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

Notes on the Desire for ‘Biological’ Progeny in Capitalism

26.05.2011 § Leave a comment

In the last five years, would-be parents from as far as Istanbul and Uruguay have turned to healthy young mothers from Illinois to carry their children.

The babies are born U.S. citizens, surrogacy agency officials say, but that’s not a primary motivation for the parents, who typically come from European and Latin American countries where surrogacy is illegal or unavailable. The parents have exhausted other options and are willing to pay about $50,000 to $100,000 — part of which goes to the surrogate — to have biological children.

– Chicago Tribune

Diyamn, The Nothing wonders what the rate of exploitation is on that one. What’s the surrogate making, 20%? And who is doing the exploiting in this one? Oh: Family Source Consultants LLC.

A testimonial from the site:

Zara from Family Source Consultants gave me hope when I had none left. That hope and encouragement kept me going and if I didn’t have that, I wouldn’t have been able to pick up the pieces and move forward. And because I did, thanks to Zara, I’m now expecting the greatest gift I’ve ever been given – a baby girl. I didn’t know what to expect and I was so vulnerable at times, but whenever a situation would come up, Zara handled it with professionalism combined kindness and her warm personality, which always put my mind at ease.

Abby – Intended Mother via Gestational Surrogacy

On desire in capitalism….

That is the difference between desire and drive: desire is grounded in its constitutive lack, while drive circulates around a hole, a gap in the order of being….At the immediate level of addressing individuals, capitalism, of course, interpellates them as consumers, as subjects of desire, soliciting in them ever new perverse and excessive desires (for which it offers products to satisfy them); furthermore, it obviously also manipulates the “desire to desire,” celebrating the very desire to desire ever new objects and modes of pleasure. However, even if it already manipulates desire in away which takes into account the fact that the most elementary desire is the desire to reproduce itself as desire (and not to find satisfaction), at this level, we have not yet reached drive. Drive inheres to capitalism at a more fundamental, systemic, level: drive is that which propels the whole capitalist machinery, it is the impersonal compulsion to engage in the endless circular movement of expanded self-reproduction.

Zizek, The Parralax View, p. 61

The baby is like this ultimate desire which reproduces itself as desire.

Also, incredible but predictable, it seems the surrogates are expected to act as if they are doing this out of the goodness of their own hearts, rather than for the cashmoney, some excerpts of testimonials of surrogates:

I am a married mother of 4 girls who, even though every blessed, still felt something was missing in my life.  I had a dream about having a baby, but it wasn’t mine, rather it was for a couple who couldn’t have one themselves.  Seeing them hold the baby and looking so overwhelmingly happy made me feel so blessed, beyond what words could ever say.

— Chrissy

My experience with this agency has been nothing less than a blessing in matching me with a wonderful family to help.  I started off by hearing an ad on the radio about these women who were going to be egg donors and surrogates.  I am a single mother with three boys of my own and when I heard about this on the radio I thought to myself, what a wonderful way to help a family who is really looking to have a child when my family is blessed with so many children.  How could I turn down this opportunity or at least try to help?

— Dawn

More nurse resistance: Warsaw Nurses Occupy, Strike, Starve.

23.03.2011 § Leave a comment

Casualized Nurses, Tenants….  The Precariat is rising up….


A group of nurses have occupied the gallery of the Polish Parliament (the Sejm) to protest the casualization of their profession…

Besides the protest of angry nurses, tenants activists disrupted the City Council yesterday, telling the politicians that they should go home. ZSP and the Tenants Defense Committee recently announced that they would boycott meetings with city authorities who don’t intend to change anything and reiterated that they do not recognize the legitimacy of the local government. They are calling for popular control of public housing and informing that it would help people who cannot get housing to set up home in vacant units.

Tensions were particularly high after the murder of a housing activist from the Warsaw Tenants Association, which also took part in yesterday’s protest. The tenants groups blame the politicians for pushing through more and more inhuman turbocapitalist acts and chanelling the budget and their energies into projects beneficial for a small elite.

Besides these two actions in Warsaw, there has been an increase in labor protests this month, with large protests of postal workers and miners and serious threats of strikes on the railways, some educational institutions and in the Fiat plant in Tychy.

Read full article here: Warsaw Nurses occupy


When women intervene, something more than class relation appears… (Feminized Labor unrest in Kenya, Indonesia, Pakistan, Zambia)

22.03.2011 § Leave a comment

“A struggle of women, even with ordinary demands which
are themselves not particularly “feminine” (wages, working
conditions, layoffs…) is never just a struggle or a strike, but
always a struggle or a strike by women. In fact, the contradiction
between men and women is never absent, whether it is
addressed as such or just present in the themes. All women’s
movements bring to the table (or just make apparent) the
question of the separation of the private and public spheres
(to challenge their separation is to challenge their very existence,
which is nothing if not separate) constituting the
wage relation; the question of subsistence, of solidarity and
of unproductive-reproductive labor, that is to say, the organization
of life despite exchange; the question of sexuality (an
ostensible public appearance is always attached to a deviant
sexuality); and finally the pleasure of being together not only
as female workers or employees, but as women….

In their own struggles or in that of male workers, when women
intervene, even in the direct expression of ordinary demands,
a different dimension, something other than the reflexive
game between the classes, always appears.”

— TC: “Comrades, But Women”

Nurses and midwives are staging-go slows and inciting strikes in Kenya and Indonesia; women faced with the paticular oppressions of feminized labor in Pakistan and Zambia are pissed and rising up:

The 180 nurses at the hospital staged the go-slow on 16 March to protest at being overworked and the withholding of their uniform and other allowances by the hospital’s management

— KENYA: Nurse’s go-slow

Eight nurses and midwives have been arrested in Jayapura for their
involvement in a strike that resulting in a halt to services at the
general hospital in Jayapura. They face charges of inciting their
colleagues to take part in a strike.

INDONESIA (Jayapura) Nurses and Midwives arrested for inciting strike

Sindh Labour Minister Ameer Nawab said home-based workers, an overwhelming majority of whom were women, were not only paid less but they also did not have any job security. Besides, since they were not considered workers in the legal term, they could not get registered with various social security schemes of the government.

— PAKISTAN: Policy for Home-based Workers Sought

“Many women have been flocking our office with numerous complaints of alleged poor condition of services. Many have complained that they were working under harsh condition of services and in some case they were dismissed without any benefits despite the years they have served,” she said.

Mrs Tonga appealed to the ministry of Labour and Social Security to intervene in the matter.

And Chipata Muslim Association of Zambia vice chairperson Aiyub Mogra said his association had not received such complaints from the maids.

“Maids have never complained of their alleged poor conditions of service to the association. We are not aware of complaints,” he said

East Women’s Lobby Bemoans Poor Work Conditions for Domestic Workers

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