[Marxism] Lubavitcher thuggery

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Jul 28 12:40:04 MDT 2008

Initial news coverage of the Postville kosher meatpacking plant raid 
focused on the barbaric treatment of the mostly Guatemalan workforce. 
Immigration authorities charged them with falsifying social security 
papers which carries a stiff prison term. The undocumented workers did 
not understand that they were being charged with this felony and thought 
that they were pleading guilty only to being in the U.S. “illegally”. It 
was largely due to the efforts of Erik Camayd-Freixas, a court-appointed 
translator that this injustice was exposed:

NY Times, July 13, 2008
The Shame of Postville, Iowa

Anyone who has doubts that this country is abusing and terrorizing 
undocumented immigrant workers should read an essay by Erik 
Camayd-Freixas, a professor and Spanish-language court interpreter who 
witnessed the aftermath of a huge immigration workplace raid at a 
meatpacking plant in Iowa.

The essay chillingly describes what Dr. Camayd-Freixas saw and heard as 
he translated for some of the nearly 400 undocumented workers who were 
seized by federal agents at the Agriprocessors kosher plant in Postville 
in May.

Under the old way of doing things, the workers, nearly all Guatemalans, 
would have been simply and swiftly deported. But in a twist of 
Dickensian cruelty, more than 260 were charged as serious criminals for 
using false Social Security numbers or residency papers, and most were 
sentenced to five months in prison.

What is worse, Dr. Camayd-Freixas wrote, is that the system was clearly 
rigged for the wholesale imposition of mass guilt. He said the 
court-appointed lawyers had little time in the raids’ hectic aftermath 
to meet with the workers, many of whom ended up waiving their rights and 
seemed not to understand the complicated charges against them.

Within the last week, however, attention has shifted to still another 
injustice. If the Guatemalans were now facing jail, that seemed to be 
just a small step downwards from what they had to endure in their 
prison-like workplace-like going from the frying pan into the fire. 
Yesterday’s Times reports on the horrible treatment meted out by the 
pious men running this torture chamber:

While federal prosecutors are primarily focusing on immigration charges, 
they may also be looking into labor violations. Search warrant documents 
filed in court before the raid, which was May 12, cited a report by an 
anonymous immigrant who was sent to work in the plant by immigration 
authorities as an undercover informant. The immigrant saw “a rabbi who 
was calling employees derogatory names and throwing meat at employees.” 
Jewish managers oversee the slaughtering and processing of meat at 
Agriprocessors to ensure kosher standards.

In another episode, the informant said a floor supervisor had 
blindfolded an immigrant with duct tape. “The floor supervisor then took 
one of the meat hooks and hit the Guatemalan with it,” the informant 
said, adding that the blow did not cause “serious injuries.”

Elmer L. said that he regularly worked 17 hours a day at the plant and 
was paid $7.25 an hour. He said he was not paid overtime consistently.

“My work was very hard, because they didn’t give me my breaks, and I 
wasn’t getting very much sleep,” he said. “They told us they were going 
to call immigration if we complained.”

Elmer L. said that he was clearing cow innards from the slaughter floor 
last Aug. 26 when a supervisor he described as a rabbi began yelling at 
him, then kicked him from behind. The blow caused a freshly-sharpened 
knife to fly up and cut his elbow.

He was sent to a hospital where doctors closed the laceration with eight 
stitches. But he said that when he returned, his elbow still stinging, 
to ask for some time off, his supervisor ordered him back to work.

The next day, as he was lifting a cow’s tongue, the stitches ruptured, 
Elmer L. said, and the wound bled again. He said he was given a bandage 
at the plant and sent back to work. The incident is confirmed in a 
worker’s injury report filed on Aug. 31, 2007, by Agriprocessors with 
the Iowa labor department.

The Postville meatpacking plant has been owned and operated since 1987 
by Aaron Rubashkin and his family, members of the Lubavitcher sect. The 
small Iowa town that is home to the plant has had an influx of Hasidic 
families who work at the plant in managerial capacities. In Stephen G. 
Bloom’s 1987 “Postville: A Clash of Cultures in Heartland America”, a 
book I read a while back, you can find some fascinating background on 
the Lubavitcher Hasidim who allowed Bloom, a non-observant Jew like 
myself, to tell their story, that of their Christian neighbors, as well 
as that of the plant workers who were mostly undocumented immigrants 
from the former Soviet Union back then.

I strongly recommend Bloom’s book for anybody who is curious about one 
of Judaism’s most recognizable ultra-orthodox sects. Unlike their rivals 
in the Satmar sect, the Lubavitchers are rabid Zionists. I only know a 
bit about the Satmars from having one as a neighbor when I was working 
on my mother’s house upstate getting it ready for sale. The Satmars have 
plenty of skeletons in their closets as well, but at least don’t shill 
for Israel.

full: http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2008/07/28/lubavitcher-thuggery/

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