‘CONCENT’ – a Political Tool to Manufacture Consent for Anti-worker policies of the BJP Govt
‘CONCENT’, the so-called ‘Confederation of Central Trade Unions’, which is set to function from the BMS office, is nothing but a political instrument formed in a desperate attempt to manufacture consent to the anti-worker policies of the BJP led government at the centre.
It is yet another attempt to disrupt the unity of the working class and the joint trade union movement, which the BMS deserted and got isolated after BJP, the political wing of the RSS, to which the BMS is affiliated, came to power at the centre in 2014.
The discontent and anger of the working class was reflected in the recent period in the huge participation of workers from all over the country and from all sectors in the joint trade union ‘mahapadav’ in November 2017 and in the sectoral joint struggles that have been taking place in almost all sectors. Lakhs of workers, peasants and agricultural workers participated in the ‘Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Rally’ and vociferously demanded reversal of the neoliberal policies pursued by the BJP led Modi government. Tens of thousands of peasants participated in the Kisan Mukti March to the national capital, led by the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, comprising over 200 peasant organisations across the country. The preparations for the two days’ joint trade union country wide general strike on January 8-9, 2019 are in full swing. The workers are all set to stage another historic general strike against the anti-worker policies, the 18th after the advent of these policies in our country.
It is clear that not only the workers but also all sections of toiling people are angry at their deteriorating conditions. Employment, price rise and agrarian distress are major issues troubling the people. They want this BJP government, which has been doggedly pursuing the anti-people policies to go.
It is in this background that the BMS affiliated to the RSS, of which the BJP is the political arm, wants to bail out the Modi government by creating confusion among the workers. Already such attempts are going on in various sectors. Recently, it formed a so-called ‘alliance of non political central trade unions’ by bringing together the breakaway groups and factions of a couple of central trade unions. A meeting of representatives of BMS, NFITU and the breakaway groups of INTUC and TUCC was held at BMS office on December 8 in which this so-called confederation was formed. With the incumbent BMS president as chairman, this will function from the BMS office. They will draft a charter of demands, hold a ‘national conclave’ on December 31 and present the demands to the ‘group of ministers’ immediately for negotiations. Thus, this platform is claimed to give ‘solutions to the issues related to all Indian workers’.
It is to be recalled that BMS was part of the joint trade union movement which included all the central trade unions, since 2009. It was a party in drafting the common charter of demands of the joint trade union movement. It was part of the joint national conventions of workers held between 2009 and 2015 which gave unanimous calls for campaigns and struggles including jail bharo programmes and strikes. It participated in the two days’ strike in February 2013.
It had no problem in joining the joint trade union movement and participating in struggles on common demands as long as the Congress led UPA government was in power. But its discomfiture started when the BJP led government came to power in 2014. Even when it became clear that the BJP led Modi government was pursuing the same anti-worker policies as the Congress led UPA government, it tried to postpone joint calls by the central trade unions. Though it participated in the joint national convention of workers in May 2015, it backstabbed the joint trade union movement and withdrew from the country wide general strike on September 2, 2015. This was done just a few days before the strike, after discussions with the ‘group of ministers’. Even when the government made no concrete assurance on any of the demands and all the other central trade unions decided to go on strike as decided earlier, the BMS announced that the ‘government was positive to the demands of trade unions’ and withdrew from the strike. Since then, it has deserted the joint trade union movement. Obviously this was under instructions of its ‘political bosses’. Before the countrywide general strike on September 2, 2016, the same ‘group of ministers’ constituted by the BJP government invited the BMS, which has not given any call for the strike and staged a show of having discussions; the government did not call the other central trade unions which called for the strike, for discussions.
Of course, the working class of the country gave a fitting reply to its deceptive ploys, by rejecting its arguments. Both the strikes saw unprecedented participation of workers. In several states, even the workers belonging to the BMS unions, joined the strikes. It is to be noted that BMS is now again resorting to a similar exercise of submitting a charter of demands to the same group of ministers, when the working class of the country is in the midst of serious preparations for the two days’ strike against the arrogance of the BJP government in pursuing the policies detrimental to the interests not only of the workers, but also of all sections of common people and against the interests of the nation.
People of the country are today are not only angry against the neoliberal policies of the BJP government. They are also disgusted with its open support to the communal agenda of the RSS and the damage it is doing to the secular fabric of our society and harmonious coexistence of people belonging to different religions, castes, languages, cultures etc. They are restless against the growing authoritarian tendencies and its attempts to suppress all resistance and opposition. It is significant that the slogan repeatedly heard in the peasants rally was ‘Ayodhya nahin, karz mafi chahiye’. The poor peasants, unable to sell their old cows and forced to feed them spending at least Rs 3000 per month per cow, are facing the brunt of the affect of ‘gau raksha’ imposed by ‘gau rakshak’ gangs.
In the wake of such growing discontent, the RSS obviously felt it necessary to buttress its communal divisive machinations with such dubious exercises to divide the workers, disrupt their unity and weaken the intensifying struggles against neoliberal policies of the BJP led government. But the RSS promoted ill designed “CONCENT” to confuse working people and disrupt the united movement must not and will not succeed. The working class will surely defeat all such machinations by yet another unprecedented country wide general strike on January 8-9, 2019.