Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Justified Strike




Eleven central trade unions have called for a strike which is already on in the country.  The strike is not really unjustified.  The demands for generation of more employment, better enforcement of labour laws, controlling  privatisation of Public Sector Undertakings, and abolition of contract labour are all justified in the given situation today.

It is a situation created by an extremely greedy capitalist system that fostered a self-centred individualism without any social responsibility.  Perhaps, the fault lies in the human heart rather than in systems.

Communism was a system that sought to guarantee the welfare of each citizen in the country.  But in the hands of a man like Joseph Stalin, it turned out to be no different from Hitler’s Nazi fascism. 

Capitalism was also not meant to be what it is today.  It was meant to provide more opportunities to individuals to explore their potential and achieve whatever success they are capable of.  Unfortunately, like any system or ideology, capitalism too went astray. 

Perhaps, systems and ideologies cannot save man from his fellow creatures.  If human nature is fundamentally evil, only laws and regulations can keep its evils under control.  The present strike is an attempt to create new laws or enforce existing ones so that the wealth of the country does not get concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer individuals.   The strike is an attempt to ensure dignified living for all the people of the country as far as possible.  I hope the Government of India will think of some new policies which will guarantee justice for all.   Otherwise what has begun as a token strike may snowball into a disastrous national movement.

17 comments:

  1. This time around, I feel impelled to quote from your post itself:

    'If human nature is fundamentally evil, only laws and regulations can keep its evils under control.'

    It is amazing how we have managed to convert Capitalism to Fascism too!

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    1. Capitalism, as it is practised today, has capitulated to the traders and the traders have converted into their version of fascism.

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  2. The demands of the striking unions are all long pending. Let the Govt perk up it ears, hear them and do something.

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    1. Will the govt really do anything meaningful? Can it? Will the globalised system permit it?

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  3. For whatever reasons, I have become too cynical ... I am not at all sure the current brouhaha has no ulterior motives, for whomever.

    On a different tack, can we actually compare and choose between the ideal versions of what are called socialism (let us leave communism aside for the moment) and capitalism? I am not sure such comparison would lead us anywhere.

    RE

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    1. I won't rule out ulterior motives. But the causes are just and demand attention.

      I was not making any comparison between socialism and capitalism, but arguing that the problem is not with any such system/ideology, but with the human heart -"the heart of darkness," as Conrad called it.

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  4. How thousands of crores of loss to the economy due to the strike would help any way? As far as I can understand, inflation is the major concern and how such strikes would control inflation?

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    1. Jahid, inflation may be a side effect of a flawed economic policy. We are following a policy that gives numerous subsidies to the affluent. For example, forest land and other lands are given free to the building mafia, miners, SEZ developers, and so on. Tax exemptions are given to the richest business people. The whole system is skewed in favour of the rich and the powerful. If we continue with such a system there will be disastrous consequences in the future. This strike is just a harbinger!

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  5. There is no shortage of laws in this country. It is the implementation that needs to be strengthened. Every time a factory goes on strike in India a a workerin communist China grins and adds items to his manufacturing list. We have seen what these strikes have done to WB and Maruti...

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    1. The Maruti workers had very genuine grievances. The employees were treated as worse than human beings. Would you say that they should have put up with such injustice and indignity?

      Strikes have been misused in India, I know. WB and Kerala are famous for that, especially because of the Left parties. But that does not mean people should not protest injustice and unfair policies.

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    2. My issue is with the violence, is the killing of Maruti manager justified in any way? That is the problem with these strikes they are soon taken over by mobs and the real purpose is lost. Law may give right to strike but it does not allows violence and killing of factory owners and managers. That is the problem with these strikes.

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  6. In a nutshell,its the opportunists who should be taken to task and ironically, the opportunists are now powerful enough and are administrators as well.Opportunists are on either sides ... who should one support ? A strike is to protest and also to flaunt the power !! Who knows what the two day strike was for ?

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    1. I agree with you that we're living in a very difficult time when we can't even be sure which side to join! Well, the strike is led by trade unionists who have the welfare of the workers in mind (apart from the usual political motives). What will come of it, I can't predict. But if the govt chooses to do nothing, much worse things can come in the future.

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  7. Well, nobody should tolerate any type of injustice. However, the way we have protested so far participating in strikes, bundhs and hartals have only been more damaging to us and not to the Govt. or the affluent. I once read that in a shoe company in Japan they had difference with the Management and went on a strike for a month. During the whole month they were punctual and worked normal hours and did not disturb the work in any manner. However for the whole month they produced only one shoe and not a pair. The Management was forced to accept their demands. What we need is to change the method of our protest.

    There are miscreants who wait for an opportunity and during such protests, they burn and loot shops or burn buses and everything comes to a standstill putting the common man in a more despicable situation.

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  8. All ideologies degenerate--the problem is not in Stalin but in every human mind for its inability to practice it with fullest presence. Similarly all laws, whether or not they are created with good intention, are sound in its principles and its vision, will/has degenerated because of the inability of the human mind to interpret and implement its vision. It does not matter whether strike is justified or not--it is a naturally occuring tension in the world. We fight, we fail, we struggle, we overpower, we die and we live...somewhere somehow a human being grows a bit more perfect or a bit more demonic..everything is as it should be

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    1. I wouldn't disagree with you on this: man is a very complex creature. But, of course, Stalin and Hitler were quite exceptional even among the most complex ones!

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