Selling Out is Not a Sacrifice

Art by Evan McCarthy

The evils of capitalism are as real as the evils of militarism and evils of racism.

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

You show me a capitalist; I’ll show you a bloodsucker.

— Malcolm X

Has enough time elapsed that we can finally speak frankly about all of the hoopla over a cynical sneaker endorsement? OK. Then I have to ask: Have we all lost our minds?? Am I to understand that our civilization has “progressed” to the point where supposed social change is aided by the manipulative marketing of overpriced, sweatshop-produced apparel?

Remember sweatshops? Or are they just a faddish social cause from the 90s? Charles Kernaghan of the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights calls the conditions created by multinational corporations like Nike, and faced by workers in their factories, “the science of exploitation.”  Those who endorse the likes of such corporations stand complicit in their evildoings.

Just because the heinous global mistreatment of garment (and other) workers has become little more than fodder for comedians in the current zeitgeist does not mean that we have solved the issue of sweatshop labor or that it is any less atrocious. On the contrary, near-slave wages, child labor, unsafe working conditions, and harassment still run rampant in factory work around the world and in the United States. A new era of slavery in the U.S. now exists in prisons. Unpaid and barely paid laborers – many of whom are black victims of racism,…

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