The Moment of Truth — March 7, 1998

Ford Nazi

Welcome to the moment of truth. Hi. I’m mejeffdorchen. This is the place and time in the broadcast universe where and when – surprisingly enough – the truth gets told. The only time. It’s really disturbing.

It’s disturbing because, while people are used to experiencing the truth in their own lives at least a few times a week, they are totally unaccustomed to hearing it on the radio or seeing it on TV or reading it in newspapers or magazines. So it’s been disturbing to hear some of the truths which have come to light here on the Moment of Truth with mejeffdorchen. Let’s recall some of them. This’ll be like a greatest hits show, or like one of those sitcom episodes that’s made up of little fragments of past episodes that the characters are remembering.

Gosh, Chuck, remember the time we elucidated that the truth can’t be bought processed packaged and sold? And that that was why capitalism had nothing to do with Truth, had no truck with it, had no use for it? Oh ho ho, that was quite an adventure.

And remember when we wondered aloud why people in the world ever starve to death? Let me replay that lovely memory:

Someone decided, deliberately, that for whatever reason it wasn’t necessary to provide those people with access to food. Why? Because they don’t have enough money. So it’s all right to make deliberate decisions that knowingly result in the starvation of millions of people as long as the reason you do it is greed. We’re beginning to ban things like race hatred, misogyny, agism – we’re working on it. If General Foods and Jewel Osco said, "We’re not going to give those Somali people food because they’re black, they’re women, they’re children," people would be outraged. But if they say, "We’re not giving them food because they’re poor," that’s okay.

You know – okay back to the present day here. We’re back from the memory, back into the studio. But remembering that memory made me realize something: We’re lucky the capitalists want to sell anything to us at all. We’re lucky the capitalists don’t keep us as slaves in their factories, but rather consider us among those who will receive the privilege of being consumers of their products. It’s interesting. Who draws this line? The line between slave labor and anointed consumer? Are they one and the same? I think not. I think capitalism is working on making all workers in the western world slaves, pushing them over that line that separates the anointed from the damned, but they’re far from succeeding.

For now.

Just in case you think that’s not what they want to do, just in case you think capitalism is some benign, disinterested, unbiased abstraction that isn’t being steered in a very sickening direction by soulless pigs, consider the case of Ford Motor Company. It’s a rare case. Very unusual. It’s extremely rare that the slave labor of a particular capitalist entity ever escape and survive to cross over to the world of the anointed and attempt to sue the pants off their persecutors.

But in case you haven’t heard, former slave laborers, the few who survived, who were forced to work under the yoke of the Ford Motor Company recently filed suit against the automobile giant. These former Ford employees are disgruntled. They’re disgruntled employees. Why? Because they didn’t get benefits? Because they didn’t get a severance package? Because they didn’t get family leave? No no no. It’s really quite simple. These former Ford employees are Jews suing their former employer for keeping them prisoners in a forced-labor factory in Nazi Germany during WWII.

Now it’s possible that they were all having a collective nightmare. In fact, from the descriptions of their treatment at the hands of Ford Motor Company, a fine American company we’re always urged by stupid ultrapatriotic fascists to buy from – from these former slaves’ descriptions, I’d say they did have a collective nightmare. It’s just that they were awake.

Interestingly enough, at the same time as Ford was enjoying the business-friendly climate of the Third Reich, back in Detroit they were treating black people pretty much the same as they were treating the Jews in Germany. The company shanty towns of Inkster rivaled in squalor those of the South African townships.

And here’s an interesting anecdote from the time: In April of 1941 about a thousand black men were trucked from the south by Harry Bennett, head of Ford Service, Ford Motor’s strongarm security army – the Detroit equivalent of the Nazi SS. Immediately upon arriving in Detroit, the black men were promised full pay and food to remain inside the Rouge plant during a UAW walkout. The UAW was picketing outside. Any of the black men who tried to leave the plant were threatened with violence by Ford Servicemen, or the FS as I’ll call them from now on. Anyway, anyone wanting to leave the plant was forced back in by the FS.

Bennett’s plan was to use his black prisoners as a little strike breaking army, or else to cause enough violence to justify calling in the authorities to break the strike. The FS armed the black prisoners with knives and blunt instruments and sent some of them out in a first wave. They broke through the line. But when a second wave was sent out, the strikers were ready for them with baseball bats.

It was pretty ugly.

This incident, by the way, along with other instances of Ford Motor pitting it’s black and white workers against each other, was a major factor in the tensions that led to the 1943 Detroit race riot.

So Germany had its Hitler, and Detroit had its Henry Ford. Actually, Germany had its Henry Ford, too.

At any rate, that’s just an inkling of what we might call The Secret Relationship Between Capitalism and Nazism. Ford wasn’t the only American corporation to take advantage of the Nazis’ strategy for artificially lowering Jewish wages. More instances are bound to come to light in the not too distant future. And when they do, where do you think you’ll hear the truth about it all? Where and when and with whom else than during The Moment of Truth at this time every Saturday with mejeffdorchen on National Beer Presents This is Hell on WNUR 89.3 eff em your sound experiment. And now over to Chuck with his sack o’ lies.