In Support of the January 8th National Strike of Indian Workers and Students

Posted January 14, 2020

We, the unions and organizations representing students, workers and the broader communities in the United States, stand in solidarity with the January 8th National Strike by workers and students in India.

The January 8th National Strike has been called by central trade unions in India for higher minimum wages, pensions, employment generation, and against inflation and the new labor laws that will substantially increase the precarity of all workers. We are inspired by the strength of your organizing and the militancy of your resistance to neoliberal pressures. While global capital attempts to play off workers of one country against another, we know that workers everywhere are harmed by the race to the bottom. Not only the Indian ruling class, but the US ruling class too depends on depressed conditions of workers in India to make its profits. We are watching your struggles and learning ways to build our own capacity, as well as real international solidarity.

We salute the student organizations in India (listed below) for joining their struggle against commercialization of education and the destruction of public education with the struggles of workers by boycotting classes to join the workers on the streets. We see this coming together of students and the organized sector of the Indian workforce as an important step toward spreading the struggle to all segments of society. Given the large informal and casualized workforce, as well as joblessness even among the educated in India, the students’ struggle has to be seen as part of a larger working-class struggle. We hope that this moment pushes the workers’ movement to organize the unorganized, especially among the informal workers and the informal sector.

We also stand with you in your fight against repressive and fascist forces. While this is truly a global phenomenon, the rapid pace with which the Modi-led government is eroding the democratic and secular nature of India is frightening for us all. Standing for the rights of migrant workers, adivasis, dalits, and in expressing solidarity with struggles in Kashmir and northeastern India, students of the Indian heartland as well as those in the margins have weathered immense state repression. It is clear that the ruling classes of our countries are exchanging notes. The detention camps becoming ubiquitous everywhere are an example of the similarity of means and follow from the unity of ends of ruling classes across nations. We too must recognize the unity that our conditions impose upon us and realize the unity of our will.

An appeal to the Overseas students’ organisations and international student community supporting 8th January Strike

We have witnessed huge protests led by students across the globe recently. Commercialisation of education, initiated by different regimes, have led to militant students resistance emerging at their countries. The students in India are also a worse victims of the neoliberal agendas being imposed on education. The present central government of Narendra Modi led NDA have intensified the policies of commercialisation of education. This has also led to a situation in which students across India are fighting the fees hike and reduction of government spending on education. Only a mere 33% students enrolled for higher education are part of public education. Rest are in private institutions which are not affordable for the economically weaker sections. The government spending for education is just 0.40% of the total GDP of the country.

Now the attempt of Modi government is to turn the existing public institutions also into the commercial blocks were students are obliged to pay huge fees in different names. The central universities have been a target for the Modi regime to execute this plan through which the institutions will become the centres exclusively for the elite sections. The state universities have been already affected by the huge reduction of fund allocation by the central government. Other institutions of higher learning, Such as IITs and IIMs also witnessed an unprecedented fee hike recently. There have been student unrests in all such campuses in India against making higher education unaccessible for the people of socially and economically deprived sections.

The nation is at cross roads. A large section of the population ranging from students, working

class, political parties, civil society activists, academicians are fighting in the streets, all over India to reclaim and preserve the hard-earned ideals that forms the core of our nation and

nationalism; secularism, democracy and equality. The recent introduction of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) that allows citizenship status to migrants from three neighboring countries excluding the Muslim are clear and naked subversion on the idea of secular citizenship enshrined in our constitution. The nature of exclusion and inclusion of communities and the neighboring countries are very clear and telling. Not just the Muslims communities are omitted, no non-Muslim majority countries are included. Along with CAA there is a plan to implement National Register of Citizens (NRC) across the nation which again will be discriminatory for the Muslims and historically oppressed sections in the country. Campuses have been in forefront fighting the anti-constitutional CAA and NRC.

As part of the #FeesMustFall movement and also the movement to save democracy in India the All India Forum to Save Public Education have decided to observe national education strike on January 8th. The working class is also going for a national strike on the same day against the anti-people, anti-workers policies of the government. Farmers and agricultural workers will also join the strike. Students across the nation will boycott classes and come out to the streets raising the slogans for affordable and equitable education, scholarships and proper implementation of reservation, campus democracy and gender sensitization committee against sexual harassment, and also to build larger unity with the fighting masses in the country. The strike is also against the vicious attempt to divide India over communal lines. We appeal the students across the globe to come up in support of the January 8th education strike in India.

Vicky Maheswari (AISF)
N Sai Balaji (AISA)
Salam Imtiyaz (AMUSU)
Shubhojeet Dey (AUDSC)
Debraj Debnath (AFSU,JU)
Soumyadwip Sarkar (AISB)
Amit (BAPSA)
Apeksha (BASO)
Aquib Rizwan (CYSS)
Priyanka Bharti (CRJD)
Shreya (Collective)
Sarika Chaudhary (DSF)
Abhishek Nandan (HCUSU)
Nimish (IIT Delhi)
Ummen Sabu (lIT Madras)
Sayan Dasgupta (lIT Kharagpur)
Aishe Ghosh (JNUSU)
Vikas Yadav (NSUI)
Ramdas P.S.(PSF)
Nowfal Md Safiulla (PSU)
Mimosa Ghorai (PUSC)
Parichay Yadav (PUSU)
Digvijay Singh Dev(Samajwadi Chatra Sabha)
Mayukh Biswas (SFI)

Endorsed by:

  1. NYU Student Labor Action Movement
  2. NYU Asian American Political Activism Coalition
  3. United Students Against Sweatshops Local #44
  4. ACT-UAW-Local 7902 (Adjuncts Coming Together represents academic student workers at The New School, Part-time faculty at The New School, Student Health Services Professional Staff at The New School, and adjuncts at New York University)
  5. Graduate Employee Organization-UAW-2322 (Union of graduate employees at the University of Massachusetts Amherst)
  6. Princeton Graduate Students United
  7. South Asia Solidarity Initiative
  8. Autoworker Caravan
  9. Graduate Student Employees Union (GSEU-SUNY Stonybrook)-CWA Local 1104
  10. Red Bloom Collective
  11. Academic Workers for a Democratic Union (New York University)
  12. Harvard Graduate Students Union (UAW Local 5118), International Scholars Working Group
  13. TOP-UAW-Local 2110 (Technical, Office and Professional Union is an amalgamated union covering workers in several universities, publishing, museums, law firms and other offices including: American Civil Liberties Union, Asian American Writers Workshop, Barnard College, Barnard Contingent Faculty, Bronx Museum of the Arts, Church World Service, Columbia University, DASNY: Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, GOLES: Good Old Lower East Side, HarperCollins Publishers, ICCR: Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, Mercy College, Monthly Review, Museum of Modern Art New York, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New Press, New York Civil Liberties Union, New-York Historical Society, NYSHCR: New York State H mes and Community Renewal, New York University Graduate Student Employees (GSOC-UAW), Pearson Longman Publishers, Rabinowitz, Boudin, Standard, Krinsky & Lieberman, P.C., Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, Inc., Stamford Advocate, State Bank of India, Teachers College, Union Theological Seminary, Village Voice)
  14. Harvard Law School Political Economy Association
  15. Student Employees at the New School (SENS)-UAW-Local 7902
  16. Graduate Students United at the University of Chicago (AFT-IFT-AAUP)
  17. Graduate Employees Organization at the University of lllinois, Urbana-Champaign – AFT/IFT-Local 6300
  18. Massachusetts Society of Professors (MSP/MTA/NEA), University of Massachusetts Amherst
  19. University of Michigan Graduate Employees Organization (GEO) AFT-MI Local 3550, AFL-CIO
  20. University of California Student-Workers Union-UAW-Local 2865
  21. Graduate Employees Organization at the University of lllinois, Chicago – AFT/IFT-Local 6297
  22. Law Students for Economic Justice, New York University chapter
  23. South Asian Law Students Association (SALSA) at NYU Law

This statement appeared on January 6, 2020 here.