GurgaonWorkersNews: Newsletter 26

GurgaonWorkersNews – Newsletter 26 (May 2010)

Gurgaon in Haryana is presented as the shining India, a symbol of capitalist success promising a better life for everyone behind the gateway of development. At a first glance the office towers and shopping malls reflect this chimera and even the facades of the garment factories look like three star hotels. Behind the facade, behind the factory walls and in the side streets of the industrial areas thousands of workers keep the rat-race going, producing cars and scooters for the middle-classes which end up in the traffic jam on the new highway between Delhi and Gurgaon. Thousands of young middle class people lose time, energy and academic aspirations on night-shifts in call centres, selling loan schemes to working-class people in the US or pre-paid electricity schemes to the poor in the UK. Next door, thousands of rural-migrant workers uprooted by the agrarian crisis stitch and sew for export, competing with their angry brothers and sisters in Bangladesh or Vietnam. And the rat-race will not stop; on the outskirts of Gurgaon, Asia’s biggest Special Economic Zone is in the making. The following newsletter documents some of the developments in and around this miserable boom region. If you want to know more about working and struggling in Gurgaon, if you want more info about or even contribute to this project, please do so via:

In the May 2010 issue you can find:

1) Proletarian Experiences –
Daily life stories and reports from a workers’ perspective

*** Three Communists in Gurgaon
The industrial development and proletarian unrest in Gurgaon did not remain unnoticed. We talked to three communists who decided to focus their political activity on the vast landscape of working class formation. The comrades are part of the revolutionary Marxist-Leninist left, belonging to three different political organisations.

*** Service?! What the hell! / Reports from Service Proletarians, Street Labour Markets and Factory Workers in Gurgaon
Some voices of security guards and drivers, metal and textile workers. Some voices from workers looking for a job at corner labour markets, harassed by the police and other thugs.

2) Collective Action –
Reports on proletarian struggles in the area

*** Inflationary Proletarian Struggles
While opposition parties arrange token protests against the price hikes, workers on the ground battle for higher wages. In March 2010 Delhi government announced 33 per cent increase of minimum wages, but this hike hardly ever reaches shop-floor reality. In the aftermaths of the minimum wage increase we observe various spontaneous proletarian actions in Gurgaon and Okhla industrial areas. The combination of an interlinked (automobile) industry and organisational efforts like Faridabad Majdoor Talmel can become future lines of coordination and generalisation of the unrest.

*** Update on Struggles of Permanent Automobile Workers at Sanden Vikas and Exide
The first-tier supplying industry of the automobile industry is heating up under the double pressure of increasing demand of the assembly plants on one side and the more confident claims of the workforce on the other. The recent struggles at Denso, Sanden Vikas and Exide express the difficult position of a young permanent work-force: they appeal to the classical union form of struggle hoping to secure an increasingly precarious position. These classical forms detach them from the wider casual and temporary workforce and therefore from the true ‘material’ power-base.

*** Waterwars, Energy Crunch and Revolting Villages
Groundwater levels in Gurgaon drop dramatically, gobbled up by industry and upper-middle class life-style. Water and energy flows are diverted away from workers’ and peasants’ spheres. We document some struggles of ‘villagers’ against the lack of resources and oil-pipe-line projects crossing their fields.

3) According to Plan –
General information on the development of the region or on certain company policies

*** The Social Tsunami Impact / Snap-Shots against Capital-Class-Crisis
This is an attempt to introduce a regular update on general tendencies of crisis development in Indian – motivated by Greek shock-waves, naked shorts and potential spillovers. Apart from short glimpses on the macro-level of things we focus on general trends in agriculture and automobile sector: the current demise of the past and the toxicity of the future.

4) About the Project –
Updates on Gurgaon Workers News

*** Glossary
Updated version of the Glossary: things that you always wanted to know, but could never be bothered to google. Now even in alphabetical order.

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