I’m sure most of you know all about the police and the FBI infiltrating groups sometimes to the extent of entering their internal leadership in an effort to destroy them. I’ve read about this happening to the Students for a Democratic Society’s Weather Underground and happening to Muslims and other groups more recently. But I was very surprised to hear who it happened to a week ago, United Students Against Sweatshops.
I was involved in United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) for my 4 years in college. I went to many conferences and a bunch of actions around the country from Harrisburg and D.C. to Florida and Colorado. The actions were always simple, with the same main format. Go to retail location, picket, flyer, have a small group enter and hand them a letter and try to talk to someone in charge, then picked more and flyer more.
For some reason or another the Washington D.C. Police Department has found this to be a threat. Against what, I’m not sure. USAS has been pushing around brands making them treat their workers better, but it’s all been within legal bounds. And honestly, not very radical bounds. The worst we’ve done is had sit-ins and those are mainly on college campuses.
But I think more importantly USAS is making change in the industry and this is the law they have broken, providing true and tangible hope and change. They area providing an alternative to the current way we deal with things and making waves. It’s sad that this is how progressive groups are treated by our government but I guess I and other USASers should feel honored that we are worthy of being spied upon?
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