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David Swanson: Republicans For Slave Labor

Republicans For Slave Labor

By David Swanson

What if there were Republicans in Congress who supported forced abortions and prostitution and slave labor? And what if there were progressive Democrats running against them. Meet Republican Congress Members John Doolittle and Richard Pombo and their challengers in California's 4th and 11th districts Charlie Brown and Jerry McNerney .

Now visit the beautiful tropical islands described by disgraced House Majority Leader Tom Delay as "a perfect petri dish of capitalism." What's so perfect about Saipan and the other 13 Northern Mariana Islands? Primarily this: items produced there can carry the label "Made in USA" and be sold in the U.S. without tariffs or quotas, but the scandalously low U.S. minimum wage does not apply, and the pathetically minimal rights of immigrants and workers in the U.S. do not apply. There are no labor unions. Any worker can be terminated and deported at any time for no cause.

The workers, mostly Chinese women, sew clothing for J. Jill, Elie Tahari, Ann Taylor, Liz Claiborne, The Gap, and Ralph Lauren, among others. They pay so much money to obtain work and for shelter and food, that they can labor for a decade and still not pay it back. They serve, therefore, as indentured servants, sharing rooms and beds, lacking health care, and working extra unpaid hours for the reward of being permitted to also work paid overtime. Pregnancy is unacceptable, costs of it not covered, and amateur abortion encouraged.

The island of Saipan does great business in prostitution for Asian businessmen and American soldiers. Approximately 90 percent of the prostitutes are former Chinese garment workers. Others had been recruited for jobs like waitressing but were forced into prostitution instead.

Over the past decade, 29 bills in Congress have sought to apply a minimum wage standard and/or immigration law to the Mariana Islands or to deny use of "Made in USA" to items produced there. Every one of these bills has failed. Some have won support in the Senate but been blocked by the House Resources Committee. Others have won the support of a majority of House Members but still been killed in that same committee.

Guess who earned $11 million in fees from the Marianas government and garment manufacturers? A fellow by the name of Jack Abramoff.

The chair of the House Resources Committee is Pombo. A former member of that committee who was part of a Congressional fact finding mission to the Marianas that found no facts, a man whom Abramoff called the islands' hero, is Doolittle.

Watch these videos of Doolittle denying everything and changing the subject:

Then do what you can to throw him and Pombo out of the United States Capitol: .


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