Matilda Wagner

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Matilda's World


The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion ~every single day.




The Harvest is a documentary that exposes child labor in American agriculture. Did you know 400,000 children work the fields? Yeah, me neither. H/T to keen-eyed follower: coincidenciaharmonica. Apparently, the agriculture industry is exempt from many child labor laws. There’s no overtime pay, either.

Look, I don’t know enough to comment, but my gut says: no.

Why did I post this? Because of that hot Super Bowl Dodge truck commercial. Check it out. And check out the revision by Latino Rebels, posted by the Future Journalism Project.

Some facts from The Harvest:

More than 400,000 children work in American fields to harvest the food we all eat

Children working in agriculture endure lives of extreme poverty

  • The average farmworker family makes less than $17,500 a year, well below the poverty level for a family of four.
  • Poverty among farmworkers is two times that of workers in other occupations
  • Farmworkers can be paid hourly, daily, by the piece or receive a salary, but they are always legally exempt from receiving overtime and often from receiving even minimum wage.
  • Families often cannot afford childcare and so have no choice but to bring their children out into the fields.
  • Increasing the incomes of migrant farmworkers by 40% would add just $15 to what the average US household spends every year on fruits and vegetables, according to a researcher at University of California Davis.

Children who work as farm laborers do not have access to proper education

  • Working hours outside of school are unlimited in agriculture.
  • On average, children in agriculture work 30 hours a week, often migrating from May – November, making it exceedingly difficult to succeed in school.
  • Almost 40% of farm workers migrate and their children suffer the instability of a nomadic lifestyle, potentially working in multiple states in a given season and attending multiple schools each with a different curriculum and standards.
  • Migrant children drop out of school at 4 times the national rate.

Children face health hazards and fatalities in the fields

  • According to the USDA, agriculture is the most hazardous occupation for child workers in the US
  • The risk of fatal injuries for children working in agriculture is 4 times that of other young workers.
  • Child farm workers are especially vulnerable to repetitive-motion injury
  • Farmworkers labor in extreme temperatures and die from heat exposure at a rate 20 times that of other US workers and children are significantly more susceptible to heat stress than adults. Heat illness can lead to temporary illness, brain damage, and death.
  • Farmworkers are provided with substandard housing and sanitation facilities. As many as 15%-20% of farms lack toilets and drinking water for workers, even though they are required to provide them. Farms with 10 or fewer workers are not required to provide them at all.
  • EPA pesticide regulations are set using a 154-pound adult male as a model. They do not take children or pregnant women into consideration.
  • Research indicates that child farmworkers have a much higher rate of acute occupational pesticide-related illness than children in other industries and that there is a strong link between pesticide exposure and developmental disabilities. Long-term exposure in adults is associated with chronic health problems such as cancer, neurologic problems, and reproductive problems.
  • 64% of farmworkers do not get healthcare because it is “too expensive”

Remember that one time every day when evangelical moral vegans claim their diet is the only “cruelty-free” choice and shame everyone who consumes any type of animal product?

as a former “child laborer” or migrant worker—i am ambivilent about posts like this because YES, on the one hand FUCK YES we need to expose what is happening and that there are CHILDREN who are working these jobs and FUCK WHAT THE FUCK KIND OF COUNTRY IS THIS????? that would let and expect and indeed advoate for children working these jobs?

on the other hand…a LOT of posts like this leave out the really important shit. like, most of these children are US citizens, working alongside their non-US citizen parents. so advocating against child labor without discussing violent ICE raids and anti-immigrant laws means that child labor laws can be used to prevent parents from organizing and unionizing. because that whole threat of ICE raids thing has been used repeatedly by farmers and bosses as a way to keep workers in line. 

also, the fact that children are put in unsafe situations can (and has been) be used by courts to steal children from parents….there’s just a whole HOST of reasons to be very careful in how we separate children who labor from their families/communities who are also expected to work in these same conditions (and woah, i was a migrant worker for years, and i NEVER had a bathroom to use, EVER, i don’t know where they got that 15-20% number)—not the least of which is that many adult migrant workers are *expected* to learn english to get on the “path to citizenship” and when are they supposed to do that, working 20 hour days? or, in other words, I value the intelligence, artistic capabilities and potential of all the adults that often dropped out of school in 9th or 10th grade to become full time workers just as much as i value the potential of the 12 year old that is not going to school—i hate how there’s always this idea that since adults are working a particular job, they must be ok with it, when lots of times, as most migrant worker children know, their parents are sacraficing *EVERYTHING* to try to get just a teeny bit more put away cuz education is *expected* for their children…

i mean….i’m not saying that children shouldn’t get a particular focus. and i’m not saying that adults are more important than children. i’m just saying….that there’s a *narrative* around the adult workers (they have a choice! they’re here for a better life!) that makes me just feel really sick when i see the focus on child workers—i recognize that improving working conditions for children would improve conditions for all—but i often get the feeling that people don’t want to improve conditions for children (and thus for all)—they want to *criminalize* youth working. which would NOT improve conditions for all. 

and it’s not ok for me that adults are expected to work in this shit any more than it is ok for children to. and i don’t care if joe blow IS here to “improve his life”—he deserves a chance to improve his life by joining a fucking band or writing a book out in the wilderness JUST LIKE RICH WHITE DUDES DO. he deserves to not work his body into an arthritic mangled mess just so his kid can eat or spend an extra semester in college. 

I value the beauty of potential that working class mexicans (and ALL migrant workers, who are NOT all mexican) have, and something just feels wrong about saying *some* farm workers are working in injust conditions.

and i’m trying not to rant, cuz i don’t think that the OP was saying this and i think probably everybody who liked this post would agree with me—but it is just really important to me to make this visible…

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Private prisons spend $45 million on lobbying, rake in $5.1 billion for immigrant detention alone
August 3, 2012

Nearly half of all immigrants detained by federal officials are held in facilities run by private prison companies, at an average cost for each detained immigrant is $166 a night. That’s added up to massive profits for Corrections Corporation of America, The GEO Group and other private prison companies:

A decade ago, more than 3,300 criminal immigrants were sent to private prisons under two 10-year contracts the Federal Bureau of Prisons signed with CCA worth $760 million. Now, the agency is paying the private companies $5.1 billion to hold more than 23,000 criminal immigrants through 13 contracts of varying lengths.

CCA was on the verge of bankruptcy in 2000 due to lawsuits, management problems and dwindling contracts. Last year, the company reaped $162 million in net income. Federal contracts made up 43 percent of its total revenues, in part thanks to rising immigrant detention. GEO, which cites the immigration agency as its largest client, saw its net income jump from $16.9 million to $78.6 million since 2000.

As the AP explains, these remarkable profits come in the wake of an equally remarkable lobbying campaign. In the past decade, three major private prison companies spent $45 million on campaign donations and lobbyists to push legislation at the state and federal level. At times, this money has gone to truly nefarious legislation. A 2011 report found that the private prison industry spent millions seeking to increase sentences and incarcerate more people in order to increase the industry’s profits. 30 of the 36 legislators who co-sponsored Arizona’s now mostly invalidated immigration law — which would have landed many more people in detention — received campaign contributions from private prison lobbyists or companies, including CCA and GEO. According to a report released last year, CCA spent over $900,000 on federal lobbying and GEO spent between $120,000 to $199,992 in Florida alone during a short three-month span in 2011. $450,000 went to the Republican national and congressional committees, while Democrats received less than half that number. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) were also among the private prison lobby’s top benefactors.

Private prisons have also been found guilty of abuses ranging from understaffing facilities tobribing judges to sentencing juveniles with minor offenses to disproportionately long terms in privately-owned correctional facilities. A recent report found a Georgia prison run by CCA charges detainees $5 a minute for phone calls while paying them just a dollar a day for menial labor that keeps the facility running; immigrants in civil detention centers have been exploited by the same program.


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Police Tasered 12-Year-Old For Crying After He Tackled Her Mother Over Warrants For Traffic Tickets

A 12-year-old girl is recovering after being Tasered in a St. Louis Victoria’s Secret while police officers were trying to arrest her mother over warrants for traffic tickets.

The mother is now demanding an investigation, even though police insist their actions were appropriate.

Dejamon Baker showed KSDK the wounds on her chest and stomach from the Taser probes.

This one goes in my chest,” the girl explained. “It was stuck in there so she had to keep on pulling trying to pull it out.

I had fell on the floor and I couldn’t control myself I just kept on shaking and stuff.

A spokesperson for the police department said that Baker had interfered while officers were trying to arrest her mother, Charlene Bratton, for outstanding warrants due to unresolved traffic tickets.

He said, put your hands behind your back. I said for what,” Bratton recalled. “Next thing you know he tackled me down on the ground.

Both Baker and Bratton deny that the 12-year-old girl interfered with the arrest.

I was just crying. I guess he got mad because I was crying or something, then he just took it out and just Tased me,” Baker insisted.

Bratton added: “He should have had enough control to tell her to get back instead of pulling out his gun, I guess he was nervous or whatever, and Tasing people.

The police spokesperson said that the officer’s actions were justified, and advised Bratton to contact the department’s internal affairs division to launch an investigation.


you just don’t see other nations doing this kind of shit


The best and worst of each state.

Student loan debt, at $830 billion, now exceeds total US credit card debt, itself bloated to the bubble level of $827 billion.



Student loan debt, at $830 billion, now exceeds total US credit card debt, itself bloated to the bubble level of $827 billion.  More here..

Didn’t go to college: Don’t complain, if you want a good job, you should have gone to college.

Went to college: Don’t complain, if you didn’t want to be in debt, you shouldn’t have taken out those student loans.

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Good post! It really irks me when I hear people repeating that bullshit stereotype that most “black” people are lazy and on food stamps. It’s really difficult sometimes to remain calm and politely point out the fallacy of this lie but I try. Also, most people who have to use food stamps, regardless of race, either live in extreme poverty or have fallen on bad times through no fault of their own.


As of June 2011 there were 45,183,931 people on food stamps.

Of that:

  • 35% are white or 15,814,375 white people.
  • 22% are African American, or 9,940,264 black people.

The full breakdown is:

35% are White
22% are African American
10% are Hispanic
2% are Asian
4% are Native American
19% are Unknown

Further breakdowns aside from race:

  • 49% of all participants are children (17 or younger), and 49% of them live in single-parent households.
  • 15% of all participants are elderly (age 60 or over).
  • 20% of all participants are non-elderly disabled people.
  • The average gross monthly income per food stamp household is $731; The average net income is $336.

All information is from the US Department of Agriculture as of 2010.

  • Student: I'm not going to go to college because I don't want to go into debt.
  • Student: I'm just going to attend a small community college instead.
  • Student: I attended a four year university and received a diploma in a field I am interested in. Now I am $50,000+ in debt.
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Hundreds of records already broken in March. Chicago, for example, had 4 consecutive days of 80° March 14-18.


Hundreds of records already broken in March. Chicago, for example, had 4 consecutive days of 80° March 14-18.

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yesterday-no-fewer-than-95 #tornadoes [NOAA] map #US


Yesterday, no fewer than 95 tornadoes across nine states were reported to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which tracks storms across the U.S.  To put that in context, consider this from the New York Times: “The storm systems stretched from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes and were so wide that an estimated 34 million people were at risk for severe weather… At one point, the storms were coming so fast that as many as four million people were within 25 miles of a tornado.”