Today, as dawn breaks, over a hundred million - perhaps as many as 150 million - Indian workers will be on strike. What is this strike about? It is for workplace democracy and against the neo-liberal policy slate which is eviscerating their ability to live. This is a joint trade union strike, part of a wave that began in 2008. The message to the Indian bosses is loud and clear: workers are not subordinate, prone to the policies of the Washington Consensus.
In Alternet, I have a speculative essay - indebted to Fanon - which starts with the question of colonial backwardness and ends with an exploration of the frustration that runs in a straight line from the slums of our planet to the heart of humanity.
Fanon asks the 'enlightened observer' to take note 'of the existence of a kind of burnt-down house after the fire has been put out, which still threatens to burst into flames again’.
The essay runs from Fanon to the burkini ban to the slums of Athens and Ferguson, to the Movement for Black Lives, to the Indian workers on strike and finally, to the Chilean student above - who refuses to be silent. You can read the essay here.
Paired to this essay is my report for Frontline from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where an underreported riot broke out last month. It came after another shooting to death by the police of a black man. The first question of my report - What is happening in America? - is an echo of the writings of James Baldwin, which is why I turn to him, to the activists of Milwaukee and to my friend Bakari Kitwana for wisdom. What happens to a civilization when the first and perhaps only link between the state and its people is the police? Where are the other institutions of the state, those that are to help engender a better life for the people? This is a question that the chief of police in Milwaukee has asked, and this is what the Movement for Black Lives has asked in its evolution to a major political force in the United States. The report can be read here.
Solidarity with the strikers in India. If you'd like to know more about the strike, I recommend this short video from NewsClick.