July 28, 2012 - No. 30
Labour Day 2011.
• Uphold the
Dignity of Autoworkers
• Auto Monopolies Unilaterally Eliminating
Salaried Workers' Pensions -
• Who Really Benefits from this "Payback?" - Charlie Vita
• Proceedings Launched to
Invalidate July 1
Presidential Election and Implement National Plan for Defence of
Democracy - Claude Brunelle
• Millions March Against Imposition
Fraudulently Elected President and to Demand Democratic Changes
• National Convention Opposes
Uphold the Dignity of Autoworkers
Whose economy? Our
Whose auto sector? Our auto sector!
Canadian autoworkers are determined to uphold their
September CAW contract negotiations with executives from GM, Ford and
Chrysler. Workers reject with contempt the campaign of lies and
invective organized against them by auto executives and the
monopoly-controlled mass media.
Autoworkers and their fellow industrial workers
enormous amount to the well-being and wealth of the people, economy and
society. Autoworkers produce billions of dollars of value each year and
are proud of their hard work and contribution to the economy
and society. They deserve
respect and a Canadian-standard of living not the abuse thrown at them
by executives and mass media portraying them in a false light as some
sort of "cost" to the auto monopolies and economy. What absurdity to
label those workers who are the source of value as a cost. What
insolence to demand workers accept
concessions to reduce their legitimate claims on the value they produce
merely to transfer it to the international financial oligarchy to
fatten their already bulging coffers.
The auto executives and monopoly-owned media such as the
Globe and Mail, Windsor Star and
other mass media outlets are campaigning to deprive
autoworkers of their rights as the producers of all value and
respectable leading members of society. They seek to put autoworkers on
the defensive and make them apologetic about their claim on the value
they produce. Autoworkers have every right to wages, benefits and
pensions commensurate with
the hard work they do and the value they produce so as to live a
cultured existence in security. They must insist that auto
executives and the mass media stop their anti-worker campaign and
recognize the rights of workers and their established standard of
living as the basis for equilibrium in the sector.
Auto and other workers are
key contributors to the $55 billion a
year auto sector. Without Canadian industrial workers transforming the
bounty of Mother Nature to produce vehicles, the sector disappears and
produces nothing. How long can the economy survive if the majority of
vehicles and their components
are not produced within the economy but are bought from outside? To
reproduce the socialized economy, more has to be put into it than taken
out. Auto executives who threaten to wreck Canadian production and
import vehicles from outside the economy if workers do not agree to
concessions should be removed
from their positions. Such executives and their mass media flunkies are
a disgrace and danger to the country and should be labelled as foreign
agents and traitors. Their threats are attempts to undermine the
Canadian economy and condemn the people to insecurity, poverty and
backwardness. Workers must hold governments responsible for the defence
of the Canadian economy and people from such wreckers.
Workers have first right of claim on the value they
Governments have second claim on that value so they can fulfil their
duties to provide the people and society with social programs, public
services and infrastructure. Owners of capital have the last claim on
the value autoworkers produce and only
to the extent of a general rate of profit without handouts or subsidies
from the public treasury leaving enough in retained earnings for
renewal and reproduction of the Canadian productive forces and research
Executives do not want workers to remove from their
brains any notion that there is an alternative to making anti-worker
concessions. Concessions are not solutions to
economic problems. They are destructive to the economy and workers'
communities. Concessions are a clumsy attempt to divert public opinion
from real solutions to the real problems
the economy faces. They are a cash grab by owners of capital at the
expense of the economy and those who produce the value. Autoworkers
want equilibrium based on recognition of their rights and established
standard of living so they can make their contribution to the economy
in peace, security and dignity. But
they are not afraid of a fight if necessary to bring these rogue
executives to their senses.
The concessions paraded in the mass media, such as
pensions and health care benefits, lump sum payments instead of
compound wage increases are a conspiracy against the rights and
well-being of autoworkers and their communities. Concessions extorted
under threat of disinvestment have led to
the wrecking of the U.S. economy and a vast transfer of wealth from the
working class to owners of capital generating misery, insecurity,
poverty, unemployment and disequilibrium in society. Canadians are
determined not to continue down that treacherous path and express their
solidarity with U.S. and Mexican
workers in turning the situation around and defeating the neoliberal
attacks. The working class must not allow these executive wreckers and
traitors to continue to take Canada on a downward anti-social spiral.
Lump sum payments, other concessions and threats to
production are anti-worker crimes. Lump sum payments do not represent
workers' legitimate claim on the value they produce. The value that
workers produce is determined by time worked and the level of their
expertise and experience. Lump sum
payments perpetuate the myth that value magically arises from the
marketplace and not the hard work of workers. Lump sum payments reflect
the conditions of the crisis-ridden system and its problems that the
authorities refuse to address. Besides, the self-serving monopolies can
easily manipulate the lump sum payment
in the same way they manipulate their corporate taxes based on
self-declared enterprise profit using "creative" accounting. Unlike
wages, lump sum payments are not compounded leading to an annual
deterioration in pay and benefits, especially since most benefits and
pensions are calculated on the hourly rate.
Workers must demand that
governments stand up for Canadians and not capitulate to these foreign
monopolies. Executives who attempt to
extort concessions with threats to wreck or move production should be
charged with criminal abuse of power and removed from their positions.
A tiny gang within each monopoly
is using their class privilege and power to enrich themselves rather
than manage production in a professional and socially responsible way
within an atmosphere of equilibrium based on the recognition of
workers' rights and their established standard of living.
This nonsense of workers as
a cost of production must stop! Cost of
production to whom? To those holding a strip of paper or coupon that
says they own what workers produce? Those people have the right only to
a general rate of profit and no right to abuse autoworkers and plot to
steal their legitimate established
claims. If owners of capital want an additional claim on auto
production, they should apply for a production job in a parts or
assembly plant, steel works or some other components' factory or mine.
Joining with other workers as producers of auto value would give them
the same right of first claim on what they produce
from their work-time. But they have no right to steal what belongs to
Autoworkers are determined to uphold their dignity in
talks and demand that executives and their mass media stop their
campaign of anti-worker hatred that is generating disequilibrium.
The Canadian economy is the people's economy. The $55
sector is the workers' sector, and autoworkers and other industrial
workers demand dignity and respect as the proud producers of that value.
Down with the auto monopolies' and mass media campaign
of extortion, lies and anti-worker anti-Canadian hatred!
Autoworkers Have the Right of First Claim on the Value They Produce!
Whose Economy? Our Economy!
Whose Auto Sector? Our Auto Sector!
September Contract Negotiations
Auto Monopolies Unilaterally Eliminating
Salaried Workers' Pensions
Canadian autoworkers should take note and prepare
attempts to attack the wages and working conditions of salaried
retirees as the first onslaught in a new round to attack the rights of
who work in the auto sector.
In the United States, both
General Motors and Ford are unilaterally
eliminating the pensions of tens of thousands of their non-union
retirees through a scheme giving retirees the choice of a buyout or a
of their pension to a financial investment firm.
July 20 was the deadline for 42,000 GM retirees who
retired between October
1, 1997 and December 1, 2011 to "choose" between the buyout and handing
their pension annuity to Prudential Insurance. By the end of this year
intends to close its pension plan and remove what it claims is a $26
liability from its balance sheet. GM retirees point out however that
to corporate disclosure, the GM salaried retirement program is fully
In August, 98,000 Ford retirees will be told to make a
between a lump-sum buyout or continuing in Ford's pension plan. In
case the first set of 12,000 to 15,000 retirees will be randomly
will have 90 days to decide to accept the one-time offer of a lump-sum
payment based on interest rates, life expectancy and actuarial tables
government uses to calculate pension obligations. According to reports,
is looking to get rid of up to one-third of its U.S.$49 billion pension
Kevin Hogle, a 59-year-old GM retiree from Holly,
to the Detroit Free Press his frustration with the choice he
being forced to make. "When you do the projections on the payout, you'd
to be very aggressive in your investments to do well enough, unless
going to die in 10 years. My in-laws lived to be 85 to 90-something. If
live that long, you're lucky, but that's 30 years, so you better do
investing." "I'm steamed," he added. "Now on top of that they're using
a test to see what they can do on pensions."
According to reports in Michigan, financial planners and
advisers are running radio spots, putting up special websites and
in-person and online seminars to help GM retirees "make a good
GM's "Investment" in Research and
Who Really Benefits from this "Payback?"
On July 24, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Ontario
McGuinty joined General Motors of Canada President Kevin Williams for
GM's announcement that it would be investing $850 million in research
development. The announcement was made at GM's Oshawa Assembly Plant,
which is home to its Canadian Regional Engineering Centre.
According to the Harper government, the investment was a
the bailout it, along with the Ontario government, provided GM in 2009
height of the economic crisis. Both governments hold an equity
General Motors Canada. The Harper government presented this investment
if it were a form of payback to the people of Ontario for the
provided the auto monopoly during the crisis.
A government news release states: "In 2009, the
Governments of Canada
and Ontario contributed $9.5 billion US in restructuring assistance to
Canada, in part to avoid the collapse of a much broader system of
parts companies and R&D in the auto sector. The company committed
time to making significant capital investments in its Canadian
the life of the agreement, already announcing investments totalling $1
GM also committed to investing $850 million US in R&D in Canada
2009 through 2016. GM Canada's investment in R&D activities in
one of the tangible benefits being realized by Canadians as a result of
The commitments announced were:
"Investing in new streams of state-of-the-art advanced
at the Canadian Engineering Centre in Oshawa, positioning the facility
integral part of GM's global engineering and R&D networks;
"Enhancing partnerships with automotive suppliers that
innovation and competitiveness in the Canadian supplier base, including
co-development projects and greater opportunities for start-ups to
funding through GM Ventures; and
"Continuing to develop formal technology linkages among
universities, institutes, suppliers and manufacturers in key technology
The monopoly-owned media and provincial and federal
presenting the GM investment as proof that their policy of paying the
works. What to make of this? It is important to remember that at the
of the economic crisis, autoworkers were forced to give up major
in their wages and especially benefits as a condition of governments
auto monopolies. These concessions are worth billions of dollars in
added-value which have been transferred from autoworkers and their
communities, to the auto monopolies like GM. The autoworkers call
them "the gift that keeps on giving." This "payback" by GM in fact
money stolen from autoworkers through government organized extortion.
Investments of this type, in "research and development"
are also ways for
the auto monopolies to gain control of public institutions, like
colleges to do their private research. In exchange for some seed-money,
pay for the ongoing costs of private research facilities in
institutions. Cynically, the students who pay to study at these public
institutions end up paying to do the research that the monopolies
to: decrease their costs of production, increase productivity (less
more work), and market their products. A review of GM's current
funded research and development gives a sense of how these initial
endowments are used to secure long-term control over public research.
GM's Current Publicly-Funded Research and
Much of GM's current publicly-funded research is done
at the McMaster University in Hamilton and the University of Ontario
Technology (UOIT) in Oshawa. Within UOIT is the General Motors of
Canada Automotive Centre of Excellence (ACE), officially opened in
It was developed in partnership with UOIT, General Motors of Canada
(GMCL), the Government of Ontario, the Government of Canada and the
Partners for the Advancement of Collaborative Engineering Education.
It is likely that a good amount of this investment will go to expanding
control over ACE and setting up new research for its own benefit which
over time be payed for by the people of Ontario.
Already, to establish ACE the Government of Ontario
million in public funds for its construction. Meanwhile the
government gave $14 million in capital funding for the project. GM made
$2 million in-kind donation of equipment and on-site expertise and
ACE was part of GM's Beacon Project which was given
$435 million from the Ontario and Federal governments.
The main faculty and directors for ACE at UOIT -- a
university -- come directly from the Canadian Regional Engineering
(GM's in-house research and development facility). This means that
of GM are directing the research and curriculum.
Other auto monopolies, such as Chrysler and Ford also
have their own
publicly-funded, privately-controlled research centres which have been
by the people of Ontario and Canada. Chrysler's is at the University of
Windsor and Ford has a Centre of Excellence at St.
College, also in Windsor.
Proceedings Launched to Invalidate
July 1 Presidential Election and Implement
National Plan for Defence of Democracy
Widespread opposition to
electoral fraud is being expressed across Mexico. The third "Mega
against the imposition of Enrique Peña Nieto took place on
July 22, 2012. Click to enlarge.
At a press conference on July 12, the presidential
candidate for the Progressive Movement, Andrés Manuel
López Obrador, announced the submission of a motion to
invalidate the July 1 presidential election with the Electoral Tribunal
of the Federation of Judicial Power. The Progressive Movement estimates
that five million votes were obtained by illegal manipulation.
During the press conference, López Obrador
explained that the demand to invalidate the elections was based on
serious violations of Article 41 of the Constitution, which guarantees
free and fair elections.
Elaborating on the circumstances that led to these
violations, López Obrador directly addressed the Mexican people
and explained that the strategy to promote Enrique Peña Nieto as
the presidential candidate of the Institutional Revolutionary Party
(PRI) began long before the election. It aimed to "use the media
and advertising agencies to put [Peña Nieto] on the map and make
him into a national figure." This gave him "popularity that began
decreasing as information about him began to circulate on social
networks and other media. More and more people began to understand that
this was a trap, a big farce." Then came
the May 6 debate, which was not broadcast in prime time, that people
thought Peña Nieto lost. Subsequently, on May
11, Peña Nieto was confronted by the youth of the Ibero-American
University and his tactless and authoritarian response prompted the
birth of the "Yo Soy 132" movement.
On May 31, the polls indicated that Peña Nieto
held only a four-point lead over López Obrador but by June 4 it
was the latter who had a two-point lead. "Seeing that Peña Nieto
was in free fall, his desperate sponsors' sought help from former
president Vicente Fox," López Obrador explained. "At the same
they undertook the dirty war against me, in collusion with the
characters who exercise influence in the National Action Party."
Directly addressing the violations of Article 41 of the
Constitution which stipulates elections must be "free and fair,"
López Obrador referred to the June 12 meeting of Peña
Nieto and the 16 state governors belonging to the PRI as the moment
when the plot to secure votes for the party's candidate was formed.
He said, "The plot by these Mexican state governors was carried out
through the use of state public funds to buy millions of votes. In
practice, all across the country the vote was acquired with cash,
prepaid cards for merchandise, groceries, construction materials,
fertilizer and other goods. This was in addition to
the millions in false advertisements and polls, as well as payments to
all those whose activities directly or indirectly propped up this
plan." He continued, "I am outraged and saddened to see that above all,
those responsible for the disgrace of millions of Mexicans used their
victims, particularly the poorest and
least informed, to support this disastrous economic, political and
media power." Concluding his address to the people, López
Obrador called on the Mexican people "to not permit the Constitution to
violated with impunity and democracy to be destroyed. To do any
differently would be to renounce our fundamental
rights and accept anti-democracy as a form of life and governance."
Court Application for Non-Compliance
The Progressive Movement
coalition filed a motion of non-compliance for the July 1 electoral
process at 11:59 on July 12, the deadline for filing a court
application with the Electoral Tribunal. It includes 441 documented
complaints of irregularities,
297 for vote buying; 16 for diverting public funds; 12 for police
violence; seven for fraudulent practices; 18 for subordination and
repression to obtain votes; and two for destroying ballots.
Regarding the grievances
filed, Marti Batres,
coordinator for the group Defend Your Vote for Andrés Manuel
López Obrador, said, "Each
was subject to judicial and technical analysis before being presented.
They are supported with videos, photographs, recordings or, in the most
minor cases, witnesses -- credible evidence of the irregularities
Ricardo Monreal, coordinator of
López Obrador's electoral campaign pointed out that the
filed with the Electoral Tribunal focuses on five serious crimes: "the
scientific demonstration of how polls were used as propaganda, the
Federal Electoral Institute's (IFE) omissions as arbiter of the
electoral process, vote buying,
violations of electoral spending limits and the illegal intervention of
the State Governors of Zacatecas, Tobasco and the Yucatan. We allege
that the Constitution has been violated and that the Electoral Tribunal
is a constitutional organization." In closing, Monreal said that a
request would also be made to recuse Tribunal President José
Alejandro Luna Ramos for speaking out
on the matter before the process was initiated (creating an
apprehension of bias) and magistrate Maria del Carmen Alanis for her
affiliation with the PRI.
Through this motion to
render the July 1 presidential
election invalid, López Obrador and the Progressive Movement
intend to demonstrate that the crimes committed directly influenced the
vote for more than five million citizens. The difference between the
PRI candidate, Peña Nieto, and the Progressive Movement
candidate, Lopez Obrador is 3.3 million votes according to the IFE's
latest results. If López Obrador can prove that five million
votes were acquired through illegal methods, he will be justified in
demanding the election be rendered invalid. This is in addition to
proving other violations of electoral law through serious
irregularities in 25 per cent of the polling stations.
For its part, the National Action Party (PAN), the party
of current President Felipe Calderón, said it would work with
the Progressive Movement on specific cases such as money laundered
through the Monex Bank, the agreements between the media and the direct
participation of the governors of some states
in the presidential campaign. However, PAN said that because of the
enormous difference in votes between the PRI candidates' and its own,
it could not justify joining López Obrador to demand
the election's invalidation.
Millions March Against Imposition of Fraudulently
Elected President and to Demand Democratic Changes
Zocalo, Mexico City, July
On Saturday, July 7, millions of Mexicans marched in
more than 30 cities across the country to say that the Mexican people
will not stand by, they do not and will not accept the imposition of
Peña Nieto as the country's president. They demonstrated their
rejection of the electoral fraud committed July 1, through which the
ruling oligarchy is trying to impose Enrique Peña Nieto as
president by any means. In Mexico City, several hundred thousand people
of all ages rallied to demonstrate in a march which began at 3:00 pm at
the Angel of Independence monument and continued to the Zocalo, the
city's main square. The size of the march was such that the first
contingents arrived at 4:00 pm and the last arrived nearly four hours
While the demonstration had no official spokesperson,
speakers or speeches other than the loud chants from the crowd, it was
fully supported by the "Yo Soy 132" movement, Anonymous and MORENA (the
National Regeneration Movement). The people marched peacefully and
chanted that they will not accept
the fraud, irregularities, threats and the imposition of the
presidential election results. They directly addressed those
responsible: the Revolutionary Institutional Party (PRI) and its
candidate Enrique Peña Nieto, the Televisa network, the Federal
Electoral Institute (IFE) and the Soriana grocery store chain. Their
included: "Peña did not win!"; "Televisa aided him!"; "The press
has been bought off!"; "We want schools, not soap operas!" "They are
the ones deceiving the nation! We are the new!"; "This movement is
neither left nor right -- it is for the common good!"; "Our homeland is
not for sale, we love and defend it!"
"Me, delinquent? I'm not the one who bought votes!"; "No to the
imposition! Peña out!"; "Fraud! Fraud! Fraud!"
Many spoke of the demonstration's aim, like Enrique
Hernández, a member of "Yo Soy 132" who said, "We demand
elections that are democratic, that the votes be recounted, that the
fraud stops that the IFE recognizes that fraud has been committed."
Another student said, "This is the moment to unite the people
to make ourselves heard because we are tired of all the insecurity,
corruption and impunity. We the students are here. We don't support
anyone in particular, we only want justice."
Several actions opposing the electoral fraud were held
the week following the national demonstration. "Yo Soy 132" contingents
visited several embassies to explain that the results are not
definitive and that fraud was committed. The "Yo Soy 132" movement held
its sixth general assembly on July 13 to define
its action plan and participated in the National Convention July 14 and
15 which aims to rally as many organizations and social movements as
possible to build a common strategy to block EPN from taking the
presidency on December 1, 2012. On July 12, on behalf of the
Progressive Movement, Andrés Manuel
López Obrador submitted an application of non-compliance to the
electoral tribunal, to invalidate the election.
On July 20,
MORENA announced its its National Plan for the Defence of Democracy, a
campaign that will run until September 6, when the Electoral Tribunal
rules on the motion to invalidate the election. This campaign includes
more than 170 public information meetings between July 29 and August 5
alone, with the participation of intellectuals, artists, scientists,
youth and the general public.
San Luis Potos
San Francisco, California
Los Angeles, California;
Salt Lake City, Utah
Bern, Switzerland; Oslo,
National Convention Opposes Fraudulent Presidency
On Friday, July 13, the "Yo Soy 132" movement and the
People's Front in Defence of San Salvador Atenco (a municipality on the
outskirts of Mexico City) convened social organizations and movements
to attend a National Convention against the imposition of Enrique
Peña Nieto as the country's president.
The Convention was held on July 14 and 15 in San
Salvador Atenco, a centre of resistance of communities in the region
fighting against the theft of their land for the construction of an
airport. In 2006, the people were subject to a savage attack by more
than 3,000 police officers, 207 arrests and the rape and
murder of 26 young women, all under orders from Peña Nieto, then
Governor of the State of Mexico.
The Convention's objective was to rally maximum forces
and points of convergence to prevent Peña Nieto from taking
office on December 1, 2012. Three working sessions were held during the
event that establishing the plan to fight the imposition and plan and
build the Convention's organization structure.
Explaining the reasons for taking this action,
Damián Camacho of the Front in Defence of the Earth said that
for six years the private television network Televisa has openly
campaigned for Peña Nieto and his neoliberal plans such as
opening the PEMEX State and the Federal Electricity Company to private
investment. Speaking of the July 1 elections he said that "government
programs were used to buy votes, public funds were diverted into more
than 20 States under PRI governance and campaign limits were grossly
exceeded. This in addition to all the irregularities that took place on
July 1 such as paying money in
exchange for ballots, theft of ballot boxes and the distribution of
prepaid Monex and Soriana cards with the full consent of the Federal
Electoral Institute (IFE)."
For its part, the "Yo Soy 132" movement, which now
encompasses 115 universities across the country, held its sixth general
assembly on July 13. On the agenda was establishing a plan of action
regarding the Convention, as well as its ongoing activities. Also
discussed and adopted were measures to be taken
against the electoral institutions including the IFE, the Electoral
Tribunal and the office dedicated to investigating electoral offenses,
the media and companies like Soriana and Monex, who participated in the
process of imposing EPN as president.
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