A significant step forward: Detroit meeting of autoworkers resolves to form rank-and-file committees
On December 9, more than 80 autoworkers and other workers and youth from throughout the US Midwest resolved at a meeting in Detroit to form rank-and-file factory committees, independent of the unions, to fight against plant closures, layoffs and other attacks on the working class.
The action taken at the meeting, organized by the World Socialist Web Site Autoworker Newsletter and the Socialist Equality Party, is a major step forward.
Following the meeting, a steering committee was established to carry forward the struggle against plant closures.
The past year has seen a significant increase in working class struggles in the United States, including strikes by teachers and the rejection of a national contract by UPS workers, with the unions functioning as strikebreakers.
Now, in the center of world capitalism, the working class is beginning to establish the necessary organizational and political framework for a counter-offensive.
Read more about the meeting by accessing the following articles from the WSWS:
The perspective summing up the political and international significance of this event
The meeting in Detroit was infused by a determination to fight, a confidence in the immense power of the working class, and an understanding of what is necessary to unify and mobilize this power—the greatest revolutionary force on the planet.
It was followed shortly after by the formation of a workers action committee of Sri Lankan tea plantation workers.
These initiatives must be expanded. They must serve as a rallying point for the formation of independent workers’ organizations and the conscious development of the class struggle in the United States and throughout the world.
In the founding document of the Fourth International, The Death Agony of Capitalism and the Tasks of the Fourth International, written and adopted in 1938, Leon Trotsky summed up the character of the epoch as expressed in the political crisis of class rule in all the major capitalist countries:
The bourgeoisie itself sees no way out. In countries where it has already been forced to stake its last upon the card of fascism, it now toboggans with closed eyes toward economic and military catastrophe. In the historically privileged countries, i.e., in those where the bourgeoisie can still for a certain period permit itself the luxury of democracy at the expense of national accumulations (Great Britain, France, United States, etc.), all of capital’s traditional parties are in a state of perplexity bordering on a paralysis of will.
Without much modification, this passage serves well as a description of the world situation as the year 2018 draws to a close. Read more.
Almost 20 members of the Alternative for Germany (AfD), its youth organization Young Alternative, and other right-wing extremist groups came to a meeting of the IYSSE and sought to disrupt it with loud shouts and interjections. The right-wing extremists refused to leave the meeting even after they were explicitly asked to do so by the organizers. Instead, they photographed participants and attempted to intimidate them. Despite requests to do so, the right-wing extremists refused to delete their photographs. Read more.
“The fact that right-wing extremist youth organizations are disrupting left-wing meetings and threatening attendees sets a dangerous precedent and recalls the actions of the Nazis in the 1930s.”
Sven Wurm, IYSSE spokesperson at Humboldt University and student parliament representative
From the standpoint of the “America First” perspective of the Trump administration, the world economy is a kind of zero sum game in which losses incurred by its rivals represent an American gain. But this reactionary viewpoint is contradicted by economic facts. The world economy is not the sum of a series of separate national parts, in which one part gains at the expense of the other, but an ever-more-closely integrated whole in which the labour and the economic fate of billions of working people are inextricably bound together.
The reactionary nostrums of economic nationalism produced a disaster in the 1930s. Now they are creating the conditions for an even bigger crisis because the level of economic integration has increased exponentially from what existed more than eight decades ago. Read more.
This is the story of Cordella Minney, an American autoworker treated like a modern-day slave by Chrysler management, the United Auto Workers union and the American legal system.
Chrysler hired Cordella in 1996 to a job as a part-time worker at the Indianapolis Foundry where she later became full-time. As a result of her employment with Chrysler she was able to purchase her first home and her first car.
However, her life soon took a drastic turn. After courageously speaking out against sexual harassment by a Fiat Chrysler supervisor in the workplace, Cordella’s life became a terrible ordeal. She faced continuous harassment by management, abetted by the UAW. Read more.
Seven-year-old Jackeline Caal died in the custody of the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) last week, the agency admitted Thursday. The child’s death was a direct consequence of the savage repression of immigrants by the Trump administration, which has intensified to the point where such deaths cannot be considered accidents. They are the inevitable and deliberate result of policies chosen to maximize the suffering and privation for refugees seeking asylum in the United States. Read more.
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