|Volume 50 Number 16, Special Issue May 1 2020||ARCHIVE||HOME||JBCENTRE||SUBSCRIBE|
RCPB(ML) sends its militant May Day greetings to the working people of all countries. This is the day of international working class unity, the day of expressing our common cause in the struggle to bring about a world without war, without the use of force to settle conflicts, without the exploitation of persons by persons, with the recognition of the rights of all by virtue of being human, and providing these rights with a guarantee.
May Day 2020 has this characteristic, that new ways are being found to express and build this unity, nationally and internationally, in the conditions of the coronavirus pandemic, with the growing conviction that the old “normal” is not acceptable, and that a new “normal” must be found. In this situation, we extend especial greetings to the peoples of the countries who are bringing Covid-19 under control and exhibiting international responsibility, such as China, Vietnam, Cuba, the DPRK and others.
Coronavirus has exposed the division of society between those who represent private interests and the working people and their allies who desire to have control over their own lives, to end the situation where it is the old, frail and vulnerable in particular, not forgetting the largely minority NHS, care home and other workers, whose lives are considered dispensable. But it has also demonstrated the dignity of labour, that workers are defending their own rights and interests together with the rights of all. It has brought to the fore the demand that workers speak in their own name and be heard. It has shown the necessity for the working class to act on their own initiative,with their own programme for empowerment, in which health care is a right, where the lives of all are precious, where education and other public services are themselves rights. So the crisis has exposed the devastation to public services of a pay-the-rich society, but it has also brought to the fore that working people demand and fight for the alternative.
On this May Day it is not simply that we condemn the reactionary forces, the ones who retain the old outlook, that keep the Queen's subjects confined to electing “representatives” who serve the fiction that the public good is to be followed by everyone paying obeisance to the Queen who has the effrontery to say “we're all in this together”. But in the conditions of the pandemic, working people are taking up their own responsibility for the well-being of society, and pointing the way forward to how society should be organised economically and politically. The working class is not just responsible for fighting for a change in the direction of society and the economy, it is more than capable of bringing about this change, it is the social force which has the mission to take the lead in changing society. All progressive and democratic forces are called upon to follow this lead and unite to overcome the block to progress.
Our society cannot afford the "business as usual" approach which has caused such devastation. The conditions of the pandemic are showing irrefutably that the neo-liberal and anti-social policies of the ruling elites are destructive and cause havoc for which the people pay with their lives. What is demanded is not a return to “business as usual” in the economy and the political system. What is demanded is for the workers to act on the conviction that through their solutions based on their experience and their ideology they can lead society out of its crisis. To empower itself, the working class needs its own agenda and line of march, its own independent programme. Workers are taking up the task of discussing in their organisations their demands and claims on society, taking up action with analysis as one. Working people must be the ones who determine what must be done. This is a task that has come to the fore during the pandemic, and it is showing that after the pandemic is brought under control, working people must also put themselves in a position that ensures that what they say is what is done.
What is guiding the workers in speaking out and taking this course of action is that they do not remain satisfied just to voice criticism of what is wrong with society, but rather to take a stand, an anti-imperialist stand, develop the proletarian front and provide an alternative, overcoming the block that the Old represents. They are envisioning and taking action for the New so that they can exercise decision-making power over matters that affect them. They are drawing the conclusion that this must include decisions at state level also. The situation is showing that workers putting forward their own demands, their own solution, points the way to the society that is needed, not just to keep this old society going, but to envision a society that embodies their own values, and fight for it. It is bringing to the fore that what is lacking is for the working class to be empowered at all levels of society, having fidelity to the conception that turning this situation around means to bring into being a society without war, with proletarian internationalism, where the social wealth produced by the working class is put to use for the benefit of ordinary people, the producers.
In this context, there is an urgent need for an anti-war government. This is not a mere question of policy, but of democracy itself. It is part and parcel of the need for pro-social governance in general, governance with the guaranteeing of the rights of all as its central aim.
The workers are engaged in many just battles in the conditions of the coronavirus pandemic in defence of their rights, in defence of health and safety at work, in proudly upholding the dignity of labour. May Day 2020 is bringing to the fore the necessity for the working class to inscribe on its banner the defence of the rights of all, its proletarian internationalism, the urgent necessity for an anti-war government and an economy which serves the well-being of society and harmonises collective interests with the general interests of that society.
May Day 2020 is also demonstrating that society's path to progress advances through the struggle of workers of all lands. They are the ones with solutions to the devastation that neo-liberalism and the anti-social offensive of the rich and ruling elites brings to the world and to international relations. Therefore, the call of May Day 2020 is that this must be a turning point for workers' empowerment, for political renewal to build the New. Let us unite to make this a reality!
Fight for the
Rights of All! Fight for the Alternative! Fight for Empowerment!
Workers of All Countries, Unite!
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