6) GM LAYOFFS: THE BRUTALITY OF CAPITALISM

(People's Voice Editorial)

 

               GM is closing auto plants across North America, shocking autoworkers and their families, and the communities they built. This includes 2800 workers in Oshawa, Ontario, who face permanent layoffs next year unless a massive struggle to save their jobs can be mounted. But the news was good for a relative handful of "winners" - the shareholders whose GM stocks immediately rose five percent.

               That certainly helps explain the tepid response by Liberal PM Justin Trudeau and his cabinet. Despite their claims to moral integrity, Canada's "natural ruling party" is in fact one of the two favoured parties of the corporate ruling class in this country. (Guess the other one?) When capitalist profits and stock market prices rise, the Liberals are doing their job to protect the interests of the wealthy and powerful, including US-based automakers or big energy monopolies. To protect seats in Parliament, the Liberals will of course utter a few stock phrases expressing sympathy, and shell out some compensation to laid-off GM workers. But nobody should believe that the Liberals (or Ontario Premier Doug Ford) are on the side of the working class in this or any other issue.

               The underlying motivation for such capitalist business decisions is not personal; corporations ruthlessly strive to increase profits by holding down wages and other input costs, and by squeezing out rivals in the struggle for market share. GM says it plans to invest in "greener" and self-driving "autonomous" vehicles. In other words, millions of jobs will continue to be wiped out by the shift to robotics. In a socialist society, this trend would mean shorter work hours with no loss in pay, along with full employment and strong social programs, and a planned approach to reduce carbon emissions. As we fight to block these GM layoffs, that's the future we need to aim for.

 

(The above article article is from the December 1-31, 2018, issue of People's Voice, Canada's leading socialist newspaper. Articles can be reprinted free if the source is credited. Subscription rates in Canada: $30/year, or $15 low income rate; for U.S. readers - $45 US per year; other overseas readers - $45 US or $50 CDN per year. Send to People's Voice, c/o PV Business Manager, 706 Clark Drive, Vancouver, BC, V5L 3J1.)