Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Public Ownership and Nationalization of the St. Paul Ford Plant is the Answer


Statement by the Gus Hall Action Club about the soon-to-be closing St. Paul Ford Assembly Plant.

Gus Hall, the former Communist Party presidential candidate, called for public ownership and nationalization of basic industries as a practical solution to the crises of state-monopoly capitalism. He wrote, in the 1987 book, Working Class USA, that "nationalization" is "when an industry is taken over by the government and run for the benefit of the people. The Communist Party calls for basic industries in the U.S. to be nationalized and run democratically by representatives of labor and community." (Gus Hall, Working Class USA, 1987, International Publishers)

"Our position is--make the monopoly corporations pay the tab. If the corporations say they cannot operate--which is fakery in 99% of the cases--then take the operation over. Nationalize the industry. We are for a law which states that before a corporation can move a factory it must have the agreement of the union and the community. If it disregards the wishes of the people--take the operation over." (Gus Hall, Capitalism on the Skids to Oblivion)


The scourge of plant closing across the United States has created a crisis for our working class and community. Public ownership and nationalization of the Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant would guarantee working people job security.

Ford's multi-billion dollar downsizing, which has come at the cost of 30, 000 jobs nationally, cannot be allowed to attack unions and our community in the Twin Cities, Minnesota. Amidst a frenzy of condominium builders and developers, the closing of the St. Paul Ford plant would come at the cost of hundreds of remaining union jobs. This is economic warfare against our working class. Ford has become rich off of the value produced by the working class. The essence of capitalist exploitation of workers is the production of surplus-value (profit). Capitalists are not interested in producing means of production and consumer goods that are useful and needed by society, but in extracting as much surplus-value as possible. In this respect, their appetites are insatiable. The buck stops here.

Ford announced that the St. Paul plant would be closing in 2008 and used this to coerce many of the United Auto Workers members to accept buyout packages. According to a recent article in the "Star Tribune," (Oct. 5, 2007) St. Paul union members said their understanding is that Ford's profit per truck has jumped from a few hundred dollars to more than $6,000 since the plant shed 900 workers through buyouts as of Jan. 1.

The real problem is the system of state-monopoly capitalism. The essence of state-monopoly capitalism is the direct union of the capitalist monopolies with the enormous power of the state.

Now, Ford will be keeping the plant open for another few years. On the other hand, the closure of the St. Paul Ford Plant in the future still looms. The closure of the St. Paul Twin Cities Assembly Plant would coss the loss of hundreds of union jobs. At this late date, there is only one way to address the issue of job security. This is through public takeover and ownership of the St. Paul Ford Plant.


Workers should not be concerned with Ford's corporate profits. Monopoly capitalists such as Ford oppose public ownership of the St. Paul Ford Plant because it would strikingly demonstrate to working people that society can get along very well without capitalists.In order to benefit the union, the working class and the community, the Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant must not be torn down and it's land sold to wealthy developers and condominium builders. Ford should be taken over and nationalized--placed under public ownership. Taxpayers have subsidized Ford's manufacturing at this plant for years. There is no reason why we, the public, shouldn't own the plant and dam.

Ford CEOs have proven that they will not make any decisions based upon anything other than maximum corporate profits. Job security for auto workers is not a consideration with these monopoly capitalist CEOs. The Ford Plant should remain open, not closed, under public, not corporate, ownership. Public ownership and nationalization would mean that the Ford Plant would be taken over by the government and out of the system of corporate profits and be operated in the interests of the working class and the people. Nationalization under democratic people's control would allow unions and the community to have a voice. The St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant would be operated and controlled as public property and it would dispense with private profits and corporate executive salaries. Public ownership of the Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant can be paid for by ending corporate tax loopholes and taxing the rich.

Public ownership of industry in France produced such marvels as the high-speed TGV train...and public ownership of the St. Paul Ford Plant would guarantee workers (and their families) job security.


The working people are by no means against all intervention of the state in the economy. We support such intervention as would curb the arbitrary and unlimited power of parasitical monopolies. We demand the nationalization of and public ownership of the Ford Plant. As the very life and livelihood of working people are under attack by the corporate profiteers, lawmakers have dragged their feet too long and not demanded public ownership of the St. Paul Ford Plant.

We demand a strong fight to save the Ford Plant and the jobs of those employed there.Working people can wring concessions from the capitalist state as a result of struggle.


The exploitation of wage-workers under capitalism is a means of maintaining and increasing values belonging to the capitalist, of extending and increasing the power and domination of capital. Capital is a value that produces surplus-value (profit) from the labor of the working class. Working people, deprived of ownership of the means of production, are compelled by the threat of the bony hand of hunger to sell their labor-power to the capitalists.

Every worker realizes the need to protect and improve their immediate economic interests. Ford said: "We're going to shut our doors and move our operations." The hard-working union members of United Auto Workers 879 do not deserve to be thrown onto the scrap heap by Ford's wealthy president and board of directors. In return for their many years of loyal service, Ford will be "rewarding" the workers with layoffs and threats to their security. This is a crime committed by corporate capitalist profiteers. The United Auto Workers and every working-class person has a right to be mad. Now that the union's being weakened, Ford says they're gonna stay open a few more years.

Present-day society could produce products making for a better life for all working people if only the means of production were utilized not for the sake of capitalist profit, but for the satisfaction of the requirements of all members of society. But this is only possible through private ownership of the means of production being replaced by public ownership. Public ownership and nationalization of the St. Paul Ford Plant is the answer to the crisis posed by Ford's closing of the plant. Public takeover and ownership of the St. Paul Ford Plant would guarantee job security.

The workers' class interests are not something that has been invented by some theoretician or party, they exist objectively. The class struggle of the working class proceeds in various forms--economic, political and ideological. The class struggle of the working class against the capitalist class is the driving force of development of society. The fight to save the St. Paul Ford Plant by nationalizing it and placing it under public ownership and thus saving the jobs of workers is part of the struggle to benefit our entire working class.


Public ownership and nationalization of industries is a demand that should be supported by all people who are concerned with job security in an age of plant closings. We in the Gus Hall Action Club support all progressive reforms and demands--such as public ownership of the St. Paul Ford Plant--which benefit working people. But we also believe that a fundamental and systematic change to socialism will ultimately solve the problems of state-monopoly capitalism.

With socialism, the working class captures state power in order to use its political supremacy to abolish capitalism and build socialism. The founders of Marxism-Leninism teach that what is called the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat (also called a "workers' state") is the only force capable of effecting a socialist transformation.

Unlike the revolutions of the past, the socialist revolution is not carried out to replace one form of exploiting system by another, but to abolish the exploitation of man by man. Socialism means that the vast resources of modern technique are developed and used to meet the needs of the people. The first act in the transformation of the economy is the nationalization of big capitalist industries. Socialist nationalization is one of the general, essential tasks of the socialist revolution. In socialist society, the national economy is an integral organism, directed by a single will and a planned economy. Production is not carried on for profit but to satisfy the material and cultural requirements of society.

The working class, union and community would not be threatened by Ford under socialism. Socialism puts people before profits!