Under the banner of reindustrialization:

A bipartisan program of
handouts to the monopolies,
speedup and unemployment for the workers

(Based on an article in The Workers' Advocate, August 25, 1980, pp. 1, 9, 14)

.

. Carter's Democrats and Reagan's Republicans arc like twins. Both of these parties are parties of multimillionaires and billionaires. Their basic platforms are identical for the simple reason that the policies of these capitalist parties are both set to serve the interests of the biggest banks, the giant oil corporations, the big war industry capitalists and the other lords of monopoly capital. This reality was spelled out in bold type in the economic policies written into the party platforms adopted at the recent Republican and Democratic conventions. At the center of these economic policies are promises to so-called revitalize or rebuild U.S. industry. But under the banner of reindustrialization, which sounds so very noble and grand, these policies have but one objective: enriching the money-grubbing monopolies and ruining the workers through merciless productivity drives, layoffs, plant closings, wage cuts and unbearable taxation.

. Reagan and the Republicans are running for the White House under the hoax that they are the ones with solutions to the economic crisis, the nearly 8% unemployment and the double-digit inflation. However, true to their image as the party of big business, massive tax relief for the capitalist corporations and the lifting of various safety, environmental and other regulations is the Republicans' guiding economic policy. As his so-called recovery program puts it, Reagan will seek "full employment without inflation through economic growth and would encourage that growth by easing the regulatory burden on industry and creating greater tax incentives for capital investment." This is the singular theme running through all the economic planks of the Republican platform. To solve unemployment, the Republicans "will pursue specific tax and regulatory changes to revitalize America's troubled basic industries." In regard to inflation: "The Republican Party believes inflation can be controlled" with "sharp reductions in the tax and regulatory disincentives for savings, investments and productivity." Supposedly, these tax cuts to the Wall Street investors will eliminate the "disincentives" to higher economic growth and thus ensure balanced budgets and the end of inflation. The Republicans also promise to solve the energy crisis through improved incentives, tax breaks, and handouts for the oil tycoons, along with the "revision of cumbersome and overly stringent Clean Air Act regulations."

. In short, according to the Republicans what is needed is for the capitalist multimillionaires to be given the proper incentives so that they will more eagerly go about their unpleasant business of making money. And then, as the oil tycoons, the auto and steel corporations, and the big banks grow fat and contented, they will surely be able to end inflation and provide enough jobs to the ever so grateful masses. Indeed, this is a fitting program for a party whose presidential candidate happens to be a bought and paid for flunkey of General Electric and a Hollywood groomed mouthpiece of the monopolies.

. Of course, the other party of monopoly capital, the Democrats, has the very same program. The Democratic platform calls for:

. "Rebuilding American Industry by Increasing Economic Productivity and Competitiveness -- To revive productivity and revitalize our economy we need a national effort to strengthen the American economy. It must include new tax depreciation rules to stimulate selective capital investment; a simplified tax code to assist business planning; removal of governmental regulations which are unnecessary or stifle business initiative . . . and new incentives for research and development. "

. Just like the Republicans, the Democrats also "pledge to seek tax reforms which .  .  . encourage capital formation, innovation and new production . .  .  . Any tax reductions must .  .  . follow certain guiding principles" including that "Productivity, investment, capital formation, as well as incentives, must be encouraged. "

. Hence, Carter and the Democrats, like their Republican counterparts, show a touching concern that the monopolies are sufficiently "stimulated" and provided new incentives. The only difference is that the Democrats have included in their platform a number of promises to assist the poor and the minorities and to provide jobs, promises which they have no intention of carrying out and some of which candidate Carter had discarded even before the convention was over. Nevertheless, it is necessary for them to repeat these same old lies every four years in order for the Democrats to pose as the party of the workers, the elderly, women, the poor, and the minorities.

A program of productivity drives, layoffs, plant closings and wage cuts

. On top of the tax cuts and other incentives for the corporations, the government is planning a massive program of subsidies to the giant corporations in the auto, steel, and other basic industries. The bulk of the tax cuts being delivered to the capitalists are for the purpose of accelerating capital spending by such means as increasing the amount of tax write-offs for the depreciation of machinery and equipment. The other incentives to be forked over to the corporations are also mainly directed towards "capital formation" as well as research and development. In other words, the government is planning to fork over countless billions to the billionaires who own General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, U.S. Steel, Bethlehem Steel, and so forth, in order to underwrite their programs of rationalization of production; the modernization of their plants and equipment; and their productivity drives to exploit the workers to the bone.

. The auto industry is the largest of the industries to be targeted. GM, Ford and Chrysler have been spending tens of billions of dollars and plan to spend tens of billions more in the next several years as they proceed to downsize their cars. Both Carter and Reagan have attached a great deal of importance to providing the auto magnates "new tax breaks to encourage retooling", and Carter and the Congress have provided Chrysler with $1.5 billion so that it can retool despite the fact that it remains on the edge of bankruptcy.

. As a result of these massive capital investments and government incentives, over the last decade the auto industry has maintained a level of productivity growth at well above twice the average for manufacturing industries. The retooling of auto has been heralded as "the beginning of the reindustrialization of America." But this has meant a real disaster for the livelihood of auto workers. While it has already entailed the permanent loss of countless thousands of jobs, it has been projected by the UAW that within ten years' time the net effect of this retooling will be the elimination of fully one half of the workforce in auto. Retooling has meant unbearable overwork through speedup and job combination, and the introduction of mechanical robots and other innovations to replace the workers. It has meant the closing down of older plants and their replacement with ultramodern ones; a process which has also drastically reduced the workforce. Furthermore, the auto workers, particularly at Chrysler, have suffered wage and benefit cuts, allegedly in order to save jobs by helping the auto companies retool!

. A very similar process is underway in steel, where vast sums of capital are being poured into modernizing steel-making. Ferocious productivity drives are being pushed onto the steel workers. The old mills are being closed down and tens of thousands of steel workers' jobs are being permanently eliminated. In rubber, textiles, shipbuilding, communications and other targeted industries, this same devastation of the livelihood of the workers is underway.

Labor-management cooperation to suppress the workers' resistance

. To speed up the workers to the desired backbreaking pace and to throw the workers into the street through automation and plant closings, the workers' resistance must be suppressed. With this objective, the capitalists are more and more rigging up various means of labor-management cooperation. In the name of a joint effort to revive industry, the leaders of the capitalist trade unions are being brought into closer contact with the capitalist managements and the government. New forms of labor-management cooperation are being hatched, from shop floor committees to national pacts such as the "national accord" signed by the national unions, the employers' associations and the Labor Department last year.

. "Labor-management cooperation" and a "new social contract between business, labor and government'' have become central themes in the sermons of the Wall Street bankers and the corporate executives. The Democrats too call for "cooperative efforts with labor and management to retool the steel, auto and shipbuilding industries". For their part, the top labor chieftains even outdo their friends in the Democratic Party, or for that matter, even the Wall Street Journal in their enthusiasm for labor-management cooperation. The most servile of all the flunkeys of the capitalists in this regard have been the so-called left-wing and so-called socialist labor traitors such as Douglas Fraser, president of the UAW and now also member of the Chrysler Board of Directors. Combined with the most militant-sounding and demagogical appeals for a fight back on every front to save jobs, Fraser is openly against the "adversary relationship" between labor and capital which he considers to be an obstacle to "restoring the vitality and competitiveness of American industry. " Clearly, Fraser's actual stand is nothing but an echo of the plans of Carter, Reagan and the monopolies.

The continuing crisis of the monopoly capitalist system

. The capitalist politicians claim they will overcome the present industrial crisis and put an end to the stagnation besetting the economy. They claim to have the long-sought solution to joblessness and inflation which supposedly will bring prosperity to all. To back up such arguments the capitalist media points to the so-called economic miracles of Japan and West Germany. These monopoly capitalist countries are held up as models to prove the virtues of the productivity drives, labor-management cooperation schemes and other means utilized to enforce harsh capitalist exploitation onto the Japanese and German workers. At the same time, the fact that economic crisis, unemployment and inflation afflict the workers in capitalist Japan and Germany just as they afflict the workers in the U. S. is never mentioned. The only distinction that can be made is that the U. S. economy, which is the largest and most powerful capitalist economy, is also one of the most disease-ridden and parasitic. In certain basic U. S. industries such as in steel, stagnation is particularly acute. Despite the productivity drives in certain sectors, productivity growth in U. S. manufacturing as a whole dwindled from 1973 to 1979 to 1. 6% a year, less than one-third of the pace of Germany or France. (Nevertheless, at present the productivity level of the workers in the U. S. remains the highest in the world. )

. Economic crisis is built into the very fabric of the monopoly capitalist system. The grave proportions which it taking show that monopoly capitalism is rotting alive. "Reindustrialization" is no more than a code word for shifting the burden of the economic crisis onto the backs of the working class through capitalist rationalization, murderous speedup and mass layoffs; all for the greater glory of the profits of a handful of multimillionaires. Such a revitalization, far from eliminating crisis and industrial stagnation, will pave the way for yet deeper crisis and decay.

The interests of the working class lie with mass struggle

. The worsening economic crisis, mass layoffs and double-digit inflation, calls for a most determined mass struggle on the part of the broad masses of the workers in defense of their livelihood. The working class has no common interests with the capitalist exploiters. The road of class collaboration, of labor-management cooperation, is the road of ruining the workers and shoring up the tottering capitalist order and fattening the profits of the capitalist money-grubbers. On the contrary, the situation calls for the workers to take advantage of the crisis to strike merciless blows at the monopoly capitalist enemy. The broadest sections of the working people are being drawn into struggle against impoverishment and ruin at the hands of the capitalist bloodsuckers. The working class must take advantage of this situation to rally the masses to make the rich pay for the crisis.

. Monopoly capitalism, though it is rotting alive, will never collapse under its own weight. The platform of the working class is to utilize the crisis shaking the capitalist system in order to advance the revolutionary movement for the overthrow of this man-eating system. This is the platform for putting an end to economic crisis, unemployment, inflation and poverty, for building a new, prosperous and happy life without multimillionaires and exploiters under the socialist system. <>

. Note: the original article included a photo with the following caption: The capitalist lords of GM, Ford, Chrysler and AMC, and UAW President Fraser together with Carter and Detroit Mayor Young. They met in Detroit, July 8 to announce Carter's plan to help the auto corporations retool the auto industry, and speed up and lay off the auto workers. A product of "labor, business and government cooperation," this plan was hailed by the White House as a "model for industrial policymaking in the 8O's.''


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