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The Adivasi Bharat Mahasabha (ABM) upholds the genuine demands raised by various Adivasi organizations and whole-heartedly supports the Bharat Bandh called by them on March 5.

In spite of the temporary stay issued by Supreme Court against the forcible eviction of Adivasis from their habitat, there is every possibility that it can be overturned. What is required is an appropriate law to protect the habitat and livelihood of the tribal people in accordance with the Forest Right Act. The double-speak of the Modi regime in this regard needs to be exposed.

In this context, the ABM calls upon all progressive democratic forces to join hands with the struggling adivasi organizations and make the March 5th Bharat Bandh a success.

                    

Bhojlal Netam

President

Adivasi Bharat Mahasabha

 

New Delhi

March 4, 2019

Red Salute to Comrade Neenda Payanam Sundaram

 

Comrade Neenda Payanam Sundaram who was Central Committee member of CPI (ML) Red Star (formerly CPI – ML Red Flag) from 2003 to 2005 and who had step down from the committee due to illness from that time, passed away on 28th February 2019. He joined the party in 1985 and from that time onward as Secretary of the State organizing committee played major role in building the party in Tamil Nadu. He was active in CPI (M) led Trade Union movement and when the Naxalbari Uprising took place, he joined CPI (ML) from its early days and brought out Needa Payanam (Long March) which played a role in attracting many young comrades to the Marxist – Leninist Movement. Due to illness, he was inactive for almost 13 years. The Central Committee of CPI (ML) Red Star which was in cession remembered him on 1st March 2019 morning and State Committee comrades including State Secretary Com Kuchelar went to his house in Chengalpet and paid respect to his memory.

 

K N Ramachanran

General Secretary

CPI (ML) Red Star

 

New Delhi

3rd March 2019

Red Salute to Comrade Neenda Payanam Sundaram

 

Comrade Neenda Payanam Sundaram who was Central Committee member of CPI (ML) Red Star (formerly CPI – ML Red Flag) from 2003 to 2005 and who had step down from the committee due to illness from that time, passed away on 28th February 2019. He joined the party in 1985 and from that time onward as Secretary of the State organizing committee played major role in building the party in Tamil Nadu. He was active in CPI (M) led Trade Union movement and when the Naxalbari Uprising took place, he joined CPI (ML) from its early days and brought out Needa Payanam (Long March) which played a role in attracting many young comrades to the Marxist – Leninist Movement. Due to illness, he was inactive for almost 13 years. The Central Committee of CPI (ML) Red Star which was in cession remembered him on 1st March 2019 morning and State Committee comrades including State Secretary Com Kuchelar went to his house in Chengalpet and paid respect to his memory.

 

K N Ramachanran

General Secretary

CPI (ML) Red Star

 

New Delhi

3rd March 2019

Call by CPI(ML) Red Star:
STAND UP FOR PEACE, STRUGGLE AGAINST WARMONGERING, OBSERVE 15th MARCH As ANTI- WAR DAY.

With Pakistan handing over IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman in a gesture of peace, there seems to be, for the time being at least, perceptible de-escalation of tensions between the two countries. However, the jingoistic fervour, ceaselessly whipped up by Modi and his government, as also irresponsible and pro-Modi media, has not quite abated. Meanwhile, further state atrocities in Kashmir, in the name of 'combating terrorism', have worsened matters.

It is obvious that on the eve of the general elections, the Modi government, which has failed to deliver on all its promises and led the country to doom, is desperate to win back popular support by fanning the flames of national chauvinism.

Under Modi, unemployment has reached record levels, economic growth has actually shown a decline, our resources are steadily being sold to big corporates for a song, workers and peasants are facing unprecedented devastation, there is an all-out attack on democratic rights, the saffronisation of public institutions has reached absurd proportions, society is being deliberately split along caste and communal lines, and women, Dalits and minority communities are facing systemic violation of the inalienable rights of life and liberty.

Thus the frenetic warmongering and rabid jingoism resorted to by the Modi government barely a month before elections is a vile attempt to cover up its total failure in office, the murky scams discrediting the government in no small measure and the socio-economic disaster it has plunged the country into.

When Modi and the Sangh Parivar are hysterically shouting that the country is in safe hands, we assert: No, the country is not in safe hands,

The entire series of events, from the Pulwama terror attack on a CRPF convoy to the retaliatory IAF air strikes, is shrouded in mystery. It is apprehended that as elections approach and uncomfortable facts related to both come up, the Modi government may resort to further warmongering to divert public attention from its gigantic failures.

The need of the hour is to categorically and unequivocally stand for peace and call for rapid and absolute de-escalation. It is clear that citizens of both countries want peace, not war. The way in which Pakistani civil society raised the demand for the release of Wing Commander Abhinandan is a clear indication of the mood of the people of our neighbouring nation.

CPI (ML) Red Star calls upon all democratic and peace-loving citizens to –
• Demand political and peaceful solution to the Kashmir question;
• Demand an end to state atrocities in Kashmir;
• Demand that there should be no tampering with Article 370 or Article 35a;
• Call upon the Modi government and all opposition parties to stop warmongering;
• Call upon the Modi government to refrain from all acts of external aggression and indeed from any action that may provoke war; and
• Unite for peace, and against war.

KN Ramachandran,

General Secretary,
CPI(ML) Red Star.

New Delhi

3rd March 2019

The Polit Bureau of the CPI (ML) Red Star in Session makes the following statement on 27th February, 2019.

Stand up for peace, struggle against warmongering.

No, the country is not in safe hands. The frenetic warmongering and rabid jingoism resorted to by the Modi government on the eve of national elections is a vile attempt to cover up its total failure in office, the murky scams, the socio-economic disaster it has plunged the country into, only proves the veracity of the old adage, ‘Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels.’

While facts remain elusive, corporate media, diligently fed by the Modi government’s PR machinery, are whipping up a frenzy of war hysteria with strident cries of revenge. The IAF air strike, which purportedly destroyed Jaish-e-Mohammed terror bases, and supposedly killed hundreds of ‘terrorists’ is, at best, an unconscionable act of external aggression, which should be condemned. The entire exercise is shrouded in mystery with government or military spokespersons yet to come up with a formal statement on the number of casualties.

Following the air strike, which the government has rather euphemistically termed as an ‘anti- terror’ ‘non military’, ‘pre-emptive’  operation,  tensions between India and Pakistan have expectedly escalated, with reports of heavy firing along the Line of Control and casualties on both sides. Whether this will snowball into a full-fledged war or remain confined to dimensions that will fan the flames of national chauvinism without exploding into war, remains to be seen. However, the need of the hour is not, like the social chauvinist CPM, to eulogise our military actions but to categorically and unequivocally call for peace.

CPI (ML) Red Star calls upon all democratic and peace-loving citizens to –

  • demand a political and peaceful solution to the Kashmir question
  • call upon the Modi government and all opposition parties to stop warmongering
  • call upon the Modi government to refrain from all acts of external aggression and indeed from any action that may provoke war, and
  • unite for peace, and  against war.

  

KN Ramachandran, General Secretary,

CPI(ML) Red Star

 

Since its ascendancy to power in 2014 with just 31 percent of the polled votes in the context of disunity among the opposition parties, the corporate-saffron Modi regime has been systematically manipulating or undermining the parliamentary institutions, constitutional offices and all administrative bodies in conformity with its sinister Hindutva design. Of course, a party or conglomeration of parties that gobbles up less than one-third of polled votes capturing power itself is a manifestation of the fundamental weakness of the parliamentary-electoral system that India still pursues. And what Modi did during the last five years was making the parliament as a mere spectator and surpassing or distancing himself from it with regard to strategic policy decisions.  In the meanwhile, the saffron fascists in consonance with their ultra-rightist orientation of entrusting economic power with corporate-market forces had already abolished the Planning Commission and made the entire budgetary process a mockery as most of the key economic questions and policy decisions are resolved outside the budget.

And coming to its last ‘budget’ presented on February 1, 2019, the Modi regime has once again displayed its total disregard of the so called parliamentary traditions and scruples. For, it has been an established practice since 1961 that every budget shall be preceded by an Economic Survey to be presented to parliament. This Economic Survey prepared on the basis of official statistics collected by the government’s own agencies particularly constituted for collection and analysis of data is indispensable for parliament and people to know about the real “state of the economy” and, above all, the budget shall be quoting such reliable ‘figures’ for properly estimating  its revenue and expenditures. However, for the first time in Indian budget history, the Modi regime has violated this precedent of presenting the Economic Survey as a prelude to the budget. The reason is obvious. Such statistical information coming through the Economic Survey would have exposed the last five years’ of frightening economic disruption that has created by the Modi regime. In fact the BJP government has been trying its level best to deliver a series of doctored data by manipulating National Sample Survey and Central Statistical organisations and unable to withstand the pressures, several leading members of these agencies were compelled to resign from their posts. Obviously, this was the context that prompted the Modi regime to abandon the practice of presenting Economic Survey on the eve of the budget.

Another aspect is with regard to the content of the budget document itself.  According to established parliamentary conventions, when the term of the incumbent government is coming to a close and the country is going for a general election, it is the usual practice on the part of the outgoing government to refrain from making any policy announcements. In that case, instead of a full-fledged one, the budget document shall be nothing more than an “annual financial statement” or “vote on account” or utmost an “interim budget”. It will be the immediate task of the newly elected government to convene the budget session of the parliament and present the full-fledged budget with policy announcements at the earliest. But true to its fascistic orientation of disrespecting and discrediting even bourgeois parliamentary institutions and norms, the Modi regime in the guise of an interim budget has overstepped its mandate (which is for presenting five full budgets only)) and manipulated the occasion for presenting the sixth full budget with a series of policy announcements including the outlining of a “vision statement” for the next ten years. In the process, Piyush Goyal who now acts as finance minister, in his rhetoric spanning 100 minutes utilized the opportunity to convert the budget presentation into an election speech based on manipulated data and  bogus claims with a whole set of freebies, giveaways, tax concessions, money transfer schemes and other populist programs, each being addressed to specific vote-banks.

Before coming to an exposition of the bundle of promises in Goyal’s speech, the financial sources of which have not at all earmarked and hence its liability shall be on the coming government, it would be in order to have a glance at the poll promises upon which Modi sought votes in 2014.  The most infamous of all was his commitment of bringing back Indian black money from foreign tax havens and putting Rs. 15 lakh in to the account of each Indian citizen. To this day not even a rupee has been deposited in this manner. On the other hand, black money and corruption have assumed a multi-dimensional growth under Modi. While Modi regime has suppressed domestic data on corruption and black money, international agencies have come up with their studies as to how India under Modi has become a “flourishing example of crony capitalism” and how it became the most corrupt country in Asia. Again according foreign studies, Modi regime has granted all opportunities to the leading Indian corporate giants to loot the public sector banks in the guise NPAs such that the first ten corporate looters led by Ambani, Adani, Essar and so on are responsible for more than 90 percent of the Rs. 15 lakh crore worth of NPAs created in India. Demonetisation itself was a cunning move that facilitated the most corrupt corporate-saffron black money holders to whiten their black money. According to latest available RBI report, while it had printed only Rs. 14.11 lakh crore demonetised notes, it really got back Rs. 15.28 lakh crore worth of them! On the other hand, Modi government’s affidavit submitted to Supreme Court had claimed that around Rs. 3-4 lakh crores of demonetised notes being black money would not be returned to RBI. Hence if the claims both RBI and Modi regime are taken in their face value, then around Rs. 5 lakh crore worth black money might have been whitened through demonetisation.

Another poll promise of Modi was regarding the creation of 2 crore jobs per annum. But under Modi what occurred has been a total disruption of the productive and employment-oriented sectors of the economy. Not only no new jobs were created, but according to the 2018 statistics, the country is actually losing more than 1 crore jobs per annum. Even the logo of the much trumpeted “Make in India” was designed abroad and the unhindered entry of foreign capital in to the economy and concomitant growth of crony capitalism has led to an unparalleled joblessness. Demonetisation that denied cash transactions that form the life-blood for the informal sectors where 93 percent of the workforce depends for sustenance was a mortal blow for the unemployed millions.  Further GST that put the tax burden on the unorganised sectors also resulted in massive job loss. Modi has not taken any step to fill the 24 lakh vacant posts in the central government sector so far. Decreasing the price of petrol to Rs. 40 per litre, reversing the depreciation of rupee, ban on FDI in retail, etc. were similar election promises of Modi; but what happened was the opposite. It was under his five year-rule that the number of peasant suicides crossed all previous records. Thus goes the list, and by this time Modi has proved an expert in the art of making election stunts.

The upshot of the argument is that it will be difficult for Modi regime to fool the people again. All the populist announcements in the budget speech by Piyush Goyal solely aiming at appeasing vote banks are the last resort of a desperate Modi who is sure that there is little chance of his return to power. The only gamble for him is to hoodwink the people once again. Therefore, the budget, breaking all previous records in terms of populism, has attempted a “cash-for-votes” program to please a range of vote-banks, most important being farmers, unorganised workers and middle classes.

The most populist among them is a farmer distress relief program known as Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi covering 12 crore small and marginal farmers who own up to 5 acres of land. It is an insult to the peasants of this country that the Modi regime which was consistently ignoring them for the last five years has suddenly woken up and started shedding crocodile tears for their plight.  As laid down in the budget, the farmer who comes under this scheme shall get an annual money transfer of Rs. 6000 (Rs. 500 per month). If implemented, for a peasant family of five, this would mean just Rs. 3.30 per day. Ironically, as a result of Modi’s ultra-rightist and pro-corporate policies, the wealth of just 9 billionaires with Ambani in the forefront is swelling at the rate of Rs. 2200 crore a day, and the total wealth of 119 Indian billionaires has crossed Rs. 28 lakh crore in 2018!  While large sections of the peasantry are landless, those with meagre possessions are deprived of credit, and the prices of all agricultural inputs and outputs are determined by corporate speculators. Fund allocations for agriculture and rural development remain in paper only. With reduction in fund allocation to MGNREGA, the peasants displaced through agricultural corporatisation are migrating to urban slums in search of sustenance, and for them Rs. 3.30 per day is nothing but an eye-wash. Even non-BJP state governments like Telengana and Odisha have announced more attractive cash-transfer programs for farmers.

The pension scheme, namely, Pradhan Mantri Sharam-Yogi Maandha addressed to informal or unorganised workers envisaging social security for 10 crore among them is the second in the series of dole-outs.   According to this scheme, an unorganised worker who carry on remitting Rs. 100 per month as premium shall get Rs. 3000 as pension if she/he is lucky enough to live beyond the age of 60. Today more than 93 percent (around 45 crores) of the Indian workforce is depending on the informal/unorganised sector which is totally outside the social security net including pension. During its five-year term, the Modi government has done nothing to deal with the pitiable situation of this largest section of Indian society. On the other hand, demonetisation and GST designed at the behest of corporate centres have devastated the unorganised altogether. How can a casual worker in India regularly remit Rs. 100 per month for 30 years or more until he/she reaches is itself a serious question. No analysis is needed on the part of well-meaning people to easily comprehend the cunningness behind this announcement targeted at informal workers.

The income tax rebate proposing a gain of Rs. 12500 for those whose annual income is up to Rs. 5 lakhs is definitely intended to gather urban middle class votes. However, so long as the tax slabs remain unchanged, this rebate is going to be enthusing only a minor section who has extra income to invest in tax-saving schemes of the government. Therefore, the extent to which this measure can pacify those middle class voters who have been hit hard by such assaults as demonetisation, fuel price rise and GST is uncertain.

In the same vein, several giveaways are showered on marginal and weaker sections without any financial backing. Allocations for SCs & STs, MGNREGA, national Education Mission, Integrated Child Development Scheme, Mission or Protection and Empowerment for Women, Ayushman Bharat, etc., the liability of implementation of which will be on the shoulders of the coming government  are done in a high-sounding way, though the real value of such expenditures are coming down. But in a context in which the Modi regime has become infamous for hiding or withholding economic data, it will be difficult for the people to believe what the regime has proposed. And if we take the Consumer Confidence Survey released by RBI in September 2018 in to consideration, the electorate is totally dissatisfied with the Modi regime.

Coming to the resource mobilisation front on the other, no new efforts are there to tax the superrich and the billionaires who control the entire reins of the economy. While the number of billionaires and wealth accumulation by them are galloping, there is no move in the direction of reinstating the wealth tax which the BJP government had abolished in 2015, and no initiative is there to bring the spectacular speculative gains gobbled up by the top one percent of financial elite who controls 73 percent of the additional wealth created in India under the Modi regime. Consequently, direct tax collection as a proportion of total collection is steeply going down. Under the new GST regime, (GST-evasion by leading corporate businesses who control the market for goods and services is also resulting in loss in revenue collection through this route also) there has been a further shift of the tax burden to the shoulders of broad masses of toiling people. While the direct-indirect tax (burden of the latter is borne by common people) ratio in India is 35:65, the reverse is the case with other countries in general. According to conventional bourgeois economic theory, increasing wealth concentration is a favourable condition for taxing the rich more intensively and improving the tax-GDP ratio which for India, despite very unequal, is one of the lowest in the world. With the existing nominal corporation tax rate of 25 percent (the effective rate while taking the exemptions in to account will come to around 15-16 % only), the tax burden on the upper richest section is one of the lowest in the world, even much below that of the leading capitalist countries. Modi-bhakts and saffron intellectuals who become ecstatic about the dole-outs to the poor are conveniently silent over this grave inequity in the budget. 

Thus, in view of the impending Lok Sabha elections, the Modi government which during the past five years has been ignoring or side-lining the vast majority of the poor voters and shamelessly serving the most corrupt corporate class, is suddenly bending back to appease the voters through several allurements throwing to winds the so called solemn principles of bourgeois budget. Needless to say that this attempt at winning election with a populist budget is an insult to the political consciousness of the people. Vast majority of the people are suffering from lack of food, shelter, livelihood, essential services such as drinking water, education, health facilities, and other basic amenities indispensable for a decent life. Modi’s last budget has treated all of them as if they are last-minute deliverables, while over the years he has been destroying the foundations of the economy by facilitating the corporate plunderers, both Indian and foreign, to loot the workers and country’s resources under the camouflage of “make in India”, “start-up India”, “skill India”, etc. While his doctored statistics claim about the biggest GDP growth rates for India, it is a fact of life that people are not experiencing it. As a manifestation, unemployment rate is the highest in 45 years, that is, since the 1970s and agriculture growth has become negative.  Around 60 percent of the GDP growth that Modi claims comes from the money-spinning service or tertiary sector, even as agriculture (where almost 50 percent of the Indians still cling on for sustenance) and industry are displaying deterioration. And the money-spinning, speculative service sector, on the other hand, provides employment only to less than 10 percent of the population. Nothing substantial is done towards creation of gainful employment to the unemployed whose number is now reaching 20 crores-much larger than the total population of many European countries taken together. Modi has cleverly excluded the issue of unemployment and corruption from his election stunt this time.

No amount of populism can resolve the basic malady confronting the economy which require a fundamental restructuring of the whole socio-economic structure. Modi regime or a different government led by another ruling class combine cannot resolve this question. The only alternative is a sustainable development paradigm led by the politically organised people capable of demolishing neoliberal-corporatisation altogether.  

What we are witnessing in Venezuela presently is a neocolonial scramble among the imperialist powers, mainly US imperialism for the control of its rich petroleum wealth. The recognition of US installed Guaido as the president of Venezuela by NATO forces has put Venezuela in a critically vulnerable situation. This criminal move on the part of Britain, Germany, France and other EU members is part of a broader strategy of looting the oil reserves of Venezuela along with US by effectively curtailing the growing influence of China and Russia not only in Venezuela but in Latin America as a whole.
Taking advantage of Venezuela’s economic collapse and social tensions arising from the plunge in oil prices coupled with the tactical mistakes on the part of Maduro, US president Trump had already initiated the blueprint for a coup there by anointing his puppet Guaido as president. Together with the sponsoring of a bloody civil war, US imperialism may also pursue the option of a direct military intervention in Venezuela.
 
The present collusion among Western imperialist powers unveils the true essence of bourgeois democracy and a whole set of international institutions so assiduously propped up by US led imperialism for management of the post-war neocolonial order. The UN and its agencies are once again exposed as mere rubber-stamps of US led imperialism. Western imperialists with the backing of Bretton Woods funding institutions and military-industrial complexes are now planning to install an ultra-rightist, arch-reactionary puppet regime on the backs of Venezuelan people. 

It is high time that the progressive-democratic forces the world over should rise up against imperialist machinations of converting Venezuela in to a typical neo-colony under US hegemony. In this situation, CPI(ML) Red Star declares solidarity with the struggling Venezuelan people. It appeals to the working class and oppressed people of Latin America to come forward resisting and kicking out imperialism, mainly US imperialism, and its local compradors from their soil.  It calls upon all Party committees to organize demonstrations and other protest actions with the slogan: US and European Union, Hands Off Venezuela! Let Venezuelan People Decide Their Future!

KN Ramachandran,

General Secretary

CPI(ML) Red Star

 

New Delhi

6th February 2019

The US-based ‘hacker’ Syed Shuja, claiming himself as a former employee of  the Electronic Corporation of India, which designed the EVMs, is the latest one to allege hacking of  electronic voting machines and ‘rigging’ of 2014 Indian general  elections in favour of the ruling party. In this context, we are reiterating the CPI (ML) Red Star’s position on the use of EVMs in elections, and on other important changes to be implemented in the Election laws. The following excerpt dealing with this question is from the Political Resolution adopted at the 11th Congress of the Party held on November 27-December 1, 2018, at Bengaluru. 

“2.xix.  Urgent attention is called for a major restructuring of the entire election process in the country. The BJP which till 2014 had been vociferously condemning the EVM on account of its vulnerability to fraud and tampering has now become its ardent champion as it can effectively utilize the same in its favour. The possibility of insertion of malicious software in to EVMs and manipulation of voting preferences being already proved, several countries of the world have abandoned EVMs and are pursuing the ballots. While raising this issue together with all like-minded forces, a concerted campaign is also required for replacing the ‘first pass the post system’ with proportional representation in elections and introduction of people’s right to recall the elected representatives. Similarly, provisions should be incorporated for totally keeping communal forces away from interfering in election in any manner. In brief, our Party should unite in campaign with all democratic and progressive forces for a thorough democratization of the election process.

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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.