A CPI(ML) Weekly News Bulletin
Vol. 3; No.51;27-12-2000
In this issue :
If the end of 1999 had been marked by the IC-814 hijack episode, Y2K comes to an end with the stunning strike by a section of Kashmiri militants on the Lal Qila. While the NDA government’s Kashmir and Pakistan policies alternate between cold war and hot pursuit, between the so-called soft and hard options ranging from Vajpayee’s bus diplomacy through Kargil war to the latest gesture of ceasefire, it is evident that the NDA government remains as clueless regarding Kashmir as ever. Meanwhile, for all the hard/effective state rhetoric of Advani and other Sangh Parivar ideologues, Y2K will also be remembered for the humiliating spectacle of the Indian state being held to ransom by the sandalwood smuggler Veerappan.
The saffron regime is, of course, trying hard to project an image of India’s growing international stature with displays of strategic proximity to the US. Internally, the might of the Indian state is sought to be demonstrated through systematic persecution of the minorities and bulldozing of the sources of livelihood and other democratic rights of the weak, disadvantaged, toiling masses. The BJP is however desperate to camouflage its barbarity in the guise of benevolence. Having all along denounced the ‘individual’ cult in the Congress and all other personality-based parties, the BJP now projects the Prime Minister as a benevolent emperor, who celebrates his birthday by doling out welfare schemes for his hapless subjects like rural roads project (Rs. 60,000 crore Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana), additional food subsidies (Rs. 2,300 crore Antyodaya Anna Yojana) and literacy plans (Netaji Subhash Saksharta Mission).
All these ‘new clothes’ are however only accentuating the emperor’s nakedness. The BJP’s pretension to be a party with a difference, its claim to liberate the society from terror, hunger and corruption, has all been exposed as a cruel and ugly fraud on the nation. Consequently, resentment runs high among vast sections of the society and in every corner of the country. Faced with all round exposure and resistance, and with Assembly elections round the corner, the BJP has returned to the magic wand of Ayodhya. The VHP and all other Sangh Parivar vandals are readying for yet another bloodbath.
Vajpayee of course maintains that his government would abide by whatever the court says. The nation has once paid the price for misreading this deceptive legalism of the fascists. The history of the rise of the Sangh Parivar has been replete with instances of saffron transition from the parliamentary to the extra-parliamentary and vice versa, of combination of independent assertion with united front tactics. If once again the Sangh Parivar is indicating its readiness to hit the streets, the secular-democratic resistance must not lag behind. The RSS has remained banned for several years, often the saffron zealots have been banished to political wilderness. But the Sangh Parivar is yet to be handed over a decisive and comprehensive defeat.
Let the new year hasten the process of a total rout of the saffron fascists. Let the nation take a lesson from its biggest enemy within. If the Sangh Parivar has been able to survive periods of isolation and partial defeat, it is because of the opposition’s uncritical reliance on legalism, and confinement of popular resistance to narrow parliamentary confines. Beyond the parliamentary world of shadow-boxing and the routine noise of third front, let secular-democracy prevail over the fascists in the battle of the barricades. Let the first year of the new century be a year of more resolute resistance and more resounding victories.
Party has appealed to all secular democratic forces to thwart the heinous conspiracy of Sangh Parivar commanders like Vajpayee, Advani, Sudarshan, Laxman and Uma Bharati through their web of false and misleading statements and called for country-wide observance of December 31 as "Oust Saffron, Save the Nation" day by burning the effigies of Atal Bihari Vajpayee in every village and every nook and corner of the country. The extension of the ongoing economic reforms to the agricultural arena has landed the country into an unprecedented agrarian crisis. Even as the foodgrains rot in FCI godowns, millions of Indians languish in absolute poverty, malnutrition and even sheer starvation, and large sections of small farmers are being forced into distress sale, the government is effectively subsiding the nexus of traders and millers or the foreign consumer. Against this backdrop CPI(ML) will spearhead a "Lutera Bhagao, Krishi Bachao" (Oust the Looters, Save Agriculture) campaign with a view to forging a militant solidarity of the agrarian labourers and deprived farmers. The Party will press for large-scale introduction of "food for work" programme to reduce the pressure on FCI. An effective procurement system can only survive on the basis of an expanded public distribution system and hence to save Indian agriculture from the clutches of the MNCs and the nexus of private traders, hoarders and other middlemen, the movement must address the question of vacating FCI godowns and increasing the PDS offtake on a priority basis.
ChattisgarhA seminar was held in Bhilai on "Movement against Privatisation and Role of Left". President of Madhya Pradesh Bank Employees Association Com. Rajan Tumare, Prof. Som Goswami from Raipur, Loktrantic Samajwadi Party distt. president Shyam Manohar Singh and Jagnarayan Chaudhry from AICCTU also adressed the seminar. Com. Rajaram released "Chattishgargh Maley Samachar", the organ of CPI(ML), Chattishgarh.
KarnatakaIn Bangalore, an activist meeting was called in Peenya on 17 Dec. in the memory of Comrade VM. Around 30 people participated. Com. Gopal spoke on "How did our party evolve?". In the afternoon, a discussion on our approach to globalisation based on Liberation articles etc was also held. On 18th, another meeting was held in Mysore in which Com. Lakshmi Narayanan, Com. Rati and Com. Puttaiah of 'Red Flag' also spoke.
AssamA memorial meeting was organised at State Party office in Guwahati on 18 Dec. Memorial meetings were organised at Nagaon, Sonitpur, Jorhat, Dibrugarh, Tinsukia and Barpeta. Karbi Anglong Party Committee organised a large memorial meeting at Diphu.
After returning from Brahmachak of Jahanabad, where four Party supporter comrades Sudhir Paswan, Subedar paswan, Ajay Paswan and Akhilesh Paswan were killed by PWG gang on 18 Dec., an investigation team led by Party PB member Com. Ram Naresh Ram and comprising Com. Satyadev Ram, MLA, Dr. Ramadhar Singh, State Secy. of Kisan Sabha and Shah Chand of Inquilabi Muslim Conference, said that the massacre of dalits was executed under police supervision. PWG has effectively become B-team of Ranvir Sena in Jahanabad. The team demanded immediate arrest of the culprits, 5 lakh compensation to the families of the deceased and job to their dependents.
The NDA goernment's move to reduce the government share in the equity of nationalised banks from 51% to 33% is a clear step towards privatisation of the banking sector. Nationalised banks in India have been systematically looted by Indian monopoly houses and foreign MNCs in collusion with ruling parties, with bad debts now amounting to as high as Rs.58,000 crore. Instead of penalising those defaulters the government is stabbing the banking industry in the back by rewarding the same private sector with 67% equity share of the banks. Party congratulates the bank employees on their successful and united countrywide strike and appeals to all sections of the working class and democratic forces to foil the rulers' bid to break this financial backbone of our national economy. The NDA government is toying with the idea of subverting the V Schedule of the Constitution so as to denotify tribal land and enable foreign mining companies and hotel chains to acquire vast tracts of tribal land for a song and displace large sections of our tribal population. CPI(ML) warns the NDA government against any such move which will be resisted tooth and nail by the Party and other forces of tribal autonomy movement in the country.
A 'Discussion Forum' was organised jointly by Dalit Sangarsh Samiti (DSS) and RYAat Harappanahalli taluk of Davanagere district on 17 Oct. Dr. DM Puttaiah and Gopal delivered speeches on Dalits and Globalisation, Dalits and the left movement and the path of dalit movement in Karnataka. Com. Ramappa moderated the discussion while Manjunatha presided over the meeting. As a part of 'Strengthen the Party' campaign, a signature campaign was conducted in various localities. Main issues were petroleum price hike, demanding construction of a 'workers city' in contrast to the state government's plan of a satellite city, minimum wage Rs.3500, free supply of drinking water to all the people contrary to the govt's plan of inviting MNCs to the water supply sector etc. apart from other issues of local concern. As a culmination of the signature campaign, a memorandum was submitted to the Chairman of the local municipal corporation by the party activists on 20 October. Party Opposes Electricity Bill
Party strongly opposes the proposed Electricity Bill, 2000 aimed at handing over the power sector to foreign companies. If the Maharashtra experience with Enron is any guide, power sector reforms will sound the death-knell for the ordinary consumer and especially the crucial agriculture sector.
A convention on closed and sick Industries was organised by AICCTU on 14 Dec. at Moulali Youth Center, Calcutta. It was addressed by Com. Chittabrata Mazumdar of CITU, Gurudas Dasgupta of AITUC, Sunil Sengupta of UTUC, Shankar Saha of UTUC(L.S.), Ajit Pandey, a leftist MLA and Basudev Bose of AICCTU. An approach paper placed by Com. Atanu Chakraborty before the convention demanded (a) withdrawal of new economic and industrial policy persued by Central Govt.; (b) convening a special session of W.B. Assembly to deal with the problems of closed and sick industries; (c) taking legal steps against the millowners, who are not paying minimum wages to the workers; (d) giving punishment to the owners, who are appropriating the funds due to P.F, E.S.I and Gratuity; and (e) immediete tri-partite agreement in jute industries. Barring Com. Chittabrata Muzumdar, all other speakers supported the AICCTU demands elaborated by Com Basudev Bose in the convention.
In Mahadeo Jute Mill, Howrah, AICCTU affiliated union won majority of seats in the P.F. Trustee Board election held on 15 Dec. This is the first victory in W.B. in the election of P.F. Trustee Board in jute industries. Last time the Board was run by CITU and INTUC delegates. During the strike last March, both CITU and INTUC had withdrawn from struggle midway in the interest of the owners. The election marks an indication of general isolation of CITU and INTUC from the workers.
RYA organised a 'Mahakaran (Assembly) March' on 13 Dec. to present its 12 point demand charter to the new Chief Minister of W.B. It includes publishing a white paper on employment generation during the 24 years rule of L.F.Govt., providing employment or monthly allowance of Rs.1000 to the unemployed, making the self employment scheme viable, etc. More than 250 RYA activists led by Joyatu Deshmukh started the march from college square and courted arrest at Rani Rasmoni Road, when police blocked their advance.
On 21 Dec., WB unit of AIPWA organised a convention at BMPEU hall, Calcutta, demanding the Women Reservation Bill be adopted by Parliament. Women's organisation leaders Com. Rekha Goswami from CPI(M), Aparajita Gopi from FB, Gita Sengupta from RSP, and Shefali Bhattacharya from CPI addressed the convention. Com. Shukla Sen spoke on behalf of AIPWA. Presided over by Com. Gita Das, the convention univocally condemned the BJP Govt. for dilly-dallying with regard to the Bill and called for an effective movement to compel the Govt. to adopt the Bill in the next session.
A district-level workshop was organised at Arrah in Bhojpur district of Bihar on 24 Dec. to discuss new initiatives to be taken following the conclusion of 'Strengthen the Party' campaign. It was held at Nagri Pracharni Hall. In the context of successes achieved in breaking the stagnation and overcoming pessimism during the campaign, it was resolved to forcefully intervene in panchayat elections and launch agitation on the issues of crisis in agriculture. In his speech Com. Ramjatan Sharma, State Party Secy. elaborated the two issues and exhorted the cadres to march ahead towards materialising the new prospects. Com. Ram Naresh Ram, PB member appealed to the cadres to live up to the legacy of Bhojpur and set an example before the whole country.
On 21 Nov. peasants under Party leadership captured 16 bighas of land in Soharai village of Raiganj PS in North Dinajpur district of West Bengal. The land was under possession of a rich and influential landowner who also happens to be millowner and trader. Following a number of meetings, torchlight processions, peasants finally occupied the the land, tilled it using tractor and planted seeds on it. When on 2 Dec. the landlord's goons tried to seize back the land forcibly, they were chased away by peasants. Same day peasants recovered 1.25 bighas of land from possession of a CPI(M) supported rogue.
Revolutionary Youth Association held its 2nd conference at Shaheed Subhash Mukherjee (Nagar Nigam) Hall in Vinod Mishra Nagar (Varanasi) on 23-24 December. On 23 Dec. a youth rally was brought out which was led by Com. Rajaram Singh, President and Lal Bahadur, Gen. Secy. of RYA, and other leaders. Com. Akhilendra Pratap Singh, Secy. of UP State Committee also attended the rally and inaugurated the conference. The conference resolved to launch a popular movement against saffron rulers' conspiracy to sell out country at the hands of imperialists.
One day dharna was held in front of Vidhan Sabha in Raipur on 19 Dec., on 7 point demand by CPI(ML), CPI(M) and Loktrantic Samajwadi Party(LSP). Immediate drought rehief was the main demand. Com Rajaram, CCM was also present at the dharna. A convention on contract labour was held on 19 Dec. at Joratarai Dundera, a contract labour area in Bhilai. Good numbers of contract labourers from Bhilai Steel Plant attended the convention. The convention was addressed by Com. Swapan Mukharjee, Gen. Secy. of AICCTU, Jagnarayan Chaudhry, local AICCTU leader, Shiv Kumar from Janwadi Mazdur Ekta Kendra and Bijendra Tiwari from CSW. Com Ashok Miri, an AICCTU leader, presided over the convention.
Mandawali Nagrik Sabha held its meeting on 24 Dec. and decided to hold "Vikas Sammelan" (development conference) on 25 Feb. next year. In the course of preparation locality meetings from 1-12 Jan., street corner meetings from 15-18 Jan. and development meetings on 4 and 11 in Chandra Vihar and West Vinod Nagar will be held and membership campaign will be launched.
Assam State Party Committee and AIPWA jointly took out a procession on 15 Dec. in Guwahati to protest recent killings of Hindi-speaking people in Assam. Participants came from Nagaon, Jorhat, Dibrugarh and Tinsukia. The mass meeting was presided over by Com. Naren Bora, SCMof CPI(ML) and addressed by Com. Pankaj Das, SCM, Kanaklata Dutta, state AIPWA Secy., Bolindra Saikia, state AISA secy., Prasun Chatterjee, state AICCTU vice president. On 9 Dec. Tinsukia District Committee of Party organised a representative meeting of Hindi-speaking people. Com. Brij Pradhan presided over the meeting. Party State Secy. Rubul Sarma and Tinsukia District Secy. Subhash Sen criticised the role of Hindu Yuva Chhatra Parishad, a youth wing of saffron brigade and appealed to Hindi-speaking people not to join communal forces. An organisation named Janwadi Hindibhashi Manch was also launched, which will work with CPI(ML) against communal forces. On 11 Dec., Tinsukia DC of Party, RYA, AIPWA, Jan Sanskriti Parishad, Janwadi Hindibhashi Manch, United Platform of Motor Transport Workers called a 10-hour bandh against the killings which was a grand success. On 15 Dec., a citizen's meet was organised by CPI(ML) at Pathsala town of Barpeta district. An artists' protest programme was organised by Jan Sanskriti Parishad and Study Forum in Guwahati where prominent artists including Dilip Sarma, Sudakshina Sarma, Pranbiram Barua, Malabika Bora, Nibedita Sarma, Jimani Chaudhry, Khagen Mahanta, Loknath Goswami, noted dramatist Mahendra Barthakur and noted poet Samir Tanti were present. Protest songs were recited and recent killings were condemned in the meeting.
On the occasion of 2nd death anniversary of noted poet Vamik Jaunpuri, Jan Sanskriti Manch organised a cultural seminar on 22 Novemebr at Jaunpur. Addressing the seminar Uday Yadav, executive member of Jan Sanskriti Manch and organiser of Dasta,Varanasi, said that Vamik was an uncompromising struggling personality who put forth an ideal before the writers of the new generation and his dream of revolution has now become the dream of a whole new generation. Dasta and Jaunpur unit of JSM presented poems and songs of Vamik. Posters carrying poems of Vamik were also displayed. In the morning, flowers were offered at the grave of Vamik Jaunpuri. Vote of thanks was given by Ajay Kumar, vice president of JSM.
General Strike in UruguayA 24-hour general strike in Uruguay on Dec. 6 had wide support from public workers, bank workers, teachers, health workers and industrial workers. The strike was called by the country’s only labor federation, the Inter-Union Workers Plenary-National Workers Convention (PIT-CNT), to demand more jobs and a more equitable budget, and to protest the neo-liberal economic plan being imposed by the the ruling coalition. Strikers demanded dignified wages, collective bargaining, respect for union freedom, and the rejection of privatization. It was the second general strike since President Jorge Luis Batlle Ibanez assumed office on Mar.ch 1, 2000. On strike day the Senate was to begin discussion on five-year budget proposal which has come under harsh criticism by the Intersocial, an alliance of labor and community organizations. On Dec. 5, a day before the strike, the Intersocial organized a huge march “for the unity of the social organizations, against unemployment, and for a fair budget.” The march and strike are part of a broad mobilization organized by the Intersocial and scheduled to continue over the following two weeks. A day after the general strike, on Dec. 7, Uruguay’s air traffic controllers staged their own 24-hour sitdown strike, bringing all international flights to a halt. Association of Air Transit Controllers (ACTA) is planning other measures beginning Dec. 15, including a work slowdown that will delay flights.
Greek Strike Against Labour ReformsGreek urban and sea transport ground to a halt on 21 December and air and rail schedules were cut back to minimum as transport workers and civil servants walked out to protest against labour reforms. Thousands of protesting workers marched through Athens to parliament, where a controversial labour law was being debated, shouting anti-government slogans. The General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE), Greece's largest labour grouping, and its public sector sister organisation staged the 24-hour action, which also affected ministries, banks and the press. The law being considered by Parliament this week includes reforms such as easier group dismissals by corporations and flexible working hours, and falls short of satisfying labour demands for a 35-hour week without a reduction in pay. Labour unions are also pressing for retirement after 35 years of work, instead of at 65 years of age currently. The socialist government has a majority in Parliament and is sure to pass the bill, which it says aims at modernising the Greek labour market and boosting employment.