Republican solidarity diluted by Coke…

SINN Fein’s newspaper An Phoblacht has consistently and strongly criticised Coca Cola’s human rights record, and many Sinn Fein members have supported a call by the republican paper to boycott the soft drink. But what would have happened if the boycott had been successful? Sinn Fein Councillor Michael Ferguson provides an insight below.

As Coca Cola reveals that it is to rationalise operations in Ireland (that is, close one of the two plants, one of which is at Lambeg, Lisburn), Councillor Ferguson told the Irish News (subs needed):

  • Davros

    I must admit , I have supported the SF call to boycott Coca Cola products. If only Mecca Cola was available . I hear it’s excellent.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Your reward will be great in Heaven, davros – 70 Virgin Colas.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Gonzo,
    perhaps you can tell us what is the Alliance party line on the abuse of Third World workers rights in Coca Cola plants.
    Even better would be Seamus Closes views re Lambeg.
    To be fair I haven’t seen Alliance show much concern over either.

  • peteb

    You forgot to mention the promotion of the boycott by SF while its US division was happily accepting donations from Coca Cola, Gonzo.

    But congratulations for managing to avoid the use of “hypocritical” in this piece – an achievement in itself! :o)

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Pat

    Never mind Alliance, what is Sinn Fein’s position?

    It seems to be somewhat ‘flexible’. Hence the post.

  • Rebecca Black

    I think its just an Irish thing to be anti coke. At Trinity they held a referendum on whether or not we should boycott coke in the college and the result was that the SU shop was not longer allowed to sell coke.

    Now all that did was irritate people and make the SU lose a load of money in the shop because people went across the road to Spar where they did sell coke.

    Ok, so coke may be fairly dubious but I’m sure if we knew the full extent of exploitation of workers across the world working for all the big corporations we wouldn’t buy anything!

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    So Alliance have absolutely nothing to say, except to hang around the DUPers looking for crumbs. Their descent into irrelevance has indeed been dramatic.

  • cg

    “I think its just an Irish thing to be anti coke”

    Rebecca

    Apart from your comment being racist It isn’t just Irish people who object to coke It’s an International campaign.

    “I’m sure if we knew the full extent of exploitation of workers across the world working for all the big corporations we wouldn’t buy anything!”

    While I am hardly a friend of Multinational Corporations I haven’t yet heard of any that support murder of trade union officals.Rebecca just try the spirit of solidatory for a change.

  • Rebecca Black

    cg

    calm yourself, I was merely observing that since Sinn Fein seem quite interested in the anti-coke campaign and that from my experiences living in the republic this seems to be a trend with the Irish. Certainly people in Britain on the whole wouldn’t be as aware and feel as strongly about the issue as most of the Irish people I know.

    “While I am hardly a friend of Multinational Corporations I haven’t yet heard of any that support murder of trade union officals.Rebecca just try the spirit of solidatory for a change. “

    ah but you don’t know do you? I’m sure there are plenty of horrific stories that the public just are not privy to. Thats the nature of these big corporations, its all about the bigger picture for them. I am not against being solidatory, I am just wary of jumping on every issue that comes along and squealing with outrage when there are probably far worse things going on in the world.
    Get a bit of perspective.

  • Davros

    I agree Rebecca – God knows what the Multi-nationals have been upto as they, like rich individuals, spend a lot of time and money covering their tracks.

    Occasionally a story breaks – as with Coca Cola and as with Shell in Africa.

    There was an excellent article in today’s Guardian
    pointing out the conspiracy of silence about taxation, specifically how the super-rich manage to avoid paying it!

  • cg

    “there are probably far worse things going on in the world.
    Get a bit of perspective.”

    Rebecca

    Either this is a sick joke or you need to look at your own perspective on life. MURDER. Could you please inform what is worse than that. It isn’t just jumping on the bandwagon as you so eleoquently put it but about Fair Trade. If that’s you attitude about murder I would’nt have liked to hear you when there was Aparthied in South Africa and a Boycott of their good’s.

    Get a grip and stop being so Bourgeoisie.

  • cg

    sorrry
    should have read
    “please inform me what is worse”

  • Davros

    That’s easy to answer cg.

  • Davros

    If a company was involved in hundreds of murders, I would say that was worse than a company being involved in dozens of murders, wouldn’t you ?
    And a Company that was involved in thousands of murders would be even worse.

  • cg

    “If a company was involved in hundreds of murders, I would say that was worse than a company being involved in dozens of murders, wouldn’t you ?”

    No Davros I would’nt.
    For me the fact that a company has being involved in the murder of innocentv worker’s is enough in itself.I don’t put murder in importance according to number’s. You can’t say that one families grief is less merly because there was only one death. Murder is murder is murder. Looking at it with a calculator is both insensative and foolish,lets not forget the wast started a war after a few thousand ‘white’ people were killed in 9/11 yet million’s were butchered in Africa and nothing was done.
    (This is not an attempt to justify the attrocity of 9/11 but merly to make a point}

  • cg

    again
    sorry to have to correct myself a bit tired.
    should read
    ‘lets not forget the WEST’ not wast

  • Rebecca Black

    “Bourgeoisie”

    excellent, I’ve always wanted to be called that after reading 1984, cheers.

    I think your most recent arguments are reactionary and somewhat bizarre. They remind me of the typical Trinner in Dublin who in an attempt to have a social conscience gets hugely into an issue just because it gets publicised on the news. Then start to lecture everyone else on why they should be equally blinkered and jump on the same band wagon.

    I mean, really, what sort of effect do you expect to have on a multi national company? Do you have any idea the sales figures every year? Do you think they wil even notice if one Students Union in Ireland boycott them? I don’t think so. Life in the real world.

    “I don’t put murder in importance according to number’s”

    Don’t be ridiculous, think practically. Imagine you have an army (I shudder the thought) of a certain size and you get two messages in your little office.

    1. There is a mass ethnic cleansing exercise going on in Japan, 1000 dead so far.

    2. In a clothes factory Lesotho, someone gets pushed under a machine and dies.

    Now your army is big enough to stop the ethnic cleansing but you can’t spare any of them for the massive detour to Lesotho. Do you send all your army to Japan and save thousands of lives, or do you send a bit of your army to Losotho to investigate why this guy died and leave your army vulnerable to getting mashed in Japan on their rescue mission – Because remember your full army is only just enough to quash the ethnic cleansing madness.

  • George

    Rebecca,
    I think you’ll find that when the good people of the West of Ireland decided to impose their sanction on exploitative landlord Captain Boycott, they didn’t expect it to turn into a worldwide practise.

    Equally, the good people of the Trinity SU decided not to stand idly by but to protest against Coke by refusing to sell the product. It’s a bit like imposing UN sanctions or bombing towns from 50,000 feet instead of going in and taking control, it mightn’t work but at least it gives the impression one is doing something.

    As Lenin said: Do something? Do something!

  • Mario

    I will have to agree with Rebecca Black on this. Conditions in textile factories here in Latin America and in Asian countries are, at best, atrocious. Most workers that produce the goods that are consumed in the so-called developed nations work and live in medieval conditions and their wages are amongst the lowest in the world. A lot of these textile, bottling, fruit packing, and assembly companies pay and treat their workers like dirt. Coca cola is not the only one, and as Rebecca hinted, you will probably have to walk around naked and thirsty to be politically correct in these wretched times. Contribute to international union drives, I think it is much more effective than ineffective political correctness.

  • peteb

    But Mario,

    ‘politically correct’ boycotts such as the Cola campaign – which, as this thread points out, often have an effect closer to home than intended – are a wonderful salve for a guilty conscience. ;o)

  • Mario

    Is that el humor ir

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Is that where you are Mario, Argentina?

  • Mario

    Yes , I am from Cordoba but I live in Buenos Aires now. I posted here when you had an article on the Irish Diaspora (sp?) and somebody said something about how we all were going to come back to Ireland and ask for citizenship. Nonsense!!

    My name is Mario Kelley and I beleive my great grandparents were from Antrim.

  • Mario

    Yes , I am from Cordoba but I live in Buenos Aires now. I posted here when you had an article on the Irish Diaspora (sp?) and somebody said something about how we all were going to come back to Ireland and ask for citizenship. Nonsense!!

    My name is Mario Kelley and I beleive my great grandparents were from Antrim.

  • peteb

    I don’t disagree with any of those comments, Mario.

    (no irony intended this time)

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Aye, there are quite a few Kellys about Antrim county, and no doubt in the town as well. The ones I know drop the second ‘e’ though.

    Do you follow events over here closely then?

  • Mario

    I try, but I become confused at times, I came to this site by accident when doing some googling on my family and came across a discussion here on the Irish diaspora in Argentina.

    I understand that there is peace now in Northern Ireland, but there seems to be some mild hostility still. I try to read and this site helps me a bit,but as you know we have our hands full, but as good gauchos we soldier on.

    That is interesting what you say about dropping the “e”. There are quite of number of Kelleys in Cordoba,I have not met any in Buenos Aires, but I have yet to meet any who drop the second e.

  • cg

    Rebecca
    This has nothing to do with publicity and all to do with having a conscience. I have no intention of trying to convey to you my disgust at your attitude to non unionist, non British worker’s right’s (sound’s familiar).You are trying to simplify this situation into a nice wee box but it doesn’t work that way.
    Get real!
    If you have no objection to buying good’s from manufacturer’s that have blood on their hands then that is a matter for you. Don’t however suggest that those who do practice moral fiber are somewhat deluded.