STILL BETTER HERE THAN BACK IN THE SHITSTORM THAT IS THE US OF A!

INDIA STRIKES AGAIN TRASHING OUR PLANS


Because back in the USA unions are essentially dead history never to be resurrected, we are not troubled by those nasty, pesky strikes that spring up in other countries from time to time.  Sure, all those Rust Belt folks who voted for Donald J. Trump are probably delighted at such a situation not realizing that is the single most important reason that has left them struggling to send their kids to college and pay the mortgage or whatever it is that they are all complaining about.  But that’s the price working and middle class families pay for believing in the fiction of Unfettered Free Market Capitalism.   Even our brothers and sisters in Europe haven’t swallowed this piece of propaganda the way Americans have.

In the chaotic mix of capitalism and socialism that is India, things are quite different.  Strikes – bunds, hartals, slowdowns, stoppages – are quite common and seem to occur at the drop of a dhoti, let’s say.  Here in India there seems to be a vast collection of strike actions that workers have at their beck and call from the local town trash collectors to airline pilots to postal workers.  Indians are not at all shy about exercising their rights to simply walk off the job when they feel slighted by their masters or disrespected by the government.   I think only exceeded in variety and creativity by the French (many years ago I was waiting for a connecting flight at Charles DeGaulle International Airport when the public address system announced a 20 minute strike by the airport's baggage handlers) but I give Indians credit for the imaginative ways by which they demand their rights. 

The other day we had negotiated our check out from Clayfingers for Monday as we are shifting to Alleppy (Alappuzha), or more precisely, to a small village just 10 kilometers west of the city adjacent to the Arabian Sea.  Well, yesterday comes the announcement  that a national transportation strike has been called for Monday basically trashing our plans.  This bund affects both public and private transport – busses, trains, taxis, rickshaws – and if past experience is any indication, it’s going to be difficult traveling anywhere.  So we called our Alleppy hosts and re-booked our arrival for Tuesday.  

And so it goes.  There is, naturally, continued venomous rhetoric thrown back and forth in Parliament over Modi’s denominization scheme but such palaver is common currency for Indians whether we are talking about eliminating currency denominations throughout the entire subcontinent or about the cancellation of a popular cable television rom-com.  I’ve come to the conclusion that there is a common gene locked deep within the broad palate of Indian colors, ethnic backgrounds and geographical origins that favors talk over action.  On the other hand, such a condition seems to keep the entire patchwork of Indian society from unraveling at the slightest slight, insult or offense.  And this is a good thing.  A very good thing!

So for whatever small inconvenience we might face, I'm grateful that India's workers still have some degree of power in their hands to chart the course of their futures.  American workers?  Nu fucking way.  American workers have been so diminished in power, stature and public esteem that they no longer have any say whatsoever over their own working futures.  Too bad, this.  I doubt, absent the worst worldwide global economic disaster since the Great Depression, there is the slimmest straw of hope for improvement.     

So we will be at Clayfingers one more day than planned, not the worst fate in the world, enjoying the company of our hosts and the products of our three cooks for one more breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

It could be worse. 


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