On this day in 1875 the famed automotive engineer Ferdinand Porsche was born in Mattersdorf, Austria-Hungary. From an early age Porsche demonstrated a keen interest and great skill in technology, and soon landed a job in an electrical company. In 1897 he built an electric wheel-hub motor which garnered significant attention after being featured at the 1900 World’s Fair in Paris. Some of his career highlights before 1931 included building the first gas-electric hybrid car and working for Mercedes-Benz. In this time he also briefly served in the army and acted as chauffeur to Archduke Franz Ferdinand whose assassination in 1914 sparked the First World War. In 1931 Porsche founded his own company - the company that carries his name which is still famous today for its cars. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s Porsche, by then a German citizen, sympathised with the Nazi Party and eventually became a member of both the party and its paramilitary wing the SS. It was Porsche who was charged by Adolf Hitler with designing and building the ‘people’s car’ (Volkswagen), and from these efforts came the Volkswagen Beetle. Porsche’s company was also involved in the Nazi war effort by designing and building state of the art tanks for the German army. After the end of the war Porsche was arrested and jailed by the French as a war criminal but his son kept the company going and they soon unveiled the new Porsche sports car. Ferdinand Porsche died in Stuttgart, Germany on January 30th 1951 at the age of 75, but his company lives on and remains one of the most sought-after car brands.
Cambodian military police opened fire with assault rifles on Friday to quell a protest by stone-throwing garment factory workers demanding higher pay in a crackdown a human rights group said killed four people.
Chaos during nationwide strikes erupted for a second day as security forces were deployed to halt a demonstration by thousands of workers, who refused to move and threw bottles, stones and petrol bombs at an industrial zone in Phnom Penh.
The clash represents an escalation of a political crisis in Cambodia, where striking workers and anti-government protesters have come together in a loose movement led by the opposition Cambodia National Rescue party (CNRP).
Unions representing disgruntled garment workers have joined opposition supporters protesting against the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen to demand a re-run of an election in July that the opposition says was rigged.
Military police confronting the protesters fired live ammunition, Reuters journalists said, and bullet casings were later seen scattered across the ground at the scene.
The clashes took place at Canadia Industrial Park in Phnom Penh, home to dozens of factories that make clothing for western brands that include Adidas, Puma and H&M Hennes & Mauritz.
Human rights group LICADHO described the incident as “horrific” and lambasted military police, adding that their own investigation and surveys of hospitals had found four people were killed and 21 wounded.
A distinction needs to be made between the striking garment workers, who are part of the whole struggle against neoliberalism and imperialism in Asia, and the pro-imperialist opposition parties and NGOs that are trying to piggyback on the struggle for their own purposes. As in this Guardian article, the media always conflate the two (and this probably reflect some aspects of the situation on the ground). There is no basis for a longterm alliance between these forces.