People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
February 10, 2008
THE Bengal unit of the AIDWA, which is by far, the largest women's organisation in the state, has called for a widening of its mass base. The Bengal AIDWA council at its recent meeting believed that this task has become imperative even more in view of the electoral battles that lie ahead in a terrain marked by violent antipathy of the opposition outfits that represent the ruling classes, and enjoy the backing of the corporate-controlled media houses.
The AIDWA has been involved in successive electoral battles ever since the Left Front government came into office. The upcoming Panchayat polls provide another tough challenge to the AIDWA. It also devolves upon it as the strongest contingent of the Left women's mass organisations to ensure a comprehensive defeat of the forces of reaction and of Left sectarianism who have plans to put together an electoral understanding in the run-up to the rural polls.
The task before the AIDWA workers is clear-cut. Each one of them must go amongst the rural masses and establish mass contact in a wider way than at present. They must impart political and ideological consciousness among the rural women especially amongst those who in difference to their class origins yet go ahead to vote for the opposition outfits. This is an area of a weakness; to this, all-India leadership of the AIDWA has repeatedly drawn the attention of its units, in Bengal as elsewhere.
The Bengal AIDWA believes that a conspiracy going at present to belittle the successes of the Bengal Left Front government shall gain ground as the Panchayat polls draw near with the ruling classes encouraging the forces of disruption and disharmony to create anarchic conditions in the state. Already, the electronic media in particular have started to run stories of lie and slander against the functioning of the three-tier Panchayat system in Bengal. All these must be countered with logic and with cold facts.
The Bengal AIDWA would like its units to draw attention of the mass of the people to the empowerment drive amongst women that the Bengal Left Front government has unleashed through the creation, nurturing, and growth of women-run self-help groups across the countryside. Numbering 56 lakhs and growing, these groups have allowed millions of women to stand on their own two feet and engage themselves in the struggle for social justice and against atavistic and superstitious practices in the villages in particular.
FIGHT AGAINST ILLS AND EVILS
The AIDWA activists must also organise mass struggles against such practices as dowry, domestic violence on women, female infanticide, female foeticide, child marriage, trafficking, as well as lack of healthcare in the families for the mother-and-child, illiteracy, and school drop-out. The Bengal AIDWA activists must realise and take to heart the simple fact that these struggles will become that much more effective if the Left Front is able to win larger number of seats in the three-tier rural institutions than at present.
The days ahead will see AIDWA units engaged in political and social activities on these issues with adequate number of local-level meetings, postering, distribution of leaflets, and street-corner awareness meetings.
WIDEN THE ORGANI-SATIONAL BASE
With these targets firmly in place, the important task before the Bengal AIDWA is to widen the mass base of the organisation. A large number of women in Bengal yet remain outside the pale of influence and leadership of the AIDWA. The organisation must get in touch with them in their daily rounds of activities and make them realise the importance of unity as a source of strength and empowerment. The women (less in number) who have become inactive or have strayed, too, must be brought under the banner of the AIDWA through task-based responsibilities allotted amongst them.
Remembering that only a strong and active unit can maintain lively mass contact, the Bengal AIDWA has called upon its members and units to take part in a more massive way in political programmes, and to become vocal on social issues, and not just issues touching women but those that concern the mass of the people.
Towards this end, the units have been called upon to strengthen the process of recruitment of members and to provide regular feedbacks in good measure to the state unit on activities and interventions that are taking place. The state council has laid especial emphasis in this direction on activities and interventions concerning health, education, REGA work, PDS, self-help groups, legal aid, counselling, and moves to stop atrocities committed on women in the villages in particular.
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY SLOGANS
The Bengal AIDWA council has decided that four issues would be highlighted in the run up to the International Women's' Day on March 8, 2008.
Solidarity towards the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Palestine who are under the aggressive hegemony of the US imperialists and its lackeys
Against the continuous price rise spiral
In demand of reservation of one-third seats in legislatures for women
Against violence perpetrated on women
According to figures released recently by the Bengal AIDWA council, the organisation's membership has maintained an upward trend in 2006-2007. In 2006, the AIDWA membership stood at 52,79,520. In 2007, it stands at 57,97,049 -- a growth by 5,06,370.