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From The Socialist newspaper, 16 June 2010

Fast news

Plugging the media

WHILE BP struggles to stem the flow of oil escaping into the Gulf of Mexico it has been more successful in restricting news media coverage of the unfolding catastrophe - assisted by various US government agencies.

According to The New York Times, in one incident, Democrat senator Bill Nelson's attempt to take a small group of journalists aboard a Coast Guard vessel to inspect the oil slick was barred by the Department of Homeland Security.

Other examples of restrictions on news reporting of the disaster include: the Federal Aviation Authority imposing flight restrictions over the affected area, a news reporter denied access to a polluted public beach by the police, and a CBS News crew threatened with arrest for trying to film an oil tarred beach.

World Cup pay

THE UGLY side of the beautiful game was on display at the football World Cup in South Africa when riot police charged security stewards protesting before the Germany vs Australia match over cuts in their already low pay. Tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets were turned on the stadium staff.

"They're giving us 205 rand [18], we started at 12 noon and worked until midnight", Sikhumbuzo Mnisi, a 44-year-old from Durban revealed. "Different things have been said to people, but we were promised 1,500 rand [around 133] per day". He reported: "We started to protest because we wanted to negotiate."

The attack forced the lockdown of the Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban on 13 June with police having to take over stewarding duties.

Further clashes between stewards and the police occurred 24 hours later when stewards in Cape Town walked out prior to the Italy vs Paraguay match, partly in support of their Durban colleagues but also in response to their own bad conditions.

Cynical move

FOXCONN, THE Taiwanese owned, Chinese based electronics company that supplies products to Apple, Dell, Hewlett Packard and Sony, has become notorious for the high number of its workers who have committed suicide (see issue 627 of The Socialist).

Foxconn's city-sized factory in the Shenzhen free trade zone, southern China employs 400,000 mainly migrant workers. They work 70 hours a week for about US 50 cents an hour under a military-style administration and harsh working conditions.

In response to the damaging publicity surrounding the suicides, Foxconn has announced a doubling of its workers' wages from 1 October. However, this cathartic act (and wages should be far higher) will not make much of a dent in the company's mega profits. Staff costs, including pensions, amount to only 7% of the cost of inventories. Moreover, companies like Foxconn can reduce wage pressures by exploiting even cheaper labour further inland or by subcontracting to Bangladesh.

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

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.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
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  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 16 June 2010:

Millionaire ministers savage public services

'Bloodbath budget' day protests and meetings


Comprehensive education under attack

Opposing 'Dickensian' academy schools in Waltham Forest

National Shop Stewards Network

Come to the NSSN conference

Unison local government conference: Delegates face huge struggles

Northern Rock throws workers on the dole

Wales Unison: Socialist Party member elected

NHS Scotland - ConDemned to terminal decay

Southampton library staff strike to save jobs

Save the Big House

Socialist Party editorial

Labour leadership contest dominated by right wing

Socialist Party news and analysis

TUSC plans for future elections

BP's value plunges as oil spill worsens

Willetts approves tuition fees hike

Bloody Sunday report appears 38 years late

IDS's 'anti-poverty drive' attacks the poorest!

High speed trains and high priced fares

Why we don't back the Queen's pay claim

Fast news

Diary dates


Tower Hamlets: Jobs, homes and services - not the racist EDL!

International socialist news and analysis

Greece: A test bed for 'austerity' and resistance

Spain: Millions of public sector workers strike over brutal cuts

Portugal: Mobilisation against austerity reaches new level

Socialist Party Scotland launched at packed and inspiring meeting


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