It’s time to start an economic boycott of India. India exports approximately 7,500 commodities to about 190 countries. In 2018, those exports to the US alone amounted to $6.3 billion. We know all the arguments against economic boycotts; we’re heard them since the boycott of South African apartheid & are fighting legal & political battles over BDS against Israeli apartheid. Yap yap yap about hurting the working class from those who don’t understand how capitalism works or who gains from international trade. It sure isn’t sweatshop workers.
To my mind, it’s time to launch an economic boycott of all Indian products sold to consumers. Maybe we can’t impact the sales of petroleum products, iron & steel, machinery, ships & marine equipment, or biochemicals. But we can have a massive impact on thousands of products sold in shops in every city around the world. Spices, herbs, Ayurvedic medicines, emollients, & oils, perfumes, pharmaceuticals, foods, clothing, books, Bollywood films, jewelry, electronics, rice & grains, textiles, automobiles.
We shouldn’t just stop buying but should notify store owners that we are boycotting their products until India withdraws its troops from Kashmir & releases every single Kashmiri political prisoner. We have to mean business when it comes to this boycott because protests have to be backed up with economic pressure. Will we alienate Indians? Not those who support the Kashmiri struggle. They want support in building an anti-colonial movement. Israeli Palestinian supporters are among the most committed to BDS.
It isn’t economic boycotts that make the lives of Indian or Israeli workers miserable but the billions wasted on militarism. The US borrows from Social Security, steals from Medicare & Medicaid, reduces food stamps & social services, & lets its roads & bridges collapse to pay for its constant & many wars. Israeli & Indian soldiers, who are mostly working class, return to civilian life suffering PTSD from the hell they’ve inflicted on Palestinians & Kashmiris. US antiwar veterans have written the book on what their involvement in war, occupation, & genocide has done to them.
If you care about the working class, that should include the Kashmiri working class who have fought for over 70 years against colonialism & occupation. If you’re going to cry crocodile tears for the working class, cry for them. Meanwhile, it’s time to support them & Indian workers against militarism by boycotting all consumer goods from India & making sure the export shops, health food stores, Amazon know that the boycott will prevail until India withdraws its troops from Kashmir & releases all Kashmiri political prisoners.