meet the new boss: the united auto workers’ union

by Adam Ford

What do you call a ‘union’ where the people at the top will directly profit from increasing the exploitation of their ‘membership’? Well, if Barack Obama gets his way, you can call it the United Auto Workers.

Yes, in return for a government rescue package, Chrysler executives and UAW bureaucrats have agreed a deal which will has important implications for the class struggle worldwide, and marks a new stage in the liquidation of official trade unions.

In common with the other ‘big three’ American auto companies (the others being General Motors and Ford), and indeed competitors around the world, Chrysler has suffered from dramatically lower sales in recent years. This situation has been catastrophically worsened by the recession, causing Chrysler and General Motors to seek a bridging loan from the Obama administration. Following the recommendations of the Wall Street-led Presidential Task Force, Obama has given the UAW majority control of Chrysler and a 38% stake in GM, charging it with attacking jobs, wages and benefits. Continue reading “meet the new boss: the united auto workers’ union”

the commune issue 2 published

issue2cover

february 2009 – £1 + postage and packing, email uncaptiveminds@gmail.com to order

click here for pdf or see individual articles below

barack obama is lipstick on a pig – by Ernie Haberkern

civil service pay dispute: defeat or victory? – by Steve Ryan, Wrexham PCS

class struggle on the london underground – interview with Vaughan Thomas, RMT London region chair (LUL)

occupations: the way to win? – guest editorial by Gregor Gall

the people’s charter: a charter for change? – by Chris Kane (online only)

militancy and mobilisation in the anti-war movement

the mindset of israelis in the gaza conflict – by Solomon Anker

anti-semitism and the war – by Aled Thomas

unemployment: a view from the front line – by Christine Hulme, PCS DWP

welfare ‘reform’, the brown premiership and the recession – by Chris Grover, Lancaster University

what does ‘socialism or barbarism’ mean today? – by François Chesnais

call centres: the workers’ enquiry – review by Jack Staunton

ukraine’s ‘new left’ and the russian ‘gas war’ – by Milan Lelich

the socialist movement in iran – by Sam Parsa

political platform of the commune


barack obama – putting lipstick on a pig

Ernie Haberkern gives a view from the USA on the Obama presidency

“You can put lipstick on a pig..It’s still a pig.
You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change.
It’s still gonna stink.
We’ve had enough of the same old thing.”
Barack Obama on the Republican campaign

Obama’s attack on McCain/Palin (or was it Palin/McCain?) was intended to expose the hollowness of their attempt to coopt his “the change we need” slogan. There is no question that the Republican Party’s attempt to present itself, rather than Obama, as the anti-Bush party – which is what the “change” slogan meant – was laughable. But Obama inadvertently highlighted what was the real meaning of his use of the “change” slogan.

The fact of the matter is that Obama’s own slogan is nothing more than an attempt to put lipstick on the pig that is American domestic and foreign policy. That he is the first black president of the country is itself part of this charade. There is no question that his election is one more nail in the coffin of slavery and segregation. But that only makes Obama a more effective salesman for the American government’s criminal foreign and domestic politics. In addition to being black, Obama is an intelligent, articulate, suave salesman. A sharp contrast to the mentally challenged George W. Bush and the crazed Dick Cheney.

I myself have been surprised at Obama’s behaviour. How quickly he has betrayed, not only his slogan, but his supporters. Continue reading “barack obama – putting lipstick on a pig”