In November 2012, the Awami Party, Labour Party and Workers Party merged to form the Awami Workers Party (AWP) in an unprecedented effort to build a genuine Left alternative to mainstream political forces in Pakistan. The party’s programme was designed to bring together the disparate struggles of workers, peasants, students, women and ethnic and religious minorities in Pakistan under the banner of a genuinely democratic and socialist politics.
This merger reflects recognition within leftist circles, both of the growing contradictions within the prevailing structure of power and the need for unity and maturity so as to take advantage of these contradictions. The merger process was impelled by younger activists within these three parties, and some outside of them, that do not carry the baggage of Cold War sectarian conflicts (read: Stalinists, Trotskyists, Maoists, etc).
While not the first attempt to forge Left unity, the formation of the AWP generated a great deal of excitement amongst progressives both within and outside the country due to its promise of building upon the best traditions of the twentieth century left and making ideological and organizational adaptations necessary for a viable leftist project in the present century.
In the first 20 months of AWP’s inception, as the cauldron that is Pakistani politics has become even more explosive, the fledgling party confirmed its credentials as the only meaningful Left alternative to the status quo in Pakistan. As the contradictions of state, imperialism, patriarchy and combined and uneven development in a multi-national country grow increasingly acute, reactionaries of all hues have consolidated their monopoly over political discourse, aided by a complicit corporate media.
The party held its First Congress on Sept 27-28, which consolidated the first phase of party-building, with the election of its national leadership following sub-national party elections around the country.
AWP continues to work towards becoming a genuine progressive and socialist political alternative to the material and ideological status-quo in Pakistan that is equipped to deal with the challenges posed by the forces of capital, imperialism and reaction in the contemporary era.
This merger reflects recognition within leftist circles, both of the growing contradictions within the prevailing structure of power and the need for unity and maturity so as to take advantage of these contradictions.