Students and workers in Pittsburgh and western New York support framed-up Maruti Suzuki workers

By our reporters
8 May 2017

Members and supporters of the Socialist Equality Party and its youth group, the International Youth and Students for Social Equality, have continued their international campaign in support of the framed-up workers at Maruti Suzuki in India. The SEP and IYSSE have brought the campaign to college campuses and workplaces in Pennsylvania and New York, including the University of Pittsburgh, SUNY Geneseo and Delphi Technical Center Rochester.

Members of the IYSSE chapter at the University of Pittsburgh campaigned on campus Wednesday, April 5. The University of Pittsburgh, a state-affiliated institution with over 25,000 students, is in the western Pennsylvania city of Pittsburgh, formerly the steel capital of the world.

Students responded to the plight of the jailed autoworkers with indignation at their treatment at the hands of the Indian police and government. Within an hour, the IYSSE received eighteen signatures for the petition, initiated by the International Committee of the Fourth International, demanding the immediate release and reinstatement of the jailed workers.

More than thirty students at the University of Pittsburgh have signed the petition.

When asked by IYSSE campaigners if he would sign, Jarred agreed when the IYSSE members argued that the struggle facing workers at Maruti Suzuki was important to workers and youth not just in India but around the world. “It’s not just them,” he said.

Many students signed the petition, sometimes in groups after discussions with IYSSE members.

SEP members also campaigned at the Delphi Automotive factory in Rochester, New York, the birthplace of Kodak and Xerox. Delphi is a large auto parts manufacturing company that spun-off from General Motors in the 1990s. It is currently based in the United Kingdom. Delphi went through bankruptcy proceedings a decade ago, during which it shed pension obligations and otherwise attacked workers’ and retirees’ standards of living.

Upon receiving the statement and hearing about the frame-up of the Maruti Suzuki workers, Delphi workers were supportive. One Delphi worker, when signing, explained to his colleague, “I am signing the petition because this sort of thing could happen to me someday, and I would want a fellow worker to stand up for me.”

The Delphi workers, who were reluctant to go on record due to fear of victimization by the company and the United Auto Workers union, were receptive to the slogan “An injury to one is an injury to all,” a longtime slogan of the labor movement.

The IYSSE chapter at the State University of New York College at Geneseo (SUNY Geneseo) also brought the Maruti Suzuki campaign to students. SUNY Geneseo is a public liberal arts college with about 5,000 students, at which the IYSSE has campaigned in defense of immigrant rights.

At its April 13 meeting, convened a week after the Trump administration’s illegal cruise-missile attack on Syria, attendees unanimously passed the following resolution calling on workers, students and youth to support the Maruti Suzuki workers, oppose the drive to war and build the international unity of the working class:

This meeting of the International Youth and Students for Social Equality at SUNY Geneseo (IYSSE at Geneseo) hereby condemns the US government’s bombing of Syria on April 6 [April 7 Syrian time], as well as any future moves by the United States government toward war with Syria or Russia. The Trump administration’s strikes on the Syrian military are an attempt to shore up US hegemony through military means, and risk escalation into direct military conflict with Russia. Such a war threatens the loss of millions of lives and the use of nuclear weapons.

Furthermore, this meeting of the IYSSE at Geneseo likewise condemns US threats against North Korea, which threaten the outbreak of war in East Asia with North Korea, China, or both. Such a war would be catastrophic for the people of North Korea, South Korea, China, Japan, and other countries.

Finally, this meeting of the IYSSE at Geneseo calls for workers, students, and young people to unite internationally in opposition to war and other attacks on the working class. As an essential component of this, we support the campaign initiated by the World Socialist Web Site and the International Committee of the Fourth International to free the framed workers at Maruti Suzuki in India, 13 of whom have been sentenced to life in prison for a crime they did not commit. We call on workers, students, and young people to support this campaign. An injury to one is an injury to all!

Several students signed the petition on the spot, and others had already signed. One signer, a worker from the area, said, “I’m not going to leave my fellow workers stranded.”

The IYSSE and SEP will continue its international campaign in defense of the framed-up Maruti Suzuki workers.