Gabriel Thompson recently wrote an excellent piece for The Nation based on his time undercover as a temp at a warehouse operated by Ingram Micro, the largest electronics distributor in the world. The warehouse is outside of L.A., in an area called Inland Empire, which encompasses Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
It’s fascinating to read about the conditions in one of those warehouses, where Thompson struggles, alongside some of the workers hit hardest by the recession, to package Apple and Walmart products for American consumers. If you’re planning to buy anything online this holiday season, you owe it to these workers to read about Thompson’s experience in the belly of the online shopping beast: “The Workers Who Bring You Black Friday”.
Tom Engelhardt is at his cynical best in his latest dispatch, “My Safety ‘Tis of Thee, Sweet Land of Security,” in which he describes the horror film that is our twenty-first century reality. Do yourself a favor: take five minutes out of your day and read it.
“‘Control oil and you control nations,’ said US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in the 1970s. ’Control food and you control the people.’
Global food control has nearly been achieved, by reducing seed diversity with GMO (genetically modified) seeds that are distributed by only a few transnational corporations. But this agenda has been implemented at grave cost to our health; and if the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) passes, control over not just our food but our health, our environment and our financial system will be in the hands of transnational corporations.”
Read Ellen Brown’s “Monsanto, the TPP, and Global Food Dominance" at CounterPunch
What Chelsea Manning is grateful for (from TIME):
I’m usually hesitant to celebrate Thanksgiving Day. After all, the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony systematically terrorized and slaughtered the very same Pequot tribe that assisted the first English refugees to arrive at Plymouth Rock. So, perhaps ironically, I’m thankful that I know that, and I’m also thankful that there are people who seek out, and usually find, such truths. I’m thankful for people who, even surrounded by millions of Americans eating turkey during regularly scheduled commercial breaks in the Green Bay and Detroit football game; who, despite having been taught, often as early as five and six years old, that the “helpful natives” selflessly assisted the “poor helpless Pilgrims” and lived happily ever after, dare to ask probing, even dangerous, questions.
Such people are often nameless and humble, yet no less courageous. Whether carpenters of welders; retail clerks or bank managers; artists or lawyers, they dare to ask tough questions, and seek out the truth, even when the answers they find might not be easy to live with.
I’m also grateful for having social and human justice pioneers who lead through action, and by example, as opposed to directing or commanding other people to take action. Often, the achievements of such people transcend political, cultural, and generational boundaries. Unfortunately, such remarkable people often risk their reputations, their livelihood, and, all too often, even their lives.
For instance, the man commonly known as Malcolm X began to openly embrace the idea, after an awakening during his travels to the Middle East and Africa, of an international and unifying effort to achieve equality, and was murdered after a tough, yearlong defection from the Nation of Islam. Martin Luther King Jr., after choosing to embrace the struggles of striking sanitation workers in Memphis over lobbying in Washington, D.C., was murdered by an escaped convict seeking fame and respect from white Southerners. Harvey Milk, the first openly gay politician in the U.S., was murdered by a jealous former colleague. These are only examples; I wouldn’t dare to make a claim that they represent an exhaustive list of remarkable pioneers of social justice and equality—certainly many if not the vast majority are unsung and, sadly, forgotten.
So, this year, and every year, I’m thankful for such people, and I’m thankful that one day—perhaps not tomorrow—because of the accomplishments of such truth-seekers and human rights pioneers, we can live together on this tiny “pale blue dot” of a planet and stop looking inward, at each other, but rather outward, into the space beyond this planet and the future of all of humanity.