Another International Day against Child Labor passes without much action

Cambodia child labor day June 13 2014

Yesterday was the ceremonial commemoration of International Day against Child Labor initiated in 2002 by the ILO, a UN agency. In the promotional material, it’s to “highlight the plight of millions of children worldwide.” Golly that’s touching.

A lot of NGOs use the day for raking in funds; a few pull grandstanding stunts like “raiding” a sweatshop to free child workers. All of them address it solely as a human rights problem. That it is! But it is also a labor rights issue because under neoliberal barbarism, child labor is used primarily to weaken & undercut adult labor. But it has many other advantages, primarily that it is so damn easy to bully children into working fast, furiously, & without rebellion.

Nothing exposes neoliberalism more powerfully than the growing millions of tiny children working in mines, factories, brick yards, sweatshops. Neoliberalism shows itself as a system with no shame, with no respect for anyone or anything except profiteering. Child workers stand as the indictment beyond dispute.

This little guy is scavenging recycleables from a rubbish heap in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Keep in mind the rubbish heap has decayed food with bacterial growths, animal & human poop, used unmentionables like dirty diapers & sanitary napkins, tons of chemical waste. It’s a stinking mound of diseases waiting to happen. When children become both the chattel & the offal of the system, it’s long-since time to trash the system.

(Getty Images)

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