Weekly dose

In this edition, the wildcat strikes in China, the new geopolitical map, and the murderous effects of petro-dollars in Pakistan.


Wildcat strikes in China

The wildcat strike at the Nanhai Honda factory which formally ended on June 4th with a partial victory for workers, has subsequently inspired two other Honda factories in the Pearl River Delta to go on strike. In addition, workers from several Taiwanese-owned factories have adopted similar tactics, holding a sit-in in Jiangsu and blocking roads in Shenzhen.

The initial Honda strike began on May 17th. It took place in a transmissions factory in Foshan, Guangdong. The strike lasted over two weeks and received considerable coverage in mainland Chinese newspapers. At its height, around 1,900 workers (almost the entire factory) walked off the job. Because the Nanhai factory is responsible for making car transmissions, the strike eventually stopped production at four other Honda assembly plants. In total, Honda’s losses amounted to 2,500 cars per day. [READ THE REST]

Jihad by petro-dollars

Jamaat-ud- Dawa runs a huge network of social services, including 20 Islamic institutions, 140 secondary schools, eight madrassas and a $ 300, 000-plus medical mission that includes mobile clinics, ambulance service and blood banks. The Jammat headquarters close to Lahore, built at the cost of Rs. 50 million, houses a garment factory, an iron-foundry, a wood-works factory, a swimming pool and three residential colonies.

”According to several estimates, Islamic organisations, many of which are linked to armed groups, can draw from a pool of money ranging from $5 billion to $16 billion, the Saudi government alone donates $ 10 billion via the ministry of Religious Works every year”, Italian journalist Loretta Napoleoni claims in her book ”Modern Jihad”.

The liberal distribution of petro-dollars by Saudis can be gauged from the fact that more than 1500 mosques were built around the world in the second half of the last century. [READ THE REST, via Entdinglichung]


Not So Quiet On the Western Front

On June, 22, I offered a thesis, “Is a New Cold War Shaping Up?”, suggesting that the strengthening Latin American-Iranian ties could result in a future division of the geopolitical landscape. Such a division, I said:

would be similar to the landscape of the initial Cold War. Only, instead of two competing neocolonial powers and their satellites (i.e. the Western bloc vs. the Soviet bloc), we’d come to see two competing trading blocs—with one bloc composed of the Latin American-Iranian coalition, and the other more precariously led by the U.S., along with any other states that find following the American lead in their long-term self-interests.

And let me be clear. This thesis is limited to the suggestion of exclusive trading blocs, not a rehash of the old arms race or of neocolonial hostilities.

Shortly before this thesis was published, Iran’s Fars News Agency published apress release. The release quoted Iranian President Ahmadinejad, speaking to Iran’s new ambassador to Havana. And it confirms the desire of Iran to pursue a Latin American agenda along the same lines I had suggested were possible:

“The present circumstances in the world necessitate efforts [Ahmadinejad said] for the enhancement of Iran-Cuba relations, because the Cuban government has been able to stand against the expansionist ambitions of the US statesmen”

The Fars press release also states that Ahmadinejad “underlined that Cuba’s resistance against the US indicates that “this colonialist and bullying power (the US) is declining”.

Notably here, Iran’s perception that US global influence is on the decline is in accordance with the perceptions of Fareed Zakaria, Noam Chomsky, and Chalmers Johnson—assessments which I’ve also previously discussed.

And insofar as Venezuela is intimately involved in this budding Latin American-Iranian trade bloc, the breaking news on June 24, may be significant: [READ THE REST]

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