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February, 2006

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The assault on auto workers: Who's next?

From the Editors of the People's Tribune

As we go to press, layoffs and plant closures are sweeping the globe, including in the U.S. auto industry. First, GM went after health care benefits for retirees. After the union vote was taken to approve the workers concessions, GM announced 30,000 job cuts. Now Ford is doing the same thing. Who will be next? What is happening is historic and new, not just another labor dispute. There is no going back. The changes in the economy from industrial to labor-less production with robots, and the global market, underlie it all. Today, very little human labor is needed in production. Capitalism as a system based on the buying and selling of labor power is coming to an end. This same process is going on throughout the world. Therefore we can no longer blame other workers for what capitalism and the global corporations are doing to streamline and maximize profits. Now is the time to develop visions of the kind of new world we can fight for. Today robots and computers are displacing workers but at the same time creating a world of plenty. This technology, now owned by the corporations. must become public property. Then the necessities that people need can be distributed to all based on need. This is the only way for people to survive and thrive given the epochal changes underway.

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