Landless farmers are facing horrible exploitation in Pakistan. They are absolutely dependent upon the rule of big landowners, even in their private life. They’re constantly abused, physically, verbally and sexually, and may be kept imprisoned while they have no work.
When laboring in the fields, they are treated as slaves. From dusk to dawn, they either endure the scorching heat or shiver in the cold. Their legs are chained, and are even denied access to food. These parasitic bosses are becoming richer and richer off the blood of the poor workers and are gaining increasing control of the state.
A comrade addressed the 65th anniversary of the death in Sindh province of Mai Bukhtawar, a poor farmer woman who worked in the fields. She had no formal education, but she had great class consciousness. She refused to accept the so-called laws formulated by feudal lords (landowners descendent from aristrocracy) to control the working class. A brave worker, she stood firmly against new methods of exploitation and subsequently was assassinated by these powerful bosses.
The comrade noted that her death fueled anger among the peasants against feudal lords, inspiring them to resist and revolt against oppression and exploitation.
Reform No Substitute for Revolution
He made his point loud and clear that without an international communist revolution we cannot eliminate these miseries. He explained that the struggle against landlords is deep-rooted in Pakistan. Many poor peasants have sacrificed their lives in the fight against exploitation but the situation hasn’t changed. History proves that reform struggle cannot be a substitute for revolution.
The peasants twice forced the rulers to announce land reforms, in 1959 and 1972, but the bosses used these reforms to cheat us. They did this by putting a cap on the amount of land an individual can own but not on the amount a family can acquire. Through many provisions and loopholes, the landlords were allowed to transfer land beyond the cap to their children and relatives. Exemptions were granted for orchards, livestock farms and huge hunting areas.
Ironically, many high government officials used these reforms to acquire land in Sindh and Punjab provinces at exceptionally low prices, using their officialdom to increase their wealth. Thus a new class of landlords emerged to intensify the exploitation of the working class.
Now 18 million farm workers, about 70 percent of the entire work-force, have no right to unionize nor organize sit-ins or strikes. Most are treated as slaves, receiving only cheap food for their hard labor. The comrade emphasized that to eradicate this exploitation we must build an international communist movement, led by PLP, and establish workers’ power.