Socialist Worker

It's not so Boxfresh

Issue No. 1767

CLOTHING COMPANY Boxfresh has come a cropper. It launched a snide advertising campaign recently. Boxfresh used imagery and slogans from the Zapatista rebel group in Mexico. They were spraypainted on walls around major shopping areas in central London and passed as convincing propaganda from Zapatista supporters (until you got to the Boxfresh logo).

One group of activists were so incensed by this blatant ripoff of a struggle for the rights of indigenous people in Mexico that they launched a campaign against the company. They counter-graffitied and finally dressed up as Zapatista guerrillas and leafleted customers at the shop.

The panicked company met the protesters and agreed to:

  • Hand over any future profit from the Zapatista merchandise to the Zapatistas themselves.

  • Install a computer in the shop with access to Zapatista and anti-capitalist websites.

  • Take their logo off the spraypainted speeches by Zapatista leader Marcos.

  • Put leaflets in the shop explaining the history of the Zapatistas.

    CHAI Patel CBE is an adviser to the government on elderly care and a member of the Cabinet Office's 'better regulation' taskforce. One company that has gained from his advice to treat NHS patients in private hospitals is Westminster Healthcare.

    It provides mental health beds and scanners to the NHS and is now up for sale for £500 million. That should be good news for the company's chief executive (who owns 10 percent of its shares). His name? Chai Patel.

    'SURVEY Says PVC Is Good For Society.' That was a headline in last week's Construction News. It was above a story which began, 'PVC products contribute £6 billion to the UK economy and up to 50,000 people are employed in making them, a survey has found.'

    The producers of the survey? The British Plastics Federation and the Packaging and Industrial Films Association.

    Wreckers take tube

    SCHOOLS MINISTER Stephen Timms is due to speak at a fringe meeting at the Labour Party conference alongside the privatising company Amey. The meeting is to promote PPP privatisation schemes in education. Amey is in charge of the £192 million PPP scheme for all Glasgow's secondary schools.

    The plan has led to chaos, with five schools left in such a mess that they could not open in time at the beginning of term. That has not stopped New Labour putting Amey board member John Patten in charge of schools through various schemes across Britain. Patten is the former Tory education secretary who introduced the hated SATs tests for children.

    The Financial Times, says Amey 'is involved in an unprecedented number of bids for private finance initiative schemes and other outsourcing contracts.' Among the contracts is one to manage part of the London tube under John Prescott's PPP scheme.

    Amey's chief executive said that 'the government is coming under pressure from the unions, and that will have an effect'.

    Injustice of Judge Sabo

    NEW EVIDENCE about the wrongful conviction of black activist Mumia Abu-Jamal in the US has come to light. Mumia faces the death penalty.

    Now a court stenographer reporter who worked in the court during Mumia's original trial in 1982, heard by Judge Sabo, has issued a sworn affadavit. It reads, 'I, Terri Maurer-Carter, declare: 'In 1982, a few months after I started working at the Court of Common Pleas, I was sent to a courtroom different than that I usually worked in. I went through the anteroom on my way to that courtroom where Judge Sabo and another person were engaged in conversation. Judge Sabo was discussing the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. During the course of that conversation, I heard Judge Sabo say, 'Yeah, and I'm going to help them fry the nigger.' There were three people present when Judge Sabo made that remark, including myself.'

    Of no aid

    THE WORLD Bank is not content with ignoring criticism from outside. It is silencing dissent from within. It has just launched disciplinary action against one of its most published economists, William Easterly, after he wrote an article in the Financial Times. In it he said that the World Bank and IMF's 'aid programmes' to developing countries 'have all failed to attain the desired results'.

    He continued, 'It is little wonder that protesters have demonstrated so vehemently against the international organisations.'

    Things they say

    'THE END of history.'
    FRANCIS FUKUYAMA, 1991, after the collapse of the Stalinist regimes in Eastern Europe

    'Microsoft or Goldman Sachs will not send aircraft carriers to the Gulf to track down Osama Bin Laden-only the military will.'
    FRANCIS FUKUYAMA, 2001, after the attacks on the World Trade Centre

    'UNREALISTIC expectations regarding the outlook of discretionary funds.'
    US GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS in 1996 rejecting a request for increased spending on airline security

    'YOU would make an excellent foreign secretary, you know.'
    TONY BLAIR in 1998 to Paddy Ashdown, then leader of the Liberal Democrats, revealed in Ashdown's memoirs this week

    'THE COSTS of going to university may be putting off the very people we are all anxious to see more of in our universities-those from the poorest households.'
    PROFESSOR RODERICK CLOUD, president of Universities UK

    'HIS pronouncements are half-baked, immature ideas. Iain is not the sharpest knife in the drawer.'
    TORY SHADOW CABINET MEMBERon new leader Iain Duncan Smith

    'THE financial markets have gone out of control.'

    Paris-based investment banker on the day before the destruction of the World Trade Centre

    'Everybody is in the dark, no one knows what's going to happen in a shorter term, businessmen are trying to talk up their shares and politicians the prospects of growth. In short, no one has a clue.'

    Businessman on the day before the destruction of the World Trade Centre

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    Article information

    Inside the System
    Sat 22 Sep 2001, 00:00 BST
    Issue No. 1767
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