Posts Tagged ‘Swindon’

The following articles relating to the car industry can be found at : http://libcom.org/tags/auto-industry


Audio interview with Visteon occupier


Audio interview with Unite convenor at the occupied Visteon plant in Belfast, John McGuire.


Car factory occupations spread across the UK

Sacked workers from the car parts firm Visteon have been occupying three factories across the UK since Wednesday.


Canadian auto-workers occupy factory


A group of disgruntled workers at a recently closed auto parts supply company in Windsor, Ontario have taken over the plant.


The League of Revolutionary Black Workers and the coming of revolution – Eric Perkins


Contemporary article on the League of Revolutionary Black Workers from Radical America which, though uncritical of their nationalistic sentiments, contains a lot of interesting information.


DRUM: vanguard of the black revolution


A short history of the Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement, detailing their beginnings as well as their opposition to the United Auto Workers union.


The butcher shop: Hamtramck Hospital


Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement’s attack on the racist practices of the hospital at the Hamtramck Chrysler factory.


The carrot and the stick: December 11, 1968


DRUM’s attack on the spectacle of the Chrysler Corporation’s “milestone agreement” to “pour $1,000,000 into colored-owned banks in three US cities”.


Unite union negotiates pay cut for members at Toyota


The Unite union has negotiated a 10% wage cut for its members at Toyota plants in Derby and North Wales.


Strike at the Dacia-Renault plant in Romania, 2008


Account and analysis of a significant strike of auto workers in Romania early 2008


Wildcat strike at German car part manufacturer


Workers at car parts manufacturer Karmann have walked out after being informed of 1400 job cuts no redundancy pay.


Rumours of mass picket at BMW plant in Cowley, Oxford


Workers at the Cowley plant near Oxford learned 850 jobs are to go, affecting agency staff from the weekend shift. Agency workers were given just one hours notice that they were being made redundant. Many of them have worked there for years but have no rights to redundancy pay.

1970-1972: The Lordstown struggle and the real crisis in production – Ken Weller


Fascinating pamphlet by Solidarity on the informal workers struggle against the frenetic pace of work at a General Motors plant, and the later co-optation of the struggle by the auto workers union.

Car industry: more attacks on jobs and pay


A new wave of redundancies and pay cuts hits car manufacturing in the UK, as companies aim to take back the cost of the recession from the workforce.

Strikes hit German car industry


8,000 workers launched a series of co-ordinated strikes at automobile and electronics companies as it and employers spar over wage increases.


General strike over prices brings Belgium to a halt


A nationwide strike against rising prices disrupted transport, retailing and manufacturing across Belgium on Monday.


Gurgaon Workers News No.13 – October 2008


Wildcat strikes and repression in the Special Economic Zone of Gurgaon.


Wave of strikes and agreements in Brazilian car industry


Workers at major car industry plants in Brazil went on strike during September in support of their demands for improved pay.


Arrests of Korean trade unionists continue


Following a wave of strikes, the South Korean government has unleashed a massive attack against the Korean Metal Workers’ Union targeting more than 75 of the union’s key leaders for arrest or investigation.


Workers’ struggles and the development of Ford in Britain


This essay by Ferruccio Gambino first appeared in the book Operai e Stato (Feltrinelli, 1972). It was translated into English and published by Red Notes in 1976 as their first pamphlet.


Brazil: Autoworkers vote to continue strike


9,000 workers striking at car plants in the south of the country have voted to extend their strike.

1987: The Great Workers’ Struggle


A short account of the South Korean strike wave of 1987 known as the Great Workers’ Struggle. Affecting most major industries and involving over a million workers, the strikes and militant tactics used won significant gains in pay and conditions for many.


Wildcat strikes hit Plymouth and Falkirk


Workers at a new nuclear power station in Plymouth and coach builders Alexander Dennis in Falkirk were both on wildcat strike this week.


Roundup of a month of strikes in Iran


A round-up of recent strike activity in Iran, including the car industry and agriculture.

Iranian autoworkers strike against precarious work


Thousands of workers at the Iran Khodro car manufacturing plant are protesting the exploitation of precarious workers and demanding better wages and conditions.


The Ecological Challenge: Three Revolutions are Necessary


With a planetary ecological crisis on hand, it can no longer be denied that socialism will be incompatible with mass production and mass consumption. Indeed, even without returning to Malthusian catastrophe theories, we are forced to admit that the planet’s resources are not inexhaustible. These resources could provide for humanity’s needs, but only if they are used in a reasonable and rational way, i.e., in a manner directly opposed to capitalist logic, which in itself is a source of imbalance.

FIAT factory blockaded


The FIAT factory at Pomigliano (NA) in Southern Italy has been blockaded since Thursday April 10th.

Repression of tyre factory strike in Iran, workers abducted


Following three days of strike action at a tyre factory in northern Iran, Iranian security forces broke into the plant on Saturday and abducted at least 1,000 striking workers.

Romania: Workers strike at Dacia-Renault

10,000 workers have walked out of the Dacia-Renault car plant for improved wages.

1962-1973: Worker and student struggles in Italy


A history of the wave of strikes and occupations that gripped Italian factories and universities during the 1960s. Coming to a head with the Hot Autumn of 1969, independent forms of struggle used by workers represented a significant attempt to break from restrictive trade unions.

Hyundai workers wildcat in South Korea


Workers at Hyundai (HMC) Ulsan plant in South Korea were on wildcat last week for higher wages.


Vauxhall staff wildcat in Ellesmere Port


Around five hundred staff at the Vauxhall plant in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, are reported to have walked out yesterday, over rumours that the company plan to axe 460 jobs.

France: workers strike, many win


Restaurant and tire workers have won strikes with a bus drivers’ strike ongoing.

5,000 auto-workers on wildcat in Vietnam


More than 5,000 workers in Hai Phong City, 60 miles south east of Hanoi began a strike yesterday.

USA: Volvo workers strike for new contract


Over 2600 workers at the New River Valley plant in Virginia began strike action on Friday.

Occupation of Ledco plant ends


Workers at the Ledco tool and die plant in Kitchener, Ontario ended a three day occupation after a judge ruled it illegal.

Belgium: striking workers at sub-contractor close Ford plant

Workers at Syncreon, formerly TDS Automotive, went on strike on Monday.

Belgian Opel workers wildcat strike

A wildcat strike broke out amongst workers at the Opel car plant in Antwerp January 8 in a row over pay.

Organized Labor versus “The Revolt Against Work” – John Zerzan

Article examining the role of unions in the exploitation of workers, focussing in particular on the US car manufacturing industry from the 1930s to 1970s.

Rolls Royce to close Merseyside plant

Workers at the Rolls Royce plant in Netherton today claimed the company had given them notice to close the factory with the loss of 220 jobs.

France: another suicide by Renault worker

This death was the fourth suicide in a year by a worker at the Guyancourt technocentre site.

France: Wimetal workers vote for strike action against factory closure

Workers at the exhaust factory in Wissembourg voted to begin a strike action on Friday.

USA: Auto-workers on nationwide strike at General Motors

Thousands of United Auto Workers walked off the job at General Motors Corp. plants around the country Monday in the first nationwide strike against GM since 1970.

The university, the car factory and the working class

A pamphlet detailing the working class areas around Oxford, written eighteen months after the poll tax riot.

1911-1970s: Unions and workers: limitations and possibilities, by Martin Glaberman

Detroit auto-worker Martin Glaberman analyses the bureaucratisation and decline of the US trade union movement. An interesting article interspersed with historical information and personal reminiscences

Belgium: Strike action at Opel car factory

There have been a series of stoppages recently at the Opel factory, due to management restructuring.

Belgium: Wildcat strike at Volvo Europa factory

Workers at the truck factory in Oostakker, walked out during negotiations over pay.

Sweden: Volvo workers wildcat

An unofficial strike broke out at a Volvo Trucks plant in Umeå on Thursday. 150 workers downed tools for one and a half hours.

France: Sabotage at Renault factory

Workers at the Renault factory in Le Mans have been accused by management of sabotaging factory equipment.

Spain: General strike in Cadiz region

Workers at the General Motors subcontractor, Delphi, in Puerto Real have gone on strike in protest at the planned closure of the factory.

US: Truck plant strike leaders sacked

Two weeks after a wildcat strike against layoffs, eleven Freightliner LLC workers in North Carolina have been fired.

Belgium: car workers refuse union compromise

Strikers at car firm SLM refused to vote on an agreement made by unions, judging the salary increase to be too low.

Australia: three-day lockout at Bridgestone ends

Union members at the tyre maker, Bridgestone, in Salisbury, South Australia have returned to work after a three-day lockout without pay.

Union calls off truck plant wildcat strike

With layoffs imminent, truck manufacturing workers in North Carolina walked out until union officials called off the action.

Canada: Wildcat strike in solidarity with sacked auto workers

Workers at a plant in Guelph, Ontario struck on Saturday in support of sacked Toronto car employees occupying their plant for severance pay.

France: Peugeot strikers picket offices

On Friday over 300 striking workers demonstrated outside the head offices of PSA Peugeot Citroën in Paris.

Toronto: auto workers occupy factory

150 auto workers occupied their factory yesterday in a dispute over unpaid severance pay whilst hundreds more demonstrated outside.

Leaflet: Gaining as much as possible from Škoda´s profit!

The leaflet spread in Skoda/Volkswagen factories in three towns in February 2007 by KPK.

India: Car plant workers wildcat strike

Car manufacturing workers at Hindustan Motors in India walked out on Monday.

VW workers approve longer hours despite wildcat strikes

Workers at Volkswagen AG’s Belgian plant on Tuesday approved a restructuring plan to work longer hours without extra pay in order to keep their jobs.

Strike at Russian Ford plant

A strike halted production on Wednesday at U.S. car maker Ford’s plant near St Petersburg, one of the biggest in Russia owned by a foreign auto maker, after a months-long dispute over pay and conditions.

Police seek arrest of Korean union leader


South Korean police said Monday they plan to seek a warrant to arrest the head of the union of Hyundai Motor Co., the country’s No. 1 carmaker, for an alleged assault at a company event.

Goodyear strikers offered new contract


Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and the union representing about 12,600 union workers in the United States tentatively agreed Friday to a new contract that would end an 11-week strike over health care benefits and Goodyear’s plan to close a tire factory in Texas.

USA: Goodyear strikers’ picketline report

A critical, but balanced, picketline report about the current Goodyear workers’ strike in Topeka, Kansas by a member of the Kansas Mutual Aid Collective.

Brussels: Volkswagen strike enters third week

Workers at the Volkswagen plant in Brussels are on strike for a third week after the company announced upto 4,000 job losses there.

4,000 Job losses at VW plant in Forest

The VW factory in Forest, near Brussels, is facing 4,000 job losses after the company decided to transfer the assembly line to German plants.

Strike at Michelin in Zalau, Romania, 2005

Summary of an article about a strike for a 30% wage hike at Michelin in the Romanian newspaper Evenimentul Zilei, February 2005.

A new kind of strike in France (Citroën etc.), 2005

Article about the 2005 strike at Citroen and other struggles and issues in the European car industry, and the political situation in France, including the left, the EU constitution, and a wildcat strike of rail workers.

Strike at Citroën Aulnay, 2005

A short article about a strike against pay and break-time cuts at a Citroen factory in France, 2005.

First strike for thirteen years at Skoda, Czech Republic, 2005

30 March: Some 12,000 of the 21,000 employees at Skoda walked off the job for an hour on the 30th of March, putting the company 240 cars under its daily quota of about 2,000.

Strike at car supplier stops production at DaimlerChrysler, 2005

Germany: production halted in DaimlerChrysler plant when about 50 to 60 of the 336 workers at Dräxlmaier (Bremen) blocked the factory gates on Monday, 4 of April.

Spontaneous strikes at Fiat Mirafiori, Italy, 2005

Short article about a brief wildcat strike at Fiat on 21 April 2005

Update: European car-industry, 2005

Various short articles on different developments within the European car industry in early 2005.

VW cut wages and lengthen hours in Germany, 2005

Analysis of wage policies at VW in Germany.

New wage-model at VW, Germany, 2004

Article analysing new wage structures for 5,000 new manufacturing jobs at Volkswagen in Germany.

GM/Saab policies in Sweden, 2004

Article from the Swedish “workplace paper” Motarbetaren #5, September 2004 about General Motors/Saab policy and potential struggle in Sweden.

One week wildcat strike at General Motors/Opel in Bochum, 2004

Extensive background information and analysis, and an account of a wildcat strike of Opel/GM car workers in Germany.

Study on temp-work in German car industry, 2006

A recent study on temp work in the German automobile industry reveals that the companies in this sector try to hide the fact that they employ temp-workers.

Fiat – call centre report from Milano, Italy, 2002

Report from October 2002 about work, resistance and the possibilities for struggle in a Milan call centre.

Volkswagen South Africa strike, 2000

Short article about the 2000 South African Volkswagen workers’ strike.

Strike at Skoda auto, Mlada Boleslav, Czech Republic, 2005

Account of a small but significant strike at a Skoda (owned by Volkswagen) factory in the Czech Republic.

Wild ride – a different perspective on the Czech car industry

The following article was written by comrades from the Czech Republic. Following their analysis of the strike at Skoda they investigated the development of the car industry in the Czech Republic more thoroughly, concentrating on Škoda/Volkswagen, TPCA (Toyota Peugeot Citroën Automobile) and the suppliers.

1972: Broadmeadows Ford workers’ strike

In June 1972 workers at the Broadmeadows Ford factory exploded smashing up their workplace, facing off police and forcing union bosses into endorsing a strike they had attempted to abandon. This is a short history of the events.

An interview with Tony Mcqade, former shop steward.

Tony Mcqade worked at British Leyland’s site 2 car plant in Speke from the late 1960s until its closure in 1978, as well being a shop steward at the plant for a number of years, and is now a full time official with the TGWU.

Brazil: Volkswagen workers on indefinite strike

Workers at the Sao Paulo plant approved the strike in a mass assembly of 10,000 workers, starting immediately in “direct response” to the firings.

Canada: Car part workers down tools

A wildcat strike has broken out in Canada as workers at AGS Automotive plant walked out in a dispute over pay and work rate.

Ryton and Ellesmere Port workers fight job losses

Workers from the Ryton plant in Coventry, due to be closed by Peugeot, demonstrated outside a dealership in Birmingham alongside members of West Midlands Anarchists on Saturday.

Ryton Peugeot factory closure – local anarchists speak

A member of West Midlands Anarchists speaks to libcom.org news about the impending closure of Peugeot’s Ryton factory near Coventry, which will cost thousands of jobs.

Iran: Wave of strikes shakes Tehran

The Iranian government also has an internal crisis on its hands. The country’s high level of poverty has triggered a series of intense social struggles.

Holland: Mitsubishi workers wildcat strike over plant closure

Mitsubishi workers took wildcat strike action last week over worries that DaimlerChrysler would close their plant when Smart ForFour productions ends.

Successful strike at Opel-GM in Antwerp

Belgian car workers won a short strike to demand less work and more workers employed at their plant in Antwerp.

Netherlands: Wildcat strike at DaimlerCrysler

Workers at the Born NedCar plant walked out yesterday in a row over job cuts. The Dutch manufacturer NedCar is a joint-venture of DaimlerCrysler and Mitsubishi.

1980s-1990s: The Myths of the Toyota System

The Myths of the Toyota System – Nomura Masami

US car workers gear up to fight wages and jobs onslaught

Workers for Delphi, a former subsidiary of General Motors, are facing 24,000 job cuts, the slashing of wages by 63%, and huge cuts in benefits such as pensions and health care.

India Toyota workers to launch hunger strike

The Toyota Kirloskar Motor Workers’ union yesterday announced that its members will begin hunger strikes today (Monday) to win its demands in the dispute which has escalated over the past three weeks with wildcat strikes and large scale arrests.

Government bans Indian Toyota strike

Bangalore: The State Government has prohibited the workers’ strike at Bidadi plant of carmaker Toyota Kirloskar Motor Private Ltd. and has referred all issues such as the sacking of three union activists by the management, this subsequent strike by the employees and the lockout to additional labour court for adjudication.

India Toyota: 1,000 return to work

Bangalore: Over 1,000 employees affiliated to the Toyota Kirloskar Motor Union today resumed work after tendering a modified version of the ‘good conduct declaration’ prepared by the management.

1,300 Toyota employees arrested

1,300 employees at Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM), were arrested on Saturday as they gathered at the State Labour Secretary’s office after buses failed to pick them up from work.

India Toyota ‘good conduct’ offer to locked-out wildcats

Toyota said it will end a 12-day lockout at its plant in Bangalore, India if employees sign a ‘good conduct’ pledge.

An account of car factory sabotage

A brief account of sabotage at a car manufacturers in Detroit by Eugene, a carburator assembler.

Ford times time on the loo

This article from the Detroit news shows petty measures introduced by Ford managers recently to raise productivity.

The workers have to deal with their own reality and that transforms them

Based on his experience in auto factories, Glaberman discusses the contradictions of the union’s role.

Nedelec, André, 1926-2000

A short biography of French anarchist and factory militant André Nedelec.

Khanifar, Gerard Ali, 1950-1997

A short biography of French anarchist and Michelin worker Gerard Ali Khanifar.


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Workers at the firm’s factory in Swindon, which is not producing any cars at the moment, are set to receive a letter from the company stressing how “dire” the situation was for car manufacturing.

An official at the Unite union said negotiations were yet to be held on the company’s proposals.

An increasing number of companies are asking staff to agree to a pay freeze or even cuts in return for guarantees of no compulsory redundancies.


Unite’s regional officer Jim D’Avila said: “Honda is following Toyota’s lead. In return for no compulsory redundancies, the company is asking the staff to accept cuts in pay. No decision has been made.

“Unite’s priority is to secure jobs and give our members a fighting chance of coming through this economic turmoil with their jobs and livelihoods intact.

“Therefore the union will be entering into negotiations with management. We intend to ensure that these discussions are genuine negotiations which seek to produce a realistic outcome.

“Any decision will not be taken lightly. We expect Honda to ensure none of our members’ benefits are eroded in the long term and that these skilled workers will remain in place and at work ready for when the upturn comes.”


The letter, from Dave Hodgetts, director of planning and business, said: “From an economic viewpoint, we cannot find much encouragement for the next 12 months, as the downturn continues to affect car sales throughout Europe.

“The seriousness for the global car industry and the unpredictability of what will happen in the future cannot be underestimated, and make it extremely difficult to confirm a longer term plan. While we are not able to predict when the economic situation may improve we must continue to remain flexible to the ever-changing circumstances and be prepared to implement appropriate countermeasures in response.

“Honda Motor’s (HUM) financial situation has been dramatically affected by this economic downturn. The European and Japanese operations are most severely impacted with Honda Motor, Japan, forecasting an unconsolidated £321 million loss for the first time in its history.”

Honda said it had made “enormous efforts” to restrict and cut costs while protecting jobs, adding that a “small number” of workers had applied for voluntary redundancy.

The letter continued: “It seems unlikely at this stage that this final phase of the programme will be able to make a reasonable match between our planned and actual manpower for this next financial year.

“Our intention is to provide job security for those of you who remain committed to HUM and it remains our aim to maintain an objective of no redundancies. We believe the mutual trust between associates and HUM is always the key to our success. Therefore, we will manage to survive this severe situation by using a totally different approach than any other competitor.

“Looking at our conditions, overall Honda profitability, the European financial situation and the fact that we will have a significant level of surplus manpower, we will now need to take the action mentioned in the previous letter. In outline, this is likely to be a one year pay cut for all associates.

“We are fully aware that a one year pay cut could adversely affect your motivation and lifestyle, but we hope that if you are committed to HUM’s future, you will understand the necessity for this action and find ways to manage the situation.”

By Alan Jones, Press Association
Independent on Sunday, Business

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There’s no doubt that the six weeks from March 28th – May 4th offers our anarchist movement a chance to move out of the shadows. Against the background of recession there has been rioting across Europe from Riga to Sofia. These are riots not by activists but by poor people hurting badly. The Greek uprising has provided a fine example of anarchists being prominent in a wider social movement for radical change. In Britain the war on Gaza and the Heathrow runway decision has brought protests – and direct action – back on the street across the country. They are not yet focussed on the recession but they may become so.

The G20 summit in London on April 2nd provides an opportunity for all these strands across Europe to come together as in the PARIS DECLARATION calling for a mass demonstration in London on March 28th – Saturday before summit – and across Europe on April 1st-2nd. In London the Trade Unions, Stop the War are organising marches on April 2nd. ?THE BEHEADING CAPITALISM? event by the folks behind J18 is planned for the same day. Other anarchists are planning a large entral London anarchist rally on the night of April 1st with speakers from across Europe. After G20 the European leaders move on to the NATO summit in Germany – sure to get the anarchists back on the streets

To often momentum is built over a few events then dribbles away. But this year we have the Mayday marches, a planned UK anarchist conference in London over May2-3rd and a Reclaim the Streets event in Brighton on May 4th. The fates are with us comrades, the sheeps entrails are promising, all we need are a few portents and omens to kick the whole fucking thing off,



Anti-globalisation activists are plotting a mass demonstration against bankers in the
heart of the City, the Evening Standard can reveal. —- Police are on full alert ahead of
the protest, planned for 1 April – the day world leaders arrive in London for the G20
summit. —- Thousands of demonstrators, including anarchists and anti-aviation activists, are planning a series of protests, aiming to capitalise on disenchantment with City financiers blamed for dragging the economy into recession. —- The event, dubbed ‘Financial Fools Day’, is likely to cause mass disruption as demonstrators try to block traffic and buildings by lying in tents and sleeping bags across the road. —- One source suggested the protest would include a “spectacular action”. Organisers said on the Climate Camp website: “Join us for camping, workshops, protest, positive alternatives, direct action and community.

“We need to stop this foolishness… Bring a pop-up tent if you have one, sleeping bag,
wind turbine, mobile cinema, extra shoes, action plans and ideas… let’s imagine another world.”

Protesters hope to mobilise “anti fat-cat” sentiment among students and workers affected by the credit crunch as they demonstrate against the financial system, and are inviting activists to “set up camp” in London’s financial centre.

One environmentalist source said: “People are angry about losing their jobs and bankers still getting their bonuses. People are also up in arms about the Government bulldozing anti-airport legislation through as we saw with the third runway at Heathrow.”

Despite police becoming adept at controlling such demonstrations and preventing widespread disorder of the type that occurred during the May Day and poll tax riots in the Nineties, there are fears small groups will wreak havoc.

Police sources said: “Angry activists and aggressive City trader types are a volatile mix, as we have seen before.”

During the 1999 City Riot, which left 46 people injured and caused up to £2 million
damage, fights broke out between City workers and anarchists protesting in the streets and in private premises.

The April protest has captured the imagination of anarchists. Some are plotting further
demonstrations against the G20 on the day of the summit on 2 April.

One protester said the example of Athens, where young Greeks have been rioting for several months since police shot dead a teenager, could provide further inspiration.

An anarchist blogged: “The combination of the recession, the inspiration of the Greek
anarchists and the G20 summit being in London on 2 April gives us the opportunity to
mobilise far larger than usual numbers on to the streets… Seize the time.”




Summit protests and the economic crisis


Summit-hopping is so last year. Or is it? When we began conceiving this issue a few months back, it seemed like everyone was gearing up for a busy 2009: NATO’s 60th anniversary party, the G20 summit in London, the G8 in Italy, the UN’s climate summit in Copenhagen… Ten years on from the ‘battle of Seattle’, 2009 was set to be the return of summit-hopping.

However, so far, anti-capitalists in Italy appear to have made little progress in mobilising against the G8 summit in July. What is more, everyone is talking about the UN’s climate change conference next December in Copenhagen. This comes with the awful package of environment minister Miliband calling for a mass movement for green capitalism and an austerity deal. The threat of another paralysing ‘Make Poverty History’-style mobilisation looms. On the other hand, there are, of course, some summits that continue to attract fundamental antagonism. The EU’s meeting on immigration in Vichy, France, last November was one example, despite a lack of mobilisation from the UK.

There is something that is fundamentally different from the previous decade of large anti-globalisation mobilisations: neo-liberalism itself is in crisis! The policies that were promoted by the anti-globalisation arch enemies (WTO, World Bank, IMF) are failing not only in Argentina and Mexico, but also in Europe and North America. The current financial crisis provides a platform for a systematic critique of the current economic system.

Maybe we should be excited that suddenly everyone is talking about the economy. Or should we? Many analyses of the crisis seem to be putting forward reactionary solutions. For a start, who we blame will define how we respond. Socialists blame bankers, government ministers and conservatives (and increasingly liberals) blame immigration, environmentalists and the middle classes blame the mass consumerism of the working class and the corporate media blames everyone. And what, then, will the response be? Anti-consumerism and austerity politics? Economy-boosting interest rate cuts? Tougher immigration controls? Urban riots? Blame creates hierarchies and characterises anti-globalisation protests. If we are to build a collective, emancipatory response to the crisis we need to be critical of any strategies that ignore the realities of life in capitalism, that fuel moral superiority and reinforce class divisions.

Furthermore, with every crisis comes a new conspiracy theory. The problem with these ‘explanations’ is that a capitalist crisis is not the result of the errors of a ‘small and elusive group of people’ as the conspiracy theorists want us to believe.

We live in a system that is antithetical to our needs, and importantly, our desires.

Crises are inherent in capitalism. There is no solution that will make capitalism free of crises. We can demand more regulation of the financial sector or the nationalisation and democratic ownership of banks. Still, capitalism’s crises are based in its inherent contradictory character with the desire to produce for profit-maximisation rather than social needs. And this will always be the central goal of capitalist production. A crisis won’t change that. There are more crises to come, with indications that speculation with raw materials and food could lead to much bigger misery than the bursting of the credit bubble. It is contradictory and irrational to produce, distribute and exchange resources as is done in a capitalist economy, thus capitalism without crises would be an oxymoron.

The left should take the crisis as an opportunity to push for more, to push for a system that puts our needs and desires above profit, to avoid limiting ourselves and scapegoating others. At a time where political leaders are making our demands seem reasonable (whether that’s the nationalisation of banks or a strong climate deal), we should not settle for compromise but demand the impossible!

Despite these new opportunities, there are few signs for a new wave of summit protests that can escape the attempts by governments to recuperate them. Protests are not happening outside summits now. As we write, they are happening in suburbs and big university towns. The migrant youths of St. Denis, the anti-CPE students, the Anomalous Wave movement and the Greek anarchist youth all dominate the headlines, rather than the plans for opposition to the G8 or G20. Also in Britain, radical anti-capitalist protest is no longer connected to the anti-globalisation movement, but is at the radical edge of the failed anti-war movement of 2003. Maybe in 2009 ‘suburb-hopping’ offers new opportunities for resistance?

Editorial of issue 5 of Shift Magazine, http://www.shiftmag.co.uk

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Article by Andy Newman Taken from Socialist Unity – 22 Febraury 2009

On Friday I was visited by Julian Corbett, from the Public Protection Department of Wiltshire Police.

He came to ask me what my relationship was with wannabe Nazi terrorist, Mark Bullman (pictured), and to warn me that Bullman is now out of prison, and is looking for me – I have moved address since he went to prison. Bullman had been sentenced to 5 years for racially aggravated arson, but has now been released after two and a half years. (Bullman also goes by the name Mark Bullock)

As I have reported before, in August 2006, BNP supporter, Bullman attempted to burn down the Broad Street mosque in Swindon using a petrol bomb. Mark was the registered fund holder for Wiltshire BNP, and actively campaigned for the party in the 2006 local council elections, just four months before the arson attack. Strangely Mark used to write to me while he was on remand, and even telephoned me from prison – not in a threatening way, but for a friendly chat.

He had left the BNP shortly before the fire bomb attack to form what he called the “1290 sect”, named after the year the Jews were expelled from England, and he wrote to me: “I only attacked the mosque because there is no synagogue in Swindon, and it was close enough for public consumption”. The fuse used for the fire bomb was a rolled up BNP leaflet.

It since transpires that Danny Lake, (former leader of the YBNP and also from Swindon, and who has since been expelled from the BNP), had raised concerns about Bullman with Nick Griffin, but the BNP did not consider Mark Bulman’s mental instablity, propensity to violence and gross anti-Semitism to be a problem. Bullman was supported by Wiltshire organiser, Mike Howson, and Danny Lake claims that Howson encouraged Bullmans’ extremism. Ironically, the main plank of Mike Howson’s campaigning in his native Corsham is “law and order”.

Mark’s letters to me, which I passed on to Searchlight, were filled with a virulent hatred of Jews, mixing up three themes. i) racialised anti-semitism; ii) Christian anti-judaic traditions; and iii) opposition to Israel’s War in the Lebanon, and the occupation of Palestine.

Bullman started ring me regularly late at night sometime during 2005. I decided when Bullman contacted me that it was simply safer to talk to him than snub him, and establish a human relationship, and impress upon him that I was a real person with young children, not just an objectified “enemy”.

I knew that it was him who had fire bombed the mosque as soon as I saw the pictures, because the Swastika daubed on the outside wall was identical to the rather idiosyncratic style that Bullman had used in letters to me. But before I could go to the police I heard that Bullman had already been arrested, indeed he had turned himself in and confessed.

The police decided to contact me after Bullman told his probation officer last week that he had visited my old address, in Avenue Road, where in Bullman’s own words “a communist lived” and Bullman told the probation officer he wanted to apologise to me.

Fair enough, I actually take that at face value. For all his weaknesses Bullman is a troubled and actually quite likable lad. He seems to have always been a bit of a misfit, and found a group of friends who accepted him through football hooliganism and far right politics. It was quite spooky having the police do an audit of the security of my house, and checking out the approaches to it in case they decided I was in serious danger and they had to put me on a rapid response list.

I was actually quite encouraged that they were also assessing the risk to Bullman himself. The bewildered lad has been playing games in his head with his Nazi fantasies, irresponsibly encouraged by BNP activists who exploited him. And his attempts to contact me suggest that he is drawn back to revisiting the same haunts and habits that he was in before his arrest.

Bullman fire bombed a mosque and daubed it with Swastikas. I am prepared to be understanding to Bullman only because I have had personal contact with him, and I have some partial insight into what a troubled and unhappy young man he is; who really needs help and not to be further ostracised and isolated from society. But other people might be less understanding and charitable about what he did than I am.

What really is scandalous is the way the BNP used this young man. They had no problem with exploiting his obvious mental distress, they had no problem with his open support for genocide against the Jews, instead they encouraged him, they used him up and spat him out.

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Angry scenes at the BMW Mini Cowley plant in Oxford were caught on mobile phone.

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A new wave of redundancies and pay cuts hits car manufacturing in the UK, as companies aim to take back the cost of the recession from the workforce.

Ford are looking to axe 7% of its UK workforce, with nearly half of the staff at its Southampton Transit plant lined up to go. The company is also seeking to renege on the pay deal of 5.2% agreed with the unions, as it seeks to fund the redundancy packages from the pay of the workers. Other sites hit will include plants in Basildon, the facility at Brentwood and Dunton, in Essex, Daventry in Northamptonshire, Halewood on Merseyside and Bridgend in South Wales.

The company is claiming that the earlier agreements were untenable as the recession hits the purchase of new cars.

The cutting of pay to fund redundancies could lead to a strike ballot, with the Unite union’s general secretary Tony Woodley telling the press: ‘Ford are asking the workers to take a cut in pay to preserve jobs, but workers are asking themselves if their pay is being cut to pay for friends and colleagues to be thrown onto the dole.’ A worker interviewed at the plant told the BBC ‘They said the redundancies will be voluntary but they will not get that many.’ A mass meeting on the situation was held at the plant yesterday.

The same plant put staff on a four day week last year, and saw a wildcat walkout by 100 workers against cuts in October.

The Nissan factory in Sunderland- its most productive facility in Europe – also axed 1,200 jobs last year and cut back shifts.

Meanwhile, workers at the International Automotive Components plant in Liverpool launched wildcat strikes for two days over redundancies, pay and conditions. The factory supplies the neighbouring Jaguar plant with dashboard components, and the production lines at the Jaguar site were said to be 20 minutes from closure following the action. The action follows a wave of industrial action by energy workers against exclusion from contracts awarded on new building contracts, resulting in the creation of over 100 unfilled jobs at the Lindsay Oil Refinery in North Lincolnshire.

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Honda said this morning it was halting production at its Swindon plant in April and May, extending the two-month closure announced before Christmas to four months.

The company said in November that it would halt production in February and March, with 4,800 workers receiving full basic pay.

Today the company said that because of the continuing fall in demand it was extending the closure, with workers getting 50% of their pay.

Honda’s move adds to the deepening gloom in the UK car industry. Nissan has announced plans to cut its Sunderland workforce by 1,200 people, and earlier this week Jaguar Land Rover said 450 jobs would go.

Manufacturers’ cuts will have a ripple effect on companies in their supply chains, where many firms are struggling with the fall-out from the credit crunch.

The latest developments will add to pressure on business secretary Lord Mandelson to help the struggling industry. Earlier this week, in evidence to the House of Commons business and enterprise committee, Mandelson acknowledged the importance of the automotive sector to the UK’s research and development capability and its manufacturing base.

The government could provide assistance by allowing car makers’ finance arms access to the financial support put in place for the banking system or with help with R&D.

A Honda spokesman said it had decided to extend the closure rather than making people redundant. “These are skilled people we want to retain. This is our way of managing the business, we believe this is the best way,” he said.

The company is set to begin production of the new Jazz model in the Autumn, and is keen to preserve its production capacity for the longer term.

Taken from :http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009 /jan/16/honda-jaguar-land-rover



National meeting for car workers and ancillary/supplier industries

Saturday 14 February 2009
12 pm to 4 pm

The Birmingham and Midland Institute,
Margaret Street, Birmingham, B3 3BS

Hosted by the national shop stewards network

Sponsored by the “Save the” Ford Transit Campaign Southampton

The National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) invites all car workers to a meeting on Saturday 14 February in Birmingham to discuss the developing crisis in the industry.

Car workers face the greatest threats to their jobs and living standards as a result of the recession now taking place across the economy both in Britain and abroad.

In a period like this the employers are seeking to offload the whole crisis on our backs.

Many companies have started a programme of lay offs, jobs cuts and enforced down time.

The meeting hosted by the NSSN is an attempt to bring together shop stewards and union activists across the car industry to compare their experiences and hammer out a series of polices around which we can agree and campaign for in our unions and factories.

Already we have seen all the major car companies in this country carrying through cuts.

Ford, which ten years ago had 14 plants in Britain now has only four after selling Land Rover and Jaguar to TATA motors India.

Vauxhall, as part of General Motors, is reducing its workforce and putting workers on down days and short time.

Land Rover and Jaguar are cutting over 600 jobs and the three Japanese manufacturers, Toyota Nissan and Honda, with car plants in Britain are closing down production for up to two months. 

The effect of all these cuts and shutdowns is also massively affecting those industries further down the supplier chain.

GKN had announced 1800 jobs to go in Britain and Corus Steel has mothballed a blast furnace in Port Talbot.

Thousands of small businesses that depend on the car industry are being affected along with the communities that the main plants are based in.

But this does not all have to be one way, we can fight back.

Ford workers in Southampton, making the Transit van, have walked out twice on unofficial strikes against Ford’s plan to send the Transit van to Turkey from 2011.

NSSN supporters have consistently agitated for the unions to organise a major campaign to defend the plant as one of the last manufacturing bases in the city.

The unions have to respond to these threats to our jobs and our future; if governments across the globe can pour money without end into the banking system then they can be forced to act to save the car industry.

The unions are campaigning for the government to put money into the ailing car industry but how much more effective this could be if it is backed up with direct action from the shop floor.

There is no guarantee that industrial action will work but there is a guarantee that unless we fight back then we will be the losers.

The fat cats who run our industry are looking after themselves. For example, the top seven directors in Fords received nearly £100 million last year in salaries and pensions according to the Unite union. This is approximately what it would cost to retool Ford’s Southampton plant to produce the new Transit van.

We call on shop stewards committees and trade union branches in the car industry along with individual car shop stewards to back this conference and support it.

The National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) was set up in July 2007 to bring together shop stewards and workplace reps from around Britain to fight against the increasing onslaught by the employers.

We have now organised two national conferences and a number of regional and local conferences which have drawn together workplace reps including those on strike or preparing to take strike action.

The NSSN is supported by the following national unions. RMT (rail), PCS (civil servants) POA (prison officers), the CWU (postal and communication) NUM (mineworkers) and many local and regional bodies of trade unions.

email: billmullins@capitalh.org.uk / raymondmorrell@yahoo.com

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