Pratirodh Ek Jan Sanskritik Dakhal held at Bhillai, Chhattisgarh. We shall speak, we shall perform, we shall dance, we shall sing towards that dawn when the idea of justice is materialized in this country. The All India Cultural Convention – Pratirodh Ek Jan Sanskritik Dakhal held at Bhillai, Chhattisgarh, on the 16th and 17th of March 2019 saw the participation of more than two hundred representatives from various cultural action groups across India. n
On 27th February CPI(ML) RED STAR Khorda District Secretary & TUCI State Joint Secretary Comrade Ranjan Mishra was arrested by police and beaten by police-bouncers of Builders’ mafia for leading the resistance against forcible slum demolition started with hundreds of bouncers and JCBs by the city administration. Slum dwellers militantly resisted the demolition drive. The authorities were forced to immediately stop the forcible demolition and release all arrestees including Ranjan Mishra.
War only benefits a handful of influential profiteering interests who feed on hatred and fear. It is the people who never wish for war that face its repercussions.” At a time when divisive and warmongering narratives have strained Indo-Pak relations to virtually breaking point, Indian and Pakistani scholars and students of Oxford University held a solidarity demonstration at the Radcliffe Camera in Oxford on Saturday. The group also issued a statement, reproduced in full below:
We are a group of Indian and Pakistani students at the University of Oxford who are deeply disturbed by the escalation of tensions over an impending war between India and Pakistan. We strongly condemn the suicide bombing in Pulwama, Kashmir on February 14, 2019 which claimed the lives of around 44 Indian soldiers. We denounce terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
As students in a land that is foreign to our homes – India and Pakistan – we’ve always marvelled at how we seamlessly gravitate towards each other, and how we are able to come together in community in ways we can’t back home. We often talk about the similarities we share in our food, culture, histories and the challenges we face. The Indo-Pak community has emerged as a place of refuge and comfort for us. However, when we imagine visiting each other’s homes we realise all the ways in which visas and politics restrict us. As we sit together now, watching the increasingly violent direction the current discourse is taking, we are frightened.
We come from parts of the world where the rhetoric of war isn’t new, and its consequences aren’t abstract. War only benefits a handful of influential profiteering interests who feed on hatred and fear. It is the people who never wish for war that face its repercussions. It is a luxury to be able to debate the possibility of war when the death, grief and loss that accompany it are not part of your everyday. For some people, especially the already dispossessed, the human cost of war is no cliché. It is lived reality.
We urge our fellow Pakistanis and Indians both within and outside the subcontinent to stand together in unity, focus on our commonalities, and reject divisive narratives. We call upon the leaders of our countries to develop de-escalation protocols, organise constructive peace talks and dialogue for the resolution of all bilateral issues.
War and warmongering are always unequivocally deplorable. At a time when India and Pakistan are lurching from crisis to crisis, we condemn the irresponsible rhetoric flooding the media in both countries in the strongest possible terms.
We dare to imagine a future that is free of divisions and violence, and unshadowed by the politics of war. We refuse to succumb to this environment of fear and suspicion. We refuse to see our friends as enemies. We refuse to hate those we hold dear.
The Wire n
Protesting against the SC order calling for forcible eviction of millions of adivasi families from their habitats, the leading Adivasi organizations called for Bharat Bandh on 5th March joined by the Adivasi Bharat Mahasabha (ABM). Under the banner of the ABM at Ganjam in Odisha, Kodagu in Karnataka, Palamau in Jharkhand, Mahasamund in Chhattisgarh hundreds of adivasis and progressive forces organized rasta rook and other programs. In Odisha about 50 comrades were arrested while they were staging Rasta Roko movement. Many adivasi and dalits organisation participated in the bandh. Supporting the bandh call, president of Adivasi Bharat Mahasabha, comrade Bhojlal Netam issued following Statement.
Adivasi Bharat Mahasabha (ABM) Declares Solidarity with the Bharat Bandh on March 5. 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 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. n
The Mazdoor Adhikar Sangharsh Abhiyan (MASA), an umbrella organisation of workers’ unions, took out a rally in the national capital on Sunday demanding better working conditions and social security for the unorganised sector.
New Delhi: The Mazdoor Adhikar Sangharsh Abhiyan (MASA), an umbrella organisation of workers’ unions, took out a rally in the national capital on Sunday demanding better working conditions and social security for the unorganised sector. The rally was to protest and resist the increasing attacks on working-class rights, living wages, division of labour, state repression and the unjust distribution of resources.
The massive rally was also organised against the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government’s attempts to weaken the labour laws and privatise the public sector. The rally began at Ramlila Maidan and ended at Sansad Marg. It was attended by workers from around 20 states across the country.
Some of the biggest labour representations came from organized sectors like automobile, electronics, garment, pharmaceuticals and related sectors from the core industrial regions in Gurgaon-Manesar (Haryana), Neemrana-Jaipur (Rajasthan), Rudrapur-Haridwar (Uttarakhand), Ahmedabad-Sanand (Gujarat), Pune-Mumbai-Goa, Chennai Sri Perumbudur. Tea garden Workers were also present which included Chai Bagan Sangram Samiti (CBSS) in Darjeeling Hills-Terai-Dooars and Chah Mukti Sangram Samiti, Assam. Workers of Coal mines from Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Bengal and Jharkhand also came to represent their voices. Rural workers from across the country, like MNREGA Mazdoor Union and Construction Workers Union from Haryana, were also present. Workers from unorganized sectors were also there in strength, like the Safai Karamcharis from Gujarat and Rajasthan, Rickshaw and Thela Pullers, Jari makers, Bidi Workers Union, Construction Workers Union, Anganwadi Workers and Domestic Workers Union from West Bengal.
”Today, neoliberalism, and especially the present regime backed by fascist forces, is wreaking total havoc on the toilers of the country. We see increased exploitation, repression and criminalisation of workers, intensifying contractualisation and unemployment, falling real wages and standards of living. But in the current context, where war hysteria peaks before the election, the issues of workers and farmers are completely absent from discourse. Hence, there was a need for the rally,” a volunteer of MASA said in a report by The New Indian Express.
Among other demands, the MASA has demanded the abolition of the contract system, creation of permanent jobs, Rs. 25,000 as minimum wage, halting the privatisation of public sector undertakings, and Rs15,000 pension, the right to unionise, including all social security benefits, for all unorganised workers.
The MASA constitutes organisations like All India Workers Council, Grameen Mazdoor Union (Bihar), Indian Centre of Trade Unions, Indian Federation of Trade Unions, IFTU Sarwahara, Inqlabi Kendra Punjab, Inqlabi Mazdoor Kendra, Jan Sangharsh Manch (Haryana), Shramikshakthi (Karnataka), Socialist Workers Centre (Tamil Nadu), Struggling Workers Co-ordination Committee (West Bengal), Trade Union Centre of India, Workers Solidarity Centre (Gurugram), and Workers Solidary Centre (Uttarakhand).
“A country runs on workers’ toil. But the country’s working class neither gets respect for their labour nor do they make their ends meet with their wage,” the organisers said.
MASA is a joint platform of struggling workers’ organisations and trade unions from across the country. Over 13 such bodies, including Indian Center of Trade Unions, All India Workers’ Council, Federation of Trade Unions, participated in the “Chalo Delhi” rally.
It is a broad coalition of working-class forces from across the country rooted in labour struggles. They have come together in the last three years to get their 17-point Charter of Demands approved.
Two and a half years back, on 26 August 2016, 14 workers’ organisations came together to form MASA in a Convention in Delhi and started with focusing initially on these central issues of a workers’ movement – against anti-worker labour law reforms, demanding a minimum wage of Rs. 22,000 (calculations based on the price level on 1st January 2016), abolishing the contract labour system, calling for permanent workers for jobs that are permanent in nature, attending to the demands of unorganized sector workers, and to build an uncompromising struggle against anti-worker neoliberal policies, a report said.
At the end of public meeting, comrade Sanjay Singhvi of TUCI presented following resolution against war hysteria created by ruling class, which was unanimiously accepted by workers: "MASA calls upon the people of India to come out on the streets in opposition to war-mongering and the threat of war. War mongering is being provoked by the Modi Government’s brinkmanship. War will harm everybody but mostly the toiling masses of workers and peasantry who mostly belong to the SC, ST and OBC castes.
War and war-mongering will benefit only the military-industrial complex, whether in the USA, Israel or in India. It will help the big corporate who will make a killing. It will help some political parties to build political capital in the name of “patriotism” during the coming elections.
We call upon the workers and all toiling masses to fight – fight for peace – on the streets all over India. We can already see that the workers and toiling masses of Pakistan are with us in this fight." n
The CPI(ML) Red Star organized a seminar on 2nd March at Ambedkar Bhavan, New Delhi on the occasion of the centenary of formation of the Communist International (CI) at Moscow under the leadership of Lenin. Highlighting the significance of observing this occasion a paper by com. KN Ramachandran was published (see February issue of Red Star) “Uphold Proletarian Internationalism; Intensify efforts to Rebuild Communist International”. A booklet was also published with important contributions of Lenin on the preparation and launching of the International, the statement dissolving the International in 1943, Chou Enlai’s 1961 article explaining the CPC’s view on rebuilding the International along with the article by KN.
The seminar was presided by com. Sanjay Singh, CC member of the party and Deputy Coordinator of the ICOR. Com. Vimal, secretary of Delhi-NCR committee welcomed the gathering. Presenting his key-note paper com. KN briefly explained the history of the First and Second Internationals, the situation under which the CI was formed, its contributions, criticisms against it and its dissolution, before delving on the critic of the post-Stalin years when no effort was made for the reorganization of the International platform of the communist parties in any form by the leadership of the CPSU as well as the CPC.
He explained that as the Krushchovian leadership in the Soviet Union was abandoning the socialist path itself, it was naturally not interested in the concept of proletarian internationalism. But, in spite of putting forward an in the main valuable document, the General Line of the International Communist Movement (ICM) as part of the Great Debate against the Soviet revisionist line, what is baffling is why the CPC refused to even convene a meeting of the Marxist-Leninist forces opposed to Soviet revisionism including the ML forces emerging during the 1960s. On the contrary, the Chou Enlai article and those who uphold it are putting forward the strange argument that all revolutions took place when there was no International! It amounts to abandoning the very concept of proletarian internationalism itself. He pointed out our continuous efforts to establish relations with fraternal parties and its role in the formation of ICOR which is a coordination of a good number of organizations taking up various international developments seriously. We are not for building a Communist International of the old type, but an International rectifying the mistakes of the past and according to the concrete conditions of today.
Comrade KN Ramachandran concluded by asserting that when in spite of contention for world hegemony, the imperialist powers are colluding to perpetuate the all round domination of the capitalist system in all fields, making the world people’s plight increasingly miserable and leading the world towards an ecological catastrophe, this is the time when the unity of the revolutionary forces at international level is needed more than ever. With this understanding the debate on this question shall be continued.
Though invitations were sent to all organizations and groups left of CPI(M) and papers were invited, only com. Pravin Nadkar had sent a paper which is published in this issue. Comrade Arjun Prasad Singh and Vijay Singh along with progressive intellectual, com Sachin, in addition to com. Pravin who presented his paper spoke in the seminar. Com. Pavin’s paper emphasizes the importance of proletarian internationalism and supported all efforts for international unity efforts according to present conditions. It was a positive approach.
While com. Vijay Singh did not go beyond underlining the contributions of Stalin in this field, com. Arjun Prasad tried to defend the arguments of Chou Enlai which virtually rules out any efforts towards reorganizing the International in any form. Com Sachin dealt with some of the recent trends at the theoretical realm which calls for attention at the international level. Comrades PJ James and Sankar highlighted the importance of strengthening the spirit of proletarian internationalism and called for active steps to strengthen the ICOR and further steps to deepen the international unity of the revolutionary parties to combat imperialist onslaughts.
In his presidential speech com. Sanjay pointed out that we are initiating this discussion which should be continued vigorously in coming days as present challenges before the working class and humankind in general call for strengthening the spirit of proletarian internationalism and step by step moves towards a new International. n
The Huttti Gold Mines which is located in Lingsugur Taluk of Raichur district (North Karnataka) is one of the public enterprises undertaken by the Government of Karnataka which was started in 1947 by Brtitish-Nizam regime in the name of Deccan (Hyderabad) Gold Mines. Out of 37 major Public Enterprises, Hutti Gold mines is the only Gold producer in India which is awarded as the number one Gold Producer by the World Gold Council in 2001. This Gold Mines has three shafts including Mallappa shaft which is operating 3000 feet in depth under the ground.
Out of its 4054 employees,2223 people are working under the ground in a rotational shift of 8 hrs per day; remaining 1831 people are engaged in plant, mill, engineering and administrative departments. So overall 25000(employees and their family) people directly and in-directly, one lakh people including small businessmen around the company are earning their bread and butter from this mining industry.
Production and Profit Statements
With all the risky circumstances and working conditions, more than 2000 metric tons of ore is extracted from the ground and 5 to 7 kgs of gold is produced out of it every day. The workers are engaged in deep hole drilling, blasting and stone crushing under the ground who are supplied with the oxygen from the surface outside. And there is no electricity supplied under the ground and they work with the help of their headlight lamp.
According to mining condition, the ore is very rare in reefs. For 2.5 gms of gold produced they have to crush 1000 metric tons of rock under the ground to get 100 tons of ore. With all these conditions, they have produced a very good amount of gold in the last ten years as follows:
2007-08 —>2808.38 kg, 2008-09 —>2420.38 kg, 2009-10 —>2068.80 kg, 2010-11 —>2219.24 kg, 2011-12 —>2180.70 kg, 2012-13 —>1582.57 kg, 2013-14 —>1556.46 kg, 2014-15 —>1429.59 kg, 2015-16 —>1310.29 kg, 2016-17 —>1579.22 kg, 2017-18 —>1639.52 kg
It is showing decrease in production, but it is not true. As per the company policy: When the rate of the gold is increasing in the market, the workers are advised to collect lower grade ore and reserve the higher grade ore for future. In the above period mentioned, the lower grade ore was extracted more due to the increasing rate of gold day by day with respect to the rate of Dollar. Out of 5308.10 crores of gross income during last 10 yrs, expenditure rate is 4303.30 crores and net profit rate is 100.79 crores. It shows yearly profit of more than 100 crores and workmen share of 1.32 crores per person. But still, the state capitalism is not satisfied and wants more production and profit. One surprising thing is that without any budgetary support from state government, the Hutti Gold mines has paid 434 crores to the state government as tax and donation in last ten years.
Why Are We Struggling?
With above details, Hutti Gold Mines Staff and Employees Union affiliated to TUCI demanding for 33% of increment in wages for five years (2016-21) through different forms of protest as mentioned below. Workers struggle is going on from last 4 months starting with indefinite Dharna and hunger strike for 43 days, Mass Dharna held in front of Belagavi Mini Vidhana soudha during winter assembly session, and at 4th stage held a highway bandh in January and other forms of agitations. 2000 workers are directly involved in the struggle and more than 300 cadres are working regularly for running the struggle successfully.
There were 13 rounds of discussions happened for negotiations between the union and the company management during the struggle so far. But board of directors of the company are not ready make the increment in wages as per our demand and sticking to only 25% hike in basic salary, 2.5% hike in plot waitage and also they are refusing to pay even night shift, fuel and electricity allowances. Once again it shows anti-working class attitude of government and discouragement and divestment in public sector according to their neoliberal policies.
The challenge before us is to expose state government’s anti-labour policies and the attitude of reformist unions like AITUC, CITU and INTUC who are openly supporting the management. And in this situation there is no doubt about even going for the full pledged strike in the coming days which will be led by our union. n
The mass rally at Parliament Street followed by the people’s parliament at Ambedkar Bhavan organized by the All India Forum for Right to Education on 18th February in which hundreds of students, youth, teachers and other democratic forces participated was a militant demonstration of the demand for equal, free and compulsory education for all in their mother tongue from KG to PG. At a time the Modi government is not only intensifying privatization and commercialization of education, but also its saffronization, and when along with the central government the state governments are also competing to open education for the control of international agencies also, when education is made more and more elitist, this mobilization was an important step forward.
Addressing the rally, com KN Ramachandrn, General Secretary of CPI(ML) Red Star welcomed all participants and assured that Red Star will include all demands of the AIFRTE in its election manifesto and campaign for it, but also will whole heartedly join all struggles against privatization and commercialization of education. The AIRSO and RYFI activists who participated in the rally declared that they will initiate all out movements for equal, free and compulsory education for all. n