Last Wednesday (September 2) 150 million workers in India staged a 24-hour General Strike. You’d be forgiven for missing it, as the British media certainly didn’t seem all that keen on reporting on this momentous display of working-class solidarity. After-all, coverage of this event might potentially encourage workers here in Britain to organise in the same manner.
India, like Britain, is ruled by an iron-fisted leader, whose political aspirations are dictated by the needs and demands of the super-rich. Hence the inspiring vision of industrial action struck against the heart of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government’s pro-business orientation.
Last year the rabidly conservative BJP leader, Narendra Modi, assumed power, signifying a discomforting right-wing upsurge in India’s political system. But earlier this year, popular anger at the BJP’s blatant disregard for normal workers led to their resounding defeat in Assembly election in Delhi, which saw the recently formed anti-corruption AAP (Aam Adami Party or Common Man Party) win 67 of the 70 available seats.
Progressive changes are evidently afoot in India. The same is true in Britain with Jeremy Corbyn, a proud socialist with strong roots in the trade union movement, soon to become the new leader of the Labour Party.
This brings me in no uncertain terms to local Labour legend Keith Vaz, whose commitment to unions let alone socialism is more than a little uncertain. I say this because just prior to India’s 2014 general election he happily bestowed his support upon the BJP and their nationalist right-wing leaders.
Then when the BJP came to power, Vaz joined in with the celebrations organised by the BJP and the Indian Diaspora for Narendra Modi’s auspicious victory against the traditional political parties of the Indian working-class.
But the real celebrations for enthused British workers will begin if/when Corbyn becomes the new leader of the Labour Party. But with Corbyn’s right-wing credentials being nonexistent, the question remains, what will Vaz make of his victory? Will it be marked by revelry with his revived Party, or a time for commiseration with fellow careerists?
This letter was emailed to the Leicester Mercury mailbox on 6th September.