By Mumia Abu-Jamal, Prison Radio, Written 6/7/09; Recorded 6/8/09
click here to listen to audio column
Having entered bankruptcy court (even a so-called 'structural' bankruptcy), General Motors (GM) is making history. It was once the titanic behemoth of American business, making more money than any other business.
In 2006, GM reported revenues of $207 billion dollars -- yet profits were negative (-$1.9 billion).
As we know, even a titanic can sink.
Three years ago, GM was the third largest U.S. corporation in revenues; but today it has been de-listed from the Dow Jones Industrial Average, as its stock price fell below a dollar a share.
Now, the U.S. government is loaning new billions to GM, totaling almost $50 billion in taxpayer dollars, without any assurance that it'll be repaid.
GM was the nation's largest automaker, manufacturing Chevrolet, Pontiac, Cadillac, Buick, Saab and Saturn. Some models are being discontinued, while others will be sold. They also made the Hummer, a gas-guzzling SUV that has reportedly been sold to a Chinese manufacturer.
Critics in Congress and in the corporate media have blamed GM's problems on their payroll and so-called "legacy" costs, meaning benefits for retirees.
Even after the crumbling of the business model, the anti-union animus of such critics remains a central concern of the political and propaganda elites, many of whom praised NAFTA's (North American Free Trade Agreement) passage as 'good for business', and therefore 'good for America'.
But only a numbskull believes those on the assembly line designed or decided which kind of cars would be built or sold.
GM suffered from managerial myopia, which could not adapt to changing market conditions.
Thirty years ago, when the U.S. faced an oil crisis, small cars began to appear on the roads. As oil prices stabilized, U.S. car makers built fleets of SUV's, which sold quite well to Americans who wanted the civilian equivalent of a tank in their garage.
But the gas crisis of 2007 put an end to that idea.
U.S. automakers couldn't give these things away.
In the meantime, car makers in Korea and Japan, which built safe, affordable cars with extended warranties and polite customer services to Americans, are GM's lunch. Other Asian companies are joining the club. India's Tata Motors, makers of the cheapest car in the world (the $2,000 Nano) has just acquired Jaguar and Land Rover.
Being 'too big to fail' is a political judgment, not an economic one.
In classic capitalist theory, a business survives if it sells products, and makes a profit.
We are beyond that point now.
Politics may disguise the problem; but it can't solve it.
--(c) '09 maj
[Note: Mr. Jamal has recently published his latest book, Jailhouse Lawyers: Prisoners Defending Prisoners vs. the USA (San Francisco: City Lights Bks, Dr. Angela Y. Davis. For more info: www.citylights.com; or write: City Lights Books, 261 Columbus Ave., San Francisco, CA 94133
The Power of Truth is Final -- Free Mumia!
URGENT Need for Petition Signatures at: http://www.iacenter.org/mumiapetition/
Audio of most of Mumia's essays are at: http://www.prisonradio.org
Mumia's got a podcast! Mumia Abu-Jamal's Radio Essays - Subscribe at the website or on iTunes and get Mumia's radio commentaries online.
Mumia Abu-Jamal's new book -- JAILHOUSE LAWYERS: PRISONERS DEFENDING PRISONERS V. THE USA, featuring an introduction by Angela Y. Davis -- has been released! It is available from City Lights Books: http://www.citylights.com/book/?GCOI=87286100448090
If you are planning to organize an event or would like to order in bulk, you can also receive a 45% discount on any bulk orders of 20 copies or more. The book retails for $16.95, for orders of 20 copies or more the discounted price would be $9.32 per book, plus shipping and handling. Prepayment would be required and books are nonreturnable. If you or your organization would like to place a bulk order, please contact Stacey Lewis at 415.362.1901 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Let's use the opportunity of the publication of this brilliant, moving, vintage Mumia book to build the momentum for his case, to raise the money we desperately need in these challenging economic times, to get the word out – to produce literature, flyers, posters, videos, DVD's; to send organizers out to help build new chapters and strengthen old ones, TO GET THE PEOPLE OUT IN THE STREETS … all the work that we must do in order to FREE MUMIA as he faces LIFE IN PRISON WITHOUT PAROLE OR EXECUTION!
Please make a contribution to help free Mumia. Donations to the grassroots work will go to both INTERNATIONAL CONCERNED FAMILY AND FRIENDS OF MUMIA ABU-JAMAL and the FREE MUMIA ABU-JAMAL COALITION (NYC).
Please mail donations/ checks to:
FREE MUMIA ABU JAMAL COALITION
PO BOX 16, NEW YORK,
(CHECKS FOR BOTH ORGANIZATIONS PAYABLE TO: FMAJC/IFCO)
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WE WHO BELIEVE IN FREEDOM CAN *NOT* REST!!
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