Bruce Boon looks at the darker side of the World Cup: the working conditions of the workers, including child and forced labourers, who make footballs and other merchandise for FIFA and the multinational sponsors of the tournament. He also looks at the sham codes of conduct that these companies draw up with the help of NGOs to show that their workers are actually treated well.
Ten days after the devastating tsunami that wreaked havoc in the Indian Ocean on December 26, 2004 it is becoming increasingly clear that much more could have been done to avert the massive destruction and the death of 146,000 people (so far) in the region. It is also clear that a lot more could be done to assist in aid and relief after the disaster.
Globalisation really means the rise of the American Empire. That was the capitalist story of the 20th century. The story of the 21st century will probably be the fall of the American empire as the imbalances in the system unravel. Will the world slip back into some new form of barbarism or will it be replaced by real globalisation, namely world socialism?
We recently received this letter from a reader who made some criticisms of an article published some time ago on this website, The ILO and the myth of “fair globalisation”. We are also publishing a reply from the author.
When the 'Great Deal'
on poverty and debt was announced at the G8 binge in Scotland in July, some people rushed to cheer it. Now, as the
real facts come out, the truth confirms the G8 promises for what they really
We received an eye-witness account from one of the London May Day protesters. It shows how the police behaved in keeping several thousand demonstrators, against their will, in a square with no facilities and with no explanation as to why this was happening. It is an example of the use of police measures which go against basic democratic rights of people who wish to demonstrate on the streets of Britain's cities. Using the excuse that there were some demonstrators, undoubtedly a small minority, intent on using violent methods, the police used this opportunity to establish a dangerous precedent.
As everywhere else in the world, workers and labour activists in Jakarta demonstrated on the occasion of international workers' day, the 1st of May. Several unions (of which most prominent were the FNPBI, SBSI, SBJ and Gaspermindo) and student activists (some 5.000 people) gathered at the National Monument, Monas, in Central Jakarta. Also present were a few representatives of the ILO and the American union AFL-CIO (in Indonesia called ACIL's). Of course, the state also sent some 2.000 representatives, armed with guns.
The ECOFIN - all the Finance Ministers of the EU member states - held a meeting in Sweden's third largest city, Malmo, in the early part of May, which was met with a countre-demonstration, similar to the many demonstrations around the world againts the IMF, the WTO, World Bank, etc. The police used brutal methods to break up the demonstration.
Opposition to globalisation has spread rapidly across the world, as more and more recognise the awesome power of the giant corporations that straddle the globe and the carnage they leave in their wake. From Seattle to Prague, from Nice to Quebec, hundreds of thousands of workers and youth have forcefully demonstrated against the World Trade Organisation and the various international summits that defend the power of global capitalism. But how can we effectively challenge the forces of imperialism and globalisation?
The World Bank was supposed to be holding a "summit against poverty" in Barcelona, Spain, between June 25th and 27th. Worried about the prospect of mass demonstrations against its policies, the WB finally decided to cancel the meeting. However the protesters are still going ahead with their demonstration against the imperialist policies of the WB and the other international financial institutions. We publish here a leaflet produced by the Spanish Students Union (SE) in preparation of these protests (the leaflet was printed before the WB decided to cancel the summit).
In July of this year the G8 summit is going to be held in Genoa, Italy. Similarly to Seattle, Prague and Nice, Genoa will be an important gathering for all those who want to protest against the "status quo". We are publishing an appeal from comrades in Italy raising the question of the role of the working class in the struggle against imperialism and globalisation.