People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
April 29, 2001
Workers of theWorld Unite,
You Have Nothing To Lose But You Chains!
CITU MANIFESTO FOR MAY DAY 2001
ON the eve of the historic May Day, the day of international solidarity of the working class, the Centre of Indian Trade Unions extends fraternal greetings to the workers and the toiling people of the world.
May Day is the day for the working class and all toiling people to renew their pledge to carry on their struggle not only to protect their standard of life and achieve all round economic improvement, not only to defend their legitimate rights as workers and citizens, not only to win freedom for their country and defend its sovereignty, but on this historic day, they also gather together throughout the world to renew their pledge to fight for the emancipation of the entire society from all exploitation. Over and above all else, it is a day, to pledge solidarity with the struggle being carried out by fellow workers and all people in every country.
The CITU sends its warm greetings to the workers and the people of the socialist countries who are going ahead under the glorious banner of socialism, undaunted by the major set-backs suffered by socialism elsewhere, and in the face of tremendous odds to build a new life for their people. They stand like lighthouses in the vast sea of capitalist exploitation, showing by their own example the way to emancipation to the exploited and oppressed millions.
The CITU warmly greets the working class and the people of the capitalist countries who have opened a new chapter in the history of the world working class movement by raising the banner of resistance against the policy of neo-liberal globalisation in the very citadels of imperialism, sponsoring these policies.
The CITU sends warm greetings to the working class and the people of the third world countries, who, being the main targets of the aggressive policies of the imperialists, are relentlessly fighting against the multi-pronged offensive--- economic, political, ideological and military--- of the imperialist forces and their various agencies, The IMF, World Bank and WTO, for safeguarding their national sovereignty, political independence and economic self-reliance.
On the occasion of May Day, the CITU feels proud in sending warm greetings to the thousands and thousands of people from the advanced capitalist countries as well as from the developing countries, who have displayed unprecedented courage in organising massive demonstrations, even in the heartland of the capitalist world, in America itself, not to speak of other countries. Demonstrations against the international financial agencies at Seattle, Bangkok, Davos and elsewhere, mark a turning point in the world wide popular struggle against the imperialist offensive.
At the same time, May day is also witnessing the continued effort of the imperialist forces to carry out their aggressive political and military designs by direct aggression or through intervention in the name of the United Nations, to establish their hegemony. The imperialists are continuing to create centres of tension in various parts of the world to maintain the Cold War atmosphere. Iraq continues to be the target of cynical air-attack, the blatant intervention in Yugoslavia and in the Russian Federation, provocations to Cuba and the Democratic Republic of Korea, augmenting the military strength of Taiwan, --- everything is directed to advance the hegemonic objective of the imperialist forces, headed by the US.
However, the people all over the world refuse to be cowed down by these aggressive acts and threats by US imperialism or by their allies. The people are determined to defeat all acts of aggression and rebuff all acts of threats. Russia and the Peoples Republic of China are sinking their differences and coming closer to face together the arrogance of imperialism.
At a time, when the imperialist forces, with their wide ramifications and united as never before, are spreading their tentacles like a huge octopus around the entire globe, the objective of May Day, international solidarity of the working class, has assumed paramount importance and urgency. May Day today, calls the working people worldwide to unite solidly in the face of the new offensive of the capitalist and imperialist forces, to stand like a single rock with unflinching determination to fight and defeat them for ever. The CITU renews its pledge not only for solidarity with all struggles carried out by the workers and the people anywhere on earth, but also to strive for development of worldwide action by the working class and all toiling people, united on a world scale.
In India, May Day this year is witnessing intensified attacks on the life and livelihood of the workers, peasants, middle classes, - almost all sections of the common populace, so to say. The Indian ruling classes are desperately trying to go ahead with the so-called reforms, leading to closure of innumerable industrial units, throwing lakhs of workers out of employment, while drastically narrowing down the opportunity of employment for unemployed youth, the unceasing rise in prices of essential commodities, dismantling of the public sector which was assiduously built up with public money to serve as the commanding height of the economy for self reliant economic development. No longer do the Indian rulers claim that they want only the loss-making units to be disposed of. Now they are shamelessly saying that they would hand over all public sector units, including those earning substantial profits to private and foreign hands, as a matter of policy. The latest example of this nefarious policy is the sell-out of BALCO for a song. For quite sometime, they trumpeting the beginning of the so have been called second generation reforms which includes inter alia, the privatisation and deregulation of the financial sector, in totality.
The last Union Budget has imposed further burdens on the common people while giving enormous concessions to big business and MNCs. The recent Exim Policy, along with the total removal of quantitative restrictions on imports has opened the door of the economy even more widely to foreign interests including the multinational companies. A large segment of the small scale sector has been thrown open to big business and monopoly houses. The Public Distribution System has been virtually dismantled. This opening up of the economy has resulted, amongst other things of, in an abnormal fall in prices of agricultural commodities, ruling our farmers.
In response to the clamour for the right to "hire and fire" by the employer class, and to close down units at will, the BJP government had set up the Second National Commission for Labour, not only to give the employers the rights they have been crying for, but also to curb the trade union activities in all its aspects. But the government did not even have the patience to wait for the Commissions report, and in the Budget speech itself all the above atrocious anti-labour formulations have been announced, besides the proposals for legalizing contract employment everywhere, and drastically reducing employment in government services in the name of rightsizing.
The world today is threatened by a severe ecological crisis. Driven by endless greed for more and more profit, the unscrupulous capitalists have in the past and even in recent times, cynically violated the norms for maintaining eco-normalcy, and has thereby made our planet extremely vulnerable. The worst crime was committed against the erstwhile colonies by the imperialist powers. While the working class movement has to fight for restoration of the eco-balance in the country, at the same time it must unite and resist the nefarious game of passing the entire burden of environmental correction on the working people through closure of thousands of small and medium industries, and loss of livelihood of several lakhs, as is happening in our country. The working class must fight to ensure that environmental correction proceeds as a gradual process and it does not lead to any sort of deindustrialisation or imposing undue hardship on the workers.
Under cover of the NDA government, the BJP, as the political outfit of the RSS pursuing a fascistic ideology, is going ahead with its not so hidden agenda of saffronising education, culture and the way of life in the country. It is continuing to change curriculum, revising text books, distorting history --- everything for giving legitimacy to the pernicious Hindutva ideology. In order to effectively carry out this task, it is desperately manning the authoritative and prestigious research institutions with people belonging to the saffron brigade. The latest in the list of their sinister move in this direction is for introducing the obscurantist subject of astrology for teaching in the institutions of higher education. They even intervened in the conduct of the film festival.
Besides the cultural sphere, the constituents of Sangh Parivar has been persistently and continuously indulging in attacks on minority communities, Muslims, Christians and all, giving rise to communal tension in the country. The moderate Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, gave unequivocal moral support to the effort for constructing a temple at the Babri Masjid site while the reported statement of the home minister, L K Advani before the Liberhan Commission is virtually a direct instigation to the Sangh Parivar.
The tehelka revelations have once again thoroughly exposed the complete rottenness of the bourgeois-landlord regime in general, and the BJP-led NDA rule in particular, and has totally belied the BJP claim that it was a party with a difference.
While, on one hand, the NDA government is intensifying its attack on the working class and the common people, on the other hand, in keeping with the glorious tradition of May Day, the working class have been intensifying the resistance against the offensive. With every passing day, one after another, workers in various industries have launched strike struggles against privatisation and the virulent attack on their rights, as in the postal and telecom sector, power sector, port & docks, coal mines, in the state government sector in many states. In the private sector as well, the country has witnessed many militant and bitter struggles, braving the cruellest repression by the employers and administration. The four-month long struggle in Maruti Udyog, the strike struggle of the brick kiln workers in Haryana, spinning mill workers in Bhopal, textile workers and the hydel project workers in Himachal Pradesh, are a few examples. The struggle of the people of Andhra Pradesh against the power-tariff hike, displaying unprecedented heroism, had given impetus to popular struggles in all the states and also had shown the path of mobilizing the entire people, from all sections of society in the struggle against the disastrous policies of globalisation. The workers of BALCO are also now creating a new history in the working class movement of the country, while conducting more than a month-long continuous strike action against privatisation and successfully converting their struggle into a peoples movement in the true sense of the term.
It is not only the working class that is carrying on the struggle. The attack is as much on the agricultural workers and the peasantry as on the workers. The agricultural workers and the poor peasantry not only constitute the majority of our population but also the poorest and the most downtrodden section in the country. Steadily, though somewhat slowly, this vast section of the population is waking through the harsh realities of their life, to the serious deprivations caused by the neo-liberal globalisation. The countrywide militant mobilization by the agricultural workers and the peasantry, with massive solidarity mobilization by the working class, has opened up a new vista of popular movements.
With the RSS-led BJP saddled in power, using communalism as its main political weapon to mobilise support and moving with the fascistic perspective of the RSS, the struggle of the working class and democratic people, of necessity, has to assume an added dimension: the fight against communalism and the fascist ideology and for democracy. It is no longer possible to carry on struggle against the intensified economic offensive of the NDA government without fighting against communalism, as it is impossible to fight communalism and the fascist ideology without militant struggle against the economic policies.
This year May Day celebrations in our country precede the Assembly elections in five states. The Left Front and Left Democratic Front governments in West Bengal and Kerala are also facing the poll. Hell-bent efforts are being made by the ruling class and also the pro-liberalisation lobby, backed by imperialist powers, to dislodge these two progressive pro-people governments, since they are also the important outposts of the anti-liberalisation struggle in the country. It is the task of the Indian working class in general and the working class of those two states in particular, to render whole-hearted support to those two Left-led combines to come back to power. The working class must also throw its weight to ensure decisive defeat of the communal forces and also the associates of the BJP in other states.
Notwithstanding various weaknesses, shortcomings and drawbacks, the ideal of May Day is asserting itself with wider sweep and greater intensity in the world as much as in our country. May Day originated with the demand for introduction of an 8-hour day as a statutory obligation. The demand was fulfilled to a considerable extent in the world. But May Day was not forgotten. With every passing year, more and more workers are mobilizing for celebration of May Day.
It is because the demand for shortening working hours is essentially a demand for reducing exploitation, that the perspective of May Day is the complete elimination of all exploitation. While in some of the countries where socialism is being established, exploitation is coming to an end, over the larger part of the world exploitation is yet to be eliminated. The message of May Day continues to provide the perspective of the working class struggle.
Today, every struggle that is being carried out by the working class anywhere in the world represents an important contribution to the process of elimination of exploitation, the perspective held out by May Day. The struggle against neo-liberal globalisation itself, at the present stage is the struggle to end exploitation. We can best observe May Day today by pledging ourselves to defeat the offensive of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation and prepare to carry the struggle to its logical end.