Wednesday, November 28, 2012

It's been going on too long! Time to nationalise GMH!

Vanguard December 2012
by Ned K.
(Above: Labor prime Minister ben Chifley with the first Holden car)

On Friday 2 November General Motor’s fully owned Holden subsidiary announced the loss of 170 jobs at its Elizabeth plant in the northern working class suburbs of Adelaide.

This follows the sacking of over 200 workers earlier this year and yet another government hand out of $275 million. Holden management blame the economic slump and competition from imported cars, and this is echoed by both state and federal governments.

While it is true that the boom – bust cycles of capitalism and overproduction inevitably result in profits before jobs, General Motors in Australia have been scaling back production in Australia since the 1970s and decimating the car component industry in Australia along the way.

Taxpayer dollars

The Chifley ALP Government in the 1940s gave General Motors Holden £2.5 million Australian pounds to fund the first Holden car. General Motors parent corporation did not put in a penny, according to Laurence Harnett in his book Big Wheels Little Wheels.

Not much has changed since then. Millions of tax payers’ dollars have gone to General Motors over the years, but General Motors Holden has remained 100% US owned.

“When the General Talks, You Better Listen To Him”, a song by Midnight Oil, describes the subservience of successive Australian and state governments toward this US multinational company.

In fact, the subservience towards General Motors is a microcosm of subservience by governments in Australia to US imperialism, present governments included.

Nationalise General Motors Holden

The only short term solution is for the people to demand that the government nationalise Holden before it disappears completely. It can be done if the people’s voice is loud enough.

When Rudd was Prime Minster he had a plan of sorts to have an electric car built at the Holden Elizabeth plant. So the politicians know that car workers, from top engineers to the production line workers themselves, have the skills, knowledge and will to build vehicles here for Australian conditions.

They don’t need ‘the General’ to do it. In fact, to build a modern car in Australia, ‘the General’ is the main obstacle. Nationalising GMH would be an important, but small step towards an independent Australia and signal the primary role of workers in this struggle for independence.

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