‘Lessons of the successful All-India General Strike!’

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Workers on the march in Sindhanur, Raichur, Karnataka

‘WORKERS Resistance and the All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU) congratulates the working class of the country for making the all-India strike on 28-29 March 2022 a great success.

The strike was made successful defying all machinations, threats, arrests, ESMA (Essential Services Maintenance Act – an act of Parliament which was established to ensure the delivery of certain services) and scores of intimidations not only by the Modi-led BJP government but also by several non-BJP-ruled state governments.

This strike assumes greater significance because the workers strike was backed by and participated in by farmers.

“Worker-Peasant Unity” has been one of the most important ideals of the working class movement in the country.

We can proudly say that such a unity of farmers and workers became a reality in this strike, although in its embryonic form.

Secondly, this strike also assumed significance by participation of a large number of unorganised workers belonging to various sectors.

The participation of women workers, particularly scheme workers, such as ASHA, Anganwadi and Mid Day Meal workers and also scores of contract workers of various sectors was quite encouraging and inspiring.

Thirdly and most importantly, the strike has brought forth the contradiction between the corporate bourgeois class and the working class in a bold relief.

The corporate class has tried to assert itself. Several industrialists’ associations issued statements to break the strike, against the workers’ intention to make the strike a great success, particularly in BJP-ruled states.

The BJP government in Karnataka openly declared to offer police protection to operate industries. Some of the industrialists’ associations made a unilateral declaration that they would operate industries against the strike.

Generally, on the days of strike, workers march around industrial areas to enforce the strike in non-unionised industries by appealing to workers. But, when unionised industry managements decide to operate the companies, it becomes the responsibility of workers to enforce the strike in their own companies in addition to enforcing strike in industrial areas as a whole.

The success of the strike makes it amply clear that the working class has boldly and bravely taken up the challenge thrown down by the corporate class.

Kerala High Court intervened restraining Kerala government employees from joining the strike. The states like Haryana imposed ESMA against striking transport employees. Maharashtra invoked ESMA against electricity workers.

It is only by defying black laws like ESMA, arrests and high-handedness of the state administrations, workers have made the strike a great success and the Workers Resistance and AICCTU salutes the working class for such militant actions.

Even the non-BJP-ruled state governments – including Tamil Nadu led by MK Stalin and also West Bengal led by Mamata – issued orders to discourage government and transport employees from joining the strike.

Congress governments too followed suit. Mamata Banerjee, true to her corporate class interests, had always been against any Bandh or Strike by working people.

Tamil Nadu state government too, displaying its pro-corporate class interests, actively opposed the strike while their party DMK supported the strike and their trade union wing, LPF (Labour Progressive Federation) was part of the call itself.

There were talks of economic consensus among all across the spectrum of political parties of the country irrespective of their political colour and ideology. When it comes to representing corporate class interests, all kinds of parties – right from BJP to DMK are competing with each other. It is not about economic policies alone.

In the case of anti-worker, anti-people Labour Codes too, all parties are on a consensus. BJP calls them ‘New Codes for a New India’ while they are actually ‘Corporate Codes for a Corporate India’.

Trade unions call the Codes as nothing but scripting modern slavery.

The Codes cannot be implemented unless appropriate rules are formulated by the state governments. BJP-ruled states have already formulated rules to implement the Labour Codes.

Non-BJP-ruled states too have started formulating accompanied rules. They want to say that they would formulate rules without negative impact on workers.

This argument appears to be completely illogical and aimed at deceiving workers because there cannot be any state rules against the Codes adopted by the Modi-led BJP government at the centre.

When trade unions say that Codes are scripting modern slavery of the working class, the state rules can only follow suit. It cannot do anything against the Code. But all opposition party-ruled states are busy preparing draft state rules now.

Even the Left-led Kerala state government is also busy doing the same while implementing “K-Rail, Silver Line Project”, a Kerala version of a pro-corporate Bullet train.

Both actions on the labour front and also the front of the rail project only underline the pro-corporate, pro-liberal policies of the Left government in Kerala. Mamata is also doing the same in the name of “industrialisation” while DMK is talking about the One Trillion Dollar economy.

Hence, it is brutally visible that there is an absolute corporate consensus against the working class and the toiling masses among parties like BJP, Congress, and other regional parties, including the Left.

In such a backdrop, we need to redefine and re-emphasise our struggle against the anti-labour Codes and other onslaughts on the working class. The working class should rise up to the occasion and establish its supremacy in the class struggle between the corporate bourgeois class and working class.

The class struggle requires to assume the dimension of a political struggle against not only Codes but also against the state rules being formulated by the state governments.

We are approaching the May Day 2022 when the country is being sold out to corporates and multinationals in the name of privatisation and national monetisation pipeline.

The real agenda of privatisation is coming to the fore. The privatisation accompanied with huge loss of jobs and ever escalating unemployment are potent with outbursts and revolts.

Hence, the Labour Codes accompanied with black laws, including ESMA and UAPA, are designed in such a way to expedite the process of privatisation and conctractualisation on the one hand and also to contain the revolts and outbursts that are a natural by-product of wholesale privatisation of the entire country, on the other.

On the occasion of May Day 2022, the working class resolves to fight back against privatisation, unemployment, the Anti-Labour Codes and the black laws.

On the May Day 2022, the working class should march on the streets in greater numbers not only to proudly recollect the historic Chicago struggle and its martyrs but also to re-stage such a historic struggle in the soil of our motherland in the present day context.

We call upon the working class to carry forward the ongoing movement against privatisation, contractualisation, unemployment, Labour Codes and accompanied black laws.

Long live the united and militant struggles of the Working Class!

Long live Worker-Peasant Unity!

Long live Revolution!’