JLR job cuts, the car industry, robots and future prospects for jobs
Job cuts ruin lives
According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), 186,000 workers are directly engaged in manufacturing jobs in the British car industry, with 856,000 workers to be found in the wider industry, from sales executives to garage mechanics. It’s an industry worth a whopping £82bn (turnover), but the global crisis of overproduction means that there are many more cars sitting on forecourts than can be sold, and fewer workers with the cash to buy them.
In a research paper entitled the ‘Digitalisation of the automotive industry’ in 2016, KPMG and the SMMT outlined that “By fully embracing digitalisation, the automotive sector stands to gain £6.9bn every year by 2035. The cumulative total benefit to the economy could be £74bn by 2035. This is a significant prize…”
This future world has a sensor on every box to inform another sensor (hundreds of miles away) that it needs to start 3D printing a few more plastic plugs. Other sensors will note when the new plugs are ready and a photo electric sensor somewhere in Slovakia will then despatch a robot-controlled Google-driven lorry to bring those parts ‘just in time’. Sensors on robots, and no doubt sensors on people, will be able to ensure that profits are maximised and with all these sensors organising production and many robots actually undertaking the production process itself, there won’t be much room left for working men and women. With more workers forced out of work, there will be less money coming in to buy the things the sensors are churning out. The prisons will be bursting and, in the words of Lord Byron, workers will be
“nefariously guilty of lawfully begetting children whom, thanks to the times, they are unable to maintain’.”
`Time to face it, capitalism must go
The drive for profit is leading to the wholesale impoverishment of the human race. In its drive for maximum profits, mankind is overproducing all the things it does not need. Rather than plan production in a rational way so as to ensure a constantly rising standard of material and cultural existence, the chaos of private production threatens the survival of our species and the planet. The struggle against capitalism is a struggle between the working classes and the capitalist class. This struggle has now raged for more than two hundred years.
In the 18th century British workers were faced with a similar threat from technology. Our recent ancestors were thrown out of work, out of factories and mills with the introduction of new technology and their response was to attack this technology, to smash it up and destroy it. These workers were known as Luddites and they led a fierce and heroic battle with the police, army, manufacturers and government. In Nottinghamshire weavers who made frames for the manufacture of trousers (stockings) faced death for struggling to protect their livelihoods. The struggle led the great poet Byron to write,
Men are more easily made than machinery –
Stockings fetch better prices than lives –
Gibbets on Sherwood will heighten the scenery,
Showing how Commerce, how Liberty thrives!
For all the heroism of our ancestors, they were ultimately unsuccessful in that struggle. History teaches us that to protect jobs and for dignity of labour we must direct our blows towards the capitalist class and not just its property. This class of parasites do not work but collect through dividends, shares and taxes the wealth produced by the working class.
Our working class should draw inspiration from the workers of France who have so militantly expressed their outrage these last few months with the protests of the yellow vests. Occupations, strikes, blockades, disruption of the capitalist system of profit making is the only way to extract concessions from the ruling class. In tandem with this rebellion must be the building up of the forces of the communists, the advanced section of the workers which understands that it is necessary to turn the economic crisis into an all-out political rebellion. The aim of the communists must be the armed insurrection of the working people, for the seizure of state power. Britain today is sleepy and the British working class is idle and silent in the face of the abuses it is suffering; but if Donald Trump can appreciate that the fierce competition between the capitalists themselves creates the conditions for the national security of the US imperialists to be threatened, then we can take some consolation from their discomfort.
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