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View Diary: BP Hides Use of Mostly Black Prison Labor For Oil Gusher Cleanup (257 comments)

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  •  They don't have much choice (3+ / 0-)

    according to the video.

    12 hrs/day, 6 days/wk working with toxic sludge ... not a happy prospect even if you're desperate for work and don't mind dying for it.

    This appears to be forced labor. That is slavery. And the very reason I don't buy Chinese shit.

    "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

    by Bob Love on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 01:03:11 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  You have to be free in the first place to (0+ / 0-)

      be a slave.  

      Do you have the power to hire any of them once they are out?

      It's so intense....what does this mean?

      by mim5677 on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 01:08:13 PM PDT

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      •  If you don't have a choice (4+ / 0-)

        then you are a slave.

        And I understand your point about transitioning and hiring of former inmates, but changing the subject from BP's profiteering off prison workers to how inmates are treated by society after incarceration is an annoying way of pursuing an unrelated agenda.

        "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

        by Bob Love on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 01:13:59 PM PDT

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        •  I would be my bottom dollar that (0+ / 0-)

          the prisons initiated this.  This may not cost BP much money but this is in no way a money making venture.  

          Prisons are dying to find ways to make their prisoners more employable after leaving prison.  

          In many ways the prisons and BP are treating them better than they will be treated outside of prison.  

          It is easy to look at them and say they are mostly black and are working for free so they are slaves, but outside of prison they can't do anything, skilled or not, they get no chance to do anything, so I can't agree that the role BP plays in this outweighs the benefits of prisoners being able to pick up some experience to prepare them not to go back to jail.  

          Again are you in any position to hire these people?  I'm not saying you can't have an opinion if you aren't but you may want to have a certain amount of flexibility in your opinion about this particular matter.  I see it everyday, with petty charges even.  Prisoners and ex-offenders are kind of swept under the societal rug and it does make people feel good to defend them in what look like abusive scenarios, but in the long run they are not being treated any better outside of prison.

          It's so intense....what does this mean?

          by mim5677 on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 01:23:44 PM PDT

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          •  I'm sorry but if you're saying (5+ / 0-)

            people that are currently being punished for committing crimes should be hired before people are desperate and out of work and that aren't currently being punished for committing crimes.. I'm not on your side. If you're saying that people who can't complain about the work conditions should be hired rather than BP having to do the right thing to protect workers.. I'm not on your side. If you're saying that the state is subsidizing the cost of labor rather than having BP pay a decent wage and not get tax breaks.. I'm not on your side.

            Now if it turns out that paying a decent wage, BP can't find any law abiding citizens to take the job I'd still want to know why they aren't providing the workers, no matter their source, with the proper gear to protect their health.

            If you wanna talk about reducing ex-con recidivism rates and improving work opportunities for them then write a diary, but don't hijack this one.

            President Obama is the best moderate Republican president in my lifetime. kasandra.us

            by KS Rose on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 01:50:58 PM PDT

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            •  Just as many commentators are saying (0+ / 0-)

              that it's horribly unfair to the prisoners, as are saying it's horribly unfair to the unemployed citizens.  I incline to agree with you that the unemployed citizens deserve first crack, and BP shouldn't be allowed to do it on the cheap.

              But to the many who are indigating about "forced labor", it is not at ALL a hijack or off-topic to argue that from the prisoners' point of view, the work is desirable no matter how nasty.  

              Thus I think it's very unfair to call mim5677's comments off-topic or inappropriate.

              "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

              by lgmcp on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 03:02:09 PM PDT

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            •  Hardly a hijacking (0+ / 0-)

              just because I don't view this as slavery doesn't mean it's a hijacking.  I'm telling you how this stuff happens.  BP isn't calling the prison system asking them for cheap labor, I promise you that.  Prisoners aren't being dragged out of prison kicking and screaming to do this either.  You can only work in the kitchen and sweep floors for so long.

              Some of those people in prison for a gram of crack will be on the street soon and often do make better employees than people that have never committed a crime so if you are saying that paying your debt to society and the commission of a crime makes you a less valuable employee, then I am not on your side.  

              If you are saying that a prison trying to prepare often willing participants in a program where they can gain experience is slavery, myself and the definition of slavery is not on your side.  

              I don't really see anyone complaining about the slavery references in the diary although that isn't exactly the subject of the diary either, but I understand that my having first hand knowledge of how something like this can happen, doesn't add up to much when the goal is to bash BP.  

              Give them better gear, fine with me, but slavery? I don't think so.  

              It's not quite disingenuous but it is awfully close, when we show concern for the physical health of prisoners while refusing to give them the chance to take care of it themselves when they are no longer prisoners.  

              It's so intense....what does this mean?

              by mim5677 on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 03:03:24 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Well, um, yeah, it is easy: (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            i like bbq, Fixed Point Theorem

            It is easy to look at them and say they are mostly black and are working for free so they are slaves

            How would you define folks who are forced to work and aren't paid for it? "Slaves" sounds about right.

            And please... "pick up experience..." "more employable..." Even granting that there's likely to be ongoing work cleaning up oil spills well into the future, these guys won't be doing it. Not once they get out anyway. The next batch of slaves, er, prisoners will be doing it then too, if the whole fucked-up system of convict labor isn't demolished first.

            When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

            by PhilJD on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 02:33:36 PM PDT

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            •  How do you know they are being forced to do it? (0+ / 0-)

              How do you know they aren't lining up to get out of the prison to do some work.  You don't know that.  Can a black prisoner not make a decision to do some seemingly dangerous work on their own?

              Are you in a position to hire an ex-offender? If so how many have you hired?  

              Again I am not saying you can't have an opinion about this, but you are talking to someone who knows exactly how this works.  Many of these prisoners are happy to do the work and add something to their resume, it's just a reality of life.  Many of them know that the work they get to do in prison will be one of the few times anybody gives them a shot to prove they can do something.

              What do you think a prisoner would say to you?  Someone who wanted to get a chance to prove he can do good work.  You think calling that person a slave is appropriate much less an accurate description of how they see themselves.  

              I've seen it happen too many times to let people spout off statements like that.  So many of these people get hope from learning new skills learning about a new industry and if you think they won't have opportunities for years to come cleaning up oil on those beaches, then you must not believe the spill is that bad.  

              Sometimes we have to leave our political insight at the door because it doesn't always serve us well and in this case yours is not serving you well.  

              Better equipment to keep them safe, absolutely, but you are without a doubt greatly insulting many of the people working on that beach by calling them slaves, I would bet my life on it, because I see it happening every single day.

              It's so intense....what does this mean?

              by mim5677 on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 03:12:11 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  WTF are you babbling about? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        i like bbq, Fixed Point Theorem

        "You have to be free in the first place to be a slave"? HUH??? Go read a little history, especially US pre-Civil War history, to find out just how deeply you have your head wedged.

        If it's
        Not your body
        Then it's
        Not your choice
        AND it's
        None of your damn business!

        by TheOtherMaven on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 04:00:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  when you (0+ / 0-)

          can tell me how many of these people you can hire...
          when you can tell me what those prisoners have to say about the work they are doing...
          when you can even remotely prove to me that what these people are doing is voluntary, initiated by BP, or anything of the like I will tell you what I am babbling about.

          Until then you don't have much to say yourself.

          It's so intense....what does this mean?

          by mim5677 on Sat Jul 24, 2010 at 06:22:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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