NEW YORK CITY, September 12 — Stella D’Oro bosses told its workers this week that they will be thrown on the street and that their bakery will be closed — the brand and some machinery having been sold to Lance, a non-union company. It will make the products at a bakery in Ashland, Ohio.
Stella workers, having struck for 11 months in a fiercely militant struggle against wage-cuts, descended with their supporters on the otherwise silent Labor Day parade today. Their contingent of 350 filled a city block with banners, signs, and chants of “Keep Stella in the Bronx: Fight, Fight, Fight!” and “The Workers, United, Will Never Be Defeated.” Cleaners from Domestic Workers United and musicians from the Rude Mechanicals group made the chanters’ rhythms dance and sparkle.
The effect on workers marching past was electric. Eyes brightened, fists went up, the booming chants echoed from scores of marchers, especially the many ranks of construction workers walking behind or riding on their heavy rigs. Imagine those rigs surrounding the Stella plant, preventing any machines being moved out!
“Keep Stella in the Bronx” struck a real chord with New York workers who identify the Bronx as a working-class borough. If they didn’t know about the Stella struggle, they do now.
PLP’s Stella supporters helped build the action from within our own unions and mass organizations, and continued the flow of CHALLENGE sales and chants like, “Kick the Bosses in the Ass: Power to the Working Class;” and “Make the Bosses Take the Losses: Keep Stella Open.” PL’ers added the chant, “Whose Factory? Our Factory!” which attacks the essence of capitalism, and the internationalist chant in Spanish, “From north to south, from east to west, we’ll win the battle, whatever the cost.”
The workers are planning a September 25 march and rally from Wall Street, site of Lance’s banker, Goldman Sachs, to City Hall. PLP members are backing the workers as they absorb this heavy blow, helping them contact the Ashland workers to explain what happened here, and planning how to fight for their jobs.
The bosses’ laws protect their ownership of the means of production, enabling them to move around assets indiscriminately without any thought about the effect on workers. None of us is safe under their rule. The Communist Manifesto described this inevitable destructive effect of capitalism back in 1848: “Everything solid melts into air.”
But workers inevitably resist being discarded like a bad batch of cookies. We’re learning from such battles that the real war is against capitalism itself, and that our international revolutionary party can create an alternative, a communist society where workers rule and share all the value we produce. But for that to happen, we must melt capitalism into the air.
These are days of hard political debate and soul-searching struggle among the Stella workers themselves. Their communist party, the PLP, is among them with practical help and unbreakable friendships, with the ideas of CHALLENGE, and with trust in the working class.
It is workers such as this dynamic international group at a small Bronx bakery who will help make PLP a mass party able to destroy the whole rotten system.