What a Difference a Day Could Make


Fifth Estate # 292, June 19, 1978

The “glorious” days of the Ford family empire seem to be numbered as its headcheese, Henry Ford II, finds himself in a swirl of legal, corporate, labor, marital and physical troubles.

Reports have floated into the Fifth Estate office that during his “emergency” press conference of May 1, 1978, the “chairman” not only seemed to be suffering from a bad case of the shakes, but also seemed to be losing his hearing. Oh, the woes of the super rich.

Many of us may not remember, but this is the same way Henry Ford I was going when the present chairman had to wrestle corporate power out of his granddad’s clammy hands (not such a “great struggle” as some historians would have us believe, since the old man was suffering from a bad case of terminal brain rot).

But now Henry’s role as top dog is becoming less and less attractive to the business, as the old time bourgeoisie that Henry represents becomes a stumbling block to the free flow of international capital. Why even some of his corporate stockholders are asking for his head in a recently filed lawsuit accusing Henry of appropriating company money for personal use and taking a $750,000 kickback from a food vending company.

All of this along with his troubles from his wife’s attempts for a divorce (remember years back when Henry was caught with a local model while driving drunk?) has left chairman Henry hopping (or should we say “shaking”) mad.

Well, Henry, your departure from the corporate scene isn’t in any way going to bring capitalism to its knees (it might even do better without you), but we are going to miss all that fun you and your family brought into our lives.

Yes, when you retire, Henry, gone will be the days when Granddad locked workers out of Ford factories when he believed that the Depression came about because “The average man won’t really do a day’s work unless he is caught and can’t get out of it;” when Granddad bought the Dearborn Independent newspaper so that he could run anti-Semitic articles like “The International Jew: The World’s Problem,” and when he received Nazi Germany’s highest medal, the Iron Cross (bet he and Hitler had some real knee-slapping times exchanging anti-Semitic jokes, ay, Henry?). Yes, gone will be the days when your family had plant guards spray water hoses on job applicants in sub-zero weather and hired goons like Harry Bennett to beat the heads of workers who didn’t see things quite the same as the boss did; when Ford built military equipment for Nazi Germany and for the U.S. in Vietnam; and your “grand finale,” the manufacture of a car that’s built to explode when hit in the rear—the Pinto.

Yes, Henry, you’re the last… so piss off on out of it!