People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 43

October 28, 2012




DUJ Calls for New Information Order


MEDIA experts on third world and developing countries, foreign policy media personnel, writers and members of the Delhi Union of Journalists and the Delhi Media Centre for Research & Publications Trust made a fervent plea, on October 15, for a new information order if not an alternative information order to combat trivialism and the virtual blackout of what was once known as a third world project and even called by many as the non-aligned movement.


The occasion was of a stimulating spotlight discussion on the victory of Hugo Chavez in the recent elections in Venezuela and its implications for Latin America countries and others was held in New Delhi. Venezuela’s ambassador to India, Ms Milena Santana-Ramirez, and Cuban ambassador, Abelardo Rafael Cueto Sosa, led the discussion that was organised by the Delhi Media Centre for Research & Publications. Music by the group Parcham and the poetry of Pablo Neruda also marked the event. The ambassadors of the two countries energetically participated in the programme.


Hugo Chavez is a fighter, said Ambassador Santana-Ramirez, adding that he fought against all odds to return to power. His victory, she said, reflects the popularity of the Venezuelan model of twenty-first century socialism which puts the people at the centre, giving them the benefits of affordable food, housing, healthcare and education. Investment in the social sector, she said, has shown the people that for the first time they have a government which is responsive to their needs.


Ambassador Santana-Ramirez observed that the past ten years have witnessed the election of several progressive governments in Latin America. They follow different models of socialism but there is unity in this diversity, with the creation of various regional blocs and alliances for mutual support and cooperation. Latin America, she said, is rich in resources and knowhow and that the pooling of these resources is achieving results.


Ambassador Sosa of Cuba recalled the close bonds between Cuba and Venezuela. He said this is a time of unity for Latin America, “a time to preserve our roots and to create our own Socialism.” The Cuban government, he said, has given its full support to Chavez in Venezuela in his moments of crisis.


Sosa also recalled the close ties between India and Cuba, harking back to the time when Jawaharlal Nehru went to meet Fidel Castro in a small hotel in Harlem in New York just before a United Nations’ General Assembly in September 1960. Nehru’s support for the Cuban leader helped to forge the unity of the Non-Aligned Movement, he observed. He also recalled the strong ties with the Indira Gandhi government and the support provided by the Indian people who sent a shipload of wheat to Cuba when the country faced an economic blockade and food shortages.


He said Cuba is not perfect but it has a functional democracy, with people choosing their representatives at grassroots through elections. Cuba has its own model of socialism and is presently moving from a hundred percent state economy to a mixed economy, while ensuring that everyone has free education and health care, he said.


Professor Vibha Maurya of the Department of Germanic and Romance Studies in University of Delhi spoke on the impact of Chavez’s policies on Venezuelan politics and the sharp polarisation between his supporters, the Chavistas, and the anti-Chavistas. She said Chavez was among the first to oppose the celebration of Columbus Day which is the anniversary of
Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the Americas. For Chavez, the day marks the beginning of colonisation. When he said the the holiday should be abolished, people in Caracas knocked down the statues of Columbus. Those opposed to Chavez decried this. She said Chavez’s promotion of people’s art and folk art is also a political act and is therefore opposed by exclusive groups like the ‘People of Culture.’


Dr John Cherian, Delhi Bureau chief of Frontline, stated that “important achievements had been the government’s ability to provide free healthcare and education and a profit-free distribution system. On the foreign policy front he said “Venezuela has played a key role in reshaping the political map of Latin America. American hegemonic influence is now only limited to a few pockets. Regional organisations like the CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) are all set to transplant American dominated groupings like the Organisation of American States (OAS). Chavez was also the moving force behind ALBA (the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas), a grouping that consists of staunchly anti-imperialist states like Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua. His victory will also strengthen organisations like the NAM that have been striving for a multi-polar world.”


S K Pande, general secretary of the Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ), said the reportage of developing countries and their struggles was less important than the coverage of American elections and coverage of issues affecting the toiling masses. In fact, the NAM had become a token for India’s foreign policy experts and some embedded journalists. In fact we don’t even have correspondents covering many third world countries, while it is prestigious to have correspondents in select western countries and superpowers.


Rekha Avasthi, secretary of the Janwadi Lekhak Sangh, recited a touching poem of Pablo Neruda, when Latin America tunes and freedom struggle tunes from various countries were also played.


On the occasion, Sujata Madhok, president of the Delhi Union of Journalists, announced the policy decision that the DUJ and its media centre would now have a spotlight wing, a foreign affairs wing and a trade union wing, besides others. The programmes are to be announced soon.




Through a statement issued from New Delhi on October 14, the Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) has expressed its sense of shock and anguish at the murder of a newspaper worker, Rajendra Dupare, in Nagpur. Dupare was allegedly shot by Prakash Pohare, the owner editor of Deshonnati, a Marathi daily, while he and other employees were peacefully protesting against the termination of their services.


While condemning the growing tendency to use violence in order to resolve industrial disputes, including the use of armed private security guards, bouncers and other goons, the DUJ has also flayed the hire and fire policy, and other unethical practices, which employers are taking recourse to. The DUJ statement, issued by its president Ms Sujata Madhok and general secretary S K Pandey, stated the organisation’s belief that the inefficiency and bias of the official labour machinery, which rarely enforces the labour laws, is often responsible for the outbreak of violence. While calling for industrial justice and peace, the DUJ has also demanded that those responsible for the Nagpur murder must be arrested and tried forthwith.


The DUJ has also urged upon the central and state level labour ministries to investigate the concrete cases of starvation deaths in the newspaper industry following the unfair labour practices and non-implementation of the wage board recommendations and relevant acts connected with the newspaper industry.


The DUJ statement also pointed out that wage board employees have been arbitrarily sacked after announcement of the wage board report; some more were victimised after the release of the report and some employees have already died.  The DUJ has urged for maximum unity of all journalists and press bodies to fight such anti-labour policies.