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Invisible1stimer
Religion=Rape
Registered: 11/18/01
Posts: 1,280
Loc: Amerika
Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: RandalFlagg]
    #1131666 - 12/11/02 01:11 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)

"Participate in the democratic process in order to help enact policies that you think corporations should be legally bound to follow."

why do you think i dont. i write my congressman everyday and vote in every election(i never vote for the 2 major parties).

"People should be skeptical of everything and everyone."
agreed.

"That is a generalization. You are taking the actions of a few and applying it to an entire community."
youre right it was a generalization, but it is more right than wrong.


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ash dingy donker mo gollyhopper patty popiton rockstop bueno mayo riggedy jig bobber johnathan pattywhacker gogboob t-shirt monkey.

There is such emotion in the distortion.


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InvisibleRandalFlagg
Stranger
Registered: 06/15/02
Posts: 15,608
Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: 1stimer]
    #1131673 - 12/11/02 01:14 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)


when you are brain-washed from birth it negates free-will. just because someone is brainwashed doesnt mean they are ignorant or stupid.


When you live in a society where the free exchange of ideas is
allowed, "brainwashing" is not a mandatory thing that happens to everyone. As
can be evidenced on this board, there is a lot of dissent and many alternative
ways of thinking that are being expressed by people.


RandalFlagg


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Invisible1stimer
Religion=Rape
Registered: 11/18/01
Posts: 1,280
Loc: Amerika
Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: RandalFlagg]
    #1131677 - 12/11/02 01:16 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)

"When you live in a society where the free exchange of ideas is allowed, "brainwashing" is not a mandatory thing that happens to everyone."

i would argue that there isnt a free exchange of ideas.

"As can be evidenced on this board, there is a lot of dissent and many alternative ways of thinking that are being expressed by people."

are you saying the internet is american? i tend to see the internet as not having a nationality.


--------------------
ash dingy donker mo gollyhopper patty popiton rockstop bueno mayo riggedy jig bobber johnathan pattywhacker gogboob t-shirt monkey.

There is such emotion in the distortion.


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InvisibleRandalFlagg
Stranger
Registered: 06/15/02
Posts: 15,608
Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: 1stimer]
    #1131681 - 12/11/02 01:17 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)


"Participate in the democratic process in order to help enact policies that you think corporations should be legally bound to follow."


why do you think i dont. i write my congressman everyday and vote in every election(i never vote for the 2 major parties).


I never said you didn't. I was just stating my opinion of what a person should do
if they disagree with something that is going on.


RandalFlagg


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InvisibleRandalFlagg
Stranger
Registered: 06/15/02
Posts: 15,608
Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: 1stimer]
    #1131692 - 12/11/02 07:34 AM (18 years, 4 months ago)


"When you live in a society where the free exchange of ideas is allowed, "brainwashing" is not a mandatory thing that happens to everyone."


i would argue that there isnt a free exchange of ideas.


How so? In America, there are publications that represent every political, social,
and cultural bent imaginable. There are people and groups espousing every
imaginable viewpoint. A person is allowed to say what they want, read what
they want, and pursue what they want.


"As can be evidenced on this board, there is a lot of dissent and many alternative ways of thinking that are being expressed by people."


are you saying the internet is american? i tend to see the internet as not having a nationality.


hahaha No not at all. I guess it is a habit to automatically assume when I see English being typed, that the person belongs to a "standard Western country",
such as England, Canada, or the U.S.

RandalFlagg


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Invisible1stimer
Religion=Rape
Registered: 11/18/01
Posts: 1,280
Loc: Amerika
Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: RandalFlagg]
    #1131712 - 12/11/02 07:42 AM (18 years, 4 months ago)

the mainstream media is all that really matters. its what the majority of the population hear. the government lies and the media echoes.

"A person is allowed to say what they want, read what
they want, and pursue what they want"

not true. religion is being forced into schools and government facilities. operation tips is a program that tries to limit what people openly say. also censorship is running rampant in the media due to the fat whit big wigs who own the companies.


--------------------
ash dingy donker mo gollyhopper patty popiton rockstop bueno mayo riggedy jig bobber johnathan pattywhacker gogboob t-shirt monkey.

There is such emotion in the distortion.


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InvisibleRandalFlagg
Stranger
Registered: 06/15/02
Posts: 15,608
Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: 1stimer]
    #1132152 - 12/11/02 11:35 AM (18 years, 4 months ago)


the mainstream media is all that really matters. its what the majority of the population hear. the government lies and the media echoes.

No it isn't. I reiterate; anybody in a free society is allowed to get their information from whereever they please.


"A person is allowed to say what they want, read what
they want, and pursue what they want"


not true. religion is being forced into schools and government facilities.


Huh? Where have you been for the last thirty years? It was my understanding
that religious beliefs in schools and in public life are constantly under attack. Did
you see the recent ruling that said "under God" was illegal to have in the pledge of
allegiance? Led prayer is strictly forbidden in schools. Courthouses that have the
ten commandments hung up are being sued by the ACLU. Religion is not being
forced into anywhere. It is being driven from everywhere.


operation tips is a program that tries to limit what people openly say. also censorship is running rampant in the media due to the fat whit big wigs who own the companies.


It's funny. The left-wing screams that the media is biased towards hawkish and right-wing causes. The right-wing screams that the media is hopelessly biased towards the left-wing. Go figure.


RandalFlagg



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OfflinePhred
Fred's son
Male

Registered: 10/19/00
Posts: 12,949
Loc: Dominican Republic
Last seen: 6 years, 3 months
Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Xlea321]
    #1132339 - 12/11/02 12:42 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)

Alex123 writes in response to my refutation of his bullshit claim:

Any evidence or is this just the usual fantasy?

You have no conception of how discussion works. It is not up to me to prove that your completely unsupported claim is false, it is up to you to prove that it is true. Your claim that there are 10 year old girls working 36 hour shifts in factories owned by Western corporations is bullshit, pure and simple.

When you first started fantasizing about this issue a few months ago, your claim was that they worked 18 hour shifts for a dollar a day. A few days later it magically became 20 hours for fifty cents a day. Next post it was 24 hours for thirty cents a day. Lately it has been 36 hours for 15 cents.

I call bullshit.

Strange because I've seen women interviewed who did just this when they were 10. On a regular basis. The western factories made "no comment".

You are lying through your teeth. Anyone can spin a fantasy that they saw some imaginary interview. Prove it.

It took millions of brave men and women fighting in the face of brutal corporate oppression to win the right to educate our children.

Bullshit. People have been educating their children since the dawn of revorded history.

If we had allowed your beloved corporations free reign you would never have recieved an education.

More bullshit. Educated workers are of far more value than uneducated ones.

You too would have been working "by your own choice".

If I was one of those inhabitants of a developing nation where the living conditions were so bleak, I probably WOULD choose to work in a Nike factory. What would YOU do?

pinky


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OfflinePhred
Fred's son
Male

Registered: 10/19/00
Posts: 12,949
Loc: Dominican Republic
Last seen: 6 years, 3 months
Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: hongomon]
    #1132413 - 12/11/02 01:09 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)

hongomon writes:

I'm not against children working from a young age as a rule --but we're talking about how much work, in what kinds of conditions, and with what kinds of wages and benefits.

Who has the right to decide these things? If they (or their parents) feel they are working too hard and too long in unsatisfactory conditions for insufficient compensation, they have every right to decide to expend their effort elsewhere, do they not?

I don't like the comparison.

You don't have to like it.

The Taliban were Islamic fundamentalists.

My point exactly. Different strokes for different folks. It's a cultural thing. Some cultures find it normal for a woman to be pregnant by age 14. Others find it bizarre that we don't allow our youth to drink alcohol before age 21. Some cultures feel it is acceptable for an individual to start working for a living at an earlier age than other cultures. Do you not agree that multiculturalism is a GOOD thing? Or are you so chauvinistic that you dare to believe some cultures are superior to others?

Governments of western countries made those laws because it was clear to them that they were shooting themselves in the foot if they allowed so many of their poor to enter adulthood with no education.

Clearly not every government in the world feels it must follow the example of imperialistic exploitive money-grubbing planet-raping culture-destroying Western governments. They have their own ancient cultures and they are proud of them.

Those are foreign companies coming in with job offers. Where does culture play in? Do ten-year-old Brazilian goldmine workers carry 30 kg bags of rock and mud because culturally that's what Brazilian ten-year-olds do?

1) Not all mines in Brazil are foreign-owned.

2)There are no ten-year-old goldmine workers carrying 30 kg bags of rock and mud.

3) Brazilian culture expects able-bodied youths to work (presuming they can find employment)at an earlier age than American culture does.

The bottom line is that poverty is why children must work to supplement their families income...

Finally! Someone who actually grasps the issue at hand!

...and in plenty of countries worldwide, lack of regulation of Western corporations contributes to a vicious cycle--kids grow up as beasts of burden--they have no education but their reproductive systems work fine...

Assume that no Western corporation had ever set up a single factory in such a country. Please explain to us how their situation would be any different.

pinky


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OfflinePhred
Fred's son
Male

Registered: 10/19/00
Posts: 12,949
Loc: Dominican Republic
Last seen: 6 years, 3 months
Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: 1stimer]
    #1132447 - 12/11/02 01:21 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)

1stimer writes:

the mainstream media is all that really matters. its what the majority of the population hear. the government lies and the media echoes.

So you haven't been brainwashed, but the majority of the population has?

How is it that you managed to escape this fate? What makes you so special?

RandallFlagg writes:

A person is allowed to say what they want, read what they want, and pursue what they want

1stimer responds: not true. religion is being forced into schools and government facilities.

How does this prevent people from saying what they want, reading what they want, and pursuing what they want?

operation tips is a program that tries to limit what people openly say.

Wrong. Operation TIPS is a stoolie program. It most emphatically does not want people to limit what they say. Quite the reverse. It wants them to spill their guts to the Feds. If people limit what they say, the program is a failure.

also censorship is running rampant in the media due to the fat whit big wigs who own the companies.

This is not censorship, this is choice. Censorship by definition can be imposed only by force, not by voluntary selection.

pinky


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InvisibleXlea321
Stranger
Registered: 02/26/01
Posts: 9,134
Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: 1stimer]
    #1133365 - 12/11/02 07:37 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)

the government invented the internet

The taxpayer funded every last cent of the programme that created the internet. Billions. Then the technology was pissed away to private corporations for them to make the profit. It's always been the way.


--------------------
Don't worry, B. Caapi


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InvisibleXlea321
Stranger
Registered: 02/26/01
Posts: 9,134
Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1133418 - 12/11/02 07:53 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)

If they (or their parents) feel they are working too hard and too long in unsatisfactory conditions for insufficient compensation, they have every right to decide to expend their effort elsewhere, do they not?

What bullshit. Do you think kids work 36 hour days for 10 cents because they want to? Find me a single worker happy to work in a Nike factory.

Some cultures feel it is acceptable for an individual to start working for a living at an earlier age than other cultures.

Bullshit. Every parent would rather his child had a chance in life rather than worked in a Nike factory from the age of 10.

Clearly not every government in the world feels it must follow the example of imperialistic exploitive money-grubbing planet-raping culture-destroying Western governments. They have their own ancient cultures and they are proud of them.

Bullshit again. Most western corporations are far more powerful than any government over there. Install a few corrupt dictators, build them a few palaces and they'll agree to halve the minimum wage, turn the other way when workers drop dead from industrial poisons and let you pollute to your hearts content.

There are no ten-year-old goldmine workers carrying 30 kg bags of rock and mud.

Evidence please. Not your bizarre personal fantasies.

Assume that no Western corporation had ever set up a single factory in such a country. Please explain to us how their situation would be any different.

You'd need to read a book on the subject. No doubt it would be your first...start with "When corporations rule the world".


--------------------
Don't worry, B. Caapi


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OfflineEchoVortex
(hard) member
Registered: 02/06/02
Posts: 859
Last seen: 12 years, 7 months
Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Xlea321]
    #1133510 - 12/11/02 08:17 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)

Here's an article from the Washington Post about one factory in China that supplies various American toy companies. Some of the key points:

Mandatory daily shifts of 15 hours or more, from 8:00 a.m. to after midnight and sometimes past 2 a.m. or 3 a.m.
Forced to work seven days a week for two months straight, without a day off.
Paid 12 cents an hour, for 105 hours a week.
Cheated out of overtime pay.
Wages paid two months late.
Fined three days' pay for missing a night shift due to exhaustion.
Fined for more than five minutes in bathroom.
Fined for failing to meet production quotas.
Air thick with fibers, temperature above 90 degrees.
Total suppression of right to organize.
Company monitoring inspections always announced in advance.
Many factories not "monitored" at all.

American toy companies do business with factories such as this obviously because they sell them the product at the cheapest cost. While American companies claim that they oversee labor practices at their subcontractors' factories, this is complete bullshit. They don't. And even when reputable news organization such as the Washington Post make these revelations public, the American companies still gear up their PR Denial Machines.

But of course, I don't expect the "libertarians" and right wingers on this forum to give a shit. In their eyes, multi-billion dollar, multinational corporations can do no wrong, and the poor and uneducated people who get suckered into working at their factories have only themselves to blame. Why, they should get out there and pull themselves up by their bootstraps!

By Philip P. Pan
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, May 13, 2002; Page A01



SONGGANG, China -- On the night she died, Li Chunmei must have been exhausted.

Co-workers said she had been on her feet for nearly 16 hours, running back and forth inside the Bainan Toy Factory, carrying toy parts from machine to machine. When the quitting bell finally rang shortly after midnight, her young face was covered with sweat.

Li Chunmei stands in her impoverished hometown of Xiao'eshan before she traveled to Songgang to work in a toy factory. (Family photo)
This was the busy season, before Christmas, when orders peaked from Japan and the United States for the factory's stuffed animals. Long hours were mandatory, and at least two months had passed since Li and the other workers had enjoyed even a Sunday off.



Lying on her bed that night, staring at the bunk above her, the slight 19-year-old complained she felt worn out, her roommates recalled. She was massaging her aching legs, and coughing, and she told them she was hungry. The factory food was so bad, she said, she felt as if she had not eaten at all.

"I want to quit," one of her roommates, Huang Jiaqun, remembered her saying. "I want to go home."

Finally, the lights went out. Her roommates had already fallen asleep when Li started coughing up blood. They found her in the bathroom a few hours later, curled up on the floor, moaning softly in the dark, bleeding from her nose and mouth. Someone called an ambulance, but she died before it arrived.

The exact cause of Li's death remains unknown. But what happened to her last November in this industrial town in southeastern Guangdong province is described by family, friends and co-workers as an example of what China's more daring newspapers call guolaosi. The phrase means "over-work death," and usually applies to young workers who suddenly collapse and die after working exceedingly long hours, day after day.

There has been little research on what causes these deaths, or how often they occur. Local journalists say many of them are never documented but estimate that dozens die under such circumstances every year in the Pearl River Delta area alone, the booming manufacturing region north of Hong Kong.




The stories of these deaths highlight labor conditions that are the norm for a new generation of workers in China, tens of millions of migrants who have flocked from the nation's impoverished countryside to its prospering coast.

In an historic shift, these migrant workers now number more than 200 million by some estimates, more than the 80 million employees working in China's shrinking state industries.

These new workers are younger, poorer, and less familiar with the promises of labor rights and job security that once served as the ideological bedrock of the ruling Communist Party. They are more likely to work for private companies, often backed by foreign investment, with no socialist tradition of cradle-to-grave benefits.

The young migrants are also second-class citizens, with less access to the weak courts and trade unions that sometimes temper market forces as China's economy changes from socialist to capitalist. Most of all, they are outsiders, struggling to make a living far away from home.


'Go Out and Make Money'


Li Chunmei's home was the village of Xiaoeshan, a remote hamlet high in the mountains of western Sichuan province, 700 miles and a world away from the factories of Songgang, where she died. The area remains among the poorest in China, with no roads, one telephone and limited electricity and plumbing.

There are no tractors, just oxen, a few primitive tools and peasants who till the earth with their hands. Few residents can read a newspaper, and fewer still speak the national language, Mandarin. Traveling there entails a hike through fog-shrouded mountains, along narrow paths that resemble muddy balance beams.

Li Chunmei was the second of five children born to parents who squeeze out a living from this rough terrain, farming small plots of land on terraces carved into the mountainside. Day after day, they climb up and down the mountain, tending to scattered patches of wheat and rice.

"This is a poor village, and all the parents here want their children to leave for the cities as soon as possible," said Li's father, Li Zhimin, sitting inside a house he built out of packed dirt. "The sooner they go, the sooner they can help support the family."

The economics are simple, residents said. People in Xiaoeshan eat most of what they grow, and by selling the rest they earn an average annual income of about $25 each. But local officials demand about $37 per person in taxes and fees. Several peasants who refused to pay last year were arrested.

Residents say there is only one way to survive: Pull the children out of school, and later send them to find work in faraway cities.

Li took his eldest daughter, Li Mei, out of school in the third grade, before she learned to write her name properly. Li Chunmei left school in the third grade, too. The girls were put to work farming and feeding the livestock.

When Li Mei was 15, she boarded a bus to Shenzhen, the special economic zone adjacent to Hong Kong.

"Our family was having difficulties," she said. "I wanted to support myself and earn money to help my parents. I wanted to help keep my other sisters in school."

Two years later, Li Mei returned home with more than $100 in savings. Li Chunmei was 15 then, and she announced she was ready to join her sister in the city. The family needed the money, and she didn't want her father to work so hard, Li Mei recalled her sister saying.

At the end of the holiday, Li Zhimin accompanied his daughters on the long walk through the mountains to the nearest bus station. Li Chunmei was crying quietly, he recalled.

"Of course, I was worried, . . . but I told her not to cry," her father said. "I told her, 'There's no reason to cry. Go out and make money.'

"I told her, 'It's bad luck to cry.' "



The Worst Job


The ride lasted three days and three nights.

When they reached the elevated expressway between Guangzhou and Shenzhen, Li Chunmei caught her first glimpse of the factory complexes of the Pearl River Delta, her sister said. Drab, concrete dormitories line the road, decorated only by lines of laundry hanging from window to window. Late at night, passing motorists can peer through the factory windows and see rows of young women hunched over machines, working under florescent lights.

The Li sisters disembarked in Dongguan, a fast-growing city of 9 million residents, of whom more than 7 million are migrant workers. Li Mei had spent the past two years there, moving from one toy factory to another, and she had a job waiting. She said it didn't take long to arrange one for her little sister, too.

But Li Chunmei's first year in the factories ended abruptly when a motorcycle struck her and broke her leg while she was crossing the street. Her father said he traveled to Dongguan and took his daughter home to recuperate.

When she returned more than a year later, at the age of 17, Li Chunmei settled in Songgang, a satellite town northwest of Shenzhen where her sister had found work with a Korean toy manufacturer, Kaiming Industrial Ltd. Sister helped sister again, and Li Chunmei landed a job there, too.

In the two years before her death, friends and relatives said, Li worked in three different plants that produced stuffed animals, one run by Kaiming and two others that regularly received orders from the company.

Songgang is dominated by sprawling, fenced-in industrial complexes that produce all manner of clothes, toys and electronic goods for world markets. In the evenings, after quitting time, groups of young men and women stroll through the town, their factory ID tags pinned to their uniforms, time cards tucked in shirt pockets.

The town presented an exciting new world for a country girl, a place with streetlights and mahjong parlors, and off-key karaoke songs drifting through the warm air. But friends and co-workers said Li rarely ventured outside the factory gates.

Inside, life followed a rigid routine, co-workers said. Li was out of bed by 7:30 a.m. and in uniform and at her post by 8. At noon, she could take 90 minutes for lunch and a quick nap. At 5:30 she had 30 minutes for dinner. Overtime began at 6, and the quitting bell usually didn't ring until after midnight.

Workers said most of the factory's employees were assigned to assembly lines that stitched together stuffed animals. One worker attached an eye, and the next sewed on an ear. They spent the whole day sitting in front of their sewing machines, performing a single task again and again.

Li was a runner, co-workers said, always on her feet. When one worker finished a task, the runners picked up the toy and raced it to the next worker on the line. An average line had 25 workers and just two or three runners, and produced as many as 1,000 toys a day.

"She had the worst job, and the bosses were always yelling at her to go faster," said one worker on Li's assembly line, who asked to be identified by his surname, Liu. "There were no breaks, and there was no air conditioning." He added that the air was full of fibers, and with the heat from the machines, sometimes the temperature climbed above 90 degrees.

Runners required no special skills, and were paid the least, about 12 cents per hour, workers said. During the busy season, including extra pay for overtime, Li could earn about $65 a month.

But there were deductions. Workers said the company withheld about $12 a month for room and board and charged them for benefits they never received. For example, workers said they paid for the temporary residence permits they needed to live and work in Songgang legally, but never received them.

Managers also had the power to impose arbitrary fines, including penalties for spending more than five minutes in the bathroom, wasting food during meals and failing to meet production quotas, workers said.

Li often complained about the conditions, but she also seemed happy to be earning money, friends said. Once, she told them she was saving for her dowry.

"She was shy and honest, and the poorest of all of us," said Shen Xiuqun, a co-worker from Li's hometown. "She didn't have a boyfriend. She didn't like music. When all of us went out, she usually stayed in."

Another colleague, Zhang Fayong, recalled that Li once purchased a new dress, then refused to wear it. She said Li was amazed she had spent the money on it, and afraid she somehow might ruin it. After her death, her father found the dress among her belongings, folded and wrapped in plastic, he said.

He also found a stack of laminated snapshots, taken at local photo parlors for 50 cents apiece. They show Li with her friends, standing in front of false landscapes, dressed up in costumes: a military uniform, a traditional Chinese gown. She looks surprisingly young, just a teenager with long black hair, holding flowers, or saluting, or sitting with an ID tag pinned to her blouse.

She was smiling in only one picture.


'We Were Trapped'


Two months before she died, Li Chunmei was transferred from the main Kaiming factory to a new plant down the street, the Bainan Toy Factory, a featureless brown building. She and about 60 other Kaiming employees began making toys in a third-floor workshop under the supervision of her manager at Kaiming, Wu Duoqin, co-workers said.

There, conditions got worse. The peak season had arrived, and Wu pressed her employees to work longer and longer hours, sometimes past 2 a.m. or 3 a.m., workers said. They worked every day for more than 60 days.

"Everyone has to work overtime. You have no choice. Even if you're sick, you have to work," said one of Li's co-workers, who asked to be identified only by her surname, Zhao.

"But we don't even get paid for all of the overtime," she added. "For example, we might work six or seven hours extra, but then they just put down three or four hours on the timecards."

Less than a week before she died, Li begged her line manager for a day off, saying she was exhausted. He refused. Then Li skipped a night shift to catch up on sleep and was docked three days' pay, co-workers recalled.

Friends said Li often spoke of quitting and returning home. But the factory had not paid her for two months, and if she quit, she was afraid she might not get the money. Several workers were in similar situations. "We were trapped," said one, a 17-year-old girl from Sichuan province. "All we could do was keep working."

Many of the conditions described by Li's co-workers violate Chinese law. The minimum wage in Songgang is about 30 cents per hour. Overtime is limited in China to no more than 36 hours per month, and it must be voluntary. Arbitrary fines and pay deductions are prohibited. But enforcement of the law is weak.

"It may be illegal, but it's normal," said Wu Chunlin, 25, a migrant from Sichuan who said he has worked in a half-dozen different factories in the region over the past five years. "It's more or less the same wherever we go."

One Chinese journalist who has investigated working conditions in the Pearl River Delta said the problem is a "merger of interests" between local government officials and factory managers. The officials are eager to stimulate investment and generate taxes and bribes, so they are often willing to overlook labor rights and safety violations, he said.

Li Qiang, a former labor organizer in China who fled to the United States two years ago, described helping a group of 400 migrant workers in Shenzhen file a complaint about factory conditions, only to be turned away by local officials.

"They said, 'Go back to the factory.' They said, 'You should know better. It's like this everywhere,' " Li Qiang recalled. "The problem is a lot of these local officials have relatives or friends who are hired as managers in the factories. There's a network of connections, and migrant workers are on the outside."

In many ways, migrant workers are among the most vulnerable in China's working class. Under a government system intended to restrict population movement, migrants enjoy fewer rights and welfare benefits than workers in the old state factories, and police can arbitrarily arrest and repatriate them to their hometowns.

It is also more difficult for them to organize protests or follow through with a complaint in the slow-moving courts. "The state workers have been together a long time. Sometimes they grew up together, so it can be easier for them to stick together," Li Qiang said. "But migrant workers are from different places, and they don't have deep roots. They're easily scattered."

The migrant workers usually are less educated than their urban counterparts, and largely unaware of their rights. Very few belong to government-controlled trade unions; in interviews, many had never even heard of the Chinese word for labor union.

In the private factories where migrants often work, managers are primarily concerned about profit. By contrast, despite new market pressures, managers of state factories in China often resemble political leaders, responsible for the overall welfare of their workers.

Foreign outcry over sweatshop labor has led some multinational firms to monitor conditions in their factories and among their direct suppliers. But a system of subcontracting has undermined such measures.

For example, Kaiming Industrial receives orders to produce toys for a variety of brand-name companies, but their inspectors rarely visit the company and always announce visits in advance, according to a senior manager who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

He said the factory maintains good labor standards. It can afford to do so, he said, because it farms out the least profitable and most difficult orders to factories with lower standards, including Bainan, and then just takes a commission. The Bainan factory, in turn, distributes some of its workload to subcontractors such as Wu Duoqin, the supervisor who employed Li Chunmei, he said.

"So you see, she wasn't working for us," he said. "It's not our problem."

A woman who answered the phone at the Bainan factory but refused to give her name said the same thing: "Yes, we heard about that. But she wasn't working for us. It's not our responsibility."

Wu Duoqin could not be located. Officials at Kaiming and Bainan said they had lost touch with her, and a phone number she once used was disconnected.



A Father's Sorrow


Immediately after learning of his daughter's death, Li Zhimin traveled to Songgang. For 28 days, he said, he tried to get someone to take responsibility for what happened.

The police sent him to the offices of the local labor bureau, which sent him to the Bainan factory, where managers refused to see him. Then he tried the district-level labor bureau, which sent him to the local commerce department and the Shenzhen city labor bureau.

Finally, police gave him a letter that said a district medical examiner had concluded Li Chunmei "suddenly died because of an illness while she was alive." There were no other details, and the local labor bureau declared her death "non-work-related."

Li said he was unhappy with the finding, but was helpless to do anything about it. Eventually, he said, Kaiming Industrial pressured Wu Duoqin to pay for his daughter's funeral, for the expenses he incurred while in Songgang and for his bus ticket back home. His eldest daughter, Li Mei, returned with him.

Now, the family is again struggling to make ends meet. Li Mei is planning to return to the factories next year.



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OfflineEchoVortex
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #1133543 - 12/11/02 08:31 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)

Those who like more facts and investigative reports on working conditions around the world should check out the website of a watchdog organization called The National Labor Committee for Worker and Human Rights

Another organization that focuses on sweatshops right here in the US is
http://www.sweatshopwatch.org

Just for those who actually want to be informed. The rest of you should feel free to continue living in your worlds of ideological delusion and Randian superman complexes.


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Invisiblesir tripsalot
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #1133679 - 12/11/02 10:08 PM (18 years, 4 months ago)

I read the entire article and it was fantastic. Thanks for sharing some hard facts.


--------------------

"Little racoons and old possums 'n' stuff all live up in here. They've got to have a little place to sit." Bob Ross.


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Offlinehongomon
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1134004 - 12/12/02 04:06 AM (18 years, 4 months ago)

Pinky asks:
Who has the right to decide these things? 

Let me guess, you're opposed to any "union" activity among nations.  Face it, there are some very poor nations in the world which provide labor and resources to the U.S. and other developed nations.  Often, along the time line, they've been shat upon in serious ways.  Then we say, Why can't these backward nations get their shit together!  I'm all for international pressure against corporations who exploit.  There are puh-lenty of people among any of these cultures who are in the fight.  You want specifics to be culturally pertinent?  There's your answer.  But--oh, damn, another activist just got macheted up and dumped in a ditch near the workers' slums.  (That does happen, doesn't it?)

I know you think that when a destitute individual accepts employment to stave off death the negotiations are automatically fair and square, but there's just so much evidence to the contrary.

Have you read any Zola?  "Germinal", for one, highlights the plight of just the sort of people we're discussing here.  They gave a serious go at fighting against the coal mine barons.  It's a depressing book.  How about Marquez's "One Hundred Years of Solitude", and the disastrous strike attempt against the banana companies? 

Of course, that's all fiction, right?  Riiight.

I don't like the comparison.

You don't have to like it.

So, tact is out the window, ay?  Your comparison is tripe. I've explained why I think so.  What a shame you feel so protective of your ideology that you must defend exploitation of children as "a cultural thing".  One of the lamest things I've read from you.  Have you seen Zoolander?  The hypnotism scene is funny because he's speaking such complete bullshit.  And now you're presenting it in a serious tone.

Do you not agree that multiculturalism is a GOOD thing? Or are you so chauvinistic that you dare to believe some cultures are superior to others?

I don't place any fixed value on multiculturalism.  It is a thing.  Technology is a thing.  A gun is a thing.  They have their ups and downs.  I smelled this coming when you brought the culture thing up before.  If only I'd made a wager with a friend, I could've won a dinner.  :grin:  If you weren't using the culture issue in such an absurd way, it would be worth discussing.  I agree that cultural and social factors need to be considered in the matter of child labor.  But it ain't the trump card you seem to want to think.

Clearly not every government in the world feels it must follow the example of imperialistic exploitive money-grubbing planet-raping culture-destroying Western governments.

Tell that to the various failed social experiments in Central and South America starting in the fifties.  Now, here I'm confused: As a laissez-faire capitalist, what exactly  is  your take on the U.S. government's foreign policy?

Those are foreign companies coming in with job offers. Where does culture play in? Do ten-year-old Brazilian goldmine workers carry 30 kg bags of rock and mud because culturally that's what Brazilian ten-year-olds do?

1) Not all mines in Brazil are foreign-owned.

Don't forget the title of this thread.  Or are you making a serious arguement?

2)There are no ten-year-old goldmine workers carrying 30 kg bags of rock and mud.

I want to know how you're so sure.  Is it because no one has kidnapped you and dragged you to Brazil?  Well, I'm sure I can find Cabarete....  I lived in Brazil and spent some time in Minas Gerais, Brazil's mining country.  I went to Ouro Preto, and I went to a mine.  Maybe I'm lying through my teeth, or maybe I dreamed it all, but I'll be damned if those bags didn't weigh 30 kg.  I don't think the average North American tourist gets the tour I did.  I even slept on a dirt floor under a corregated tin roof.  If you choose not to believe me, fine--there are plenty of documented cases of similar problems elsewhere.

3) Brazilian culture expects able-bodied youths to work (presuming they can find employment)at an earlier age than American culture does.

That is a much more reasonable application of cultural sensitivity to the issue.  Tell me, though, about Brazillian culture.  At what age do they expect their youth to begin?  What types of employment are acceptable?  What age/types are considered exploitative?  What happens then? 

The bottom line is that poverty is why children must work to supplement their families income...

Finally! Someone who actually grasps the issue at hand!

Sorry for enticing you to take that comment out of context.  The bottom line, I should have stated, is that poverty,  not culture , is why children work.  I'm sure you'll see a starting-age difference between economic classes within just about any culture.  In fact, can you find one where this isn't so?  What do children generally do with all their time when they don't have to work?  In the U.S., they go to school, the bums.  Canada too.  Education--a whole nother thread, with challenges of its own.

hongomon 


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OfflinePhred
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: EchoVortex]
    #1134657 - 12/12/02 08:33 AM (18 years, 4 months ago)

An instructive and moving story, Echovortex. Thanks for providing it.

For those who don't care to read my point-by-point critique, here's a capsule version:

A 19 year old girl (who was 15 at the time she started working for wages) from an impoverished village in a Communist country becomes ill and dies after working 16 and 17 hours a day (subtracting her 2 hours a day breaktime) for 60 days in a row at the peak time of year in a factory that subcontracts to a Korean company. Previously in the non-peak time she had been working up to 14 hours a day (subtracting 2 hours a day for breaktime). It is not reported how many days a week she worked during non-peak times.

The reason she took this job was that there was no other way for her family (peasant farmers) to survive. She is the lowest-paid employee in the entire plant. Although the minimum wage is 30 cents an hour with extra pay for voluntary overtime (compulsory overtime is illegal in China) she is paid only 12 cents an hour and must work overtime at extra pay or be fired. She is illegally cheated out of some overtime hours, and has her pay illegally withheld for two months. The Communist authorities responsible for enforcing the labor laws are corrupt, so refuse to do their job.

Note that she was not 10 years old. She was not working 36 hours. She received at least 12 cents an hour (note that Alex123 has yet again revised his wage figure downwards for his mythical 10 year old girls -- they now get 10 cents for a 36 hour shift. Tomorrow it will be 8 cents), more than that once she had worked nore than 10 hours in a given day. Some months she received as much as $53 (double what the average worker in her home village accumulates in an entire year) after deductions for the room and board provided by the company.

Echovortex writes:

Here's an article from the Washington Post about one factory in China that supplies various American toy companies.

In their eyes, multi-billion dollar, multinational corporations can do no wrong...

Not in my eyes. Corporations are just as capable of doing unethical and illegal things as are individuals. In a Capitalist (or even quasi-capitalist country) society, such corporations are subject to an objective code of laws. Apparently, such is not the case in Communist countries.

...the poor and uneducated people who get suckered into working at their factories have only themselves to blame. Why, they should get out there and pull themselves up by their bootstraps!

The workers are not to blame for the fact that they were born into poverty. Neither are Western corporations. I ask again (knowing full well I will never receive an answer), if no Western Corporation had ever set foot in China, what would those workers be doing?

"On the night she died, Li Chunmei must have been exhausted."

"Co-workers said she had been on her feet for nearly 16 hours..."

Imagine how much more exhausted she would have been after working a 36 hour shift. Here we have a contradiction in the reportage, though. Later in the article the author says that she receives a 90 minute break for lunch and a nap, and 30 minutes for supper. It is unclear why on this particular day she is working 16 hours straight through.

"Li Chunmei stands in her impoverished hometown of Xiao'eshan before she traveled to Songgang to work in a toy factory. "

We are left to wonder why her hometown is impoverished. Could the answer be Communism?

"Lying on her bed that night, staring at the bunk above her, the slight 19-year-old complained she felt worn out, her roommates recalled."

I'll bet a 10 year old would have felt even more worn out.

"The stories of these deaths highlight labor conditions that are the norm for a new generation of workers in China, tens of millions of migrants who have flocked from the nation's impoverished countryside to its prospering coast."

Why is the coast prospering when the countryside is not?

"In an historic shift, these migrant workers now number more than 200 million by some estimates, more than the 80 million employees working in China's shrinking state industries."

Why are the state industries shrinking?

These new workers are younger, poorer, and less familiar with the promises of labor rights and job security that once served as the ideological bedrock of the ruling Communist Party.

Could it be they are quite familiar with the promises but observant enough to know the promises are empty?

"They are more likely to work for private companies, often backed by foreign investment, with no socialist tradition of cradle-to-grave benefits."

An apparently unfulfilled tradition, at least in "the countryside".

"The young migrants are also second-class citizens..."

How can that be? Communism is a "classless" society!

"The economics are simple, residents said. People in Xiaoeshan eat most of what they grow, and by selling the rest they earn an average annual income of about $25 each. But local officials demand about $37 per person in taxes and fees. Several peasants who refused to pay last year were arrested.
Residents say there is only one way to survive: Pull the children out of school, and later send them to find work in faraway cities."


So according to the people who know the situation best (the residents themselves), if there were no factories to send their children off to, there would be no way to survive.

"Inside, life followed a rigid routine, co-workers said. Li was out of bed by 7:30 a.m. and in uniform and at her post by 8. At noon, she could take 90 minutes for lunch and a quick nap. At 5:30 she had 30 minutes for dinner. Overtime began at 6, and the quitting bell usually didn't ring until after midnight."

Fourteen hours a day spent working. Those are definitely long hours.

Runners required no special skills, and were paid the least, about 12 cents per hour, workers said. During the busy season, including extra pay for overtime, Li could earn about $65 a month....Workers said the company withheld about $12 a month for room and board and charged them for benefits they never received.

So the least-skilled, lowest-paid worker in the entire plant made double in a month what she would have made in a year in the village she had left. Now we begin to understand why she left the village.

"He also found a stack of laminated snapshots, taken at local photo parlors for 50 cents apiece."

Terrible as her working conditions seem to us, it is worth remembering that each photo in that "stack" cost her the same amount of cash that a worker from her home village would be able to accumulate in a week.

"The peak season had arrived, and Wu pressed her employees to work longer and longer hours, sometimes past 2 a.m. or 3 a.m., workers said."

Now she is working as long as 16 and 17 hours a day... 10 hours at regular rates, 6 or 7 hours at overtime rates. Overtime is compulsory.

"But we don't even get paid for all of the overtime," she added. "For example, we might work six or seven hours extra, but then they just put down three or four hours on the timecards."

A clear case of fraud,a crime in a Capitalist country.

"Friends said Li often spoke of quitting and returning home. But the factory had not paid her for two months, and if she quit, she was afraid she might not get the money."

Breach of contract. Again, a crime in a Capitalist country.

"Many of the conditions described by Li's co-workers violate Chinese law. The minimum wage in Songgang is about 30 cents per hour. Overtime is limited in China to no more than 36 hours per month, and it must be voluntary. Arbitrary fines and pay deductions are prohibited. But enforcement of the law is weak."

Ah! So these practices are also illegal in the People's Paradise. The politicians have no difficulty sending tanks against demonstrators, but seem unwilling or unable to ensure their dutiful citizens are receiving the benefits to which they are entitled. Interesting.

"The officials are eager to stimulate investment and generate taxes and bribes, so they are often willing to overlook labor rights and safety violations, he said."

Corrupt bureaucrats? How surprising!

"Under a government system intended to restrict population movement, migrants enjoy fewer rights and welfare benefits than workers in the old state factories, and police can arbitrarily arrest and repatriate them to their hometowns."

So the problem is caused by government restrictions on individual freedom?

"managers of state factories in China often resemble political leaders, responsible for the overall welfare of their workers."

Too bad there aren't enough state factories to employ everyone who wishes to work in one. Sounds like China should have never allowed foreign factories to be built.

"Now, the family is again struggling to make ends meet. Li Mei is planning to return to the factories next year."

Despite the tragedy of her sister's death, Li Mei is willing to risk the same fate. Ask yourself why that might be.

pinky


--------------------


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InvisibleXlea321
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1134747 - 12/12/02 09:02 AM (18 years, 4 months ago)

Note that she was not 10 years old

THIS girl wasn't.

She was not working 36 hours

THIS girl wasn't.

She received at least 12 cents an hour (note that Alex123 has yet again revised his wage figure downwards for his mythical 10 year old girls -- they now get 10 cents

In THIS factory they get 12 cents.

Neither are Western corporations.

Oh come on. Propping up brutal dictators who obey corporate commands, creating tax exempt trade zones with massive walls around them to keep out any inspectors, paying nothing for any infrastructure they use, shacks built for the workers to lay on the floor inside the zone, refusing to pay a living wage leaving nothing left to stimulate the local economy. I think that's making just a *tiny* contribution to the situation.

if no Western Corporation had ever set foot in China, what would those workers be doing?

Making their own way? Like the early americans did?

Despite the tragedy of her sister's death, Li Mei is willing to risk the same fate. Ask yourself why that might be.

Because there are a lot of desperate people in this world. If the government allowed corporations to open factories in america paying 5 bucks a day you would still get people desperate enough to do the work. And once they are working for a lousy wage every other corporation would say "Hey, they're working for 5 bucks a day, why should we pay 20 bucks a day?" It's called the "race to the bottom". Within a short period of time the corporations are paying 10 cents.

It's the kind of situation the unions saved us from. But in south east asia when you've got a western installed psychotics like Suharto for president and complete corporate control of all aspects of the law forming a union isn't easy. As echo pointed out, try forming a union and you end up "accidentally" machetted to death in a ditch. "The machette just slipped your honour..75 times"


--------------------
Don't worry, B. Caapi


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Invisiblesir tripsalot
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Phred]
    #1134865 - 12/12/02 10:02 AM (18 years, 4 months ago)

*shakes head* You're a cold SOB. There government ignoring the law probably has a lot to do with money going in their pocket fromm the corporation.


--------------------

"Little racoons and old possums 'n' stuff all live up in here. They've got to have a little place to sit." Bob Ross.


Edited by sir tripsalot (12/12/02 10:04 AM)


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OfflinePhred
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Re: When You Say You Hate Corporate America... [Re: Xlea321]
    #1134954 - 12/12/02 10:56 AM (18 years, 4 months ago)

Alex123 writes:

THIS girl wasn't.

In THIS factory they get 12 cents.

Feel free at any time to provide proof of your imaginary 10 year old girls working 36 hour shifts for ten cents. Until then lets discuss people who actually exist.

Propping up brutal dictators who obey corporate commands...

Western corporations didn't "prop up" the politburo of the People's Republic of China, or Pol Pot in Cambodia, or the People's Chamber of Deputies in Viet Nam, etc.

...creating tax exempt trade zones...

Corporations can't create tax exemptions; governments do.

...with massive walls around them to keep out any inspectors...

Government inspectors go wherever the government tells them to go, especially in totalitarian states.

....paying nothing for any infrastructure they use...

If the owner of that infrastructure (government) sees fit not to charge them, why should they pay?

....refusing to pay a living wage leaving nothing left to stimulate the local economy.

Hmm. So the workers shouldn't be allowed to send back to their families starving in the interior the savings they accumulate? They should be forced to spend those savings locally? I can see how a government could force them to spend their savings locally, but I don't see how a corporation could.

Seems we agree, Alex. It's not the corporations that are doing bad things, it's the government.

I think that's making just a *tiny* contribution to the situation.

Re-read what I wrote. I said it was not the fault of the workers they were born into poverty. Neither is it the fault of Western corporations that they were born into poverty.

I asked: How would the workers raise themselves out of poverty if not a single Western corporation had ever set foot on Chinese soil? You replied:

Making their own way? Like the early americans did?

An admirably detailed answer. *sarcasm* Seems the only time you care to deal in specifics rather than vague generalities is when they are imaginary specifics.

But let's let your well-reasoned answer stand, and ask the next logical question. How does the presence of Western corporations prevent the people of China from "making their own way"? Why do the people not simply ignore the Western factories and continue making their own way?

If the government allowed corporations to open factories in america paying 5 bucks a day you would still get people desperate enough to do the work.

Unlikely. Why would anyone give up welfare benefits to work for five bucks a day?

And once they are working for a lousy wage every other corporation would say "Hey, they're working for 5 bucks a day, why should we pay 20 bucks a day?" It's called the "race to the bottom". Within a short period of time the corporations are paying 10 cents.

This is nonsense. I have held many jobs in my life, and the only one where I was ever paid minimum wage was the very first, when I was still in school. Every other non-unionized company I worked for paid more than minimum wage. No one was forcing these companies to pay more than minimum wage -- neither government regulations nor union pressure. Yet they did. How does your "race to the bottom" theory explain this fact?

It's the kind of situation the unions saved us from.

The only unionized job I ever held was as a mail sorter. It was the second-lowest-paying job I ever held.

But in south east asia when you've got a western installed psychotics like Suharto for president...

You're talking governments again. This is why I said I'd prefer more corporations to more government.

...and complete corporate control of all aspects of the law...

Tell the Politburo of the P.R.C. that they are under corporate control. Please videotape the encounter so we can all enjoy their reaction.

...forming a union isn't easy.

Correct. Neither is running your own business. But at least in a society where the government has no power over economic matters (i.e. Laissez-faire Capitalism) it is possible to do both.

pinky


--------------------


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