Tag Archives: child labour

Protect & Invest

From my friend Rudy Carrasco

Let me cite David Batstone’s defense of an instance of child labor, from a June 2003 issue of SojoMail, as an example. Batstone shows how, in the light of day, the concept of and need for “just child labor” emerges out of on-the-ground necessity. In his article, he writes about how a highly respected center for street kids in Lima, Peru, actually puts kids to work. Most American progressives would immediately decry the injustice of child labor, but Batstone wrote the following:

“The director of [the center] argues that work does more than put money in kids’ pockets — it gives them a discipline otherwise absent in their lives. Placing them in a school — even if that were a viable option — is untenable, says the director. There are no breadwinners at home…”

Batstone makes the case that this particular circumstance of child labor is a blessing. However, if progressives believe that child labor is always bad, they might be moved to protest against the center’s practices. Batstone’s conclusion is something every justice fighter in America should memorize and apply: “Political progressives need to be careful not to turn their own privilege into a road block for those who are not so lucky.”