The CPM has quickly distanced itself from Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s statement about bandhs and gheraos. In a speech he made on Wednesday, the West Bengal chief minister described them as illegal and immoral.
The country’s largest and most powerful communist party says the right to strike is a fundamental right of the working class. One comrade has added: “We believe workers will resort to strike as long as capitalism and exploitation are there.” That perhaps takes care of the inconvenient fact that no worker dares go on strike in a communist country.
We agree that workers have the right to go on strike. It is a feature of most modern and progressive countries. But the CPM is trying to confuse the debate. What Bhattacharjee spoke out against was not the right to strike but the general bandhs that force citizens to stay at home. These bandhs are illegal. The Supreme Court has upheld a Kerala high court decision banning bandhs nearly a decade ago. They are immoral because one group prevents another from going to work, harming daily wage earners the most. Bandhs have nothing to do with the right to go on strike.