Thursday, April 12, 2007
U.S. Corporations Oppress Chinese Workers
Chinese workers don't have the right to strike or to organize their own trade unions, but some officials in China thought they deserved a break nonetheless. These officials spearheaded a handful of modest labor reforms. They didn't really have anything too earthshaking in mind. They wanted to give workers the right to a written contract from their employers and the ability to change jobs within their industry and from one region to another. They also wanted to require employers to bargain with worker reps on basic health and safety conditions. None of this sounds too radical to me, but even these wispy intimations of the "untamed flame of freedom" that George W. is always going on about raised alarm bells in the firehouse of American greed.
The American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai and the U.S.-China Business Council mobilized a campaign to squash these reforms, enlisting the approval of 1,300 U.S. corporations - among them GE, Microsoft, Dell, Ford and others. American interference on the behalf of, ahem, non-freedom won over those impressionable Communists, and the initial reform was watered down to the consistency of a pot of lukewarm tea in a Seattle poo-poo platter palace. Communist China has been accused of oppressing workers in the past, but this time U.S. corporations and their billionaire masters - which George W. so fondly calls his "base" - have stepped in because China was not oppressing its workers enough.
As the article at the link below points out, the workers of China compose 25 percent of workers worldwide, and any legislation that affects them affects us all. Not to mention that it resoundingly belies the insincerity of the Bush administration's stated intention to import democracy to the rest of the globe. What it is really importing is its own brand of worker oppression. How dare Bush's corporate darlings block democratic reforms in the nation that needs them most? I concur wholeheartedly with The American Prospect when it asks, "since preserving our national security should require executives at companies such as GE to answer for their conduct, where's the House Un-American Activities Committee now that we really need it?"
"Democracy's Enemies" from The American Prospect