Volume , Number 0
There are no articles.Commentary
There are no articles.Culture
There are no articles.Features
Nuggets From the Nuthouse
Douglas j. Buege
Eleanor J. Bader
There are no articles.
NOTE: Z Magazine subscribers and sustainers have access to all Z Magazine articles here and in the archive. The latest Z Magazine articles available to everyone are listed in the Free Articles box at the top of the table of contents, and are starred in the list below. Questions? e-mail Z Magazine Online.
The Women of Monclova
M ore than a year later, Leonor Castillo is still a very angry woman. She sits at the kitchen table of her two-room cinderblock house and talks in a gentle voice that mutes the rage about her six years at the plant: the sudden reorganization of the production system with the result that everyone seemed to be working just as hard and maybe even harder but taking home less pay; the day she was running a 102-degree fever and they wouldn’t give her a pass to go home; those awful two months she was pregnant and kept asking for a change of assignment from the operation that required her to toss bundles of clothing over her shoulder from a sitting position.
Sorry, she was told, there was no lighter work available in the factory of more than 1,000 workers engaged in a dozen different operations.
“When I miscarried, the doctors asked if I lifted anything heavy,” she says. “They had to do a Caesarean to clean me out,” Leonor, who is 32 and childless, adds softly.
Then there was the aguinaldo battle in November 2001. The aguinaldo is a legally mandated annual bonus. For years workers had suspected they had been short-changed. They circulated a petition requesting a $60 increase in the aguinaldo and chose Leonor and four other workers to deliver it to management. The petition, signed by almost half the workers in the factory, couldn’t have been more polite.
Leonor remembers the plant manager complimenting the delegation for presenting the request in this responsible manner and not resorting to a strike or other disruptive tactics.
The company’s answer came in two parts. Ten days later all workers in the factory received an additional $30 with their annual bonus. A week after that Castillo and the other four members of the delegation were fired.
Within days workers were leafleting in front of the plant. Leaflets condemned the firings; they explained the legal limits on compulsory overtime; they decried inadequate health and safety precautions; they denounced the wages that were not enough to feed their families; they exhorted the workers to stand together and fight for their rights. Some of the leaflets urged workers to contact an organization called Sedepac for more information.
As a result four more women were fired for insisting that the labor laws of their country be obeyed. Before long the leafleting had begun again, one of the thousands of ongoing battles in the global sweatshop that never make it to the nightly news.
The country in this instance is Mexico and the company is the Sara Lee Corporation, but on any given day a variation of this scenario unfolds in dozens of other countries with equally familiar corporations playing their assigned roles.
apparel industry has been called the canary in the mineshaft of
America’s de-industrialization, the first to move most of its
manufacturing facilities offshore. For all its technological advances,
the apparel industry has yet to invent a machine more efficient
than human hands and eyes. Nor has the economic logic of the industry
changed that much in the past 100 years. Costs are pushed down through
a pyramid of retailers at the top and below them layers of manufacturers,
contractors, and sub-contractors, with a massive base of workers
at the bottom. A corollary of this arrangement is that garment workers,
as cheap and easily exposable assets in a volatile and labor-intensive
industry, must remain powerless.
“They get nervous when journalists come around asking questions,” explains a Sara Lee spokesperson at U.S. corporate headquarters, politely denying permission for an interview with the plant manager who fired Leonor Castillo and her co-workers. “We have people here in headquarters who are very well informed and can answer all your questions.”
Well, not really.
Sweatshop scandals are bad for business. The strategy generally is to try to suppress them and, failing that, to ride them out. Sooner rather than later the public’s attention is directed to more urgent matters and the system slides safely back into its mode of hidden production and lavish promotion.
Sara Lee is not just cheese cakes. Producing, distributing, and selling an astonishing variety of foods, beverages, apparel, and household goods from pork chops to shoe polish, wheeling and dealing with its 30,000 trademarks, constantly divesting and acquiring businesses to tweak the bottom line, it is a diverse, sophisticated, and thoroughly modern corporation.
Within this sprawling mix is one of the largest and most profitable apparel businesses in the world (Hanes, L’eggs, Playtex, Bali, Wonderbra, Champion, Polo Ralph Lauren, DKNY), which owns and operates manufacturing and distribution facilities in 8 U.S. states and 24 countries and sources its goods from sweatshops on 5 continents. Of course Sara Lee, like all the other big names in the industry, denies that it runs or uses sweatshops, even though anyone with a working knowledge of the industry knows it is impossible to produce clothing on the scale Sara Lee does under the current rules of the game without using sweatshops. Nevertheless, to prove its virtue, Sara Lee displays a corporate code of Global Business Standards claiming that the company complies with all labor laws wherever it operates, supports fundamental human rights for all people, including the right of its employees to free association, and is committed to a safe and healthy work environment. Nobody pays much attention to this boilerplate, which came into vogue after the Kathie Lee Gifford child labor scandal in 1996, but Sara Lee’s presumptive ethical standards are notable in one respect.
“We feel a special responsibility to women’s causes—not just because women make up more than half the world’s population,” its statement on Corporate Citizenship explains. “Women are important to Sara Lee because: Sara Lee Corporation is the world’s largest company named after a woman; about half of our employees are women; and women are the primary purchasers of Sara Lee branded products.”
It is difficult to verify the accuracy of these statements because Sara Lee will not disclose the locations of its factories or permit independent inspections of them. Sara Lee is one of the few remaining big apparel manufacturers that still owns some of its overseas factories, rather than the more common practice of sourcing goods from local contractors. This gives Sara Lee complete control over the production process—and total responsibility for what occurs in these facilities.
That is the case of the plant where Leonor Castillo worked, one of two Hanes T-shirt factories that Sara Lee opened in the early 1990s in Monclova, an old industrial city in Mexico’s northern desert, and the adjacent town of Frontera, about 150 miles southwest of Laredo. It was regarded as another of Sara Lee’s astute, strategic moves, streamlining its corporate structure by closing down plants in the U.S. and moving production, a step ahead of its competitors, slightly into the interior of Mexico where wages were even lower than in the older maquila zones right on the border.
Almost everyone agreed that Monclova needed this new investment with the 2,500 jobs it would provide. For much of the last century the regional economy had been driven by Monclova’s huge Altos Hornos steel complex, until it was hit by some of the same global trends that have reduced the U.S. steel industry to a shadow of its former self. Monclova and the surrounding state of Coahuila struggled with Depression-level unemployment rates, falling wages, and the social disintegration that invariably flows from economic decline of this magnitude.
While local governments everywhere compete to attract and retain these factories, national governments—pressured by international financial institutions and powerful corporate lobbies—keep pushing industries toward poorer areas on the theory that this type of investment will raise wages and promote development. Like most theories that serve to rationalize privilege and power, this one is full of holes and slightly ridiculous. Multinational corporations do not normally seek out lower wages in order to raise them, which only happens when workers have the strength to extract such gains. One study by the International Labor Organization found that real wages of apparel workers had decreased in three out of four countries where investment in the industry had increased.
Sure enough, ten years later in Monclova none of those social or economic indicators has improved, some have deteriorated, and there are constant rumors that Sara Lee will soon pick up and move to some more congenial place where wages are even lower and workers less assertive.
But they will not do this without a fight.
“A lot of these women come from families of unionized steelworkers,” says Betty Robles. “They’re not going to be rolled over so easily.”
Betty Robles is a local leader of Sedepac, which stands for Servicio, Desarollo y Paz (Service, Development and Peace), a 20-year-old non-profit organization with branches in other states around the country. Mexico’s political landscape is dotted with hundreds of like-minded groups that spring from student, worker, and other popular movements searching for new strategies to contend with the entrenched, unresponsive, and often repressive Mexican state.
Betty Robles went to work in the maquila when she was 14 and spent a dozen years on assembly lines making auto parts and thermostats. “Brutal,” she says, “they treat you worse than one of the machines.”
We are sitting in Sedepac’s cluttered storefront office on Frontera’s main commercial street, a few blocks beyond the packed sidewalk market and a ten-minute drive from the factory. Several women meet around a desk toward the rear of the office, away from the window and prying eyes.
Last October they discovered that a lawyer who had been volunteering his services at Sedepac was being paid by the company to spy on them. Among other services rendered, he wrote an article “exposing” Sedepac’s participation in a network of U.S. and Mexican NGO’s called Enlace and denouncing the workers’ activities as a nefarious plot to put Sara Lee’s factories out of business. It was a full-scale attack. Thugs began shadowing Betty and some of the other activists, staking out the office and parking in front of their houses at night.
One woman unwinds a bandage from her wrist to display swollen tendons and bulging nerve cysts, another the scar from her Carpal Tunnel Syndrome operation, then more hands with a variety of disfig- urations as the meeting turns into a spontaneous testimony of the walking wounded: pain that begins in the hands and seems to work its way up the arms; pain in the lower back that spreads to the shoulders and then down into the arms; headaches from the dust and noise; skin rashes, coughs, and runny eyes. They are still covered with the lint that is thick in the air of the factory. But mostly it’s the crippling pain.
Maria Ramirez (not her real name) looks strong and healthy, but her back and shoulder have been aching for the past two years and now everything hurts— back, shoulders, arms, hands, fingers. When she went in to see the company doctor, he wrapped a tape around her thumb and two fingers.
“But I can’t work like this,” she said.
“I can give you a pill,” the doctor replied.
“I don’t know what’s in it.”
“But I can’t work with my fingers taped like this.”
“It’s nerve damage. There’s nothing you can do about it. Take the pill, I take off the tape.”
Of course there’s a lot you can do about it.
“It’s an ergonomic problem and it’s extensive in the maquilas,” says Dr. Jorge Hernandez, who has an occupational health practice in Frontera. “There are all kinds of studies that demonstrate these injuries can be reduced and prevented. The employer, the government, the union, nobody does anything. But it’s the employer’s responsibility.”
Ramirez took the pill. When the pills didn’t help any more, she went to Seguro, the public health clinic. Workers believe that the doctors at Seguro are in cahoots with the company, reluctant to make diagnoses that might require the company to cover work-related injuries. In Maria’s case, the Seguro doctors don’t agree on the diagnosis. One says Carpal Tunnel, another a herniated disk in her neck, and still another a twisted spinal column due to the long hours sitting.
Dealing with their pregnancies at work is a sensitive subject for these women. Many have stories like Leonor Castillo’s. Title 5 of Mexico’s federal labor code explicitly prohibits employers from requiring pregnant workers to lift weights that endanger their health. Companies in Mexico do not like to employ pregnant women because one of the few consistently enforced provisions of the labor code is three months paid maternity leave. When pregnant workers aren’t screened out with pre-employment pregnancy tests—an illegal but widespread practice—the normal wear and tear of the job can hold down maternity benefits when expectant mothers quit or miscarry.
We are talking about a virtually unregulated global industry in which millions of workers put in 12-hour days and longer for as little as $2.50 a day, reports of indentured servitude are verified with regularity, and the U.S. Supreme Court cannot decide whether Nike has the constitutional right to lie about the conditions in its factories. Sara Lee could argue that compared to what’s out there, its Monclova factories are not that bad. They are probably right, which will give you an idea of how rotten the industry is.
T he production system in the Monclova factories is modular, typically teams of 12 workers, each performing a different operation—hemming various parts of the garment, attaching sleeves, finishing seams, tying and inspecting the bundles. A supervisor is assigned to each team, monitoring the flow of work and pushing everyone to meet their quotas.
Ana Velasquez stitches the hem that runs around the bottom of the T-shirt. Her quota is based on a time and motion study that has broken down every operation and is used as the template in all Sara Lee factories producing this garment. Ana’s movement through the five separate motions of her operation is so rhythmic, fluid, and quick it seems almost effortless.
Getting the garment from the pile on her left, folding it, smoothing the fabric for the stitch, maneuvering it through the machine with her right hand while turning it over with her left, placing it on the pile in front of her for the next worker in the team, and then beginning again—a complete cycle every 9.4 seconds to meet her quota of 32 dozen T-shirts an hour. The more efficient she is, the higher the bar is set.
These workers are paid around 70 cents an hour plus incentive bonuses for making quotas. In a typical week of 45 to 49 hours worked, gross pay ranges between $50 and $80, but there are numerous deductions, many for loans facilitated by the company. It is not at all unusual for weekly take home pay to be as low as $25 or $30. Most of these workers are in debt, their income keeping them below the poverty line. Contrary to popular belief, the cost of living in places like Monclova is not light years away from that of more developed economies. Maquila workers further north regularly cross the border into El Paso, Laredo, and Brownsville for groceries and other basic goods because they’re cheaper there than on the Mexican side of the border.
“If you make the payment on the furniture, you can’t buy shoes,” Velasquez says. “It’s pathetic what they pay us, don’t you think?”
They could pay more. The company estimates that a worker like Ana costs $1.68 an hour in “fully loaded” wages, which include bonuses, benefits, and payroll taxes. At that rate, Ana’s team of 12 workers are paid a total of $20.16 for the 384 T-shirts they produce in an hour. These T-shirts sell at retail from $5 to $12, which means that the Moncolva workers are paid between 1.1 percent and 4/10 of 1 percent of the retail price. If you doubled their pay, it would add a staggering 5.3 cents to the cost of that T-shirt.
Whether these additional pennies were passed along to the consumer or absorbed somewhere along the line between Monclova and retailers like WalMart (2002 profits: $8.04 billion), one of Sara Lee’s largest customers, it does not seem like an amount that would ruin any business. In the meantime, consider the difference it could make in the lives of these workers and their families.
We sit around Laura Garcia’s living room with half a dozen other workers from the plant. To minimize risk for the workers, Betty Robles and the two other full-time Sedepac organizers hold house meetings in the ejidos and barrios where most of the Sara Lee workers live. Some neighbors are afraid to attend because word has gone out that anyone connected to Sedepac will be fired. But the room is soon filled.
They go around the room with stories about sick children, the guilt at not being to care for them, the fines for missing work when they do, the hundreds of dollars in doctors’ fees and medicine.
“When one of my kids gets sick, I don’t go to work,” a woman says firmly. “But it’s a problem. They never want to give you permission.”
“You can always bring it up with the union,” someone says and gets a big laugh.
Officially, there is a union and perhaps even a collective contract in Sara Lee’s Monclova factories. Perhaps, because when workers question some policy or other they are often told, “It’s in the contract.” But when they ask the union delegate to see the contract, they are told to get it from management who tells them to get it from the union. Last October eight workers filed a legal complaint asking the state labor board in Monclova to make a copy of the contract available to them. They are still waiting and the prospects are not good.
“It is judically impossible for me to comply with that request,” explains Juan Carlos Maldonado, president of the board. “Only the parties to the contract—the company and the union—have a right to the contract. Either is free to make it available.”
The local office of the union, the Confederacion de Trabajadores Mexicanos (CTM), is on the same street as the Sedepac office, but several blocks away in a nicer section of town, befitting the CTM’s status as a major political player in the state. On a morning in mid-March the secretary general of this CTM region, the elderly, plain-spoken Jose Dimas Galindo, laments the terrible state of the economy and vents his fury at Mexican President Vicente Fox for not supporting the U.S. war in Iraq.
“The Sara Lee workers say they can’t even get a copy of the contract.”
“It’s not mine. You have to talk to the big guy in Saltillo.”
“There’s nothing the workers can do?”
“If they try to do anything, it’s goodbye T-shirts.”
The big guy in Saltillo is Tereso Medina, the secretary general of the state CTM and a deputy in the state legislature, who confirms that he controls this particular contract. The problem isn’t the contract, he explains, it’s Betty Robles and Sedepac. “It happens everywhere, these local NGO’s supported by unions in the United States to stir up trouble, destabilize the industry here to discourage firms from leaving your country. Their own lawyer admitted it. We need these jobs and everyone knows they’ll take off overnight to find cheaper labor.”
He suggests that the U.S. unions would be better off working with the CTM on the basis of its seven-point program: jobs, labor peace, productivity linked to salaries, education, housing, health, and social security for all the workers of the world.
“Under this program, do the Sara Lee workers get to see their contract?”
“It costs money to print them,” he says. “We’ll have to collect dues.”
“We’re obviously not opposed to foreign investment here,” Betty Robles says. “We’re doing everything we can to keep these factories in Monclova. But these companies come and go. All we ask is that they respect our rights while they’re here.”
“What about the charges of stirring up trouble with the gringo unions?”
Betty laughs. “You mean it’s a crime for workers to organize internationally to deal with an international company? Besides, it isn’t just gringo unions. It’s students, women’s groups, churches, labor rights organizations, and not just in the United States. We have allies, this new global justice movement, and it’s a good thing we do. Given the size and power of this corporation, how can we win without them?”
One of those allies weighed in recently when the $30 billion New York City pension fund, concerned about the company’s performance and reports from Monclova, filed a shareholder’s proxy resolution with Sara Lee urging it to establish a program of independent monitoring of its global human rights standards.
“A poor record on labor and human rights abuses can damage the reputation of the company and the long-term interests of shareholders,” says Michael Musaraca, chair of the fund’s proxy committee. “We have a fiduciary responsibility to prevent that from happening.”
The pressure is building and not a moment too soon. “There is a widespread impression here,” Robles wrote, “that these factories will be closed to punish workers for speaking out against conditions that are clearly inconsistent with Sara Lee policy and in some cases are illegal…. We are aware that some multinational corporations have recently left Mexico for countries where wages are even lower than in Mexico. It is neither necessary nor wise for such a large and well-run company like Sara Lee to engage in practices that are increasingly repudiated by both expert and public opinion…”
Three weeks later the plant manager in Frontera told the workers, though he did not put it in writing, that there were no plans to close in the near future. Perhaps this is true, but only a month earlier Sara Lee announced it was expanding its apparel business in China and “looking at India as a sourcing hub for our products in the U.S. market.” Stay tuned.
Alan Howard is former assistant to the president of UNITE. He has written for the New York Times Magazine , the Nation , and public television. The names of current Sara Lee workers have been changed.
Z Magazine Archive
AnnouncementsLABOR - May 1 is May Day. Workers of the world will celebrate the 124th anniversary of International Worker’s Day. Born out of a call for an 8-hour workday in the United States, this day is an opportunity for all workers to show their solidarity with one another, as well as to renew the call for labor rights.
FARM CONFERENCE - The Farm Conference on Community and Sustainability will be held May 24-26 in Summertown, TN, in partnership with the Fellowship of Intentional Communities. Tour green homes, see sustainable food production, learn about solar installations, alternative education, midwifery, and more.
Contact: Douglas@thefarmcommunity.com; http://www.thefarmcommunity.com/.
PALESTINE - The Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North American will be held June 3-5 in Vancouver. The conference will examine the future of the Palestinian liberation movement.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.palestinianconference.org/.
LABOR - The Pacific Northwest Labor History Association’s 45th annual conference will be held May 3-5, in Portland, OR. This year’s theme is Labor Under Attack: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future. A call for presentations, workshops and papers is currently underway.
Contact: PNLHA, 27920 68th Ave. East, Graham, WA 98338; 206-406-2604; PNLHA1@aol.com; http://www3.telus.net.
MARIJUANA - On the first Saturday of May marijuana legalization activists will hold informational and educational events, rallies and marches in over 300 cities around the world.
ECONOMICS - The Union For Radical Political Economics will hold its 39th annual conference May 9-11 in New York City.
RECLAIM THE DREAM - The 2013 Poor People’s Campaign & March from Baltimore to Washington D.C. will be May 11. Communities, schools and unions interested in participating are encouraged to contact the Baltimore People’s Assembly.
Contact: 410-500-2168; 410-218-4835; BaltimorePeoplesAssembly@gmail.com; Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Baltimore and the Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly, 2011 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218.
MOTHER’S DAY - The 17th Annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace will be May 12th, in Dorchester, MA. The walk began in 1996 for families who had lost children to violence. The day has become a way for thousands of people to financially support the work of the Louis Brown Peace Institute.
Contact: http://www.ldbpeaceinstitute.org/; http://mothersdaywalk4peace.org/.
NATO 5 - An International Week of Solidarity with the NATO 5 has been called for May 16-21. Supports call on supporters to raise awareness of the NATO 5 and support funds for the defendants on the one-year anniversary of their preemptive arrests.
Contact: email@example.com; https://nato5support.wordpress.com.
MOUNTAINTOP - The 2013 Mountain Justice Summer Activist Training Camp will be held May 19-27 in Damascus, VA. It will be a week of workshops, field trips to view Mountain Top Removal coal mines, direct actions, and service project.
FEMINIST SCI-FI - The feminist science fiction convention WisCon 37 is scheduled for May 24-27 in Madison, WI.
Contact: WisCon, ? SF3, PO Box 1624, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.wiscon.info/.
ANARCHY FEST - A month-long Festival of Anarchy is scheduled for May in Montreal. The festival includes The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair (May 19-20).
Contact: http://www.anarchistbookfair.ca/; http://www.radicalmontreal.com/.
LABOR - The International Labor Rights Forum will present: Down the Supply Chain, Driving Corporate Accountability, on May 22 in Washington, DC. The Labor Rights Awards Ceremony and Reception will honor pioneers in supply chain worker organizing, working solidarity and international labor rights policy.
MULTICULTURE - The 26th annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) will take place May 28-June 1, in New Orleans.
Contact: SWCHRS, 3200 Marshall Avenue, Suite 290, Norman, OK 73072; 405-325-3694; email@example.com; www.ncore.ou.edu.
MEDIA - The 2013 Alliance for Community Media Annual Conference will be held May 29-31, in San Francisco, CA. Participants will include educators, community leaders, media professionals, journalists, nonprofit leaders, policymakers and students.
RADIO - The 38th Annual Community Radio Conference is schedule for May 29-June 1, in San Francisco, CA, with discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20004; 202-756-2268; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nfcb.org/.
BRADLEY MANNING - On June 1, a rally will be held at Fort Meade in support of Bradley Manning.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike-A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides scheduled, music, exhibitors and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; email@example.com; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in New York City.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduated Center, ? Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16, in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops on civil rights, media and other topics.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; email@example.com http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5 day Seminar at University of Havana, plus visits to a cooperative, urban garden, community development project, social research centers, and educational & medical institutions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.globaljusticecenter.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; email@example.com; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process throughout the U.S.
SOCIALISM - The Socialism 2013 Conference is scheduled for June 27-30 in Chicago, featuring talks and panel discussions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.socialismconference.org.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles under the heading, Intersections: Teaching and Learning Across Media.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from branches across the continent to learn new skills and build One Big Union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace, will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; email@example.com; http://www.peacestockvfp.org.
CHILDREN’S DEFENSE - July 15-19, join clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, for five days of spiritual renewal, networking, movement building workshops, and continuing education about the urgent needs of children at the 19th annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.childrensdefense.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference in the world.
Contact: email@example.com; http://yeacamp.org/.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
LABOR - The Eastern Conference For Workplace Democracy: Growing Our Cooperatives, Growing Our Communities, will be held at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, July 26-28.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://east.usworker.coop/.
WOMEN/LYNNE STEWART- Radical Women is asking for support letters and cards to be sent to Lynne Stewart. Stewart is a civil rights attorney and political prisoner who is currently in jail. She has breast cancer and authorities have denied her request for transfer from her Texas prison to the New York City hospital where she received medical attention during a prior bout of breast cancer. Send messages and cards to: Lynne Stewart 53504-054, Federal Medical Center Carswell, P.O. Box 27137, Fort Worth, TX 76127.
Contact: 747 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109; 415-864-1278; RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com; http://lynnestewart.org/; http://www.radicalwomen.org/.
HAITI/WOMEN - Haiti’s government is considering a legal reform measure that would prohibit and punish all sexual assault, including marital rape. MADRE and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict are launching a petition to raise international support for this push to address violence against women in Haiti.
Contact: 121 West 27th Street, #301, New York, NY 10001; 212-627-0444; email@example.com; http://www.madre.org.
SYRIA/MIDDLE EAST - The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) is currently seeking funds to assist more than 200,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria.
FOLK FESTIVAL - The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival will be held August 2-4, in the Berkshires, NY.
Contact: http://www.falconridgefolk.com/; firstname.lastname@example.org.
WAR RESISTERS - The War Resisters League will hold its 90th anniversary conference, Revolutionary Nonviolence: Building Bridges Across Generations and Communities, August 1-4, at Georgetown University. The event will focus on the U.S.’ long history of antimilitarism.
Contact: 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012; 212-228-0450; email@example.com; http://www.warresisters.org.
POPULAR ECONOMICS - The Center for Popular Economics is holding its 2013 Summer Institute August 4-9 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. No background in economics is needed for this intensive training. This year’s theme is, The Care Economy: Building a Just Economy with a Heart.
Contact: Center for Popular Economics, PO Box 785 Amherst, MA 01004; 413-545-0743; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.populareconomics.org.
VETERANS - Veterans for Peace is holding the 28th annual convention August 6-11 in Madison, WI. This year’s theme is, Power To The Peaceful.
DEMOCRACY - The Democracy Convention will take place August 7-11 in Madison, WI. The convention brings together nine conferences including topics such as media, education, defense, race, environment and others.
MEN - The 38th National Conference on Men & Masculinity: Forging Justice: Creating Safe, Equal and Accountable Communities, presented in partnership with HAVEN, will be held in Detroit, MI, August 8-10.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://occupynationalgathering.net/.
COMMUNITIES - The Communities Conference is a networking and learning opportunity for co-operative or communal lifestyles, with workshops, events and entertainment; scheduled for August 30-September 2 at the Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Virginia.
LABOR DAY - The 29th annual Bread and Roses Festival, a celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, MA, will be held September 2, in honor of the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike. There will be music, dance, poetry, drama, ethnic food, historical demonstrations, walking & trolley tours.
Contact: PO Box 1137, Lawrence, MA 01842; 978-794-1655; http://www.breadandrosesheritage.org/.
OCCUPY WALL STREET - September 17 is the two-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Events are planned in New York City and worldwide.
TEACHERS - The 13th Annual Conference, “Teaching for Social Justice: The Politics of Pedagogy,” will be held October 12 in San Francisco, CA. The free event features workshops, resources, and free childcare.
Contact: 415-676-7844; email@example.com; http://www.t4sj.org/.
HAITI - International Action, which brings clean water and chlorinators to Haiti, seeks office space capable of housing up to six people and their office equipment.
Contact: Zach Bremer, Zbrehmer@haitiwater.org; 202-488-0735; http://www.haitiwater.org/.
MEDIA - The Union for Democratic Communications and Project Censored are sponsoring a joint conference on media democracy, media activism and social justice to be held November 1-3 at the University of San Francisco. Proposals for presentations, workshops and panels from activists and critical scholars are invited.