CITU’S MAY DAY MANIFESTO – 2009
ON the occasion of May Day – 2009, the day of the international solidarity and unity of the working class, the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) extends warmest revolutionary greetings to the entire working class and the toiling people of the country and the world as a whole. The CITU re-affirms its commitment to class struggle and complete emancipation of the human society from all forms of exploitation.Fraternal GreetingsThe CITU conveys its fraternal greetings to the working class of the socialist countries for holding high the banner of socialism.The CITU also greets the working class of the developed capitalist countries for their grim battle for right to employment, right to higher living standard and in defence of trade union rightsThe CITU conveys greetings to the working class of the developing countries for their struggles against of imperialist machinations against their nations and the people abated by the ruling polity of the respective countries.The CITU extends solidarity with the agricultural workers in their struggles for achieving for better wages, right to land and livelihood throughout the year and comprehensive social security and welfare measures. It also conveys fraternal support to the poor and middle peasants in their struggles for right to remunerative prices, institutional credit at low interest and infrastructural and input support through massive public investment in agriculture. It appeals to the working class to stand by the masses of peasantry and strengthen worker-peasant unity for conducting united struggles against the anti-people policies of the neo-liberal regimes.The Cuban Revolution continues to be a beacon of hope for the toiling people all over the world .The saga of 50 years of the Cuban Revolution is saga of a constant battle against the US imperialism. The Cuban experience conclusively demonstrates that the fight against imperialism and the fight for socialism cannot be separated.Socialist Cuba continues to be the source of political awakening of the people in the entire Latin-American continent. The electoral defeats inflicted on the pro-US ruling polities one after another in the countries of Latin America by the people under the leadership of the Leftist forces have delivered a severe blow to the neo-liberal economic policies.On this May Day, the CITU condemns the aggressive hegemonic machinations of the imperialist forces led by US imperialism. Iraq and Afghanistan continues under US military occupation. While in Iraq resistance is growing from within, the US occupation of Afghanistan is contributing in deteriorating political situation in Pakistan.Israel continues to occupy Palestinian and Arab territories. The recent Gaza massacre by Israeli military forces is the latest example of imperialist brutality against humanity. Moreover, the US is continuing with its conspiracy to attack Iran, Syria, DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea).On the issue of deployment of Missile Defence System in Europe, contradiction between USA and Russia is getting aggravated despite change of guard in US administration.This year’s May Day shall be observed by the working class all over the world at a time when neo-liberal economic ideology under finance capital driven imperialist globalisation has collapsed and the world is in the grip of a worst ever capitalist economic crisis since the Great Depression of 1930s. According to former Cuban president Fidel Castro, “But it is not the usual crisis that happen every certain number of years, or even traumatic crisis of 1930; rather, the worst of all since the world started to pursue this model of growth and development.”True, neo-liberalism has been totally exposed and “the crisis has certainly destroyed the credibility of the neo-liberal ideology.” The neo-liberal policies must be reversed and the struggle must march forward towards the ultimate goal of a new people oriented progressive social order. We must understand that the birth of a new social order over the graveyard of neo-liberalism is not automatic but depends on how far the working class movement would successfully organise the fight against the system in strict adherence to ideology of class struggle.Impact of the Crisis On Working PeopleAccording to an ILO estimate in January this year, by the end of 2009 world unemployment could increase by 5 crore (50 millions) over 2007, alone reaching to 23 crore (230 millions) and besides that the number of working poor increasing by 20 crore (200 millions). Closure, lay offs, retrenchment, wage freeze, withdrawal or reduction in social security measures etc has been pushed to a dangerous dimension by the employers’ class. Already 3.8 crore (38 millions) people have lost their jobs over last couple of months whereas job creation is going to be far below compared to what it was two years ago.Private business houses are given huge financial support at the expense of government exchequers in the name of bail-out packages. Huge concessions are doled out to the capitalist class through repeated reduction in capital cost, interest-rate, tax cuts etc., instead of ensuring job protection and employment generation. Around 32 governments, which had spent about 1.19 trillion US dollars on stimulus packages, had spent a meager 9.2 per cent on relief to suffering people. The so called stimulus packages are mainly aimed at warming up the financial markets for the benefit of the speculation and finance capital and the amount flowing for real economy are a meager less than one fifth of the total financial bailout packages. The director general of ILO has commented, “People, Families and Communities did not create the crisis and yet they carry the highest human costs. And they are legitimately protesting.”The world is reverberating with strikes and militant street demonstrations as well as different other forms of struggles participated by millions and millions of workers to protest against brazen neglect of toiling people by the governments in handling the economic crisis. It is a situation of ‘billions for banks, pennies for people.’The countries under the European Union have witnessed the maximum protest action. Eight national Federations of Trade Unions of France have jointly organised two giant strikes in quick succession. On January 29 and on March 19 this year hundreds of thousands of French workers marched through the streets of the cities of France including Paris. The next action is on the May Day in which ten lakh (one million) workers will take out 200 rallies all over France.On February 13, the Metal Workers’ Union held strike in Italy. In solidarity with the strikers, “In Rome 700,000 blue and white collar workers marched side by side, in a unity that has not been seen in Italy for some time.” Russia also witnessed militant street rallies in almost every major city in January. In Britain, sectoral strikes took place in different industries. More than one hundred thousand workers from different European countries jointly staged millitant demonstration in London on April 2, 2009 at the venue of meeting of G-20 leaders including Obama, Gordon Brown, Sarkozy, Manmohan Singh.Shocking Acts of UPA GovernmentIn our country the neo-liberal policies were introduced by the Congress Party-led government headed by late Narsimha Rao with Manmohan Singh as Finance minister. And the BJP-led NDA government pursued the same policies more vigorously and caused maximum damage to the economy. During the NDA regime, many blue chip capital rich CPSUs were sold out almost free of cost and involving deep corruption. After the defeat of BJP-led NDA at the hustings, the Congress party-led UPA government that followed thereafter also tried to follow the same path leading to the present crisis.In India, the export-oriented sectors like textile and apparels, information technology and ITES segments, gems and jewellery, leather, tea, automobile parts, construction, aviation etc. have already been seriously affected. Moreover small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) have been hit hard. There has been full or partial closure of industrial units, particularly the export oriented ones, followed by cut in production in the industries due to down turn in the market and resultant retrenchment, lay offs etc. The official figure of job losses so far is only five hundred thousand but the actual figure of job-losses is many times more and this is increasing by leaps and bounds every day.The bail-out packages of the UPA government are still prioritising on pumping funds to financial market to allure foreign and Indian speculators and not at all on protecting employment, promoting public investment in agriculture, infrastructure, public services and material production and expanding social security and public distribution system – which alone can improve purchasing power of the people, expand domestic market and save the national economy and the mass of the people from the onslaught of the crisis. By their perverse actions, the Congress led UPA has clearly demonstrated that their commitment is not to the people and the country’s interest but to the big corporates and their strategic partners in the imperialist block.This year May Day is being observed by the Indian working class in the midst of the on going parliamentary elections. The political parties in the electoral fray are mainly divided into three combinations. A major set back suffered by the UPA and the NDA led by the Congress party and the BJP respectively is that some of their major constituents have deserted them. On the other hand the Left parties have succeeded in launching the non-Congress non-BJP Third Alternative. The reckoning fact is that right from the inception the Third Alternative is continuously strengthening with support from different political parties. With every passing day the possibility of formation of an Alternative Government without BJP or Congress party at the centre after the elections is becoming more and more brighter.The country needs a Government at the centre that would completely reverse the economic policies which have created the crisis and adopt new policies concretely directed to address the sufferings of the people inflicted by the economic crisis. Need of the hour is protection of jobs, generation of new employment, stimulating domestic market by empowering the people economically. Speculative economic activities must be rejected. In other words, not only dismantling of public sector must be stopped but further strengthened by fresh investment by government.This year’s May Day calls for intensified campaign by working class to fight communalism and religious fundamentalism. The BJP-led NDA is dangerous for their rabid communal and divisive agenda. The election manifesto of BJP has revived its ‘hindutva’ agenda and made the ‘Ram Mandir’ an election issue. The Gujarat and Kandhmal (Orissa) carnage apart, communal riots has become the hall mark of the BJP ruled states. The BJP’s game plan is to divide the working class and divide the people.Moreover, the fight against terrorism and the casteist forces are also very much important. On this May Day the working class of India has to take the pledge to relentlessly fight the forces causing serious threat to national integrity, communal amity and unity of the working class till these forces are decisively defeated.On this May Day let us remember that crores of Indian worker participated in 12 nation-wide general strikes, scores of industry-wise strikes and innumerable agitations, demonstrations and other forms of action against neo-liberalism in the country. But for these struggles of the Left Parties against UPA government’s move to privatise banking sector and opening up insurance sector to foreign insurance companies, privatise the pension and social security funds etc, the impact of the meltdown of stock market and consequent financial crisis would have been much more severe than what the country is experiencing today. Enactment of PFRDA Bill aimed at facilitating speculation with pension funds could be stalled by the Left political parties and Left trade union movement and has saved the social security savings amounting to thousands of crores of rupees belonging to lakhs of workers from the great risk of being wiped out anytime due to down turn in stock market, as has happened in USA and European countries. Unfortunately access to Provident Fund money has been granted to private mutual funds including Reliance Capital by the UPA government. The working class will have to fight to reverse the decision.This May Day enjoins upon the toiling people of the country a vital responsibility to ensure the defeat of the Congress-led UPA and the BJP-led NDA in the on going parliamentary elections. At the same time the victory of the Left, Democratic and Secular Alternative must be ensured so that an alternative government is formed after this elections at the centre.PledgeThis year’s May Day pledge must be to intensify class struggle at the level of nation states and to consolidate the international unity of the working class to fight the menacing burdens of the economic crisis – principally, job losses, wage freeze, casualisation of employment, deterioration in quality of employment, social security, protection of the rights of migrant workers.Long Live International Solidarity of the Working ClassDown with Imperialist GlobalisationDown with Neo-liberal Capitalist PathDown with CapitalismForward to SocialismWorkers of the world, Unite!