A World Without Sweatshops: Abolition Not Reform
Abolition Feminisms: Organizing, Survival, and Transformative Practice edited by Alisa Bierria, Jakeya Caruthers, and Brooke Lober (Haymarket Books 2022).
23 Pages Posted:
Date Written: June 4, 2021
To bring forth a world without sweatshops, we have to accurately identify the sources of sweatshops. As I explain here, sweatshops aren’t the results of individual brands behaving badly but a broad configuration of state, capital, and cultural political interests that I classify as sweatshop or free market feminism. Without a serious critique of the sweatshop’s structural reality, any efforts to make fashion more ethical can only be what prison abolitionists call “reformist reforms.” Reformist reforms pursue gentler and more inclusive forms of labor and resource extraction rather than the abolition of this extractive industry altogether.
The discussion concludes with examples of sweatshop abolition in practice: the garment worker collectives called Homework4Health (Los Angeles) and Blue Tin Production (Chicago).
Keywords: sweatshop abolition, garment worker co-ops, women of color feminism
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