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On May Day 2023 the Socialist Movement of Ghana (SMG) salutes the workers of Ghana and workers
organisations in Ghana and around the world.
The 1st of May was designated “International Workers Day” in 1889 by the “Second International” of
Socialists and Working-class organisations to commemorate the struggles of US workers fighting (then)
for an 8-hour working day and against police brutality. On 4 May the workers were lethally attacked by
the Police at the Haymarket Square, Chicago. It is thus a day to celebrate working class solidarity,
sacrifice, and militancy in the struggle for better working and living conditions everywhere – and for the
possibilities of socialism.

We note that May Day is being celebrated this year against a backdrop of intensified the exploitation of
working people and economic hardship including the blatant efforts of our neo-colonial elite and state
machinery to make working people pay for the losses from their irresponsible gambling on the
international bond market. Working people are under attack!

We cite the increasing casualization of labour which removes employer guarantees of stability in labour
contracts and allows them to drastically and arbitrarily degrade workers’ conditions of service. Over the
last 20 years workers have suffered both an erosion in their earning power and a reduction in healthcare,
accommodation, and transportation benefits. The State has done nothing to protect workers livelihoods –
in most cases it has not even offered lip service.

We cite, also, the amendment to the Industrial Relations Act that criminalises solidarity strikes. This
measure is clearly intended to prevent the expression of solidarity amongst trade unions and weaken
workers in their confrontations with employers (including the state).
All of this is happening against the long-term worsening economic conditions in our country typified by
the rising cost of all commercial goods and services, growing unemployment, and the State’s retreat
from the provision of social services such as housing, health and education.

Since May Day 2022, we have been confronted with the humiliating exposure of the collapse of
government finances due to years of profligate borrowing and mismanagement of the funds borrowed.
We have nothing to show for this borrowing. Our leaders have not convened the “social partners” to
discuss the crisis and options for greater self-reliance (i.e. creating jobs!); more equitable burden sharing

(including cutting the outrageous costs of our horribly underperforming government); and even a collective African response to the new debt crisis. Rather, our leaders, in true neo-liberal fashion, and without regard for the suffering of working people have fled to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a short-term bailout that both Government and Opposition hope will give the State breathing space to return to over-dependence on the bond markets. And, also in typical neo-liberal style our government, working hand-in-glove with the IMF seeks to shift the burden of repayment onto working people by a programme of domestic bond holder “haircuts” that radically slash the value of working people’s savings (compulsorily invested in Government bonds). This has been accompanied by the most draconian increases in taxes Ghanaian workers have experienced in a generation, freezes in public sector employment, freezes in wages, and retrenchment of workers. At the same time, we see the creation of blatant new scams for the political class to fleece public resources such as the infamous “gold for oil” deal and questionable transactions in upstream oil and gas. In short, Government’s response to the crisis it has created is austerity for the working people and plunder for their friends and families.

As we all know from history, these measures do nothing to correct the structural problems of our neocolonial economy. We will inevitably fall back into deeper crisis within a few short years of any IMF
bailout. No country in the world has sustainably increased its rate of development and escaped poverty
by accepting the advice and conditions imposed by the IMF and the World Bank. Both institutions work
to protect the interests of international finance capital i.e. to transfer wealth from the working peoples of
the world to the owners of transnational companies.

The only path to dignity and prosperity for working people in Ghana and everywhere is socialism–
collective democratic economic policy control by working people not foreign capital and it’s agents.
The path to socialism is greater study and clarity and, greater organisation, and militancy of the working
class. We know that Ghanaian workers are up to this task. And we will work alongside them – no matter
how long it takes

On May Day, the SMG pledges its full solidarity with organized labour in this bold confrontation with
neo-liberalism and all forms of capitalist exploitation.

Kwesi Pratt, Jnr.
General Secretary

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