| INTENSIFY WORKING CLASS STRUGGLES
Three years before the events that took place in 1886 in Chicago leading to the May Day, one of the worlds greatest teachers of the working class, one who said that the source of capitalist profit was the surplus value produced by the unpaid labour of the workers,one who propounded the theory of the class struggle as motive force of social change and underlined the historic role of the working class as the builder of socialism passed away in London on 14th March,1883. “On 14th March, at quarter to three in the afternoon, the greatest living thinker ceased to think. He had been left alone for scarcely two minutes and when we came back we found him in armchair, peacefully gone to sleep, but forever.” This was Engels, his close associate, speaking at the grave of the revolutionary thinker, Karl Marx on 17th March. He further stated that “His name will endure through the ages and so also his work.” This statement by Engels on the death of Marx was made in London some 135 years ago and the subsequent years to the present prove the correctness of that statement. Marx and his works have indeed endured the ages. This year,2018 is the birth bicentenary year of Karl Marx.
Born in the town of Triers in the Rhineland of the then Prussian Empire, Marx joined the Bonn University for two years from 1835 and then shifted to Berlin University where he studied law, philosophy and history. He joined a students circle called the Doctors Club consisting of left wing Hegelians. In 1841 he was awarded doctorate and hoped to get a teaching post. But he became editor-in-chief of a liberal paper called Rheinische Zeitung, left it in 1843 due to the pressures of censorship. He married Jenny, moved to Paris to edit a radical paper and wrote the “Critique of Hegels Philosophy of Right” and “On the Jewish Question”. His partnership with Engels began here in Paris in 1844 lasting till the last moments of his life. In 1845, he was banished from France at the behest of the Prussian empire and moved to Brussels only to be banished again for renouncing Prussian citizenship. He had to undergo immense financial difficulties that persisted until the end of his life, though Engels always helped him. In 1847, both Marx and Engels joined a secret group called the Communist League and it was in the 2nd conference of this league in London that they were asked to draw up a manifesto, that appeared in 1848 as the famous “Communist Manifesto” which propunded the theory of class struggle and the historic role of the working class in fighting capitalism and building socialism. The Manifesto ends with the famous call, “Workers of all lands, unite”. With the initiative of Marx, the International Workingmens Association was formed in 1864, that came to be known as the First International. In 1867, his famous work on political economy “Capital” vol.I was published and subsequently after his death, Engels got the rest of the writings on the subject published in two other volumes.
Hundred and thirty five years after his death, Marx is remembered as one of the greatest thinkers the world has produced. His writings have not only endured the trying times but have remained as subjects of serious interest and debate. Even those opposed to the ideology of Marxism had to return to Marxs “Capital” to understand the crash of the banks and stock markets in the 2008 world financial crisis. His critique of the instability of capitalism stands vindicated .Those who talked of the death of Marxian theory, of history,of class struggle had to bite the dust in the face of various events the world over. To the working class and the oppressed of the world, Marxism is a science and a guide to action to change the exploitative, oppressive socio-economic systems and build truly democratic and socialist societies.Many peoples movements in the world have drawn upon his ideas.
At a time when we are commemorating the 132nd anniversary of May Day, when we are remembering the martyrdom of Fischer, Engels, Parson & Spies who believed that capitalism was an evil system and that socialism is the system that secures a life of dignity it is necessary that we rededicate ourselves to that cause. The working class in our country and in the world is faced with several challenges – from job losses,contractisation,wage depression to curtailment of social security and more importantly the rights to organize and struggle. Capitalist maximisation of profit and the unhindered loot of natural resources by imperialism is causing environmental destruction. The working class needs to act as a class in order to face these challenges and there are always attempts to disrupt this unity of the workers as a class. In our country the ruling classes and their political outfits have many a time used the instrument of communalism to divide the oppressed and in the contemporary political scenario the forces of hindutva are aggressively mobilizing the people on communal basis that affects the unity of the working class and the oppressed. In the past few years we have witnessed violent attacks on minorities,dalits and individuals. We also see the various changes made in the labour laws impinging the hard won rights of the workers in several BJP ruled states. The same is being attempted at the central level in the name of simplifying labour laws in the country. That this is being done at the behest of foreign capital and native corporate here is no more a point of contest and is unassailable.
On the occasion of 132nd year of May Day and bicentenary birth anniversary of Karl Marx, the IFTU calls upon the working class in the country to intensify its struggle to defend the rights won through protracted struggles and to pledge to move in the direction of building a truly democratic society and towards socialism. On this occasion, it will be appropriate to remember Marx in the words of Lenin,the leader who ushered in the first workers state in Russia, “the genius of Marx consists in his having furnished answers to questions already raised by the foremost minds of mankind.His doctrine emerged as the direct and immediate continuation of the teachings of the greatest representatives of philosophy,political economy and socialism. Marxist doctrine is omnipotent because it is true.”
Indian Federation of Trade Unions(IFTU)