CPC(M-L) HOME TML Daily Archive Le Marxiste-Léniniste quotidien

December 29, 2010 - No. 225

Essar Steel Algoma

Concessions Are Not Solutions!

Essar Steel Algoma
Concessions Are Not Solutions!

Electrolux Closure
A Disaster for the Community and Nation that Can Be Averted
More Than Meets the Eye - K.C. Adams

Nazi Connections of the Anglo-American Imperialists - Dougal MacDonald
Electrolux's Nazi Connections
Leading U.S. Nazi Rocket Scientist Dies


Essar Steel Algoma

Concessions Are Not Solutions!

Just before the holiday season, the foreign monopoly Essar Steel issued a dictate laying off 400 steelworkers at the Algoma mill in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. The 400 lost livelihoods represent 16 per cent of the active membership of United Steelworkers' Local 2251.

In words reminiscent of U.S. Steel's anti-Canadian excuse for its recent shutdown of Stelco's last active blast furnace in Hamilton, the global monopoly Essar cited "bad market conditions" for the layoffs. An Essar spokesperson told the local media, "These layoffs will occur over the next several months as we look to size the organization and production schedules to reflect the reality of the steel markets... We are confident Essar Steel Algoma will successfully weather this market cycle and we look forward to welcoming employees back as order volumes and steel prices improve."

TML denounces the arrogance of this global monopoly that views Canadian steelworkers as objects to be used when expedient and cast aside as "unbearable costs" when the company faces "bad market conditions." This is unjust and should be illegal. If "market conditions, order volumes and steel prices" are a problem then they should be addressed and corrected. Canadians have rights by virtue of being human and one of those rights is to security of employment. Turning workers lives upside down will not improve "market conditions, order volumes and steel prices." Those problems have to be tackled directly and if the foreign monopolies operating in Canada are incapable of dealing with these problems then the government must intervene and solve the problems on behalf of the people and their economy.

TML is convinced that these economic problems can be solved but that monopoly right is blocking their resolution. Essar complains of lack of orders yet steel plants in Canada under all conditions supply less steel than apparent demand. Why do our steelworkers have to lose their livelihoods when the reality is that even while running at full capacity, existing Canadian mills, including Stelco Hamilton and Essar Algoma, could not fill Canada's demand for steel? This is not just and steelworkers and their allies need an explanation as to why Canada does not have a self-reliant diverse steel industry that can meet Canada's demand for steel and a resolution to this situation. This is our economy; it should serve to satisfy the needs and well-being of Canadians and contribute to the same internationally. Unless the workers who produce the wealth have a say in resolving these problems and Canadian governments exercise their social responsibility to turn steelworkers' say into a legal right, all the actions which shift onto the workers' backs the burden of making the monopolies competitive on world markets should be rejected. Canadian workers are sick and tired of being objects of abuse by these global monopolies that toss them away as so much "excess cost" either laid off because of "bad market conditions" or thrown into an insecure retirement.

TML also notes that barely five months ago, Essar Steel demanded and received various concessions in USW Local 2251's labour contract eliminating the existing defined-benefit pension plan for new hires and on other issues related to "shared services" within its global empire. To rationalize this unjust attack on young Canadian workers who will be denied a pension plan and possible employment because of Algoma jobs going elsewhere in Essar's global empire, the monopoly said it needed these concessions "to ensure our competitive performance in an increasingly consolidated, global steel industry. In terms of our competitive advantage, no other competitor is prevented from using the economy of shared services to reduce its costs. What we seek is a level playing field."

These concessions have not stopped "the bad market conditions, high prices for steel raw material and low steel prices." These concessions were not and will never be solutions to the economic problems the Canadian economy faces because they are not even intended to be solutions. Even outright slave conditions would not provide Essar Steel "a level playing field" because the striving of monopolies for domination has nothing to do with "even playing fields." The concessions demanded are merely ways to transfer wealth from steelworkers and their communities to the global steel empires. The monopolies and the concessions they demand are a block to finding real solutions to the problems Canadians and their economy face.

Workers are not "costs"! They are the producers of wealth and providers of services! They have rights by virtue of being human! Denounce and demand the reversal of the layoffs and concessions forced on Algoma steelworkers!

Concessions Are Not Solutions!
Whose Economy? Our Economy!

Return to top


Electrolux Closure

A Disaster for the Community and Nation
that Can Be Averted

The Swedish imperialists have announced the closure of a productive appliance factory in L'Assomption, Quebec and the transfer of its production capacity to a new plant in Memphis, Tennessee. The entire community near Montreal is reeling in dismay and anger at this outrageous attack. Not just the lives of the 1,300 Electrolux workers affected have been turned upside down but those of thousands more who depend directly on supplying the factory with goods and services and transporting the means of production to the factory and the finished product to customers. The community itself will suffer the loss of taxes and the Electrolux and other workers' claims on added-value that would normally go into the community through participation and spending on public and private facilities such as schools, daycare centres, recreation facilities, sports teams, restaurants and stores. The Quebec nation and Canada lose a prominent manufacturing facility that adds enormous value to the economy, funding social programs and public services. The actual and potential added-value from manufacturing appliances is torn from the country and to add insult to injury those same Electrolux appliances must now be bought as imports taking yet more value out of the Canadian and Quebec economies.

This sudden anti-Quebec, anti-Canadian announcement exposes the danger of free trade agreements and being ensnared within the imperialist system of states. The Swedish imperialists control the Quebec and Canadian distribution network for Electrolux appliances. Workers and salaried personnel at the L'Assomption factory could very easily carry on production of appliances but Electrolux would block their distribution through its sales network. To circumvent this blockade, a new brand and distribution network concentrating on Quebec and Canada would have to be set up and Electrolux restricted from distributing its appliances made abroad within the country. This could only be done with legislated action by both the Quebec and Canadian governments declaring that the factory and machinery must remain as productive assets of the nation and that the Swedish imperialists by dint of their nation-wrecking and refusal to produce appliances within Canada for the Canadian market have lost the right to sell their products in the country. Such pro-social actions by the Quebec and Canadian governments would confirm their commitment to nation-building, the well-being of the people and general interests of society. An effective Workers' Opposition is required to ensure it does take place. It can be done.

This is an opportunity for the federal government to prove in practice that it wants to build a Canada that includes the Quebec nation, and that both the Canadian and Quebec governments have the political will to defend our sovereign right to have a vibrant self-reliant economy of which a basic feature must be manufacturing.

The Electrolux workers are not alone; they are flesh and blood of the Quebec nation and Canada. Together the workers from coast to coast can stop this nation-wrecking!

Manufacturing Yes! Nation-Wrecking No!
Sovereignty Yes! Annexation No!

Return to top


More Than Meets the Eye

On the face of what Electrolux officials have said publicly, the transfer of appliance production from Quebec to Memphis, Tennessee does not make economic sense. It appears also to have been concocted fairly recently. Something more is involved, most probably imperialist politics. From what was said in the media, Electrolux bought the factory in L'Assomption only eight years ago and retooled it to make Electrolux appliances. The means of production are still in their early years producing appliances although the structure itself may be old as it dates back decades producing other commodities under different ownership. The $40 million in pay-the-rich enticements offered by City of Memphis and the county are customary under imperialism and primarily involve the surrounding infrastructure, land and worker training. The state of Tennessee has offered $92 million for unspecified benefits, possibly the recruitment and training of workers. Those pay-the-rich grants and loans must be raised through public bonds, as the local and state governments do not have any ready cash on hand. The $40 million plus the state's $92 million will not pay for the facility itself, which will cost several hundreds of millions of dollars. Those pay-the-rich handouts although large are much less than the overall costs of building a production facility encompassing 1,250 workers, which must be built from scratch, the costs involved to move all the machinery or buy new machinery, introduce inexperienced workers to factory production and set up a new supply chain and distribution network. Electrolux also says it will take a charge of $124 million just to close the L'Assomption factory. Imagine if that amount alone were put into the existing plant and machinery. All the features of modern production, which must be built anew in Tennessee already exist at the current site in Quebec including importantly an experienced workforce. In addition, Quebec offers cheap industrial rates for electricity and water. Electrolux boasts that the move will centralize production in the middle of its biggest overseas market. But that is nonsense. Memphis relies on a long barge route down the Mississippi River as a water outlet. Montreal is on the St. Lawrence Seaway with easy container ship access to all the large cities on the eastern seaboard, and inland through the Great Lakes to Toronto, Detroit, Chicago and Duluth or Thunder Bay for transfer to the west, not to speak of far cheaper, easier and closer transportation to and from Europe.

Owners of Capital Rate of Claim on Added-Value

The rate of claim on added-value could not be that much different between Quebec and Memphis even if Tennessee is a former slave state with little union organizing at this time. Comparing the claims of Quebec workers with projected claims by workers in Memphis, the difference is not that large and, if everything is considered, possibly equal. The difference in the proposed wage scale is around $6 an hour less in Memphis. However, in Quebec, workers have the benefit of public healthcare, which means they do not expect the monopoly to assist on that front at least not to the extent it has become necessary in the U.S. Other social programs and public services are greater in Quebec, which again lowers the pressure on monopolies to supply or pay directly for those services. The imperialists are now forcing down the standard of living all across Canada so the Electrolux owners of capital know there are other ways to accomplish the aim of raising their rate of claim on added-value rather than simply moving the plant. The point is that while the established standard of living and rate of claim on added-value are important when imperialists consider investments, more is at play here than meets the eye. If it were merely a matter of lower claims by workers, Electrolux would have gone to Mexico where not just workers' claims but costs of production as well can be lower.

Resurgence of U.S. Ties with European Nazi Imperialists

In the last few years, there appears to be a new concentration of German manufacturing in the former slave states. This German monopoly capital, which has close links with Swedish capital such as Electrolux, has historical significance as Nazi monopoly capital that the U.S. imperialists rescued and resurrected from the verdict and ashes of the Second World War. Even the Nazi names are similar: ThyssenKrupp, Volkswagen, Siemens, Wacker Chemie, Electrolux. German along with Dutch (Royal Dutch Shell) and Swedish monopoly capital have already overtaken UK capital as the largest direct investor in the U.S. closely followed by Japanese monopoly capital, which similarly is U.S.-rescued and resurrected militarist capital from WWII and forms the basis for the U.S./Japan military alliance, the biggest threat to the peoples of East Asia, including the Japanese people.

Examples of the surge of direct investment by German monopoly capital in the former slave states include ThyssenKrupp's new $5 billion integrated steel mill just opened in Mobile, Alabama. Significantly, this is the first integrated steel mill built in the U.S. in decades. Volkswagen is building a multi-billion dollar vehicle manufacturing plant in Tennessee. Siemens has built a huge turbine manufacturing complex in Georgia and is one of the most active manufacturers and healthcare service companies throughout the United States. Wacker Chemie AG based in Munich Germany announced December 9, 2010 plans to invest almost $2 billion to construct an integrated chemical production facility in Tennessee. The Wacker chemical monopoly, which began during the First World War and later expanded its war production significantly under the Nazi Reich, is still owned by descendents of the original Wacker family, having been returned ownership by legislation of U.S. occupied West Germany in 1953. Even Canadian monopoly capital in the form of National Steel Car has built a new plant in Alabama to compete with and perhaps destroy its existing Hamilton plant. The Electrolux move raises the question of a possible connection to a resurgent Nazi alliance of monopoly capital between Germany/Netherlands/Sweden and the United States.

Manufacturing as a percentage of economic activity in the U.S. has fallen to 14 per cent, which is below other imperialist powers such as Germany at over 20 per cent. This is not just a feature of uneven development of capitalism because imperialism or monopoly capital operates in a much less spontaneous manner. Monopoly capital is far more conscious of its narrow interests than nascent capitalism and has the ability to use that consciousness to force its will on the world. The Obama administration is pushing for manufacturing in the U.S. and this has been seen with the debacle U.S. Steel has created with Stelco, which has closed its Canadian mills in favour of consolidating production in its U.S. mills. The same is true with the recent upswing in North American auto production, which appears to be concentrated in the U.S. as well.

The resurgence of German/Dutch/Swedish monopoly capital in the U.S. along with the old ties with Japanese militarist monopoly capital may also be connected with the war drums increasingly directed against China, the Democratic Republic of Korea and Russia. The issue to think about and investigate is the possibility that the European imperialists, especially those with the old Nazi ties have come to an arrangement to put a certain level of manufacturing back into the U.S. and in return have received something, whatever that may be. It may be connected to consolidating the U.S. military empire in Europe against Russia and expanding NATO worldwide to the benefit of European imperialism and in return not raising objections to U.S. military provocations on the Korean Peninsula or some other benefit to the U.S. Empire. The point is there is more to this Electrolux closure and transfer to Tennessee than meets the eye and workers and their allies should be aware and vigilant and oppose it with all their collective strength. The resurgent Nazi imperialists and their U.S. collaborators cannot be allowed to strengthen their forces without firm opposition. Electrolux and others must expect consequences for their anti-social actions. These pro-social consequences must become well known and part of the consciousness of the Workers' Opposition and society. Imperialists should expect resistance whenever they attempt their filthy schemes. In this case, Electrolux should at the least face seizure of its assets in Quebec and banning of its commodities from entering the Canadian market from Europe or the U.S. If Electrolux refuses to make a suitable arrangement to continue production, at least to the level of its sales in Canada, then governments are duty bound to come up with some alternative for the plant and machinery and not leave the situation to chance. This is an opportunity for the federal government to show that it cares about Quebec as a viable nation within the country wherein economic viability is based on manufacturing and not on the vagaries and meagreness of added-value from resource extraction and exporting of basic raw commodities such as electricity.

Return to top


Nazi Connections of the Anglo-American Imperialists

Electrolux's Nazi Connections

Swedish appliance maker Electrolux was founded in 1919 and taken over in the 1930s by wealthy Swede and Nazi collaborator Axel Wenner-Gren. Early in the Second World War, Wenner-Gren's friendship with Nazi Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe, Herman Göring, and the Duke of Windsor, who had to abdicate the British throne in 1938 due to his support for the Nazis, led to the Allies placing Wenner-Gren on an economic blacklist. Wenner-Gren also partnered with ITT owner Sosthenes Behn and SKF Bearing chairman Sven Winquist (see below) in the giant Bofors munitions empire, bought from Krupp, which supplied Germany with weapons. ITT owned 25 per cent of Focke Wulfe, which produced fighter planes for the German Luftwaffe. ITT also financed Pinochet's bloody 1973 military coup in Chile.


Destroyed Focke Wulfe 190 fighter.

In 1957, Wenner-Gren proposed a plan to British Columbia Premier W.A.C. Bennett to exploit the resources of 40,000 square miles (one-tenth of BC) of the "Rocky Mountain Trench" in northern BC. The plan included a "dam larger than the Hoover Dam" but only a Prince George to Alaska railway was completed. A few years after Wenner-Gren died in 1961, the BC government built the W.A.C. Bennett Dam on Williston Lake.

In 1956, Wenner-Gren sold his Electrolux shares to the Wallenbergs, Sweden's most powerful finance capitalists. Marcus Wallenberg is Electrolux's current chairman and the Wallenbergs control 27.6 per cent of the company. Marcus Wallenberg is also chairman of the Wallenberg family bank, Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB), with subsidiaries in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Russia, Germany and New York. He is chairman of defense contractor Saab, vice chairman of telecom giant Ericsson, and chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), a worldwide business organization which includes thousands of companies in over 130 countries. The Wallenbergs also hold significant shares in Saab, Ericcson, SKF Bearing Company, Skandinavian Airlines Systems (SAS), Husqvarna, Atlas Copco, Astra Zeneca and many other companies. During the Second World War, Sweden, which emerged from the war as the richest country in Europe, was officially "neutral," but this was a myth. Swedish companies collaborated widely with the Nazis, including providing Germany with iron ore, ball bearings, foodstuffs, wood and many other raw materials, providing credit which allowed the delivery of war materials to the Wermacht, supplying railway transport to assist the invasion of Norway, and acting as a conduit for goods and foreign currency to and from Germany. Sweden's King Gustav V was a close friend of Herman Göring (whose first wife was Swedish), and other high Nazi officials. Following the war, "neutral" Sweden agreed to pay almost $70 million in reparations but still has not done so and still holds many tons of Nazi gold somewhere in its bank vaults. Today in "neutral" Sweden, a declared neo-Nazi party, Svenskarnas, is allowed to participate openly in Swedish politics, while instigating racist attacks against immigrants and "non-Swedes."[1]

During the Second World War, both Electrolux (then owned by Wenner-Gren) and the Wallenberg family collaborated with the Nazis. According to the American Jewish Committee,[2] Electrolux AG in Berlin used slave labour to produce its products. In 2005, Electrolux bought the brand name of AEG, the leading wartime German electrical producer, and now "proudly" trades using the brand AEG-Electrolux, even though during the Second World War, AEG donated money to the Nazis, was represented in Himmler's "Circle of Friends," and exploited slave labour, including at Auschwitz Concentration Camp.

The Wallenberg's bank, Enskilda Banken (which merged with Skandinaviska Banken in 1972 to form Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken) collaborated with the Nazis by helping them dispose of millions of dollars in assets confiscated from prisoners by converting the stolen Nazi gold into Swedish currency. During 1939-1940, the Enskilda Bank secretly purchased all foreign branches of the Robert Bosch Group, a German manufacturer of spark plugs that employed slave labour. In turn, Bosch facilitated Enskilda's sale of $3.6 million worth of German bonds. The Enskilda Bank also helped Nazi corporations such as I.G. Farben and Krupp hide their foreign subsidiaries to avoid confiscation by the Allies. U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Morgenthau, in a February 1945 letter to the U.S. Secretary of State, charged that Enskilda was making large loans to the Nazis without collateral and making covert investments for German capitalists in U.S. industries.

The Wallenberg's SKF Bearing, the world's largest ball bearing manufacturer, collaborated with the Nazis by supplying them with vital steel ball bearings, while at the same time holding back supplies to the Allies. Sixty per cent of SKF's production until late in the Second World War was allocated to Germany. SKF was interlocked with every industrial group in Sweden and the SKF directors represented companies that ran the entire Swedish economy. SKF also controlled iron mines and steel foundries and factories in the United States, Great Britain, France, and Germany. The head of SKF was Sven Wingquist, a partner of the Wallenbergs and of Axel Wenner-Gren, and a friend of Göring and the Duke of Windsor. Göring's cousin, Count Hugo von Rosen, was a U.S. director of SKF throughout the war.

Although small in size, SKF's ball bearings were absolutely essential to the Nazis. The Luftwaffe could not fly without ball bearings, and tanks and armored cars could not roll without them. Nazi guns, bombsights, generators and engines, ventilating systems, U-boats, railroads, mining machinery and communications devices could not work without ball bearings. In fact, the Nazis could not have fought the Second World War if Wallenberg's SKF had not supplied them with all the ball bearings that they needed.[3]

Notes

1. It was also recently revealed that the father of Sweden's current queen was a Nazi party member who worked for a Brazilian branch of a German company that used slave labour, and then returned to Germany in 1939 and became rich manufacturing Nazi armaments in a factory stolen from the Jewish owners, Wechsler and Henning.
2. Information from Jewish Virtual Library Page, data supplied by the Berliner Geschichtswerkstatt.
3. Much of the information about Enskilda and SKF is from: Higham, Charles. Trading with the Enemy: An Exposure of the Nazi-American Money Plot, 1933-1949. New York: Dell. 1983.

Return to top


Leading U.S. Nazi Rocket Scientist Dies

Walter Haeussermann, a leading member of the team of rocket scientists led by Nazi SS Colonel Werner von Braun, who were brought to the United States after the Second World War to help develop U.S. guided missiles, died December 8 in Huntsville, Alabama, where he was head of the Marshall Space Flight Centre. From 1939-42, Haeussermann worked for the Nazis at Peenemünde, Germany, helping develop the V-1 "flying bomb" and supersonic V-2 rockets. Raining destruction on the people of London and Antwerp, Belgium, the V-1 attacks caused 22,892 civilian casualties (about 8,000 dead) and damaged over one million homes, while the V-2 killed 2,541 civilians and injured 5,923.

In 1942, Haeussermann was sent to Siemens in Darmstadt to develop a gyroscopic guidance system for the V-2. The Allies bombed Peenemünde in 1943-44 so V-1 and V-2 production was moved to Mittelwerk, a Nazi government underground facility in the Kohnstein Hills near Nordhausen. Slave labourers from Buchenwald Concentration Camp were forced to build the facility and live in the tunnels. They were then forced to build a concentration camp called Dora or Mittelbau nearby, as well as work in the Mittelwerk underground factory to produce Nazi weapons. Some 20 German companies were involved in the Mittelwerk construction and rocket assembly process, including Siemens, BMW and Telefunken.

Haeussermann's Nazi boss, Werner von Braun, visited Dora during 1944-45, so the rocket team was well aware of the inhuman conditions there. Approximately 60,000 slave labourers from 21 nations, mainly the Soviet Union, Poland and France, passed through Dora, and all were treated with extreme cruelty, causing illness, injuries and deaths. They slaved with bare hands 18 hours a day, as Operations Director Arthur Rudolph, a loyal Nazi Party member, rushed to meet Hitler's target of 5,000 V-2 rockets to rain on London in a single blow. The worst place to work was the galvanizing shop, where the build-up of toxic gases killed the slaves within a month.

An estimated 25,000 slave labourers died at Dora: 9,000 died from exhaustion and collapse, 350 were hanged (including 200 for sabotage), and the remainder died from disease or starvation or were shot. Many went insane from the machinery vibrations. After the war, the only persons convicted of crimes were 16 Dora guards. Operations Director Arthur Rudolph, Mittelwerk General Manager Georg Rickhy and all the other scientists, engineers and managers were never charged and got off scot-free.

Soon after the Second World War ended, Haeusserman and his Nazi colleagues, including von Braun, Rudolf and Rickhy, were transferred to the U.S. via U.S. Intelligence's "Operation Paperclip," even though it was well-known they were war criminals. Operation Paperclip, which continued until as late as 1973, had one goal which was to be met at any cost: to exploit the Nazi scientists for U.S. military research in order to develop weapons to oppose the Soviet Union. The cruise missile, subject of major protests when tested in Canada, is based on the design of the V-1.


Photo shows 39 German-born scientists, including two Nazi scientists brought into the U.S. through Operation Paperclip, being granted U.S. citizenship on November 11, 1954 (the U.S. holiday of Veterans' Day).

The Paperclip program's architects were also willing to build on deadly Nazi research conducted on captive human subjects. Paperclip scientists were involved in testing psychoactive drugs such as LSD on almost 7,000 unknowing U.S. soldiers between 1955 and 1975, hoping to develop a "truth serum." Leading Nazi scientist Hubertus Strughold, who, as head of the Nazi Air Force Institute for Aviation Medicine, ran inhuman experiments at Dachau Concentration Camp that tortured and killed inmates by making them drink salt water and suffer freezing water temperatures and high air pressures, began his U.S. career at the School of Aviation Medicine, at Brooks Air Force Base, Texas, where human experiments were conducted in total-body radiation and flash blindness in connection with atomic weapons tests.

It is estimated that at least 1,600 Nazi scientists were recruited from 1945-55, even though Operation Paperclip supposedly excluded anyone found "to have been a member of the Nazi Party, and more than a nominal participant in its activities, or an active supporter of Nazi militarism." To allay public opinion, U.S. Intelligence created false biographies for the Nazi scientists and erased records of their Nazi Party memberships. Haeussermann and the other Nazis denied their guilt to the end, stating that they were only following orders (a "defense" rejected by the Nuremberg Courts) and fraudulently claiming that they knew nothing about slave labour. In 1954, Haeussermann was rewarded for his loyal service to the Nazis and to the U.S. financial oligarchy by being made a U.S. citizen.

(Source: Hunt, Linda. Secret Agenda: The United States Government, Nazi Scientists, and Project Paperclip, 1945 to 1990. New York: St. Martin's Press. 1991.)

Return to top


Read The Marxist-Leninist Daily
Website:  www.cpcml.ca   Email:  editor@cpcml.ca