47: Walter Mosley

Mosley is one of my favourite authors. He seldom tells a story that isn’t about social inequity and man’s inhumanity to man. But he never forgets the story, which rises above all. Combined with memorable characters and a fine flourish in manipulating the English language, he is almost always worth reading.

This one is a melange, YA with historical fiction, the supernatural, aliens and love in many forms.



The New Satan Mills of Human Child Slavery in Canada

This summer, Occupational Health and Safety Inspectors discovered slave labour taking place on a Saskatchewan farm, where two eight- and ten-year-old girls were forced to pluck chickens on the family farm. When confronted, the girls’ mother dismissed the travesty as “simply chores,” as if reducing it to Orwellian Newspeak could diminish the horrors of this hidden, institutionalised atrocity. The incident put human faces on a hidden social evil of the near-Siberian work conditions of Canadian children forced to do unpaid labour for their bourgeois, capitalist parents in the Satanic mills called families.

Much has been made of the new social phenomenon where modern children are not considered equal members of a family, expected to contribute to the economic well-being of their parents and siblings. Instead of being used as “free labour,” today’s youth are said to be “treasures,” coddled with kid gloves; chauffeured from point A to point B, never being reduced to having to ride a bicycle or take public transport; enrolled in as many extra-curricular activities and enrichment camps as possible; helicopter parents ensuring their treasures are in constant contact with the latest IPhone; never to be away from electronic surveillance monitoring until even after entrustment to a university or college.

If only the picture were truly that rosy. In a series of investigative reports conducted by LHOoT, dozens of Canadian children risked the wrath of their workhouse overseers. Speaking on condition of anonymity, these forced Stakhanovites reported harrowing tales of Dickensian cruelty, being forced to vacuum entire bedrooms in a single work session, washing full sink loads of dishes, cutting huge swaths of urban lawns, walking dangerous wild canine beasts and being forced to put their hands in plastic bags and pick up their steaming feces; or even – shudder – to have to supervise and be responsible for other young children, in effect contracting out this system of forced labour among the victims themselves. There were even cases of illicit lemonade trafficking, all such operations conducted without the benefit of business licences or sales tax remittance to the proper authorities. As if to illustrate the illegality of the trafficking, the entire business was designed to be packed up and “disappeared” on a minutes notice, only to pop up in a different location on another day.

Where is our modern-day Zola? Our Steinbeck? The equivalent of abolitionists and suffragettes who worked tirelessly to eliminate past social evils?

The solution? The solution is you, dear reader. Stop this insidious social evil in its tracks by confronting its practitioners wherever you see it, petitioning government to pass legislation. Be creative. Think of what you can individually do. As an example, the next time you see some poor waif force to walk to his or her forced educational institution, offer to piggyback them there, all the while completing their homework for them on the way.