Call of the Communist Ghadar Party of India, May 1, 2021
Today is May Day, international working class day. Throughout the world, for the past 131 years, workers have been celebrating this festival of our class. We celebrate our victories, learn lessons from the setbacks, in order to march forward towards our goal. Along with our immediate economic and political demands, we fight with the aim of building a new socialist society free from all forms of exploitation and oppression of persons by persons.
In our country, for the second year in succession, we workers have been barred from organising public May Day rallies. In the name of preventing corona virus from spreading, the Central government has banned all rallies and protests of workers for the past 14 months.
The Communist Ghadar Party of India salutes the workers of our country, and of other countries, who have been waging a valiant struggle against the attacks of the capitalists and their governments, in extremely difficult conditions.
The CGPI salutes the workers of railways, roadways, coal, petroleum industry, defence industry, electricity generation and distribution, banking and insurance, for their militant struggle against privatization.
The CGPI salutes the lakhs of peasants who have been participating in a historic six month long protest on the borders of Delhi, demanding the repeal of anti-kisan laws, and guaranteed security of livelihood for all peasants.
CGPI condemns the Central Government for the complete collapse of the public health care system. Thousands of people are dying every day. One year ago, the government imposed a cruel lockdown, promising to use that time to prepare the health care system to deal with the pandemic. It did nothing to address the problems of the public health system. It permitted mass religious gatherings and election rallies which contributed to further spread the virus. The result is the great human tragedy unfolding before us.
CGPI extends its heartfelt condolences to the families of all those who have lost their lives. CGPI salutes the frontline workers — the nurses, doctors, safai karamcharis, ambulance drivers, anganwadi workers and all others who are putting their own lives at risk, in the service of humanity.
Crores of factory workers, office workers, and building workers in the cities and towns have been forced to go back to their villages as a result of the lockdown. They have no way to feed themselves or their families, no way to pay the rent for their landlords. Governments treat them as second class citizens, with no rights. The promises of the Central government, of ensuring social security for all workers, have been revealed to be lies.
The CGPI condemns the central government for the unhuman treatment that has been repeatedly meted out to crores of our class brothers, those who are called migrants and denied any semblance of human rights.
It is said that after India became independent, we, the people of this country became her master. But this is not true. The truth is that a super rich minority is ruling the country. Those who own and control the means of production and exchange — the factories, the mines, the banks, the railways —are the masters of India. They are the class of capitalists headed by the Tatas, Ambanis, Birlas, Adanis and other monopoly houses. They exploit us to the bone, in order to ensure maximum profits for themselves. When they do not need us any more, they throw us away like squeezed lemons.
We workers do not own or control the means of production. In order to survive, we are forced to sell our labour power to the capitalist class. Many of us are forced to work 12-14 hours a day and even more, six or seven days a week, to eke out a living. Laws which protect labour rights apply only to a minority of the working class; and even for them, rights exist only on paper. They are rarely enforced. The state machinery is trained to protect the interests of capitalists and not the rights of workers.
Our brothers and sisters in the villages lead no better lives. Most of them either have no land, or try to eke out a living on tiny plots. They try to feed their families by also working on other people’s lands, or in schemes like MNREGA. Every year, more and more peasant families get ruined. Every year, lakhs of these brothers and sister come to the cities looking for work in the construction sites or for some other job.
In Dharavi, Mumbai, 10 lakh workers and their families have to live in an area of just two square km. 100-100 workers share beds in shifts in what are called pongal houses. Nearly 15 lakh people live in Sangam Vihar, Delhi. Seventy five percent of the houses in this colony have no drinking water supply. People have to depend for survival on the water tanker mafia. Sewage flows along the narrow gullies and roads of the colony as there is no other method of sewage disposal.
This is the situation in which the majority of workers live in our country. Workers are forced to live in extremely unhygienic cramped conditions. Workers’ colonies are called by all kinds of names — slums, unauthorized colonies, Jhuggi Jhopris, etc — to blame workers themselves for their miserable conditions. We are told that we are “illegal”, that we should be grateful to the government for the smallest mercies. We do not have water for drinking, cooking or toilets. Our children, with buckets in their hands, are forced to stand in line for hours, waiting for water tankers to come. When the authorities advice people living in such conditions to maintain distance of two yards and keep washing their hands with soap, this is rubbing salt into workers’ wounds. How do you maintain a distance of two yards when you are fighting with each other in the line to get a bucket of water? How do you maintain two yards distance in your cramped home?
Every day is a struggle for survival. The majority of workers do not know when they wake up, whether they would be able to feed their children at night. They have to knock at the gate of factories, or stand in the labour markets, looking for some work.
Governments, no matter of which party, do not consider workers and peasants as human beings. They work only to defend the interests of the capitalist class. They do not care whether our children suffer from malnutrition and diseases, whether they live or die, whether they get educated or not, whether they get secure jobs or not.
The rulers always blame us for our miseries. From childhood, we have been told that because we committed sins in our past janma, we are suffering today. On the other hand, we are told that Tata, Birla, Ambani and other capitalists are hardworking people who have earned their arabs of rupees by shedding their sweat and blood. The truth is completely different. The capitalists have amassed immense wealth by exploiting our labour, robbing our peasant brothers, and plundering the natural resources of our country. More than a century ago, they established mills, factories and mines, during British colonial rule. The colonialists ruined the peasants who had to pay huge taxes to jagirdars and the colonialists. They were forced to sow crops like Indigo and Opium. Famines became a regular feature of India during colonial rule. Driven to ruin, peasants migrated to cities to work in the mills and factories set up by Indian and British capitalists. They worked day and night in miserable conditions, with no rights. The capitalists, Indian and British, allied themselves with the big landlords and enriched themselves by savagely exploiting the workers and peasants.
The capitalist class and the working class had two different aims in the freedom struggle. The capitalist class wanted to take the place of the British and continue with the system of exploitation and plunder. The working class fought with the aim of establishing worker-peasant rule and building an India free from exploitation and oppression.
When India became independent, political power came into the hands of the capitalists and jagirdars of India. Represented by the leadership of the Congress Party, they established a Constitution and a system of parliamentary democracy which would legitimize their rule over independent India. They perpetuated a legal system to ensure that workers and peasants would always have to slave for the capitalist class, and be treated as criminals if they protest.
The capitalist class, headed by the monopoly houses, has been setting the agenda for India ever since British rule ended. They have aligned government policy to suit their selfish aims, while marketing all kinds of noble sounding slogans to keep workers and peasants deceived.
In the early decades after 1947, the monopoly houses relied on the Congress Party, headed by Nehru, to market their plan to develop capitalism as being a project to build a so-called socialistic pattern of society. A public sector of industry and infrastructure was created for the benefit of the Tatas, Birlas and other big business houses. Restrictions were imposed on foreign capital investment in sectors which the Indian business houses wanted to dominate. The illusion was spread that the interests of workers and peasants can allegedly be taken care of within the framework of the exploitative capitalist system.
The method of relying on the State and loot of public funds to expand and accelerate capitalism in India exhausted its potential by the decade of the 1980s. When the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991, the Indian monopoly capitalists decided to change their method to suit their global imperialist drive in the new period. They decided to embrace the so-called reform program of globalization, through liberalization and privatization.
Over the past thirty years, every government, whether of the Congress or of the BJP, has been working to make sure that even the limited legal protection that apply to some sections of workers are further curtailed. They have worked faithfully to remove all hurdles for the capitalist monopoly houses to amass wealth at the fastest possible rate. Through the so-called reform of labour laws, they have pursued the aim of extending the legal limit on the length of the working day, of permitting all employers to be able to hire and fire workers at will, and other means of intensifying the exploitation of workers. By attacking the rights and working conditions of the most organised section of the working class, the capitalist class hopes to depress the conditions of the entire class.
The capitalist class rules through a political system and electoral process designed to keep the working class and people divided and deceived. Through this system, the illusion is created that the conditions of life depend on the party in charge of the government. People are bombarded with daily propaganda to make them take sides with one or another rival party of the capitalist class.
Elections are merely a tool of the capitalist class to choose which of its parties should be given charge of running the government for the next few years. Just as the individual capitalist replaces his managers from time to time to run his factory better, the bourgeois class hands over the running of the government to that party which it feels will best fool the people, while implementing the anti-people agenda of globalisation, liberalisation and privatisation. Congress, BJP or any other party which runs the government at any time, is only the management team of the bourgeoisie. Replacing one such party by another in government will not change the conditions of people.
In order to put an end to the unbearable exploitation, unemployment, insecurity and misery, it is essential to put an end to the capitalist system and the rule of the bourgeoisie.
We workers have to fight with the political aim of becoming the malik of our country, in alliance with the peasants. Then and only then can we build a truly socialist India where the toiling people are not exploited and oppressed.
We have been participating repeatedly in mass protests and all-India strikes in recent years, in support of our common charter of demands. For nearly six months, peasants have been sitting on the borders of Delhi demanding repeal of 3 anti kisan laws. We have to ask, what impact have these actions really made? Has it compelled the capitalist class to concede any of our demands? If we are honest to ourselves, the answer is No! Our protests seem to have made no difference to the capitalist class.
Why is it that our protest actions are making no impact on the capitalists and their government? It is because the capitalist class is not threatened as long as the political aim of protest movements remains within the parliamentary system of party rivalry.
In order to shake the peace of the capitalist class, we need to reject the illusions spread by the parliamentary opposition parties. We need to break with the old slogan, “Jo sarkaar nikammi hai, woh Sarkar badalni hai”. Replacing the Modi government by another government of the same capitalist class will not change the conditions of life and work for us workers and peasants.
We must wage the struggle with the aim of taking over the ownership and control of the means of large scale production — the factories, mines, banks, railways, etc. — from the hands of the capitalist class and placing them under social ownership and control. We can do this provided we workers become a united political force and build a firm alliance with the kisans.
India belongs to us workers and peasants — it is not the private jagir of the capitalist class. But today, India is in the hands of the capitalist class and its imperialist allies. They are treating the country as if it is their private jagir. We have to replace capitalist rule with workers’ and peasants’ rule. Then and only then can we reorganize society to ensure prosperity and protection for all.
When we fight with the aim of becoming the malik of India, we will also win some of our immediate demands and advance the struggle against the anti-social offensive of privatization and liberalization.
On the occasion of May Day 2021, the Communist Ghadar Party of India calls upon workers to step up the struggle against the capitalist agenda of globalization through liberalization and privatization, in defence of the rights of all. We must strengthen worker-peasant unity. We must wage this struggle with the aim of replacing capitalism with socialism — a system in which the means of production would be under social ownership and control— eliminating the basis for exploitation of persons by persons.