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Socialist society for a socialist life

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As another international workers day approaches, we from the Front Line Socialist Party came here to meet with you and initiate a very significant discussion.

Known to most of our countrymen as May Day, the international workers day is celepated in the capital Colombo with thundering processions marching through its streets and eventually ending up in passionate speeches delivered by our political leaders. Some processions even culminatein a musical show.

Daily papers, weekend papers… all dedicate a few of their pages to this May Day. More often than not, the worn out, sweat adorned face of a working class comrade in Pettah, is seen portrayed in these papers. But have you ever seen those comrades in any of these May Day processions?

If we ask you, what is the objective of celepating May Day in present-day Lanka, what would your answer be? Is it truly your day, the workers? Or has it been taken away from you by some other force? If it has been in fact taken away from you, then how exactly do you get it back? How do we remove May Day from its present state of being a mere annual celepation and give it a new meaning? How do we integrate May Day into the process of obtaining a real victory for the oppressed working class? These are the questions that we need to discuss and solve.

International workers day is a day that symbolizes the rights of the worker. Throughout history, the workers had to fight for these rights, and were not given to them willingly by their rulers. That day all those years ago when workers gathered in Haymarket Square and protested and demanded their rights, they only received blazing bullets from their rulers. But that did not make them abandon the fight. That first day of May turned red with the blood drenched clothes of the workers. That is why even today, men and women throughout the world raise the red flag and pay tribute to those heroic people who displayed courage and solidarity.

But now, in our country and also throughout the world, in addition to the red flag we see green, blue, yellow flags. The ruling oppressor celepates May Day more elaborately than the workers themselves. The rulers themselves organize the May Day “commemoration”. Consequently, the May Day has now limited itself in to a mere “commemoration” and an annual event. This is not something that has only happened to May Day but also to every other such cause. The demeanour of the workers’ struggle itself has completely transformed. Even the form of repression practiced by the rulers against the ordinary people, including the workers, has been transformed. Not only are we being repressed by guns and bayonets, but also by many other seemingly harmless methods. We have been subdued by consent as well. It is when the workers and the so-called leftist political parties get trapped , that the May Day gets limited to a “commemoration”, a May Day “celepation”.

Today we live in a neo-liberal capitalist society. Back then, Karl Marx said “Workers of the world, Unite!” Today this neo-liberal lifestyle urges the people to immerse themselves in narrow inpidualism, to look at one’s friend as an enemy, to bury the feeling of unity. We have been taught to laugh at anyone who talks about unity. They have seemingly proved that victory can only be attained by fighting alone. But we know that all who have fought inpidual battles have always met with defeat.

But the cruelty of neo-liberal capitalism cannot be kept secret by any of these means. It is like trying to hide a rubber ball under water. There are plenty of examples to that extent. The present system is in crisis not only in Lanka, but throughout the world. The lifestyle of an ordinary person, even in the so-called developed countries in Western Europe, has firmly deteriorated. Their discontent is on the increase. Because the present system is incapable of addressing this crisis, the rulers are determined on robbing even the most meagre means of existence of the working class. The man power companies operating in Lanka do not care for existing labour acts or laws. Today the worker in such a company function under worse conditions than a slave.

However, neo-liberal capitalism has managed to hide its inability in a very subtle manner. Therefore it has managed to hide the fact that this system is the oppressor of the people. The real oppressor veils itself from the people and conjures a false oppressor. So the people do not fight with their real oppressor and instead fight with another poor sufferer, just like them. The other fact is that many worker struggles in our country have become isolated, lacking an understanding of the final objective. That’s why these have ended up becoming opportunistic struggles as a means of getting some demands fulfilled. The working class needs to understand that the rulers, while giving whatever measly demands from one hand, pull out an excess from the other. That is why all these struggles should be removed from their present state and integrated in to the socialist struggle of attaining a contented life. Some political parties use workers struggles as a means of gaining a seat or two from an election. This shows the dangerous opportunism in to which they have fallen prey.

We will use a small example in order to explain this fact. A supposedly leftist political party introduced a remarkable slogan during the past western and southern provincial council elections. It went as “No profit for the manufacturer, No wages for the worker”. According to that slogan, the worker is suffering along with the manufacturer who creates the condition for the workers suffering. Consequently, what is needed is a system where both worker and manufacturer can exist side-by-side in harmony. In other words, what they are trying to say is that they both suffer not because of a fault with this capitalist system, but due to the economic mismanagement of the corrupt Rajapakse regime. So according to them, the capitalist system is not to be blamed. By using such a false slogan, it is possible for them to obtain the votes of both the worker, and the manufacturer who exploit the worker.

So not only the system and regimes, but also supposedly some of the leftist political parties join together to practice the politics of deceiving the working people. So how do we bare the real, true fight for victory that has been hidden beneath such false slogans?

Antagonism between ranks and file among the working class is destroying the workers’ movement. The persons involved in the same sector resent each other because of differences in the ranks and file. Today, most workers’ struggles are repressed undemocratically through court orders. As long as we remain pided among ourselves, we will not be able to defeat this repression. Without building a culture of fighting for each other’s rights instead of fighting against each other, we will not be able to succeed. Only then will it be possible to build that aforementioned unity. Our Unity can only be made strong by fighting together, not by fighting separately. Only such a collective struggle can ping happiness to our lives. Such a content socialist life can only be shaped through a socialist society formed by a united struggle.

To the working class comrades,

Leading up to this May Day, we from the Front Line Socialist Party are coming to meet you to engage in a discussion. We will be holding a series of seminars throughout the country prior to May Day. We will be holding small workshop level discussions. Let us observe this May Day by destroying trade union boundaries, releasing ourselves from tribal pisions and displaying solidarity between the workers, farmers, students and women’s movements.

Let us continue this dialogue. Through that, let us strive to acquire a new practise. Let us commit ourselves to begin a new chapter in the Lankan working class movement.


Frontline Socialist Party



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Last Updated on Monday, 28 April 2014 08:57

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