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Mazdoor Ekta Lehar interviewed several working class leaders on the occasion of the All-India Workers’ Strike on February 28
We are publishing the interview with Birju Nayak, Secretary, Mazdoor Ekta Committee
MEL: Why has this strike been called today?
Birju Nayak: This strike has been called to oppose the anti-worker, anti-national, anti-people policies of the present UPA government. Workers throughout the country are registering their protest against rising prices, against increasing attacks on worker’s rights, against violation of labour laws, against privatisation & liberalisation, against increasing use of the contract system and for a universal public distribution system.
MEL: Why do you think the government is ignoring the demands raised by the workers, and in fact, actually attacking the rights of the workers? Is it only the UPA government acting in this manner? What has been the experience of the workers with the earlier governments?
Birju Nayak: The economic system in our country is the capitalist system. In this system, the capitalist governments serve the interest of the capitalist class and do not solve the problems of the toiling people.
The previous NDA government also followed the same policies as the present UPA government. Apart from ensuring the profits for the capitalist class, a so-called developed capitalist democracy has the feature that it fools the people by periodically changing the governments and the parties that rule.
MEL: What can the working class do to change the situation?
Birju Nayak: The working class will have to take the political power in its own hands to change the situation. Only the rule of the workers will be capable of halting the program of globalization through liberalisation and privatisation. Only the rule of workers can ensure the well-being of toiling people. They will be able to ensure that the produce of the farmers is purchased at remunerative prices and inflation is kept in check by making it available to the working people of cities at reasonable prices. Only the rule of the workers can restrict the private profits of the capitalists.
Using their political power, the working class can surely change the direction of the economy so that it serves the working people. Workers in the banking and financial sectors of the economy know well how these sectors have to be run to ensure prosperity for the working people. For example, the railway workers would know better than the ministers how best the railway can be run.
We are fully confident that the working class of our country will fulfil this honourable goal. Workers are the real masters of this country and they alone can provide it a bright future.
MEL: What tasks have to be accomplished for this?
Birju Nayak: First of all, the working class needs a revolutionary party like the Communist Ghadar Party of India, which is waging a struggle to establish the rule of the working class. Advanced workers will have to become members of this party and establish its units among workers of various factories, industrial areas and other institutions. We have to unite all the workers of our country around the independent program of the working class. The focus of this program would be to halt the program of globalisation through privatisation and liberalisation, to build our unity for defence of our rights, to build the united front of all toilers and oppressed under the leadership of the working class and to take the state power in our hands.
Under the pressure of the workers, several of the central trade unions had to come together, which is very good. The challenge before us is to prevent the working class from becoming the tail of the capitalist parties. The challenge before us is to smash the division of workers along party lines so that the working class of our country can play its rightful role.