"Arbeit macht frei" is a German phrase meaning "work brings freedom" or "work shall set you free/will free you" or "work liberates" and, literally in English, "work makes free". It became the unofficial slogan of Nazi concentration camps, as the prisoners would enter the camp they would see the wrought iron sign over head and would savor its message.
If I do what these people are compelling me to do I can regain my freedom. But it was a mixed message while the prisoner interpreted as regaining his freedom his slave masters read it another way work makes free. Your work makes products free for that is the essence of slave labor compelled indentured or forced labor. The Nazi's employed thousands in their war machine for these slaves were captured prisoners or undesirables or both and it was essential to keep them busy for the good of the state.
For unlike America the Germans looked down on Rosy the riveter they preferred the ladies to stay home to make babies for the next generation master race. But the Reich needed labor so what's a Fuehrer to do? The Japanese as well had huge programs of forced labor during world war two and thousands died at the hands of their slave masters. It would be easy enough to assume that their slave masters were wantonly cruel but that misses the point completely, it is the nature of slavery to dehumanize the slave.
The slaves of the American old south were purchased property their owners had a monetary investment in them while they could be wantonly cruel if they wanted to it didn't make sense from a business standpoint. The Germans and the Japanese had tens of thousands of prisoners if they didn't move fast enough or work hard enough they could easily be dispatched and another was available to take their place. The guards however lowly their stations in life were gods above their charges and the slaves live their life between threats and promises.
Both regimes had their reasoning and tried to explain away their crimes with veiled excuses of work and training programs. The prisoners were being relocated to safer areas of Germany to protect them from allied air raids or the prisoners were being moved to Japan in empty transports where more food was available. All slave masters can explain away their crimes except for one, how is it you are paid for your work and they are not?
The Gulags in Soviet Russia chewed through tens of thousands of prisoners being reeducated and instructed in the correct way to view their government. They weren't slaves at all; they were students being reeducated. It wasn't a mine or a rock quarry but a campus and no one could tell how long it might take to graduate to be trained or reeducated.
A convoy of British merchant ships reached the port Archangel Russia with war supplies for the embattled Russians. The crew relived after a harrowing trip through storms and past U boats threw the mooring line on the dock and a crewman yelled "Three cheers for our Russian Allies!" The men on the dock didn't move or make a sound but stared back emotionless. The angry British seaman yelled back, "All right then to hell with you bloody bastards" when a Russian translator whispered under his breath, "They're prisoners they have no right to answer you." The sailor looked back and replied, "In that case then you're all still bloody bastards."
The sailor grasped the difference they weren't prisoners they were slaves and he was fighting a war for freedom. But we won that war didn't we, the Nazi and Japanese war machines were smashed and even the Soviets fell. Let freedom ring, no more would slaves make goods under harsh conditions compelled to work at what ever or where ever they're told for little or no wages.
In America we have Sam's club but not the one you're thinking of this Sam's club is Uncle Sam's club and you get to be a member by being convicted of a Federal crime. Unicor is a government corporation of Federal Prison industries whose purpose is to train and educate prisoners and fight recidivism. This is not the old convict chain gang cutting grass or picking up trash or making license plates.
This is a high tech operation with over 20,000 employees/ prisoners producing thousands of products at over fifty locations. Their motto is, "When Prisoners work the System works" Yes indeed the system does work "work makes free." Need furniture or shelving? How about linens? Document storage and retrieval got you down? Need a new handbook or manual written? How about eyeglasses? How about advanced electronics or wiring harnesses. Unicor can provide it all and I swear they said it they offer, "an escape proof guarantee!"
I'm sorry, Unicor by law, may only sell its products to Federal departments, agencies, government institutions, and their authorized contractors or representatives. Hmmm, authorized contractors or representatives. I wonder who that would be? General Dynamics? Sure! Lockheed Martin? Why not! Haliburton? Of course! They are after all government contractors and when Haliburton builds a rec room in Doha guess who makes the furniture and the kitchen fixtures and the table cloths and the plastic food trays and the cups and even the plastic ware, that's right federal prisoners.
Remember all those nasty stories about Werner Von Braun and slaves being forced to build V2 rockets? Take three guesses who builds wiring harnesses for the Patriot missile systems. Say are you setting up a new government in a far away land and need office furniture? That's right Unicor can help. Are you setting up a new Army and in need of Uniforms and Helmets? Body armor, body armor, body armor have we got body armor and we can ship from our Yazzoo City Mississippi location in 30 days or less. Unicor is a veritable mall of savings. But Unicor how can you keep prices so low? We use virtual slave labor and pass the savings on to you!
Unicor wages start at .23 cents an hour and with the right work ethic and persistence our prison laborer can work his way up to almost $1.15 and hour! But wait! We don't actually pay them that! Don't be silly, we give them only a fraction of that to spend at the canteen. You see when prisoners work the system works and the system runs the canteen. Now lets say our prisoner owes a $5000.00 Federal fine at 23 cents an hour working eight hour days with no vacations he can pay that off in just seven and a half years. But wait, he owes $200.00 a month child support so we take his months pay of $36.80 and apply that towards his child support and he's only in the hole $163.00 a month plus his fine!
A slave that owes money for every month he works so why bother? "Arbeit macht frei" You want a parole don't you? You want to get out of here some day don't you?
Well they certainly don't give parole to those who refuse to work now do they? Besides with hard work you might work your way up to that top wage of $188 dollars a month less child support fine and taxes of course.
What excuse could a government of a free country use to explain away slave labor?
Why what else, good government! You see every dollar spent with Unicor they claim eliminates $6.51 in law enforcement, court costs and recidivism plus we teach them a trade. Of course the neglect to mention that every dollar spent with Unicor is a dollar taken out of the civilian economy and from employers, you know people who pay real wages who must now compete with slave labor.
But wait, we have cooperative ventures where private companies work with Unicor
To provide you with the best in slave labor industries! Amerimac/ Unicor Ltd. Provides promotional items and yes even the famous license plates (sorry, no letter openers or pocket knives). But not the ones with numbers on them only the novelty plates like. "I make a fortune with slave laborers ask me how?" How about signs and badges? Unicor in conjunction with 2/90 signs can bring you a wide assortment of designs and colors.
From their website 2/90 signs claims "OUR PEOPLE are our biggest asset, because without skilled and dedicated employees any company's product quality and level of service is compromised. The vast majority of people at 2/90 have more that seven years experience with the company, and many individuals have 15 to 30 years tenure." I imagine some have 15 to life.
But what about outsourcing? Unicor can help! What if I've just moved my factory overseas? Then let Unicor help you set up a call center! After all that's why we advertise ourselves as the best kept secret in outsourcing, "With more fulfillment work going outside the U.S.A., it might be time for you to team up with Unicor / Federal Prison Industries" Be it direct mail services, Inventory Management, Product order fulfillment, Warehousing Distribution management Unicor can handle it.
Reverse Logistics and Distribution Outsourcing, Assembly and packaging, repackaging, sorting services, pick/pack operations and inventory management. Sam's club is here for you! All our manufactured goods are proudly made in the USA.
In its mission statement The Federal Prison industries calls to employ and provide skills training to the greatest practicable number of inmates confined within Federal Bureau of Prisons contribute to the safety and security of our Nation's correctional facilities by keeping inmates constructively occupied; produce market-price quality goods for sale to the Federal Government; operate in a self-sustaining manner; and minimize FPI's impact on private business and labor.
Inmate workers 21,205
Percent of eligible inmate population employed 18%
Employment goal 25%
Distribution of FPI's revenues
staff salaries 18%
Inmate salaries 5%
Purchase of materials and supplies from vendors and other general and administrative expenses 77%
Total assets $730,776* 2006 up from $ 622,906 * 2005 *Dollars in thousands
Gross profit $75,137,000.
Or "work makes free".