Krim II

Vi publicerar här ett brev som bland annat behandlar situationen i Ukraina, därefter följer en länk till Immanuel Wallersteins analys av läget i Ukraina samt ett antal kortare kommentarer av denna text. Vi tycker att tankarna i dessa två texter bör spridas och diskuteras: Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;/Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world…

Kære Alpha og Omega,

Det er 158 år siden at Vestmagterne – Frankrig, England og Sardinien intervenerede på Tyrkiets eller Det Ottomaniske Riges side mod Zarens Rusland, der var ved at overtage Balkan. I det mindste var det det, Vestmagterne frygtede. Krimkrigen varede fra 1853 til 1856, og Ruslands nederlag blev af bl.a. Marx og Engels opfattet som en positiv ting, eftersom Zarens riger udgjorde den kontrarevolutionære kraft par excellence i forhold til Polen og det øvrige Centraleuropa, der i øvrigt var under enten Habsburgsk (østrig-ungarnsk), Romanovsk eller Ottomanisk kontrol.

I dag er det atter en sådan interventionskrig, der er på manges læber, om end med flere parter på Vestmagternes side end de to gamle kolonimetropoler plus det dengang kun opkommende Italien. Pariserpressen Libération og Le Monde har i forbindelse med opstandene i Kiev, Lviv etc. begge været fulde af trusler over for Putin og det neotjekkistiske regime i Moskva. Dette følger godt i tråd med de mange hånsord, samme presse havde i forhold til Hollandes opgivelse efter flåde“opmarchen” over for Assadbrødrene i Syrien, da først amerikanerne og siden franskmændene undlod at bombe missilbaserne på Damaskushøjen som gengæld for assadisternes gasangreb på civilbefolkningen i det østlige Goutha i august 2013.

Ifølge Politiken i dag søndag – hjemmesiden 23-02-014 – er også den tidlige udenrigsminister og mangeårige Venstreformand Uffe Ellemann Jensen opsat på en intervention mod Putins styre. Nærmest for at komme russerne i forkøbet ud fra den betragtning, at tjekkisterne ikke kan tillade, at det vestlige Ukraine bryder ud af det forhenværende SNG’s greb. Det syriske eksempel skræmmer. Da overlod man civilbefolkningen først i Homs, siden i Damaskus og endelig i Aleppo til sig selv. Pariserpressen gør en del ud af parallellen mellem Ukraine og Syrien.

Den forrige note, jeg sendte, og som i øvrigt var belemret med flere fejl, var især for at rejse spørgsmålet om, hvordan det militære problem kunne indarbejdes i en fremlæggelse, der fokuserede på det pengeopløsende og gennem det rejste spørgsmålet om revolutionens militære dimension.

Får vi en interventionskrig mod Putins styre, så må vi have noget at sige. I 1999 støttede jeg direkte et forsvar for Kosovoalbanerne mod den etniske udrensning. Det forsvar står at læse i Globalæstetikken. Dengang var det især teorien om Imperiet og de “clintonianske illusioner” om en mulig retsimperialisme, der stod for fald. September Eleventh, undtagelsestilstanden, ødelæggelsen af Bagdad og Vestens udvidede støtte til oliemonarkierne, der var accelereret efter Kuwaitkrigen, lukkede på en måde de kommende arabiske opstande inde i Middelhavsområdet og vanskeliggjorde en forbindelse mellem opstandene i Ægypten og Tunesien på den ene side og de mulige bevægelser i Irak, Iran og Pakistan på den anden. Derved er Balkans og Ukraines revolter blevet de eneste, der evt. og med stort besvær kunne komme en radikalisering af de arabiske opstande i møde.

Det er et møde, der pt. udgør det internationalistiske satsningsområde nær os. Krisen i Latinamerika, der på det sidste også er kommet til at omfatte Venezuela, er endnu for langt borte i forhold til de initiativer, vi kan forvente lokalt, her. Ikke mindst fordi den intervention, der er på tale, vedrører Rusland og dermed Baltikum, Finland, Norge og Sverige.
Der foregår også en oprustning i Kina, Japan og de to Koreaer, men jeg tror ikke, at den er rettet mod Rusland, men derimod rettet mod det Indiske Ocean og Stillehavet. Klassekampene i Cambodja, Bengalen, Thailand og Kina er vigtige på sigt – ligesom Latinamerika – men det første, vi kommer til at skulle tage stilling til, er det tjekkistiske styre i Kreml.
Under Geneve II har Rusland vist sig ganske svagt og uden afgørende indflydelse på Assadbrødrenes politik, da det gjaldt. Derfor har Rusland da også støttet Sikkerhedsrådets forslag om en korridor til de syriske byer, der bliver bombet, ganske vist en humanitær korridor selvfølgelig. Det stiller givetvis amerikanerne tilfredse. Og til gengæld vil Washington da heller ikke støtte en intervention mod Putin, skulle jeg mene. En sådan intervention måtte blive en europæiske sag. Dvs. Frankrigs og Tysklands problem.
Det tjekkistiske styre i Kreml udgør en stor kontrarevolutionær trussel mod Balkan og Ukraine, og der er nationalistiske kræfter i Hviderusland, Serbien, Grækenland og Bulgarien, der vil have glæde af en sådan konfrontation og støtte Rusland (som i 1853-56) for præventivt at modarbejde udvidelsen af revolterne i Athen, Istanbul, Sarajevo, Kiev etc. – På den anden side er en intervention mod Putin også i stand til at komme eventuelle opstande i selve Rusland i forkøbet, lidt på samme måde som Saddam Husseins veststøttede intervention mod Iran i 1980 forhindrede en udvidelse og radikalisering af bevægelsen i Iran, og gav Khomeini og moskeerne mulighed for at gribe magten. Men i 1980 var den kolde krig ikke til ende, og Juri Andropov, dvs. Tjekaens daværende leder og Putins mentor, havde bragt sig i position til at tage over fra partiapparatchikkerne. Selvom det gærede i Sovjetunionen, så var den sociale polarisering ikke så kraftig dengang for 33 år siden, som den er nu. Efter de forskellige mislykkede forsøg fra Perestoïka og Glasnost til Jeltsins åbning over for Clinton er russerne da også havnet i et styre, der er langt mere undertrykkende end det sovjetiske var i Unionens sidste 20 år.
Kunne man derfor tænke, at en intervention mod Putin, der både svækker Kremls mulighed for at intimidere opstandene, som EU opfatter som en “demokratibevægelse“, men også giver befolkningen og russisk politik en anden konflikt end den sociale, indeholder en slags dobbelt gevinst for Europa, og det vil her især sige for Tyskland. Og samtidigt lukker eller i det mindste inddæmmer råderummet for opstandene på Balkan og i det vestlige Ukraine, så de ikke når til Hviderusland, Polen, Serbien og Rusland selv?

Bordiga mente jo, at i de imperialistiske kriges epoke havde de revolutionære intet valg, såfremt f.eks. USSR og USA tørnede sammen. Internationalister burde bekæmpe dem begge. Det var kun krigene i de tidligere kolonier, der havde partnere, som kunne støttes: nemlig de “ikke-hvide folkeslag” i deres opgør med metropolerne f.eks. under krigene i Algeriet og Congo. Men Bordiga lagde heller ikke vægt på Auschwitz og på de etniske udrensninger, der fulgte i kølvandet på Anden Verdenskrig, og som har betydet så meget for borgerkrigen i Jugoslavien i første halvdel af 90’erne og nu også i Ukraine.
Jeg må indrømme, at diskussionen mellem Nancy og Badiou vedrørende Frankrigs intervention til fordel for oprørerne i Benghazi ikke forekommer mig at være nået til det springende punkt om, hvad revolutionens udvidelse har glæde af. Personligt tror jeg, at den intervention især skulle forhindre, at revolutionerne i Ægypten og Tunesien blev direkte forbundet i en større panarabisk bevægelse. Men det er et emne, der fortjener analyse. Det samme gælder en kommende intervention i Syrien og evt. en eller anden form for militær intimidering af Putin. Ellemann Jensen foreslår nærmest en intervention i Krim.

I løbet af de sidste tyve år er Danmark og Norge blevet internationale aktører takket være deres olierigdomme. Norge har ført en selvstændig politik over for Israel, mens Danmark – gennem Mærsk Møller og Danske Bank – har satset på at blive en del af den amerikanske “inderside”, hvorfor Fogh Rasmussen kunne få Obamas støtte til at blive generalsekretær for NATO.
Danmark var nok det mest krigeriske af de lande, der ville interventionen mod Bagdad i 2003. Og Jyllands-Postens krigskarikaturer, der åbnede for, at krigen mod Irak kunne udvides til en krig mod alle muslimske lande, var et tegn på denne aggressive politik. Krigsophvirvlerdagbladet Jyllands-Posten, der havde støttet Fogh Rasmussens kandidatur til dansk statsminister i efteråret 2001, satte en dagsorden, som mange muslimer opfattede som et “carte blanche”, hvad kommende interventionskrige mod dem angik.
Det vil ikke sige, at moskeerne, talibanerne, Saudi-Arabien, præstestyret i Iran osv. ikke er afgørende kontrarevolutionære kræfter, men netop i denne sag måtte de revolutionære indtage en ’bordighistisk’ position: hverken vestdemokratierne eller de muslimske diktaturer fortjener nogen form for sympati eller støtte.

Her er der så en skillelinje: En konflikt mellem Rusland og EU vil kunne minde om konflikterne omkr. Kuwait og omkr. Irak 11 år senere. Men en intervention til fordel for byer i oprør som dem i Syrien?
Kommunarderne i Aleppo vil have glæde af, at der ikke kastes TNT-tønder ned over deres boligblokke. Det er sikkert. Den assadistiske terror mod civilbefolkningen skal få denne til at forlade de byer, der er i oprør. Revolutionen i verden har glæde af, at Aleppo kan gennemføre en befrielse af sig selv uden flyterror. Jeg kan ikke se andet end, at en korridor indtil de befriede byer i Syrien og en bombning af assadisternes fly- og missilbaser er til fordel for verdensrevolutionen, både på kort og på lidt længere sigt. Også selvom disse indgreb sker med henblik på det modsatte, nemlig på at få styr på de revolutionære.
Karl Radek sagde under en af kongresserne i Moskva ifølge Zeta Höglund, at de revolutionære altid dør for tidligt. I Syrien er der rigtigt mange, der gør det for tiden.

Kh,
CJ.

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Immanuel Wallersteins analys av läget i Ukraina: The Geopolitics of Ukraine’s Schism.

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En note til Immanuel Wallersteins Commentary No.371, Feb. 15, 2014:
“The Geopolitics of Ukraine’s Schism”

Det er megen ræson i IW’s analyse om en voksende modsætning mellem på den ene side kontinentaleuropæiske interesser, der omfatter Frankrig, Tyskland og Rusland, og på den anden en mulig Stillehavs-alliance mellem USA, Kina, Japan og Korea.

Hvad IW’s meget overordnede overvejelser ikke medtager, er fire forhold:

1. Den økonomiske krise, der kan give nogle af landene et større umiddelbart råderum, som de kan blive fristede til at udnytte, selvom gevinsterne bliver kortvarige. Det gælder Japan i forhold til dets gamle nærområde i Øst, Kina i forhold til Afrika eller Tyskland i forhold til statskapitalismens uendelige afviklingskrise i Østeuropa, Balkan og måske Kaukasus.

2. De nye oprustningsøkonomier, der ikke har andre perspektiver end netop konflikt på grund af fastfrosne indenrigspolitiske situationer: det gælder Iran, Israel, Saudi-Arabien, Kina, Nord-Korea og måske også Tyrkiet, Pakistan og Indien.

3. At det er for sent for mange arabiske lande til overhovedet at deltage i nogen økonomisk ekspansion, oprustningen indbefattet, hvorfor de vil opleve en fortsat voksende radikalisering af deres store ungdomsarbejdsløse befolkning i byerne: det gælder Ægypten, Tunesien, Syrien, Irak, Sudan og snart også Algeriet.

4. Ligesom de arabiske masser, der kan mærke, at der er andre og mere direkte veje til sociale løsninger end troen på moskeen og militæret, således er en række store og mellemstore europæiske byer i Middelhavsområdet samt i Spanien og det vestlige Ukraine gået ind i en fase af konstant social uro: Madrid, Istanbul, Izmir, Athen, Sarajevo, Lviv og Kiev. Selvom bevægelserne i de sidste to måske er udtryk for endnu eksisterende illusioner vedrørende opbygningen af et nationalt demokrati, så er de første ved at have tilbagelagt reformistiske illusioner. Reformistiske forestillinger er også i krise i Brasilien, Argentina, Chile og Venezuela.

Kapitalistisk ekspansion, verdensmarkedet og det nationale demokrati mister hver dag tillid, uden at revolutionen endnu har kunnet opbygge et tillidsskabende perspektiv, der kan erstatte de “statsborgerlige ideologier” til fordel for en pengeløs og egalitaristisk distribution af verdens goder.

Det springende punkt bliver de første forsøg på alternative økonomier, om de kan vare ved en tid, så de kan opbygge et internationalistisk netværk af eksemplarisk karakter, før de bliver angrebet af de gamle magthavere, som det sker i dag i Syrien. Eller som IW synes at mene, at de to, nye magtkonstellationer vil blive så antagonistiske, at de vil kunne fortsætte med at styre verden nu med et konstant krigsmulighed som det, der holder deres magthavere ved roret. I nogle lande – som Rusland og Japan – forekommer dette perspektiv at være en realistisk løsning for de pågældende stater. Andre lande som Frankrig, Tyskland eller Kina synes mindre i stand til at føre deres befolkninger ind i en sådan konstant akut fornemmelse af fare, som er en forudsætning for, at en befolkning er parat til endnu en gang at stå frem som kanonføde. Og den amerikanske befolkning – såvel i Nordamerika som i Sydamerika – har fået nok af militarismen, skulle jeg mene.

CJ.

Support the Alfa Laval Strikers

Info in Swedish below the English info
Info på svenska längre ner.

A call for support.
E-mail and call Alfa Laval in support of the strikers in Pune, India.

thure engelsk

”Creating better everyday conditions for people . That’s the driving force behind everything we do at Alfa Laval. ”

Stop being hypocritical, Alfa Laval!

On October 1 2013, almost five months ago, 402 contract workers at Alfa Laval plant in Pune, India, went on strike. They have been hired by an employment agency and have only earned up to a third of the salary of the permanent workers. Alfa Laval has refused to negotiate with them.

Alfa Laval claim that they are creating a better life for people. They claim that their motto is equal pay for equal work, and they claim that the ambition is that 80 % of employees should be permanent employees.
It’s time that Alfa Laval shows that they mean what they say.

Do what you’re talking about, fulfill the strikers demands: employ them on permanent contracts with equal pay for equal work. Do not be content with 80% – give all a proper job!

Alfa Laval needs to be reminded of what they say. We will remind them with your help.
Beginning February 1, when the strike enters its fifth month – we want you to write and call them, all over the world! Therefore, we spread this petition.

Write and call, and please do it to several offices:

http://www.alfalaval.com/contact-us/pages/contact-us.aspx

Alfa Laval on twitter.

Demand that Alfa Laval stops the discrimination against the temporary workers and give them the same pay and the same rights as the permanent workers.

More information :
Of the 800 who work in Pune 600 are metalworkers. Of those only 60 hold permanent contracts; a lousy 10% against the 80% that Alfa Laval claims is their ambition.
Alfa Laval refuses to negotiate with the strikers and their union, RSA, and say that they are in a legal process and that the conflict will be resolved by the labor law system. What they do not say is that they have procrastinated this process from the beginning – and this is common among employers in India. Alfa Laval are trying to bury the issue, not solve it. For example Alfa Laval’s attorney has not appeared on the negotiations in the court. The legal process has delayed the for weeks and months, and unfortunately this works well in India. The Labour Court is still working on cases from the 1950’s! The workers cannot expect to get their rights there, we must struggle with the workers and tell Alfa Laval to fulfill their responsibilities.

The facebook event for the campaign and for the group.

Svenska:
Kampanj till stöd för strejken: ring och mejla.

”Creating better everyday conditions for people. That’s the driving force behind everything we do at Alfa Laval.”

Sluta hyckla, Alfa Laval!
Den första oktober 2013 gick 402 metallarbetare på Alfa Lavals anläggning i Pune, Indien, ut i strejk. De har varit anställda av ett bemanningsföretag och har fått en tredjedel i lön mot vad de fasta får. Alfa Laval har vägrat förhandla med dem.

Alfa Laval hävdar att de skapar ett bättre liv för människor, de hävdar att deras motto skall vara lika lön för lika arbete, och de hävdar att ambitionen är att 80 % av de anställda skall vara fasta.
Så nu säger vi: Det är dags nu!

Gör det ni pratar om, uppfyll de strejkande krav: anställ dem på fasta kontrakt med lika lön för lika arbete! Nöj er inte med 80 % – ge alla fasta jobb!

Alfa Laval behöver bli påminda om vad de säger. Vi ska påminna dem.
Med start den första februari, när strejken går in på sin femte månad – vill vi att alla skriver och ringer till dem, över hela världen! Därför sprider vi det här uppropet.

Skriv och ring, gärna till flera kontor. Lämna meddelande i deras formulär:

http://www.alfalaval.com/contact-us/sweden/Pages/default.aspx

Vi kommer även, och återigen, bege oss till Alfa Lavals huvudkontor i Lund för att framföra våra krav. Vi återkommer med datum.

Mer info:
Av de 800 som jobbar i Pune är 600 metallarbetare på golvet. Av dem är bara 60 fast anställda, usla 10 % mot de 80 % Alfa Laval hävdar är deras ambition.
Alfa Laval vägrar förhandla med de strejkande och deras fack, RSA, och menar att de är inne i en juridisk process och att konflikten ska lösas det arbetsrättsliga systemet. Vad de inte berättar är att de från början har förhalat denna process – och det är vanligt bland indiska arbetsgivare. De försöker begrava frågan där, inte lösa den. Alfa Lavals advokat har inte dykt upp på förhandlingar, man har lämnat in några dokument åt gången, och tyvärr funkar det här bra i Indien. Arbetsdomstolen arbetar fortfarande med fall från 50-talet! Arbetarna kan inte räkna med att få rätt där, vi måste tillsammans med dem ställa krav på Alfa Laval.

thue

Det här är vår tid

2011 är inte över. Proteströrelserna som växte fram, från Tahrir till Puerta del Sol, från Zuccotti park till Taksim, över snart hela världen, har bara börjat. Händelser som tycktes explodera från ingenting men som i verkligheten detonerades av ihärdig underjordisk aktivitet, kommer och går. När staterna slagit ned med full kraft och politikerna gjort vad de kunnat för att likt vampyrer suga livet ur väl valda ledande individer, och upprorens sista eldar slocknat, då har vi sörjt. Men inte längre. Som den gamla devisen säger, sörj inte! Tillbaka till underjorden, fortsätt gräva och förbinda, för vi vet att det här är bara början, 2011 är inte över. Det här är vår tid.

Det här är vår tid därför att den gamla världens tid är över. De förbrukade sin framtid och har inget mer att övervinna så med kannibalisk frenesi skövlas, förgiftas, förtärs och förbränns resterna av en våldtagen jordskorpa och en stympad mänsklighet. Det är omöjligt att blunda för. Trots låga nivåer av den aktivitet som är den här världens enda måttstock – ”tillväxten” – accelererar klimatkollapsen med alarmerande hastighet. Trots ständiga ”stimulanser” och ”avregleringar” fortsätter arbetslöshet och fattigdom att öka. För varje skapat värde förstörs tiofalt. Men ingen av den gamla världens väktare och administratörer vill säga det. De kan inte säga det därför att de inte ser det. Deras värld imploderar och deras panik blir bara mer och mer uppenbar.

Proteströrelserna bär på framtiden. Vi ser den gamla världens smärtsamt absurda dödsryckningar och säger nej till hela kadavret. Inte nej till den ena eller andra av de gamla. Alla måste bort. Från gator och torg hör man ropen, högre och högre, ”verklig demokrati nu!” Den här fasaden de gamla kallar demokrati rämnar när människor fryser, svälter och dör därför att ekonomins ”stabilitet” är viktigare än människor. Demokratin är inte värd pappret den är skriven på så länge den är villkorad på ekonomins imperativ, kapitalets despoti.

Proteströrelsena bär på en ny värld, oförenlig med den gamla. Det märks inte minst när somliga av de gamla som förr drömde om en annan värld – de må kalla sig ”socialister” eller ”vänster” eller ”progressiva” – men idag, när det gamla dör och det nya håller på att födas, talar med lik i sina munnar. Oräkneliga stöts bort från och görs överflödiga för arbetslivet men ändå talas det om ”full sysselsättning.” Arbetets och yrkenas gränser och platser suddas ut, förvandlas till flytande och subjektslösa permanenta tillstånd, ändå talas det om ”trygga” anställningar. Den pågående klimatkollapsen drabbar oss redan nu och har redan nått en gräns som ger allvarliga, bestående konsekvenser, ändå talas det om att satsa på tillväxten som om vi hade decennier på oss.

För proteströrelserna visar sig framtiden i den öppna och nära demokratin, där alla är inbjudna och makten ligger hos de berörda, inte bland eliter och avlägsna ägare. Framtiden visar sig i återtagandet och utnyttjandet av världens överflöd, för behövande och brukande, inte i inhängnandet och spekulerandet. Det är inte bara visioner. Proteströrelserna iscensätter konkret framtidens inbrytning när gator, torg och städer blockeras, ockuperas och omvandlas. Framtiden tar plats och äger rum när de som tidigare stöts ut och relegerats till isolation och maktlöshet attraheras till Händelsernas centrum och återvinner gemenskap och kraft. Det är något helt annat än de gamlas representationer och delegationer, deras förlorade kamp om löner och identiteter. Liv befriat från skuld är befrielse för alla. Liv befriat från löneslaveri är befrielse för alla. Städer befriade från ränteutsugning är befrielse för alla. Kunskap befriat från inhängning är befrielse för alla. Natur befriat från exploatering innebär framtid för alla. Proteströrelserna vet detta. Framtiden tillhör inte den ena eller andra gruppen, oavsett om de definieras ekonomiskt, politiskt, kulturellt, eller etniskt. Framtiden måste tillhöra alla. Ja, även de gamla – makthavare, administratörer, väktare och upprätthållare – har en plats i framtiden, efter att vi brutit och övervunnit deras makt. För framtiden innebär en ny värld och en ny människa.

Det är vad vi kämpar för. Batonger, tårgas, fängelse och tortyr kan inte stoppa oss. Isolationens och hopplöshetens tid är över. Det här är vår tid.

Worker´s Unrest in Automobile plants in India

india-maruti-suzuki-strike-2011-10-13-10-1-12

Worker´s Unrest in Automobile plants in India: Strikes and Occupations at Maruti Suzuki and Bajaj Auto in 2011/12 and 2013
Jörg Nowak

The new plant of India´s biggest car passenger producer Maruti Suzuki was occupied twice in 2011 and saw widescale rioting in July 2012 as workers set the factory on fire – the events got widespread attention but did not lead to a considerable change of labour relations in India.

Before I move on to a closer description of the two strike movements in 2011/12 and 2013, I provide for some impression on the way industrial labour is structured today in India.
During the distribution of the worker´s newspaper Faridabad Mansoor Samachar in the industrial district of Okhla in New Delhi, the workers that take a newspaper are usually asked where they work. In earlier times they gave the name of the company, but now many of them respond with a number: 31, 44 or 142. The vast amount of industrial labour in India is done in supplier companies, while the product, electronic consumer articles or cars, is assembled by a comparatively small number of workers in the plant of the main company. The supplier companies employ between 80 and 100 % contract workers that are sacked again after 6 months. This leads to a permanent change of jobs and so the workers only memorize the number of the factory – the number is sufficient in order to know where they have to go in the industrial cluster. The workers don’t memorize the name of the employer company, because they are an interchangeable force of labor.

Especially the industrial city of Gurgaon south of New Delhi has seen an upswing of factory struggles since 2005. In 2005 workers at Honda factory occupied their plant. In 2007, again, the contract workers at Honda went on strike and in the same year India´s biggest motorcycle producer Hero saw a major strike movement. In 2008 the CEO of the Italian autoparts producer Graziano was killed by workers after a 1-year-long conflict. The background of that conflict was the replacement of permanent by contract workers and the dismissal of unionised workers.

images

Maruti Suzuki is the biggest car passenger procuder in India and was started as a state-run company. But since the mid 2000s it is controlled by the Japanese company Suzuki. The main plant of Maruti is in Gurgaon, too. 20 kilometres further south, in Manesar, Maruti opened a new plant in 2007. There are no settlements apart from a small village and the newly hired workers in the new plant are all aged between 20 and 25. In 2011, 75 % in this factory were contract workers from 60 different contractors, and the wages in that factory are lower than in the mother plant in Gurgaon. The contract workers earned in 2011 about a half (9.000 Rupies, about 100 Euro in a month) of the wage of permanent workers (17.000 Rupies/month). 800 workers were permanent at that time and 2700 were contract workers.

But just there, in this new ,model factory`, a three month-long conflict broke out in 2011. The workers were about to be forced to join the union MUKU that was founded by the management while the independent union MSWU was denied registration by the state. Usually trade unions are only allowed to register if the management approves the registration, Of course, this is against all labour laws, but in general labour law in India is quite good, but is either not implemented, or if it is, then it is circumvented in a myriad number of ways. A saying in India goes “It´s just a piece of paper” and it applies here, too. Plus, only permanent workers can effectively join a trade union – contract workers are fired if they join one.

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In June 2011 the permanent workers were forced to sign up to the yellow union MUKU, and as a response 2000 workers organised an occupation of the factory for two weeks. After an agreement that the independent union MSWU will be able to register, the occupation ended. But, in mid-August the registration was denied again by the administration and on August 29 the management used a method that is well-known in India: The workers are locked out with the help of the police and are only able to enter the factory after they sign an undertaking of ,good conduct` with which they promise not to agitate against the management again. But this was only signed by 20 workers, the others didn’t enter the factory and held an assembly in front of the factory gates. In the meantime, the management recruits about 800 new contract workers in order to keep the production going. Finally, one month later the workers sign the undertaking, and some workers which were dismissed during the conflict are taken back. As workers want to return to work a few days later, only the permanent workers are allowed to enter and around 1.100 contract workers are denied entry. Now the contract workers force the permanent workers to show their solidarity and on the 7th of October the factory is occupied again. At the same day, three other nearby plants of Suzuki are occupied by the workers employed there and eight more auto plants stage solidarity strikes. That was the decisive moment in which permanent and contract workers organized a joint struggle for the second time in the Manesar plant, and in other Suzuki plants workers went on strike out of solidarity. In the occupation at the Manesar plant many of the contract workers that were newly hired during the lockout joined the struggle. While Suzuki Powertrain, the plant where the engines are produced, was occupied, too, the main plant in Gurgaon was affected and had to close down two days after the occupations for some time. One week later, at October 14, 2000 policemen evicted the canteen run by workers, and the workers decided to give up the occupations. But in the four Suzuki plants that were occupied the strike went on for another week until October 21. Finally, the management took back the locked-out contract workers. The conflict seemed to be settled, but a few days later the leaders of the independent MSWU union were forced to accept high severance payments. They were threatened with prison charges and had to leave the factory. That was a heavy blow for many workers, because they put a lot of trust in their union. Resignation spread and many said “If these people trait us, then everyone would trait us.”
That event marked the end of the first period of struggle at Maruti Suzuki. One important change was that the speed of the conveyer belt was reduced after the conflict: Instead of every 45 seconds, now one car was produced every 60 seconds.

In the course of spring 2012 the trade union MSWU got registered, but the negotiations about its demands – wage hikes and the integration of contract workers as permanent staff – saw outright rejection by the management. The mood among workers got worse. On July 18 in 2012 a worker was insulted by a supervisor and subsequently dismissed. Negotiations of the union did not yield any results and violence broke out. The exact circumstances of what happened that day are under dispute, but there are many hints that the escalation was at least provoked by the management. In India, violence initiated by security forces paid by management is a widespread method in order to get rid of organized workers, because subsequently the blame will be put on them. But initiating or provoking violence contains risks for the management as the situation might get out of control. Since 2 pm on that day, 50 policemen were in the factory, but it was only after 6 pm that a fire broke out in the plant. One manager dies in the flames. It was this manager who played an intermediate role between the independent trade union and the management.

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After the incidents of July 18, the factory remained closed for one month, 546 permanent workers and 1800 contract workers were arbitrarily dismissed. In September 2012 wage hikes were introduced, but they widened the gap between permanent and contract workers. In addition, the management announced that it would restrain from using any contract labour in the future. In the weeks after the unrest, police arrested more than 150 workers, of which many have not been in the factory on July 18. They are in jail until the present day without any sentence, they don’t get bail and all are facing murder charges. Protests against the arbitrary arrests are met with violent police crackdowns and with new arrests, many of the prisoners have been tortured. One of the arrested workers got infected with tuberculosis and did not get proper medical help. In the end of October 2013, a banned demonstration in front of the jail was held amidst curfew and subsequently a meeting with the Industries Minister of Haryana state took place. The repression keeps many activists busy so that there is less time for the agitation and joint action in the factories which is the locus where workers can most effectively exert their power.

The results of the conflict are met with diverging views. Many of the dismissed workers think it was good to set a signal despite their individual situation. They think that the uprising spread fear among many CEOs so that labour relations might improve. In fact, many car factories hiked wages in Gurgaon after the conflict in Maruti in 2011 in order to prevent labour unrest. Some labor experts underline that companies use the struggle at Maruti to increase negative sentiment against trade unions. During a recent strike of airline pilots the strikers were labelled as ,labour terrorists´ by management. Another factor are the conditions in the state of Haryana where Gurgaon is located: In Haryana very conservative and patriarchal social relations prevail, leading many young people to a rebellious mindset. They leave the rural areas and go to the factories – their rebellion against honour killings and caste rules about marriage is mixing up with rebellion against harsh factory regimes with a high speed of work and short breaks. In any case, the conflict at Maruti Suzuki made a lot of waves in India, and particularly in the automobile sector.

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As a strike broke out in one of the three plants of India´s second biggest motorcycle producer Bajaj in June 2013 in Pune, many newspapers compared to the conflict at Maruti Suzuki in the preceding year. Fears loomed in the corporate world that industrial violence would be on the agenda again. The area around Pune is another big automobile cluster in India. Many conditions at Bajaj in fact resemble the ones that could be found in the Manesar plant of Maruti. In 2002, Bajaj Auto opened an entirely new factory 15 kilometres north of the main plant in Pune and hired new workers, and closed down the former main plant in Pune in 2007. In the Chakan plant work around 1200 permanent workers and 1000 contract workers. In 2010, the trade union VKKS established itseld there, a pragmatic but leftist trade union. The old plant was dominated by a yellow union for a long time, connected to the right-wing hindu party Shiv Sena. VKKS agreed on an unusual long nine-year contract that was supposed to be renegotiated every three years. The contract contains a yearly wage hike of 8 percent. If the company is good in sales, the wage hikes can rise to up to 12 %. As there were renegotiations for the contract for the first time in March 2013, the trade union raised demands for a wage hike of 25 % and permanent contracts for the contract workers. As there is 10 % inflation in India from 2012 to 2013 and a much higher inflation in simple goods that are most important for workers, like vegetables, a 25 % wage hike is not as extraordinarily as it seems. Plus, in October 2012, a more hidden conflict began at the Chakan plant of Bajaj. After repeated harassment of workers and dismissals of single workers, one shift in the factory started to slow down the production and managed to do that for nine months. The management reclaims that the output in June 2013 would have been only 35 % of the normal output. The strike was followed by almost all the workers but the company managed to hire many new contract workers as scabs in order to go on with the production. 15 strikers were arrested during the strike with the charge that they beat up scabs who wanted to enter the factory. Although the company did not have a proper license to hire these workers, they entered the factory in police vans. The company claimed that it needed these workers for tasks like gardening that don’t require a license. Again, state institutions acted deliberately in favour of capitalists. Rahul Bajaj, the owner of the factory, stems from one of the old bourgeois families that run the country since Gandhi´s time and is closely aligned with the right-wing hindu nationalists of Shiv Sena. Thus, these close political alignments include a smooth functioning of both legal and executive institutions in the favour of Indian capital. Finally, the strike ended after 50 days without a proper result. The company took back 7 out of 22 workers who have been fired before the strike and agreed to start negotiations with the trade union. As the relations of forces in India is much in favour of capital it is not unusual that a strike is led in order to force the company to take up negotiations. So, what could be read as a total defeat, is at least a partial victory due to the standards of labour relations in India.

Even if the strike did not escalate at Bajaj Auto and the results remain somewhat unclear, there are important similarities with the conflict at Maruti-Suzuki: The companies in the auto industry in India saw considerable growth in the last ten years but they still increase the use of contract labour and open new plants with fresh workers – but it is just this mixture intended to provide better conditions for exploitation that lead to labour unrest. Real wages in the auto industry in India dropped about 25 % since the year 2000. In Maruti-Suzuki wages are just 2 % of net sales. Laywer Vikash Barnwal, who represents many of the dismissed Maruti workers in court, emphasises that violent incidents occur every week in Gurgaon. The working class is very much under pressure and the conditions are tough, but in the big picture worker´s struggles experience an upswing. Workers in the informal sector increasingly get organized. The participation in the general strike in February 2013 was the biggest ever in the history of the labour movement: 100 million workers participated, almost 10 % of the total population in India. In Noida close to Delhi, textile workers set their factories on fire at the day of the general strike.

Sources:

http://gurgaonworkersnews.wordpress.com/

http://marutisuzukiworkersunion.wordpress.com/

„Merchants of menace“, Bericht der International Commission for Labor Rights,

http://ntui.org.in/files/reports/Merchants_of_Menace.pdf

People´s Union for Democratic Rights: Driving Force. Labour Struggles and Violation of Rights in Maruti Suzuki India Limited

http://www.pudr.org/?q=content/driving-force-labour-struggles-and-violation-rights-maruti-suzuki-india-limited

Alfa Laval uteblir från rättegång

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Smutsigt och cyniskt, Alfa Laval!

Läs, dela och agera:
Dag 82 – Alfa Laval förhalar.
Idag var det dags för rättegång: den högsta juridiska instansen skulle döma i målet mellan de strejkande och företaget, eftersom Alfa Laval hade överklagat domen 12 november då de förlorade.
Dagen blev ett antiklimax då företagets advokat inte behagade dyka upp i rätten. Tyvärr accepterade rätten Alfa Lavals förhalningstaktik och satte ett nytt datum till 30 december.

De strejkande arbetarna är under stor ekonomisk press. De har inte haft några inkomster på snart tre månader. Att i detta läge förhala den juridiska processen är oerhört cyniskt. De förlorade inkomsterna drabbar arbetarna och deras familjer hårt.

Vi ser gärna att folk delar den här uppdateringen, går in och skriver sina åsikter på Alfa Lavals sida, att ni ringer och skriver till dem, och skriv gärna insändare till tidningarna. På sidan är det bättre att skriva en recension eller under ett av deras många meddelanden om lyckade affärer. Under ”Season’s greetings 2013″ skriver de:
”Creating better everyday conditions for people
That’s the driving force behind everything we do at Alfa Laval.”

Det är att spotta människor i ansiktet.

För att få mer info efterhand: Stöd de strejkande arbetarna på Alfa Laval i Indien

Gothenburg supports Indian strikers

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Statement from the groups arranging the rally:

 

We would like to express our full solidarity and support for the 400 striking workers at the Swedish company Alfa Laval’s factory in Pune, India.

On the 18th of December 2013, we organised a rally in support of the workers’ cause. Around 20 people gathered at Alfa Laval Nordic’s offices in Gothenburg, Sweden. We handed out flyers, and held a speech explaining the situation.

Similar actions have taken place across Sweden, and will continue to do so. We cannot condone the way Alfa Laval has exploited the striking workers. Neither can we accept the use of lockouts and strikebreakers. An injury to one is an injury to all.

We stand at your side. With love and solidarity from Sweden,

Everything for Everyone Gothenburg
Revolutionary Communist Youth Gothenburg
Swedish Anarcho-Syndicalist Youth Federation Gothenburg
Socialist Party Gothenburg
Young Left Gothenburg and Bohuslän

For more information, follow us on facebook and on twitter.

Solidarity with the 400 contract workers

 

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Around 30 people gathered today outside Alfa Lavals industrial complex at Gunnesbo, Lund, in solidarity with the 400 contract workers that are on strike since september 2013 in Pune, India. Due to the strike, all contract workers were dismissed and they sit in front of the factory gate.

When we arrived at the Alfa Lavals main building in Lund we had a discussion with Eva Schiller, PR Manager at Alfa Laval, and Thomas Thureson, chief financial officer, outside the reception and demanded that Alfa Laval accepted the claims of the workers. Thomas Thuresson refused to take responsibility due to the fact that they employ workers through a contractor and therefore can avoid guaranteeing the workers a decent wage. This is of course an attempt to avoid responsibility and exploit insecure and underpaid workers in India.

The struggle continues of course, let´s discuss how we can spread the struggle and do more actions around Sweden and the world together!

One of the worker that have been part of the strike said the following to us earlier this week:

The workers say they feel helpless and they are worn out, given that it is now almost 2 months that they sit in front of the factory gate with no response from the management. Also, the nights are getting colder in Pune and the city saw some heavy rainfalls in the last days. The workers are 24 hours in the tent in front of the factory, most of the time 100 or 200 at the same time. Anuj Kumar, 35, is one of them. He comes, like many workers in the factory, from rural areas around Pune and got a diploma as a wielder from one of the Indian Technological Institutes run by the state.

Kumar has two children and he has to pay rent from his small salary of around 100 Euros per month. He works for Alva Laval since 15 years. He points at the factory and he says ”This is not just a workplace for us, we feel this is our house, our home, because we spent so much time here”. Relatives help out with money, so the family can make a living without a wage during the strike. But this is a situation familiar to Kumar.

Whenever Alfa Laval does not need his work, he is delayed for some time, without prior notice. In this time, he has to find other jobs in other factories and then suddenly they call him again and need his workforce urgently. He says its absurd that sometimes permanent workers that earn triple of his income come to him and ask him for technical details of the work. He feels that his skills and his work experience are not recognized by the company, because he is still in this insecure position, after all these years.

The workers who earn just this small amount of money live in small houses with 1 or 2 rooms. In these districts where they can afford the rent, the water supply is irregular and power cuts of sometimes a few hours a day are normal.

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