The Joint Platform of Central Trade Unions and Sectoral All India Federations and Associations have called for a two-day All India general strike on March 28-29, 2022 with the main slogan of “Save the People and Save the Nation.”
The trade unions are demanding repeal of the four Labour Codes and the Essential Defense Services Act (EDSA), a halt to the privatisation program, including the National Monetisation Pipeline, universal social security for all workers, and regularization of contract labour. They are also demanding increase in public investment in agriculture, education, healthcare, and reduction in taxes on petroleum and diesel to control prices. They have raised other demands as well. They have also supported the demands of the kisan andolan on ensuring MSP for all crops.
The Communist Ghadar Party fully supports the just demands of the trade unions. They are in the interests of the people, and of the country as a whole. They are in opposition to the fierce, all sided anti-social offensive of the ruling bourgeoisie against the livelihood and rights of workers, peasants, and broad masses of working people.
The question facing the trade unions and all organisations of workers and peasants is how to win these demands. It is important to know who and what is responsible for the attacks on the livelihood and rights of the people, who and what is responsible for the present orientation of the economy which is wrecking the national economy. That will provide the answer to the question, what workers must do to “save the people, save the nation.”
The problems facing the workers and peasants have their source in the capitalist economic and political system in place in our country. The principal means of production are in the hands of the bourgeoisie. The bourgeoisie headed by about 150 capitalist monopolies has supreme power and sets the agenda for society. It sets the orientation of the economy. The program of globalization through liberalization and privatisation, which is wreaking devastation on the national economy, is the program of the bourgeoisie. It is a program that has its aim ensuring that the monopoly capitalists of our country enrich themselves at the fastest possible pace, by intensifying the exploitation of workers, the robbery of the peasants, and the plunder of all the natural resources of our people.
The Indian state is an instrument in the hands of the bourgeoisie to keep expanding its wealth on one hand, and suppress the resistance struggle of the workers and peasants on the other. All the organs of the Indian state — the Central and state governments, parliament and state assemblies, the political parties of the bourgeoisie, the judiciary, the police and armed forces, serve this aim. In the whole period of seventy four years since independence, the bourgeoisie has been enriching itself, while the masses of workers and peasants are forced to lead lives of insecurity.
A grand illusion has been created in our country that the party in charge of the government can do whatever it wants. That it can implement policies in the interests of the bourgeoisie, or it can implement policies in the interests of the working class. Even though for the past 74 years, one government after another has implemented the agenda of the bourgeoisie, this illusion has been kept alive, that if only a “new party” is given charge of the government, the interests of the working class and toiling masses can be advanced.
The truth is that the interests of the bourgeoisie and the working class are antagonistic. It is not possible for a state, for political power to represent both the bourgeoisie and the working class. There is no such thing as a state that represents all classes. The present Indian state is a state of the bourgeoisie which will always defend the rule of the bourgeoisie over the working class and toiling masses.
Elections in this capitalist system are an instrument of the bourgeoisie to legitimize its rule over the working class and toiling peasantry. The bourgeoisie decides which party will be best able to fool the people, while implementing its anti worker and anti peasant program. This is what elections over the past 74 years have affirmed and reaffirmed.
In their call for the General Strike, the trade unions have declared “We have to demand from all political parties of the nation to incorporate “protection of right to work, living wage, free quality health and education to all citizens and all legitimate constitutional rights” in their political manifestos for the coming assembly elections in 2022 and for the elections scheduled for 2024 and take oath publicly to fulfill their assurances and to support the demands of workers, farmers and all people of the country if they come to power.”
What the trade unions are saying is that if political parties include in their manifestos the demands of workers and peasants, and if they take a pledge to fulfill these promises if they win the elections, then workers will be asked to vote for such parties. This is leading workers up a wrong path, against their interests.
The election manifestos of the bourgeois political parties are already replete with alluring promises for different sections of society. Including this or that demand of the trade unions, in their election manifesto, will not change the fact that after elections are over, whichever party gets to form the government will implement the agenda of the bourgeoisie. The government will not be accountable to the workers and peasants. Workers and peasants will have no say in decision making.
The recently concluded assembly elections to 5 states once again clearly shows that the working class and toiling masses had no role in deciding which party would form the government. The bourgeoisie decided this. The task of leaders of the working class is to show the way forward in this situation. They must not create illusions about this or that party or about the system of multi party representative democracy through which the bourgeois rules over the workers and peasants.
For several years now, central trade unions have been regularly organizing one day and two day All India General Strikes for the demands of the working class. It is a fact that no government has accepted any of the demands of the working class. This has been the case, both when the Congress led UPA was in charge of the government, and when the BJP led NDA has been in charge of the government.
The program of globalization through liberalization and privatisation is the program of the bourgeoisie to enrich itself at the fastest possible pace. It is a program that is not merely a program of one or two parties. It is a program every party of the bourgeoisie has to necessarily implement.
The aim of working class cannot be to replace one party of the bourgeoisie with another. The aim is to replace the rule of the bourgeoisie with the rule of the working class in alliance with the toiling peasantry.
To defeat the offensive of the bourgeoisie, the working class needs to organise itself as a political force that will contest the political power of the bourgeoisie. The united front of workers and peasants needs to be built around the aim of establishing worker-peasant rule in place of the rule of the bourgeoisie. Otherwise, the aspirations of workers, as voiced in the charter of demands of the trade unions, will remain a policy objective, a distant dream, which will never be fulfilled. Workers must not allow this to happen.
While waging the struggle for our immediate demands, all organisations of workers and peasants must put on their agenda, the necessity to fight for an alternative political system and process in which workers and peasants will hold decision making power. With power in our hands, we will be able to reorient the economy to fulfill the ever growing material and cultural needs of the vast masses of people.
Let us step up the united struggle to defeat the anti social offensive of the bourgeoisie. Let us wage this struggle with the aim of replacing bourgeois rule with the rule of workers and peasants. This is the call of the times.