April 25, 2021

CITU May Day Manifesto 2021

ON this May Day 2021, CITU

Salutes the working class and all sections of toiling people across the world who, suffering huge personal losses and risking their own lives have been striving to bring the economy back on wheels and safeguard the lives of others.

Condoles the families and friends of the millions who lost their lives due to the Covid 19 pandemic.

On this May Day, CITU

Extends fraternal solidarity to the workers and working people all over the world, who are bravely fighting the Covid pandemic on the one hand and the attacks of the ruling classes and their agents in governance on their livelihood, rights and working conditions, on the other.

The Covid pandemic that continues its rampage one and a half years since it first appeared in end of 2019 - 

Has exposed the ugly, cruel and barbarous  face of the capitalist system – a system which despite unprecedented advances in science and technology, fails to meet the basic needs of most of the people and protect their lives; a system where health is not a basic right of citizens but reserved only for those who can buy it. Health, education, housing, food are increasingly going out of the reach of the poor. The number of working poor has increased during the pandemic. Millions have lost their jobs. The richest and most powerful country in the world, the USA, along with the advanced capitalist countries is a glaring example of how neglect of public health care and promotion of private insurance based health care resulted in thousands of preventable deaths due to the pandemic. India today stands in their company.

Today, the Covid vaccines are being controlled and cornered by a few advanced countries. Many poor countries are denied access to vaccines.

The experience of the Covid 19 pandemic has again highlighted the superiority of the socialist system, which prioritises people over the capital. The spread of Covid 19 was effectively contained and deaths curtailed in the socialist countries by providing universal public health care and prompt government intervention. China, Vietnam and North Korea have shown the way in curtailing the disease and safeguarding the health, lives and livelihoods of the people. China and Vietnam have also been able to bring their economies back on track.

China has also achieved complete victory over poverty in February 2021 by lifting the last 98.99 million rural residents out of poverty. It met the poverty eradication target set out in the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development around 10 years ahead of schedule. This is even more significant in a situation where, according to UNDP estimates, an additional 207 million people around the world may fall into extreme poverty by 2030 as a result of the long term impact of the pandemic.

Despite the inhuman blockade and sanctions imposed by US imperialism, Cuba, in an exemplary action of solidarity has sent its teams of doctors and health professionals to assist more than 51 countries across the world, not only in Africa and Latin America but also to advanced capitalist countries in Europe like Italy, in dealing with the pandemic. CITU demands that the Nobel Prize be awarded to the Cuban doctors for their selfless medical services across the world.

While the advanced capitalist countries are not ready to provide the vaccines developed by them to the people of other countries, China is supplying Covid vaccine to 53 countries. Cuba too is supplying vaccines to Iran, Venezuela and other needy countries.

CITU warmly greets the people of the socialist countries for upholding and defending the socialist system in the face of the manifold machinations of subversion by international finance and US imperialism. On this May Day, CITU reiterates its solidarity with the socialist countries.

CITU notes with concern the increasing aggressive manoeuvres by US imperialism to establish its hegemony across the world, particularly targeting Latin America, Palestine, the Middle-east and the Asia Pacific region. It is mounting pressure on developing countries seeking their economic and political subjugation. The most recent happening is the American Seventh Fleet warship’s intrusion into India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) waters off the coast of Lakshadweep without India’s consent, which is a gratuitous challenge to India’s sovereignty. CITU condemns such imperialist arrogance and demands the BJP government to register our country’s strong protest against such US arrogance.

CITU extends its solidarity with the people in various countries, particularly in Latin America fighting against US imperialist interventions in their countries and in defence of popularly elected governments. It conveys solidarity to the people of Venezuela fighting against US machinations to destabilise the popular democratically elected government of President Maduro. CITU stands in solidarity with the people of Palestine fighting for their right to their homeland. It strongly condemns Israeli aggression and continuous expansion of its settlements in Palestine and supports Palestinians’ demand for their homeland with the 1967 borders and East Jerusalem as its capital. CITU condemns the military coup and the attack unleashed by the military junta in Myanmar on the people protesting with the demand to restore democracy in the country.

CITU deplores the manner in which the BJP government in our country has been utilising the pandemic and the related restrictions as a “never before opportunity” to aggressively pursue its neoliberal agenda, to satisfy the lust for the profit of the landlord-capitalist class, jeopardising the livelihood and survival of the mass of the people. It is during this period that the BJP government passed the three farm bills suspending the MPs who asked for division; passed three Labour Codes when the entire opposition was absent in Parliament. It is going ahead with its plan of wholesale privatisation of the public sector. Under the misleading and deceptive slogan of ‘Atmanirbhar’(self reliant) Bharat, the BJP government is mortgaging the entire country, its wealth – its natural resources and public sector as well as the real wealth creators - the workers and peasants, to the big corporates, domestic and foreign. The country and its people are being sought to be pushed back into colonial exploitative conditions of 19th century.

With the three major public-sector vaccine manufacturing units in the country being closed down under the neoliberal regime, vaccine manufacturing is now left to private companies for whom the government of India is one of the buyers. India, once a pioneer in vaccine manufacturing is facing a serious shortage of Covid vaccines today. It has failed in

ramping up vaccine production and providing universal access to the vaccines. It has declined the requests from several state governments as well as the Indian Medical Association to expand coverage. Instead, the union health minister resorted to a blame game with the state governments.

One year ago the country witnessed the heart-wrenching pictures of tens of thousands of migrant workers with their families walking away in silent protest against the employers who have abandoned them to hunger and homelessness, after prospering through decades of their labour. The Inter-State Migrant Workers’ Act, 1979 that provided the migrant workers with some protection now stands repealed, ostensibly subsumed under the Code on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions but sans most of the protective provisions. The draft National Policy on Migrant Workers has nothing on their labour rights or on matters related to industrial relations. Its thrust is to establish a mechanism to ‘enable voting’ which is claimed as ‘political inclusion’. It is nothing but a dubious exercise with an eye on their votes.

With another faster-spreading wave of Covid ravaging the country and the prospect of lockdowns staring at their face, crores of migrant workers find their lives crumbling before their eyes. Fearing another round of lockdowns, thousands of migrant workers are again going back to their native places.

The Labour Codes, enacted during the pandemic are tool kits gifted to the big corporates by the BJP government to enable unfettered exploitation of workers, on the pretext of promoting 'Ease of Doing Business'. On the one hand, the labour codes legalise the hitherto illegal violation by the employers of what were the laws of the land; on the other, they criminalise the workers' collective actions to assert their basic trade union and labour rights. Even the universally accepted right to “eight hours’ working day” synonymous with May Day is being sought to be diluted. They all are meant to denude workers of the only weapon they have - organised trade unions and collective actions. The Labour Codes are meant to impose conditions of slavery on the working people, depriving them of all their hard-won rights, with the sole objective to severely weaken and crush collective opposition by the working class to the aggressive and barbarous capitalist exploitation.  

The public sector, which is the nation’s wealth, is being handed over to the corporate cronies of the BJP. During the period when crores of workers lost their jobs and incomes, when they and their families were compelled to go hungry when India’s GDP is estimated to contract by seven per cent, Gautam Adani’s wealth doubled. He has climbed 20 places to become the 48th richest person globally and second richest in India. Mukesh Ambani’s wealth increased by 24 per cent and he has become the 8th richest person in the world. Oxfam reported that the wealth of Indian billionaires rose by 35 per cent during the pandemic. This phenomenon exposes the single-minded pursuit of the barbarous policies of facilitating loot of the country’s resources, exchequer and the financial system as a whole by the government in favour of the big-business corporate class, both foreign and domestic at the cost of the people. On the whole, the corporate/big-business class across the world multiplied their wealth phenomenally during the same period when global GDP turned negative. Unemployment in many countries including India has reached explosive proportions exposing the systematic destruction of the employment-absorption capacity of the economy by the destructive neoliberal capitalist policies.

The public sector banks where the common people of our country save their money, the public sector life and general insurance companies, where the common people invest their
meagre savings to be protected from adversities, are sought to be handed over to such corporate giants. Defence production, the railways, telecom, civil aviation, ports, electricity, steel, mines etc., are set to be given away to the private corporates including foreign monopolies. The entire economy including services like health, education, welfare schemes is being targeted for privatisation. These have a severely negative and destructive bearing on the country’s employment-generating productive and service capabilities as a whole.  Our production capacities are being destroyed, ironically, in the name of ‘Make in India’. ‘Na khaoonga, na khane doonga’(neither will I become corrupt nor shall allow others to do it) now stands nakedly exposed with the latest revelations in the French media about middlemen and payment of commissions in the Rafale deal, signed with the involvement of the PMO itself.

Not only industry and services; the BJP government led by Modi has also opened up our agriculture to absolute corporate control. The three Farm Acts are meant to facilitate corporate takeover of our agriculture hitherto dominated by small farmers. They promote corporate farming, withdraw regulations including remunerative prices and procurement that protect the farmers and expose them to the vagaries of international food markets. This would lead to the dismantling of the public distribution system, threatening the food security of our people, particularly the poor. A majority of the farmers would face the threat of eviction from lands.

CITU congratulates the working class, the farmers and all sections of toiling people for their heroic resistance against these anti-worker, anti-farmer, anti-people and anti-national policies of the BJP government. The farmers’ protests against the ‘black’ farm laws at Delhi borders are not only continuing for over four months but have also gained support from all sections of toiling people all over the country. Despite exhausting all its tool kits to divide the farmers, malign them, mislead the people by spreading lies, divert people’s attention etc., the BJP government, could not succeed in weakening the struggle. The farmers are continuing their united struggle. CITU salutes their courage and determination. It is proud to be part of their struggle by mobilising thousands of workers in the entire country in solidarity.

CITU also congratulates the working class for its tenacious and sustained struggle to protect its rights and working conditions from the onslaught of big capital and their present representative in governance, the BJP government led by Modi. Not to be cowed down by the restrictions to its movements and activities due to the pandemic and the associated lockdown, the working class utilised every opportunity to raise its voice against the anti-worker, anti-people policies of the government. Raising its voice from rooftops and balconies at the peak of the lockdown, it gradually stepped out to step up the struggle and went on a successful strike on November 26, despite the serious constraints due to the ongoing pandemic. CITU is proud of its role in initiating these protests and congratulates the workers for the huge response. The coal workers, the steel workers, the bank and insurance employees, workers of private organised sector, the scheme workers and lakhs of workers from almost all sectors have been on the struggle path.

The growing solidarity between the two major sections of our toiling people, the workers and the peasants, that produce the wealth of this country, is a matter of great significance. CITU has always been making efforts to develop such solidarity and unity of workers and peasants. In the midst of the pandemic, the workers and peasants not only continued and intensified their struggles on their own demands, but also consciously tried to synchronise their actions and physically participated in each others’ actions. CITU believes that strengthening such unity of workers and peasants and taking joint struggles to a higher level involving broader sections of the masses will provide a historic opportunity to advance the struggle against not only neoliberal policies but against the exploitative capitalist system itself.

CITU urges the workers all over the country to strengthen the unity of workers, peasants and other sections of toiling people, overcoming the divisive machinations of the communal and casteist forces bent upon disrupting people’s unity in order to serve the interests of the ruling classes. CITU reiterates its commitment to strive for strengthening unity workers, peasants and all sections of toiling people and intensifying the struggle to protect their interests and save the nation.

CITU strongly condemns the BJP government’s attempts to suppress dissent and opposition to its policies by dubious means. The Constitutional and democratic rights of the people and Parliamentary norms are violated. The BJP government is using draconian laws like the UAPA, NSA etc and its machinery in ED, Income Tax, CBI, etc and the Delhi police under its administration to intimidate, threaten, arrest, imprison and subject to harassment all those who oppose its policies and protest against its actions. Hundreds of students, women, journalists, trade union activists and human and civil rights activists etc have been arrested under UAPA and NSA and are languishing in jail for years without even being granted bail. It is regrettable that Institutions like the Supreme Court are also increasingly toeing the line of the government. The recent developments as in the case of the elections to the five state assemblies show that the Election Commission is also following the same line.

The aggressive attacks of capital and its representatives in the governments, on the workers and other toiling people are not specific to India alone. In the midst of continuously aggravating economic crisis that predates the Corona pandemic, the ruling classes across the world have been trying to maximise their profits and amass wealth by squeezing the workers and working people and by grabbing control over natural resources and public properties and services. Changes in labour laws curbing hard-won rights of the workers, particularly their right to organise and collective bargaining, attacks on democratic rights are being made in several capitalist countries. The ruling classes are promoting the growth of right-wing forces to achieve their objective and divide people on the basis of religion, race, ethnicity, region etc. Despite the failure of the discredited neoliberal model, the capitalist system has nothing to offer to come out of the systemic crisis, except imposing further burdens on the people, which are bound to prove counterproductive.

As a response to the continuously aggravating the economic crisis of this capitalist system, the ruling class are desperately trying to centralise and authoritarianise the entire governance- of the economy and of the political system. They are destroying all the democratic components with a clear fascistic intent. Wholesale privatisation of industry, services including health, education etc, mineral resources and infrastructure to establish unregulated private control, opening up of our country’s economy and markets for foreign monopoly corporates and promoting corporate takeover of our agriculture are all components of this desperate response to the capitalist crisis, intended to maximise corporate profits and amass wealth by the super rich.

Attack on rights of the working class through Labour Codes, the brutal attacks on democratic rights, on freedom of expression, dissent, opposition and protest etc., trampling underfoot the constitutional provisions, bypassing parliamentary norms, the onslaught on the rights of the state governments under the existing federal structure, are all integral to this authoritarian project. Use of communal, divisive issues to disrupt the unity of the people and weaken their struggles to serve the interests of a handful of corporates, both domestic and foreign, is also a part of their political agenda with the same purpose.

Workers in our country and all over the world are increasingly realising the failure of the system to protect their interests. The real ‘corporate-subservient’ character of the BJP government is getting increasingly understood by the people. This understanding has to be widened further. Now is the time to create awareness among the vast masses of workers and other toiling people about the link between their day to day issues and the policies being pursued by successive governments at the centre; to help them identify their friends and foes; mobilise them to unite with their friends and together fight with their enemies.

In view of the comprehensive all-round onslaught on the people, the economy,  democratic system, societal harmony and the national integrity as a whole, the fightback by a class oriented working class has to base itself on a 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.

Thus, on this May Day, CITU appeals to all workers and toiling people in our country and around the world to:

Unite and demand universal free vaccination against Covid 19 as well as a universal free public health care.

Unite to fight against the capitalist onslaught on the livelihood and hard-won basic rights of the workers and all toiling people.

Unite and fight for a pro-people alternative.

Unite and fight to defeat all attempts of the ruling classes to divide the working class and the people.

Long Live May Day
Long Live Working Class Solidarity
Long Live Worker Peasant Alliance
Long Live Socialism
Down With Capitalism