“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
-Martin Luther King Jr.
Military Used at Nike factories to break up peaceful protest in 2007
Dear allies and friends I have not met yet all over the world,
This is the first post to this blog.
The domain address for this blog is: www.Savethebrownpeople.org - The tagline for this blog will be something like:
'Marginalized People Involved in Direct Action from a Feminist Perspective.'
Important Note: This is a work in progress. Every time you see a link below, I have tried to link the text directly to the marginalized people's webpage to futher promote their websites. However, because over the years I have noticed many marginalized people's websites are attacked and removed by their oppressors or removed due to lack of funds, when you see a '[+]' next to a link, it means that is where I have a separate archived webpage of the link just in case the original link no longer works or has been changed.
About this blog
In January 2009, I read an entry on an activist blog that I love greatly. It was the blog that I first learned about the Oscar Grant murder by Police that I later went on to research thoroughly and submit a final article to publications that in turn were published and sent all over the world by Slingshot newspapers and many others. So I have a great deal of respect for the particular activist community blog I am speaking about.
One day, in February 2009, I noticed the owner of the community blog posted a photo of a Nike sneaker product and not only stated that they purchased the product, but they also recommended it to others and they [quote] “love them” so much that they 'pass on a hearty recommendation' to others. I then left a comment about the numerous genocides that Nike has been linked with and the boycotts against Nike and gave links and information about Nike and I was instantly attacked by many people on this community blog that describes itself on their about page as “a safe place.” Only one other very awesome, radical, feminist blogger and writer spoke up on my behalf and she was also attacked and told by numerous people that my comment was not welcome. Then, one extremely racist person commented, called me a bunch of vicious names and accused me of the ultimate crime apparently...the crime of being the type to [quote] 'save the poor brown people and shit." [unquote] I left two comments and decided not to say anything more and yet over 30 different people attacked me multiple times because of my comment and called me every kind of curse word and profane name imaginable, and then they went on to talk about all the other wonderful Nike products and all the colors it is available in giving links to shoe catalogues. Because the owner of the blog didn't attack me I didn't take it personally.
But then the owner of the blog said the following: "...that [insert the the name of the person here who launched the racist attack against me that I have omitted for privacy reasons] is correct: "the workers themselves have requested that instead of a general boycott against Nike's products, that people continue to buy Nike stuff."
Those are half truths.
When you type in the words 'Boycott Nike' into a search engine the first webpage that comes up is: http://www.saigon.com/~nike/ [Yes, that is the first link I shared with them.]
Under the Action category on that webpage it states the following:
Don't buy NIKE products: Nike is the biggest sport shoe manufacturer in America. If we can change Nike's labor practices, other shoe manufacturers will be forced to improve theirs.
Link our site to your web sites: Feel free to use our logo [found below] on your sites.
Who is conducting this campaign: The Nike Protest includes: 53 members of the US Congress including Congresswoman Maxine Water (leader of the Black Congressional Caucus), Congressman Bernard Sanders (leader of the Progressive Caucus), Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, the National Organization for Women (NOW), The Feminist Majority, Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility, the MS. Foundation, author Alice Walker, Justice Do it Nike, Campaign for Labor Rights, Global Exchange, Development and Peace, Press for Change, Clean Clothes Campaign.
After thinking about the racist comment, about the owner of the blog agreeing with the racist and saying nothing about the racial comment, about the curse words, the attacks and the entire situation, and discussing it with friends on my personal blog in the peace communities, I decided I might create this separate blog but I was rather uncertain... especially since it only deals with one particular type of subject: supporting the actual voices and direct-action of those 'poor brown people' and other marginalized people involved in direct action such as boycotts and much, much more. Shortly thereafter the original owner of the blog stated that one of the reasons they continue to buy Nike is because it is their understanding 'the workers don't want a boycott.' Half-truths are more dangerous than total and complete lies. As it is a priority with me and others to listen to the voices of the oppressed and their requests.... is the case in every protest against multinational corporation, I have read reports that some workers don't want a boycott but I have also read thousands of others who do want a boycott, and more importantly I have read about countless women workers at Nike who were fired after speaking out against Nike.
“You have to meet the quota before you can go home.”
“She hit all 15 team leaders in turn from the first one to the fifteenth...”
“The physical pain didn't last long, but the pain I feel in my heart will never disappear.”
You can read Lap's interview about being refused sick leave, forced to work over 112 hours, no day off for 3 weeks, while working for Nike by clicking here [trigger warning, Lap breaks down and starts crying during the interview while recalling the brutal emotional, psychological and physical abuse she received even though she “was ranked the Number 1 worker for the year” in 1996 in that factory] .
I take courage to speak up when I read unions make brave statements such as:
"End the disrespect for our labor rights. Compañeros join our struggle. Let's defend our rights as the workers we are. We have been fired for having organized ourselves. No More Violations Everyone unite." --SITRASTAR Union
We must never forget the positive and uplifting end results of our direct actions 'as poor brown people'! In 2007, after over two years of direct action and fierce oppression by NIKE and NIKE's military and men with black ski masks, Fifty-eight workers fired for organizing a union at the Star SA factory in Honduras's El Porvenir free trade zone (owned by the U.S. Anvil t-shirt company that makes shirts for NIKE) have been reinstated to their jobs with back wages and legal recognition for their union. After the workers were fired, they held massive peaceful demonstrations in front of the free trade zone with as many as 600 workers. Factory and zone management called in the police, (many of whom arrived in black ski masks carrying assault rifles.) To Nike's credit, this time even Nike was forced to admit that the workers were unjustly and illegally fired. But it took NIKE over two years, with millions of people protesting against the injustice for NIKE to do it!
'Police' in black ski masks carrying assault rifles used at the Nike Factory to stop peaceful protests in Honduras in 2007.
I also listen to the actions of “Four hundred and forty nine of the 500 remaining workers of the Par Garment workers [who] called a sit-in protest in front of the factory.” that created Nike and gap clothing. Many of them were illegally fired.
The poor brown people...the poor people of all races... the women, the children and the men...I cry for you. My heart weeps for you. Tears pour forth from my heart for you and your children and your pain. My love goes out to you. I listen to your voices and your action above those who continue to make excuses for why they support Nike.
These stories of heroism enabled me to feel certain of creating this blog, where I will focus on the voices and the actions of 'the poor brown people' (I being one of those who has lived my entire life as one of those poor brown people) urging for direct action (which includes boycotts) of not only Nike, but of other multinational corporate products. I've spent my life being attacked, not only by the corporations I speak against, but worse... by the activists within the USA who use half-truths, racist comments and countless forms of attacks to justify NIKE sweatshop products that they not only buy but promote on their blogs.
While I fully realize not all the 'poor brown people' who work for Nike or the other corporations will agree with a boycott of Nike or other corporations, I am further inspired to create this blog with the memory that not all 'poor brown people' agreed with Martin Luther King Jr. when he strongly urged a boycott of Coca-Cola in his last speech before he was assassinated.
That boycott of Coca-Cola and Nike continues, yet is completely ignored and covered up with Half-truths by many activists and people who have grown tired of the 'save the poor brown people' attitude and who use Half-truths such as 'the workers say they don't want a boycott.' In the end, your actions are created by your conscience.
There will always be twisted truths and half-truths of those who say direct action and boycotts are not needed.
Keep This In Mind
Before Martin Luther King Jr. ever became famous for his struggles against those who he considered racist, he first struggled against his own people, because many people and activists were in the school if 'gradualism.' In politics, the concept of gradualism is used to describe the belief that change ought to be modified in small, discrete increments rather than abrupt changes such as revolutions or uprisings. That is, they felt that people should wait for things to 'gradually' get better with legislation, voting, and other methods that do not involve direct action. Martin Luther King Jr. was strongly opposed to gradualism as I am as well.
Before Harriet Tubman ever became famous for her struggles against those who she considered racist, she first struggled against her own people, because many people and activists and fellow slaves were in the school if 'gradualism.' As a child, even before I knew what activism or racism was, I recall performing in a play in which Harriet Tubman had to physically force her biological brother to escape from slavery... against his will, because she knew if she left him behind he would be tortured and whipped until he told the slave master where the underground railroad path was located.
"This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy."
-Martin Luther King Jr.'s I Have a Dream speech delivered August 28, 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC
This blog was created for The Voices and the Direct-Actions of the Marginalized Women calling for and involved in Direct Action and not waiting for gradualism. There are over 99 different varieties of non-violent direct action which include boycotts and this is the place for all information directly or indirectly related to the direct action of marginalized people, all women, people of color, LGBTQ, mentally and physically challenged and more. It is a group blog and a feminist blog with contributions from people of all races and genders.
'Canadian human-rights group called Development and Peace offered to monitor conditions at Nike plants to verify the company s code of conduct. Nike refused. The Canadian organization nevertheless gathered 86,500 signatures on a petition to boycott Nike products.”
I dedicate it to all you out in the cold gathering petitions for social justice, I dedicate it to all of you who are called racist names even by your peers because you speak up for the 'poor brown people', I dedicate it to all of you who care about the items that you buy and desire a world not ruled by capitalism and consumerism.
There is a better world of love, peace and equality waiting for us all... and we welcome her into our homes, into our lives, into our warm embrace... with direct action.
Is there a need for this community blog? A community blog giving voice to the 'poor brown people?'
Consider this: Educating for Justice, a non-profit social justice group, stated that Over 150 newspapers ran the Associated Press news story about Nike's 2004 Corporate Responsibility Report, which included much of Nike’s perspective but very little from critical labor advocates.
Many of these critical labor advocates are the poor brown people whose voices and direct actions are seldom heard.
Here are some of the facts from the report that the newspapers did not include in their stories: Freedom of Association
- In 10% to 25% of Nike’s partner factories, freedom of association is prohibited by law (e.g. China, Vietnam).
- In up to 10% of Nike’s partner factories, freedom of association is prohibited due to an exclusive union agreement.
- In up to 10% of Nike’s partner factories, freedom of association is not allowed or provided although it is legal. (NOTE: EFJ believes this number to be significantly lower than the actual number of factories that do not allow independent union organizing).
- In 25% to 50% of Nike’s partner factories, workers report verbal, physical, sexual and /or psychological abuse.
- In 25% to 50% of Nike’s partner factories, workers do not trust the grievance process.
- In 25% to 50% of Nike’s partner factories, a confidential grievance system is not provided.
- In 50% to 100% of Nike’s partner factories, work hours exceed Nike’s Code of Conduct.
- In 25% to 50% of Nike’s partner factories, one day off in seven is not provided (i.e. employees are working 7 days a week).
- In 25% to 50% of Nike’s partner factories, work hours exceed legal limit.
- In up to 25% of Nike’s partner factories, when workers refuse to work overtime they are penalized.
- In 10% to 25% of Nike’s partner factories, the overtime pay rate is less than the law demands or the calculation for overtime pay is inaccurate.
- In 10% to 25% of Nike’s partner factories, the wage calculation rate is inaccurate (i.e. the amount that workers are paid is wrong, and most likely below what they should get).
- In 25% to 50% of Nike’s partner factories, wages paid to workers are below the legal minimum wage.
(Note: Nike has not published any research on living wages for their partner factories.)
- In 10% to 25% of Nike’s partner factories, worker age verification is inconsistent or not well-documented.
- In up to 10% of Nike’s partner factories, there are workers younger than Nike’s "Child Labor" standard.
As many of you already know, these are the lowest figure estimates, that multinational corporations like NIKE are willing to disclose only after many protests and many groups worldwide urged them to do so. So yes, I have a 'save the poor brown' women-children-and-men attitude. I also have a 'save the poor' women-children-men-LGBTQI-of-all-races attitudes and I hope I keep it until the day I die and am greeted by all those others who died while working for a better world and spent a lifetime being attacked for it.
I love you all.
Love for the people,
“Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.”
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are people who want crops without ploughing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will."
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
-Harriet Tubman quotes (American escaped slave, Civil War Soldier and Abolitionist, 1820-1913)
“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.”
-John Lennon (English Singer, Songwriter and Political activist, Longtime financial and outspoken Supporter of the Black Panther Movement and member of the "Beatles", 1940-1980 – See the movie US vs John Lennon to know more.)
"All life is created in love, and thus in the depths of every human being lies a good heart. Some have lost their path from this love, so it up to us to show them the way."- Julia Butterfly Hill