Defend pensions, jobs, and wages! No concessions!

Auto workers need a socialist strategy

Published on WSWS.org, by a statement of the Socialist Equality Party (Canada), 23 April 2009.

Thousands of auto workers—retired, laid-off, and working—will rally with working people from all sections of the economy at the Ontario Legislature today to protest the provincial Liberal government’s reneging on a three decade-old guarantee to partially protect the pensions of retired workers should their former employer go bankrupt.

While Premier Dalton McGuinty claims that his government has no money to honour the Pension Guarantee Fund’s obligations, his Liberals slashed corporate taxes to record lows in last month’s provincial budget …

… 3. Rejection of the capitalist market and revival of an international socialist movement of the working class. Workers within Canada and throughout the world are facing the consequences of an economic system whose central principle is the pursuit of private profit—regardless of its consequences for society as a whole. In response to the unfolding crisis of world capitalism, the SEP fights for the socialist reorganization of the economy. This includes the nationalization of the auto companies and the major banks, placing them under public ownership and the democratic control of the working population, and their operation on the basis of social need, not private profit.

A revived political movement of the working class must have as its aim the fight for a workers’ government—a government of, by and for the working class. The population of the world is being taught an object lesson in the class nature of the state under capitalism. Trillions of dollars have been handed out with no conditions to the giant banks and financial institutions. However, any loans to the auto industry are conditioned on massive concessions from the workers. In both instances, the state is directly functioning as an instrument of the most powerful sections of the financial elite.

In every country workers face a similar future: rising unemployment, declining wages, economic depression. Workers should reject all forms of nationalism promoted by the trade unions. The crisis of capitalism is a global crisis and the response of the working class to this crisis must be a global response.

Seventy years ago auto workers in Canada and the US joined forces to found the UAW because they recognized that to fight the giant auto companies they needed to unify their struggles across the Canada-US border. Today in the area of integrated global production—where the transnational corporations systematically seek to pit workers against each other, placing production wherever the greatest profits can be wrung from the working people—auto workers cannot take a step forward unless they consciously organize themselves as an international force, organizing industrial and political action across national boundaries and continents.

The Socialist Equality Party urges workers who agree with this perspective to join the SEP and take up the fight for socialism. (full long text).

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