Combined military-political and economic crises now threaten us with catastrophes that stun our imagination. After a ten-year interregnum at the close of the Cold War, American state managers have not only enlarged an already swollen military budget to $379 billion, but also propose production of new nuclear technologies, saying: “Nuclear attack options that vary in scale, scope and purpose will complement other military capabilities…”. Nuclear weapons are to be given fresh funds and programs. New deep penetration nuclear bombs are to be designed to destroy bunkers or other targets at depths of 100 feet and more, through rock, concrete, and steel. Such weapons would not only be useable against bin Laden and Co. in their Afghan caves. Such technologies could also break apart the new American long-term storage site for high-level radioactive waste. The new generation of American Strangeloves is bound to be followed by counterpart developments in other countries. They threaten the whole human race. But releasing the nuclear weapons THERE IS AN ALTERNATIVE A CALL TO ARMS BY SEYMOUR MELMAN genie will have immediate effects inside the United States even without a worst case nuclear war. First, tens then hundreds of billions of dollars will be devoted to the new weaponryall in the name of Defense.Thereby the whole array of neglected public responsibility activities will go to rot more speedily than before \(no rescue for the poorly housed, no medical care for the poor, no repair of school buildings, economy will extend to rotting roads, bridges, transit, drinking water, waste-water systems, solid waste treatment, hazardous waste treatment, decay in navigable waterways, unreliable technologies for energy supply, and no rescue for America’s underclasses. The American Society of Civil Engineers has reckoned that the bill for infrastructure repair for the next five years requires $1,300 billion. That repair budget will not be available. All this while the industrial and financial core of the American economy undergoes further decay. There is nothing in the Pentagon budget that will stop the deindustrialization process that has already terminated many U.S. industries, now promising to finish off the steel and machine tool industriesbaseline industries for an industrial society. Blue and white collar workerstogetherprovide the work and knowledge required for a life-serving industrial economy. With corporate and government top managers’ only aim being the accumulation of profit and power, it remains for the workers whose activity is a service to production to enlarge the decisionmaking power of their unions and allied organizations. That achievement is the sole alternative to the economic and military catastrophes that the present state and corporate managers are visiting upon us all. Seymour Melman is professor emeritus of industrial engineering at Columbia University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. He is the author of After Capitalism: From Managerialism to Workplace Democracy. AD COURTESY OF THE BERNARD AND AUDRE RAPOPORT FOUNDATION Bernard. Rapoport Chairman of the Board 20 THE TEXAS OBSERVER .4/12/09
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