by Martha Grevatt, January 17, 2014
For the fifth year in a row, the rank-and-file autoworker advocacy group Autoworker Caravan protested outside the North American International Auto Show at Cobo Hall, in Detroit, on Jan. 12. This protest’s theme was the demand for a “people’s recovery.” In an Occupy-style mike check and skit, the question of “whose recovery?” was asked several times.
The answers pointed out that while the auto bosses and bankers are celebrating the recovery of their profit margins, those for whom there has been no recovery include first- and second-tier U.S. autoworkers, autoworkers in low-wage countries, and Detroit’s city workers, retirees and unemployed.
The protest also emphasized global working-class unity with the chant “Colombia to Michigan, solidarity is going to win!” Autoworker Caravan has brought the struggle of General Motors workers in Bogotá, Colombia — who were fired after they were injured — to the attention of shop floor workers in Detroit and other cities. The group has raised more than $15,000 to sustain the families of fired workers, members of the Association of Injured Workers and Ex-workers of GM Colmotores, who have maintained a tent occupation across from the U.S. Embassy in Bogotá for almost 900 days.