Wage tit-for-tat struggle against every attack on our livelihood and rights!
One working Class, One struggle, One program!
May Day this year comes at a time when workers belonging to various sectors of the economy have united, cutting across party barriers, against the privatisation program and anti-worker labour law reforms. It is the fighting unity of workers that has managed to temporarily block the plans of the Ministry of Disinvestment.
May Day this year comes in the midst of the 14th Lok Sabha elections. Whether the BJP and its allies or the Congress Party and its allies win the majority of seats in the Lok Sabha, the program for the future has already been set by the big bourgeoisie. The working class is confronted with the danger of escalation of their exploitation and further attacks on their rights, soon after the elections are over.
What the big bourgeoisie has in store for the workers and peasants after the elections is a fresh round of privatisation affecting a wide range of sectors, including water and electric power, banking and insurance, education and health care. Amending labour laws to fulfill the demands of big capitalists ranks high on the agenda. Measures to further liberalise internal and external trade are on the anvil, further subjecting the peasantry and other small producers to the domination of the trading monopolies and multinationals.
The big bourgeoisie has plans to develop India as an imperialist power, in collaboration and contention with the United States and other imperialist powers. Warmongering and profiteering from the arms race, military intervention in Nepal and other countries, are part of this plan. So are measures to further fascise the state apparatus and further communalise and criminalise the polity.
Posters announcing May Day rallies all over the country have placed on the agenda the task of defeating the anti-people offensive of the big bourgeoisie. What kind of fighting front is required in order to defeat the bourgeois offensive? This is one of the most crucial questions facing the working class.
What the workers need is to consolidate their unity on the basis of their own class platform. What they need at this time is a worker-peasant front, a broad alliance of all the oppressed around the working class. What is needed is a united front without the bourgeois and against the bourgeoisie. Such a united front is needed in order to wage tit for tat struggle against every attack of the bourgeoisie on any section of the masses. Such a front is needed in order to pro-actively advance the alternative program to bring the workers and peasants to power and reorient the economy in their interest.
The 14th Lok Sabha elections provided an opportunity for the communist parties and workers’ organisations to push forward and popularize the platform of the working class. They could have done so at least in the urban centres, where large unions and associations exist and the capacity of the organised working class is the maximum. However, if we look at the candidates who are in the fray in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad, we find that there are no working class candidates in these big cities of our country. What is the reason for this?
The reason for this state of affairs is that some of the biggest parties in the communist movement, with considerable influence among workers, have deviated from the aims and agenda of the working class. Instead of organising to field working class candidates, they have decided to campaign for one of the bourgeois candidates in the name of defeating the BJP at any cost. This has spread conflicting messages among the workers, preventing the possibility of the working class effectively campaigning on its own platform in these elections.
Will the replacement of one bourgeois coalition by another bourgeois coalition in power help to defeat the bourgeois offensive? If we go by our past experience, it is clear that it will not help one bit if the Congress Party replaces the BJP. In its current election campaign, the Congress Party is repeatedly reminding the people that it was the architect of the liberalisation and privatisation program, which the BJP has only developed further. Why then should workers accept the aim of replacing the BJP by the Congress Party?
The strategic aim of the working class is to replace the rule of the bourgeoisie by the rule of the workers and peasants, as the necessary condition for carrying out the revolutionary transformation from capitalism to socialism and communism. The immediate aim of the working class is to defeat the fascist offensive and imperialist drive of the bourgeoisie.
To replace the BJP coalition by another bourgeois coalition cannot be the immediate or strategic aim of the working class. It is in fact the immediate aim of one section of the bourgeoisie, which is backing the Congress Party. It is the strategic aim of the bourgeois class as a whole that the workers and peasants should remain enslaved to this notion that there is no alternative except to replace one party of the bourgeoisie by another. Those within the working class movement who are advocating that the BJP must be defeated at any cost are subordinating the movement of the workers to the aims of the bourgeoisie.
Can the working class defeat the bourgeois offensive? Yes, it can because the working class constitutes about half of the entire population of India, including manual and mental workers in industry, agriculture and services. It is the most organised class among all the oppressed. If the working class unites with the peasantry, who are also discontented and protesting against the globalisation and liberalisation program, then such an alliance will be an invincible force, representing over 90% of the population, which can indeed defeat the plans of the bourgeoisie and change the course of India.
In order to defeat the bourgeois offensive, it is essential to overcome the divisions within the working class movement. In order to overcome these divisions, it is essential to wage a relentless struggle against all those who are conciliating with social-democracy, and refusing to develop the fighting program of the working class. Such conciliators are calling on workers to become the tail of the bourgeois opposition, rather than become the head of all the oppressed.
On this May Day 2004, let us pledge to work untiringly over the coming 12 months to establish and develop the program of the working class, on the basis of which all communists and working class organisations can wage one unified struggle. Let us prepare to greet the new Government with renewed and stepped up struggle in defence of our rights and against the privatisation and liberalisation program. Let us strengthen the workers’ unions and associations as organs of class struggle, in opposition to those who want to convert them into channels for delivering vote banks to this or that party. Let us prepare the conditions for a politically united working class, at the head of a worker-peasant front, to emerge as an invincible force on the Indian political scene by the 1st of May, 2005.
Long Live May Day!