Friday, August 28, 2009

Fremont Autoplant Shuts Down

I really like the headline for this article:

"The end of the line for California automaking"

Toyota Motor Corp.'s decision to abandon its assembly line in Fremont marks the end of large-scale auto manufacturing in California, which over the years boasted a dozen or more plants building vehicles ranging from Studebakers to Camaro muscle cars.,0,1022235.story

There are so many interesting angles here - from the last autoplant in California closing, to the converting of the dead factories into even deader shopping malls (anyone from L.A. knows the City of Commerce's "Citadel Mall" is an eyesore Godzilla wouldn't bother pissing on). Then there's the last ditch attempts to bribe, i mean "give incentives" to keep toyota here by democractic and republican politicians alike.

Is it too early to say we're in the midst of an apocalyptic industrial collapse? Probably.

Those factories are just going to move elsewhere, where workers are less demanding of a better life, or according to the logic of capitalism, labor is cheaper and the cost of doing business is "more competitive."

*I grew up across the street from a dead autoparts factory. It's closing brought about all kinds of strife - crime, vandalism, litter. It also for a while opened up a space for my dad to show me how to ride a bike, and for my family to walk across an abandoned parking lot to visit other family members in the neighborhood.

*Back in the 1970s, my dad also worked briefly in a UAW represented autoplant before it closed down and relocated to the former slave territories known as the South. He described it as "back breaking, exhausting" work and he was glad to get out of it.

If you read the linked article, on the 2nd page, it quotes a manager of a bar located next to the closing plant, who says he "would lay off a single mother who worked an early morning shift that caters to the plant's overnight shift, and he could lose two more employees."

Wait, rewind for a second - a single mother gets laid off to keep a business running, and it's just another casualty of downsizing? Gotta love the premise of capitalism, it's a lot like living on a boat that constantly leaks so people have to be thrown overboard in order to keep afloat. This is how the system works in bad times as well as good. And the worst part is, most people accept this as moral and legitimate.

Check out the last quote from a soon to be laid off worker: "As for the future, I am going to do a lot of fishing and a lot of praying."

I'm afraid praying ain't gonna be enough this time homes. Time to form communes. Time to get organized. If we aren't in the midst of an industrial collapse, it may be around the corner.