01 January 2013

UPDATES

West Bengal Diary In Solidarity with Singur “The struggling farmers of Singur achieved what 552 MPs could not – they turned the colonial-era (1894) Land Acquisition Act into a piece of scrap paper”, said Tapan Batabyal, CPI(ML) State Committee member and veteran activist of the Singur movement, addressing a peasant gathering at Singur. “The CPI(ML) resolutely stands by Singur’s long-standing struggle and should the farmers decide to take over their land, the revolutionary left will march alongside”, announced State Secretary Partha Ghosh in Singur on 12th December. Six years have passed since the Singur movement which marked an exemplary struggle against land grab in contemporary Indian politics. But even after such a long wait, the farmers are yet to get their land back. Trinamool Congress, which came to power riding on the Singur-Nandigram wave, stands exposed with its mask of commitment to Singur farmers torn to shreds. The CPI(M) is back at its old game of using the farmers’ resentment against the TMC regime to argue in favour of the Tatas. At such an important juncture, CPI(ML) organized a rally to reiterate its resolve to continue the land struggle with renewed zeal and pledged commitment to the demands of the farmers, bargadars and agricultural labourers of Singur. Hundreds rallied with the Party’s march from Kamarkundu railway station to Bajemelia. Slogans demanded – 1) return of acquired land to all...

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Article : Crisis of Neoliberalism and Challenges before Popular Movements

Third instalment of write-up by Arindam Sen, which has also been published by a booklet with the same title. Continued from Liberation December. Grand Feast for Cannibals The crisis is no doubt global, but the fundamental law of uneven development of capitalism remains in operation. Thus on an international scale you cannot equate the performance or position of Germany, US and China for example with Spain, Greece or even France, not to speak of poorer nations. Nor can we overlook the enormous disparities in performance within the euro zone. While Southern Europe is caught in deep, long depression, German exports in 2011 set a record of a trillion Euros with its trade surplus reaching 158 billion Euros, that too after a 155 billion surplus in 2010. (BBC News, 8 February, 2012). Of course, this is not to ignore recent data on the inevitable German slowdown. Again, differences in youth unemployment (among jobseekers between 16 and 25 years) figures are quite pronounced: Spain 48.7%, Greece 47.2%, Italy 31%, and Portugal 30.8% as against Germany 7.8%, Austria 8.2% and Netherlands 8.6%. The concentration of high youth unemployment in Southern Europe explains why mass street protests are centred there. On the other side of the same coin is the fact that the great mass of unemployed youth provides a handy tool for employers to threaten and replace older permanent workers drawing relatively...

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9th Party Congress Draft : General Programme

PREAMBLE The Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) is the highest political organisation of the Indian proletariat fighting for realising its supreme class mission. It comprises the advanced detachments of the people and serves as the core of leadership of the people of India in their quest for liberation from feudal fetters and the plunder and domination of big capital and imperialism and for securing equal rights and rapid progress as free citizens irrespective of gender, caste, creed, language or nationality. Beginning with the minimum programme of accomplishing new democratic revolution in India, the Party dedicates itself to the maximum programme of bringing about socialist transformation and communism, to the ultimate aim of abolition of all kinds of exploitation of man by man. The Party derives its world outlook from Marxist philosophy and accepts the integrated system of Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought as its guide to action. To develop the correct line of Indian revolution, the Party wages a relentless battle against reformism, revi¬sionism, liquidationism, bourgeois liberalism, anarchism and all other erroneous ideas and trends, both inside and outside the Party. The Party upholds and practises proletarian internationalism and opposes imperialism, hegemonism, colonialism/neo-colonialism, expansion¬ism, racism, chauvinism, aggression and domination of every kind in international relations. It cherishes unity with all revolutionary communist, socialist and workers’ parties and organisations in different parts of the world. It supports the struggles of...

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Call : The Resolve of December 18, 2012

Make the Forthcoming 9th Congress of the Party a Historic Success We are nearing the end of a turbulent year, the year when the Congress and the BJP, the two biggest parties of the Indian ruling classes have been exposed to be drowned neck-deep in corruption. Land and minerals, oil and gas, air and water – every natural resource is being snatched away from the people and handed over on a platter to corporate houses. Indian democracy is fast being reduced to a corporatocracy – government of the corporates, by the corporates, for the corporate. The business-politics nexus that masquerades for the government of the day is revealed most candidly in the Radia tape conversation in which the richest Indian capitalist describes the oldest and current ruling party of India as ‘aapni dukaan’ (own shop). Equally committed is the government to the interests of foreign MNCs. Manmohan Singh has openly staked his government to appease the world’s largest retail giant, US MNC Wal-Mart. A few months ago when in the face of countrywide opposition the UPA government had put on hold the decision to invite 51% FDI in multi-brand retail, Barack Obama had openly criticised India for restricting foreign investment. Now when the government has gone back on its word to re-announce the policy of inviting FDI in retail, a re-elected Obama declares India a big part of his...

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Cover Feature : Defend Women’s Right to Freedom Without Fear! Ensure Swift and Sure Punishment for Rape!

In the midst of the unspeakable horror of a rape and attempted murder in Delhi, is a spark of hope that we nurture, cradling it with our hands lest it be snuffed out, helping the spark to grow into a steadier flame – and then spread into a forest fire. A young woman, a 23-year-old student of physiotherapy, boarded a bus in Delhi with a male friend. They were alone on the bus but for a group of men, who began taunting the woman for being out at night with a man. She and her friend didn’t take the taunts lying down – and eventually the group of men decided to ‘teach her a lesson.’ They beat her friend senseless. And they ganged up to rape her, brutalizing her and leaving her intestines torn. The hope lies in the huge numbers of people who came out to protest. The spontaneous anger and determination to bring rapists to justice was good to see. But even better was the willingness to direct that anger against the society and culture that justifies rape and sexual violence. The popular will – on part of ordinary women and men – to address the roots of sexual violence and end it, is what inspires more hope and confidence than all the fire-spewing rhetoric of MPs in Parliament. Challenging Rape Culture One woman who saw a...

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Bihar Rises against Nitish Kumar’s Liquor-Promotion Drive

Deaths caused by spurious liquor have emerged as the latest form of massacre in Bihar. The victims almost invariably belong to the toiling rural and urban poor, who are otherwise sought to be wooed by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar as ‘Mahadalits’. Understandably enough, the continuing spate of liquor deaths has triggered a tremendous uproar in Bihar and on 15 December the state observed a day’s bandh at the call of the CPI(ML) demanding a ban on liquor. This is probably the first time since the 1974 movement that the struggle against the liquor mafia has emerged high on the political agenda of the people’s movement in the state. The liquor deaths are no sudden aberration nor are they being caused only by ‘illicit’ liquor. The unfortunate people who died in Gaya the other day had all bought their drink of death from liquor shops with proper official licence. Death came in liquor sachets bearing the official imprint of Nitish Kumar’s ‘good governance’. On latest official count Bihar was found having a huge network of 5,624 licensed liquor shops. Almost every panchayat in Bihar today has a licensed liquor shop and it is an open secret that for every licensed liquor shop there are at least two unlicensed ones. Contrary to the government’s claims, the expansion of the licensed network has not eclipsed or replaced the illicit network; rather...

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FDI in Retail: Entering India Through a Concocted Majority in Parliament and US Pressure

The debate and vote in Parliament on FDI in retail concluded with a dubious victory for the Government, reminiscent of the Nuke Deal vote. While the debate made it clear that the majority opinion in the house was against the policy of introducing FDI in multi-brand retail, opportunism at the time of voting carried the day. The arguments peddled by the Government in favour of FDI in retail are entirely unconvincing and false. The claim that FDI in retail will benefit farmers and consumers has proven to be false in many countries. Just last week, a leading American newspaper reported that American onion farmers are suffering at the hands of Walmart which is selling onions at nine times the purchase price. Walmart and other chain stores also dictated arbitrary size standards as a result of which huge amounts of crops that failed to meet those standards were left to rot. Globally, MNC retail giants are not known to have ensured higher prices for producers or lower prices for consumers – if anything, the opposite. Far from ‘eliminating middlemen’ as the UPA Government claims, the MNC retail giants will in fact emerge as foreign middlemen, immensely more powerful than any producer – whether farmers or manufacturers – and will therefore be able to play with prices and eventually enjoy a veritable monopoly. Another favourite argument is that FDI in retail...

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Punish The Perpetrators of Fake Encounters and Fabricated Cases

The NHRC has informed the Supreme Court that in the past 5 years, no less than 191 fake encounters have taken place in the country. This disclosure came in the course of a hearing in the SC over a petition to appoint a Special Investigation team (SIT) to probe the 1500 alleged fake encounters in Manipur in the past three decades. Another petition seeking withdrawal of AFSPA in Maniour is also under hearing. Needless to say, the NHRC’s estimate is a conservative one, since it only counts those killings that the NHRC considers to be fake. The Batla House killings of 2008, for instance, were not considered fake by the NHRC in spite of its many suspicious aspects. The NHRC also commented on the non-cooperation of state governments in probes into such killings, and on the failure to comply with recommendations for compensation in case an ‘encounter’ is found to be fake. For instance, in the case of the rape and killing of Thangjan Manorama Chanu in Manipur in 2004, the NHRC recommended payment of Rs 10 lakh as compensation to the victims’s kin, but the Defence Ministry is yet to comply. Shocked by the revelations, the Supreme Court bench of Justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana P Desai asked, “Is there a war going on within?” The SC noted that “There is more than meets the eye” in the...

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Assembly Elections in Gujarat and Himachal: Another Modi Victory in Gujarat Even as the BJP Loses Himachal

The year 2012 had begun with Assembly elections in the five states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttaranchal, Goa and Manipur. The year now comes to an end following elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. Governments have been changed in four of these seven states – UP has gone back from the BSP to the SP, Uttaranchal and now Himachal have been wrested by the Congress from the BJP while Goa has witnessed an independent BJP-led government for the first time. In the three other states, the ruling parties have successfully retained power, expectedly so in Manipur and Gujarat, and quite unpredictably in Punjab. From the point of view of the rivalry between the Congress and the BJP, most crucial among these seven states were the elections in Uttar Pradesh in Gujarat. UP was of course not expected to be won by either of these two all-India parties of the ruling classes – the only point of interest was to find out if and how much the two parties could regain their lost ground. The result however revealed that both parties had actually lost more ground, being relegated further to the political margins. The multipolar political scene of UP had turned considerably bipolar, with the SP and BSP knocking out the Congress and the BJP from what a decade ago used to be four-corner contest in the state. If in...

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Resist Sexual Violence, Assert Women’s Right to a Life Unfettered by Fear

A young woman in India’s capital New Delhi is battling for life, after being brutally gang-raped and tortured in a moving bus. Her male companion was beaten up, and both were flung on the streets. The incident has triggered an outpouring of anger all over the country, against violence on women, its perpetrators, the culture that justifies it, and the authorities who tolerate it and allow it to flourish. Protest demonstrations, small and big, spontaneous and organized, are being held all around. The road to India’s Presidential House (Rashtrapati Bhawan) has, as we go to press, become a battleground for gender justice, with thousands of ordinary people braving water cannons, tear gas and batons to protest the inaction against sexual violence. What is at the root of the alarming rise in gender violence and rape across the country? The answer requires that we take look within our society at the deep-seated misogyny, sexism, and hostility to women’s freedom. Why is it that women’s most basic freedoms and rights – to walk fearlessly on the street, take a bus or a train, go to school and college, go to work, wear clothes or choose friends or partners of one’s own choice – are all being met with a virulent backlash of patriarchal violence? There has been an alarming rise in sexual violence and barbaric killings which are misnamed ‘honour’ crimes....

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