Workers in fast food companies such as McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, KFC and others took to the streets in mobilisations at the end of July in seven cities. They highlighted miserable wages and working conditions, and demanding the right to form unions in the virtually non-union sector. The actions took place in New York, Chicago, St Louis, Detroit, Milwaukee, Kansas City and Flint, Michigan. It is likely that these actions will spread in the coming weeks.
Detroit public-sector workers, pensioners and residents filed objections on August 19 against the city council's request for bankruptcy protection. They want federal judge Steven Rhodes to block the bankruptcy request by unelected emergency manager Kevyn Orr. Individual creditors began filing objections in person and by early evening more than 100 had been filed, including by the city's biggest union AFSCME, several smaller city unions and pension schemes.
“There will never be strikes in my company,” Foxconn CEO Guo Taiming once proclaimed. But just last month, 1800 workers struck at two Foxconn factories in China — following the example of other Foxconn workers in Taiyuan and Chengdu last year. Foxconn produces cell phones and other products for Apple and others, and owns property worth US$6 billion. It has 1.2 million workers and is the largest sweatshop of ill repute in China.
South Korea: Hyundai workers strike About 46,000 Hyundai workers will launched a four-hour strike over two days in order to press the South Korean car-maker for higher wages and benefits, union officials said on August 20. Spokesperson Kwon Oh Il said that talks had made little progress, Morning Star reported that day. The union has demanded increased wages and benefits during three months of annual negotiations.
Elysium Written and directed by Neill Blomkamp Starring Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Alice Braga In cinemas now In the mid-22nd century, Earth has become a crowded, polluted, poverty-stricken slum. While the poor, mostly black and brown residents of Earth, struggle with dangerous working conditions, substandard public services and brutal robot police, the 1% have escaped to Elysium, a pristine floating space station orbiting Earth.
The Passion Of Bradley Manning: The Story Behind the WikiLeaks Whistleblower Chase Madar Verso, 2013 181 pages, $19.95 (pb) The issue in the trial of Bradley Manning, the source of tens of thousands of US military and state secrets leaked to WikiLeaks, is, in some eyes, simple. “He broke the law,” lectured United States President Barack Obama, conveniently overlooking, as Chase Madar comments in his book on Manning, the routine violation by the ruling elite of the principle that “rules are rules”.
The Bracegirdle Incident: How an Australian Communist Ignited Ceylon’s Independence Struggle Alan Fewster Arcadia/Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2013 173 pages, $39.95 (pb) In 1937, Ceylon’s British Chief of Police reported that “it is clearly dangerous” to allow the Australian communist Mark Bracegirdle, to remain in the country “stirring up feelings against employers of labour and against the British Government”.
The WikiLeaks Party has come under fire for its Western Australia and New South Wales preference allocations for the federal elections, which put right-wing and racist groups ahead of Greens and socialist candidates. WikiLeaks Party senate candidate for Western Australia, Gerry Georgatos, has defended a decision to preference two National Party candidates ahead of Greens Senator Scott Ludlam. Of all Australian parliamentarians, Ludlam has been the most outspoken in defence of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.