Call of the Central Committee of the Communist Ghadar Party of India, 1st May, 2020
On the occasion of May Day 2020, Communist Ghadar Party of India salutes the workers of all countries, especially those who are providing health care and other essential services in the midst of the worldwide crisis, at great risk to their own lives. We salute the doctors, nurses and hospital workers in our country, the auxiliary nurse midwives, anganwadi workers, ASHA and other health sector workers, workers of Indian Railways, of banks, municipal corporations and other essential services, who are toiling to maintain the supply of all essential needs of the people in the conditions of the lockdown.
On the world scale, capitalism stands nakedly exposed as an inhuman system, geared to keep enriching a super-rich minority at the cost of millions of human lives. The vast majority of capitalist governments stand exposed as being incapable of protecting the health and well-being of all members of society in the face of a pandemic like the novel Coronavirus.
In our country, nearly one and half months since the struggle against this virus began, hospitals are not even adequately prepared to protect their workers. Every day, there are reports of more nurses and doctors falling victim to the disease. Inadequate supply of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for all health sector workers still persist. On top of it all, health sector workers who speak out about their terrible conditions of work are threatened with punishment.
The lockdown, starting from 25th March this year, announced all of a sudden, has thrown crores of workers into a desperate situation, with no work, no money and in many cases, no secure roof over their heads. It has exposed the terrible conditions in which crores of people perform productive work in our country, with no legal rights, no job security or any kind of social security. Migrant workers who tried to go back to their native places on foot have been stopped at state borders. Some of them have died of exhaustion and hunger while trying to walk hundreds of kilometres to reach their homes. Many have been herded into temporary camps, forced to live like prisoners. And now they are going to be used as bonded labourers, according to the latest notification in this regard.
The majority of workers in cities live in slums and over-crowded colonies, without adequate water supply and sanitation. It is practically impossible for them to follow all the recommended precautions such as maintaining physical distance and regularly washing their hands. Those who get infected as a result are treated like criminals by the state authorities. Thousands of poor working people have been removed from their homes and forced to stay in quarantine, in extremely unhygienic conditions and a hostile environment.
The government has not allocated any funds towards ensuring that workers’ wages are paid. The Prime Minister has only made a request to the capitalists not to lay off workers or deprive them of their wages for the lockdown period. His words have had no effect. Capitalists are not going to address workers’ needs at the cost of their private profits, unless they are compelled to do so. In fact, some associations of capitalists have contested this request in the Supreme Court.
The lockdown has had a terrible impact on the livelihood of peasants. As agricultural markets have been closed down, lakhs of peasants all over the country have resorted to distress sales. Producers of milk are throwing tonnes of milk on the streets because sweet shops have been closed down.
The granaries of the Food Corporation of India are bursting with record inventory of wheat and rice. Yet crores of working people are on the verge of starvation. This is not a new development. It is an old problem which is being exposed very starkly at this time. It shows that neither the economic system nor the policies of the government are geared to serve the needs of all, even though the Prime Minister keeps promising “sab ka saath, sab ka vikaas”. They are geared to maximise the private profits of capitalists at the expense of toiling people.
Putting an end to colonial rule and the capitalist system, and building a socialist India free from all forms of exploitation and oppression has been the strategic goal of the working class ever since May Day was first celebrated in our country almost 100 years ago. The present conditions are calling on us to step up our struggle for this noble goal.
While claiming to be the world’s most populous democracy, the Indian State is in reality an organ of the dictatorship of the capitalist class, headed by the Tatas, Ambanis, Birlas and other monopoly houses. It is their interests which are looked after by the State. It is their demands which get fulfilled by the government. The State tramples on the fundamental rights of working people on a daily basis.
The way that the all-India lockdown was announced, with only four hours’ notice, and with absolutely no preparation to take care of crores of workers who would suddenly be deprived of their livelihood shows that this State has no concern whatsoever for the working people. It is concerned only about protecting the ruling class and its interests. Just like in the case of the Note Ban of 2016, a major decision affecting the lives of all was taken without any consultation or even prior information to the people.
Anyone who complains or criticizes any of the actions of the government is being declared as “anti-national”. Draconian laws are used to arrest workers, trade union leaders, student leaders, human rights activists and others who are fighting for people’s rights. Arrest and indefinite detention of persons who have committed no crime except to express their opposition to the government shows the thoroughly anti-democratic nature of the Indian State.
People are persecuted for their religious beliefs. The State propagates lies and spreads hatred and fear of Muslims among the rest of the population. Parties backed by capitalist money power get away get away with monstrous crimes such as state sponsored communal massacres.
Conditions are crying out for a revolution that will bring to an end this unbearable system. We need to overthrow the rule of the capitalist class, establish workers’ and peasants’ rule and carry out the transition from capitalism to socialism. Such a revolution is the only way to end the exploitation and plunder of our land and labour. It is the only way to ensure that the wealth created by the toiling people is deployed to improve our living and working conditions.
The State of workers’ and peasants’ rule must guarantee the protection of human rights and democratic rights of all, bringing to an end all forms of discrimination and oppression based on religion, caste or gender. It must take India out of the imperialist system and organise the construction of a self-reliant socialist economy. It must steadfastly oppose all forms of imperialist plunder, domination and war, in alliance with all anti-imperialist forces on the world scale.
Taking advantage of the Corona crisis and the vulnerable condition of crores of workers at this time, the capitalist class is planning major attacks on our rights. One of the proposals that capitalist associations have made is to permit extending working shifts in factories from 8-hours to 12-hours. Several state governments — including Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Uttarakhand — have already issued notifications to this effect. The Central government is also considering amending the ID Act to allow capitalists to close factories and companies without having to pay compensation to workers. Capitalists are also demanding that workers should be prevented by law from forming unions for next two years.
The situation calls for strengthening our united struggle. Working class unity needs to be defended in the face of all attempts to divide us and divert us. The lying propaganda blaming Muslims and blaming Pakistan or China for our problems is part of such attempts. We must never lose sight of the fact that the source of all the problems we face lies in the rule of the Indian capitalist class and its dangerous imperialist drive at this time. Our strategic political aim is to dislodge the capitalist class from power and establish workers’ and peasants’ rule in its place.
On May Day 2020, Communist Ghadar Party of India calls on all sections of the working class to escalate their struggle in defence of our rights with the perspective of preparing to usher in workers’ and peasants’ rule! We call on all communists to unite in the course of rallying all the toiling and oppressed people around the program to overthrow capitalism and build a socialist India, where there will be no exploitation or oppression of any kind!
Mazdoor Ekta Zindabad!