People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
April 29, 2007
MAY DAY MANIFESTO OF CITU, 2007
THE Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) extends revolutionary greetings to the working class fraternity all over the world, on the historic May Day –– the day of the international solidarity of the working people.
The CITU pledges solidarity with:
the working class and the people of the socialist countries for steadfastly holding aloft the banner of socialism!
the working class and the people of the advanced capitalist countries, who have raised the banner of resistance to the policies of imperialist war mongering and globalisation, putting up inspiring and militant struggles against capitalism.
the working people of the developing countries, engaged in fighting back the offensives of imperialism on the one hand and the onslaughts of the ruling classes on the other.
The international scenario during the intervening period witnessed aggressive hegemonic manoeuvres by the imperialist forces led by US administration on the developing countries –– simultaneously on political, economic and military fronts.
The imperialist occupation of Iraq, under the dubious claim of fighting terrorism and eliminating the non-existent weapons of mass destruction, has entered the fifth year now. The Bush administration is facing a virtual defeat in the face of the ever-increasing resistance from all sections of the Iraqi people. It is also in a state of splendid isolation, as both inside the USA and outside, opposition is mounting to the continuing US operations in Iraq. The anti-war sentiment among the people in the USA has been the main cause for the reverses suffered by Bush administration in the elections to the US Congress and the Senate. The US allies in the Iraq war coalition have been distancing themselves from the US strategy. The US Congress and the Senate have openly set a date for withdrawal of troops from Iraq by April 2008, even as the Bush administration had sent 30,000 more troops there to shore up the dwindling prospects of any success in the US strategy.
The execution of Saddam Hussein and his colleagues, after a farcical trial conducted by the rigged up judiciary in Baghdad, under the aegis of a puppet regime, which has no legitimacy whatsoever, has only strengthened the terrorist and fundamentalist forces, rather than weakening them.
In West Asia, the US imperialists have been pursuing a strategy to pave the way for the domination of Israel in the region and contain the Palestine State to a truncated territory. But, this again is meeting several hurdles.
Though the US imperialists have been targeting Iran, Syria in West Asia as well as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), they have been forced to engage the DPRK in a dialogue and even call Iran for an international conference in Baghdad. Yet, an aerial bombardment of select targets in Iran is stated to be in an advanced state of planning.
The US plans for placing its Missile Defence System in Europe (as well as in the Asia Pacific region) has also come under severe criticism. The Russian president has come out openly against this plan, which is directed against the Russian federation and in the process termed the present uni-polar world order as unacceptable.
The present period has also been witnessing an increasing spate of strike actions even in the European Union against the fall out of neo-liberal economic order. Organised opposition by the working class to neo-liberal economic policies is becoming widespread all over the world casting its impact on the political orders in various parts of the globe.
In the political scenario of the sub-continent of Latin America, as being seen in recent changes in Equador, Bolivia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Uruguay etc there is a pronounced shift towards pro-Left forces, which have been further cemented by stronger assertion by the Hugo Chavez government of Venezuela against US depredation, and above all the assertive presence of socialist Cuba. This emerged as a big challenge to the United States in particular and the imperialism in general. The restoration of democracy and end of monarchy in Nepal and the assertion of the new political combine to declare Nepal as a democratic secular state is another positive political development in our neighbouring region.
The CITU pledges to join and step up the anti-imperialist struggles and expresses solidarity with all the peace-loving forces worldwide.
ANTI- PEOPLE POLICIES OF UPA GOVT AND RESISTANCE STRUGGLE
IN India, the UPA government, which has crossed the midpoint of its term of office, is continuing the same neo-liberal policies of the NDA period; in certain areas it even gained more vigour and momentum. Successive budgets and legislative initiatives during this period reflected the same retrograde trend. No doubt, owing to consistent pressure by the Left parties, in the background of mounting struggles by the working class and other mass organisations, the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act has been enacted; but it has been launched only in 200 districts initially, with a roadmap to cover the entire country in the next five years. The other pro-people commitments laid down in the NCMP, however, remain unimplemented till now. But, the UPA regime has become overactive in their chosen areas of showering concessions to big capitalists, both domestic and foreign, in the name of pushing through reforms.
The continuation of policy of liberalisation, which includes import liberalisation of agricultural products, including foodgrains, withdrawal of quantitative restrictions, rise in prices of agricultural inputs and adherence to the WTO dictates, have resulted in the agrarian distress getting aggravated endangering food security for the entire population and resulting in large-scale poverty and unemployment in the agrarian sector. Recurring suicides of farmers – especially in Vidharbha in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh – are the manifestation of the depth of such distress.
The price situation during last one and half year is no more a cyclical phenomenon of periodical ups and downs. The price rise is primarily driven by steep rise in prices of all essential commodities like foodgrains, pulses and other staple eatables which is also having its multiplier effect on the general price level, making the conditions of the common people miserable. The liberalisation and corporatisation of grains-trade and procurement, allowing forward trading in most of the essential commodities have further aggravated the price situation to an almost irreversible extent. The finance minister’s argument that a overheating of the economy, as a result of sustained high growth, sparks the inflation is only an attempt to fool the people. The price rise is the result of a conscious drive by the government to ensure big-bang gains to the big traders and intermediaries, at the cost of both the primary producers and consumers down the line.
The Special Economic Zones (SEZ) Act has been passed allowing virtually a no-tax regime with little accountability for both the private sector developers and the establishments operating in the proposed zones. The rules framed under the SEZ Act seek to deny/restrain basic labour rights to the workers within the SEZs; they also deprive the farmers of their agricultural land without proper compensation and rehabilitation. In this manner, the so-called development under the neo-liberal framework is synonymous with displacement.
Vigorous drive is afoot to completely deregulate financial sector that too under the dubious plea of ‘effective and efficient regulation’. Two Bills have already been introduced in parliament to allow greater control of the foreign capital on private banks and dilute the role of Reserve Bank of India in regulating the financial sector. These Bills, once passed, would have dangerous impact on country’s financial autonomy. Vigorous drive is also afoot in weakening public sector’s role in defence production including privatisation through corporatisation route and allowing free entry of foreign and domestic corporate players in this strategically sensitive sector. The sensitive infrastructure areas like telecom, ports, airports etc are targeted for greater doses of privatisation.
Crucial public utility services like electricity, water supply, health etc are being privatised in the name of public private partnership (PPP), allowing private players to gain a fortune by increasing the ‘user charges’. Following the footsteps of the NDA regime, the present government had promulgated an ordinance to set up the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), which is an ominous move to finally privatise the entire social security. The danger of FDI entry in retail trade is very much imminent. Already different foreign trading companies are trying to find indirect ways and means to enter into retail trade sector. The organised corporate sector is also making forays into the retail trade, which is bound to displace a large section of people engaged in retail trade.
On foreign policy issues as well, the UPA government has been following policies which sub serve the US interests. The Indo-US nuclear deal is aimed at promoting sale by the US companies of nuclear power equipment, technology and fuel worth billions of dollars, apart from its intention to bind India as a junior ally in its strategic objective.
The UPA government, in its blind pursuit of the economic policies of liberalisation, has harmed the interests of the masses of the Indian people, whose discontent has manifested in the electoral defeats suffered by the Congress Party in Punjab, Utharakhand and the Delhi Municipal Corporation. Yet, the leading party of the UPA coalition has failed to take appropriate lessons from such defeats and bring about a directional change in its policies.
The CITU proudly records the sustained struggle waged by the working class of India against the anti-worker, anti-poor policies of economic liberalisation pursued by the successive governments at the centre. During the intervening period, the working class in most of the workplaces in the country had been in the midst of serious battle in combating the atrocious attack on basic labour rights by the employers-administration combine. The working class all over the country also magnificently responded to the call for general strike of December 14, 2006, which was the eleventh countrywide general strike since the onset of the Fund-Bank dictated policy of economic liberalisation in the country in 1991.
The CITU pledges to carry forward this resistance struggle to the disastrous policies of economic liberalisation and protect the interests of the working and other masses of our country.
RESOLUTELY OPPOSE COMMUNAL FORCES
IN India, the working class and the trade unions have a paramount task to resolutely oppose the communal forces, which seek to divide the people on communal line, and pose a serious threat to unity and integrity of the nation.
The working class in India no doubt played its part, during the general elections in 2004, in bringing down the most retrograde government, led by the BJP, the political outfit of RSS, spearheading the most aggressive communalism. But the influence of communal ideology persists in the consciousness of large sections of the people even today. The communal outfits can convert this false consciousness to whip up communal tensions under favourable conditions. Therefore, the fight against communalism is as important today as it was three years back.
Every day the BJP and other members of the sangh parivar are picking up one issue or another, which can be given a communal twist. They are using even the issue of terrorism for communal purposes. Be it the Kashmir issue or that of the death sentence to Afzal Guru they try to communally vitiate the minds of the people against any process of normalisation of relations with Pakistan. They are up in arms against the Sachar Committee report, which has given an objective picture of the condition of Muslim minorities in the country. They constantly harp on a dubious theory of ‘appeasement’ and accuse the secular parties of practising ‘vote bank’ policies. The working class of the country should be mobilised in combating communalism not only at the political level, but also more importantly at the ideological level.
At the same time, it should be noted that several Islamic fundamental outfits are trying to misguide minority community – particularly the youth – and seek to create tensions and conflicts in different parts of the country. This again is disrupting class unity and communal harmony.
Fight against terrorism is another important task facing the working class in India. This fight is crucial for defending the democratic fabric of the society and strengthening the democratic path of struggle. The task remains to counter terrorism of all hues – one fanned by the religious fanatics and parochial forces and another camouflaged by so called Left-wing extremism and ultimately playing in the hands of extreme rightist forces. The communal forces play communal cards in the garb of so-called anti-terrorism. The terrorist outfits of various brands pose themselves as champions against exploitation and deprivation of the common people or a particular segment among them in support of their terrorist activities. In fact terrorism seeks to flare and sustain itself on resentment and anguish among the people owing to injustice, oppression, exploitation and deprivation let lose by the exploitative regime but finally acts in weakening the mainstream struggle against the policies of exploitation, injustice and deprivation. The terrorist forces also play in the hands of imperialism and help the imperialist forces in their vulgar ploy of legitimising imperialist aggression in the garb of combating terrorism. The working class movement has to firmly oppose terrorism of all hues.
Yet another threat that looms large before the working class of India is the ever-increasing attempts by the casteist forces to divide the working people on caste lines, seeking to achieve political clout through caste appeals. Casteism resorts to violence as a tool to sustain the caste domination and practices several forms of social oppression. The worst forms of untouchablity practiced against the Scheduled Castes, which is among the lowest rung in the caste order, is the most cruel and flagrant violation of human rights. The working class must resolutely raise its voice against social oppression and must come out strongly in favour of a legislation to ensure reservation for SC/ST and OBC communities in private sector.
The recent report of the Justice Sachar Committee depicts the sorry state of affairs on the employment front for the minority Muslim community. Similar is the situation with other minorities. Suitable space has to be provided for them to ensure that the development process is inclusive.
Women in India have been the worst victims of both the communal and economic offensives. Atrocities and discrimination against women have increased alarmingly. Sexual abuse and vulgar commercialisation of women as part of fast spreading consumerist culture have all added to their agonies. The working class must take up the issues of women’s empowerment and fight against the manifold oppression and atrocities they are subjected to.
The CITU pledges to address, with renewed vigour, these social issues, apart from addressing the economic issues of the working class.
MOBILISE ALL SECTIONS
The working class movement must take vigorous initiative to mobilise all sections of people in the society and must not remain just within the trade union confine in the resistance struggle against the retrograde economic policies as well as against the divisive forces and trends of all hues. It has to take the lead in drawing within the fold of united movement all sections of mass and class organisations. The joint initiative by CITU, Kisan Sabha and Agricultural Workers’ Union to observe all India demands day on April 18, 2007 through countrywide joint mobilisation is a step toward that direction to advance the peoples’ movement with the workers-peasants joint initiative at the centre. In the process, it can pave the way for developing the objective conditions for emergence of the third force with a common pro-people policy approach and a clear anti-imperialist content. The CITU has to take initiative in rallying the entire working class movement in that direction.
On this May Day, the CITU exhorts the working people of the country to further strengthen and consolidate the unity of all the toiling masses and unleash further powerful struggles against the imperialist offensives, onslaughts of the ruling classes, the ruinous economic policies and against the divisive and disruptive forces of communalism and casteism.
Let us march forward to defend the interests of our great country and its people!
Long live working class unity!
Long live international solidarity of the working class!
Down with imperialism!
Long live socialism!