LPP May Day Statement – by Farooq Tariq
May Day 2009 in Pakistan is celebrated with a new upsurge in labour movement. There are daily demonstrations across Pakistan by various sectors of the working class on the issues of shorter working day, against contract labour and privatization. More and more workers are now coming together to form the new trade unions as a vehicle of struggle.
May Day 2009 in Pakistan will be marked with more participation of workers across the country than the years under military dictator General Musharaf.
International Workers Day, is commemorated in summing up the milestone and victories attended by the working class in their struggle to earn their due right. It is with just pride and honor that they stand in defiance, up against all forces conspiring to undermine their right to life and dignity.
Since the early 19th century, workers in different nations had opposed enslaved labour extending up to 16 – 18 hours a day. The organized efforts of the labour movements of the United States then, initiated on the campaign demanding a 10 hour work day culminated in bringing about the now infamous struggle for the “the 08 hour workday”. in 1884.
The struggle grew and spread across regions until it engulfed the whole world as global workers movement. Then, there came the campaign struggle in Chicago, USA – the crowning moment of all – which was stamped in history, paid in life of many a dear comrade. Thus ‘May Day’ was recognized a global event, now celebrated as a symbol of the rights and dignity of the working masses. It then grew on to become the all encompassing movement forbearing the socialist ideology that sought to defend the rights, power and rule of the working class against all forms of capitalist enslavement.
Therefore, the ‘May Day’ in our day, signifies the expression of the struggle for the realization of the dignity of the whole of mankind.
The working masses of Pakistan comprising the workers of the factories and plantations, the fisheries, the peasantry as of now engaged in great struggle to win their rights for a dignified life are now faced with even a greater and newer challenge coming up to this day in May, this year.
We greet this May Day with the working class movement around the world facing the challenges of a capitalist system in deep crisis. The contradictions of the system emerge as wide-open cracks visible to the masses in their day-to-day struggle for survival. And working people and the poor are heroically struggling in their millions worldwide, against capitalism’s ‘solutions’ and for system change — from the movements for democracy in Thailand and Pakistan, to the workers strike movement in France, to the movements for ‘Socialism of the 21st Century’ in Latin America.
Meanwhile the global economic crisis has hit the country with force, with a collapse in industrial growth forecast for 2009 and a spiralling increase in retrenchments and unemployment. The capitalist crisis has hit the working class very badly. the government response is “business as usual”.
On May Day 2009, Pakistani working class has an additional but most vital issue of the growth of religious fundamentalism. This trend is dividing the working class on religious lines and weaking the labour movement in some part of Pakistan. The answer of Pakistani state is repression of the whole population living in the areas dominated by religious fanatics or making deals with fanatics. The American imperialism wants a military solution and is bombing the areas. We condemn the both. We must build a peoples movement against religious fundamentalism and imperialism.
Religion must not be part of politics and the state. It must be a private matter of an individual. The labour movement of Pakistan must disassociate its self from any trends that is promoting religious fanaticism among the workers. They must organize themselves on class lines.
We are totally oppose to the policies of present civilian government of Pakistan Peoples Party that is pursuing new liberal agenda and continuing on the footsteps of the policies adopted under General Musharaf. Workers demand an end of privatization, a minimum wage of Rupees 12000, end of discriminatory labour laws, unemployment benefit for all adult unemployed, reduction in military expenditures and saying no to foreign debts.
As we develop our tactics and strategy, we are well aware of the need to draw lessons from the advanced movements for system change and socialism in Latin America, especially Bolivia and the “Socialism for the Twenty First Century” movement in Venezuela. We acknowledge, with deep admiration and respect, that these developments in Latin America would not have been possible without the survival of the Cuban revolution — a superb and heroic record of fifty years.
Today we live in special times. As we face the tremendous challenges ahead, at the same time we have a historic opportunity available to this generation, to advance towards a socialist alternative.
This means that we can and must put forward the socialist alternative through concrete demands that the people can understand, while at the same time pointing to the need to struggle for system change. The challenge is to put forward socialism as a living theory and movement, one not mired in dogma and schemas. This approach will surely help us build the Socialism of the 21st Century.
Long Live May Day!
Zindabad International Working Class Unity and Solidarity!
Long Live Socialism!
Labour Party Pakistan