According to a famous story, car manufacturer Henry Ford and labor leader Walter Reuther toured a new automated engine production plant during the mid-1950s. Ford reportedly commented that all the machines in the plant didn’t pay union dues, to which Walter Reuther replied that they don’t buy cars either.
If you find the logic of this story funny, keep in mind that the corporate dictatorship that is sweeping across Michigan today is no laughing matter. Also keep in mind that when capitalists replace workers with machines to ensure higher profits for themselves, it’s just a matter of time before producing more and more things with less and less people becomes producing everything with no one. If no one has a job, how are people supposed to buy the things they need to survive?
Obviously, long before that point is reached people are going to rebel. It is under these circumstances that the ruling class is imposing a corporate dictatorship spearheaded by the emergency manager laws of Michigan. Emergency Managers, appointed by the governor, come to your city and replace democratically elected officials like mayor and city council, void union contracts, dismantle public school systems, and sell off public city assets to corporations for pennies on the dollar.
These emergency manager laws, dubbed the ‘dictator laws’ by the people of Michigan, were overwhelmingly voted out in a statewide referendum, only to have the corporate owned legislature reinstate a new version that is referendum proof in ‘democracy be damned’ fashion.
The whole world is now finding out that it is these same emergency managers, who receive their orders directly from corporate Governor Rick Snyder, who made the decision that poisoned the entire population of Flint with polluted water. In spite of that fact, the emergency manager system continues and the people of Flint continue to get polluted water along with a water bill each and every month, adding insult to injury.
Flint resident Antonio Nelson summed up the situation when he said, “Politicians have made their decisions that got us here. Now, it’s our time. The people with less income will make more of an impact and guide the discussion to make change for the better.” Truck driver Jimmie Stephen added, “The Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) had a job to do, and they ignored it. None of the politicians have helped us. I think the community is just going to have to band together to resolve our problems.”
In fact, it is the American people, many of them the least among us, and not government on any level, that has mostly come to the aid of the people of Flint with bottled water and caravans and whatever else they can spare.
This nascent unity is spontaneous and will be short-lived if not expanded upon, but it is unity none-the-less. Without this unity, we stand no chance against the fascist corporate dictatorship that is coming to all of America.
Imagine for one moment what could be done if the machines that are replacing your job were owned, not by the capitalists in order to enrich themselves, but were owned by we, the people, in order to enrich us all.