September 6, 2018
Hamilton Steel Summit Not Likely
to Sort Anything Out
Under the initiative of Hamilton Councillor Sam Merulla,
City Council is sponsoring a steel summit on
September 7, 9:00 am at City Hall. Reflecting on recent
events including the back and forth steel tariffs between the U.S. and
Canada, Merulla said, "It is incumbent on us as a municipality to
basically clear the air. We need
to determine what exactly the problems are and what actually are the
Well put, but how can this be achieved? Surely not by
handing it over to the oligarchs and parasites who have been causing
the problems in the steel sector in the first place throughout the
City Council has handed over the steel summit to
Gowling WLG, which in its own words, "is an international law firm with
more than 1,400 legal professionals in 18 cities across
Canada, the U.K., Continental Europe, the Middle East and Asia ... a
trusted partner to U.S. businesses for more than 100 years ...
take advantage of new opportunities and achieve their ambitious goals."
A global law firm! Just
what the doctor ordered, but
certainly not for steelworkers and their communities. Why would
to be further embroiled in a process that solves none of the
industries' problems while earning huge amounts for the law firms
involved? The two facilities, Stelco and Algoma Steel in Sault Ste
Marie alone have been drained of hundreds of millions of dollars in
steel value from lawyer fees involving the anti-social Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA)
bankruptcy process, not to speak of the judges, court costs,
restructuring agents and countless other hangers-on. Steelworkers would
be in a very different place if that value they produced had been
invested back into the facilities and made available to meet the just
claims of active and retired workers and salaried employees.
If looking at how the
problems pose themselves is
handed over to the gods of plague how can we expect them to admit to
their self interest and come clean? On the contrary, they can be
expected to completely distort the actual situation and its economic
roots and drown everyone with their tearful sincerity to turn the
sector around. Their hope
is to ride the neo-liberal wave of
national, social and natural destruction until it drags us all down
into war and mutual ruin. We cannot
expect them to show a gram of shame for their continuing role in the
nation-wrecking and destruction of Stelco that have taken place before
our very eyes.
More importantly, however, the problems will not be
sorted out if we keep focusing on "them" and how bad they are, no
matter how true it is. Describing the problems, or listening to those
who caused them disinform us, is not going to solve any real problem
which exists as a result of the contradiction between a socialized
economy and its
private control by the financial oligarchy.
Remember back to 2004 when Stelco first entered
CCAA under the phony pretext of a "liquidity crisis?" What a fraud that
was and what a debacle for Stelco workers and the community. Why does
City Council not call those directly involved in the wrecking at Stelco
over these fourteen years to render accounts and demand they hand
back the hundreds of millions they took out of the company and steel
sector? How about calling the legal, restructuring and investment
firms, CCAA moneylenders and oligarchs to account; summon before the
court of public opinion the Brookfields, Rodney Mott who scurried back
to the U.S. with tens of millions of dollars of Stelco social
wealth; call U.S. Steel to render account, which did everything it
could to destroy Stelco as a major competitor, and all the university
experts, pundits, and media who continually applaud the wreckers and
thieves by claiming they want the health of Stelco while they remain
consistently silent about any pro-social alternative which could solve
problems. Such things are said to be bad for the economy!
What about those who call
themselves representatives of the people but belong to a cartel of
parties and governments which serve the oligarchs and have proven
themselves incapable of solving any problem whatsoever? They claim that
to integrate the Canadian economy with that of the United States is
good for business. Whose business? Not
But City Council has no power itself when it comes to
the economy and control of the global oligarchs. It has been reduced to
watching helplessly as the new Stelco has seized 3,000 acres of land
and happily declared to their ownership group that the magic wand of
the CCAA has cleared the new Stelco of all obligations for
environmental remediation of centuries-old polluted land and water, and
eliminated defined benefit pensions and Other Post Employment Benefits
for new hires.
The ruling elite in Canada seem to have dutifully bowed
down to the new U.S. owners of rump Stelco who appear to be excited
about taking millions out of Hamilton not just from steel profits but
as real estate moguls as well.
Even the tariffs are mostly a fraud as they are used to
manipulate market prices in favour of the global oligarchs in control.
The steel tariffs have boosted steel market prices, which makes
Arcelor-Mittal-Dofasco quite joyful as it owns more steel facilities in
the U.S. than Canada. The same is true of the U.S. softwood lumber
Canadian lumber, which have sent lumber prices soaring throughout North
America making the big lumber barons very pleased while the trade
restrictions mostly affect and damage certain small and medium-sized
competing Canadian lumber mills and the construction sector.
The crisis in the steel
industry has essentially proved to be a crisis of democracy. The crisis
of democracy is integral to the crisis in the steel sector and all
other sectors. The political process serves the rich to become richer
while the working people are striving to gain the power they need to
defend their rights and deal with the issues that
affect their lives both while working and in retirement.
Nation-building is now their purview and it requires depriving the
global oligarchs of their power to wreck the economy by paying the rich.
How to turn the situation around for the working people
is the order of the day. Attempts to reduce the working people to the
role of spectators to the wrecking of their lives, industries and
nation are not an option. There is no way representatives of parasites
and experts from a global legal firm can enlighten us on how to solve
facing the steel industry in Canada.
The future lies with the working people not the
representatives of the rich which have brought the world to the brink
of disaster. Only those who work in a manner which contributes to
creating life, not sucking the life out of everything they touch, have
a sense of social responsibility. It is the very first requirement if
problems are to be
solved. Canada needs an independent economy under the control of the
working people. We need to forge a new direction for the Canadian steel
sector towards self-reliance, independence, stability and security. We
need to humanize the social and natural environment by uniting to renew
the democratic process so that we no longer have to submit
to the rule of a privileged strata that do nobody any good.
Manufacturing Yes! Nation-Wrecking No!
Unite to Build the New Through
Our Own Efforts, Thinking and Organizations!
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