On March 9th, 2014, the International Women’s Day was celebrated in Ambedkar Maidan, Worli BDD chawls. Working women and their families participated enthusiastically in the celebrations. The program started with a cultural program of songs and powada by youth of Ulhas Nagar and a textile worker respectively.
The representative of Lok Raj Sangathan, Comrade Kusum, welcomed all the people and the different organizations that had come together for the celebrations. She explained that campaigning for the 16th Lok Sabha Elections had already started. The capitalist parties would pour in money to win the elections by money power as well as muscle power. She explained that it is the big capitalists who decide which party or coalition to bring to power to implement their program. Once in power, these parties and coalitions have implemented the same program of globalisation through liberalisation and privatisation, which has enabled the biggest capitalists to become international players.
She elaborated on the key reforms in the political system and process that Lok Raj Sangathan was fighting for to end the domination of the political system and process by political parties of the capitalist class. People must have the sole right to select candidates standing for elections. They must enjoy the right to recall as well as to initiate legislation. No individual or organisation should be permitted to spend money on election campaigns.The election process should be funded by the state. This would open the way to people’s candidates standing and getting elected.
She hailed the struggles of the women of Worli, led by Lok Raj Sangathan, Worli Committee to improve their rations. She called on the women to strengthen their committee and through united struggle improve their living conditions. Comrades Sushila and Vidya denounced the Government for the poor quality of rations it was giving and for the poor quality of the health care facilities available to the residents and said it was because they were united in the LRS committee that they were able to improve their conditions.
Comrade Anu of Purogami Mahila Sangathan (PMS) hailed the militant women all over the world who were together celebrating International Women’s Day. She explained briefly the history of the struggle of women ever since the first International Women's Day was celebrated more than a century back. Comrades Sushila and Sharda spoke about the need for people themselves to give punishment to those who violate women and also recited a poem about the injustices suffered by women.
The representative of Communist Ghadar Party, hailed the militant women of Worli who had been successfully celebrating IWD for the last twenty years. The main problem which is at the root cause of the problems faced by women as well as the workers is the rule of the capitalist class. This small minority of our population is amassing huge wealth and the Governments at the center as well as the states are at their bidding. She said that just nearby one of these capitalists is staying in a mansion which is 60 storeys high. It had a parking space for 300 cars. She denounced the Govt for making the people have to fight even to get proper quality rations. She asked the people whether any of them believed that things would get any better after the elections. The people unanimously announced “No”. She said the elections would only result in a change of Government, not a change of system. We need to build a new system, the socialist system to bring about change in our lives. The means of production should not be in private hands, but belong to the whole of society. She hailed the women for building their own area committees and called on them to expand these.
Comrade Nirmala denounced the Government for allowing the closure of the textile mills of Mumbai, for uncontrolled price rise and the exorbitant cost of education. She said the children of the poor are forced to study in Govt schools which do not have teachers. How can they compete with children who have much better facilities?
Comrade Mathew of Kamgar Ekta Committee declared that when India became independent, Mahatma Gandhi had declared that the new rulers would build an India where there would not be a tear in any child. But after sixty years of their rule, the tears don’t stop flowing from the faces of our children, women and all oppressed peoples. Today every 20 minutes a woman is raped. After sixty seven years of the rule of the capitalist class, it is now time for the working class to come forward and overturn this man-eating system. He said the working class will lead the peasantry and all the exploited and oppressed peoples in solving their problems, by establishing their rule. The rule of the workers and peasants would deal the harshest punishment to anybody who violates a woman.
Comrade Lavanya recounted how with the closure of the mills, the workers had to take up low paying jobs, forcing the woman also out of the house to earn a living. Comrade Deepak Gavankar, young leader of the Postal Workers, hailed the militant spirit of the women participating in the celebrations. Com Shekhar Kapure, leader of Ladaku Garment Kamgar Union (LGKU) said that good quality ration is their right and if the women remain united they would get it. He exhorted them to go together from each building in large numbers and it is this strength in numbers which would win victories for them. Comrade Sharda exhorted the people of Worli to join Lok Raj Sangathan in large numbers and build it as their own organization.
The significance of the function was not lost on anyone — the working women and girls of Worli had taken up the struggle for their rights into their own hands. The celebrations ended with a lively cultural program by the young girls of Worli B.D.D. Chawls.