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Post by blindpig » Thu Nov 09, 2017 5:14 pm

Workers to Storm Delhi from Nov 9-11


THE joint national convention of central trade unions and independent industrial federations held in Talkatora Stadium in the national capital on August 8, chalked out a programme of joint campaign and struggles against the anti-worker and anti-people policies and the growing authoritarian tendencies of the Modi led BJP government at the centre.

The national convention unanimously decided to organsie a massive three days’ ‘padav’ near parliament from November 9-11. It called upon the working class of the country to prepare itself for country wide indefinite general strike in the future. The ‘padav’ will be preceded by extensive joint campaign through state, district, block, industrial centre, factory level joint conventions.

The huge participation of workers from all over the country – from far off Tamil Nadu and Kerala in the south to the strife torn state like Jammu and Kashmir in the north, from all sectors, organised and unorganised, public and private – shows the determination of the working class of the country to fight against the attacks on their livelihoods and working conditions by the BJP led government wedded to the neo-liberal agenda. The Talkatora Stadium was overflowing with workers standing on the floor and standing packed in the passages. Despite this, almost half the workers had to remain outside the hall.

The joint convention was organised by all the central trade unions and almost all the independent national federations of different sections of employees, except the BMS which has opted out of joint struggles since the BJP came to power at the centre. In addition to INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, UTUC and LPF, the independent national federations and unions of employees in the central government, state government, insurance, banks, defence, railways, BSNL, electricity, coal, steel, energy, petroleum, road transport, air transport, water transport, port and dock, mining, IT, PSUs etc participated in the convention.

The convention strongly condemned the authoritarian measure of the government depriving the INTUC representation in the tripartite and bipartite forums and committees including in the international forums. It denounced the measure as a heinous onslaught on the rights of the entire trade union movement. It declared that the trade union movement in the country will not take it lying down. It pledged to fight it back with all its might.

The declaration placed by G Sanjeeva Reddy, president of INTUC was unanimously adopted by the convention amidst thunderous slogans after representatives of the ten central trade unions spoke in support of it. The speakers included Amarjeet Kaur from AITUC, Harbhajan Singh Sidhu, general secretary of HMS, Tapan Sen, general secretary of CITU, Sankar Saha, general secretary of AIUTUC, Manali Shah from SEWA, Rajiv Dimri, general secretary of AICCTU, Shanmugam, general secretary of LPF and NK Premachandran from UTUC.

Speaking on behalf of CITU, Tapan Sen exposed the myth of government’s claims of providing social security for all through its Code on Social Security. He said that this would in reality snatch away whatever social security benefits that a small section of organised sector workers are getting today. The real intention was to utilise the huge corpus of funds running into lakhs of crores of rupees lying with the existing social security funds like the EPF, ESI, Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Cess etc and make them available to the share market. The government would not contribute a single paisa towards social security as per this Code.

Tapan Sen also drew the attention of the convention to the rising struggles of the peasants in different parts of the country and emphasised the need to develop joint struggles of workers along with peasants and other toiling masses. He said that a strong movement of workers and peasants will be invincible and will definitely succeed in defeating the anti-people policies of the government. He also urged the working class to be vigilant against the divisive forces and protect and strengthen its unity.

The convention was presided over by a presidium comprising Ashok Singh (INTUC), Ramendra Kumar (AITUC), SN Pathak (HMS), Hemalata (CITU), Satyavan Singh (AIUTUC), Lata (SEWA), Uday Bhat (AICCTU) and Satrujit Singh (UTUC) and V Subbaraman (LPF).


August 8, 2017,

New Delhi


THE National Convention of Workers being held today, August 8, 2017, in Talkatora Indoor Stadium, New Delhi jointly called by the ten Central Trade Unions, in association with all independent national federations of workers and employees of both industrial and service sectors, expresses serious concern over the deteriorating situation in the national economy due to the pro-corporate, anti-national and anti-people policies pursued by the Narendra Modi government, grievously impacting the livelihood of the working people across the country.

The Convention notes with utter dismay that the government has been continuing to arrogantly ignore the 12-point Charter of Demands on minimum wage, social security, workers’ status and pay and facilities for the scheme workers, against privatisation and mass scale contractorisation etc, being jointly pursued by the entire trade union movement of the country. Despite numerous nationwide joint strike actions, the most prominent being those of September 2, 2015 and September 2, 2016, participated by crores of workers against the policies of the governments, the ruling regime at the centre has been increasing onslaught on the rights and livelihood of the working people of the country. Both the organised as well as unorganised sectors are victims alike.

The National Convention unanimously condemns in strongest terms the conspiratorial and authoritarian attack of the BJP government to deprive the biggest central trade union in the country, the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) from all representations in the tripartite and bipartite forums and committees including in the international forum. This is nothing but a severe and heinous onslaught on the rights of the entire trade union movement. It will be unitedly fought back and the National Convention pledges for that.

Unemployment situation is getting aggravated with employment generation practically turning negative even in the most labour intensive sectors. The phenomenon of closure and shut-down of industries and the forecast of huge job-loss in the IT sector is adding fuel to the fire. Price-rise of essential commodities including public transport, electricity, medicines etc is mounting pressure on daily life of the people in general, leading to widening as well as deepening impoverishment. Hasty implementation of GST has added fuel to fire. Drastic cut in government expenditure in social sector and various welfare schemes has made the conditions of workers, particularly those in the unorganised sector more precarious.

The anti-labour authoritarian character of the government is all the more evident in their refusal to implement even the consensus recommendations (in which the government was also a party) of the successive Indian Labour Conferences in respect of equal pay and benefits for equal work for the contract workers, formulation of minimum wage on the norms agreed by the 15th ILC/Supreme Court Judgment and workers status for the scheme workers viz, anganwadi, mid-day-meal and ASHA etc. Shockingly Modi government is even refusing to implement the recent judgments of the Supreme Court of the country on the most genuine issue of “equal wage and benefits for same work” and on EPS, 1995 on contribution and calculation of pension on actual pay and dearness allowance.

Despite opposition of all the trade unions in the country irrespective of affiliations, the government has been aggressively pushing through its programme of pro-employer and utterly anti-worker labour law reforms which is aimed at imposing conditions of slavery on the working people. The latest onslaught is the move to evolve a ’Social Security Code’ by dismantling and demolishing the existing statutory Social Security infrastructure under Employees Provident Fund Organisation, Coal Mines Provident Fund and Employees State Insurance Corporation and many others welfare statutes, abolition of welfare related cess, and usurp the huge social security fund subscribed by the workers amounting to more than Rs 20 lakh crore and make them available for the speculation in share market under the most deceptive and fraudulent camouflage of ‘universalisation of social security’.

Privatisation of all strategic PSUs, including defence production, public sector banks and insurance and also railways, public road transport, oil, power etc through disinvestment, strategic sale, outsourcing in favour of private sector, promoting 100 per cent FDI in many vital and strategic sectors are increasing day by day. Moreover stripping all the cash rich PSUs from the investible cash reserves are added assaults. In fact defence sector privatisation move is actually designed to destroy manufacturing capability and research initiatives developed by the country over the last six and half decades. The worst and most dubious is the game plan to outsource more than 50 per cent products including weapons and critical equipments, so long being produced by the Ordinance establishments. Complete privatisation of the railways, step by step, is going on. Operating private trains in the existing tracks built by railways is being permitted. Moreover, free access to railway yards, sheds and workshops for maintenance of private coaches, wagons and engines etc are being offered to private operators. Already 23 railway stations in all metro cities have been shortlisted for privatisation. Railway employees shall be worst victims of privatisation in terms of job security, democratic trade union rights and protection of achievements in the areas of pay, perks, social security etc. Like Central Electricity Regulatory Authority (CERC), a Railway Development Authority (RDA) has been created. Given the sky-rocketing increase in electricity tariff by CERC under the RDA, railway fare and goods freight is poised to be hiked hurting the common people and benefiting the private profiteers.

Public sector banks are under attack through various legislative and executive measures. The ultimate target of the government is privatisation and to extend undue favour to the same private corporate crooks, whose default of paying back the loan has put the banking sector in severe difficulties. The retrenchment of contractual employees has been resorted to already in some banks. Insurance sector is also under such attack. Legislative measures to pave way for privatisation of our major ports are also in the advanced stage. CPUs even including the core and strategic sectors like energy, petroleum, telecom, metal, mining, machine building, road, air and water transport, port & dock and more are under the privatisation onslaught of the government. The Convention notes that workers of these industries are fighting sectoral battles unitedly. United struggles have been launched by the workers and employees of government services sector including the scheme workers as a whole. The Convention extends full support to these struggles.

Attempts are being made by the state governments to dismantle public sector road transport by issuing route-permits to private parties. The central government intends to get the new Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2017 hastily passed in the current session of parliament which will allow wholesale privatisation of road transport. The Convention while taking note of the protest action by transport workers, condemns the state governments and central government’s anti-people and anti-worker moves in the transport sector.

The National Convention of Workers extends full solidarity to the fighting farmers in various states as well as under the joint national forums of peasants’ organisations. It is the same set of pro-corporate, pro-landlord policies which have created a severe crisis in agriculture which is the biggest livelihood provider in the economy, leading to continuing increase of suicides.

This National Convention of Workers records its strong denunciation against the communal and divisive machinations on the society being carried on with the active patronage of the government machinery under the present polity. The peace loving secular people in the country are facing a stark situation of terror and insecurity all around. Communal forces are cultivating an atmosphere of conflicts within the society on non-issues. It is disrupting the unity of the workers and the toiling people in general, so vital to carry forward the ongoing struggles based on our 12-point charter of demands as detailed above. Working class must raise their strong voice of protest.

The situation before the nation is the deepening all round attack on the rights and livelihood of the working class and the toiling people in general by the private corporate friendly government of the day. On the other hand the working class has achieved solid unity of the trade union movement and also achieved unprecedented response in the ongoing struggles including the strike actions opposing such suicidal anti-people policies.

The task before the Joint Platform of Central Trade Unions and independent national federations is to further intensify the surging struggles in various sectors through a concerted united agitation and mobilisation at national level to be followed by countrywide general strike action as a culmination and consolidation of all sectoral struggles. The National Convention of Workers therefore adopts the following programmes:

1. To work for achieving and accelerating united struggles in all the sectors of the economy on respective demands, which has already begun

2. To organise block/district/industrial centres/state level massive campaign, mobilisation and conventions in preparation for the central mobilisation to be followed

3. Massive three days dharna at the national capital from November 9-11 to be attended by lakhs of workers from all over the country.

4. The National Convention calls upon the working people to prepare for indefinite countrywide strike action against the anti-people, anti-national activities of the government.

The National Convention calls upon the working people across the sectors and throughout the country irrespective of affiliations, to make the above programmes a total success.


1. Urgent measures for containing price-rise through universalisation of public distribution system and banning speculative trade in commodity market

2. Containing unemployment through concrete measures for employment generation

3. Strict enforcement of all basic labour laws without any exception or exemption and stringent punitive measures for violation of labour laws.

4. Universal social security cover for all workers

5. Minimum wages of not less than Rs 18,000/- per month with provisions of indexation

6. Assured enhanced pension not less than Rs.3,000/- p.m. for the entire working population

7. Stoppage of disinvestment in Central/State PSUs and strategic sale

8. Stoppage of contractorisation in permanent perennial work and payment of same wage and benefits for contract workers as regular workers for same and similar work

9. Removal of all ceilings on payment and eligibility of bonus, provident fund; increase the quantum of gratuity.

10. Compulsory registration of trade unions within a period of 45 days from the date of submitting application; and immediate ratification of ILO Conventions C 87 and C 98

11. Against Labour Law Amendments

12. Against FDI in Railways, Insurance and Defence ... i-nov-9-11
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Re: India

Post by blindpig » Mon Nov 20, 2017 3:54 pm

Chhattisgarh faked Maoist surrenders
Vijaita Singh NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 17, 2017 23:19 IST
UPDATED: NOVEMBER 18, 2017 08:24 IST

Rebels in name: In the 10 Left-Wing Extremism-affected States, 1,442 Maoists surrendered in 2016. Of them, 1,167 were from Chhattisgarh alone. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement
Panel finds 90% cadre not genuine

In what amounts to a rap on the knuckles of the Chhattisgarh government, the Home Ministry has asked it to ensure that only genuine Maoist cadre surrender before the police, and to avoid spiking the numbers through surrender of ‘fake Maoists.’

This was conveyed to Chief Minister Raman Singh, who met Home Minister Rajnath Singh earlier this month.

As per the Home Ministry’s data, in the 10 Left-Wing Extremism (LWE)-affected States taken together, a total of 1,442 Maoists surrendered in 2016. Of this, 1,167 surrenders were from Chhattisgarh alone. The total number of surrenders there in 2015 had been 323.

A screening committee found that more than 90% of the people who had surrendered did not conform to the definition of “Maoist cadre.”

“As many applications were rejected, there was resentment in people who were assured monetary and other rehabilitation benefits. This can lead to another wave of discontent that could be tapped by Maoists,” said a senior government official.

Till October 31 this year, 584 surrenders have taken place overall, as compared to 1,373 during the same period in 2016.

The LWE-affected States and the Home Ministry have framed policies for surrender and rehabilitation of Maoist cadres who want to join the mainstream. A screening-cum-rehabilitation committee comprising officials of the State government and central armed police force (CAPF) officials examines the cases before enrolling them for the rehabilitation scheme.

“During an assessment, it was found that most people who had surrendered were not active Maoist cadres. They had no cases registered against them or were not involved in any encounter,” said the official.

Most of the surrenders in 2016 had taken place in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region, which was under the operational control of the controversial Inspector General of Police S.R.P Kalluri. Mr. Kalluri was removed from Bastar following allegations of human rights violations. ... 543086.ece

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Re: India

Post by blindpig » Fri Dec 29, 2017 4:35 pm

LOOKING back at the year 2017 that has just ended, there is an important aspect of the national situation that must be noted. The year unfolded with the forces of reaction on the ascendant. But by the last quarter of the year, the forces of resistance against the right wing offensive had begun to assert themselves and make their presence felt.

The people have borne the brunt of the right-wing offensive in the year 2017. Under the Modi regime, the Hindutva forces became more emboldened. The rampage by the so-called gau rakshaks was exemplified by the killing of Pehlu Khan in Alwar, Rajasthan. The hate campaign claimed more victims like Junaid and Afrazul. Hindutva forces sought to dictate what films can be screened, what books read, and what can be taught in universities.

Politically, the year began with the massive victory of the BJP in the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. Adityanath becoming the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh signalled the advent of rabid right-wing communal politics. It was able to manoeuvre to form governments in Goa and Manipur where it could not win a majority. It won the elections in Himachal Pradesh defeating the Congress. Though it was able to retain Gujarat, it met with stiff opposition. Punjab was the only state where the Congress could defeat the Akali-BJP alliance.

As far as the economy is concerned, the year 2017 saw the continuing impact of the demonetisation which was announced towards the end of the year 2016. It affected small enterprises and the informal sector particularly, leading to more loss of jobs. The implementation of the Goods & Services Tax (GST) has imposed more burdens on the people and affected small traders, businesses and shopkeepers.

The impact of the agrarian crisis was felt more severely by farmers in various parts of the country. The economic slowdown has led to jobs being cut in various sectors of the economy. Growing unemployment underlines the total failure of the Modi government on the employment front. This coupled with price-rise of essential commodities has badly affected the people.

The BJP government is aggressively pushing policies for privatisation of the public sector, and in the various spheres of the economy. It has made plans for large scale privatisation of public education and public health systems. The Financial Resolution & Deposit Insurance Bill, now before parliament, seeks to appropriate the deposits of people in banks in order to bolster the position of the banks which are reeling under the non-performing assets created by the lavish loans given out to the corporates and big business.

The BJP-RSS combine has been working to undermine the institutions of the State and constitutional bodies. Anyone who opposes the Hindutva agenda is branded as anti-national. The year 2017 saw the authoritarian face of the Modi regime in full glare.

The Modi government accelerated the journey to make India a subordinate ally of the United States after Donald Trump became the US president. However, given the volatile and unpredictable shifts in US foreign policy under Trump, such an alliance is going to land India in unenviable positions which can harm the country’s interests. The recent example is how India was forced to come out in the United Nations against the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, after initially refusing to criticise the announcement.

To sum up, the domestic scene in the year ending, saw continuous and all round attacks on the people’s livelihood and the democratic rights of citizens. However, this is only one side of the picture. The second half of the year 2017 was marked by the growing resistance and development of united struggles of different sections of the people against the policies of the BJP state governments and the central government.

Notable have been the united struggles of the peasantry which developed in BJP ruled states like Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. The struggles in Maharashtra and Rajasthan in particular encompassed all sections of the peasantry which compelled the state governments to concede some of their demands. November 20 saw a united platform of over 100 kisan organisations holding a kisan parliament in Delhi.

The working class movement which had conducted a general strike on September 2, 2016 organised a massive united trade union action, the Mahapadav from November 9 to 11. Around two lakh workers from all around the country participated in this three day mass dharna.

The year also saw struggles by students in central universities and other educational institutions against the authoritarian onslaughts and attempts to impose Hindutva values. There were widespread protests against the killing of Gauri Lankesh by Hindutva extremists.

The year 2017 saw mounting discontent amongst different sections of the people against the BJP government’s economic policies. This has begun to turn the tide of the BJP’s political advance in the last three years. The Gujarat election results where the BJP won a majority but got the lowest tally since 1995 is an indication of this discontent.

What does this portend for 2018? The situation calls for more intensified struggles and the building of the widest unity of the people in defence of their democratic rights and against the attacks on the minorities.

It is through these united struggles and movements that a Left and democratic programme can be projected. Such a programme is the only credible alternative to the BJP government’s neo-liberal policies and communal agenda. In this context, the policies and performance of the LDF government in Kerala and the Left Front government in Tripura will make an important contribution.

For the Left and democratic forces, the major task lies in stepping up the struggles against the attacks on people’s livelihood, defence of democratic rights and against Hindutva communalism. It is by forging people’s unity on these issues that the wider unity of the secular democratic forces to defeat the BJP will emerge. Let this be the resolve for 2018.

(December 27, 2017)
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Re: India

Post by blindpig » Fri Dec 29, 2017 4:38 pm

Struggles of Workers & Farmers Reach New Heights in 2017

AN unprecedented wave of workers’ and farmers’ struggles spread across the whole country through the year that is coming to an end. It challenged the Modi government and its pro-rich, anti-working people, anti-farmer policies, forcing the government to reverse course in some cases. These battles spanned issues related to falling living standards, growing inequality and loot by the ruling classes, as also the communal politics of the Sangh Parivar that is trying to divide people on religious identity lines. These struggles were increasingly diverse, yet more united, weaving together different industrial sectors and also forging unity between peasants and workers.

Continuing from the past few years’ movement for better prices for agricultural produce, freedom from debt and end to forcible land acquisition, farmers in several regions were on the roads, sometimes facing police bullets (Mandsaur, MP; Maharashtra) and at other places forcing the authorities to bow to their demands (Rajasthan). The broad platforms of struggle evolved in previous years gained immense strength in 2017 in terms of scale of activities and mobilising strength.

In dozens of public sector units – ports, steel plants, coal mines, ordnance factories, banks, insurance companies, etc, – workers went on strikes or protested against relentless government pressure to privatise national assets by handing them over to private industrialists. Contract workers and ‘scheme workers’ (those employed in government schemes) saw large scale protests, often confronting police attacks in various states. Unorganised sector workers like those in the road transport sector fought against proposed laws to squeeze out small units and privatise public services. And in industrial areas from the north-east to Gujarat and from Himachal Pradesh to Tamil Nadu, workers braved attacks from police and hired goons to fight for their livelihoods.

Diverse strands of struggles were brought together in two major protests held in the capital Delhi in November. One was the historic three-day ‘maha-padav’ (mass sit-in) in which about two lakh workers participated, pressing the government to accept their long pending demands which include, minimum wage of Rs 18,000, end to contractor-raj and privatisation, control of prices and strengthening of PDS, withdrawal of neo-liberal labour law reforms, etc. The other, also in November, saw a two-day ‘Kisan Mukti Sansad’ (farmers’ liberation parliament) in which thousands of farmers congregated at Delhi, including families of farmers that had committed suicide due to debt and losses.

So, 2017 became not only a year of deep ferment among India’s working people, it also saw increasing intertwining of two biggest classes of Indian society – workers and peasants. This was repeatedly seen in several struggles. Trade unions held protests across the country on June 16 after five farmers were killed in a brutal police attack on protesting farmers in Mandsaur. Workers participated in large numbers in protests organised in 150 districts on August 9 by the Bhoomi Adhikar Andolan, a joint platform of peasant and other organisations. Workers also joined the massive kisan mukti yatras that covered over 10,000 kilometres mobilising farmers.


2017 could well be the year of the struggling farming. High indebtedness, often leading to suicides, inability to meet even cost of production due to unremunerative prices, land acquisitions, low agricultural wages all contributed to ever deepening agrarian crisis that burst out in angry protests in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and other states. In most places, it was met with strong arm methods by governments but such was the pressure that almost all state governments were forced to announce debt waivers. The most significant victory was in Rajasthan where the government was forced to concede various demands after a massive movement led by the AIKS. Due to the farmers’ pressure, the government was also forced to roll back the notification banning sale of cattle for slaughter in animal market. Farmers led by AIKS had burnt copies of the notification in most districts of the country. The matter was also taken to the Supreme Court. Farmers organisations have waged a battle against cow vigilantism – the harassment and even killing of farmers transporting cattle by Hindu fanatic groups. Over 30 such deaths by lynching have been reported till date. AIKS collected funds to support the families of some of the victims.

In Maharashtra, an unprecedented statewide bandh was called for by different peasant organisations with the Maharashtra Rajya Kisan Sabha (affiliated to AIKS) playing a leading role.

Lakhs of peasants and agricultural workers came out on streets of Kolkata for Nabanna Rally organised by AIKS, AIAWU and other organisations on May 22, 2017. It was met by brutal repression by the TMC government’s police leading to the death of one comrade.

There have been a series of struggles of adivasis for implementation of the Forest Rights Act and against evictions. In Jharkhand, there were sustained and militant struggles of adivasis on a joint platform including the Adivasi Adhikar Manch and Kisan Sabha against the amendments to the Chotanagpur and Santhal Parganas Tenancy Acts by the BJP state government. There were police firings in which one adivasi participant was killed and several injured. Ultimately the joint movement forced the government to withdraw the amendments.


A major strand of workers’ struggles was against Modi government’s privatisation drive. In its three and a half year reign, Modi’s so-called nationalist government has sold off Rs 1.25 lakh crore worth of public sector assets to private buyers, putting at risk thousands of jobs. Protests against these moves spread through workers in public sector undertakings throughout the country. In most of these struggles, CITU played a leading role, often uniting other trade unions in a joint platform.

Defense production employees held a 45 day relay hunger strike in July. In Tamil Nadu, Kamrajar Port employees protested against sale of the profit making port to Adani Group, reportedly a crony of Modi. Bharat Earth Movers Ltd employees went on strike in May in Kolar and Mysore districts of Karnataka and Palakkad district (Kerala) against disinvestment. In March, Cochin shipyard workers went on strike against 25 per cent privatisation. In April, workers went on strike in three steel plants (Durgapur, Salem and Bhadrawati) which were up for sale. Dredging Corporation workers also struck work in April. In Haryana, state road transport workers went on a lightning strike against plan to handover routes to private operators. There were huge protests in coal mines against closure of 10 ECL mines in West Bengal. NALCO workers in Odisha protested against privatisation. On February 28, bank employees across the country held a one day strike against government plans of privatisation. Again, on August 22, the bank employees struck work demanding an end to merger move of public sector banks, demanding stringent action against willful defaulters etc.

One of the significant features of workers’ struggles in 2017 was the high participation of women. This was mainly because women dominated scheme workers fought a bitter and arduous battle against government fund cuts and refusal to treat them as regular employees. There are about one crore scheme workers in the country, employed on irregular or contract basis, though they work year round delivering services like primary healthcare, meals in schools, child care and nutrition, etc. During 2017 scheme workers held protest actions in Maharashtra, Assam, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Karnataka, Haryana, Punjab, Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Assam, among others. They also successfully held a one day country-wide strike on January 20, 2016 which was preceded by demonstrations in practically all districts. Later in the year, on August 21, ASHA workers (health workers) held a massive protest at the parliament, submitting nearly 50 lakh signatures from villagers from all over the country in support of their demands.

Even government employees, both central and state, were on the warpath against government delays in implementing pay commission recommendations and changes in pension plans. Over 13 lakh central government employees went on strike on March 16 while on March 2 state government employees’ held a mass dharna at Delhi demanding withdrawal of a new pension scheme, against out-sourcing of work and other demands. Municipal workers in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu held protests and strikes against similar outsourcing of jobs to private contractors. In Karnataka, even gram panchayat workers protested against similar issues.

Road transport workers in various parts of the country struggled against the proposed new law for privatisation, including in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Assam, Karnataka, etc. Construction workers, mostly in the unorganised sector protested against low wages, job losses and repression in various states including Haryana, West Bengal etc. A countrywide strike by medical sales representatives was held in February demanding cost based capping of medicine, nil tax and regulation of working conditions in MNCs. Workers from 300 tea gardens in West Bengal went on a two-day strike demanding better wages. They had to face police brutality. In Tamil Nadu, fishermen held protests against a government law prohibiting them from going beyond three nautical miles out in the sea. Beedi workers in several states protested against low wages. Even LIC agents held a protest rally in Delhi in August against government policy regarding the insurance sector.

In many states, like Karnataka, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Assam etc, huge protests were held by joint platforms of trade unions and other organisations against price rise, farmers’ debts, job losses and other people’s issues.

As the year ends, the foundation laid by these struggles – and many others not mentioned – will become a launching pad for widening struggles in the coming months. Ultimately, the aim is to reverse the anti-people policies followed by this and previous governments and install a pro-people dispensation with an alternative set of policies. ... ights-2017
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Re: India

Post by blindpig » Tue Jan 30, 2018 4:39 pm

Mahatma Gandhi was casteist and racist: US-based writer Sujatha Gidla at JLF

Mahatma Gandhi was a “casteist and racist” who wanted to preserve the caste system and paid lip service to Dalit upliftment for political gain, Indian American writer Sujatha Gidla said
JAIPURLITFEST Updated: Jan 29, 2018 21:02 IST
Press Trust of India, Jaipur

Sujatha Gidla in conversation with Ajoy Bose(not pictured) during the ‘Narratives of Power, Songs of Resistance’ ’ session at Diggi Palace, Rajasthan, India on Monday, January 29, 2018. (Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)

Mahatma Gandhi was a “casteist and racist” who wanted to preserve the caste system and paid lip service to Dalit upliftment for political gain, Indian American writer Sujatha Gidla said here on Monday.

Gandhi only wished to “prettify” the caste system, the New York based Dalit writer said at the Jaipur Literature Festival.

“How could one say Gandhi was an anti-caste man? He really wanted to preserve the caste system, and why he paid lip service to the upliftment of untouchables is because Hindus needed a majority against Muslims for political representation in the British government.

“That was the only reason Hindu leaders ever took up caste issues,” Gidla said.

The author of “Ant Among Elephants: An Untouchable Family and The Making of Modern India” was speaking at a session titled, “Narratives of Power, Songs of Resistance”.

To validate her argument, she recalled an episode from the political leader’s time in South Africa where he said “black” people were “kafirs” and “losers”.

“In Africa, when they were fighting against the British for instituting the passport... he said, ‘Indians are hard working people, they should not be required to carry these things. But, black people are kafirs, losers and they are lazy, yes, they can carry their passport but why should we do that’?” she recounted.

“Gandhi was very casteist and racist indeed and any redblooded untouchable will know what Gandhi’s real intentions were,” she added.

Gidla, also took a dig at contemporary Indian Dalit leaders like Mayawati and Jignesh Mevani who, she said, have “chosen to work under the framework of electoral politics”.

The author, who now works as a conductor in the US subway, said a parliamentary party like the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) can only work for the Dalit community from within the limited framework they choose to operate in.

“Everyone says BSP has given rights to untouchables, it gave them self-confidence and dignity. But really nothing came out of it. Mayawati made herself very very rich, her brother made himself very very rich. And that is all that happened to Dalits,” she said.

Gidla moved to New York City with first-hand experience of differential treatment of untouchables in India.

While she “applauded” Mevani’s sincerity, she also accused the young Dalit leader of “empty rhetoric”.

“Jignesh Mevani right now seems militant and his protest against Una flogging are very admirable but then again he has chosen to work under the framework of electoral politics and there is only so much he can do from within it.

Gidla did not spare the opposition either.

Taking a dig at the Congress, she said the party was not different from the ruling dispensation and was in fact the “pioneer of communalism”.

“Congress or any other party that ruled before BJP was not different from Modi. Just like in the US, the democrats are really not different from Trump... Congress is shy about their communalism. But Congress was the pioneer of communalism,” she said.

She cited the 1984 storming of the Golden Temple, and the subsequent riots following the assassination of Indira Gandhi in Delhi in which over 3,000 Sikhs were massacred.

“It was communal. And Congress was the one that did it. Not BJP,” she said.

“So the only difference between them and BJP is that BJP is open about it, Modi is open about his communalism,” she added.

Gidla was joined by Jovan Mays, a poet from the US, who talked about the condition of Black Americans over the years, while drawing a parallel to the Dalit situation in India. ... MpgJP.html
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Re: India

Post by blindpig » Fri Mar 23, 2018 7:32 pm

How Workers Die
March 23, 2018 by rupeindia

Five workers in Sonepat, Haryana, burnt to death, including a woman worker with her child on her chest. Sixteen jumped from the third floor to various serious injuries. But nothing appears in the news. This is not some random incident, either. Workers work almost as bonded labourers for a pittance. In the entire area, there is no ESI, no Provident Fund, no labour laws, no pretence of safety measures, no union, only ‘acche din‘.

Below we reproduce a fact-finding report done by members of four workers’ organisations (InqilaabiMazdoor Kendra and Nagrik Akhbaar, Jan Sangharsh Manch Haryana, Mazdoor Patrikaand Grameen Mazdoor Union, Bihar) who visited the area on 20 March. English translation by Manali Chakrabarti.
Fiery Death of Workers in Real Paint Factory in Rai Sonepat : A Fact Finding Report

Several workers met painful death due to a fire which broke out in Real Paint Factory in the Rai industrial estate in Spnapat Haryana. According to official sources the number of casualty in the accident is four. A fact finding team constituting of representatives of Inqilaabi Mazdoor Kendra and Nagrik Akhbaar, Jan Sangharsh Manch Haryana, Mazdoor Patrika and Grameen Mazdoor Union, Bihar went to the site of the accident on 20th March, 2018. The team prepared the following report based on their physical inspection of the site and conversations with workers working in nearby units.

The Rai industrial estate is situated in Sonepat district of Haryana. It is on the G T road, between Delhi and Sonepat, around 47 kms from ISBT Kashmiri gate Delhi. The factory which caught fire was situated on plot number 291. 292, 293 on Rai industrial estate. The factory used to manufacture industrial paint for automobiles. On 20th March when the investigating team reached the site, smoke was still emanating from the factory.

There were some workers standing in front of the factory who worked in factories nearby. Three policemen were seated on chairs along with a journalist from Punjab Kesari and some persons from the Intelligence Bureau. The workers informed us that the fire broke out on the night (17th – 18th March) around 2.30 am. The factory used to produce paint thinner which is extremely inflammable and that there was a huge stock of paint thinner and solvent inside the factory. Thirty four workers worked in the factory but there is no conclusive information as to how many were working when the fire broke out. According to people nearby, five persons have already died due to the accident while police and intelligence report claim four deaths. The workers told us that sixteen workers saved themselves by jumping from the third floor of the factory. Many of them got charred, one of the female workers broke her spine and the rest too are in very critical condition. They have been sent to PGI Rohtak and Khanpur Kalan for treatment.

When we reached the site we found that the main door of the factory was unlocked and open – in fact the metal door had melted and was completely deshaped indicating the intensity of heat the fire would have caused. We could see a pile of paint cans inside. The workers informed us that one of the worker’s dead body was found stuck to a can of paint and another’s charred skeleton was found near the stairs. Like the factory in Bawana Delhi, there was a metal grill in front of the gate and the factory premises had only one exit which used to be kept locked. In spite of producing highly inflammable substance the factory had only one gate. The factory seemed like a prison where the workers were made to work like indentured labour, and that too at a grave risk to their lives – there were no safety norms followed. The basement had an enormous tank to store chemicals – the storage capacity was 15000 litres.

The factory was a three-storey building and the workers and their families lived in the same building. Production facilities were in the first two floors (ground floor and the first floor) – 5 workers used to reside on the first floor and 16 people lived on the third floor. A woman and her child got burnt to death in one of the rooms on the third floor – she was clutching her child to her breast when they died. One of the workers is still feared to be trapped under the debris. It was evident from the remains that none of the mandatory safety norms were followed in the factory. According to the norms at least 40 percent of the space of the plot in which a factory is constructed (around the building) has to be kept free. In this case there were thick sheets of iron covering the space, the same as in every other factory building in the vicinity. All the factories had generators and compressors on their roofs, which could lead to a serious mishap at any time. The real cost of human lives in profit driven economy was evident from the accident we had gone to investigate and those waiting to happen.

Rai industrial estate was established in 1995-1996. At that time the going wages was Rs 1200 to Rs 1500 a month. The employers on principle did not employ local workers; most of them were migrants from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. The Rai industrial estate mostly constitutes of tiny units and the workers are given the lowest wages in the entire Delhi NCR region. On an average a male worker earns Rs 8000 per month for an eight hour shift while female workers earn Rs 4500/-, way below the legal minimum wages declared by the Haryana government which is Rs 9600/- for unskilled workers, Rs 10826/- for semi-skilled workers, Rs 11429 for skilled workers and Rs 12900/- for highly skilled workers.

Workers informed us that helpers could manage a monthly wages of Rs 9000-10000 by working 12- hour shifts. Further only 20 percent of the factories in the area had registered their workers for ESI facilities. In any case the so-called ‘reforms’ by which the central government is conspiring to dismantle labour laws in the interests of the capitalist class, have already been implemented in the BJP ruled states including Haryana. Thus in Haryana the capitalists have been offered complete freedom to exploit their workers unhindered by either any legal constraints or any sanctions by the government. The situation is not likely to improve unless there is a collective resistance by the workers.

The police officials present (including a sub-inspector) refused to answer our queries on the case. The only information we could gather was that the owner Mr Gulshan Mata was on the run. The owner Gulshan Mata, his son Abhishek Maata, and the manager Meenu and three supervisors have been booked under section 304 A of the IPC – causing death due to negligence. It is telling that while the police routinely slap workers with much more serious charges including murder, treason, sedition, Gangster Act, etc., they seemed to get all soft and generous when it comes to the crimes of the owners and their henchmen.

The state government has announced compensation of Rs 5 lakhs for the dead, and Rs 1 lakh for the injured. Though one wonders what difference would a lakh rupees make to a worker (or his family) who has been rendered permanently invalid.

On 22nd March, we came to know through an associate, that the government and the administration have not been following up with the 8 severely burned workers admitted in PGI Rohtak. The announcement made by the government of ensuring proper medical attention to the injured workers was all in the air. One of the workers in a very critical condition has been referred to Safdarjung Hospital New Delhi for treatment.

The state of the factories in Rai industrial estate and the work conditions would lead anyone to conclude that the painful deaths of these workers were not due to an accident but were wilful murders in ruthless pursuit of profits.

Fact finding team constituted of – Nagendra representating of Inqilaabi Mazdoor Kendra and Nagrik Akhbaar, Somenath and Meher Singh representing Jan Sangharsh Manch Haryana, and Ravishankar of Mazdoor Patrika and Grameen Mazdoor Union, Bihar ... rkers-die/
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Re: India

Post by blindpig » Tue May 01, 2018 4:27 pm


Nos. 70 & 71: India's Working Class and its Prospects


I. The proletariat, as Marx saw it

II. What Capital says, and does not say

III. The occupational structure of India

IV. Agrarian tribute

V. Wage levels, product of historical development

VI. Stratified, fragmented, dominated labour market

VII. The reserve army of labour

VIII. Different forms of capital in India, and their reflection in the working class

IX. A composite proletariat

About the articles in this special issue

Understanding Rural Distress and Uncivil Social Networks of Economy in Eastern India: The Case of the Odisha-Telangana Brick Kiln Labour Circular Migration Stream -- Dr. Tathagata Sengupta & Dr. G.Vijay

Oppression, Bondage, and Struggle in the Hinterland of a Metropolis: Conditions of Brick Kiln Labour in Raigad district

Odisha Government’s Cynical View: Migration Is a Solution -- Kshetrabasi Naik

NEXT: Introduction

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Re: India

Post by blindpig » Tue May 22, 2018 6:34 pm

Nos. 72 & 73, May 2018

Nos. 72 & 73 (May 2018)
India's Working Class and its Prospects

India's Working Class Under Neoliberal Rule -- RUPE

Labour in Global Value Chains: Leather & Footwear Cluster in Kanpur -- Manali Chakrabarti, Rahul Varman

Kanpur Leather Cluster Revisited after a Decade -- Manali Chakrabarti, Rahul Varman

Simmering Rage I: Discontent and Militancy among Garment Manufacturing Workers in Gurgaon -- Archana Agarwal

Simmering Rage II: Bengaluru’s Garment Workers: A Note -- RUPE

Fragmentation in the Industrial Working Class and the Crisis of the Trade Union Movement -- Alok Laddha and T Venkat

Some Experiences of Organising Workers in Chhattisgarh -- Sudha Bharadwaj

Nos. 72 & 73: India's Working Class and its Prospects Part II

India's Working Class Under Neoliberal Rule -- RUPE

Labour in Global Value Chains: Leather & Footwear Cluster in Kanpur -- Manali Chakrabarti, Rahul Varman

Kanpur Leather Cluster Revisited after a Decade -- Manali Chakrabarti, Rahul Varman

Simmering Rage I: Discontent and Militancy among Garment Manufacturing Workers in Gurgaon -- Archana Agarwal

Simmering Rage II: Bengaluru’s Garment Workers: A Note -- RUPE

Fragmentation in the Industrial Working Class and the Crisis of the Trade Union Movement -- Alok Laddha and T Venkat

Some Experiences of Organising Workers in Chhattisgarh -- Sudha Bharadwaj
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Re: India

Post by blindpig » Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:52 pm

Bourgeois Parliamentary Democracy
The Marxist
Volume: 02, No. 2
April-June, 1984

Working Class And Bourgeois Parliamentary Democracy


THE Congress (I) leadership is again at the game of canvassing for the presidential form of government for the country. Two senior ministers in the Union Cabinet have extolled the virtues of the presidential system and enumerated its advantage over the prevailing parliamentary system. The prime minister herself called for a debate on this issue, taking up the position that both are democratic systems and both have their own advantages and disadvantages. The Congress (I) leadership, during the emergency in 1975-77, had made serious efforts to impose the presidential form of government on the country.

Not only the left and democratic forces but the entire opposition including the non-Congress (I) bourgeois – landlord parties saw in this move the attempt to establish an authoritarian dictatorship. In today’s Indian conditions the presidential system cannot be anything but such a naked dictatorship. Broad resistance was built up in the country and the ruling party had to retreat at that time.

While the ruling Congress (I) coterie wants to scuttle the parliamentary system because it comes in the way of its authoritarian designs, there are others, by no means advocates of authoritarianism, who are also questioning the utility of the bourgeois parliamentary system. These well-meaning people seem to be ascribing the ills of the bankrupt capitalist path of development on which the ruling classes have embarked to the parliamentary system and want the system itself to go. Their position is not the same as the Naxalities who are advocates of boycotting the parliamentary system. The “left” adventuriests have taken the stand that he class which toll over power in the country from the British is the comprador bourgeoisie. The only task left now is to throw out this comprador bourgeoisie from power through an armed struggle. They have no use for bourgeois parliamentary institutions, for an independent party of the working class, for mass organisations of the workers, peasants and others, for day-to-day ideological, political and organisational work among the masses. This is not the place to discuss how they degenerated into making the CPI(M) their main enemy, how they organised the physical liquidation of CPI(M) cadre and how they broke into umpteen groups.

Those others who have become critical of the bourgeois parliamentary system also bewail that the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has lost it revolutionary zeal and fallen into the category of a parliamentary party. The party is solely engaged in, or is concentrating mostly on parliamentary activities to the detriment of preparing the masses for the revolution. By its participation in parliaments and legislatures, and even more so by its participation in state governments, it is helping the bourgeoisie to work its democratic system. This creates parliamentary illusions in the masses, creates the belief in them that basic changes can be brought about through parliamentary institution instead of preparing them for the struggle to replace bourgeois democracy by socialist democracy.

All this is being said at a time when the bourgeois parliamentary institutions are again under threat from the main party of the ruling classes. Even through bourgeois parliamentary institutions have so far survived in India unlike in a number of newly independent countries, which have gone under dictatorships, even though India is capitalistically more developed than many of the newly independent countries, the fact remains that bourgeois democracy is not firmly entrenched in India, that its foundations are very fragile. When parliamentary institutions are under attack, it is all the more necessary for the working class in defends these institutions as they provide an effective auxiliary forum to the representatives of the working class to advance its cause. It is also part of the class struggle of the working class to go beyond bourgeois democracy. It is when it has become an important task of the party of the working class to protect the bourgeois parliamentary institutions that the idea of rejecting their use is being advocated. This idea only deprives the working class party of the opportunity to utilise these institutions to appeal to a wider audience and to pillory the authoritarian and anti-people policies of the ruling party. We will come back to this aspect later in this ruling party. We will come back to this aspect in this article. It is not only that the bourgeois parliamentary institutions are under as serious threat, the present period is also one in which the terribly discontented masses are moving rapidly, even though on their economic demands mainly. Reactionary forces aided by imperialism are doing their all to divert the popular discontent into disruptive communal and separatist channels.

The ruling party itself is blaming the parliamentary system and advocating an authoritarian regime in the garb of presidential system to cure the country of all its ills. It becomes the task of the working class party to channelise the discontent of the people in the right direction so that the struggle against bourgeois – landlord policies, the struggle against attempts to impose an authoritarian regime gets strengthened. Here, again, effective use of parliamentary institutions facilitates the carrying out of this task.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) does not hold that the working class can win state power through elections or by the party’s representatives participating in parliaments, legislatures and even in state governments. It has always held that electoral victories are only formal victories. But there are certain immediate political which the Party is trying to achieve-isolating the main party of the ruling classes, advancing the ideology of the Party, liberating the working class and the people, especially the peasantry, from the grip of bourgeois ideology, increasing the confidence of the people in themselves and against the bourgeois – landlord government led by the big bourgeoisie and so on. For this, purpose, while the struggle outside goes on, while the revolutionary ideological political work among the masses continues, parliament and legislatures are used as auxiliary forms for exposing the exploiting regime and the exploiting classes. In this the Party follows the Marxist-Leninist teachings about making revolutionary use of bourgeois parliamentary institutions. This is what the critics of the Party do not understand. They do not understand that revolutions do not materialise on command. On the contrary the physical revolution has to be prepared by the mental revolution and that entails educating the people. Bourgeois parliamentary institutions can be effectively used towards this objective.

To say that parliamentary activities should be combined with extra-parliamentary work; that parliamentary activities should be subordinated to the revolutionary work among the masses is one thing. But to scoff at making use of bourgeois democratic rights to advance the cause of the revolution is to adopt a totally erroneous position. Marxism-Leninism not only makes is necessary but obligatory for communists to make use of bourgeois parliamentary institutions.

Marxist-Leninist Teachings
Marx and Engels in the 1840s, when they urged the working class to participate in the democratic revolutions of those days used to say that the working class, by its help to the bourgeoisie fights to abolish feudalism, and to win bourgeois democratic rights like freedom of the press, trial by jury, freedom of assembly freedom of organisation and popular representation, and thus indirectly also fights for its own proletarian interests. For the workers, it was necessary, in the struggle for democratic institutions, to create the conditions for the socialist transformation of society. With this proposal, Marx emphasised the close connection between the struggle for democracy and for socialism a principle that today as then belongs to the strategy and tactics of the revolutionary workers’ party.

The German workers, Engels wrote, “supplied their comrades in all countries with a weapon, and one of the sharpest, when they showed them how to make use of universal suffrage” (Selected Works, Vol. 1, p. 195). One of the sharpest weapons – that is how Engels describes the working class’ use of universal suffrage. And it is this “one of the sharpest weapons” that our critics advise us to abandon.

Engels also wrote: “With this successful utilisation of universal suffrage however, an entirely new method of proletarian struggle came into operation, and this method quickly developed further. It was found that the state institutions, in which the rule of the bourgeoisie is organised, offer the working class still further opportunities to fight these very state institutions.” (Ibid, p. 196)

In line with these teachings, and with the rich experience of the Russian revolutionary movement, Lenin makes it obligatory for the party of the working class to participate in bourgeois parliamentary elections and bourgeois parliamentary institutions. The freedoms obtained in the bourgeois-democratic order have to be used to combat these very institutions. “They (the social-democrats) have never been afraid of saying, and never will be, that they ‘sanction’ the bourgeois republic only because it is the last form of class rule, because it offers a most convenient arena for the struggle of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie; they sanction it, not for its prisons and police, its private property and prostitution, but for the scope and freedom it allows to combat these charming institutions.” (Lenin, “Revolutionary-Democratic Dictatorship”, Collected Works, vol. 8, p. 300)

Lenin lashed out at parliamentary cretinism. He unmasked the class works- “The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky” and “The State and Revolution”- to unmask those who would make the working class forget the class character of the state, sing paens to bourgeois democracy and disorganise the struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat. Marxist- Leninists keel all these valuable teachings in mind to guard demanded that the bourgeois parliamentary institutions should not be boycotted as a matter of principle, that wherever the opportunity exists they should be used to further the struggle of the proletariat to expose their class character. Parliamentary activity should, of course, be an auxiliary form of struggle subordinated to the main form. But not to use it at all, to boycott it, would be a grave error, he had warned.

In his “Letter to Workers of Europe and America”, Lenin writes, “The bourgeois parliament, even the most democratic in the most democratic republic; in which the property and rule of capitalists are preserved, is a machine for the suppression of the working millions be small groups of exploiters. The socialist the fighters for the emancipation of the working people from exploitation had to utilise the bourgeois parliament as a platform, as a base for propaganda, agitation and organisation as long as our struggle was confined to the frame-work of the bourgeois system” (Collected Works, vol. 28, p. 432). Further, “Prior to the capture of political power by the proletariat, it was obligatory (necessary) to make use of bourgeois democracy, parliamentarianism in particular, for the political education and organisation of the working masses….”)”Draft Programme of the RCP (B), Collected Works, vol. 29, p. 106)

When the German “left” communists, in the post-first world war period, took up the position of no participation in bourgeois parliaments, because parliamentary forms of struggle have become historically and politically obsolete, Lenin had to tell them, “This is said with ridiculous pretentiousness, and is patently wrong.” “Parliamentaruanisim has become ‘historically obsolete’. That is true in the propaganda sense”, he wrote.

Then Lenin explains that parliamentarianism is “historically obsolete” form the standpoint of world history, i.e., the era of bourgeois parliamentarism is over, and the era of the proletarian dictatorship had begun with the victory of the Great October Revolution and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat in Russia. That is incontestable, says Lenin. “But world history is counted in decades…. But for that very reason, it is a glaring theoretical error the apply the yardstick of world history to practical politics.” Let our critics note the stress Lenin lays on participation in parliamentary elections and in the struggle on the parliamentary rostrum being obligatory on the party of the revolutionary proletariat as long as it lacks the strength among the masses to do away with bourgeois parliamentary and other reactionary institutions. In our country, only a very small minority of the people follow and vote for the CPI(M) and left parties, the vast majority, almost ninety per cent, including the majority of the working class, follow and vote for bourgeois-landlord parties, firs and foremost the ruling bourgeois-landlord party. The Party has to use the struggle on the parliamentary rostrum to rescue this majority from the influence of bourgeois-landlord leadership, it has to use electoral battles to reach out to this majority, educate them and organise them. To ignore this task, even to neglect it, is to demonstrate lack of seriousness in preparing the masses for revolution.

Making use of parliamentary institutions is all the more obligatory in the present Indian situation. Vast millions of the Indian people had no voting rights under British rule. Whatever elections were held by the British regime were under limited franchise. When after independence, universal adult franchise was ushered in there was naturally exultation among the Indian people. That exultation may have waned to a certain extent due to the assaults made on the parliamentary institutions by the bourgeois-landlord classes themselves, but vast sections of the people still cherish universal adult franchise as a major right. In fact the demand is for the extension of franchise to those attain the age of eighteen instead of 21 as at present. It will be serious error to ignore this; it will also come in the way of the Party’s efforts to raise the level of the consciousness of the backward masses.

Adjunct To Class Struggle
Our critics do not seem to understand, do not want to understand that while the real education of the masses cannot be separated from the class struggle, from their mass experience in the course of the revolutionary struggle, that while it is correct to say that it is the duty of the communists to carry forward and develop the consciousness of the masses and not tail behind it, it does not mean that communists, in advocating their immediate tactical slogans, do not take into consideration the level of mass consciousness obtaining at a given time. These critic by slyly contrasting participation in parliament to class struggle virtually negate the use of this form of activity of the working class, confuse participation in the parliamentary struggle with reformist opportunist in parliament, with substituting the main class struggle by constitutional struggle. Thus they discard this important form of struggle and dispossess the working class of an important weapon to free the peoples of their parliamentary illusions and develop their revolutionary consciousness. They cannot grasp that a revolutionary use of the parliamentary forum is an adjunct to the class struggle and that it should not be contrasted with it.

How important auxiliary forums are to influence the masses can be seen from the teachings of Marxism-Leninism and the party’s own experience of fighting electoral battles.

Engels had written: “In election agitation it (the suffrage) provide us with a means, second to none, of getting in touch with the masses of the people where they still stand aloof from us; of forcing all parties to defend their views and actions against our attacks before all the people; and, further, it provided our representatives in the Reichstag with a platform from which they could speak to their opponents in parliament, and to the masses without, with quite other authority and freedom than in the press or at meetings.” (Marx and Engels, Selected Works, vol. 1, p. 196)

Party’s Experience
What has been our party’s experience? We have been fighting those seats where we have mass bases and building electoral alliances with other parties, including bourgeois-landlord parties, to isolate the main bourgeois-landlord party and inflict as heavy a defeat on it as possible. Election times see intense political activity, which very much influences the masses. To keep away from these battles is to leave the field clear to the bourgeois-landlord parties to keep the masses under their influence with spurious promises. On the other hand, participation in these battles enables the working class party to reach out to vaster sections of the people than it can do otherwise. By utilising these election battles, the party can take to wider sections of the people than those who follow it in ordinary times the entire programme of the party, the programme of People’s Democracy. It can unmask before millions the reactionary class character of the bourgeois-landlord state and government led by the big bourgeoisie. It can contrast its own programme to the programme of other parties. It can tell the people of the evils of the capitalist system-unemployment, poverty, exploitation, militarisation and so on in the imperialist countries-and in contrast, the achievements of socialism in the Soviet Union and other socialist countries, thus bringing before the people the path they have to take for their own emancipation. The Party gets the opportunity to demand a straight anti-Congress vote from the people and inflict as big an electoral defeat on the Congress as possible so that the confidence of the people to plunge into further class battles is enhanced. It enables the Party to use the state assemblies and parliament to unmask the class character of the bourgeois-landlord state. These tactics have enhanced the prestige of the Party, expanded its influence, and increased its strength. Such electoral victories have enabled the Party to organise, bigger mass struggles, on its own and joining hands with others. This is the combination of parliamentary and extra-parliamentary struggle being converted into electoral victories, and the electoral victories being used to further strengthen the mass struggle. In this process, the masses are educated, they get their own political experience and the ranks of the revolution get swelled.

Slogan Of Boycott
Those who call for the boycott of elections perhaps thinks they are advocating revolutionary tactics. Far from it. Their tactics only keep the working class away from a big political action like elections and leave the field clear for the parties of the exploiting classes. These tactics deprive the party of the working class of the opportunity to take its entire programme and policy and its critique of bourgeois-landlord policies to a wider audience.

The Russian revolutionary movement has rich experience of boycott of elections and the Bolsheviks have drawn very valuable lesions from it, which are lessons for all communists.

Lenin sums up this experience: “In 1908 the ‘left’ Bolsheviks were expelled from our for stubbornly refusing to understand the necessity of participating in a most reactionary ‘parliament.’ The ‘lefts’…. based themselves particularly on the successful experience of the 1905 boycott.

“The Bolsheviks ‘ boycott of ‘parliament’ in 1905 enriched the revolutionary proletariat with highly valuable political experience and showed that when legal and illegal, parliamentary and non-parliamentary forms of struggle are combined, it is sometimes useful and even essential to reject parliamentary forms. It would, however, be highly erroneous to apply this experience blindly, imitatively and uncritically to other conditions and other situation. The Bolsheviks’ boycott of the Duma in 1906 was a mistake, although a minor and easily remediable one. The boycott of the Duma in 1907, 1908 and subsequent years was a most serious error and difficult to remedy, because on the one hand, a very rapid rise of the revolutionary tide and its conversion into an uprising was not to be expected, and on the other hand, the entire historical situation attendant upon the renovation of the bourgeois monarchy called for legal and illegal activities being combined. Today, when we look back at this fully completed historically period, whose convention with subsequent periods has now become quite clear, it becomes most obvious that in 1908-14 the Bolsheviks could not have preserved (let alone strengthened and developed) the core of the revolutionary party of the proletariat, had they not upheld, in the most strenuous struggle, and illegal forms of struggle and that it was obligatory to participate even in a most reactionary parliament and in a number of other institution hemmed in by reactionary laws (sick benefit societies, etc)” (collected works, vol. 31, pp. 35-36)

Party Work In Parliamentary Institutions

What does the Party do inside the Parliamentary institutions? The Party’s groups in parliament and legislatures are one of the party organisation, functioning under the Party’s discipline, with close connection with the party leadership, with their task, as that of the party outside, to carry on the work of criticism, propaganda, agitation and organisation Communists in Parliament expose the class nature of the government’s measures and proposals with particular attention given to those which affect the economic interests of the broad masses, especially issues of the labour and agrarian question, the budget, etc. These are issues, which are the most sensitive nerve of public life and at the same time the most sensitive spot of the government. On all of them, communist members counters and policies in defence of the interests of the people. They carry into parliament the Party’s struggle for the defence and extension of the democratic rights of the people, to bar the path to authiritarianism, for states’ autonomy, against government repression of the struggle of the working people, for defending and improving the living standards of the people, against rising unemployment and the growing offensive of the employers against the working class, against landlord tyranny and the landlord-police-administrative collusion in the rural areas, for a better future for the youth, for equality of women, against the rampant corruption. Upholding the Party’s proletarian internationalist outlook, its representatives in parliament champion the cause of peace against war, the cause of all people fighting against imperialism, neo-colonialism, zionism and racism. And the forum of parliamentary itself is used to dispel the constitutional illusions of the masses of the people. Thus the Party effectively using parliament as an auxiliary form contributes in a big way to the main revolutionary work in them masses.

It is as part of the work in parliamentary institutions that the Party is participating in governments in some states. The Party does not participate in every non-Congress state government. In 1967, the Party rejected the offer to participated in the state governments in Bihar, UP, etc. The reason is that the Party will participate in governments only where the left forces are predominantly in the legislatures, and among the left forces, the CPI(M) is a strong force. Otherwise, the Party is bound to become an appendage of other parties. In 1957, in Kerala, the Communist Party, with the support of some Independence put up by it, formed the state government. In 1967, the CPI(M) participated only in the state governments in Kerala and West Bengal where the Left forces were strong. Since 1977, Left Front in which the CPI(M) is the strongest force, have been in government in West Bengal and Tripura, and for a brief period in 1980-82, there was a Left and Democratic Front Government in Kerala.

Participation In State Governments

We are attacked for participation in these governments on the ground that whatever relief given by these governments to the people strengthens constitutional illusions among them and give them the feeling that basic changes can be brought about through parliamentary means. The experience of these governments shows just the contrary. These governments have record totally in contrast to that of congress governments. It is only in these states that the repressive machinery of the state, the police, etc. is not used against struggling workers, to help landlords against agricultural workers and sharecroppers. These are the states in which full democratic rights, including the right to strike, are guaranteed to government employees. In these states, serious efforts have been made to implement land reforms in favour of the rural poor and curb the vested interests in the rural areas, the sharecroppers are given legal protection against eviction and ensured their share of the produce, the agricultural workers are helped to get the fixed minimum wages. At times of natural calamities, these governments try to give maximum relief to the people within their limited resources.

These are all benefits for which people in the Congress-ruled state are fighting and the CPI(M) and other opposition forces are leading struggles. The people are asking for some relief from the growing burdens that are being imposed on them. Is it necessary that the Let Front Governments of West Bengal and Tripura try to relieve the economic distress of the people to some extent? Does this limited relief solve any of the basic questions? Or dies it make the people realised more quickly that unless the entire set-up is changed, not radical improvement can take place in their condition, and, with the confidence of protection from the Left Front Governments, carry on the struggle for the basic aims with even more determination?

The CPI(M) itself has been constantly telling the people not to expect much from these state governments as real power is in the hands of the bourgeois-landlord classes and not in the hands of the working class and its allies. The Left Front Ministries can only be the instrument of people’s mobilisation and struggles and not of solving basic problems. The people are themselves learning this from experience. When the West Bengal bill for a comprehensive land legislation which will benefit the rural poor, is held up without being given assent by the center, the people see from their own experience where real power lies. When they find that the center is concentrating more and more financial resources in its hands starving the state governments of the finances they need to give even limited relief to the suffering people, the people again see where real power lies. When the center interferes with an entirely state subject like law and order, sending its own police forces into the state, etc. when the center erodes more and more even the ;omitted powers of the states, again it is education for the people with regard to the source of real power.

In West Bengal, the influence and strength of the CPI(M) has grown very much. This growth in the Party’s strength can be seen in the massive membership of 5.6 million members in the Kisan Sabha. The CITU has expanded, and the influence it wields in the trade union movement was seen in the recent jute workers’ strike. The SFI has a membership of 1,105,630 in West Bengal and the DYFI 3,328,000. the Ganatantrik Mahila Samiti is the biggest women’s organisation in the state. The main bourgeois-landlord party, the Congress (I), which rules at the center, has been defeated in successive elections to parliament, assembly, municipalities and panchayats. Similar is the advance of the Party and the mass movement under its leadership in Tripura, where in the recent panchayat elections, the Party again inflicted a big defeat on the Congress (I). This is the political advance in the masses, especially the rural masses, which the Party has been able to register in this period by correctly using the parliamentary institutions and combining parliamentary work with the work outside in the masses.

What is also not seen is that this record of the Left Front Governments enables the Party to approach the broad masses in the states where the Party is weak, and popularise the basic slogans of the Party exposing the class character of the protest state.

The entire experience of participation in parliamentary institutions and Left Front Governments has proved that the tactics followed by the Party-of fighting elections, of sending its representatives to the legislatures, of forming electoral fronts or making electoral adjustments without compromising the independence of the Party, of popularising the Party’s entire programme, its basic slogans-has been proved to be correct. The growing strength of the Party and its influence proves it. This is an effective contribution to the advance of the working class movement towards its revolutionary aims.
Any reformist understanding in regard to the utilisation of bourgeois parliamentary institutions by the party of the working class will lead to serious opportunity mistakes, as it happened in the case of the Communist Party of India. It was after a long-drawn struggle in the united Communist Party of India on the strategy and tactics of the Indian revolution that the party spilt two decades ago. The CPI took the programmatic position that the national democratic revolution it envisages and the new state that comes into existence will not be under the leadership of the working class but under the joint leadership of the working class and the bourgeoisie. CPI leaders also declared that the parliamentary path was the only path for the Indian revolution. This had its won consequences.

Though they had been saying that right reaction was the main danger and had to be fought as the main enemy, when in 1967, the Congress was defeated in a number of states, the CPI joined hands with precisely these reactionary forces-the Jana Sangh, Swatantra, et al-to form coalition governments in states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. At a time when the main party of the ruling classes, the Congress, had been isolated and temporarily defeated, the CPI could not give the leadership to carry forward this mass upsurge, because it was a participant in these coalition governments along with bourgeois-landlord parties. It could not influence the policies of these coalition governments. Instead, in the eyes of the people, it became party to the anti-people, pro-vested-interest policies of the dominant bourgeois-landlord partners of these state governments. When communal riots took place in Ranchi in that period, which the Jana Sangh, a constituent of the coalition, had organised, the CPI remained helpless, unable to come out against the Jana Sangh immediately and carry on the fight against communalism.

In 1969, the CPI broke away from the united front in Kerala which led to the fall of the CPI(M)-led Government in that state. The CPI then formed an anti-CPI(M) front and government first with the support of the main bourgeois-landlord part, the Indira Congress, from outside and then with that Congress as a partner in the coalition. In West Bengal also, they broke helped the Congress. Not only did they not condemn the semi-fascist terror unleashed by the Congress against the CPI(M), the CPI also joined the attack on the CPI(M). The CPI later had electoral adjustments with the Indira Congress. The Culmination of all this was the support which the CPI gave to the internal emergency which Indira Gandhi imposed in June 1975 to establish her authoritarian regime. The emergency struck a big blow to parliamentary institutions, but the advocates of the parliamentary path lent support to Indira Gandhi’s action the Marxist-Leninist teachings on bourgeois parliamentarianism are no longer the guide, when warnings against its pitfalls are ignored. In such cases, instead of making revolutionary use of parliamentary institutions, parliamentary activity becomes the most important activity of the party and the party itself is reduced to a parliamentary party.

Experience Under Dictatorships
Those who call for boycott of elections and parliamentary institutions also forget what is happening in countries under military and other reactionary dictatorships. The Indian peoples see what is happening across the border in Pakistan. Except for a brief period in the beginning and a brief spell in between, that country has been under the heels of military dictatorships for most part of its life after independence. The most oppressive of these successive military dictatorships is the present Zia-ul Haq regime. All political activities are prohibited under this regime. All the political parties remain illegal. All civil liberties and democratic rights of the people have been scrapped. The working class is denied its trade union rights, other sections of the working people the right to organise and struggle. In the name of Islamising the country, barbarous crimes are committed on the people. Women are being dragged back to the medieval ages. With no political opposition allowed against the regime, with no parliament or legislature to which he is responsible dictator Zia-ul Haq is making Pakistan a client state of US imperialism, the arch enemy of all people. When against all those crimes of the military dictatorship, the Movement for Restoration of Democracy arose; it was with Savage repression and butchery. Witness of all this, the Indian people naturally want to protect the bourgeois parliamentary system they have.

Bourgeois parliamentary institutions have to be defended and properly utilised even to advance to the higher stage of socialist democracy. As stated earlier, it will be foolish to think that the bourgeois parliamentary system is firmly entrenched in India. Any such illusion should have been shattered by the emergency that was declared in June 1975. it should not be forgotten that in 19777, West Bengal was subjected to semi-fascist terror and this terror was being extended to Kerala and Tripura. These are the three states where the CPI(M) is a strong force. The emergency that was imposed saw a totally authoritarian regime in power. Parliament, though it was not dissolved, was reduced to impotency. Many of its members were put behind the bars, the speeches of opposition members who were not arrested could not be legally publicised. There was stringent press censorship, not a line, which was not in favour of the emergency regime, could appear in print. The powers of the judiciary were so emasculated that it openly declared its helplessness to guarantee the security of life of individuals. An attempt was made to put the authoritarian leader of the ruling party above the law and the constitution was being tampered with to perpetuate the authoritarian regime. All civil liberties and democratic rights remained abrogated. But, because of the tradition of democracy, born out of the long-drawn freedom struggle, unlike in Pakistan, a powerful popular movement in which all the opposition parties joined could put an end to this dark phase of the emergency in two years. But the danger to bourgeois parliamentary institutions has by no means disappeared. The ruling party continues to remain authoritarian and is again making attempts to replace the parliamentary system with the presidential system. Authoritarian trends exist in other bourgeois-landlord parties also as was seen during the brief Janata Party regime. The constitution itself has anti-democratic provisions-to impose central rule over states, to declare emergency in any area, to declare any area as disturbed and hand it over to the army, for preventive detention, etc. the repressive organs of the state are freely used against the struggles of the working people.

And in a period of intense economic crisis, the ruling party finds an authoritarian regime move convenient that the parliamentary system. The danger of imposition of authoritarian regimes by the ruling classes is always there. As the Programme of the CPI(M) warns, “The threat to the parliamentary system and to democracy comes not from the working people and the parties which represent their interests. The threat comes from the exploiting classes. It is they who undermine the parliamentary system; from within and without, by making it an instrument to advance their narrow interests and repress the toiling masses. When the people begin to use parliamentary institutions for advancing their cause and they fall away from the influence of the reactionary bourgeoisie and landlords, these classes do not hesitate to trample underfoot parliamentary democracy as was done in Kerala in 1959. When their interest demands, they do not hesitate to replace parliamentary democracy by military dictatorship. It will be a serious error and a dangerous illusion to imagine that our country is free from all such threats.” (Para 72)

It is the interests of the working class to defend parliamentary institutions as they provide facilities, which an authoritarian regime denied, to advance the revolutionary struggle. That is why the CPI(M) at its last two Congresses gave an important place to the struggle against authoritarianism among its immediate tasks.

January, 1984 ... -democracy
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Re: India

Post by blindpig » Sat Sep 08, 2018 3:42 pm

Left Parties call for All India Protest Hartal on September 10
Thursday, September 6, 2018
Communist Party of India (Marxist)
Communist Party of India
Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)-Liberation
Socialist Unity Centre of India (C)
Revolutionary Socialist Party

September 6, 2018
Press Statement

Left Parties Call

All India Protest Hartal on September 10

Unprecedented economic burdens are being mounted on the people by this Modi government. The exponentially rising prices of petroleum products is having a crippling effect on the livelihood of crores of Indians. The farmers, already groaning under mounting agrarian distress, see their production costs further escalated. This price rise has a cascading all-round inflationary impact. This is contributing to a further economic slowdown reducing existing employment, leave alone creating any new opportunities. The unprecedented fall in the value of the Indian rupee reflects the deep economic crisis created by this Modi government. Such economic attacks on the people come on top of the vicious communal-authoritarian onslaughts mounted by this Modi government.

While the peasantry all over the country has been demanding the promised remunerative price and loan waiver, the Modi government callously refuses. On the other hand, it shows largesse of waiving off loans taken by the corporates during the last four years of nearly Rs. 4 lakh crores. Humongous amounts of loans taken from our banks by the corporates and the consequent NPAs has bled our banking system. Such crony capitalism is also evident in the various deals, like the Rafael fighter aircraft purchase scam, that is fast unfolding. Obdurate rejection of any enquiry into this deal only reconfirms the scam. Black money, instead of recovering, as promised, has been legitimized. All efforts to divert people’s attention away from these monumental failures by spreading an atmosphere of hate, violence and indiscriminate arrests of activists will not succeed.

In protest against this situation, the Left parties have decided to call for a nationwide hartal on September 10. Left parties call upon the people to join this protest in a big way to demonstrate people’s rejection of the Modi government and its policies. ... ptember-10
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

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