From 10 February 2012 Democracy Now! broadcast
Protesters visited a half-dozen Apple stores around the world to deliver petitions calling for reforms in the working conditions at factories run by Apple’s suppliers in China. The protests come on the heels of recent revelations of harsh conditions and onerous work environments at Apple’s controversial Chinese supplier Foxconn, where more than a dozen employees have committed suicide. We’re joined by New York Times reporter Charles Duhigg, who helped break the story about the human costs of Apple products for workers in China. We’re also joined by Mike Daisey, whose acclaimed one-man show, “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” is based partly on his visits to Apple’s Chinese factories and his interviews with the workers there. “I want Apple to take real responsibility,” Daisey says. “They have the resources to change this overnight.”
The full transcript and more videos available at DemocracyNow.org. A particularly poignant moment in the clip comes from Mike Daisey — an actor, author, and playwright perhaps most known for the off-Broadway play “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” — he speaks of a worker from one of the Apple factories who was maimed whilst working:
This is a worker I spoke with whose hand had been maimed in a metal press. And he said he had not received any medical treatment, and his hand healed this way. And then he had been too slow when he came back to work, and he was fired for being too slow, and then, now worked at a woodworking plant. And he had been working on the line building iPads. And I spoke with—when he told me this, I showed him my iPad, which had just come out right before I went to Shenzhen. And I showed him the iPad, and it was the first time he had seen an iPad in its completed state, because the people on the production line are often very carved off. Each step is very, very minute. The devices are very expensive, of course, and so they’re closely monitored. And so, no one has an opportunity to even handle them, in a way, really, outside of your individual step. And so, I turned it on for him and showed it to him, this thing that he had actually been maimed building. And it was his first time moving the icons back and forth. And he had a very human reaction, which is, he thought it was beautiful, you know? Which I think is understandable, because Apple does make beautiful devices.
How does such an anecdote articulate the ambivalent grey space of production and consumption?