Child labor returns to the United States: A society moving in reverse
This past week, the Iowa Senate advanced a bill which would dismantle many child labor restrictions in that state, expand the types of jobs that minors can legally work, extend the maximum length of shifts and allow businesses to employ them late at night. The bill was introduced in the Republican-controlled legislature on the grounds of “modernizing” Iowa’s child labor laws. In fact, it is the thin end of a wedge of a massive social regression. The United States, the world’s wealthiest country, never tires of lecturing others about “democracy” and “human rights.” But here, the barbaric practice of child labor, once thought to be consigned to the dustbin of history, at least in the advanced industrialized countries, is back. In the 1800s, the capitalists justified the exploitation of child labor on the grounds that it would “prevent the habitual idleness and degeneracy” and teach “habits of industry,” as one study said. Today, virtually identical arguments are being made to justify the rollback of child labor laws. “That’s good experience,” Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds said earlier this month. “You know, it teaches the kids a lot, and if they have the time to do it and they want to earn some additional money, I don’t think we should discourage that.”https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2023/04/22/pers-a22.htmlA History of Internationalism: The Kurdish Struggle and the Palestinian Movement
The PKK exists today only because the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), a now-obscure Palestinian force, agreed to shelter some Kurdish exiles in the 1980s. That experience in the Palestinian camps permanently affected the worldview of the PKK’s founding generation. Not only did the PKK learn how to fight a guerrilla war, it also walked away with a strong sense of internationalism. In fact, some of the PKK’s founding figures spent time in an Israeli detention camp as prisoners of war. Old issues of the party magazine Serxwebun tell the remarkable story of the “Beaufort Castle Heroes,” a group of Kurds who had been training at a Palestinian base in Lebanon when they were captured by Israeli forces in June 1982. (Serxwebun means “independence” in Kurdish.) New Lines is reporting much of their story in EnglisPost too long. Click here to view the full text.