Tuesday, April 3, 2007

UofMichigan Sit-In for sweatshop labor

Back in my freshman year of college at the University of Kentucky, friends of mine holed themselves up in the administration building to protest the use of sweatshop labor by university vendors.

Now, there are kids at UofM doing the same thing.

I'm no economist (even if I sometimes play one in my fantasy life), and I'm ambivalent at best nowadays about globalization (which is a dramatic shift from my extreme anti-globalization views held as recently as just the past few years). The globalization debate is a fertile one, and one in which both sides can make extremely compelling arguments that their policy preferences best serve the interests of the citizens of the world, rich and poor, at least in a long haul. So, I guess I'm not de facto supporting the fact that these motivated kids are anti-globalization, but I will support their willingness to stick out their necks because they think the world can be a better and more equal place. Their message is that, in the globalization debate, we do have to consider the holistic impact of economic policy on both human dignity and the environment. Compelling arguments, albeit slightly counterintuitive ones, assure that both human dignity and the environment will eventually benefit from globalization, even if some short term lapses appear to occur. Those arguments might also be effective only in a theoretical universe, and may fall apart when weasel corporations are involved. Lots of mights and maybes, and I'm just not able to commit to any of them.

But, props to the kids at the UofM Sit-In. They're not doing anything wrong, and they just might be doing something right.

UPDATE: Surprise! They got arrested, as seems to happen at these things. At least they didn't get manhandled, or at least it wasn't reported as such.


Leigh said...

Thanks for your support. It really means a lot for the students involved with the sweatfree campaign at Michigan to see others across the country taking interest. All 12 students were arrested shattering a 30 year precedent of supporting non violent protest at the U. We will continue to work against sweatshops and fight the good fight.

In solidarity,
Leigh (leigh.wedenoja@gmail.com)

Garrett said...

I didn't know across the Huron River really counted as across the country, but hey, whatever works.