LETTER | Solidarity is power, power is solidarity

Howard Lee Chuan How


LETTER | During these times of tumultuous uncertainties and struggles, the inequalities that plague our societies are deepening and becoming more pronounced than ever before.

The have-nots are more vulnerable and suffering in greater severity, whilst the haves are more protectionistic than ever of what they have. The poor and marginalised have less access to decent work and livelihoods, whilst the rich are able to predatorily and indecently acquire more wealth and assets.

The young professionals, the skilled workers, the small business owners, the middling sorts who were previously able to work hard and earn just enough to live a comfortable and dignified life are now either exposed to or have been handed sentences of relegation to the struggling class of underemployment, unemployment and indecent work.

The viciousness of the neoliberal nature of our societies is winning. The elements that reinforce the inequalities and inevitabilities in our societies are reigning supreme. The ugliness of the powerful reaching for and gaining more at the expense of those suffering to make ends meet is being normalised and even glorified.

During these times of crises, we need more unity among all classes, races and ages than more differentiation and segregation.

We need more democracy, power to the people, rather than more kakistocratic kleptocracy - power held by an unbefitting class of self-serving power hungry wealth seekers.

We need more freedom to work, to thrive and to build a nation together, and more freedom from oppression and suppression;  not more oppression to suppress the unification of our peoples and the freedom of our people to reach for the stars.

We need more justice to ensure those who abuse power are judged and stripped of their privileges to lead, and those struggling in their pursuit for survival are not made punitive examples of to strike fear unto others of the same plight.

To those who have not been caught in the crossfire and are able to continue marching ahead in this health and economic war that time has waged against us as a people, we need you to come to the rescue of those fallen in no man's land. We need more solidarity, where those who are unperturbed in standing tall can bend over to lend a hand to those who have fallen.

On this Labour Day, the spirit of celebration for the achievements of the workers' movement, and the victory of workers in our struggle to gain equal recognition in the economy and society, we must unite, workers of the world must unite more so than ever in the face of the looming threats.

But the values of freedom, justice, democracy, and solidarity must form the basis and foundations of our continued struggle - as long as these values are neither coerced nor forced upon us but rather organically nurtured. 

Our fight is not one that seeks to exclude or banish anyone or any group, but a fight to unite all, in our common fight against the common threat that is the pandemic.

The eight-hour working day is still intact, but there is no room for respite in the face of this global war. Workers of Malaysia, workers of the world, all people of Malaysia and the world, on this Labour day, unite we must.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.