In the times of fascism: The onslaught of capital and the challenges before working class

Paper distributed by Indian Federation of Trade Unions (Sarwahara) at the All-India Workers Convention organised by Mazdoor Adhikar Sangharsh Abhiyan, to together build up national campaigns on Contract labour, Minimum Wages and Changes in Labour Laws, held in Ambedkar Bhawan, Delhi on 28th August 2016.

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**Note: The paper distributed was in Hindi. The below is summary of the paper, we would be uploading the entire paper when it is translated. For those who want to get the paper electronically can send us their email Id either in comment section or via email to Otheraspect[2]gmail.com


In the times of fascism

The onslaught of capital and the challenges before working class

The working class of India whether they are proletariat or semi-proletariat, whether they are in urban or rural area, working in farms, stone crusher, in the brick kilns, or working several foot underground, or working in the small or big industries, organised or unorganised, their interest has been overlooked nee ignored by all the government in Delhi. Which every party or front has formed the government their sole intention had been to treat them as fodder for extracting more and more profits for the capitalists. For past few decades Delhi, Gurgoan, Noida, Faridabad and several more such towns have emerged as the new industrial centres where in the big and small industries millions of local and migrant workers slough day in and day out, their status not being any better than that of slaves.

Forget about legal recourse and justice, from industrial owners their bouncers to the police, landlords to the grocery shop keepers everyone is in search for their own pound of flesh from these workers. The condition is pitiable that cannot even be termed fit for basic living condition for human existence. Their work is uncertain and life pitiable. They are bound to wallow in poverty and have forgotten the meaning and essence of self-respect. As a citizen of this ‘democracy’ even though aware that they have been guaranteed some rights, but are hapless. Justice, rights such words have lost the meaning for them. After being exploited by the capitalists and oppressed by the landlords, local grocers, and their clique, they are barely in a state to sell their labour for keeping their and their kith and kin’s body and soul together, this is the sum total of their existence and life. This existence is also on incongruous and lasts till the day there is some hindrance that is the end of their entire existence. Even a simple sickness signifies death knell to them. For their existence they have to work even in most tiring circumstance and illness. To take sick leave means leave from job, which makes life span shorter. And what is the family, but new fodder for the capitalists to excrete more profits. The family is akin to a factory for the capitalist where the future commodity of labour power is prepared.

We are witnessing this sordid state of the workers since the implementation of the new economic policy was implemented by the Congress government that is from 1991. In name of economic development the policy formulated to maximise the interest of the capital, was brazenly initiated. Since then governments changed, ministers and prime minister changed the capitalist wealth increased. There was a call for social justice followed by communal violence and massacre, creating a new ‘nationalist’ record leading to formation of a new model. World over Indian growth story’s was glorified and in top capitalist of the world Indian capitalists found their coveted place. The social property transformed into private property tucked in the hands of capitalists. Democratic governments metamorphosed into nationalist government. Cities changed so did the villages, new slogans replace the old, from inside the democratic nation emerged Hindu nation, and suddenly country got catapulted to a ‘super power’. In all these paradigm shift something that remained constant was the condition of the working class. They continued to be robbed and devastated by capital. In name of development and economic progress, the worker’s rights that was won after long struggles were first practically and then legally were liquidated. This ‘reform’ in labour laws is still on going. The change is so profound that it has divided the national and worker’s interest into two antagonistic camps.

For the development of the country, sacrifice of workers has become a necessity. In the current scenario development of country is the development of capitalist. Development means the development of their treasury and to achieve this destruction of working class and toilers is the natural outcome. We can say that this country as worker’s own country is nowhere being seen as providing solace to the working class. Living within the four walls of the country nowhere protects them from being pushed to starvation and destitution. The extraction of profit and generation of capital seems to have transcended the boundaries of state. Wherever the worker sees he sees the barbarianism of capital. Entire world is dominated by the big capital. It is natural for a worker to conclude that our beloved country and the beautiful planet of ours is of no use to them till it is made bereft of the regime of capital that is from the exploiters of labour the capitalists. Capital is not only bleeding the humanity but is rescinding all the gains hitherto made by them. We would like to tell to all our comrades in this convention, that the cross road at which the working class of this country is standing and the massive onslaught of exploitation and oppression it is facing, in light of this the initiative at national level to have a united program of the workers organisation is a commendable and welcome step.

Today in all earnest we have to understand that what is the main component of the working class struggle? which is the kernel using which we would be able to successfully struggle and would be able to understand the real core of the movement.

This is truth that like the common man the workers and toilers also got mesmerised with the promise of acche din (good days) in 2014. And they voted overwhelmingly as well. But as soon as this acche din government came to power it like hurricane started hurling bure din (bad days), was this realised by the working class? If we leave the conscious class then the majority had not hoped for such eventuality. But as the situation today is, it has transgressed way beyond this bure din. We have entered in a crisis ridden dangerous days. With all its innocence and mistakes at least the working class has started realising that on name of acche din, these tiring days have been initiated from the same place where they are squeezed for profit and increase of capital. The workers were and are the first target. They are aware of the nationalist government seated in Delhi who while taking the bread out of mouth is also forcing them to be quite and not raise any voice. They are being successful also. But should we who are in the vanguard of the workers movement and who have responsibility to lead the movement forward not question ourselves that whether we were aware of this situation? The way things are turning what does it indicates? Are we ready and equipped to face the situation?

Comrades, the way the national and international capital who were struggling because of long term financial crisis, took the captain of RSS brand of fascism in Gujarat in their stride itself indicated the sordid days to come. This also indicated the intensification of workers exploitation in days to come. Those who could understand had been aware of how the acche din would be like. But what is unravelling today is not the recurrence of the ‘Gujarat brand’. The vine is new today, though the seeds might be old. It has new characteristics and is supported by the big capital both nation and international, who are inclined towards dictatorship and fascism. They do not want democracy but a despotic dictatorship so that they can take steps to come out of the crisis with impunity. They want no resistance even if they devastate the whole world. This was the Gujarat model that was show cased in 2014 as the development paradigm on basis of a sustained propaganda, this model is now being implemented at pan India level, the capitalists have been leaving no stone unturned to repeat it across the country. In reality the real name of the brand is Gujarat 2002 brand, that is an amalgamation of the state sponsored terrorism against the Muslims and the crass pro capitalist model. This brand got fillip due to the communal polarisation and the en-mass Hindu votes that it got in 2014.but there has been a quantitative change in this, from the days of sporadic communal rioters group it has evolved into a fascist clique, to call them a fascist clique would be no exaggeration. The military training and camp is no longer shrouded into secrecy but is being proudly been shown in media and social media.

The merger of interest with the big capitalists is the base with which this emergence and consolidation became successful. The working class is being exploited to the hilt and the government is helping them to do so. The government is seen as servicing the interest of the corporate and capital. This is how this vicious cycle is going. On the basis of this extraction from the working class a severe reactionary movement is ongoing, and this is being taken to its logical conclusion. This is one of the biggest challenges being faced by the working class.

This challenge has made all the other challenges immediate and distant even more difficult. The challenges have been such as the liberation of working class in itself has become almost impossible. The working class has become a quagmire. Can we who are the militant fighters for working class, can ignore this biggest challenge of our time? Can we discuss on other challenges by ignoring this phenomenon? The vicious attack being hurled on democratic rights on and on rights of expression can the working class would be able to get its economic and immediate demands fulfilled by this despotic regime? Can a united action of working class be formed without having a common minimum programme to counter fascism? All these have become so evident that if we do not think of having a united action and adopt a dilly dallying approach against fascism, which is a working class united programme in totality. We should not forget that we are talking about an initiative at national level and not a factory level initiative.

What is the current era we have described above, we would request it to be included in today’s convention. The big bourgeoisie who have become the master of the entire world particularly in past decade to overcome from their crisis would like to be owners of the entire universe to come out of the grappling crisis of fall in profit and investment. They want control over everything and they aim for an undisputed monopoly. Why did they chose BJP, and there are concrete reason for it also. But before we discuss this it is necessary to understand that not congress but any mainstream bourgeois party of the country including the Aam Admi Party is not averse to this situation. It was after all the congress which had laid the foundation of neo-liberalism in 1991, that paved way for new economic policy where the capitalists were given unbridled freedom to loot and exploit labour power and the natural resources.

This led to the reactionary and anti-people polity. The increased profit hunger of the bourgeoisie is continuation of it. It looks like that a period has successfully completed of the loot by big capital and it is ready to march on its next sojourn whose aim is to crush all the resistance and establish a despotic regime. The unfolding crisis of capital at international level is pushing the Indian big capitalists on the path with even greater vigour. A shift is discernable towards an extreme anti-democratic governance. The vehicle for this shift could only be BJP and not congress or any other party. And that is the reason why this shift needs to be deliberated upon as the working class is the most impacted class by this shift.

Comrades,

If we do not defeat this resurgent fascist force then we would have to be ready for a massive onslaught of reactionary destruction and devastation. The danger that is looming needs to be countered by a clarion call to the working class this is the call of the hour. The establishment of an exploitation free society goes from the graves of the reactionary forces. So let us confront the reality and come ahead to formulate a united revolutionary working class strategy and tactics. Then only we would be able to save the working class from this impeding danger and shall be able to struggle at the economic front as well. We hope that all the comrades would take a judicious revolutionary approach so that the ongoing onslaught on working class can be countered.

 

 

Once Again Tokenism :: A Note by IFTU (Sarwahara) on One Day All India General Strike Called on 2nd September

Against the massive assault on the interest of working class, one day nationwide general strike called on 2nd September by Central Trade Unions (CITU, INTUC, HMS BMS and others)

A Note by IFTU (Sarwahara)

“Once Again Tokenism”

On 2nd September 2015, CITU, AITUC, AICCTU, IFTU (New Democracy), HMS and BMS and few others have once again called for a country wide “one day strike” against the extensive anti-working class action being taken by the Modi Government by amending the provisions of Labour laws. They have particularly appealed to the working class to make this strike a success. IFTU (Sarwahara) supports the working class demands that forms the part of the agenda of this strike and so is not against the strike. Having said this, however, the real question arises as such: Is this call for a “one day strike” is, in genuineness a call for a struggle? Isn’t it,   in reality, an attempted act to evade from struggle? Till when we will have this “one day strike”? Tokenism in name of struggle will go on for how long? The history and our own experience of these token strikes called by the central trade unions and federations since 1991 reveal that this tokenism is but an escape route to run away from the working class struggles and certainly not a call for a genuine working class action. When the history of the working class defeat will be penned, then these tokenism will be held as one of the major internal factors that led to the wkg class defeat. When the need of the hour is to build up a movement that can compel the capitalist-fascist government to halt its attacks on the working class as well as smash its bloated ego, then what is the logic of calling for such one day token strikes is understandable.

The place that such “one day strikes” have in the working class struggle needs to be understood here. These are like “flag march” of the detachments of the workers, through which the working class cautions the bourgeoisie and its government that if the assault does not stops then it will lead to battle on the streets. Thus, “flag march” can happen once, twice or even thrice. The point to ponder over here is: If, even after such marches, the capitalist assault continues, will workers still continue to do the flag march or will prepare for the combat? But we find since 1991 that these unions have done the “Flag March” for umpteen times and they are still doing it. They are not ready to move to the second i.e higher stage of struggle. They cannot think about a fight, even in their dream. And on the other hand, the assault on the working class continues unabated. The bastions of the working class are crumbling one after the other. These unions have made blunt this form of struggle i.e “Flag March” (One day token strike as a warning) which was once a critical weapon in the arsenal of the working class. They have converted it into a means of concealing their escapism thus disgracing and tarnishing it completely. The result is that the perpetual practice of tokenism has taken it toll on the moral of working class by killing the workers’ aspirations for struggles with each passing of the day.

We saw the result of the 6-10 January (5 days) “historic” Coal India strike. Not only the strike was called off after 2 days, but BMS, and behind  it all the other unions (including CITU and AITUC) was seen fleeing from the battle and sitting in lap of Modi’s Govt. The working class could not prevent the Coal Ordinance from being passed. Today again, under the leadership of same BMS, the same deserter left unions and federations are undertaking one day strike against the Labour Laws reforms. Therefore its outcome is very well known even before its beginning. In a way, It is an indication to the government that now we have done the ritual of struggle, you do now whatever you want to do.

And, this is sure to happen. As we were unable to prevent the Coal India Ordinance, similarly we will fail to get the labour laws amendments revoked, due to the incongruity of these unions.

The extent of harm that these unions have bestowed on the workers movement, can be gauged from the fact that during the 6-10 January ‘historic Coal India strike’ they were silent on the labour laws amendments. Today they are howling at the labour laws amendments and are silent on the coal ordinance bill that was passed, and there is no word on revoking it. If due to their incompetence, defeatist and lackadaisical attitude, the provision to do away with the existing labour laws is passed, then should we understand that they will end all struggles against the passing of such amendments? What else than this will be a bigger service to the bourgeoisie and it’s Government?

In this situation, everything now rests in the hands of the working class and its truly advance rank and file spread throughout the country. How to get away with the quagmire of the central trade unions and what are the ways to get out of it, will depend on their preparedness and maturity. But what we wish to declare unambiguously today is that without getting out of the morass created by the central trade unions, thought of any meaningful struggle is a wishful thinking. This will happen only when the advance elements of the working class would take an initiative from within at the national level to demolish the present impasse created by these renegade unions, and take up full initiative to build the unity of working class. No doubt, the necessity of a single, united and a truly revolutionary vanguard of the working class is being deeply felt here, in the absence of which the main responsibility lies directly on the strong shoulder of its advance elements.

That is why, we call upon all the advance elements of the working class to expose those who have reneged on the class struggle by decoupling the working class from it, and have established a series of blunt “one day strikes” bringing the working class movement to such a sorry state. The time has come to take up the daunting task of creation of a nationwide revolutionary centre of workers movement. We are divided, yet we are the only real vanguard elements of the working class and we should initiate it unitedly right now.

It is to be noted that IFTU(Sarwahara), had declared its intention immediately after debacle of the 5 days strike in January. We noted that there is no possibility of a significant working class struggle and that is why we are moving towards the formation of a new national revolutionary forum of the working class. IFTU(Sarwahara) once again declares that these unions might be bigger in terms of numbers and size, but they have no future, as they have renegaded from the working class interest. On the other hand we or the unions like us may be smaller in size, but we have the future because we are the vanguard of the working class in terms of its both immediate and the long-term interests, and are in the struggle with firm conviction on working class.

We have not accepted defeat, whereas the other unions pretentiously carrying the Red Flag have not only accepted defeat, but they have found a safe haven of their own in the capitalist system itself. They can have small skirmishes with the bourgeoisie but are hand in glove with them. They have accepted to adjust with neo-liberalism and to harmonise their moves after some displeasure with them. They have accepted that the onslaught of capitalism-fascism is destined and have happily limited themselves to some petty reforms. This becomes palpable after witnessing their ground work and seeing how they have made for themselves a definite place in the management, government and the existing system.

The sum total of our above statement is that when the working class is unarmed amidst the massive onslaught of the capitalism-fascism, then the 2nd September ceremonial (one day) strike is a whimper. This nowhere arouses the hope of struggle among the vulnerable and dejected workers. This is not a call for the workers to arise against the exploitation and oppression.

Workers brothers and sisters, today we are in such a situation that we are being mugged by force and deceit. Hence we appeal to all the advance elements of the working class and particularly to our IFTU(S) comrades that we have to understand this dual task that is before us. It is not only arduous but tortuous. We appeal to our IFTU(S) comrades that during the 2 September strike we will have to boost our organisational, political and ideological activities among the workers. On one hand it is our duty that in spite of central trade unions’ ceremonial, defeatist attitude we counter the capitalist-fascist forces who oppose this strike. We need to agitate the workers in a mammoth way against the anti-workers steps being taken in the guise of labour amendments by the Modi’s government, and prepare them for the epic working class struggle that will be waged in the present and future. On the other side, it is our cardinal duty to expose the central trade unions who have enmeshed the entire strength of the working class and limited it to just “One day strike”, we would expose their incompetent and renegade character. We have to understand that we have to utilise this event to educate the working class by all possible means and to take the goal of the creation of revolutionary working class centre to the widest possible sections of the working class.

Let us participate in the 2 September strike with the following declaration:

End the ceremonial One day Strike, unite for a decisive, momentous militant struggle

*Jointly issued by comrade Shekhar, Damodar and Kanhai for the central committee of Indian Federation of Trade Unions (Sarwahara)

Press Release on the Coal Worker’s Strike

IFTU (Sarwahara) Press Release on the Coal Strike

Presentation1

Dear Friends and Comrades,

Please find link below of the press release issued by our Union Khan Mazdoor Karmachari Union (KMKU) on the recently concluded Coal miner’s strike, that was called off without any tangible gain for the working class.

Press Release_10_Jan15