Pakistan’s problems can be addressed only by bringing together all progressive, anti-imperialist, anti-establishment, secular political forces so as to embark on a long-term struggle towards a socialist society
Pakistan is a small but important country, which has a huge role to play in regional politics. But it faces many problems. Why is that? During the last 67 years this country has lived via different ruling systems: dictatorships and democracies. We still remain unsure about which system suits us best.
Moreover, Pakistan always has been dominated by right-wing military rule, a parasitic capitalist class and feudal landlords dominating the rural areas. And this corrupt Pakistani ruling class has never been able to use our resources for the benefit of the nation ever since it was established. Just look at how the wealth of Pakistan is being wasted. Sixty percent of the nation’s budget goes to pay the interests on debt. Every year, vast sums of money squeezed from workers and peasants flows out of the country and into the hands of foreign bankers and capitalists.
The whole history of Pakistan is full of crises, wars, military interventions, betrayals, experiments, working-class movements and social/political explosions. The weak indigenous ruling class, the colonial state structure, the strong establishment and imperialist domination have created many problems for the new state, which not only still exists but also has become bigger and more complicated. To understand the present situation, it is important to see how the Pakistani state, its ruling classes, working class, economy, political movements and society in general have developed over the last 67 years.
However, I personally believe that Pakistan needs reforms in terms of the socialism system. But what actually is socialism? In simple terms, everybody would have free access to the goods and services designed to directly meet their needs and there need be no system of payment for the work that each individual contributes to producing them. All work would be on a voluntary basis. Moreover, according to the Oxford Dictionary of Sociology (1994), socialism means “An economic and political system based on collective or state ownership of the means of production and distribution.” This approach has its roots in the writings of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.
In the past, truly progressive and left political parties in Pakistan strove to transform obsolete state structures and democratise state and society, while also struggling for democratisation of the imperialist world order but, sadly, nowadays all the left is linked with NGOs and they are working on the donor driven agenda, which defeats the concept of socialism. That is where the difference started. I expect a brigade of trolls to accuse me for hitting the left and a lot of other things that will leave me baffled. But I do not mind; I want my Pakistan to be safe from agenda-based politics.
In a socialist Pakistan men and women would not be allowed to die from preventable disease. No child would go to bed hungry. There would be medicine for everybody, education would be free and illiteracy would become a thing of the past. This is the only system that can bring about a change and transform the lives of the working masses. Socialism is the only viable system to replace capitalism. The Pakistani working class and masses have showed again and again that they have the potential, courage and capability to conduct a revolutionary struggle against rotten rulers. I personally think that Pakistan’s problems can be addressed only by bringing together all progressive, anti-imperialist, anti-establishment, secular political forces so as to embark on a long-term struggle towards a socialist society, free from exploitation of all kinds.
Socialism will bring about required changes in Pakistan’s social, cultural, political and economic systems through concerted social, cultural, political and economic activism. Pakistan needs to move at a fast pace to reform its social, cultural, political and economic systems to build confidence, widespread justice, create equitability and sustainability in the system for every citizen of Pakistan. I am also convinced there is only one-way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy accompanied by an educational system that is oriented towards social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilised in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man and woman. The education of the individual, in addition to promoting his/her own innate abilities, would attempt to develop in him/her a sense of responsibility for their fellow man in place of the glorification of power and success in our present society.
Is it possible? Yes, it is possible and achievable. Who will do it? The current leadership, I doubt has the ability to understand the nitty-gritty of what Pakistan actually needs.
The writer is a social and political activist based in Lahore. Presently, he is linked with a humanitarian organisation working for the betterment of the working class in interior Sindh. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org