March 11—Boeing CEO Muilenburg and his pal Trump originally tried to keep the crash-prone 737max flying. Along with Boeing’s lapdog, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), they were eventually forced to ground the planes, but only after nearly every country in the world banned the jet from their airspace.
The present spin says all that is needed is a software fix. In fact, the plane was knowingly designed to be prone to stall. A stall occurs when an aircraft tilts up too much. If the incline is great enough, lift decreases. Then the plane crashes to the ground.
“How can that be?” asked a Boeing friend. “Why would they knowingly design a jet that would kill 346 people to save a little money?”
That’s the way he thinks, and most workers think, but not how the bosses think.
A few years ago, Airbus came out with a new version of their single aisle A320. It was more fuel efficient because, in part, it had bigger, more modern engines. The wings on the Airbus model were high enough to accommodate these bigger engines. It was a big seller.
The wings on the 737 were lower. The company had two choices: either design a new plane or raise the landing gear and position the engines closer to the body and more forward. Not surprisingly, they chose the second option because it was cheaper.
The aerodynamics of this modification tended to make the nose of the plane rise. That’s what causes a stall.
Murder for Profit
With profits on their mind, the executives convinced themselves they could compensate with a software program. The idea was that the software would automatically bring the nose down if a sensor said the plane was tilted too high. Instead, in two instances in less then 5 months, the software crashed the plane.
Most workers have learned through bitter experience that profits are always primary for capitalist companies. So why did this particular worker have doubts?
The rest of the conversation offered a hint. “Capitalism is here to stay,” he asserted when we began to talk about how this would never happen in communism. He didn’t want capitalism to continue, but he saw no way out. “Offer a worker a lot of money and they will give up the struggle. They are looking for an easy way out.”
With this way of thinking, the best we can hope for is a more “socially responsible” ruling class: a vain hope.
Why would our friend put more faith in the CEO (who actually does get a lot of money, $18.5 million last year) than his fellow workers? Even now, the truth is many workers are not looking for an easy life. They want a meaningful one. And this will only be truer in communism.
Some indications of our potential occurred as workers struggled to come to grips with this tragedy. When one racist said there would be no problem if those “foreign pilots only learned English,” workers jumped all over him. They called his comment, “racist bullsh-t.”
Another worker had heard a version of this xenophobia on the TV the night before. A company spokesperson had implied the last accident was caused by inadequately-trained Ethiopian pilots. He was not about to let the bosses off the hook with this racist slur. He went to nearly everyone in the crew saying how stupid the spokesperson was.
It was also inspiring to see workers all over the plant educating themselves about aerodynamics in a few days. This information had traditionally been hidden from “ordinary” workers. Even as the company and the FAA continued to hide what was going on, workers fought to understand the science.
In communism, all aerospace workers will be taught the science behind what they are building. In turn, they will spread this knowledge to the population at large. Designing crash-prone airplanes in secret will become a relic of the long-defeated capitalism system.