Opposition to the impending war against Syria is deeply felt among American workers.
On Wednesday, a Socialist Equality Party campaign team visited the Chrysler Warren Truck Assembly Plant outside of Detroit to distribute the World Socialist Web Site statement, “No to War with Syria,” calling for the mobilization of workers in opposition to the US war plans. The statement exposed the lies advanced by the Obama administration about the supposed use of chemical weapons by the government of Syria. It noted that the attempt by President Obama to obtain a congressional resolution sanctioning the use of force against Syria was a cynical charade, aimed at allowing the Obama administration to claim the decision for war had been arrived at democratically.
Despite the non-stop media campaign in favor of war, SEP campaigners encountered widespread and strong opposition to an attack on Syria at the plant that builds the Dodge Ram truck. Those speaking in opposition to the war included both younger workers and veteran Chrysler employees.
Typical of the comments against the threat of a new military intervention in the Middle East, a worker shouted, “We’ve done enough bombing haven’t we? We are the number one bomber in the world!”
Another worker remarked, “It’s ridiculous. And to think, Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize!”
A third added, “Let them settle it themselves. We had a civil war in the United States and they didn’t come over here.”
A number of workers stopped to discuss their views on the impending war. Carron, a newly hired worker with three months at the plant said, “I don’t think we should be in a war with anyone. People have families. I think war is pointless.
“It is a money thing. I believe we should settle issues peacefully. We just got back from a war. I was even thinking about joining the military myself, but fortunately I got hired here.”
Andre, a worker with 18 years in the auto plants, pointed to the economic interests driving the US to war. “It is always about oil and power. The US is a supposedly ‘democratic society,’ but who are we to push our ‘democracy’ on anyone else? It is the people’s decision on how they want to live.”
He expressed skepticism in the claims by the Obama administration that war was needed to punish Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons. He drew the analogy to claims by the United States that Syria’s ally Iran was seeking to obtain nuclear weapons.
“Just like with nuclear weapons. We are the only country that has used nuclear weapons, but we want to keep certain countries from having nuclear weapons.”
Another worker told the WSWS he was skeptical of claims about chemical weapons use by Syria. “Until we get actual proof, I don’t think so. I don’t want to go on one man’s word.
“The rebels happen to be Al Qaeda. So it is good to help them out and yet we want to kill them in Yemen? I think it is a major runaround. I am not looking forward to another Iraq. My son is of draft age.”
He added, “What I am also concerned with being an auto worker is that I build a truck that gets 25 miles per gallon. You raise oil prices, and no one is going to buy a truck. If gas prices go up, that is one-half my paycheck.”
Arthur, a young worker, said he was strongly opposed to another war. He expressed concern that a military intervention in Syria would lead to a wider war involving the major powers.
“I think it is going to get us all killed. If the US attacks Iran they will attack Israel and that will draw in Russia and China. And there you go. I think that has always been their plan.
“They talk of chemical weapons. Why would Syria use those weapons? They are winning the war. Why are they sending more warships? They said it was going to be a ‘limited’ war.
“Obama is not who we thought he was. Obama is nothing but a puppet. He promised hope and change and things have gotten worse. I want to know who he really is. How did he get all his money? When he first came in he rated himself a man of the people. Now he is a monster.
“He wants a war with Syria but can’t even get a $9.50 an hour minimum wage passed. Even [Republican House Speaker] John Boehner is agreeing with Obama.
“The jobs that are being created are low-wage, but housing prices are going through the roof. How is this happening? I think the crash will be bigger this time than last.
“I understand Snowden. We are supposed to be a democracy. If you let the government spy on you and think it is ok, you don’t deserve democracy. That is what Jefferson said.”
Jeff, another Warren Truck worker said. “It’s poor people fighting poor people, for the benefit of the rich. The connection between all these wars is minerals. We fight for the control, domination and transfer of mineral wealth from one group of rich people to another.”