People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
November 27, 2005
Communists Hold Conference In Great Britain
Sitaram Yechury addressing the conference in London
THE Association of Indian Communists (AIC) concluded its conference on October 30, 2005. It was to take place before the CPI(M) congress, but was postponed due to unavoidable reasons.
red flags flying high in the skies of London, the venue of the conference was
named after the recently departed CPI(M) leader, Comrade Biplab Dasgupta. The
latter had been a former secretary of the AIC.
conference had a presidium consisting of Gurbux Sidhu, Joginder Kaur and
Joginder Singh and was attended by 57 delegates from various AIC branches in
England and Scotland. The proceedings started with expression of solidarity with
fighting peoples. A resolution condoled the demise of several comrades,
supporters, and those falling victims to imperialist aggression, terrorism and
Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury made a detailed presentation of the
situation for the conference delegates, and explained the key decisions of the
CPI(M) congress held in Delhi in April 2005. He said the world situation has
reached a crucial point, with aggressive imperialist hegemonism on the rise and
capitalism having entered the stage of globalisation.
also explained the discussions and deliberations that took place before an
unfortunate division reoccurred in the Indian Workers’ Association, Great
Britain (IWA-GB). To enhance the delegates’ understanding further, he outlined
the genesis of the CPI(M), and divisions in the communist movement and mass
organisations in India. He stressed that the CPI(M)’s position today in the
national and international arena underlines its correct strategic line.
made a direct appeal to the delegates to use their strategic position in Britain
in order to strengthen the solidarity between communist and other Left and
progressive groups and organisations in Britain.
a considered analysis of the political, economic and social issues affecting the
Indian people today, he emphasised the crucial role of the CPI(M) and the Left
in today’s context. Delegates applauded with approval when he noted the shift
in Indian politics with the advent of the UPA government with Left support.
Today, he said, the BJP finds it difficult to mobilise support for its communal
agenda or even to play the opposition role. This space has been occupied by the
Left, Yechury pointed out.
secretary Avtar Sadiq presented a report on behalf of the executive committee,
and several delegates contributed to the deep and constructive discussion on it.
The report was then adopted and a new executive committee elected.
conference resolved that the AIC would develop an action programme for the
coming year with verifiable targets, and adapt a disciplined approach to its
activities. All branches will provide a feedback in order to strengthen the AIC
and IWA. Before concluding, the conference adopted a number of resolutions ---
on Britain, imperialist occupation of Iraq, the plight of female fiancés and
spouses from the Indian subcontinent in Britain, and on racism.
conference concluded with an impressive AIC rally at Southall on the same day
(October 30) where Nazar Basran welcomed the guests, dignitaries and friends
from community institutions. Sitaram Yechury was the chief guest.
“Zuks” Howard, general secretary of the Confederation of South African Trade
Unions, thanked the people of India and Britain for their contribution to the
liberation of the black majority in South Africa.
McCartan, general secretary of the Communist Party of Ireland, noted the
historic links between the people of India and Ireland in their struggle against
British colonialism. He said though no British empire exists today, Ireland
remains partitioned because of British imperialism. He said 2006 would mark the
90th anniversary of the 1916 Irish uprising against British imperialism.
Duhra, secretary of the Friends of CPI, expressed solidarity with the people of
India and Pakistan recovering from the recent earthquake, and those hit by the
bomb attacks in Delhi. He went on to state that outsourcing from Britain is
creating problems for the working class in this country. He provided the
background to the Gate Gormet dispute at Heathrow and the ‘bullying and
aggressive’ nature of the ‘cowboy’ bosses from Texas. Expressing
solidarity with British Airways workers, he said we need to take up working
class issues together.
Griffiths, general secretary of the Communist Party of Britain, said two hundred
odd students attended the second Communist University when it was re-launched
last year after a break of 20 years. He expressed to the AIC and the CPI(M) for
sending Yechury to make his contribution to the university. Griffiths detailed
the British situation under Tony Blair since 1977 and said the need of the hour
was to build greater unity of communists in Britain and to deepen our roots in
Sadiq expressed thanks for to the distinguished guests for their messages of
solidarity, and reaffirmed the AIC’s commitment to stand shoulder to shoulder
with the British and International working class.
Workers Association general secretary Harsev Bains thanked the Indian workers in
Britain and the people of Southall, before introducing the chief guest to an
eagerly awaiting audience.
his address to the rally, Sitaram Yechury began by noting the tradition set by
Jyoti Basu and Harkishan Singh Surjeet who used to come to the UK to guide the
working class Indians here. He conveyed his solidarity, on behalf of the Indian
working class and CPI(M), with the struggle of the British working class, at
Gate Gormet and British Airways in particular.
to the terrorist bomb attacks in Delhi that formed the backdrop of the Southall
rally, Yechury said that these attacks were sponsored by imperialism and forces
opposed to the normalisation of relations between India and her neighbours. The
attacks came at a time when points were opened up across the line of control to
allow the people of India and Pakistan to meet freely. He said the Left would
continue to urge the Indian government to withstand the US pressure, and work
for a reversal of India’s position on Iran.
described the Indian people’s mandate following the 2004 Lok Sabha elections
as a rejection of communal sectarian parties, reasserting that India would
remain united in its diversity. The people also registered opposition to the
neo-liberal economic policies and “India Shining” slogan. When there was an
intolerable rise in poverty, deaths due to starvation and suicides among farmers
even in states like Punjab, one might well imagine the effects of these
neo-liberal policies. Now the people desire a shift in the focus of economic
policies from corporate profit to people’s welfare, and the Left would seek to
ensure that the UPA government does not deviate from the agreed programme.
challenge for the Left is to prevent the privatisation of profitable public
enterprises. The Left has fought and made the government responsible for
providing a job to one person in each family for a minimum of 100 days a year.
The Left will continue to press for land redistribution and for an increase in
the health and education allocations. The Left is stressing that the government
must not lose the opportunity of utilising the energies of India’s youth who
account for over 50 per cent of our population and are an asset that needs to be
response to press reports of the Left’s position on foreign capital, Yechury
stated the conditions for this to enter. It must add to India’s productive
capacity, upgrade technology and augment the job availability. In a direct
reference to the successes achieved in West Bengal, he emphasised the importance
of land reforms that not only provided land to the tiller but transformed a food
deficit state into the largest producer of rice. With the increase in
agricultural productivity has come an increase in the purchasing power of the
people, with the expanding market attracting foreign investment to West Bengal.
the Nanavati report on anti-Sikh pogrom of 1984, Yechury reminded the audience
that this report saw the light of day due to direct Left intervention. Our
demand is that anyone under suspicion or cited in the report should be probed
and the guilty must be punished so as to uphold the law of the land.
the question of outsourcing of jobs from Britain, posed by earlier speakers, he
explained that MNCs are not only in pursuit of superprofits, they are also
transferring the unacceptable, environment damaging technologies and methods of
production to the developing countries. In the latter, production is taking
place in environmentally unsafe conditions and heightening exploitation through
low wages. The need of the day is to forge international working class
solidarity in order to fight the divisions that imperialism seeks to forge
Yechury said the Left in India today needs to consolidate the recent shift of focus in policies in order to further the people’s interests, and that a failure in this regard would only enable the communal forces to stage a comeback.