Commemoration of Rana Plaza collapse on April 24th 2013

Bangladesh:Rana Plaza Apr 24 2016

Reposting lest we forget the collapse of Rana Plaza on April 24th 2013 & the criminal monstrosity of sweatshop economics.

Nothing has improved for sweatshop workers in Bangladesh (or anywhere else) & labor organizing is still brutally repressed; US, Japanese, & European retailers never came through with pledged compensation for the hundreds disabled in the collapse & are still profiting from the labor of children & mostly women. But Bangladeshi sweatshop workers are still fighting back & for that working people around the world honor them & hope to learn from them.

If one ever needs proof that capitalism has entered its barbaric phase, reading Forbes magazine will lay all doubts to rest. In the period of its decline capitalism doesn’t have access to writers & apologists of the highest moral & intellectual character & has to resort to troll-like thinkers that operate like court jesters from medieval courts. The only thing they’re missing is the little cap with bells on it & the phony scepter that signify a fool.

This is the second anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh where 1,135 garment workers, mostly women & children, died & over 2,500 were injured–many permanently disabled & no longer able to work. Many were buried alive in the rubble. There are still 135 bodies buried in mass graves whose DNA has not been identified so families can give respectful burial.

Nothing has changed for sweatshop workers in Bangladesh; under international scrutiny the wages were raised from US $9 to $16 a week. Some of the 29 US & European retailers they produced for sell a pair of underwear for more than $16. But most importantly, after the initial furor from the Rana collapse calmed down, none of the retailers forked over any compensation money to the victims’ families.

And this is where the intellectual tinker-bells of capitalism come in. In article after article, before bodies had even been recovered from Rana rubble, these amoral apologists were arguing that sweatshops & child labor are necessary, progressive, & improve the lives of their workers; that almost $2 a day beats the World Bank poverty measure of $1.25 a day; that “poor” countries cannot afford the safety standards of “rich” countries; that if sweatshops lay the kids off they’ll all become prostitutes; that it is outright colonialism for retailers to demand safety standards in foreign sweatshops; that poor people in Africa, Asia, & elsewhere clamor for sweatshop jobs. You read too much of this crap at one sitting, you get constipated.

There’s no hope for these creeps if they defend sweatshops; there’s no merits to sweatshops; there should be no future for neoliberalism if its standards of well-being in a country are sweatshops & child labor.

We should take a moment to honor those who died & those who survived the Rana Plaza collapse. And we should commit ourselves to ridding this planet of the abomination of exploited labor.

(Photo is a woman grieving a beloved lost in the Rana collapse; by A. M. Ahad/AP)

Last evening while running an errand, I saw a big dog skulking down the road & picked her up. She clearly just had babies. It was late & dark so I brought her home & will take her out this morning on a leash to find her litter–as I learned from a dog park friend.

My little bully-butts did what they usually do for a new rescue: bark & snarl ferociously. One even went under the house to hide. So she was afraid to come in the house. She went out to poop this morning & they’re pulling the same thing so she won’t come in.

What’s astonishing is to watch Sophie, the last dog I took in (less than a month ago) who was rescued off the street by a friend. She is so solicitous for the new dog, licks her, tends to her, hovers around her–clearly trying to comfort her. Dogs are marvelous creatures. But then aren’t we all!?

Times of India competing with lying-assed Guardian-UK: who can make up more lies to cover brutal occupations?

Kashmiri protest (The Times of India) Apr 24 2016

The Times of India’s coverage of Kashmir is giving the Guardian-UK’s coverage of Palestinians & the war in Afghanistan a run for its money in utter foolishness.

They printed this photo of activists protesting the shooting deaths of civilians & the sexual assault of the Handwara minor girl. The Times noted that four people had been shot dead by soldiers but emphasized that 47 people, including 40 security personnel, had been injured in “clashes.” “Clashes” is one of those media euphemisms for when unarmed civilians are attacked by heavily armed soldiers.

An Indian army spokesman said the forces, many of them trained death squad members, opened fire only after “mobs” tried to storm the army camp with stones but he insisted the soldiers exercised restraint. That would explain why the injured protesters were treated for bullet wounds & being hit by teargas shells but they only mentioned one soldier was treated after being hit by a stone. If the protesters were packing anything heavier than little stones, those death squad guys would have to go home to mama crying.

The truth of the matter is that Indian soldiers are armed with TAR-21 assault rifles made in Israel for use in urban warfare. It’s one of the most modern & deadliest assault rifles in the world. It can accommodate a 30-round magazine & sustain a rate of fire of 750 to 900 rounds per minute. Does that sound like restraint against unarmed civilians? Does this photo of a young man enveloped in tear gas look like restraint?

The work of Kashmiri activists on social media is forcing an end to the news blackout that prevailed for so long. But as we know from media coverage of Palestine, India & media will try to control the narrative just as malignantly as Israel & media does about Palestinians, turning them from freedom fighters into terrorists.

Long live Kashmiri Intifada! Stand against the occupation!

(Photo of Kashmiri protester facing unrestrained brutality is from the Times of India)

Bernie Sanders supports US troops in Afghanistan

Sanders (Scott Olson:Getty Images)

There are nearly 10,000 US troops in Afghanistan & probably an equal number of US-hired mercenaries. When Obama announced last October that he would keep 5,500 troops in Afghanistan after he leaves office in 2017, Bernie Sanders & Hillary Clinton were asked if they supported that decision.

Clinton said Obama made “the right decision.” Sanders said, “Well, yeah, I won’t give you the exact number. Clearly, we do not want to see the Taliban gain more power, & I think we need a certain nucleus of American troops present in Afghanistan to try to provide the training & support the Afghan army needs.”

Let’s not beat around the bush. Opposing war & occupation has been the sine qua non not just of transformational but of progressive politics for over 100 years. The US wars in Iraq & Afghanistan are so monstrous that to support them takes a special kind of political criminality on the part of politicians & half-witted racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia on the part of working people–a majority of whom oppose the war. But since Sanders talks a good line on student loans, what’s a few decades more of massive bombing & occupation in those two countries? They’re not Americans after all so they’re not really human.

(PS: for those Sanders supporters who call themselves socialists, it would be valuable to review the history of WW1 when support for the war among most socialist groups created a massive international rupture in the movement from which it has not recovered. But go ahead, campaign for Sanders since you’re probably not marching against the wars anyway.)

(Photo of Sanders by Scott Olson/Getty Images)