CHICAGO, IL, March 5 — Recently the United Steelworkers union (USWA) sponsored a “free dinner” at the Museum of Science and Industry here. Their flyer pushed “fair trade” for U.S. companies; obviously the union “leaders” had more on tap than chicken wings and potato salad.
USWA President Leo Gerard and some of the biggest steelmakers have formed the “Alliance for American Manufacturing” (AAM), supposedly to “keep American jobs in America.” But the event was an all-out China-bashing affair. Amid questionable statistics, were reactionary comments such as, “When [U.S. companies] go under, you’re not going to see the name of the Chinese factory on your kids’ Little League uniform.”
Even more menacing was, “These technologies support our military, particularly our soldiers fighting overseas…We simply cannot risk being held hostage to the interests of other countries, especially when they may run counter to our own.” Current and former steelworkers were bused in to hear this pro-war, anti-China propaganda. Many such events were held nation-wide.
The AAM website (AmericanManufacturing.org) sounds like a CIA-front — full of anti-China rhetoric with a few words thrown in about health care and pensions to keep it “union.” The Executive Director is Scott Paul, a former AFL-CIO lobbyist who degrees in Foreign Service, International Politics and Security Studies from Penn State and Georgetown. Deputy Director Horace Cooper is a former Deputy Director of the CIA-run “Voice of America.” Several top leaders sit on Congress’s U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, which reports annually on the “national security implications of…trade…between the U.S. and China.”
Afterwards, a steelworker commented, “Why do these guys think anyone would stop doing business with China, when they have the cheapest labor and prices? That’s what the bosses are always looking for.” He’s right. Capitalists are forever seeking maximum profits. But globally there’s a fierce rivalry among imperialists fighting each other for profits. Chinese capitalists are growing stronger while U.S. capitalists are starting to lose their grip. Ultimately, imperialism leads to war.
As humble servants for the racist bosses, Gerard and the rest of the union hacks are trying to win workers to see China as “the enemy,” much as they did with Japan in the ’70s and ’80s. Bringing in busloads of workers to hear tales about U.S. imperialism’s “good old days,” and contrasting that with stories about the “evil Chinese” and their unsafe pet food and toys, only serves to build a racist base for war against China. As the U.S. economy weakens and factories close, the drums are beating louder, especially from the major industrial unions in auto, steel and aerospace which handle war production.
We must counter these pro-war AFL-CIA hacks by building a mass base for PLP and communist revolution. This means winning more CHALLENGE readers and sellers among industrial workers, confronting the pro-war union leaders and building for May Day. This will help bring these workers into the Party.