By: Ana Perez
“Hiring of labor and the conduct of trade are concentrated in the hands of comparatively few; so that a small number of very rich men have been able to lay upon the teeming masses of the laboring poor a yoke little better than that of slavery itself.” Written throughout Rerum Novarum, the voice of the working class is depicted as silent. With the emergence of the socialist movement, claiming a haven for these workers the opposite seems to occur. The political party has created more of a hindrance than its original intention. In today’s world, surprisingly, this injustice is still occurring. In the case of India, a weak middle class and lower class, has resulted in many high power individuals overpowering the working class. Most notably Maruti Suzuki workers’. Employees of one of the largest car companies in the world, have sparked talk of a rebellion against the system. Sweatshops growing in popularity in a matter of years, reform must be implemented in order to respect the worker’s rights to fair work. In order to accomplish this feat, the administration must respect an individual right to receive what is needed to live a just life, a work to promote self-preservation for the individual and to finally push aside the interest of big business and listen to the masses. To apply these ideas into legislation, reform within a system that has done this for so long, will help bring about the mass change that is needed.
” It necessarily follows that each one has a natural right to procure what is required in order to live…” proposed in the forty-fourth section of Pope Leo XII’s encyclical. India’s government or Maruti Suzuki must take this passage to reflect their political stance. A low wage that barely feeds a family of four doesn’t respect the natural right that a worker “must procure what is required in order to live”. Appeal of cheap labor results in the destruction of the rights of individuals. They either must be paid higher to live a meager salary and/or must be able to receive insurance in the case of loss of a leg or arm. A loss of a significant body part or tool will impede on “procuring” what is needed to live a good life. Insurance will provide the worker, in this case the only family member that is working, a secure stream of income to guarantee what is needed to survive. In conclusion, Rerum Novarum highlights the significance that our natural right must play into the politics today. Big businesses, which are believed to be immune to the emotional aspect of their workers, must see them for who they are human. Humans instead of pawns. India’s government must recognize the worker’s life. In addition, the government must not play into the game that big businesses are playing. Along the lines of preservation of natural rights, Pope Leo XII also begins to tell his readers the importance of labor being the chief leader of preservation of life.
“To labor is to exert oneself for the sake of procuring what is necessary for the various purposes of life, and chief of all for self-preservation.” brings about another change that must be implemented . Sweatshops, still a common way of business throughout India, are examples of self-preservation of a human being destroyed. With 18 hour work days, rancid conditions, and little to no breaks, sweatshops destroy the body of the human person. Work days so extensive. How are they preserving life? In the case of the car plant for Suzuki, workers strongly protested the abuse of the government to make products fast and efficiently. The article goes on to describe the conditions the men have worked. Protests within the factory have garnered support in sympathy protests. Sympathy protests are very unique. Workers from other companies or people who want to help voice the cause help coworkers of Suzuki by starting protests for themselves. These types of protests provide for an interesting community joining together to fight the cause. Exhaustion, dehydration and malnutrition are just a few of the consequences of working these hours. Working under these conditions is a form of abuse that many people really don’t see. Work is not supposed to weaken the individual but strengthen one and give the purpose of life. To destroy a person with this form of legal abuse (in the case of India) must be eradicated. How are they preserving life? In the case of the car plant for Suzuki, workers strongly protested the abuse of the government to make products fast and efficiently. The article goes on to describe the conditions the men have worked. Protests within the factory have garnered support in sympathy protests. Sympathy protests are very unique. Workers from other companies or people who want to help voice the cause help coworkers of Suzuki by starting protests for themselves. These types of protests provide for an interesting community joining together to fight the cause. Legislation, such as the increasing of wages, restriction of the number of hours a person must work and checks of the environment a person is working must be implemented. .”A workman’s wages be sufficient to enable him comfortably to support himself, his wife and his children…” Result of these laws will truly bring about self-preservation of the individual. It is the state’s duty to protect and sanction companies that aren’t protecting workers. In regards to protecting a worker, the business or state must respect the individual’s authority within the family including the voice.
Following the other passages stated earlier in the post, natural rights and self-preservation must be shown through legislation. In order for the other two to happen, the business or state must listen and respect the worker’s voice. The example I stated earlier in the passage, the workers of Maruti Suzuki, protesting the low wages and brutality of the schedule. On WSWS.com, police violence ended the month long strike the workers had been participating in. The governing power heavily favored the agenda of the power plant rather than the people. Abundant amounts of money Suzuki, one of the largest car companies in India, brings to the economy resulted in the governing power to over look the discretion of the company. The pros,sadly, outweighed the cons. Government turns a blind eye to the abuse, coming to the aid of the company when the protests started growing in numbers. Later this year, the government will face a great task, elections. People in the lower chaste, the slums, have tended to vote with candidates who promise more jobs in the area. In my opinion, the candidates will never implement this change due to the track record of the Indian government with big business. If they do bring jobs, these jobs neither will nor preserve/respect the life of the individual. The government is treating big business, as the business should be treating the workers. Lastly, the state should stop giving immunity to the businesses that are not respecting the masses. States should finally listen to what the people they are governing want.
In conclusion, the state of India must implement the teachings of the Rerum Novarum. Although the religions are different, the overall message still is the same. “We are all equal under one God”, we must create an equal playing field for big business and workers. The state needs to be for the people and not for the handful of elite. Pope Leo XII’s words show the problems of the socialist party and how we, as workers, need to be treated. First, to preserve the natural rights of the human being through a wage that will pay for a family to live will be vital. Legislation must be implemented in support of the natural rights of workers. Rights are the difference to a human and a dog (which how many businesses treat their workers). Next, working conditions must allow the worker self-preservation of life. Harsh working conditions can cause for many extreme illnesses and side effects. Laws must protect the worker from such harsh extremes. Lastly, the government in India must listen to the masses; instead of picking sides with the big businesses. Continuing to be on the side of stone cold businesses, will result in the loss of trust among the people resulting in more protests ultimately leading to a revolution. Putting in place these proposed pieces of administration will finally bring about the change that is much needed.
“World Socialist Web Site.” India: Maruti Suzuki workers’ struggle must spearhead working-class political
offensive -. http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2011/10/suzu-o20.html (accessed April 21, 2014).
“India poll candidates face difficulty in winning over lower castes – Channel NewsAsia.” Channel NewsAsia. http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/india-poll-candidates/1071350.html (accessed April 21, 2014).