Joint Statement by the Southeast Asian Left for May Day 2022
1st May 2022
As the world plunged into the COVID-19 pandemic for more than two years, the climate crisis continues to worsen, threatening humanity's survival on the planet, with workers worldwide, including workers in Southeast Asia, being the primary victims of the global capitalist system's failure to protect people's livelihoods, and well-being.
The severe economic recession around the world has pushed a drastic number of people into poverty, joblessness and social insecurity. Even those with jobs are suffering from precarity and reduced income.
The dire situation of the working people and the poor continues to deteriorate as imperialist nations and regional powers pursue their own geopolitical interests with continuous war drives at the cost of the lives of ordinary masses who are confronted with the food crisis and other hardships.
Capitalism has failed in securing a liveable planet and future for humanity. The capitalist ruling elites who prioritize profits over people are bringing the world to the brink of climate catastrophes, more wars, and worsening global inequality. It is crucial for us to continuously build a movement of people from below to reject and confront the capitalist rule, in order to replace the oppressive and profit-driven system with a socialist alternative based on popular democracy, solidarity and common prosperity, while living sustainably and in harmony with the environment.
We celebrate May Day to remind us of the importance of building working-class solidarity, organization and mobilization from below to continue our fight against the exploitative and extractive capitalist system, and for an emancipatory social change.
In the spirit of May Day, we, the undersigned organisations, call for the following:
1. Jobs security and social protection for all. Governments must play a role in intervening and investing in productive sectors such as building and maintaining low-carbon social infrastructures, sustainable agriculture and food production, generation of renewable energy, provision of social housing as well as essential services such as care work, in order to generate and guarantee jobs with a decent income for the people to live in dignity. There shall be comprehensive social protection provisions, including unemployment insurance and universal pensions, to ensure that individuals without jobs can live a dignified life as well.
2. Strengthening of the public services. Governments must provide free universal healthcare service, free vaccination, free education, liveable social housing, clean water, community childcare, elderly care, public transport and other social infrastructures, accessible to all, through progressive taxation of big corporations and the super-rich as well as transforming regional economic cooperation (like ASEAN) by rejecting the neoliberal structures.
3. Enhancing food security. Governments must develop a comprehensive plan to ensure and enhance food security, in order to deal with the food crisis and protect the livelihood of small farmers.
4. Urgent actions to address the climate and environmental crisis by pursuing a just transition away from fossil fuels and towards 100% renewable energy; establishing programs of ecological restoration of land, forests, water and oceans, a program for building community resilience to empower people to manage the impact and recover rapidly, and a program of reindustrialization based on ecologically sustainable production under the democratic control of the people.
5. Enhancing gender equality by supporting full legal equality and genuine emancipation for women, to also end all discrimination against LGBTQI+ communities, as well as defending people’s rights to determine their gender identity and expression.
6. An end to military dictatorship and military-dominated rule in Southeast Asia. Release all political prisoners, stop repression of political dissidents, trade unions and peoples organisations. We must protect and guarantee human rights by upholding a democratic space for working people to organize and voice their demands for better living conditions.
7. Stop military build-up in the Asia Pacific region in order to de-escalate geopolitical conflict involving imperialist powers and regional powers. All countries should engage in dialogues based on a mutually respectful manner to resolve geopolitical disputes. Make Southeast Asian waters a demilitarized zone. Shut down all US military bases in Southeast Asia.
Let us continue our effort to build and strengthen working class solidarity in our struggle for a better world.
Supported by (organisations outside of Southeast Asia)