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SAS actions appropriate

By Avery Kolers
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
February 18, 2000
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To the editor,

In your editorial of Wednesday, 2/16, you charge Students Against Sweatshops (SAS) with acting prematurely and undermining our agreement with President Likins by pressing him to leave the FLA five months before he is required to. The editorial is poorly reasoned and reactionary.

Why is it legitimate to demand withdrawal before the deadline? For one thing, Likins once told us, "I don't work by waiting for deadlines and then rushing to meet them." He said this during the sit-in because he did not want deadlines at all. Rather, he claims to make decisions as soon as adequate information is available. But now, adequate information is available. The FLA is a sham, the WRC (Workers' Rights Consortium) is serious. If Likins is the man he claims to be, he should not now fixate on the deadline.

You assert, bizarrely, that the SAS's action is "understandable" but "premature." Imagine the problem were different. Imagine hackers were vandalizing corporate Web sites. Suppose corporations gave the government 15 months to fix the problem, but a clear solution appeared after only ten months. Would you demand that everyone sit quietly for five months while the government dithered? I suspect not - waiting longer than necessary would be stupid. It's much more stupid when the victims are hundreds of thousands of individuals, mostly women and children in poor countries, who suffer systematic abuse at the hands of giant corporations. How many lives will be ruined in the next five months?

Finally, it is worth pointing out that the FLA is not a "labor group," but a cadre of corporate mandarins. It has not made "months of progress," but has spent over a year twiddling its thumbs and attempting to undermine the anti-sweatshop movement.

Avery Kolers

Philosophy graduate student, member of SAS

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