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jdavis

Zimbabwe cotton and the Mugabe regime

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mugatu.jpg

i walked into the wrong thread...

YOU KNOW I CANT HAVE A FOAMY LATTE!

I remember an article from the NY times a while back about the genetically modified corn whereby some of the spores from GMO plants drifted MILES away into another farmer's crops, leaving him growing GMO corn that he didnt want and that monsanto didnt want and plus I think they tried to sue him.

Another issue with GMO crops is that they're genetically identical. You know what happens when you have a blight on a crop and all the individuals share the exact same genetic code? They all die...

Part of the issue with the GMO stuff is really "Who asked for it?" Not the consumer... GMO crops don't taste better, have any additional nutritional value, etc. What they do is help companies (and in particular huge mega farms) increase profits. This to me does not justify the HUGE potential drawbacks.

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Well they're resistant to PESTICIDES, not to eg: blight. Natural blights and insects are uncontrolable and it's NEVER good to have genetically identical crops. A good example is bananas. Bananas are a rhizome like ginger, and do not propagate via seed which is why all the seeds in bananas are so small - they're sterile. The problem in that situation is that if you have a blight or disease that effects the bananas then you're screwed because they'll all die - no cross polination.

http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0719-02.htm

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in the us this topic also calls into question the approval process of the FDA, in all aspects it controls. Whether it be prescription pharmaceuticals, or energy drinks, or GMOs, the FDA claims it oversees, and in most cases, stringently oversees a given substance or food before it is allowed for mass consumption. While much of the short-term research is indeed conducted in independent studies by qualified researchers, it remains restrained by the short period most foods or drugs have to undergo testing before becoming legal for the market. Little focus has been placed on LONG-TERM studies which is an underlying explanation to many of the recent class action lawsuits that have rocked the pharmaceutical industry, as many medications had long-term potentially fatal side effects that could not have arisen in the short-term testing period prior to approval.

Am I saying GMOs will give you fatal side effects? probably not. but this is a very new technology being used to modify foods (or agricultural products used to make clothing), which we ingest or come into contact with every single day. Genetics has been making amazing progress in the last ten years, but such a time period is not long enough to determine all the potential results of modifying any organism genetically.

sorry for the rant...kind of torn off after a long day studying...

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Economics and human rights aside, I thought the plus side of Zimbabwe cotton was that it was single crop and so had longer fibers to weave that extra slubby denim.

I passed on a couple of days of Superdenim and I'm reading more about the chemical deployment over farms...

I did want to add I believe you are correct fadeaway, its the staple length of the individual fiber and its affect on twisting yarns for the spools along with a balance in the relationship of purchase price per bale.

Here's something fun for you, its the average bale of U.S. cotton.

"…the outside bulge to bulge (thickness) dimensions shall average no greater than 33 inches (.84 m) and outliers are not to exceed 34 inches (.86 m)."

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Very interesting thread. I didn't notice it until i found it at the last page on the forum. WHAT A SHAME. Admin please STICK IT at the very beginning.

This thread shows that there're still american caring for the world around them. there's enough discussion about zimbabwe cotton, I just want to extend the subject a little bit.

I think we need to develop our consumer awareness. We need to know how the goods we are consuming are made from. The clothing industries in china, mexico or any other part of the world where low environment law enforcement have created a pollution nightmare for local population.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/2/story.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10437531

So next time you want to buy a pair of jeans made in china or mexico please think twice: how many people need to suffer down the line just for it?

As a personal preference: I loved APC jeans. but once I found out they are made in HK or China i restrainted myself from buying them. I rather spend another $100 for a jeans made in Italy, US or Japan where laws are stricter to protect the producer, the consumer and the environment.

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if you're upset about the regime in Zimbabwe you should stop paying taxes instead of buying different jeans. Foreign aid is helping dictators worldwide to keep control of 'their' countries.

The talk about not buying from developing countries is pro-suffering and completely anti-intellectual. http://www.slate.com/id/1918

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if you're upset about the regime in Zimbabwe you should stop paying taxes instead of buying different jeans. Foreign aid is helping dictators worldwide to keep control of 'their' countries.

The talk about not buying from developing countries is pro-suffering and completely anti-intellectual. http://www.slate.com/id/1918

well, that is a pretty bold and, dare i suggest, irresponsible thing to say. First of all, to assert that it is "completely anti-intellectual" is a pretty horrible mangling of what an intellectual issue is. I mean- when's the last time a "truly" intellectual issue was completely one thing or the other? Not to mention- we're not just talking about "facts" in this case, it's also an issue of morality, which is a pretty "non-intellectual" issue for most folks, like it or not.

Really, I'm not actually disagreeing with you. Withholding taxes, etc. might be more effective, at least a more profound statement. But the fact is that using consumer-choice based activism as an avenue for expressing a viewpoint is a reasonable, (if rarely effective,) thing to do. (Indeed it certainly has worked in the past: divestment from apartheid connected businesses in S.Africa for example)

I guess I would mainly take issue with the idea that because there is a more extreme way to protest something it is necessarily better. Sure, maybe calculating how much of our tax dollars go to Mugabe et al. and witholding that amount might be a more provacative method of protest, but I challenge you to show that it's more effective. And regardless, the stakes of what amount to tax evasion (albeit morality-induced tax evasion) are much higher. Probably too high for most of us.

and don't get me started on trying to cite Krugman, of all people, as the final word on labor issues . . .

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if you're upset about the regime in Zimbabwe you should stop paying taxes instead of buying different jeans. Foreign aid is helping dictators worldwide to keep control of 'their' countries.

The talk about not buying from developing countries is pro-suffering and completely anti-intellectual. http://www.slate.com/id/1918

I am not trying to make a political statement. it's too complicated and nobody will have a definitive answer for everything.

As personal protest, i refrain myself from consuming occidental goods made in developing countries such as a levi's made in china where i know most of workers are treated very poorly almost comparable to slavery. as an example, in the 19th century, would you say slaves had a better living condition because they were giving jobs at their master's farm?

I don't hate big companies like levi's or Gap. Sometimes HQ don't even know how things are managed over there.

Even in the US, there're still clothing factories where working condition is deplorable but still nothing compare to what is happening in developing countries.

As for Zimbabwe, the only way is to get rid of Mugabe. Lots of african leaders accuse Europe or America of being manipulative (neo Colonism) which is true and made themselves very unpopular on the international scene. However Mugabe is an old mad man who needs to be removed from power.

I think why some jeans manufacturer put zimbabwe cotton because it sounds exotic like hawaii. But i think in this case, it got back fired. I would also boycott those brand too. FYI, in africa, international trades only favor the riches and the few. the actual workers receive very little (it's like working 12h/day just for a meal).

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Africa is not an easy spot to figure out. Charity money gets spent on Land Rovers. The people should most likely be growing corn to feed themsleves, instead of cotton.

gotta be one of the most ignorant things i have ever seen typed.

Africa is an easy spot to figure out...

i'm quite sure if the people (without connections to imperialist forces/influence) actually HAD a say in the way their countries were governed, they would "be growing corn feed" (they already grow millet) instead of cotton.

They'd also have control over their own oil supplies and mines instead of letting Asia, Europe, and the US continue to reap the benefits.

and don't get me started on the disparities that are kept in tact by the world bank..

[/activist]

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That's whats wrong with these African leaders, they get to power and never want to leave. Mugabe is a sick bastard.

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Does anyone know what manufacturers are using Zimbabwe cotton in their jeans. Given the horrible scene there right now, is there anything that can be done on our end to help the people in that country get out from under this oppressive regime.

Would boycotting those using Zimbabwe cotton be at all effective or would that create even more hardship?

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I know that Sugar Cane, Momotaro, and PRPS all use Zimbabwe cotton for some of their jeans. I don't know too much of the struggle going on in Zimbabwe, but is the cotton use in jeans adding to it?

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I don't honestly think many people would participate in a boycott, given how long it's been in use by so many companies. I think it'd be easier to make a list of brands that don't use it given the nature of this board. It's not like the cotton is being used entirely for jeans either.

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Pretty much every single Japanese denim company uses Zimbabwe cotton in at least some of their denim types..

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Thanks for this link! Its remarkable that Zimbabwe remains one of the poorest nations in the world. People who work make less than $ 1 US a day. The money the cotton industry makes goes to the Mugabe regime who brutalizes the very people who feed him! We'd all be better off if these manufacturers found other sources for theior cotton, but I guess that will never happen if no one says anything.

Sorry to bring up politcal stuff here, but if we don't talk about these issues, it'll get worse and worse. At least we are free to discuss and educate others about this.

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i guess its the same as trying to save the earth.

unless we really scrap every single fucking car that runs on petrol on this planet,

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Given the horrible scene there right now, is there anything that can be done on our end to help the people in that country get out from under this oppressive regime.

That's the question, not just about Zimbabwe, but about every fucked up oppressive regime that exists with the blessing of, and for the benefit of affluent nations. I don't have any easy answers for you, but I can tell you that an effective solution isn't going to involve shutting up and continuing to buy that shit anyway.

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About the boycotting:

It would by probability NOT work.

The assholes in charge down there is sitting on enough money to live a life of luxury and boycotting wouldn't even make a dent in their life.

The only people who would actually feel the change is, you guessed it, the poor 1USD an hour worker.

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fuck mugabe!!! with that said, does anyone make a denim out of the sea island cotton. sounds interesting.

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About the boycotting:

It would by probability NOT work.

The assholes in charge down there is sitting on enough money to live a life of luxury and boycotting wouldn't even make a dent in their life.

The only people who would actually feel the change is, you guessed it, the poor 1USD an hour worker.

I agree everything except that I doubt those cotton farmers are getting 1USD an hour (GDP / capita being less than 200$).

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I thought this thread deserves a bump given recent events in Zimbabwe

(http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/17/world/africa/17zimbabwe.html?hp or http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/12/world/africa/12cholera.html to name a few)

Does anyone have any concept of how much actual money that we spend on these jeans ultimately goes towards supporting Mugabe's regime? Do we know who is producing this cotton, exactly? Would cotton raised by Zimbabwe's more stable neighbors (eg: northern S. Africa) be viable alternatives?

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good questions raised. this zimbabwe cotton is very nice...again fuck mugabe!

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Again, the only ones who would really suffer would be the poor farmers.

I can't imagine you have anything against them?

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That's a straw-man argument. I'm not arguing that we should act solely to hurt poor farmers.

Do you honestly think that, en route from japan, the money being used to pay for the cotton doesnt get skimmed a hundred different ways, ending up in Mugabe's coffers?

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This is a good thread, and it's worth pointing out that cotton is a not particularly sustainable product, particularly in terms of the pesticides used in its production, and also the depletion of water sources. Farmers in Zimbabwe should ideally be using their land to feed themselves, rather than earn export dollars which they will never see.

We should all, over time, start pressurising the high-end makers to investigate the use of hemp, and also to concentrate on unbleached cotton. Unbleached cotton has been used on several early repros, including LVC, and looks just as good as the bleached version for jeans, if not better. Ironically, its look has sometimes been replicated by the use of a sulphur bottom with bleached cotton, which seems a wasteful way of going about things. In addition, unbleached cotton is often more durable because it retaims more natural oils.

It's also possible to recycle cotton along with the virgin material when making jeans.

The environmental impact is another reason to buy your denim dry, not pre-faded, only wash jeans as a last resort, and wear them beyond the point they fall apart...

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dammit i love this paul T! i learn so much from this guy. he gets perma-rep from me. are 'mother-cotton' and unbleached cotton the same?

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..and also to concentrate on unbleached cotton. Unbleached cotton has been used on several early repros, including LVC, and looks just as good as the bleached version for jeans, if not better.

Hey, i've been wanting that for as long as i remember.

And regarding the skimming of the cotton:

What i'm saying is that if we as a denim community starts excluding jeans because of the cotton comming from Zimbabwe, then the ones ending up getting shafted will still be the farmers.

The top won't even feel the dent.

That being said i pretty much agree with Paul T. (rep there.. if SuFu would let me! Goddamnit!)

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are 'mother-cotton' and unbleached cotton the same?

They're similar but not the same. Mother cotton is often unbleached, but not invariably; mother cotton is simply cotton that is more mature and picked later (it will also be used to seed next year's crop, hence the 'mother' term). I would guess that the strands of mother cotton will be longer and hence stronger, which is why it's usually classed as superior - I believe that's what Uniqlo claimed with their Kaihara denim, although some of their terminology was a little vague.

However, any cotton can be unbleached, and arguably looks better for denim, anyway. It has often been used for vintage style, natural indigo denim, but there's no reason it can't be used more widely. I suspect at the moment it's more expensive, because it's used less, but all being equal it should be less expensive, and less polluting.

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