FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Sweatshops of Sean "P. Diddy" Combs

by LEE BALLINGER

Rap mogul Sean “P. Diddy” Combs claims he gave up sex to train for the November 2 New York City Marathon, which he entered “for the kids.” The workers at the sweatshop in Choloma, Honduras who make Combs’s Sean Jean clothing line give up a lot more than that.

They make 24 cents per $50 Sean Jean sweatshirt, are forced to work unpaid overtime under armed guard, are fired for being pregnant (“for the kids,” right P. Diddy?), and are harassed for trying to use the bathroom or get a drink of water, according to a report released by the National Labor Committee. Eighty per cent of this Southeast Textiles factory in Choloma is used to make Sean Jean wear, the other twenty per cent is used for Rocawear, a line co-founded by Jay-Z and Damon Dash.

This scandal raises the question of what influence music industry figures who get clothing made in sweatshops have upon the Democratic Party, a political institution that works overtime to foster the development of a global sweatshop economy. Jay-Z, along with Phat Farm owner Russell Simmons, recently hosted a fundraiser for Democratic Presidential candidate Al Sharpton at 40/40, Jay-Z’s New York nightclub. P. Diddy backed Democrat Carl McCall for governor of New York last year. According to Electronic Urban Report, Presidential hopefuls Howard Dean, Richard Gephardt, and John Kerry have flown to New York to “curry favor with Russell Simmons.”

We asked the Garment Workers Center in Los Angeles about Simmons’s Phat Farm and they gave a sigh of frustration and explained that, like many clothing companies, Phat Farm gets its work done through a bewildering maze of sub-contractors. GWC did provide RRC with a report in which one of Phat Farm’s contractors admitted it was responsible for embroidering Phat Farm clothes and paid a settlement for unpaid overtime to several workers.

Given the uproar over P. Diddy and sweatshops, shouldn’t Russell Simmons come forward to reveal where and under what conditions Phat Farm clothing is made? The Democratic candidates sucking up to Simmons don’t care-the Democratic party showed its hostility to workers at home and abroad by passing NAFTA and by changing labor law to make it virtually impossible for unions to organize. We do know for sure that neither Phat Farm, Sean Jean, nor Rocawear are made at SweatX (sweatx.net), the unionized Los Angeles clothing company funded by Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry’s, which union vice-president Noel Beasley told RRC has “a UNITE union contract, decent wages and working conditions.” Jackson Browne, Foo Fighters, and the Indigo Girls have used SweatX and Santana is about to follow suit.

In other words, there is a choice. Why are so many entrepreneurs in the music industry making the wrong one?

LEE BALLINGER is coeditor of our favorite newsletter on music and politics, Rock and Rap Confidential. For a sample issue contact Lee at: Rockrap@aol.com

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
February 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Exxon’s End Game Theory
Pierre M. Sprey - Franklin “Chuck” Spinney
Sleepwalking Into a Nuclear Arms Race with Russia
Paul Street
Liberal Hypocrisy, “Late-Shaming,” and Russia-Blaming in the Age of Trump
Ajamu Baraka
Malcolm X and Human Rights in the Time of Trumpism: Transcending the Master’s Tools
John Laforge
Did Obama Pave the Way for More Torture?
Mike Whitney
McMaster Takes Charge: Trump Relinquishes Control of Foreign Policy 
Patrick Cockburn
The Coming Decline of US and UK Power
Louisa Willcox
The Endangered Species Act: a Critical Safety Net Now Threatened by Congress and Trump
Vijay Prashad
A Foreign Policy of Cruel Populism
John Chuckman
Israel’s Terrible Problem: Two States or One?
Matthew Stevenson
The Parallax View of Donald Trump
Norman Pollack
Drumbeat of Fascism: Find, Arrest, Deport
Stan Cox
Can the Climate Survive Electoral Democracy? Maybe. Can It Survive Capitalism? No.
Ramzy Baroud
The Trump-Netanyahu Circus: Now, No One Can Save Israel from Itself
Edward Hunt
The United States of Permanent War
David Morgan
Trump and the Left: a Case of Mass Hysteria?
Pete Dolack
The Bait and Switch of Public-Private Partnerships
Mike Miller
What Kind of Movement Moment Are We In? 
Elliot Sperber
Why Resistance is Insufficient
Brian Cloughley
What are You Going to Do About Afghanistan, President Trump?
Binoy Kampmark
Warring in the Oncology Ward
Yves Engler
Remembering the Coup in Ghana
Jeremy Brecher
“Climate Kids” v. Trump: Trial of the Century Pits Trump Climate Denialism Against Right to a Climate System Capable of Sustaining Human Life”
Jonathan Taylor
Hate Trump? You Should Have Voted for Ron Paul
Franklin Lamb
Another Small Step for Syrian Refugee Children in Beirut’s “Aleppo Park”
Ron Jacobs
The Realist: Irreverence Was Their Only Sacred Cow
Andre Vltchek
Lock up England in Jail or an Insane Asylum!
Rev. William Alberts
Grandiose Marketing of Spirituality
Paul DeRienzo
Three Years Since the Kitty Litter Disaster at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
Eric Sommer
Organize Workers Immigrant Defense Committees!
Steve Cooper
A Progressive Agenda
David Swanson
100 Years of Using War to Try to End All War
Andrew Stewart
The 4CHAN Presidency: A Media Critique of the Alt-Right
Edward Leer
Tripping USA: The Chair
Randy Shields
Tom Regan: The Life of the Animal Rights Party
Nyla Ali Khan
One Certain Effect of Instability in Kashmir is the Erosion of Freedom of Expression and Regional Integration
Rob Hager
The Only Fake News That Probably Threw the Election to Trump was not Russian 
Mike Garrity
Why Should We Pay Billionaires to Destroy Our Public Lands? 
Mark Dickman
The Prophet: Deutscher’s Trotsky
Christopher Brauchli
The Politics of the Toilet Police
Ezra Kronfeld
Joe Manchin: a Senate Republicrat to Dispute and Challenge
Clancy Sigal
The Nazis Called It a “Rafle”
Louis Proyect
Socialism Betrayed? Inside the Ukrainian Holodomor
Charles R. Larson
Review: Timothy B. Tyson’s “The Blood of Emmett Till”
David Yearsley
Founding Father of American Song
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail