International Workers day was commemorated in various places on both sides of the dividing Line of Control in Kashmir by trade unions, political groups and other workers organisations to pay homage to 1886 Chicago martyrs.
In Pakistani occupied Kashmir(POK), May Day was celebrated in all main districts mostly by left nationalist groups and public sector workers in some places!
Sympahtisers and supporters of TURC-K and ISR-Kashmir organised an independent rally in Kotli and CWI members took part in a MayDay program in district Mirpur and Bagh.
In Kotli we helped to organise a demonstration which included workers from Paramedical Staff Association, Rickshaw Union, Motor-cycle mechanics’ union, plumbers union, local council employees association, Ahkbar-Faroosh union paper sellers), university, college and school students, and daily wage workers.
In preparation for the demonstration and Mayday across Pakistani Occupied Kashmir, CWI members produced a new copy of their newspaper, “The Socialist” and a special poster to advertise Mayday.
Banners read “Implement Labour laws”, “Yes to labour courts”, “Right to organize unions”, “Scrap anti-workers laws-Special Power Act”.
Over 70 people attended our May Day meeting. Speakers paid glowing tributes to martyrs of 1886 who laid their lives for the betterment of the working class. Speakers commented: “May Day has become a symbol of the best of revolutionary traditions and was the rallying point for the successful 1917 Russian Revolution the first workers state in history, which changed lives of millions of oppressed and downtrodden working class and the poor.
“Today the world over, capitalist rulers have been implementing anti-worker policies under the banner of neo-liberalism, which has led to the intensification of exploitation of the working class and the poor.”
Speakers condemned Musharaaff regimes’ anti-working class policies by citing an example of the recent privatisation of Pakistan Steel Mill sold in thirty minutes for 22 billion rupees while its assets are worth nearly 6 trillion rupees.
Now they are trying to privatise the gas industry the burden of which falls on working class - if they had their way, would privatize the air we breathe! Speakers gave examples of heroic workers’ resistance against neo-liberal policies implemented throughout the world under the dictats of the IMF, World Bank and other imperialist institutions’ including France, Britain, Latin America and in the US by immigrant workers.
Speakers cited the recent struggle of the Nepalese working class and the poor masses against the brutal monarchy who have suppressed masses for centuries. If there had been a revolutionary party the outcome of the struggle of the Nepalese masses would have been totally different. Speakers said, “The crisis gripping world capitalism is having a direct affect on the working class, youth and poor peasants the world over.” On the national question in Kashmir, speakers commented that, “The masses of Kashmir face double oppression: that of national and class oppression. There is no middle way; the path is very clear- that is the alternative system- that of workers democracy- a socialist
system! We have to fight, no one will change our situation! We have to build an alternative- that means helping to construct a party of the working class which would fight and defend the rights of the working class and the youth by linking their day to day struggle with the struggles across the dividing Line Of Control in Kashmir, Pakistan India and world over!
The following demands were agreed by the meeting:
- No to anti-workers law, scrap Special Power Act, IRO 2002
- Right to organize trade unions, for the formation of Labour laws and courts and implementing of labour policy under the ILO convention!
- No to ERRA (Earthquake Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Authority) write-off all loans advanced to affected public sector workers.
- For including workers and trade union activist in democratically elected committees to carry out reconstruction work in the earthquake affected areas taking all companies and suppliers under their democratic control and management.