What happened during last three months was a feverish and acrimonious election campaign for the 17th Lok Sabha. The results of these elections, giving almost a two third majority to NDA in the new Lok Sabha announced on 23rd May, has surprised not only the mainstream opposition parties, but all the progressive, democratic, struggling people’s forces who were campaigning against and leading numerous struggles against it. If Modi led BJP had won the 2014 elections with the slogan of Sub ke Sath Sab ka Vikas, during the last five years all the major initiatives his government took including demonetization, GST, intensification of corporatization of all sectors etc had led to highest rates of unemployment during last 45 years, acute distress in farm sector leading to suicides by hundreds of farmers in many states, serious slow down of the economy and growing ecological destruction making the climate change like phenomena severe day by day, to mention a few of the serious consequences. At the same time pursuing aggressive saffronization, spreading politics of hatred, targeting the religious minorities and dalits, etc majoritarian divide and rule politics is taken to extreme levels. In this situation the resistance against Modi rule went on increasing, first through numerous people’s struggles and then, as reflected in electoral reverses, especially in the defeat of BJP led state governments in Rajasthan, MP and Chhattisgarh six months ago. All these factors had pointed towards possible defeat of Modi government in the 2019 elections.
The mainstream opposition parties, though none of them had led any major campaigns or struggles against the Modi rule during the last five years, were expected to pick up these issues and the failure of Modi rule in implementing any of its major promises of 2014, for defeating Modi and replacing it with their alliance after the elections.
But as the campaign was starting by February, with the militants’ attack on the CRPF convoy at Pulwama, followed by the Balakot air strike against the terrorist base inside Pakistan, Modi turned around the possible anti-incumbency against his government by projecting the national security matters and mascular nationalism targeting Pakistan, the Muslim minorities and the Kashmiri people’s movement through a protracted, colourful and extremely expensive sectarian political campaign, with the slogan: We will enter your house and kill you, This is New India. Modi, Amit Shaw and other leaders, blatantly violating the Model Code of Conduct rules of the Election Commission, were asking the people to vote BJP in the name of the Pulwama martyrs, for the Balakot ‘surgical’ strike, for Modi’s army! The first accused in Malegaon terrorist attack, Pragya Thakur was fielded as candidate, further intensifying the saffron campaign. In this process, the identity politics of the caste based parties were, in the main, submerged by the frenzied safronization of the RSS parivar.
Surprising its opponents, the BJP and its NDA allies led a presidential style campaign, appealing for each vote to their candidates as a vote for Modi, projecting the election as a referendum for him. It was turned in to a jingoistic campaign with an anti-Muslim political narrative . The opposition parties, especially, the Congress, could not or failed to expose this sinister BJP campaign organized with the connivance of a majority in the EC. Besides, while the BJP even made concessions to forge unity of the NDA parties, the opposition, mainly Congress, failed to forge unity among themselves, or to put forward a unified approach. In this situation, utilizing huge corporate funds, services of the media, planned use of social media, EC majority’s connivance which went to the extent of planning the seven phase elections to suit Modi’s public meetings and road shows, to allowing him to stage a sort of ‘road show’ at Kedarnth and Badrinath on 18th and 19th May, on the day of silent campaign and the last polling day, Modi and company created conditions for its victory. The disunited opposition parties who have no alternate vision about the corporatization speeded by Modi, who pursue caste based politics compromising with Hindutva ideology, easily crumbled before the Modi-Shaw juggernaut, helping BJP led NDA to a massive victory, polling more than 50% of votes in 17 states and spreading menacingly to W. Bengal, Odisha like states also. And, with the connivance of the EC and utilizing loop holes in the present electoral system including the use of EVMs against which criticism are increasing day by day, Modi could outsmart the divided opposition easily. As far as the traditional left, the ‘Left Front’ parties, are concerned, they have refused to take lessons from their hitherto debacle due to pursuing neoliberal policies. So, even after getting unseated in W. Bengal and Tripura, they repeat same mistakes in their last resort, Kerala. In front of Modi- Shaw offensive they were swept away in Bengal and Tripura, and severely maulted in Kerala
The coming to power of Modi for another five years with added strength poses a serious challenge before the toiling masses as well as to the struggling left forces who waged a campaign, fielding candidates in few seats, with the slogan: “Defeat corporate-saffron fascist Modi rule, Build people’s Alternative”. While actively participating in all movements to weaken the saffron fascist forces, they should take up the question of building people’s alternative against increasing corporate-saffron fascist threat more actively, striving to participate in all forms of struggles with the orientation of developing independent communist assertion. It calls for concrete analysis of the present developments leading to the victory of Modi, mobilizing all struggling forces for launching people’s movements against it. The growing ultra rightist, neo-fascist challenge, a growing danger at international level itself, can be confronted and defeated only by putting forward an alternative manifesto for democracy and development, and mobilizing the toiling masses and all oppressed sections for people’s democracy and socialism. Let us take up this challenge with firm resolve.
CPI(ML) Red Star
24th May, 2019
The Fani cyclone which hit Puri coast on 3rd May morning has caused extensive damages in all coastal districts of Odisha, and in northern districts of AP and southern districts of W. Bengal. The worst damages are in Odisha, especially in Puri-Bhubaneswar-Cuttack region. Still (5th morning) electricity, telephone, water connections and communications are not restored in thie region and many other areas. Lakhs of bastis and small structures including houses of many of our comrades and party office are seriously damaged. So far it is reported that about 45 people have died. The extensive shifting of people to shelters helped in bringing down the number of dead. Rehabilitation of the people including reconstruction of the hutments etc need help from all. We have asked our party state committees in Odisha, Bengal and AP to send reports and to organize relief work at state level. They can do it effectively only with help from outside.
In this situation, on behalf of the Central Committee all Party Committees are called upon to organize collection of Relief Fund for the affected areas. As the election campaign in most of the states are completed, all party comrades should be mobilized for collection of Relief Fund for Fani cyclone affected people of Odisha.
As soon as the relief committee is formed in Odisha, its account no and other details shall be sent. Make all out effort to collect relief fund from today, 5th May to 5th June. Issue appeals to people for assistance.
K N Ramachandran
CPI(ML) Red Star
Elitist ‘high culture’ of political Hindutva is attempting to make significant inroads in the mass culture of the Indian society. Cultural practices promoted by the right wing Hindutva forces are gaining popular support among the Indian middle and upper classes. We have reached a point of crisis in our cultural history which demands intervention by the forces concerned with the growing trend of vicious Hindu nationalist culture in our society. Divisive communal ideologies are brazenly propagated in defiance of our constitutional principles. If you have not noticed this you are not paying attention.
Hegemonic mono-cultural drive unleashed by the corporate sponsored right wing forces has placed religion at the centre of cultural and social practices. The Brahminical version of Hinduism is made popular among the Indian masses in the name of Indian Nationalism. This in turn creates ground for the rise of Muslim radicalism too. The communal divide thus formed is a breeding ground for ideas of religious sectarianism. Ideas of post-modernism are reflected in the new mass culture through revival of the traditional in the banal contemporary forms. TV soaps, films based on hyper nationalist themes, hate clips on social media, etc., are examples of manifestation of these post modernist trends. Neglect of fine art institutions, interference and interventions in the regional literary festivals by the saffron brigade, using censorship to muffle expression of dissent through media, saffronisiation of the cultural events are the examples of project of de-secularisation of our culture.
Authoritarian regime at the centre is set to wipe out liberal democratic values in our culture. Rise of communalism in India has posed a challenge before the advancement of progressive cultural movement. Mass culture is developing in a direction of serving the interests of imperialism and ruling classes of our country. Peoples interests are being ignored, artistic freedom is being impinged and real cultural progress is facing opposition from the pretentious Hindutva Cultural brigade.
All concerned artists and cultural activists should therefore actively resist this communal onslaught on our culture. We should also do all we can to promote secular popular culture. We should form action networks on issues concerning the project of opposition to the communalisation of Indian culture. It is also necessary to support the civil society institutions struggling to protect their independence from authoritarian forces. All our efforts to save democratic space for art and culture should be combined with struggle against neoliberalism which is the real prop for Neo conservatives of Hindu National variety.
Even liberal democratic values cannot be realised without addressing the real issues of social and economic inequalities in our society. We should therefore also strive to give form to the aspirations of the victims of these inequalities through our works of art and literature with a renewed vigour. This appeal is meant to address the cultural activists and the artists to defend our composite culture and strengthen the movement for cultural advancement of our country.
- Reject the ‘high culture’ of political Hindutva!
- Let us join the struggle to preserve and promote the syncretic traditions of our culture!
- Protest against the onslaught on the basic cultural rights and freedoms of Indian people!
- Get active, rise up!
[Tuhin, Pravin Nadkar, Aseem Giri, Ravi Paloor, Samar Sengupta and Rajendra Prasad Singh on behalf of All India Coordination Council of Revolutionary Cultural Forum] n
The CPI(ML) Red Star strongly condemns the 27th March anti-satellite missile test, Modi’s arrogant claims about India entering the elite club and BJP leaders’ war mongering sighting it to influence the ongoing election process.
One of the progressive aspects of India’s foreign policy was that right from the beginning it had stood for universal nuclear disarmament. That is why even after achieving scientific-technological capability to make nuclear bombs, it did not go for it. But Vajpayee government violated this and went for nuclear arms soon after coming to power. When China test fired its anti- satellite missile in 2007 India had condemned it. India had opposed the use of outer space for armament and conflicts; it had opposed the sabre-rattling of US to use outer space for future arms race and possible wars. It was a positive step that in spite of having the capability to launch missiles capable of destroying satellites by 2010, it did not go for it.
But like Vajpayee, Modi has used this capability by ordering the anti-satellite missile test and is boasting about it for winning the elections. In effect he and the RSS parivar are destroying whatever positive aspects Indian foreign policy had hurriedly. It is similar to the destruction of all institutions built up under existing constitutional principles under Modi rule. So Modi’s 27th March act should be opposed not from a defensive position, but by attacking him for destroying whatever positive values this country had. We should stand for and struggle for universal nuclear disarmament and against using the outer space also for weaponization and arms race. War mongering by Modi and the BJP leaders should be resisted and defeated.
The anti-satellite missile test and war mongering are calculated moves to divert attention from the total failure of his government to address any of the problems faced by the vast masses. We appeal to all progressive, secular democratic forces to strive hard to defeat BJP and its allies. n
The serial blasts in Colombo, Sri Lanka, a country which was suffered ravaged by violent internal strife for long periods should be condemned by one and all. It should be seen in the context when ultra rightist, neo fascist forces promoted by imperialists and their lackeys and supported by religious fundamentalists in the service of global corporate system directly or indirectly are gaining strength everywhere, violently attacking all democratic human values. So, while we are hurt when practically everyday such incidents are happening in some country or other, it should be recognized that these terrorist acts can be ended only by throwing out the imperialists and their agents who are behind them.
When the Khalistan fundamentalists had launched terrorist actions in the beginning of 1980s, when even some among the left circles had supported them, we had categorically pointed out that majority fundamentalism and minority fundamentalism are two sides of the same coin, that both help the growth of each other, and so both should be opposed uncompromisingly. Centuries long human history reveals that all hues of religious fundamentalism/communalism, racism and casteism are helping the growth of each other and all of them ultimately serve the interests of the ruling system only.
In Sri Lanka we witnessed a quarter century of bitter strife between the predominantly Budhist Sinhala state and the LTTE rooted among the Hindu Tamils. But, while the nationality question still remains unresolved, all the communal forces grew. It was followed by Islamic fundamentalists’ attacks on Budhist centers, and retaliation by them. Now the present attacks on Christian churches under whatever justification by the Islamic fundamentalists shall only further aggravate the social contradictions in that multi-religious country.
We are witnessing within our country how the growth of Saffron forces have vitiated the social life. It is a universal truth that whatever may be the claims of the religious fundamentalists, racists, their militancy and actions are making the life of common people more miserable; at the same time they help the ruling system and elite classes to perpetuate their regimes.
The gruesome tragedy in Colombo on 21st April is a reminder to all secular democratic forces that uncompromisingly combating the communal, racist forces of all hues, they should intensify the fight for inclusive, secular, democratic and renaissance values globally and in all countries. n
Hundreds of families under the leadership of the Land Struggle Committee led by AIKKS and ABM captured and declared right over land at Thowari Mala, Wayanad district, Kerala. A powerful agitation has been launched by landless peasants, mainly Adivasis for the right to farmland and housing, initiating a new phase to the history of glorious struggles of Wayanad on 21st April, on the eve of CPI(ML) party formation day. More than thousand landless peasant families including hundreds of Adivasi women launched land struggle at Thowari Mala eructing their huts there from 3 PM on this day. The land struggle led by the Land Struggle Committee, initiated their struggle at Thowari Mala land, over 100 hecters, which was acquired from Harison Malayalam Plantations in 1970 by the then state government, but not distributed to the landless families..
The Land Struggle Committee led by All India Kranthikari Kisan Sabha (AIKKS) and Adivasi Bharat Mahasabha (ABM) - both mass movements – is campaigning for capturing over 5.25 lakh hectors of land illegally occupied by a handful of Plantation Corporate Mafia, including Harison, Tata etc. The Land Struggle Committee has been demanding that the state government should take over to pass this land and distribute to the millions of landless tillers, mainly Dalit and Adivasis and other oppressed sections and large number of plantation workers. The Land Struggle Committee has launched the land struggle with the main demand to distribute farmland to all landless tillers including Adivasis and plantation workers.
There were reports that thousands of landless people are preparing to march to Thomari Mala in support of the struggle. The tea plantation workers in the area have extended their support. More sections of people were coming forward declaring solidarity with the struggle. Alarmed with the support the struggle was getting, the LDF government deployed large police force on 24th April morning and started suppressing the movement arresting its leaders and large number of landless families including women. Though the movement is now suppressed, the Land Struggle Committee has declared that it shall continue the struggle with more mobilization of the landless families.
CPI(ML) Red Star appeals to all struggling left and democratic forces and all oppressed sections and classes to come forward in solidarity with the ongoing movement with land to the tiller slogan and to expand the movement to other areas also according to conditions there.
Historical Relevance of Thowari Mala Land Strruggle
Thowari Mala land is situated just 4 KM away from Edakkal Cave at Nenmeni Panchayat under Sulthan Batheri Thaluk in Waynadu district. Many historical researchers depicts that Thowari Mala was habitat of Waynadan tribal people for many thousand years. Many historical sculptural illustrations are still visible on many gigantic rocks there, even now. These sculptural depictions are equally aged and similar to Edakkal Cave portrayals. All the depictions on the rocks are historical remnants of forgone habitats of the tribals there. These forest lands were captured by the then Kottayam kings and later occupied by British colonial power, after defeating Pazhassi rebellion and evacuating Adivasi people, to establish Plantations by foreign Plantation companies.
The Thowari Mala Land was part of Thowari Estate which was maintained for firewood for the plantation purpose by the company. In 1970, C Achuta Menon government took over 5000 Acres land including this Thowari Mala land, declaring it surplus land. But consecutive governments were not ready to distribute even a single cent of land to the landless peasants from these thousands of acres of surplus land, so far. Instead, the Govt handed over the land to Forest Department as its custodian with the condition that it would distribute 50% to Adivasis, 30% to other landless peasants, 20% to land development activities. But though the Adivasi masses in the district who constitute over 17% of population are still facing acute poverty and landlessness, neither the UDF nor the LDF govts who were in power so far in the state were not ready to distribute their legitimate land to the Adivasis.
Now, it is reported that the Pinarayi Govt and Harison management are engaged in unholy discussions to hand over to this land back to Harison Company. Land Tribunal is also supporting this sabotage with their vested interests. Consecutive governments were not ready to go for court cases against Harison management to take back their total illegally occupied land. Many reports by various commissions appointed by Govt have pointed out that Harison has illegally occupied over one lakh acres of land in 7 districts of Kerala, with the support of false documents. Over 5.25 lakhs acres of land has been under illegal occupation by just 6 companies who have no right to possess even a cent of land, legally and constitutionally. Consecutive governments in Kerala, were not ready to legislate under Government of India Act 1947 to acquire these land.
While, the basic sections of the peasantry - Dalits, Adivasis, other poor and landless peasants, agricultural labourers, plantation workers – who are real tiller and legitimate owners of the land, live under acute poverty and landlessness without any land even to bury their dead, and live in precarious condition in slums and road-sides, the consecutive governments are continuing their unholy nexus with Plantation monopolies to protect their illegally occupied land.
It is in this situation, the Land Struggle Committee has launched the land struggle at Thowari Mala by landless peasants, mainly Adivasis. It has cardinal relevance in the history of the land struggles by the oppressed masses in Wayanad in the course of which com. Varghese became a martyr. We hope, the ongoing struggle will inspire the struggle of the oppressed masses in the state and give a boost to the people’s movements in the state in the days to come. n
- Worldwide, imperialism shows its reactionary face. Wars are threatening. The exploitation of humanity and nature is brutally intensified. Mass unemployment and poverty are raging. Oppression and violence against women are part of everyday life. The natural foundations of life are endangered more and more every day. The causes of flight are increasing. Rightist to fascist governments are reflected in strengthening of rightist and fascist forces also among the masses. Destruction of the future of the youth – that is the ultimate consequence of imperialist logic.
- In all this our opponents are highly organized! And what about us? The revolutionary, anti-imperialist forces are still very fragmented and sometimes quarrel over trivialities. That must be changed urgently if the world is not to drown in barbarism. But there are also hopeful beginnings of new unions and alliances, and growing need for cooperation.
- The labour productivity of the workers and peasants has exploded during the last decades. The resources of humanity and nature could provide all humankind with jobs, food, education, health, and room for culture and social commitment. But this is only possible in social conditions in which humanity and nature are in the centre and not, like today, maximum profit, imperialist power and rivalry.
- Among the masses the consciousness of the unjust and exploitative societal relationships has clearly developed. The will for change is growing as well as the search for a societal alternative. What is still lacking among the broad masses is the deep clarity about the imperialist roots of the disaster. Confidence and certainty are lacking about the possibility of a society based on unity of humanity and nature, with democracy and freedom and socialist future prospects.
- In many countries, during the last years revolutionary, anti-imperialist parties, organizations and movements have come into existence and have strengthened themselves. The wish grows to cooperate despite existing differences, and in doing so to clarify political contradictions and those regarding world outlook step by step.
- Let us take the initiative for building an anti-imperialist united front for that:
- which is directed against all imperialists, and above all fights against US imperialism as main warmonger, superpower and enemy of all peoples!
- which promotes the worldwide process of clarification about imperialism in order to strengthen self-confidence, the level of organization, and trust, on the national and international level;
- which organizes and coordinates effective steps of joint struggle;
- which lays the foundations to become a superior force to imperialism.
- Discuss everywhere the need for this union and the need to invest resources in this.
- Collect signatories for this call until 1 May 2019!
- Recommend trustworthy representatives who will take initiative for the coordination of a first conference!
- Let us celebrate a first worldwide anti-imperialist day of struggle by mutual agreement in 2020! n
The working class all over the world is observing the May Day this year when the onslaughts against them in all fields are intensifying day by day. An overview of the long period after the Second International decided to observe May Day, the day on which the working class in Chicago organized the historic march for an eight hour working day, as the international working class day, we have witnessed many ups and downs of the movement. But what we are witnessing during the post Second World War decades, especially after the setbacks suffered by the international communist movement, is unprecedented. Under neo-colonial/neoliberal offensive, like a mad bull the capitalist imperialist system has not only launched increasingly savage attack on whatever rights so far won by the working class; it has transformed itself in to aggressively speculative market fundamentalist one when jobless growth and contract system have led to acute deprivation of the working class economically, politically and ideologically. In order to obfuscate the reality of class struggle, imperialist think tanks are replacing it with clash of civilizations like reactionary ideologies. Under it Islamophoebia is spread, and all hues of religious fundamentalists, racism, casteism etc are promoted. Even existing bourgeois democratic values are obliterated; the bourgeois democratic state is getting transformed in to ultra rightist, neo-fascist, corporate state.
This is a most severe challenge against the working class and all toiling masses. The impact of the neo-colonial offensive is so serious that, it has disarmed the working class and their political vanguards ideologically, politically, socially and organizationally. As a result, though numerous resistance struggles are coming up everywhere from the side of the working class and oppressed peoples, including mighty uprisings throwing out many anti-people forces in power, they are not becoming successful to overthrow the existing reactionary ruling system and replacing it with even a progressive anti-imperialist regime. The corporate forces controlling the world are succeeding to crush these rebellions or to integrate even the new forces coming up inside their global system.
So, when the May Day is going to be observed, the cardinal question confronting the working class today is how can they overcome these challenges and advance? It calls for the daringness to recognize and rectify hitherto deviations and shortcomings, and to reinvent themselves applying and developing the revolutionary theory according to the needs of the present concrete conditions. It is definitely a difficult task. But, present challenging times demand daringness to confront them in all spheres. On this May Day let us dare to take up this task and dare to struggle with the new orientation, so that we can once again realize our victorious path forward.
K N Ramachandran
CPI (ML) Red Star
20th April 2019