Second State Conference of AIALA in Tamil Nadu

The Second State Conference of AIALA of TN was held in Nagbhushan Hall at Madurai on October 17, 2005 . A three month-long campaign was conducted before the conference, which concentrated on increasing the membership base and building the organization. Ensuring activism at the grassroots level was emphasized throughout the campaign, which was, in turn, ensured by leaders and cadres taking responsibility for developing work in a particular panchayat, by involving in the campaign directly, by staying in the work areas all through and organizing panchayat-level conferences.

Wherever this down-to-earth approach on the part of the leaders and the leading cadres was adopted, we could bring in larger number of agricultural laborers and the rural poor into our fold. Struggles on various issues, right from wage increase to local issues, were successful, the people were drawn towards us, women rallied in large numbers, and potential areas for expansion were identified wherever our leaders adopted the approach of staying in the village panchayats.

And we could see the results in the conference. There were 434 delegates in the conference, 231 being elected in the panchayat conferences, and a considerable number of them emerging as cadres during this campaign period. There were 43 women delegates in the conference. And the deliberations were centered around the issues to be addressed immediately and need for a strong organization with a strong mass base.

Com. Dhanalaxmi, an office-bearer of the Marayur Panchayat of Nagai district said, “we were actually scared even to talk to the landlord. We used to wait till 8 pm in the evening after finishing day-long toil to get the wages, which would be distributed only in the house of the landlord. They would abuse us in filthy language if we demand even a meager wage increase. But, after we started getting organized under AIALA and taking up wage struggles, things are different. Now, the landlord does not dare raise his head and look at us, leave alone talking to us. Now, we won our struggle for wage increase and after the conference, we are planning to go in for struggles for reduction of working hours as announced by the Jayalalitha government.”

Com.Selvi of Tanjore district, who has been our member for the last three months, said, “our village is not accessible as there is no proper road. It had been a life or death issue for us. Under the banner of AIALA we announced a road roko. The dist administration denied permission saying that Jayalalitha is visiting on that day. We were firm and we did not go back on our decision. The administration finally agreed to fulfill our demand and we withdrew road roko. The road was laid in a few days. We now understand the power of struggle and organization. We are now planning struggle on wage increase.”

Com.Vellaiammal, aged 64, a delegate from Mullipallam panchayat of Madurai district said, “not a single day passed without struggle. We organized door-to-door campaigns, street-corner meetings, public meetings and membership campaigns. We carried the message that AIALA is the only organization fighting for the cause of the rural poor. We will continue our struggle till the finish.”

Comrades from Tiruvallore district also narrated the experience of their successful struggle for occupation of 6 1/2 acres of land in Orakkadu panchayat. Comrades from Cuddalore district said that they were preparing for a struggle to occupy vast tracts of panchami land, allotted to dalits but grabbed by upper caste landlords.

The conference decided to expose the anti-people Jayalalitha Government by organizing struggles to implement the statutory minimum wages announced by the the government, and by exposing the farmers' security scheme announced with much fanfare by Jayalalitha.

Com. Annadurai, State President, AIALA, hoisted the flag. Com.Kumarasami, CCM, who inaugurated the conference stressed that, AIALA should rise to face the objective conditions and bring the agenda of agricultural laborers and the rural poor to the forefront in TN, where there is no other organization to fulfill this task. Com.Khitish Biswal, the Central observer, called upon the delegates to take up struggles to overthrow the present rule, which is concerned only about the rich 20% of the population – the rich.

Com.Balasundaram, State Secretary, CPI(ML), addressed the gathering. Referring to the slogan, "Rally under the banner of AIALA to democratize rural society", he pointed out that, towards this end first of all democracy should start within AIALA and said that it would be the democracy of uniting the workers, splitting the enemy ranks and winning over friends at the grassroots level. He appealed to make December 18 rally and the Party's 7th State conference a success.

Com. Malleshwar Rao, AIALA, National Vice President, and Com. Shankar, CCM also attended the conference. The Conference contributed Rs.5000 towards Bihar elections fund. AICCTU, RYA, AIPWA and TN People's Cultural Association leaders also attended the conference.

The conference elected a 67-member council, with Com.Annadurai as State President, and, Com.Gunasekaran as General Secretary. The new State council elected 21-member state executive and the other office bearers are Comrades Suganthan, Ilangovan, Pandian, Mary, Janakiraman, Iraniappan and Viduthalai Kumaran.

– Bhuvana