Sunday, February 25, 2018 06:31:16 AM

May Day: Political Muscle Flexing, Sore Throats And Tired Feet

By sanjeewam - Sat Apr 23, 3:15 pm

May Day is still one week away but in Sri Lanka preparations are on to ‘Celebrate’ May Day not as an event to mark International Workers Day as in many countries but as a demonstration of the strengths of political parties and even cabals under extremist political organisations.

May Day celebrations are the contribution of the country’s Marxist parties and were originally dedicated to win labour rights for workers at a time no other established party was concerned with the rights of workers. The one lasting contribution of these Marxist parties, particularly the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) and the Communist Party (CP) was the establishment of workers’ rights such as the eight-hour working day, the rights of workers in employment and many other labour rights at great risk to themselves.

May Day rallies of Marxist parties were not confined to calls for commitment to workers’ rights but also involved a call to the working class to rise against the capitalist class, bury them and enthrone socialism. That however did not happen. Commencing from the mid-sixties, May Day celebrations of the Marxists were polluted by the hum-drum politics of the ‘bourgeois’ UNP and the SLFP when they came took to celebrating May Day claiming themselves to be workers parties as well. Today Marxist parties have been swamped in seas of Blue and Green and only traces of red remain.

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