ML Update 01 / 2012

ML Update
A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol. 15 No. 01 27 DEC 2011 – 02 JAN 2012

May A Momentous Year of Movements Give Way to A New Year of Even More Determined People’s Resistance!
Time Magazine, used to featuring powerful political figures and individuals on its cover, had to acknowledge ‘the protestor’ as the 2011 ‘person of the year.’ Undoubtedly, the common man and woman have forced themselves on the political map of the world, challenging the dominant economic and political models of the neoliberal era. As we bid goodbye to 2011, memories of these tumultuous and historic people’s movements warm the chilling winter, holding hope and promise for the new year ahead.
All over the world, people defied the roles and expectations allotted to them by their rulers and imperialist powers. Throughout the Arab world, they came out on the streets in thousands, and determinedly toppled dictators backed by imperialists. In the USA, the people came forward to ‘Occupy’ Wall Street, citadel of global capitalism, and home to the mega corporations and banks. They challenged the utter subversion and mockery of democracy by corporate power, rejected wars for corporate plunder and imperialist control, and expressed their deep disillusionment with the Obama Presidency for betraying their aspirations. Displacing the chauvinistic, right-wing ‘Tea Party’ from popular imagination, the Occupy Wall Street movement took strength from, and gave fresh impetus to trade unions and workers’ agitations. In Europe, the debt crisis has precipitated a serious crisis for the ruling class, with massive people’s protests against austerity measures, cuts and imposition of IMF conditionalities. In Russia, people are on the streets against a rigged election.
In India, too, 2011 witnessed the unprecedented exposure of huge scams, and massive and significant popular protests against corruption. In addition to the anti-corruption agitation on the Lokpal issue, we also saw the brave resistance against corporate plunder by the POSCO project in Odisha; the Maruti workers’ movement; and the farmers’ struggle at Bhatta Parsaul.
What challenges do the movements face in the new year that lies ahead? Already, the Arab Spring is confronting new troubles. In Egypt, even as military rulers replaced Mubarak, and fundamentalist forces appear set to win elections, people have not deserted Tahrir Square or given up their aspirations for a deeper and more genuine democracy. The killing of Gaddafi and the US attempts to gain a foothold in Africa via Libya threatens to abort or hijack the democratic awakening in the region. In the US, the Obama regime, which presided over the killing of Osama and Gaddafi and the imprisonment of military whistleblower Bradley Manning, has on the eve of the New Year, ushered in an anti-terrorist law providing for indefinite detention without charge or trial. With the onset of winter, the actual ‘occupation’ of Zucotti Park made way for new forms of protest. Protesters ‘reoccupied’ foreclosed homes in poor districts, expressing resistance to Government bailouts to banks whose greed made people all over the US homeless.
In India, the Lok Sabha passed the Government’s Lokpal Bill that was a mockery of people’s aspirations for an effective anti-corruption law. The sarkari Lokpal Bill ensures Government control over the process of selection of Lokpal, deprives the Lokpal of any independent investigative machinery, and keeps the main culprits of corruption – including corporations and MPs – out of the Lokpal’s purview. Sensing that the Bill would be defeated in the Rajya Sabha, the UPA Government avoided a vote by orchestrating a ruckus, leading to adjournment of the session.
As five states go to polls, the Lokpal Bill and corruption are likely to be a major issue. However, the conduct of most of the opposition parties on the Lokpal issue was also one of betrayal. While most parties were agreed in keeping Lokayuktas out of the central legislation on a flimsy argument of ‘federalism,’ most also colluded with the ruling coalition in keeping corporates, army, and MPs’/MLAs’ conduct in Parliament out of the purview of the anti-corruption law.
With the setback for the Lokpal issue in Parliament, the Janlokpal agitation led by Anna Hazare has not ended the year on an encouraging note. The challenge, for all genuine anti-corruption forces, is not only to sustain the struggle to ensure the passage of a truly effective and genuine Lokpal law. The key challenge is to take the struggles against corruption onwards to challenge the policies that foster corporate plunder and subversion of democracy. If this challenge is not recognised, even the most effective Lokpal, like Parliament, judiciary and other institutions of democracy, would end up subverted by corporate power.
Worldwide, popular movements are having to question the confines of mainstream ruling class politics. Dominant political formations are unable to satisfy people’s aspirations as protests against economic policies that favour corporate capital, promote wars, and impose price rise, cuts in wages, homelessness and unemployment on people, are becoming part of the political discourse. In India too, popular movements against corruption will lose relevance and momentum if they do not transcend the ruling class political dynamics. All those genuinely committed to combating corruption, must seek and strengthen new foundations of democracy, beyond the dominant political alternatives. Revolutionary left forces, gaining inspiration and strength from the worldwide wave of people’s struggles, have a key role to play, and have their work cut out for them in the new year!
CPI(ML) Statement on Lokpal Bill Passed in LS
Toothless Lokpal Bill Passed in LS is a Mockery of Anti-Corruption People’s Movement
New Delhi, December 28
The Lokpal Bill passed in the upper house of Parliament yesterday (December 27), is a mockery of the people’s aspirations and struggle for an effective anti-corruption law. The Bill as passed in the LS is entirely devoid of any teeth. The Lokpal selection process is designed to allow Government to ensure a pliant Lokpal. The Lokpal is devoid of the power or machinery to conduct an independent investigation. The entire process of investigation will lie with the CBI or CVC which remain well within the control of the Government. Lower bureaucracy, often involved in corruption in welfare schemes that directly affect the mass of people, are out of the purview of the Lokpal.
In recent times the worst instances of corruption have involved undue benefits to huge corporations – yet corporations have been kept out of the purview of the Lokpal. Various alternate proposals including the Janlokpal draft and suggestions by Left parties, had detailed provisions to check corporate corruption – but the UPA Government has kept these provisions out of the Lokpal Bill. On this question, the Congress and BJP were quite united! The BJP, by voting to defeat amendments bringing corporates under the purview of the Lokpal, has exposed the hollowness of its anti-corruption claims.
From Bofors to the coffin procurement scandal to the Adarsh scam, there have been several instances of massive corruption involving officers in the country’s armed forces – yet these forces have been kept out of the purview of the Lokpal.
The Lokpal Bill passed in the LS ensures that the Lokpal cannot investigate the role of MPs and MLAs in scams like the cash-for-vote scam or cash-for-questions scam. The Radia tapes revealed how MPs in Parliament, under the influence of corporate lobbyists, acted to benefit specific corporations on a host of policy issues. The sarkari Lokpal Bill ensures that such corrupt conduct by elected representatives cannot be investigated by the Lokpal!
Neither the Lokpal Bill nor the Judicial Accountability Bill as envisioned by the Government has any provisions to deal with the cancer of corruption in the judiciary.
Parties like SP, BSP, and RJD, by walking out during the Lokpal debate in the LS, have colluded with the ruling UPA Government to pass a toothless Lokpal Bill.
The UPA Government, deeply mired in huge scams involving its top Ministers and even the Prime Minister, has conspired with other corrupt political forces to pass a mockery of a Lokpal Bill in the Lok Sabha.
The CPI(ML) calls upon people to hold countrywide protests on December 29, burning the effigy of the toothless Lokpal Bill in protest. The CPI(ML) reiterates its commitment to intensify anti-corruption struggles that challenge the corporate grab of land and resources that is at the root of the worst corruption today.

Effigy of Sarkari Lokpal Bill Burnt
On December 29, the CPI(ML) Liberation held nationwide protests against the sarkari Lokpal Bill passed in the Lok Sabha on December 27, terming it a mockery of the people’s aspirations and struggle for an effective anti-corruption law.
A protest was organised at Jantar Mantar in Delhi where an effigy of the Govt.’s Lokpal bill was burnt. Protestors held placards and raised slogans demanding inclusion of corporates, MPs-MLAs and the army under the purview of the Lokpal, along with an independent selection process and investigation powers for the Lokpal. Protestors also raised slogans against the parties like Congress, BJP, RJD, SP, BSP, which, in spite of political posturing, are all keen to prevent any measures that would curb corruption and corporate plunder and rein in the corrupt conduct of MPs and MLAs in acting as willing pawns of corporate lobbyists inside Parliament and Assemblies. A protest meeting, conducted by CPI(ML) CCM Kavita Krishnan, was addressed by CPI(ML) Delhi State Secretary Sanjay Sharma, CPI(ML) CCM Prabhat Kumar, CPI(ML) leader Girija Pathak, RYA activist Aslam, AICCTU leader Om Prakash Sharma, and others.
In Bihar, CPI(ML) activists held demonstrations and marches at the capital Patna as well as at district HQs, raising slogans like ‘Stop the Pretence of Combating Corruption, Free Lokpal and Lokayukta from Government Control’; ‘Include Corporates, Lower Bureaucracy and Army in Lokpal’s Purview’; ‘Take Back the Toothless Lokpal Bill’ and so on. In Patna, protestors marched from JP circle to Shahid Bhagat Singh crossing where the effigy of the sarkari Lokpal Bill was burnt. AIPWA State Secretary Shashi Yadav presided over a protest meeting, which was addressed by CPI(ML) CCMs Dhirendra Jha and KD Yadav, AIPWA Joint Secretary Anita Sinha, RYA State Secretary Navin Kumar, and several RYA and AISA activists. Protestors not only exposed the toothless nature of the UPA Govt.’s Lokpal Bill but also protested against the NDA-led Bihar Government’s Lokayukta Bill which was just as bad. Protest demonstrations and effigy burnings were also held at Ara, Jehanabad, Arwal, Siwan, Gaya, Bhabhua, Darbhanga, Buxar and Samastipur.
In Jharkhand, protestors marched to Albert Ekka chowk and burnt the effigy there. Protests were held at Kiso Mod, Bagodar Chowk, and Rajdhanwar in Jamua (Giridih); Bhavnathpur (Garhwa district), and Palamu, Gumla and Dhanbad districts.
At Andhra Pradesh, effigies of the sarkari Lokpal Bill were burnt at Vishaka district (Narsipatnam); Kakinada district HQ; collector’s office at Pratipadu in East Godavari, Mandal offices at Krishna district and Jaggampeta, Yeleswaram, and Ratalapudi mandal towns.
On the same day, CPI(ML)’s Odisha leaders and AISA national council members marched towards Odisha’s Assembly with colourful placards. The march was led by AISA National President Sandeep Singh, AICCTU National Secretary Mahendra Parida, and CPI(ML) State Cmmittee member Radhakant Sethi. An effigy of the sarkari Lokpal Bill was burnt and a protest meeting held.

AISA Workshop
and Activists’ Solidarity Visit to Anti-POSCO Struggle
A meeting of AISA’s national council took place at Bhubaneshwar on 27-28-29 December, along with a national workshop of student activists to discuss the next phase of the student-youth campaign against corruption and corporate loot. It was decided at the workshop that AISA along with RYA would take up a sustained and widespread campaign among students and youth, centring on the demand of ‘Employment with Dignity.’
Following the workshop and a protest against the sarkari Lokpal Bill, a team of AISA activists visited the anti-POSCO struggle. The activists – AISA National Secretary Sucheta De, JNU Unit Secretary Sandeep Saurav, and Unit President Akbar Choudhury, Ashutosh, Ravi, Tufail Ahmad, Praveen Pilassery, and Om Prasad from JNU, Farhan and Guneet Kaur from Jamia Millia Islamia, Sudeep from Calcutta University, and AISA National Council member from Odisha Comrade Litulal – met with activists of the POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti, and with local villagers.
They were told that on 14th December, hired goons led by a local contractor Bapi Circle, threw crude bombs at people protesting the construction of a road connecting Paradip Port to the POSCO steel plant. Many protestors were injured, and the bombs accidentally killed one of the hired goons. On the pretext of this death, one of the main leaders of the anti-POSCO stir, Comrade Narayan Reddy, has been arrested on a false murder charge.
Villagers said that for the past five years, they have been unable to leave the three villages, for fear that their blockade may be breached. As a result, the main casualty has been lack of access to health care. Economic activity has continued as paan and kevra traders come to the villages to buy; but even the most basic medicines, medical services, especially gynaecological services have been lacking, creating a severe health crisis. Women and children, at the forefront of the courageous blockade, are the worst hit by the lack of health care.
AISA activists Sucheta De, Akbar Choudhury and Om Prasad addressed a public meeting attended by a large number of local villagers, including a large number of women.

CPI(ML) in Chandigarh Municipal Corporation Polls
The Chandigarh MC elections were recently held on 17th December, 2011. CPI ML Liberation also participated and contested from 2 wards (total wards 26). The choice of wards was done considering the worker base of unions affiliated with AICCTU. The decisions to contest and choice of wards and candidates were taken in General Body Meeting of AICCTU, in which workers from all affiliated unions participated. This meeting was held under leadership of CPI ML State Committee member and AICCTU State Convener Comrade Kanwaljit.
AICCTU Chandigarh Secretary and PEC Mess workers union leader Satish Kumar was chosen as a candidate from Ward No. 2, which covers Sectors 12, 14 and 15. Major Institutes like PGI, Panjab University and Punjab Engineering College come under this ward. In PGI and PEC, the contract workers’ unions are already affiliated with AICCTU. AICCTU Chandigarh leader and President of GMCH-16 Contract Workers Union Sonu Kumar was chosen as the candidate from Ward No. 5 which includes Sec-25, Dhanas and many working class colonies.
All unions decided to collect funds from workers for contesting elections. Door to door campaigns and street corner meetings were conducted by two teams of workers. Workers of PEC and PGI formed one team for campaigning in Ward 2 and workers of GMCH-16 and Dhanas formed a second team for campaigning in ward no. 5. Leaflets highlighting the corrupt politics of mainstream parties and inspiring the working class to vote for their own candidates, were distributed.
A total of 6 candidates contested from Ward No.2 which include Congress, BJP, BSP (supported by MCPI), CPIML, Jan Manch (supported by CPIM) and NC. And the largest number of candidates contested from Ward No. 5, with a total of 12 candidates including Congress, Akali Dal-BJP, BSP, CPIML, Jan Manch, NCP and independents.
During campaigning RYA Vice-President Navkiran and University leader Amanjot Kaur organized a meeting with Panjab University Mess workers, and as a result of that meeting, the Panjab University Contract Workers’ Union was also formed.
On the last day of campaigning, a huge march with nearly 100 cycles, 20 motorcycles, 3 autos and 2 cars was organized through both constituencies. Nearly 200 workers from PEC, PGI, PU, Dhnas and Sec-25 participated. The Congress, BJP, Akali Dal and BSP candidates openly violated poll conducts by distributing money and liquor. For polling day, CPI ML booths were set up on all 6 locations which include PEC, PGI, PU, SEC-25, Dhnas and Khuda Lahora. Workers from respective areas handled the booths. The Panjab University booth was handled by RYA members and PU union members. CPIML activists showed their different identity by tying red flags around their necks. All polling booths were run successfully till 6 PM. The results were as follows:
Ward No.2: BJP (4010), Congress (3218), CPI ML Liberation (256), BSP (144), Jan Manch (49) and NC(49).
Ward No.5: Congress (3741), Akali Dal (2050), Independent (1519), BSP (1449), Independent (506), CPIML (239), Jan Manch (49).
The election campaign has given an impetus and boost to the working class movement led by the CPI(ML) in Chandigarh.

National Executive Meeting of AICWF
The National Executive Meeting of All India Construction Workers’ Federation (AICWF) affiliated to AICCTU was held on 25 December 2011 at the CPI(ML) Central Office, Delhi. AICCTU General Secretary Com. Swapan Mukherjee and National Secretary Com. Rajiv Dimri were also present in the meeting.
The meeting was presided over by the President of the Federation Com. S. Balasubramanian. The meeting was attended by General Secretary of the Federation Com. R.N. Thakur (Bihar); Vice-president S.K. Sharma (Bihar); Treasurer Chandrakishore Prasad (Bihar); Secretary VKS Gautum (Delhi); Coms. Babulal and Surendra Thakur (U.P.); Com Bhuneshwar Kewat (Jharkhand); Coms. Dashrath Sinhali and Yunus Zakaria (Gujarat); Com. K.K. Bora (Uttarakhand) and Com. Anand Dheba (Rajasthan).
The meeting discussed the current status of membership and structures of affiliated construction workers’ unions in different states and took up future plans.
The meeting felt the need to urgently strengthen the communication between the federation leadership and states and further develop the monitoring of state-wise work from above. The meeting decided to hold the next National Conference of the Federation in the month of August, 2012 with a membership of 3 lakh (the date and venue to be decided later).
Preceding the conference, the meeting decided to launch a country-wide campaign on the uniform charter of demands, which will include the issues of registration fee in welfare boards, cess, pension, housing, education, health and other facilities for construction workers, and verification of workers through unions.
For organizational consolidation, the meeting decided to hold zonal meetings and workshops in the months of February and March and also conferences in some states towards preparations of national conference.
The meeting called for an all out and effective preparation for success of 28 February 2012 All India General Strike called by central trade unions.

AIPWA Protests AP DGP’s Statements Defending Rape
AIPWA issued a statement strongly condemning the obnoxious and objectionable anti-women statement issued by the Andhra Pradesh DGP Dinesh Reddy in a press conference recently, and demanded that Dinesh Reddy be dismissed from his post.
The DGP blamed the rise in rape cases on women wearing ‘fashionable’ dress. He said the police could do nothing to deter rapists, as long as women ‘provoked’ men by wearing ‘fashionable’ clothing. Even rural women, he said, provoked men by wearing ‘salwar kameez’ instead of ‘traditional’ clothes. He also said that when men ate food that created ‘josh’ (excitement), it made them act in ‘naughty’ ways, which the police was helpless to stop.
AIPWA held that these sentiments are a direct defence of and encouragement to rapists. The DGP is blaming victims for the crime of rape, and seeking to police their choice of clothing. Further, by defining rape as ‘naughtiness’ caused by ‘excitement’ or sexual response to ‘provocative clothes,’ the DGP is refusing to recognize rape as a heinous act of violence on women. Indeed, the DGP’s words are reflecting the same mindset as those of rapists themselves. His words betray that he himself views women with the gaze of the rapist.
When the police top brass justify the crime of rape, and in fact speak like rapists, then how can women feel safe? In the past, too, top cops like KPS Gill have indulged in similar statements. AIPWA demanded that police officers who indulge in ‘victim-blaming’ in cases of sexual violence on women, must not be allowed to remain in their post.
AIPWA units in Andhra Pradesh held protests and submitted memorandums at several places in AP demanding dismissal of Dinesh Reddy from his post as DGP with immediate effect. AIPWA’s 6th National Conference is to be held in Vijaywada in AP on 8-9 February. One of the central issues in the National Conference will be the rise in sexual violence on women, and the role of police and elected representatives in encouraging and protecting such crimes.

First Almora District Conference of CPI(ML)
The first Almora district conference of CPI(ML) was held at Deghat on December 18, the death anniversary of Comrade Vinod Mishra. The conference was preceded by a march of around 200 people at Deghat.
The Conference began with presentation of a discussion paper by Comrade Purushottam Sharma on behalf of the outgoing district leading team, outlining the various phases of the party’s work in the district, and the challenges ahead. Comrade Purushottam Sharma spoke of the Congress-BJP’s betrayal of people’s aspirations in the state of Uttarakhand, and the CPI(ML)’s work in organising the ASHA/anganwadi/bhojanmata (mid-day meal) workers, security and PTC workers and other sections of unorganised workers under the red flag, to challenge the anti-worker policies of State governments led by Congress and BJP, and to build a political alternative to these corrupt ruling class formations.
The Conference was also addressed by State leading team member Comrade Indresh Maikhuri, who was also an observer at the Conference, and by the party’s senior leader Comrade Anand Singh Negi. The Conference elected a 7-member district committee comprising Comrades Anand Singh Negi, Purushottam Sharma, Bhagwati Gusain, Devidutt Tiwari, Vijaylakshmi Sharma, Chandrashekhar Bhatt and Shyam Bisht, with Comrade Anand Singh Negi as Secretary. The Conference passed resolutions demanding that Bhikyasain be declared as the headquarters of the newly announced district Ranikhet; supporting the ongoing struggle of 4th Class employees; demanding minimum wages and other rights for unorganised sector workers; and end to the policies that are leading to environmental destruction of the mountains and several other demands. The Conference, in which 80% of the delegates were women, was addressed by the Uttarakhand Bhojan Mata Union block secretary Vimla Negi, AISA leader Bhagwati Gusain, Uttarakhand ASHA Health Workers’ Union leader Manju Rawat, Uttarakhand Anganwadi Karamchari Union district convenor Madhubala, CPI(ML)’s Bhikyasain block secretary Comrade Shyam Bisht, Devidutt Tiwari, Jagatsingh Gusain, CPI(ML)’s Lakhora area in-charge Santosh Singh among others.

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