Occupy Wall Street, Steve Jobs dies, and the media

This video from the USA is called Occupy Wall Street.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

We choose our own heroes

Thursday 06 October 2011

It’s a most peculiar aspect of the human condition, this penchant for seeking heroes at any opportunity.

And it’s only encouraged by substandard, cut-rate journalism in the mainstream media, which delights in personalising everything in terms of celebrity, rather than treating news in terms of how it affects the broad mass of people.

We’ve been treated to a good slice of that over the last week.

Thousands of US citizens have been marching and demonstrating in Wall Street and in cities all across the United States this week under banners declaiming that there “must be a better way than capitalism.”

Trade unions have been backing them and thousands of union members have joined the marches.

Service Employees International Union vice-president Victor Rivera said that the union was there “to support this movement against Wall Street’s greed.”

This confluence of anti-capitalist and trade union forces in the heartland of capitalism itself could be hugely significant, but you wouldn’t think so from the relatively minor coverage that it gained in Britain’s press.

By contrast, the death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs yesterday swamped the media.

In death, he seems to have been elevated to the status of some kind of folk-hero, with hours of TV coverage eulogising him and his “legacy.”

But just what was this man and what is this so-called “legacy?”

Well, let’s look at it.

Apple is a company that produces a tiny proportion of the computers available in the market although, by dint of ferocious protection of its patents, a fixation on the trendy appearance of its machinery and intensive and hugely expensive marketing of its overpriced products, has managed to become one of the most valuable companies in the world.

But it wasn’t always so successful, in fact it damn nearly went bankrupt in the late 1990s and was only bailed out by a $150 million investment by, believe it or not, its major competitor Microsoft.

It is widely believed that this investment was driven not by normal commercial motivations, but by Microsoft‘s desperate need to have a smaller competitor in the market and thus avoid anti-monopoly actions under US anti-trust laws which might have led to the enforced break-up of the computer giant.

So it might fairly be said that, if such is the case, Apple merely exists to act as protective colouration for its big brother Microsoft.

And it’s not just protectionism and overpricing that drove Apple’s success.

The company has faced a continuous barrage of attacks over employment practises by its suppliers.

Manufacturers of its iPod and iPad ranges have been accused of operating under sweatshop conditions and, although Apple has stated that it would not tolerate such behaviour from its suppliers, it is apparently still associated with them.

Ex-employees, black organisations and minority rights groups in the US have also campaigned against the company’s employment policies in the past and a succession of suicides at Apple suppliers drew heavy criticism as late as last year.

Well, that’s your folk-hero’s firm.

So the Morning Star has decided that we want our own US folk-heroes and the late Mr Jobs doesn’t qualify.

We nominate every last one of those courageous individuals who are taking on capitalism in the belly of the beast on the streets of New York and across the US.

They’ll do us for an image which lifts the US from predator to a country in which at least some of its working class aren’t being fooled by cardboard cutout silicon superheroes.

Did the Media Stumble With Steve Jobs Coverage? Here.

The Price of Apple. James Kwak, The Baseline Scenario: “Most of us already realized, on an intellectual level, that the stuff we buy is made by people overseas who, in general, have much less than we do and work harder than we do, under tougher working conditions. It’s harder to ignore, however, listening to Daisey talk about the long shifts (up to thirty-four hours, apparently), the crippling injuries due to repetitive stress or hazardous chemicals, the crammed dormitories, and the authoritarian rules”: here.

Apple Store Workers Long on Loyalty But Short on Pay: here.

Why Did Steve Job’s Death Affect People Who Never Knew Him? Here.

Steve Jobs’ ex-girlfriend pens memoir on life with ‘vicious’ Apple founder. Chrisann Brennan, the mother of Jobs’ eldest child, writes in The Bite in the Apple how success turned Jobs into a ‘demon’: here.

USA: Why Do Some Democratic Senators Want To Protect Tax Loophole For Hedge Fund Managers? Here.

11 thoughts on “Occupy Wall Street, Steve Jobs dies, and the media

  1. Apple co-founder dies from cancer

    UNITED STATES: Apple boss and co-founder Steven Jobs died of pancreatic cancer on Wednesday.

    Mr Jobs set up the computer firm with a school friend in a Silicon Valley garage in 1976.

    He was forced out of the company a decade later but returned in 1997.

    By 2011 Apple had become the second-largest company of any kind in the United States with a market value of $351 billion (£229bn).

    Forbes estimated Mr Jobs’s net wealth at $8.3bn (£5.4bn) in 2010.



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