Occupation of Republic Windows and Doors shows the way to the USA


THE occupation of a relatively small factory in Chicago by its angry workforce, members of the UE trade union, to prevent its closure, has had a massive impact throughout the USA.

The company was closed down by the Bank of America, the recipient of some $20 billion of aid plus guarantees from the US administration, aid which has been culled from US taxpayers.

Working class anger throughout the USA has erupted at the way that the bankrupt bankers are being bailed out while the working class is being sunk, with the bankers doing the sinking.

This mass anger has now forced Illinois Governor Blagojevich to announce that he has ordered all state agencies to stop doing business with the Bank of America (BOA).

He added that the decision has been made to increase the pressure on the bank to reverse its decision to cut off credit to the occupied Republic Windows and Doors, and instead use some of its federal bail-out money to keep the plant open.

Meanwhile, the city of Chicago is demanding that the $9.3 million in tax-increment financing (TIF) that the company had used to build the plant, closed on Friday, be returned.

As well, the Bank of America has dropped another bombshell, that it is considering cutting up to 30,000 jobs as part of its ‘mega-acquisition’ of Merrill Lynch.

Earlier Monday, US Congressman Luis Gutierrez asked, with huge sums of government money going to banks, ‘who’s standing up for workers?’

This is a good question and the answer is nobody. The workers are having to stand up for themselves.

This can be seen particularly in the motor car industry.

There, the leaders of the major trade union, the UAW have made it perfectly clear that they are willing to concede to the employers tens of thousands of their members’ jobs, their health care, the closure of many plants, and big cuts in wages in order to secure up to $34bn of bail-out cash to keep the Big Three motor car producers, GM, Ford and Chrysler going.

Workers know very well that the bosses will simply take the cash and follow the example of the Bank of America and the other banks and sack tens of thousands of workers.

The fact that capitalism is going down does not mean that the working class is doomed to go down with it.

The example of the Republic Windows and Doors workers must be followed.

Motor car workers must occupy the many plants of the Big Three, and use the $900 million UAW strike fund to organise a national campaign for the nationalisation of the Big Three plants to save hundreds of thousands of motor workers jobs, and the up to three million jobs that depend on them.

The organisation of Obama’s cabinet to contain the Clintons under whom the NAFTA job-exporting treaty was signed, and Gates who supervised the war in Iraq and Afghanistan for Bush, and who intends to expand the war in Afghanistan for Obama, makes it clear that Obama cannot be relied upon to keep his pledges to the trade unions or defend any of the interests of the working class.

The millions of trade union members must demand that their trade union organisations break with the Democrats, and instead set up a Labour party that will defend workers’ wages and jobs with a policy of occupations and nationalisation, oppose imperialist wars and fight for a socialist USA.

The crisis of capitalism is set to deepen and the bankers and big capitalists will launch savage attacks on the US working class.

This is why a section of the International Committee of the Fourth International must be built in the US to provide the required political leadership to the working class in the struggle for the US socialist revolution.