8 February 2013
Fighting Oppression in Immokalee, Florida: Days of Revolt
Days of Destruction Days of Revolt was written by two war veterans, Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco. In this book, they basically describe and make readers feel like they are actually touring the most impoverished, physically and socially devastated areas in the United States. They offer very detailed and disturbing descriptions of life on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, the slums of Camden, New Jersey, and the “surface mining” zones surrounding Welch, West Virginia, as well as some places in Immokalee, Florida, that are literally like slave camps.
One chapter of the book caught my eye, “Days of Slavery.” It mainly takes place in Immokalee Florida, a center of immigrant agricultural laborers, mostly Latino. The immigrants are housed in terrible conditions, which makes it very hard for them to work. Additionally to the terrible conditions that they are forced to work in, they are also paid unreasonably low wages for the amount of time they are working. Another thing that is affecting the people who work in the factories are serious problems with breathing. They have this problem because of pesticide poisoning and other chemicals that they are being exposed to while working. One chemical that is mentioned is Methyl Bromide.
It is also not uncommon for these workers to be held in literal slavery, have their paychecks stolen, and be subjected to physical abuse if they get out of line. The legal system in Florida appears willing to prosecute cases of slavery, but the immigrants are very afraid to come forward for obvious reasons. They are afraid they will be fired and more than likely the cases will not be judged in their favor. This is because these companies are huge, and are able to pay people off to continue making the workers work under unreasonable conditions.
Hedges interviews activists from the...