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The Millennium Bomb and the Labour Movement

World News Review 4-6-97  The Millennium Bomb and the Labour Movement

 "nobody who has investigated the problem has any doubt that it is serious 
and complex, and will touch the lives of virtually everyone on the planet"
 (Financial Times May 31st 1997)

The Millennium Bomb is the result of a mistake by the computer industry in
storing the year in a date as two rather than four digits. "'The result never
before in human history have we shot ourselves in the feet so badly' says Brad
"The British National Audit Office has warned that unless 
Government systems are modified in time, salaries might not be paid,
collection of taxes could be put at risk, defence systems could malfunction 
and inaccurate hospital records could be created."...

"Then is the problem of 'embedded processors'. These are silicon chips which
control everything from traffic lights and medical equipment to power stations
and electronically guided weapons. They may or may not be affected by the date
change the lack of information is a serious hindrance to dealing with the
problem"  the cost to fix the problem has been put at $1,543 billion 
worldwide"... (ibid.) in Britain at 30 billion. 

Here we have a revolutionary challenge posed which only the world Labour and
Trade Union Movement can resolve, it is both urgent and necessary that we act
now as a movement.

We propose that Trade Unions and the Left World Wide immediately establish a
global information exchange on the issue, a news service and a web site. Trade
Unions and the Labour Movement world wide must have control over the decision
making processes affecting their workplaces and the wider global health and
safety issues.
As Colin McGhee states in the Millennium Times 26/8/96, 

"The minimum requirements in a meltdown scenario could be considered water,
food power distribution, and law and order. During the second world war Britain
was runby government Ministries which commandeered all production and 
distribution. Before long the government may be forced to consider a similar 
fallback situation, unless they are sure that current efforts will succeed."

Plans for such emergency measures as the commandeering of all production
distribution and exchange must be drawn up with the direct involvement of the
Labour and Trade Union movement. The whole society must participate in
democratically planning the emergency measures needed to keep the economy 
and society functioning and this must incorporate the entire world.

Priority areas might be such areas as Nuclear, Chemical and other mass
destruction weapons facilities, Nuclear Power Stations, Air Traffic Control and
Air Transport, power stations, Traffic Control and Shipping Industries,
Satellites, Banks, Insurance Companies and the Financial Markets.

All Banks and financial services and markets must provide verifiable evidence 
of their plans and eradication schedule, both to the Unions and Investors. That 
is if we wish to avoid Albanian scenes all over the world on or after January 
1st 2000.

Any Bank which fails to provide comprehensive and verifiable plans by the year
end 1997 must be forced either to introduce completely new computer systems, or
be nationalised. In fact the interconnection of the financial markets makes
global nationalisation the only logical course of action. Lets not have it said
that this option was never raised!

The cost of the solution to the wider effects makes a global investment in re
computerising the entire world and redesigning the information infrastructure a
cheaper option than correcting the errors on current computers.

A "Milleniumnet" connected to a Millennium friendly Internet system must be
created. It should link the essential societal infrastructure together. Of
course checking or creating new global telecommunications infrastructures will
be the only way to ensure this "Millenniumnet" will work.

The United Nations Human Development report 1996 explained that the 
economic processes fostering ever more "grotesque inequalities" have being 
greatly assisted by Information Technology. Companies such as IBM and
 Microsoft are making billions whilst selling a product which may cause global 

Imagine buying a car which is going to self destruct or worse in two and a 
half years time. (by the way the average car has 14-40 chips which may cause 
all cars to malfunction) Software and hardware manufacturers must be made to 
pay for their "small omission". The world computer and communications industry 
should be led by a single Multinational publicly owned concern under the 
democratic control of the users of the new "Millenniumnet".

It does not take a genius to work out that we could produce a billion powerful
computers and provide them all with high band connections to such a
"Millenniumnet" for the same cost as correcting the current problem. If access
to these computers is equitably available across the world, it would provide 
the means of solving many more problems than just the Millennium Bomb. 

The scope of the issues involved and the detailed plans that need to be 
made seem daunting, but there is no force on earth better placed to protect the 
interests of consumers, producers and wider society from the effects of the 
Millennium meltdown than the Labour Movement, let us begin! 

Action is needed now to ensure:

That every trade unionist should suggest their employer provide detailed reports
on the effects in each workplace and stage of the labour process, from
extraction to manufacture and sale.

That every National Trade Union Federation establish a Milleniumnet site
detailing Millennium solutions for each sector of the economy.

That the manufacture of Millennium compliant software and hardware be 
undertaken by Computer manufacturers under National and International plan 
drawn up by elected representatives of the workforce.   

That trade unions prepare their own reports relating to health and safety at
work and the Millennium bomb.   

That no production line produce Millennium defective products after December

A comprehensive web site by the World News Review on this issue is in

We undertake to circulate global warning reports on the Millennium Bomb and the
future of Information Technology on a regular basis to be circulated on the

Internet. We welcome contributions on these isuues.

E-mail to heiko@easynet.co.uk

Please circulate this article as widely as possible. Please forward us any
translations into other languages to avoid the duplication of effort.
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