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August 19, 1975 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1975-08-19

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Ford sales crashing in Argentina

THE WORLD recession of 1975 is hit-
ting Argentina's powerful automotive
industry, threatening new layoffs and
increased labor strife.
The industry, which accounts for 10
percent of Argentina's gross national pro-
duct, faces three problems: staggering
car price increases (500 per cent in the
last year alone) that have wiped out
its domestic market, plummeting ex-
ports and growing labor unrest.
Now 50-year-old Ford-Argentina - the
giant of the U.S. auto firms here - is
on the verge of pulling out because of
the deteriorating situation, according to
word circulating in banking circles.
While Ford won't comment on the re-
ports, it does admit that the industry -
which includes GM and Chrysler - has
been operating in the red for two years
Last year, Argentine car buyers jump-
ed at the chance to buy a car - even
one that was missing a windshield, a back
seat and three tires. Today, with car
prices up from 8 million pesos to 33
million pesos (roughly $8,000), on c e
crowded dealer shops are empty. July
sales were five percent of those in June.
BOTH THE government and the auto
industry are hoping for increased ex-
ports to offset the slump in domestic
sales. But auto exports are running 25
per cent lower than last year's level
and the foreign market shows no signs
of improving.
The companies' response, so far, has
been steady cut backs in production and
shorter work weeks. But this has only
intensified the third problem plaguing
them - labor unrest.
Argentina's autoworkers' union SMATA
- one of its most militant - has been
a persistent critic of the Peron govern-
ment. Well after the CGT called a halt
to the general strike in July, SMATA
workers continued to organize work
stoppages in auto plants and hold un-
authorized marches of Ford plant work-

ers to protest government policies.
Hoping to bring this under control,
Ford fired 300 workers from its huge
plant in the Buenos Aires suburb of
Pacheco - workers whom Ford presi-
dent Juan Maria Courard characterized
as "leftist subversives."
THE FIRINGS merely intensified fric-
tion with the workers. Today, the Ford
plant at Pacheco looks like a prison,
with chain fences surrounding its grounds
and entrances secured by guards armed
with machine guns, shotguns and tear
With unemployment rising at 2 per
cent a month (250,000 layoffs since
June), and no unemployment insurance,
the militancy of the auto union appears
to be spreading. Labor unions outside
the CGT, called coordinatoros, are rap-
idly developing in the industrial belts
around the major cities, under the lead-
ership of leftist Peronists and marxist
workers. Meanwhile, rank-and-file work-
ers in the CGT are pressuring for unem-
ployment insurance, which the CGT op-
poses for fear of having to dip into un-
ion funds and thereby weaken its fin-
ancial position within the government.
The government and Army see the
growing labor militancy as a direct
threat that could lead to major civil
strife. The government's effort to cut in-
flation by curbing wages triggered the
general strike in July. Now the Army
has openly opposed further layoffs by the
big corporations and the auto firms in
particular, in the hope of stemming
the militancy.
As the recession deepens, however, it
becomes increasingly clear that the auto
industries - like Argentina's domestic
firms and small businesses - can't hold
on without further production cutbacks
and possibly shutdowns.
Paul Heath Hoeffel is a Pacific
News Service correspondent based
in Argentina. Copyright, PNS,


The Michigan Daily
Edited and managed by Students at the
University of Michigan
Tuesday, August 19, 1975
News Phone: 764-0552
'Ii' budget scut a low blow
BY UNEXPECTEDLY slashing an additional $1.6 million
from this year's University budget, the Michigan State
Legislature has unfairly forced the administration to
re-examine and reshuffle its budget priorities before the
Sept. 18 Regents meeting.
This year's budget debate has been among the most
heated in recent m e m o r y, fueled by the inevitably
austere stance taken by the governor and legislators and
the forceful though failed attempts of university finan-
cial officers to defend themselves against creeping infla-
tion and inadequate funding.
The Milliken reduction platform of a few months
back was welcomed with open arms, but at least people
saw it coming and came to view it as a reasonably fixed
reference point for setting their priorities. Now, however,
at the eleventh hour, the University abruptly learns it
will have to live with an additional million and a half
dollar setback; and it only has a few short weeks to
distribute the shock, among its already overly burdened
employes and programs.
THE LEGISLATURE'S cutback represents a further dis-
abling of the once revered university system in this
state and sets a dangerously arbitrary-replete with the
threat of double jeopardy-precedent for the determina-
tion of university funding by our elected officials.

Letters: End domination

To The Daily:
I REGRET the Spartacus
Youth League's quarrel with the
anti-tuition hike organizers,
which seems to stem from SYL's
own petrified version of Marx-
ism. SYL is dubious about a
mass student movement of ex-
ploited consumers, since its
theories concern rather the ex-
ploitation of producers, i.e., the
working class (controlled, of
course, by a "vanguard party").
But workers as such, unlike
students, have no direct and
compelling interest in rolling
back tuition increases or schol-
arship cutbacks. While students
and workers should coordinate
their struggles to avoid com-
ptition for pieces from the
same shrinking pie, still the
impending tuition struggle will
essentially be a student strug-
Spartacus doesn't grasp the
importance of the educational
establishment in socializing peo-
ple as alienated producers and
passive commodity consumers.
In themselves, groups like stu-
dents, women, ethnic and cul-
tuiral minorities aren't so rnuch
ex loited as dominated. These
managed and manipulated by
groups and workers too a r e
bureaucratic, hierarchic insti-
tntions as personnel, producers,
clients or consumers, which in-
still and presuppose obedience
to authority, deference to ex-
perts, personalities deformed by
an extreme division of laor,
and a general incapacity to
manage their own affairs,
IN ADDITION, the schools
provide a docile work force with
marketable skill, assign posi-
t ons in the oupationa struc-
ture and "objectively" validate

the predestined failure of the
majority to chance their class
position. There are more full-
time students than workers in
America, and we spend more
and more of our lives as stu-
dents as subordinates. Insofar
as students take control over
decisions - about tuition, for
instance - formerly imposed on
them by others, they reclaim a

part of their freedom and ad-
vance the common intere;t of.
all the dominated.
Like the French students in
1968, American students mI:ght
even stimulate working people
to start to place self-manage-
ment at the center of their
-Bob Black
August 15

NEW Yokes- sw-sel Im
I "
i 1 " I

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