For some time, we've sold political shirts through Skreened that are made in the USA by American Apparel. We've stuck with t-shirts made in the USA because in the United States there are clearly defined labor and workspace protections, and because American Apparel goes above and beyond them in its domestic production facilities. Apparel made in places like China has been determined by the U.S. Department of Labor to be plagued with child labor and forced labor among other abuses of human dignity, and we don't want to take part in that. Shirts that are made and shipped domestically are also lighter on the environment than shirts shipped across the ocean.
While we're happy with the ethical parameters of our shirt sales, we've decided we'd like to do more to directly impact progressive political organizing in the United States and economic development outside the United States. And so, for every t-shirt we sell through Skreened, Irregular Times will donate $1 to a progressive political organization and issue an additional $1 in for the purpose of helping people in poor communities in other countries to get ahead. Before August 2010, we made the latter contributions in the form of Kiva microloans to developing world (with any proceeds reinvested into more microloans); after discovering the unacceptably high fee structure burdening borrowers in many Kiva microloans, we have shifted to making micro-grants as outright donations for sustainable development in the third world.
Our program began on January 1, 2010. As we make donations through this program, you can follow the progress of our donations as a blog thread.