ML UPDATE 52 / 2010

MLUpdate

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 13, No. 52, 21 – 27 DECEMBER 2010

Wikileaks: Unmasking Imperialism

For an empire that cloaks its aggressions and coercions in the benign garb of ‘liberation’ and ‘democracy’, those who lay bare the truth are dangerous. Wikileaks, with its devastating exposure of the real face of imperialism, has earned the ire of the most powerful nation in the world. The US has branded the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange as a "hi-tech terrorist" and there have been calls to arrest and even assassinate him.

What Wikileaks has done is to make public the documents that record what imperialism does and says in secret. These documents confirm what anti-imperialist and anti-war forces the world over have always known: that US imperialism is devious, self-serving, brutal, coercive, duplicitous and untrustworthy, not only towards its enemies but even towards its friends.

Wikileaks established its enduring place in history by exploding the myth that imperialist wars were being fought for democracy. The video footage of US armed forces casually and cold-bloodedly indulging in the ‘sport’ of firing at unarmed civilians in the Baghdad, the evidence, recorded by the US and allied troops themselves, of massacres of civilians, custodial torture and cover-ups in Iraq and Afghanistan – proved the entire US war and occupation of those countries to be continuing war crimes.

Thomas Friedman, famous for having asserted that the hidden hand of the market needed the hidden fist of US imperialism to work, has branded Wikileaks as "anarchy" that "undermines the ability to have private, confidential communications that are vital to the functioning of any society." The leaks reveal the US Secretary of State herself asking US diplomats to spy on a range of international figures including even the UN Secretary General. It shows US diplomatic offices in, for instance, Yemen, being used as fronts to smuggle in military equipment, and using Yemen’s Government to cover up drone strikes in the region. It shows coups being planned, torture being covered up, lies being scripted. How can it be a breach of privacy and confidentiality to expose the US’ own violation of every norm of privacy of individuals and sovereignty of nations?

Here in India, Shashi Tharoor has declared, in the same vein as Friedman that diplomacy requires privacy and Wikileaks is irresponsible for undermining such confidentiality. At the same time, Ratan Tata, stung by the Radia tapes revealing his lobbyist working both media and political leaders to ensure pliant Ministers, has been righteously claiming the ‘right to privacy’ and accusing India of having become a crony capitalist banana republic. No ‘right to privacy’ can prevail over the right of people to know how and where and by whom policies affecting them are made. The most important of the Wikileaks disclosures pertaining to India and the Radia tapes are not ‘private’ because they pertain to public policies that affect India’s citizens.

The media in India has largely chosen to focus on the Wikileaks cables reporting off-the-cuff remarks made by Rahul Gandhi to the US Ambassador, indicating that Hindutva communal groups may be a greater threat to India than LeT-type groups which have supporters only among a small section of Indian minorities. While the BJP has chosen this pretext to launch a shrill offensive against the Congress’ heir-apparent, Congress has responded by generalising its stand to equate all forms of terror. Congress today lacks the courage to boldly uphold the stand taken even by Nehru, who had categorically said that while majority and minority communalisms are both dangerous, majority communalism is more so as it can masquerade as nationalism and therefore grow into fascism. The Congress’ lack of commitment to combat communal fascist groups and boldly uphold secular democracy has been shown time and again – most glaringly in its failure to prevent the Babri Masjid demolition or punish its perpetrators, its repeated failure to act decisively against communal violence and its refusal to allow an impartial enquiry into the Batla House ‘encounter’.

Moreover, behind the red herring of Rahul’s remarks on Hindutva communal forces, attention has been diverted from the most significant Wikileaks revelations about India. The leaked cables not only reveal the extent of US interference in India’s affairs, especially in matters relating to the Nuke Deal and foreign policy. They show how not only the Congress and UPA Government push pro-US policies, but even the BJP is persuaded by the US Ambassador to calibrate their ‘opposition’ to the Nuke Deal just enough so as to ensure that the Bill is passed.

They also reveal how both US and Indian officials are very aware that Indian people have no tolerance for US interference or for inequality in the US-India relation, and therefore collude to mask this interference and inequality. For instance, the Indian Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon is heard cautioning the US Ambassador against publicly instructing India on foreign relations: "This government has to be seen following an independent foreign policy, not responding to dictation from the US," he said. In other words, appearances of independence must be kept up. Similarly, P Chidambaram tells the FBI Director, ‘We must be able to say we had access, even if Headley did not speak’. Again, the UPA Government is aware that the appearance of equality and independence must be maintained and discrimination (e.g denial of access to Headley) or ‘dictation’ would prove politically costly. The US officials in turn tell their bosses in the US that while India is a ‘raucous democracy’, the Indian Government is a "true partner" of the US and "Delhi is much more amenable to cooperating." However they rue the fact that the Indian leaders "loathe to admit publicly that India and the US have begun coordinating foreign policies". In other words, we are being lied to by our Government, about the extent to which ‘coordination’ and ‘dictation’ are taking place.

The Indian ruling class should realise that the ‘hidden hand’ of US imperialism will not remain hidden long from the alert gaze of Indian people – and they will be forced to pay a price for their shameless role as agents of US empire.

Comrade VM’s 12th Death Anniversary

Programmes Held Nationwide on 18 December

Cadre Convention in Delhi

To mark the twelfth death anniversary of Comrade Vinod Mishra on December 18, the CPI(ML) Delhi Committee held a Cadre Convention at the Party’s Central Office. The Cadre Convention, attended by leading cadres and branch secretaries of the party in Delhi, began by observing two minutes silence for the memory of Comrade Vinod Mishra and Comrade Ram Naresh Ram and other departed comrades.

The ‘Resolve of December 18’ was read, and cadres spoke of their experiences of different areas of party work in Delhi and pledged to the take up the challenges and implement the resolve to strengthen the movement in Delhi. Addressing the Convention, Delhi State Secretary Com. Sanjay Sharma called upon the leading activists to ensure that every member of the party in every branch was involved in implementing the resolve in its true spirit.

Addressing the Convention, CPI(ML) General Secretary Comrade Dipankar spoke of the need to develop various aspects of work in Deli, suitable to a major urban centre, including struggles among Delhi’s unorganized and organized sector workers and among Delhi’s rural poor as well as greater initiatives on a range of political issues. He called upon all mass organizations of the party to respond to the challenge, and in particular encouraged students and student party members not only to integrate with working class movement but to integrate with workers’ lives.

Memorial Meetings in UP

Memorial meetings were organised all over UP on 18 December to pay tributes to Comrades VM and Ram Naresh Ram. A Sankalp (pledge) meeting took place in Lucknow – where Comrade VM had suffered the cardiac arrest during Central Committee meeting of CPI(ML) – in the State Office. All those present reaffirmed their pledge for fulfilling Comrade VM’s dream and resolved to intensify and mobilize people in the struggles against unprecedented price rise, agrarian crisis, epidemic of corruption and growing attacks on democracy. On this occasion everyone reaffirmed their resolve to strengthen the party organisation and 18 December resolve issued by the Central Committee was also read and discussed.

Similar programmes were held in Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi- in both town and rural areas, five blocks of Gazipur- Bhadaura, Jakhniya, Jamaniyan, Karanda and Sadar, in three blocks of Baliya- Maniyar, Nawanagar and Sadar, seven blocks of Chandauli- Chakiya, Naugarh, Sahabganj, Niyamtabad, Dhanapur, Sakaldiha and Mughalsarai, five blocks of Mirzapur- Mardihan, Rajgarh, Jamalpur, Narayanpur and Nagar, three centres in Jalaun dist- Uraieen, Parasan and Madhogarh, six blocks of Sitagarh- Hargaon, Maholi, Aliya, Parsendi, Kasmanda and sadar, five blocks of Lakhimpur Khiri- Paliya, Bijua, Bankeganj, Nighasan, and Mitauli; cadre meetings and GBMs were also held in Pilibhit, Azamgarh, Sonebhadra and other districts. Sankalp Sabha and reading of resolve letter apart from remembering Comrade VM were common feature in all the meetings.

Uttarakhand: Sankalp Sabha took place in Nainital dist’s Bindukhatta area. Apart from cadres and members, party sympathisers also participated in remembering Comrade VM. Comrades Raja Bahuguna and Rajendra Pratholi were main speakers at the pledge meet. After observing two minutes of silence to honour the revolutionary legacy of Comrades Vinod Mishra and Ram Naresh Ram and reading of CC’s resolve letter the cadres were called upon by Comrades Raja and Pratholi to carry the revolutionary legacy to its logical culmination.

Party’s Nainital dist incharge Com. Girija Pathak presented a programme-plan to meet set targets for Nainital and Udhamsingh Nagar in a scheduled timeframe. It was passed by the house after debate and discussion. Membership renewals, district conferences of Kisan Mahasabha, membership targets for AIKM and AISA and other agitational programmes were finalised.

Madhya Pradesh: Sankalp Sabha in Bhind was organised on the occasion of twelfth Memorial Day of Comrade VM. A good number of agrarian labourers, loaders, and small peasants took part in this meeting. Party’s CC member Comrade Prabhat Kumar addressed this meeting where he said that the widespread corruption and price rise are menifestation of government’s New Economic Policies. The government is now increasing attacks on the workers and peasants. Therefore, we must take a pledge to give a befitting reply to the policies of corruption, price rise and state repression. Comrades Devendra Singh Chauhan, Member Central Control Commission, AIPWA leader Suraj Rekha Tripathy, Hammal-Poldaar Union leader Vinod Suman, Jabbar also addressed the meeting.

A Sankalp Meeting was also organised in Gwalior which was addressed by Comrade Vinod Rawat.

(We will be reporting in the next issue about the 18 December programmes held in many other states and unreported in this issue.)

Protest Demonstration at Kamarkundu (Singur) 18 December

On the 4th martyrdom day of Tapasi Malik, All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA) held a protest demonstration demanding capital punishment for the CPI(M)-backed criminals who raped and murdered her in 2006. The gathering was addressed by AIPWA’s State Secretary Chaitali Sen and other leaders.

Left Convention in WB

A Left convention was organized jointly by the West Bengal State Committee of CPI(ML), Liberation and the Marxist Communist Party, a breakaway group from CPI(M) and active in the Danton area of Midnapore district, on 20th December at the Vidyasagar Hall of Midnapore town.

Apart from the state leaders of the party, the convention was attended by Comrade Swapan Mukherjee, Party CCM and General Secretary of AICCTU, Comrade Mangatram Pasla, General Secretary of CPIM(Punjab), Comrade Aloke Nandy, General Secretary of Marxist Communist Party and Comrade Jayanta Gupta Bhaya, General Secretary of Marxbadi Mancha, a left group from Burdwan district. In his speech Com. Swapan emphasised the importance of holding such convention in the turbulent situation in West Bengal where the degenerated Left led by CPI(M) is fast giving way to reactionary TMC through their anti-people policies and the prospect of resurgence of a revolutionary Left is brightening.

Com. Pasla spoke of the root causes of degeneration of CPI(M), of which he was once a part. He said, CPI(M) has abandoned the class position of the toiling poor and has adopted the class position of big capital. He expressed strong optimism about the immense prospect of building up a revolutionary Left co-ordination throughout the country by uniting with the struggling left forces.

Com. Alok Nandy and Com. Gupta Bhaya also welcomed the initiative taken by the All India Left Coordination (AILC) to unite the revolutionary Left forces in the country and expressed their willingness to be part of such initiative. Com. Partha Ghosh, State Secretary of CPI(ML) underlined the significance of holding the convention in the district of Midnapore which has, of late, emerged as the most turbulent hot bed of political activism in the state, be it at Nandigram or in Jangalamhal. Com. Kartick Pal, WB State Committee Member and Polit Bureau Member of the party proposed to have further interaction among such like-minded parties and groups in West Bengal shortly to chalk out further course of action and forge stronger unity.

Uttarakhand: Conference of All India Kisan Mahasabha

On 19 December, AIKM organised its Haldwani Block Conference. The Conference elected a 17-member block committee. The conference passed various resolutions concerning the working people of Haldwani block. Prominent among these is the demand to relocate the dangerously polluting stone crushers from inhabited areas to uninhabited areas. Comrade Raja Bahuguna was the main speaker who said that the increasing misery of peasants and pauperisation of workers lays bare the true colours of UPA-NDA’s claims of an economically resurgent India.

AIALA TN Unit’s 4th State Conference

Intensify the Struggles of Rural Poor; Put an End to the Corrupt, Treacherous DMK Government

AIALA’s 4th State Conference of Tamil Nadu was held on 18-19 December in Kumbakonam. The conference was held in a background in which the ruling DMK is thoroughly discredited by the spectrum scam, Radia revelations and TN CM Karuna’s desperate attempts to shield the tainted ex-minister A Raja. On the other side all the election promises of Karunanidhi are thrown to the winds and he has the audacity to declare that he cannot fulfil his promise on 2 acres of land as there are no lands. His recent announcement of Rs.500 monthly pension for the members of Agricultural Labourers and Farmers Welfare Board and the claim that TN elders can have a dignified life independent of their wards with the schemes such as Re.1 rice, concrete housing, free TV, free gas and health insurance, has only rubbed the wound with salt. The TN peasantry suffered a heavy damage and the agricultural labourers in particular could not find jobs to sustain themselves during the rains and total relief package announced by the TN government was only Rs.500 crores. The TN peasantry could not help comparing this meager Rs.500 crores with Rs.1,76,000 crores involved in spectrum scam. There is a simmering anger against the anti-people commissions and omissions of the DMK government and the contrary claims which was aptly reflected by the support the Conference and the rally preceding the Conference received from among the rural poor of TN.

The heavy downpour during the membership campaign, conference preparations and propaganda did not dampen the spirit of the comrades and 51,180 members were recruited before the conference. This membership is from 129 panchayats. There are over 10,000 members in three districts, over 1000 in 9 panchayats and over 1600 members in one panchayat. This is a significant improvement in this conference. Panchayat level conferences with more than 500 members were held in 34 panchayats before the state conference.

Working class comrades worked in the villages of Villupuram and Tanjore districts during membership campaign for a period of 7 days in November and involved in mobilizing the rural poor in Tanjore district for the rally in December. Com. NK Natarajan, State GS, AICCTU, camped in Tanjore district since December 1 and concentrated on the mobilization work.

An impressive and colorful rally was held on December 18 in Kumbakonam with a participation of 1500 rural poor. The rally went through the main streets of Kumbakonam raising slogans against the DMK government not full-filling the just demands of rural poor: 2 acres land, house stead lands and pattas, inclusion of rural poor in BPL list, Rs.200 wages and 200 days job under NREGA and so on. The rally culminated near the Mahamaham Tank which is well known in TN for the death of hundreds on devotees in the tank in stampede when Jayalalitha along with her close aide took a dip in the tank during her rule. The mass meeting was presided over by Com.TKS Janardhanan, State President of AIALA. Martyrs Torch carried through from Manaloor, the martyrdom cite of Comrades Chandrakumar and Chandrasekar was presented to AIALA and Party leaders. Two minutes silence was observed in memory of Comrades VM, Ramnaresh, martyrs and departed leaders. Com. Dhirendar Jha, AIALA GS, Com. S Kumarasami, PBM of the party, Com.Thenmozhi, AIPWA State President spoke in the meeting.

Several resolutions were passed placed by Com.Venkatesan, State Secretary of AIALA. Coms Palanivel and Krishnamoorthy, AICCTU office bearers, donated Rs.40,000 to the Conference, collected from Pricol, TIDC, MRF, Hyundai workers and masses led by Com. Kumarasamy, NK Natarajan and other leaders and cadres. Com. Rameshwar Prasad, AIALA National President, Com. Balasundaram, State Secretary, CPI(ML), NK Natarajan, State GS, AICCTU, Com. Bharati, State President of AISA, Com. Balasubramanian, CPI(ML) State Secretary of Puducherry, and office bearers of AIALA were also present in the meeting.

On 19th December Com. Rameshawar Prasad hoisted the flag in front of the conference hall named after Comrades VM-Ram Naresh Ram, inaugurated the delegate session. The Conference paid homage to other martyrs and departed leaders. Greeting the conference, Com. Rameshwar told that in Tamil Nadu too AIALA is emerging and appealed to intensify the land struggles at panchayat level in the coming days. The conference was attended by 123 delegates including 33 women from 14 districts. The conference was conducted by a 9-member presidium, with 4 women members, chaired by Com. Ilangovan. Com. S Janakiraman, outgoing GS presented the work report. Fifteen delegates including 4 women put their views on the report. The report highlighted the significant improvements that AIALA has made after the 3rd conference and put forth certain key questions for debate such as developing an internal dynamism in AIALA work from the top to bottom, raising the work at the block level, developing network of promising activists and cadres that is necessary for AIALA to rise up and move forward in the coming days. Com. Janakiraman summed up the discussions and the draft report was unanimously adopted by the house.

Election for the next AIALA state body was conducted by Com. Dhirendar Jha and Balasundaram, All-India Vice-President of AIALA. A 55-member State Council was elected which in turn elected a 19-member state executive and 11 member- TKS Janardhanan, S. Janakiraman, C. Ponraj, P. Usha, M. Venkatesan, Senbagavalli, S. Ammaiyappan, V.M. Valathan, Rajangam, S. Ilangovan, and T.Kannaian- office bearers. Com. TKS Janardhanan was elected as State President and Com. S. Janakiraman was re-elected as State GS.

Comrades S.Kumarasami, Balasundaram, S Balasubramaniam, Com. NK Natarajan, Com. Bhuvaneswari, State Dy. GS, AICCTU, Com. Rameshwar Prasad, AISA State Secretary, Com. Mathikannan of Manuda Vidudhalai Pannpattu Kazhakam (cultural forum) addressed the Conference. The new office bearers, volunteers, cultural troupe members, artists were greeted by All-India President and GS with mementos. The conference came to a close with the Internationale.

Unorganised Workers under AICCTU Banner Held Protest in front of Orissa Vidhan Sabha

On 15th December 700 unorganized workers from different sectors joined in a protest rally and dharna in front of the Orissa Legislative Assembly. A huge rally started from Nagbhusan Bhavan for Vidhan sabha with unorganised workers raising slogans for permanent patta of land and ration card to all unorganized sector workers. The rally was led by AICCTU president Com. NK Mohanty, AICCTU General Secretary Com. Radha Kanta Sethi and Com. Mahindra Parida, Secretary AICCTU.

Forest workers, Rickshaw Kooli Sangh, Motorboat Workers Union, Chilika and construction workers from different parts of Orissa constituted the rally. The rally demanded Rs.1000 as pension for construction workers, to stop workers retrenchment in State and curb unemployment, 200 days work for all workers, constitute unorganized workers board and identification of forest workers and issue card to them with insurance benefits.

Veteran Socialist Surendra Mohan Passes Away

On December 17, veteran socialist ideologue and leader Surendra Mohan passed away. He was 84. He is survived by his wife, Ms Manju Mohan, a son and a daughter.

With Surendra Mohan’s passing, the left, democratic and progressive struggles of India have lost an invaluable friend and activist.

A whole time activist in the socialist movement since a young age, Surendra Mohan was one of the founders of the Janata Party in 1977. While he was closely involved with the Janata Party government in 1977 and the VP Singh-led Government in 1989, he never sought ministerial berths for himself. He served as a Parliamentarian in the Rajya Sabha from 1978 to 1984. He was the President of the recently constituted Socialist Janata Party.

At a time when various parties and governments of the socialist stream are caught in the morass of political opportunism and corruption, Surendra Mohan remained steadfastly committed all his life to democratic values and struggles, and true to the anti-authoritarian and egalitarian legacy of the socialist movement. He was active in civil liberties’ movements all his life and was an eager and enthusiastic advocate of unity amongst left and democratic people’s movements. Right till the end of his life, every manner of people’s movement could count on his solidarity, support and active cooperation and intervention, and one could be sure of his active participation in all manner of large and small protests for people’s rights.

CPI(ML) activists will warmly remember the many occasions when Surendra Mohan’s presence and voice strengthened their struggles – among them, in the protest against the arrest of students, youth and women who were arrested during the Shaheed Mela at Ayodhya in 2002; in the TADA Bandi Rihaai Abhiyan (Free TADA Prisoners Campaign) in Bihar in 2004; in the Sankalp Sabha in Delhi against Comrade Mahendra Singh’s assassination; and in the citizens’ meet at Delhi against the false cases framed on CPI(ML) activists and the party General Secretary by the BJP Govt in Jharkhand in 2006.

CPI(ML) expresses heartfelt condolences to Surendra Mohan’s family and friends at this time of loss. The left and democratic movement all over the country will deeply feel his loss and mourn his passing.

Edited, published and printed by S. Bhattacharya for CPI(ML) Liberation from U-90, Shakarpur, Delhi-92; printed at Bol Publication, R-18/2, Ramesh Park, Laxmi Nagar, Delhi-92; Phone:22521067; fax: 22442790, e-mail: mlupdate, website: www.cpiml.org

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