GM might shut down almost all factories for two months this summer. It looks increasingly like they will go bankrupt. Toyota’s production is half of what it was last year. Japan now has a trade deficit and the yen just cannot weaken to 120 or worse, against the dollar. This is causing great despair in Tokyo. The Porsche and Peich families are buying up more VW shares, increasing their grip on the industry. And China is now using the WTO courts to force US concessions on trade. Our tools for world domination are being turned against us.
General Motors is preparing to close most U.S. factories for up to nine weeks this summer because of slumping sales and growing inventories, The Associated Press is reporting, citing two unidentified people briefed on the plan.
Neither knew when the shutdowns would occur, but both said the closures would include the normal two-week closure in July to change from one model year to the next.
The company has not yet notified workers. GM would not comment on the AP report.
Earlier today GM said it would not make its June 1 debt payment on about $1 billion in notes coming due.
The collapse of GM isn’t just the failure of an American company, it is the end of an entire ethos and era in the history of industrialization. For the last 20 years, as globalization and free trade spreads, the benefits flowing to workers in factories in the older industrial nations have been under steady fire. Of all industries, the auto unions are the crown of labor power. And after this long, long siege, is collapsing.
They are on the horns of dilemma: if they get pay raises and more benefits, they lose in trade competition and end up seeing reductions. So wages, instead of rising during periods of economic growth, are falling. The illusion that wages didn’t fall that much is due to the unions shrinking while part-time or ‘contract’ workers expand. Or they have dual tier wages with older union members working alongside much more poorly paid non-union workers
The instant any auto union chooses to maintain their own wages while allowing a second tier of workers getting less, the union ceases to exist. For the very word, ‘union’ is about unity, not division. This sets the unions against their fellow workers who have the humiliation of being the first laid off in bad times as well as, seeing their co-workers living better lives.
Also, the unions that do this must then side with the owners and keep the non-union workers in second-citizen status. When unions chose this route, they doomed themselves to bleed to death. For political and philosophical underpinnings matter! When one has a philosophy of, ‘To hell with everyone else, I got my own and want to keep it!’ then there is no hope of organizing anything, not hope in a joint struggle, this greedy, self-centered belief is cruel, stupid and short-sighted.
This also is related to workers in the entire world: once upon a time, early in the history of organizing labor, they believed passionately in ‘Workers of the World Unite—You Have Nothing To Lose But Your Chains’. Then, right on the eve of a mass meeting of socialists in Europe, WWI broke out. The industrialists, after WWI, supported national socialist beliefs which were the antipode of the earlier socialist unity beliefs. Below is a letter to the NYT 15 years ago:
“Luxuries They Can’t Afford” (Business Day, Sept. 13), on the globalization of the German auto industry, helps explain why even the strongest national unions are at a disadvantage in the struggle to protect and advance wages and working conditions.
Global capital can outflank and outmaneuver unions unless they can organize and cooperate globally with their sister institutions. The international trade secretariats and International Confederation of Free Trade Unions are potential vehicles, but their strength and solidarity fall far short of what is needed.
The riddle of what to do with nationalism versus internationalism is a difficult one to resolve. International financial powers and ruling elites have very little difficulty in pushing aside nationalist feelings to cooperate in various pushes such as the long push for ‘world trade’ which was aimed straight at the heart of labor unions.
The meetings of internationalists who are on the top of society are convivial and productive. They meet behind closed doors and even though a large number of them own media [hahaha] these meetings never make the news except on the social events pages that seldom mention the true nature of these meetings. Some of these meetings are totally secret and do not make the news at all. Deliberately so.
Socialists or union organizers are often invited into this charmed circle so they can be bought out, petted and in general, pulled into serving the interests of international financiers. Anyone resisting this charm offensive is eliminated in other ways. First, they cease being able to get access to the news cycle and are studiously ignored. If this fails to knock them off, reporters and governments spy on the organizers, seeking desperately to find character flaws or illegal behavior.
Once upon a time, I couldn’t even jaywalk, I was watched so closely. I used to complain, ‘I have to obey all laws no matter how trivial!’ If this fails, then they use the Dr. King assassination tool. Remember, King was assassinated when he went into the deep south to organize strikes! This is often left out of King memorial celebrations.
Last fall, German unions dared to strike:
IG Metall leader Berthold Huber said the union could call on its members across Germany on Monday to mount a series of short-term strikes, “like the country has seldom experienced” if its demands for an 8 per cent pay increase are not met.
The union has 3.6 million members.
On Friday the union’s branch in the southern state of Bavaria rejected a 2.9 per cent wage increase over the next 12 months.
Japan’s autoworkers effectively do not have a union. The growth of world sales for Japanese automakers have given the Japanese workers no benefits. Japan even imported foreign labor so the union’s powers were further diluted. The evil two-tier system was imposed and strengthened. Auto ownership in Japan is now LOWER than in 1978!
This is because the Japanese workers can’t afford to own cars anymore. They are sliding downwards even as the Japanese corporations shot upwards. German unions looked at both Japan and the US with horror. They struggle to wrestle with the internationalists and are determined to eke out some small victories. For example, here is a news story from just 5 years ago: 2004: German auto maker drives hard bargain with unions: DaimlerChrysler threatens to eliminate 6,000 jobs if costs aren’t cut further and here is another story from that year:
In an interview with the German newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau on October 28, the chairman of the Opel works committee and a leading trade union figure, Klaus Franz, suggested that Opel’s parent company, General Motors, cut costs in the United States.
In response to a question from the newspaper about his stance regarding the argument “that the problems don’t lie with GM Europe or Opel, but rather with GM in the United States,” Franz replied: “General Motors is also taking the axe to Europe in order to avoid problems at home—including its relations with analysts and the stock exchange. The costs for health insurance for General Motors in the US have increased 15 percent this year, and the company had to pay nearly $10 billion into pension funds. Therefore, those who say Germany is too expensive a location for General Motors should really first look at their own front door.”
Government health and pension insurance schemes such as those that still exist in Germany do not exist in the United States. Forty-seven million people in the US—one in seven—are without any kind of health insurance, and are also not covered by the government health care programs Medicare and Medicaid.
After WWII, Germany was rebuilt but NOT along the lines of the US system. But along the lines of the national socialist system. Minus Hitler’s insane ethnic cleansing business. Israel has a national socialist sytem which, like Germany, has ‘gast arbeiters’ [guest workers] which are Muslim and earn less and have significantly fewer civil rights. The US uses illegal aliens as our gast arbeiters.
I once lived in Germany and using their medical system was extremely easy. Here, in America, I lived several times in my life without medical insurance. It was hell. I had to raise money for basic medical care. In Japan, they ape the German system only it is run by the LDP which doesn’t care if the Japanese people die so the system is underfunded and run in a sadistic manner.
International financiers hooked up German and US auto making, ditto, with France. Then they pressured unions to give back to the owners, as much money and power as possible. Since the German unions are both nationalist and socialist, they fought back. But in the US, the unions are anti-socialist and nationalist but only in the sense of a very childish sort of flag-waving, ‘we must support the owners’ sort of way.
So our union voters side with internationalist bankers when voting. This has been a total disaster for US workers. Fear of communism caused our union voters and organizers to side with their opponents even as the international bankers supported trade and financial ties with the Chinese communists….and moved relentlessly, most of our industries to the communists! The Chinese, in turn, played the ‘we love you’ game while sharpening their knives for some future throat-slitting, for the Chinese learned from the German and the Japanese some important lessons.
They prefer, by far and away, the German system over the deadly Japanese system and the infantile US system. When the US trade deficit began to grow, US unions fought free trade. But thanks to fears whipped up about sex and the Bible, they moved en mass to vote for ‘conservatives’ who were really wolves in sheep’s clothing. Only, the ‘opposition’ was also bought out by the elites and we are now in an anti-socialist system where even the simplest changes to make us more like national-socialist Germany or Israel are fought tooth and nail.
Recent comments in the British press by Unite union joint general secretary Tony Woodley give the impression that German workers are being treated better by their employers than their UK counterparts.
Following the recent sacking of agency workers at BMW’s Cowley plant, who were effectively given just one hour’s notice that they no longer had jobs, Woodley said, “BMW’s parent company couldn’t attempt this in Germany because it would be illegal to do so.”…
There has been a major extension of so-called “short-time working,” where workers are sent home for extended periods on considerably reduced pay. In November 2008, some 135,000 workers were officially on short-time working. According to the Bundesagentur für Arbeit (BA, Federal Labour Agency), in January alone employers registered 290,600 on short-time working in some 10,600 workplaces. The cumulative figure for those on short-time working since October 2008 now stands at 774,600, affecting some 23,300 workplaces with the auto industry, engineering and metalworking industries being particularly hard hit.
Both Germany and Japan are reducing working hours rather than firing union workers. But this doesn’t extend to countries where they have factories. The British can’t piggy-back on other unions. They have to fight the exact same battles in England as the Germans fought at home. But there is one problem here: the owners are not English! They DON’T CARE IF ALL THE ENGLISH DIE. Only the Japanese warlord industrialists don’t care about their own people.
But German ones do care about Germany! Even as they go to international Bilderberg meetings, their goal is NOT to reduce Germans into tremendous poverty and slavery. They want Germany STRONGER! Imagine that! US powerful people want us to be a military power so they can lord it over everyone. But they also want us all debt slaves and under their heels. They hate us so much, they feel nothing but joy when they move jobs away from America and watch our wages fall. If you look at photos of these creeps, they are often smirking. Certainly, their hero, Bush, smirked nearly all the time.
Both Germany and Japan keep a very, very anxious eye on trade deficits. American ruling elites don’t give a hoot about trade statistics. And Germany wants to keep Germans employed. Certainly, this is the last thing US rulers care about. They worry about the UNEMPLOYMENT rate only because they fear this might wake up the US public who then will look to Germany for guidance. And finally figure out how national socialism really works.
Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) said Thursday that domestic output plunged 58.4% year on year to 161,346 units in March, the eighth straight month of decline. Exports slid 68.3% to 79,822 vehicles, down for the sixth consecutive month. Domestic sales fell 32.1% to 137,427 units and overseas output dropped 41.5% to 231,536 units, both making for the eighth straight month of declines.
Japan made an immense mistake when they decided to eliminate their own domestic markets and rely only on export markets. The Japanese still buy small things like electronic toys but big purchases like homes or cars, have been collapsing for many years now…in the teeth of Japan’s ZIRP lending. Obviously, not only is credit being denied to the workers, they can’t afford this due to constantly dropping wages.
According to a report by the Kyodo News, preliminary Japanese trade statistics (based on customs clearance) for 2008 show that the trade balance, the difference between export and import, is at a deficit 725.3 billion yen (around 50.1 billion yuan). Issued on April 22 by Japan’s Ministry of Finance, these statistics reveal Japan’s first trade deficit since 1980, when the second oil crisis caused soaring imports.
Japan recorded 10.1553 trillion yen in trade surplus in 2007. The occurrence of the first ever trade deficit for the past 28 years is mainly due to the fact that the worldwide financial crisis has spread to the real economy, leading to a sharp fall in Japanese exports. This shows the vulnerability of the Japanese economy whose development has always depended on external demand.
‘Free Trade’ was all about governments NOT protecting their own industries. At least, this is what the US ruling elites preached. But obviously, no one takes this very seriously. The countries that protect themselves first from free trade will be the strongest in 20 years. The Germans dealt with this by encasing themselves within the EU. But only so long as the EU protects them. I know that the EU will shrink or flounder if Germans see themselves being hurt by the EU.
The US elites view the world as their oyster. This is because the US is a mega-empire that covers much of the planet. But this is only skin-deep. And as the free trade elites rip out the guts of US industry and reduce worker’s wages, the ability to FUND this empire collapses. Europe and Japan would have to fund it and they wont’ because it clashes with their own nationalist social systems!
The Porsche and Piech families plan to sell their main car assets to Volkswagen AG under a plan that would tighten Porsche SE’s grip on Europe’s biggest automaker, according to two people familiar with the matter.
The families, which control at least 51 percent of Wolfsburg, Germany-based VW, intend to sell the Austrian Porsche Holding GmbH unit and the Porsche AG automotive division to VW in return for cash and VW shares, said the people, who declined to be identified because the plan is confidential. As part of the transaction, Porsche SE will issue new shares, a portion of which may be sold to external investors, they said. The plan is backed by VW, the people said….
Shrinking European and U.S. car markets have prompted Volkswagen to scale back production, reduce employee hours and eliminate its temporary workforce to stem declines in profit. The carmaker, which reported a 74 percent drop in first-quarter net income yesterday, will be profitable this year, Winterkorn said, reiterating an earlier forecast.
Porsche Chief Executive Officer Wendelin Wiedeking has said Volkswagen offers a “gold mine” of saving potential that the carmaker can tap to boost profits and that there will be no “sacred cows” at VW.
The elite families in Germany are rapidly shoving everything into a classic state of class warfare unless they direct the pain outwards to other countries. The consolidation of power of the elites is growing, not shrinking, during this depression. But we are at the very beginning. Eventually, as things grind onwards, the forces that push socialism will get stronger.
Now, a lot of people are TRAINED to hate workers, hate unions, etc. Even union members will hate other unions for inconveniencing them during strikes, for example. The best organizing isn’t for individual unions but rather, national campaigns to expand worker’s rights and expand social services that apply to everyone. Right now, the far right in America is terrified that we might have medical insurance reforms. The left wants ‘single payer’ systems like Canada or Germany have.
This is bogged down due to too many people making money off of the present system which serves so few, very well. German workers are furious that US workers can’t do what they did, so long ago. Eventually, industry owners will not provide any health care and neither will our government and this well evolve back to the good old days when workers usually died before they reached 50 years of age.
“It looks as if China’s WTO trade disputes are becoming a healthy part of its foreign trade policy,” said Chin Leng Lim, an international law professor and associate dean at the University of Hong Kong. “If I were Claire Reade [the chief counsel for China trade enforcement at the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office], I’d be pretty worried, because China’s now the one doing the suing too.”
On Friday, China filed a WTO complaint against the U.S. for effectively blocking chicken imports from China on health concerns. In January, the WTO, for the first time ever, created an expert panel to decide a suit that was initiated by China, which accused the U.S. of illegally levying duties against Chinese steel pipes, off-road tires and laminated woven sacks. “The Chinese government is becoming increasingly confident in handling WTO-related disputes,” said Wang Jiangyu, a legal and trade scholar at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
China knows how to play all sides in this international game of chicken. The US created and used these rules so we could muscle into markets. Then, the move was for US elites to own foreign means of production and once they gained that, they turned it on the rest of us and flooded the US with imports. Now, all the international rivals are doing the same.
And so is Communist China! Isn’t this very funny? Us elites are invited into China and enjoined to making common cause with the communists not because the Chinese love these creeps. No, they planned this out. It is the 50 Year Plan to turn China into Germany! And the US elites are tools for the Chinese. Which is why the elites here, in alarm, are screaming about China all the time… while running off to China to get rich, quick! Talk about insane.
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