AICCTU in Bengal
Convention Against Privatisation in Banking and Insurance

The convention of bank and insurance employees against privatisation held on November 6, 1996 at Calcutta Student’s Hall was addressed by Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya, General Secretary of AICCTU and Comrade Gurudas Dasgupta, a CPI parliamentarian and a leader of the federation of insurance employees’ unions, and other leaders from banks, LIC and GIC. The convention was organised by New Wave magazine. Barring the CPI(M)-led BEFI, all other left streams operating in the banking sector were represented in the convention. Defying cricket fever all around, there was a moderate turn out of bank and insurance employees. Com. Sujit Ghosh presided.

Comrade Gurudas Dasgupta underscored the necessity of united action of all the left forces against privatisation today. He regretted the essential pro-liberalisation bias of the CPI(M) but chose to remain silent about the role of his own party which is part of the government. He dealt in details about the pros and cons of liberalisation and expressed himself in favour of guarded liberalisation in which case foreign investment flows to the core sectors of production rather than the share market. In his opinion, a certain insincerity of the employees in the whitecollar sector was also responsible for the present crisis. And he also wanted to stress that, "it is not only the working people who are opposing liberalisation, a section of the industrialists are also opposing it."

Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya explained the World Bank’s design and pointed out that the basic intention of the MNCs operating in this country is not investment but plundering capital. They are not against public sector per se, rather they are interested in getting hold of the more lucrative areas of the financial market leaving out the ‘dirty’ ones for the nationalised sector. He sharply criticised the CMP which is replete with doublespeaks. He posed the all-important question of how far is it possible to put up a real barricade against the clever imperialist ploy by opposing the thing from the TU front after their political mentors have already entered into a consensus with the rulers and whether such a dubious stance would create confusion in the working class movement or not. Reiterating AICCTU’s unflinching commitment towards united struggle, he said, "the questions I raise here do not seek answer in immediacy, but for sure, these will have to be solved in course of future struggle, for that alone can restore the much eroded glory of the Indian working class and its declared war against capitalism."

—Anindya Sen

AIPWA Agitates Against Beauty Pageant

Against the beauty pageant at Bangalore, a series of protest demonstrations have been held in Delhi, Chennai and Calcutta. (See back cover) In Chennai, a poster exhibition against the contest to be held on November 18 was banned by the administration. In Bangalore, the AIPWA convener was arrested for participating in a joint demonstration at the office of one of the sponsors of the event. An AICCTU leader in Bangalore was also arrested when he went to meet the arrested comrade at the police station and both of them were detained for 18 days.

JNU Students Foil Advani Visit

AISA along with other left organisations build up a massive protest against the visit of hawala-tainted BJP President, LK Advani to the university on November 18, to attend a function. Buckling under popular pressure of the student community the visit was called off giving a rebuff to the reactionary ABVP which is trying to communalise the campus.