The International Workers’ Day that falls on 1st May is a day commemorated by the working people including the downtrodden masses with dignity. May Day is the day the working masses show their strength, unity and militancy and also their readiness to struggle for their rights and for a new society.
The International Workers’ Day was created to commemorate the workers’ leaders who laid down their lives at the struggle launched by workers in Chicago in 1886 against the oppression and suppression of capitalism and demanding an 8-hour working day. 1st of May was named the International Workers’ Day by the first congress of the Second International that met in Paris in 1889. Hence, May Day is a day that belongs to the working masses lead by the working class and the left movements.
This year the downtrodden people lead by the working masses have to commemorate the May Day amidst the shock of the carnage that was committed on the 21st April. As such, the May Day commemorations this year have to be held in a restricted atmosphere without demonstrations and large rallies. Encountering such a situation in a country that has been made insecure by the capitalist crisis and the incapacity of the capitalist government is not strange at all.
However, at this moment when the International Worker s’ Day is commemorated imperialism, capitalism throughout the world and the capitalist social- economic system are displaying their failure and vileness more than ever before. They, bringing in various laws and regulations, attempt to abolish the eight-hour working day won with their lives by the working masses in Chicago won for their brethren. It has been already proved, through practice, that rights of the working masses and the downtrodden people cannot be protected within capitalism and even the rights that have been won are being abolished. As such, the working masses including the downtrodden people have no other alternative other than defeat capitalism on a global scale and organize themselves to bring in a working people’s administration.
At the moment the capitalist system globally as well as locally are confronted with an unsolvable crisis. The day by day escalating capitalist crisis piles up more and more burdens on the working masses. They are being burdened with more and more taxes, termination of employment and slashing of salaries and rights which make their lives extremely hard and miserable.
On the other hand, imperialists lead by the USA, in a bid to plunder resources of the countries in the world, especially the oil resources in the Middle East as well as to sell weapons to these countries, continue to pit them against each other, invade them and threaten them. Imperialists, who sustain extremist cliques and engage in terrorism to carry out their agenda, who break into other countries on the pretext of suppressing terrorism, are dragging the capitalist world towards barbarism again. It is the innocent, unarmed masses throughout the world who are distressed due to the barbaric murders of religious and racial insane, extremist cliques that crop up due to the wretchedness of capitalism and sustained by imperialism to be used for its sinister moves. This is a state that exists throughout the world. What surfaced recently in Sri Lanka is the barbarism of these extremists. It is the general public including the working masses that suffered due to this insanity. However, it is the imperialists, the capitalist ruling clique and various extremist, reactionary groups that gain the advantages of these barbaric attacks. This is why it is necessary for the working masses to act with responsibility at this juncture.
In such a state, it is the downtrodden people lead by the working masses that have to come forward against imperialism and barbarism and take responsibility for social progress. As such, there is no alternative left for the downtrodden people including the working masses other than to organize themselves to defeat imperialism and capitalism globally and give new life for the struggle for Socialism. This should be the determination of the working masses throughout the world on this May Day.
Currently, Sri Lanka too is subjected to a gigantic financial crisis and is bogged down in it. The massive debt burden the country has been dragged into, the loss in foreign trade and the dwindling foreign reserves have depreciated the rupee that has paved the path for a gigantic crisis. The present regime that has got submerged in plundering, bankrupt neo-liberalism is selling national resources, sign various agreements with imperialists to create an environment for the imperialists and their lackeys to manipulate our lands and resources according to their whims and fancies.
Also, they have signed a defence agreement with the USA and make room for US troops to use our land for military purposes betraying the sovereignty of the country for a few million dollars. Further, the government has thrust the whole burden of the economic crisis on the masses while slashing the rights of the working masses. The rulers who turn a deaf ear to the just demand of daily wage of Rs. 1000 for estate workers, waste billions of public money for their existence.
The capitalist economic crisis that existed in the country has now developed into a political crisis. There is a severe conflict within the government. After the conspiracy to grab power carried out by Maithri and Mahinda in October last year failed the contradictions in the government have intensified. It is as if there is no government in the country at present. It is evident that the carnage that occurred last month could not be prevented despite there was information regarding suicide bomb attacks due to this situation. This indicates that capitalist administrations are not capable of finding solutions for any issue in the country nor can they affirm the protection of the people.
What do the extremely grave socio-economic-political and cultural crisis that has surfaced currently in Sri Lanka and the bitter experiences of the 71 year long rotating politics indicate? That capitalism in Sri Lanka can never create anything new for the masses in this country and this impotent capitalist system should be changed. This, again and again, emphasizes the need for a new socio-economic transformation for a new Socialist society to replace the bankrupt capitalist state. The UNP, the SLFP or other small cliques and groups can never find genuine solutions for the present crisis of capitalism or bring economic development or progress to the country. It is the working masses lead by the working class and the downtrodden people who should take the initiative.
As such, a gigantic people’s power, a people’s movement a people’s center under the leadership of the JVP with the working masses as its vanguard should be built to defeat the bankrupt capitalist system that is in crisis and the bankrupt capitalist political parties to create a people’s administration that would establish a new Socialist society to achieve social justice and national unity.
This people’s movement that is already being built should be strengthened with resoluteness and dedication. It is only by building such a people’s power, making it victorious and bringing about a new socio-economic transformation that the downtrodden people including the working masses and all progressive people could win their rights and a better tomorrow could be created for the masses.
Hence, on this May Day, we proclaim that capitalism could be defeated and a new just society could be built and call upon all Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim ,Malay and Burgher Sri Lankans including working masses, the farmers, the fishermen, the youth, women, students, professionals, scholars, intellectuals, writers, artists, environmentalists, journalists, humanitarians, progressives, democrats to come forward, rally with the JVP to totally stop communal clashes, extremist, barbaric moves, defeat political deceivers who create dictators and struggle for a people’s administration that could create a new society after defeating capitalism.
Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna