Saturday, September 29, 2007

Since 2005 local organizations in Bangalore, India have tried to publicize and correct unfair labour practices on the part of the jeans manufacturer Fibre and Fabrics International and its subsidiary Jeans Knits Pvt. Ltd.. Abuses alleged include high work pressure, forced overtime, physical and psychological abuse, overwork without pay and failure to provide contracts. This company provides jeans for G-Star, Armani, RaRe, Guess, GAP, Mexx and others.
The company responded with legal action against both local Indian organizations and their international supporters. They obtained a court order against local people in July 2006, banning them from commenting on the company's labour practices. This injunction was extended in February of this year, and the court case surrounding it continues to drag on. FFI also succeeded in obtaining injunctions in a local court against international supporters of the Indian workers, but for obvious reasons these are hard to enforce. In response the company has managed to convince a judge in Bangalore to issue arrest warrants against 7 staff members of the Clean Clothes Campaign in the Netherlands and their internet providers Antenna and Xs4all.
The supporters of the Indian workers are being accused of "cybercrime, racist and xenophobic activities and slander".
In response the Clean Clothes campaign has redoubled its efforts to convince customers of FFI to cease ordering from this source until they clean up their act. They have also launched an online campaign to protest this attempt to muzzle free speech. To join both campaigns and to read more go to . To follow this campaign and others maintained by the Clean Clothes Campaign see the link above.
Molly Note:
If the reader looks again at the list of charges he or she will notice the "racist and xenophobic" part. Molly has always opposed any and all laws putting limits on freedom of speech no matter what their "good leftist, progressive intentions". Far too many so-called leftists see nothing wrong with such attempts to legislate social morality and in fact are quite supportive of them. If, however, you fail to see the immorality of such laws you might be persuaded that they are a bad idea because they provide ever ready tools for others to use for purposes that you don't agree with. The actions of the Indian courts are hardly the only example or even the last of 10,000 examples from across the world. In other words if you can't support freedom from the basis of morality you might consider supporting it from the basis of practicality.

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