May Day Press Release Women Democratic Front – Islamabad
On the occasion of Labor Day, Women Democratic Front called for workers action committees and a left united front to fight for the lives and health of workers during the coronavirus pandemic
In their statement for the Labor Day the leaders of the women democratic front said that the global pandemic has laid bare the inefficiency of the capitalist world order. Doctors and healthcare workers across the world are having to risk their lives due to lack of life-saving protective equipment, the workers are being laid off without pays, the violence against women is on rise , all of this is evidence of the failure of an unjust economic system. Ismat Shahjahan, president of WDF, said “The system needs a complete overhaul to deal with the on-going crisis, post-Covid world can either have the same inequalities with increased surveillance, authoritarianism, and security states or it can be a step towards a better more just world with free universal healthcare, public housing, gender and economic justice.” They said that the neoliberal economic system cannot provide for the people, structural changes in the economy is the only way forward. It can no longer remain the same especially in developing countries the populist narratives in mainstream politics and national security rhetoric will have to be replaced by a system which provides true relief to the working people. She further added that “The bulk of the government’s economic response so far has been in the interests of industrial elites. The government’s coronavirus relief package has included hundreds of billions in a bailout package for major industrialists. 9.3 million women workers have been laid off permanently or temporarily but for workers the relief package of 3000 rupees is not enough, they government must ensure paid leave and dignified basic income for the daily wagers.”
They said that the current crisis also is indicative of that neoliberalism creates a crisis of social reproduction and care. Healthcare systems across the world are crumbling under the disease burden. American healthcare system turned out to be one of the worst in the world. Capitalist globalization appears not just economically but also biologically unsustainable.
Tooba Syed, secretary information WDF said that “In neoliberalism care-work is considered a duty out of love instead of work and labor, it undervalues care-work and social reproduction. Thousands of women who provide most of the care-work are suffering from an increase in patriarchal violence during the pandemic, the government has failed to address how the women are being disproportionately affected in this crisis.” Talking about the protesting healthcare workers across the country and world at large she said that neoliberalism causes the crisis of care. The big pharma and the global neoliberal economic system work on market based logic and do not have the agenda of provision of free universal healthcare as a right or to value the lives of healthcare workers.” she stressed that the government of Pakistan must ensure the provision of PPEs and immediately regularize the contract workers in essential services especially health workers.”
They said that the COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting the working class with thousands of workers have being laid off or do not have work anymore. “The workers have been given two choices between disease and poverty, this is the failure of neoliberal economic system. The government must ensure provision of basic income, food security and provision of public housing during the pandemic.” Said general secretary Alya Bakhshal.
The members of WDF called upon all the progressive forces to forms a united front and to take action. They also emphasized on the importance of workers action committees to act to protect workers’ rights and secure their ability to meet their basic needs. They said its its time to also form international socialist solidarity and work together on reclaiming the post-COVID world.
Secretary information WDF