Letters to MotherJones

Tide turning against Nike
Re: “Is Nike Still Doing It?”
05/17/01

Nike just does not seem to get it. The company can sponsor all the charities it wants and claim that it is better than it was three years ago, but the fact remains that it has done very little to improve its workers’ lives.

Nike continues to lie about its reactions to reported labor abuses. On its PR (read: propaganda) site, it claims that it immediately responded to the situation at the Kuk Dong factory in Mexico earlier this year, but activists familiar with the case know that Nike dragged its feet in a major way. Almost immediately after the dispute began, independent human rights observers were at the scene reporting gross violations of labor and human rights, including managers assaulting workers. Even when Nike’s own hired lawyer reported that the situation was bad, the company waited without doing anything.

Nike’s arrogance and intransigence in dealing with human rights and labor rights violations is imperialist and colonialist. The hypocrisy will only grow more obvious as activists around the world expose the ridiculous amounts of money that Nike CEO Phil Knight and spokespeople like Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan make.

The anti-sweatshop movement is just getting started.

John Serop Simonian
Whittier, Calif.


 

We need famous help to change a famous company
Re: “Is Nike Still Doing It?”
05/17/01

Nike will ultimately do whatever is good for profits.

I’d like to see more serious artists and athletes become vocal activists for labor and human rights. Like it or not, children, teens, and most adults will begin to take seriously only what they see on TV and in slick ads. I suppose the chance of a Mia Hamm or Tiger Woods asking the world to boycott Nike is close to zero, but that’s what I think it takes before companies do the right thing.

Jodi Barnes Nelson

 

Nike’s shirking responsibility
Re: “Is Nike Still Doing It?”
05/17/01

One of the excuses Nike has made in the past is that the company’s not in control of the management of the factories and the head office is often unaware of the abuses suffered by the workers. This reminds me of the New England shipowners who were often in the forefront of the abolition movement during the time of slavery in the US. But they leased the ships and knew what the vessels were being used for: the slave trade. Some of the first families of American were involved and their descendants now live on the fruits of that trade.

Stephen Block Jr.

 

Invest in infrastructure
Re: “Lockdown Shutdown?”
05/16/01

The people of Youngstown need to understand that they must invest in their infrastructure (schools, roads, communication, transportation). Without a major long term investment program, no jobs will come to their area.

Walter Washington

 

Don’t blame Canada
Re: “Redefining Parenthood”
05/15/01

The US courts go the long way around in order to recognize same-sex parents. In Canada, feminists carved an open-ended non-discrimination rights clause (section 15) into the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

A couple of years later, an Alberta court recognized a lesbian’s right to adopt her partner’s child, and be acknowledged as a co-parent. As well, courts in other provinces have recognized gay and lesbian couples’ rights to adopt children jointly, even if those children are no blood relation to either partner.

If the US government permitted gay and lesbian parents to adopt their partners’ children, this cumbersome question of “psychological parenting” probably would not be necessary. Anybody who wants to be acknowledged as a co-parent can probably ask her or his partner to name them as a guardian, thus establishing a serious connection that would most likely be meaningful in the courts’ eyes.

Penney Kome

 

Crooked as a corkscrew
Re: “Lockdown Shutdown?”
05/14/01

As an ex-CCA employee — who worked in the facility that housed CCA’s headquarters, lives in the same city where many CCA employees work, and who knows many people who are familiar with the workings of the business — I can say that this company has no moral compass. (CCA is riddled with financial problems, with the new budget amidst lawsuits from stock holders for fraud and embezzlement. They keep track of occupancy like a property management company.) The boys are as crooked as a corkscrew.

Jody Hutson

 

Greenwashing your mother
Re: “Shell ads on motherjones.com”
05/14/01

It’s wrong to have those Shell ads on your web site. At first it didn’t bother me — someone must pay the .com bills. But now I find it offensive, something akin to Working Assets showing ads for the gun lobby or anti-abortion groups.

Free speech is one thing, but to have advertisements that support environmental (and human) destruction? Shell hasn’t “changed” their ways. The company still plans to “pillage and pollute/rape and run” for oil in other countries that have zero enviromental laws and will “buy out” governments to do so freely. Those Shell ads reek of a kind of “greenwashing” and I do protest it!

Tim Obrien