Socialist Worker


Issue No. 2158

Eat anything you like: as long as it’s Nestlé

I thought that Socialist Worker readers might be interested to read the following email, which was sent to Nestlé workers from Paul Grimwood, the chief executive of Nestle UK. Unfortunately, it is not a spoof:

“Dear colleagues,

“I have recently noticed in St George’s House a number of Nestlé UK and sister company employees wandering into the building carrying competitor drinks, snacks and other food stuffs. I find this incredibly disappointing.

“Here at Nestlé I hope we have a passion to win against our competitors and a passion to support our company and our brands which in turn supports our success as a business and ultimately allows us to be able to employ people on competitive terms and conditions.

“To be seen to support competitor products in these challenging times is totally unacceptable and as such no competitor products are to be brought onto a Nestlé site unless they are being used for official comparative testing.

“We have a great coffee shop offering a wide range of our own food and beverage products, the restaurant uses our food products where possible and a range of new coffee machines will be introduced shortly on each floor, please take advantage of this and join me in being an ambassador for Nestlé and our brands.”

So the bosses are now even telling us what we can eat and drink.

Nestlé worker, by email

Inequality comes first at the races

As one of dozens of predominately black temporary workers bussed in from north London to clean up after the overwhelmingly white patrons of the Royal Ascot races this year, I ask them to try to find a less exploitative way of flaunting their wealth.

We are paid the minimum wage. But we have to pay our employer an £8 transportation charge every day just to get to work.

And we are not paid for the hours we have to spend travelling to and from the racecourse.

Neither are we paid for the hour we spend waiting to get our passports back from security at the end of the day.

So it seems a bit greedy that Royal Ascot charges patrons £1,600 for their daily hospitality packages while we end up with peanuts.

Many of those at Ascot will spend more on a single lunch than each of us will receive for an entire week of work.

This event perpetuates and magnifies economic and racial inequality.

I ask racetrack-goers to cross this event off their social calendars and to please try to find a more human way of trickling their wealth downwards.

Rolf Harrison, North West London

Radical Greens

We would like to respond to the article by Matthew Cookson claiming that the Green Party is a “middle class” party (» Greens pick up left vote across the country, 13 June).

In Marxist terms, society is divided into two basic classes. Most of us are forced to sell our labour, so we are working class.

The distance between the working class and the “middle class” is tiny when compared to that between the broad mass of people and the ruling elite.

Does the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) have any members who are middle class? If so, what do you say to them about their class origins?

The Greens aim for a sustainable society where environmental and social justice are paramount. We have a critique of capitalism and elite power. The Green Party is one where socialists can operate.

It is misleading to say that we believe in “individualistic solutions” to the problems we face. Solutions must be collective and must start with global economic justice.

Nevertheless, most Greens recognise that we also have individual responsibilities to behave ethically.

This is not instead of collective solutions based on mass movements and redistribution of wealth, but as well as. We do not believe that the SWP advocates wastefulness or other unethical behaviour from its members.

On the issue of the Green Party entering into coalitions with mainstream parties, might this not be in part due to the lack of a strong left alternative to link up with instead?

Each opportunity to work with other parties is judged on its merits, although it’s fair to say that deals with the Tories would not be allowed in future by Green Party members.

We are a young and growing party whose share of the vote increased by 50 percent in the European elections.

We have a bright future ahead of us and hope to be key players in creating a society with a redistributive agenda. We’d like to be alongside you in this struggle.

Gayle O’Donovan and

Nigel Woodcock, Manchester Green Party

The fight for liberation of Tamils is global one

London is not the only site of sustained Tamil protests (» Tamils’ London protest against detention camps, 27 June).

We in the world Tamil community are determined to continue to take our plight to every possible forum until the international community’s silence is broken.

The imperialist regimes that propped up dictators in countries such as Chile, Iran and Spain are helping in the making of a dictator by backing Sri Lanka’s president Mahinda Rajapakse.

Sri Lanka is a dictatorship masquerading as democracy. The voice of elected Tamil representatives from the conflict region has always been ignored.

Any right-minded person who speaks against the human rights violations in the region is branded as a terrorist.

The geopolitical aspirations of regional powers are the main reason for the weakened Tamil politics.

It is appalling to see the so-called democratic world standing by while it witnesses a humanitarian disaster.

Amid Sri Lanka’s celebration of its brutal repression of the Tamils, the state is wooing the international community to invest in the island and help fill up its depleted war chest.

The inhuman treatment of Tamils at the hands of a brutal regime makes it difficult for them to live in this country with dignity and equality.

Shanthy Vadi, Toronto, Canada

Class and conflict in Iran’s elections

In response to Jonathan Neale (» Letters, 27 June) it’s true that millions from the poorest sections of Iranian society voted for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in support of his populist hand-outs, pension rises and subsidies.

But Ahmadinejad also alienated huge sections of this constituency.

Too often he put the interests of the state capitalist bureaucracy such as the Revolutionary Guard first. He even vowed to continue with a neoliberal privatisation programme that he had been elected to halt.

Mousavi does have rich and middle class support but he also appealed to the working class. After his time as prime minister in the 1980s, many associate him with welfare programmes and redistribution of wealth.

Many on the protests were young working class students, educated but unable to find work. Others include nurses, teachers and street sweepers.

It’s probable that, in power, Mousavi would continue with neoliberal policies.

But people also believe he’ll bring changes that will allow them to organise and fight back for their rights more freely.

Naz Massoumi, Bristol

Iran protests could help US

Demonstrations are surely an indication of radicalism in Iran (» A regime in crisis, 27 June). As such they can be a source of inspiration and perhaps a wind of change.

However, it would be wrong to assume that president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad did not win the election. His support among the Iranian people stands high.

Moreover the pro-Western Mir Hussein Mousavi is hardly a figure of progressive politics, despite him belonging to the “reformist” block.

Perhaps we should be cautious in describing the complex domestic Iranian political scene, especially given the hypocritical support given to the protesters by Western leaders.

The portrayal of the demonstrations as a “popular uprising” can be misleading.

The split in the Iranian ruling class may have unforeseen consequences.

Indeed, we can imagine US leaders rubbing their hands together, hoping for an internal collapse.

Manthos, Greece

Neath fight for housing is on

Local Defend Council Housing campaigners have delivered hundreds of leaflets across Neath in South Wales.

A ballot to decide on the future of council housing in Neath and Port Talbot is likely to take place in the autumn. The council is sparing no expense in going after a yes vote.

It has employed numerous consultants and sent out glossy literature to persuade tenants of the joys of privatisation – although that word is never used in its literature.

However it is clear that New Labour, which controls the council, is worried by the growing no campaign.

There have been several well-attended no campaign local meetings and the Neath press has covered the issue in detail.

Huw Pudner, Neath

Brown is no match for kids

I’ve just read that our Glorious Leader Gordon Brown is thinking of going into teaching.

How would someone who cannot even run a political party, a government, a country or an economy imagine that he could ever control a class of eight and nine year old children?

They would run rings around him – and the fact that he seems to have a breathing problem means that all that shouting will only make it worse.

Derek Hanlin, Porth, Cardiff

How to create 70,000 jobs

Think that nothing can be done to stop the rising number of job losses? Think again.

Recent research by Carbon Descent, which advises councils on climate change, showed how 70,000 jobs could be created if councils invested in building insulation and green energy.

The jobs would include loft laggers, plumbers, builders, electricians, architects and plasters. There would also be administration, transport and warehouse jobs needed to support the work.

At a time when so many of industries are in crisis, the fact that such an obvious solution is not being put into practice shows the bankruptcy of the political system.

Jackie Barton, Worksop

Don’t stop ’til you get enough

Total bosses sacked a group of workers and asked the rest, do you wanna be starting something?

The result could have been very bad.

But the workers walked out and said to their sacked colleagues, you are not alone and I want you back.

The victory at Total was a thriller and made me want to scream with delight.

Workers told the bosses to beat it.

Diana Jean, East London

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Article information

Tue 30 Jun 2009, 18:25 BST
Issue No. 2158
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