Mazdoor Ekta Lehar salutes the millions of fighting women of our country and the world on the occasion of International Working Women's Day, 2011. We salute the working women who are in the front lines of the battles against the attacks on the livelihood and rights of the working class. We salute the university and school girls fighting for the rights of students and of workers. We salute the women of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Algeria, and other countries, who have come out courageously on to the streets facing the armed might of unpopular regimes, fighting to take control of their own destinies.
This year, International Women's Day will be marked with protests and rallies, in conditions when the capitalist system in our country and worldwide is caught in an extremely deep all sided crisis. It is a crisis of credibility of the system of parliamentary democracy and all its institutions, through which the minority of exploiters control the state machinery and use this control to extract tribute from the whole of society. The exposure of how the biggest monopolies of our country have been dictating all the policies of the government, with the sole aim of fattening themselves at the expense of the people, and in rivalry with each other, has made the working class, the peasantry and the middle strata question the entire system. The working masses are seeking an alternative system in which they will be the decision makers, not a minority of capitalist monopolies. The working women of our country are integral part of the forces seeking an alternative.
The women of our country are fighting against numerous injustices which you are suffering, as women and as part of the working masses. Women are demanding measures to bring down the exorbitant prices of essential commodities including food. Women are fighting for a modern Universal Public Distribution System that would ensure adequate supply of all food and other essential consumption items in good quality and at affordable prices to all. Women are fighting for immediate measures to protect workers against unemployment and underemployment. Women are fighting for constitutional guarantee for the right to work and to social security, with effective mechanisms to enforce compliance. Women are demanding the right to work and equal wages for equal work on par with men. Women are demanding an end to privatization, of transfer of public assets including land and waters and natural resources into private hands. Women are fighting for reversal of privatization of public services like electricity, water, education, health care, municipal services and transport.
Women are fighting for the right to maternity care, as the reproducers of the next generation. Women are fighting against oppression, and humiliation from the backward social customs still prevailing in society, including the caste system and oppression of women through backward religious customs. Women are fighting their commodification under the capitalist system and their transformation into sex objects. Women are demanding an end to state terrorism, including the targeting of women by state forces, especially in areas where civil war is raging like in Kashmir, the North East and now in Central India.
Women understand very well that in order to make a real breakthrough, political power must vest with the working masses including women. As long as the rule of the corrupt and parasitic capitalist class continues, all the problems confronting women will continue to fester. Women have to fight to ensure that the workers and peasants become the masters of our country. And women are committed to this fight, to this struggle for real power.
Various political parties are imposing on the struggle of women, as a major goal, the demand for reservation of seats in parliament and assemblies for women. It is made out that this is a way forward to lessening discrimination of women, that it is a way forward to empowerment. The fighting women must think deeply and come to their own conclusions on the basis of the experience of our country and other countries. This is that the very system of multiparty representative democracy in place in our country and in various other countries marginalizes the working masses, including women from political power. It is a system designed to ensure that the Tatas, Birlas and Ambanis and their likes control the state, and run it in their interests, and the government, the ruling parties and parties of the parliamentary opposition, the men and women who are in the administration, the MP's, as well as the top media personalities, all work in conjunction with each other in the service of the biggest monopolies. We need to innovate a new political system and process and new institutions, which will ensure political power vests with the hitherto marginalized, including working women.
The coming year promises to be one of big battles between the working masses of our country and the ruling class. Women will play a major role in this struggle, as always. On the occasion of International Womens Day, Mazdoor Ekta Lehar calls upon the fighting women to take forward the struggle for complete emancipation.