The Spark

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

Some workers protest Chrysler plans

Aug 25, 2008

On June 30, Chrysler announced it would cut 2400 jobs from its St. Louis plants. A minivan plant would be closed by October 31, and a shift would be cut from the truck plant.

On August 14, about 400 workers from Chrysler’s plants in St. Louis – minivan assembly, truck assembly, and parts plants – traveled 600 miles to Chrysler’s Michigan headquarters in Auburn Hills to protest.

The St. Louis workers were certainly right to begin to fight back. And the fight will need to expand across the whole workforce if Chrysler is to be stopped. The attack is not on St. Louis alone. It is part of the general attack carried out by Chrysler’s owner, Cerberus Capital Management.

Cerberus’s plan from the start has been to sell off Chrysler in whatever way would turn a quick buck – whether as a whole or in pieces. At the moment, Cerberus’s plans are delayed because of the frozen financial credit markets – no company can borrow any billions to buy anything! But the plan moves forward as Chrysler signs up companies like Nissan, Chery, Tata, and Volkswagen for joint ventures.

Chrysler’s planned cuts, to total 29,000 hourly and salary workers, and its completed sales of 500 million dollars worth of property, and its plans to sell more assets worth one billion, also point in the same direction. One major newspaper claims that Chrysler has eliminated over one million units of yearly production capacity. What does that say about a company that, up to now, sold just over two million units a year? One thing is sure: Chrysler’s sales weren’t down that much.

Under the pretext of a bad economy, Cerberus is hastening to junk Chrysler’s productive capacity in favor of the quickest buck they can make. It’s not a special plan – Ford and GM have their own versions – but Cerberus is furthest along.

One way or another, every Chrysler worker is threatened by Cerberus’s plans. And every worker in the auto industry is threatened by similar plans. Exactly here lies workers’ ability to protect themselves: in their numbers, their large numbers. Workers can react, and make every automotive wheel stop cold.

Every plan can be changed, once workers begin to protect their own interests in the plants and products they have built and the wealth they have created.

It does not matter what city, state or country we work in. Bringing our forces together, we can stop being picked off one by one, the way the big bosses are doing us now.