Thursday, March 18, 2010

ML Update 52


A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 12, No. 52, 22 – 28 DECEMBER 2009

Copenhagen: India Signs Undemocratic US-scripted Accord


the 15th Conference of Parties (COP-15) has finally ended in Copenhagen. This week-long conference, where 110 countries of the world got together to address the climate change crisis, has quite predictably ended in failure. Predictable, because for a long time now there have been indications that the US would continue to hold the rest of the world to ransom by refusing to accept responsibility for its role in creating the climate crisis.

Much was at stake at Copenhagen. The Kyoto Protocol, which was the first concerted attempt to address global warming, comes to an end in 2012 and the Copenhagen conference was meant to build on the foundations that Kyoto had set. The Kyoto agreement essentially suggested that all industrialized countries cut down on their carbon dioxide emissions. Scientists however believe that the emission reductions suggested in Kyoto are far from sufficient to keep the atmospheric carbon dioxide at an acceptable level, and therefore it was widely hoped that the Copenhagen summit would result in an agreement wherein industrialized countries would commit themselves to deep cuts in their current emission levels.

Before the negotiations officially began, the US came up with a proposal to cut its emissions to just 3 per cent below its 1990 levels. This proposal was patently absurd, since any meaningful effort towards mitigating the climate crisis demands that the US cut down its emissions by at least 40 per cent. Apart from this pathetic offer, Barack Obama (representing his corporate funders) came to Copenhagen armed with the usual bullying tactics and US’s oft-used trump card: unless India and China agree to binding emission cuts, neither will we. In a most shameful betrayal of third world unity, India and China responded to this blackmail by breaking away from the G-77 and signing a US-scripted ‘deal’ on the last day of the conference. It is indeed shocking and shameful that India and China, along with Brazil and South Africa decided to sign this deal – an agreement which signifies an important departure from the developing countries’ long-standing position at the climate change talks.

The ‘Agreement’ that was finally tabled (though not approved) at the conference is nothing but a recipe for an environmental catastrophe of monumental proportions. To begin with, the agreement mentions no legally binding emission cuts for industrialised countries, thus effectively letting them off the hook. Given the fact that prior to the conference, many other industrialised countries had promised reductions (the EU for instance had unilaterally agreed to reduce its emissions by 20%, and the UK by 40%), it is clear that the US obduracy and arrogance finally scuttled any meaningful proposal. More importantly, the agreement asks developing countries to also ‘voluntarily’ reduce emissions, thus eliminating the important distinction between developing and developed countries. Developing countries have fought long and hard to maintain this distinction – and this huge political volte-face aided and abetted by the Indian Government absolves the developed world from their historic role in creating the present crisis, and essentially locks existing inequities for perpetuity. The agreement also states that developing countries’ performance on emission reductions (even those that are not funded by international finance and technology) will be subjected to “international consultation and analysis”. This clause clearly opens the door to enforcing international monitoring, and will soon lead to binding commitments by developing countries.

Regarding the other important agenda of funding mitigation efforts in developing countries, the developed countries have set a goal of mobilizing jointly $100 billion a year by 2020. This includes a short-term financing pledge (for 2010-2012) of $10.6 billion from the EU, $11 billion from Japan, and $3.6 billion from the US. To put this ‘dole’ in perspective, the EU’s contribution (which is the largest) is approximately 0.5% of global entertainment and media spending, 0.7% of the US military expenditure for 2008 and 1.4% of the bailout package that richest corporations of the world received following the economic recession!

At Copenhagen, Jairam Ramesh and Manmohan Singh worked overtime to broker this blatantly pro-US deal. An effort which earned them praise from none less than Obama in his post-conference speech. And while this betrayal of G-77 and of India’s poor is shocking, it is certainly not surprising. Some time back, Ramesh wrote a “confidential” letter to the Prime Minister articulating precisely the agreement which has been now signed. At that time, the UPA tried to defend itself and fend off the resulting uproar by distancing itself from Ramesh’s proposals. Now, after the Prime Minister himself has signed this proposal, the slavish, pro-US kowtowing of the UPA stands thoroughly exposed. Let us not forget that India has already announced targets for reducing carbon intensity (i.e. not total greenhouse gas emissions, but emissions per unit of GDP generated) – as a result of a ‘bilateral agreement’ with the US.

Not surprisingly, India’s and China’s stand has deservedly invited an angry response from the other developing countries. And it was not just the content of the agreement that merited their anger. The entire process of drafting the agreement was marked by secrecy and a lack of respect for basic democratic principles - most countries were deliberately kept away from the drafting process. Bolivia, Costa Rica, Venezuela and Cuba have therefore blamed those who have drafted the deal for showing them great "disrespect" by leaving them out of the drafting process and imposing their document on the vast majority. The Sudanese delegate Lumumba Di-Aping has gone to the extent of comparing the deal to the Holocaust.

Overall, the Copenhagen summit was a shameful display of the UPA’s subservience to US imperialism. Instead of this betrayal, what Jairam Ramesh and Manmohan Singh should have done was to cash in on the massive world-wide support and aspirations for a meaningful agreement. They should have joined hands with the vulnerable coastal nations most likely to suffer the most from the climate crisis and the G-77 to build pressure on the US. The industrialised countries, including the US, have to be forced to accept responsibility for their huge greenhouse gas emissions. More importantly, they have to be held accountable for the historic role that they have played over the past two centuries in contributing to the climate crisis through their capital and energy intensive economies.

India should have demanded funding and technology transfer from the industrialised countries for reducing its emissions. This funding could have been used to completely revamp our internal energy policy. The UPA, with its single-minded agenda of pandering to US imperialism and corporate interests back home, would much rather take the business-as-usual approach. And in the process, be party to what the Sudan has called the new Holocaust.

Central Trade Unions Stage Dharna Before Parliament

Call for Satyagraha/Jail Bharo on 17th February, 2010

As a follow up to the National Convention of 14th September 2009 and all-India protest day of 28th October, the Central Trade Unions including AICCTU, BMS, INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, and UTUC staged a massive Dharna before the Parliament in New Delhi on the 16th December 2009 as a protest against Govt.’s inaction to control price rise, check labour law violations, non-creation of National Fund for Unorganised Workers Social Security, loss of jobs in the name of recession and disinvestment of profit making public sector undertakings. Similar joint Dharnas were staged all over the country in State Capitals and Industrial centres. In Delhi about 10,000 workers sat on Dharna. The trade unions had also met the Prime Minister on 17th September, 2009 and urged him to address the above main concerns of the working people effectively. The dharna was addressed by presidents/general secretaries of the respective TUs including Com. Swapan Mukherjee from AICCTU.

The trade unions and workers have decided to further intensify the struggle by observing Satyagraha/Jail Bharo on 17th February, 2010 all over the country since the Govt. has not shown any seriousness in taking appropriate steps to meet the five demands. Over ten lakh workers will stage Satyagraha or court arrest on that day.

Sankalp Diwas Reports: Com. VM’s 11th Anniversary

December 18th, former General Secretary of the CPI(ML) and one of the architects of the revolutionary communist movement in India, Comrade Vinod Mishra’s 11th death anniversary was observed by CPI(ML) all over the Country as Sankalp Diwas (pledge day).

BIHAR: Sankalp Diwas programmes were organised all over the State with massive participation of the Party members and common people. Huge cadre convention was organised in Patna addressed by Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya. The Patna cadre convention was also Land Reforms Pledge Convention, in which the CPI(ML) General Secretary said that Com. VM always emphasized on strengthening the Party organisation for bigger struggles and bigger victories. Today, when the entire ruling class parties are united in their opposition to the land reforms, only the CPI(ML) is organising and unifying the rural and urban poor for sharecropping rights and housing land to the landless.

CPI(ML)’s State Secretary Com. Nand Kishore Prasad addressed the Sankalp Diwas Convention at Siwan’s indoor stadium and called upon all the poor and oppressed of the State to launch decisive battle against the pro-feudal and anti-poor Nitish Govt. which is all the time resorting to lies. Polit Bureau member (PBM) Com. Swadesh Bhattacharya and CPI(ML) leader in the Legislative Assembly Com. Ram Naresh Ram addressed the Convention at Arrah, while PBM Com. Ram Jatan Sharma addressed the Convention at Jahanabad’s aerodrome grounds.

Sankalp Diwas programmes were held at all district headquarters of Bihar including Darbhanga, Bettiah, Gopalganj, Vaishali, Nalanda, Sasaram(Rohtas), Kaimur, Buxar, Arwal, Aurangabad, Gaya, Nawada, Lakhisarai, Samastipur, Muzaffarpur, Madhubani, Begusarai, Purnia, Araria, Supaul and Bhagalpur addressed by Central, State and local leaders of the Party. Rallies, demonstrations, People’s Conventions and various forms of programmes were organised.

UTTARPRADESH: Party members all over the State pledged to intensify the struggle for land, livelihood and democracy and militantly mobilising the people to resist all attempts by governments to suppress the struggle by repressive measures.

A GBM was organised in Lucknow addressed by Com. Ramji Rai – Party’s PBM. At Sitapur Party’s first dist. conference was organised as part of Sankalp Diwas. Hundreds of Party members participating in the rally preceding the Conference were addressed by State Secretary Com. Sudhakar Yadav and CCM Com. Krishna Adhikari. Anti-price rise march was held in Kanpur, large demonstrations were organised at tehsil HQs of Chunar and Madihan in Mirzapur on the question of land. Dharna was organised at Ambedkar Nagar Dist. HQ. Programmes were also organised at Varanasi, Sonbhadra, Gazipur, Ballia, Dewaria, Chandauli, Azamgarh, Bhadohi, Gorakhpur, Jalaun, Khiri, Pilibhit, Allahabad, Gonda and other places.

ANDAMAN: CPI(ML) paid homage to Com. VM by conducting agitation and a Dharna under AICCTU banner at Secretariat Gate on local demands of down trodden working class, mainly the demand to regularise services of DRMs working under various departments and self governments like Municipality before abolishing Group D posts by the Administration as per CPC recommendation. More than 250 DRM workers from various departments participated in the Dharna thus losing their day’s wage. Other workers joined the programme and together pledged to continue struggle, after a brief introduction by Com. NKP Nair about the importance of the day. Thereafter the participants proceeded in a rally via Aberdeen Bazaar (main bazaar area) towards Stage arranged for the Public Meeting of CPI(ML) where Com. Sadasivan, garlanded the portrait of Com. VM before starting the Public Meeting.

ANDHRA PRADESH: A political campaign was organised from 10-17 December on land, livelihood and democracy which culminated on 18th December 2009. In Visakhapatnam, a team of 15 members conducted propaganda on 10th and 11th December, distributed leaflets and street corner meetings were also held. On 14th December 25 members team conducted political campaign in Rolugunta. On 17th a 15 member team covered Cheedikada, a mandal HQ town. On 18th cadre meet was organised on the eve of Sankalp Divas. Com. B.Vasu, Dist. Secretary of Visakha led the campaign.

In Ananthpur dist. the week-long campaign was conducted in Ananthpur town as well as some rural pockets. On 18th 150 members participated in the rally which culminated in a dharna before the Collectorate highlighting burning issues. In Krishna dist. campaign was conducted in Issannapeta, Chittapur, Chatrai, Nuzividu, and Vijayawada. On 18th convention was held at Press Club on land-livelihood-democracy in which 400 people participated. In East Godavari Padayatra's were held in Thondangi, Kotananduru, Routhulapudi, Yeleswaram, Prathipadu and Jaggampeta mandals. 50 to 100 people participated in each Padaytra. Com. N.Murty, Bangar Rao, Arjun Rao, Simhachalm, Ratnakumari, Latchababu, Ganesh, Nageswararao Gagababu and Chanti lead these yatras. On 18th a thousand strong rally was held at Kakinada which culminated into a convention addressed by comrades Bangar Rao, Nageswar Rao and Arjun Rao.

PUNJAB: Cadre meetings were held at Mansa, Bathinda, Sangrur, Moga and Barnala.

ORISSA: Sankalp Diwas was observed at the State Headquarters at Nagbhushan Bhawan, Bhubaneswar, as well at Pipili, Delang, and Kanas in Puri District, Pattamundai, Rajakanika and Kendrapada in Kendrapada District, and Gosani in Gajapati District. Around 750 comrades attended the convention at Rayagada, around 150 at Pattamundai, and around 50 each at the other places. Comrades resolved to intensify the struggle on the question of adivasis’ land rights and against illegal mining, corporate loot and state repression in Orissa.

TAMIL NADU: Party started a mass campaign on December 18 to run till 31st December. As part of this campaign, several programmes have been held in several parts of TN. Dec 18 was observed as pledge day. In Tanjore, Cuddalore, Villupuram and Madurai dists. Call of Dec 18 was discussed in dist. cadre meetings and committee meetings. In Krishnagiri a Convention on forest right was held. The convention demanded immediate implementation of the Forest Act 2006 in the dist.

Several mass campaigns and agitations were held starting from Panchayat to dist. level. On 19th Dec in Punganur panchayat of Nagapattinam dist. a protest demo of AIALA was held. The demo forced the BDO to give assurance in writing to start MGREGS immediately. On 21, dist.-level mass agitations were held at Tiruvallur, Namakal and Salem at their respective dist. HQs. Around 1200 agri labourers and unorganized workers under the AIALA banner held militant demonstration before the Collectroate in Tiruvallur dist. The main demand is to reclaim the lands grabbed by Justice Dinakaran and to distribute the same to agricultural labourers and rural poor. In Namakkal, around 600 powerloom and unorganized labourers held a militant demonstration demanding 5-cent house site patta. Coms. In Salem, more than 700 construction, powerloom and unorganized workers, most of them women, held an impressive demonstration in front of the Collectorate. Here too, the demands were 5-cent housesite patta and conferment of patta to the occupants. Similar mass agitations and campaigns will be held till 31st December.

A pledge taking public meeting was held on December 18th at Ambattur. A mobilization of 1000 was planned and a 90% target was reached despite heavy rains for the past few days. Workers of Hyundai, Ashok Leyland, TIDC, women workers of Leela Scottish, trainees of Hyundai, unorganized and construction workers participated in the pledge taking meeting. Comrades who left SUCI and have developed a close relationship with our party also participated. Demands such as trade union Recognition Act, 50 kg free rice for the rural and urban poor, 2 acre land for the landless rural poor, 5-cent house site patta were raised.

Campaign against fishermen Bill: The Puducherry State Committee and Villupuram Dist. Party unit held an impressive propaganda campaign opposing the anti-fishermen bill moved by the Central Govt. Due to lot of protests from TN - protest was first initiated by CPIML - the Govt. deferred the bill for the time being. CPI(ML) and its mass organisations demanded scraping of the bill completely. The response to the campaign tour could not be ignored by the media.

HARAYANA: Sankalp Sabha was held at Gohana pledging to intensify the struggle for land, livelihood and democracy. The meeting was addressed by Party’s Harayana incharge Com. Prem Singh Gahlawat. Comrades RK Khokhar, RP Singh, Karmaveer Kashyap, Rajendar Kashyap and Naresh Khandelwal also addressed the Convention.

RAJASTHAN: Sankalp march and Convention were held at Jhunjhunu and Vuhana respectively. March was led by Com. Phoolchand Dhewa.

MADHYA PRADESH: Sankalp Sabha was held in Chambal region. The comrades also remembered brave fighter and martyr Sher Ali who was arrested and deported to Andaman’s Jail for participating in the 1857 War of Independence. He was brutally killed by the armed British Guards of Lord Mayo on 18th December after Sher Ali killed Lord Mayo in the Jail. The Convention was addressed by comrades Prabhat Kumar, CCM, Devendra Singh Chauhan etc. Dist. Secretaries of CPI and CPI(M) also addressed the Convention. Everyone took pledge to intensify the struggle for land, livelihood and democracy and the newly built Party office at Bhind was named Com. Vinod Mishra Bhawan on this occasion.

UTTARAKHAND: Sankalp Diwas programmes were organised at Haldwani in Kumaon region and Sri Nagar in Garhwal region. The conventions discussed on the importance and ways to strengthen Brabch-level functioning of the Party organisation crucial for challenging the anti-people policies and politics of BJP and Congress in the State. The Convention at Haldwani was addressed by Comrades Raja Bahuguna and Rajendra Pratholi among others.

KARNATAKA: Dec. 18 was observed as a day of Party consolidation in Karnataka and cadres’ meets were organised at HDKote in Mysore and Kottur in Bellary districts. HD Kote meet was attended by a good number of women activists. Com. Shankar, CCM spoke on the specific implications of consolidaiton campaign for Kote and called upon the cadres to expand mass base, activism and also the party membership and structures. Rati Rao, VP of AIPWA explained the significance of the day. The cadres meet at Kottur involving cadres of Bellary district was presided by Devendrappa, convenor of the party in the taluk. Ramasubramani, IIMS, spoke on the contending trends in the freedom movement led by Bhagat Singh and Gandhi respectively and said that CPI(ML) represented the revolutionary legacy of Bhagat Singh, Charu Mazumdar and Vinod Mishra. E.Ramappa, state secretary of the party traced the local variants of revolutionary and rebellious trends in the state and called upon the cadres to focus on the consolidation of the party to harvest the gains of consistent struggles on various issues at panchayat level.

A demonstration was organised in front of HP Halli taluk office on 15 Dec. against anti-people, pro-rich Yeddyurappa led BJP government in the state and also against the growing political grip of the mining mafia over the government. The demonstrators began in front of taluk panchayat office demanding disbursal of NREGA wages, job cards and jobs for the needy. It went on until the officials were forced to give a written undertaking to solve the problems in a time-bound manner. The demonstrators led by E.Ramappa, state secretary, then, marched on to the taluk office to submit a memorandum. J.Bharadwaj, state president of AIALA also addressed the gathering along with Chowdappa, Parauram, Lingan Gowda, Sharanappa and others.

DELHI: A thousand strong rally was held from Ramlila maidan to Jantar Mantar culminating in a massive protest meeting at the Parliament Street against the anti-poor policies of the Delhi’s Sheila Dixit Govt. and Centre’s Manmohan Singh Govt. Participants pledged to intensify the struggle winning the rights of the Delhi’s working class and all unorganised sector toilers and for land, livelihood and democracy.

CPI(ML) Initiatives for Migrant Workers’ Rights in Punjab

Following the attack on migrant workers in Ludhiana by police and goons on December 5, the CPI(ML) took up a campaign demanding protection of workers from the bikers’ gangs that were robbing and attacking them; compensation for those injured in the firing by police and goons; compensation for the looted and damaged property and burnt houses and action against the police officials who colluded with the attackers, as well as arrest and prosecution of the attackers.

A leaflet raising these demands and calling for a mass meeting on December 10 was distributed widely (some 15, 000 copies) in the workers’ settlements. The police retaliated by raiding homes and shops of CPI(ML) workers and arresting one activist, Comrade Babban. On December 10, a large police contingent was deployed at the mass meeting spot, which cane-charged the hundreds of workers who defied intimidation to attend the meeting.

December 10 (Human Rights Day) was also observed as a state-wide protest day against police and feudal atrocities on workers, migrants and dalits as well as rising prices and issues of land and livelihood. Protests were held at Barnala, Sangrur, Bathinda, Moga and Mansa. At Mansa, hundreds of workers gheraoed the DC’s office for hours in a militant protest, led by district secretary Bhagwant Singh Samaon. The protests were led by Comrades Gurpreet Rudeke and Makhan Ramgarh at Barnala, State Secretary Com. Rajvinder Rana at Sangrur and Com Teerath Madhoke at Moga. The protest at Ludhiana was led by RYA leaders Comrades Hasmeet and Kanwaljeet.

On December 12, a state level team of party leaders visited the area, collected reports and expressed solidarity with the workers. On December 14-15 and AIALA team comprising AIALA President and CPI(ML) CCM Comrade Rameshwar Prasad as well as Comrade Vidyanand Vikal from Bihar, visited Ludhiana, and met the affected migrant workers.

On December 20, a team of university teachers from Delhi visited the area and prepared a fact-finding report on the incident and the aftermath. Police officials tried to tell this team that workers had torched their own homes to claim compensation!

AISA’s Growing Appeal Among Students in Karnataka

All India Students’ Association (AISA) began its march from Davanagere in Karnataka with a convention on 24 September against anti-student policies and educational reforms of the Central and State governments. Then, it started to spread its organisation in taluk centres in the district. Taluk committees were formed at Jagalur and Harappanahalli. Jagalur taluk unit of AISA organised an impressive students’ convention on 14 Dec. that was attended by hundreds of students, including girls. The convention was basically against anti-student attitude of the BJP government in the state and against increasing dominance of money and muscle power led by the mining and real estate mafia. The convention passed resolutions against communalisation of education and anti-women attitude of the State and also against highly biased welfare measures only in favour of BJP supporters to the neglect of general students. Basic issues like timely disbursal of scholarship for the needy, building government hostels to accommodate all students from outside, free monthly passes and increasing the frequency of government buses also figured in the resolutions. More than two hundred and fifty members were recruited on the spot. The convention also decided to undertake membership campaign and to participate in the all-India conference in February.

Students Strike in Solidarity with Farmers

AISA students led by Hanumanthappa, one of the state convenors, organised total strike in three colleges at Davanagere on 21 Dec. against the police atrocities on farmers led by Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) at Chamarajanagara and Davanagere around a week back. The farmers were demonstrating against the government demanding uninterrupted power supply and reduction in electricity tariff. Instead of fulfilling the genuine demands of farmers, BJP government lathicharged them.

CPI(ML) Legislators Forcibly Evicted from Bihar Legislative Assembly for Demanding Debate on Land Reforms

Com. Amarnath Yadav, Party’s MLA from Siwan dist. was forcibly evicted from the Assembly when he entered the Well area demanding along with other Party MLAs, that the Assembly should debate on Land Reforms in the State. The five CPI(ML) legislators were raising slogans in the Assembly demanding immediate implementation of Land Reforms recommendation mentioned in the D. Bandhopadhya report. It should be noted that the RJD and Ram Vilas’s LJP, no matter what they utter outside the Assembly, in the Vidhan Sabha, none of their MLAs has raised any word on Land Reforms and maintained complete silence while all the Left legislators including 3 from CPI and one from CPI(M) and remaining 4 of CPI(ML) walked out of the Assembly in protest of the forcible eviction of Com. Amarnath and Speaker’s refusal to consider the proposal.

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