We Are Not Machines:

Thursday, April 18, 2013 - 7:30pm
The Brecht Forumn 451 West Streetn New York, NY 10014n United Statesn

April 18th, 2013 7:30 PM
Prometheus Unchained: Science, Technology and Environment Month
We Are Not Machines:
A Report from Foxconn and Struggles of Workers in China
GONGCHAO Collective

The Chinese-Taiwanese company Foxconn employs more than one million people in China alone. As the world's biggest contract manufacturer in electronics it works for Apple and many other brands. Foxconn's workers are the Slaves who face horrendous working conditions while producing our communication tools like Phones and Pads.

In 2010 a series of worker suicides shook the Chinese Foxconn factories and drew world-wide attention. Foxconn promised to improve conditions and pay higher wages. However, a group of activists and social scientists from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan made interviews with workers and conducted a thorough analysis of the conditions after the suicides. The results of this inquiry show that the situation has not improved much: Foxconn accelerated the relocation of factories to the Chinese hinterland, employs student interns as even "cheaper" labor, covers up work accidents to save money, and continues to use a militaristic management regime.

The inquiry also showed that Foxconn workers are far from being the quiet victims of Foxconn's exploitation and repression but fight back when possible. Apart from every-day forms of resistance against the rhythm of production at the assembly line, they were able to stage strikes – like in September 2012 in the Zhengzhou-plant against higher work pressure in the iPhone 5-department.

The talk will focus on the situation of exploitation in the factories and the resistance of workers at Foxconn to counter the image of a perfect digital world presented by the leading gadget brands like Apple. The struggle of the Slaves asks for our solidarity and support of workers' resistance in China.