“Workers of the world unite”, the cry is clearly heard far and wide.
Workers around the world are ready to mark their day—May Day—with parades, rallies,meetings, musical extravaganzas etc. Parks and stadiums are being readied and trade unionists and politicians too, armed with the once-a-year worn red shirts and caps, are ready for the kill. In addition, the political parties are also are keen to use this day to show their strength.
Red, the colour that signifies the blood of the workers, can be seen prominently everywhere, covering people from head to toe and festooned along the streets and buildings. For just one day of the year, workers appear to be the kings, but they are unaware that are being exploited again, this time by the crafty politicians. Workers are forced to believe that they are dictating terms, whereas, again the business magnates through their lackeys—the politicians--seem to be dictating terms to the workers.
May Day dawns, workers are overjoyed and in the evening it ends with a wimper. From next day onwards the exploitation begins with a vengeance and the working class, meek as ever, go down in bended knees and continue working for their masters for tuppence.
This is what happens in every nook and corner of this Good Earth!
In Sri Lanka too, political parties seem to be getting ready for this red-shirted and once-a-year extravaganza. “We’ll be bringing the most number of workers to Colombo,” seem to be their rally cry before the May Day.
On the particular day the workers are forgotten, nobody seem to be talking about improving the lot of the workers. Even the workers, wearing red shirts and caps and also with alcoholic beverages rioting inside their bodies, seem to have forgotten who they really are.
The trade unionists who in reality are not representing the working class or rather are the representatives of various political parties, have gradually turned the workers into “Partygoers”.
With the sun going down, the spirit of the May Day gradually wanes and while the exhausted workers are resting, various post-mortems are held to assess the strength of the political parties in relation with the participation of workers.
The May Day episode fades, yet another day dawns, and the workers return to the work place and to their actual surroundings. Doesn't the scenario seem to be the same?
The prices of the essential items have skyrocketed!
The direct and indirect taxes for each and every item has doubled and is threatening to be trebled!
Valuable assets of the country seem to be on sale!
Aliens with the help of our own unpatriotic elements seem to be eyeing parts of the Island!
If there is an Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sri Lanka, another world war would be in the offing!
They seem to be promising unrealistic Utopian concepts and the workers and the general public continue to believe them!
“Tighten your belts for a very little more time!” is the cry that is emanating while they seem to be throttling each others throats for supremacy.
The economy is in shreds, people are living a hand to mouth existence, while dreaming of the futuristic utopias they promise.
May Day spirit has disappeared and the workers and the voting public are thrown back to the quicksand rut and are slowly sinking with the country itself!
By Vijaya Ariyarathne