DATELINE: WADING THROUGH BANGLADESHI RUBBLE – Today the death toll from this disaster hit 551. Give that some perspective… This is now more than one-sixth of the total number of people killed in the collapse of the World Trade Center Towers, which were one hell of a lot more than six times taller than the building in Bangladesh. These are people who, despite knowing it was unsafe to be in there, were forced in by their employer, who, by all accounts was nothing more than a criminal thug. How is this not, in essence, a terrorist attack?
This is a building where, from the get-go, there were many concerns. The land that the building was constructed on was reportedly obtained through less than legal means. The contractors were bought off, as were any regulators in the city. The sole intent of this building was to house slave labor, used to create crap to sell to Canada and the United States… and we took the bait. Stories were illegally, and unsafely added to the building, but did anyone who contracted this company demand to see that it was safe for the employees? No, because that would imply they cared and might hold slimedog millionaire thug boss to a standard that could increase the cost of a pair of underwear by a fraction of a cent. But we… as citizens… know this is happening and we demand no better of the corporations, despite the age old rule that the customer is always right. Like the corporate big-wigs, though, it’s easier to pretend it’s all fine or it’s someone else’s problem, or that we really don’t have all the details and perhaps these people are thrilled to work for less than a dollar per 12-hour day. Let me ask you this one question, though; had that building been built on North American soil, what would have been the reaction? We are accomplices in 551 deaths. That number is expected to rise further.
To be fair, it’s hard for many of us to make ends meet now. The banks make record profits, the oil companies are making record profits, but collective bargaining is quashed when it works to represent the laborer, and wages do not go up. Yes, we are all looking for a way to stretch our dollars, but we have allowed corporations run amok, stomping on the lifeblood of society, not just here, but abroad. Funny thing, but those CEO’s and boards of directors aren’t in any need of a bargain.
The last month in Canada has seen a huge uprising against the banks, primarily the Royal Bank of Canada, for bringing in what are essentially illegal Temporary Foreign Workers, using their Canadian staff to train them, then firing the Canadian staff and shipping the TFWs, and many more jobs, out of the country. It exploits a huge loophole, deliberately created by the Harper Conservative Government here, to line the pockets of corporations even more, because those jobs, once outsourced, are in crap buildings, with thug bosses, no benefits, slave conditions and clear consciences because the corporation isn’t ‘responsible’ for what happens there. They aren’t technically ‘our’ workers, so we can exploit them all we want, and the bank gets richer. It’s despicable, on every count. We have known it was going on, but we have done nothing because what can one or two people accomplish against corporate giants who control our money and our laws.
Now, because of the disaster in Bangladesh, those companies who have used this factory for making clothes, who have ‘toured’ it and ‘inspected’ it, who have met with the thug who runs the place with a god damned gun handy to keep people in line, are now running scared. Sadly, they won’t be legally responsible, but they sure as hell should be. Not only did they take jobs away from people right here, they contributed to the abuse and enslavement of thousands of others, in lands where they are absolutely desperate for any crumb the fat cats can toss their way, and who have no choice but to endure the abuse. This is the equivalent of Blood Diamonds in every way.
So, now Target, and Loblaws, and WalMart et al, cannot just wash their hands of this. They said they inspected and it all looked fine. Well, perhaps when they ‘inspect’, they might want to actually take off the fucking blinders and LOOK at what is around them. People who are wearing tatters at work, who are starved and dirty and emaciated, just might not be getting a fair shake from their employer, who works at your behest. Perhaps you should look at how long they work every day, how crammed they are in their work… talk to some, look at the lash marks they have for not working fast enough, check to see if that child you were told is 16 isn’t really 10, like he looks.
The reaction will be to pull out of Bangladesh. We all know that’s what will happen, and they will find some other country to exploit, leaving even more damage in their wake. We SHOULD be giving work to some of these people – but at fair wages in a safe workplace. Why are the standards there any different than what they are here? How in the name of all that is fucking holy can that be justified? Is there absolutely no moral compunction in any corporate head or politician anymore? What has happened to us, as a society, that we aren’t satisfied screwing over our own citizens that we have to go to other countries to do it as well, to make money. We see the gang wars, the drug wars, the thugs trying to gain control – corporations are absolutely no different, other than for the cut of their suits.
If workers make money, they spend money. That is how a capitalist society is to work. It is not meant to wipe out the lower classes, the working class, the middle class – it is meant to provide a comfortable, safe existence for all who live there. Man, have we missed that boat. How are we not guilty of a terrorist attack on foreign soil? I can’t see how the people of Bangladesh can see it any other way.