for building a democratic labour movement in India
The management of the biggest car company in India, Mauti Suzuki India Limited has forced a lock-out at the Manesar, Gurgaon plant since the morning of 29 August. It has terminated 11 workers and suspended 10 more on baseless charges of indiscipline and participatins in a “go-slow action”. The company has also imposed a “good conduct bond” on the workers and has decreed that any worker who will not sign the bond will be considered “on strike” and will not be allowed to enter the plant. However, the workers are united and no one has signed the bond. Along with the 1100 regular worker, around 2000 contract and apprentice workers have also joined the struggle, although management tried to separate them by announcing leave for contract and apprentice workers till September 1, 2011. Since July, some contract and apprentice workers are being thrown out almost every day. 84 workers have been dismissed or suspended since July. In July, after the management sponsored elections of the Gurgaon plant based pro-management union, which was boycotted by Manesar workers, the management terminated some leading members of the Maruti Suzuki Employees Union which is still continuing. Earlier the state government had promised the workers leaders that there will be no difficulty in getting the union registered. However, just a day before 15 August, the govt. dismissed their application for registration.
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Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”
What does labor want? We want more schoolhouses and less jails; more books and less arsenals; more learning and less vice; more leisure and less greed; more justice and less revenge; in fact, more of the opportunities to cultivate our better natures,”
Social progress depends not upon the ennoblement of the few but on the enrichment of democracy; universal brotherhood can be achieved only when there is an equality of opportunity - of opportunity in the social, political and individual life.
In the new global politico-economic regime with new international division of labour, informalization of labour, free mobility of capital, alarming expansion of reserve army of labour and creation of global reserve army of labour for capital, and a system of regulating at international level and deregulating at national level, the pre-globalization strategies of organizing and collective bargaining have largely become ineffective and irrelevant. Therefore the labour movements and the social, political movements in general need to develop and implement new strategies of organizing and collective bargaining effective in new global politico-economic regime.
Divide, isolate and rule is the most important aspect of the capitalism to control the labour by not letting the working class emerge as a unified force. Dividing the working class in different sectional interests, and intensifying social conflicts (caste, gender, religion, regionality and nationality conflicts etc) are important strategies of capitalism. On the other hand, by its various institutions and propaganda machinery, the capitalism blurs the link between various sectional problems and their linkage with the capitalist system and therefore the movements appear detached from each other and focused on their sectional issues rather than challenging the capitalist system that produces and reproduces these problems.
The fate of social, political movements in India depends on their attitude towards learning and building unity in diversity at various levels to defeat the capital’s attempts to divide, isolate and rule. The revival of the working class movement also depends on this factor.