Socialist Worker

Behind every great fortune is a great crime

Issue No. 1919

A US multinational stands accused of devastating a small fishing village in Indonesia.

Masna Stirman gave birth to a tiny, shrivelled girl with lumps and wrinkled skin in January this year. The baby died in July.

Newmont Mining Corporation, the world’s biggest gold producer, was producing gold above Buyat Bay in Indonesia in the late 1990s.

The stocks of fish, which people have been trawling for hundreds of years, declined dramatically as soon as the company started mining

Villagers have suffered from strange rashes and bumps. One baby had a cyst the size of a small pea on the end of her tongue. A woman had two lumps the size of golf balls on her breasts.

One woman had a large lump down her left side that made her look half pregnant. A lawyer for Newmont claimed that these, and other diseases, were the result of “poor sanitation and poor nutrition.”

But an Indonesian government panel ruled at the end of August that Newmont had “illegally disposed” of waste containing arsenic and mercury in the ocean near the mine site.

When Newmont first looked for gold in Indonesia in the 1980s it worked with the Suharto dictatorship.

Newmont has put its profits before the safety of local people and the environment wherever it has gone.

Villagers in Ovacik in Turkey have fought against a Newmont mine for ten years.

It has just been ordered to be shut so that an environmental impact assessment can take place.

Newmont is taking a 10 percent interest in the Rosia Montana mine in Romania, which requires the relocation of 900 villagers.

Heavy metal waste and other poisons have already polluted valleys and rivers.

Local authorities in Peru are trying to stop Newmont from expanding the Yanacocha mine, which villagers say ruined their water supplies.


‘Hey, look, I’m really flying, man’

KARL MARX explained that capitalist competition seeps into every pore of society and distorts values everywhere.

Had he known about the latest revelations about doping in sport, Marx would undoubtedly have used them as an example.

In the dopers’ sights now is… pigeon racing.

Top officials believe that owners are doping pigeons with steroids, and have demanded random dope testing of pigeons.

Some contests around the world have prizes of hundreds of thousands of pounds, leading to skullduggery

One owner recently won £20,000 and a new car after his birds finished first, second and fourth.

Officials are swooping on coops to take samples of droppings 24 hours after races. Owners could face a lifetime ban.

Peter Bryant, general manager of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association, says, “It is sad that it has come to this.

“But it is the only way that we’ll know if the sport is clean or not.”

Quoting Marx, pigeon fancier Gerald Hodgkins of Blackburn said, “The drive for self enrichment is the effect of a social mechanism in which the individual is merely a cog.”


In this week - 115 years ago - 1889

THE LONDON dockers won a minimum wage of sixpence an hour— the “Dockers’ Tanner”— after a five-week strike.

This was part of the “New Unionism” that was sweeping the East End of London. The matchgirls and gasworkers had both recently won victories.

Socialists like Ben Tillett and Tom Mann led the dockers. Workers in the West India Quay struck first, and fought to win other dockers to the strike.

After two weeks up to 20,000 men were out. Other workers struck and showed solidarity with the dockers.


Kerry’s truth is locked up

JOHN KERRY, the Democratic Party candidate for US president, is very concerned about truth. Truth Hardware that is.

Kerry said in a recent speech, “Go to a website. It could be johnkerry.com, or go to truth.com, and find out what’s really happening.”

If you’re curious, follow Kerry’s advice and go to truth.com.

It is the homesite of Truth Hardware, which “manufactures a complete line of hinges, locks, operators, and even remote controlled power window systems used on wood, vinyl, metal and fibreglass windows, skylights and patio doors”.


Revolutions and pensions

SOUTH TYNESIDE council wants to “revolutionise”.

It is advertising a number of high paid jobs in the council with the slogan “What does revolution mean to you?”

“You grew up thinking you would change the world,” says the advert. “How about starting in South Tyneside?”

One of the ways of changing the world is by becoming an Anti-Social Behaviour Manager for up to £29,100 a year.
Thanks to Andrea Butcher

WHILE WORKERS are being thrown into pensions crisis, company directors are benefiting from schemes which are worth up to 50 times the average value of employee schemes.

The TUC’s PensionsWatch report, which looks at over 100 of Britain’s top companies, found that directors have an average pension fund worth £2.15 million.

The average value of the biggest pension pot in each company is worth £4.5 million.

Some 80 percent of directors have a final salary linked scheme. The average director’s pension fund would pay out £169,000 a year.

This is 26 times the national average.

Those on the largest pension at each company would grab an average of £303,000.
Thanks to Sybil Ashton


Figure it out - 60%

The proportion of people who have lost trust in ministers since the war against Iraq. Research by the committee on standards in public life found only Sun and Daily Star journalists, and estate agents, are less trusted.


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Article information

Inside the System
Sat 18 Sep 2004, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1919
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