Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Truth About Tech

Yesterday, whilst checking my inbox I found a polite email from a reader, well actually they said they just found me after doing a search about Trade Unions and Labour Rights blogs subjects which I have more then a passing interest in. So maybe they'll become one in the future, anyway the reason they got in touch was to bring to my attention a graphic they've made illustrating the state of the cyber economies manufacturing sector. You know the people who build our mobile phones, laptops, plasma screen tellies and Ipads to name just a few must have items. This is the second time I've made a post based on a readers email, and I just want you all to know that on the off chance someone sends me a line I do read it, I of course can't promise a response but if you have something you want me to take a look at I will do so.

It is quite enlightening, I'm sure we're all familiar with China's role in producing apple products, if only because they seem to produce everything these days, well that and because Apple's front companies have once again strove for and achieved the impossible, by being perhaps the most abusive employers to operate in the People's Republic a competition with an exceptionally low bar indeed.

Here's a couple of highlights:

Anyway on to the Image

Truth About Tech

The poster has asked for some feedback, so if you have anything to add, criticism, praise or points for improvement feel free to leave comments. Speaking for myself I think its pretty good, the only thing I'd add is that it might be better to do a few more about Canada and Europe's consumption of technology and any specific problems relating to them. While I enjoy a good excuse to criticise Eagleland it would be extremely dishonest of me to not point out that all Developed nations with extensive consumer markets play a part in fuelling this cycle and the only way to completely end injustice in the work place is through global solutions. Still this is welcome information, I was most surprised to see Hungary on the list but then again the EU is at heart a club for European Industrialists putting labour rights quite low on the priority lists.

Well the image is made under Creative Commons so feel free to use it and spread the word as you will.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Some Examples of "Greedy" Unions and Labour Groups

Every time a Union or even worse a Labour advocacy group or human rights for workers group gets some precious screen time or front placement in a paper you know what to expect,crowing about greed and profit theft. in the more intelligent media this is altered slightly to "concerns" over "narrow sectional interests" and "short term goals", funny given that these papers never mention or criticise the Freemasons, or the Carlyle group, or any other group of venture capitalists who've hidden there assets in some tiny backwater. You know groups which have no other purpose but self profit even if at the expense of the rest of the population.

Then I remember who owns most of the media or buys up all that glossy advertising ar which point it stops being funny and just gets sad. To address that here is a few stories from around the world of Unions and Labour groups focussing on improving the general good for all.

"This weekend the first Trader Joe's in the state of Florida is set to open its doors and ahead of a grand opening, farmworkers scored a long-sought-after victory with the grocery store chain. On Thursday, Trader Joe's signed a landmark agreement to pay one penny more per pound of tomatoes picked by immigrant farm workers in South Florida. The deal came a day before planned protests from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. FSRN's Kelly Benjamin has more."

The above videos document the campaigns by migrant labourers to end abuses in the fields where they work, as migrants employed in seasonal work often far out of site of most Americans they have few legal protections and even fewer avenues to end injustices and abuse directed at them.

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) is a membership-led farmworker organization of mostly Latino, Haitian and Mayan Indian immigrants working in low-wage jobs throughout the state of Florida. We have been organizing in the town of Immokalee since 1993 and have a base of nearly 4,000 members.

This campaign on behalf of tomato pickers is to get the buyers of the crops they pick (mostly fast food chains and supermarkets) to pledge themselves to abuse free business and pay a staggering extra penny per pound picked.

"The logic behind the Campaign for Fair Food is simple. Major corporate buyers -- companies such as Publix, Ahold, Kroger and Wal-Mart -- purchase a tremendous volume of fruits and vegetables, leveraging their buying power to demand the lowest possible prices from their suppliers. This, in turn, exerts a powerful downward pressure on wages and working conditions in these suppliers' operations.

A 2004 study released by Oxfam America, "Like Machines in the Fields: Workers without Rights in American Agriculture," concludes: "Squeezed by the buyers of their produce, growers pass on the costs and risks imposed on them to those on the lowest rung of the supply chain: the farmworkers they employ" (36). The Campaign for Fair Food aims to reverse this trend by harnessing the purchasing power of the food industry for the betterment of farmworker wages and working conditions."

Currently the campaign is focussing on Publix superstore.

Meanwhile in South Africa we have an interview with the leader of the Union of Metal Workers, explaining there greedy believe that South Africa needs to become less reliant on fossil fuels and embrace a greener economy. For those not in the know the biggest employers of Metal Workers in South Africa are currently linked to the fossil fuel producers, oil coal and gas.

"Frank Hammer interviews Cedric Gina, president of the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa about the need that workers lead the transition to a green economy"

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Happy (Very Late) St. Davids Day

Well it was St.David's day when I started writing this, and its now St. Patrick's day so I guess those three tags are doubly valid now. I hope those who do celebrate David's Day had a good one, and those who "celebrate" St. Patrick's also have a fun evening (Drink responsibly). I personally don't really celebrate any Saint days, and no its not a anti Christianity or pro secular thing, I just don't really see much sentiment to be celebrated. I also don't like Welsh Cakes, so there's also that.

I mean David and Patrick's days are the closest to a Wales and Ireland Culture day we have, and given the centuries of cultural eradication the Celts have resisted those are important, but there's very little actual culture being celebrated beyond fancy dress and some stereotypical images of Dragons and Leprechauns.

In fact given that the days are tied to the Celtic conversions to Christianity they effectively commemorate the first systematic revision of Celtic Culture. See Celts much like well pretty much every other tribe or ethnic group had there own Cultural superstitions and philosophies, the problem was these "Morality tales" and legends often had to do with there native religions, so that mean the hero's and villains where often chosen of some deity or the actual God itself. Obviously Christianity being Monotheistic wasn't too happy about the people they were enlightening filling there heads with nonsense about false Gods and made up monsters. Fortunately though rather then just get rid of the whole thing most of the myths where edited "slightly" to make them more compatible with Christianity and the two were able to coexist.

A perfect example of this relationship is the Celtic Cross:

It is believed that the design of a cross with a circle or Halo around the cross section was made by St. Patrick (some say St. Declan) to show the local Celts how important the Cross of Christ was, the Circle is supposed to represent the Sun, so you get the impression that the Son of God gives warmth and life to the world the same way the Sun in the sky does.

Its just a shame the Symbol has been high-jacked by Far right groups, the Celtic Cross is actually banned in some countries as a result, so as pretty as it is I don't recommend getting it as a tattoo. Why the interest from "White Pride" groups? no idea, especially since modern Celtic Nations and areas tend to be Left of Centre and the greatest historical enemies of the Celts where Germanic Tribes and Romans (guess which countries have instituted the ban). Still I suppose its a step up from the Swastika as a symbol of whiteness, most Celts are certainly fairer skinned then the average Hindu or Eastern Buddhist,even though historically Celts originated around Basque Country and according to our Atlantic cousins whom happen to be skin heads Spain doesn't count as White enough, but they also display Celtic crosses on occasion, so I guess in a few decades they'll be slapping Star of David's on there banners.

Anyway Celtic history and Culture is actually very complex and interesting, I recommend the curious look up the Celtic Revolution by Simon Young or check out the Myths and Legends of the Celtic Race by T.W. Rolleston.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

To Make up for the Quiet Period

Sorry for the lack of updates, things have been very busy for me right now, hopefully I'll be back posting soon. I do have a few mostly finished drafts though they were about special days on the calendar so expect a few sorry this is late but.... introductory posts.

Anyway to make up for the lack of updates heres a music video, but not just any video, its the theme song of "Stalin" the main character of the 2006 Indian musical film Stalin, don't worry though its in English so you can sing along. In addition to being a strange subject for composition it is also very catchy enjoy it.

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