If you’re reading this, I commend you on your taste. As I write this, our fledgling blog has a viewership of a little over 750 spanning more than twenty countries, and we achieved this in about four months. This either means that we have a very select viewership or we’re actually pretty horrible but that’s for you to decide. Today is a very important day for those of us who believe that there is a little more to the world than the act of making profit. This day, May the First, marks the passage of nearly a 130 years of struggle for the rights of the working classes.
The 21st century found most of the world having taken for granted the 8 hour working day and the 5 day working week, but it wasn’t always so. There was a time when to ask for such conditions was considered a defiant act along the lines of Oliver asking for more. We’ve come a long way since then. If today it is considered a given that you work for a set time, that child labour is illegal, and that women have the same rights to labour as men, it is thanks to the sacrifice of millions of people around the world who poured their blood,sweat and tears into a struggle for the future.
Today is their day. The day we look back and remember those who came before. The ones who gave their lives so we may be free.
It is also a day to remember the work that is still to be done. If you’re reading this off a smartphone, that same smartphone was probably built by the hands of an underpaid and underage worker in some Third world country. If you, like me, have ever had ties to the Middle East, you will know a hundred stories of men toiling away in labour camps with no end in sight. If you are anything but a cold-hearted capitalist, you will have seen the torturous conditions under which people work even today; even in supposedly developing countries like India.
India itself has a huge dearth of any meaningful labour laws. To this day, more than 95% of our population works in the unorganised sector with no access to insurance or benefits. The oft repeated excuse given by the government is that the population is too large to be taken care of. I was personally under the illusion that the government was supposed to take care of the entire population no matter how large. How stupid of me and how stupid of all of us. Clearly the government’s job is taking care of cows.
There is always work to be done and miles to go before we sleep or even take a five minute constitutional.
And so today we reiterate that most solemn of oaths. To fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. To speak for the voiceless and give our lives for those yet to be born. Because the Labour movement is about a lot more than securing benefits for the working classes today, it is also about building a better world for the working classes of tomorrow.
The Riot Dogs.
Happy May Day everyone.