Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Chinese slave-labor: The segment of Mitt's Secret Video that no-one on tee-vee is mentioning. Yet.// UPDATED

By now, virtually everyone has seen at least part of the Mitt Romney Secret Video. And the mainstream media has focused on Romney's jaw-dropping assertion that 47% of Americans are dependent on government and possessed of what he describes as a sense of "entitlement" to such things as food, health care, and housing.  These people, he says, don't pay income taxes, and since they won't be voting for him, they aren't worthy of his attention.

However, there is another segment that deserves attention. And I can only imagine why it's not, as of this writing, being widely discussed: it is, in short, a devastating indictment of the horrific truth behind outsourced labor.

It shows Romney talking to the rapt fundraiser-attending audience about a Chinese factory he was considering buying during his Bain days.  He describes what sounds like a gulag with wonder and admiration in his voice:
"Ninety-five percent of life is set up for you if you were born in this country," Mitt scolds.  "We went to China to buy a factory there.  It employed about 20,000 people, and they were almost all young women, between the ages of about 18 and 22 or 23.  They were saving for potentially becoming married." [How Romney knew this about the employees, one can only guess--it was probably something the factory owner told him through a translator, knowing Romney was a man whose faith placed a great deal of value in being married, ahem.
"...seeing them work, the number of hours they work per day, the pittance they earned, living in dormitories with, uh, little bathrooms at the end of maybe ten...ten rooms. And the rooms, they have twelve girls per room. Three bunk beds on top of each other." 
"And, and, and around this factory was a fence, a huge fence with barbed wire and guard towers. And we said, Gosh! I can't believe that you, you know, keep these girls in! And they said, No, no, no, this is to keep other people from coming in, because people want so badly to come work in this factory that we have to keep them out!"
No mention of Foxconn-style netting around the upper floors to catch any stray suicidal workers.

Now, if you think for a moment that Mitt Romney, Outsourcer-In-Chief of Bain Capital, believed that Chinese factory owner's story to the rich American men to whom he wanted to sell his factory, I've got several bridges to sell to YOU.

Romney knows full well what goes on in places like the one described.

He simply didn't want to spoil everyone's dinner.

Do watch the whole thing. I have a feeling the reason the network Chatterati are not talking about this too much is that many of the products made by their sponsors come from factories exactly like this one.

UPDATE: Via Patrick at Politicalgates, here is a short documentary called Santa's Workshop. It details the conditions at factories like the one Mitt Romney described at his USD$50,000-a-plate fundraiser earlier this year.

I urge readers to watch it; its subject matter is undeniably heartbreaking, but nothing is going to change until a hell of a lot more Americans are fully aware of what goes on in these sub-Dickensian factories halfway around the world.  I don't mean just entertaining an abstract notion à la "Oh, this was probably made in a sweatshop, ha-ha", but rather, having a full, visually and viscerally-informed understanding of the way their fellow human beings are treated in order to keep toys, electronics, and other consumer goods ultra-cheap--and corporate heads like Mitt Romney ultra-wealthy.

This film, Santa's Workshop, is almost entirely in English; the few foreign-language segments are all accompanied by English subtitles.


  1. Yeah, they put that up to keep people from breaking in to work for free ... Damn #Communists ... always wanting to work hard1

  2. ". . . and fortunately it is so special we are sharing it with the world."

    Get in line, serfs. If you're lucky, your turn is next.

  3. Lisa, isn't it amazing that he said that? I had to replay it a few times before it sank in.

    1. But he's playing precisely to his audience. That's what his supporters want to hear. They don't give a shit that people are locked in sweatshops. The same thing happened in this country in the early 20th century until labor laws were passed. And the same thing has already started happening again, in more subtle ways.

      The workers in that huge Walmart warehouse in southern California who are forced to work 12-hour days in a place where temperatures reach 120 degrees, who get injured on the job because of the shitty conditions and are then forced to keep working through their injuries or else be fired -- that's slave labor, too. There doesn't have to be razor wire on the outside. If you're so desperate that you'll do anything to keep your job, because losing it would mean ending up on the street, then you're effectively enslaved.

      I have a friend who works at the UnderArmour warehouse here in Baltimore. UnderArmour -- a multi-billion-dollar multinational company. And she gets shorted on her pay routinely. So does every other employee there. LEGAL immigrants all. But their English is limited, and they're all in a vulnerable position. A measly $8 an hour and even that doesn't show in their paychecks when it's supposed to.

      It's only because she has me to advocate for her that she's getting paid what she owes. Obviously, most people don't have someone standing up for them.

      Romney is different only in that he's unabashed in admitting what's going on and lauding it. The Democrats pretend to give a shit, pretend they don't approve, but don't even talk about labor in their equally phony speeches. Except on the rare occasion to give it lip service, then turn around and do nothing. Or do what Good Democrat Rahm Emanuel is doing and try to break the unions.

    2. There doesn't have to be razor wire on the outside. If you're so desperate that you'll do anything to keep your job, because losing it would mean ending up on the street, then you're effectively enslaved.

      Hear, hear.

      As for Rahm Emmanuel, to quote a comment left by a friend at my post about the Chicago Teachers Union, " Rahm is Karl Rove on a diet."

      I agree with you about most Democrats being weak-to-useless on labor matters. And just as bad, almost all the so-called liberal pundits--certainly the ones with big platforms--were repeating the meme that It's time for the teachers to put the children first; how dare they strike! Those selfish, selfish teachers

      Never mind that in addition to fairer evaluation processes and fairer pay-scales, CTU demanded--and WON--a number of significant improvements for the students, such as the hiring of music, phys ed. and dance teachers, a commitment to air-condition the schools where kids are now forced to take summer sessions, a big increase in the amount of school supplies (teachers were always having to buy these themselves, which adds up fast), and more.

  4. Here is a post about the tape, by Patrick at Politicalgates, from August 26th.

    1. I have updated the post and embedded that documentary (good God, that's heartbreaking). I let Patrick know; and I thank you, and him, for the info.

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  6. Heartbreaking. Putting the info up like this is so important. Thank you.

  7. Hi Deborah,

    many thanks for mentioning our post!

    Voters now know exactly what's going on in the mind of "Mitt the Monster." Anyone who votes for him has to be pretty insane...

    Keep up the good fight! It's not over yet.

  8. Vote Green Party. Jill Stein for President.