Uyghurs are the Slave Labor for Global Companies; Tax Dodgers Love to Knee-Cap the IRS

China’s leaders and wealthy elites are willing partners of global capitalism, opening up its doors, willingly, to Wal-Mart and huge multinational companies so those companies can produce trillions of dollars of stuff using cheap slave labor—in good capitalist style. Since 2017, China has been conducting a steady campaign of mass transfer of more than a million Uyghurs and members of other Muslim minorities into a vast network of ‘re-education camps’ in the far west region of Xinjiang, which Uyghur activists call “east Turkestan”.

Think of the Japanese internment camps in the U.S. during WWII or apartheid in South Africa—the key difference, is that this is being driven a lot by the thirst of global capitalism for cheap, slave labor. Tens of thousands of Uyghurs are being forced to work in factories that are in the supply chains of at least 83 well-known global brands in the technology, clothing and automotive sectors, including Apple, BMW, Gap, Huawei, Nike, Samsung, Sony and Volkswagen. Tomorrow, a worldwide call will be issued by 71 Uyghur rights groups and over 100 civil society organizations and labor unions from around the world demanding that apparel brands and retailers stop using the forced labor. Rahima Mahmut, a Uyghur singer, award-winning translator, and human rights activist who is living in exile in London, and Brian Finnegan, the Global Worker Rights Coordinator in the International Department of the AFL-CIO, join the show to talk about the campaign.

Some things never change no matter when tax day falls—we pay our taxes, while the rich and big corporations dodge paying their fair share. Amazon paid zero taxes in 2017 and 2018, despite having huge profits and, lo and behold, Amazon is making a big deal out of paying taxes in 2019—a whopping 1.2 percent of its $13 billion in profits.

One of the reasons these very rich people and corporations can scam us is the careful, relentless undermining of the IRS. And Congress has been the willing tool for that anti-IRS campaign, cutting its budgets year after year. What that means is simple: rich people and corporations don’t pay what they should because they know the IRS can’t keep pace with the armies of lawyers hired by rich people and corporations to dodge and avoid taxes. Hundreds of billions of dollars go unpaid and about 70 percent of that “underpayment”—which is a euphemism for dodging—is by the top one percent. A week after Tax Day, Amy Hanauer, executive director of the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy, talks with me about the IRS and who is not paying taxes (alert: the tax dodger list won’t shock you!).

This blog originally appeared at Working Life on July 22, 2020. Reprinted with permission.

About the Author: Jonathan Tasini is a political / organizing / economic strategist. President of the Economic Future Group.

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Madeline Messa

Madeline Messa is a 3L at Syracuse University College of Law. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. With her legal research and writing for Workplace Fairness, she strives to equip people with the information they need to be their own best advocate.