OUR MESSAGE TO THE AFRICAN ON THIS YEAR’S WORKERS DAY (Part 1)
The commemoration of Labour or Workers' Day on the 1st of May, historically seek to address the issue of disenfranchisement of workers in the decision regarding the distribution of national wealth and all those who are active contributors to the creation of the wealth. The theme of our message on this year's workers day centres on the disenfranchisement of the Africa Union worker on the democratic expression of his/her view by the ballot box in the decision of one- man one-vote in the AU Commission Chairman's election. In short, the workers' right shall forever remain a dream and can only started when the worker on the continent of Africa start actively demanding the right of participating in the AU presidential election.
Basically, the concept of work is about the relationship between the labourer and the entrepreneur in the creation and distribution of wealth. The two works together to create wealth that must be employ in the creation of further wealth which includes satisfying the needs of both labour and the entrepreneur. In the creation of these wealth, the entrepreneur's nature allow him/her to play a central role that serves well for the purpose of unification essential in the control of labour and the output of production. Thus, leaving the entrepreneur to his will, the creation and distribution of more wealth is to control the consumption of labour which is the only threat with insatiable wants among all the components of production to the entrepreneur.
Economic theories had it that labour's productivity is less efficient when the role of entrepreneur is absent. This follows that labour could be funny to the extent of choosing to withdraw its services when its assumed needs are met, without much consideration to the impact of its action on the generality of production. Equally, it is a proven fact that labour's interest in its role of production is merely on the expected share of the output to be given to it than the task itself. So since most output of the labour are remotely associated with the activities of labour, the interest of labour is equally less in the cause of production. Thus labour is much more easily controlled by the entrepreneur in the creation of further wealth when less of his/her wants are met which is only possible when the output of production is less available to labour as against his/her huge challenging wants.
The decision of what proportion of the output goes for labour's consumption as against the interest of the entrepreneur has been a contentious concerns in the history of every nation. Contrary to the view of those that think the relationship between the labourer and the entrepreneur starts and ends at the factory's gate, workers over the centuries have taken their concerns to the established institutions of the state beyond the factory manager, to have such concerns resolve.
As far back as hundred years ago, workers have understood the difference between the manager of a factory as an entrepreneur and the head of state as an overall entrepreneur in addressing their concerns. Workers have come to realize that the greedy manager in the local factory is just running an integral unite of production that make up the total output of a whole nation with the head of state as the general manager, thereby making every worker an individual among whole lot of workers producing the common wealth of the nation.
So workers of all nature realized that being politically active in the decision of who becomes the national entrepreneur as the head of state plays a very critical role in how much of the national wealth is available for the consumption of labour. In some instance, workers have even gone to extent of forming their own political parties to contest election, win the overall position and decide how much of the welfare of the generality of workers are catered for by the common wealth. This equally defines the kind of institution that evolved in addressing the needs of workers.
The perception of who is the “entrepreneur” and who is the “worker” is all about who should be allowed to make vital decisions and who should not. Naturally, every informed human being will want to make a decision in matters that favours him/her the more than those that do not.
In the past the history of the entrepreneur and the worker has been that of the landlord and the slave in which the former has enjoy the absolute right of making free decision while the labour only obey but not make decision. At best, labour is only allowed to make limited or controlled decisions. The hangover of this master and salve mentality still live with us where societies have evolved several disguised means of denying those socially considered as mere labourer the right of decision making in important issues.
An important phenomenon in history of man is the struggle on who ultimately control the wealth of the nation. The migration between the elite entrepreneur class and the mass labour class has been an interesting development. History is recorded to have witnessed both, however, the upwards movement of labourers migrating into the entrepreneur state has been the norm as against the downwards one.
It is also important to bear in mind that so many factors such as religion, race, geographical location, tribal affiliations, sex, etc., have been employed in creating and sustaining the dichotomy in the labour and the entrepreneurial classes. Most a time, ignorance on behalf of the labour class has sustain the hold of the entrepreneur as the custodian of the wisdom that is more than capable enough to make decision on wealth creation and distribution.
The most important weapon activists in the past have employed to overcome this social malice of empowering the disenfranchised labour force in the decision of arriving at who occupies the most vital leadership position who in turn decides production output, improvement in the means of production and how such output is distributed, is by activating the consciousness of labour into an electorate. In all cases, activated labour made a massive change in the scheme of things as labour forms the majority in any game of number.
The challenge to the labour force on the continent of Africa today is the understanding of the significant change and the urgency in the need to relocate his/her attention of the chief entrepreneur from the head of his/her state to the head of the AU Commission in Addis Ababa. Like it was the case in the past when the African labourer is preoccupying him/herself with his local king despite the fact that power has shift from his/her local king to the colonial master's representative. In this setting, an average African labourer seeks for justice in a conflict with his landlord from the village king than the governor general under whom is the main court.
At independence, what we succeeded in doing was moving the attention of our labour force in their quest for justice from their local kings to the colonial administrator's office. With this, we appealed to our people to decide who occupy the seat of the new general entrepreneur on how the wealth of labour is to be shared between local entrepreneur and the labour.
Long Live Africa Union, Long Live the Africa Worker that labour to create the continental wealth, long live our acting Africa Union Authority president Dr. Jean Ping. (To be continued in Part 2)
Kofi Ali Abdul Yekin
Action Group of Africa (AGA)