The 1990s was the worst decade ever for the American left. In the post-socialist world, the domination of capitalism over our lives seemed unshakeable. Bill Clinton led the Democratic Party sprinting right on economic issues. Jobs by the millions left the U.S. and no one in power cared. It was all celebratory ideology and no actual concern for what was happening on the ground, either in the U.S. or overseas.
The first major leftist movement to rise in the face of this was the anti-sweatshop movement in the late 90s. And no one deserves more credit for this than Charles Kernaghan, who led the charge to bring justice to global accountability and create a system of regulation that would transcend the new borderless capitalism. He didn’t entirely succeed. Who does? But he was a rare inspirational voice at a very bad time. It was Kernaghan who provided the congressional testimony calling out the sweatshop conditions in Honduras making clothing for the Kathie Lee Gifford line of clothing, which was the most important moment in bringing this issue to public attention.