In Bangladesh Fire, Capitalism Continues Slaughter Of Workers

Capitalist thugs and murderers, Max Blanck and Isaac Harris, owners of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in lower Manhattan. The factory burned up in 1911, trapping over 140 young women and men on a floor locked to prevent their leaving. Why was it locked? Because the owners insisted the workers be prevented from leaving without first being searched each day to prevent diminishment of their profits through theft of garments. Employees at the company earned about $30 a month.
"[T]he International Labor Rights Forum, which tracks fires in the Bangladesh garment industry, said documents and logos found in the debris indicated that the factory produced clothes for Walmart’s Faded Glory line as well as for other American and foreign companies."—New York Times article on the November 24, 2012 Bangladesh garment factory fire
Just over a century after the infamous Triangle Fire killed scores of young women working at garment factory in New York, virtually the identical story gets told in a terrible fire in Bangladesh, reportedly “the country's worst-ever factory blaze.”

The great advantage to capitalism, we are constantly told by fanged imbeciles, is that competition delivers lower prices to consumers. Just ask the monsters who run Walmart, who have ground up the competition (i.e., the small businesses Republicans claim to worship), in one community in the USA after another.

And what have the people in those communities obtained for this creative destruction?

A huge collection of mostly crappy stuff at lower prices.

Of course, that’s just part of the story. The way in which Walmart and other big retailers deliver those prices is by cutting costs to the bone, and that means sometimes literally working their employees and contract labor to death—and for 19th-century-style wages or worse!

On Saturday, in Bangladesh, the current world capital of cheap garment production, workers get paid “as little as $50 a month”. Just so you know, that’s about $2 in 1911 money. Garment workers in 1911, on the other hand, made about $30 a month, which translates to about $700 today.

So, either the garment workers in 1911 actually had it pretty good—nope, they got paid a little more than a dime an hour and worked their butts off in horrible conditions—OR the poor workers in Bangladesh are being treated as little better than slaves.

And who is to blame?

Oh, lots of capitalists and their politician toadies of course, all over the world.

But one of the chief culprits is the person you feel all warm and fuzzy about each morning as it stares back at you while your mouth is full of toothpaste. Yeah, the jerk in the mirror—YOU the consumer.

At some point, if workers, who are the majority in this country by far, will be treated fairly, they will have to take that justice—it will never be granted to them by capitalists, who after all are willing to risk the lives of workers to stay competitive. And it sure as hell isn't going to be demanded by consumers.

It is well past time to for labor to once again adopt a confrontational, and worldwide-worker stance against the capitalists.

As one prominent socialist said after the Triangle Fire:

“I would be a traitor to these poor burned bodies if I came here to talk good fellowship. We have tried you good people of the public and we have found you wanting…I can't talk fellowship to you who are gathered here. Too much blood has been spilled. I know from my experience it is up to the working people to save themselves. The only way they can save themselves is by a strong working-class movement.”

Just as true today. Fight, or submit to slavery.


UPDATE: Walmart, which initially tried to deny any connection to the Bangladesh garment factory, released a statement claiming that the production of clothing for Walmart at the plant was the result of a supplier subcontracting work to the factory against Walmart's wishes.

"The Tazreen factory was no longer authorized to produce merchandise for Walmart.  A supplier subcontracted work to this factory without authorization and in direct violation of our policies.  Today, we have terminated the relationship with that supplier."

Walmart did not explain how or why it had remained ignorant of the subcontracting arrangement. This explanation suggests that Walmart can always deny responsibility for the contractual arrangements made by its suppliers. However, fundamental to any corporate integrity Walmart expects to claim for itself in this matter, would be its willingness to accept responsibility for the fact it was receiving merchandise from the factory in question. Of course, doing that would also expose Walmart to considerable liability, which it may be already facing.

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