Asbestos victims file 6.6 billion yen class action lawsuit in Tokyo

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Construction workers and next of kin of deceased workers filed a lawsuit in Tokyo, Japan Friday seeking damages of approximately 6.6 billion yen (about US$64 million) from the government and manufacturers related to illnesses stemming from exposure to asbestos. 178 plaintiffs; including construction workers and family members filed the suit in Tokyo District Court against 46 building manufacturers and the Government of Japan.

According to the Mainichi Daily News, the class action suit is the first that has been filed in Japan related to health damages caused by asbestos exposure at construction sites. The plaintiffs hail from the Japanese prefectures of Tokyo, Saitama and Chiba.

The plaintiffs claim that the government and manufacturers knew of the dangers of asbestos inhalation but failed to take proper precautions, including ceasing to promote asbestos as a cheap fire retardant and banning production of the material.

They state that after inhaling asbestos in the workplace, 172 people have developed lung cancer or mesothelioma, and that almost half of those afflicted are now dead. Plaintiffs argue that the government and health ministry did not act quickly enough after international organizations issued warnings in 1972 that asbestos could be a carcinogen.

Plaintiffs also place blame with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry for sanctioning the use of asbestos under Japanese Industrial Standards, and with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport for approving the use of materials comprised of asbestos and other substances under Japan’s Building Standards Law.

We will do our utmost until we win the suit.

“We will do our utmost until we win the suit,” said Kazuo Miyajima, 78, who heads the group of plaintiffs. Lawyers for the plaintiffs released a statement saying: “We seek complete relief for the victims by clarifying the liability of the state and the manufacturers.”

Approximately 40 construction workers from Kanagawa Prefecture plan to file a similar lawsuit in June in Yokohama District Court.

After a 2005 revelation that residents who lived near a factory in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture developed diseases related to asbestos, the government implemented a law in 2006 which provides monetary assistance to asbestos victims and relatives of deceased family members. The plaintiffs argue that the amount of financial assistance given to families and victims of asbestos-related diseases is not sufficient.

Asbestos has been used in Japan as a fire retardant, for sound absorption, and for insulation. It was mixed in concrete and water and sprayed on walls and ceilings, but the practice of spraying asbestos in this manner was banned in Japan in 1975.

Retrieved from “”

Florida man charged with stealing Wi-Fi

Update since publication

This article mentions that Wi-Fi stands for “Wireless Fidelity”, although this is disputed.

Thursday, July 7, 2005

A Florida man is being charged with 3rd degree felony for logging into a private Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity) Internet access point without permission. Benjamin Smith III, 41, is set for a pre-trial hearing this month in the first case of its kind in the United States.

This kind of activity occurs frequently, but often goes undetected by the owners of these wireless access points (WAPs). Unauthorized users range from casual Web browsers, to users sending e-mails, to users involved in pornography or even illegal endeavours.

According to Richard Dinon, owner of the WAP Smith allegedly broke into, Smith was using a laptop in an automobile while parked outside Dinon’s residence.

There are many steps an owner of one of these access points can take to secure them from outside users. Dinon reportedly knew how to take these steps, but had not bothered because his “neighbors are older.”

Retrieved from “”

Accounting Help To Inflate Your Profit Margins

Submitted by: Alvis Brazma

If you have a big business empire and looking for accounting help, then decide on for services of outsourcing. For any business company accounting is requisite and is needed on day to day basis. Company cannot manage to pile up files of accounts as well as ledgers in office s corner for long duration. It might strike to you that why so much emphasis on accounting work. The finance as well as accounts of any company is a crucial segment and requires a lot of attention. The way you handle them will ultimately decide the profit margins plus the productivity. Irrespective of the size of business accounts section of the company is essential for the functioning of the business, so steps should be taken in careful handling of them. The proficient status of accounting makes sure a prosperous future for your business and plays a significant role in transition of a business from a small scale to a large scale.

The accounting help varies from one business to another. In case of a small scale business you require to install accounting business software along with a small staff to complicate plus meet your requirement. But if you are running large scale business, it will be really costly as well as a complex task to higher a colossal manpower for accounting purposes no matter how essential it is.

YouTube Preview Image

So, it becomes imperative for you to have a sound knowledge of working of accounting system in an organization. It would be very difficult for you to trust confidential and important information with an individual who has just qualified for the purpose. Pricey charges of labor in USA are responsible for several companies to face difficulties in maintaining accounts, journal entries since a long period of time. To solve all your problems pertaining to keeping accounts, accounting help provided by the accounting and finance outsourcing companies arrive into picture.

The work of accounting comprises in a good deal of work including transaction of finances, which have to be managed in a regular and consistent manner. The work which is required on daily basis comprises maintaining daily record of expenses, checking of balance, assessing and paying taxes, planning of annual budget, and financial planning among the few others.

These tasks are allocated to accounting professional who also have to maintain journal entries as well as book keeping. On the surface level the financial work of the company might not look to you cumbersome and you might think of dispensing it to various in-house professionals. But, in reality it is a lot of bulky work which requires your due attention and cannot be handled by a bunch of in-house professionals. And it might not be possible for you to appoint large manpower as it is very expensive. Apart from this paying immense attention to the accounting work of the company also inhibits you from looking after other core activities of the company which also requires attention for increasing the margins of profit as well as the overall productivity. So, you can relieve yourself from all the tensions by hiring an outsourcing company for accounting which comprise in huge manpower and are much more feasible.

About the Author: Alvis Brazma gives advice to business owners about how to manage their business efficiently without any hassles. To know more about real estate accounting, accounting outsourcing, small business accounting and accounting help visit this leading internet source:


Permanent Link:

Dell joins Microsoft-Nortel VoIP Team

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Dell Inc. announced on Tuesday that it will partner up with the Microsoft-Nortel Innovative communications alliance (ICA) team to sell Unified Communications and VoIP products.

The announcement on Tuesday the 16th of October 2007 includes Dell selling VoIP, data and wireless networking products from Nortel and the Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 and other unified communications products.

The partnership with both manufacturers should allow Dell to provide a pre-integrated solution.

In March 2007, competitors IBM and Cisco announced they would join in the competition for developing unified communications applications and the development of open technologies around the unified communications and collaboration (UC2) client platform an application programming interfaces (APIs) offered by IBM as a subset of Lotus Sametime.

“We want to make it simple for our customers to deploy unified communications so their end users can get access to all their messages in one place – whether its e-mail, phone or mobile device. This will pave the way for more business-ready productivity tools,” said vice president of solutions, Dell Product Group, Rick Becker.

  • Customers have four options:
    • Core Office Communication Server 2007 – provides instant messaging and on-premise Microsoft Live Meeting.
    • Office Communication Server: Telephony – enables call routing tracking and management, VoIP gateway and public branch exchange (PBX) integration.
    • Audio and Video Conferencing – allows point-to-point conference, video conference and VoIP audio conference.
    • Exchange Unified Messaging – provides voicemail, e-mail and fax in Microsoft Outlook, and anywhere access of Microsoft Outlook Inbox and Calendar.
Retrieved from “”

FDA ruling on emergency contraceptive pill questioned

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The independent and nonpartisan US congressional watchdog, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) called the Food and Drug Administration’s decision not to allow over-the-counter (OTC) sales of an Emergency Contraceptive pill, “unusual”.

Emergency Contraceptive Pills or ECPs (“morning-after” or “next-day” pills ) are used to prevent an unintended pregnancy, following unprotected sexual intercourse. They are objectionable for abortion opponents who consider their use to be a form of abortion, though scientific studies (including those by the FDA) classify them as contraceptives. The pill, called Plan B is manufactured by Barr Laboratories and had been approved earlier by the FDA as a prescription drug.

Barr Laboratories requested that the drug be approved for OTC sale for adults and prescription-only sale for minors. The decision to not approve went against the advice given by the FDA’s Joint Advisory Committee and its Review staff and led to a GAO investigation into the decision making process. The investigation was requested by 30 House members and 17 Senators.

The GAO found several anomalies in the decision making process. The rationale used by Dr. Steven Galson, the acting director of the Centre for Drug Evaluation and Research for rejecting the application was novel and did not follow usual FDA practices. The decision was not signed off by the director of the office responsible for the application and the director of the Office of New Drugs, as they disagreed with the “reject” decision. The GAO also found that the FDA’s high-level management more involved in reviewing this decision than in other change-to-OTC applications.

The Plan B decision was the only one of 67 proposed prescription to OTC changes to be disapproved, even after advisory committees approved the changes. FDA review staff told the investigators that they were told early in the review process that the decision would be made by high-level management. E-mail and other documents involving the then-FDA Commissioner Mark McClellan were found to have been destroyed “routinely”.

The FDA has disagreed with the GAO’s finding that the high-level management was more involved in processing this application and that the rationale offered was novel, despite acknowledging that the adolescent cognitive ability rationale was unprecedented in FDA practice. The accounts as to whether the decision to reject was taken prior to the reviews being completed offered to the investigators were conflicting.

The acting director cited concerns about the potential behavioral implications for younger adolescents from OTC marketing of Plan-B, given their supposed lower cognitive ability, and that it was not valid to extrapolate data from older to younger audiences. However, the FDA had not considered similar “potential behavioral implications” for younger users for other OTC-switches and had previously considered it appropriate to extrapolate data from older to younger audiences.

Retrieved from “”

A Professional Paving Company In Lancaster, Pa Can Make Your Driveway Look Brand New Again

byAlma Abell

If your driveway is showing some wear and tear or your commercial parking lot is bumpy and has lines you can no longer see, a professional paving company in Lancaster, PA can help. They perform all sorts of asphalt and concrete paving services for both homes and businesses, and no job is ever too small or too large for them. A competent paving company can get rid of bump, buckles, and cracks, repaint the lines in a parking lot, and even seal-coat a driveway so that it is smooth once again.

YouTube Preview Image

Trust Them for the Right Job

Although there are some over-the-counter products for making your driveway look better, they are never as good as the ones used by a professional paving company. These companies have high-quality materials and the most advanced tools so that when they’re done, your parking lot or driveway is smooth, clean, and even. Most of them can be found online, and when you visit, you can easily get an idea of everything they offer, which is essentially everything you need to get your driveway or parking lot looking spectacular again.

Expert Results and Reasonable Prices

Even though a professional paving company does a tremendous job with all your paving needs, their prices are very competitive and reasonable. Moreover, they offer free quotes before any work is begun, because they aim to work closely with all their customers to provide them with top-notch service that is easy to afford. After all, they not only want you to be satisfied with the work they’ve provided, but they also want you to come back should you need them in the future. These companies provide services that are guaranteed to look the way you want them to, and they don’t stop until you are completely satisfied.

US Congress drafting bill that may affect Internet freedoms

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The United States Congress is currently drafting a bill known as the Communications Opportunity, Promotion, and Efficiency Act of 2006 that would revise and update the 1996 Telecommunications Act. Currently phone and cable lobbyists who own the broadband networks, such as those from AT&T and BellSouth, are calling on the federal government to permit them to operate Internet and other digital communications services as private networks. The bill as it now stands states that certain classes of Internet providers “may not unreasonably” impair, interfere, restrict or limit applications or services, such as Web sites or voice-over-IP phone connections.

Consumer advocates such as Common Cause and some large Internet companies such as Google and Yahoo are concerned that this change will result in a loss of what is being called network neutrality, and are demanding specific language in the bill to address it. Three weeks ago, the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications rejected an amendment to the bill that would have strengthened provisions for network neutrality. The amendment was defeated by a vote of 28 to 8.

Network neutrality is a principle of computer networking that describes networks designed so that no communication, application, or service is either given preferential treatment or restricted.

Advocates of network neutrality fear that allowing broadband networks to operate unregulated could lead to preferential treatment toward certain companies at the expense of others. Phone companies who oppose network neutrality legislation contend that some mechanism needs to be in place in order to pay for expansion of the public Internet.

Edward Whitacre, AT&T’s chief executive officer, had made remarks on the issue that consumer groups found inflammatory. In remarks made on November 7, 2005, presumably referring to Internet sites using their network connections, he called for “some mechanism for these people who use these pipes to pay for the portion they’re using. Why should they be allowed to use my pipes?”

Whitacre has since reversed his public statements, saying on March 21, 2006, “Any provider that blocks access to content is inviting customers to find another provider. And that’s just bad business.”

Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin believes that the FCC already has the authority to enforce network neutrality provisions, citing a North Carolina case in which the FCC acted against Madison River Communications for blocking Vonage VoIP phone service.

Representative Fred Upton from Michigan, chairman of the Telecommunications and the Internet Subcommittee, describes the bill as a way to “ignite the marketplace — unleashing great advances in technology and delivering to consumers a variety of new services at a lower cost that were once never even imagined. Every consumer in the nation with a telephone, television and access to the Internet will be better for it — the wave of the future is now.”

Michael Copps, a FCC Commissioner, said recently, “This Internet may not be the one we know in the future there are threats to it out there… Entrenched interests are already jockeying to constrain the openness that has been the Internet’s defining hallmark.”

A recent poll done by The Consumer Federation of America (See source 5) shows that the Internet has taken on an important role in the daily life of Americans. With two-thirds reporting it is important for personal communications and researching products, over half said it is important for getting news and, about 40 percent cited online banking, e-commerce, and retrieving government information as significant ways in which they used the internet. They expressed a great deal of concern about discriminatory practices of communications network operators.

The revision of the 1996 Telecommunications Act was proposed by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton, R-Texas, and U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., in late March and went on to the full committee on April 5.

Retrieved from “”

Volunteers gather to help patrol Arizona’s border with Mexico

Sunday, April 3, 2005

Volunteers from across the United States and some foreign countries gathered Friday to start an unofficial border patrol project.

They converged on the town of Tombstone, Arizona to take part in what organizers call the Minuteman Project.

Many came with personal firearms, cell phones or walking canes.

Most estimates numbered the group at 400 to 450 people, recruited from the Internet, far less than the 1,300 the organizers had hoped for, but “it was enough to send a message,” according to Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo.

“The federal government has walked away from this border,” he told some volunteers. He gained support and popularity for his stance against illegal immigration, but was characterized as anti-immigration in general.

“We are here to exercise what is a basic American right: free speech and the right to assemble,” he said.

Local citizens such as Luis Martinez, a third-generation Tombstone-area resident, were very unhappy with the developments. “They’ve come here to cause problems — to fight. Not to solve problems.

“I work in a ranch and all the ranchers use labor from the other side” of the border.

As Martinez fought back tears, he said he wanted to see the throngs leave Tombstone and go home.

During speeches delivered at orientation meetings, Rep. Tancredo was applauded loudly as he dismissed criticism from those who have called the volunteers racists and xenophobes. His fellow [[Republican Party (US)|Republican}}, President George Bush, described the group as “vigilantes.” Mexican President Vicente Fox used the term cazamigrantes — immigrant hunters.

Tancredo said: “We are saying to our government, ‘Please enforce the law,’ That is not a radical idea. That is not a vigilante idea. It is an American concept: the rule of law.”

Many of the volunteers, some from as far away as Italy, are bedding down in the nearby Miracle Valley Bible College for about $5 a night. Others are camping on the grounds of the run-down campus, about two miles north of the border.

Opposing sides were on the streets in Tombstone, although it appeared there was little contact or friction. Local, state and federal officers had mobilized in case confrontations arose.

James Gilchrist, a former Marine and a retired accountant from Aliso Viejo, Arizona, who ran the sign-up effort, said he expected more than 1,000 volunteers to help highlight the 30-day effort. The project’s goal is to patrol 23 miles of the San Pedro Valley, watch the border, and report illegal activity to law enforcement officials.

Many people fear that the project could result in vigilante violence. Organizers hope it causes the U.S. government to increase border patrols.

Tombstone is best known as the site of the 1881 shootout at the OK Corral.

Retrieved from “”

How Can Chin Implants Improve My Profile? Learn It From Here}

Submitted by: Dr Ahnsup Kim

Chin implant also medically known as a mentoplasty is a procedure that is done to improve the profile of the chin. It may not be the most often requested surgical procedure but what most people fail to realize is that it is also just as important as the nose in creating an attractive profile. This led some individual to grow beards to conceal their weak or sagging chins or cleverly disguise it with scarves or turtlenecks.

A chin implant is done by either injecting dermal fillers or inserting implants to the area. This results to a more defined chin and jaw line. The result may not be as dramatic but the subtleness is enough to create that enhanced profile.

For those who find their face to be a little too rounded, a chin implant can help create better angles. As mentioned earlier it can result to a more distinct jaw line and facial contours. The procedure can fashion the chin in a shape that will be proportionate to the rest of the face.

Adding to this, it can be said that beauty is also defined by angles. When the chin is augmented or sculpted to make it more appropriate to the face, it can result to a more attractive profile with a triangular appearance. For those who may have had weak chins, this can make the lower half of the face longer and structured.

A chin implant procedure can also enhance the appearance of other nearby facial features. One that is also prominently located on the face is the nose. Both these physical features balance and/or enhance one or the other. When the two are fashioned properly they result to a balance that creates harmony or what is cosmetically called as a facial duet. A prominent nose with a weak chin can make the nose appear larger and disproportionate.

Another procedure that would also create best results when done together with chin augmentation is a neck lift or a chin liposuction. This area is particularly vulnerable to the effects of aging or obesity resulting to a les defined lower face, which we oftentimes refer to as a double chin.

Only a surgeon who has the discerning eye for detail can fashion the chin and its nearby structures (submentum and jawline) in a way that can make the patient appear slimmer. In addition to this, only a highly competent cosmetic surgeon would be able to structure the chin in a way that would complement the nose.

The good thing about a chin augmentation procedure is that it is relatively easy and it can be reversed since the implants can be removed and rearranged. Scarring is also not a problem because the small incision will be strategically placed on the area underneath the chin. The healing time is also much faster, and the price is not that expensive.

So if you want to have that facial balance, especially when you are also contemplating on having a rhinoplasty done, a chin implant would enhance the results further. But you just have to make sure that you start it off by finding a reputable surgeon if you want impressive results.

About the Author: When it comes to best chin implant in Sydney and Melbourne, you can visit Advance Beauty Cosmetic Surgery headed by Dr. Ahnsup Kim. He has a group of highly-skilled surgical team who address the needs of their clients after a thorough free consultation. For more information you can visit here,

or add

+Dr Ahnsup Kim

in your circle.


Permanent Link:}

G20 protests: Inside a labour march

Wikinews accredited reporter Killing Vector traveled to the G-20 2009 summit protests in London with a group of protesters. This is his personal account.

Friday, April 3, 2009

London — “Protest”, says Ross Saunders, “is basically theatre”.

It’s seven a.m. and I’m on a mini-bus heading east on the M4 motorway from Cardiff toward London. I’m riding with seventeen members of the Cardiff Socialist Party, of which Saunders is branch secretary for the Cardiff West branch; they’re going to participate in a march that’s part of the protests against the G-20 meeting.

Before we boarded the minibus Saunders made a speech outlining the reasons for the march. He said they were “fighting for jobs for young people, fighting for free education, fighting for our share of the wealth, which we create.” His anger is directed at the government’s response to the economic downturn: “Now that the recession is underway, they’ve been trying to shoulder more of the burden onto the people, and onto the young people…they’re expecting us to pay for it.” He compared the protest to the Jarrow March and to the miners’ strikes which were hugely influential in the history of the British labour movement. The people assembled, though, aren’t miners or industrial workers — they’re university students or recent graduates, and the march they’re going to participate in is the Youth Fight For Jobs.

The Socialist Party was formerly part of the Labour Party, which has ruled the United Kingdom since 1997 and remains a member of the Socialist International. On the bus, Saunders and some of his cohorts — they occasionally, especially the older members, address each other as “comrade” — explains their view on how the split with Labour came about. As the Third Way became the dominant voice in the Labour Party, culminating with the replacement of Neil Kinnock with Tony Blair as party leader, the Socialist cadre became increasingly disaffected. “There used to be democratic structures, political meetings” within the party, they say. The branch meetings still exist but “now, they passed a resolution calling for renationalisation of the railways, and they [the party leadership] just ignored it.” They claim that the disaffection with New Labour has caused the party to lose “half its membership” and that people are seeking alternatives. Since the economic crisis began, Cardiff West’s membership has doubled, to 25 members, and the RMT has organized itself as a political movement running candidates in the 2009 EU Parliament election. The right-wing British National Party or BNP is making gains as well, though.

Talk on the bus is mostly political and the news of yesterday’s violence at the G-20 demonstrations, where a bank was stormed by protesters and 87 were arrested, is thick in the air. One member comments on the invasion of a RBS building in which phone lines were cut and furniture was destroyed: “It’s not very constructive but it does make you smile.” Another, reading about developments at the conference which have set France and Germany opposing the UK and the United States, says sardonically, “we’re going to stop all the squabbles — they’re going to unite against us. That’s what happens.” She recounts how, in her native Sweden during the Second World War, a national unity government was formed among all major parties, and Swedish communists were interned in camps, while Nazi-leaning parties were left unmolested.

In London around 11am the march assembles on Camberwell Green. About 250 people are here, from many parts of Britain; I meet marchers from Newcastle, Manchester, Leicester, and especially organized-labor stronghold Sheffield. The sky is grey but the atmosphere is convivial; five members of London’s Metropolitan Police are present, and they’re all smiling. Most marchers are young, some as young as high school age, but a few are older; some teachers, including members of the Lewisham and Sheffield chapters of the National Union of Teachers, are carrying banners in support of their students.

Gordon Brown’s a Tory/He wears a Tory hat/And when he saw our uni fees/He said ‘I’ll double that!’

Stewards hand out sheets of paper with the words to call-and-response chants on them. Some are youth-oriented and education-oriented, like the jaunty “Gordon Brown‘s a Tory/He wears a Tory hat/And when he saw our uni fees/He said ‘I’ll double that!'” (sung to the tune of the Lonnie Donegan song “My Old Man’s a Dustman“); but many are standbys of organized labour, including the infamous “workers of the world, unite!“. It also outlines the goals of the protest, as “demands”: “The right to a decent job for all, with a living wage of at least £8 and hour. No to cheap labour apprenticeships! for all apprenticeships to pay at least the minimum wage, with a job guaranteed at the end. No to university fees. support the campaign to defeat fees.” Another steward with a megaphone and a bright red t-shirt talks the assembled protesters through the basics of call-and-response chanting.

Finally the march gets underway, traveling through the London boroughs of Camberwell and Southwark. Along the route of the march more police follow along, escorting and guiding the march and watching it carefully, while a police van with flashing lights clears the route in front of it. On the surface the atmosphere is enthusiastic, but everyone freezes for a second as a siren is heard behind them; it turns out to be a passing ambulance.

Crossing Southwark Bridge, the march enters the City of London, the comparably small but dense area containing London’s financial and economic heart. Although one recipient of the protesters’ anger is the Bank of England, the march does not stop in the City, only passing through the streets by the London Exchange. Tourists on buses and businessmen in pinstripe suits record snippets of the march on their mobile phones as it passes them; as it goes past a branch of HSBC the employees gather at the glass store front and watch nervously. The time in the City is brief; rather than continue into the very centre of London the march turns east and, passing the Tower of London, proceeds into the poor, largely immigrant neighbourhoods of the Tower Hamlets.

The sun has come out, and the spirits of the protesters have remained high. But few people, only occasional faces at windows in the blocks of apartments, are here to see the march and it is in Wapping High Street that I hear my first complaint from the marchers. Peter, a steward, complains that the police have taken the march off its original route and onto back streets where “there’s nobody to protest to”. I ask how he feels about the possibility of violence, noting the incidents the day before, and he replies that it was “justified aggression”. “We don’t condone it but people have only got certain limitations.”

There’s nobody to protest to!

A policeman I ask is very polite but noncommittal about the change in route. “The students are getting the message out”, he says, so there’s no problem. “Everyone’s very well behaved” in his assessment and the atmosphere is “very positive”. Another protestor, a sign-carrying university student from Sheffield, half-heartedly returns the compliment: today, she says, “the police have been surprisingly unridiculous.”

The march pauses just before it enters Cable Street. Here, in 1936, was the site of the Battle of Cable Street, and the march leader, addressing the protesters through her megaphone, marks the moment. She draws a parallel between the British Union of Fascists of the 1930s and the much smaller BNP today, and as the protesters follow the East London street their chant becomes “The BNP tell racist lies/We fight back and organise!”

In Victoria Park — “The People’s Park” as it was sometimes known — the march stops for lunch. The trade unions of East London have organized and paid for a lunch of hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries and tea, and, picnic-style, the marchers enjoy their meals as organized labor veterans give brief speeches about industrial actions from a small raised platform.

A demonstration is always a means to and end.

During the rally I have the opportunity to speak with Neil Cafferky, a Galway-born Londoner and the London organizer of the Youth Fight For Jobs march. I ask him first about why, despite being surrounded by red banners and quotes from Karl Marx, I haven’t once heard the word “communism” used all day. He explains that, while he considers himself a Marxist and a Trotskyist, the word communism has negative connotations that would “act as a barrier” to getting people involved: the Socialist Party wants to avoid the discussion of its position on the USSR and disassociate itself from Stalinism. What the Socialists favor, he says, is “democratic planned production” with “the working class, the youths brought into the heart of decision making.”

On the subject of the police’s re-routing of the march, he says the new route is actually the synthesis of two proposals. Originally the march was to have gone from Camberwell Green to the Houses of Parliament, then across the sites of the 2012 Olympics and finally to the ExCel Centre. The police, meanwhile, wanted there to be no march at all.

The Metropolitan Police had argued that, with only 650 trained traffic officers on the force and most of those providing security at the ExCel Centre itself, there simply wasn’t the manpower available to close main streets, so a route along back streets was necessary if the march was to go ahead at all. Cafferky is sceptical of the police explanation. “It’s all very well having concern for health and safety,” he responds. “Our concern is using planning to block protest.”

He accuses the police and the government of having used legal, bureaucratic and even violent means to block protests. Talking about marches having to defend themselves, he says “if the police set out with the intention of assaulting marches then violence is unavoidable.” He says the police have been known to insert “provocateurs” into marches, which have to be isolated. He also asserts the right of marches to defend themselves when attacked, although this “must be done in a disciplined manner”.

He says he wasn’t present at yesterday’s demonstrations and so can’t comment on the accusations of violence against police. But, he says, there is often provocative behavior on both sides. Rather than reject violence outright, Cafferky argues that there needs to be “clear political understanding of the role of violence” and calls it “counter-productive”.

Demonstration overall, though, he says, is always a useful tool, although “a demonstration is always a means to an end” rather than an end in itself. He mentions other ongoing industrial actions such as the occupation of the Visteon plant in Enfield; 200 fired workers at the factory have been occupying the plant since April 1, and states the solidarity between the youth marchers and the industrial workers.

I also speak briefly with members of the International Bolshevik Tendency, a small group of left-wing activists who have brought some signs to the rally. The Bolsheviks say that, like the Socialists, they’re Trotskyists, but have differences with them on the idea of organization; the International Bolshevik Tendency believes that control of the party representing the working class should be less democratic and instead be in the hands of a team of experts in history and politics. Relations between the two groups are “chilly”, says one.

At 2:30 the march resumes. Rather than proceeding to the ExCel Centre itself, though, it makes its way to a station of London’s Docklands Light Railway; on the way, several of East London’s school-aged youths join the march, and on reaching Canning Town the group is some 300 strong. Proceeding on foot through the borough, the Youth Fight For Jobs reaches the protest site outside the G-20 meeting.

It’s impossible to legally get too close to the conference itself. Police are guarding every approach, and have formed a double cordon between the protest area and the route that motorcades take into and out of the conference venue. Most are un-armed, in the tradition of London police; only a few even carry truncheons. Closer to the building, though, a few machine gun-armed riot police are present, standing out sharply in their black uniforms against the high-visibility yellow vests of the Metropolitan Police. The G-20 conference itself, which started a few hours before the march began, is already winding down, and about a thousand protesters are present.

I see three large groups: the Youth Fight For Jobs avoids going into the center of the protest area, instead staying in their own group at the admonition of the stewards and listening to a series of guest speakers who tell them about current industrial actions and the organization of the Youth Fight’s upcoming rally at UCL. A second group carries the Ogaden National Liberation Front‘s flag and is campaigning for recognition of an autonomous homeland in eastern Ethiopia. Others protesting the Ethiopian government make up the third group; waving old Ethiopian flags, including the Lion of Judah standard of emperor Haile Selassie, they demand that foreign aid to Ethiopia be tied to democratization in that country: “No recovery without democracy”.

A set of abandoned signs tied to bollards indicate that the CND has been here, but has already gone home; they were demanding the abandonment of nuclear weapons. But apart from a handful of individuals with handmade, cardboard signs I see no groups addressing the G-20 meeting itself, other than the Youth Fight For Jobs’ slogans concerning the bailout. But when a motorcade passes, catcalls and jeers are heard.

It’s now 5pm and, after four hours of driving, five hours marching and one hour at the G-20, Cardiff’s Socialists are returning home. I board the bus with them and, navigating slowly through the snarled London traffic, we listen to BBC Radio 4. The news is reporting on the closure of the G-20 conference; while they take time out to mention that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper delayed the traditional group photograph of the G-20’s world leaders because “he was on the loo“, no mention is made of today’s protests. Those listening in the bus are disappointed by the lack of coverage.

Most people on the return trip are tired. Many sleep. Others read the latest issue of The Socialist, the Socialist Party’s newspaper. Mia quietly sings “The Internationale” in Swedish.

Due to the traffic, the journey back to Cardiff will be even longer than the journey to London. Over the objections of a few of its members, the South Welsh participants in the Youth Fight For Jobs stop at a McDonald’s before returning to the M4 and home.

Retrieved from “”