Wednesday, 31 October 2007

GAP secrets...

From Plot Tracer

Received this regarding my concerns about the donation of clothing (my reply is below):


Thank you for your reply. We appreciate you sharing your continued
concerns. Unfortunately, we are unable to address the inquiries in your
message via email as this is proprietary information, but we invite you
to visit our corporate Web site for additional information on our Code
of Vendor Conduct, which can be found through the following link:

http://www.gapinc.com/public/SocialResponsibility/socialres.shtml

Thank you again for writing.

Sincerely,

Maureen Coyan
Gap Inc.





Thank-you again.

I have read your website, and do not see the answers to my questions.

Are you saying that the appropriateness of donating the clothing to a children's charity is proprietary, or if you stipulate to vendors that they must be fully unionised?

To reiterate.

1 Why is it inappropriate to donate the clothes?

2 If you are working with the unions to eradicate these practises,
are you stipulating to vendors they must be fully unionised?

If the communication medium is inappropriate, perhaps you could answer my questions to my home address?

(address withheld)

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No Sweat

Some websites to visit...


http://www.nosweat.org.uk/
No Sweat, PO Box 36708 London SW9 8YA. 07904 431 959
http://82.69.65.216:3000/WorldClient.dll?Session=GYSUVDW&View=Compose&To=admin%40nosweat.org.uk&New=Yes


http://www.nosweat.org.uk/
www.myspace.com/nosweatuk
www.flickr.com/photos/nosweat
www.youtube/nosweatuk

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Tuesday, 30 October 2007

GAP revisited

From Plot Tracer

Reply from GAP. Scroll down for my response.


Thank you for your inquiry. We wanted to write back to let you know that Gap Inc. is committed to doing business in a socially responsible way.



We have a team of 90 people around the world who are dedicated to improving the lives of garment workers. In fact, in 2006 our vendor compliance officers conducted 4,316 inspections in 2,053 garment factories. Last year, we revoked our approval of 23 factories for compliance violations.



When we first learned about this allegation, we immediately launched an investigation. We learned that a very small portion of a particular order placed with one of our vendors was apparently subcontracted to an unauthorized subcontractor without the company's knowledge or approval.

This is in direct violation of our agreement with the vendor under our Code of Vendor Conduct.



We strictly prohibit the use of child labor. This is non-negotiable for us and we are deeply concerned and upset by this allegation.


As we've demonstrated in the past, Gap has a history of addressing challenges like this head-on, and our approach to this situation will be no exception.



As soon as we were alerted to this situation, we stopped the work order and prevented the product from being sold in stores. As for the concern you raised involving how we are handling the merchandise, we do not believe it would be appropriate to sell or donate product
involving child labor. We will continue to work with a variety of groups including government, non-governmental organizations and trade unions in an effort to end the use of child labor.



Thank you,



Kellie

Gap Inc. Customer Relations

I wonder if the real reason they do not want to donate the clothes to
poor people is because their "classy" label would look terrible on
them?... image is everything, even when the product is made by kids
and adults on 14 cents an hour.

This is my email back to them-



Thank-you for your prompt reply.
Could you answer two more questions on this matter?



1 Why is it inappropriate to donate the clothes?



2 If you are working with the unions to eradicate these practises,
are you stipulating to vendors they must be fully unionised?



Thanks in advance.



P.S. I have had a letter on this subject published today in the
scottish national newspaper
, (click here to read it) The Herald

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Monday, 29 October 2007

Big Do!

The SLLU
1st anniversary do

Come play
On Saturday

Musical fission
With Mike Mission

Chill out man
With Wildo Hofmann

Info fog?
Watch the Blog!

More later in the week!

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30 Days of Night...

Danielle Ni Dhighe ( http://scanandpan.blogspot.com/ ) reviews the new Sam Raimi vehicle -


"30 Days of Night" - In 2002, IDW Publishing published a comic book
miniseries by writer Steve Niles and artist Ben Templesmith that
reinvigorated the vampire genre. Unfortunately, the much anticipated
film adaptation produced by Sam Raimi (director of the "Evil Dead" and
"Spider-Man" films) is a big disappointment.

Barrow, Alaska. A town so far north that it's in complete darkness
for thirty days every year. A group of vampires led by Marlow (Danny
Huston) decide to make a feast of its residents during those thirty
days, and so the carnage begins. Can Sheriff Eben Oleson (Josh
Hartnett) and his estranged wife Stella (Melissa George) save
themselves and the town?

Director David Slade ("Hard Candy") delivers impressive visuals and
some effective scenes of the town being decimated, but as a whole
fails to create much in the way of suspense or emotional connection to
the plight of the characters. Never mind vampires draining people of
blood, the life's been drained right out of this film. Scenes that
are meant to scare the audience are flatly directed. Scenes that are
meant to make us care about the characters are uninteresting.

The screenplay credited to Niles, Stuart Beattie ("Pirates of the
Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl"), and Brian Nelson ("Hard
Candy") is generally faithful to the story in the miniseries, but
where the source material offered originality and well-realized
characters, the screen version is predictable and surprisingly thin on
characterization.

Cinematographer Jo Willems ("Hard Candy"), production designer Paul
Denham Austerberry ("Resident Evil: Apocalypse"), and costume designer
Jane Holland ("Riverworld") do a remarkable job of translating
Templesmith's art onto the big screen. It literally looks like you
stepped into the panels of the comic book, right down to the Max
Schreck by way of a shark look of the vampires, who are impressively
realized with makeup and visual effects. The visuals are the best
thing about this film. The discordant score by Brian Reitzell
("Stranger Than Fiction") effectively conveys a creepy mood.

The cast is solid. There are no great performances, but no bad ones,
either. Besides Hartnett, George, and Huston, the cast includes Ben
Foster as a human who does the dirty work of the vampires before the
sun sets, Mark Rendall as Eben's teenaged brother, Mark Boone Junior
as the rugged loner Beau, Manu Bennett as the deputy sheriff, Megan
Franich as one of the vampires, and Amber Sainsbury, Joel Tobeck,
Elizabeth Hawthorne, Nathaniel Lees, Craig Hall, and Chic Littlewood
as the principal survivors of the first night.

"30 Days of Night" is visually pleasing and technically well made, but
as a dramatic presentation it's all rather anemic. A story about
people facing unthinkable horror and trapped in an isolated setting
simply shouldn't be this dull.

[2 out of 5 stars]

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Sunday, 28 October 2007

GAP using Child labour - email them now!

From Plot Tracer

Again the capitalist system is shown to use the most vulnerable people in order to squeeze as much profits as possible for the few -

(http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/7066019.stm )

Register your disgust at the use of child labour - and GAP's decided solution - the destruction of the clothing in question. With millions of children living in poverty - and over 35000 children in the relatively small city of Glasgow receiving school uniform grants (google YOUR area for poverty statistics).

This is what I sent to GAP and other organisations involved with the company, and the BBC and UK paper, the Observer (who have broken the story).

SLLU ACTION!

EMAIL GAP - THEIR EMAIL ADDRESSES ARE HERE:
http://www.gap.com/customerService/

and these people are an org they are heavily involved with (forward your email to them as well) -

http://www.sa-intl.org/


Main agencies in UK running the story -
http://news.bbc.co.uk/newswatch/ukfs/hi/feedback/default.stm
letters@observer.co.uk


Look up others in your area.

Statistics about poverty in your area should be easy enough to find on the net.

This is my email,
if you want to use it, go ahead, but reword it.

Sir,

Although disgusted at the breakdown of the manufacturing chain that has led to the news that Gap had inadvertently been using child labour, I fear that GAP are about to do something even worse. In today's BBC news the report ended saying GAP were going to destroy the clothing involved. This, in a country were there are millions of children growing up in poverty (in Glasgow alone there are over 35000 children who get school uniform grants every year and 1/4 of Scotlands children are being brought up in what the European community term as poverty conditions - and this figure is roughly the same throughout the UK rising to 1/3 in cities like Glasgow).

A better use of the clothing that has been proven to have included children in the manufacturing process would be for GAP to give the pieces over to as charity like the Child Poverty Action Group (http://www.cpag.org.uk/) to distribute. This would not only give much needed clothing to the people who need it most, but it would go some way to show that GAP is serious about its commitment to Community Investment (http://www.gapinc.com/public/SocialResponsibility/sr_community.shtml ).


Yours etc

PLEASE VISIT THESE SITES- NO SWEAT UK (Click on the fuck off starbucks sign) and No Sweat Apparel (US and UK - click on the Nike slavery sign)



NO SWEAT SCOTLAND:
http://nosweatscotland.blogspot.com/

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Thursday, 25 October 2007

CASH COST OF US WARS

War Costs May Total $2.4 Trillion:

Bush war spending highest since WW II.

Click here
===

Bush wars to cost 40 times higher than original estimates;

$8,000 per man, woman child in US

Click here

From Information Clearing House

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Wednesday, 24 October 2007

LETTER FROM IBM WORKERS...

Dear Friends,

Many thanks to all of those who have given us suggestions on how to proceed with the IBM Italy workers’ struggle that had remained unsolved after our historical Protest in Second Life on September 27th.

By the time we went through all of the excellent and original ideas you gave us, some developments had taken place….indeed there are some very positive news we had to share with you:

1. Mr Andrea Pontremoli, IBM Italy’s CEO (who personally received all of your petitions by email) has resigned. It seems our Virtual action had an impact on his role at IBM. IBM Corporation made a complaint to IBM Italy for the way they’ve managed the negotiations with the thousands of employees and how they’ve let it lead to such a harmful image for the company.

2. IBM Italy management have accepted to return to the negotiations’ table and has already met with the Works Council. We expect an agreement will -finally- be signed in the next week or two. IBM workers have now been waiting an entire year for the situation to unblock, so this is really fantastic news.

We would like to think that all of this has a lot to do with the incredible support all of you have given them over the last 6 weeks.
Your involvement with the protest in Second Life, your news coverage of the events and your ideas to pursue fighting in “first” and “second life” have really helped tremendously. You will never be thanked enough.

Again, we’ll keep you informed of the signing of the new agreement for IBM Italy workers!

IBM Protest organisers

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Review - Michael Clayton

Danielle Ni Dhighe ( http://scanandpan.blogspot.com/ ) reviews the new George Clooney Film...

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0465538/

"Michael Clayton" - Despite the unassuming title, this is a smashinglygood thriller made with skill and conviction, and sure to garner someOscar nominations.Michael Clayton (George Clooney) is a fixer for a prestigious lawfirm. After the firm's top litigator, Arthur Edens (Tom Wilkinson),suffers a manic episode and damages an important case, Clayton iscalled in to clean things up. He learns that Edens was defending acorporation against a class action lawsuit brought over a toxicchemical that killed hundreds of people when his conscience caught upto him, triggering his manic episode. Karen Crowder (Tilda Swinton),the corporation's general counsel, hires her own fixers (RobertPrescott, Terry Serpico) of a more deadly kind to ensure that thetruth remains buried.Writer and first time director Tony Gilroy, who previously wrote orco-wrote the screenplays for all three "Bourne" films, makes animpressive debut at the helm with a smart, character driven thrillerthat sleekly unfolds like a cleverly planned maze. Several times Ithought the film was headed in one direction only to discover it wasactually bound for a much different destination. The rhythm of thefilm is that of a slow burn, but the slower pace serves to heightenthe suspense. Instead of relying on numerous action scenes, Gilroyturns to characterization, dialog, and a carefully plotted story tobuild and sustain interest. It's a throwback to the intelligentthrillers of the 1970s like "Three Days of the Condor", and thedirector of that film (Sydney Pollack) is one of the producers of thisfilm (as well as a member of its cast).Cinematographer Robert Elswit ("Good Night, and Good Luck", "Syriana")contributes low key lighting that neatly balances realism and style,while James Newton Howard ("Batman Begins", "Blood Diamond")contributes an atmospheric, almost ambient, score that plays a bigpart in setting the mood for the film. Film editor John Gilroy (thedirector's brother, who previously worked on "Narc" and "First Born")keeps the pacing tight, and the two hour film never once feels padded.Clooney combines his movie star charisma with a performance from thegut to deliver a strong portrayal of the title character, a man wearyof cleaning up the messes of others, whether they're clients orrelatives. Clayton seemingly lives on auto-pilot, doing what he doesbecause he doesn't know what else to do. Wilkinson is compelling asthe bipolar attorney whose conscience finally gets the best of him,and his manic rants ring with intensity. Swinton is sublime as KarenCrowder, from practicing an interview to chillingly ordering murdersin a way that gives her full deniability to what she does in the finalscene. Her desperation and ambition are palpable.This is a well-cast film from top to bottom with good performances bythe entire cast, including Sydney Pollack as the ruthless head of thelaw firm, Michael O'Keefe as one of the firm's partners, Prescott andSerpico as the other fixers, Merritt Wever as a young woman Edens istrying to help, Sean Cullen as Clayton's police officer brother, DavidLansbury as Clayton's gambling addict brother, Denis O'Hare as one ofClayton's clients, and Austin Williams as Clayton's young son.The basic plot of a corporation trying to subvert justice isn't a newone, but writer/director Tony Gilroy finds a fresh approach and playsit out with well-drawn characters, smart dialog, and a great cast. From the very first frame to the very last, I was completely engrossedin the story of "Michael Clayton".[4.5 out of 5 stars]

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Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Create and Donate! Participate in the Gift Economy Community Initiative at the New SLLU Freebie Store!

First up: we have a fantastic new freebie donation just in, created and donated by Hanni Bekkers - available at the SLLU Freebie Store, Gaori/174/112/38. Many thanks to Hanni for all her contributions so far.

She's built a beautifully textured Wooden Hut, complete with furniture - available to you for a grand total of zero linden$!







Hanni has also previously created some fabulous landscaping accessories in the form of a high-quality free waterfall cave, complete with meditation poseballs, cascading water sound effects, and animated textures. Make sure to drop by and pick up these free goodies and also check out all the other donated items we've received so far!

And remember - if you would like to participate by donating content you have created - to be enjoyed for free by the entire SL community - please IM Eremia Woodbury, hanni bekkers, or higgleDpiggle Snoats for a chat.

Tooter Claxton has also been adding some of his eclectic mix of stuff to the freebie shop - see his blog for details - http://tooterclaxton.blogspot.com/

And if you haven't had a chance to do so already - have a look at Dalinian Bing's thought-provoking article on the SL 'Gift Economy' which can be viewed here.

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Saturday, 20 October 2007

Cuba

THE ELECTIONS

http://www.cuba.cu/gobierno/discursos/2007/ing/f191007i.html

Our elections are the antithesis of those held in the United States,
not on Sundays but on the first Tuesday of November. Being very rich
or having the support of lot of money is what matters the most there.
Huge amounts are later on invested in publicity, specialized in brain
washing and the creation of conditioned reflexes.

With honorable exceptions, no one can hope to be appointed to an
important post without being backed by millions of dollars.

Being elected President in the US requires hundreds of millions,
which come from the coffers of big monopolies. Elections can be won
by a candidate earning a minority of votes.

Less and less citizens are going to the ballots; there are many who
would rather go to work or spend their time doing anything else.
There is fraud, tricks, discrimination against ethnic minorities and
even violence.

Having more than 90 per cent of all citizens voting in the elections
and school children guarding the ballots is an unheard of experience;
it's hard to believe that this occurs in one of the "dark corners of
this world", a harassed and blockaded country named Cuba. That is how
we exercise the vigorous muscles of our political awareness.

Fidel Castro Ruz

October 19, 2007

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"Across the Universe" Film review

Danielle Ni Dhighe ( http://scanandpan.blogspot.com/ ) reviews the new Beatles musical...

http://www.acrosstheuniverse.com/

"Across the Universe" - The story of the 1960s told as a musical based on the songs of the Beatles. It's a concept that could only result in a film that's either totally brilliant or totally pretentious. In the hands of visionary screen and stage director Julie Taymor ("Titus", "Frida", Broadway's "The Lion King"), it's the former, and it immediately ranks as one of the great films of 2007.

Jude (Jim Sturgess) is a young dock worker from Liverpool who travels to the United States in the mid-1960s to find the American G.I. father (Robert Clohessy) he never knew. He befriends the privileged Max (Joe Anderson) and his sister Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood). Jude and Lucy fall in love, and their relationship develops against the turbulent backdrop of the Vietnam War, student protests, and societal upheaval.

Although Taymor's background is in stage productions, all of her films are intensely visual in a way that can only be described as mainlining pure cinema directly into the veins of an audience. She's one of the rare filmmakers who knows how to use all the tools of the visual arts to expand the horizons of cinema. "Across the Universe" is no different. Taymor and screenwriters Dick Clement & Ian La Frenais ("The Commitments", "Flushed Away") craft a cleverly complex story told as a series of interconnected vignettes around the songs of the Beatles to explore the 1960s through the eyes of the characters. It never feels anachronistic because its themes are directly relevant to contemporary society. Taymor translates the screenplay into a film that's visually literate, highly metaphorical, and an emotionally powerful artistic statement.

Some controversy arose during post-production after Revolution Studios chairman Joe Roth decided to make his own edit without informing Taymor, cutting out nearly a third of the film. After months of conflict between Taymor and Roth, the studio relented and released
Taymor's 131 minute cut. The film's structure is so intricately woven that it's hard to imagine a radically shortened version working at all. Thankfully, Taymor's vision prevailed.

Cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel ("Amélie"), production designer Mark Friedberg ("The Ice Storm", "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou"), and veteran costume designer Albert Wolsky ("Grease", "All That Jazz") bring Taymor's vision to vivid life in a sense stunning fashion,
delicately treading a fine line between realism and artifice. Elliot Goldenthal ("Titus", "Frida") contributes some original music and is also one of the people responsible for the song arrangements. You've never heard the Beatles quite like this.

There are thirty-four Beatles songs used in the film, mostly compositions of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, but also three from George Harrison and one credited to all four band members. As if any further proof is really necessary, it once again shows why Lennon and
McCartney were two of the greatest writers of popular music in the 20th century. The musical numbers are brilliantly staged by Taymor and choreographer Daniel Ezralow ("Earth Girls Are Easy"), and they all work perfectly in the context of the story.

Taymor gets great acting and singing performances out of her cast, including the McCartney-esque Sturgess as Jude, Wood as Lucy, Anderson as the Vietnam-bound Max, Dana Fuchs as the Janis Jopin-inspired singer Sadie, Martin Luther McCoy as guitarist/singer JoJo (inspired by Jimi Hendrix and Marvin Gaye), T.V. Carpio as yearning runaway
Prudence, Clohessy as Jude's long lost father, U2 frontman Bono as the charismatic Dr. Robert (his performance of "I Am the Walrus" is outstanding), Eddie Izzard as the circus ringmaster Mr. Kite, Salma Hayek as a nurse, and Joe Cocker in three different roles.

It's not often that a piece of cinema raises itself to the sublime level of a work of art, but "Across the Universe" is one of those rare examples. It's mind-blowing in all the right ways and very highly recommended. It's only the second film this year (the other was "The Wind That Shakes the Barley") that I feel is worthy of a full five stars.

[5 out of 5 stars]

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Friday, 19 October 2007

MEETING RESISTANCE

This video clip from the upcoming, award winning film from Steve Connors and Molly Bingham, Meeting Resistance, portrays a side of the Iraqi insurgency President Bush doesn't want the world to see.

In “Meeting Resistance” we hear the voices and stories of individuals usually simply referred to – depending on your perspective -- as resistance fighters, insurgents, or terrorists. Visit the film’s website.



Priests Protesting Torture Jailed
Louis Vitale, 75, a Franciscan priest, and Steve Kelly, 58, a Jesuit priest, were each sentenced to five months in federal prison for attempting to deliver a letter opposing the teaching of torture at Fort Huachuca in Arizona. Both priests were taken directly into jail from the courtroom after sentencing.

Fort Huachuca is the headquarters of military intelligence in the U.S. and the place where military and civilian interrogators are taught how to extract information from prisoners. The priests attempted to deliver their letter to Major General Barbara Fast, commander of Fort Huachuca. Fast was previously the head of all military intelligence in Iraq during the atrocities of Abu Ghraib.

The priests were arrested while kneeling in prayer halfway up the driveway to Fort Huachuca in November 2006. Both priests were charged with trespass on a military base and resisting orders of an officer to stop.

More HERE

VISIT THIS POLITICAL BLOG: http://politicsplus.blogspot.com/

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Monday, 15 October 2007

Sheehan on Burma

Cindy Sheehan writes about Laura Bush's "concern" over Burma... click on the photo.


Click on the pictures below to tp directly to the freebie shop to get your "Freedom for Burma" Teeshirt




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WHITE RIBBON - call for Second Life campaigners


Go see the White Ribbon Stand on Luna Box sim - http://slurl.com/secondlife/Isla%20Montevideo/185/132/25

The White Ribbon Campaign UK is the UK branch of the global campaign to ensure men take more responsibility for reducing the level of violence against women.

White Ribbon Campaign now exists in Second Life, the virtual existence, as a group.

They are looking for a team to develop and expand their presence there , as well as to design posters, and make and distribute ribbons in Second Life.

If you know of anyone who might want to assist and build their reputation as a virtual campaigner then they can IM inword organser Chris May, and also join the 'White Ribbon' group inworld.

What is the White Ribbon Campaign (WRC)?

The WRC is the largest effort in the world of men working to end men's violence against women. It relies on volunteer support and financial contributions from individuals and organizations.

How did the WRC get started?

In 1991, a handful of men in Canada decided they had a responsibility to urge men to speak out against violence against women. They decided that wearing a white ribbon would be a symbol of men's opposition to men's violence against women. After only six weeks preparation, as many as one hundred thousand men across Canada wore a white ribbon. Many others were drawn into discussion and debate on the issue of men's violence. There are now White Ribbon Campaigns operating in many countries around the world.

More FAQ's here - http://www.whiteribboncampaign.co.uk/about/index.htm

http://www.whiteribboncampaign.co.uk/
http://whiteribbonscotland.wordpress.com/
http://whiteribboncampaign.co.uk/blog/?p=19
www.whiteribbonscotland.org.uk

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Sunday, 14 October 2007

Greenwashing their hands

by Roz Paterson, SSP


The ecology of shopping...
This article was originally published here: http://www.scottishsocialistparty.org/stories/greenwashing.html

Apparently, you can shop til you drop and still save the planet.

Tesco, a company growing at such an exponential rate it will soon have its own currency, is to hand over a £25million chunk of its gargantuan profits to Manchester University to fund an Institute of Sustainable Consumption.
And this on top of offering customers a whole extra point on their loyalty cards for re-using old Tesco carrier bags!
Meanwhile, Marks and Spencer are busy pursuing Plan A, a five year bid to see the company edge towards carbon neutrality, zero waste, fair trade and healthy eating.
Not that this seems to have stayed their appetite for wrapping up fruit in seemingly bombproof packaging.
In fact, all the big supermarkets are at it, pronouncing their commitment to penguins and butterflies all along the aisles of their overlit, over-heated cathedrals to over-consumption.
Which is the basic problem, really.
Supermarkets need us to buy stuff, far more than we need, so much so that we chuck two thirds of it away, uneaten, often unopened. They pour millions, far more than Tesco boss Terry Leahy has pledged to Manchester University, into persuading us to consume like our lives depended on it.
We are bombarded with urgent promptings to shop for stuff, from the minute we step out our homes, or switch on the TV, or even look out the window. Americans are advertised at some 6000 times a day - we’re not far behind.
And once we enter a supermarket, we’re lobbied relentlessly, through two-for-ones, BOGOFs and the practise of running ‘loss leaders’, where key items, the ones we know the price of, at rock bottom prices, so we assume everything else is dirt cheap too and go madder than a 1970s game show contestant who’s just won a three minute trolley dash round Lipton’s.
Without all this pressure, why else, in this age of 24/7, 365 days a year shopping opportunities, do we stock up for Christmas (when most shops are shut for, yes, one day) like the nuclear winter was approaching?
Or buy three tubs of margarine when we only wanted one, yet think we’ve saved money?
To save the planet, we actually need to consume much, much less and this, for a capitalist enterprise for whom profit is not only the bottom line but the raison d’etre, is unthinkable.
But let’s suppose for a minute, just a minute, that there is no global warming. That global warming is just a con trick dreamed up by a clique of evil ecologists who want us all to be miserable and cold and forced to jolly well ride bicycles to work.
If such were the case, could supermarkets ever be a force for good?
After all, they supply cheap food to the masses, don’t they?
Well, I guess, but the only cheap food is the fat-laden, chemically-enhanced, over-preserved, nutritionally-neutral stuff that food campaigners are desperately trying to drive out of school canteens and vending machines because of its propensity to nurture heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
All the good stuff costs, and not just monetarily.
Take the organic revolution.
Even were climate change on hold, it would still be a good idea to eat food that was sustainably produced, leaving the countryside in good shape for us to enjoy and in which rural workers can safely labour, and not laden with damaging pesticides that not only compromise our immune systems but wreck ecosystems and poison wildlife.
The problem is, supermarkets being what they are, they only buy organic produce from the cheapest suppliers. That is, in the world. Thus including countries where there are no labour laws. Hence, 75 per cent of organic produce is flown in from abroad, clocking up millions of air miles as it does so.
The same goes, of course, for non-organic produce.
And if you’ve ever wondered how they can sell it so cheap yet rack up such massive profits, remember there are people at the other end of this long food chain, and they’re the ones subsidising the UK’s cheap food industry.
People like the South African pear picker on 38 pence an hour who cannot afford to take her children to the doctor when they’re ill. And the female fruit pickers expected to pick apples while they are being sprayed with hazardous pesticides from above. And even here, people like the small farmers forced to sell crops for less than they cost to produce, driving them out of business and leaving seasonal workers high and dry.
Then there are the working conditions for those employed directly by the big supermarkets.
Wal-Mart, which now owns Asda, is a notoriously anti-trade union organisation, and in February 2006, was ordered to pay £850,000 for breaking new trade union laws by offering illegal inducements to workers to quit the GMB union.
Some 340 drivers and warehouse men at a Washington, Durham, distribution depot were offered a 10 per cent pay rise if they left the union
Our homegrown institutions are hardly better. Tesco, for instance, despite its staggering profits, has, report T&G shop stewards, put pressure on them to relinquish hard-won pay and working conditions if they want to join the company pension scheme.
A website established by disgruntled employees, of which there are many, dishes the daily dirt on Tesco, whose public image is dominated by whichever fading celebrities are hollow enough to take the cheque.
Bad for people, and the planet. There is little good to say about supermarkets, yet they thrive, mostly because the government is too in awe of big business to introduce any curbing legislation, and leaving us with a monoculture of big chainstores and precious little else.
Boycotts exist, particularly against Tesco, and any money directed away from the giants and into local economies is to the good. But consumer power cannot solve the problem by itself.
The campaigning charity Action Aid is calling for the government to introduce binding rules for supermarkets, and an independent watchdog to stamp on the abuse of power that currently helps ensure that people in developing countries stay poor, in order to provide a workforce desperate enough to work for virtually nothing.
We need legislation, not club card points and laughable research institutes that find the results their paymasters want them to find. Until then, watch out for the greenwash... and don’t buy more than you can chew.


EXPLOITED! Visit the SLLU exhibition: http://slleftunity.blogspot.com/2007/09/exploited.html

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Saturday, 13 October 2007

SUPPORT THE POSTAL WORKERS!


http://www.cwu.org/news.asp?step=3&NID=1724

http://www.scottishsocialistparty.org/stories/posties.html

http://www.wrp.org.uk/news/2589

http://www.respectcoalition.org/index.php?ite=1594

http://www.socialistunity.com/?p=695

http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=13224

http://www.socialistpartywales.org.uk/

http://www.iww.org.uk/about/updates/070719-post/index.html

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Know your friends - they may be an advert...

http://www.adweek.com/aw/iq_interactive/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003657369

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Attention SLefties and Freebie Lovers!

BE PART OF THE GIFT ECONOMY! New items have arrived at the brand new SLLU Freebie Store in Gaori! Come on over and help yourself to our expanding range of goodies. All items in store are completely free - and if you'd like to also make a voluntary donation to the group, please do so too! Also you can join the group inworld by doing a groups search for 'SL Left Unity' - membership is open to everyone who supports the group charter.

If you have any items you've created and would like to distribute inworld to the community for free - please contact Eremia Woodbury, hanni Bekkers, or higgleDpiggle Snoats.

Or, if you have any suggestions for content you'd like to see in the store in future - please IM higgleDpiggle Snoats with your ideas!

SLURL:
click me to teleport directly to the store

here's a full list of the items which have just arrived at
SLLU freebie store:




New Tees!
'Love Music Hate Racism'
'Make Tea Not War'
'No Racism-No Sexism'
'Gegen (against) Nazis'
'CWU Support UK Postal Workers' Strike'




Also newly added!
Hammer & Sickle Tattoo
Free Plants Box
Waterfall Cave (vendor is now fixed)
Chinese Rug
Texture Switching Display Frame - invaluable for displaying Group or personal Information, Graphics, Poetry, Artwork etc






many, many thanks to Alys Abruzzo, Hastings Bournemouth, Prole Pinion and hanni Bekkers for donating our latest wares. Please keep 'em coming!

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Friday, 12 October 2007

Burma

Only now, the full horror of Burmese junta's repression of monks emerges :

Harrowing accounts smuggled out of Burma reveal how a systematic campaign of physical punishment and psychological terror is being waged by the Burmese security forces as they take revenge on those suspected of involvement in last month's pro-democracy uprising.
http://news.independent.co.uk/world/asia/article3047606.ece




There has been a call from a few organisations across the world to make every Friday "Wear Red Day" in solidarity with the Burmese people and in solidarity with people across the world living under these anti-democratic conditions.

Wear Red in SL and RL this Friday.

Our "Freedom for Burma" teeshirt is free and can be requested from HiggleDpiggle Snoats.


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Tuesday, 9 October 2007

FREEEEEEEBIES!!!!!

The first of the SLLU FREEBIE SHOPS is now open. Go visit and take what u want! If you have anything you have made, please contribute stuff!

Contact HiggleDpiggle Snoats, Hanni Bekkers or Eremia Woodbury for suggestions and if you have something YOU have made that you would like to be included in our giveaway!



Click HERE for Dalinian Bing's excellent article on "The Gift Economy"

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Monday, 8 October 2007

The November RAVE-lution!


The SLLU first anniversary RAVE-LUTION!

SATURDAY 3rd November

Groove with

Mike Mission

Chill out with

Wildo Hofmann

And have fun on a specially commissioned race track and fun fair

Get free stuff at a freebie shop on the night – with limited edition stuff!

MORE DETAILS NEXT WEEK! (Week beginning 21 October 2007)

Venue to be announced…

http://slleftunity.blogspot.com/

from the Group that brought you (amongst others…) http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2007/06/372893.html

And

http://www.wayneporter.com/2007/01/20/more-political-strife-in-second-life-sllu-versus-fn/

and

http://www.redflag.org.uk/frontline/feb07/03secondlife.html

and

http://warisboring.com/?p=357

(though I disagree with the paranoia!)

And

http://alister.blogspot.com/2007/01/sl-in-rl-press.html

And

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Businesses_and_Organizations_in_Second_Life#Second_Life_Left_Unity

and

http://www.secondlifeherald.com/slh/2007/08/whats-the-harm.html

and

http://tooterclaxton.blogspot.com/2007/09/exploited-warplanes.html

and

http://transition.turbulence.org/blog/2007/01/18/second-life-left-unity/

and

http://www.secondlifeherald.com/slh/2007/02/sl_capitol_hill.html

and

http://alister.blogspot.com/search/label/mmo

and

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2007/jan/20/news.france

and….

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Blogging for the Environment



October 15, a week from today, is Blog Action Day, and the theme this year is the environment. If you have a suitable article you would like blogged on that day on the SLLU blog, please send to Plot Tracer inworld.

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Sunday, 7 October 2007

Wear Red... Cry Freedom.



There has been a call from a few organisations across the world to make every Friday "Wear Red Day" in solidarity with the Burmese people and in solidarity with people across the world living under these anti-democratic conditions.

Wear Red in SL and RL this Friday.

Our "Freedom for Burma" teeshirt is free and can be requested from HiggleDpiggle Snoats.






Something Inside So Strong

(1987 - From the CD "So Strong")

The higher you build your barriers
The taller I become
The further you take my rights away
The faster I will run
You can deny me
You can decide to turn your face away
No matter 'cause there's ...

chorus:
Something inside so strong
I know that I can make it
Though you're doing me wrong, so wrong
You thought that my pride was gone... oh no
There's something inside so strong
Something inside so strong

The more you refuse to hear my voice
The louder I will sing
You hide behind walls of Jericho
Your lies will come tumbling
Deny my place in time
You squander wealth that's mine
My light will shine so brightly it will blind you
Because there's ...

(chorus)

Brothers and sisters
When they insist we're just not good enough
Well, we know better
Just look 'em in the eyes and say
We're gonna do it anyway
We're gonna do it anyway ... because there's

(chorus)

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Saturday, 6 October 2007

Wealth Creates Poverty? Terrorism, Globalization and Conspiracy

Dr. Michael Parenti

Globalization is an attempt to extend corporate monopoly control over the whole globe. Over every national economy. Over every local economy Over every life.

Dr. Michael Parenti, one of North America's leading radical writers on U.S. imperialism and interventionism, fascism, democracy and the media, spoke to several hundred people at St. Andrews Wesley Church in Vancouver.

Dr. Parenti has taught political science at a number of colleges and universities in the United States and other countries. He was written 250 major magazine articles and 15 books and is frequently heard on public and alternative radio.

Click here to watch:



OCTOBER 9, 2002, VANCOUVER

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Friday, 5 October 2007

The death of democracy - the rebirth of fascism

by Plot Tracer

Recently I had a "debate" with Prokofy Neva about corporations (and other issues- see
http://secondthoughts.typepad.com/second_thoughts/2007/07/graves.html )


Prokofy said, rather confidently, in my call to ban their disgusting symbols from SL,


"Nike and Nestle and GM have not massacred people like Nazis or Soviets, Plot Tracer. That you may possibly believe they have is a good advertisement for your vulnerability to stupid communist propaganda."

My reply may seem extreme to some, "Oh but they have , you ignorant woman. Perhaps rather than spout your untenable position as the only truth, you can do your first proper learning about the system you love. Look up the longest running boycott in the world to start with- and see why millions of people choose not to buy Nestle. Perhaps another easy one to look up for you would be Coca Cola and why people from south America and India urge westerners not to buy the crappiest symbol of western decadence.
Oh, and turning away from something and allowing it to happen is also reprehensible, especially when it is just to hold on to ones own "lot"."

As I said in my reply, the easy ones to find on the net are Coca Cola and Nestle. Not so easy to find is GM (American corporation General Motors) help to the Nazi's. GM owned Opel AG, and with the help of GM executives in 1937, they transformed the company into an armaments concern. The company produced trucks for the German army- Opel Blitz trucks were used, and were crucial to, the blitzkrieg attacks on Poland, France and Russia. It also built aircraft components including engines for the Luftwaffes Junker "Wonderbomber". GM to this day boasts of its crucial part in the war- though never mentions the fact it profited from both sides.

Recently in SL, workers in the Italian subsidiary of the American company, IBM used the SL platform to publicise their struggle over pay and conditions. IBM helped the Nazi regime when they provided technical assistance in running the Nazi extermination and slave labour programs. It is documented that IBM knew exactly what its machines were being used for, and IBM technicians serviced machines and trained users and supplied punchcards right up until America's entrance in the war. Why? For the bottom line- profit. Corporations do not consider human cost of bolstering dictatorships- they only value or not regimes that help or impede the profit margin. This is seen today with corporations trading, aiding and abetting disgusting regimes world wide. In the late 30's a group of military men and business men drew up plans for a fascist coup in the United States against the New Dealers and what they saw as a left takeover. Politicians in the west thought Mussolini’s definition of fascism was appealing. "Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." - Benito Mussolini.

The coup was thwarted - but the leaders would be happy to see that corporate America has been able to escape the democratic process since. The corporate takeover of America and the world is well under way, and to hell with people. Profit comes first for these corporate elites.

Other recent SL history saw the demonstrations of people in solidarity with the Burmese people fighting for their freedom and lives. In 1998, the State of Massachusetts was forced by a US judge to drop a boycott of trading with the murderous regime. This was done citing an EU appeal to the WTO which argued that the sanctions were unfair bar to trade. George Monbiot, in his book 'captive state' says that state lawyers argued that if current trade rules were in place in the '80's, Nelson Mandela would still be in jail.

And there is the rub. Slowly, stealthily, the world has been taken over by corporatism. Thatchers greed revolution has blighted the lives of many millions, and for the pursuit of profit. Reaganomics and Bushism- fascism with a smiley, "I'm one of you!" smiles. And people are forced to accept it as natural. Because those in power or who have access to what little democracy we have left, say so. To hell with the poor. They are "white trash, neds, chavs" or whatever other derogatory name the press and media are pushing on to the poor and disaffected.

I mentioned Nestle and Nike in my reply to Prokofy Neva. Look for yourselves for their amoral profitering from death and from despotic regimes. Links below.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nike,_Inc.#Human_rights_concerns

http://www.burmacampaign.org.uk/reports/comingclean.html

http://killercoke.org/crimes.htm

http://www.labour.ie/youth/campaigns/index/20040908125109.htmle

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article7260.htm
References: Captive State; George Monbiot (2000, PanMacmillan)
The Corporation; Joel Bakan (2005, Constable and Robinson)

(Oh, and Prokofy – just a wee correction – 1.5 MILLION children, not 15…)

http://www.babymilkaction.org/

“The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 1.5 million infants die around the world every year because they are not breastfed. Where water is unsafe a bottle-fed child is up to 25 times more likely to die as a result of diarrhoea than a breastfed child.”

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Tuesday, 2 October 2007

UNIONS 2.0: How a "Virtual" Protest Can Bring Us to a "Real" Success

by Barillo Kohnke


Barillo is a member of IBM ITALY National Works Council, and the Italian Delegate to the IBM European Works Council, representing all 9000 employees from 11 IBM group companies.


photos supplied by Eremia Woodbury

(please scroll down page for additional Italian language version of this article).

For many years we are asking to ourselves how to rebuild the trust to the unions, because many workers consider them as "obsolete" and "ineffective". The low level of participation in strikes and union initiatives must open our eyes to the need fo rethinking our mode of being unionists.....a way that cannot be hinged on fights and mental schemes of the 20th century, but without leaving anything from our great history. We must build an union that is renewing itself to approach the new challanges that we are facing today. The goal is to find new tools to communicate with our workers, to create participation, to surpass new problems coming with globalization (job off-shoring, vendorizations, etc) and at the same time involve young employees, teleworkers, employees out of offices, and the subsidiarian companies.
What we are trying to do inside IBM, one of the biggest corporations worldwide, can become a model to build a Union 2.0.
These are two main points:
- in a "globally integrated company" scenario, only with a global union alliance we can confront problems and needs of employees at worldwide level.
- internet in all its evolutions (web 2.0 and 3D) opens new possibilities for a strong union usage of all electronic tools to increase participation, communication and efficiency of traditional union initiatives.

But let's see a concrete example: after a long year of inconclusive bargaining to get a company level agreement (supported by traditional strikes, etc) where we were asking a small salary increase (40euro) and IBM responded with a salary increase of 6 euro (and we remember that IBM is one company with highest profit).
The last action: IBM in July cancelled in a unilateral way a national union agreement, which for many years has given the "productive result benefit" (with a loss of 700-1500 euro per year to all 5000 IBM workers in Italy).

For this reason we launched the first virtual strike on SECOND LIFE, a metaverse where many companies like IBM are investing millions of (real) dollars in this new world, to transform it in a marketing field.
But...what is exactly Second Life ? It's not a game: it's a complex ecosystem, a virtual society, a digital organism in continuous expansion and evolution. It's a cybercultural phenomenon, which is involving millions of real people. So we decided to move the union fight in this new innovative scenario: because here, for the first time, we are really with the same weapons and we can use for our advantage the technology that IBM is showing to its customer.
After one month of work, we built a global union alliance, thanks to the great help of UNI GLOBAL UNION, and political support of EMF and IMF (international and european metalworkers federations).
A taskforce of 20 people was able to organize, from zero, the first virtual protest worldwide in SL..

and so....on 27th of September 2007, 1853 -true- persons protested for 12 hours with their computer from 30 different countries, giving solidarity to IBM Italian workers.





The protest took place in 7 IBM sims on SL, and in particular on IBM Italia and IBM Business Centre. The tension and atmosphere were like a real event.... as some "disturbing people" that our security service managed.

Many protesters picketed, with many impressive colours and original templates, which flooded the vision of the strikers. The protest was real, even if the place was virtual !







Second Life had technical problems, because we reached a high number of participants.
IBM was annoyed, because we touched with the protest a real strategic place for the company: IBM closed its Business Centre to all visitors and customers, and the strikers closed a real IBM staff meeting in SL during the afternoon.

Results: now we have a bigger power to be used in our bargaining in the "real world", thanks to the extensive media coverage of this initiative: radio, tv and the blogosphere demonstrated a great receptiveness to this new way of unionised protest.

We know that the weak point of a corporation is its image: here we hit, and we opened the eyes of global public opinion on the Italian case. The participation so big at international level, created a global union alliance, which covers all the countries where the employees' representatives are fighting for the same goals: better wages, increased rights, more professionality and security for their jobs, investments on peripheral centres and learning.

Today a new international solidarity between employees is born, which uses all these new tools to fight and win the 21st century challenges.

for more info:
official protest blog: http://ibmslprotest.blogspot.com/
IBM local workscouncil: www.rsuibmvimercate.it

for more photos of the event, please see:
http://www.4shared.com/dir/4005252/4f71bfa5/BestEditedHighResPix.html


SINDACATO 2.0: come una protesta "virtuale" puo' portare ad un successo "reale"
Di Davide Barillari


Da anni ci si chiede come recuperare la fiducia verso un sindacato che purtroppo troppi lavoratori considerano "obsoleto" e "inutile". La scarsa partecipazione a scioperi e iniziative sindacali ed iniziative ci devono far aprire gli occhi sulla necessita' di ripensare il nostro modo di fare sindacato...che non puo' restare fermo alle lotte e agli schemi mentali del XX secolo, ma che senza perdere nulla della propria storia deve anche profondamente rinnovarsi per affrontare le nuove sfide che abbiamo davanti. L'obiettivo e' cercare nuovi strumenti per comunicare con i lavoratori, per creare partecipazione e sensibilizzazione, per superare i nuovi problemi che ci pone la globalizzazione (delocalizzazioni, vendorizzazioni, ecc) e allo stesso tempo coinvolgere i giovani, i telelavoristi, i fuori sede e le aziende consociate. Quello che stiamo tentando di fare all' interno di IBM, una delle piu' grandi corporation al mondo, puo' essere un modello per la costruzione del Sindacato 2.0.
Questi i due punti principali:
- nel contesto di un'"azienda integrata globalmente", solo un'alleanza sindacale internazionale puo’ affrontare problemi ed esigenze dei lavoratori a livello globale
- internet in tutte le sue evoluzioni (web 2.0 e 3D) apre nuove possibilita' per un forte utilizzo sindacale di tutti gli strumenti elettronici per aumentare la partecipazione, la comunicazione e l'efficacia delle azioni sindacali tradizionali.
Ma entriamo in un esempio concreto: dopo un lungo anno di inconcludente trattativa per portare a casa un contratto integrativo aziendale (supportato da scioperi tradizionali, raccolte firme, ecc) nel quale chiedevamo, fra le varie cose un modesto aumento di salario (circa 40euro), l'azienda risponde con un aumento di 6euro (e ricordiamo che IBM e' fra le aziende al mondo con piu’ alti profitti).
E poi la goccia che ha fatto traboccare il vaso: a luglio IBM cancella unilateralmente un accordo sindacale che da anni garantisce il "premio di risultato" (circa 700-1200 euro in meno all'anno per tutti i 5000 lavoratori in Italia).
Abbiamo quindi lanciato la prima protesta su SECOND LIFE, un metaverso dove aziende come IBM stanno investendo milioni di dollari (reali) in questa nuova frontiera sociale per trasformarla in terreno di marketing.
Ma cosa e' davvero Second Life ? Non e' un gioco: e’ un complesso esosistema, una societa’ virtuale, un organismo digitale in continua fluttuazione ed espansione. E’ un fenomeno cyberculturale che sta coinvolgendo milioni di personi reali. Abbiamo quindi deciso di portare il conflitto sindacale su questo terreno innovativo: perche' qui, per la prima volta, siamo davvero ad armi pari e possiamo utilizzare a nostro vantaggio la tecnologia di cui IBM tanto si vanta con i clienti.
Dopo un mese di lavoro, abbiamo costruito un'alleanza sindacale internazionale, grazie al preziosissimo aiuto di UNI GLOBAL UNION, e del supporto politico di FEM e FISM (federazioni europee ed internazionali dei sindacati metalmeccanici).
Una taskforce di 20 persone e' riuscita ad organizzare, da zero, la prima protesta virtuale al mondo.
E quindi: il 27 settembre 2007, 1853 -vere- persone hanno protestato per 12 ore tramite i loro computer da oltre 30 diversi paesi, mostrando solidarieta' ai lavoratori italiani IBM.
La protesta si e' svolta nelle 7 isole IBM su Second Life, e in particolare su IBM Italia e l' IBM Business Centre. La tensione e l'atmosfera erano quelli di un evento reale...compresi disturbatori che il servizio di sicurezza ha subito gestito. Cartelloni di protesta a bizzeffe, dai colori sgargianti e dalle forme a volte davvero originali, hanno affollato gli schermi dei manifestanti. La protesta era vera,a che se il luogo era virtuale!
Second Life ha avuto problemi tecnici, poiche' e’ raggiunto un elevato numero di partecipanti. Da IBM moltissimo fastidio, poiche’ abbiamo toccato su un terreno strategico dove fa piu’ male: IBM ha chiuso parte del suo piu’ importante Business Centre a tutti i visitatori e ai clienti, ed i manifestanti hanno interrotto una vera riunione di manager IBM (in una meeting room su Second Life) durante il pomeriggio.
Risultato: ora abbiamo piu’ forza per la trattativa sindacale nel mondo “reale”, grazie all’ enorme copertura massmediatica dell' iniziativa: radio, giornali, tv e tutta la blogosfera ha dato un fortissimo risalto a questa nuova forma di protesta sindacale.
Sappiamo che il punto debole di una corporation e' la sua immagine: proprio qui abbiamo colpito e siamo riusciti ad accendere i riflettori dell'opinione pubblica mondiale sul caso italiano. La partecipazione cosi' ampia a livello internazionale inoltre ha sancito la nascita di un sindacato mondiale, che si estende a tutti i paesi che come noi lottano per gli stessi obiettivi: migliori salari, maggiori diritti, professionalita', sicurezza del contratto e del posto di lavoro, investimenti su centri periferici e garanzia di formazione.
Oggi nasce una nuova forma di solidarieta' internazionale fra lavoratori, che utilizza tutti i nuovi strumenti per affrontare e vincere le sfide del XXI secolo.

per info:
l blog ufficiale della protesta: http://ibmslprotest.blogspot.com/
il sito della RSU IBM di Vimercate: www.rsuibmvimercate.it

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Monday, 1 October 2007

Second Life Activists Solidarity across sims


Second Life has become a fantastic tool to link people across the world in activism. Alice Walker said, “Activism is my rent for living on this planet.” Lots of people became activists after joining in the SL solidarity demonstrations over the past week. Friendships were forged by people from all walks of life as their AV’s held hands across sims.

SLLU activist Eremia Woodbury said, “How incredible it was to be standing in a human chain with people from the UK, Europe, USA and Japan and how encouraging that that many people were motivated to take a stand within SL.

HiggleDpiggle Snoats, who was also on the demonstrations said, 'the demos were held in various sims throughout the day, and were really well attended - with hundreds of avs dropping by, many staying for hours on end. The idea was that avs could form a 'symbolic human chain' by linking hands in a line in order to show their solidarity with the courageous demonstrators in Burma. I hadn't come across this device in SL before, and I think it really did create an added sense of camaraderie and an atmosphere of unity amongst disparate people, scattered across the world, who might otherwise have felt isolated in their responses to the violence and oppression on peaceful protestors they had been hearing about in the news. I left the events with the feeling that this is an issue which touches a very wide range of people. It also forced me to reflect on whether I could ever be as brave as the Burmese protesters.'

Plot Tracer said, "this has been a victory for the awareness raising power of Second Life. This is the kind of education and communication that Second Life should be used for. People who took part in these demonstrations should now ensure their voices are heard in Real Life. Contact your politicians and call for boycotts of Burmese goods and of Western Companies who are buoying up this disgusting, brutal regime."

Details of what can be done in real life are below.



Burma: ‘world looks other way’
The ruling military junta in Burma was still ‘working’ on its transition to democracy, reconvening its constitution talks while the world’s eyes were upon it last year.
That this is a farce of the highest order goes without saying, not least because Burma, now known as Myanmar, remains the bloodiest dictatorship in the world, where rape and torture are used routinely by government forces, where children are forcibly recruited as soldiers, where ethnic minorities are murdered en masse, where at least hundreds of thousands are internally displaced, and where people are enslaved in the tourism industry, the biggest source of income for the military government.
Not only that, but the National League for Democracy (NLD), which won the country’s last General Election in 1990 yet has never been allowed to govern, has been excluded from these constitutional talks.

Their leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, remains in detention, having been held under house arrest on and off for 18 years. On 9 October last year, she clocked up 4,000 days in detention. On 24 October, that will come to 12 years.

Says Yvette Mahon, of the Burma Campaign UK:
“These milestones come and go, yet still most of the world looks the other way.”
The United Nations, however, has at least put Burma on the agenda. But this may prove as useless as last years so called constitutional talks.
UN under-Secretary General Ibrahim Gambari, leader of the UN delegation, is worryingly naïve when it comes to Burma. Following a visit there last May, he appeared to have swallowed the junta line about moving towards democracy. He thought that Aung San Suu Kyi would be released shortly. In fact, a few days later, she was sentenced to a further year in detention.
On 29 September last year, he reported that progress was being made as two political prisoners had been released. Unfortunately, five pro-democracy leaders were arrested around the same time, “to prevent instability of the state and to prevent terrorist attacks”, according to the government.
This article originally appeared here: http://www.scottishsocialistvoice.net/lg%20back%20issues%2006/issue%20282_lg.htm


Resources:

http://www.greenleft.org.au/2007/726/37664

http://www.newsdeskspecial.co.uk/burma/




ACTION ON BURMA
What can we do to bring the Burmese military to the negotiating table?
Plenty, says activist Simon Billenness.
The story so far...
Using the tactics of the anti-apartheid campaign, activists in the US and Canada have caused Amoco, Eddie Bauer, Liz Claiborne, Macy’s and PetroCanada to withdraw from Burma. In 1995 three US cities – Berkeley, Madison and Santa Monica – passed laws boycotting companies doing business in Burma. The US Congress is currently considering the ‘Burma Freedom and Democracy Act’ that would impose economic sanctions. Meanwhile the European Union is discussing imposing tariffs on Burmese-made goods.
Challenges ahead...
But many companies continue to ignore Aung San Suu Kyi’s call for sanctions. They include ARCO (US), Texaco (US), Total (France), UNOCAL (US), Premier (UK) and Heineken (Holland). The latter plans to open up a brewery in partnership with a military-owned company.
What can I do?
� Join your national Burma Action group. Form a local Burma Action group with your friends and local activists. Brainstorm ideas for local campaigns in co-operation with your national Burma Action group.
� Boycott companies that do business in Burma. Write to the companies to tell them of your boycott and ask them why they refuse to respect the clearly stated wishes of the Burmese democracy movement.
� Organize demonstrations outside Texaco and Total gas stations. Return for a full refund any clothes marked ‘Made in Myanmar’ or ‘Made in Burma’ and tell the store why you won’t wear them.
� Ask your local councillors to join other cities in boycotting corporations in Burma. Work for the passage of a law barring the city’s purchasing managers from buying any goods or services from companies doing business in Burma. Such laws in the US have already cost these companies thousands in lost contracts. The laws also deter companies from going into Burma in the first place.
� Write to top management if you own stock in companies in Burma and attend the annual meeting to ask why they are supporting the Burmese military junta. Support shareholders’ resolutions that ask companies to withdraw from Burma.
� Ask your national parliament representatives to introduce and support legislation imposing South Africa-style economic sanctions on Burma. Ask your prime minister or president to press for economic sanctions at the United Nations.
� Do not holiday in Burma until democracy has been restored. Boycott travel agents advertising Burma holidays and tell them why you are doing so.

GROUPS
AOTEAROA
New Zealand Burma Support Group,
14 Waitati Place, Mt Albert, Auckland. Tel: (64) 9828 4855
AUSTRALIA
Australia Burma Council, PO Box 2024, Queanbeyan NSW 2620.
Tel: (616) 297 7734
E-mail: azappia@spirit.com.au

CANADA
Canadian Friends of Burma,
145 Spruce Street, Suite 206, Ottawa, Ontario, K1R 6P1. Tel: (613) 237 8056 Fax: (613) 563 0017 E-mail: cfob@web.apc.org Web: http://www.cfob.org/

THAILAND
Burma Issues, PO Box 1076,
Silom Post Office, Bangkok 10504.
E-mail: durham@mozart.inet.co.th
Web: http://www.signposts.uts.edu.au/contacts/Burma/Media/491.html

UK
The Burma Campaign UK
Third Floor, Bickerton House
Bickerton Road
London, UK
N19 5JT7
Tel: (20) 7281 7377
Fax: (20) 7272 3559
Email: info@burmacampaign.org.uk
Website: www.burmacampaign.org.uk

US
Franklin Research and Development,
711 Atlantic Avenue, Boston, MA 02111.
Tel: (617) 423 6655 Fax: (617) 482 6179
E-mail: simon_billenness@cybercom.net
Human Rights Watch/Asia, 350 Fifth Avenue, 34th floor New York, NY 10118-3299 USA Tel: (1) 212 290-4700, Fax: (1) 212 736-1300 E-mail: hrwnyc@hrw.org Web: http://www.hrw.org/asia/index.php

INTERNATIONAL
Free Burma Coalition website (with links to other Free Burma websites) http://www.freeburmacoalition.org

Worth Reading
Outrage: Burma’s struggle for democracy by Bertil Lintner, White Lotus, London and Bangkok, 1990.

Burma in Revolt: opium and insurgency since 1948 by Bertil Lintner, White Lotus, Bangkok, 1994.

Freedom from Fear by Aung San Suu Kyi, Penguin, London, revised 1995.

Guide to Burma by Nicholas Greenwood, Bradt Publications, UK, 1996.

Burma: The Challenge of Change in a Divided Society ed. Peter Carey, MacMillan Press, Basingstoke, 1996.

Ethnic Groups in Burma by Martin Smith, Anti-Slavery International, 1994.

Burma Insurgency and the Politics of Ethnicity by Martin Smith, Zed Books, London, 1991.

Burma’s Revolution of the Spirit by Alan Clements and Leslie Kean, White Orchid, Bangkok, 1995.

John Pilger’s 1996 documentary Inside Burma: Land of Fear can be purchased on video from Video Resource Unit, Central Broadcasting, Broad Street, Birmingham B1 2JP, UK. Tel: (121) 643 9898.

This originally appeared here: http://www.newint.org/issue280/action.htm
WHAT CAN YOU DO?

(from http://secondlife.techsoup.org/node/154 )

1 - Protest - Look below for details of worldwide protests. Contact US Campaign for Burma to sign up to hold a march, vigil or any sort of event in your area- thelma@uscampaignforburma.org there is also a protest being held on Burning Life sim today.

2 - Spread the word - Invite your friends to this group, email all your family and friends, write to local newspapers

3 - Write to your elected official - they will respond if enough people contact them.

4 - Wear red clothes on Friday. http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=18267307704

5 - Email the companies that still operate in Burma, their email addresses are listed here http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=24957770200&topic=3071

6 - Sign up for the petition!

http://www.uscampaignforburma.org/action/action.html
http://www.petitiononline.com/BUR_2007/petition.html
http://www.avaaz.org/en/stand_with_burma/h.php/?cl=20589575


The business of oppression
How British companies fund the Burmese junta

http://www.sundayherald.com/news/heraldnews/display.var.1724311.0.0.php

http://www.sundayherald.com/news/heraldnews/display.var.1724312.0.0.php

'Hypocrisy Rules the West'

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article18485.htm

More photos on flickr of demos:
http://flickr.com/photos/sl-adventures/sets/72157602215612773/

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