Makkalatchi Iyakkam (Lok Raj Sangathan) together with few trade unions jointly held the May Day meeting in Chennai. The meeting was attended by many workers and students. The meeting which was organized at the initiative of Makkalatchi Iyakkam was attended by Socialist Workers Union, S&S Power Switchgear Employees Union and Tamil Nadu Printing Workers Union.
Meeting was opened by lively songs on Mayday by one of the press workers. Kumar an activist of Makkalatchi Iyakkam invited the participants of the Mayday meeting. On the 120 th year of the May day, Kumar recalled the heroic history of the Mayday. He raised lively slogans in memory of May Day and the working class martyrs. Then he has invited Thiru.T.S.Sankaran, the Honorary Chairman of Makkalatchi Iyakkam to chair the meeting and deliver key note address. Thiru. Sankaran recalled the aim of the workers when they fought 120 years ago in Chicago was to limit the working hours to 8 hours a day for the working people. Eight hours of work a day is a very healthy and in the overall interests of the society. But it is very sad that even today, our workers and even professionals are made to work over 12 hours a day by the capitalists under various pretexts. Hence the struggle of the workers is far from over even on account of working hours. He also referred to the elections that are in progress in Tamil Nadu. He pointed out that people of the constituency do not have any say in the selection of the candidate. Selection of candidates is being carried out by the big established parties and in particular their leaders. Neither the people of the constituency have any right to recall their elected representative if he does not full fill the aspirations of the people. People should be the center of all these matters, he said. Workers who produce the wealth of this society should be empowered to decide the way the society is run. May day can set the beginning for such a transformation.
Following Thiru T.S.Sankaran’s speech, Thiru. P.V.Baktavachalam leader of civil Liberties Organization and leader of S&S Power Switchgear Employees Union spoke. He is also the. He spoke of the atrocities that happen in our society everyday. Workers, peasants, children, women are being exploited in various forms under the current political system. We must not accept this as fate. Each and every one of these attacks must be opposed by all of us unitedly. He also pointed out through various examples, how the legal and political systems serve the narrow self interests of the rich minority at the cost of the majority of the population. This system has to be challenged by the joint and united efforts of all of us with a clear vision of a system without exploitation.
Thiru. Sahul Ameed, leader of the Socialist Workers Union spoke of the exploitation of the workers in our society. He mentioned of the plight of the temporary workers and contract workers in our system. Capitalist System actually deprives the people their self dignity. Talk of Human rights by Capitalists is a big sham without granting rights to livelihood and future for the workers. All adult members should be assured of a job to earn their livelihood. But in our capitalist mode of production, the most productive assets of the society viz. Labour is being destroyed everyday by unemployment and poverty. Only by the united struggle of the workers, we can defeat the exploitative system and build genuinely humane system, he concluded.
Following this, Baskar from Makalatchi Iyakkam spoke. He pointed out the impact of globalization through liberalization and privatization efforts of the capitalists over the life of the country. A large number of workers have last their jobs and their factories locked out. Many peasants are driven to suicides by the liberalization policies of the government. The privatization and liberalization policies are implemented at the behest of the capitalists. By these policies big capitalists have gained enormously at the cost of the society. Every time when the new attacks are carried out on the livelihood of the people and when that is opposed by the vast sections of the people, the state has organized the communal violence. He gave examples in the context of carrying out the massacres of Sikhs in 1984, Muslims in 1993 and 2002. Makkalatchi Iyakkam has taken up the campaign of “Punish the Guilty” of those who engineered these massacres. Congress party is defending the BJP and trying to cover up their involvement in the 2002 Gujarat massacres by refusing to present the transactions happened between late President K.R Narayanan and then Prime Minster Vajpayee on the Gujarat massacres. Thus Indian ruling class parties support each other to defend the system. It is very unfortunate that CPM and the parties of the left front also defend the privatization efforts of the government. CPM are not opposed to privatization as such, but their criticism is that it should be implemented properly. One of the examples of their sell out role can be seen in the privatization of the airports.
Workers can not keep quite in the face of all these attacks on their livelihood. They have to fight for the political power. Working class of Russia fought for the political power and took it on its own hands in 1917 through October Revolution. Establishment of Socialism in Soviet Union led to dramatic improvements in the well being of the workers and peasants of the Soviet Union. It is was the restoration of the capitalism in Soviet Union in 1950s which led to the deterioration and disintegration. Situation in our country and around the world is fast changing and capitalism is facing serious crisis. We workers should form Struggle committees in our factories and work places. We should aim to take over the power in our own hands. This is the call of May day to end exploitation and capitalist slavery, he concluded.
Following this, Thiru Pakirisamy leader of Printing Workers Union spoke next. He pointed out the condition of the workers in our society and demanded that the workers should unite and defend their trade union rights.
Kumar from Makkalatchi Iyakkam spoke about the sacrifices done by the May Day Martyrs for the cause of the working class. In our own country, Bhagat Singh and his comrades have fought for the real freedom of our people and hanged for the very reason by the British colonialists. Bhagat Singh said that I am not fighting to replace the white exploiters by brown and black skinned person, but to abolish the entire system of exploitation itself. That is the kind of vision and valor we the youth of India should possess. We must organize to smash this man eating system and build a just society in which Workers will be its master.
Thiru Venugopal workers leader spoke later. He asked the workers to take up the leadership of the movement. Workers have to reject the alliances of the bourgeoisie parties and build an alliance of workers and peasants. Problems of the people can be solved only when workers come to power.
May day meeting created lot of fighting sprit and resolve in the minds of the workers who have assembled there to carry forward the struggle.