Monday, February 23, 2009

The Colour of Fair Trade

I can remember reading someone saying that the colour of Africa is terracotta, a lush gorgeous reddy terracotta.

Here's a picture that mixes terracotta with a forest green and the bluest African skies.

That's all an introduction to a good post on fair trade by the Black Country Bloke.

Many nations of the South have had to agree to Structural adjustment programmes are an evil where nations are encouraged to sell off resources like water to global multi-nationals so they can get loans, reduced interest rates on loans and support from the rich North organisations like the World Bank. They privilege the rich over the poor and they are an evil of international trade. Nick Matthews writes:
Ghana would have been far better off without structural adjustment programmes and we still need real trade justice but in the meantime Divine chocolate is just that. It can be found in Oxfam shops and as the source it means that the Co-op sells more fair-trade chocolate than all the other supermarkets put together.

More important however is the relationship that has been built between the producers and the consumers based on the principle that the producers should be paid what they need rather than the market rate.

This is just one small step but it is a beginning as Marx said in the Critique of the Gotha Programme “after the productive forces have also increased with the all-around development of the individual, and all the springs of co-operative wealth flow more abundantly—only then can the narrow horizon of bourgeois right be crossed in its entirety and society inscribe on its banners: From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”


What is a number? You could go on about set theory, Zermelo-Fraenkel, Russell, predecessor and successor functions. Or you could go here to find out about numbers, in a Terry Gilliam kind of way.

[ Via Will ]

Sack The Bosses Updated

Will informs me that Nestle have backed down in the dispute in Hong Kong. The union president, Chan Pong Yin, has been reinstated. The struggle continues for full union recognition at bthe company.
In Geneva IUF general secretary Ron Oswald commented, "It's good to see that Nestlé has seen sense in this case and we congratulate our members for their determined and courageous action in defence of their union". Oswald added, "Now we look to Nestlé to end its constant harassment of these workers and our members' effort to build a strong independent union. We demand the company fully recognizes their union with all the associated rights our members have every reason to expect.
Unions must be recognised by all employers. That's a universal truth.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Underarm Tactics

Here's footage of a moment of sporting perfidy.

It was 1st February 1981. Australia against New Zealand at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Last over. All to play for. Trevor Chappell bowling.

[ Via Virtual Stoa. ]

How to Talk Proper

Here are some hints on how to talk proper, like people do in the Black Country.

Sack the Bosses!

Nestle make crap coffee and are bastards to work for. It's crap coffee because it leaves a nasty taste in the mouth from all their ethical violations. They are bastards to work for because, as this report from the IUF shows, they treat their workers worse than a cat treats a mouse.
The company launched an aggressive assault on the union by suspending the union president, Chan Pong Yin, indefinitely. In doing so the message from management is clear: Nestle wants to return to the 17-hour workdays, wage increases of one percent in 12 years, and a system of insecurity maintained by having a third of the workforce on revolving casual contracts.

It was precisely these conditions that led to the strike in July 2008 that not only brought production to a standstill during peak season, but shocked the Hong Kong public by exposing such outrageous working conditions in the world's largest food manufacturing company. In the months following the strike the company has tried to repair its public image, while making a series of commitments to improve working conditions without actually implementing them.

The extreme hypocrisy of Nestle management was soon revealed when it followed up on the promise to grant permanent employment to casual workers (many of whom had worked there for 10 years) by firing them one by one before their contracts expired.

The same hypocrisy underpinned management’s response to union recognition - a fundamental trade union right that Nestle repeatedly claims it respects globally, but which management consistently violates.
Boycott Nestle. There are better coffees and chocolates out there.

See here for more information on the IUF.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Canteens are Everywhere

Even on the Death Star.

Or see here.