Auto Corps

(Note: Santino Scalici works on the line at the Kansas City Ford Assembly Plant. He continues to stand up in his factory against the UAW/Ford Dog Eat Dog program. I am proud to call him my friend.)

The auto companies are enemies with an incontestable history of working against the Common Good for over 100 years. At the turn of the last century, Henry Ford established himself fuhrer in an automotive empire employing the very same tactics of the National Socialists in 1930's Fascist Germany. He ordered the beatings and murders of organizers of industrial democracy. He worked fervently for the re-institution of slavery officially declared illegal only fifty years before. He created a world image based in his likeness, where deviation of any sort was punishable in a most exacting form. With the assistance of his own private/public police force, he (along with other like-minded industrialists) turned Detroit, Michigan and in fact, the world, to a Kingdom of Fear.

All this came to a head in the middle 1930's when the collective and organized voice of men and women "standing on their hind legs," some for the first time, formed unions for the purpose of formally and legally instituting democracy in an industry in the grips of an Evil Emperor.

It would benefit us a great deal to recall the origin of this foul and antagonistic labor/management relationship. We would be well served to assess the responsibility accurately and reasonably- ON THE SHOULDERS OF THE CAPTAINS OF INDUSTRY. They are Ruiners of All Things Good and Decent. These rabid animals, in conjunction with Money-Grubbing Freaks of Nature on Wall Street, have singularly destroyed an industry upon which many of our nation's citizens rely for employment and transportation, by scrambling for the quick dollar, forsaking the long-term viability of the industry and the overall health of the nation's social and economic security, measured by how the least among us are faring.

Speaking for a moment only of the production workers- A Very Fortunate Lot indeed! We signed up at these companies to do hard, monotonous work for a period of thirty years, to be remunerated in a manner commensurate with our value, to provide a relatively comfortable life for ourselves and our families with a little withheld for a measure of security in our old age. From the start, one would be suprised to learn that such a life was not guaranteed. Playing by the rules would earn you a sure reward, we reason. From the moment you pass through the razor wire gates to your first factory job to your final day- the company takes from you. It takes your youth. It takes time from your family, never to be returned. It takes your vigor and vitality through long and repetitive hours performing compartmentalized, menial tasks, wreaking havoc on both body, mind and spirit. It chips away at your health benefits, turning wellness from a "right" to a "privilege," retractable at any time the market deems necessary to remain "competitive." Wages which allow you to live above mere sustenance are beginning their downward spiral. Industrial "Engineers" roam the aisles with their soft hands and softer heads to look for inefficiencies (like catching your breath or having a drink of water on a hot day) in your production process that might be shored up to meet some new and arbitrarily prescribed standard every year. It is called "rebalance" at Ford's Motor Company- a misnomer really, as it implies there was balance before, which is nonsense. A simple stroll down any aisle of an auto factory would no doubt prove that autoworkers are unnaturally busy people, stretching human capacity to near breaking point. The hand, wrist, elbow, shoulder, back, knee, feet, hip surgeries are also a pretty fair indication of the absurdity of our workloads, saying nothing of the mental abuse of working under such conditions, and the various means we employ to cope, ranging from therapy, drugs and alcohol, to even more destructive displays of hatred and anger.

Yet we try to be good people and decent fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers, citizens and friends in spite of the depraved ferocity which consumes us most of our waking lives within the four steel and concrete walls of the factory. Peace is the sweetness of a kiss on our babies' heads at night when we come home and they are already fast asleep at four in the morning, wondering if they remembered to say prayers before bed. Humanity creeps back in the warm embrace of your loved one happy to see you after so many hours away. Pride is knowing you can take the family out for a night at the movies and dinner and that you have enough money in your wallet to pay for it. Freedom is escaping to the woods with your rifle and pals with not a care in the world beside bringing down that elusive animal with a fair and clean shot, or racing down the highway at top-speed on a Harley Davidson, or standing up for your rights at a large gathering of your peers in an UnGodly January Day in Detroit, just outside a convention center where the Masters of The Universe are congratulating each other on putting out the Latest and Greatest in Fashion and Prestige at the International Auto Show.

Yet their appetite for Blood and Money will never be satisfied. These freaks have not yet had their fill and surely they wait for the day when the US Congress makes wallets and purses illegal- this way the working class won't have anything to complain about- if there are no wallets then there is no need to put anything, like money, inside.

God Help who is ever at the receiving end if and when the anger of the laboring classes becomes too great to bear.

Yours truly,

Tino Scalici

2 comments:

Anonymous,  Saturday, January 24, 2009 at 9:08:00 PM CST  

Thank you for posting this letter. (I must be careful, because I note my comments on websites get posted to the general Internet, where my employer could read them ...) I am in a theoretically higher class of worker, in that I am not on a factory line, yet I am still treated as an instrument of production and devalued by people, some of whom have - how shall I put it - coarser values than I do (i.e. they worship money above human life, sacrifice other values to that of making money, etc.) I do what I can to make other people at my level aware of economic alternatives like distributism, but find there is so little discussion in the mass media of any alternative economic thought. Thanks for your blog!

professio Monday, January 26, 2009 at 9:53:00 PM CST  

Reminds me of something my dad used to tell me. "Pockets are the root of all evil. Once we invented pockets, we had to put something in them."

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