They, the workers burned to death in Bangladesh on a November day, are now a number only. In Germany, in another November day, disabled workers also died in a factory. They are also mere numbers.
And, they are symbols of a time and of a system, symbols of an approach to accumulation by a few. And, they are a call to repudiate and reject the system that flourishes on life.
Flaming fire in a garments factory in Ashulia near the Bangladesh capital city of Dhaka, and the death of the garments factory workers, more than a hundred, are now almost old news.
In Germany, at least 14 workers died. They were disabled workers. The disabled persons had to generate surplus value and the capital appropriated that value. This was also a fire and smoke incident.
Along with passing time, last traces of the news shall turn into peep onto newspaper pages. Within days, the last follow ups of the news shall find its place in limbo.
Even, a faint melancholy shall not keep the memories of the burned-to-death-workers alive neither in Bangladesh nor in Germany.
A silence of indifference shall faithfully spread its shroud over the death of the workers, considered insignificant and expendable to the system. It’s the dust of unawareness that the system shrewdly spreads over such “accidents”, and passes time with crafty management as it believes “time is the best healer”.
It’s not the first incident that has made the workers encounter death. Scores of similar incidents preceded it. All the incidents got assurances of effective steps so that work force is not “spent” in such an inefficient manner.
Then, time moved. And, time took away more workers to the silence of death as time moved to the past. The current Bangladesh and German numbers – more than 100 and at least 14 – are a new addition only, and only to be forgotten, and only to be ignored by the system.
The systems’ strength is the inertia of a major section of the society, the workers’ unawareness and lack of functional steps, weakness of the workers’ organization, lack of the workers’ political mobilization, the broader society’s apathy and indifference, and a significant section’s collaboration.
So, the system thrives, thrives on plunder, on appropriation, on sufferings, pains and deaths of the toilers.
Workers’ death, workers burned to death and the poor burned to death are regular “incidents” in Bangladesh society. Bangladesh newspapers carry the evidence. These are in factories, in city slums. An advanced capitalist society, Germany, does not stand as an exception.
And, the evidence exposes the seemingly innocent face of a system that survives and flourishes on the workers, the toilers’ labor and the working persons’ sacrifices.
And, the evidence exposes the harsh truth: the most dispossessed sacrifice the most for most of the gains by the most minority social class.
The cruel fact repeatedly comes out: the system can flourish only at the expense of the toilers, the working people. And, it’s the system’s only path to fill up its bottomless basket of greed.
Then, the system owns sweet smiles, soothing words, consoling assurances, faces painted with lines of pains, pens composing mal-arguments that buy scholarship, respectability and acceptability, personalities that market confusion with disjointed sentences forming illogic.
This is a system with masks. Mookhash, Mask, a Bangla poem, tells the fact: The system with masks amasses huge wealth although its hands are invisible, and, there are masks of cow, sheep, and goat.
Monkeys, jackals, wolves, leopards, hyenas having masks of human faces are also abundant in the system. This enables the system to make death of workers, hundreds over the last few years, mere numbers.
It’s safe for the system as long as it dominates workers’ politics, as long as it can manipulate workers’ movement with organizations equipped with anti-worker ideology, as long as it can put its subalterns on the position of workers’ leadership, as long as only rage dominates scientific analysis, as long as vandalism and inconsistent slogans command workers’ unorganized, unaware initiatives.
A cost-profit analysis keeps capital assured that labor turned to ashes is not a loss now. Cheap labor gluts the market. A large reserve army of labor makes labor cheap. Political intrigues or competition, whatever the background is, labor is expandable by the system. So, to the system, a callous handling of labor is not dangerous. The system is much careful with all its costly commodities. Its costly commodities don’t turn ashes.
The two countries, Bangladesh and Germany, are far away from each other. They are far away in terms of geographical distance, economy, culture, management system, class character of property owners, politics.
In a country, the dominating capital is mature. In another, it’s shamelessly crude, rustic, immature that even don’t know the art of camouflaging its face and character. In a country, the dominating capital is much old while in another, it’s quite nouveau, absolute upstart, in essence lumpen.
In both the countries, the dominating capital is defended; but in one, it’s done craftily while the other generates incoherent logic and arguments that proudly stand below juvenile level.
And, the two countries are closer. They are closer in terms of appropriation of surplus value, accumulation, dominating philosophy. In both the countries, dominating interests are fundamentally the same: appropriators. This ties the workers together.
The two economies are closer in terms of intensifying appropriation of labor. In one, the method has a sober face while the other fails to hide its rough approach.
The labor in both the economies finds capital as hostile. Both the economies fail to arrange full employment. Both the economies curtail labor’s bargaining space.
There’s no difference between black labor and white labor, between western labor and eastern labor, as is propagated by a section. And, there is no logic to identify capital as only western. The fundamental contradictions between labor and capital remain the same. Capital’s globalization has widened and sharpened these.
Whatever analyses are done, whatever losses or profits are calculated, and whatever political intrigues or competitions form background of the incidents, the deprived labor’s pains shall persist as long as labor is shackled.