Laita + Kellogg's + Assange
"I don’t want my children to live in a world where it’s become a crime to tell the truth.”
Big thanks to Layla Khoshnoudi for introducing me to photographer Mark Laita’s YouTube channel, Soft White Underbelly. It’s a pretty massive catalogue of interviews with people across the US, many of them struggling with poverty, addiction, the dangers of sex work, and other cycles of violence and trauma American institutions seem increasingly content to criminalize and ignore.
Start with Laita’s short introductory video, at the top of his channel page, on his intentions for the project.
Catch up on the Kellogg’s strike and its fallout.
The system of tiered wages and benefits mentioned below is something to watch out for (see the recent John Deere strike)—a long-term strategy for dividing workers and lowering overall standards for compensation, even as profits soar.
“Around 1,400 Kellogg's workers in four states have been on strike since October when their last contract expired. They argue that the maker of Frosted Flakes and other breakfast cereals is seeking to undercut their union by creating a "two-tier" system of employment, with new hires offered less pay and fewer benefits… In November, the company reported an operating profit of more than $1.4 billion over the last year, an increase of 3.4%.”
I hate to overload you with dark content, but I’d be remiss not to mention this week’s scary news re: Julian Assange. Hear from UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and former Assange skeptic Nils Melzer about what motivated him to write a book defending the journalist, as well as what Assange’s persecution means for political thought and press freedoms moving forward.
Even if you know little to nothing about Assange, or you’ve bought into the smear campaigns, you’ll appreciate this comprehensive interview.
“The information he published is uncontroversial evidence, hard evidence, that serious crimes have been committed by the government—torture, war crimes, I mean, horrible stuff, by the thousands—and who has been prosecuted for that? Nobody. So the criminals walk free, but Assange is being prosecuted for bringing the evidence? Doesn’t that turn our basic notion of justice upside down? Telling the truth about crime becomes criminalized. I don’t want my children to live in a world where it’s become a crime to tell the truth.”