May day reminds us of the great struggles and sacrifice of American workers at haymarket in Chicago in 1886. It was the manifestation of the impact created by the Communist manifesto written by Karl Marx and Engels and released in 1848. The demand for restricting the working hours to eight hours per day had moved the industrial workers especially in Germany, France and England in Europe and the United States of America. Equally determined was the bourgeoisie to suppress the revolutionary movement by all means and hiring goons they hurled bombs against the workers who had assembled to realise the demand for eight hour working day. The impact of the movement and the indignation of the haymarket incident was so great that the world Nations had to adopt legislative measure to enforce the dictum of 8 hour work. In most of the countries May day is declared a paid holiday.
The neo-liberal economic policies whose theme is greater exploitation of workers to maximise profit had been moving with that single point objective for the last a decade, the end result of which in our country was to increase the working hours to 12 per day and amend the labour code to make this possible. The entry of this nefarious idea into the Indian statute book must be characterised as the single great achievement of the present day Mody Government. The Government of India by making it possible to have such a legislation passed by the Indian Parliament by means of surreptitious methods, has thrown the challenge to the very existence of the working class movement in the country. The May day 2021 must be viewed in this context and the determination to defeat it and meet the challenge squarely must be demonstrated in no uncertain terms, despite the pandemic.
It must not only be seen as a challenge and indication of a renewed attempt to increase the level of suppression. It is undoubtedly an attack on modern principles of democratic polity, decent living standards, and the very culture and civilization of this great country. The labour code is the most effective tool handed over to the corporate entrepreneurs in the country to intensify the exploitation of the Indian working class.
The significance of the May day this year is to remind and be reminded of the great need to build up the most powerful and united struggle of the workers to. bring back the country to the assembly of civilised Nations of the world and throw out the perpetrators of this grave and inhuman injustice, whose mind-set dates back to the medieval days .
The pandemic situation in the country has entered the worst phase after a short respite. India which had the biggest and the most efficient manufacturing facility for the production of vaccines is now reeling under its shortage. The Indian facility which was hitherto operated as a public sector enterprise was dismantled during the neo liberal days. It could have produced the life saving vaccines at the cheapest cost and faster than any unit in the world. Never in the history of our country, especially after independence, vaccination against the epidemic diseases had been charged by the Government. The lack of production facilities, caused by the dismantling of public sector units the need for faster vaccination to arrest the spread of the pandemic, the increased cost of production when done in the private sector, all have conjured up a situation whereby the affected poor are left with no alternative but to die. To cater to the requirements of the increased number of patients, our Public health care system, which had also been attacked over the years, do not have beds, medicines, ICUs, Ventilators and workforce. This human made tragedy is what has been contributed by the so called liberal economic policies, where people do not matter. The Government is clueless for what is dismantled or destroyed cannot be resurrected or reconstructed with the same speed with which it was destroyed. The mutation of the genetic structure of the virus had added fuel to the fire.
The present pathetic situation in the country is the product the policies pursued by the ruling class, intensified by the crony capitalism of the present day Government . The CITU in their may day manifesto 2021 has rightly called upon the Indian working class to realise the situation and react and react vehemently to throw out the present ruling dispensation of the country. It has exhorted the workers in their May day communication, (the full text of which is placed on our website):
In view of comprehensive all round onslaught on the people, the economy, democratic system, societal harmony and the national integrity as a whole, the fight back by a class oriented working class has to base itself on comprehensive understanding of the character of these attacks of the ruling class, in all its expressions, linking one with the other. It has to be the united battle of the working class along with the people to defend the rights and dignity of the workers and the people, their livelihood, defend the democratic system and values, defend the national economy and resources and above all to defend the unity of the people. This requires consistent and continuous efforts to expose the inherent exploitative character of the capitalist system, its inhuman machinations and the politics that promote it. This May Day let us pledge to take up this task in right earnest.
Confederation of Central Government employees and workers are in full consonance with the views expressed in CITU manifesto 2021 and calls upon its affiliates, State COCs and other fraternal organisations to unite and be an integral part of the struggles for a pro-people alternative system of governance.