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Ross and Mosk report: "The 100-plus workers who died in a fire late Saturday at a high-rise garment factory in Bangladesh were working overtime making clothes for major American retailers."

A firefighter inspects Tazreen Fashion factory in Bangladesh after a fire swept through it, killing more than 100 people, 11/25/12. (photo: Reuters)
A firefighter inspects Tazreen Fashion factory in Bangladesh after a fire swept through it, killing more than 100 people, 11/25/12. (photo: Reuters)


US Brands Blamed in Deadly Bangladeshi Blaze

By Brian Ross, Matthew Mosk, ABC News

26 November 12

 

he 100-plus workers who died in a fire late Saturday at a high-rise garment factory in Bangladesh were working overtime making clothes for major American retailers, including Wal-Mart, according to workers' rights groups.

Officials in Bangladesh said the flames at the Tazreen Fashions factory outside Dhaka spread rapidly on the ground floor, trapping those on the higher floors of the nine-story building. There were no exterior fire escapes, according to officials, and many died after jumping from upper floors to escape the flames.

As firemen continued to remove bodies Sunday, officials said at least 112 people had died but that the number of fatalities could go higher.

The Tazreen fire is the latest in a series of deadly blazes at garment factories in Bangladesh, where more than 700 workers, many making clothes for U.S. consumers, have died in factory fires in the past five years. As previously reported by ABC News, Bangladesh has some of the cheapest labor in the world and some of the most deplorable working conditions.

"The industry and parent brands in the U.S. have been warned again and again about the extreme danger to workers in Bangladesh and they have not taken action," said Scott Nova, executive director of the Worker Rights Consortium, an American group working to improve conditions at factories abroad that make clothes for U.S. companies. Nova said the fire was the most deadly in the history of the Bangladesh apparel industry, and "one of the worst in any country."

Workers' activists went into the burned-out remains today to document which major retailers were using the Tazreen factory.

They say they found labels for Faded Glory, a Wal-Mart private label, along with labels they said traced back to Sears and a clothing company owned by music impresario Sean "Diddy" Combs.

"There's no question that Wal-Mart and the other customers at this factory bear some blame for what happened in this factory," Nova said.

Nova also said that Wal-Mart "knew exactly what's going on at these facilities. They have staff on site in Bangladesh."

Wal-Mart actually warned of dangerous conditions at the Tazreen factory last year, in a letter posted online by the factory owner.

Wal-Mart told ABC News that the company has not yet been able to confirm that it was still making clothes at the factory.

In a statement, Wal-Mart told ABC News, "Our thoughts are with the families of the victims of this tragedy. ... [F]ire safety is a critically important area of Wal-Mart's factory audit program and we have been working across the apparel industry to improve fire safety education and training in Bangladesh.

"As part of this effort, we partnered with several independent organizations to develop and roll out fire safety training tools for factory management and workers. Continued engagement is critical to ensure that reliable, proactive measures are in place to reduce the chance of factory fires. "

Spokespeople for Combs and Sears did not immediately respond to requests for comment.


 

Comments   

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- The RSN Team

 
+7 # Douglas Jack 2012-11-26 10:16
Part of all product, service & labour contracts must be the 'capital' (Latin 'cap' = 'head' = 'wisdom') investment & management participation of all stakeholders (Founders, Workers, Managers, Suppliers & Consumers). In our interdependent world economy, its essential that the voice / collective-inte lligence of workers & other stakeholders become a permanent part of corporate charters as humanity's 'indigenous' (L 'self-generatin g') cultivated. 'Intelligence' (L 'the ability to choose between') is the key to safety. https://sites.google.com/site/indigenecommunity/relational-economy
 
 
+4 # ghostperson 2012-11-27 08:35
?
 
 
+1 # Douglas Jack 2012-11-27 11:34
Ghostperson, Thanks for the question. Its fascinating how readers mostly believe that; safety issues will be solved by top-down external corporate policy or government legislation 'charity' by itself. This is degrading to the intelligence & ability of the workers & other stakeholders to contribute intelligence to directing their 'corporations' (Latin 'body'). No commenters here are considering the intellectual-ca pital & design capacity of the workers & other stakeholders to be an integral & permanent part of decision-making . The problem is top-down only decision-making which should be forbidden as far as the granting of government issued 'corporate' charters. The key to industrial, commercial & domestic safety, is participatory structuring of corporations at all levels. https://sites.google.com/site/indigenecommunity/relational-economy
 
 
+1 # newsmom 2012-11-28 17:47
allow me join you ghostperson in responding to douglas jack: i have no idea what is being advanced in either of these word salads.
 
 
0 # Douglas Jack 2012-11-28 20:13
Newsmom, This issue of safety in Bangladesh & worldwide clothing manufacture US contracted factories is not about protecting supposed 'weak' workers from exploitation but first about empowering worker & other stakeholder investments & intelligence for a permanent solution together.

I'm involved for 45 years in solidarity with such as the United Farm Workers, First Nations & worldwide indigenous peoples. The key is not endless consumer-nation political-machi nations or charity as their supposed heros. Successful campaigns come from subscribing-to & investing-in the leadership & intelligence of the workers. Some get this clearly, some don't.

Its a long process of deprogramming those who don't. Often there are false concepts of superiority or privilege involved in not recognizing the knowledge & decision-making acumen of those most intimately involved. The mainstream & social-media are unfortunately rife with one-sided treatment of issues. https://sites.google.com/site/indigenecommunity/relational-economy/participatory-accounting
 
 
0 # newsmom 2012-11-28 21:00
i apologize for not making myself clear: people who are earning starvation wages cannot be concerned with becoming empowered. they want to eat. they want to be able to buy food and clothing and pay for decent housing.

any employer who houses workers in a multistory building with no fire escapes, no means for fleeing an incendiary workplace is at best - at best -- guilty of depraved indifference to human life. such an employer is not at all helping employees to take significant steps toward achieving the goals of adequate nutrition and safe shelter.

we ought not buy products made under such conditions, and u.s. businesses ought not have contracts with companies that have so little respect for the well-being of its people.

the people who work in these dreadful sweatshops are poor and poorly educated. they don't have a voice -- and if they dared raise it, my guess they would lose what little assured income they have. (at least that's what has happened to walmart complainers).

the outcry over suicides in china has led to changes in the conditions chinese workers are treated. apple customers made their voices heard and apple managers were embarrassed. trouble is, it doesn't seem to be possible to embarrass walmart.

whew. enough already.
 
 
0 # Douglas Jack 2012-11-29 01:05
Newsmom, I was pretty sure that you understood more than what you declared to be a "word-salad" & that you disagreed. Pretty clever rhetorical strategy! I disagree with you about the concerns of the "starving". Bangladeshis have continued to cultivate more of an edible permaculture than we do here. Albeit given our corporate control of their lands & resources with dire reduction of biosphere capacity, their consciousness of mutual-aid & respect for nature is generally stronger than our own. The human mind / intelligence with desire to affect the situations we are in, never shuts off. Their contextual intelligence holds the key to production & trade, worthy of our respect. 1st Mislead monetary-capita list children of Sam Walton ignore the detailed site & situation-appro priate intelligence & safety knowledge of their workers because of western life-style addictions & other capitalist missions. 2nd Do-gooders ignore inherent intelligence to indulge in their own general sense of outrage. The best thing we can do is support these workers in upholding their voices. Sam Walton's children need to hear these real voices directly in person in order to learn to respect the intelligence they hold as well as to diminish the false voices of lifestyle addiction to which they are attached. We all need to hear these voices for the wisdom these people carry for all of us. https://sites.google.com/site/indigenecommunity/relational-economy/8-economic-democracy
 
 
-1 # desertjohn 2012-11-28 14:44
English 101, please. Douglas, I beg you to take advantage of this wonderful course, as it is available at most community and junior colleges across the nation.
 
 
0 # Douglas Jack 2012-11-28 16:30
Desertjohn, I'd love to take some wonderful english courses & maybe someday gain privileged status as an English speaker. Here's a piece of writing which ranks among my favourites.

Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteres are at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a tatol mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe.

Parallel research points out that given a basic sentence structure, most words don't have to be in the right place or order either. Most readers agree as to the correct meaning of any author's message. However some readers who don't want to understand relevant information, which expands or upsets their worldviews, will take the false 'didactic' stance of 'teacher' in order to avoid communication & responsibility for the world in which they live.

https://sites.google.com/site/indigenecommunity/structure/5-collaborative-language
 
 
+36 # Skeeziks 2012-11-26 10:17
I wonder how many years this, "...we have been working across the apparel industry to improve fire safety education and training in Bangladesh..."
has been going on.

One, at least I, would thnk that through all the past Christmases, New Years, Easters and summers seasons, Wal-Mart and the others could have gotten their fabricators in Bangladesh to improve the conditions in which the workers had to be working.

Move everything back here where it's a bit safer, if not as profitable. If they won't do that, why should we condone their apparent inactions throughout the years? Are we that bad a people?
 
 
+2 # KittatinyHawk 2012-11-26 12:23
you are kidding?
 
 
+4 # MidwestTom 2012-11-26 20:53
I know that al-Mart makes mens under shorts in Ethiopia., where they employ over 500, paying almost nothing.
 
 
+74 # humanmancalvin 2012-11-26 10:23
Although my financial situation is severely limited due to a handicap I refuse to cross a Wal Mart threshold. I will march with the picketers as I marched with Farm Workers back in the 60's & Civil Rights protesters. These marches eventually led to great change, not complete by any standards but change nevertheless. A Wal Mart Supercenter will open its gaping doors about a mile from my residence next year & I will watch traffic become a major disrupting force in my front yard, & I will watch Wal Mart workers hurrying to a job that does not pay them properly nor allow them human rights benefits such as Health Care. This is not the fault of the workers as we all have to strive to put bread on our & our families tables while the Waltons put Caviar on theirs without losing a moments sleep. A mass amount of people rising up & screaming Hell No Wal Mart, this will not do is probably one of the only roads leading to change. Another is for the workers to allow a union into their workplace although a slew of workers will lose their jobs in this process & that is what Wal mart holds over the workers head like a sharpened guillotine.
 
 
+28 # readerz 2012-11-26 12:00
You must be from the Akron area. There was already a Walmart, but they are leaving that and building a super-Walmart that will totally disrupt the traffic. America has too many "malls" anyway.

Merchandise sits on shelves to entice people into a store, and while it sits on those shelves, the workers who made those items are not paid. Everything is on commission; nothing is "owned" by a big store. The manufacturer is not paid until each item is sold. This means that the manufacturers have to take out high-interest loans to be able to pay their payroll, and of course that high interest loan is passed along to the consumer. Whether we are talking about Macy's or Walmart, the same problem exists: stuff sits too long on shelves, and workers are not paid for that time; the mark-up is huge, and both those who make merchandise and the store clerks are paid less and less.

"Big box" might make a little more sense in a catalog or internet where the merchandise doesn't have to be displayed, but often those businesses are run the same way, and altogether, the executives make way too much money.
 
 
+28 # Barbara K 2012-11-26 10:26
What a sad tragedy for these people. I hope we can make our own clothing here in the USA sometime soon.
 
 
0 # RLF 2012-11-27 07:26
Yeah...Right... Obama is really working on that with his trans-pacific free trade treaty. Business uber alles!
 
 
+22 # DPM 2012-11-26 10:31
I weep for Walmart as they mourn their greed, I mean loss. If working conditions are improved there, where will they go? After TPP (Trans-Pacific Pact) is passed, perhaps they can move some of their vendors back here, to create some more wonderful Walmart jobs..
 
 
+2 # RLF 2012-11-27 07:28
It might cut into the walton families Wealth...how will they ever get from as much as the lower 40% to as much as the lower 50%?...poor babies!
 
 
+15 # zitzwitz@mac.com 2012-11-26 10:50
It comes to the old dogma of:"More Units at a Cheaper prize".
How cheap is the question. For the supply side believers this tragedy becomes a critical question which can only be solved with stringent regulations for human rights. It's a tough one, but desperately needed. The idea that an other company will come along and will compete with alternative methods may have been true in a world market which was much smaller. Today, this is no longer true as the monopoly of a handful of companies reigns.
 
 
-75 # Martintfre 2012-11-26 11:19
It is all the evil Americans fault.

Anything that goes wrong in any part of the planet is our fault.

Had there been no factory - no jobs then every one starving and ya all would be happy
 
 
+25 # brux 2012-11-26 12:18
what's wrong with some regulation of the factories and slave labor? what is the point of creating more people, more poverty, more misery just so a rapper can make money. what's wrong with minimum wage.

what this really does is undercut the whole us economy, plunging more into poverty and using up more resources, creating more co2, ruining more land, killing more animals, and creating more poverty while ignorants like you go on about how great it is.

you think people would buy this crap if they had any idea?

would you?
 
 
+12 # Texas Aggie 2012-11-26 16:46
Of course he would. Do you think he cares about anyone but himself?
 
 
-13 # brux 2012-11-26 18:00
I don't profess to know what anyone thinks, in fact many Liberals talk a lot about caring for other people, but then when they get their particular issue addressed they become Conservatives ... people lie.
 
 
+3 # fbacher 2012-11-26 15:00
Nothing is nobody's fault. We can't create any rules of the game. The only rule is the rule of power. I think that sums up the Libertarian/Obj ectivist philosophy.
 
 
+16 # readerz 2012-11-26 16:39
Before the extremely lax trade agreements, high tariffs prevented people from buying goods made by slave labor in other countries, and there were more inspections of ports. Now a big tanker full of "molasses" could be carrying oil, and who knows what is in toy jewelry this week: cadmium, or arsenic? The 9/11 Commission urged a much more thorough inspection in ports, but that hasn't happened. Anything can be sold here; it isn't just designer knock-offs that are of concern.

Meanwhile, "Made in the U.S.A." means very little when slaves are brought to U.S. territories, or illegal aliens are given two choices: work for very little or be deported.

I don't know why America is so timid about itself that it cannot afford to protect people. We can build a giant military, but they don't do anything to make sure people live fairly.

Sometimes people with good intentions contribute to the problem: Bono and the "market share" of cheap products that bring some jobs to poor places; these jobs must be fair from the start.
 
 
+14 # reiverpacific 2012-11-26 16:11
Quoting Martintfre:
It is all the evil Americans fault.

Anything that goes wrong in any part of the planet is our fault.

Had there been no factory - no jobs then every one starving and ya all would be happy

That's where so many American jobs have gone, innit?
Your first sentence was a favorite whine -almost mantra- of that appalling ol' Franco-fan, Paddy Buchanan ("It's always America's fault") before he was turfed off the air.
So it's OK for way > 1/2 of the world to go to bed hungry, yet still enslaved, to satisfy the "Wants" verses "Needs" of the west
Did you know that NIKE doesn't even pay it's Indonesian workers minimum wage for that country?
The US is certainly not alone in this but it is by far and away the biggest consumer-waster -dumper-pollute r on the planet, all in the name of "economic, unsustainable corporate growth", especially it's earth-raping military.
Of course if you won't acknowledge even that, then you won't be likely to dispense with a seeming state of blinkered denial.
I suggest you take a trip to Saipan or even more conveniently, just over the southern US border to the maquiladores of Tijuana and other similar towns.
We're now in the "Are there no prisons, no workhouses?" season here but permanently elsewhere. So if you get all weepy, warm and fuzzy watching the inevitable "Christmas Carol" soon, know that conditions set in Dicken's time are still normal in a large part of the world.
 
 
-8 # Martintfre 2012-11-26 19:27
Humm -- So, you would be happier if they starved.

Just how are the regular folks in countries that don't even have clothing factories doing anyway?
 
 
+3 # 4yourinformation 2012-11-27 11:45
Now, theyr'e DEAD!
 
 
-3 # Martintfre 2012-11-27 16:33
Quoting 4yourinformation:
Now, theyr'e DEAD!


There are what 7 billion people on the planet maybe a million or less 'factories' planet wide - One burns down and ya want to condemn every one on that and similar countries to starvation and the horrors of the per-industrial age...

That is cruel to billions of people.
 
 
+1 # reiverpacific 2012-11-27 12:52
Quoting Martintfre:
Humm -- So, you would be happier if they starved.

Just how are the regular folks in countries that don't even have clothing factories doing anyway?


Gawd, you are hopeless; I see no point in trying to penetrate your concrete helmet.
I give up; by-ee.
 
 
+1 # reiverpacific 2012-11-28 12:04
Quoting reiverpacific:
Quoting Martintfre:
Humm -- So, you would be happier if they starved.
Just how are the regular folks in countries that don't even have clothing factories doing anyway?

Gawd, you are hopeless; I see no point in trying to penetrate your concrete helmet.
I give up; by-ee.


Just before I finally consign you to my "do not respond" list, dig this.
If you REALLY want to know about what you question, get up off your butt and find out instead of inflicting baseless, Libertarianism on RSN to no purpose.
OK, a few facts.
In (for instance) Indonesia, those who don't work in sweatshops live in self-supporting local cooperatives much more ancient than imperialist aggressions, in a "Kampung system in which those who have incomes give an agreed percentage to an elected and revolving "Kepala" or trusted head man/ woman, who distributes it to those families without income so that everybody has the basics. Even the huge, overpopulated cities like Jakarta, Surabaya, Bandung etc, are divide by invisible lines into these established communities.
Most of the sweatshop labor is recruited and often press-ganged into the factories by middlemen and their goons hired by the factories. and live in company compounds in conditions far inferior to the Kampugs they originated in and are pretty much indentured, isolated slaves.
Please, if you can, take this in the spirit of sharing factually- based experience.
Coda.
 
 
0 # mdhome 2012-11-29 23:26
conditions set in Dicken's time are still normal in a large part of the world.
Yes, That seems to be the case, When people get paid in the upper 6 figures, they do not see those who are struggling to find a way to feed themselves and find a roof to sleep under.
 
 
+3 # RLF 2012-11-27 07:30
I'll only be happy when they are all slaves...you're next, marty me boy!
 
 
+4 # Felix Julian 2012-11-27 08:25
Quoting Martintfre:
It is all the evil Americans fault.

Anything that goes wrong in any part of the planet is our fault.

Had there been no factory - no jobs then every one starving and ya all would be happy

Really? What a childish response!
 
 
+4 # 4yourinformation 2012-11-27 11:43
Like you would be caught working in this factory. What a stupid thing to say. You think you are secure in your life, and can sit back make simplistic comments about what happened, implying that "well, at least they had a job."

That is so vapid. You are so shallow. Time for a morality check.
 
 
+39 # reiverpacific 2012-11-26 11:19
One thing you can "take to the bank" so to speak, is that if WalMart or any other multi-national Corporation says one thing -including apologies and prayers or denials, you can figure that the OPPOSITE is true.
The much-touted wealth of India is still being built on the backs of the huge-majority poor, including Bangladeshi labor, which also can be found in Dubai, Bharain and other Middle eastern countries.
I used to watch from my office in Bandung, Java, Indonesia, as cattle trucks full of sari-clad women were driven to sweatshops in the industrial part of the city; all by Indian middle-men for markets in the US and some European countries too.
THAT'S where your jobs are going folks.
 
 
+44 # jwb110 2012-11-26 11:30
For those people who know some history, this smacks of the infamous Triangle Shirt-Waste Factory Fire. That fire was the beginning of the labor movement in this country. The only memorial to that event is a small plaque on a building belonging to NYU but the movement it started still holds some sway.
Know is the time for international union movements to go to Bangladesh. It isn't like the clothes made there reflect a cheaper item because workers are park of a cheap labor force. The marin of profit for WalMart and P Diddy is wide and benefits no one but themselves. These are not cheap goods in terms of price or human conditions.
 
 
+3 # lbarnett 2012-11-26 19:58
But no one was ever convicted in the fiasco that following that crime.
 
 
+5 # luvdoc 2012-11-26 11:34
May the greedy sobs and ten generations of their progeny, whatever their wealth, die hungering for more. As Little Chap cried out in "Stop The World, I Want To Get Off: I know what I want, I want MORE. luvdoc
 
 
+23 # Bev 2012-11-26 11:37
We have lost sight of the purpose of being in business which is to offer a product or service to the local or world wide community. When greed and power take over, the primary, sole purpose of business becomes making a profit for owners and stockholders. Making a profit is not the problem but NOT benefiting the workers and community by recognizing their contribution leads to the excesses and disasters we see in Bangladesh.
 
 
+25 # bbaldwin 2012-11-26 11:46
When American people quit buying clothes made in sweat shops, there will be no more fires, no more hungrey children working in these horrible conditions. Start reading labels friends, we can stop this now!!!
 
 
+3 # KittatinyHawk 2012-11-26 12:27
I have been saying this for twenty five years but yuppies need stuff
 
 
-3 # Martintfre 2012-11-27 09:03
Quoting bbaldwin:
When American people quit buying clothes made in sweat shops, there will be no more fires, no more hungrey children working in these horrible conditions. Start reading labels friends, we can stop this now!!!


NO MORE HUNGRY CHILDREN ?
really - why?
How? because with no work they and their parents starved to death with zero income zero resources to live on?

Again I ask:: Just how are the regular folks in countries that don't even have clothing factories doing anyway?
 
 
+5 # 4yourinformation 2012-11-27 11:56
You just assume that everyone needs a factory job to be happy. In many of these places, they are forced to the cities because of the debt traps vs their farms and their simple and happy ways of life. Yes, they can be happy in the hills and the jungles, living simply and sustainably. But mining and oil extraction etc poisoned their places and they must work in the cities for whatever they can. It's not so simple what you imply. If they do want to develop as the US/West did, what's wrong with strong unions and safety rules?

You just don't know because your life is all peaches and cream and what the hell do you care? You just simply say..."get a job or they have a job" and that's ok.

Go live there. Give it a try. Remove yourself from the American system and put yourself right in the middle of a garment job in Bangladesh. Throw away your credit cards and cut yourself off from your American life. Rent a shit hole dwelling and go to that job and tell yourself that "I got a job...I get paid."

Get yelled at by the shop supervisor and tell yourself that "he's right and I'm wrong."

Go ahead Mr smart guy. Give it a try. Prove to us that you're the shit.
 
 
-5 # Martintfre 2012-11-27 16:39
4yourinformatio n your info is bad

Those folks just like early industrializing America people fled the hardship of scratch farming for a better life in factories.

Or are you living the delusion that they are all gaily prancing about in the Elysian fields then snatched up by horrible factory bosses and chained to a post to make my shoes.

I guess if they starve to death with no opportunities rather then surviving with bad ones you will be happier.
 
 
+1 # Douglas Jack 2012-11-27 19:40
Martintfre, I can understand your commonly held fault of logic in the comment "fled the hardship of scratch farming for a better life in factories" which affects how you view human economy.

We're all institutionally indoctrinated (church, school, media etc) with a version of history starting with the colonization of various regions of the world. We're told that colonization with 2-dimensional agriculture (Latin 'ager' = 'field') civilized the lives of supposed 'savages' (L 'sylva' = 'tree'). We aren't told that 3-D 'indigenous' (L 'self-generatin g') polyculture-orc hards are 100 times (10,000%) more productive than agriculture for food, materials, soil, energy & water-cycles.

Indigenous 'sylvalization' in the Americas held the largest most densely populated urban areas in the world with some of the longest human memories in the world. Indigenous urban elemental design around solar, wind, soil, biosphere, biodigestion etc is far more advanced than modern design. Their medicine, engineering, economic design sustainably managed abundance for humanity & all species for many 10s of thousands of years. 3-D polyculture orchard biosphere design sylvalization is also the buried heritage of Europe's Celtic peoples by 2-D 'exogenous' (L 'other-generate d') Greece, Rome, Egypt, Israel, Phoenicia, Babylon. Space here only allows us to skim the surface, please visit https://sites.google.com/site/indigenecommunity/design/1-indigenous-welcome-orchard-food-production-efficiencies
 
 
0 # Martintfre 2012-11-29 11:14
//... Indigenous urban elemental design around solar, wind, soil, biosphere, biodigestion etc is far more advanced than modern design. Their medicine, engineering, economic design sustainably managed abundance for humanity & all species for many 10s of thousands of years.//
What a wonderful idealized sounding load of manure.

Their pre industrialized lives were typical of hunter gather technology to wit: short, hard and miserable plagued by disease, starvation and sporadic wars for limited resources.

you can go and check on the remaining few scattered tribes on the planet that still live that way - how many of them make it to their 5th birthday?
 
 
0 # Douglas Jack 2012-11-29 12:53
Martintfre, I can understand the 'harshness' you exhibit, considering the beliefs which you hold. When we're indoctrinated with disdain for our ancestry, as our colonial 'exogenous' (Latin = 'other-generate d') society instills, then we don't inquire, learn or compile our heritage. Without understanding the strengths of earth's biosphere, we are beholding slaves to our colonial masters. You have to dig deeper than the disdainful indoctrination we have all been institutionally fed. The e-link which I've provided gives peer-reviewed references to 'ethno-historic al' research. Some easy to digest material include '1491' by Charles C. Mann, 'Mutual-Aid by Petr Kropotkin (1905), 'Their Number Become Thinned' by Henry F. Dobyns. The colonial promoted worldview which you are advocating has been abandoned by anthropology & archaeology en masse during the last ten years. Bone, hair, teeth analysis shows people in the indigenous pre-industrial / pre-colonial era living longer lives than we do today. Estimates are of one hour of work per day per adult due to the abundance of 'indigenous' (Latin = 'self-generatin g') Polyculture Orchards. https://sites.google.com/site/indigenecommunity/design
 
 
0 # Martintfre 2012-11-29 16:23
My 'harshness' -- My views are tempered by the fact that I have earned a science degree, Biology specifically. The squishy feel good revisionist fluff flys in the face of reality.

True, They lived in a life 'in tune' with nature as it were because they had little experience mastering their world -- they were mastered by it.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_expectancy

If I were to buy into ever weird notion that blows across the internet - Id be on a space ship heading to the Pleiades where our ancient ancestors are from - they just vacation here on Earth.
 
 
0 # Douglas Jack 2012-11-29 22:40
Martintfre, Harshness is not understanding more productive options than industrial slavery. Spaceship-earth has specific life-Polycultur e-Orchard operating instructions involving deep structured knowledge for millions of years by our 'indigenous' ancestors. They were ship commanders compared with us unruly stowaways.

I'm interested in hard provable facts. I'm involved in science research now for 45 years in various fields of study starting with Structural Geological Mapping of X-sections of the Western Cordillera for Canadian & US Geological Surveys working on doctoral projects in British Columbia BC & Idaho. I worked as a quality control chemical laboratory technician, pollution-contr ol, health & safety, reforestation in Pulp & Paper bringing participatory multi-stakehold er investment to a network of forest products companies.

I've owned an orchard, worked in orcharding, agriculture & now have 200 sq. metres of polyculture orchard which involves a community in growing. I helped develop the BC Natural Foods Co-op Network during 70s & operate the Quebec Network in the 80s, with equipment-design.

Background in architecture, engineering & urban planning led to involvement as a research assistant on Canadian Mortgage & Housing Corporation projects in community ecological design. Films with Radio-Canada feature my work in fecal-biodigest ion, How we change the weather, GIS ecological & cultural 1st Nation placename heritage mapping. www.indigenecommunity.info
 
 
0 # Martintfre 2012-11-30 14:41
//Martintfre, Harshness is not understanding more productive options than industrial slavery.//
When you use phrases like "industrial slavery" It triggers the BS filter big time.
Industrializati on has freed the common man from a multitude of mundane activities and freed up time for more pursuits about subsistence living. That fact that you and I can converse in this fashion while potentially being on opposite sides of the planet is one such benefit.

your anonymous as am I -- I could make a claim that I am a Nobel prize winner as well.

While I have long seen opportunities like Bio-digestion of fecal matter as a means of power and agricultural nutrients -- that can/will be part of industrialized society -- once government regulators get out of the way and high energy cost drive us to make it worth while
 
 
0 # Douglas Jack 2012-11-30 17:35
Martintfre, Is your assumption that; artificial industry is the most advanced productive way of providing for human need & therefore all critique of its operation is unrealistic? As a biologist, do you have an appreciation for the inter-related code of life to provide for massive food, material, energy & water abundance for all?

The biosphere's a huge integrated waste-free, mechanics-free industrial machine producing massive abundance. Food's wrapped in biodegradable packaging, trees constantly percolate water through phylum & root systems. Climate generate through warm-moist ocean winds drawn to continents by 92 - 98% solar photosynthesis 'cold-spots' generated on polyculture leaf surfaces. Animal species are messengers, seeders, humus planters & transporters. Life's 'intelligence' (Latin 'ability to choose between') is of knowing, precision & complementation.

My decades involved in agriculture & orcharding has fed comparison of 3-D 'indigenous' polyculture-orc hards & colonial 2-D 'agriculture' (Latin 'ager' = 'field'). Fields absorb between 2 - 8% of solar energy. Polyculture orchard treeroots descend as deep as the canopy is high pumping water, mining minerals, developing nutrient colonies into the earth's substrate. Agricultural field plants descend only centimetres leaving much of the earth barren hard compact clay without significant life. https://sites.google.com/site/indigenecommunity/design/1-indigenous-welcome-orchard-food-production-efficiencies
 
 
0 # liamae13 2012-11-29 09:22
I completely agree with this comment Martin made. He is one of the very few who actually sees the REAL problem with this.
 
 
-1 # liamae13 2012-11-29 09:45
Nevermind. It was actually bbaldwin. :)
 
 
0 # Martintfre 2012-11-29 11:16
Quoting liamae13:
Nevermind. It was actually bbaldwin. :)



aww your killing me ;)
 
 
+20 # readerz 2012-11-26 11:48
With people suffering from hurricane Sandy needing clothing, it is horrifying indeed that the tragedy of NYC's Triangle Shirtwaist Factory a hundred years ago is being repeated in factories that make our clothing in foreign countries.

In historical exhibits, we hear that looms were often in attics, not a fire-safe place, but on a small scale. Factories that were powered by water wheels were dangerous places where children lost arms. Spinning, weaving, and sewing are more difficult and dangerous than people give credit; songs have been written about "the weavers" who were underpaid and exploited for centuries.

Our labor laws, including laws about labor on goods brought into this country, need serious revising. There is a long history; it shouldn't be news, or a shock, that the conditions are dangerous and unfair. President Obama has said that he doesn't want to hurt jobs in favor of climate regulations, but it seems that labor has also been neglected. It is both political parties that need to wake up about labor conditions here and in other countries.
 
 
0 # Regina 2012-11-30 08:26
You beat me to this historical punch, readerz -- thanks. Yes, those who do not study history, including Labor history, are condemned to repeat it.
 
 
+10 # Margolicious 2012-11-26 12:18
I agree with jwb100 this fire reminds one of the Triangle Factory fire. We need labor unions all over the world. I try to avoid shopping at Wal-Mart. As a frequent shopper I do look at labels and find that very few clothes are made in the U.S. I shop at the upscale stores and shame on them and famous designers for having their clothes made in sweatshops. We need a consumer revolution where people would refuse to buy from sweatshops. There should be unions in all these factories. I am so surprised that the St. John clothes that I wear are made in Mexico yet their prices keep on going up. Making clothes with concern for workers is an example of greedy capitalism. Corporations, Wal-Mart and the celebrities that have their labels made in factories that have poor working conditions are to blame as well as consumers that want cheap clothes. However, now more and more clothes are being made in Vietnam because the labor is cheaper there. If these countries have labor unions the corporations move to other countries that have cheaper labor that is why we need international laws that protect workers, their wages, and unions.
 
 
+18 # usedtobesupermom 2012-11-26 12:20
Sounds like what was the norm in this country before labor unions.
 
 
-8 # KittatinyHawk 2012-11-26 12:38
I do not understand why this should affect us. These other Countries were slavers before all our jobs were taken.
I am at a loss for families but I am not surprised. It was matter of time these Enslavement Factoriesill come to bad ends. These are the equivalent of Slum Lords and they will continue. I f you visit foreign owned companies or factories even motels here, they are not of high standards...Man t rat traps , motels flea bed bugs....sorry I can blame Everyone who shops for these crap clothing, they allowed Wallie World and others to sell us out.

Stop buying, we asked everyone for decades to buy American...all I hear is excuses like the food ones. So where bad clothes, eat bad food, you are the problem.

I do not see why we are bad guys...People either had to work or chose to...The owners know what they are
Companies who had contracts, had contracts nothing more,,,,cheap crap to sell people to make them rich What's New about this?

Have any of you boycotted Red States yet? Have you changed banks? Have you done anything....Ran ted for a year....Done nothing, Just Yuppies, Tea Partyers...
 
 
+2 # readerz 2012-11-26 16:21
Some people who live in red states might teach their neighbors about reality, that would be a big help. The red states are often just red because of voter fraud. Lots of people are making efforts, but of course, much much more needs to be done.
 
 
+15 # DaveM 2012-11-26 12:41
Glad to see someone mention the Triangle Shirtwaist fire. That was a tragic landmark in the United States, which contributed to labor organization and fire safety regulations (and enforcement--th e Triangle Factory was violating rules already in existence). The United States could lead the world in calling for workplace safety regulations we have had for nearly 100 years.
 
 
+7 # cmp 2012-11-26 14:51
Wealth of Nations, (1776); Adam Smith:
The directors of such [joint-stock] companies, however, being the managers rather of other people’s money than of their own, it cannot well be expected, that they should watch over it with the same anxious vigilance with which the partners in a private copartnery frequently watch over their own.... Negligence and profusion, therefore, must always prevail, more or less, in the management of the affairs of such a company.

Also within Wealth of Nations, (1776); Adam Smith:
Our merchants and master-manufact urers complain much of the bad effects of high wages in raising the price, and thereby lessening the sale of their goods both at home and abroad. They say nothing concerning the bad effects of high profits. They are silent with regard to the pernicious effects of their own gains. They complain only of those of other people.
 
 
+7 # margpark 2012-11-26 15:00
Of course it is cheaper to make clothing in places where working conditions are deplorable and workers are semi-slaves. That is what comes of global markets.
 
 
+10 # DerProfessor 2012-11-26 15:14
Our local food bank received a check from Wal-Mart, along with an acknowledgement by the local Wal-Mart manager that wages paid to Wal-Mart workers were so low that many of them had to rely on provisions from the food bank on a regular basis. How is that for irony?
 
 
+5 # tomtom 2012-11-26 17:24
Quoting DerProfessor:
Our local food bank received a check from Wal-Mart, along with an acknowledgement by the local Wal-Mart manager that wages paid to Wal-Mart workers were so low that many of them had to rely on provisions from the food bank on a regular basis. How is that for irony?


Working at Goodwill Industries in the 70's, for a dollar an hour, with handicapped help getting around 20 cents an hour, management asked us to stop stealing used clothing and they would pay us more; we told them to pay us more and we wouldn't have to steal.
 
 
+4 # chicagoflygirls 2012-11-27 02:34
It is a known fact that Walmart keeps workers as part time and puts their workers families' healthcare on the local charity hospital services in each community.... so now who pays? You and I if we have insurance coverage. That is why Obama Care was and is needed to force these businesses to do the right thing.
 
 
+12 # astorian 2012-11-26 15:29
the reason 'the United States' government supported corporations moved to poor countries is so they could avoid the labor and safety laws, pay their slaves a pittance, and make really cheap stuff. Everybody in the clothing industry knows about the importance of workplace safety, they just don't care.

It would be great if this outrage sparked a people''s movement, as the Triangle Fire did. But when the slave work force is far away, it's out of sight, out of mind, and it's easier to 'unsee' the 'other'.

Sue S
 
 
+6 # newsmom 2012-11-26 15:35
go to the walmart facebook page and post comments there. that's what i did. this company's personnel practices are revolting.
 
 
0 # liamae13 2012-11-29 09:52
But what's even more revolting, the millions of people who shop there which is why there's a wap mart on every corner. Maybe you should be finding out which of even your own family member and friends shop there, educate them, instead of posting on wal marts Facebook. If people took half the time they do bitching, into putting validated feelings to work to change what we don't like in our own country instead of waiting on the perfect president, maybe all these deplorable conditions in countries, not just India,wouldn't exist. Get mad at wap mart all you want. But they are not the problem. The American mind is the problem.
 
 
+3 # mppeace 2012-11-26 19:12
Shame on Mal-Wart! It aggressively pushes "everyday low wages" on all of its overseas subcontractors, and then feigns deniablity when the 'collateral damage' hits the proverbial fan! I haven't shopped at MalWart for over a decade and won't until it respectslabor rights fro all of its workers. And my guess is that the Obama regime won't lift a finger to help enforce equitable international labor standards--anyo ne want to wager a bet on this issue?
 
 
+3 # sahgb 2012-11-27 00:24
How about the legislative branch - you know, Congress - making laws respecting workers' rights? Even the Supremes should be involved before the Executive branch.

Presidents aren't omnipotent, you know. Get the rest of government doing its job.
 
 
+2 # brenda 2012-11-26 21:09
And yet these US corporate "slave labor" buyers will continue to take advantage of a poor nations manpower. Where the workers will blame the USA for doing such. The same is true for Chinese and Mexican sweat houses whose American corporate clients will take the American jobs away.
 
 
0 # Kootenay Coyote 2012-11-26 22:11
Nothing to see here, folks...move along, move right along...it’s just business. as usual.
 
 
+1 # chicagoflygirls 2012-11-27 02:29
Can the Walton family afford a fire escape on their factories? They are among the richest people in the world.

The black or white thinking of some of the commenters here is appalling. It's not a choice to either starve or die in a fire... the choice is to have a job AND be safe and fairly paid. Fair trade businesses strive for a balance,WalMart does not. I, for one, do not need their merchandise if this is how they choose to run their business. And the Waltons ARE making a choice!!!!
 
 
+1 # drivensnow 2012-11-27 08:13
The Walton family are afraid that Obama is going to tax the rich more in 2013, so they voted to pay dividends for WalMart stock in December, 2012 instead of January, 2013, saving the 5 members of the Walton family a total of $1.34 BILLION DOLLARS. When old man Sam Walton was alive he was proud to sell "Made In America" products and all the products had labels and signs shouting out that this product was "Made In America." When he died his family took over and we have their version of WalMart today. I am a member of the 99% and refuse to shop there, regardless of how much $$$ I save. I also refuse to ever use a "self-checkout" counter...let the store hire an employee to ring me out.
 
 
0 # ghostperson 2012-11-27 08:15
Martinfre: Your hatred sucks the oxygen from this domain.

If you despise the ideas expressed here, don't look at this site.

Obviously, you do not recall that American clothing manufacturers/s ewing factories have a long tradition of being unsafe and lethal: Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, March 25, 2011 ring a bell?
 
 
-2 # Martintfre 2012-11-27 09:00
My hatred?
I'm poking fun at the stupid premises that pass as moralality and follow up with a reasonable question (Just how are the regular folks in countries that don't even have clothing factories doing anyway?)

and that is called hatred - Oh I forgot that is how the open minded liberals deal with arguments they are wrong on -- attack the person because they can't touch the ideas.
 
 
+3 # Felix Julian 2012-11-27 08:50
Once corporations began to demonize unions, the underpinnings of a safe and healthy work environment fell along with living wages, benefits, etc. America's strong, production and manufacturing backbone was created on the backs of unions once slavery was abolished. Happy, healthy, safe workers = good, solid, dependable products and a healthy economy. We have the 40-hour work week, and so much more to thank unions for- but little by little the wealthy elites and coporatists hand-in-hand with slimey politicians have eroded that safety net. It has become a "let them eat cake" mentality. Our jobs and manufacturing began to disappear shortly after Henry A. Kissinger and Richard M. Nixon "opened" up China. To hell with American unions and their protectionist positions! Hm. And this Trans Pacific pact is going to make things worse (unimagineable) because, it is my understanding, that part of this pact tosses away ANY and all safety-health-w orker-environme nt regulations.
 
 
+2 # tanis 2012-11-27 11:04
yoohoo! Did anybody say GAP? They are right in there with the rest of them. Its not just a matter of "what's going on when our backs are turned" its about the original deals they make with the companies that produce the goods. Dealing is the game, its the partner to Advertising which is what America seems to be founded on now.
 
 
+2 # noitall 2012-11-27 21:45
It is a tough job to be a responsible consumer whether its for one's own benefit or the quality of life and benefit of the producer (worker). "They" make it deliberately tough. We don't see "made with slave labor in poor working conditions" labels; we don't see "caution, contains untested GMO products, may cause cancer, genetic disorders"; "caution, grown with pesticides that endanger your health and your environment"; "made with exploited labor by American-owned corporations that exported your jobs because they could profit from these people's pain and suffering".

Do we have to see that? Shouldn't we assume that is the case as we buy the latest fashions? We don't care if they're shabbily constructed because we'll throw them away when they're passe. If we don't die immediately from that 2000 calorie burger then its OK. If they put in additives that make you crave more of their product, I guess that's just how business is run these days? NO! We have govt. oversight to protect us and our jobs from this. It is our job to make these treasonous takers to do what they are being paid to do. These immoral companies will do what they can in order to report increased profit at the next board meeting in 3 months. Sofar, we, like chickens in the field, eat what is strewn. We're all to blame.
 
 
0 # liamae13 2012-11-29 07:27
In my opinion, the people to blame here, are the American people. Maybe if as a country, we weren't so greedy and demanding, people wouldn't be getting paid .18 cents a day to make clothes we don't even need. Our country is being destroyed by money. It's the only thing that matters anymore to most people. Making the most, and looking the best. I find it absolutely sickening. I read in many articles about the relentless pressure from consumers who create these.condition s. its the the factory owners. It's us. We should be held accountable. Being being sorry excuses for human beings. Get over yourselves. You don't need a walk in closet full of clothes you never wear anyway. I'm not proud to be an American.
 
 
0 # liamae13 2012-11-29 09:13
See, I'm sorry but I stand by what I said. Just read all the comments. My point EXACTLY. Sit here all day talk about why this happend when its alarmingly simple. American people live beyond their means. We are going to destroy the entire world. The minute we took from the Indians, the white men had one goal. Wealth. Why does nobody else seem to blame everyday average people who shop for an abundance of shit they don't need? It's always corporate, or industries. NO IT'S NOT. iTS US AS CONSUMERS. Starting with McDonald's changing the entire food industry. Now babies are being born by a c section rate that's higher then its ever been. I cannot stand how people seem to not notice they played a role in taking every one of those lives in that factory.
 
 
0 # Bev 2012-11-29 10:40
Folks, the comments here are going around in a circle. Pointing fingers and blaming do not help. Greed and avarice exist on all levels and do not exist when people have sufficient to maintain a safe and healthy lifestyle. It's the idea that there's not enough for me and the resulting imbalance of our life style that underlies these horrendous excesses of which many of us all share.
We must work to restore the imbalance on all levels and realize that the planet has the resources to maintain us all quite abundantly if we use our intellects and hearts to seek the greater good for all mankind--before exhorbitant profits.
 
 
0 # Douglas Jack 2012-11-29 16:40
For those who wish to support a Bangladesh initiated petition calling for the following action please visit: http://www.change.org/petitions/walmart-h-m-gap-join-fire-safety-program-fix-death-trap-factories?utm_source=action_alert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=14259&alert_id=bfXpfwpGup_veLzPEahcd

My name is Lovely. On February 23, 2006, my life changed forever. That was the day that KTS Textile Factory in Chittagong, Bangladesh, caught fire. I was 11 years old and my job was to pack socks.

Working there was like working in a death trap. We didn’t have safety equipment. We never had a fire drill. When the fire started, we couldn’t escape because management had locked the exits. 63 of my coworkers died and 150 of us were injured.

During the chaos of the fire, I fell down the stairs. When I finally woke up in the hospital, I learned that my injuries would prevent me from working for the rest of my life. I still go to the hospital because of the pain, something I can barely afford because I never received compensation for the accident. I'm from a poor family, and now I am a burden to them. My family is so poor that they can’t even give me food every day.

Today I find the courage to speak to you because I have had enough. Six years later, working conditions in Bangladesh have hardly changed. Since 2005 more than 700 garment workers have died in sweatshop factory fires. Every day I wonder: Is this the day when there will be another fire and more people will die? cont
 
 
0 # Douglas Jack 2012-11-29 16:42
Cont'd Bangla initiated petition
http://www.change.org/petitions/walmart-h-m-gap-join-fire-safety-program-fix-death-trap-factories?utm_source=action_alert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=14259&alert_id=bfXpfwpGup_veLzPEahcd
My worst nightmare came true two years ago when 21 workers died in a fire at an H&M supplier and then another 29 workers died at a Gap supplier. After 112 workers were killed in a fire at a Walmart supplier this weekend, I couldn't be silent any longer.

For us Bangladeshis who sew the clothing that you wear, please sign my petition calling on the largest buyers from Bangladesh – H&M, Walmart and Gap – to commit to a real fire safety program that will save the lives of the companies’ sweatshop workers.

Thank you.

To:
Sustainability Director, H&M (Helena Helmersson)
Ethical Sourcing, Walmart (Barbara Gregory)
Global Human Resources and Corporate Affairs, Gap Inc. (Eva Sage-Gavin)
I am horrified to learn that workers were killed in a fire at your supplier factory. As a consumer, I ask you to join with Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein in a comprehensive fire safety program that includes worker input, transparency, and binding commitments to protect workers.

I support the consortium of Bangladeshi and international unions and labor groups calling for an effective fire safety program that will protect the lives of workers who sew your clothing.

Thank you for your attention to this deeply concerning matter.
Sincerely,
[Your name]
 
 
0 # Douglas Jack 2012-11-29 16:44
Better Petition Link
http://www.change.org/petitions/walmart-h-m-gap-join-fire-safety-program-fix-death-trap-factories
 
 
0 # newsmom 2012-11-30 23:05
PLEASE, EVERYONE: post these comments on the walmsrt and gep facebook pages as well. it will probably be taken downwithin 10 minutes, but the watchers will know who people feel. we're all preaching to the choir here. TELL WALMART and the other companies that pay workers pittance to be incinerated. i've come 'round to agreeing with DJ...c'est tout, mes amis!!
 

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