A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol. 14, No. 18, 26 APRIL – 02 MAY 2011
West Bengal Poll Campaign:
CPI(M)’s Shameful Recourse to Patriarchal Abuse
In the ongoing Assembly polls in W Bengal, the survival of CPI(M)’s more than three decades old rule is at stake. Faced with a formidable challenge by the TMC led by a woman leader, the CPI(M)’s political discourse took a shockingly patriarchal and abusive turn.
A senior leader of CPI(M), Anil Basu, in the crudest possible attempt at sexualised humiliation, compared Mamata Banerjee to sex workers and suggested that the US was her ‘client.’ Why is it that when an opponent is a woman, the CPI(M) is unable to keep its discourse political and is instead reduced to age-old feudal-patriarchal abuses?
Subsequently, the CPI(M) issued a condemnation and debarred Basu from further campaigning, and Basu himself issued an apology. The apology, however, is merely for what he calls ‘careless comment,’ not for patriarchal abuse. Videotapes of Basu’s speech make it clear that his remarks were no mere slip of the tongue. Nor was it a matter of a single objectionable word. In his speech, Basu repeatedly and elaborately invoked the patriarchal metaphor of sex work, accompanied by crude gestures. The whole episode reveals his deep-seated patriarchal mindset and cannot be explained away as a ‘careless comment.’ His ‘apology’ only reflects a realisation of the political cost of his remark, rather than any serious realisation or regret for his anti-woman ideas.
Meanwhile the CPI(M) and CPI leaders have tried to argue that while Basu’s remarks are indefensible, the media is not adequately covering the foul language and personalised attacks used by TMC leaders. In the West Bengal elections this time, Mamata and her campaigners too are indeed indulging in foul and intemperate language on many occasions. But this fact cannot be used to trivialise the far more serious question of patriarchal insult aimed at humiliating a woman leader. Nothing short of swift and strong punitive action by the CPI(M) party and West Bengal authorities against Basu can be accepted by democratic opinion.
Basu’s patriarchal abuse occurred in the context of the CPI(M)’s attacks on Mamata’s use of a helicopter for campaigns, and their allegations of her dubious sources of funding. One wonders why the CPI(M)’s campaign remains so obsessed with Mamata Banerjee as an individual? From the early accusations of her fake degree to the latest attacks on her election funding and her helicopter, Mamata has emerged stronger from every such personal attack by the CPI(M). Such personalised attacks only end up underlining the weakness, defensiveness and bankruptcy of the CPI(M)’s political plank.
The CPI(M) has made much of the Wikileaks cable referring to Mamata Banerjee. The cable reads as an assessment by the US of Mamata’s electoral chances and her political persona, and ends with the hope that the TMC’s “public rhetoric, devoid of any anti-Americanism” as well as private outreach to US officers will mean that a TMC-led Government may be more friendly to the US. It contains no revelation of an admissions or statements by Mamata herself.
In contrast, the Wikileaks cable referring to the meeting of US Treasury Secretary Paulson with CPI(M)’s West Bengal CM is far more disturbing. That cable quotes Buddhadeb as assuring US representatives that communist parties are changing in times of globalization; that the need for economic liberalization must be realised, and that Communists must “reform or perish.” While Buddhadeb has often expressed such views in interviews and speeches at corporate events, it is certainly a serious matter when he shares these views with the foremost perpetrator of imperialist globalization – the US. What is worse, Buddhadeb is quoted as offering his personal services in helping to clear hurdles for Dow’s investment in India and West Bengal, because he “wanted Dow Chemical to invest in West Bengal and the state’s proposed chemical hub” and “did not understand why Dow should be saddled with Union Carbide’s liabilities from the Bhopal accident.” Even more serious is the cable’s reference to the Treasury Secretary’s private, secret meeting with Buddhadeb to discuss the Nuke Deal. The cable does not reveal the content of that private conversation. But the question does arise – why did a CPI(M) leader oblige the US Treasury Secretary with a private, hush-hush conversation on the Nuke Deal?
The CPI(M) is suffering a serious electoral erosion and setback since its policies of corporate land grab and severe repression at Singur, Nandigram and Lalgarh. The CPI(M) initially brazenly defended those policies, but after the electoral setback in the Parliamentary the party attempted to stem the decline with promises of rectification and course-correction. The content and character of their election campaign, however, only shows that they are in no mood to gracefully accept whatever the people’s verdict is on their mistakes. Instead, their violent and arrogant response is further discrediting and disgracing them.
Meanwhile Mamata, in her campaign for prominent corporate representative Amit Mitra, has hinted that he would be her choice for industry or finance minister, with the role of attracting investment to the state. At the same time, she has branded the leader of the Lalgarh anti-repression struggle, Chhatradhar Mahato, as a CPI(M) agent because he is contesting elections as an independent. The CPI(ML) has declared its support for Chhatradhar Mahato as a gesture of solidarity with the Lalgarh people’s struggle against police atrocities. Even before attaining power, Mamata has begun jettisoning her pro-peasant, pro-people, anti-repression posturing, to betray people’s struggles and pander to corporate interests.
CPI(ML)’s 42nd Foundation Day
Lenin’s 141st Birth Anniversary
The Party celebrated and observed its 42nd Foundation Day on 22 April across the Country. Diverse political programmes were organised to commemorate the Foundation Day and the anniversary of one of the greatest emancipator of the proletariat and revolutionary of all times- Vladimir Lenin. The CPI(ML) and all its committees and members rededicated themselves on this day to the cause of democratic revolution and socialism in India.
Party’s AP State Conference
Andhra Pradesh Party State Conference was held at Kakinada, east Godavari, on 22-23 April. Followed by flag-hoisting, homage to martyrs, pledges to uphold the Party Foundation-Day call, and colourful and rousing revolutionary cultural performances, the Conference was inaugurated by Politburo member comrade DP Bakshi. Briefing the present day international, national and Andhra situation, comrade Bakshi called upon the delegates to make full use of the situation for speedy and greater advances and focus on the great potential of the anti-corruption movement today. The work report and the deliberations centred on intensifying struggle further against corporate plunder of national resources coupled with large scale evictions; farmers’ suicide, starvation, migration as a fallout of imposed agrarian crisis; MFI driven suicides of poor womenfolk while continuing movement on the issues of land, food security, MNREGA, housing, health, education, etc.
The central observer and other speakers pointed to the fact that corruption has engulfed all walks of our life and naturally the struggle against corruption of the day is not something isolated, it is integrally linked with the ongoing struggle against ‘globalisation-liberalization-privatization’ and its disastrous effects on our national economy and all walks of public life– price hike, unemployment, agrarian crisis, MNREGA, food security, health, housing, education, et al.
There are no dearth of tall talks and claims, but a cursory look into the current budget, the speakers added, is enough to see the corporate face of our government. Budget allocations on MNREGA, food security, health, Indira Awas, education amounts to 1,88,386 crore only, while, for the corporates who are given an open hand to plunder our national resources and national wealth the budget provides tax subsidy of 86,000 crore(!); from 2005-2011, waivers given in customs duty, excise duty, and corporate income tax amounts to 23 lakh crores(!), whereas, our governments run short of funds (!) for agriculture, sick industries or for MNREGA, food security, health, housing, education,…!, the 2G scam alone mops up 1.76 lakh crores, nearer to the budget allocation of five basic sectors of public life; what to talk of the drainage of our money to Swiss bank that runs 1.5 times of our GDP(!)
The conference called for an all out anti-corruption campaign throughout the State to draw cross-section of people in the movement and expand our area of operation. It targeted larger mass membership of class/mass organisations, systematic Party education and strengthening the Party organisation to take the challenge of left-democratic movement in the State. The conference was attended by 238 delegates (women 63) from 13 districts- from Srikakulum to Telangana region. The conference elected a 23-member State Committee.
Orissa:Party Foundation Day was observed at Nagbhusan Bhawan in Bhubaneswar, Puri, Rayagada and Kendrapara with focus on intensifying the struggle to eliminate corporate loot, corruption and price rise. Around 100 comrades of Bhubaneswar local committee were present at Nagbhusan Bhawan for the meeting. Comrade Khitish Biswal, Party’s State Secretary, remembering the great revolutionary sprit of Comrades Charu Mazumdar and Vinod Mishra called upon the Orissa comrades to strengthen the Party organisation in Orissa by organising all sections of the masses- workers, youth, student, women and common people in every part of the State.
Members of Rickshaw Kooli Sangha, Basti Basinda Mahasanghs and Party members attended the meeting. Comrades Radha Kant Seti, Mahendra Parida, Janaki Rao, Seema Sethi and Nilanjal Bhattacharya also addressed the Foundation Day meeting. All the speakers stressed on intensifying the struggle and State-wide campaign to end corporate loot and corruption.
Comrades Ajaya Mandhata, Litulal of AISA and Com. Tirupati Gamango addressed the cadre meetings at Puri and Rayagada.
Statewide Celebration in UP
42nd Foundation Day was observed in various districts of Uttar Pradesh marked by varieties of programmes- mainly cadre meetings, homage to martyrs, CC’s Foundation Day Call was read, discussions on burning issues of the day including corporate loot and corruption and pledges to strengthen the Party. In some districts, workshops/Party education classes were held to educate our members.
Cadre Convention was organised at Baradih village under Niyamtabad Block of Chandauli dist. Cadre meet were organised at four blocks of Mirzapur namely- Narayanpur, Jamalpur, Rajgarh and Patehara. At Sonebhadra, Party’s District Conference was held on 21-22 April. 17 member District Committee was elected.
Education class was organised at Sitapur on Party’s programme and constitution documents. Programmes were held in different blocks of Lakhimpur Khiri. Meetings were held at Pilibhit and Puranpur. Demonstration will be held at Pilibhit on 1st May. GBM’s of Party members were held at four centres of Gazipur dist.- Jamania, Sadar, Saiedpur and Jakhania. CC’s call was read and discussed at SIkandarpur, Maniyar and Belhari (Haldi), all three blocks in Ballia dist.
Apart from workshops at Bansgaon and Uruwa in Gorakhpur, revolutionary films were also screened at these places. GBM was held at Korabar. Cadre meet was organised at Siswan Block of Maharajganj dist. Programmes were also held in Benaras, Bhadohi and Mau.
Seminar was held at Lucknow’s Lenin Book Centre. Two-day long GBM of Party members was held at Gonda. Discussion was also held on Party’s course and programmes in the district. Meetings were also organised at Ambedkar Nagar, Kanpur, Jalaun and other districts to observe the Foundation Day.
Tamil Nadu: 42nd Party Foundation Day meeting was observed all over the State in Tamil Nadu. District level cadre meetings and committee meetings were held almost in all districts. A pledge taking meeting of DLT and DOC members of Tanjore, Nagapattinam, Cuddalore and Villupuram dists was held in Myladuthurai. The meeting discussed Party Central Committee’s 22 April Call along with the Editorial of the ML Update and Party’s circular on struggle against corruption and our tasks.
After flag hoisting and paying homage to the martyrs and departed leaders the meeting actively discussed the Party Call. Strengthen the Party to develop people’s struggle was the central theme. Disseminating the Central Committee Call to all members, making lower level party structures more dynamic, recruiting new Party members, timely collection of Party levy and developing and building panchayat level mass initiatives and AIALA organization were the tasks decided. The meeting has also decided to conduct a mass political campaign against corruption starting from panchayat to town centres. Party SCM and State President of AIALA hoisted the Party Flag. State Secretary Comrade Balasundaram and SCMs from the respective dists participated.
Similar meetings were held in Tiruvallore, Chennai, Salem, Namakkal, Pudukkottai, Madurai, Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari. All the SCMs and dist Party cadres, activists participated actively. In Urban centres May Day programmes were also planned. Poster campaign was also undertaken. Active political campaign and electioneering in the just concluded Assembly elections best reflected in the meeting. First round of election review was also done in the meetings.
Puducherry:State level cadre meeting was held in Puducherry where 22 April Call was discussed. May Day programmes were decided. State Secretary Balasubramanian, SCMs Shankaran, Selvam, Motilal and Jayabal and others participated. Meeting also reviewed the just concluded Assembly election. The meeting also planned a protest demonstration against the Puducherry Governor for his corrupt practices.
Rajasthan:Foundation Day was celebrated in all five districts of Rajasthan where the Party is active- Pratapgarh, Udaipur, Ajmer, Jaipur and Jhunjhunu. Mainly, cadre and member meetings were held in all the places to observe the Foundation Day. In both Pratapgarh and Udaipur it was celebrated in two places in the main district headquarters of Pratapgarh and Udaipur and in the rural area of Dhariavad and Salumbar. Meeting was held in Pratapgarh that was addressed by Party’s State Secretary Com. Mahendra Chaudhary. Dhariavad meeting was addressed by Pratapgarh-in-charge Com Kantilal Koted, Ajmer meeting by district secretary Com. Bhavri Bai, Udaipur by District Secretary Com. Chandradev Ola, Salumbar by Com. Gautumlal Meena, the Jaipur meeting was presided by CC Member Com. Srilata Swaminathan and the main speaker was Com. Anand Dheva while the Jhunjhunu meeting was addressed by Com. Phoolchand. All the meetings were attended by party cadres and the main topic was the strengthening of the Party.
Jharkhand:Foundation day was observed with full enthusiasm and involvement in almost all the districts of the State. 300 cadres of the Party attended the GBM held at Jamua block of Giridih dist. After flag hoisting the GBM was conducted by District Secretary Com. Manoj Bhakt. 22 April Call by Party’s Central Committee, State Committee Circular and a report prepared by the Dist. Committee was read and discussed. All the Dist. Committee members put forth their views and State Secretary Comrade Janardan Prasad summed up the meeting. Corporate plunder, anti-corruption crusade were the main topics and all the members took pledge to strengthen the Party to meet the challenges. Party cadres planned to increase the membership of the Party significantly. It was also decided to mobilize ten thousand people in each district to demonstrate at the Dist. HQs on 29 May. All the comrades participated in discussion on making panchayats the platform of people’s struggles and establishing people’s role in monitoring and vigilance of the panchayats.
GBMs were organised at different blocks under Garhwa dist. 200 Party members attended the GBM at Dhurki, 150 members each at Nagar, Sagma and Dandai and about 100 at Bhavnathpur. Panchayat level demonstrations have been planned for 1st May and conducting membership campaign among rural poor enrolling them under Jharkhand Mazdoor Samiti from 2-15 May. Discussions were also held to systemize and streamline Party organisation by June this year. Foundation day was also observed at Daltonganj, Panki, Lesliganj,
Party Foundation Day was celebrated at State Office in Ranchi where 70 Party members assembled. The gathering in the form of GBM was addressed by Comrades Subhendu Sen, Bhubaneswar Kewat and Sunita. Condemning the Government’s action of evicting the poor from Ranchi the meeting made plans to successfully organise 25 April Rajbhawan March of Left parties.
Foundation day was observed at Hesalog and Vishungarh in Hazaribagh Dist. Seven places in Ramgarh Dist.- Kajangi, Bhurkunda, Sosho, Argada, Ara, Kedla, Topa (each attended by about 200 members). Apart from many other discussions, it wa decided to hold a big march on 20 June in Ramgarh. Foundation Day was also observed at Mohanpur in Devghar, Lohardaga (where a District Leading Team was constituted from the GBM), Bokaro, Dhanbad, Dumka, Jamtada, Ranchi rural and Gumla.
Uttarakhand:42nd Foundation Day of CPI(ML) was observed with a lot of enthusiasm at different centres in the State. CC’s 22 April Call was read and discussed everywhere. In Nainital Dist, main programme was held at Bindukhatta which was addressed by CC member Comrade Rajendra Pratholi who underlined the concrete task before the Dist. Committee in order to fulfill the pledge of strengthening the Party. He said that all the basic level (lower) branches must be made dynamic and strengthened, their meetings and political education to be held on a regular basis, enrolling newer members especially women, increasing the circulation of Party organs like Lokyuddha and Liberation, timely collection of Party levy (every 3-months) and erecting a lively Party structure in order to realize the task of overall Party strengthening. He also said that it was important to focus equally on broadening the base of movements and bringing the leading and advanced sections within that movement into the communist party.
The meeting was also addressed by Comrades Raja Bahuguna and others. He called upon the party members to successfully organise upcoming demonstration of Khattavasis, forest-dwellers and the peasantry at Dehradun on 18 May. The Foundation Day was also observed at Nainital city, Munsyari and Pithoragarh in Pithoragarh Dist, Taleswar in Almora Dist, Srinagar and Pauri in Garhwal region. Chamoli District Conference of All India Kisan Mahasabha (AIKM) was held at Karna Prayag on this occasion. Comrade Indresh Maikhuri was the main speaker here. It was decided to intensify the membership campaign of AIKM in the coming days.
Delhi:Party Foundation Day was celebrated in Delhi with programmes at six places representing different districts of Delhi. Flag hoisting and homage to martyrs were common to all the programmes which were held at Okhla, Wazirpur, Narela, Noida, Mandawli and Moti Nagar. State Secretary Com. Sanjay Sharma and other Party leaders led the programmes at different places.
West Bengal:A cadre meet was organised at Kolkata in the Party’s State Office which was attended by Party General Secretary Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya. Later, the party cadres and Comrade Dipankar went to Esplanade/Dharmatala where Comrade Dipankar garlanded Lenin’s Statue. At other places in the State the Foundation Day programmes were part of the ongoing election campaign.
Bihar:The Foundation Day was observed throughout the State where the panchayat elections are to be held shortly. The Day was observed also at panchayat levels with pledges to transform the panchayats into a platform of struggles against corruption and state repression.
Chhattisgarh:Dharna was held at Supela Bus Stand in Bhilai from 12-4 p.m. as part of Foundation Day against corporate loot and massive corruption. The dharna was led by State Secretary Comrade Brijendra Tiwari. The dharna also remembered the rich revolutionary legacy of Lenin and pledged to end corporate loot and state repression. Apart from Party cadres, unorganised sanitation workers and contractual workers of Bhilai Steel Plant also attended the dharna.
Karnataka:Cadre meet was organised at Davangere and Koppal districts as part of Foundation Day. CC member Com. Shankar was present at both the meetings.
Haryana:A cadre meeting was held in Gurgaon on 22 April to commemorate the CPI(ML) Foundation Day. The meeting was addressed by Com. Prem Singh Gahlawat.
Bring Modi to Book for Gujarat Genocide
At long last, there is concrete evidence of Narendra Modi’s direct role in perpetrating genocide against minorities in Gujarat 2002. In a welcome development, a senior IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, posted in the Intelligence Department in 2002, has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court declaring that he witnessed a meeting at the CM’s residence, in which Modi ordered senior police officers to “allow Hindus to vent their anger” and do nothing to protect minorities and prevent communal violence.
Bhatt’s affidavit is damning evidence of Modi’s direct complicity in the terrible genocide of Muslim minorities. It also points to disturbing signs of a cover-up by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT). Bhatt’s affidavit states that the SIT ignored evidence provided by him and intimidated other witnesses who were willing to testify to Bhatt’s presence in the fateful meeting at Modi’s house. He has also pointed out that his life is in danger, since far from providing extra protection, the Gujarat government has in fact withdrawn any existing protection.
It must be recalled that BJP leader and former Gujarat Home Minister Haren Pandya had also testified to reports of a similar meeting at Modi’s house. Pandya was later assassinated in mysterious circumstances. Bhatt must be provided the highest protection and efforts made to speed up the enquiry and prosecution into the Gujarat genocide case. Nine years is too long – no more time must be wasted in bringing Modi to book.
The anti-corruption movement has in recent times increased the public respect for whistleblowers who take risks to expose wrongdoing by the powerful. A cover-up of a CM’s role in the Gujarat genocide would indeed be the worst form of corruption. Sanjiv Bhatt’s courage and integrity in blowing the whistle on this cover up at great personal risk must be hailed as a model to be emulated.
Protest Continue against Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant
On 23 April 2011, a three-day Tarapur-Jaitapur anti-nuclear plant yatra was stopped the moment it began and hundreds of activists were detained at the Boisar police station. Activists and supporters, including Admiral (retd) L Ramdas, Justices (retd) PB Sawant and BG Kolse Patil, social activist Vaishali Patil and others were whisked away in police vans from Panchmarg Tarapur, where they had addressed a public meeting in the morning. They were brought to the Boisar police station around 4.30 p.m. In all 134 protestors were detained under Section 68 of the Bombay Police Act. It is to be noted that while Uddhav Thackeray is being alowed to visit Jaitapur but not this team of democratic activists!
Comrade Sandeep Singh (AISA National President) and various LNP(L) leaders were also part of the whole march. Sandeep and some others are still trying to make it to Jaitapur in a dispersed way. On 21 April, several dozen activists including many AISA members and various other groups assembled at Maharashtra Bhawan in New Delhi to protest against Jaitapur plant. On 25th, again a protest at Maharashtra Bhavan was held by various groups including AISA against the arrest of marchers.
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