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POLICE BRUTALITY AGAINST GAS PIPELINE PROTESTERS

KERALA police unleashed brutal force against people protesting against the proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) pipeline of Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL) at Mukkom, near Calicut in which dozens of agitators were injured. The agitating people blocked rural roads with lighted tyres and threw stones at police vehicles. Tension prevailed in the area as the police resorted to a lathicharge and fired tear gas shells to disperse the crowd. Media persons also were injured in the police action. Ten activists were taken into custody on charges of attacking the police and their vehicles. To release the detainees, the action committee members laid a siege to the Mukkom police station under the leadership of people’s representatives.

On 6th Novemebr tens of thousands of people from Vypeen are marching to Ernakulam demanding the scrapping of the planned huge LPG storage tanks in the thickly populated area. Is the CPI(M) government going to crush all these movements using brute police force? 
MODI REGIME is proving how it is going against all the claims made by him during 2014 elections. Though 20 million jobs per year were promised, not only any jobs are provided, on the contrary, even existing jobs are lost. Similar is the case of housing also. Similar to the demolition of Shakur Basti on 12th December, two years before throwing out 15ooo families, the six decades long Katputli Basti is also under demolition now. More than 500 hutments are already razed to ground by the bull dozers. Like in Shakur Basthi, during the attack by the demolition gang, another young child was killed. Katputli Basti is a very old and big settlement of 5000 families of artists crafts people from different regions of North India. It is being wiped out to achieve Swatch Bharat of Modi and to hand over the land to housing mafias. CPI(ML) Red Star comrades are going to the basti and trying to organize mass resistance, which is the only way these types of aggression by the state can be met. 

AFTER PANAMA PAPERS, NOW PARADISE PAPERS

AFTER Panama Papers, the Paradise Papers reveal how corrupt practices are increasingly used to stash away black money in numerous havens, and how agencies are working to help the corrupt in this heinous act. When under intensifying corporatization of all fields life of vast masses are becoming increasingly miserable, these monsters are allowed to go scot-free by consecutive governments. A massive upsurge against this mafia class and the governments which protect them is the need of the hour as part of overthrowing this barbarous ruling system itself. A multi-agency group (MAG) will probe into the ‘Paradise Papers’ on financial holdings abroad that lists a number of 714 Indian individuals and entities, PTI reported on Monday quoting official sources. The Paradise Papers is a cache of 13.4 million documents obtained by German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and investigated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in partnership with The Indian Express. It reveals how two firms Bermuda’s Appleby and Singapore’s Asiaciti Trust help the global rich and powerful move their money abroad. 
IN LATEST issue of People’s Democracy, (5th November) the editorial: Neo-liberal Capitalism and its Crisis concludes with the following words:”...Within the regime of hegemony of globalised finance capital therefore there is no solution to the capitalist crisis. The only possible solution, which any single country can attempt, is for its State to play an active role; and for that to happen the State must shed its character of a neo-liberal State.

It can do so only if the economy is taken out of the vortex of global capital flows, through capital controls, and also, to the extent necessary, trade controls; that is, if the economy delinks itself from globalisation. Since the corporate-financial oligarchy which is itself integrated with international finance capital will not countenance this, only a State with an alternative class basis will be able to effect such a change, a State that is based on the support of the working people. And when the working people effect such a change, they will not rest content merely with reviving a capitalist economy, but will rather proceed to build an alternative economy altogether, an economy that will make a transition to socialism. Hence the cul-de-sac in which neo-liberal capitalism finds itself can be broken through; but such a break-through will lead to a transcendence of capitalism itself.

To be sure, as Lenin had said, there is no such thing as an absolutely hopeless situation for capitalism. Even if capitalism itself is unable to break out of the cul-de-sac, it will make every possible effort to prevent the working people from organising themselves to effect a change in the situation. It will unleash every skullduggery known to fascism towards this end. It will make every effort to push mankind towards barbarism in order to prevent its moving ahead towards socialism. The outcome ultimately of course depends upon praxis.

But the current scenario is one which opens up the possibility for the working people to seize the initiative to lift themselves out of the crisis and at the same time to defend and deepen their democratic rights, to carry forward in short the project of the October Revolution.” Will the CPI(M) leadership ask its leaders in Kerala heading the government there to give attention to these words; (or, is it only for the general readers)? 

FIGHT FOR CAMPUS DEMOCRACY AND GENDER EQUALITY!

THE girl students in BHU hostels were denied all basic democratic rights by the Manuvadi Vice Chancellor. Over and above this, in spite of repeated complaints to authorities the sexual harassments against them were increasing. When a girl was chased by ruffians within the campus, in spite of complaints the security staff or proctor refused to take any action. It was then the girls got mobilized and went to the quarters of VC to lodge protest. Instead of coming out and hearing them, he called for police action. 1500 policemen entered the campus and man-handled the girls brutally lathi charging them. It is a barbarous act which led to strong protest by all progressive forces. Though the VC has gone on leave and an enquiry is ordered no expeditious action is taken to change appalling condition of the campuses and to punish the culprits.

The police’s conduct in BHU was disgraceful. Such actions have now become widespread in the country. Due to politicized university administrations — be it at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jadavpur University, Hyderabad Central University, and now at BHU — policemen get a free hand to act against students who are perceived to have overstepped the limits set by the authorities. The girl students narrate that this life in BHU campus is like life in Kashmir; isolated, alienated, and cut off from the mainstream. “There’s no space for us to demand our rights, or express our opinion. We are simply required to read text-books, and maybe, even act like robots,” the girls added.

In spite of protests in many campuses, the situation continues unchanged or become worse as a result of commercialization and communalization of the education system and campuses. As the latest orders by the Kerala High Court shows even the judiciary is impervious to making the campus atmosphere democratic. A major struggle is called for to end terrorization of the students, for campus democracy and gender equality, linked with the struggle against commercialization and communal-ization of the education system. 

RELEVANCE OF ECOSYSTEM APPROACH TO THE COMMONS

A NUMBER of studies point to the fact that different communities have distinct niches on which they depend. These are dynamic niches and while the physical spaces overlap, the niche does not. This dynamism in the niche formation and its relation to livelihood support systems is not understood resulting in short sighted policies taking at best the de jure status of the land into account. The de facto status is very complex to understand and requires long term and multi disciplinary/multi-dimensional studies to begin to at least comprehend what is taking place. A beginning has been made by recognising the relevance of the gram sabha to capture these complexities, but this ignores migratory communities particularly those having seasonal/short term dependence on the resource. The net effect is a complex spiral web of vertical and horizontal set of relationships.

This brings home the fact that individuals/communities that are part of this complex spiral web may at best understand and grasp their own concerns but not the entirety, the ‘conflict of interest’ that so arises as a barrier to comprehensive understanding requires an ‘unbiased’ external force to help facilitate an action based learning process. Such an ‘unbiased’ agency does not exist. However the sum total of human experiences and current developments provides the material on which to make a start to understanding the difference in ‘systemic change’ from system change. This is an appeal to those who have learnt enough to understand that the current system has no answers and a sincere effort is first needed to first free ourselves from the system spectacles that it gives so that we can begin to fathom what is it, that is needed for real change.

In short these processes play itself out in the context of developing a live agenda for CCNR group as well. I am also attaching the concept note on Gender which further deepens the understanding. I quote from that document as well. Physical, verbal and psychological violence on women is the order of the day where they are involved directly in asserting their rights under FRA. Customary social practices and taboos, bind them. This restricts the process of women’s assertion in a process that seeks to restore the best of customary practices in the protection and management of sustainable forests. Hence gender equality in the process will ensure equity and sustainability of resources and of women’s rights and roles therein. Such an approach for engendering the forest rights regimes needs to refer to the injustices to women, in the discrimination and oppression they experience in denial of recognition of entitlements within family and community structures, both in the ownership and/or control over land and resources as well as in the voice and agency to make decisions for such resource conservation, use, protection and management. And that such protection of their rights must be based on an examination of the oppression within the rules and structures of governance from the family onwards.

This document was circulated widely among women’s groups in India and posted on facebook as well with the comment that in response to my note pointing out the role of my experiences in SPWD in developing this note I got a mail saying that I was blacklisted.

Viren Lobo 

SWAMINATHAN COMMISSION RECOMMENDATIONS

National Commissions: The Central Government from time to time forms various committees to study specific subjects, analyze the situation and submit recommendations. On the basis of these recommendations, Government policies are formed or updated. These committees are generally work in assistance with the related Ministries. Their reports are presented and discussed in Parliament.

National Commission on Farmers (NCF) : In 2004, UPA Government formed National Commission on Farmers. This Commission was formed to submit their recommendations on food and nutrition strategy, farming systems in India, strategy for rural credit, measures to improve the competitiveness of farm products, protecting agro markets from exports and special programmes to address the issues of dry regions. The commission was headed by Professor MS Swaminathan and hence the report of this commission is known as Swaminathan Report.

MS Swaminathan Reports : Prof. Swaminathan is a geneticist, known as “Indian Father of Green Revolution” for his key contributions in Green Revolution (1960s) where he introduced high yielding varieties of wheat. Under his leadership, the committee submitted its report in five instalments over the period from December, 2004 to October, 2006. These reports made several recommendations for improvement in the situation of farmers in India. While several criticized the Government for not implementing the recommendations of this committee properly, other few questioned the recommendations itself.

Key Findings & Recommendations of the Report : The major causes of the agrarian crisis are: unfinished agenda in land reform, quantity and quality of water, technology fatigue, access, adequacy and timeliness of institutional credit, and opportunities for assured and remunerative marketing. Adverse meteorological factors add to these problems. Land Reforms were considered necessary and key suggestions in this regards were to distribute ceiling-surplus and waste lands; prevent diversion of agricultural land & forest to corporate sector for non-agricultural purposes; ensure grazing rights & seasonal access to forests to tribals and pastoralists; establish a National Land Use Advisory Service, etc.Timely and adequate supply of credit is a basic requirement of small farm families and to enhance the same key suggestions of the committee were: expand the outreach of Credit facilities System; issue Kisan Credit Cards to women farmers; establish an Agriculture Risk Fund to provide relief to farmers in the aftermath of successive natural calamities, etc. 28% of the families in India were found to be Below Poverty Line and therefore, food security needed attention.

The committee recommended: ensure availability of quality seed and other inputs at affordable costs; Set up Village Knowledge Centres (VKCs) or Gyan Chaupals in the farmers’ distress hotspots; need for focused Market Intervention Schemes (MIS) in the case of life-saving crops; have a Price Stabilisation Fund in place to protect the farmers from price fluctuations, etc.Improving the competitiveness of the small farmers was considered necessary.

Suggestions in this area included: improvement in implementation of Minimum Support Price (MSP); MSP should be at least 50% more than the weighted average cost of production; availability of data about spot and future prices of commodities through the Multi Commodity Exchange (MCD) and the NCDEX, etc.The committee highlighted the need to create productive employment opportunities and to improve the quality of employment in several sectors such that real wages rise through improved productivity. For this purpose committee recommended emphasizing on relatively more labour intensive sectors and inducing a faster growth of these sectors and ensuring that the net take home income of farmers should be comparable to those of civil servants.The committee also recommended development of measures to reserve traditional rights of access to biodiversity and conservation, enhancement and improvement of crops, farm animals & fish stocks through breeding, etc.

10 years passed but still piece of papers : It’s been around 10 years from the date of submission of Final Report by Swaminathan Committee, however, still the recommendations of the same have not been implemented entirely. One may blame any Government for the delay in implementation, but the truth is farmers have suffered in the end. Prof. MS Swaminathan and his team had made some worthy recommendations, but amongst other reasons, the failure of Government to implement these recommendations, has worsened the situation of farmers in India.

There are demands being made to conduct a separate parliamentary session to discuss about this Farmer issue and develop strategy to combat the situation on the basis of Swaminathan Report, however, it is up to the Political Agenda of the Political Parties if working on farmer crisis is a part of their promotion.

ON PRINCIPAL CONTRADICTION IN CHINA

PRESENT China is socialist in form, but capitalist in content. Similarly the Communist Party of China which is holding its 19th Congress is also communist in form, but capitalist in content. Since it is still a communist party in form, it has to put forward what is the principal contradiction before the Chinese people today, as all communist parties do. So in his long opening address to the party congress, Xi Jinping, the CPC’s general secretary and president of Chinese state, stated that the “the principal contradiction today in China is between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever growing needs for a better life”. Though Trump in US or Modi in India or others like them in other countries have no compulsion to raise such formulations like principal contradiction, nobody can be blamed if they say that in content what Xi stated is not different from what is stated by others in imperialist countries as well as in neo-colonially dependent countries. Xi statement shows that China no more has contradictions between proletariat and bourgeoisie, or between Chinese people and world imperialist system. No emphasis on proletarian internationalist tasks to advance the world proletarian socialist revolution also. So, once again Xi’s speech underlines the fact that ‘socialism with Chinese characteristics practiced by the CPC’ is nothing but monopoly capitalism I action.

In the 8th Congress of the CPC in 1956, when Chinese people had completed the anti-imperialist, anti-feudal tasks of democratic revolution and entered the stage of socialist revolution the socialist forces under the leadership of Mao put forward that hereafter the principal contradiction shall be between the proletarian forces striving for socialist transition and the bourgeoisie which shall continue to strive for returning to power with the support of world imperialist system. But the capitalist roaders within the CPC led by Liu Shaochi and Deng Tsioping put forward their notorious ‘black cat, white cat theory’ against it, saying the principal task is to develop the productive forces by any means. Since the usurpation of power in post-Mao years by the capitalist roaders, the Dengist line was pursued, and what Xi says now is nothing but this capitalist path. 
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The Communist movement in India has a history of almost a century after the salvos of October Revolution in Russia brought Marxism-Leninism to the people of India who were engaged in the national liberation struggle against the British colonialists. It is a complex and chequered history.