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Must Read: Cambodian Spirits as Union Leaders?

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This article in the New York Times caught my attention last week and is worth a read.  The parallels it draws to other parts of the world undergoing industrialization during various times in history is fascinating! (As a side note, I got totally caught up reading this analysis of the evolution of the story of Rumplestiltskin through the lens of gender and industrialization.)  Often, the gut reaction to this type of article is to decide to "buy local" or support "made in America." And I think that's great--we love supporting independent artists and craftspeople right here in our backyard.  But there is something bigger to take from this, and bigger changes that must be made.  I was recently talking to a man at my bus stop downtown.  He was originally from North Africa but had lived in a variety of places in the US.  We were talking about Velouria, and he made a point of telling me: "You know there are sweatshops in America?  You know there are places where people get paid $0.17 an hour?"  And I had to nod my head.  Yes.  I do know this.  And so, what does this mean for globalization and capitalism?  It is not enough to say simply that "our labor is better than their labor" or that "made in America is inherently better than made over there."  We must know better what it is that is happening when our clothes get made no matter where they are made. Period.  And perhaps it means that we all should start fainting on the salesfloors of corporate clothing stores across the country.  Ok, maybe not.  But maybe it is time for a new version of resistance, post-Occupy, one that channels the discontent of spirits much more powerful than ourselves. 

Cat