Who Made That?

A year ago today 1,133 garment workers died in Dhaka, the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, when an 8-story factory making clothes for national brands like Gap and Benetton, collapsed; 2,500 other workers were pulled from the wreckage. Several companies hastily signed an “accord” requiring stricter safety standards, but Target and Walmart, e.g., refused, saying they would conduct their own safety inspections—you can trust us. In this past year hundreds of garment workers world-wide have died in fires and accidents. All of this is a cruel reminder of the iron logic of capitalism: maximize profit in the giant endlessly grinding vortex of accumulation. Rapacious, callous, petty, predatory, corrupt—capitalism nurtures our vilest qualities while trampling on and constraining our moral imaginations and our most generous instincts.
The revolutionary Martin Luther King, Jr. railed against the triple evils of racism, militarism, and materialism, calling for a new age of racial justice, global justice, and economic justice.
Today is a moment to remember, a day to open our eyes anew, a time to be astonished at the injustices we participate in and visit upon one another but also at the alternatives and the possibilities within our reach.
There are creative ways to express yourselves, and here’s a modest one: wear your clothes inside-out today, and ask yourselves and everyone you meet: who made that?

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