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From The Socialist newspaper, 16 January 2019

India: biggest general strike ever

CWI members including Seattle councillor Kshama Sawant, visiting from the US, take part in the Indian strike, photo Calvin Priest

CWI members including Seattle councillor Kshama Sawant, visiting from the US, take part in the Indian strike, photo Calvin Priest   (Click to enlarge)

New Socialist Alternative (CWI India)

Why did 200 million workers strike on 8-9 January?

The International Labour Organisation says 18.3 million Indians were unemployed in 2017. 1.3 million young people become unemployed every month. In March 2018, 28 million people applied for 90,000 railway jobs.

India has one of the world's highest suicide rates for youth aged 15 to 29. In 2016, 9,474 students died by suicide - almost 26 every day. Over 75,000 students have died by suicide in India over the 10 years up to 2016.

India's capitalist class has failed to bring an end to the brutal and deeply entrenched caste system. 2,920 'communal incidents' were reported over four years - 389 were killed and 8,890 injured.

They have not only let loose their goons to lynch, kill and terrorise Muslims, Dalits and other oppressed minorities, but even create an aura of great achievements and in that way polarise society on communal and sectarian lines.

The number of millionaires increased by 50,000 2013-2014. A recent report said there could be almost a million millionaires by 2023.

Rural India, home to 66% of the population, still languishes in poverty. The highest paid member of three-quarters of rural households earns just 5,000 rupees (54) a month.

For more than two years, no concrete steps have been taken to implement a promised 164 minimum wage. We demand a living minimum wage of 25,000 rupees.

Recently, more than 300,000 farmers marched against Modi's failure to provide much-needed financial compensation, the total write-off of farm loans, minimum price for agricultural produce plus cheap and affordable credit.

'Lesser evilism'

The strike is raising hope that the hated Modi premiership may come to an end in this year's elections.

But communist parties and others are yet again advocating the disastrous policy of 'lesser evilism', and promoting a congress-led coalition as an alternative to the right-wing, authoritarian and communal Modi.

Capitalism has failed to solve problems of poverty, illiteracy, squalor, disease, unemployment, landlessness, housing and climate change. It continues discrimination by caste, class, gender, sexuality and national identity.

Our members distributed thousands of leaflets (and ran out), in English and Kannada, on the days of the general strike.

This strike can help build an independent working-class-led socialist alternative, allying with all the oppressed sections of society.

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Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 16 January 2019:

What we think

May facing Brexit vote catastrophe

Socialist Party news and analysis

After Grenfell, thousands still in high-rise firetrap blocks

Universal Credit: robbing the working class

30% of English secondaries in deficit

Them & Us

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

'Tories out' demo

A key task - strengthen Tamil Solidarity campaign

Council cuts

Glasgow: huge turnout to fight closure of Whitehill pool

Surrey: save our children's centres

Caerphilly: right-wing Islwyn Labour councillors fight to impose cuts

Nothing to declare? Dodgy councillors hide vested interests

North Tyneside: march to save our footbridge

Socialist history

The 1979 'Winter of Discontent'

International socialist news and analysis

USA: federal workers without pay - but immediate mass action can end shutdown

India: biggest general strike ever

France: union-led action and assemblies can defeat Macron

Mexico: police silence on horrific attack on CWI member

Workplace news and analysis

Unions must fight and demand nationalisation to save thousands of car industry jobs

Hundreds join Manc RMT picket line in solidarity after far-right attack

UCU: Vote Yes and Yes in the higher education pay and equality ballot

Re-elect Chris Baugh for AGS


Sorry to Bother You: "Socialist film Botox that made me feel young again"

Brexit: The Uncivil War - an interesting but inaccurate portrayal of EU referendum

The Socialist Inbox


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