It is an old and cruel tactic in any company town. Reduce wages and benefits to subsistence level. Break unions. Gut social assistance programs. Buy and sell elected officials and judges. Fill the airwaves with mindless diversion and corporate propaganda. Pay off the press. Poison the soil, the air and the water to extract natural resources and leave behind a devastated wasteland. Plunge workers into debt. Leave them owing more on their houses than the structures are worth. Make sure the children will be burdened by tens of thousands of dollars lent to them for an education and will be unable to find decent jobs. Make sure that everything from hospital bills to car payments to credit card fees exact increasing pounds of flesh. And when workers stumble, when they cannot pay soaring interest rates, jack up rates further and deploy predators from debt collection agencies to harass the debtors and seize their assets. Then toss them away. Company towns all look the same. And we live in the biggest one on earth.
The progress of social justice is slow and measured. Its growth depends on an increasing number of us becoming aware of the truth and consequences of our actions.
I believe that it is morally wrong to allow our wanton desires to interfere with the basic needs and interests of other sentient beings.
I believe the physical and psychological abuse – confinement, social deprivation, mutilation, genetic and reproductive manipulation, and profit exploitation – imposed by us on other animals is morally wrong.
I believe the suggestion that the exploitation of other sentient beings by humans can be achieved without cruelty, violence, or injustice is false and misleading.
As an advocate for all life, committed to compassion and justice, I refuse to take part in the exploitation of other sentient beings or to collaborate with those caught up in such injustice.
I pledge to do my best to live a life that conveys a clear, sincere and uncompromised message that is free of resentment, fear, exploitation, anger, cynicism, and manipulation.
Furthermore, I pledge to continue to support a broad range of nonviolent initiatives and programs that will hopefully one day eliminate the needless pain and suffering we inflict upon all the many wonderful creatures with whom we share this planet.