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A salute to workers - 100th May.

The May Day of 1990 is the 100th May Day. The first May Day was celebrated by the workers in 1890 when declared that they will establish governments of their class in every country of the world. On this day today it is necessary to examine when the first organisation of the workers was formed and through which phases the working class movement passed since then and which problems the working class movement confronts today the solution of which can make this world more beautiful and congenial to live in.

It is no exaggeration to conclude that the stage of development that humanity has achieved today is the result of the creative labour of workers. The history of the last hundred years provides proof to this conclusion. Till 1830 all the factories of Western Europe were mechanised and were using machines. At the same time the workers made their organisations and started their struggle against the capitalists.

It was the year 1864 when Karl Marx, Frederick Engels along with the working class leaders of Britain and America established an international organisation of the workers which was named as the International Working Men's Association. In history it is known as the First International. This organisation declared that the workers should capture the state power and that the workers can get liberation only through their own force and unity, and when this class gets its independence it will liberate all the oppressed. The slogan "Workers of all countries unite" was given for the first time to the workers by this organisation and today this is the universal slogan of workers. This organisation in 1866 decided in one of its meetings that the working day should be of eight hours. The workers of the world were mobilised to get their demand of eight hours working day accepted through organised processions, public meetings, rallies and strikes.

In 1870 the workers of Paris proved the truth of the declaration by the First International that it is their right to capture the state power. They defeated the capitalist ruling class and captured Paris. This government of the workers popularly known as the Paris Commune continued only for 92 days. The capitalists used the army and crushed the movement with brutal force.

The failure of the Paris Commune divided the leadership and the organisation was broken. The struggle to get an eight hours working day continued and once again the workers formed their second world organisation in 1889, which endorsed their demand. This organisation decided that the workers of the world should celebrate a day when they should express their solidarity and unity. On the suggestion of the American Labour Federation this day was decided to be the first of May. The American Labour Federation had chosen this specific day due to the reason that the workers of Chicago on this day organised as strike for the acceptance of an eight hours working day. They also came out in a procession which invited the ruthless attack from the capitalists and several workers were killed when the procession was fired at. The white flags of the workers immersed in the blood of those who were martyred became the red flags since then. This incident gave the workers two things: the May Day and the red flag.

It was 1890 when for the first time the workers celebrated the May Day and expressed their solidarity and unity waving their red flags and announced that this world is for the workers and not capitalists. Today once century has passed since the celebration of the first May Day. During this century the workers through their struggle have changed the course of history. If we say that the entire credit of the past century's development goes to the creative labour of the workers, only then can we do justice to the assessment of the past century's development.

The first historical change occurred in 1917, when the workers of Russia captured the state power and established the first socialists state of the world. The Tsar of Russia was overthrown and the workers laid the foundation of a new society and new culture on one sixth of the area of this planet. The second biggest event of this century was the emergence of fascism in Germany. Hitler started the war in Europe in 1930 and captured the European countries one after the other, and in 1914 attacked the country of the workers. The workers of the Soviet Union sacrificed 20 million lives and defeated Hitler. They not only save their own motherland but also saved independence, democracy and peace on the earth.

The third historic event of this century was that the countries of Eastern Europe adopted the socialist way of development and with this a socialist world market was established in the world along with the existing capitalist market. The fourth event of this country was that the country which constituted one fourth of the world's population became socialist. This revolution in 1949 in China was lead by the workers. They destroyed the decadent feudal system and started progressing by adopting the social way of development.

The fifth important event of the century is the scientific and technological revolution. Today humanity stands at a cross road due to this scientific and technological revolution. It has two possible options before it, the first is that all the achievements in material and cultural developments could be destroyed if a nuclear war erupts, the second is that peace is established firmly, weapons are destroyed and science and technology is used for the betterment and development of humanity. Through this second option it is now possible that all the people of this world could be provided with material requirements and can live a happy and prosperous life. This is not a dogma but a scientific reality of our time.

The sixth important event of this century is that the workers of the Soviet Union under the leadership of the Communist Party lead by Mikhail Gorbachev decided in 1986 to restructure the society. They have started a new revolution. The name of this revolution is Perestroika and Glasnost. They have presented a stage-wise programme to the world for complete disarmament till the year 2000. This has resulted in ending the cold war from the world, Many advances have been made to achieve this objective during the last four years, and it can be said with confidence that the war can be thrown out forever from the earth. The people of the world now believe that the 21st century shall be a century of peace, democracy, equality, cooperation, friendship and social justice.

In today's world the trend of peace and cooperation has become dominant. The Third World countries are resolving their disputes peacefully. They are advancing towards this path by accepting the five principles of peaceful co-existence which reject the use or threat of force to resolve disputes. The fast pace of scientific and technological revolution of this century has revolutionised the outlook of the people and has given a new thinking that the human race is a single unity and all human beings are equal irrespective of their colour, race, language, religion and nationality, and that they have equal right over the material resources of this world.

Without any exaggeration we can claim with certainty and confidence that all historical developments and progress of the last century is the result of the creative labour of workers and is due to their heroic and consistent struggle. Pakistan's society is facing crisis and has become stagnant, only through restructuring of society can this situation be changed. Self-sufficiency in agriculture cannot be achieved without abolishing the decadent feudal agricultural system. It is imperative that the whole of the agricultural land is redistributed so that 70 per cent of the population which is landless gets land to cultivate.

The most significant and primary task for industrial development is to establish basic industries. No country other than the Soviet Union and other socialist countries is willing to provide technology to achieve this objective. Therefore, immediate and concrete measures are required to get technology for the basic industries so that the country could start moving on the path of industrial development.

Seventy per cent of our country's budget is consumed by the army, whereas 74 per cent of the population is illiterate. To spread education in the country it is necessary that the budget for the army is curtailed by 50 per cent. Such changes will be of historical significance for the restructuring of society in Pakistan. This change could be brought only by the people of Pakistan under the leadership of workers.

The workers are the leading force in Pakistan and the Third World. They can accomplish the historic task of restructuring while guiding the people to bring this change. The forces who are against the process of restructuring in Pakistan are represented by reactionaries and mullahs and they must be defeated to pave way for democracy, development and social justice. Let's salute those workers on May Day who sacrificed their lives to give life to the movement. Let's join together to move forward on their path to make Pakistan an independent, democratic and prosperous country. Let's join the struggle of the workers of all the countries who uphold the banner of peace, friendship, cooperation, equality, humanism and social justice. Let's move forward with confidence and optimism into the next century.
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Author:Aslam, C.R.
Publication:Economic Review
Date:May 1, 1990
Previous Article:Harmonisation of industrial relations.
Next Article:Labour policy must be the link between needs and aspirations of national economy.

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