably invited to read it as saying white people must admit to their racist past and to their current (unconscious or institutionally supported) racist actions. The implicit claim that slavery is motivated by racism and that the problem is that white people have not taken responsibility for it.Whom does this mea culpa serve? Since virtually everyone in the audience for this statement, and those in support of renaming efforts, is certainly antislavery and antiracist (however imperfectly), there is a real danger that the aim of these efforts is to bask in our own disapproval of the past, to broadcast our superiority to past racists, while leaving unaddressed exploitation occurring in the present. This formulation misidentifies the historical wrong by substituting racism for slavery. It likewise substitutes whiteness, an ascriptive category, for slaveholding, which is an activity. Both moves render the actual historical wrong harder to see. What ends does this confusion serve?

"A symbolic politics has meaning of a certain kind, but no urgency.Scrubbing ignominious names off buildings is progress, but whatever symbolic efficacy it holds should not displace the immediate aim of confronting the exploitation that occurs within and around the walls of our newly named buildings."While the renaming campaign goes forward it might also be worth asking a few questions about actually existing minorities (so to speak)rather than the long dead racistsat our universities:Were your custodial and food-service staff paid a living wage before COVID?Did they receive good healthcare? And job protections? Were they paid throughout the shutdown?Will cleaning crews be supplied proper PPE, and a living wage, as they clean our classrooms every day? Did contingent faculty lose salary and healthcare to protect an endowment (or because an endowment was so heavily invested in risky, illiquid funds that the university suddenly experienced a cashflow problem)?These are the questions that determine who gets to put food on the table and whether the way they do it is fair to them and conducive to general wellbeing.

Adolph Reed Jr. reflected on the last round of monument controversy as it swept through his hometown of New Orleans. Reed was happy to see confederate monuments come down, but as he also observed, removing them is ultimately a rearguard undertaking and one entirely compatible with the dominant neoliberal ideal of social and racial justice. As in that earlier moment, so it is today that antiracist activists believe that struggle over symbolic residues of an obnoxious past can fuel or condense challenges to inequalities in the present. But if the aim is to address inequalities in the present, Reed writes, then it cant be the case that white supremacy was the problem. Rather, the monuments [themselves] were about legitimizing a social order by displacing its political-economic foundation and imperatives onto a celebratory narrative of white racial-cultural heritage. That being the case, then the antiracist critics todaythe ones in charge of the destruction and renaming processaccept that [legitimizing] narrative, that orders ideological halo, on its own terms and demand only that its nonwhite victims and opponents be acknowledged and celebrated instead in the interest of righting past wrongs at the level of symbolic recognition.


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The question were asking here is what kind of work is renaming doing and supposed to do? What aspects of racism and discrimination is it addressing, what does it exclude, and what do these controversies aim to exclude? Black people remain disproportionately exposed to the worst of capitalisms exploitation, so the real question going forward is will there be further exploitation or will there be fair labor practices?A symbolic politics has meaning of a certain kind, but no urgency.Scrubbing ignominious names off buildings is progress, but whatever symbolic efficacy it holds should not displace the immediate aim of confronting the exploitation that occurs within and around the walls of our newly named buildings.

What does symbolic politics distract us from? In spring 2010, students at Emory began raising concerns about contract labor, roughly 10 percent of the universitys total nonacademic workforce, while part-time employment is around 20 percent. In response, a Committee on Class and Labor was convened to study labor issues at the school. In its Report and Recommendations, the committee concludes that the challenge is to find ways to honor positive dimensions of class differencessuch as increased diversity of experience and backgroundwhile minimizing their inappropriate and unjust impact on the quality of our work life together. What could they possibly mean by positive dimensions of class difference? They can only mean what we think they mean: poverty is an identity, being rich is an identity, vive la diffrence. The point about class differenceversus race, gender, cultureis to get rid of it, not to celebrate it. But the report assumes class difference is intractable and recommends we combat an attitude rather than exploitation, focus on an identity rather than our policies.

When we turn to Appendix D, class difference is once again about money. There, employee compensation is broken out into segmentsminimum, maximum, and the deciles that separate the two. (Executive administrators are palpably absent from the data.) The weighted average minimum compensation figure is $23,510. The first decile is $26,246. A comparison between each segment and the Atlanta labor market follows, which shows that, while Emory stacks up against the local economy better the higher up the compensation scale one travels, it is roughly equivalent to the local labor market.

The problem is that Atlanta is the current and perennial champion of income inequality in the United States. Atlanta scored a Gini coefficient of 0.57 in 2018. A Gini coefficient of 0.0 indicates a perfectly even distribution of income; a 1.0 indicates a perfectly uneven distribution. The U.S. as a whole scored a 0.38 in the same year. Norway received a 0.25. Atlanta came in right between Namibias 0.55 and South Africas 0.58, among the countries studied the number one and number two most unequal countries in the world. To assuage fears that youre exploiting your workers by pointing to your parity with the wider Atlanta labor market is a sordid strategy. It is quite literally to reassure those protesting workers unfair compensation by saying its every bit as just as South African labor, and nearly as good as Namibian.

A few years after the 2013 study was submitted, the university reported on IRS forms 990 compensation paid to its vice president of investments and chief investment officer, Mary Cahill, of $1,750,936 (fiscal year 2016) and $3,300,143 (fiscal year 2017, which includes severance and other compensation in excess of base pay and bonuses). Assuming that the compensation of the least well-paid workers at Emory remained roughly flat between the report and fiscal year 2016, Cahills compensation was about 74 times that of the lowest paid workers. In 2017, the year of her windfall, its more like 140 times.

What came of the Committee on Class and Labors report? Its hard to say. It arose from students concerns about contract laborspecifically concerning the food-service contractor Sodexo. Sodexo was removed and replaced in 2015 by Bon Apptit Management Company. So how do things stand now under the new regime? Under Sodexo, with their historic commitments to union-busting and low wages, full-time workers still typically received 40 hours and overtime. Under Bon Apptit, as one cook described the new situation, They cut you off at 37 or 38 hoursthey make sure nobody works overtime. Bon Apptit management seemed to confirm the new reality. According to their communications director, while the company tries to give its full-time employees 40 hours per week, it must also focus on balancing the needs of our business. The general manager at the dining hall described the reduced hours as an effort to provide staff with a sustainable lifestyle. According to Bon Apptits mission statement, they aim to provide sustainable foods, a mission that is apparently made possible by the enforcement of a sustainable lifestyle among their employees on the floor. A healthy lifestyle that does not include benefits, overtime, or a living wage.

Sean Connelly, CEO of ConAgra, the company that owns the Mrs. Butterworths brand, one of the consumer products undergoing a precipitous rebranding campaign, made about $14.4 million in 2019, which is about 550 times what a laborer at ConAgra makes. Thats much worse than Cahills multiple of 140, but its the same order of magnitude. Of course, if we wanted to calculate the multiple using the compensation of a Bon Apptit worker, the task would be of a different kind. Apparently, even the Bon Apptit worker doesnt know what the months wage will be.

Why do we bring up these facts and figures? Because they describe a problem to which our symbolic politics offers not a solution but an alternative. No one had to protest to convince Connelly that Mrs. Butterworths needed a rebrand. Whoever made that decision understood it was about selling a product, and not about improving the lives of its employees.

No one can right the wrongs perpetrated in the past. At best, we can revise the way we represent our relation to them. What we can set right is the injustice committed here and now.

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Take It Down!: Symbolic Politics Is Just That - Common Dreams

UK clothing unit with Indian workers faces slavery probe – The Tribune

London, July 5

A clothing factory named Jaswal Fashions based in the eastern England city of Leicester faces a modern slavery investigation after an undercover reporter alleged sweatshop-like conditions and below minimum wage payments to its workers, many of them from India.

According to The Sunday Times, its undercover reporter found that workers were being paid as little as 3.50 pounds an hour as against the UKs legal minimum wage of 8.72 pounds an hour and was also operating last week during the localised coronavirus lockdown imposed on the city.

Wont tolerate labour exploitation

The allegations are truly appalling. I will not tolerate sick criminals forcing innocent people into slave labour and a life of exploitation. Let this be a warning to those who are exploiting people in sweatshops. Priti Patel, UK Home Secretary

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel described the allegations as truly appalling and commended the undercover investigation for its role in uncovering such abhorrent practices. I will not tolerate sick criminals forcing innocent people into slave labour and a life of exploitation, said Patel. Let this be a warning to those who are exploiting people in sweatshops like these for their own commercial gain. This is just the start. What you are doing is illegal, it will not be tolerated and we are coming after you, she said. Last week, the senior Cabinet minister had directed the UKs National Crime Agency (NCA) to investigate modern slavery allegations in Leicesters clothing factories after alarm was raised that they were a key source of the spike in coronavirus infections in the region, which led to Englands first localised Covid-19 lockdown for the city.

Within the last few days NCA officers, along with Leicestershire police and other partner agencies, attended a number of business premises in the Leicester area to assess concerns of modern slavery and human trafficking, the NCA said, which is looking into the undercover reports.

The newspapers undercover reporter spent two days at Jaswal Fashions, a factory which supplies garments to one of Britains fastest-growing online retailer Boohoo. PTI

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UK clothing unit with Indian workers faces slavery probe - The Tribune

Reparations must be made for the toxic legacy of West Indian slavery – The National

UNDER the rubric of Black Lives Matter (UK limited) it is time that the objective of the discourse and movement is swiftly moved on from felling statues and begins to confront the political, moral and historical consequences of the terrible reality of West Indian enslavement.

Caricom, the 20-member association of Caribbean states (all but two, Haiti and Suriname, were former British colonial territories) have since 2104 submitted a 10-point reparations programme to the EU and specifically the UK Government.

Before laying out the details of the Caricom document that needs much greater popular support, allow me to indulge my personal/political reflections.

My partner of 40 years from Barbados can trace her mothers family back to enslavement (but not yet to Africa), all of whom either as chattle-slaves or low-wage labour worked the land on a Drax plantation in St John, Barbados. The Drax family, through James Drax, was the first to introduce chattel African enslavement in 1650 in Drax Hall, Barbados.

READ MORE:Gerry Hassan: A Scottish Border or a Great Divide?

His brother William established a huge slave property in Jamaica, again Drax Hall, while Henry Drax (an 18th-century MP for Dorset) established the St John plantation. The Drax family had a keen interest in protecting the West Indian plantocracy with a very long line of members of parliament. Indeed Richard Drax currently sits on the family seat in Dorset as a backbench Tory member. Some statues live.

Barbados is per capita one of the worlds centres for diabetic amputations after centuries of harmful diets of heavily imported salted fish, starches and sugar. My partners mother, a wonderful woman who after years of night school left the fields, lost half a leg (below the knee) and her left foot. Aunt Shirl went blind and lost both legs. The grandmother who helped raise my wife was wheelchair-bound for more than 30 years. My partner, with hypertension, had a triple bypass three years ago and my eldest son is already a diabetic. I want to expose these details so that when the 10-point declaration is raised, in which the Caribbean public health crisis is brought up, be assured black lives do matter.

Point five of the Caricom Reparation Commission declaration states: The African descended population in the Caribbean has the highest incidence in the world of chronic diseases in the forms of hypertension and type two diabetes. This pandemic is the direct result of the nutritional experience, physical and emotional brutality, and overall stress profiles associated with slavery, genocide, and apartheid.

Over 10 million Africans were imported into the Caribbean during 200 years of slavery. At the end of slavery in the late 19th century less than two million remained. The chronic health condition of Caribbean blacks now constitutes the greatest financial risk to sustainability in the region. Arresting this pandemic requires the injection of science, technology, and capital beyond the capacity of the region.

There is so much more. Below is a summary of the proposals submitted

and asserts that these several actions could constitute crimes against humanity.

The Caricom Reparation Commission asserts that European governments:

l Were owners and traders of enslaved Africans and instructed genocidal actions upon indigenous communities

l Created the legal, financial and fiscal policies necessary for the enslavement of Africans

l Defined and enforced African enslavement and native genocide as in their national interests

l Refused compensation to the enslaved with the ending of their enslavement

l Compensated slave owners at emancipation for the loss of legal property rights in enslaved Africans

l Imposed a further 100 years of racial apartheid upon the emancipated

l Imposed for another 100 years policies designed to perpetuate suffering upon the emancipated and survivors of genocide

l And have refused to acknowledge such crimes or to compensate victims and their descendants.

READ MORE:Revealed: Scottish landowners bid to shoot more birds to save salmon

Some of us may still need reminding of the atrocities and injustices perpetrated in the Caribbean.

When Columbus found the archipelago (and the figures are only for the island chain) there was an estimated 4 million Taino, Carib or Arawak indigenous people . By the time Cromwell sent in his troops in 1665 there were an estimated 2.5 to 3 million (Caricom figures). Today there are less than 30,000 across the 30-plus island archipelago.

Caricom estimates an approximate total of 10 million Africans were imported as enslaved labour in around 200 years. At Emancipation in the 1830s (later in French territories and Cuba) the figure was less than two million. More precise figures for Barbados indicate a total African population of 660,000 (from 1650 -1807) with 84,000 left in 1834. That is genocide in Holocaust dimensions.

This long Caribbean (the sea of the Caribs) chapter in European history with Spain in the vanguard followed by France, England then Scotland, Wales and Ireland joining in plus Denmark, and The Netherlands all have to answer to history and begin the process of healing. Scotland, with a historically long list of around 30 major enslavement investors and another several thousand second-tier participants, will need to address the Caricom concerns.

There are challenges to overcome. Why should we socialise the blame and reparations when it was private gain that lead the charge, supported by pro-enslavement Westminster Governments?

When enslavement has to be compensated in some form, what about shameful imperial commercial activity in other distant parts of the Empire? There is quite a catalogue.

While Scotland seeks its own road to some form of anti-imperialist sovereignty it must come to terms with its own historic commercial imperialism.

Thom Cross


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Reparations must be made for the toxic legacy of West Indian slavery - The National

Mark Andrews on Saturday: There’s no such thing as a free lunch, Rishi – expressandstar.com

We hear a lot about modern slavery these days, but what does it actually mean?

Well, a fly-on-the-wall documentary following police in Derby last week gave a telling insight. The inspector leading a 'multi-agency initiative' appeared to suggest the term applied to anybody paid below the minimum wage. Now that may be wrong and illegal, but it's not slavery as most people understand it.

The officer said anyone charging less than 7 to wash a car was viewed with suspicion. Which I guess means bob-a-job week has gone by the board.

He added that it was difficult making charges stick as many workers were quite content earning 45 a day, and didn't want to put their jobs at risk. So why is this a police matter?

Now I'm sure modern slavery exists, and should be dealt with seriously. But the police surely have more pressing things to do than checking pay rates at car washes.

Which brings us to the officers from Staffordshire Police who, on receiving complaints about unruly behaviour and criminal damage by travellers in Great Wyrley, did they (a) investigate the allegations, and arrest those involved, or (b) escort them to a school playing field in Willenhall where they caused more trouble?

I guess that's what they call 'neighbourhood policing' pass the trouble onto your neighbours up the road.

Like many people, I joined in with the weekly 'Clap for Carers' at the height of the pandemic. But I'm afraid I gave Sunday night's applause to mark the 72nd anniversary of the NHS a miss.

It's one thing showing our appreciation for all the NHS workers who put their lives on the line to help others, as well as all the medical staff and care workers outside the NHS. But standing on your doorstep to applaud the birthday of a government institution? That feels just a little authoritarian, a bit 'Soviet Union' for my tastes. What next cheering the completion of a five-year plan?

Arboricultural genius Rishi Sunak, whose cultivation of The Magic Money Tree has proved more fruitful than anyone could have imagined, has just grown another 1.57 billion to support the arts. Some of this will be handed out to theatres and concert halls, so that they can afford to stay shut.

Great news for Wolverhampton Civic. Just a shame they didn't start it five years ago.

And yes, you did hear that right. The Chancellor really is doling out 10 vouchers to anybody who fancies a cheap meal down the pub. What next? Free champagne flutes at every petrol station? Green Shield stamps?

And there is still the small matter of us supposedly being in the middle of an obesity epidemic.

Of course, none of this is really free, we will all have to pay for it one way or another. Still, Rishi might as well have gone the whole hog. And delivered his 'Summer Statement' in a gold lam suit.

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Mark Andrews on Saturday: There's no such thing as a free lunch, Rishi - expressandstar.com

Images of Hunger and Humiliation: The Memory against Forgetting – The Citizen

The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting. Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting

The images of migrant workers and their plight have receded from our screens; perhaps most of them have already returned to their villages.

Images are transient in the digital world, replaced quickly by other sets of images begging for attention. The images that haunted us were of working families who walked hundreds of kilometres during the sudden nationwide lockdown, haunted by starvation, their belongings carried on their heads, their children walking barefoot or in broken flipflops, the old and sick carried on shoulders.

These images told of the hunger and humiliation they suffered on their long journey, and of the many who died cruel deaths before reaching home. The images are already beginning to be history in public memory.

If the post-pandemic, post-Covid world is to be restructured as inclusive and just, as equitable and empathetic, then the experiences of migrant workers must be saved from receding into history, for the lockdown was not only a tragic experience, it also exposed the nature of the urban economy that thrives on exploiting the labour of informalised workers.

How can the disembodied poor be saved from becoming history? By remembering.

By re-membering who the dispossessed people are, remembering how our lockdown drove them to such despair, remembering what they encountered on their long journey home, and the political and social failures to respond to the crisis, we may be able to build the foundation for a better, and kinder, and equitable, and inclusive, and just world.

The urban informalised economy in India is predominantly worked by an estimated 100 million migrant labourers from rural areas, who work in construction, manufacturing, hospitality, trade, services and sundry other jobs that city-dwellers require.

Without a work contract, health insurance, or any financial, public, or social security to buffer them through a crisis, migrant workers in the informalised sectors of the economy are prone to vulnerability and destitution, as their exodus in the wake of the lockdown showed.

The daily-wage economy is even more precarious within the informalised economy and daily-wage earners are more vulnerable. It is estimated that around 40% of Indian workers earn a daily wage, of as little as 400 or 500 rupees, and women daily wagers earn even less.

The vast majority of migrant workers who come to the cities to earn an income are either farmers with small or marginal landholds, or landless labourers.

What drove millions of workers to undertake the long and arduous journey on foot? The fear of imminent starvation. The basic need for bare survival overtook their fear of the deadly virus. They were placed in a situation where death from lack of food became a more immediate possibility than death from the disease. And if they were to die in any case, as many said, they chose to risk their lives and reach home somehow.

People felt orphaned and abandoned by their employers and governments. A feeling of rejection, non-belonging, hopelessness, betrayal, and sheer despair is palpable when we hear their voices on the videos recorded by journalists.

The pictures are equally haunting: public authorities spraying toxic chemical disinfectants to sanitise these workers; a child asleep on a suitcase while the mother drags it; a child trying to wake his dead mother on a railway platform; scattered rotis on a railway track where a train crushed 16 workers to death; people walking in the dead of night to avoid the scorching sun; people packed inside a cargo carrier.

There are many such images we need to search and remember.

There was a total political failure in responding to the migrant workers crisis. That no one thought about the millions of workers in the cities who would be jobless and stranded points to the absence of the majority of Indians from political decision-making.

Some of them left the cities as soon as the lockdown was declared; others waited for their employers and the government to give them some assurance and help, failing which they set out for their villages.

Meanwhile, the union government was telling the apex court that there were no migrant workers on the roads, even as thousands of them were making the hazardous journey on national highways.

Meanwhile, three state governments - Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh - proposed to change labour laws to make them more amenable to employers.

Uttar Pradesh proposed to suspend for three years the legal protections dealing with wages, working hours, and health and safety measures among others that safeguard the rights of workers, thus reducing the already precarious informalised wage-work to modern slavery.

After 47 days of this, when special trains were organised by the railways to take the migrant workers home, the hassle and expense of booking tickets itself created panic among people, and many had to take loans or sell their belongings to get a ticket home.

The trains went on detours, taking a much longer time to reach their destinations, further exhausting an already weary and hungry people.

It is alleged that the government of Karnataka even cancelled the special trains to keep workers captive for construction industrialists.

Not only did the union and state governments not put any pressure on these industrialists to pay their workers during the lockdown, their proposals to change the labour laws and attempts to keep workers captive revealed a State that was ready to sacrifice the poor for keeping the industries of the rich running.

The police, instead of facilitating the distressed workers, gladly assumed even more authority. Caning ordinary people, making them crawl as punishment, forcing them to travel in vehicles that were carrying dead bodies - there were numerous such stories of police action. The police saw the workers as a menace and dehumanised them.

Along with the political failure, our society failed colossally to respond to this crisis. From tacit support to legitimise government inaction or obduracy, to deflecting the crisis, to complete silence as if this were not an issue that matters, the complicity of the propertied classes was all too apparent.

Our societys indifference, apathy, and hostility were staggering. This cannot be shrugged off only as a lack of moral conscience. It exposed our allegiance to the State and to the neoliberal economy, the two forces responsible for the crisis.

The same people would have responded to a crisis caused by flood or cyclone, because they see these as natures fury but the beneficiaries of a lopsided economic growth propelled by liberalised big business supported by the State chose to turn their eyes away as the edifice on which our riches are based came crumbling down.

This social failure was further exposed by our indulgence in aestheticising, romanticising and glamorising migrant workers.

A picture of a 15 year old girl who cycled 1,200 kilometres from Gurugram to Bihar, carrying her injured father on the pillion, was seen as beautiful. People who undertook long and arduous journeys on foot were saluted and appreciation was showered on them. Their reaching home became a feel-good sight.

It says a lot about people, about a society, that sees aesthetics, romance and glamour in sorrow, cruelty, hunger, and death. It was sheer desperation and willpower that gave these workers the agency, but to appreciate that agency without acknowledging the contexts and reasons is to hide, or worse, approve what led to the crisis.

Millions of informalised workers constituting the workforce in urban economy remain invisible to city-dwellers. The crisis that unfolded during the lockdown exposed an exploitative economy that survives on the cheapened labour of people who leave their villages and a starved agrarian economy to come to the cities in search of work.

If we are to change the structure of exploitation and inequality, the invisibility of migrant workers must be made visible. They did become visible for a short while. We must not push them back into invisibility again.

the great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do. It could scarcely be otherwise, since it is to history that we owe our frames of reference, our identities, and our aspirations. James Baldwin, Unnameable Objects, Unspeakable Crimes

Ranjita Mohanty is a Delhi based sociologist

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Images of Hunger and Humiliation: The Memory against Forgetting - The Citizen

Why Progressives Wage War on History – National Review

Outside Princeton Universitys Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in 2015.(Dominick Reuter/Reuters)Erasing all memory of our founding principles would pave the way for a socialist future.

Princeton Universitys decision to remove the name Woodrow Wilson from its School of Public and International Affairs is a big win for progressive activists, and the implications will extend far beyond the campus.

It hardly surprises me, in todays polarizing environment, that my alma mater caved to pressure from radical progressives. What is surprising, however, is that the school caved now, after resolutely standing against the pressure for so many years.

Five years ago, as part of a broader nationwide effort to rewrite American history, Princeton students mounted a campaign to remove President Woodrow Wilsons name from the school because of his racist views and his efforts to prevent the enrollment of black students. In response, the Board of Trustees formed a committee to review the matter. The following year, the board released a report detailing how to handle President Wilsons legacy.

The 2016 report drew this important conclusion:

The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and Woodrow Wilson College should retain their current names and . . . the University needs to be honest and forthcoming about its history. This requires transparency in recognizing Wilsons failings and shortcomings as well as the visions and achievements that led to the naming of the school and the college in the first place.

How refreshing a recognition that the school should be honest and forthcoming about its history and employ a sophisticated approach to reconciling Wilsons moral failings with his accomplishments for the university.

Princetons own statement tacitly acknowledges the key factor here. It was not the name Woodrow Wilson that was under attack; history itself was the target. As we see across the nation, progressives now use Alinsky tactics on history itself. Saul Alinskys formula of picking a target, freezing it, personalizing it, and finally polarizing it is no longer reserved for living people; historical figures and even episodes in history receive the Alinsky treatment.

Back in 1852, Daniel Webster delivered a speech to the New York Historical Society, on the importance and dignity of history. The dignity of history, he orated, consists in reciting events with truth and accuracy. History is unapologetic in its presentation of facts. History demands that we examine facts and incidents that make us uncomfortable. Such study challenges us, inspires us, and serves as a call to action in our own lives. The progressive pressure campaign is not about progress. Rather, it is an attempt to erase parts of history leftists do not like. This is a slippery slope, as many left-wing activists are even attempting to tear down statues of Abraham Lincoln, the president who ushered in the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing slaves.

History, it turns out, is little concerned with our comfort level.

In the speech, Webster also explained that historys main purpose is to illustrate the general progress of society. History and progress are inextricably linked. History tells the story of progress, and progress is possible by studying history and, in some cases, learning from past mistakes.

What the Princeton incident reminds us of, however, is how little progressives care for progress. They are unable to recognize the progress the university has made, which the school noted in its 2016 report, in rejecting Wilsons racist policies and championing the enrollment of black students. Former first lady, Michelle Obama, a Princeton graduate, frequently cites her experience at Princeton as an empowering opportunity one that was possible only through the schools progress.

How do we celebrate Americas accomplishments if we do not acknowledge where we started?

The Princeton name change is part of a larger movement of destruction. As Americans watch in horror and disbelief while statues, national monuments, and even war memorials are removed and defaced, we are left to wonder: What is the end goal of all of this destruction? When will it stop?

Elihu Yale, an early benefactor of Yale University, actively participated in trading slaves, including purchasing and shipping slaves to the English colony of St. Helena. American universities are littered with this type of racism: William Marsh Rice, the Lowell family of Boston, Thomas Jefferson, and Jesuit priests in Maryland all used the profits derived from slave labor to build some of the most prestigious universities in the country. Will tearing down these institutions achieve progressives goal?

Will changing a colleges name or removing the statue of a Founding Father change a Klansmans deeply held racist beliefs? Will erasing certain books and movies from our public lexicon truly change the hate in someones soul? These changes might appease progressives for now, but their goal is much larger.

In my forthcoming book, The Capitol of Freedom: Restoring American Greatness, I explore this very topic. Progressives are determined to destroy not just statues, but historical memories, because they know American history is incompatible with their goals. Americas founding documents, and even the stories behind the statues in the U.S. Capitol building, tell the story of American greatness and offer a roadmap for us to renew our commitment to our founding principles.

Slavery is a dreadful part of our history. Despite what progressives say, the abolition of slavery occurred because of, not in spite of, our history and foundation. A nation that was formed with liberty as the chief objective of government was on the right path. The 19th century improved what the 18th century got horribly wrong, and the 20th century continued to build upon the 19th centurys advancements. With each century that passes, we move toward a more perfect union. That is progress.

From its founding, our nations history is the story of individual freedom and personal responsibility, with limited government as a means for accomplishing both. Our Constitution simultaneously protects individual liberty and thwarts the progressive agenda. Progressives are constantly frustrated in their attempts to remake America into a socialist and godless society because of our Constitution. Is it any wonder that they devote so much of their energy to undermining, subverting, and circumventing the Constitution?

Progressives know that what can be erased can be replaced. Knocking down statues and removing names of institutions are the necessary first step in reshaping Americas future.

For Americans hoping to stop the progressives destruction, Princeton provides the answer. No, not the Princeton of 2020 with its disappointing decision to abandon Woodrow Wilsons name, but the Princeton of 2016 that recognized the importance of being truthful about our history.

In our fight against the progressive agenda, our history is not only what we seek to protect it is also our primary weapon.

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Why Progressives Wage War on History - National Review