ML Update 42 / 2011

MLUpdate

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 14, No. 42, 11 – 17 OCTOBER 2011

‘Occupy Wall Street’ –

Sit-In At The Seat of Global Capitalism And Corrupt Corporate Power

For the past three weeks, a very remarkable protest has been unfolding at the heart of US economic power and global capitalism. Thousands of American people have ‘occupied’ a site near Wall Street, and hundreds of solidarity actions and sit-ins have followed both in the US and in other countries. Describing themselves, the protestors have declared, “We are the 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%.”

The protest has given voice to the growing anger of ordinary Americans, especially working class Americans, against being made to bear the burden of the economic crisis while the corrupt corporations responsible for the crisis in the first place, are being bailed out. The choice of venue and the slogans raised say it all – Wall Street houses the offices of the notorious Goldman Sachs, Lehmann brothers and other companies implicated in the 2008 economic crisis, and the demonstrators shout, "Banks got bailed out; we got sold out!" and “We will not pay for your crisis,” and "We Want The Sacks Of Gold Goldman Sachs Stole From Us."

The protests are an outpouring of the accumulated resentment and sense of betrayal that the US people feel against President Barack Obama, who won a popular mandate promising change, but who has delivered nothing but a fresh edition of continued war and pro-corporate policies.

It is significant that the Occupy Wall Street movement coincided with protests marking one decade of the US war and occupation of Afghanistan. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq stand exposed as wars to defend and expand the interests of US imperialism, specifically the US corporations and US economic interests. The protestors, in selecting Wall Street as a target, are aiming at US corporate power that fuels US imperialism. In doing so, their protest resonates with the entire world which is facing the economic and military offensive of US imperialism. Not only are the plunderers on Wall Street, protected by the US Government, responsible for growing unemployment and deprivation in the US, they are responsible for global hunger and poverty, for the impoverishment of countries and global loot of resources, and for the economic policies and military aggression used to batter down the resistance of reluctant countries and pave the way for US corporations.

As the protest has persevered and grown, some of New York’s biggest unions – such as the Transport Workers’ Union of workers in the city’s public transport system and the SEIU 1199 healthcare workers union have declared their support for the occupation. The unions have raised the issue of pay cuts, lay-offs and attacks on workers’ right to organise. Many participants in the occupation of Wall Street claim inspiration from the occupation, in February this year, of the state legislature in Madison, Wisconsin in protest against a Bill to restrict collective bargaining rights of state workers. That workers’ protest failed and the Bill was passed, but even in its failure it has sparked the imagination of American working people, and the occupation of Wall Street is one of the outcomes.

The Occupy Wall Street protest draws on the legacy of the anti-globalisation protests at Seattle in 1999, the global anti-war protests that followed the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the Arab Spring uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia and several other countries.

Thousands of students in universities in New York and other US cities have joined the protests, linking it to steep increases in tuition fees and privatisation of education. Protestors have noted that the economic crisis has been used by the ruling class to push through privatisation of social security and cut-backs in public services, while the corporates responsible for the crisis have continued to enjoy undiminished profits. While protestors have faced mass arrests (in one instance, 700 demonstrators were arrested together), they point out that not a single corporate banker implicated in large-scale corruption and malpractices that devastated people’s lives has been arrested.

The Occupy Wall Street movement has much in it to inspire Indians. By targeting Wall Street, the demonstrators in the US have directly taken on the corrupt corporations and the US government and imperialist economic and military policies that are protecting and promoting them at the cost of the ordinary citizens. We have just witnessed huge public protests against corruption in India too. But the dominant current in the anti-corruption movement has avoided naming and targeting the corporate plunder that is the fountainhead of the worst corruption.

We in India must hail and support the sustained protest by American citizens at the very seat of global capitalism and US imperialism. In India too, the anti-corruption protests need to recognise and confront the pro-imperialist, pro-corporate policies that are behind some of the worst scams and scandals in our country – including the scams in telecom, minerals, and land, and the cash-for-vote scam.

People’s Rights Over People’s Resources!

Left Resurgence Through People’s Resistance!

All India Convention of AILC at Jalandhar

The All India Left Co-ordination (AILC) held an all India Left Convention on 10-11 October, 2011 at the historic Desh Bhakt Yadgar memorial for the martyrs of the Gadar movement at Jalandhar.

Delegates from the four constituent parties of AILC – CPI(ML) Liberation, Lal Nishan Party (Leninist), Left Coordination Committee Kerala and CPM Punjab – had gathered from all over the country to attend the Convention. Apart from this, delegations and representatives from the Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxists (CPRM) from Darjeeling, the Marxbadi Mancha of West Bengal and CPM Haryana also attended the Convention.

The Convention began on 10th with the hoisting of the red flag and floral tributes to the martyrs. The delegates’ session began with the constitution of a Presidium comprising Comrades Harkanwal Singh of CPM Punjab, Krishna Adhikari of CPI(ML) Liberation, Uddhav Shinde of LNP(L), and Chandrashekhar of LCC Kerala. The Presidium welcomed the leaders of the four AILC constituents – Comrades Mangat Ram Pasla, Secretary of CPM Punjab, Bhim Rao Bansod, General Secretary LNP(L), KS Hariharan, Secretary, LCC Kerala, and Dipankar Bhattacharya, General Secretary, CPI(ML) Liberation – on stage, along with Comrade Taramani Rai, General Secretary of CPRM, Comrade Jayanta Gupta Bhaya, General Secretary of Marxbadi Mancha, and Comrade Balvinder Singh Thind, Secretary, CPM Haryana.

A six-member delegation from LCC Kerala attended the Convention, as well as several comrades from CPRM. Among other leaders who participated in the Convention were CPI(ML) PB member Kartick Pal and CPI(ML) CCMs Sanjay Sharma, Prabhat Kumar, Sudhakar Yadav, Rajaram Singh, Bahadur Oraon, and Kavita Krishnan, as well as leaders of All India Kisan Mahasabha, AISA and other mass organizations.

At the very beginning of the session, the house adopted a resolution paying tribute to the recently deceased revolutionary cultural activist Comrade Gursharan Singh. Com. Mangat Ram Pasla then delivered a welcome address, reflecting on the past year’s experience since the formation of the AILC, and the need to take the experience further. He said that apart from the parties participating in the Convention, some other parties – such as the DCPIM of West Bengal and Godavari Parulekar Manch of Maharashtra – had been unable to participate but had expressed support and good will for the Convention.

Next, Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya outlined the perspective of the draft resolution which had been placed before the house for discussion. He began by saying that the AILC Convention was being held a year after the launching of the Coordination at Delhi, in the backdrop of the shared urge for a powerful, united intervention of the Left forces on the burning issues facing the country. The AILC has made advances in the past year, and the present times call for even greater advances. In the wake of the Soviet collapse, capitalist ideologues had declared the end of history, the victory of capitalism, and the irrelevance of the Left. Two decades later (and one decade after the beginning of the US-led NATO war on Afghanistan), ordinary American youth, workers and other sections of society have launched the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement targeting the very citadel of global capitalism and imperialism. In India, too, people have been on the streets against corruption, rising prices, unemployment, and the UPA Government has certainly emerged as the main target for people’s resentment. Commenting on Advani’s rath yatra, which was due to begin on 11 October, said that this was the BJP’s attempt to ride the wave of people’s anger and cover-up the corrupt and communal face of its own state governments and leaders.

He said that at such a time when the popular mood all over the world and in India is one of anger and resistance against the corruption and greed of the ruling classes and capitalists, it is urgently needed of the Left movement to accept the challenge of channeling this anger in a progressive direction while exposing the hypocrisy and hollowness of right-wing forces who are trying to capitalize on the anger. The AILC’s March to Parliament on 14 March and Jail Bharo on 9 August were some of the efforts in the direction of a Left response to the political situation, stressing that the roots of corruption lie in pro-corporate policies.

Comrade Dipankar reflected that the CPI(M)’s defeat in West Bengal and Kerala was a fitting punishment for its betrayal of the basic principles and classes of the Left movement. But the ruling class is trying to describe the CPI(M)’s setback as a setback for the whole Left. This ideological and political anti-Left offensive can be met only by a powerful assertion of the fighting Left forces, which should be visible on the streets on the issues and challenges faced by common people today – be it corruption, price rise, land grab, hunger, unemployment, and assaults on democracy. It is in this backdrop that the all-India Convention was being held at Jalandhar, to forge an effective response by the AILC to the political challenge of the day.

Elaborating on some of the specific issues discussed in the draft resolution, he said that the AILC did not view corruption as an issue of bribery alone; rather corruption today is unquestionably linked with the question of corporate loot of land, minerals and other natural resources and the assaults on people’s movements challenging this loot. Therefore while struggling for an effective Lokpal, the central slogan in these times for Left and progressive forces is “People’s Rights Over People’s Resources.” The question of land reform, he said, is integrally linked with the struggle to defend land from land grab. If land were in the hands of peasants, it would not be so easy for governments and corporations to grab land. Comrade Dipankar said that the ruling class has tried to silence people’s movements against corruption by trying to pit parliament against people. At the same time, there has also been an attempt by some forces to claim that political parties and political movements are irrelevant and only NGOs are legitimate. The fighting Left forces reject both these arguments firmly, and have called for the urgent need for ‘Left Resurgence Through People’s Resistance.’

Next, Comrade Bhimrao Bansod of LNP(L) addressed the Convention. He stressed that all around, people’s movements were on the rise and the scope for the Left was widening. This was the time for the AILC to reach out to other forces of struggle. Comrade Kumarankutty of LCC Kerala said that the CPI(M)’s bankruptcy and betrayal had led to the loss of its government in two states including its bastion of West Bengal. Unfortunately the entire Left movement was being discredited in the name of the CPI(M). At the same time, the rising tide of people’s struggles has also created a felt need for a consistent, revolutionary Left force. Comrade Taramani Rai, General Secretary of CPRM, Comrade Jayanta Gupta Bhaya, General Secretary of Marxbadi Mancha, and Comrade Balvinder Singh Thind, Secretary, CPM Haryana also addressed the Convention.

The discussion on the draft resolution followed, with many comrades from various states sharing experiences and lessons of diverse struggles. The draft resolution, adopted after incorporating various suggestions at the end of the discussion, called for resistance to corruption and corporate plunder, price rise, land grab; struggles for food security and universalisation of PDS, land reform and making the right to work a fundamental right; and defending democracy, resisting feudal-mafia assault and state repression. The resolution concluded with the call, “Let the motto of ‘People’s Rights over People’s Resources! Left Resurgence through People’s Resistance!’ guide us towards forging closer unity among all fighting Left forces and powerful Left assertion against the ruling class parties of all hues.”

On the concluding day (11 October), the delegate session was resumed. Com. Rajaram Singh, addressed the gathering, stressing the agrarian crisis, peasants’ struggles and growing assaults on such struggles. Several resolutions were then placed and adopted: on the global economic crisis and its impact on India, and hailing the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement in the US; against Advani’s rath yatra; against recent incidents of communal violence in Bharatpur and Rudrapur and the victimization of whistleblower Sanjiv Bhatt in Gujarat; against police firing on jute farmers in Assam and repression on an anti land grab protest in Punjab; calling for constitution of a Second State Reorganisation Commission to ensure a speedy and sympathetic resolution to the separate statehood movements in Telangana and Gorkhaland; and demanding land reform and homestead land for all agricultural labourers and tea garden workers in the country.

A resolution was also adopted calling for nationwide protest by the AILC in the forthcoming winter session of Parliament, on the issues of price rise, corruption, land grab, unemployment, food security and state repression. The resolution also extended AILC’s support to the forthcoming conferences and initiatives of various mass organizations of workers, peasants, student-youth and women.

The delegate session concluded with summing up by the main leaders of the four AILC constituents. Comrade Hariharan of LCC Kerala said that there was an objective basis for Left assertion today, and the AILC represented an attempt by genuine forces of struggle to put aside their differences and unite in the field of struggle. Comrade Bansod said that in the past year, various progressive left forces have reached out to the AILC, and the AILC as a platform of struggle is becoming ever more relevant. Comrade Pasla said that the Jalandhar convention had been an opportunity for the AILC constituents and other friendly groups to understand each other better. He stressed the need for AILC to reach out to masses affected by the issues outlined in the resolution and draw them out on the streets and in the Left movement. Comrade Dipankar said that the AILC provided an alternate model of Left unity. The CPI(M)’s Left Front model was mainly a model of running governments, whereas the AILC was a fighting model of unity. He said that the challenge was for this unity to reflect the diverse democratic struggles in our country. Breaking the bounds of our specific geographical location and historical evolution, the AILC constituents had come together to address the need of history. He stressed the need to learn from the CPI(M)’s defeat: the CPI(M)’s victory in 1977 came in the wake of the issues of land, democracy and resistance to state repression. Even the Naxalbari movement had brought these issues to the fore, and the CPI(M) had reaped the benefit in the elections of 1977. But three decades later, the CPI(M) faced crushing defeat precisely because it betrayed the issues of peasants, land, democracy. We need to remind ourselves that the Left, if it is to advance, must respond to democratic issues and struggles. There is no wall dividing class struggle from the left’s responsibility to champion the democratic aspirations of women, dalits, minorities, and youth. In this journey, we are certainly moving forward.

The delegate session concluded with rousing slogans. In the afternoon, an open session was held in the shape of a public meeting in the Comrade Jwala Singh memorial hall. The meeting in the packed hall was addressed by Comrades Dipankar Bhattacharya, Bhimrao Bansod, Kumarankutty, and Mangat Ram Pasla as well as Comrade Krishna Adhikari.

Protest Marches, Dharnas and Street-corner Meetings as Part of Protest Programmes to Expose LK Advani’s Rath-yatra

Bihar: Terming LK Advani’s latest rath-yatra as a sham-yatra, students and youth organised under the All India Students’ Association (AISA) and Revolutionary Youth Association (RYA) held protest programmes in Patna and various districts of Bihar on 11 and 12 October which were attended by a large number of students-youth and common people. In Patna a large number of protesters started their march from Patna University and passed through Ashok Rajpath, Gandhi Maidan, Frazer Road and Dakbungalow Chuaraha before culminating in a public meeting at Patna Jn Station roundabout. The meeting was addressed among others by Prof. Vinay Kanth, Prof. Daisy Narayan and Comrade Kamlesh Sharma (General Secretary, RYA) who said that the NDA formation whose governments in Uttarakhand, Karnataka and other states have already been revealed as most corrupt and anti-people govts are trying to usurp Bihar’s militant legacy against corruption and authoritarianism, which will be completely thwarted by the students and youth and Bihar. If Nitish Kumar is under any illusion of being absolved of various multi-billion rupees scams (such as Treasury-AC-DC Bills scam, MGNREGA-BPL-India Awaas scams, BIADA land scam) by flagging-off ‘anti-corruption’ chariot of a communal-fascist like Advani, the State-wide protests being held by students and youth should open his eyes to the reality. AISA’s National Vice President Abhyuday said that the youth recently brought the UPA Govt to its knees and now its the turn of corrupt Nitish-Modi and NDA govts. Nitish is the betrayer of ’74 movement and the students-youth who are on streets today are the true inheritors of ’74 movement and they have firmed themselves up to challenge the corrupt Nitish and Modi. Several student-youth and CPI(ML) leaders attended the programme at Patna.

The programmes were also held in Bhojpur, Rohtas, Jahanabad, Arwal, Gopalganj, Darbhanga, Samastipur, Vaishali, Bhagalpur, Purnia and other districts that are on the route of Advani’s yatra on 11-12 October – Buxar, Rohtas, Kaimur, Nalanda, Gaya and Aurangabad on 12th October. The protesters at Mohania in Kaimur were lathicharged brutally and 50-60 people including Vijay Yadav and district’s main leaders have been arrested.

Delhi: More than 250 students under AISA’s banner rallied in JNU campus and burnt an efiigy to protest Advani’s rath Yatra on the evening of 11th October.

Comrade Nagbhusan Patnaik’s 13th Smriti Diwas Commemorated

13th Smriti Diwas of great revolutionary leader Comrade Nagbhusan Patnaik (who departed on 9 October 1998) was commemorated at Bhubaneswar on 9th October. Hundreds of CPI(ML) activists and members assembled at Nagbhusan Bhawan to pay tributes to Comrade Nagbhusan. On this occasion a seminar on “Progressive Land Reforms versus the Land Acquisition for Corporate Interests” was also held.

Comrade Kshitish Biswal recalled the revolutionary struggles led by Comrade Nagbhusan for land for the toiling poor in relation to the situation today in Orissa. He called upon the party activists to intensify the struggle against corporate land grab by Mittals, Posco, Tata etc. The meeting was also addressed by Comrades Mahendra Parida, Binod Singh, Bidyadhar Patra, Satyabadi Behara (AIALA), Ashok Pradhan (AIKM), Tirupati Gamango. These speakers put forth their experiences and views for effective struggles to protect agricultural land, water bodies and forests from corporate looters. The meeting was also addressed by Sudhir Patnaik, Editor of Samadruti. The meeting also raised the demand for adequate relief for the flood victims.

National Convention in Jharkhand

The All India Kisan Mahasabha (AIKM) organised a National Convention at Ranchi, Jharkhand, on 27 September to oppose the LARR Bill 2011. The Convention took place at Birsa Munda Auditorium (Gossner Theological Hall). More than 600 delegates from Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar and Jharkhand participated in the Convention. Activists and intellectuals of anti-displacement struggle were also present. A 7-member presidium comprising Comrades Ruldu Singh (AIKM’s President), Rajaram Singh (AIKM’s GS), KD Yadav, Kartik Pal (VP of AIKM), Bahadur Oraon, Rajaram (CPIML CCMs) and Subhash Kakuste conducted the convention.

Inaugurating the Convention, CPI(ML) General Secretary Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya said that the issue of land acquisition is not merely a peasant question, rather it is one also of rescuing our lives, our Country’s traditions and legacy. Describing the recent Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation (LARR) Bill as a cunning move of the UPA Govt he said that during the last few years peasants and tribal people launched notable struggles against land acquisition and displacement and the old law of British times is not helping the Govt. Hence a new Act that ensures complete freedom to corporates for plundering the land. The Bill is that of Ministry for Rural Development, but its provisions are designed in a way so as to cheat peasants of all kinds of their land, sacrificing agriculture-farming-rural development at the altar of urban luxuries. This is the dangerous outlook of development that has thrown an open challenge to all Left, peasants, tribals and anti-displacement forces.

Comrade Rajaram presented the theme paper for the Convention on which numerous delegates put forth their views. The convention was addressed by many other speakers. A resolution to hold a maha-dharna jointly with other peasant organisations and forces of struggle at the Parliament when the winter session begins was passed unanimously. An attractive poster exhibition depicting struggles against land acquisition and cultural performances by Jharkhand Jan Sanskriti Manch were other highlights of the Convention.

Memorial Meet in Delhi for Gursharan Singh, Kuber Dutt and Ramdayal Munda

Jasam organised a memorial meet in New Delhi on 7th October to pay tributes to cultural stalwarts Comrades Gursharan Singh, Kuber Dutt and sociologist Ramdayal Munda. More than hundred cultural personalities, activists, artists, writers, poets attended the smriti sabha. Many others including Jasam General Secretary Pranay Krishna and CPI(ML) General Secretary Comrade Dipankar was also present as were other senior Party leaders and students from DU, JNU and Jamia.

Among those who spoke about their association and experiences with Gursharan Singh, Kuber Dutt and Ramdayal Munda were- renowned historian Uma Chakravarti, Gautam Navlakha, Swapan Mukherjee (AICCTU Gen Sec), poet Ibbaar Ravi, film maker Ajay Bhardwaj, artist Ashok Bhowmik, theatre person Arvind Gaur, critic Murlimanohar Prasad (JLS) and Vishwanath Tripathi (PLS) among several others.

The meeting took a resolution to organise drama festival every year on 27-28 to commemorate Gursharan Singh, Kuber Dutt Memorial Lecture and two-day long event every year on tribal art and culture in memory of Ramdayal Munda in Jharkhand. The meeting was presided by Manager Pandey, Pesident- Jasam, conducted by Gopal Pradhan.

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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