3 comments on “UAW Tops Destroy UAW; Rank and File Auto Worker Caravan to DC

  1. Couldn’t agree with you more! On the scales of history, the failures of reformism, the “soft” left, certainly weigh far more heavily than the excesses of the “far left.” Only, listening to the lamentations of the burned-out baby boomers, “New Left” leftovers and other sixties veterans you’d never know it. Whose policies were more disastrous, the “guerilla warfare” orientation of the “far left” or the “Peaceful Road to Socialism” of Allende? The Santiago soccer stadium alone probably held far more victims of the latter than all of the former combined throughout South America.

    As if the doings of Jack Barnes and the 1960s SWP could possibly compare with those of Ebert and Noske’s SPD in Germany doing WWI and the German revolution, or, to stick to the US, with the Popular Front reformism of Stalin and Browder’s CP in the 1930s and 40s. And when you think about what reformist Stalinism did in countries like France, Spain and Italy before and after WWII, you’re talking about the lives of thousands, if not millions, of working people.

    It certainly rivals the Social Democrats’ support for WWI and their equally as bloody opposition, not just to the Russian Revolution, but to revolutionary struggles in their own countries. Think about it. Socialist revolutions could have occurred in Germany, Austria and Italy after WWI. There wouldn’t have been any Hitler or Mussolini and probably no Stalin either. Thank you Social Democracy!

    As for the US, reformism helped to make sure that no independent labor party was formed in the 1930s when they subordinated the mighty CIO to the Democrats, something working people have been paying for ever since. The union bureaucracy, led by social democratic UAW boss Walter Reuther purged the unions of leftists and sabotaged organizing the open shop Jim Crow South in the interests of supporting US imperialism’s Cold-War crusade against the USSR. They also traded away workers rights on the shop floor for government enforced dues check-offs to grow fat off of. Their role in collaborating with imperialism in the Third World (and even Western Europe) earned them the nickname of “AFL-CIA” throughout those areas amongst militant workers.

    This may have looked like a good deal throughout the 50s and 60s, at least for skilled white workers. How ever, since the economic crisis of the middle 70s, workers wages and living standards have been under continuous attack. Meanwhile, the union bureaucrats (and reformists in and out of power in Western Europe) have done nothing to resist and have brought us to the point where what was once one of the most powerful unions in the US is now reduced to being little more than an auxiliary for the auto bosses in enforcing austerity upon their members.

    Let’s hope that the example set by the workers in the Republic plant in Chicago starts to spread and that a new generation of radicalized workers comes out of it and learns, that unlike capitalist crime, reformism doesn’t pay. Only we have to do more than hope, we have to organize!

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  2. RBR what you said about the UAW leadership is right on, thats why something like this Sit down strike in Chicago will be so important!!!!
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/07/us/07chicago.html?ref=us
    The line by one of the strikers, “we have nothing left to lose” says it all, and that objective condition is what could be the starting point for a new union militancy in this country. it reminds me of that last line in the manifesto, still right 160 years later!

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  3. I think this is a good article.

    Today the workers center, immigrants’ rights, and some other social movements are more aggressive than the official labor movement. They are doing work that the unions once did.

    Fortunately we now have the example of the plant occupation by United Electrial (UE) members in Chicago. We should support and study this strike as well as the UE’s international work.

    The 2008 American Axle strike contract was a defeat, but workers really fought for 13 weeks–in spite of most of their leadership. Thus the American Axle strikers did more for the labor movement by their fighting example than the brief 2007 GM and Chrysler strikes or the failure to strike at all at Ford.

    My fellow UAW Local 600 member and a Truck Plant bargaining committee member, Gary Walkowicz, opposed new concessions at the joint UAW Chrysler, Ford and GM council meeting last Wednesday in Detroit.

    Congress is demanding more auto worker concessions. Already, retirement incentive packages are being paid out of the pension fund. The 2007 Ford contract ALREADY cuts new hire pay IN HALF and provides NO PENSION and NO RETIREE HEALTH CARE GUARANTEES for new hires, only 401k-type plans to replace these two benefits. Who is going to put money into a 401k on $14 an hour? And if you have a couple of kids??!!

    In Washington D.C., as part of the autoworkers’ caravan starting tomorrow, I’d like to say that the auto industry itself as well as auto workers are doomed if we give more concessions and if current concessions are not reversed. That’s because NO ONE IS GOING TO BUY A NEW CAR ON $14 AN HOUR. If auto workers can’t buy cars, virtually no one can. In this way, the auto capitalists are cutting their own throats as well as ours. Obviously suicidal capitalism is unfit rule. The government should give them this kind of “bail out”: Nationalize them and fire the owners and managers from the top floor to the shop floor. We the workers can run the unions. Then the unions can run the companies better than bosses who won’t pay their workers enough to buy the cars they build.

    ron Lare, UAW Local 600. retired

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