A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol. 15, No. 39, 18 – 24 SEPTEMBER 2012
UPA-II's Pro-Corporate, Anti-people Offensive
The big business houses and the corporate media that have been blaming the government for what they called 'policy paralysis' are visibly pleased with the announcement of all these 'big-bang reforms'. The glee is evident even in their choice of words, with one industrialist describing the measures as a jump from 'famine' to 'feast'. In an obviously choreographed display of 'exuberance', the share market has started moving up, reflecting the 'soothed sentiment' of a disgruntled market. The Obamas and Clintons who had been explicitly complaining about FDI 'restrictions' in India and lobbying for notorious US retail giants like Wal-Mart, are obviously happy with these measures, all the more so as Obama is facing elections in a few weeks.
Manmohan Singh has said he would like to go down fighting. The man who had promised to quit if found corrupt now invokes martyrdom in the interest of global capital and his American bosses. Pro-Congress voices in the media compare the FDI announcement to the Indo-US nuclear deal and hope that the PM's gamble will work once again as it did in 2008 when he managed to save his government winning a dubious confidence vote even as the Left bloc withdrew support. The Congress also hopes that preoccupied with the 'FDI in retail' debate, the country will forget the scams. Home Minister Shinde has claimed that Coalgate will fade away from public memory as the infamous Bofors bribery scam of the Rajiv era.
To brush up Shinde's memory, it was the Bofors bribery case which had proved the undoing of the Rajiv regime and despite systematic attempts of successive central governments to shield the guilty, the people of India have neither forgotten nor forgiven the bribe-takers of Bofors. The image of the Congress as the principal party of wheeler-dealers bent upon bartering away the country's resources has since been deeply engraved in the national mind and the spate of recent scams has only reinforced that image. The only saving grace for the Congress has been the spread of corruption among other ruling parties, notably the BJP and the majority of regional parties, making corruption a common hallmark of neoliberal rule in India.
Neoliberalism has also redefined private/corporate interest as public/national interest. The land acquisition bill now pending in Parliament openly invokes the 'public purpose' objective to justify land acquisition for private profit. The opening up of civil aviation to foreign capital is a desperate attempt to bail out the crisis-ridden Kingfisher Airlines of liquor baron Vijay Mallya. The fraudulent logic of neoliberalism is coming unstuck in every sector. First, key economic sectors were opened up to Indian corporates in the name of fostering competition and efficiency and when many Indian companies are biting the dust, the government brings in FDI to bail them out and in the process allowing foreign companies to appropriate bigger chunks of India's domestic market.
All this is being done in the name of promoting growth, but the growth miracle has already given way to a steady decline in industrial output. Even when the economy grew at a good rate, the growth never translated into creation of jobs or reduction of poverty. The 'India story' peddled by the corporate media as a spectacular rise of India as an 'economic power' is a big lie which seeks to gloss over India's massive poverty and unemployment and high inflation that constantly erodes the purchasing power of the working people and even large sections of the middle classes.
The scam-tainted government must be stopped from inflicting relentless blows on the people and bartering away the country's resources. The UPA government has betrayed the mandate it had got in the name of improving the conditions of the 'aam aadmi' and must now be compelled to remit office. The people are clearly in no mood to wait till 2014 to bring about change, and the whole country is turning into a battleground. Revolutionary communists must encourage the people to fight hard and fight for not just a change of guard but a change in key policies, for a reversal of the pro-corporate pro-imperialist policies that have proved disastrous for the people and for the economy.
CPI(ML) Calls for Bharat Bandh on 20 September
The CPI(ML) called for a Bharat Bandh on 20 September against the price hike, FDI in retail and mega scams, demanding a roll back of anti-people decisions and resignation of the UPA Government.
National Convention of Workers Calls for 2-Day General Strike
A National Convention of Workers was held on 4th September, 2012 at Talkatora Stadium, New Delhi. More than 3000 worker representatives from all over India and from all sectors participated in the convention. The national convention was organized by 11 central trade unions, namely AICCTU, AITUC, HMS, CITU, BMS, INTUC, AIUTUC, TUCC, UTUC, LPF and SEWA and Independent Federations of Workers and Employees.
On behalf of AICCTU, General Secretary Swapan Mukherjee addressed the convention and Santosh Roy, National Secretary was in the presidium. The Convention decided to further intensify the joint struggles that were being carried out for last three years and called for the following action programme:
State/district/sector level Joint Conventions during September, October and November 2012
Satyagraha/Jail Bharo/Court Arrest on 18-19 December 2012 in all the states throughout the Country
March to Parliament on 20th December 2012 (mobilization by unions from the states adjoining Delhi)
Countrywide Two Days General Strike on 20th and 21st February 2013
The National Convention called upon the working people of the country and their unions/federations irrespective of affiliations to respond in a massive way to the action programme to press for the vital demands embracing all sections of the toiling class.
CPI(ML) Statement on Price Hike
New Delhi, 14 Sep. 2012.
The CPI(ML) condemns the steep hike in the price of diesel and the move to limit subsidised cooking gas cylinders to six per family per year. The limiting of cooking gas cylinders will mean that families will be forced to buy cooking fuel at market rates, imposing a severe burden on their already constrained circumstances. The hike in diesel prices will inevitably result in a hike in transport costs which, in turn, will impact on food prices.
The UPA Government's claim that the hikes are justified in the light of losses suffered by oil companies is a shameless falsehood, since all the oil and gas companies have recorded substantial net profits.
The CPI(ML) calls upon its units to hold protests all over the country to demand a roll back of the unconscionable hike in the price of diesel and limits on cooking gas cylinders, which will impose an unbearable burden on the common man and woman.
CPI(ML) Central Committee
Countrywide protests against Price Hike and Anti-People Measures
In response to the call by Party's Central Committee, CPI(ML) units all over the country staged protests against the unprecedented hike in diesel prices, curtailment of cooking gas subsidy, FDI in retail and civil aviation, and disinvestment.
At Delhi on 15th September, CPI(ML) units held protests and burnt effigies of the Prime Minister at Narela, Wazirpur, Jamia Nagar, Okhla, Mandavli, and Shahdara. The AICCTU joined a protest at Jantar Mantar jointly organized by Left Trade Unions.
In the protest at Puducherry on 17th September, workers of Hindustan Petroleum LPG distribution agencies affiliated to AICCTU took part in large in numbers in their uniform.
In Odisha, 200 activists marched to the Secretariat in the state capital of Bhubaneswar.
The AIPWA also held protests all over the country, independently and together with other mass organisations, in response to a central call.
Resolutions Adopted by CPI(ML) CC Meeting, Bathinda, 10-12 September
On Koodankulam Crackdown
CPI(ML) called for protest against the brutal crackdown against thousands protesting the loading of fuel at the Koodankulam Nuclear Plant. The party condemned the Central Government and the TN Government for insisting on installing the nuclear plant in spite of the democratic protests of the people which have not been addressed. The party demanded that the VVER reactors be closed down immediately, and that the inhuman crackdown on protestors be stopped instantly.
Solidarity With Jal Satyagraha in MP
The CPI(ML) expressed solidarity with the 'Jal Satyagraha' (water satyagraha) in Khandwa district in Madhya Pradesh, where villagers protesting against raising of the height of the Omkareshwar Dam stood in neck-deep water for 17 days. The protest eventually forced the Government to lower the level of the dam. The party also extended solidarity to the Jal Satyagraha in Harda demanding lowering of the level of the Indira Sagar Dam, where protestors have faced a police crackdown. The CPI(ML) holds that forced eviction of peasants or submersion of their lands in the name of development projects is an assault on democracy.
On Sedition Law
The CPI(ML) condemned in strongest terms the arrest of the cartoonist Aseem Trivedi on sedition charges. Increasingly, dissenting voices are being witch-hunted, and the sedition law is being invoked against scores of protestors at Koodankulam, against activists like Binayak Sen and Seema Azad, and against cartoonist Aseem Trivedi. The CPI(ML) demands repeal of the sedition law and release of all those imprisoned under this draconian and shameful law.
On Reservation in Promotions
The CPI(ML) demanded the early passage of the Bill to amend the Constitution to clear hurdles in the way of reservation to SCs and STs in government job promotions. The principle of reservation for SCs and STs in promotions is already enshrined in the Constitution and has been upheld by the Supreme Court. The proposed Constitutional amendments are necessary to protect and uphold that right, in view of certain questionable and flawed premises and stipulations laid down by a particular Supreme Court verdict.
The representation of SCs and STs in higher echelons of government posts is abysmal. This shameful state of affairs, pointing unmistakeably to deep-seated discrimination, calls for urgent correction. The proposed Constitutional amendments must be adopted without delay so as to remove the hurdles in the way of implementing the long-existing provision for reservation in promotions for SCs and STs. The question of extending reservation in promotions to OBCs must be examined and taken up separately.
In Solidarity With Koodankulam Struggle
On 12th September, a protest was held at 5 pm at Dadar Station in Mumbai, in solidarity with the anti-nuke protestors at Koodankulam and against the repression they are facing.
The protest was participated by CPI(ML), LNP(L), CPI, CPI(M), Konkan Bhachao Samiti, Dharmrajya Paksha, and other groups and activists. The protest was addressed among others by CPI(ML)'s Mumbai-Thane Secretary Comrade Shyam Gohil, LNP(L)'s Comrade Uday Bhat, civil liberties activist Binayak Sen.
The All India Left Coordination (AILC) issued a press release in support of the demands of the Kodankulam struggle. The CPI(ML) Central Committee also issued a statement, and a CPI(ML) team led by the Tamil Nadu State Secretary Comrade Balasundaram visited the struggle site in solidarity. The South Asia Solidarity group (SASG) and Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) issued a joint statement from London in support of the Koodankulam anti-nuke struggle.
Fire in Pakistan Garment Factory
The fire in a garment factory in Pakistan in which nearly 300 workers were killed is cause for deep shock and outrage. Reports suggest that the exit gates of the factory were closed by the management in the name of preventing theft, thereby cutting off escape routes for the factory's workers. This fire, together with the fire at the crackers factory at Sivakasi in India, underline how the conditions of labour laws in factories in the Indian sub-continent are nearly as callous and exploitative as they were at the time of the Triangle Factory Fire of 1911 in New York.
The CPI(ML) extends solidarity to the families of deceased and injured workers and to the labour movement in Pakistan that is struggling for the rights of the working class in that country.
NATO Strike Kills 9 Afghan Women
The CPI(ML) condemns in strongest terms the latest barbarity of the US-led NATO occupation forces in Afghanistan, in which nine Afghan women between 18-25 years old, were killed in an air strike in the early hours of 16th September in Laghman Province's Alingar district, near the Afghan capital, Kabul. The women were out collecting firewood when the NATO forces struck. Several women and children, some as young as 10 years old, are also reportedly severely injured in the attack.
This massacre is the latest in a long series of civilian casualties which have occurred as part of the 'drone warfare' tactics promoted by the Obama administration. Such civilian massacres have marked the prolonged imperialist occupation and war in Afghanistan.
The CPI(ML) demands sternest punishment for those responsibility for the massacre, which must be recognised as a war crime, and an end to the imperialist occupation and war in Afghanistan and surrounding regions.
Islamophobic Hate Video from the US
The CPI(ML) condemns the islamophobic video originating from the US, that has sparked off outrage and violent protests across the globe. In one incident, the US Ambassador to Libya and other US embassy staffers in Benghazi were killed.
The US' official stand that the venomous anti-Muslim hate speech classifies as 'free speech' is quite ironic, coming from the country that has imprisoned the young whistleblower US soldier Bradley Manning for allegedly leaking a video of a cold-blooded massacre by US soldiers in Iraq to Wikileaks!
On 11th September 2012, the CPI(ML) unit of Karaikal held a protest demonstration demanding justice to the victims of Thavalakuppam (a village in Puducherry), Paramakudi and Bathani Tola. In Thavalakuppam, Adivasi people including pregnant women and innocent children were lathi charged indiscriminately, wounding several, by police seeking to disperse picketing volunteers on East Coast Road. 50 Adivasis were arrested and later let on bail. The protestors were demanding to free Adivasi bonded labourers who were kept captive in Tamilnadu. The ruling AINR Congress government led by N Rangasamy proved intolerant to this just demand. The demonstration was held on the first death anniversary of victims in Paramakudi Police firing in Tamilnadu.
A large number of Migrant workers from Bihar and UP participated in the demonstration apart from the local Party workers. The demonstration was led by local Committee Secretary of CPI(ML) Com. A S Singaravelu, Com. S Balasubramanian, State Secretary, CPI(ML), addressed the demonstrators and the general public. On the same day a sudden joint protest was organised against police firing and the death of fisherman John at Koodankulam in Tamilnadu.
At Puducherry the protest was organised by various democratic organisations. The CPI(ML) protesters were led by Com. S Motilal, SCM, Puducherry. All were detained and later released.
On 13th September, AICCTU organised a protest hunger fast in front of the State Assembly of Puducherry demanding reinstatement of 112 women workers who worked for more than 10 years in VINBROS & Co an IMFL manufacturing unit at Puducherry. The Union Jananayaga Madhubana Thozhilalar Sangam (AICCTU) demanded ESI and EPF facilities to the workers. The management of VINBROS & Co employed the workers in the guise of contract labour system and terminated them all. Com. S Motilal State Secretary AICCTU led the fast. Central Trade Union Leaders from AITUC, CITU, TUCC, AIUTUC, LPF, ATP addressed the fasting workers.
A delegation led by Com. P Sankaran, Vice-President AICCTU met the Chief Minister on the same day from the struggle site, and demanded the latter's immediate intervention for the reinstatement of entire dismissed workers. The Chief Minister gave an assurance to the team.
Protest Meet in Kerala Against Moral Policing
'Sthreekkoottayma,' a platform of women, organized a protest meet in the heart of Ernakulam city on 8th September, focussing on the urgent need to reflect on and to resist recurring episodes of moral policing in Kerala.
The meet was inaugurated by K Ajitha and presided by Jolly Chirayath, and participants were welcomed by V C Jenny. A discussion on 'Moral Policing and pro-Women Politics' followed in which Ranjini Krishnan presented the topic. Shahina K K, Nalini Jameela, Advocate P M Athira spoke on various aspects of the detailed presentation. The speakers, particularly endorsed the view that moral policing in Kerala is virtually encouraged rather than being seriously opposed by the male dominated social, political and legal establishment. Taking part in the discussion Comrade K M Venugopalan of CPI(ML)'s Kerala State Leading Team remarked that recent crimes of moral policing have encompassed perpetrators of a range of political persuasions from far right to centre to Left.
Nevertheless, organized crimes in the name of morality are basically promoted and perpetuated by anti-people forces of the neoliberal-feudal alignment, which eventually try to suppress each expression of equality between sexes and independent assertion of women. Apart from sharing of experiences of few victims of moral police, strategies for building of peoples' solidarity against the renegade institution of moral police also were briefly discussed.
A resolution was also passed which demanded withdrawal of a false case clamped by the police on two women activists and over fifteen 'identifiable persons' including two men under Section 353 IPC, following a protest march organized on July 22 against moral policing by Sthreekkoottayma. The case was actually the result of vindictive act on behalf of two local police officers whose obscene comments on the women marchers had been challenged by the latter only to get them clamped with a non-bailable case. "The Lightning Testimonies", a film directed by Amar Kanwar (2007) was also exhibited. This film reflects upon a history of conflict in the Indian subcontinent through experiences of sexual violence.
AISA Wins Majority in JNUSU, Polls Third in DUSU
The JNUSU and DUSU elections were held on the same day – September 14 – and the results have been encouraging for the Left forces.
In JNU, it was an overwhelming mandate for the Left. AISA once again won a majority in the Union, with 3 out of 4 office-bearer posts and 12 councillor posts. The SFI-JNU candidate won the President post, while the other three posts of Vice President, General Secretary and Joint Secretary were won by the AISA candidates.
Piyush Raj, AISA's joint secretary candidate polled 1566 votes and defeated Ruchira Sen who polled 1427 votes by a margin of 139 votes. AISA's general secretary candidate Shakeel Anjum won by a margin of 980 votes – he polled 1719 votes, while the SFI JNU-AISF candidate on that post polled 739 votes. AISA's Vice Presidential candidate Minakshi Buragohain won by a margin of 920 votes, polling 1816 votes against the SFI JNU-AISF candidate. On the post of President, SFI-JNU's Lenin polled 1446 votes and defeated AISA's Omprasad who polled 1233 votes. In addition, AISA has won the convenorship of the five schools (International Studies; Social Sciences; Language, Literature and Culture Studies; Arts and Aesthetics; and Law and Governance) – and a total of 12 councillors from AISA have been elected.
This mandate is a defeat of the right-wing forces – whose only agenda is to spread communal hatred and to defend neo-liberal policies leading to corruption and corporate loot. Like the mandates of 2007 and 2012 February, the mandate this time is once again a mandate against CPI(M)'s revisionism, its abject surrender to neo-liberalism and its dubious positions on state repression, Operation Green Hunt, AFSPA and SEZs. The SFI-JNU's victory on the post of President has come in the wake of its endorsement of AISA's long-standing critique of the CPI(M) on the above questions.
AISA has welcomed the mandate and thanked the student community, and has reiterated its commitment to building united JNUSU struggles to take forward the previous JNUSU's initiatives for social inclusion, students' rights and facilities, campus democracy and democratisation of academics.
In DUSU, the NSUI won all seats while ABVP polled second. But a significant section of DU students this year spoke out quite clearly regarding their hopes for a radical Left, democratic student politics, represented by AISA. AISA polled 3rd on 3 DUSU posts and 4th on the post of President, consistently polling above 3000 votes on all 4 posts.
AISA's Presidential candidate, Nikita Sinha, a student of MSc Statistics in Ramjas College, polled 3000 votes. Kumar Ankit, a student of MA Buddhist Studies, polled 3600 votes on the post of VP. Nishant Kumar, a student of BSc Physical Sciences in Hansraj College, polled 4700 votes on the GS post. And Adiya Bikram Pande, a BA English Honours student of Satyawati College, polled 3700 votes on the Joint Secretary post.
AISA's significant and consistent good showing in the DUSU polls comes in the wake of a sustained campaign since last year against corruption and corporate plunder, against privatisation of education, and struggles against sexual harassment, against curtailment in student rights and campus democracy.
Edited, published and printed by S. Bhattacharya for CPI(ML) Liberation from U-90, Shakarpur, Delhi-92; printed at Bol Publication, R-18/2, Ramesh Park, Laxmi Nagar, Delhi-92; Phone:22521067; fax: 22442790, e-mail: email@example.com, website: www.cpiml.org