Sunday, 22 July 2012

Rebel Indian workers torch factory

EXPLOITED workers in India have dramatically risen up and torched a car factory, leaving one boss dead.

The rebellion took place on Wednesday July 18 at the Maruti Suzuki plant in Manesar, which is now closed and in lockdown as the ruling elite in India, Japan and beyond reels from the shock.

Firstpost website reports: "A huge mob gathered outside the company’s gates in the evening at around 6 p.m. and torched the security office and the fire safety room at Gate no 2. Security guards of Maruti, who did not want to be named, say that there were at least 500 persons in the mob that set fire to the structures."

Writes one Indian commentator, R Jagannathan: "After caste wars, gender wars, regional wars and religious wars, one can now add the return of class warfare to the overflowing Indian cup of social tensions.

"In the land of a 'million mutinies', the violence at Maruti’s Manesar plant exhibits all the symptoms of class conflict. Even though attempts have been made to suggest that a casteist remark by a supervisor might have triggered the violence, this can only be a proximate excuse for the violence.

"All reports, in fact, suggest that the attack on supervisors and management staff was pre-planned, with workers stockpiling car parts to be used as weapons well in advance.

"Additional proof comes from a statement by Maruti’s CEO and Managing Director Shinzo Nakanishi, who clearly said that the violence was unlikely to have been the work of any outside force. Asked to explain the reasons for the violence, Nakanishi told The Times of India: 'We have to wait for the police investigations to get over, though I do not see any shadow of an outside influence this time'.

"It is significant that even as the government is looking for a Naxal link to the Maruti incident – and one need not be surprised if there is one, for the sheer savagery of the targeted violence suggests premeditation – Nakanishi did not offer this as an alibi.

"He probably suspects that there are broader reasons for the worker angst.

"Actually, there is. It’s called Speedy Growth. Whenever economies grow at very fast speeds – as the Indian economy has been doing between 1991 and 2011, and more recently during 2003-2011 –  inequality widens.

"It has widened in rural areas, which is why we have seen the rise of Naxalism, which needs a widely perceived sense of injustice to mobilise people against the state and the better off.

"Now, it is the turn or urban India to face the wrath of even the traditionally better off sections among workers. The average full-time Maruti worker gets around Rs 17,000 a month, but sees people around him who earn five times as much."