The Spark

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

Threatening Auto Bankruptcy as a Way to Push the Working Class Backwards

Apr 6, 2009

On December 19, then-President Bush extended loans to the auto companies on the condition they extort big concessions from their work force.

Not satisfied with those concessions – which, taken altogether would mark an enormous drop in the standard of living of auto workers, active and retired – on March 30, new President Obama issued demands for still greater concessions.

Bush implicitly held the threat of bankruptcy – with the loss of jobs and the shredding of the whole union contract – over the workers’ heads. Obama and his Task Force on Autos said it explicitly.

The bankruptcy that Obama’s Task Force is talking about is just a word – a legal fiction.

The Auto Task Force doesn’t intend to take GM away from GM’s owners. They intend to keep GM running, spilling out profits, making money for all those banks and investors.

The only point of this legal fiction – threat or actual – is to extort as much as possible from the workers.

Whether or not Obama, his task force, GM and Cerberus/Chrysler take this deal through the bankruptcy courts, there is only one response that workers can have, only one that allows them to protect themselves: Refuse. Refuse to give up concessions, refuse to lose any more jobs, refuse to be pushed aside, refuse to let the standard of living of their families be lowered, to see their neighbors and their whole city destroyed – just so a bunch of scheming bankers can take the money and run.

Refuse!