30 September Saturday

Workers of the world, unite!

ABIN RAJ R. S.Updated: Sunday May 1, 2022

Image : Google


Who built the seven gates of Thebes?
The books are full of names of kings. Are the kings who raised the rough rocks and built them?
This is how the revolutionary poet Berthold Brecht begins his famous poem. “The heirs of mankind's achievements are not kings or rulers, but workers who shed their sweat and blood.
History has often forgotten that truth”.

We have achieved a lot before & after Independence, Big Scale Projects that were thought impossible have been made a reality But all of this was made possible not only by the will of the Governments & Engineers but also by the innumerable Laborers who worked hard with the dedication that the dream was theirs too.

May 1 is the day of the historic working-class uprising and it records the history of the struggles, agitations, dedication, and martyrdom of the workers who were full of sacrifice, patience, and hardship. It’s not just a day of celebrations. It is also a day to energize in preparation for the coming strong and intense struggles. So, let’s express our heartfelt gratitude to every laborer who has dedicated their lives to making the projects that we dreamed of a reality. Your strength and your sacrifice are the assurance for the future. There is still a lot to be gained and we can move forward together for that.

On May 1, 1886, in Chicago, the epicenter of the leftist movement, workers began a strike to reduce their working hours to eight hours. 38,000 workers went on strike demanding this. 11,000 textile mills and factories came to a standstill. The capitalists, with the help of goons and the police, came out aggressively ready to do anything to break up the struggle. Four workers were killed in  police shooting, Thousands of workers were seriously injured, and police raids were widespread.

 On May 4, a mass protest rally was held in Hay Market Square against police brutality – Hundreds of armed policemen stormed Hay Market Square and brutally lathi-charged the workers just after the organizers announced the end of the meeting and dispersed the workers, Within seconds, police began firing and six workers were killed instantly, Many workers were seriously injured. This was followed by a brutal police crackdown across the city and Thousands of workers were imprisoned.

Eight labor leaders were arrested: Albert Parsons, Augustus Spies,  Adolph Fischer, George Engel, Louis Ling, Samuel Fielden, Michael Schwab, and Oscar Neebe. - Chicago court has sentenced seven of them to death by hanging and one to 15 years in prison. Augustus Spice, who heard the verdict, said “If you think that hanging us will suppress the labor movement built up by millions of poor and suffering workers, then hang us. But we will put a spark here and that spark will burn here and there in front of you and behind you. It is an underground fire; The fire you can never put out ”.

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the workers' appeal and On November 11, 1887, the youngest of the eight labor leaders in captivity was stabbed to death. On Friday, November 12, 1887, four labor leaders were publicly hanged in  Chicago jail. Augustus Spies, who was hanged, said this before his death. "The day will come when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you are throttling today."

Apologizing to the three remaining leaders in 1893, the Illinois governor said, "Like the martyrs hanged, these men are not guilty. They are rather victims of injustice.":

May Day is celebrated in the United States 31 years before the historic October Revolution but At the Second International, which met in Paris on July 14, 1889, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution, workers around the world were urged to observe May Day as International Workers' Day.

India was not indifferent to May Day either. Trade unions began to function in India in the last decade of the nineteenth century & The All India Trade Union Congress was formed in 1920. Congress leader Lala Lajpat Rai was the president.

May Day was first celebrated in India in 1923 at a conference held at Marina Beach in Madras. Presiding over the meeting, Malayapuram Shinkaravelu Chettiar raised the resolution of declaring May Day a public holiday, and The May Day celebrations held by the inmates inside the jail by raising the blood flag held inside the Thane Jail in 1950 ended with the lathi charge -  Fourteen prisoners were injured must be remembered

The first May Day celebrations in Kerala were held in Thrissur in 1936 , that rally was organized by the Labor Brotherhood, led by KK Warrier, MA Kaku, KP Paul, Kadavil Varith, Kompante Paul, OK George, and Kattukkaran Thomas. But officially The AITUC Conference, officially held in Delhi in 1927, called on Indian workers to observe May Day. In 1957 also the Communist government declared May Day a public holiday in Kerala. The World Federation of Labor was formed in Paris in 1945 as a continuation of the May Day celebrations.

After independence, many struggles were waged and succeeded in formulating labor laws. In order to build a self-sufficient economy, mining, steel and electricity were kept in the public domain. Capitalism has gained strength over the last seven decades, At this stage a new challenge has arisen. The challenge is to the constitution of the country and to national morality, which defines our democracy as a sovereign, socialist and secular republic. The challenge to pluralism that the country is proud of.

Minorities face the threat of extinction and The majority, on the other hand, is losing sight of democracy. A situation in which the judiciary, the executive, and the legislature have no particular personality. The Four Labor Codes came into force by repealing the existing labor law by that The centuries-old Chicago success has been reversed, extending working hours to ten to twelve hours. The replacement pay is not even enough to get to work.

 Rights of workers don't come in charity. Rather it calls for protests involving great sacrifices. The history up to now is testimony to this. The fact is that there is nothing the working class can not achieve together. The recent farmers struggle is the best and Live example , The Ruling class and their cronies understand this more clearly than the workers. Therefore, they will work hard to break the unity of the working class. The authorities in India propagate that caste, religion, and creed are more important than working and living with pride. Therefore, the rights of the cow and the bull are more important to them than the rights of the farmers who use the cow and the bull for social progress. For such people, religion and faith are more important than the growing unemployment in India. Behind this veil, the interests of the ruling class are being imposed on the workers by force.

The problems faced by workers, regardless of religion, caste or creed, have a common denominator. Although there have been significant changes in investment conditions and employee perceptions around the world, there has been no change in the exploitation of workers. The new age demands of the working class are to recognize the efforts of the capitalist powers and their henchmen to divert attention from the real issues and to work towards achieving working-class unity. Challenges also change with the times. We need to overcome these in new ways.

Memories of May Day are not only about the past but also about the misery of the present and the strengthening of new struggles, when more than 80 percent of the world's wealth is being held by the richest one percent of the world's population, 450 million people remain living in poverty, misery and starvation. But It is also exciting that workers around the world are demanding more forcefully than ever that the wealth we produce is ours and that we must end injustice and inequality, and that workers and their trade union movements are able to intensify the valiant struggles to achieve it.

Today's task is to create politics that can give meaningful and complete leadership and direction to the collective movements of the working class. When we are ready to fully analyze and study the class struggles going on around us, those lessons will become the energy to face the great challenges facing the working class. There must be meaningful efforts to create a working-class society that is committed and capable of waging constant struggles for the rights of the working class. May this May Day mark the beginning of such a concerted effort.

We need to be more empowered to achieve our needs through brilliant struggles and strongly uphold our rights by remembering the words of Marx "Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!"