'Anti-fascist front and fight for socialism'

The Rode Morgen interviews Frank Hammer on recent developments in the United States. Frank worked at General Motors in Detroit and was a delegate at the International Automotive Workers Conference in South Africa in February 2020.

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Trump's defeat was preceded by worker struggles such as at General Motors in 2019 with 50,000 strikers, the July 2020 strikes at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in Michigan for better health protection during the corona pandemic and other major grassroots movements - such as the climate actions, the anti-racist "Black Lives Matter" or the #metoo women's movement. What influence do these movements have?

'Trump's defeat came as a result of his catastrophic failure to crush the pandemic, and consequent terrific loss of lives and jobs, especially as it impacted working women, plus the great upsurge by Black Lives Matter and frontline workers.

The outcome of the national GM strike also plays into play. Trump promised to keep jobs in the US. But despite denunciations of GM by UAW officials - after announcing that four US plants were to be closed, another one in Canada, and two overseas - the 40 day workers’ strike did not keep any of them open. GM will build electric, hi end trucks in Detroit, but that was in the planning well before the strike. The threatened closure by GM CEO Mary Barra was a negotiating tactic.

We also need to talk about the climate catastrophe. If plants are to be closed, then we have to talk about what could be produced in these plants for environmentally friendly transport or for renewable energy. I first spoke these words during the factory closures triggered by the 2008 financial crisis, as a way to address the growing climate catastrophe and fight against mass layoffs. There were examples in 2010 in suburban Detroit where Ford was closing a Lincoln assembly plant, and two companies which produced solar panels and wind turbines were going to buy it and retain 2,000 workers. The deal failed for lack of loan guarantees by Obama’s Dept of Energy. Over 25% of Detroiters have no autos and must rely on an inadequate public transportation system.  Some of us were advocating production for public transit to reduce auto carbon emissions, create jobs, and support equity.

We must arouse and support the masses who are the victims of neo-liberal capitalism, work to raise consciousness and build the unity of the struggles by workers, oppressed peoples of color, women, GBLTQ, indigenous, the youth and environmental movements. We must support workers’ unionization and build a front against the fascists who are assaulting the Left ideologically and physically. We must fight for radical change toward socialism and be prepared to defend bourgeois democracy against further encroachments by the growing fascist forces in the USA.’

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