Today marks the beginning of a two- day general strike in which the working class of the whole of India will rise with one voice to declare their dissatisfaction at the horrible conditions being imposed upon them by the crisis of capitalism. This unprecedented action should not be seen as a one off event or as simply a demonstration. Rather, it is indicative of the pressure that has been building up within Indian society over the last period and is symptomatic of the on-going fight within the trade unions to force the leadership to come up with a fighting solution to the problems which are faced by the workers on a day to day basis.

On December 16, 2012 Jyoti Singh Panday along with a male friend boarded a bus in South Delhi. When Jyoti and her friend boarded the bus, they expected to be transported to their destination. They could not have known of the horror that was awaiting them. The victim, Jyoti, was gang raped and brutally tortured by a group of six men in the bus. Jyoti and her friend were then thrown out of the moving bus and she was taken to hospital in a critical condition. She was later flown to Singapore for better treatment but unfortunately she died there on December 29.

The electricity shutdown that immersed almost half of India into darkness and brought life to a standstill exposed the stark realities of “shining India” and the fragile nature of its so-called economic miracle that has been portrayed to the world. This also lays bare the contrast between the high growth rates of the market economy in the former colonial countries and the debilitated conditions of the social and physical infrastructures in these societies.

After being coerced for decades in communal frenzy, sectarian violence, regional conflicts, caste prejudices, religious bigotry, nationalist chauvinism, regional antagonisms, democratic deception and cricket hysteria by the ruling classes and their harlot media, the Indian proletariat is awakening to the new epoch that is dawning across the planet. The 24-hour general strike that took place on 28th February is a turning point in the social and political evolution of present day India.

The struggle of the Power Loom workers in Ludhiana, Punjab has escalated with the workers taking the step of starting an indefinite Gherao (encirclement) of the local Labour Offices in order to get the State government to force the employers to cede to their demands. This marks a stepping up of the struggle and shows a firm willingness on the part of the workers to fight until their demands are met.

On 3rd October, striking Power Loom workers from various areas of Ludhiana gathered to demonstrate in front of the Labour Department offices for a second time to increase the pressure on local officials to get their demands met. This was the 12th day of the workers’ struggle to get a pay increase to offset the recent rises in inflation and to have labour laws enforced that are part of the Indian constitution. These have yet to be accepted by the employers who are trying their best in order to ignore the plight of the workers.

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