mercoledì 1 maggio 2013

L'importanza del Primo Maggio e il problema del lavoro

Di seguito pubblichiamo una breve rassegna sul Primo Maggio e sulla sua importanza. David Harvey, uno dei più importanti Marxisti viventi ci fornisce una spietata analisi del mondo in cui viviamo e del capitalismo di inizio secolo. Un capitalismo rampante che distrugge le risorse, il lavoro ed i diritti ma che sempre più mostra le sue contraddizioni, e i suoi piedi di argilla. Un capitalismo sempre più rapace, basato su un sempre maggior sfruttamento dell'uomo e dell'ambiente, che concentra la ricchezza che crea povertà, che distrugge il mondo dove viviamo. 

Un esempio ci viene dal Bangladesh dove solo pochi giorni fa il crollo di una palazzina ha seppellito oltre 400 operai che lavoravano in condizioni di miseria assoluta, ultimo gradino di una supply chain globale che non ci rifiutiamo di vedere, perchè ci fa comodo, ma che è alla base della nostra economia di consumo apparentemente illimitato. Negli articoli che proponiamo, uno di Vijay Prashad dal Guardian e uno di Alessio Fraticcioli da AsiaBlog raccontano la tragedia, la protesta e le responsabilità del capitalismo internazionale. 

Nice day for a revolution: Why May Day should be a date to stand up and change the system 

di David Harvey
da The Indipendent
May Day is the occasion we celebrate the grand achievements of the workers of the world in making our world a far, far better place to live in. There is, unfortunately, not too much to celebrate these days. The past 30 years are littered with battles and skirmishes that have resulted in defeat after defeat for organised labour.
A capitalist class gone rampant has now consolidated its power to command or corrupt almost all the major institutions that regulate the body politic – the political parties (of both left and right), the media, the universities, the law, to say nothing of the repressive state apparatus and international institutions. The democracy of money power now rules. A global plutocracy exerts its will almost everywhere unchallenged.
So what is there to celebrate? We would not, of course, have what we still have now (from pensions to the remnants of reasonable health care and public education) had it not been for the labour movement. But waxing nostalgic over the undoubted achievements and heroism of the past will get us nowhere.
May Day should therefore be about relaunching a revolutionary movement to change the world. The very thought of doing that – even just saying it and writing it down – is as exhilarating as it is astonishing.
But is this, too, a relic of revolutionary rhetoric from some bygone era? Or are we at one of those curious points in human history when the only reasonable thing to do is to demand the impossible? The simultaneous stirrings of revolt from Cairo and Damascus to Wisconsin and the streets of London, from Athens to Lima, from the murderous factories in China's Pearl River Delta to the factory occupations in Argentina, from the revival of rural rebellions in India to the movements of shanty-town dwellers in South Africa, suggests something different is in the air. An unstoppable movement of global revolt, perhaps, that says: enough is enough! It is our turn, the dispossessed and deprived of the earth, to want and get more.
Alongside all the simmering protests, innumerable practical alternatives to endless capital accumulation are being explored – co-operative movements, solidarity economies and networks, food security organisations, environmental and peasant movements, worker-controlled collectives are all in motion. A decentralised but substantial movement of people across the world already exists, seeking satisfying and humane ways to reproduce an adequate social life.
This sprawling and often chaotic movement bids fair to take on the role that organised labour once played. Animated by autonomist and alternative lifestyle thinking and with marked preference for locally-based and networked organisational forms, these movements, often backed by a powerful but insidious NGO culture, have trouble combining and scaling up to translate their often fecund local schemes into a global strategy to deliver an adequate and healthy social life to the 6.8 billion people now on Planet Earth.
Where we can go depends, of course, very much on where we are now. So what are the revolutionary possibilities – and even more importantly, the revolutionary necessities – of our time?
We are, I believe, at an inflection point in the history of capitalism. The compound rates of growth that have prevailed over the past two centuries are increasingly difficult to sustain. Is continuous compound growth (at a minimum rate of 3 per cent a year) in perpetuity possible in a world that is already fully integrated into the capitalist dynamic? The environmental and social consequences are bad enough but the potentially deadly geo-economic and geopolitical competition over markets, resources, land and uses of the atmosphere is even scarier.
Zero growth is a necessity and zero growth is incompatible with capitalism. The necessity is, therefore, that we must all become anti-capitalists. Alternative ways to survive and prosper must be found. That is the imperative of our times. This is what we should commit to on this May Day.
The crisis of 2007-9 and its aftermath constituted a warning shot. That crisis, many say, constituted a game-changer for how politics and the economy might work. But nobody seems to have a clear idea of what the new game might be about, what its rules might be, and who might guide it in what direction.
The bankruptcy in creative ideas today contrasts radically with earlier crises. In the 1930s, for example, a major shift in economic thinking, Keynesianism, underpinned a radical reorient- ation of state apparatuses and policies in the core regions of capitalism. It produced relatively strong and stable economic growth from 1945 to 1968 or so, in North America and Europe.
Ironically, these were years when the top marginal tax rate in the United States was sometimes as high as 92 per cent and never less than 70 (thus giving the lie to those who claim that high marginal tax rates on the rich inhibit growth). These were also years when organised labour did reasonably well in the advanced capitalist countries.
While decolonisation throughout the rest of the world proceeded apace, the spread and, in some cases, imposition of economic development projects brought much of the globe into a tense relation with capitalist forms of development and underdevelopment (prompting a wave of revolutionary movements in the late 1960s into the 1970s, from Portugal to Mozambique). These movements were resolutely resisted, undermined and eventually rolled back through a combination of local elite power supported by US covert actions, coups and co-optations.
The crisis years of the 1970s forged another radical paradigm shift in economic thinking: neoliberalism came to town. There were frontal attacks on organised labour accompanied by a savage politics of wage repression. State involvement in the economy (particularly with respect to welfare provision and labour law) were radically rethought by Reagan and Thatcher. There were huge concessions to big capital and the result was that the rich got vastly richer and the poor relatively poorer. But, interestingly, aggregate growth rates remained low even as the consolidation of plutocratic power proceeded apace.
An entirely different world then emerged, totally hostile to organised labour and resting more and more on precarious, temporary and dis- organised labour spread-eagled across the earth. The proletariat became increasingly feminine.
The crisis of 2007-9 sparked a brief global attempt to stabilise the world's financial system using Keynesian tools. But after that the world split into two camps: one, based in North America and Europe, sees the crisis as an opportunity to complete the end-game of a vicious neoliberal project of class domination: the other cultivates Keynesian nostalgia, as if the postwar growth history of the United States can be repeated in China and in other emerging markets.
The Chinese, blessed with huge foreign exchange reserves, launched a vast stimulus programme building infrastructures, whole new cities and productive capacities to absorb labour and compensate for the crash of export markets. The state-controlled banks lent furiously to innumerable local projects. The growth rate surged to above 10 per cent and millions were put back to work. This was followed by a tepid attempt to put in motion the other pinion of a Keynesian programme: raising wages and social expenditures to bolster the internal market.
China's growth has had spillover effects. Raw material suppliers, such as Australia and Chile and much of the rest of Latin America have resumed strong growth.
The problems that attach to such a Keynesian programme are well-known. Asset bubbles, particularly in the "hot" property market in China, are forming all over the place and inflation is accelerating in classic fashion to suggest a different kind of crisis may be imminent. But also the environmental consequences are generally acknowledged, even by the Chinese government, to be disastrous, while labour and social unrest is escalating.
China contrasts markedly with the politics of austerity being visited upon the populations of North America and Europe. The neoliberal formula established in the Mexican debt crisis of 1982, is here being repeated. When the US Treasury and the IMF bailed out Mexico in order to pay off the New York investment banks they mandated austerity. The standard of living in an already poor country fell by nearly 25 per cent over five or so years. By the end of the century Mexico had more billionaires than Saudi Arabia and Carlos Slim was soon to be declared the richest person in the world in the midst of burgeoning poverty.
This is the fate, along with perpetually high rates of unemployment and stagnant wages that awaits populations in the West, unless there is sufficient political resistance and popular unrest to reverse it. It is a politics of dispossession, not only of assets but of hard-won political and civil rights.
Behind this there lies a sinister history. When Ronald Reagan assumed the Presidency in 1981, he drastically reduced the marginal top tax rate from 72 to 32 per cent while lavishing all manner of other tax advantages on the corporations and the rich. He launched a huge deficit-financed arms race with the Soviet Union. The result was a rapid increase in the debt. David Stockman, Reagan's budget director, then gave the game away. The aim was to so run up the debt as to justify gutting all the social programmes and environmental regulations that had been imposed on capital in preceding years.
When Bush Jnr came to power in 2001, his Vice-President, Dick Cheney, repeatedly asserted that "Reagan taught us that deficits do not matter". So Bush cut taxes substantially on corporations and the rich. He fought two unfunded wars (costing close to a trillion dollars) and passed a costly drug prescription law that favoured big pharma. A budget surplus under Clinton was turned into a sea of red ink under Bush. Now the Republicans and the Wall Street faction of the Democrats demand the debt be retired at the expense of social programmes and environmental regulations.
This is what plutocratic politics has been about these past 30 years: raise the rate of exploitation on labour, plunder the environment mercilessly and collapse the social wage so the plutocrats can have it all.
Yet the two greatest problems of our time, according to the millennium goals signed by almost all countries in the United Nations, are the potential for ecological collapse and burgeoning social inequalities. But in the United States there is a persistent movement to exacerbate both problems. Why?
Capital throughout its history has long sought to evade certain costs, to treat them as "externalities" as the economists like to say. Environmental costs and the costs of social reproduction (everything from who takes care of grandmother and the disabled to child rearing) are the two most important categories that capital prefers to ignore. Two hundred years of political struggle in the advanced capitalist world forced corporations to internalise some of these costs either through regulation and taxation or through the organisation of private and public welfare systems.
The early 1970s was a high watermark in the advanced capitalist world for environmental regulation (in the USA the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, for example) and state and corporate welfare schemes (the welfare state structures of Europe).
Since the 1970s, there has been a concerted effort on the part of businesses to divest themselves of the financial and political burdens of dealing with these costs. This was what Reaganism was all about. Simultaneously, the high mobility of capital (encouraged by the deregulation of finance and capital flows) permitted capital to move to parts of the world (Asia in particular) where such costs had never been internalised and where the regulatory environment was minimalist.
Meanwhile, the preferred means for seeking solutions to the key problems of environmental degradation and global poverty – the liberalised markets, free trade and rapid growth and capital accumulation favoured by the IMF, the World Bank and leading politicians in the most powerful countries – are precisely those which produce such problems in the first place. The problem of global poverty cannot be attacked without attacking the global accumulation of wealth. Environmental issues cannot be solved by a turn to green capitalism without confronting the corporate interests and the lifestyles that perpetuate the status quo.
If capital is forced to internalise all of these costs then it will go out of business. That is the simple truth. But this defines a convenient path towards an alternative to capital. What we must demand on May Day is that capital pay its social and environmental dues and debts in full. Organised labour may lead the way. But it needs allies from among the precarious workers and the social movements. We might be surprised to find that, united, we can make our own history after all.

Bangladeshi workers need more than boycotts

da Guardian

When news of the building collapse spread around Savar, not far from Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, workers streamed out of the poorly constructed factories ready to help with the rescue effort – and ready, too, to smash cars and barricade roads. They felt in equal parts compassion for their fellow workers and anger at the faceless system that grinds their daily lives into hours making garments and minutes for rest. Fear of police retribution did not stop them. They needed to be on the streets, to register their living humanity before a world that saw them only hunched over their machines or as dead bodies being pulled out of disasters. Workers with blood in their veins are an unfamiliar sight.
Factory owners hastened to shut down their subcontracting units and take refuge behind Atiqul Islam, the president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA). This man showed little care for the injured and the dead. He worried about "the disruption in production owing to unrest" and said that this worker violence was "just another heavy blow to the garment industry". One expects such officials to be discomfited by idle factories and restive workers. Every second that the machines are silent costs them money. Benevolence is a costly business.
Trade unionism and left political activity had deep roots in Bangladesh at its birth in 1971. In what had been an eastern province of Pakistan, centres of anti-colonial struggle morphed into labour and socialist movements. Out of these currents rose the Awami League of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, which led the charge towards independence. That legacy remains in the calendar: May Day is a national holiday.
However, privatisation of industry and state operations began in earnest in 1975, and picked up steam in the 1980s. That was the period when the government decided that Bangladesh was to become a link on the global commodity chain for garment manufacturing, which now accounts for 80% of its export earnings. Export Processing Zones (EPZs) were established, where labour organisations were banned. This attracted multinational garment firms to Bangladesh, and they made arrangements with local subcontractors – who in turn controlled the production on very tight margins. The only outlet for workers' grievances at the miserable conditions they were forced to endure was the anarchic outbreak of violence. This was how employees expressed their anger – and it provided both factory managers and the government with an excuse to tighten their repressive hold on the lives of workers.
The credit crunch that started in 2007 dented the export-led model favoured by the Bangladeshi state. A slowdown in the shops in the global north led to the sacking of a quarter of the workers in Dhaka's EPZs. Over the past two years, Bangladeshi workers have taken to the streets to protest about the dismissals of their colleagues.
Workers in Ashulia walked out because one of their own – reported as "Salman" – had been taken into custody. Their protest was met with police force, and one man was shot dead. Workers in Narayanganj went on strike after one of the firms fired 126 workers. When the leaders of the strike were attacked by thugs believed to have been hired by the factory owners, the workers responded by demolishing Kolapatti, a marketplace where the thugs had their HQ. As this struggle unfolded, the Tazreen Garment Factory in Ashulia went up in flames, killing 125 workers. Thousands more took to the streets in anger, demanding the heads of the owners and safer working conditions.
These actions are not a new phenomenon, but draw on labour militancy dating back to the 1920s. In those early years workers' movements could grow out of spontaneous resistance. However, that is harder now due to anomic working conditions in which unions are tough to organise and police repression is intense. Following last year's Ashulia and Narayanganj riots, the government created a crisis management cell and a force of industrial police – but not to monitor labour laws. Their task was to spy on worker organisations.
Despite the difficulty of attracting underpaid and exhausted workers to union meetings, the National Garment Workers' Federation and the Communist-led Garment Workers' Trade Union Centre are still active. NGOs have also entered the fray, notably the Bangladesh Centre for Worker Solidarity, an initiative backed by US unions. However, this backing is no protection: the centre's chief organiser, Aminul Islam, was murdered last year.
Dan Mozena, the US ambassador to Bangladesh, told the BGMEA last June that if it were seen to ignore labour rights it could "coalesce into a perfect storm that could threaten the Bangladesh brand in America".
The reaction in the global north to the latest "accident" in Bangladesh has been to talk about boycotts – to break the global commodity chain at the point of consumption. But that is not enough. What is needed is robust support for the workers as they try to build their own organisations at the point of production. Pressure on north Atlantic governments that mollycoddle multinational firms would create a breathing space for workers who otherwise suffer the full wrath of firms that couch their repression in the syrupy language of hard work and growth rates.
The Bangladeshis are capable of doing their own labour organising; what they need is political backing to do so. What is also needed, then, is clear-cut opposition not to this or that retailer, but to the system that produces pockets of low-wage economies in the south in order to feed a system of debt-fuelled consumption in the north. None among us is against global connections, but it is high time we put our minds to work to reject neoliberal globalisation.

Primo Maggio in Bangladesh: la rabbia operaia dopo la tragedia

di Alessio Fraticcioli
da Asiablog

In Bangladesh mercoledì scorso un palazzo di otto piani è crollato e sono morti almeno 400 operai. Lavoravano in assenza delle più elementari condizioni di sicurezza e producevano capi di vestiario per conto di multinazionali tra cui anche l’italiana Benetton. Oggi si sono svolte le manifestazioni dei lavoratori e dei parenti delle vittime del più grave incidente nella storia industriale del Bangladesh: almeno 400 morti.

BANGKOK (Asiablog) – Oggi, Primo Maggio, un lungo corteo di lavoratori si e’ snodato attraverso il centro di Dacca (altrimenti traslitt. in Dhâkâ o Dakka), la capitale della Repubblica Popolare del Bangladesh. Con piu’ di 160 milioni di abitanti in meno di 150.000 km² (cioe’ quasi tre volte la popolazione italiana in un territorio grande la metà dell’Italia), il Bangladesh è tra i paesi più densamente popolati del mondo, nonché uno dei piu’ poveri. La manifestazione del Primo Maggio e’ abitualmente un’opportunità per i lavoratori bengalesi per sfogare le loro rimostranze. Quest’anno, dopo la tragedia del 24 aprile, la data ha assunto un significato decisamente poco retorico. Con bandiere, striscioni e cori a squarciagola, i manifestanti hanno chiesto sicurezza sul lavoro e pena di morte per il proprietario dell’edificio crollato la scorsa settimana. Il disatro ha ucciso almeno 400 persone, senza contare i 2.500 feriti e circa 1.000 dispersi. I manifestanti hanno sventolato la bandiera nazionale e bandiere rosse di partiti e sindacati. Molti battevano tamburi e cantavano “azione diretta,” “basta schiavitu’” e “pena di morte per i responsabili!” Da un altoparlante sul retro di un camion, un uomo si e’ rivolto alla folla dicendo: “Mio fratello è morto. Mia sorella è morta. Il loro sangue non sarà versato invano!” 
IL CROLLO E LA RESPONSABILITA’ - Il palazzo crollato, il Rana Plaza, si trovava a Savar, un sobborgo 25 km a nord est di Dacca. Il fatiscente edificio era costituito da otto piani, quasi tutti occupati da piccole aziende tessili con oltre 3000 operai e soprattutto operaie. Secondo le indagini, il palazzo poggiava sull’area di uno stagno riempito con terreno friabile e, secondo le autorità, era privo di permessi regolari. I lavoratori sopravvissuti hanno riferito che i proprietari delle fabbriche del Rana Plaza non avevano mai dato peso agli allarmi sulle crepe sospette lanciati dagli operai. I lavoratori – fra cui moltissime donne – si erano rifiutati di entrare nel palazzo fabbrica perché da giorni avvertivano scricchiolii nelle strutture portanti. Ma erano poi stati costretti a entrare al lavoro sotto la minaccia di licenziameno. Intanto la polizia ha arrestato Mohammed Sohel Rana, il proprietario dell’edificio, mentre cercava di scappare all’estero. Rana, legato a doppio filo con il partito al potere, e’ accusato insieme ai titolari delle ditte di non aver fatto sgombrare il palazzo dopo la scoperta delle pericolose crepe sui muri, dovute anche all’innalzamento di un altro piano per ospitare ancora più operai. Verrà processato con le accuse di costruzione pericolosa e responsabilità diretta nella strage. Due ingegneri, che hanno firmato senza verifiche le autorizzazioni, sono stati arrestati insieme ai capi delle fabbriche che non hanno voluto chiudere dopo l’allarme delle crepe.

LE AZIENDE STRANIERE - Le fabbriche tessili che avevano sede nel palazzo crollato, e i cui dipendenti lavoravano in assenza delle più elementari condizioni di sicurezza, producevano capi di abbigliamento per conto di una serie di multinazionali, tra le quali, secondo Il Fatto Quotidiano, TMNNews e la Campagna Abiti Puliti, anche l’italiana Benetton. L’azienda veneta aveva in un primo primo momento negato legami con i laboratori venuti giù nel crollo, ma le foto scattate e pubblicate dall’Associated Press raccontano un’altra verità: tra i calcinacci, accanto a quello che pare la commessa di un ordine, si vede una camicia di colore scuro griffata Benetton. Non solo: l’agenzia France Press fa sapere di aver ricevuto dalla Federazione operai tessili del Bangladesh documenti contenenti un ordine da circa 30mila pezzi fatto nel settembre 2012 da Benetton alla New Wave Bottoms Ltd, una delle aziende manifatturiere ingoiate dal crollo. La dicitura “Benetton” appariva anche sul sito internet dell’azienda, all’indirizzo, ma fin dalle ore successive al crollo la pagina non è più accessibile e in rete ne resta solo una copia cache. “Main buyers” (Clienti principali), si legge in alto a sinistra; più in basso, sotto la dicitura “Camicie uomo-donna”, l’elenco degli acquirenti: tra questi, numero 16 della lista, figura “Benetton Asia Pacific Ltd, Honk Kong”. Nell’elenco delle multinazionali che sfruttavano gli operai bengalesi ci sarebbero altre tre aziende italiane: la Itd Srl, la Pellegrini Aec Srl e la De Blasio Spa, ma non è chiaro se al momento dell’incidente vi fossero ancora rapporti di lavoro in corso. La Pellegrini, anzi, specifica che le ultime commesse con la ditta bengalese risalivano al 2010. Un’altra ditta, Essenza Spa, che produce il marchio Yes-Zee, ha confermato di essersi rifornita al Rana Plaza. Ammissioni sono quasi subito arrivate anche dall’inglese Primark, dalla spagnola Mango (che ha confermato di aver ordinato merce per 25 mila pezzi), la britannica Bon Marche, la spagnola El Corte Ingles e la canadese Joe Fresh. Nell’elenco delle aziende straniere coinvolte ci sarebbero anche lo svedese H&M, lo statunitense Gap, l’olandese C&A, il cinese Li and Fung, Primark, Wal Mart e Kik.
MOBILITAZIONE INTERNAZIONALE - Gli attivisti della Campagna Abiti Puliti (sezione italiana della Clean Clothes Campaign), insieme con i sindacati e le organizzazioni per i diritti dei lavoratori attivi in Bangladesh e in tutto il mondo, hanno chiesto una immediate mobilitazione internazionale. Deborah Lucchetti, coordinatrice della Campagna Abiti Puliti, ha dichiarato:
“Tragedie come questa mostrano la totale inadeguatezza dei sistemi di controllo e delle ispezioni condotte dalle imprese senza il coinvolgimento dei sindacati e dei lavoratori. La gravità della situazione richiede un’assunzione di responsabilità immediata da parte dei marchi internazionali coinvolti, del governo e degli industriali bengalesi, che devono porre fine per sempre a tragedie come questa, l’ennesima per totale negligenza del sistema imprenditoriale internazionale. Aziende importanti come la Benetton – aggiunge Lucchetti – hanno la responsabilità di accertare a quali condizioni vengono prodotti i loro capi e di intervenire adeguatamente e preventivamente per garantire salute e sicurezza nelle fabbriche da cui si riforniscono. Non possiamo continuare ad assistere ad un tale sacrificio di vite umane dovuto alla totale irresponsabilità di un sistema produttivo basato sulla competizione al ribasso. Le famiglie delle vittime e i feriti rimaste senza reddito e supporto ora hanno diritto a cure adeguate e risarcimento appropriato da parte delle imprese coinvolte per gli irreparabili danni subiti, oltre a giustizia immediata e assunzione di responsabilità da parte di tutti colore che dovevano prevenire questa carneficina.”
Per mettere fine a questi incidenti, la Clean Clothes Campaign esorta i marchi che si riforniscono in Bangladesh a firmare immediatamente il Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement. Secondo la Campagna Abiti Puliti questo accordo, costruito da sindacati bengalesi e internazionali insieme agli attivisti dei diritti del lavoro, porterà a ridurre sensibilmente l’esistenza di ‘fabbriche trappola’ come Rana Plaza. Il Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement comprende ispezioni indipendenti negli edifici, formazione dei lavoratori in merito ai loro diritti, informazione pubblica e revisione strutturale delle norme di sicurezza. È un’operazione di fondamentale trasparenza che deve essere sostenuta da tutti gli attori principali bengalesi e internazionali. L’accordo è già stato sottoscritto lo scorso anno dalla società statunitense PVH Corp (proprietaria di Calvin Klein e Tommy Hilfiger) e dal distributore tedesco Tchibo. “È il momento che tutti i principali brand del settore si impegnino per garantirne una rapida attuazione. Il programma può salvare la vita di centinaia di migliaia di lavoratori attualmente a rischio in fabbriche insicure e costruite illegalmente”.
“MADE IN BANGLADESH” - Il Bangladesh è il secondo esportatore di prodotti tessili al mondo. Nel Paese vi sono oltre 4.000 fabbriche che producono vestiti per celebri ditte internazionali. Il settore occupana più di 3 milioni di persone, il 90% donne, in condizioni di lavoro spesso pessime, a volte disumane. Secondo le stime dellInternational Labor Rights Forum, dal 2005 al 2012 oltre mille operai tessili hanno perso la vita in incidenti causati dalle scarse condizioni di sicurezza dei laboratori bengalesi. Cinque mesi dopo l’incendio che uccise 112 persone in un’altra fabbrica di abbigliamento, la Tazreen Fashion Limited, la nuova tragedia ha evidenziato l’esistenza di enormi problemi di sicurezza nel settore dell’abbigliamento del Bangladesh, che vale 20 miliardi dollari l’anno e rifornisce i rivenditori in tutto il mondo.
MULTINAZIONALI E “GLOBALIZZAZIONE” – Le multinazionali della moda che si arricchiscono sfruttando la manodopera a basso costo dei paesi poveri per il momento si dividono tra chi nega le proprie responsabilità e chi promette rimborsi alle famiglie delle vittime. La Primark, gigante britannico nella produzione di abbigliamento a basso costo che nel palazzo crollato aveva alcuni laboratori che confezionavano suoi articoli, ha fatto sapere che verserà un’indennità a favore delle famiglie delle vittime. Primark ha spiegato: ”Daremo aiuti nel lungo termine ai bambini che hanno perso i genitori, aiuti finanziari per i feriti e per le famiglie in cui ci sono state vittime”. Basterà a placare la rabbia delle famiglie operaie del Bangladesh? Gli operai che lavorano per le grandi ditte internazionali, di quelli che sfilano sulle passerelle parigine o milanesi o che pagano migliaia di euro al mese per avere i propri punti vendita nei salotti delle capitali e delle ricche citta’ di tutti il mondo, lavorano anche dodici ore al giorno, spesso senza ferie, senza assicurazione sanitaria, senza diritti. In Bangladesh lo stipendio minimo si aggira intorno ai 350 euro. All’anno. Esattamente il costo di alcuni dei capi che con il loro lavoro contribuiscono ad assemblare.
Ma non sono solo i vestiti piu’ costosi ad ammazzare gli operai dei paesi poveri. Negli ultimi anni in Occidente e’ fiorito il mercato delle t-shirts a basso costo, delle quali, soprattutto in tempi di crisi economica, molti sembrano non poterne fare a meno. Gli occidentali farebbero meglio a fare piu’ attenzione a dove e come quelle t-shirt vengono prodotte – vale a dire alle condizioni dei lavoratori del Peru’, del Bangladesh o del Vietnam. La loro concorrenza al ribasso fa scappare le aziende occidentali in Asia e ‘regala’ alla classe operaia occidentale impoverita dei prodotto di consumo a basso costo. Una t-shirt a 9.95 euro è certamente molto conveniente, ma non si può certo dire la stessa cosa se si ragiona in termini di sfruttamento di uomini e donne, sangue, arti amputati e vite umane innocenti perse sotto le macerie. Se dovessimo superare la nostra ignoranza e scoprire la vera storia dell’ennesima t-shirt che vorremmo acquistare, l’acquisteremmo ugualmente?
Tra l’altro, nel cosiddetto Villaggio Globale, garantire giustizia, sicurezza e diritti a tutti i lavoratori renderebbe meno competitive le fabbriche che giocano sporco, e forse ribalterebbe il corso di una “globalizzazione” strettamente legata allo sfruttamento dei lavoratori dei paesi poveri di soldi e democrazia, premiando chi produce in modo umano piuttosto che chi produce sfruttando e ammazzando gli esseri umani.


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