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David Fitzsimmons | Arizona Teachers / politicalcartoons.com

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How did we let modern slavery become part of our everyday lives?

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Illustration by Thomas Pullin

  • Society abhors exploitation but we are complicit. The cheap goods and services consumers expect makes exploitation inevitable.
  • Related: Amazon’s Wal-Mart problem: Why low wages, working conditions,  and disdain for culture will hurt us all

Felicity Lawrence, the Guardian

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Mon 2 Apr 2018 | Since the Modern Slavery Act of 2015, British companies over a certain size have been required to report on slavery in their supply chains. Their statements are both shocking and admirable. Shocking because they make clear that the incidence of slavery has become normalised once again – and not just in criminal operations such as the illegal drugs trade or trafficking for prostitution, but in the mainstream economy. The declarations are prefaced with management expressions of abhorrence, of course, but there they are, another note alongside the annual accounts. They are admirable, however, in that transparency must be the first step to tackling this phenomenon.

Last month the National Crime Agency reported a 35% annual rise in the number of suspected slavery victims found in the UK, with more than 5,000 people referred to the government mechanism that supports them in 2017. Labour exploitation, rather than sexual exploitation, was the most common type of modern slavery cited.

https://i.guim.co.uk/img/static/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/contributor/2007/09/28/felicity_lawrence_140x140.jpg?w=140&h=140&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&s=bee3bc96374b8d33ddb090bc075ee54fFelicity Lawrence is a special correspondent for the Guardian 

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Related:

Amazon’s Wal-Mart problem: Why low wages, working conditions,  and disdain for culture will hurt us all, Richard (R.J.) Eskow, Salon

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  • Amazon drives down wages, avoids taxes and destroys intellectual life, while profiting from government subsidies
  • 4 ways Amazon’s ruthless practices are crushing local economies
  • The Wal-Mart You Don't Know

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West Virginia teachers unions ram through sell-out deal to end strike.

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Dale Lee (second from left), Christine Campbell (third from left) and school support staff union president Joe White smile and applaud as governor Justice signs bill.

The agreement, which the unions endorsed and are claiming as a victory, is a betrayal of the courageous struggle by 33,000 school workers.

Will Morrow, World Socialist Website

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7 March 2018 | On Tuesday afternoon, billionaire West Virginia Governor Jim Justice signed into law a bipartisan agreement announced earlier in the day by legislators to end the nine-day strike by teachers and other public school employees across the state.

The agreement, which the unions endorsed and are claiming as a victory, is a betrayal of the courageous struggle by 33,000 school workers.

Full story … 

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Series | A Nation Under Trump, Part 4 - Poverty issues gain traction in first year of Trump presidency

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Volunteers with Catholic Charities' St. Maria's meals program in Washington serve dinner March 8 to people who are homeless. (CNS/Chaz Muth)

  • The Series: As the anniversary of Donald Trump's election as president of the United States approached, the NCR staff wondered if the calls to action that persisted immediately following the election remained as urgent.
  • Part 4: With united voice Christian groups fight cuts to safety-net programs

Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter (NCR) 

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Nov 3, 2017 | In the year since Donald Trump was elected U.S. president, Catholic Charities has seen a small decrease in the number of people served at its food pantries, medical and legal clinics, domestic violence shelters, afterschool programs and senior centers. This good news mirrors overall dips in poverty and hunger, as the U.S. economy continues to recover from the 2008 recession. 

Now for the bad news: The wealthy have recovered more quickly than poor and middle-class Americans, leading to widening income inequality; more Americans still face food insecurity than before the recession; some workers have dropped out of the labor force altogether; and decades-long income and wage stagnation persists, leaving more than 40 million Americans — more than one in 10 — in poverty.

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Heidi%20Schlumpf%2C%20NCR.jpgHeidi Schlumpf is NCR’s national correspondent, based in Chicago. She has three decades of experience covering religion, spirituality, social justice and women’s issues, and is the author/editor of three books, including Elizabeth A. Johnson: Questing for God (Liturgical Press, 2016).

Full story … 

Previously in this Series:

Part 3 - Trump has put anti-immigrant campaign promises into action

Part 2 - The Trump presidency and Europe's dilemma

Part 1 - What has the GOP learned since Trump's election?

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Against Charity ~ Daniel Raventos & Julie Wark

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Angelina Jolie visits refugees in 2012. UNHCR / Flickr

Rather than creating an individualized “culture of giving,” we should be challenging capitalism’s institutionalized taking.

Mathew Snow, Jacobin

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https://www.booktopia.com.au/http_coversbooktopiacomau/big/9781849353045/against-charity.jpg 08.25.2015 | Imagine you came across a child drowning in a small pond and you were the only one around to help. You could easily save the child by wading in, although doing so would ruin your clothing and shoes. But if you don’t, the child will die.

It’s a no-brainer — you should save the child. Would the answer be any different if there were others around who could also help? No. Should it make any difference if the desperate child wasn’t directly in front of you? No.

Mathew Snow is a graduate student in philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh.

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