Wednesday, July 31, 2013

No to child labor!

There are those who argue child labor is necessary in many countries; they even try to make it seem unreasonable to oppose. But child labor is part of neoliberal economic policy to undercut adult labor, particularly organized union labor. Neoliberalism is simply capitalism in its most deranged & barbaric stage. We should not buy into their rationalizations--lest our own politics become deranged.

Putting small children to work in toxic conditions, around pesticides, contaminants, dangerous tools, near livestock, & in mines is barbarism, not economic necessity. Opposing child labor means solidarity with their parents in forging labor rights against sweatshops & union busting & for the human rights--nay, not just the human rights but the very humanity--of children.

Manicured patricians who run the world have no scruples about using children as miners, garment workers, farm workers, sex slaves because along with the economic compulsion to drive down the political power of adult labor, racism is a fundamental component of child labor. But child labor is an intolerable scourge for humanity & must be actively opposed. It doesn’t matter if children are the hope of the future or not. What matters is they are vulnerable, weak, unprotected, completely dependent on adults for nurturance & safety & love--& we either come across or we bomb out & cave to neoliberal plunder.

Many think child labor is outlawed in the US. But in 2011 the Obama regime demolished legislation to protect child farm workers from the violence of agribusiness. There are an estimated 800,000 mostly Mexican children (we’re talking very little kids) working with pesticides, dangerous tools, livestock in the US. Lesser evil Obama made it illegal to ever again attempt to even monitor such labor practices. And that doesn’t even begin to address child labor in the hidden economy of US sweatshops & sexual slavery!

UN agencies, along with NGOS & human rights groups milking the public for dough try to make child labor look like a problem in the plundered countries--& it most certainly is. That’s part & parcel of white supremacist narrative because if there ever was a “poster child” for child labor it would be US agribusiness--meaning Monsanto, Con-Agra, & the other two or three multinationals controlling the world’s food supply according to the dictates of IMF/neoliberal food policy.

These sweet children are working in a cigarette factory in Bangladesh where working conditions involve poor ventilation & exposure to tobacco dust which causes many health problems including respiratory & skin diseases.

(Photo by Andrew Biraj/Reuters)

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