State ownership brings MG Rover back from the dead!


THE state-owned Nanjing Automobile company, which bought MG Rover for a knock down price of £53 million and then transferred and reassembled 10,000 tonnes of plant in a custom-built factory in Nanjing, China, yesterday began production of MGs in China.

The two models that are to be produced are the MG7 saloon and the MG–TF sports car

The MG brand is being marketed in China as the ‘Modern Gentleman’. Yesterday Chinese officials explained that they were doing what British capitalism is no longer able to do – mass produce the MG Rover.

One official said: ‘We are keeping the original British flavour. But in the future, the major market for the MG will be in China.’

The MG plant in Nanjing is capable of producing 200,000 cars, 250,000 engines and 100,000 gearboxes annually.

Nanjing Auto also plans to build some MGs at Britain’s Longbridge factory for the European market. The firm also has plans to produce MGs for the US market in Oklahoma next year.

Nanjing Auto acquired bankrupt MG Rover’s models and assets for £53m ($104m) in 2005, outbidding China’s biggest carmaker, another state-owned Chinese company, the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp (SAIC).

There are two major issues involved here.

The first is that the British trade union leaders, both in the TGWU and Amicus were not interested in or prepared to take any action to defend the MG Rover plant and all of its jobs at Longbridge.

They agreed with the position of the Labour government which gave the plant a small enabling loan to allow it to remain open while the 2005 general election was taking place, but that the government could not be expected to put further finances into the company to keep it open, maintaining tens of thousands of jobs in the Midlands.

They opposed 100 per cent the demand of the Workers Revolutionary Party that there should be industrial action to secure the nationalisation of the plant under workers’ control, because they thought that this would create electoral difficulties for the Labour Party.

As a result of their betrayal, there are thousands of Midlands workers and many MG workers who have never worked since the closure, and are now considered unemployable.

The other aspect of the struggle is that while the privately-owned motor car industry is foundering and breaking apart on a world scale, from the US Big Three to Volkswagen and BMW in Germany, with mass closures and hundreds of thousands of sackings, the state-owned Chinese motor car industry is starting to take off and flourish.

In Russia the state owned gas and oil industries are also coming into their own, now that the Stalinist bureaucrats who grabbed them and privatised them under Yeltsin are either in jail or in exile.

The rest of the Russian state-owned economy, especially its engineering, aircraft and shipbuilding is sound and secure.

Contrast this with Britain and the US under crisis-ridden capitalism, where industry after industry is being gobbled up by the private equity groups of locust capitalists. These specialise in loading their purchases up with billions of debt, sacking thousands of workers and ruthlessly pillaging and asset-stripping their acquisitions.

Workers are now drawing vital political lessons from these experiences.

These are that every job must be defended with actions leading to the expropriation of the bourgeoisie and the nationalisation of the major industries.

There is no future in living under the plague of locusts called the private equity capitalists. The future of the working class rests on the bringing in of a socialist planned economy where production is based on people’s needs and not on turning billionaires into trillionaires.

The central question of the hour is that a new and revolutionary leadership must be built in the working class to lead the struggle for workers’ power and socialism. That leadership is the WRP.