Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor and the Dark Side of the New Global Economy

By Herman, Marc | Mother Jones, September/October 2007 | Go to article overview

Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor and the Dark Side of the New Global Economy


Herman, Marc, Mother Jones


Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor and the Dark Side of the New Global Economy By John Bowe. Random House. $25.95.

"We buy Granny Smiths picked by slaves in New York and Washington State," writes John Bowe. "We buy paper from trees planted by workers who don't get paid."

Nobodies tells three close-to-the-bone stories of unpaid and forced labor American soil-a zombie tale about a monster supposedly killed off 140 years ago with the ratification of the 14th Amendment. The first case is a Florida fruit-picking operation where Mexican immigrants are shunted to an out-of-the-way camp in the swamps and threatened with violence if they try to leave. Next, Bowe travels to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to tell the story of a team of welders brought from India false promises and put to work in a metal shop. Finally, he investigates Saipan, the tiny Pacific protectorate that's exempt from American tariffs and located close to cheap Southeast Asian labor, making it a haven for sweatshops and prestitution. …

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