Direct Action: Bangladesh Style!

...Would you Rather Express your Anger Through the Ballot Box?

Authors Note: I put this together at the end of last year/start of this year as a brief summary of the revolt in Bangladesh over the past few years. Whilst this blog does not normally cover international issues, i think it is of local interest given the proportion of our neighbours in Whitechapel who have ties to Bangladesh. More detailed coverage and analysis can be found HERE.

The last year [2009] has seen increasing levels of class warfare from our comrades in Bangladesh. Since the dawn of the financial crisis, there has been an increasingly militant approach to settling labour disputes in the sweatshops of Bangladesh’s Ready-Made Garment (RMG) Industry. With bosses regularly not paying workers in part or full, the predominantly female RMG workforce has taken to mass strikes, destroying factory equipment, burning down factories and clashing with the Police that protect the boss class and their financial assets.
Whilst the direct action exercised by the workers of Bangladesh has been largely successful in meeting their demands, it has come at a price. The state has been ruthlessly attempting to surpress the wave of revolt that has rocked the Bangladeshi ruling class. Many strikers have been injured and one shot dead – murdered by the state for daring to assert their needs. Anticipating further unrest from the lowest-paid wage workers in the world, the Bangladeshi Government laid out plans for a new industrial police force.
Of course, the religious fundamentalist elements of Bangladeshi society are also on the attack, citing the emerging strength of women within the labour movement as proof of the moral degredation of modern society.
There have also been riots over energy supply issues – with most of the energy in Bangladesh being produced for export, many homes and workplaces regularly go without power. Given that workers in Bangladesh arent paid when the lights go out at work, no lecky means no money.Workers have also taken the fightback to Open-Cast Mining projects, which have huge environmental concequences with very little benefit. These attacks are also attacks against the Western Multinationals that treat the working class of Bangladesh with such contempt – most famously in the pipeline explosion of 1997 in which no compensation has ever been awarded.
There is something for all of us to learn from these struggles – whoever is in power, whatever face the state takes, whatever corner of the globe it operates in, it will always protect the interests of capitalism and the rich against the self-determination of the poor. Government and Capitalism is not simply willing to use violence against us to maintain its power, but by its very nature IS violence against us. Our solidarity is as international as our class.


2 responses to “Direct Action: Bangladesh Style!

  1. Inspiring story… I gon pass it on to my Bangla bro’s and sis’s around here… PS dozens of garment workers in Bangladesh just perished in a fire in a factory producing goods for H&M.

  2. Hi, I’m a communist libertarian comrade from Saguenay, in Québec. I found this article interresting and so I did translate in french. Feel free to use the translation if ever it would be useful.

    Hug of solidarity,

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