Thanks for the tip, CNN, but get real (see below). In it’s “hard-hitting” report on the slavery that underlies most of the chocolate we consume, the only solution they can offer is to “buy organic”! It’s almost astonishing that CNN does not even here mention which corporations actually profit from this slave labor and that they ought to be attacked — not surreptitiously by consumers — but aggressively by all pro-labor, human rights advocates in the broad public domain.
Turns out the U.S.-based company, Hershey Chocolate, is just one of the Western corporations currently profiting from the cocoa produced in these horrible conditions. The Civil War notwithstanding, it looks like American capitalism still depends on the slave labor of Africans for easy profits …
An estimated 200,000 children work in cocoa agriculture in Ivory Coast, many against their will. Ivory Coast is among several West African countries that together produce up to 75% of the world’s cocoa beans, most of which is grown on small farms. The best way to be sure you’re not funding child labor is to buy organic chocolate.
From Wisconsin, to Verizon, to Hershey, Pennsylvania, workers’ fight-back is contagious.
And talk about solidarity across national divisions! Students from China, Nigeria, and Ukraine unite in a concerted action to fight for their rights. Then again, there’s nothing like good-ol’ American exploitation at the hands of duplicitous capitalists to encourage even the most disparate groups of workers to forge the most solid bounds of unity.
Hundreds of foreign students, waving their fists and shouting defiantly in many languages, walked off their jobs on Wednesday at a plant here that packs Hershey’s chocolates, saying a summer program that was supposed to be a cultural exchange had instead turned them into underpaid labor.
The students, from countries including China, Nigeria, Romania and Ukraine, came to the United States through a long-established State Department summer visa program that allows them to work for two months and then travel. They said they were expecting to practice their English, make some money and learn what life is like in the United States.
In a way, they did. About 400 foreign students were put to work lifting heavy boxes and packing Reese’s candies, Kit-Kats and Almond Joys on a fast-moving production line, many of them on a night shift. After paycheck deductions for fees associated with the program and for their rent, students said at a rally in front of the huge packing plant that many of them were not earning nearly enough to recover what they had spent in their home countries to obtain their visas.