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From The Socialist newspaper, 2 November 2006

Big Bucks for Starbucks - nothing for small farmers

GLOBAL COFFEE chain Starbucks is the McDonalds of the coffee world with hundreds of shops throughout Britain and the world. Its annual revenue is 3.2 billion. This wealthy giant opposes a plan by Ethiopia, one of the world's poorest countries, to gain more control over its coffee trade and a larger share of the earnings for millions of poverty-stricken coffee farmers.

Last year the Ethiopian government applied to trademark its best-known coffee names. That would enable Ethiopia to control their use in the market and help farmers receive a bigger share of the retail price. Ethiopia's coffee industry and farmers could earn around 88 million extra per year.

Starbucks filed protests against these trademark applications with the US Patent and Trademark Office which denied these applications, creating serious obstacles for Ethiopia.

In the global coffee market, profit is king. For every 1 people spend in a Starbucks or other coffee house only 5p gets into the small farmers' hands. A few big multinationals exploit around 25 million small farmers while the terms of trade have fluctuated wildly and in fact got steadily worse since the IMF forcibly deregulated the market in recent decades.

Fear of egg on their smug corporate faces may force Starbucks to act more 'ethically'. However, nothing short of a socialist transformation is going to give the farmers and workers more permanent assistance.

Keith White

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 2 November 2006:

Thousands march to save NHS

West Midlands says 'Save our hospitals'

The Socialist Party says:

'Gift' to cuts advisers


Global Warming

Capitalism is killing the planet: Fight for socialism!

Can global warming be stopped?


Socialist Students

Thousands join fees demonstration

Where now after the protests?


International socialist news and analysis

Mexico: Police and army attack Oaxaca rebellion

Lula's win is no victory for Brazil's poor

Cyprus: Fight for Kurdish asylum rights

Big Bucks for Starbucks - nothing for small farmers


Marxist analysis: history

Hungary 1956: When workers rose in their millions


The Socialist Interview

Crime and punishment - the prison officers' view


Workplace analysis

Building a national shop stewards' network

Southampton journalists take on Newsquest

Civil service redundancies

Union votes for anti-cuts campaign


 

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Related links:

Farmers:

triangleFiction: Tombland "The power of common people fighting for justice in the 16th century"

triangleWhat would a socialist food industry look like?

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

triangleTamil Nadu mass protests against state repression

triangleIndia: struggle against land grab in Pune

Starbucks:

triangleThe corporate welfare state

triangleUS: How Seattle won a $15 minimum wage

triangleThem & Us

triangleSick of Your Boss gets going in London

Coffee:

trianglePost-election campaign stalls, coffees, chats on Saturday 10 June

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Ethiopia:

triangleSocialism, black liberation and cricket - the life of CLR James

Market:

trianglePandemic shortages caused by capitalist market - socialist planning is the alternative

Global:

triangleA new world order - global reconstruction after World War Two

McDonalds:

triangleMay Day McStrike: "A symbol for all workers"

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