The Progressive Labor Party condemns the forces of the Cambodian state apparatus and the US and Western Imperialism that it serves. The US and European garment industry has already murdered hundreds of workers in Bangladesh last year in fires. This same garment industry is now exploiting the extremely poor workers in Cambodia that are willing to work for less than workers in China. Capitalism constantly seeks to maximize profit by exploiting impoverished underdeveloped nations. This act of maximizing profit is a race to the bottom of the wage scale. The Progressive Labor Party applauds the workers in Cambodia for their national strike and their willingness to go back on strike, even after having the minimum wage increased, when the companies suspended some labor leaders. Solidarity and struggle against the exploitation of capital is something that is always to be commended, but it can only take the working class so far without the fight for Communism being the primary aspect of the struggle.
The rival bosses’ party, The Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), is offering the workers in Cambodia double their poverty wages to the grand sum of a $160 a month. Going from a little bit more than 2 bucks a day to 4 bucks a day will not end their suffering – it may not even alleviate their daily existence under imperialism’s harsh lash. Yet, this paltry amount was dismissed by the government as being unsustainable. The garment workers provide over $5 billion dollars a year in profit to the national bourgeoisie in Cambodia, and probably 2-3 times that for their imperialist masters, the bosses of Gap, Walmart, and the others who make vast profit off of the worker’s misery and poverty.
The CNRP is directly challenging the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) to exploit the working class. The workers have been on strike trying to raise the minimum wage and many joined a massive political rally organized by the CNRP. The CPP fears the working class rising and being “messy and more complicated to control.” They need to ensure that Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, and H&M can continue to maintain their profit margins.
They will not emancipate the working class anymore than the Democrats will emancipate the working class in the US or Labour will emancipate them in the UK. Just like Hollande’s phony socialism did nothing but further sell out the working class in France and pave the way for fascism there, the CNRP will not challenge capitalism. The CPP were always an opportunist party, and it had no problem abandoning its veneer of Marxism-Leninism when it had to. Party’s like the opportunist CPP give Communism a bad name, but the fact that workers in Cambodia are willing to strike and fight back against their extreme exploitation should give us heart. The other thing that should give us heart is that the PLP is not an opportunist party and it needs to be built in Cambodia.
This violence illustrates that the bosses will use whatever violence they need to in order to protect their profits. They may apologize or make some minor reforms. They may even give a few more dollars as a raise, but they will not stop the mass sexist exploitation of the mostly female garment workers. A Communist revolution led by the PLP is the only solution to the violence in Cambodia.