Thursday, February 8, 2007

the more things change...

This morning I was checking in with my lifeline to the outside world and heard an interesting story about Guatemalan workers in the U.S. These 12 men were promised landscaping work in North Carolina and they came to the U.S. using temporary vistas (read: work visas). Some shady character representing a company that doesn't seem to exist "rerouted" them to Connecticut where they received $2/hour - this meant they had to ask their families to wire money for food (they had planned, of course, to send wages home). Some of them simply walked away from the work and the rest found a Latino aid association and are suing their employer.

The entire time I was listening to this I kept thinking "Braceros." This story fit perfectly with everything I've ever read about the Braceros Program. And here I find that it lives long after its official demise - isn't the administrative side of government wonderful? The son-king - in his limitless vacuousness - wants to revive this program, as the "work visa" program. I'm sure when he talks about it Cheney and his ilk salivate at the prospect of unlimited exploitable labor. In some ways U.S. history is reducible to one simple theme - stealing someone's labor (and their bodies and their lives in the process).

The one point of light in all this is the Latino legal aid organization that is helping them sue their employers. I really want to hold out hope that this case can put the employer to the screws.

1 comment:

Rachel said...

I noticed on your sidebar that you're reading Austen's Mansfield Park. There are few books in the world I hated more than Mansfield Park. It had Austen's wit and style, but none of the fun! And the whole story was stupid, and the characters were stupid... I read it in two days, I was so upset about the story and I wanted it to end but I couldn't just not finish it. My friend Karlyn said I take books too seriously. Point is, the book is BAD! Horribly, terribly bad!! And from one of my favorite authors too. blech. *rant over*