Featured: march of hundreds of garment proletarians in Dhaka. Source: Munir uz Zaman, AFP.
The large protests, which were initiated by but have since broken out of the framework of the internal struggle of the ruling classes, continue in Bangladesh. On Thursday 2nd of November was the third and last general blockade day proposed by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). The day ended in a similar way to the previous ones: with numerous vehicle torched to boycott public transport, and with arrests of high ranks of the BNP by the Government of the Awami League (AL). We have previously reported on these protests.
Again it is the Bangladeshi proletariat who leaves the narrow margins of the internal struggles of the ruling classes. The garment industry is an essential economical activity in Bangladesh: it is the second largest clothing producer in the world, only behind China; There are more than 3,500 factories dedicated to this type of production, which employs more than 4 million people directly, mostly of them women; the minimum wage is $ 75 per month. Again, the textile proletariat cannot be controlled by the AL Government, nor manipulated by the BNP. The proletariat continues its hard struggle and the State of Bangladesh responds with more repression and already has 11 cases in which there are more than 5,000 people accused of the riots.
This struggle is truly causing a headache to imperialism that bases its production on the brutal exploitation suffered by the proletariat of the semi-colonial and semi-feudal country. The struggle has achieved to keep 500 factories closed for days, some of them truly huge, for example, 50 of them use 15,000 proletarians each of them. At the moment, two murdered proletarians and dozens of injured in the clashes with the police are confirmed, and the State has deployed their paramilitaries, which are addressing to numerous factories to try to prevent the expansion of this conflict to new industrial areas. In recent demonstrations around 5,000 proletarians have participated. The State of Bangladesh states that it is not shooting with mortal ammunition, but with rubber balls. Despite this, a van driver was shot this morning in a clash between the proletariat and the police, and the only shots came from the police ranks.
The Bangladeshi proletariat denounces that clothing is sold at a high cost, that the benefits of companies that produce these clothes are huge, but however, the salaries of the proletariat remain miserable. These large companies, these monopolies, are the basis and the reason that such exploitation occurs. The reality is that the struggle against the country’s comprador bourgeoisie is a part of the struggle against imperialism, and the local bourgeoisie is nothing more than the subsidiaries or lackeys of the great monopolies that have interests in the country.
The different imperialists which oppress the people of Bangladesh have reacted to the increasing protests. Yankee imperialism is worried and insisted in defending bourgeois democracy and how it should be implemented, through elections that must be “free” and “fair”, and in a peaceful way; on the other hand, the Yankee ambassador to Bangladesh, Peter Haas, has urged BNP and the AL to solve the current conflict and have dialogue. On the other hand, another of the main imperialists in the country, the British imperialism, has met with the BNP and has urged dialogue and stopping current violence. In addition, it has announced that through the Commonwealth will send its agents to monitor the preparation of the elections, something that Yankee imperialism and European Union have also announced. For all this, the different imperialists have made clear their position: given the growing popular discontent and the fierce proletarian struggle, it is necessary to pacify the country, stabilize it, and that the factions of the ruling classes solve their differences to solve the current crisis.
The people and especially the proletariat of Bangladesh have shown how the struggle in their nation is struggle against imperialism. In a semi-colonial and semi-feudal country such as Bangladesh, struggle against their exploitation is to face the imperialists, and to struggle against the lack of national independence is to struggle against the ruling classes who are lackeys of imperialism. Therefore, the struggle of the textile proletarians has an enormous significance and imperialists cannot do any other thing than be worried about it.