Sunday, 4 May 2008

Solidarity Among the Members of the Working Class

On 1st May, I participated in the march along Republic Street. Organised by the Malta Labour Party (MLP), this march in support of Workers' Day is held every year. I was invited to take part as a member of the Zminijietna Left Youth organisation.

After shaking hands with the President of the MLP (Dr Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi) and with Mr Ray Azzopardi, we started the march sometime after 6PM. Carrying a red flag, I walked behind the Zminijietna banner accompanied by my comrades.

As we walked through Republic Street, I noticed that there were very few youths there in Valletta. It seemed as though most of the people present were the MLP loyalists who probably attended the 1st May events every year. There were also some foreigners who snapped a few photos of us as we marched.

I could not help asking myself: where are all those young people who are being exploited by their bosses as they earn little more than the minimum wage at the end of every month? Where are all those young people who are having problems finding a job because they are described as being "overqualified" or because they "lack any job-related experience"? Where are all those young people who want to start a family, but are scared of doing so because of the economic crisis that is also affecting Malta?

It is so sad to take note of the degree of alienation affecting thousands of Maltese youths who constitute a certain percentage of the local working class. By trumpeting the notions of excessive individualism and constant competition via various TV shows, the capitalist media has really managed to put a lid on any type of class consciousness among countless young individuals. As the same TV channels are shown in most entertainment spots, several youths absorb their messages unquestioningly. Caring about oneself and only about oneself becomes the top priority; the community can go to hell!

The lack of class consciousness and the individualist cult are affecting many working-class youths. Yet, they also seem to be influencing the lives of several older members of the working class. As far as the workplace is concerned, the idea of joining a trade union is shunned by countless employees. If there is a dispute between some employees and the management level, it has become fairly common for the other employees to take a totally passive role. If the conditions at work take a serious turn for the worse, most employees seem to have become terribly scared of uniting in order to complain about such matters. As many employers threaten their employees with the spectre of unemployment, a great deal of fear is injected among several workers. Consequently, it is plausible to argue that such fear strongly discourages any collective efforts at work.

Sadly, none of the main political parties in Malta are really addressing these issues. As more and more places continue broadcasting music videos produced by extremely rich individuals who do not have to worry about having enough cash to cover all their fixed expenses, the miserable working conditions associated with the lives of thousands of Maltese workers continue to remain hidden behind a veil.

Long live Socialism!



Anonymous said...

The blog post "Solidarity Among the Members of the Working Class" is featured on Maltamedia: The Maltese Blogosphere

- Nominate blog post of the month -

Anonymous said...

Few youths identify themselves with MLP, that is the reason why!

Socialism itself doesn't associate itself with MLP.

Red said...

There was a time when the MLP was clearly a Socialist party. I am referring to the Mintoff-Mifsud Bonnici period. Once Dr Sant appeared, the MLP started moving away from its Socialist stance on various issues.

In the past, I have tried to believe that there might be a revival of that type of ideology within the MLP, but as I read the statements made by the various candidates for the leadership post, I have very serious doubts about that.

It is my opinion that the Maltese political arena presently lacks a truly Socialist party. Hopefully, this gap will soon be filled with such a party...

La delirante said...

Hi Red, very good post. I am afraid that I have been an exploited employee in the past and I know that there are so many things that can improve when it comes to working conditions. I am very proud of you because you believe that things can change and you are doing something to see that change happening. I do my stuff as well but I don't like demonstrations as I associate them to violence due to the civil war in my country. In general I don't like huge concentrations of people anyway.

I think that we can all do our bit by complaining about bad working conditions, low wages, etc. The problem is that employees lack solidarity and when you say something like "why don't we all sign a petition, or why don't we have a meeting with the boss and tell him what he believe that we need, or what could change" nobody wants to support you. It is very sad that one has to stand apalling conditions because of lack of solidarity or if you complain you get kicked out because you didn't complain as a group...