People's Democracy

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


No. 31

August 01, 2010




Intensify Class Struggles,

Expand the Movement

N S Arjun


THE All India Agricultural Workers Union (AIAWU) must expand the agricultural workers movement by undertaking spontaneous struggles at local level on class issues affecting the majority of downtrodden masses. It must seriously take up struggles demanding implementation of minimum wages as also their enhancement all over the country.


This point was driven home by the general secretary of the organisation, A Vijayaraghavan, while replying to the discussion on the general secretary report in the 7th all India conference of the All India Agricultural Workers Union in Tiruchirapalli on July 19.


Vijayaraghavan underlined that the organisation has to acquire a more mass approach in its work and focus on expansion of the organisation. Struggles on issues of land, employment and wages, food security, welfare measures etc must be intensified and people rallied on class lines. For this more whole-timers have to be recruited into the organisation and trained, he said. The importance of having vibrant units at the village level in order to conduct spontaneous struggles was underlined. The necessity of strengthening the organisation in the Hindi region, where one third of agricultural labour of the country resides, was stressed.


Coming down heavily against the blatant anti-people policies being pursued by the UPA-II government, he said “Manmohan Singh and company cannot be allowed to go on like this. Given the response to the recent general strikes, we are confident we will be able to, along with the democratic movement, stall them.” He also reminded that the organisation has a responsibility to defend the democratic movement in the country which is being sought to be weakened by combined reactionary forces.


With the rich experience of waging class struggles overcoming the brutal attacks of landlords and their cronies, the AIAWU is confident of unleashing militant resistance to the anti-peasantry and anti-people policies of the central government, said Vijayaraghavan. The government is trying to dilute the NREGA scheme on the lines of what it is doing to the PDS in the guise of a Food Security Act. The AIAWU will make the masses aware of this conspiracy of the government and rally them into the struggle.


The conference unanimously adopted the general secretary report.







The general secretary report explains in detail the worsening conditions of agricultural labour due to the anti-peasant neo-liberal policies of the central government and the impact of world economic crisis. The shift from labour intensive food crops to plantations, the reckless import of combine harvesters, the opening up of agrarian market to foreign multinationals and the general ruin of agriculture due to lack of State investment have all contributed to the misery of agricultural labour.  The report states that since 1991 around 33 lakh farmers have been selling their lands to speculators every year and joining the ranks of landless. The report expresses concern at the possibility of this vast reserve army of the unemployed being tapped by terrorists, communal or casteist forces in the rural areas. “Organising them to fight for their rights on a class basis has become even more necessary today than in the past”, it was underlined. The atrocities being committed against dalits, minorities and agricultural labour etc were noted.


Noting that due to the prevailing crisis and alienation of the tiller from land, millions of agricultural labourers are moving out as migrant labourers, the report called for championing the cause of these migrant labour. Keeping in mind that wage struggles are the concrete expression of class struggle in the village, it advised that proper preparation in terms of studying concrete conditions, holding of workshops for activists, popularising the demands among the masses through conventions etc are undertaken before launching the struggles.


The report stressed the need to take up struggles for proper implementation and strengthening NREGA and Forest Rights Act. It charged that the UPA-II government is seeking to wind up the scheme by gradually reducing the district level allotment for employment generation and also by limiting the providing of work to only during lean season. The ministry of rural development is under pressure to increase the working hours of NREGA works in order to make it uneconomic and burdensome for the applicants. The need to take up struggles for strengthening the NREGA and exposing this fraudulent intention of the government was stressed. The fact that the organisation could expand its base even in weaker states when it took up NREGA issue was also stressed in this context.


Noting that the proposed Food Security Act of the government is an eye-wash, the general secretary report called for militant struggles highlighting the need for genuine food security that also takes into account nutritional security of the people. The demand for universalisation of PDS must be taken up with vigour in the current situation of skyrocketing prices of essential commodities.


The struggles for land and house-sites championed by the AIAWU units in various states must be further intensified for a radical redistribution of land in rural India to free it from the control of the landlords and rural rich. Also, land reforms are essential to overcome the present acute crisis in agricultural sector, the report stated.


As for organisational aspects, the report noted that the membership of the organisation has grown from 42,50,754 in 2006-07 to 48,31,244 in 2009-10. The call of the sixth conference to enrol five million membership was almost fulfilled. While noting that almost all 12 states where the organisation exists increased their membership, the report highlighted the unevenness in the membership as the main weakness. Nearly 85 per cent of the total membership is from South India and Tripura. However this pattern is changing with good improvement in membership from a number of states, particularly Maharashtra and Punjab. The report stressed on efforts needed to improve the situation in the weaker states, particularly the Hindi-speaking ones.


The report concluded by stating that in the coming three years, given the acute crisis in agriculture, growing unemployment and increasing pressure on land and house-sites by land mafias, there is bound to be periods of deep distress for agricultural labourers. The AIAWU should be ready to guide such struggles successfully. It asks the cadre to jump into local struggles and take up issues that reflect common problems of the masses. The report ends with this assertion: “We have a duty to guide the rural masses to more decisive actions and victories. We have the confidence to do so but we must carry this confidence to the masses and ensure that it enthuses them to move forward, struggle and win”




A total of 32 delegates spoke in the discussion on the general secretary report, strengthening and enriching it with their experiences and suggestions. They agreed with the report about the need to intensify wage struggles, the struggles for proper implementation of NREGA and Forest Rights Act, for universalisation of PDS. Many delegates stressed the need to take up in a big way the issues of social oppression, particularly of dalits. The comrades from UP highlighted how despite a dalit woman being the chief minister of the state, atrocities against dalit agricultural labour were rising. The good work being done by the Left-led governments in Tripura, Kerala and West Bengal regarding the welfare of agricultural workers in terms of pensions, group insurance schemes, ration cards etc was also highlighted. The fact that the UPA-II government, now minus the Left restraint, has launched a vicious assault on the livelihood of the masses was noted. The need to rally people against these policies through intensified militant struggles was underlined. The importance of taking up multi-faceted problems of agricultural workers was also stressed.


Earlier, fraternal greetings were conveyed by AIDWA president Subhashini Ali, CITU secretary K K Diwakaran, BKMU leader Ramamurthy and DYFI secretary Kannan.