Walmart, Macy’s, Target, Kohl’s, and Hanes Have a Rape Problem

29.06.2011 § Leave a comment

Walmart’s been all over the news this week, in response to the Supreme Court decision that its female employees cannot bring a class action lawsuit against sex discrimination. But as disturbing as Walmart’s record is on discriminating against women working in their stores, there’s another area for major concern that has received little media attention. I’m talking about factories that produces clothes for Walmart stores, where women are controlled through debt bondage and regularly raped.

Walmart’s not the only well-known brand putting tainted clothes from Classic Fashion factories in its stores (although it is the biggest buyer) — Macy’s, Target, Kohl’s, and Hanes all source from the same abusive Jordan factories. An Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights report chronicles a tale of 13 to 18.5 hour workdays, 6 to 7 days a week, for minimal pay and poor living quarters. Thousands of female workers, most immigrants from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, or India, face the threat of deportation if they lose or leave their jobs…

General manager Anil Santha is well known for forcing women to come to his hotel each week, where he rapes them. If they refuse or speak out, he gets them deported. One 21-year-old worker, “Latha,” was raped five or six times by Santha, who she describes as old enough to be her father: “I was in a deeply helpless position because he is such a high-ranking figure in the factory I couldn’t disobey him… I feel so exposed and shameful sharing what he did to me… the things that happened to me. And it wasn’t only me, there were three or four other girls there too. He did this to us in the presence of one another… What is tragic is that more and more girls arrive at the factory fresh and will continue to fall prey to this monster.”

After a massive strike last October, Santha was temporarily removed, but returned to his position within the month.

Charles Kernaghan, the report author, writes in the preface: “We were stunned at how these young Sri Lankan women had been raped and tortured, while sewing clothing for the largest retailer on the face of the earth, Wal-Mart, and for Hanes, the most popular label in the United States.” Walmart claims it inspects factories, but women reported that they always informed the managers beforehand, allowing them to select a few workers to lie about conditions. In their interviews, the women begged, again and again, for somebody to help them.


The supreme court formally refutes the existence of patriarchy: wallmart class-action lawsuit thrown out.

29.06.2011 § Leave a comment

Yall probably heard about the group of women wal-mart workers filing a class-action discrimination lawsuit. well, it was thrown out by the supreme court.

What is interesting is that it refuses to acknowledge that these thousands of allegations of discrimination on the basis of being women are bound together by anything (e.g. The Patriarchy).

Just to be clear, this decision wasn’t about whether or not walmart was guilty of discrimination, but about whether or not the suit could go forward as a class action lawsuit, i.e., if these women could act as a class. 

By a 5-4 vote along ideological lines, the court said there were too many women in too many jobs at Wal-Mart to wrap into one lawsuit.

“Respondents wish to sue for millions of employment decisions at once,” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in the lead opinion for the court in the five votes to four decision supporting the giant retailer. Without some glue holding together the alleged reasons for those decisions, it will be impossible to say that examination of all the class members’ claims will produce a common answer to the crucial discrimination question.”
what a depressing extension of wal-mart’s success in keeping its
workers disorganized. fuck it, of capital’s success in keeping women
disorganized. not surprising that women are the ideal proles for the
ideal capitalist firm (sez forbes). i know this episode should just
get filed under “litigation doesn’t work” but it’s so sad that they’ve
been trying to unionize unsuccessfully for so long that they were
pushed into this legal bullshit, and now pffffffffft

woman walks through market holding severed head of man who tried to rape her

20.06.2011 § Leave a comment

…Covered in blood, she held the head high like a trophy, said police – her way of showing that she had delivered her own kind of justice to her attacker…

According to police officer Ram Bharose, the unnamed 35-year-old woman had sliced off the man’s head with a sickle she had been using to cut grass near her village.

‘She was getting grass for her cattle when the man came up from behind her and tried to sexually assault her,’ said Mr Bharose.

‘In a bid to save her dignity, she turned on him and during a struggle managed to chop off his head with the sickle.

‘We have no doubts about her story because she had bite marks on her neck and cheek when the man tried to take advantage of her sexually.’

So determined was the woman to show that she had beaten off her attacker, who she claimed had been stalking her for three months, that she decided to take his head immediately to the local market.

‘She put the head on parade,’ said Mr Bharose. ‘She walked right through all the crowds who were buying their vegetables, holding the head up high.

‘All her clothes were covered in blood, but as far as she was concerned that didn’t matter. She just wanted to make a point and she definitely succeeded in doing that.

‘Everybody scattered. It was a very terrifying sight.’ Mr Bharose said the woman had no regrets about her actions.

‘We have to follow the letter of the law and although she says she acted in self defence she will probably be charged with culpable homicide,’ said the police officer.

Read more:

Arundhati Roy: “Non-violence is a piece of theatre”; “I am a Maoist sympathizer”

13.06.2011 § Leave a comment

Enjoyable interview with arundhati roy on the adivasi (indian tribal/indigenous peoples) maoist uprisings in india. Roy says some pretty great things:

Guerrillas use violence, generally directed against the police and army, but sometimes causing injury and death to civilians caught in the crossfire. Does she condemn that violence? “I don’t condemn it any more,” she says. “If you’re an adivasi[tribal Indian] living in a forest village and 800 CRP [Central Reserve Police] come and surround your village and start burning it, what are you supposed to do? Are you supposed to go on hunger strike? Can the hungry go on a hunger strike? Non-violence is a piece of theatre. You need an audience. What can you do when you have no audience? People have the right to resist annihilation.”
Her critics label her a Maoist sympathiser. Is she? “I am a Maoist sympathiser,” she says.
But has she sacrificed too much for the struggle – the chance to dance, children, perhaps even her second marriage? “I don’t see any of these things as sacrifices,” she says. “They are positive choices. I feel surrounded by love, by excitement. They are not being done in some martyr-like way. When I was walking through the forest with the comrades, we were laughing all the time.”
anyway you should check it out. it’s a follow-up to her article about her time with the maoist rebels in the forest called “Gandhi, but with guns”

Bahrain medics on trial for treating protesters

13.06.2011 § Leave a comment

Video HERE.

Bahrain has begun the trials of 48 medical professionals accused of attempting to topple the monarchy.

Those on trial include some of the country’s top surgeons, accused of supporting weeks of pro-democracy protests in the country.

It is the latest trial at a special security tribunal set up by Bahrain’s rulers amid a far-reaching crackdown in the kingdom, which is home to the US Navy’s 5th Fleet.

Human rights organisations have condemned the trials, saying the staff are being hounded for treating hundreds of wounded protesters.

36 hour General Strike in Bangladesh brings Arsons, ‘Anarchy’

13.06.2011 § Leave a comment

At least seven buses and two other vehicles were torched in Dhaka on the eve of the BNP-Jamaat’s 36-hour countrywide hartal. Pickets also ransacked several vehicles…

Tofazzal Hossain, officer-in-charge of Motijheel Police Station, said a group of youths set fire to a staff bus of Bangladesh Bank near Culvert Road around 1:30pm while pickets set fire to a bus near Shapla Chattar around 2:30pm.

Ramna police said unidentified people set fire to a bus at Shantinagar around 3:35pm.

Four others were torched in Badda, Mirpur and Bakshibazar in the night. An auto rickshaw was set ablaze on Bijoy Sarani around 8:45pm.

No casualties were reported.

Meanwhile, in an unprecedented measure, mobile courts sentenced at least 52 pickets to imprisonment between one and three months for obstructing police in their duty and damaging property in the city.

Additional Deputy Commissioner Masudur Rahman of Dhaka Metropolitan Police said 16 pickets were given three-month imprisonment each in Ramna area…

Addressing a press briefing at party’s central office in the capital, BNP acting Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir alleged that over 100 opposition men were arrested until yesterday afternoon. He claimed that police started raiding homes of BNP men across the country.

He warned the government of reprisal if it tries to suppress opposition men during hartal.

Inspector General of Police Hassan Mahmood Khandaker told journalists that police have been directed to take tough actions against people creating anarchy during hartal.

Meanwhile, Dhaka Sarak Paribahan Samity in an emergency meeting decided to run buses in the capital and its adjacent areas during the hartal. Leaders of the association in a press release criticised the opposition for calling for another hartal when one was enforced only a week ago.

Joybangla Sangskritik Oikya Jote and Jatiya Rickshaw-Van Sramik League in separate press releases criticised BNP and its allies for putting people into suffering.

Full article here The Daily Star.

BNP (bangladeshi national party), Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami and Islamic Okiya Jote call strike after moves to change electoral system… or at least that’s how CNN describesthe cause of the ensuing unrest.

An Ammurican comrade in Bangladesh writes:

yes, the hartal is nationwide, and it’s
fascinating to see a general strike in action, but it’s definitely not
something i’d consider inspirational or worth rooting for in this
case.  the two political parties here are both completely fucked, and
this is just one party (the more right-leaning of the two, which is in
coalition with a smaller third party that’s islamic fundamentalist and
implicated in all sorts of fucked up shit against women) trying to
leverage against the other.  i, maybe idealistically or naively,
tended to think general strikes were all about worker
solidarity–like, that they *worked* because people were on the same
page about demands–but in this case, the thing that’s enforcing the
hartal is the threat of violence from BNP and Jamaat supporters.  they
set some busses on fire the day before the hartal as a “warning” and i
guess, from what i’ve heard people say, everyone complies because
they’d rather not get fucked with.

the whole thing is super depressing.

Women Tamil Fighters, then and now

13.06.2011 § Leave a comment

MIA just tweeted sum interesting recent reportage on Sri Lankan civil war (1983-2009):

… an investigation into the final weeks of the quarter-century-long civil war between the government and the secessionist rebels, the Tamil Tigers; featuring devastating new video evidence of war crimes – some of the most horrific footage Channel 4 has ever broadcast.

Captured on mobile phones, both by Tamils under attack and government soldiers as war trophies, the disturbing footage shows: the extra-judicial executions of prisoners; the aftermath of targeted shelling of civilian camps and dead female Tamil fighters who appear to have been raped or sexually assaulted, abused and murdered.

The film airs as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon faces growing criticism for refusing to launch an investigation into, “credible allegations,” that Sri Lankan forces committed war crimes during the closing weeks of the bloody conflict with the Tamil Tigers. Last month, Ban Ki-moon published a report by a UN-appointed panel of experts which concluded that as many as forty thousand people were killed in the final weeks of the decades-long war between the Tamil Tigers and government forces. It called for the creation of an international mechanism to investigate alleged violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law committed by government forces and the Tamil Tigers during that time.

Another article about  female Tamil Fighters , being ‘rehabilitated’ through work at ‘major apparel exporter’ in 2010…

Four hundred women who once fought for Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam left rehabilitations camps in the northern district of Vavuniya last month and made the seven-hour trip south to a hostel here set up for them by a major apparel exporter.

Fourteen months ago many of them carried arms. They gave them up in May when Sri Lankan troops won the 30-year battle with the separatist group. Now, with their lives as guerrillas behind them, they faced new jobs in clothing factories owned by the Tri Star Group, a major apparel exporter in Sri Lanka that has set up housing for the ex-combatants.

They arrived in the evening and the next morning they would be enrolled as machine operators in three garment plants a few miles away. Each day Tri Star buses transport them to work and back.

In the rehabilitation camp they were taught to meditate, participated in theatrical activities and received training on beauty, culture and personal care.

Almost a year later, it was time to rejoin society.

“I am here to begin a new life,” said Manju, who only goes by one name. She spoke Tamil and communicated through a translator in a meeting at one of the hostels, furnished with beds, toilets and bathing facilities.

As she spoke other women, who had also just arrived, sipped soft drinks and arranged their belongings in the drawers that had been allotted to them. “I am excited about coming here. From tomorrow, I will be a working woman. I will never touch a gun again,” she said.

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