Clash of Titans: The GM-Chrysler Merger, by Mumia Abu-Jamal

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Clash of Titans: The GM-Chrysler Merger
[col. writ. 10/29/08] (c) ’08 Mumia Abu-Jamal

Within days, perhaps hours, expect the following breaking news: General Motors has merged with and acquired Chrysler.

There will be an air of jubilation in the announcement, but, upon a moment’s reflection, such joy will prove as effervescent and as impermanent as the fizz from a freshly opened bottle of soda.

That’s because, as with almost all mergers and acquisitions, there will be mid-level and lower-level mass firings, to avoid what business analysts call ‘needless redundancies.’ Also, there will undoubtedly be raids on worker’s pay rates, and more ominously, pensions.

Some will argue that under previous, customary tradition, and contract law, pay rates and pensions are settled items. But those who make such arguments conveniently ignore the rapacious nature of capital. Where there’s profit to be made, what are laws but trivialities?

The only custom capital respects, is profit.

Mergers and acquisitions open up doors to restructuring — a term meaning change the rules of the game. And change them, they will. This explains why GM would acquire Chrysler.

Chrysler was purchased several years ago by a private equity fund named Cerberus Capital. (Cerberus is the Greek name of the three-headed dog which guarded the gates of Hell).

In an acquisition, GM would be interested in Chrysler’s stash of some 11 billion bucks in cash; while Cerberus might get its paws on GMAC, GM’s financial unit.

The point being, for the big dogs at the top, there’s plenty of money to be made, even if GM stock currently is selling at a generational low of around $6 per share.

For those at the bottom however, the forecast is decidedly less rosy, for, when labor is weakened, capital is strengthened. And labor is considerably weaker today, than it was 10, or even 5 years ago.

Part of it has been the pro-business tilt of the political classes, even as it has been rabidly anti-union. The war against workers has always been a central plank in the neo conservative (and neo liberal!), philosophy.

For generations corporate greed has devastated Michigan, like vampires sucked blood. They have upped production, while skimming pay rates. Remember the recent contracts that OK’ed lower pay for new, incoming workers?

If workers don’t fight for more union power, and then exercise that power for their class interests, then the vampires will only suck more.

— (c) ’08 maj

{Thanks to: The Spark, (Oct. 20-Nov. 3, 2008) p.8; Baltimore, MD.}