Prospects for revolutionary class struggle in Pakistan
Our goal – socialism, our way – the revolution, our instrument – the revolutionary party!
An Action Program for Socialist Revolution by the Revolutionary Workers Organisation (RWO)
I. Pakistan: a semi-colonial capitalist country
II. Pakistan is an artificial creation and a prison house for the oppressed nationalities
III. The political parties and the crisis of leadership of the working class movement
The struggle for militant mass trade unions
IV. The program of the Revolution
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Pakistan’s peoples are haunted by poverty, child labour, wars and catastrophes. Responsible for this misery are not the toiling peoples. It is the greedy, corrupt ruling classes of both Pakistan and of the imperialist powers who together exploit and oppress the workers, peasants and national minorities to enrich themselves.
The workers, peasants and national minorities – i.e. the overwhelming majority of the over 180 millions in Pakistan – are bearing the terrible consequences of the capitalist misery. In Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa members of the oppressed minorities are killed or disappear on a daily basis. 73% of the population lives on less than US $2 a day – i.e. the official poverty line defined by the United Nations – and nearly one fifth has to survive with even less than US $1 a day. Nearly half of Pakistan’s population is food insecure and 48% of the children are undernourished. Workers are exploited mostly in the informal sector where labour rights and collective bargaining does not exist. On the countryside a handful families concentrate the agrarian wealth in their hands while the huge majority of the rural population does not possess any land and their labour is squeezed by the landlords up to the extreme. For the huge majority of the women live is daily struggle for survival. But while they work – in employment or at home – as much as men if not more they have no economic independence and are often victim of physical violence.
Pakistan’s misery is no exception. It is not the specific corruptness of the politicians and landlords in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi. We can see a similar picture all over the world. The misery of Pakistan is part of the misery of the world. The causes are the same. It is rooted in the capitalist system which rules our world since centuries. Capitalism is in a cul-de-sac. (1) It is in death agony. It has nothing to offer. It must be overthrown. In Pakistan and around the world.
But capitalism will not collapse by itself. The ruling capitalist class can only be overthrown by a socialist revolution led by the working class in alliance with the poor peasants and the urban poor. Contrary to the illusionary daydreams of various left-wing forces (like Lal Khan’s The Struggle/IMT or the Labour Party Pakistan) the socialist revolution will not be a process of peaceful transformation but an armed insurrection of the working class and the oppressed masses. There are also various Stalinist and Maoist parties who mistakenly believe that a stable democracy can be achieved without abolishing capitalism, that a bourgeois democratic revolution can succeed without a socialist revolution. This is nonsense! Real democracy is only possible under the rule of the working class and this has a successful socialist revolution as its precondition.
Such a revolution cannot and will not happen spontaneously. It must be organised. Organised by a revolutionary working class party. A party based on the lessons and experiences of the Bolsheviks who organised under the leadership of Lenin and Trotsky the first successful seizure of power of the workers and peasants. (2)
In fact the workers, peasants and oppressed nationalities have demonstrated repeatedly that they are willing to fight for their freedom. The Revolution in 1968-69 was a heroic uprising of the workers, peasants and youth – defeated only because of the shamelessly betrayal of the Bhutto-PPP and also various Stalinist and Maoist forces who either uncritically supported the PPP or denounced it as a CIA conspiracy. The oppressed Baloch nation has risen up five times since 1948 to achieve independence. The heroic workers strikes at PTCL, KESC, the power-loom workers or the Lady Health Workers in recent years, the marches of the landless peasants and the lawyer’s movement in 2007 which gave rise to the student movement – they all showed that the spirit of resistance is alive.
But what is missing is a Bolshevik party – a well organized combat party for revolution which is rooted amongst the working class. As long as we have not archived the formation of such a party all the heroic struggles of the masses can not successfully win liberation.
No fundamental question of mankind – economic disaster, environmental catastrophes, war etc. – can be solved on national terrain but only in the international arena. Pakistan’s misery is inseparable linked with the misery of world capitalism. The tragic partition of the subcontinent in 1947 was caused by British imperialism in collaboration with the Muslim League and the Indian Congress party. The interest squeeze caused by the huge debts to foreign imperialist capital is a permanent burden on the economy and the US-“war on terror” marks life in Pakistan more and more dangerous. There is no national solution for Pakistan’s problems. The only solution is a successful revolution which starts in one or more countries and spreads internationally.
Our goal is a socialist society. Under socialism the economy is in the ownership of the society and not of individuals. It is planned according to the needs of the people and a sustainable development to improve the living conditions of all people. It does not function for the accumulation of profit. Decisions are made in councils assembling the workers, peasants, youth in the enterprises, the urban districts, the villages, the schools etc.. Based on these decisions the toilers elect delegates on a local, regional, national and finally internal level and by this form the foundation of a workers and peasant republic. All people will have enough to eat. No oppression against women, national minorities, youth etc. will be tolerated. In such a society people have the full right to practice their religious believes. But state and religion are separated and the law is derived not from the Sharia but from the interests of the working people.
Our socialism has nothing to do with the caricature of socialism created by the Stalinist dictatorships in the USSR, Eastern Europe and China which are unfortunately still hailed by various “Communist” and “Workers’ and Peasants’” Parties. Neither has it any similarity with the authoritarian capitalist regime of Bhutto in the 1970s which is still advocated by the left wing in the PPP.
This is why we need a party for socialist revolution in Pakistan and internationally. A party based on the working class and fighting for the liberation of all oppressed.
Building such a world party – the Fifth Workers' International – is the goal of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) and this is why the Revolutionary Workers Organisation (RWO) is its Pakistani section. We base ourselves on the international Program of the RCIT. This national Action program for Pakistan is a concretisation of the revolutionary method to the conditions of our country. If you share our goals – join us!
I. Pakistan: a semi-colonial capitalist country run by a ruling class of landlords, industrial and financial barons and the military officer caste and dominated by imperialism
Pakistan is a semi-colonial capitalist state. It is a state controlled by and serving a ruling class which combines landowners, industrial magnates and financial robber barons. It is a ruling class which of course has its inner divisions and struggles for their share of the spoils. But the conception shared by many left-wing liberals, Stalinists and Maoists that there exists a fundamental conflict of interests between the “feudal” landlords and the “modern” industrial entrepreneurs and military officers is sheer fantasy. The landlords, the financial and industrial capitalists, the dominant caste in the state apparatus and the imperialist powers are inseparable interconnected with each other and can not exist without the other.
The landlords of course don’t consume the agrarian products of their tenant farmers themselves but sell it to make profit. Not surprisingly Pakistan’s important industries and exports are closely related to the agrarian business. (Pakistan is e.g. one of the world’s leading exporters of textiles and this industry alone accounts for more than 60% of the country’s’ exports.) So while the landlords obviously utilize the old “semi-feudal” methods of exploitation of the peasants (share-cropping, tenancy etc.) they are part of the bourgeoisie and could not exist without the market.
An expression of this is for example the strong support for the PPP (led by a landlord clan) amongst the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the strong support for the PML-N (led by the owner of the steel mill Ittefaq Group and one of the largest producer of iron materials) amongst the landlords.
This super-rich elite controls political life via their parties which are run like a family business (the PPP of the Bhutto clan, the PML of Nawrez Sharif etc.) and they often control the higher and lower civil servants. It is therefore no surprise that only 2% of the population pay taxes.
The military is not an institution separated from these elite but interwoven with it in many ways. Under the military dictatorships of Ayub Khan, Zia and Musharraf the industrial development was enhanced of which the landlords profited too. In fact given the weakness of the domestic ruling class it could only survive because of the existence of a strong military officer caste which either openly took power (as it did for 30 of the last 64 years) or played and plays a dominant role “behind the scenes” as an economic and political factor.
The military officer caste itself has become part of the capitalists. A few years ago Ayesha Siddiqa showed in her book ’Military Incorporated: Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy’ that retired and serving officers run secret industrial conglomerates, manufacture everything from cornflakes to cement and actually own 12 million acres of public land. They are said to assume a wealth worth as much as £10 billion. Five giant conglomerates, known as ’welfare foundations’, run thousands of businesses, ranging from street corner petrol pumps to sprawling industrial plants. The author estimates that the military controls one third of all heavy manufacturing and up to 7% of private assets.
This ruling class of landlords, industrial and financial barons and the military officer caste is closely linked with the imperialist powers. Without the imperialists support they could not exist.
Throughout its whole history the Pakistani ruling class was in closest alliance with the imperialist powers. The Pakistani ruling class served from the beginning as a vassal of US imperialism and was part if the US-led military alliances SEATO and CENTO. The Zia dictatorship was essential to engineer the US support for the reactionary struggle against the PDAP/Soviet government in the 1980s in Afghanistan and in the last decade the regime in Islamabad helped the US imperialists to wage its colonial war against the Afghan people and even the Pashtun people in FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The Pakistan ruling class is highly dependent of imperialist support. Today Pakistan is the third-largest recipient of US foreign aid.
Of course the imperialists profit from this and exploit Pakistan as a semi-colonial country. This means that Pakistan is – like most countries in the world – formally independent but in fact exploited and oppressed by imperialist power like the USA, EU or nowadays also the new imperialist power China.
While China has been Pakistan’s “all-weather friend” since decades there has been a significant shift in recent years. For most time Pakistan’s ruling class was clearly subordinating itself to US imperialism. But with the decline of Washington’s global absolute hegemony and the recent emergence of China as an imperialist power, Islamabad is turning now stronger to Beijing. China’s growing hegemonic role in Pakistan is demonstrated not only by the intensive close military ties, but also its place as the biggest trade partner and a central foreign investor, as the building of the major port of Gwadar or the Karakoram Highway, connecting northern Pakistan to western China shows.
Pakistan serves the imperialist world as a producer of cheap agrarian commodities and textiles and it pays billions of dollars each year as interest rates to foreign financial capitalists. (e.g. 8,5 billion dollars in the financial year 2010-11 while the state spent at the same time only a combined total of Rs 31.3 billion ($368 million) under the Public Sector Development Program!)
The struggle for liberation of the oppressed masses under the leadership of the working class therefore cannot be conducted in support of one wing of the greedy robbers against the other or with the help of the West against the domestic “feudals”. This will only make the working class and oppressed a tool for power games of the elite.
The only consistent struggle for the liberation of the working class and the oppressed can be conducted with a program for the full and complete liberation of all parts of our classes - i.e. for all sectors of the workers, be it poorer or better-off, be it male or female, young and old, national, migrant or abroad. And it must be conducted against the enemy of all of us – the ruling class with all its components and against the imperialist powers in West and East.
The working class and the oppressed masses are the huge majority in the country. They have strong allies: the international working class which constitutes nearly half of the world population and which can draw with it the huge masses of poor peasants and urban poor. But this is only possible via a program of permanent revolution which links the single democratic tasks with the goal of socialist revolution and the national with the international class struggle.
II. Pakistan is an artificial creation and a prison house for the oppressed nationalities
Pakistan is the product of the conquest and suppression by the British colonial empire. Because of imperialism’s Durand agreement in 1893 the Pashtun people and the Balochi people got divided between what is today Afghanistan and Pakistan (and Iran in the case of the Balochis). It is because of imperialism’s policy of “divide et impera” (3) that when they could not resist the anti-colonial liberation struggle of the masses on the Indian sub-continent that the British ruling class instigated the partition. The aspiring new ruling classes of the Hindu and Muslim capitalists and landlords criminally supported this partition in 1947. The masses suffered the terrible consequences: up to a million people died and up to 15 million people had to flee and leave their homeland forever. This reactionary partition was not a division into “two nations” – the Muslims and the Hindus – as the reactionary Muslims League of Mohammad Ali Jinnah claimed. Let us remark as a side note that the idea of a “Muslim nation” in itself is a caricature of the Korans belief in the global unity of the ummah and not an ethnic-national group. Already after 1948 many millions of Muslims on the sub-continent lived outside of Pakistan. In fact the partition did not unite the Muslims but divided them between two states! (like the Kashmiris, the Punjabis etc.)
Shamefully the Communist Party of India (with Stalin’s support) played a treacherous role in this reactionary partition of the subcontinent. Its leadership claimed that the bourgeois Congress Party represents a “democratic movement” and publicly proclaimed to “extend full co-operation” with the Congress Party and the Muslim League. It called the workers and peasants to stop their struggles “because the new government was to be given an opportunity to fulfill their promise”. They subscribed before the partition to the reactionary theory of “two nations” (the Muslims and the Hindus), joined both the Congress Party and the Muslim League with the call “to unite the left wing of those parties”. Similarly they betrayed decisive (pre-)revolutionary situations when the Indian working class and peasantry rose up against the British Empire. The CPI denounced the “Quit India” mass uprising in August 1942 as a provocation of a fascist “Fifth Column”. It slandered the mutiny of the sailors of the Royal Indian Navy in February 1946 which turned into armed struggles and general strikes as “mob violence”. This was a particular serious crime since this uprising united worker from the different communities (Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs) and had the potential to overthrow the colonial administration. And it contained the Tebhaga movement of the share-cropping peasants which stated in Bengal in 1946. All this was done with the support by the Stalin-led bureaucracy with the justification of the necessary subordination of the interests of the working class and poor peasants under the interests of the “national”, “democratic” or “progressive” capitalists.
In fact the Muslim landlords, capitalists and state bureaucrats just looked for a pretext to create their state and exploit the toilers with the support of imperialism.
The Pakistani state never was the state of a single nation. In reality it became a state dominated by the Punjabi- despite the fact that the Punjabis constitute just 42% of the country’s population. They made their language – Urdu – the official state language despite the fact that when Pakistan state was founded, not more than 10% of the population spoke Urdu.
As a result Pakistan is a prison-house for the oppressed nationalities. This state did not liberate the Muslims but oppresses most of them. This is why the Balochis sought independence from the beginning. This is why the Bengals in what was Eastern Pakistan resented their discrimination and achieved finally independence in 1971 through a liberation war. This is why many other nationalities (especially Sindi, Saraki and even the Urdu speaking) resent the Punjabi-dominance amongst the military officer caste, the state apparatus, the rich and super-rich.
The Pakistani state was an artificial creation in the interest of British imperialism and a small domestic elite. Democrats and socialists have no interest in keeping this state within its present boundaries. We want to smash this prison house for the oppressed peoples. We want to achieve international unity starting with a voluntary federation of the people on the South Asian sub-continent and beyond. This can only be achieved via a socialist revolution and the building of a socialist society. Because as the partition in 1947 showed, as long as capitalist classes exist they will look for national division to rule their own state and to exploit the people. Only when we abolish the capitalist class there can be a unity of the different nations.
A pre-condition for such a voluntary federation is winning the trust and building the unity of the oppressed peoples. Therefore there can be no internationalism without the consistent struggle for self-determination of the oppressed peoples. “But this could lead to secession!”, some frightened liberals and reformists will say. So what? Are we afraid of secession? Not at all! We don’t want to keep a state that does not have the trust and support of the people living in it. Only voluntary unity is a stable and long-term unity of the peoples!
III. The political parties and the crisis of leadership of the working class movement
The established parties are all parties of the ruling class. As it is always the case with robbers they fight between themselves about the share of the spoils. That’s why Zia executed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1979 and Musharraf disposed Nawrez Sharif in 1999 and sent him into exile and the later and Benazir Bhutto did with Musharraf in 2007.
But in essence they serve the same class: the ruling class of landlords, industrial and financial barons. This is not only true for the PML(Q) and the PML(N) but also for the PPP. Yes, it proclaimed in the past socialism and democracy as its goals. But we know: not everyone who pretends to be a righteous Muslim is an honest man in real life. And so it is also the case that not everybody who swears on socialism and democracy is necessarily a socialist and democrat. In fact the PPP is led since its beginning by one of the biggest landlord families in Sind. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was no socialist in any way! He just covered his bourgeois regime with phrases about the “socialist revolution”. At the same time he oppressed the working class, the reactionary war against the Bengal people striving for independence and sent in the years 1973-77 80.000 soldiers to slaughter the national liberation struggle of the Baloch people. And the PPP leader Benazir Bhutto imposed an open neoliberal policy in the 1990s against the working class and the peasants.
Shamefully various petty-bourgeois left-wing forces help the PPP to get a progressive cover. They present the PPP government as a lesser evil (like the Communist Party or various left-wing intellectual). Some even support them “critically” (like the Awami Party). Other, pseudo-Trotskyist organizations, support the ruling PPP – the party of the Sind big landlords and capitalists – as party activists and as office holder (like ex-MP Manzoor Ahmad and leader of the PPP’s Labour Bureau from the “Revolutionary Struggle” tendency). Or they act as critically but loyal PPP inner-party opposition (like Lal Khan’s “The Struggle”/IMT) which tries to foster relations with critical sectors of the bourgeois PPP by praising the party’s past tradition of authoritarian ruler.
Instead of praising the PPP’s past program and manifesto like the CWI and the IMT do, Marxists have the duty to unmask the PPP’s Pakistani chauvinism and the bourgeois class interest which is covered by some sweetish demagogic phrases about „Islamic socialism“ and democracy. The PPP is and always was a bourgeois-populist party.
The present rise of Imran Kahn and his party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) reflects the huge distrust of the masses in the established political parties. The only “strength” of Khan’s PTI is the public hatred of his opponents and the unknown record of the party. However behind Khan’s populism is ordinary bourgeois politics in the interest of the ruling class. This is why many politicians of the old parties don’t find it difficult to jump wagon and joins Khan’s party. They know they can continue with him the same old politics.
The Islamists parties usually represent the class position of very conservative sectors of the bourgeoisie and of backward and desperate sectors of the petty-bourgeoisie.
Unfortunately the Pakistani left is strongly marked by reformism and centrism. The Workers Party has links with some trade union leaders but rather weak roots amongst the workers. Its policy is characterised by reformism which it inherited from its Stalinist and social democratic founding organisations. The Awami Party is even more right-wing reformist. It is totally focused on standing for elections and supports the imperialist war on terror.
The Labour Party follows a left reformist policy which it covers with socialist rhetoric. But in various working class struggles they orientate mainly to build closer relations with trade union bureaucrats instead of organising the workers against the union leaders. They are also looking for alliances with bourgeois, liberal forces and NGO’s.
The Struggle Group (IMT) follows its unprincipled deep entryism in the openly corrupt capitalist PPP since decades. They believe that the Pakistani working class does not need their own, independent party. Instead, according to them the PPP is already the party of the workers and the task is only to replace its leadership by socialists. While they completely misjudge the progressive potential of the PPP they ignored real progressive mass movements like the lawyers movement and played a disastrous role in the PTCL workers struggle.
While in the concrete struggle practical agreements with various forces about common actions in the defence of a strike, of a national resistance act or actions of landless peasants are inevitable and necessary, political alliances with bourgeois parties are illegitimate for Marxists. This is why the Labour Party of Pakistan’s joining of the All-Parties Democratic Movement (APDM) together with the right-wing fundamentalist Jamat-i-Islami and Imran Khan’s PTI was a renunciation of class independence and a politics of popular-frontism, i.e. of class collaboration with sectors of the bourgeoisie.
As a result of the failure of the various reformist and centrist parties and the populist deception of the PPP the working class in Pakistan lacks their own party. The RWO emphasizes that the working class needs a revolutionary party. As a step into such a direction we support practical initiatives from sectors of the working class – in the unions, in other mass organizations etc. – to build a new, independent working class party. While we would advocate a revolutionary program we would not make acceptance of it to a pre-condition from participation. We would rather work inside such a new workers party as a revolutionary wing. We would however openly fight for our program under all circumstances and try to win the majority of the party for it.
The struggle for militant mass trade unions
Trade unions are chronically weak in Pakistan. Splintered in many small unions (in 2000 there were 7.220 unions) they organise only about one million workers which is about 2.4% of the workforce. Of these trade union members only 1,5% are female! The trade union movement has been dominated by a bureaucracy who look at their small unions like little princedom. Often they are connected to one of the main bourgeois parties in which they are helped by various reformist and centrist forces who collaborate with these parties. (e.g. Manzoor Ahmad PPP’s Labour Bureau or the PTUDC of “The Struggle”)
The working class faces a very difficult social situation. Of a total employed labour force of nearly 54 million (according to the official statistics of 2011), about 18 millions work in the countryside and 16 million in the cities and towns. More than 45% of them are employed in the agricultural sector (amongst the employed women the share is even ¾!), 13.7% work in the manufacturing sector (the share amongst women is more than 10%) and 7% work in the construction sector (nearly all are men).
Of these total labour force 36% are formally wage labourers (40% amongst men but only 21% amongst women), 27.7% are classified as “contributing family workers“ (only 17.3 amongst men but 63.4% amongst women!) and 35% are so-called “Own account workers” (40.5% amongst men and 15.6% amongst women).
Because of successful oppression by the various regimes in the past decades and the betrayals by the bureaucrats many workers have jobs in the informal sector. 73.8% - i.e. nearly ¾ - of all employed in the non-agricultural sector are employed in the informal sector. (Inside this informal sector between 40-45% each are wage labourers respective self-employed).
Naturally workers in the informal sector are suffering from a particular insecure situation which makes trade union organizing difficult. In addition to the past regimes have limited or banned trade union activity. In the Industrial Relations Ordinance 2002, promulgated by then-President General Pervez Musharraf, restrictions on labour rights have been extended to the workers in the Old Age Benefit Institutions, Workers Welfare Funds, Pakistan Mint, watch and ward, security and fire services staff in different organizations. Trade union activities were banned in KESC and PIA and the activities in the banking industry are still restricted. Agricultural workers have remained outside the ambit of labour rights and laws. The IRO is also not applicable to the Export Processing Zones (EPZ) and Special Industrial Zones (SIZ). Contrary to that, workers in Sri Lanka have the right of association and collective bargaining even in EPZ operating in that country.
This does however not mean that trade union activity is not possible as massive strikes at PTCL and KESC have shown in the last years.
The RWO works inside the trade unions and advocates the program of class struggle, socialism and workers' democracy. We fight against the divisions of the union movement in many small unions. For broad, mass unions which organise the workers in the whole industrial branch!
Given the fact that most of the Pakistani working class are not unionised, we call for a broad campaign to build new unions on a democratic basis. Defend the unions against state repression! Unions must not be banned in any sector of the economy! We call for an end of all laws which limit and strict the rights of trade unions. New trade unions who ask for registration must be recognised by the authorities without delay.
The trade unions must be purged from the grip by the bureaucracy. This bureaucracy is a layer which is connected with the state and capital via jobs and privileges. It is far away from the interests and living circumstances of the members. The struggle for the liberation of the working class must be based on the broad mass of the proletariat rather than their upper strata. For a mass campaign to win the broad masses for the unions (including the overwhelmingly female domestic workers)! For a rank and file movement inside the unions against the bureaucracy!
In the class struggle trade unions are important but not sufficient. Particularly important is the formation of mass rank and file Action Committees which strive to integrate all activists and workers independent if they are member of a union or not. The goal of such Action Committees must be to transform themselves into broad, comprehensive combat organizations at the work place, in the district, schools and universities. This orientation is not in contradiction to the work within the existing mass organizations (trade unions, etc.), but rather complement to these activities. The regular work within the unions at the grassroots against the bureaucracy improves the ability of the independent organization of the working class. The support of each opportunity to build broad committees of struggle in turn strengthens a grassroots movement in the unions. Similarly it is important to build militant Action Committees of the poor peasants as a basis for a revolutionary peasant movement in alliance with and under the leadership of the working class.
While we reject the subordination of unions under the control of bourgeois parties we neither advocate anti-party syndicalism. Particularly in circumstances where the class struggle and the independent organization of workers is so much restricted particularly because of the concrete political circumstances (role of the military, reactionary pressure against public activity of women etc.) a linkage of the trade union struggle and the political struggle is essential. But the orientation must be towards the formation of a worker’s party and towards intervening in political life independent of any bourgeois party.
A new Workers Party would be an enthusiastic supporter of the formations of Actions Committees and Workers’ and Peasant Councils. At the same time such organs – reflecting the tendency of the toiling masses for self-organisation – would be a fertile ground for a Workers Party to recruit the most class-conscious, revolutionary elements.
IV. The program of the Revolution
The RWO advocates the following action plan in response to the crisis of capitalism and the imperialist power politics. They propose this program for the common struggle of the workers and oppressed. They call on all organizations of the labour movement and the oppressed, to jointly enter for these demands the battlefield against the ruling class.
Our program is characterized by that the demands are not appeals to the capitalists or their government. We do not raise demands in the hope they can be realized through the means of parliamentary combinations or even a participation in a government of the bourgeois state. They are not proposals to improve or reform the capitalist system.
No, the slogans of the transitional program should help the working class, to develop and organize their combat power. Therefore, the path of struggle for the demands is not to hope for the benevolence of the rulers, but that the working class and the oppressed organize in grassroots committees in the factories, neighbourhoods, the schools and villages. In this way, the working class to develop their greatest militancy. Therefore the program of the RWO emphasizes that the methods of class struggle have a central place: the working class must fight for their demands with mass demonstrations, strikes, general strikes, occupations up to armed mass actions and uprisings.
Fight the imperialist “War on Terror”!
The so-called “War on Terror” is a pretext of the imperialist powers to conquer blackmail and squeeze the semi-colonial peoples. While the Afghan and Iraqi people suffered worst Pakistan suffered in various ways too. Since 2006 the country so far more than 35.000 civilian victims, destruction of infrastructure and the forced expulsion of millions of people – mainly Pashtuns – from FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces. Officially the direct and indirect costs for the economy have grown to $ 13.6 billion by 2009-10 and are estimated to rise to $ 17.8 billion in the current financial year (2010-11). The Federal Minister for Finance in late 2011 arrives to the conclusion: “During the last 10 years the direct and indirect cost of war on terror incurred by Pakistan amounted to $ 67.93 billion or Rs.5037 billion.”
This is the price the country has to pay for the vassal role the ruling class and the military has played for US imperialism from the foundation of the state until today! This must stop!
Down with the reactionary war against local tribes in the FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces! In opposite to various left-liberal, reformist and centrist forces we are not neutral in this war between imperialism and the Pakistan army on one side and the oppressed people in the Northern West regions.
We need an anti-imperialist mass movement to expel the NATO imperialists from our country. No hopes in the empty promises of the Sharif’s, Khan’s etc. And no hopes in imperialist China!
* For mass mobilizations, strikes and general strikes and direct action to close down all NATO military basis in Pakistan!
* Immediately close down the air space for US military operations!
* Expel all NATO soldiers from Pakistan!
* Close down the US embassy like the Egyptians closed down the Israeli embassy in September!
We must force the Pakistani army to immediately cease all operations as part of the imperialist “War on terror”.
* Mass mobilisation for the withdrawal of the Pakistan army from FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa but also from other territories where it serves as an oppressor army like Baluchistan! Support the resistance of the oppressed tribes and people against the army! For Workers and Peoples’ Militia to wage the armed struggle against oppression!
End imperialist debt regime! Expropriated the banks and speculators!
The country – already poor – is forced due to the imperialist regime to pay billions of dollar every year to the richest financial institution around the world. But the domestic financial sharks also squeeze out the country. Public debt to domestic financial institution is even higher (Rs5463 billion in 2011) than to foreign agencies!
Imperialist capital also profits from millions of migrants who are working as super-exploited cheap labour force abroad. At least seven million Pakistanis are working as migrants to support their families at home.
The RWO says:
* No further interest and debt repayment! Immediate and complete cancellation of all private and government debt!
* Cancel the debt both to domestic and foreign financial institution!
* Expropriation of all banks and financial institutions! Combination into a single central bank under workers' control! Full security of the bank deposits of small and medium savers!
* Nationalization of assets traded on the stock market and the abolition of the stock market! Compensation for small shareholders!
* Smash the IMF and the World Bank!
* Full support for Pakistani migrant workers abroad! For international trade union solidarity to fight against the discrimination of migrants!
Against wage cuts, job insecurity and unemployment!
A small minority of capitalists and land owners control the economy and therefore the basis for our life. They have the power to sack workers, raise prices, close factories and expel peasants from their land. At the same time they hardly pay any taxes. Officially nearly 3,5 million people are unemployed but in fact many more are looking for a job. We fight for:
* No to any pay cut! For massive wage increases and a minimum wage, which’s amount should be set by independent workers' committees!
• Fight the insecure employment! Conversion of unprotected, informal and temporary contracts into permanent contracts, with alignment of the employment protection provisions and wages. The adherence of these should be regulated by collective tariff agreements and controlled by trade unions and workforce representatives!
* Fight all layoffs and plant closures!
* For workers inquiry committees for comprehensive detection of corruption between companies and between companies and government agencies!
* For the control and the veto right of the workers against all decisions of the management! Against any participation of workers representatives in management positions!
* For a public employment program to improve infrastructure (energy supply, public transport, education and child care, etc.), to take action against climate change, etc. This program must not be subject to state control of bureaucrats, but must be planned and controlled by the workers and oppressed people. It is to be paid out of profits and the assets of the super rich.
* Cut the working hours now! We support any reduction in working hours. The aim must be the division of labour on all hands. This means that everyone should have a job and work with less hours at unchanged wages!
* High taxation of the rich!
* Open the books so that people can control the accounts of the capitalists and land owners and see their huge wealth!
* Workers control in the enterprises so that workers can veto the management!
* Expropriation of the capitalists and land owners and nationalisation of their property under control of the producers, i.e. the workers and peasants!
Fight inflation! For the adjustment of wages to inflation! For price control committees!
Prises are rising dramatically. Officially inflation was at 9.5% in 2011 but the poor were affected even worse: food prices rose by 18.4%! The capitalists must be stopped to raise prices.
* Fight inflation! For automatic adjustment of wages and all social benefits and pensions to price increases!
* For the control of prices through price monitoring committee, elected by the workers, housewives as well as consumers! The basis should be a cost of living index, which is determined by representatives of the working class, the peasants and small traders.
For a decent of public services, pension system and health care! Fight the privatization!
A decent social and health system hardly exist for the broad mass of people. While the government spent in 2010 Rs 442 billion ($5.2 billion) for the army and Rs 873 billion ($10.27 billion) to the foreign and domestic financial capitalists to service old domestic and foreign loans it spend only a combined total of Rs 31.3 billion ($368 million) under the Public Sector Development Program (2010)!
Privatization of important public infrastructure brought profits for a few millionaires but misery for the people. The regular power cuts are an unmistaken expression of this absurdity.
Here, too, we fight for our rights and wrest the control over the economy from the capitalists and take over ourselves.
* All essential services such as water, electricity, health care, education, etc., must be publicly owned and controlled by the workers and the users! Free access to basic services for all!
* The pension system must be entirely in public ownership! Increase of pensions and reduction of the retirement age to a level agreed by the workers’ movement and the pensioners' associations!
* For a decent minimum pension for all!
* No to the privatization of public property - neither to domestic nor to foreign capitalists!
* Nationalization of all media under the control of employees, the labour movement and the consumers! Democratic participation of all sections of society to the media!
* Re-nationalization of privatized and outsourced companies under workers' control and without compensation!
An end to the "business secret"! For workers' control! For a public employment program! Expropriate the super rich!
The ruling class and its state apparatus are totally corrupt. This cannot be stopped by laws since who controls them? The officials who get the money stuffed in their pockets by the rich and super-rich! No, we fight for an end of the "business secret", because what happens to the products of our work must not be kept secret from us. And we fight for the full control and election of all state officials by the workers and peasants in their community respectively by action councils representing the masses.
The tax system must be radically altered. The indirect taxes – which discriminate those with little money against the rich – must be abolished. At the same time the rich must pay high taxes since they have appropriated the wealth.
At the same time we fight for the expropriation of the richest families and the whole, thin layer of landlords and big capitalists who control the whole economy and by this our lives. For the sake of our future and those of our children we cannot afford the existence of the rich one day longer!
* Abolition of all indirect taxes such as for example the VAT!
* Massive reduction in taxes on wages! Drastic increase in taxes on profits and speculation! Elimination of tax loopholes for entrepreneurs! Immediate recovery of outstanding tax debts of the companies!
* Open the books – bookkeeping, bank accounts, tax returns, etc.! Inspection by accountants who enjoy the trust of the workers!
* For workers inquiry committees for comprehensive detection of corruption between companies and between companies and government agencies!
* For the control and the veto right of the workers against all decisions of the management!
* For the confiscation of property of the powerful and influential families and their utilization in the context of a national economic plan! For the expropriation of the richest families!
* Nationalization of banks, large corporations and in wholesale trade and transport, social, health, education and communication area, without compensation under workers' control!
Revolutionary Struggle for Democracy! Down with the all-powerful military! For a revolutionary Constitutional Assembly!
The struggle for democracy takes a central place in the class struggles in Pakistan. During half of the country’s history the military ruled by an open dictatorship and the rest it operated as a very powerful player in politics.
In some provinces the army is conducting open civil war against oppressed nationalities. In other parts various agencies of the state apparatus try to intimidate oppositional activists.
But democracy is much more than the right to put a paper in a box every few years. It means control over all aspects of the society and is therefore linked with the question of control over the economic property.
* Down with all-powerful Military! Abolish the presidency! Dissolution of the secret service ISI!
* For a radical purge of the state apparatus! For the complete screening of all state officials and their actions - especially police, army, intelligence, administration, legal, enterprise directors, etc. - under the control of workers and peasants councils!
* Defense of the right to strike, freedom of speech and assembly, freedom of political and union organizing, as well as the freedom to make use of all communication and information media!
* Freedom for all political prisoners!
* Radical democratization of the administration and jurisdiction: election and possibility to recall of the entire administrative apparatus by the people! Trial by jury for all crimes and misdemeanors! Abolition of judicial office and replacement by jurisdiction by a jury under the advice of legally qualified experts!
* For the extension of local self-government!
* No to police and surveillance state! Against expanding the powers of police and courts! For the replacement of the apparatus of repression by workers' and people's militia!
Since the constitution of the country was elaborated and agreed by the tiny political elite and there is obvious massive dissent amongst the masses about the constitution, the working class, the poor peasants and the urban poor must fight for a revolutionary Constitutional Assembly. We don’t want a Constitutional Assembly convened by the ruling elite as part of their gamble to keep power. We fight for a Constitutional Assembly as a result of an uprising of the workers, poor peasants and urban poor fighting for power and which is protected by their armed units! In such a Constitutional Assembly Marxists will fight for a revolutionary program.
Support the national liberation struggles of oppressed peoples! For an Azad, Socialist Kashmir! For an Azad, Socialist Baluchistan!
The struggle for national liberation is one of the most important issues of the class struggle in Pakistan today. Pakistan is a prison-house for the oppressed nationalities. The ruling class is and alw