While the BJP effectively used its Hindutva card for communal polarization of the voters, all others used communal/caste appeasement. Money and liquor power were lavishly used by all main players. To cap it all, in Bengal the CPI(M) went for an absolutely opportunist adjustment with the discredited Congress which destroyed the enthusiasm of its own cadres while benefitted the Congress to retain its hold.
The outcome of the elections show that the Congress by losing its two governments in Assam and Kerala has further weakened. It is now almost incapable to regain its long term status of the principal ruling class party, The BJP has replaced it now as the main ruling class party. The regional parties TMC and AIADMK could retain power in the absence of any other force to come forward as an effective alternative. In Kerala the incumbency factor against the unprecedentedly corrupt and anti-people Congress government and the secular polarization against the Hindutva card played by the BJP helped the LDF led by CPI(M) to handsomely win with a big majority. But by aligning with Congress in Bengal and not campaigning against the neoliberal policies which are devastating the people the CPI (M) and its front has further degenerated to opportunist positions and lost heavily in Bengal.
At this critical juncture, in order to fight the saffronization intensified by the RSS parivar using the state power and the neoliberal policies on which all ruling parties at centre as well as in the states are united, the only possible alternative is the platform of the struggling left and democratic forces based on a common minimum program.
It was based on this perspective they had contested the elections in Bengal, TN and Kerala. Let us strengthen this alternative in the coming days with more determination and vigour.
As the 1st of May nears once again, we once again have a chance to analyse the year that has passed and what we plan for the next year. This year saw a very deep crisis hit industry all over the world. Prices of oil, steel and copper have fallen steeply all over the world. Real wages are still stagnant at near about the level of the early 70s. In fact the pressure on wages has increased and new methods are being devised all over the world – like the introduction of a new type of contract labour system under the name of “apprenticeship” – to push the workers wages down.
At the same time, the past year has also seen a great tumult among the working class. Massive demonstrations in Paris against the new reforms in the labour laws. The massive movements in Greece against the earlier regime and the “austerity” imposed by the EU had a great contribution by the workers. Similar massive struggles of workers have taken place in Asia (like among the garment workers of Bangladesh, against labour law reforms in Cambodia, etc), in Africa (like the struggles of the mining workers in South Africa) and other continents. However, all statistics show that the number of strikes is drastically coming down all over the world. This shows that though the workers are being squeezed in different ways and though the workers are willing to fight, the present TU leadership is not willing to take up this struggle in an effective manner.
We can see the same trend in India. Though the Modi Government had, at first, tried to amend the labour laws from the centre, so as to significantly reduce the already paltry protections given to workers in India, this was opposed by many trade union centres including the BJP’s own BMS. A massive strike was held on 2nd September, which the BMS betrayed at the last minute, upon assurances given by the Government. However, many of the worst changes are being put into place by BJP Government’s in various states. In Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Harayana, the Government has put into place a number of changes in the labour laws. Earlier the number of workers required to call a manufacturing unit a factory was 10 (with the use of power) or 20 (without the use of power). Amendments have been put into place to enable the State Governments to increase such limits to 20 and 40. Thousands of factories will no more come within the purview of the Factories Act. The punishments to be given to employers for violations of the Factories have themselves been watered down. Now, for many offences, the employers will only have to pay a fine and will not face a jail term. The Industrial Disputes Act is also being amended in some states. Earlier, where the permission of the Government was required for closing an undertaking employing over 100 workers or for retrenching a worker in such an establishment, now the threshold is to be raised to 300 workers. This will mean that lakhs of workers in those states will lose this protection. The centre itself has also amended the Apprenticeship Act to make apprenticeship a new type of slave labour where the workers will have no rights and will be paid only a fraction of the wages paid to the regular workers under the plea that they are “learning”. They will remain learners for years together. Similar laws in other countries like UK and Canada have proved to be nothing but providing for a new type of contract labour.
Though a united strike was organised on 2nd September, which was quite a success, and though a day of protest was held on 10th March, which was quite muted, there has not been the sustained and definitive movement which the situation requires. On the one hand the Government is trying to unleash a frontal attack on the workers, by trying to remove the very protections and rights that they had won by struggles over a 150 years. The Governments boast that it is the only country with such a high rate of growth of GDP is only built upon the increasing burden cast upon the working class.
On the other hand, there is a boost to all sorts of religious and casteist divisive forces so as to try and divide the working class. The Dalits and the minorities are also being attacked both physically and by making all sorts of false assertions about them.
In this situation, there is a dire need to bring together all the forces which are willing to fight genuinely for the working class; which are willing to fight not only for wages and conditions of service but also against the policies of the Government both on the economic and the cultural front.
One more question. Who will decide the parameters of this fight? For too long have the workers suffered the consequences of a leadership which compromised in an unprincipled way with the Government and Industrialists. What is needed today is to put the workers themselves in command. What is needed therefore is a democratic and transparent procedure within the union which will allow the workers to truly express their aspirations.
This then was the call given by the 8th All India Conference of the TUCI which was just recently concluded in Raichur, Karnataka. We want to unite all the workers and their unions and organisations which will genuinely fight, not only for wages but against the neo-liberal and communal policies of this government. At the same time the forces uniting must be democratic and transparent in their functioning so as to really create a workers organisation capable of preparing the working class to lead all the struggling classes towards victory. This is the call that we reiterate this Mayday to all the workers. Unite we must and unite, we will!!
Workers of the World Unite!!
Fight for a Better Life, Fight for a Better Future!
Oppose the Neo-Liberal and Communal Policies of the Government!
Oppose All Attempts to Snatch Away the Rights and Protections Won by 150 Years of Struggle!
Build a Democratic Trade Union Movement With all Power to the Workers! n
The Central Committee of the CPI (ML) Red Star has called for observing the fifty years after the Naxalbari Uprising of May 1967 for an year from 25th May 2016 to 25th May 2017, organizing various programs to evaluate the significance of this historic event, its consequences, the reasons for the setbacks it suffered and the efforts taken up by the communist revolutionaries to carry forward its message by reorganizing the party as a powerful vanguard of the Indian proletariat according to present conditions. This uprising took place when the rightist Congress had started degenerating after two decades of all round domination, when instead of preparing themselves for replacing it, the CPI and CPI (M) leaderships were degenerating to right opportunist positions, and as a result of the struggle waged by the communist revolutionaries against this deviation.
Today when the rightist Congress is irreparably weakening and is replaced by ultra rightist BJP rule at centre, and when the balance of force of the various ruling class parties and regional parties are undergoing vast changes, the CPI and CPI(M) leaderships have further degenerated to social democratic positions and along with the anarchist Maoist trend are creating obstacles for uniting all genuine communist revolutionary forces in to a powerful communist party. It is by continuously struggling against these deviations and by developing class struggle against the ruling system, we have succeeded to develop the program and path of revolution according to present conditions, to build the party at all India level surrounded by class/ mass organizations and various people’s movements and to organize the Ninth and Tenth Party Congresses successfully.
But compared to the great task of building the party in a vast country like India, what is already achieved is only a small beginning. At international and national level we have great tasks ahead. The latest student movement against the Brahminical onslaughts of the Modi government, the two days of revolt by hundreds of thousands of working class in Bangalore etc shows that once again possibilities for mighty people’s movements are emerging. It is the task of the communist revolutionaries to intensify their struggle against all alien trends and to prepare themselves for giving leadership to coming people’s upsurges. In this context evaluating the experience of Naxalbari Uprising and later developments as initiated in the articles published in this issue of Red Star, and rebuilding the party is a great task before us. We appeal to all communist forces and friends to actively participate in this discussion by sending their critic of the articles published and by sending their own contributions. Let us strive to utilize the campaign during this period to overcome our weaknesses and to strengthen the party and the movement internationally and within the country. n
In order to carry forward these discussions, in this issue of The ML we are publishing the note prepared by Lenin on the occasion of the Fourth Anniversary of the October Revolution, giving a brief evaluation of the Soviet experience in its formative years. Apart from it, an article on The Significance of Observing the Centenary of October Revolution by com.KNR, prepared as study paper for the Central Party School being held in the second week of June is also published for initiating an in depth discussion of this important aspect of the international communist movement.
In the last issue of The ML we had published an article on the Dictatorship of the Proletariat by com. Alik. In this issue an article evaluating this study by com. V. Vijaykumar is published. More such discussions are invited on this cardinal question which is basically linked with the democratization of the society including establishing people’s power at all levels.
Another important paper prepared for presentation to the Central Party School by Dr. Rajan Gurukkal, former vice- chancellar of the Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala, on Mythologizing the Past: A Strategy to Make the People Uncritical, dealing with the question of distortion of history and culture by the RSS parivar utilizing the control on the state power it has achieved is published with a view to encourage widespread discussion on this cardinal question.
As already pointed out in the previous issues, we are inviting an open discussion on all these questions discussed in these particles. All articles and critics received shall be published in coming issues.
1st May, 2016.
In the inaugural session from 10.30 am the spokespersons of the seven constituent organizations: comrades K.N.Ramachandran, CPI(ML) Red Star, Kuldip Singh – MCPI(U), Nirjhari -NSM- Gujarat, R.K.Singh- NJLM, Arun Maji- NDPI, Raghav- Sarvodaya Prabhat Party, and O.P.Sinha- JJA-UP along with one more leading comrade from these organizations constituted the presidium and com.Umakant of CPI(ML) Red Star conducted the proceedings. The main speakers of the constituent organizations pointed out that with the advent to power of ultra rightist BJP government the corporate loot and saffronization drive of RSS Parivar have intensified. Including dalits, adivasis, women and minorities, all oppressed classes and sections are facing unprecedented pauperization and alienation. Even existing democratic rights, secular values, progressive aspects of foreign policy, the right to food, housing, healthcare, education and employment are taken away. Whatever plurality, humanist values, scientific temper existed has come under barbarous attacks of saffron brigades who are trying to impose their own moral, food, dress, culture and even work code on everybody. It is in this situation the revolutionary and democratic forces decided to join together to enlarge the agitational platform of the DPF which was launched with five organizations in 2010, and work for a people’s alternative based on the following 12 point Common Minimum Program:
Oppose monetary policies of imperialist globalization-liberalizaion-privatization; Struggle against imperialist domination through IMF, World Bank, WTO and MNCs; Fight against communalism of all shades, especially Hindutua communal forces which are part and parcel of Indian state power; Oppose anti-farmer land acquisition laws; Give special attention to protection of the interests of village poor including the poor and middle peasants against corporate, landlord forces and their lackeys. Fight for implementation of progressive land reforms based on land to the tillers; Fight against price-rise and unemployment; Struggle for Public Distribution System, food security, housing, education, healthcare and employment for all; Fight for unemployment allowance to all unemployed. Struggle for recognizing right to work as fundamental right.; Fight for anti-imperialist, pro-people democratic government and socialization of all core sectors of economy and natural resources; Implement autonomous councils in Adivasi areas based on Sixth schedule of the Constitution; Fight against caste, religion, gender and nationality based discriminations and oppressions; Ensure equality for all at all levels; Struggle for casteless and genuine secular society; Fight against contract and casual labour system; struggle for need based minimum wages, and for achieving equal wage for equal work, job security and democratic and trade union rights for the working class; Confiscate black money deposited in foreign banks and other hide outs. Struggle for ceiling on wealth; Scrap AFSPA, UAPA and all other draconian laws and oppression based on them; Stop military from interfering in people’s affairs and harassing them wherever it is taking place; Fight against state terror.; Stop big brotherly and expansionist attitude and settle all border disputes with all neighbors amicably; Cut down military expenditure; Abolish imperialist promoted ‘development’ policies implemented by the central and state governments which devastate nature, cause ‘climate change’, lead to ecological catastrophes and to impoverishment of the people.
In the speeches to the inaugural Session the comrades highlighted the importance of taking up political mobilization against RSS offensive and corporatization in the emerging situation when the students and youth along with all oppressed classes and sections of the people are coming forward taking up many burning issues under the rule of Modi government. All of them called for building a revolutionary and democratic alternative to defeat the corporate- saffron raj.
The Common Minimum Program was presented from the presidium consisting of leading comrades of the constituent organizations. In the discussion that followed, a number of comrades valuable suggestions. Many vital state level issues were also pointed out by the speakers. The CMP was adopted after the presidium assured that as far as possible these suggestions shall be incorporated and the question of what kind of an alternative we are putting forward shall be sharply defined.
Then the Convention discussed the future program proposed from the presidium for uniting all forces who adopt the CMP and to organize state level conventions in coming months, and for uniting the people’s movements developing in various regions under the banner of DPF. Based on these the presidium also proposed to mobilize a rally at Delhi on 7th November marking the beginning of the centenary programs of October Revolution as a symbol of the struggle for socialization against the corporate-saffron raj putting forward the people’s alternative in the present international and national situation. The proposals were discussed by the delegates and adopted with thunderous applause.
The Convention was greeted by comrades Arjun Prasad (PDFI), Dr. Onkar Mithal, Bharatiy Nyay Manch, Dr. Rajender Singh, Anti Nuclear Forum, Haryana, C. Bhaskar Rao, Gen.Secy, OPDR, Brij Bihari, Caste Annihilation Movement, UP, Sivaram, Odisha, All India Slum/Housing Right Movement , Urmila, MP, Airwo and com.C.B.Singh from Jan Jagrutik Abhiyan-UP. The Convention greeted the struggle of the students of various central universities including JNU, greeted Rohit Vemala, the symbol of dalit and oppressed resistance, and declared solidarity with workers and peasant struggles and supported the struggle of women for gender equality. Com.Vimal, secretary, Delhi Committee of the CPI(ML) Red Star extended vote of thanks to all those present who have made the Convention a great success. On the whole it was a new inspiring beginning to the DPF for uniting the revolutionary and democratic forces for a people’s alternative against the anti-people ruling system.
All these saffron acts were justified saying that doing things in the name of free speech questioning anything connected with nationalism will amount to insulting the brave soldiers guarding the national borders. So no discussion on these borders is allowed even if one has serious reservations on who created these borders and who put these soldiers there, including in Siachen, one of the most inhospitable places for human beings on earth. No discussion is allowed on why Srinagar, which is not on the border is one of the most militarized cities in the world and Kashmir is one of the most militarized places on earth. No discussion is allowed on Sedition Act imposed by the British colonialists and on Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) which allows immunity to soldiers against which the Iron Lady of Manipur Irom Sharmila is on a 15 year old indefinite fast.
The constitutional mandate for the military is to help the implementation of the Constitution. But now they are forced to build bridges to help the celebration of World Cultural Festival organized by a self-styled god man, Shri Shri Ravi Shankar, an event which is questioned now by National Green Tribunal and fined Rs. 5 crores. Violating all environmental laws more than 1000 acres of Yamuna’s flood plains are encroached upon to hold this event. Bowing to pressure from above all these institutions have now allowed him to go ahead with this program which will only spread more superstitions allowing him to make a delayed payment of the fine.
Modi government do not see anything wrong if the military men are deployed for the mundane task of building bridges for the “Shri Shri” event. Does it not amount to degrading our soldiers by depriving them from their primary duty of guarding the borders? Are we paying tax money, used to pay salary of the soldiers, to build bridges for a private ceremony organized by a self styled god man? The people should demand an answer.
This move on the part of Modi regime to push through this controversial legislation at the fag end of the first phase of the budget session is highly condemnable. We appeal to the people to come forward to resist this draconian move recognizing its true essence.