The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Issue no. 1090 — September 30 - October 14, 2019

Editorial:
Impeach the System

Sep 30, 2019

Well, it looks like the Democrats in the House are actually moving forward on impeaching Donald Trump.

After two years of waiting for the Mueller Report and months of sifting through results, Democrats have been handed an impeachment packet gift-wrapped by Trump himself. This consisted of a rough transcript of a phone call to the president of Ukraine in which he very clearly demands that Ukraine help dig up dirt on a political rival. Trump asks for this help in the 2020 election—in exchange for the military aid he had been holding back.

In other words, Trump used the office of the president, and carried out foreign policy in the name of the U.S., purely for personal political gain.

A whistle-blower complaint that shed light on this phone call implicated a number of other administration officials in the effort to pressure Ukraine, and in covering up the attempt. Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, made trips to Ukraine to discuss Joe Biden with its president—and he freely admitted this on national television!

According to the whistle-blower, immediately following the call, legal advisors and others close to the president recognized he’d stepped over the line and violated the Constitution and broken the law—and they sought to bury the call by sticking the transcript in a “top secret” computer folder. Attorney General William Barr, who is named in the complaint, refused to allow its release for over a month.

For the representatives of the ruling class, this all may be a bridge too far. They fully expect a certain amount of self-dealing to go on—this is capitalism, after all, which is based on thievery—but the president is supposed to be acting in the world on their behalf, not turning the office into a personal slot machine. That 400 million dollars in military aid to Ukraine is supposed to be benefitting the ruling class as a whole, by tying Ukraine more tightly to the West and its money interests; holding up that aid and using it as a tool for purely personal reasons threatens all of that. Not to mention, they’d at least like the elections to have the appearance of legitimacy, and such obvious meddling in upcoming elections rips a big hole in that.

Trump’s obvious corruption and self-dealing threatens to tear the democratic mask off the system and expose it for all to see. Democrats and others are frantically trying to stick the mask back on, to “restore the dignity of the office.”

 So, faced with evidence this blatant, Nancy Pelosi and other politicians and pundits reversed themselves and called for impeachment proceedings to start immediately.

It’s anybody’s guess how far this will go in the next weeks and months, or how long it will take. Trump may be removed from office before the election, or through the election, or the impeachment process may even reinforce him.

Absolutely, Trump is corrupt. So sure, go ahead and remove him. But what if he is removed? Whoever replaces him will still be at the head of the system that created him in the first place. Even at its best, the system and its representatives work against the working class. Just look at the Obama administration—a nice, squeaky-clean administration. Deportations, war, incarceration, racist attacks and the slashing of our standard of living were still carried out and expanded.

Living and working conditions have been deteriorating for the working class for over 40 years, through Republican and Democratic administrations. For the working class, the president or other people in the government are only a symptom of the problem—the system itself is the problem.

In all, the impeachment proceeding presents a giant distraction—for how many more months or a year—leading into a dead-end alley for the working class. Imagine how this will dominate the news in the next year or two, while issues relating to our pay and living standards are tucked away and forgotten.

Removing or retaining Trump will be all that the news media talks about. But workers’ problems started long before Trump, and they will continue after Trump—especially if we wait on other politicians to fix it for us.

Workers can’t afford to wait. Our fight is going on right now.

Pages 2-3

American Airlines Mechanics Under Attack

Sep 30, 2019

American Airlines mechanics are facing a concerted attack by the company, the legal system, and the media.

These AA mechanics have been working without a contract since 2015. They are legally barred from striking by the Railway Labor Act. According to the company, mechanics have been refusing overtime and adhering strictly to all safety regulations, which slows down the work process. The company accuses mechanics of deliberately causing problems in order to put pressure on the company in negotiations.

American Airlines sued the mechanics’ unions, the Transport Workers (TWU) and International Association of Mechanics (IAM), claiming that these tactics were illegal. And in June, a judge agreed, issuing a preliminary injunction barring the workers from “any slowdown, work to rule campaign, or any other concerted refusal to perform normal operations.” The judge also said that workers could not refuse “to accept overtime as they would in the normal course.” In other words, the judge said that the workers HAD to accept overtime, and that they were legally barred from following all the safety rules!

On top of that, one mechanic in Miami is accused of “sabotage” and even “terrorism” for setting off warning lights and causing a flight to be cancelled. Now the media and the company are using this case against the rest of the mechanics, trying to paint their work-to-rule and no-overtime campaigns with the same brush, implying that they were endangering passengers—which they were not.

It couldn’t be clearer: American Airlines, like every other big company, has the courts and the media on its side. But the mechanics have lots of potential allies too—the rest of the working class, which has every interest in seeing the mechanics defend their rights.

Hospitals Suing Patients for Debt

Sep 30, 2019

The University of Virginia (UVA) Health System has been taking extreme measures to collect unpaid bills from patients, suing an average of 6,000 patients each year. Judges have allowed the hospital system to garnish wages and put liens on homes and cars, forcing families into bankruptcy.

UVA Health is not alone in this practice, only more extreme. This spring the Johns Hopkins Hospital System in Maryland was reported to have sued thousands of patients in a decade—mostly its own employees, Maryland state workers, and Walmart and Amazon workers. In the five years before the last recession, nearly 50 hospitals in Maryland sued their own patients a total of over 100,000 times to collect 100 million dollars in unpaid medical bills.

The problem is that so many people can’t pay as much as hospitals charge for services, whether they have insurance or not. Interest then blows up unpaid bills.

Hospitals charge a lot because they are run to make money first and foremost, whether they are officially non-profit or not.

The capitalist system grinds up sick people for the benefit of executives and investors.

Walmart:
What About Some Money Between Friends?

Sep 30, 2019

Walmart was found guilty of paying off officials in various countries to get better results when it bought property, or easier regulations when it applied for permits. The money paid got the company favorable results, for example, in Brazil and India.

After seven years of investigation, Walmart will pay a fine of 282 million dollars. Does it sound like a big amount? For this multi-billion dollar company, the fine is one-20th of one percent of its income in the past year. That fine is similar to a person making $50,000 per year and getting a $25 parking ticket!

It’s worth a traffic ticket if you get to park wherever you want whenever you want, at least for big corporations like Walmart.

GM Backtracks on Its Health Coverage Threat

Sep 30, 2019

Less than two days into the UAW workers’ strike against GM, GM announced it was dumping health care coverage for striking workers.

But if this was a calculated move on the part of GM to discourage striking workers, it backfired. Big time.

“Heartless and  unconscionable.” “Ruthless and cutthroat.” “Pouring gasoline on the fire.” These were just some of the responses to this ugly move.

So a week later, GM had to eat crow, and reversed its decision, publicly saying, “This is truly an attempt to do what’s right for our employees.” Really? Or was GM trying to polish off their tarnished reputation?!

Contaminating Food to Save Money

Sep 30, 2019

More than three million tons of sewage sludge is used to fertilize farms and other lands in the U.S., including sports fields and backyard gardens. But much of this sludge is contaminated with chemicals known as PFAS.

PFAS are known to increase the risk of cancer and cause damage to the liver and thyroid. They stay in whatever they contaminate for a very long time.

These chemicals are absorbed by crops and end up in our food. This year the FDA reported finding substantial levels of PFAS in samples of grocery store meats, dairy products, seafood and even chocolate cake. In Maine, a dairy farm was forced to shut down after sludge spread on the land was linked to high levels of PFAS in milk. The farmers even showed high levels of these chemicals in their blood.

Most of the PFAS in sewage sludge comes from industrial wastewater. DuPont, 3M, and other chemical companies use PFAS to manufacture products like Teflon, and then dump their contaminated wastewater into local water treatment plants. But these municipal treatment plants don’t remove the PFAS before they sell their sludge to farmers.

Companies save money, city and town officials save money, while we end up with poisonous chemicals in our homes, our foods and our bodies.

What a crazy murderous system!

Natural Gas Leaks

Sep 30, 2019

A month after leaking natural gas pipes caused an explosion in a suburban commercial building, Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) reported it finds nearly two dozen such leaks in the city every day.

BGE has over 1,000 miles of corroded 3/4 inch iron and steel natural gas pipes installed before the 1970s, but is replacing them so slowly it will take another two decades to finish the job. In the meantime, not only will customers pay more, but explosions from leaks will continue. And scientists warn the leaked methane stays in the atmosphere collecting heat and moisture, which makes climate change worse.

Over 1,000 corroded pipes in Baltimore. Nationwide, over 70,000 miles. And world-wide, probably into the hundreds of thousands of miles.

This whole world-wide system, capitalism, is like these pipes: corroded and degraded, because its motive is profit. What human beings need is an infrastructure in good shape. To get it, we would have to have a different society, one that put human beings first.

Pages 4-5

Murder by Deportation

Sep 30, 2019

Jimmy Aldaoud, age 41, had never been to Iraq. He was born in Greece, and legally brought to the U.S. when he was six months old. Yet ICE deported this young Chaldean man, who was diabetic, to Iraq anyway.

A few weeks later, he was found dead in an apartment in Baghdad, without family or friends.

Before they deported him, Aldaoud reported that he had pleaded with ICE agents: “I begged them. I said, ‘Please, I’ve never been to that country... However, they forced me.” A few weeks before his death, Aldaoud had posted to Facebook from Iraq: “I don’t understand the language. I’m sleeping on the street. I’m diabetic. I take insulin shots. I’ve been throwing up... I’ve got nothing over here.”

The Detroit resident is believed to have died because of the lack of access to life-saving insulin.

The people responsible for this knew perfectly well that Aldaoud was likely to die. Sending a diabetic man to a country he did not know without the medicine he needed, where he could not even ask for help—that is murder, plain and simple. All of them—from the ICE agents who carried it out, to the judges who approved it, up to the president who pushed this policy—are all guilty of murder. In any sane society, they would be prosecuted for it.

Cuba:
The U.S. Causes an Energy Shortage

Sep 30, 2019

This is translated from Combat Ouvrier (Workers’ Combat), the newspaper of the revolutionary workers’ group active in the French Caribbean islands Guadeloupe and Martinique.

Cuba has an oil crisis. The shortage is caused by strict U.S. sanctions against companies transporting oil from Venezuela, which is the source of oil for Cuba.

People in Cuba live the shortage every day. Gas stations are closed. Those remaining open in Havana have long lines with over an hour’s wait for gas. Electrical blackouts happen more and more often, because the lack of oil forces utilities to make less electricity.

The U.S. is punishing companies delivering Venezuelan petroleum to Cuba, in order to get Cuba to stop supporting the Maduro government in Venezuela. With this energy crisis, the U.S. government kills two birds with one stone. It weakens Maduro’s government, and it suffocates Cuba even more—as the U.S. has done for 60 long years.

U.S. Imperialism Versus Iran:
40 years of War

Sep 30, 2019

On September 14, a total of 22 drones and cruise missiles struck two oil installations in Saudi Arabia, the Abqaiq processing facility and the Khurais oil field. Abqaiq is the largest oil production facility in the world. For a few days afterwards, Saudi Aramco, the Saudi national oil company, was forced to cut oil production in half, leading to a temporary spike in oil prices on the world market.

The attacks came from Houthi Shiite militias in neighboring Yemen that are fighting a bloody dictatorship supported by the Saudi government. Ever since 2015, the Saudi military has intervened in an effort to secure dictatorship over any popular resistance in Yemen that could spread across the border into Saudi Arabia. It has carried out massive bombing campaigns that have devastated Yemen. In this barbaric war, over 70,000 people have been killed and 18 million people have been faced with the prospect of starvation.

The U.S. Support for Bombing Yemen

The U.S. supports the Saudi government’s war in Yemen. For U.S. imperialism, Saudi Arabia is one of its most important client states in the Middle East. The Saudi regime loyally serves the U.S. capitalist class, helping to impose U.S. imperial interests. Moreover, Saudi oil is a huge source of profits for the U.S. oil companies. It is the second largest supplier of oil to U.S. refineries and Saudi Aramco is the most profitable company in the world. As well, Saudi Arabia is a major customer for U.S.-made weapons.

That is why U.S. officials reacted so rapidly to the drone and cruise missile attacks on the Saudi oil installations. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared them to be “an act of war.” President Trump threatened that the enormous U.S. military force in the region “was locked and loaded.” In other words, the tens of thousands of U.S. troops, naval warships, bombers and jet fighters were ready to attack.

Iran as the Target

The U.S. news media and top U.S. experts immediately named Iran as the main aggressor. Why and how did the focus shift from Yemen to Iran? In fact, it has been the U.S. stance toward Iran for the last 40 years.

Ever since a big uprising in Iran overthrew the Shah in 1979, the U.S. puppet who had ruled the country with an iron fist, the U.S. has treated the government of Iran that replaced the Shah like an enemy. This has not been because the Shah’s replacement, the ruling mullahs, are reactionary religious fundamentalists. After all, the Saudi regime is even more reactionary and fanatical—and U.S. officials get along just fine with them.

No, the problem for U.S. officials is that the Iranian regime has not been 100 per cent loyal and dependable to the U.S. imperialists. The government of this very big country of 85 million people has carried out a slightly independent policy in the region.

To bring the Iranian government to heel, the U.S. government fomented the bloody Iran-Iraq war that went from 1980 to 1988. The U.S. also tried to strangle the Iranian economy with suffocating trade and financial embargoes. However, the Iranian regime survived, despite the suffering of the population.

A Brief Interlude of Cooperation

About 18 years ago, relations between the U.S. and Iran began to thaw. When the U.S. invaded and occupied Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003, U.S. and Iranian governments found themselves more or less on the same side. The same happened when Syria was swept up in civil war a decade later. Once again, Iranian-backed forces fought alongside the U.S. and its allies. And so, the Iranian regime was a valuable ally to U.S. imperialism in helping it to impose its order.

In 2015, the U.S. government negotiated a diplomatic settlement with the Iranian government under the auspices of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, plus the German government. This settlement was framed as a nuclear agreement, but nuclear weapons were never the main issue. The question was whether the U.S. would allow economic and political relations to be normalized, whether Iran would be allowed to be part of the U.S.’s imperial order in the Middle East.

And Back to a War Footing

That agreement lasted approximately three years. In May, 2018 the Trump administration broke the agreement and began to reimpose economic sanctions on Iran. This was not a response to anything that Iran had done. No, the U.S. did it because the U.S. policy makers no longer needed Iranian support in the same way.

U.S. imperialism had finally prevailed in most of the big wars that had raged in the Middle East. The Iranian government was in permanent rivalry with the two closest allies of the U.S. in the region, the governments of Saudi Arabia and Israel, over influence in the Middle East. And... there was a big surplus of oil and gas in the world and so the big oil producers didn’t want even more competition from Iran as it began to ramp up its production for export.

Devastating Sanctions

The new sanctions that the Trump administration slapped on Iran have been increasingly devastating. The sanctions go far beyond U.S. trade with Iran. On the world stage, any company or individual who trades or carries out financial operations with Iran is also subject to the sanctions. Therefore, they shy away from dealing with Iran because they risk being cutting off by the U.S.

As Brian Hook, Trump’s Special Envoy to Iran, explained, the embargo has been a “tremendous success.” It has “effectively zeroed-out Iran’s export of oil.” As a result, Hook bragged: “We have sanctioned Iran’s export of petro-chemicals, industrial metals, precious metals. We have collapsed foreign direct investment. We have seen significant asset flight leaving the country. Iran is in a recession. Inflation is creeping up near 50 percent.”

As always with embargoes, it is the Iranian population that is paying the highest price. It already suffers from the dictatorship of the mullahs, from corruption and the permanent privileges of the regime’s dignitaries. The embargo has aggravated the shortage of food and just about everything else, including medicine and other vital necessities.

Trump and Pompeo may not have followed through on their threats to bomb Iran. But U.S. imperialism is ratcheting up its very real economic war against Iran and its population.

Legalizing Murder-by-Cop

Sep 30, 2019

Ismael Lopez was murdered by a cop in Southaven, Mississippi in 2017 when police, responding to a domestic violence call, went to the wrong house and one of them shot him in the back of the head. After a grand jury refused to charge the cops, Lopez’s widow filed a civil rights lawsuit, pointing out that the 41-year-old auto mechanic was in his own home, doing nothing wrong, when he was killed.

The city’s attorney had the nerve to try to dismiss the case by arguing that, since Lopez was an undocumented immigrant, he has no constitutional rights. “Ismael Lopez may have been a person on American soil,” she wrote, “but he was not one of the ‘We, the People of the United States’ entitled to the civil rights invoked in this lawsuit.” Attorneys for the city have also argued that his widow has no right to sue since she is herself undocumented.

The widow’s lawyer pointed out that this argument amounted to saying to undocumented immigrants: “Stormtroopers can come into your house and kill you.”

The attempt to legalize this kind of police violence is not just an attack on undocumented immigrants—it is an attack on all of us.

Egypt:
Sisi, Leave!

Sep 30, 2019

This is translated from Lutte Ouvrière (Workers’ Struggle), the newspaper of the revolutionary workers’ group active in France.

Hundreds of demonstrators in Egypt rose up against General Sisi in the third weekend in September, six years after he took power in a military coup.

Protesters took to the streets after many people shared online videos by an exiled Egyptian entrepreneur accusing Sisi of corruption. The videos denounced Sisi and his circle for having sumptuous mansions built for themselves. In Tahrir Square in Cairo, and in Alexandria, Suez, Mahalla, and other working class cities, people chanted, “Leave, Sisi!” and, “Say it, don’t be afraid, Sisi has to go!” They braved the coup-era laws outlawing demonstrations of even handfuls of people.

Since the coup in 2013, 60,000 people have been arrested. Military courts have ordered hundreds of death sentences. People have been disappeared, beaten, and murdered. Workers demanding unpaid wages are systematically prosecuted as terrorists. But still workers, young people, and political dissidents had the courage to face police, tear gas, rubber bullets, and even live ammunition.

A news blackout was immediately imposed in Egypt, including sites like the BBC and Facebook Messenger. Intelligence agents warned foreign journalists that they were being watched and not to spread what the government called false information.

Sisi and the army are hard pressed to claim things are going well for Egypt’s one hundred million people. To meet the demands of the IMF in exchange for 12 billion dollars of aid, Egypt had to cut social spending and stop subsidizing fuel and other necessities. In July, the government admitted one-third of the population lives below the poverty line of $1.40 a day. Recently, workers were arrested in Ismailia for demanding a raise to make up for inflation. They were held in detention for a week. 

Sisi was visiting New York when the demonstrations broke out. He could pretend to ignore the demands chanted that night in Egypt. But the situation of workers and poor people remains a constant source of anger, now and for the future.

Pages 6-7

GM Strike:
A Long Time in Coming

Sep 30, 2019

This was the editorial in SPARK workplace bulletins, for the week of September 23, 2019.

The current UAW strike against GM is the first national company-wide strike in auto since 2007, when there were two strikes, one lasting two days, the other six hours! This one has already lasted longer than any company-wide auto strike since 1976 when all of Ford was shut down for 28 days.

For four decades, faced with financial crises that weighed down the economy, companies pushed to increase their profits. Union leaders argued that workers could protect jobs only if they put company interests first. Many workers accepted that view. Strikes became a thing of the past.

Facing little resistance, the three American auto companies got rid of automatic annual wage increases. They stopped cost-of-living protection in the years of high inflation, and workers never made it up. They dumped the principle that every worker doing the same kind of work should have the same wage. They eliminated protection for layoffs and for short hours in a work week. They tore up the principle that every worker should have a pension after a lifetime of work. They took back our weekends from us by shredding overtime pay. These were not luxuries—they are the minimum protections needed so we can have a decent life.

These sacrifices didn’t protect jobs. Plants that once had 10,000 workers went down to 6,000, then 4,000, then 2,500—all the while putting out the same number of cars or engines. Yes, there was new technology; yes, there were robots; yes, there were engineering efficiencies. Those had been paid for by the workers’ labor, and the workers did not share in their benefit. Unchecked speed-up took its toll—on jobs and on health.

 All this resulted from policies putting company profits before workers’ needs. Company profits soared; our standard of living collapsed.

Executive pay and bonuses shot up. Four decades ago, top company executives made 20 times what the average worker made. Today, GM’s Mary Barra makes 281 times as much. Stockholders and banks got so much money from stock splits and buy-backs that they couldn’t find things to spend it on. So they speculated, endangering a fragile economy already mired in speculation.

  What happened in the auto industry did not stay in the auto industry. It was repeated in every other industry—from factories, to stores, to offices, to schools to city and state offices. Strikes almost disappeared from the scene.

The capitalist class multiplied its wealth exponentially. The working class fell backwards.

 We shouldn’t worry about what reasons lay behind the decision of UAW leaders to finally call a strike. They did it. That’s what counts.

But what happens next can be up to GM workers—and Ford workers, and Chrysler workers and every other worker who understands this is a fight that involves all of us.

An interesting thing has been happening so far. Workers from Ford and Chrysler have been showing up on GM picket lines. Sometimes local union leaders organize contingents to go; sometimes workers organize their own contingents.

But there’s more to a fight than just walking for some hours on a picket line. Workers need to take charge of their fight, meet when they want, decide what to do. Together, workers will invent their own ways of carrying out a strike.

They can put themselves in the room where negotiations go on. Why not? GM knows what’s going on. Only the workers are kept in the dark.

 GM workers can pull others along with them. Who says Ford and Chrysler workers have to wait? Together, they can make a common strike the big political issue of the day, just like the Flint sit-down strike was the big issue, shutting down much of the industrial Midwest.

If a contract offer comes in that ignores workers’ needs, it will be necessary to organize a rejection. If this strike goes on, it will be necessary for workers to act so time doesn’t take its toll. Either way, workers can control the strike, and make it their own. 

Page 8

A Speech Heard ‘Round the World

Sep 30, 2019

Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old, delivered a short, sharp, shockwave of a speech to assembled world leaders at the United Nations Climate Action Summit on Sept. 23 in New York City. She called out world leaders for caring more about money than the future of the planet.

“My message is that we’ll be watching you.... You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!

“For more than 30 years, the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away... when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight.”

The science is clear. Since 1850 when worldwide records started to be kept, the last 5 years have been the hottest. In the Arctic, massive melting of the permafrost is releasing huge amounts of methane gas, a worse greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, increasing temperatures.

Trump sarcastically tweeted in response: “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future.” Since Greta is someone who shrugs off personal attacks, she responded with an amusing new Twitter biography, based on Trump’s description of her, for her 2 million followers.

The sense of urgency that alarmed young people feel was evident in demonstrations worldwide that happened between Friday, Sept. 20 and Friday, Sept. 28. Young people took the lead in demonstrations in over 150 countries. An estimated 6 million people of all ages participated.

 The demonstrations took place to put pressure on governments to demand concrete action. But governments have known about this for 20 years and done nothing. Governments promised to limit consumption of fossil fuels but global emissions have actually increased for the last 20 years!

The young people are absolutely right—we cannot wait. The young demonstrators are right to point out that these problems exist at the level of the planet and must be resolved collectively.                 The hope for the future does not lie in waiting for the capitalist powers to change their attitude. It lies in an alliance between the workers in the rich countries and the workers in the poor countries, with the youth at their side. It relies on the will to wage a struggle to bring down the profit system that is strangling the world.

Politics that look only at ecology are incapable of pulling together the only force that can destroy capitalism—the international working class. It is the only class that has no interest in a world based on exploitation — neither the exploitation of humans, nor the ruination of the natural world.

Big Insurers Know Climate Change Is for Real

Sep 30, 2019

Let right-wing commentators pretend we don’t have to pay attention to the threat of climate change and the science behind it. Big bosses sure take climate change seriously themselves—when their own profits are at stake.

So big insurers—companies that insure insurance companies, for example—have been hiring scientists and commissioning detailed studies to better assess the consequences of natural disasters, such as storms, floods and wildfires, in residential areas.

Of course, these big money sharks are not spending big bucks on research to help people to be better protected from such natural disasters. No, to the contrary—they are paying scientists to figure out how much to increase insurance premiums on home and business owners!

Nothing else could be expected from big bosses, who are always completely preoccupied with their own short-term profit.

Detroit News 
—Anti-Union Rag for the Bosses

Sep 30, 2019

In the face of the looming strike at GM and after the strike began, the Detroit News took every opportunity to exploit the so-called “corruption scandal” against UAW officials in an effort to turn UAW workers against their union and against the strike against GM.

They’ve run stories using inflammatory statements, like referring to trips union officials took as “junkets” to a “desert oasis” in Palm Springs, California, or saying one had “wads of cash” in his garage.

Since the strike began, their headlines alone make obvious  their consistent efforts to convince UAW workers to oppose the strike. The News clearly hoped to undermine members’ trust in their leadership with headlines as follows:

● “UAW leadership’s credibility evaporating with new charges,”

● “Federal corruption probe, mistrust fuel UAW-GM strike,”

● “Accused UAW thief negotiates worker deal with GM.”

They’ve tried to claim the UAW rejected a really generous  offer from GM with leads like, “A strike that shouldn’t have happened,” and said the “Union, not GM, is exploiting UAW strikers.” When that didn’t work, they turned to attempting to discourage striking workers and their supporters with headlines like

● “Strike will hurt rank-and-file workers before GM, experts say,” and

● “GM strike lasting more than a week could send Mich. into a recession.”

Even if the other papers ultimately take the side of the same  corporate bosses, their tone was much more neutral—instead the Detroit News has outdone itself! What else can you call it, but a trained pit bull willing to be used for the attack on the union and its workers, by GM and the feds? It comes as no surprise, given that the News did its own union-busting when its workers went on strike in the mid-1990s.