India's historic strike, Extract from Death of the Nation, LeftWord Blog

Submitted by admin on Thu, 09/08/2016 - 10:56

 

 

Dear Friends,

(1) Strike.

Last week, as many as 180 million Indian workers went out on strike. It was - by all indications - the largest strike in recorded history. Unsurprisingly, media reports of the strike have been anemic. There is a grudging recognition that this happened, but only to suggest either inconvenience or futility. There was little attempt to understand the essence of this strike and what this means for Indian politics.

In Alternet this week, my column addresses this strike. The last paragraph reads,

  • What the strike says is that India’s workers remain alive to the class struggle. They have not surrendered to Reality. In 1991, when the government decided to open the economy to the turbulent interests of global capital, the workers rebelled. In August 1992, textile workers in Bombay took to the streets in their undergarments – they declared that the new order would leave them in abject poverty. Their symbolic gesture is the current reality.

You can read the entire column here. I did an eleven-minute interview on The Real News Network, which gives a brief assessment of the strike. You can watch that here.

(2) Death of The Nation.

Happy to share with you an extract from The Death of the Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution, which ran today at Alternet - thanks to Jan Frel for this and more. The extract highlights a conversation I had with one of Lebanon's finest writers, Sahar Mandour (whose book - 32 - is now available in an English translation). Here are some lines from Sahar that I quote, and which offer a sense of the general mood of the book:

  • Yesterday was love. Yesterday was also the break-up. And today is but one moment in a succession of stories which were born and grew out of another point in time, and which will continue on into other points in time....For hope, like despair, is but a passing emotion in the mood of human life.

It suggests the sensibility of intellectuals towards the Arab Spring, now the Arab Civil War. You can read the extract here. The book is available in India from LeftWord and in the rest of the world from the University of California Press.

(3) LeftWord Books blog.

Finally, please visit the LeftWord Books blog - where the recent post is an essay by Vidya Bhushan Rawat on the poet S. Chandramohan. We've also had posts by Meera Velayudhan and by A. Mangai.

Coming up on Friday, a very special essay by Brinda Karat on Dalits and the Communist movement. I'll send out a note when it is published.

Until then, warmly,
Vijay.