PC Slavery. One of the many reasons I celebrate my independence on Juneteenth.

I can see how slavery lasted so long in the United States. Most people in the US didn’t own slaves, though most everyone benefited indirectly, so is the case of the migrant worker.

I like to call migrant workers PC slaves, since people can pretend as if they aren’t doing anything wrong by casually buying clothes, food and other products that people produce who are paid virtually nothing.

I know many people will whine and bitch about how it’s migrant workers choice, but I don’t think you have a choice if you’re a human being in regards to whether you live or die.

And in order to buy food and shelter you need money and that’s not a fact that is up for debate, correct?

So why would anyone say you have a choice in regards to working? Do migrant workers have trust funds? Are they slumming? They have to work to live.

I was reading one of my most favorite rags, the Economist. That’s pretty much the only way I can find out what kind of nastiness the US economy is actually in, since over here in the states people are insistent that there are signs of a recession, but refuse to say the “R” word. It is as if they think it’s a racial slur or something.

“A CAMPAIGN to improve the low wages and awful labour conditions of tomato pickers in Florida has notched up a substantial victory over farm owners and their biggest clients, the fast-food chains. After one embarrassment on top of another, Burger King backed down last month and reached a ground-breaking agreement with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, representing mostly seasonal farmworkers from Mexico, Central America and Haiti. The Miami-based company agreed to pay them one cent more for every pound (450g) of tomatoes they pick, and to improve their working conditions.” From the Economist, The Price of a tomato. June 26, 2008.

This is the kind of country that we live in, where assholes will fight so that they won’t have to pay a person one penny extra, not a dollar, not a quarter, but one bloody penny. But it’s not just that the guy will fight to not pay that one penny, but the fact that in America that’s all we will fight for. That’s all we’ll help someone fight for.

We will fight for one penny (or half of one percent )  and get slapped down and keep working, because we don’t want to seem unreasonable.

Then if we get the one penny, we think it’s some kind of victory.

Making less than minimum wage isn’t a victory. Getting exploited in any form is not a victory.  Making less than minimum wage (and the minimum is what you need to not go into the negative)  is called not getting paid, which means it is called slavery, but you know the thing about PC slavery, it actually costs less than the vintage form of slavery.

If migrant workers were slaves companies like, Florida Tomato Growers Exchange would have to provide them with shelter and food, by getting migrant workers to “volunteer” to be slaves, they get to work AND pay for their own shelter and food and companies like Florida Tomato Growers Exchange get to say, “Well we’re paying them more than they would make in their country.”

Hey didn’t they say that about black slaves? Remember how people said how happy black people should be since they got the privilege to in live in America, because even if they were slaves it was better than where they came from, for god sakes Africa is a jungle.

The fact that no one backslaps the spokespeople from these huge amoral corporations when they try to justify their behavior with these kinds of statements shocks me, but I guess actually physically hitting someone would be a little unreasonable.

Working someone like a dog: That’s civilized American business.
Bitching and smacking someone upside the head because they work you like a dog and do not want to pay you: That’s anti-American uncivilized unreasonableness.

“Some companies, led by Taco Bell, had agreed as early as 2005 to pay the extra cent the farmworkers were demanding. McDonald’s followed suit last year. But the powerful Florida Tomato Growers Exchange, which represents 90% of the state’s producers held out. It threatened to fine anyone who paid the extra cent a whopping $100,000.”From the Economist, The Price of a tomato. June 26, 2008.

If you go to the Florida Tomatoes Growers Exchange website, they call themselves progressive and nice guys.

“The Florida Tomato Growers Exchange is leading a progressive movement in support of long-term comprehensive solutions that improve the lives of farm workers and their families.”

Whatever dudes.

The online world is a scary place. It seems so much easier to lie on line. So many fake blogs, by fake citizen journalist but real marketing assholes, pretending that they are not being paid or monetarily benefited from the things that they are “randomly” talking about.

And we thought the beef industry was evil.

So McDonald’s with it’s support of the UNCF and HSF and various other we care about the little children nonprofits, don’t really care so much about people, but possibly McDonald doesn’t think people who aren’t American are people.

“The extra cent a pound is the first pay increase workers have received in 30 years. Even with it, a picker would have to fill 15 32-pound buckets an hour to earn Florida’s minimum wage of $6.79—a tall order in the broiling sun.”

“The coalition is still on the warpath. It wants other big buyers to pay the extra cent. It is targeting Wal-Mart, as well as the Subway sandwich store chain, Chipotle restaurants, and Whole Foods supermarkets.”From the Economist, The Price of a tomato. June 26, 2008.

Whole Foods, that’s pretty amazing. Whole Foods with its organic goodness, their goodness does not apply to people. Though I am being a little unreasonable with my assessment, I think in Whole Food land people would only apply to those who have an American Express card, a platinum one.

It amazes me these places that go out of their way to carry food that treat animals humanely seem to care very little about the people who pick the food for their table, sew the clothes for their back and clean the floors of their establishments.

This is why I celebrate Juneteenth.

I don’t think the 4th of July applies to dark people, non-US born people, people who have too many consonants or too many vowels in their last names, but I’m a bit unreasonable.

I guess this means my future presidential run will be unsuccessful…

by Browne Molyneux

7 thoughts on “PC Slavery. One of the many reasons I celebrate my independence on Juneteenth.

  1. Thanks for this post. You make a really great point in comparing migrant work to slavery. Too often the assumption about slavery is that it’s something of the past, that the only kind of slavery was chattel slavery and that it only happened to Blacks. That’s just not true. People don’t always arrive and live in the U.S. under “free” conditions.

  2. I also find that the argument that migrant workers are like immigrants from European countries false.

    Workers from south of the US border were given a f*cked up deal. A deal that no one else got. A deal where they would work, but the US would not grant them citizenship. The guest worker program is bs. This is not the same deal other immigrants got. This is still going on and this is legalized slavery.

    The US realized that chattel slavery was bad PR (and freakin expensive,) but as I’ve said before the US has a problem, from its inception it’s been addicted to working people and not paying them and then telling people that they are better for it.

    I want to know what the US does to people that they don’t like, oh yeah they torture them in prisons outside of the view of the media, though our media has disappeared, so they probably could do it at Pershing Square since Zell is selling off the LA Times piece by piece.

    Any one working on US soil should be given the same rights as US citizens and really if you need people to work here you should give them citizenship, yeah you’d have to pay them more, but how much money do these assholes need?
    Browne

  3. One must also agree that the definition of slavery is strangely narrow in America.That people who are enslaved (meaning those who are chained to their jobs as well as those imprisoned and forced to work for for-profit companies—such as American Express, a multi-national what owns a considerable number of prisons in Texas) will quarrel that one is not enslaved unless one is chained and working the cotton fields, remains foolish. Slavery is alive and well today, and the matter of semantics that seems to keep most folk from thinking so is itself an indicator of slavery. Or so I feel.

  4. I don’t shop at Whole Foods, but I do try to buy local/organic from places out here in PA. And that is one thing that I wish the local/organic “movement” embraced- full disclosure of and support for the humane working conditions and pay of their workers. I’m sure there is a lot of brown people getting the shaft even when purchasing the “better” option. People should be included in “green”

  5. There really needs to be some sort of mass washing away of the confusion mess, some sort of flood to wipe away the illusions under which this country operates. I know some well meaning liberals that buy “organic” because it’s somehow better for the world, and they’ll pay extra for that sense of doing good. But when you really start breaking down how we get our food, there’s a lot of bad going on in between, like the treatment and pay the pickers receive or the unnecessary waste of petrol to ship “organic” grapes from some South American country.

    Basically, whatever you read from corporations, companies, and even the FDA, assume it’s a lie.

  6. You forgot about the “Banana Republics”, aka, Central America, Africa, the Carribean, and parts of Asia. We sent in troops to control or overthrow their government, so we could have bananas.

    I think the big target for the Chicago boys neoliberal project is Chile, and that’s why there are fruits coming from there all winter long. History repeats itself, but differently.

  7. “They sent in troops to control or overthrow their government, so we could have bananas.” alienation

    That’s a damn shame. I think possibly people should do is simply consume less and change this on demand type market for food. Foods have seasons for a reason, so people won’t have to work like they are slaves.

    “I know some well meaning liberals that buy “organic” because it’s somehow better for the world, and they’ll pay extra for that sense of doing good. But when you really start breaking down how we get our food, there’s a lot of bad going on in between, like the treatment and pay the pickers receive or the unnecessary waste of petrol to ship “organic” grapes from some South American” El Chavo

    I just don’t think a food should be able to be labeled organic unless the workers who picked that food were treated fairly. And yeah fair is an objective, but I think a good stick would be, “Is this a job you think would be cool for your husband or wife or kids?” If not, something should be done about the working conditions, because they are probably not good.

    Browne

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