Unity of the Working Class is an Urgent Need of the Times

Statement of the Central Committee of the Communist Ghadar Party of India, 4th July, 2020

The condition of the working class in our country has become unbearable.  Unemployment, exploitation and poverty have reached levels never seen before.

In one sector after another, lakhs of contract workers, daily-wage workers and even those on regular payroll have been thrown out of their jobs, without any severance pay.  Many of those who remain employed have not been paid wages for several months.

Crores of workers have been forced to flee to their villages and home towns as a result of the lockdown.  Those who return to the cities are being made to work under dangerous conditions, without adequate protection against the corona virus.

Employers’ contributions to the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) have been cut, as also the interest rate earned on this retirement fund.  Workers’ savings are being handed over to capitalist speculators.  Public sector companies are being burdened with huge losses and unaffordable debt, as part of creating the conditions for handing them over to private capitalist companies.

Announcing a so-called economic revival package, the Prime Minister gave the call to turn the present crisis into an opportunity.  This is a call to the capitalist class to use this as an opportunity to intensify the exploitation of labour to the maximum degree possible. It is a call to deprive workers of their rights, extend their working hours and cut down their wages and benefits. It is a call to all the central ministries to accelerate the process of outsourcing and privatisation.  It is a call to all state governments to reform labour laws so as to deprive workers of minimum wages, 8-hour limit on the working day and other hard won rights.

We workers, along with our peasant brothers and sisters, are the creators of India’s wealth.  Yet we are being treated worse than animals.  In the eyes of the capitalists and their governments, we are nothing but beasts of burden.  The wage incomes we earn are viewed as a “cost” to be minimised.

In spite of the lockdown, workers are out on the streets in protest. They are protesting against their miserable conditions and demanding their rights.  Doctors, nurses and other health sector workers who are in the frontlines of the struggle against Corona virus are protesting against the lack of adequate protective equipment. Workers in banking, telecom, railways, coal mining and other sectors are fighting resolutely against privatisation and the wrecking of public assets.

Crores of workers participated in the countrywide protest yesterday, in response to the joint call by ten central trade union federations.  They raised the longstanding demands of the working class, including an end to the contract labour system, equal pay for equal work, a minimum wage of Rs 18000/- per month, recognition of health sector “volunteers” as workers, halt and reversal of anti-worker amendments to the labour laws, universal pension scheme covering all working people, registration of trade unions within 45 days of application, immediate halt to the privatization program and a universal Public Distribution System.

The times are calling on all sections of workers to show our strength and assert our rights, as workers and as human beings.  Our strength lies in our unity, our organisation and our consciousness.  In order to build our strength, we need to raise our level of organisation and consciousness.  We need to overcome the factors that divide us and divert us from our real enemy.

Rivalry among parties which are out to maximise their votes and their position within the existing State is one of the major factors which divide us.  The trade union federation affiliated to the ruling party does not unite with all other unions in joint actions.  This is a factor that weakens our common struggle.

We workers belong to one class, with one common interest.  We have to act as one, irrespective of which federation our union belongs to and to which party that federation is affiliated.  We must build and strengthen workers’ unity committees in industrial areas and service sector hubs. Activists of different unions and communist parties need to come together in such committees in defence of workers’ rights.

Those who blame the ruling party for all our problems are preventing us from recognising our real enemy.  Life experience shows that parties come and go, while capitalist exploitation keeps growing from bad to worse.  Congress replaced BJP in 2004 and BJP replaced the Congress in 2014 but the government’s program did not change.  Successive governments have stuck to the program of globalisation, liberalisation and privatisation, aimed at enriching the most powerful capitalists at the expense of the toiling people.  What does this show?  It shows that behind these parties stands the capitalist class, headed by the Tatas, Ambanis, Birlas and other monopoly houses.  It is they who wield political power.

Politicians of the ruling class claim that the State – that is, the ministers and members of parliament and state assemblies, the bureaucracy, the judiciary, police and armed forces – is an impartial mediator of the conflict between capital and labour.  However, life experience shows that the existing State is an organ of the capitalist class to oppress the workers, peasants and other toiling people.

The entire political system and its electoral process are designed to maintain the rule of the capitalist class.  Crores of workers are not even able to cast their vote because their place of work is far away from where they are registered as voters. Moreover, the right to vote is meaningless when those who vote have no say over the selection of candidates, and no influence over their representative once elected.  Elections are used by the capitalist class to install one or the other of their tried and trusted parties in charge of the state machinery.

Parties of the ruling class and the corporate controlled news media constantly carry out communal propaganda blaming people of this or that religion as our main enemy.  At one time they said Sikhs were our main enemies.  Now they say Muslims are our main enemies. They also keep blaming Pakistan or China as being responsible for all our problems.  They want to hide the truth that our main enemy is the Indian capitalist class in power, headed by the monopoly houses, and their imperialist allies headed by the USA.  They want to hide the fact that the capitalist system and the State which defends this system is the main source of our problems.

We workers must rise above all differences of religion, caste, union and party affiliation, and strengthen our fighting unity against our common enemy – the Indian and international capitalist class.

We must set our political aim as nothing less than the replacement of capitalist rule by workers’ and peasants’ rule.  A new political system is needed for ensuring the fulfilment of our just demands and for guaranteeing the protection of all the rights that belong to us.  We need a system designed to keep political power in the hands of workers and peasants, who make up the vast majority of the population.

We who create the wealth of India must become her maalik.  We must become the decision-makers, dislodging the capitalist class from this position. Only then can we ensure that the wealth we create is used to fulfil the needs of the toiling majority and not to fulfil the greed of an exploiting minority.

All those who make a living by selling their labour power belong to one class.  We have to unite around the aim and program of putting an end to capitalist rule and establishing workers’ and peasants’ rule.  We must fight for a State and Constitution which guarantee that we who toil get to enjoy the fruits of our toil.  We must strive to build a unified vanguard party to lead the struggle of the working class to become the ruling class, in alliance with the peasants and all the oppressed.

One Working Class, One Program, One Party!