|On National and
|Resolution on Agrarian and
other Rural Struggles
|Working Class Movement:
Context, Tasks and Opportunities
|Intervention in Panchayati Raj
|Environmental Protection and
|People's Progressive Culture
and Modern Media
6. Land titles and related issues are a major area of neoliberal reform. The urban land ceiling has already been removed, and the government further seeks to introduce ‘comprehensive urban land reform’ by amending the related Acts. In the name of completing the process of land titling and registration, the bid is to dispossess the urban poor of lands on which they have settled. Another route to dispossession is the governments’ bid to delink the provision of basic water and sanitation from land tenure and legal status, thereby refusing slum dwellers, urban poor and low income groups the right to stake a claim to land based on water, electricity and sanitation related documents. We must fight for restoration and strict enforcement of urban land ceiling.
7. With increasing concentration of capital in urban India, the working people are being systematically driven out to the peripheries and outskirts. The battle against eviction and for securing residential plots and housing rights for the homeless people is therefore assuming growing importance in the communist agenda of urban work. The experience of recent anti-eviction struggles at Nonadanga in Kolkata, Khar-Golibar in Mumbai and Ejipura in Bengaluru clearly shows that municipal corporations and state governments are working hand in glove with real estate barons and the builder-promoter mafia to carry on eviction drives defying protests from all quarters. Powerful and
sustained anti-eviction struggles have however succeeded in stalling eviction plans in some cases. In Puducherry, our sustained struggle for shelter for the roofless has forced the government to build houses and increase housing grants for homeless families.
8. Apart from being operational centres of capital, urban areas are also centres of opinion-making – the manufacture of consent – as well as expressions of dissent and eruptions of mass protests. With the rise of the internet-based social media and proliferation of TV channels, the urban middle class has acquired a stronger voice and worldwide we have seen powerful and imaginative eruptions of urban protests. It is therefore important for revolutionary communists to work more systematically and comprehensively in urban areas.
9. Traditionally communist parties have been handicapped by a weak urban mass base. It is all the more true for us and the mass support that we enjoy is primarily among sections of people who have to fight constantly for their survival in an increasingly hostile urban setting. Many of our members and supporters among urban unorganised workers have to fight hard to secure a place of residence and get a ration card or a voter I-card. This relative weakness in terms of mass strength is very much a structural limitation and cannot be overcome
overnight by any magic means. But this must not be allowed to restrict the vision or initiative of revolutionary communists working in the urban citadels of political reaction. The Party can and must take timely and courageous mass political initiatives in the urban arena even as it makes serious effort to enhance its urban mass base.
10. Typically in urban areas we have work among unorganized workers, whether organized in trade unions or in some umbrella organization of the urban poor. While it is important to organize them in occupational terms and in their places of work, such trade unions must consciously play a social role and take up the issues the workers have to face in their social existence in urban life. The marginalized urban poor form the backbone of our urban mass support and we must lead their battle for survival and dignity through every possible avenue. While retaining our emphasis on unorganized workers and the urban poor we must however make every effort to establish close contacts and build up Party network among the salaried urban middle/working class (teachers, employees in financial sector and so on). These are organized segments of the urban middle class who often follow Left-led trade unions or associations in their professional sphere but have little social role or political voice in the overall context of urban politics. We must try and bridge this gap. With growing corporate invasion of the