iSlaves’ Struggles

Situation and resistance of workers at Foxconn factories
by friends of gongchao

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The book “Dying for an iPhone” on the situation and struggles of Foxconn workers is finally out. It was edited by Jenny Chan, Mark Selden, and Pun Ngai and is an changed and updated version of the book 我在富士康 (Me at Foxconn) originally published in Chinese in 2012 and then translated into German, Polish, and Italian.

More information on the English book can be found on the page of the publisher Pluto.

Below is a collection of texts, links and films on the situation and struggles in Foxconn-factories. Some of it was written by friends of gongchao, some was taken from other sources:

The Foxconn Con and Foxconn: The Myth and Reality of the Welfare Queen
by Dave Ranney (February 2018)

Insurgent Notes published these two articles on the announced investment of the Chinese-Taiwanese electronics maker Foxconn in the USA.

Four years later, still a graveyard of Chinese youth
by Yi Xi (January 2015)

In 2014, on the eve of China’s national day celebrations, scenes recalling those of four years ago appeared in Chinese headlines. Foxconn became known to the world four years ago when thirteen of its young workers jumped to their deaths in quick succession. The death of young Foxconn worker and poet Xu Lizhi reminded us that in this Fortune 500 company that produces some 40% of the world’s electronics, the cruelty and hopelessness of workers’ situation has not changed.

On the border: Foxconn in Mexico
by Devi Sacchetto and Martìn Cecchi (January 2015)

Foxconn, the biggest electronic manufacturer worldwide, has strong assembly operations in Ciudad Juarez, on the Mexico-US border. With abundant migrant labor-force, extreme social violence and multinational production are among the main factors that characterize this operation.

“They treat us like robots!” – Foxconn-Factory in Turkey
by Rutvica Andrijasevic, Devi Sacchetto and Nuran Gülenç (December 2013)

“Some weeks I work 62 hours, other weeks I only work 30. You can go from a minimum of three days a week up to six, so it’s impossible to organise your life outside work.” Verda is one of the 350 or so employees at the Turkish factory opened by Foxconn three years ago to manufacture desktop computers exclusively for Hewlett & Packard (HP).

China may be far away but Foxconn is on our doorstep – Foxconn in the Czech Republic
by Rutvica Andrijasevic and Devi Sacchetto (June 2013)

Drawing on support from permissive governments, multinational manufacturer Foxconn has set up shop in Central Europe. Yet the transitory nature of the many migrant workers employed in these factories will have serious consequences for the future of labour in Europe.

“I wasted six years of my life” – The story of a Foxconn-worker from Nitra, Slovakia
by gongchao/kpk (April 2013)

We met Lucia, a woman in her mid-twenties, in her hometown in central Slovakia. We had contacted her through friends, eager to find out more about the conditions in the Foxconn plant in Nitra, Slovakia. Lucia had worked there for six years before being dismissed with hundreds of other workers in early 2012.

Foxconn/Sony TV-Production in Slovakia
by gongchao/kpk (April 2013)

Short history of Sony’s TV-factory in Slovakia. First established in Trnava in 1996, it was moved to Nitra in 2007. Foxconn took it over in 2010 and continued the production of Sony TVs. Foxconn had plans for an expansion, but carried out mass lay-offs in 2012.

10 Paragraphs Against 1 Rotten Apple – iSlavery at Foxconn
by friends of gongchao (March 2013)

Foxconn is the world’s biggest contract manufacturer in electronics and produces for Apple, Sony, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and other brands in its large factories in China and other countries. Foxconn’s workers are the iSlaves who face bad working conditions while making our communication tools like iPhones, Kindles or Playstations.

Incomplete List of Labor Unrest at Foxconn
by friends of gongchao (February 2013)

This list was collected for the German edition of the book “iSlaves – Ausbeutung und Widerstand in Chinas Foxconn-Fabriken” (exploitation and resistance in China’s Foxconn-factories).

Revolt of the iSlaves – More Labor Unrest at China’s Foxconn Factories
by friends of gongchao (October 2012)

Two incidents of mass unrest at Foxconn factories made worldwide headlines in late September and early October 2012. The leading customer Apple had just released a new version of his main product, the iPhone 5, so work pressure in the factories was high – and so was worldwide attention.

Films on Foxconn
Various sources (2011-2012)

Several groups have made films on Foxconn and its workers, some of them using workers interviews. Here is a selection of them.

The Spatial Politics of Labor in China: Life, Labor, and a New Generation of Migrant Workers
by Jenny Chan and Pun Ngai (2013)

The rise of China as the “workshop of the world” has attracted scholarly interest in the spatiality of global capitalism. The continuous geographical shift of the capital accumulation process from the West to Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and then to China and now the rapidly industrializing nations of South Asia have not only brought about economic miracles in the region but they have also rendered it vulnerable to crisis. As China has further integrated into the neoliberal world economy, structural economic imbalance and class inequality have become more pronounced.

Global Capital, the State, and Chinese Workers: The Foxconn Experience
by Jenny Chan and Pun Ngai (2012)

This article looks into the development of the Foxconn Corporation to understand the advent of capital expansion and its impact on frontline workers’ lives in China. It also provides an account of how the state facilitates Foxconn’s production expansion as a form of monopoly capital. Foxconn stands out as a new phenomenon of capital expansion because of the incomparable speed and scale of its capital accumulation in all regions of China. This article explores how the workers at Foxconn, the world’s largest electronics manufacturer, have been subjected to work pressure and desperation that might lead to suicides on the onehand but also open up daily and collective resistance on the other hand.

Suicide as Protest for the New Generation of Chinese Migrant Workers: Foxconn, Global Capital, and the State
by Jenny Chan and Pun Ngai (2010)

A startling 13 young workers attempted or committed suicide at the two Foxconn production facilities in southern China between January and May 2010. We can interpret their acts as protest against a global labor regime that is widely practiced in China. Their defiant deaths demand that society reflect upon the costs of a state-promoted development model that sacrifices dignity for corporate profit in the name of economic growth.

More Articles on Foxconn
by SACOM and China Labor Watch (2010-2012)

The labor-NGOs SACOM and China Labor Watch published a range of reports on Foxconn, the working conditions in the Chinese electronics industry, contract manufacturing, etc. Although we might not agree with the focus on (independent) labor unions, CSR (corporate social responsibility), and consumer awareness, these articles include valuable information on the exploitation and struggles of workers in Foxconn factories.