In course of time, something happened, much changed— a disrupting crowd of workers dancing beneath red clouds began to ask tough questions and demand their rights. For workers, Marxism remains a living tradition to this date that rewards their labour due respect and importance in truer essence, for they deserve it.

“Workers of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but your chains.” This is how Karl Marx, who single-handedly championed the cause of workers all around the globe in a scientific manner, exhorted masses to identify who they actually were. There were no workers but only slaves before the Marxian epoch, slaves working for their masters for generations without reason or justification. The identity crisis seriously undermined the ability of working class to survive as human beings, for workers might have rights but slaves do not. In course of time, something happened, much changed— a disrupting crowd of workers dancing beneath red clouds began to ask tough questions and demand their rights.  

 

Since any known period in history, no majority in the world has ever been as major as the majority of workers. Then, how is it that it took millenniums before their basic rights for survival could be fathomed in full essence?

 

It is to be noted that any aspect of our workplace culture that we, as workers, currently enjoy— eight hours of work per day, at least one leave each week and healthy work environment—  was never a natural one, if anything were to be natural that must be oppression, repression, violence and endless cycle of exploitation. It had to be acquired by struggles and strikes, and by challenging the status quo of that period, which was hostile, to say the least, to workforce in all forms. The slave culture lasted for centuries because that was a convenient path for the beneficiaries to persist with, even ancient greats such as Aristotle justified slave practice. Civilization advanced, so did the needs of kings and nobles, they needed serfs to cultivate lands for higher men of society.

 

The cruelty in form of feudalism continued until came Industrial Revolution, the revolution that later went on to inspire and spark almost every revolution of contemporary age throughout the world. The large scale production units in industries surged requirement of labour and skilled workers that helped in growth of knowledge and ultimately better understanding among the population hitherto working in fields and inadequately resourced so as to educate themselves. But the change did not deter those at the helm of power to keep up with the old practice of exploitation, though, they fashioned new ways and tricks to get it done— either be it unpaid or extremely low wage labour or sickening working environment or lack of basic living conditions despite long working days.

 

The story of subjugation had been an old one but response to latest tale differed this time. The response was fierce- angst, dissent and association of workers took concrete shape in form of trade unions. Intellectuals of that age had already attempted to diagnose the problem but their efforts didn’t suffice to learn antithesis to it.

 

Revolutionary thinker and philosopher of that age, Karl Marx, changed the narrative of the world inhabited by workers with his writing titled as “Communist Manifesto” that called upon the workers of the world to unite and topple bourgeois power structure and bring proletarian revolution. Subsequently many thinkers, over the years, contributed to this rich tradition of Marxism that had its basic foundations resting upon high ideals of equality, liberty and freedom.

 

People of Russia were first in the world to effect the theory into practice under the leadership of Lenin, who himself furthered the Marxism tradition, and millions of workers and established first ever communist state in the world, known as Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) or simply Soviet Union followed by some other nations in the world, Cuba, China and North Korea for example.

 

Two world wars of enormous devastation, end of colonial era and a cold war that changed the dynamics of world we live in, and what not, the world has completely changed. Experiment of communist state might have failed in different parts of world, perhaps that too because of their compromise with workers’ primacy in state. However, for workers, Marxism remains a living tradition to this date that rewards their labour due respect and importance in truer essence, for they deserve it.

 

Many events of struggle lead to declaration of 1 May, as International Labour Day or May Day. May Day isn’t an ordinary day because it is a day that cherishes the extraordinary people, the workers!

 

For without workers no civilisation could be built!