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Invisiblecarbonhoots
old hand

Registered: 09/11/01
Posts: 1,351
Loc: BC Canada
american slaves for profit
    #568939 - 03/03/02 08:42 PM (14 years, 9 months ago)

Slave Labor Means Big Bucks For U.S. Corporations
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Slave Labor Means Big Bucks For U.S. Corporations
January 31, 2001

By Michael Schwartz, Daily Bruin, U. California-Los Angeles

(U-WIRE) LOS ANGELES-It seemed like a normal factory closing. U.S. Technologies sold its electronics plant in Austin, Texas, leaving its 150 workers unemployed. Everyone figured they were moving the plant to Mexico, where they would employ workers at half the cost. But six weeks later, the electronics plant reopened in Austin in a nearby prison.

At the same time, the United States blasts China for the the use of prison slave labor, engaging in the same practice itself. Prison labor is a pot of gold. No strikes, union organizing, health benefits, unemployment insurance or workers' compensation to pay. As if exploiting the labor of prison inmates was not bad enough, it is legal in the United States to use slave labor. The 13th Amendment of the Constitution states that "neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted shall exist within the United States."

There are approximately 2 million people behind bars in the United States-more than three times the number of prisoners in 1980. The United States now imprisons more people than any other country in the world. In fact, in the last 20 years California has constructed 21 new prisons while in the same amount of time, it has built only one new university. That statistic is even more astounding when we think about the fact that it took California almost 150 years to build its first 12 prisons. Another five new prisons are under construction and plans are in the works to build another 10.

The question that needs to be answered is-why? Why are prisons such a booming business? The answer lies in the prison industrial complex. At the same time that prisons clear the streets of those you feel are a "threat" to society, prisons also offer jobs in construction, guarding, administration, health, education and food service.

Prisons in impoverished areas often end up with inmates from the local area who had previously worked in the community. Often they were laid off from a factory job that moved overseas and they turned to alcohol or drugs, which ultimately landed them in prison. Others are luckier and get a job in the prison. One of the fastest-growing sectors of the prison industrial complex is private corrections companies. Private prisons also have an incentive to gain as many prisoners as possible and to keep them there as long as possible.

Many corporations, whose products we consume on a daily basis, have learned that prison labor can be as profitable as using sweatshop labor in developing nations. You might have had a first-hand experience with a prison laborer if you have ever booked a flight on Trans World Airlines, since many of the workers making the phone reservations are prisoners. Other companies that use prison labor are Chevron, IBM, Motorola, Compaq, Texas Instruments, Honeywell, Microsoft, Victoria's Secret and Boeing. Federal prisons operate under the trade name Unicor and use their prisoners to make everything from lawn furniture to congressional desks. Their Web site proudly displays "where the government shops first."

Federal safety and health standards do not protect prison labor, nor do the National Labor Relations Board policies. The corporations do not even have to pay minimum wage. In California, inmates who work for the Prison Industrial Authority earn wages between 30 and 95 cents per hour before required deductions for restitutions.

Read "Lockdown America" by Christian Parenti for information about the abuses of the system. I think Mr. Parenti gives politicians too much credit for intentionally creating the system as it stands today. For information about the causes of this system read "The Perpetual Prisoner Machine" by Joel Dyer.

Is this retraining prisoners to be productive members of society or, a cheap, captive labor supply with no option to submitting grievances to management.

www.unicor.gov/


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  -I'd rather have a frontal lobotomy than a bottle in front of me

CANADIAN CENTER FOR POLICY ALTERNATIVES


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OfflineSyngenor
member

Registered: 09/17/00
Posts: 31
Last seen: 14 years, 7 months
Re: american slaves for profit [Re: carbonhoots]
    #570967 - 03/05/02 11:58 PM (14 years, 8 months ago)

The success of the slave labour movement -- be it in prisons or in sweatshops -- demonstrates weakness in the global labour market, which had been forseen in The Global 2000 Report to the President (sorry but there is no online reference availible). Global 2000 leans on the "underproduction" argument: there are insufficient raw materials to sustain an economy; as such goods become scarcer and purchasing power declines as fascist governments rise. If this is the case than there may be no alternative. There is also an "overproduction" argument that there is no scarcity but merely no demand for labour. Either way, as long as wages and working conditions are determined in globally competitive markets, we have much further downward to go: $0.30/hr is triple the average wage in China and 8 times that in Bangledesh(sp). Currently prisons are the only way for the US to compete in this kind of market; and soon even prisons will become too expensive for that. If anything, the prison industrial complex has slowed down the growth of slavery, since a fully deregulated market would cause an immediate reversion to non-prison slave labour.


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Invisiblecarbonhoots
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Registered: 09/11/01
Posts: 1,351
Loc: BC Canada
Re: american slaves for profit [Re: Syngenor]
    #571724 - 03/06/02 06:23 PM (14 years, 8 months ago)

Surely things will turn around before then. This neoconservative trend will be bucked before were all slaves, and a few masters, I trust.


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  -I'd rather have a frontal lobotomy than a bottle in front of me

CANADIAN CENTER FOR POLICY ALTERNATIVES


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OfflineSyngenor
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Registered: 09/17/00
Posts: 31
Last seen: 14 years, 7 months
Re: american slaves for profit [Re: carbonhoots]
    #572308 - 03/07/02 09:35 AM (14 years, 8 months ago)

No way, Jose. Ppl began wising up to the far right at least as far back as Seattle. It didnt take them long to manufacture 9/11 to buck the countertrend and install a permanent military dictatorship. Under the USA-PATRIOT act, strikers and especially anti-neoliberal rioters may be charged as terrorists and face life imprisonment and/or execution. Even marijuana possesion could qualify as financing terrorism. The bottom line is that anyone that dares speak out, let alone take direct action, against the financial oligarchy is a terrorist.

"Anti-terrorism" is again the result of surplus-labour economics: prison slave labour is required to compete against $1/day labour in Bangledesh and Mynamar; and in order to compete against prison slave labour, the non-incarcerated population must accept the conditions of prison slave labour. "Anti-terrorism" imposes prison conditions on non-convicts as required by market conditions. As such, it may soon become unnecessary to keep building new and expensive prison systems and arbitrarily charging ppl as criminals. When that happens, then we really will be just like China.


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OfflineGod_Killer
enthusiast
Registered: 04/03/01
Posts: 137
Last seen: 14 years, 1 month
Re: american slaves for profit [Re: Syngenor]
    #572475 - 03/07/02 02:31 PM (14 years, 8 months ago)

One of my brothrs works for a company in the surface mining industry thats thinking of having prisoners bused in. The state sells em out for six bucks n hour and gives the prisoners two. Good work if ya can get it, huh?


--------------------
Beer is proof that god loves us and wants us to be happy.-Benjamin Franklin


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Offlinesaturnalone
Stranger
Registered: 03/06/02
Posts: 8
Last seen: 14 years, 8 months
Re: american slaves for profit [Re: carbonhoots]
    #573774 - 03/08/02 11:03 PM (14 years, 8 months ago)

good thread. Too good. The few people who run this society don't like stuff like this being talked about in a "negative" way. Have you gotten any emails yet saying "we told you to stop posting things like this" and so on?
Usually the spin is "Prisoners are given a chance to be useful to society."


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:wink:


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OfflineEllis Dee
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Male User Gallery Arcade Champion: Duck Hunt, Enemy Enforcer

Registered: 06/30/01
Posts: 13,044
Loc: Fire in the sky
Last seen: 2 hours, 45 minutes
Re: american slaves for profit [Re: carbonhoots]
    #575701 - 03/11/02 11:38 AM (14 years, 8 months ago)

According to the Constitution slavery is a legal punishment for crimes. This has been going on for a very long time... Nothing new about it.


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"If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do."-King Solomon

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,


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