Archive for category: Uprising
The United States has reached a severe crisis point and the next few months will determine how we address it. The COVID-19 pandemic is raging across the country and some areas are struggling to provide enough hospital beds and staff to care for people. The recession is deepening as unemployment benefits and the moratorium on evictions run out. Yet, members of Congress cannot even agree to pass a weak version of the CARES Act they passed last March when the situation was less serious.
This is our moment. This is the time to make demands that the government take action to address the people’s needs. Even the most ‘progressive’ members in Congress have shown they are unwilling to do more than talk about the crisis.
The post The Solutions Are Obvious, But It Will Take A Revolution To Win Them appeared first on PopularResistance.Org.
It should not be considered radical or extremist to oppose mass murder for profit and power.
It should not be considered radical or extremist to oppose the globe-spanning power alliance that is perpetrating most of that mass murder on the world stage today.
It should not be considered radical or extremist to oppose the existence of secretive government agencies which have extensive histories of committing horrific crimes.
It should not be considered radical or extremist to say that everyone ought to have a basic standard of living instead of being deprived of food, shelter and medicine if they have the wrong imaginary numbers in their bank account.
The post In An Insane World, Revolution Is The Moderate Position appeared first on PopularResistance.Org.
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On November 26, the biggest one-day general strike in the world happened in India where over 200 million workers paralyzed the country and refused to work. Supported by 10 central trade unions and over 250 farmers organizations, the strike led to a near total shutdown in multiple Indian states.
The strike was bolstered by mass actions taken by farmers across the country, 300,000 of whom marched on New Delhi and shut down the streets, fighting for the repeal of three pro-corporate farming bills that passed Parliament earlier this fall.
Tomorrow, Tuesday December 8, Indian farmers plan to strike again. Since November 26, thousands of farmers have occupied several critical borders of Delhi, refusing to leave until the government repeals the three new laws. After the failure of the fifth round of talks, farmers unions have put out a call to shut down the country and escalate the pressure on Delhi. This upcoming strike has been supported by a coalition of opposition parties, ranging from the Congress to Aam Aadmi Party and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, all who see BJP as a threat to their own power. The Left Front, which controls some of the biggest trade unions, has also announced their support for the strike and will be holding demonstrations tomorrow. While the strike will be large, it is limited to farmers unions and a few other sectors and participation is not expected to be as high as it was on November 26th.
The strike has also been endorsed by the ten largest trade unions in the country. Workers in commercial transportation and banking have announced work stoppages and solidarity actions. Public transportation in Delhi, where much of the fire is currently being concentrated, is also likely to take a hit as a sector of transit workers have announced that they’re going on strike.
In order for farmers and workers to win their demands and deal an effective blow to the Modi government, it is essential that the working class enter the scene more actively and force an indefinite strike. Organized workers in strategic sectors, such as transportation, mining, banking, etc., need to once again go on a coordinated strike, bringing the whole country to a standstill. Worker demands including halting the privatization of public services, a more coherent Covid-19 response, and stimulus money and free meals for needy families across the country need to be met. As Modi ramps up nationalist rhetoric and turns a blind eye to violence against minorities — in effect condoning it — while continuing to openly support the interest of capitalists, Indian workers must fight, knowing that the state is not on their side and the only way to affect change is to shut the economy down.
Over the last two weeks, farmers have continued their pressure on the Modi government, refusing to concede their demands as they occupy key borders and roads leading up to the country’s capital. They have refused to accept the empty words offered by Modi and his cronies, and have pledged to continue this pressure until the government rolls back the new agricultural laws. To escalate this pressure, to win the demands not only of the farmers, but much needed relief for all the working and toiling masses, it is imperative that the working masses actively enter the scene with their tools of strikes and pickets and push for an indefinite general strike. Workers need to go beyond the Stalinist trade union leaderships, who continue to act as a conservative force and call for single-day strikes so workers can let off steam, but are unable to force the hand of the state and score real victories.
The current protests by farmers against the Modi regime have been one of the most powerful movements against the Modi regime. The strike on December 8 is the second general strike in India in two weeks, indicating a movement among the worker and peasant masses of a break with the Modi regime. To not only deal it a definitive blow, but also realise their own power, it is imperative that workers and peasants fight together, using the advantages of their strategic position.
Last year a wave of militant protests spread across North Africa and West Asia, in a sustained, historic series of popular struggles. Emma Wilde Botta reviews “A Region in Revolt: Mapping the Recent Uprisings in North Africa and West Asia” edited by Jade Saab.
Riot officers fire teargas and charge protesters in one incident after fireworks launched at their lines
The French government’s attempts to calm growing public fury over new legislation deemed a danger to civil liberties was challenged with a new wave of protests across the country on Saturday.
A largely peaceful march against the contested global security law and police violence in Paris degenerated after hooded and black-clad casseurs – smashers – disrupted the demonstration for the second weekend in a row. Clusters of hooded youths set fire to vehicles, smashed shop windows and hurled stones and Molotov cocktails at police, who responded with water cannons and tear gas.
Farmers sit at the Singhu border in New Delhi on December 1, 2020, to protest against agriculture reform laws. | Vipin Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
India says its new laws will modernize agriculture. Farmers say it will cause their ruin.
More than 200,000 Indian farmers and their supporters have occupied the streets of New Delhi for days in protest against three new agriculture reform laws, blocking major highways into the capital city and vowing to remain camped there until the laws are repealed.
The legislation, enacted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in late September, aims to deregulate India’s agricultural industry in a move the government says will both provide farmers with more autonomy over choosing prices and make the agricultural sector more efficient.
Under the new policies, farmers will now sell goods and make contracts with independent buyers outside of government-sanctioned marketplaces, which have long served as the primary locations for farmers to do business. Modi and members of his party believe these reforms will help India modernize and improve its farming industry, which will mean greater freedom and prosperity for farmers.
A watershed moment in the history of Indian agriculture! Congratulations to our hardworking farmers on the passage of key bills in Parliament, which will ensure a complete transformation of the agriculture sector as well as empower crores of farmers.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 20, 2020
But the protesting farmers aren’t convinced.
Although the government has said it will not drop minimum support prices for essential crops like grain, which the Indian government has set and guaranteed for decades, the farmers are concerned they will disappear. Without them, the farmers believe they will be at the mercy of large corporations that will pay extremely low prices for essential crops, plunging them into debt and financial ruin.
“Farmers have so much passion because they know that these three laws are like death warrants for them,” Abhimanyu Kohar, coordinator of the National Farmer’s Alliance, a federation of more than 180 nonpolitical farm organizations across India, told me in an interview. “Our farmers are doing this movement for our future, for our very survival.”
Partha Sarkar/Xinhua via Getty Images
Indian farmers sit at the border between New Delhi and Haryana state, India, on December 1, 2020.
The distressed state of farmers in India is cause for concern. A 2018 study by India’s National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development found that more than half of farmers in India are in debt. More than 20,000 farmers in the country died by suicide from 2018 to 2019, and though there is considerable debate, several studies suggest that farmers’ indebtedness has been a major factor.
In comments made November 30 from the banks of India’s sacred Ganges River, Modi sought to reassure farmers that the new laws would benefit them. “These reforms have not only served to unshackle our farmers but also have given them new rights and opportunities,” Modi said.
Ritesh Shukla/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks at Bhaisasur Ghat on the banks of the Ganges River as he attends the Dev Dipawali festival in Varanasi on November 30, 2020.
Modi has blamed India’s opposition parties, which have been speaking out strongly against the bills, for agitating the farmers by spreading rumors.
“I know that decades of falsehood do put apprehensions in the minds of farmers, I want to say this from the bank of Mother Ganga — we are not working with the intention of deceiving. Our intentions are as holy as the water of the river Ganga,” Modi said.
The farmers, who are mostly from the nearby Punjab and Haryana regions, began marching to New Delhi by the thousands in tractors and cars on November 26 to demand the prime minister repeal the laws. They were met by large numbers of police in riot gear, who used tear gas, water canons, and batons to keep the protesters at the border of New Delhi and Haryana state.
Protest against Farm Laws in India. Water canons used against farmers in Haryana India pic.twitter.com/446hbrPBhJ
— News Kashmir 24/7 (@newskashmir24) November 26, 2020
Protests restarted November 27, but following the clashes, authorities allowed the farmers to enter New Delhi and peacefully assemble at an approved location later that evening.
Some of the iconic pictures from the organic and massive protests led by Farmers in India today. Even though the central government tried everything to scare them off, the Farmers bravely faced it to register their opposition to the pro-corporate, Farm Bills. pic.twitter.com/04z6jG8e0n
— Kawalpreet Kaur (@kawalpreetdu) November 27, 2020
A delegation of farmers held talks on December 1 with BJP officials, including Minister of Agriculture Narendra Singh Tomar, but the negotiations were unsuccessful.
“The government did not agree to our points and rejected our demands outright,” Chanda Singh, a member of the farmers’ delegation, told Al Jazeera, referring to the farmers’ insistence that the three laws be repealed. “We will continue our protest unless our demands are met,” Singh said.
Tomar, however, appeared to have a more favorable view of the talks, telling Indian news agency ANI that the meeting went well. Another round of talks with a greater number of farmers is scheduled for December 3.
Whether those talks will appease the concerns of the farmers, though, remains to be seen.
“In Western countries agriculture is a source of business, but in India, agriculture is a source of livelihood,” Kohar, the National Farmer’s Alliance coordinator, told me. “In India, crops support their living.”
Some experts say the laws are “a necessary tough call,” but farmers aren’t convinced
Agriculture plays a crucial role in the Indian economy, as nearly 60 percent of India’s 1.3 billion people depend on farming for their livelihoods. But farming is also incredibly unproductive, as the sector accounts for only about 15 percent of India’s GDP.
By allowing farmers to sell to whomever they want, the government hopes to attract private business to agriculture, which will benefit some farmers.
“It’s a necessary tough call,” said Sadanand Dhume, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and an expert on South Asia. “This should’ve been done 20 years ago. It’s a small part of a much larger and much more complex solution to a problem.”
The problem, Dhume explained, is that there are simply too many farmers in India. He and others have argued that the country should make a similar transition away from farming to manufacturing, like China did.
But so far, India has not been able to generate the kind of manufacturing growth needed to support millions of farmers in their transition to new work. Manufacturing accounted for only about 17 percent of India’s GDP in 2020.
As Dhume said, “If the economy were creating jobs, then there wouldn’t be as much anxiety. In India, because job creation has been so weak, the thought of losing the guarantee is unsettling for farmers.”
Part of the farmers’ fear is also due to the urgency of the current moment, when the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has made farmers even more alarmed. The Indian economy shrank 7.5 percent from July to September compared with the same period in 2019. A June survey by the All India Manufacturers Organization found that more than a third of small- and medium-sized businesses were making plans to close, despite receiving aid from the government.
Mayank Makhija/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Farmers rest inside a tractor trolley on December 1, 2020, near a roadblock at the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh state border in Ghazipur, India.
The farmers, who have brought enough supplies with them to last for at least six months, are determined to stay until Modi’s government repeals the new farm bills and enshrines the minimum support price into law, among other demands.
“We want everything in writing,” Kohar said.
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On Thursday, some 200 million workers held a one day general strike in India. This massive day of action was called by 10 trade unions and over 250 farmers organizations and was accompanied by massive protests and a near total shutdown of some Indian states. According to the call put out by unions, the general strike was organized against “the anti-people, anti-worker, anti-national and destructive policies of the BJP government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”
Their demands included:
- The withdrawal of all “anti-farmer laws and anti-worker labour codes”
- The payment of 7,500 rupees in the accounts of each non-tax paying family
- Monthly supply of 10 kg of food to needy families
- The expansion of the MGNREGS (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act of 2005) to include 200 workdays each year, higher wages, and the Act’s extension to urban industries
- Stop the “privatisation of the public sector, including the financial sector, and stop corporatisation of government-run manufacturing and service entities like railways, ordnance factories, ports, etc.”
- The withdrawal of the “draconian forced premature retirement of government and PSU (public sector) employees”
- Pensions for all, the scrapping of the National Pension System and the reimposition of the earlier pension plan with amendments
Workers in nearly all of India’s major industries — including steel, coal, telecommunications, engineering, transportation, ports, and banking — joined the strike. Students, domestic workers, taxi drivers, and other sectors also participated in the nationwide day of action.
In addition to the demands of the nationwide strike, certain sectors made industry-specific demands to fight back against the government’s attacks to their industries that affect the entire working class in India. For example, bank employees are fighting against bank privatization, outsourcing, and for a reduction in service charges and action against big corporate defaults.
Other industries framed their demands in the context of the government’s appalling response to the pandemic and economic crisis hitting India. As the Bombay University and College Teachers’ Union’s statement stated:
This strike is against the devastating health and economic crisis unleashed by COVID-19 and the lockdown on the working people of the country. This has been further aggravated by a series of anti-people legislations on agriculture and the labour code enacted by the central government. Along with these measures, the National Education Policy (NEP) imposed on the nation during the pandemic will further cause irreparable harm to the equity of and access to education.
The general strike occurred in the context of the devastation brought about by the coronavirus pandemic in India. India has more than 9.2 million people infected with Covid-19, the second highest count in the world. Since the pandemic began, nearly 135,000 have died, according to official data. It is likely the numbers are much higher. Added to this are the millions of people who have lost income and who now face increased poverty and hunger, in a country where even before the pandemic 50 percent of all children suffered malnourishment.
The pandemic has spread from major cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, and other urban centers to rural areas where public health care is scarce or non-existent. The Modi government has handled the pandemic by prioritizing the profits of big business and protecting the fortunes of billionaires over protecting the lives and livelihoods of workers.
To stand up against these attacks — many of which began even before the pandemic — farmers and rural workers have been protesting for several months. They joined the national strike this week, staging actions across the country. Small farmers from three major agriculture-based states in India marched all the way to Delhi to protest laws passed by Modi’s government that would allow for larger corporate freedom and industrial farming. They were met with tear gas and brutal repression by the police upon entering Delhi.
The nationalist and right-wing government has used the pandemic to intensify its persecution of Muslims and migrant workers. In New Delhi in April, migrant workers returning home after being stranded by the nation-wide lockdown were brutally hosed down with bleach used to disinfect buses.
Modi has also escalated his nationalist rhetoric, especially against China, in an effort to capitalize on the trade war between the U.S. and China and deepen its strategic and military cooperation with the United States.
In the midst of the misery created by decades of neoliberalism and exacerbated by the pandemic, union leaders called the strike to allow workers to express discontent against the government. This one day strike demonstrated the anger of the working class and unity of farmers, workers and students. However, a one day general strike is not enough to impose all of the ambitious demands put forward by workers and farmers. The working class of India must fight to expand the strike, against the Stalinist-led union leaders of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) and the All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), who try to reign in the anger of the working class with merely symbolic demonstrations.
Without a doubt, this massive coordinated action shows the great potential for unity in action of the Indian working class and farmers. It serves as an inspiration for workers all over the world to use one of our greatest tools against the capitalists: the strike.
This weekend, ten thousand people took to the streets in Guatemala to protest the President and Congress over a proposed budget, the largest in its history, that cuts funds for health care and education as poverty rises, and provides slush funds to politicians and governments. In Colombia, the people held a national strike to protest their violent, right-wing government. In Peru, protests against a right-wing power grab have ousted one appointed president and people are demanding a new government and constitution.
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