ML UPDATE 14 / 2011

MLUpdate

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 14, No. 14, 29 MARCH – 04 APRIL 2011

Poll Promises: Mixer-Grinder in Tamil Nadu, Switzerland-London in West Bengal!

Election time is manifesto time. On the eve of elections we are used to the spectacle of ruling parties releasing eye-catching manifestoes with spectacular promises. Former Haryana Chief Minister Chaudhary Devi Lal had once famously said that all manifestoes read alike, the difference lying only in cover pages showing the names and election symbols of respective parties. There is surely an element of truth in what the earthy leader had said – almost every ruling party manifesto today for example echoes the same rhetoric of ‘good governance’ and ‘inclusive growth‘ even as in real life governments vie among themselves in promoting corporate plunder, curtailing democratic rights and enacting multi-billion scams. Yet reading between the lines, manifestoes still help us in getting an idea about the forms of politics practised by different parties and holding them accountable after they come to power.

Dominant politics in the southern states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh has never had any dearth of cinematic gloss. Once again, the manifestoes of both DMK and AIADMK give us a glittering picture of competitive populism. The DMK manifesto has promised free mixers or grinders for women, free laptops for SC/ST engineering students and 35 kg free rice for Antyodaya card-holders, and Rs. 400,000 loan for women self-help groups with a maximum subsidy component of Rs. 200,000. The previous DMK manifesto which had promised colour TV sets and 2 acres of land for every landless poor household had been termed the hero of the 2006 poll. It is another thing that while many families did get colour TV sets, hardly any landless poor family in the state got the promised 2 acres and the government subsequently resorted to an utter lie to claim that the state did not have enough land to fulfill this promise!

Karunanidhi described his current manifesto as the ‘heroine’, only to find a ‘super heroine’ overshadow her in no time. The AIADMK manifesto has promised 20 kg free rice to all ration card holders and 20 litres of purified drinking water for BPL families, mixer, grinder and fan for every woman, 4 grams of gold and Rs. 25,000 as marriage assistance, up to Rs. 10 lakh loan for women SHGs, free laptop for all students in colleges and polytechnics, and 3 cents of land as house-site for landless poor families or BPL households. This politics of doles has truly reduced citizens to subjects with modern-day kings and queens promising freebies to come to power and then using state power as a licence to systematically rob the people of all their rights and resources. The freebies are meant not just to fetch votes but also to mint money for the expanding business empire of ruling politicians. It is not difficult to see the huge benefits the mass distributed colour televisions have meant for the cable and channel business run by the ruling family of the DMK.

While the competitive populism of the dominant Dravidian parties makes big news in Tamil Nadu, the focus of national attention in the coming Assembly polls is of course on West Bengal where the Trinamool Congress is widely predicted to dislodge the more than three-decade-old CPI(M)-led government. The TMC has had a dramatic rise in recent years, and with its plank of ‘change’ and accent on mass agitation it has come to acquire a political identity quite distinct from the standard complexion of all-India/regional ruling parties in the present phase of neo-liberal policies. Reinforcing the mystic aura about the TMC has been its enthusiastic endorsement by large sections of progressive and Left-leaning intelligentsia and parties like the SUCI. But as the TMC comes closer to its cherished goal of coming to power in the state, it has started revealing its true colours though its manifesto and its choice of candidates.

The TMC manifesto is full of lofty phrases with very little concrete promises. It promises to transform North Bengal into Switzerland, Kolkata into London and Digha into Goa and usher in green revolution in both agriculture and industry – just by waving the magic wand of ‘public-private partnership’. There are also talks of ‘curbing state terror’ and probing all cases of human rights violations in last 35 years (interestingly, the manifesto also includes the infamous Kashipur-Baranagar massacres of 12-13 August 1971 in this list) within six months. But the manifesto does not forget to blame militant trade union struggles for the industrial crisis in West Bengal even as it is common knowledge that capitalists have had a free hand in CPI(M)-ruled Bengal violating every labour and industrial law with impunity. The manifesto has an entire chapter devoted to the railways but is conspicuously silent about the other ‘achievements’ of the UPA government – the unprecedented rise in prices and the lengthening list of mega scams not to mention the Wikileaks revelations – which the entire country is discussing.

Particularly revealing is the TMC’s list of candidates. The TMC candidate against the Left Front’s Finance Minister is none other than Amit Mitra, the secretary general of FICCI, one of the premier organizations of Indian big business. Mr. Mitra has all along been a loud votary of liberalization, privatization and globalization and a vocal opponent of Singur-type agitations. The TMC nominee against Buddhadev Bhattacharjee is Manish Gupta, former Home Secretary and Chief Secretary of the West Bengal government and currently one of the directors of a Tata company (Tata Metaliks Ltd). And then there are the Rachpal Singhs and Sultan Singhs, former police officers who have been notorious for suppressing popular agitations under Left Front rule. A party which loves to describe itself as the party of ‘Ma-Mati-Manush’ (the soil and people of Motherland Bengal) is systematically packing itself with corporate representatives and former bureaucrats and police bosses.

BJP’s ‘Nationalism’ Exposed as

Naked and Cynical Opportunism

The Wikileaks cables had already exposed the hollowness of BJP’s criticisms of the UPA’s ‘subservience’ to the US, and even the BJP’s opposition to the Nuke Deal, where BJP leaders were revealed as assuring US representatives that such stances were mere political posturing and should not be taken seriously.

Another cable that has recently been made public has senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley complaining against Modi’s being denied a US visa, saying he could not understand how the United States could take such an action against the party that began the transformation of U.S.-India relations! In the same cable, Jaitley is quoted as mooting FDI in retail, arguing that “foreign competition should not seriously hurt the mom and pop stores that form a BJP constituency.”

Noting that Jaitley was ‘gracious’ throughout the interview in spite of his protests against denial of visa to Modi, the US Embassy representative comments, tongue in cheek that Jaitley “clearly values his personal and commercial connections to the US (several US corporates are legal clients).”

If BJP’s posture of swadeshi and their claims of opposing the UPA’s ‘pro-American’ policies stand exposed as a misleading mask by the Wikileaks cables, their ‘Hindutva’ politics too stands exposed as ‘opportunistic’ (a word Jaitley himself is quoted as using in the conversation with the US representative). Jaitley told the US representative that “In India’s northeast, for instance, Hindutva plays well because of public anxiety about illegal migration of Muslims from Bangladesh. With the recent improvement of Indo-Pak relations, Hindu nationalism is now less resonant in New Delhi, but that could change with another cross-border terrorist attack, for instance on the Indian Parliament.” These bald words reveal how for the BJP, even terror attacks like the one on Parliament are welcome because they provide fertile ground for Hindutva politics!

The Wikileaks cables expose the BJP’s nationalist posture as a bare-faced lie. In reality the party is as committed as the Congress to making India’s policies subservient to US interests. Its Hindutva slogans too, far from reflecting ‘nationalist’ concerns, are actually fuelled by the most cynical calculations, to the extent that even bomb blasts and attacks on Parliament are seen as fodder for Hindutva politics! Between Aseemanand’s confessions and Wikileaks revelations, the true colours of the Sangh brigade stand squarely exposed.

AICCTU Recognized in Pricol: Victory for 4 Years of Struggle!

Pricol management after meeting Com. S Kumarasamy announced pending DA due as a measure of good-will gesture on 2nd February this year. In this background GBM held on 13 February aroused great expectations among workers. Discussing the talks he had with the management, Com Kumarasamy said that it was possible because of the unrelenting struggle of the workers this history must be remembered.

It was decided in the GBM that two functioning unions, KMPETU and KMPTTS are amalgamated to form a single union named Coimbatore Dist. Ppricol Workers United Union –affiliated to AICCTU. It was also decided to take up the campaign in Mettupalayam on people’s charter on development and better living conditions. It also resolved to contest Mettupalayam assembly elections to uphold proletarian politics against capitalist politics of all hues. GBM resolved to campaign for Com. Jankiraman, workers’ leader from Pricol who is contesting as CPI(ML) candidate. Election for the new office bearers of amalgamated union will be held soon.

TN Elections: A Round–up of Predominantly Working Class constituencies

SRIPERUMPUTHUR: CPI – ML is contesting Sripeumputhur assembly constituency, the so called Detroit of India. This is an area where trade union rights are being denied. Government and capitalists declared this area as NO TRADEUNION ZONE. Managements are not at all recognizing fighting unions of majority workers – whether its Hyundai, Nokia or Foxcon. But struggles for TU recognition and workers’ safety are continuing.

CPI –ML’s candidate Comrade Socrates is a laid-off employee of the Hyundai factory. He was introduced as CPI(ML) candidate in the recently held GBM of Hyundai Motors India Employees Union chaired by its President Com. A. Sondarrajan, who is TN’s General secretary of CITU and also CPI(M) candidate of Perambur (Chennai) constituency on behalf of AIADMK alliance. Com. Charles called upon the workers to support CPI(ML) as all political parties are taking sides with capitalists. The GBM decided to support both the candidates in their respective constituencies.

Big drive for fund mobilization is underway and workers have donated enthusiastically. A public meeting to introduce the candidate was held where Com. Kumarasamy spoke. Workers’ teams were formed to intensify the campaign.

AMBATTUR: General Secretary of TIDC wrkers’union Com. Palanivel is the CPI(ML)’s candidate for Ambattur. Colourful pamphlet on the issues of workers and their living conditions with a demand for change are being distributed during the campaign. Ten women workers from the unorganised sector and from a single ward came forward as proposers during nomination of Com. Palanivel. We appealed to the workers to end corrupt and anti-people DMK–AIADMK rule in TN and vote for a revolutionary opposition.

TIRUNELVELI: Com. Thenmozhi, office bearer of AICCTU in TN and State President of AIPWA is contesting from Tirunelveli constituency- predominantly consisting of women beedi leaf rollers. Com. Thenmozhi filed her nomination in the midst of leading a strike of thousands of women workers to implement wage revision accord. Our people’s charter includes census of women beedi workers to declare number of beedi workers in the industry, Supreme Court directive to be implemented with regard to work place harassment of women workers, Govt to take the responsibility to waive off Rs. 20000 loan of each beedi worker etc.

KUMARAPALAYAM: It is a constituency of powerloom workers. Some 70000 workers have been benefited by the recent wage revision strike led by AICCTU. Com. Venkatachalam, state leader of All India Students’ Association (AISA) is our candidate. Cadres are daily involving themselves in campaigning. One election office at Pallipalayam has ben opened. The wide reception to our demand for housing colonies for powerloom workers has caused almost all political parties promising this demand to the electorate.

KOLACHEL: Com. Anthony Muthu, state office bearer of AICCTU and also leader of construction labour union is contesting from Kolachel in Kanyakumari district. Our campaign was the first to kick-off. Women workers are canvassing votes in their residential areas regularly. We have supporters among fishermen and minority community in this sea shore constituency. Our campaign vehicle is constantly on the move in this constituency.

CPI(ML) Activists Jailed in Arrah Jail Create a new Milestone

Shaheed-e-Azam’s Statue Installed for the 1st Time in any Jail

Bhagat Singh’s Statue Unveiled in Arrah Jail !

Those following the path followed by Bhagat Singh have been getting jailed and even sentenced to death even after Independence in 1947. Lyricist Shailendra’s famous lyric is well known. Incidents of arrests of those selling Bhagat Singh’s writings are not too old. Bhagat Singh taught those fighting for emancipation and liberation of the oppressed how to continue their mission even if they have been slapped with false cases and draconian laws and jailed. CPI(ML) activists and other left movement activists lodged in Arrah Jail have successfully fought and won their democratic rights as political prisoners on several occasions against inhuman and repressive conditions inside the Jail.

This time around the prisoners associated with CPI(ML) movement created a new milestone when they made a Statue of the greatest hero of Indian Freedom Movement- Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh and installed in the Jail premises. A well know sculptor from Varanasi (Vinit) who undertook the sculpting of the Statue was paid for by the prisoners themselves who collected enough to fund it. A famous and profound statement by Bhagat SIngh on revolution is inscribed on the base stone of Statue – "by revolution we mean a fundamental transformation of the present social-order based on exploitation"!

Former Dist. Committee memebr of CPI(ML), Comrade Sanjay Yadav cut the ribbon in presence of the jailer and Comrade Satish unveiled the Statue. Comrade Ramji Rai, CPI(ML)’s Polit Bureau member was present as chief guest who said that it was a historic moment not only for Arrah and Bhojpur Dist. but for the entire Country. We have heard about building temples and mosques inside jails, but this is perhaps the first occasion when Bhagat Singh’s Statue has been established. Famous poet Baba Nagarjun had said of Bhojpur long back that Bhagat Singh has been re-incarnated in Bhojpur. The prisoners, who despite all difficulties of a jailed life, have shown that Baba Nagarjun was very right.

23 March: Shahadat Diwas

Delhi: Sankalp Sabhas (Pledge taking meetings) and other programmes were organised at various places in Delhi on 23 March – martyrdom day of Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdeo. The meetings and other programmes paid tributes to the revolutionaries and resolved to carry forward their unfinished task. The meetings condemned the imperialist NATO’s aggression in Middle East, Afghanistan, drone strikes inside Pakistan and US meddling in India’s internal affairs also exposed by the wikileaks and demanded immediate resignation from the Manmohan Singh led UPA Govt. for sacrificing India’s own national interests to facilitate the US’ imperialist policies.

At Mayur Vihar Phase 3 (Khoda) a Sankalp Sabha was held attended by 150 workers and addressed by CPI(ML) Central Committee member Com. Prabhat Kumar and AICCTU’s General Secretary Com. Swapan Mukherjee apart from Party’s local and State leaders. Com. Swapan said that what Bhagat Singh said then is as relevant today about the character of brown sahibs. He called upon all to launch all out resistance to the exploitative regime with the fervour of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdeo. Sangwari’s cultural team rendered revolutionary songs.

CPI(ML)’s North-West Delhi’s District Committee organised Shaheed March at Narela. Starting from Narela Bus Stand the march culminated in a big meeting at Jhanda Chowk. Meeting was addressed by Com. Kavita Krishnan, CC member of CPI(ML) apart from others. Sangwari’s cultural team performed here too.

A street-corner meeting was organised at Wazirpur Industrial Area where Bhagat Singh’s photo was garlanded and meeting addressed by comrades Mathura Paswan and Anmol.

Uttar Pradesh: Shahadat Diwas was celebrated in several districts of UP to remember the three martyrs and take pledge to carry forward their unfinished task. In Gazipur town Prabhat Pheri (morning march) was taken out. Starting from Party office at Lanka Maidan and covering five km through town’s busiest places, the march culminated in a mass meeting after garlanding Bhagat Singh’s Statue at Jhingurpatti.

At Sitapur, march was held from Party Office in Sadar to Raja Todarmal Park. Seminars were held in Lakhimpur Khiri’s Palia and Mohammadi. Variety of programmes were organised at Dist. HQ, Majhola and Puranpur in Pilibhit. Seminar was held at Saidupur in Chandauli and march held in Mughalsarai and Sakaldiha. March and public meeting was held in Mirzapur town and Kailahar bazaar. Meeting was held at Nauniha village of Ramgarh block. RYA organised a seminar in Robertsganj. CPI(ML) and RYA held a public meeting attended by hundreds of local people at Rewali crossing of Bhagalpur block of Dewaria.

March culminating in public meeting was held in Faizabad by RYA. A public meeting was organised at Nichnaul Tehsil HQ in Maharajganj. In Varanasi, AISA organised a march on the eve of Shahadat Diwas from Bharatmata Mandir to Cant Station.

Dharnas/Demonstrations in front of PF Offices

As part of Nation-wide campaign, AICCTU held dharna and demonstration in front of Provident Fund Offices in various states to oppose misappropriation of workers’ PF fund and improper implementation of PF scheme at several places. The protest programmes were held at several places in Punjab, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, and Uttarakhand on 24-25 March. At many places the leaders of AICCTU were invited by Fund Commissioner to hold talks. At other memorandum was handed over to fund authorities. The central memorandum handed over to PF Commissioner at Bhavishya Nidhi Bhawan in Delhi demanded a minimum monthly wage of Rs.7,500 for all workers. Other demands are:

Declare Rs. 7500/ as minimum pension for all workers in addition to Variable Dearness Allowance based on Cost of Living Index.

Scrap recommendations of the Report of the Expert Committee on PF Pension.

The government and employers should shoulder the responsibility for the welfare of workers in their old age and make the pension a defined benefit scheme.

Increase the government’s share of EPF to 6%, i.e., 50% of employee’s share as per Parliamentary Standing Committee recommendations.

Remove the clause of minimum 20 employees in private sector and 50 in co-operative sector for eligibility to become member of EPF.

Reduce the percentage reduction for early pension to 1% from the present 4%.

Extend the benefit of pension to workers in the period of unemployment for various reasons, including retrenchment and closure.

Expedite the settlement of claims. Guarantee PF right to the contract workers.

Rally and Demo at Salumber

CPI(ML) organised a rally and demonstration at the Salumber Sub-divisional Office in Rajasthan on various pressing issues affecting workers and common people. The protest programme was led by Party’s State Secretary Com. Mahendra Chaudhary and Dist. Secretary Com. (Dr.) Chandra Deo Ola. Meeting was addressed by comrades Gautam Lal Morila (Sub-Division Secretary), Nathu Lal Gameti, Onkar, Tejki, Mohan Maharaj, Gautam Dhawra and AISA leader Yogesh Rawal.

A march in the form of rally began after the demonstration and meeting participated by 400 party members, activists and people. The march passed through main streets and busiest places of the town. The rally reached Sub-Divisional Office and gheraoed it. A memorandum of demands was later handed over to Dist. Officials.

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

MLU-14-14.pdf

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2 Responses to “ML UPDATE 14 / 2011”

  1. rajvelu jayaraman Says:

    Dear comrade, Our Sriperumbuder candidate name is comrade. SACRATES; But in this article you were mentioned comrade. CHARLES. Please change his name in this article. Thankyou !

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