(eng)Nike seeks out repression (fwd)

The Anarchives (tao@lglobal.com)
Thu, 17 Oct 1996 14:34:07 +0000 (GMT)


Nike in Indonesia
company seeks repressive situations

update and analysis
by Campaign for Labor Rights

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* Watch CBS's 48 Hours program on Thursday, Oct. 17 *
* for a report on Nike. Months in the making, this *
* segment will include footage on Nike's operations *
* in Indonesia and Vietnam. *
*******************************************************

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The campaign to win justice for Nike's production workers has
become truly international. For information on leafleting at
Nike outlets in the U.S. and Canada, contact Campaign for Labor
Rights: clr@igc.apc.org (541) 344-5410 Also, see our web site:
http://www.compugraph.com/clr
*****************************************************************

East Timorese human rights activists Jose Ramos-Horta and Bishop
Carlos Ximenes Belo are to share this year's Nobel Peace Prize.
The announcement draws attention to the repressive Suharto regime
in Jakarta, Indonesia.

In honoring the Timorese laureates...the Norwegian
Nobel Committee issued a blunt attack on the Indonesian
government, accusing it of "systematically oppressing
the people" of East Timor. [New York Times]

The Indonesian government's repression extends to more than East
Timor. It also is directed at its own workers. According to Max
White [coordinator of Justice Do It Nike and recently returned
from a Global Exchange fact-finding trip to Indonesia]
transnational shoe companies routinely bribe military officials
in return for a guarantee that an armed contingent will be no
more than 10 minutes away from their factories in the event of
any labor unrest.

Such is the context of repression that Nike seeks out when
deciding where to place new production facilities. Nike claims
to do magnificently by its Indonesian workforce. Its own workers
think differently. When Nike workers attempt even the most
minimal organizing on behalf of their rights, Nike's contractors
call in the military. A group of Indonesian nongovernmental
organizations with a solid record in workplace monitoring has
submitted a proposal to monitor conditions in Nike's factories.
Nike refused. They have too much to hide.

Two years ago, when President Clinton visited Indonesia, he
glossed over human rights problems, arguing that the best way to
spread democracy and improve human rights is through increasing
trade. Recent stories in the New York Times and the Wall Street
Journal reveal more about Clinton's motivation in doing business
with the Jakarta regime. Clinton and the Democratic National
Committee have been on the take for campaign donations -- buckets
of money -- from Indonesian companies and individuals. If some
of these donations were not outright illegal, they certainly
violated the spirit of the law. In one case, the Democrats
accepted $425,000 funneled through an Indonesian gardener here on
a green card. So, Clinton and the Dems got the money; the
Indonesians and the transnationals got the trade; meanwhile,
Nike's workers and the East Timorese are still waiting for their
human rights situation to improve.

Nike has never been accused of lobbying for repressive
governments. They don't have to. The U.S. Government, the World
Bank and the International Monetary Fund do the dirty work for
companies like Nike. Then Nike takes advantage of the situation.
That's why that little label you find inside the Nike shoes is
likely to say: Made in Indonesia, or Vietnam, or China.

Nike is riding high these days. They are making record profits.
They can't make shoes fast enough to fill their orders. [That,
by the way, translates into forced overtime for its production
workers.] But Nike has a problem. People are starting to find
out the truth behind the ad images. An international campaign is
getting out the word about Nike's labor practices. Nike
management is nervous.

Would you like to help bring the Nike campaign to your community?
Contact Campaign for Labor Rights: clr@igc.apc.org (541) 344-
5410.