I (unorganised)

letter I

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A history of class struggle in India 1973 – 1979

While it´s obviously normal to get emotionally swept up in the flow of current events, getting some historical and global perspective is always useful. Eurocentric narratives often tend to be over-represented in the political imaginary of many, leading to comparisons that range from the misleading to the unfortunate — …Graeber´s description of Rojava as the Spanish Revolution of our time, and … M. relating every instance of struggle to the formation of worker´s councils. 

In the light of this, the brilliant analysis presented in Gurgaon Worker´s News #60 offers some fascinating insights that are well worth exploring. The entire issue is dedicated to a summary of the cycle of struggle from 1973 to 1979 in India as the basis for a “discussion on the relation between crisis, class struggle, ‘popular movements’ and state form today”.
What was particularly interesting to me was the massive level of state repression — amounting to several massacres by the army and police aimed at suppressing an intense wave of popular riots and agitation, declaration of a draconian two year state of emergency, and then several more massacres during an intense wave of industrial unrest after the end of the emergency — which seemed to be taken almost as par for the course at the time, and would undoubtedly lead to loud accusations of neofascism from many quarters today. In fact, the end result of all this was neoliberalism, rather than neofascism.
The authors link all these events — “popular” struggle, state repression, and worker revolt —  to historical global crises in capitalist production. While I recognise the limitations of this analysis, I appreciate its attempt to grasp the deeper dynamics at play beneath the level of appearances, and the avoidance of a particular brand of moral hysteria that seems unfortunately common among many radicals in the west today. Marxists can be a frustratingly stubborn, narrow-minded lot, but sometimes what they have to say can be incredibly refreshing.

India, Bahawalpur: lawyer outlaws show their contempt of court 2/11/13

India, Kerala: total dockers’ strike now in its 5th day 5/11/13

India, Mumbai: riot during eviction process 12/11/13

India, North Karnataka: farmers block several roads, burn tyres, in protest about suicide of farmer 27/11/13

India, Maharashtra: stones thrown, tyres burnt, roads blocked during strike of cane cutters for increased pay…unfortunately led by an MP (for detailed analysis of some aspects of struggles in India, from a mainly ultra-leftist angle, see Gurgaon Workers News ) 28/11/13

India, Odisha: villagers forcibly shut mines, burn 35 bikes and four multi-utility vehicles before ransacking offices at   mining sites…..Punjab: young women break locked gates of college and block highway in protest against rape 29/11/13

India, Odisha: oil tanker and excavator burnt in mines’ struggle (see also entry for 29/11/13, above) ”The plight and fight of workers who have been retrenched is being used to settle the “political” conflict between the Congress (the ruling party in the Centre) and BJD (the ruling party in Odisha) over the allotment of tender for coal transportation. The tender has been allotted to a contractor closer to BJD, instead of the earlier one who was probably close to the Congress. The union under which these workers were organised is also closer to the Congress-run INTUC. This is a classic situation in India where the genuine struggles of workers are regularly utilised to settle competitive fights among capitalists – with political representatives and unions acting as agencies” (from first comment on this thread) 30/11/13

India, Mumbai: wildcat strike by helicopter pilots…..Puducherry: road blockades against careless doctorsPeshawar: rickshaw drivers sit-in on main road in protest against traffic wardens….Bannu: hospital staff lock doctors’ offices, cut off electricity supplies, in protest against chief executive 2/12/13

India, Madurai: students sit-in continues after admin only partially revokes punishments….. Imphal: sit-in protest against cops’ pathetic attempt at frame-up….Jharsuguda: teachers block main roads for 2 hours in equal pay protest 9/12/13

India, Gurgaon: students pelt buses with rocks after bus driver kills student 11/12/13

India: new student confrontation with cops at Osmania University (again, no clear analysis of this movement anywhere that I can see) 16/12/13

India, Balasore: main road blockaded in protest demanding road improvement 29/12/13

India, Mumbai: tedious bureaucratic hassles and indifference provokes vandalism 30/12/13

India, Pamban: fishermen on indefinite strike against cops after arrests 31/12/13

Indonesia: 100s of inmates at Palopo penitentiary, South Sulawesi, attack officers, set fire to parts of  building 14/12/13

Iran: prisoners go on strike against inadequacy of medical care 4/11/13

Ireland, New Ross: town hall council chambers occupied for long protest against electromagnetic frequency radiation 20/12/13

Israel: Shfaram  declares general strike of all schools and businesses in solidarity with Arabs convicted of manslaughter of soldier-murderer 28/11/13

Israel: clashes with cops on demo against Bedouin forced resettlement plan (more here and here) 30/11/13

Israel: 100s of undocumented African migrants flee detention centre (Sunday) to march and  demonstrate (Monday)…..and next day (today) dozens of them demonstrate in  Jerusalem outside PM’s office (more here) 17/12/13

Italy: Rome, Turin and several other cities – anti-austerity protesters clash with cops (more here) 15/11/13

Italy, Rome: cops and protesters clash in demo against construction of high-speed train line (more here) (video here ).See also this text from 1992 on the TGV. And this. 20/11/13

Italy, Genoa: wildcat transport strike against austerity and privatisation now in its 3rd day; workers from garbage and maintenance companies  join striking bus drivers in solidarity 21/11/13

Italy, Genoa: wildcat transport strike with solidarity strikes from dustmen and maintenance workers now in its 4th day 22/11/13

Italy: truckers block roads up and down the country……Turin: at least 500 protesters launch rocks, bottles and paper bombs , try to storm regional government building; skirmish with cops, stations occupied, at least 14 cops injured, 2 journalists attacked 9/12/13

Italy: 2nd day of widespread wildcat anti-austerity strike… ...though with some very dubious  alliances – e.g. ”Police unions UGL, SIULP, and Grillo claim police were acting in solidarity with protesters. “We share and applaud the gesture of those policemen who took off their helmets in a sign of solidarity with demonstrators who peacefully showed their malaise at the grave crisis that Italy is going through,” said Valter Mazzetti, national secretary of the state police union UGL. Meanwhile Bolzano and Turin police headquarters called the gesture normal operating procedure. Turin police headquarters said police removal of riot gear under the circumstances was “normal behavior” linked with “defusing tension and the needs of public order”. In all three incidents demonstrators gave a long applause to police. 10/12/13

Italy: nationwide wildcat movement enters 3rd day 11/12/13

Italy: 4th day of nationwide protests (more here and here“Italy’s “pitchfork” protests spread to Rome on Thursday when hundreds of students clashed with police and threw firecrackers outside a university where government ministers were attending a conference.” (here) 12/12/13

Italy, Rome: clashes with cops as part of the “Pitchfork” movementVenice and Turin also (the irony of “love and peace” here) 14/12/13

Italy, Milan: clashes with cops over education cuts (video)mainstream report outlining some of the contradictions of movement….more detailed and more interesting analysis and information here and here 16/12/13

Italy, Vatican: “Christmas is cancelled! Jesus is aborted!”19/12/13


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