For Immediate Release
Liberia doesn’t have a large and advanced working class, as we know it to be in an advanced capitalist society, suffice it to mean that majority of our population has not been drawn into the formal labor market. This is because of the underdevelopment of the productive forces or everything that is used to produce the means of subsistence is still wanting.
According to the PAPD, a document released by the CDC led government shows that less than 5% of the Liberian labor force is employed in the formal economy as wage laborers. Many Liberians who are willing and capable to work are either employed in the informal sector in the urban areas or eke out a living through subsistence farming in the rural communities. The peasants drift from the rural areas to the urban centers. But cannot find a market for their labor. Thus, they either become petite traders of retail commodities, daily hires or get involved with some other informal economic activities to earn an income to survive.
This is what a neocolonial capitalist economy produces. Production of wealth is concentrated in the extractive industry (raw material production) that is labor-intensive and only absorbs a small chunk of the labor force. Factory production which employs a huge chunk of labor is virtually absent as almost all manufactured goods or consumer goods are imported from advanced capitalist countries.
Thus, as we celebrate May Day which is the day of celebrating the innovation, creativity, and sacrifice of those who produce wealth, we are not only celebrating the workers at the mines, plantations, banks, government agencies and ministries, large retail shops, hospitals, hotels, restaurants, resorts, construction companies, barbing shops, ports, etc, we are also celebrating the street sellers, market women, bike riders, street-side mechanics, shopkeepers, money changers, electronic repairers, farmers, the students’ movement, etc. They are the engines of our society but unfortunately the most exploited.
Even at the peak of peripheral capitalist growth, the vast majority of workers in both the formal and informal sectors were subjected to a poverty-stricken and undignified life. Layoffs, wage cuts, inflation, etc were tools for butchering the meager incomes of the toiling masses. The harsh economic conditions that workers faced have become grimmer in the decaying stage of capitalism in the peripherals and centers or in the global South and Global North. Hence, it is this necessity that [produces] the struggle for an alternative society [which must] not slip away from its class context.
Progressive forces in Liberia must continue to organize the working people around bold democratic socialist ideas, demands, and perspectives. It must be a struggle of the exploited layers of society against foreign monopoly capital and its local lackeys. This path offers a decisive way out of [our] nightmare. It is the only progressive means through which we can triumph over neocolonialism and usher in a social order that betters the lives of THE working people while enhancing the other aspects of social development!
Happy May Day to all toilers!
Release by Mosoda Press Bureau
Main Photo: J. K. Nyerere In “Arusha Declaration” 5 january 1967