Working class is one of the most important subjects of the left-wing politics. However, in recent times we have seen a growing number of right-wing groups, like TLP, securing a broad social base in the working class. Why did this happen is the question that holds historical significance.
Historically the politics of the Left has been underdeveloped in our country because of the state’s ideological protestations and its inclinations towards the capitalist world. On the other hand, for the past thirty years the Left has been unable to bridge the gap between the working class and intelligentsia. This inability of the Left to negotiate has left a great void which the Right greatly maneuvered to its advantage.
Therefore, one of the most significant things that the Left requires to do is to build up alternative institutions for social solidarity according to the political model given by Antonio Gramsci. Their objective should be to counter the existing power hierarchy and status quo. This could only be possible by experimenting along novel lines of engagement with the working class.
One important aspect of history is that it reconnects communities with their past. In Pakistan the working class has a significant history of its resistance to the status quo. However, this history has largely been erased from the consciousness of the masses. It is necessary for the Left to reconnect with working class history. Since this historical connection paves the way for the class consciousness which inevitably strengthens social solidarity. Therefore, it should be Left’s historical responsibility to engage with the workers and raise their class consciousness.
One of the dilemmas of post-colonial societies is that during colonial interaction, their native languages were made alien to those who formulated and harbingered the leftist ideologies. While their bodies experienced the oppression, the oppressed were not able to communicate these grievances due to the lack of language, thus unable to speak up for their rights. Invention of communicable language is necessary to build up solidarity among the working mass. A conscious effort is needed to introduce them to their shared history of resistance through language which as a class they juxtaposed against their oppressors.
Due to a number of limitations, no change, inarguably is imaginable within this system. Take the example of efforts to ensure labor rights through progressive legislation though it was mainly carried out through the platforms of NGOs and inspired by the Social Democrat model of Europeans. However, this too has failed because unlike European states, in post-colonial states like Pakistan, the feudal and capitalist classes have a hegemonic control over state institutions which they use to protect their class interests in contrast to the interests of the majority proletariat class. Besides this, Pakistan’s placement in the global capitalist order in the shape of peripheral underdeveloped capitalism has the inherent incapability to adhere to progressive ideals.
Furthermore, the state’s inability to pool up resources for the betterment of the working class and the development of their localities has often been witnessed, especially after the introduction of neoliberal economic policies. It has put Labor communities in a more vulnerable position and exposed them to the cruel managerial practices of the bourgeois. More recently in the time of the coronavirus pandemic, we have seen that the systems’ logic has been a complete failure in addressing the labor issues.
Post-colonial societies have other bases of Social Solidarity which are of mostly caste and of tribal lineages. The Left has failed in addressing the question of caste and was unwilling to listen to it, while on the contrary to the model of Left, we have Ambedkarite model where it has tried to address the caste divide. The reason why we need to address this issue is that in times of crisis, the oppressor uses these caste differences to isolate workers from each other, divided along religious, regional and ethnic lines.
The fundamental responsibility of the students engaged in the politics of emancipation is to formulate a nexus with the working class to transmute knowledge and ideas to the working class. This will enable them to undergo a process of progressive realization whereby they are able to recognize the oppression of the capitalist state bourgeoisie and eventually fight for their liberation.