UAW Delphi, LaRouche Leaders
by Elke Fimmen
A ten-day tour of Germany by United Auto Worker Delphi leader Mark Sweazy, of Columbus, Ohio, and LaRouche Midwest Coordinator Bob Bowen is meeting with an extraordinary level of excitement from their German discussion partners. Starting Oct. 17, Sweazy and Bowen have had a dense schedule of meetings with trade union leaders, representatives of the German Mittelstand (small and medium-size enterprises), and civic leaders, which took them in the first leg of their tour to Hesse, Bavaria, and the Saarland, to be followed by a public event in Berlin, the nation's capital.
Since their visit started just a few days after the officially announced Delphi bankruptcy, and a few weeks after Katrina, the impending internal collapse of the U.S. economy, and the negligence of the principle of the "Common Good" by the present administration, have become increasingly obvious to the world. Thus, firsthand reports brought by two representatives of the "real America," about the ongoing downfall of the Cheney neo-con cabal, and the leadership of Lyndon LaRouche in leading a process to re-establish the "FDR"-paradigm as the basis for a new transatlantic alliance, have been much welcomed.
Mark Sweazy was asked what the Delphi bankruptcy means for the slashing of wages and social benefits for workers, the prospects for General Motors, and the rest of the U.S. auto industry. In response, Sweazy explained how he is working with the LaRouche movement in the fight for a general reconversion plan to save the productive facilities of the auto industry. The context for this, he said, is an FDR-style, federally-funded great infrastructure program for the United States. He underlined the crucial significance of LaRouche's analysis and programmatic approach, which he had become aware of in early 2005, and how he, other labor leaders and state representatives are mobilizing, together with the LaRouche Youth Movement, to get Congress to act. Sweazy's message was: Only in the context of this overall concept can people's jobs and future be secured, be it in the auto industry, or any other sector of the economy.
There was a very open response to this approach in the meetings. In the last months of turmoil in Germany, the defense of the social welfare and the need to create productive jobs have entered center stage of the debate again, with Civil Rights Solidarity party (BüSo) chairwoman Helga Zepp-LaRouche taking the lead during the federal election campaign. Progress in this fight can be seen in the fact, that an important law has just been passed, which protects certain strategic industries from being taken over by speculative capital funds, after the attacks by SPD-chairman Müntefering against these "locusts," and Chancellor Schröder's attacks on the hedge fund speculation in the oil markets.
The discussion of a "New Deal" approach in Germany, of course, also brings the principles of the successful postwar period to the surface again, which was defined by a strong commitment by the state for the social welfare and the promotion of technological progress. Faced with the immediate threat to millions of productive jobs and industrial capacities in the present uncontrolled systemic breakdown of the globalized financial system, people are now clearly looking for alternatives.
On a very fundamental level, the Sweazy/Bowen visit has already introduced a sense of optimism about the possibilities for a new paradigm shift, in which the issue of human creativity in economics becomes central, instead of financial profits. The spirit of willingness for cooperation, which has characterized all of the discussions so far, shows clearly, how well a LaRouche-shaped "new transatlantic alliance" among souvereign nations could work. After all, as Mark Sweazy tells his discussion-partners: "It's all about people!"
Spreading the Word
Soon after their arrival in Germany, Sweazy and Bowen gave an interview to Radio Solidarität, a show hosted by the German LaRouche movement. In that interview, they were asked about the previous trip which they recently made to Mexico, for discussions about how to save the auto industry. Their replies follow:
Sweazy: Well, obviously, when we went to Mexico, very little had happened. There was speculation about the economics and the impending bankruptcy, we'll say, of General Motors or Delphi. And then, after this happened, I think those trade unionists that we metand we met six of the largest unions in Mexicoand were very well received; they listened and they understood why we were visiting them, spreading the word, and what our intent was.
But, you know, I think now, they're probably saying, "You know? LaRouche was right." Because, in our conversations, I told them what I was told, and what to expect, and now those things are taking place. And that's probably what convinces me more so, that we must listen to other people once in a whileyou know, two heads are always better than one. It's not always, the union is right, and it's not always the government that's right. But when you listen to people on the outside that are looking in, and they have a workable solution to a problemto me, what better answer would there be?
So, I know the people in Mexico, and I talked to the ones who are in Columbus, Ohio, and the young people especiallythey live 10, 12, maybe more, in a homeand I ask them, "Are you happy?" And they say, "Oh, we make good money"they make about $8 an hour, doing a skilled-trade job in our country. Doing great work, they're hard workers, and they work every day. But, you know, it's like an old movie "The Wizard of Oz": "There's no place like home." They want to go home. Not one of them will tell you they would rather be in America. They'd rather be home in Mexico. But there are no opportunities for them.
So, once again, if it's fair trade, free trade, or whatever you want to put a definition or a different camouflage on the nameyou want to call it NAFTA, CAFTA, or whatever it's going to beit must work. And that's proven itself not to work.
So, I look at LaRouche for the solutions, and he's offered the solutions, and I think it's time we just carry that ball. And to me, once again, it's a much greater feeling to be part of a solution to a problem, than to sit back and just watch things take place and never have any input at all, and watch things collapse around you.
Bowen: I'd like to add something to his point. What we found out, in the course of the meetings with the trade unionists, and also industrial associations, and representatives of the Mexican government: Everyone recognizes the symptoms of the problemeverybody. They were perfectly clear that NAFTA was lousy. They had their own explanations of how it had affected them, their own view, and so forth. But, the big fight, thereand I suspect, or I know it's the big fight in Washington, D.C., and I suspect a big fight in Europe, here in Germanyis to get people to recognize: a) there is a solution; and b) what is it, concretely? That's where the rub comes in. That's where the resistance comes in.
Because the solution doesn't exist within the generally accepted norms of political behavior. I mean, the idea of governments moving in, and taking control over banking systems, is something thatpeople have a sort of instinctive reaction against, which they don't necessarily understand. They don't even know where it comes from.
But that was outstanding to me, in our visit to Mexico. And also today, our first meetings today, it's exactly the same thing here. We had the ironic situation of meeting with the chairman of the factory council, getting a tour of the plant, and then sitting down with the plant manager, supposedly his opposite number. Complete agreement, on both sides, on the nature of the problem! Complete agreement.
Where the question is, is, "Okay, you say this is the solution. Then I have to think about it." But, if that's what's discussed, then I'm totally confident we can solve it.