Behind the Label : Inequality in the Los Angeles Apparel Industry

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They have started to reappear with globalization. Even in LA, the industry was pretty much unionized, and there were nowhere near the amount of sweatshops there are today. The social deterioration is shown in many other aspects of society, such as the rise in homelessness, welfare reform, and increasing wage inequality. We are witnessing the general breakdown of the social contract. SL : I know you find the conditions for workers under globalization somewhat dismal, but I guess you are optimistic enough about the chances to keep working for change.

EB: I am not sure if optimistic is the right word. The struggle continues.

The struggle has to happen. EB : I am thinking of getting more involved in the Garment Workers Justice Center and their efforts to provide an educational and political program for garment workers in general. EB: By being involved in a social struggle of this sort, you learn first hand, you witness the way in which power is exercised in this society.

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You see how capitalists have access to the state in a way that workers and unions do not. You see how the courts, the police, the press are all stacked. It is a profound experience, one that you can share with your students. For many, it was their first exposure to exercising their rights to protest and also to the hidden power that lurks beneath the surface to deny these rights. You recognize the need to build organizational strength and resources. You come to see the need to inflict damage in order to budge those who hold the power.

You realize that their ruthlessness knows no bounds.

You learn that soft, liberal notions of hoping you can sit down and work it out in a civilized manner are out of this world. You see that the class struggle is serious, and that the capitalists are waging it without remorse. I feel I have been stripped of many illusions. Sign up for our Solidarity Newsletter. Get articles and upcoming events delivered every month. SL : How did you manage to balance all that work with your job as an academic?

SL : How did Common Threads begin? SL: How successful do you think you were? SL : What was the suit about? SL : What is your current involvement in the struggle? SL : How has all of this affected your work as a teacher and academic? ATC 73, March-April First name or full name.

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Behind the Label: Inequality in the Los Angeles Apparel Industry / Edition 1

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Dov Charney Los Angeles Apparel Interview

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Behind the Label: Inequality in the Los Angeles Apparel Industry by Edna Bonacich

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