This morning a riot broke out near my house as striking factory workers clashed with riot police. One woman was shot and killed. Others were brutally beaten.
Workers from SL factory, which makes Levis, H&M and GAP clothing, have been on strike since early August asking for a pay raise as well as the removal of plain-clothes military police officers who are providing security at the factory, as well as the reinstatement of a work schedule that includes half-hour meal breaks.
Every time we make a purchase, we are voting for, or against, injustice in slum neighborhoods like mine. Our purchases of Levis jeans, H&M shirts or GAP products are implicit support of their exploitative practices.
We can debate about how best to respond to this injustice, but there is no question in my mind that we must respond somehow.
Followers of Christ sometimes question whether working for justice in situations like this is central to the gospel.
It makes me think of Jesus' conversation with Zaccheus. As a result of that little chat Zaccheus repented of the way he had been exploiting others. He offered to pay back four times anything he had ripped off from the poor.
In response, Jesus proclaimed that "Salvation has come to this household."
Could it be that repentance and conversion have an economic/social justice component?