General strike in retrospecttext_fields
The nationwide strike on Monday and Tuesday, called by almost all major trade unions except the pro-BJP BMS, has sparked several new kinds of debate. One strike a year has long been practised as a ritual by trade unions. Although dubbed national shutdown, it substantially affects daily lives only in Kerala and West Bengal. It also has nationwide repercussions in certain sectors, such as banking, insurance, and coal. In Kerala, such general strikes take almost the form of a complete shutdown. This time it caused more harships to the people, since it was for two consecutive days. Naturally, that produced its share of adverse public reactions. While the CPM leadership came out in full support of the strike, Opposition leader V.D. Satheesan's counter to that has intensified the debate.
There is a section of people who take an apolitical view that rejects all forms of strikes. They are people who call on people to shut their mouth and work. , a stance which democratic advocates can hardly endorse. Protests and strikes are part of democracy. Our very national existence took birth through resistance and strikes of different form. Almost all the struggles have been instrumental in enriching and developing democracy. Therefore, the very notion that strikes by themselves are an obscenity is a negation of our national heritage and history. It is also important that the strikes should be democratic. They are meant to raise awareness among and organize people and correct governments on issues that are considered to be of serious importance. It is ultimately for the people.
That being so, how can it be accepted when the strike turn anti-people and take on a violent turn? One of the main reasons for the rise in public sentiment against the strike in recent days is the violence in many places. Stopping a vehicle carrying family and deflating its tyres, beating the driver and such actions took place in several places.. Not only that they happened, but some leaders even spoke justifying them. The leaders' justification is that the strike was announced six months ago and has been widely publicized. However long and early be the notice served, those who do not want to take part in it have the right to keep away. Attacking not only those who go to work on the day of the strike, but also those who travel, is a highly uncivilized and undemocratic act. And justifying it is even more dangerous. It does not help when that those who oppose the atrocities in the name of strike are labelled as right-wing and apolitical. It is up to the labour union leaders to introspect on why the people develop contempt for trade unions, service organizations and their strikes, and why they are having to resort to violence to make strikes a success. The anti-labor attitudes and anti-people policies of the governments must be resisted, but that cannot be achieved by incurring the wrath of the people.