By Claire McClinton
Cerberus – (Cer* ber* us): n. Greek and Roman mythology; A three-headed dog guarding the entrance to Hell.
In today's global economy, speculative companies like Cerberus, the firm that bought Chrysler, are involved in some of the biggest leveraged buy outs in history. They snap up companies in financial stress, purchasing them at "bargain basement" prices, slicing them up, selling the parts off at a profit in what some call "slice and dice." They also "buy fast and sell fast." Bets are being taken on how long they'll hold on to Chrysler. Indeed, workers are now dealing with a capitalist of a new type. For the first time in history, a major automaker is not owned by an auto company. The "new" Chrysler will be renamed "Chrysler Holdings LLC" — it won't even have "auto" or "car" in it's name. Cerberus has already purchased bankrupt Tower Automotive Inc., owns controlling interest in GMAC (GM finance company), and is in talks to purchase Delphi.
As financial instability in the auto industry grows, the invasion of private equity funds to "save" these corporations is in-creasing at alarming speed. As technology and outsourcing create more poverty, job, healthcare and pension insecurity, new forms of struggle are required. How do we negotiate with a private equity fund? How do you strike a fund? Are these investors held to government standards for pension protection, etc? UAW leaders said the private equity fund's ownership of the company will not alter its bargaining approach. This speaks volumes as to why workers are more and more designing and implementing independent actions and strategies to try to secure the social and economic justice for themselves and their families.
We the people, the dying middle class, the working poor,unemployed, homeless and others have absolutely nothing in common with the Cerberus' of the world. New conditions call for new strategies. We face either the consolidation of the power of these corporations over society or the power of society over these exploiters and speculators.