Statement in support of Bank worker’s strike


All out support for the strike !

On the 22nd and 23rd of August up to a million bank workers across india will go on strike. The reason ? Cuts in social security for bank workers ( like cutting of leave, excersizing variable working hours and cutting down retirement benefits )! the closure of ‘loss making’ bank branches in the rural sector! the implementation of unilateral directives on service conditions, and last but not the least, the proposal of the banking regulations amendment bill which seeks to weaken regulation of banks! In this struggle to defend their rights and people’s welfare, we express our all out support for the strike.

Defeat the evil scheme!

It was only after deliberate and sustained attacks on the public sector banks and their workers, which have been more than used as a beast of burden for big private Indian capital, that the bank workers have come to strike. World over, as more and more banks are verging on bankruptcy and collapse, Indian capitalism in its emergent phase seeks more capital and easy finance for expanding. Hence, the need for leeching Indian banks, now that foreign banks are no longer a reliable option. Indian banks have hitherto been saved only by the threat of militant action which has forced it to act more responsibly and under regulation, the same threat which has also forced it to undertake a socially responsible role in the countryside. The Capitalists and their government however, view this as a hindrance towards their enrichment.

Naturally it would be necessary for them to curb the worker’s militancy and welfare for the sake of greater profits, and equally necessary them to divert capital of the banks away from priority sectors like the rural sector and into the pockets of big industry. The pressure is ever present to mould banking in accordance with the model of western imperialist countries which has shown itself to be a failure. They must not succeed ! That is precisely where the banking laws amendment bill comes into the picture. As one of its main objectives in the statement of objectives, the bill seeks to bring Indian banking in line with “international best practices” which are nothing but bringing in line with the same ‘best practices’ which have destroyed banks across the world. They must not succeed !

Welfarism has been our victory!

Along with nationalization of banks, came social control. There has always been an improvement in the condition of work for workers in nationalized enterprises, and an assured commitment towards social spending. This change has come about only because the bourgeois was afraid of the strength of the working class and its overbearing threat to its existence, that they were forced to make these concessions to us. Now they want it all back ! But the workers will fight back as they have always, and thus far we have succeeded in defending public banking from their nefarious designs.

In this our demands aim at the preservation of all social security and welfare to which bank workers have been a beneficiary, and expand it into spheres which it is needed.

We demand : Fixed working hours ! Proper pension on retirement ! Compassionate Appointment! Wage increment proportionate to rise in inflation !

In addition to these, we also demand that banks continue to function in priority sector areas like the rural sector, where rapacious and exploitative village money lenders leech poor peasants to death. In this private and foreign banks must not be exempted and should be forced to undertake Social spending. If they fail *( which they will !) they must be nationalized ! After all, was not social necessity the very reason for nationalization of banks in the first place ?

Down with the bourgeois government ! For a government of workers !

The bourgeois government at the centre has been rolling on cash ‘donated’ by bourgeois corporate houses. As such, they’re nothing but their lackeys doing their bidding, and in many cases, the rich are themselves seated in the house of power ! Unsurprisingly, they want greater infusion of private capital and foreign capital into Indian banking, with the obvious lame excuse that Indian banks need more capital. Fact is, they cater to their master’s desires *( read corporate needs ) and to their own greed, by virtue of the ill gotten wealth they sit upon. So for them, public sector banks have to be crippled, and private banks and their foreign friends have to be encouraged.

Nationalized banking, which has created obvious benefits for the people of the country as well as for bank workers, have since been hijacked and distorted by this bourgeois government. A glaring example of this has been the way in which bad loans have been handled. It is a fact that most of these bad loans and non performing assets are corporate debts owed to public banks, but instead of pulling the axe on corporate loans and black listing non-performing corporates, the government is trying to find more avenues to fund them ! The case of Kingfisher airlines is a perfect example. This is proof enough that only a workers government can bring about responsible banking. We must not have any illusions on this government led by the bourgeois, and struggle for our desired political change. Our aim however, must be to reconstruct Indian banking along Socialist principles which seek to build up the productive power of the population rather than destroy it.

Strengthen the struggle !

The strike action which has united up to a million bank workers across the country is a first concrete step in the larger struggle of the bank workers in India. However, this must be strengthened and taken forward. The direction of change is unquestionably towards bringing about the transformation of finances along Socialist lines.

Under Capitalism finance capital assumes a destructive function *( Look at Greece ! ). This is only partly changed by its nationalization which brings some accountability in banking. But we cannot be satisfied only with this. In India, not only is the banking sector not fully nationalized, even the nationalized banking is held hostage to the desires of the bourgeoisie and its destructive needs. The result is the use of nationalized banks as beasts of burden for the purposes of the big bourgeoisie. The big capitalists like the Tatas and Birlas of course, are the foremost beneficiaries.

We must strive for bringing about complete nationalization of the banking sector, but under workers control ! Only under worker’s control will there be a stable financial system which is able to take care of the real needs of the people and not be slaves to the demands of the bourgeoisie !

Our war cry must be nationalization the private and foreign banks under worker’s Control !

And

For workers control over public sector banking !

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