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), Forthcoming

23 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2021

Date Written: June 4, 2021

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Pham, Minh-Ha, A World Without Sweatshops: Abolition Not Reform (June 4, 2021). Abolition Feminisms: Organizing, Survival, and Transformative Practice edited by Alisa Bierria, Jakeya Caruthers, and Brooke Lober (Haymarket Books), Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3860253

Minh-Ha Pham (Contact Author)

Pratt Institute ( email )

Brooklyn, NY
United States

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