The Co-Chair of the Michigan Green Party issued the below statement regarding the “Auto Industry Bailout”, stating “…Not one job saved, not one community protected…” by the bailout plan.
Statement of Fred Vitale, Chairperson, Green Party of Michigan
The Green Party of Michigan strenuously opposes the $17.4 billion bailout for General Motors, Ford and Chrysler.
The agreement by the Bush administration to use a small part of the $700 billion already promised to Wall Street bankers is no victory for working people in Michigan. The loans support the failed policies of the current corporate leaderships.
Not only have they systematically pressured the union to reduce the living standards, but they have undermined the construction of mass transportation, fought laws to reduce pollution, and refused to build ecologically friendly automobiles.
GM, Chrysler and Ford are not democratic institutions. Product choices and policy were and are made by boards of directors and top executives. Why are the workers and communities punished for decisions that weren’t theirs?
The struggles of UAW members have won some measure of racial equality in the factories; production workers developed political strength and clout; they fought for and won a high standard of living for production workers which provided the foundations for all workers, including salaried professionals, to have higher wages throughout the North.
All these gains are gravely threatened.
The auto bailout now puts the full weight of the central government behind the wealthy owners and bankers, who, as exhibited by the bloodthirsty howls of the southern senators, want to reverse the gains of the UAW, to turn back into profits a large part of the workers’ wages and benefits and, in that process, tear apart families, crush hopes, terrorize communities.
There are other, alternative solutions to the crises facing auto workers and their communities.
GM, Chrysler and Ford facilities should be nationalized with their assets controlled locally and democratically by workers and communities. Workers and affected communities need decisive control over what happens to jobs, to work at the factories, and the factory equipment.
Previously granted municipal and state tax abatement agreements to keep factories and jobs, as well as other local agreements, must be vigorously enforced.
Michigan needs a real safety net for its residents. Michigan has been in this recession longer than most states. We need to guarantee all residents a livable income. We need a moratorium on all foreclosures and utility cutoffs; unemployment benefits should be paid as long as there is a recession. Food stamps and food kitchens must be opened and supported in all needy neighborhoods.
We need quality education available without charge for all residents from kindergarten through college. We need to develop training programs for environmentally friendly green jobs and work.
We need a public works program to offer employment to everyone who wants to work at a livable wage with full health care benefits. This is an opportunity to create green spaces, urban farms, large living cooperatives in our cities. It is an opportunity to support and strengthen rural life through locally supported and approved projects.
We need to develop a green economy — local agriculture, local manufacturing, local work and life environments, extensive recycling and reuse facilities, new sources of energy — wind, thermal, wave.
None of this will happen without positive action from the majority of people. We need to fight against this bailout and for real alternatives to unemployment, poverty and slashed living conditions.
We need to support each other in all these struggles. People need to think and act independently of the auto executives, the bankers and their spokespersons, the Democratic and Republican Parties. They need to vote Green.
The auto bailout, like the larger bailout scam it is part of, offers no real hope for millions of citizens. Like so many things from our government under Republican and Democratic Party leadership, it is an illusion of help, hiding continued steps down the wrong road.
A brighter future depends on us.