Category Archives: capitalism

Oil spill shows hazards of the profit system

It is still difficult to assess the scale of the disaster that followed the explosion on the BP oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico on 22 April, which killed eleven workers. BP claims that ‘only’ 210,000 gallons a day of crude oil have been released so far, but others calculate the figure could be as high as 4.2 million gallons a day.

By Pete Dickenson
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The human cost of an iPad

By John Sharpe, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales)

Twelve workers have committed suicide so far this year at the factory that makes Apple iPads. Four others survived, gravely injured, and 20 were stopped from killing themselves by the company. All the dead were between 18 and 24 years old.
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Haiti – Earthquake kills thousands

Impoverished masses face new disaster

By Niall Mulholland, CWI

Disaster has struck the impoverished people of Haiti once again; a powerful earthquake, early on 13 January, toppled buildings in the capital Port-au-Prince. The 7.0 magnitude quake – the biggest recorded in this part of the Caribbean – left the capital’s 3 million people who live on hillside slums made of wood, tin and cheap concrete, particularly vulnerable. There are growing fears that thousands of people were killed, with many more badly injured or missing. According to the Reuters news agency, “Bloodied and dazed survivors gathered in the open and corpses were pinned by debris.” Many buildings were destroyed, including the headquarters of the United Nations Stabilisation Mission (around 9,000 UN police and troops are stationed there to “maintain order”) and the presidential palace.

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Come to the Socialist Youth Summer Festival

SY Summer Festival Brochure

SY Summer Festival Brochure

Friday 22nd August – Sunday 24th August

Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow

All Welcome

Cost: €65/£50 (Cost includes accomodation, food and travel)

To download the brochure please click here.

If you would like to book your place please send your name, address, phone, e-mail and any special food requirements you may need to:

Socialist Youth Dublin
P.O. Box 3434, Dublin 8

Socialist Youth Belfast
13 Lombard St
Belfast
BT1 1RB

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Successful protests against Bush visit

By Daniel Waldron, Belfast Socialist Youth

On 16 June, the slogan ‘No Bush’ was displayed on Divis Mountain, overlooking Belfast. While George Bush was greeted with smiles and handshakes by the politicians, this piece of artwork by local activists summed up the attitude of ordinary people towards the visit of the warmonger. Radio shows were flooded with calls about the massive disruption being caused to people by the huge police operations in place to protect this unwelcome visitor.

Bush’s visit was met with vibrant protest, much bigger than recent anti-war mobilisations. At a lunchtime rally at City Hall organised by the Belfast Anti-War Movement, 500 protestors gathered, many from nearby workplaces. The crowd was very youthful, with many saying they had never been to a protest before. Clearly, revulsion at Bush’s invitation and everything he represents had inspired a new layer of young people to get active.

Ogra Shinn Fein and SDLP Youth had members at the rally, protesting Bush’s reception while their leaders posed for the cameras by his side and smiled as he tried to bask in the reflected glow of the ‘peace process’. Rightly, this hypocrisy was denounced from the platform.

Unfortunately, the idea of building a political alternative to challenge the sectarian parties and the neo-liberal agenda that they share with Bush was not raised. Those, like Socialist Youth, who raise socialist ideas have been consciously excluded from BAWM platforms. The Socialist Workers Party, which undemocratically controls the BAWM, doesn’t want to risk ‘scaring off’ right-wing trade union bureaucrats.

Despite the intimidatory police presence, 200 made their way to the gates of Stormont, to bring the protest right to the local politicians’ front door. There were noisy chants and speaker after speaker denounced both Bush and the local politicians.

These protests were important and ensured that Bush was not able to freely portray himself as a ‘man of peace’. They also gave an indication that, by consistently connecting the crisis in the Middle East to the attacks on workers’ conditions here, it is possible to rebuild a mass anti-war movement.

Fight bosses intimidation

The Socialist spoke to a young worker who contacted Socialist Youth looking for advice on how to stop intimidation at work.

“My workplace is located outside Toomebridge in County Antrim. We are being threatened by our boss with the sack if we refuse to work overtime. I don’t feel comfortable working there. It isn’t a healthy working environment when you are constantly under threat of losing your job if you don’t work overtime.

“The company has already made an ‘example’ out of some immigrant workers. A number of Polish lads were sacked because they could not work overtime. Now a Slovakian girl has been threatened she’ll be next if she won’t work on Saturdays, even though she expressly told the boss she can’t.” The company in question boasts that it has been awarded an ‘Investor in People’ award which supposedly ensures a ‘good working environment’.

“Attempts were made a few years back to unionise the workforce. But because of the intimidation, people felt too scared they would lose their jobs and it didn’t work.”

Socialist Youth is to investigate this employer with a view to exposing this intimidation and illegal practice.

If you have an issue at work and think something should be done about it, e-mail Socialist Youth at socialist.youth@btconnect.com or ring 028 90232962.

New Young Socialist Bulletin – May 08

The new edition of the Belfast Socialist Youth’s bulletin, the Young Socialist is now available.

In this issue we cover:

  • Fight for young workers rights.
  • The Socialist Solution to Capitalist Crisis
  • Book Review: France 1968, Month of Revolution
  • And More

To download a pdf copy click here

If you would like a number of copies posted out to distribute in your school, workplace or friends please contact Paddy at 07876146473 or the Socialist Youth Office in Belfast at 02890232962.