(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
August 24 , 2008
CITU GENERAL COUNCIL
The session of the general council of CITU held on August 1-2, 2008 at Puri, Orissa called upon the working class movement to make the call of countrywide general strike on August 20, 2008 a massive success and prepare for a bigger resistance struggle against the offensive of imperialism in both economic and political fronts. While giving this call, the general secretary’s report adopted by the general council underlined in categorical terms that “The working class movement must discharge its political responsibilities by gearing itself up to effectively resist the political offensive from the imperialist and rightwing forces and steadfastly fight the communal and divisive forces. At the same time it must intensify its struggles against every aspect of the neo liberal policy regime by ensuring the widest mobilisation of workers and people. This would help us to clearly vindicate the Leftwing position and combat the attack against the Left forces.” The ongoing preparatory campaign for the general strike must expose the surrender of Indian ruling polity to imperialist ploy which has got serious bearing on the aggressiveness of the neoliberal policy regime on peoples and workers rights and livelihood and thus the forthcoming strike action must rally round it wider section of the people from all walks of life to make it a launching pad for a bigger anti-imperialist and anti-globalisation struggle, the CITU general council asserted.
The meeting was attended by 291 members representing all the states and sectors besides the leadership of fraternal all India federations of state and central government employees, banks, insurance, defence and other major segments of the economy. The general council meeting slated for three days had to be closed after two day-session due to sudden demise of Comrade Harkishen Singh Surjeet, the stalwart leader of the communist movement in the country.
The presidential address delivered by CITU president, M K Pandhe dealt in detail on the developments in the international arena during the period since last working committee meeting held on October 2007 and stated that the intervening period has witnessed louder protests and opposition to the hegemonist machinations of the imperialist powers in the economic and political fronts, the latest in the series being massive demonstrations and other actions throughout Europe- in Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy etc, besides frequent anti-US assertions by the popular movements throughout Latin America. Pandhe further pointed out that in the face of the rising opposition to its drive for economic, political and military hegemony over the globe and its increasing isolation, the US has become desperate to consolidate its influence. It has now focused its attention on Asia and the Indian sub continent. While continuing its arrogant designs on Palestine, the cruel and illegal sanctions against Cuba and the offensive against Iran, the US leaves no stone unturned to tighten its grip over the ruling polity in the developing countries in the eastern hemisphere including the Indian sub continent. The strategic military cooperation and the Indo US nuclear deal are expressions of this intent. US imperialism has redoubled its conspiratorial attempts to weaken the opposition to its manoeuvres by the Left and other progressive forces in the developing countries, including India. US interference in the internal affairs relating to economic, political, social, ethnic and other issues is bound to further increase in the days to come. This new dimension of imperialist designs has to be noted while examining the national situation and coming to a proper understanding in order to develop appropriate strategies to combat the challenges unfolding before us, Pandhe asserted.
Mohammed Amin, general secretary, CITU presented the report before the general souncil which dealt in detail the developments in the national political arena and in the economic front and response and activities of CITU during the intervening period. Amin explained in detail as to how the national political situation witnessed a more rightward shift in the policies of UPA government. The economic and political front and its foreign policy reflects a surrender of the ruling political combine to maneuvers of US imperialism. The nuclear deal and strategic alliance with the US marks a clear desertion of the position of nonalignment. This led to withdrawal of support by the Left Parties from the UPA government. The UPA combine could manage the majority in the trust vote in parliament by foul and dubious means and has been pushing through in full steam all pro-imperialist measures including the nuclear deal.
The changed political correlation following Left parties’ withdrawal of support from the UPA government, will also open up possibility of various retrograde measures in economic, social and political fronts, to which Left Parties so long acted as deterrent, to be brought back for execution. Particularly, many measures of neoliberal economic agenda like disinvestment in public sector undertakings, pro-employer changes in labour laws to introduce ‘hire & fire’ and curb trade union rights, PFRDA Bill, corporatisation of various central government departments and sectors, anti-PSU changes in the regulations of banking, insurance and telecom sector, allowing bigger dominance of foreign and corporate players, unhindered entry of FDI and full fledged corporatisation of retail trade sector etc, will be attempted again with renewed vigour by the ruling polity. Country’s trade union movement must remain prepared for determined resistance to such retrograde measures both on economic and political fronts through united countrywide struggles, both at national and sectoral levels, Amin asserted.
General secretary’s report also exposed the dubious role by BJP which is seeking to take advantage of the disenchantment of the people against the UPA government because of the price rise, increasing unemployment and poverty, which are the results of the very same anti people economic policies, which the BJP led NDA pursued while in power. It is also bringing forward its communal agenda camouflaged in different garbs and talking of terrorism, national security etc. Because of our weakness in effectively explaining this dubious game of the BJP to the people, it has been successful in benefiting from the people’s resentment towards the UPA government, Amin pointed out.
In the economic front, owing to hot pursuit of the anti-people policies promoting speculation and black marketing in the economy fuelling price-rise to alarming height, immense sufferings have been imposed on the common people besides affecting the industry and agriculture alike in a big way. The government is boasting about eight per cent growth in GDP but the entire gains of such growth is being cornered by the corporate lobby since poverty and unemployment are also getting aggravated simultaneously with so called economic growth. And to sustain such a situation, labour rights are being sought to be drastically curbed through state sponsored violation of labour laws and unleashing repression and victimisation on trade unions and workers. The trade union movement have been in continuous combat of such a repressive atmosphere in the workplaces throughout the country, Amin asserted.
In this background, the trade union movement in the country has decided to go in for countrywide general strike on August 20 on six point demands all pertaining to disastrous impact of the imperialist sponsored neoliberal economic policies of liberalisation, globalisation and privatisation. In the changed political situation, the call for general strike has assumed immense importance to raise the determined voice of working class against imperialism and the economic policy being touted by them, Amin reiterated.
28 members from all the states took part in the deliberations on the general secretary’s report and strengthened the formulation made in general secretary’s report by many important suggestions while expressing firm determination to carry on the united struggle. They stressed upon the need for intensive grass root level campaign to explain the anti-imperialist content of our united struggle against neoliberal policies and their fall out on the workers and the people. Concrete suggestions were made for greater initiative to plan joint mobilisation of workers and peasants in a consistent manner and with continuity for which CITU has already initiated steps.
The general council adopted four resolutions- against Indo-US nuclear Deal ( moved by Dipankar Mukherjee and seconded by K Rabindranath), in support of countrywide general strike on August 20, 2008 (moved by Kali Ghosh and seconded by Jibon Roy), on fishers and fisheries workers’ movement (moved by Pit Basan Das and seconded by K Hemalata), greeting the working class and toiling people of Orissa (moved by Shyamal Chakraborty and seconded by Basudeb Acharia). The general council also condoled sudden demise of Comrade Surjeet on the first day post lunch session and thereafter the session was adjourned for the day.
On August 4, 2008 Puri witnessed a massive rally of workers in the open session of the general council which was addressed by Jibon Roy, Dipankar Mukherjee, S K Bakshi, all Secretaries of CITU, A R Sindhu, of All India Federation of Anganwadi Workers & Helpers (AIFWAH), Lambodar Nayak and Bishnu Mohanty, president and general secretary of Orissa state CITU.