My Cultural Divide

Starting from the opening scene My Cultural Divide questions the logic of the hardcore political activist, and wonders aloud whether ethical consuming actually does anything good for the workers behind the machines.

Because of family connections director Faisal Lutchmedial makes his way into some of the worst factories in Bangladesh, and talks frankly with the workers inside about their job and living conditions.

Accompanied by his ailing mother, Lutchmedial takes us on a very personal journey to bridge the gap between his heritage in Bangladesh and his life in Canada.

He connects his politics with his humanity, and weaves together a story that is both thought provoking and touching.

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  1. Decent documentary, it did address the complexities of improving labor conditions in industry.

    We actually do want exploitation of poor countries for cheap labor, it ultimately builds up the economies of the so called “third world” so that they can approach first world living conditions. The U.S. went through a period of labor abuse as it industrialized, it seems to be a necessary part of the progress of a culture. Luckily modern industrialization will be eased by the advanced contemporary level of technological development.

    On the other hand we also want industry to be a humane, safe, healthy, environment for workers. We want products and manufacturing methods that embody waste=food production philosophy, and we want workers treated without coercion, physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, with enough income to build their economy.

    The question is, how do we consciously promote this? I don’t think we can, it has to emerge out of individual interractions, and I think it will.

    “Ethical consuming” is a way to achieve it, so long as the pursuit of ethics does is not dis-utilitarian. Fir instance, when people talk about consuming less, as a solution, they are offer a dis-utilitarian course of actions. Consuming less means producing less, which means reduced progress in economic development and worse conditions. We want more growth, more progress, rather than less.

    Putting pressure on corporations to provide humane treatment for their workers is important, if approached in a progressive way. Regulations, legislation, and taxation are not useful ways to put on pressure, because they undermine the economic viability of business structures. Taxation siphons resources that could otherwise be used to either hire more employees, or raise employee pay and work conditions. Regulations limit competition, thus driving labor and consumers to a few unsustainably large businesses. Pressure can best be applied through boycotts, ethical consuming, letter writing, and protests. Businesses have an imperative to serve their customers, there is nothing wrong with customers demanding humane behavior on the part of businesses.

    The number one thing, is that we must abolish the state. As was demonstrated in this documentary, it is the state that enforces the power of business. When the workers strike, it was the police that came in and broke them.

    A number of times in this documentary various speakers expressed the need for legislative solutions. These simply won’t work. A law is meaningless, it is a collection of words without enforcement. And as we can see, the state will only enforce laws for it’s beneficiaries, and the main beneficiary of the state is business. Without the state, business must interact with it’s employees and customers, on a non-coercive basis. It is simply too expensive for private business to employ violence, it takes a state with a reservoir of tax money to do so.

    • Crap. The last comment linked to a non-working part of my blog. This one is good though.

    • Hi Anarchorationalist,

      I’ve got a website where I often repost documentaries that would interest other anarchists. You seem to watch a lot of documentaries. Do you know of any that are really good, i.e. anarchist, or would appeal to anarchists? If so, click on my name, it should take you to my website. Contact me and perhaps you could contribute your favorite documentaries along with some of your own words.