Day 538: Mob Mentality

KOLKATA, India (AP) - An angry mob of Indian workers wielding iron rods and stones beat the CEO of a jute factory to death in a dispute over increasing their working hours, police said Monday after arresting six workers.
The suspects — two detained Monday and four on Sunday — are expected to be charged with murder, vandalism and other crimes allegedly committed when the mob of about 200 workers stormed the office of 60-year-old H.K. Maheswari in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal, according to Hooghly District Police Superintendent Sunil Chowdhury.
Maheswari had denied their earlier request to work and be paid for 40 hours a week at the North Brook Jute Mill, instead of the current norm of 25. He had also proposed shutting down the mill for three days a week to limit mounting financial losses, according to the factory's general manager, Kiranjit Singh.
"The mill workers suddenly resorted to stone pelting while we were busy in a meeting," Kiranjit Singh said. At one point during Sunday's meeting, Maheswari looked out the window at the growing crowd and was struck in the head by two stones. He collapsed, at which point a large group of workers stormed the office, Singh said. - Huffington Post

I'm sure you can empathize with disenfranchised workers across the globe and can understand why things like these happen. It is entirely possible that, if you were in their position you would be doing something similar. Unfortunately violence is never the solution to a problem - it normally just creates new problems.

There are countless people in this world who are being exploited and abused by other people who lack the respect to treat another with decency. It's really how the whole system is set up, really ambitious and ruthless people dominating a large group of more timid people. This kind of hierarchy is all over, in the workplace where one manager oversees a group of employees, in the government where the president is the "caretaker" of the state, in traditional family and community structures where certain members are given more respect (eg a father in a patriarchal family or an elder in a religious community).

Sometimes these systems function well, that's normally when everyone feels valued in whatever position they hold and are treated with respect by their peers and superiors. Unfortunately, human nature is not uniform. There are a lot of people in this world who are not nice, who do not treat other people with respect. It seems like most of the positions high up in our hierarchies have been taken by these not-so-nice folk, and now we have a not-so-nice set of situations all over the world.

So, if you were working a crap job for long hours and getting a crap wage with few to nil alternative opportunities, it would certainly be understandable if you were to get pretty fed up with your situation, especially if your boss was a total ass. For many people violence seems to be the only option, especially under the conviction that it may not change anything in their own lives, but at least it will send a message. I cannot claim that this mentality is due to a lack of education, because many educated people have thought exactly the same thing. I also cannot claim that they have very many alternatives - I may even go so far as to say that they are essentially powerless to improve their own lives. The reality remains the same though: violence is not a solution. So what are these people supposed to do to try and change their lives? They don't have computers or internet to educate themselves, they likely didn't finish school, they work long hours to make enough to be able to feed their family, they face violent retribution for any attempts to better their own lives or the lives of the people around them - what is there to do when you are in this situation?

A real solution must be implemented by those who are in a position to do so - that's you and me. We have more power than we know and can use it by investigating and promoting workable solutions like Living income Guaranteed. We must do this for those who cannot.