Address by the General Secretary of the C.C. of AKEL A. Kyprianou on Workers May Day
AKEL C.C. Press Office, 1st May 2020, Nicosia
On behalf of the Central Committee of AKEL, on the occasion of Workers May Day, I convey a warm greeting to the people of labour, toil, to wage earners; a warm greeting to Cypriot and foreign manual and intellectual workers.
Every year on such a day we honor the workers’ struggles that took place in Cyprus and all over the world. In the name of all the sacrifices made, we renew the vow that we will continue to strengthen the struggle for a better life, justice, dignity, peace and socialism.
We are experiencing a strange May Day this year. The pandemic has created an unprecedented situation in our country which also brings with it a deep economic and social crisis.
As AKEL and the People’s Movement of the mass organisations of the Left, from the very beginning we took the lead in addressing this situation. We insisted that measures must be taken, that scientists be listened to and that decisions should be taken to safeguard public health.
We led the way in providing support and protection for thousands of working people, the unemployed, small and medium-sized businesses, farmers, livestock breeders, the self-employed, people of arts and culture, and the vulnerable groups of the population. We have tried to convince of the need to support those in need. All this time we have tried to be as constructive and fruitful as possible in our interventions to help society confront this unprecedented situation.
Although mistakes were made in the management of the crisis, and weaknesses and contradictions were observed, we deliberately decided to keep our criticism to a low key. Above all, we want society and the economy to overcome their difficulties. When that is achieved, we will have plenty to say…
If the coronavirus pandemic has proved anything in the harshest way, it is the need for central state planning for what every civilized society must have as its priority: a public health and education system, as well as a welfare state. This is precisely all that AKEL has been pointing out for many years, namely that they cannot and should not be sold off, to serve the logic of profit. Certain forces and circles were telling us that AKEL’s positions are “outdated”, “old-fashioned” and were “ideological obsessions” of bygone times. Today has confirmed that health, education, the welfare state, family policy are public goods. It is the state’s duty to strengthen and promote them so that they can serve people ιn every modern society. We shall be constantly recalling these conclusions. We will become even more dynamic and militant in fighting for them, now that it has been proved that these assertions are not some “ideological obsession”, but are a matter of life or death, issues that concern the many.
Together we will succeed in overcoming the pandemic; we will manage to get out of this nightmare if we keep to the decisions. At the same time, we must acknowledge that we do not all suffer the same. We have to admit that the quarantine feels different when you are confined to a few square metres, when someone in the family has no income, when the stress of having to pay the rent, installments and obligations prevails. That’s what concerns the many in Cypriot society, and that’s what we must focus on as a Movement. The day after raises many issues. Jobs and wages must be saved, a net of protection must be established for those in need or for those who will be in need.
The main thing for us is that working people must not pay the cost of this crisis again.
Every crisis exposes the system in which we live in. It highlights the causes, but also the real needs. The need for Public health, public education, for a state that cares and supports those in need and ensures jobs with rights.
AKEL and the mass organisations of the Left struggled and will continue to struggle for all of these needs.
Finally, we shall continue to struggle with all the people who love Cyprus, peace and progress, Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Maronites, Armenians and Latins for the liberation and reunification of our country.
Long live Workers May Day!
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