Fellow workers and labourers,
All workers and labourers of the world are preparing to celebrate the working class day of International Unity, Struggle and Solidarity at a time of special historical conditions.
In almost all countries the international bourgeoisie, imperialism, capitalist states and bourgeois governments have intensified capitalist exploitation and oppression, on workers and labourers, relying on the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Part time work, unpaid leave, deductions in pay, furlough and other casual working practices have been enforced de facto, and dismissals have become widespread under the pretext of the pandemic. In the past year tens of millions of people have lost their jobs, and been deprived of regular income. Most of those who lost their jobs are women. They have felt to their bones capitalist exploitation and double oppression. Violence against women and femicides have increased, in particular domestic violence.
In response to the adverse effects of the pandemic which is intertwined with the capitalist crisis, “economic packages” announced by bourgeois governments under the pretext of social measures have been and continue to be instruments to transfer resources to capitalist monopolies. At a time when workers and the exploited sections of the people have been pushed into the arms of unemployment, misery and hunger, capitalist monopolies have multiplied their profits.
Capitalist attack on “democratic rights” and political freedoms is no less than the attacks on the social and economic front. Any small attempt by workers and labourers, rural and urban poor, youth and women seeking their rights have been subject to restrictions and these restrictions continue. Peoples’ protests and demonstrations face police violence, detention and arrests. Capitalist states and governments, especially Germany, France and the UK, have already taken action to give more power to the police and gendarme and to ensure “police measures” are made permanent. Even within countries known as the cradle of “bourgeoisie democracy”, political reaction is on the rise and reactionary and fascistic practices are more widely applied against the working class and the popular social opposition.
Workers, brothers and sisters; realities cannot be concealed forever!
The pandemic has shown workers, labourers and oppressed people the true face of capitalist imperialism, bourgeois governments and the front of capital. It is not possible to hide for long capitalist exploitation and imperialist plunder and the fact that the capitalist system is the enemy of humanity and the environment. Especially in today’s conditions when unemployment, poverty alongside the use of force against the people have surged and when polarisation has deepened, no demagogy, crude or dirty propaganda can hide this truth. And indeed, more and more sections of the workers and labourers are becoming aware of the realities and social opposition is growing. The fact that the struggle against its consequences such as unemployment and poverty is now rising in many countries does not mean that the working class and the exploited masses are espousing capitalism and that they do not want change by rejecting the rule of the monopolies. On the contrary, as their awareness of social realities and of their own power grow, the number of those demanding a change of the capitalist system of rule is increasing.
At the polar opposites of today’s capitalism are the working class, who are getting poorer and more alienated from their labour as they produce social wealth, and on the other hand, the intensified capitalist accumulation based on the wage slavery of the working class and the plunder of dependent countries as well as a handful of monopoly capitalists who are increasingly parasitical and decaying.
According to the 2020 Oxfam report, in 2019, the richest 2,153 persons’ wealth was more than the total wealth of 4.5 billion people. The wealth of the richest 1% was more than twice the wealth of 6.9 billion people’s combined. The richest 10 men’s wealth, including Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Bernard Arnault, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, increased by a net total of $540 billion dollars between March and December 2020. China with its 626 millionaires, led by Zhong Shanshan and Ma Huateng, is second after the USA with its abundance of millionaires. The report notes that the 9-month increase in wealth of the ten richest people during the pandemic era itself is enough for the whole world to be vaccinated multiple times.
On the other side of the coin, we see the areas of hunger across various parts of the world, particularly sub-Saharan Africa. Across the world, every day almost 25,000 people die from hunger. In 2019, the number of people living in hunger increased by 10 million and reached 690 million people. In Africa children are dying because they cannot afford antibiotics at a cost of $1 dollar. Yet the money spent on the global cosmetics industry is over $200 billion dollars.
Between the years 2011-2017 there was almost no increase in real wages. Moreover during the pandemic real wages have gone down, and problems have increased, with access to the vaccine being first and foremost.
Let us show the strength of the working class!
The working class and labourers from across the world, from Cambodia to the USA, from France to India, from Italy to Ecuador, from Greece to Chile, from Turkey to Brazil, from Egypt to China and Bolivia have tried to respond to this capitalist barbarism through strikes and resistance wherever they could overcome the barriers set up by the bourgeois governments and the trade union bureaucracy. The price hikes to basic consumer goods, increases in taxes, losses of jobs, low wages and the rise in poverty alongside the deteriorating working and living conditions, and the lack of future security in many countries paved the way for the rise in the struggles of the workers and the popular masses. Demands for work, bread and freedom have been raised across the globe.
We are approaching May 1, 2021 in a period when the contradictions between labour and capital, imperialism and the oppressed peoples and between imperialists themselves are sharpening, and in which the likelihood of these “conflicts” moving from diplomacy into the field is increasing. A militant 1st of May with mass participation will show the power of the working class. A strong 1st of May will give the working class and the oppressed peoples the morale they need to take steps to get involved in more advanced struggles, and will serve to move the position of the struggle one step forward.
The meaning of the 1st of May for the working class is that it is a day for testing its strength against the capitalist front. For this reason the working class must join May Day in its most organised form. Wherever possible, workers must form “May Day committees” elected through the widest possible participation in factories, work places and all arenas in order to prevent the weakening of the 1st of May by the trade union bureaucracy. By organising for the 1st of May in keeping with its meaning, the working class will find not just millions of workers thrown into the arms of unemployment but also the poor peasants unable to produce, small retailers facing destruction, rural and urban poor, youth and women alongside them in the struggle against capitalism and reaction. And in a way, May Day can play the role of a lever in the struggle of the working class and peoples.
Today, the workers face two tasks against the capitalist monopolies which recognise no limits in exploitation and pillage and which are now escalating their force and violence by taking measures against surging discontent and reactions: to strengthen the ranks of the working class by strengthening its unity in individual countries and on the international scale, and to develop its unity and alliance with the oppressed working peoples.
Therefore, let us move forward to celebrate May Day in a way worthy of its historical meaning!
Long live May Day!
Long live the international unity, struggle and solidarity of the working class!
We demand secure jobs, bread and freedom!
Long live May Day, Long live Proletarian Internationalism!
Coordination Committee of the International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations, ICMLPO