TALKININKAI / CONTRIBUTORS
|हड़ताल ہڑتال REFLECTIONS ON THE STRIKE IN WEST BENGAL AND INDIA 2012|
|Written by DAMTP|
विरोध – हड़ताल مخالفت - ہڑتال
तेल की खोज تیل کی تلاش
We took part in the biggest ever strike known to human history in February 28, 2012. The results were mixed and muted – not much written but here are some thoughts. Some of the debate around the strikes tended to polarise – i.e. create a 2 dimensional situation – a spectacle. e.g.
हड़ताल / बंद
Hartal ہڑتال / हड़ताल means strike – Bandh बंद means CLOSE or CLOSED. Both are used to denote a General Strike. Different people referred to it differently for political reasons.
In west Bengal the government referred to a bandh because bandh was banned in 1998. Chief Minister Mamata Banarjee for West Bengal – having called for bandhs herself when in opposition as leader of Trinamool Congress now apologised for this. Mamata of course should not be confused with Subodh Banarjee who popularlised the Ghereo – the encirclement of politicians or government offices until workers’ demands are met.
Hartal meaning strike has been a civil disobedience method used against British rule as well as against Princely state form in India for centuries. The action of stopping work also was used on the death of a leader or of many people as acts of mourning. Another variant which is common in Hindi-speaking regions is the bhukh hartal which translates as hunger strike.
While the unionised sector is of course a great minority of the workforce – and indeed the best protected and higher paid in the working class – the strike demands did include protection for non-unionised and unemployed workers e.g. minimum wage and social security. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee threatened workers with various punishments if they went out on strike. She also specifically warned non-unionised workers against doing so and threatened workers with all sorts of sanctions e.g. loss of pensions, positions, and even jobs, if they went out on strike or were affiliated to the Communist Parties. Since it was her election that defeated the communist party previously she is clearly using this to gain political power in the area.
Government vs party
The above shows that while the demands are made of government, it is in opposition that strikes or other methods are employed by a party – and the same party or leader can disavow the tactics used in opposition to gain that power. In this way the union is acting like a political party with its leadership and bureaucracy and this should be attacked too.
واحد من كثير
We also took part in the strike by declaring a psychic strike - 0 cessation of psycho electronic communication. Being a union of one, we do not have the protection and some of us rather than go on strike went for sabotage. In order to increase the power of non-unionised workers DAMTPO has introduced 3 new methods:
1. 1 person unions
2. Dead workers union
3. Reproductive workers union
If we consider Marx’s use of work as a concept we may find 3 types of work:
1. Work where the worker is exploited and alienated – this produces economic growth
2. Work where the worker nourishes herself and produces herself
3. Work as a situation of revolutionary becoming – where the working class becomes proletarianised
A strike action encompasses all 3 areas – because all 3 types of work contribute to the production of capital and commodities. There are of course different methods of industrial action and resistance in the different areas. Also, while sabotaging in the workplace in an unorganised manner, we need to differentiate between these 3 currents of work within the same work place.
In other words: a strike is not simply the cessation of production – but also and in all sites of production consumption and distribution – the creation of propaganda in word and deed – of organisation – of the production of the psychic and physical space of workers and workers revolution!
كثير من واحد
Our own psychic workers union having situated at Alytus biennial – as a point of time and space has lead us to be vigorous in our attack on Berlin Biennial and as others have commented we should also sustain a vigorous attack on the Manifesta Biennial. However we should point out that we mean to assist workers – to take over resources on an international scale in union with other workers. To attack capitalists and capitalism. The Dakar Biennial on at this time also therefore must also be part of our action. To fail to do so would be colonialist and gentirficational.
A simple mapping might be
Manifesta: our action attacks work type 1 - exploitation - (psychic and physic ghereo/ hartal)
Berlin : our action developes work type 3 - resistence (bundh - unionisation)
Dakar - work type 2 - empowering workers (culture - unionisation)
psychic ghereo /sit-in- occupying a website in comments etc - this has been done alot recently eg against ASOS or Tory govt websites and newspapers - unlimke the Anonymous hacker group who are attached to Occupy movement in USA, this is a mass action - most of anonymous hackers are just allowing their computers to be used - the decisions come from elsewhere about where to attack. maybe a timed electronic mob could roam the net - like conventional hacking methods but using people instead of programmes - data miners instead of a programme/bot shutting down a website by bombarding comments - our spamming techniques are the same...
Manifesta – the rude eurocentrist (and rudest beneluxgermanocentric) propaganda event – will be supported by inner sabotage innitiated by DAMTP and DAWOU-DAMTP people involved in the camp in Genk, Limburg (Belgium) – previously called a „mining machine“. All DAMTP‘s are called to attend Genk on June 1st through 7th to make the physic manifesta occupation on the proletarian level to happen. Its important to see psychic as physic and vice versa - our sitsical presence at Berlin and Manifesta and Dakar is significant!
Any workers who are attending Dakar Biennial or seek assistance in attending may contact us:
miners at strike2012.org