People's Democracy

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


No. 33

August 15, 2010



Unleash Struggles in Defence of People


N S Arjun from Vijayawada


THE CPI(M) has decided to stand firmly with the suffering toiling masses of the country by taking up their battles for food, jobs, education, health and every other basic right. It has also decided to make the struggle for land and against its usurping, an all India struggle. The problems of the people can be changed only when the ruinous anti-people policies of the governments are changed – and for that to happen, there is a need for unleashing of struggles by the Party in the coming period.


This call emanated from the huge public meeting held on the conclusion of the Extended Central Committee meeting in Vijayawada on August 10, 2010. Tens of thousands of people from all sections, particularly the downtrodden, trooped into Vijayawada from all parts of Andhra Pradesh since the night of August 9. The entire city of Vijayawada was turned into a sea of Red with two huge rallies taken out from two different parts of the city in the afternoon. They converged into one near the venue of the public meeting, the PWD grounds. Everywhere it was a sight of Red flags fluttering. The huge attendance in the rally and public meeting enthused the cadre and leaders alike.


Addressing the vast gathering, CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat said that the vast majority of people, the toiling millions, are facing great sufferings and are barely able to eke out their living due to the unprecedented price rise of food and all other essential commodities. The Congress party is doing nothing for the common people. Lakhs of farmers are facing bleak future with the central government withdrawing all support to farming sector, resulting in the severe agrarian crisis. It is in such a scenario, the CPI(M) has decided to stand firmly with the suffering people by unleashing struggles in their defence. The extended meeting of the Central Committee has decided that the fight against the UPA-II government's and other state government's neo-liberal policies will be given priority, he said. The Party would fully support the struggles of all sections of people and in this regard he cited the upcoming nationwide strike by trade unions on September 7. Karat said this strike will be a warning to the government against violation of the limited labour laws in place and against privatisation of PSUs, education, health etc. While fighting the Congress, the Party will try to rally all secular parties in order to evolve a real political alternative.


In Andhra Pradesh, where the Congress government is in power, around 6 lakh acres of land has been taken away from farmers and poor and handed to corporates, speculators. This process, he said, of transferring land and natural resources to the rich is happening across the country under the UPA government. The landlosers are fighting this and facing brutal repression as seen in the police firing recently in Srikakulam district in AP. Karat said the meeting discussed this situation and decided that the Party will stand firmly with the people who are fighting this. “We will take up land struggle in a big way all over the country”, he declared. Karat contrasted the situation in Left ruled states of Bengal, Kerala and Tripura where land reforms were undertaken. Around 22 per cent of total surplus land in the country has been distributed by Bengal LF government. Tripura has the best record of giving away 1.6 lakh pattas to tribals under the Forest Rights Act. “What is the record of BJP and Congress governments in this regard? Instead of giving land, they are snatching it from the poor and giving to the rich”, said Karat. He also touched upon the issues of food security, universalisation of PDS, the dangers posed by the Hindutva forces etc.


Referring to the brutal killings of Party workers and sympathisers in Bengal by the so-called Maoists, Prakash Karat said that they have joined hands with reactionary forces who want to undo the gains achieved by the working people of Bengal. He expressed confidence that these reactionary forces will be isolated. Telling about the nationwide campaign movement in defence of Bengal movement from Sept 12 to 18, he said that the entire Party will go to the people, mobilise them and expose the heinous face of 'Maoists' who are acting as catpaws to the reactionary forces.


CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury roused the gathering with his speech in native Telugu language. He dismissed all those who had written off the Left in the context of decline in parliamentary seats, saying that even Nazis or the Nizam of Hyderabad failed to eliminate the Left. “As long as the colour of blood is red, the communists will remain” he asserted amidst loud cheers from the people. The massive turnout in the meeting must prove an eye-opener for these elements, he said. Since the Left is fighting to safeguard the interests of the people by opposing the neo-liberal policies, it has been targeted by our ruling classes along with imperialism for attacks in its strongholds. “Our ruling classes in collusion with imperialism is targeting us in Bengal. In the period 1972-77 more than 1400 comrades were martyred and around 22,000 people had to leave their homes. However that couldn't prevent the Left Front from coming to power after Emergency and remaining in power for 34 years. So, if you try to bring in the conditions of 1972-77 period, the Left Front will become invincible”, he said.


Yechury explained how there are two Bharats, one a swarna Bharat and another a marna Bharat. On one hand the number of dollar billionaires has jumped from 26 to 52 during the rule of UPA government while on the other nearly 80 per cent of Indians live on less than Rs 20 a day. Thousands of farmers are committing suicides. In such a scenario the CPI(M) will strive to force the government to change its policies by unleashing struggles. He appealed to the people to join these struggles in a big way.


Polit Bureau member and chief minister of Tripura, Manik Sarkar, in his speech said that the situation in the country has gone from bad to worse since the last Lok Sabha elections. The first edition of the UPA government had some form of check due to its dependence on the Left. Post Lok Sabha polls, with Left support not required, the UPA-II government is vigorously implementing anti-people policies. “A kind of arrogance has also developed in their approach. They are acting unilaterally without listening to the opposition. Despite the unprecedented price rise and its burdensome impact on people, the prime minister and other ruling party leaders are in no mood to listen to the people”, he said.


Referring to the recent meeting of the National Development Council, an important Constitutional body, the Manik Sarkar said that despite many chief ministers pleading for strengthening and universalising of PDS, neither the prime minister nor the finance minister or even the agricultural & food minister conceded this demand. The demand for banning the forward trading that is resulting in this unprecedented price rise also met with deaf ears. “Whose government is this? For whom are they working? .. this pertinent question is being asked by the people. There is no doubt that because of their class interests they are helping the tax evaders, black marketeers, hoarders etc. They are the ones who fund these parties in elections. So, all promises made to aam admi have been thrown to the wind”, said Sarkar. He wanted the people to understand the fraud being committed by the government in the name of food security. It is tr4ying to make it more targeted and restrictive. Criticising the lack of uniform criteria for determining the number of below poverty line people, he said that Tripura government undertook a sincere exercise and sent to the centre. But that was also rejected.


Manik Sarkar said that unemployment is a burning issue facing the nation with around 17 to 19 crore youth waiting for jobs. The central government in the name of 'right sizing' the administration has put in place a ban on government recruitment. There are around 50 lakh jobs in government of India lying vacant. It is forcing the state governments also to do right size through the recommendations of the 13th Finance Commission. So, instead of creating jobs, the centre is trying to tie the hands of state governments. However, Tripura Left Front government disregarded this and recruited  thousands of persons into government service. Manik Sarkar charged this UPA-II government of being anti-youth and anti-employment. He highlighted the achievements of the Left Front government, particularly the implementation of NREGA, Forest Rights Act, in the field of education etc. Sarkar concluded by saying that the UPA-II government must be forced to change its anti-people policies through both class and mass struggles.


Polit Bureau member and CPI(M) Andhra state secretary B V Raghavulu lambasted the Congress state government for violating all the promises it made in the 2009 elections to state assembly. He charged Rosaiah government of trying to scuttle down all welfare measures in the name of lack of funds and warned that there would be severe resistance in the form of struggles.  Referring to the internal squabbles in the ruling party, Raghavulu wondered whether there was any government or governance in the state. On the issue of separate Telangana statehood demand, he said that there is a need for people of all regions to unitedly fight for removing the backwardness in all regions. He criticised the main bourgeois parties for indulging in opportunist politics on this issue. Noting that there is a powerful sentiment among the people of Telangana for separate state, he said this must be understood since it was the Congress which through its announcement of December 9 fanned this sentiment. He said some forces were trying to utilise this sentiment for political gains. Raghavulu reiterated the principled stand of the CPI(M) that the linguistic basis of states must not be disturbed and that all backward regions can be developed in an integrated state.


Raghavulu said that the BJP is trying to use the divisive issue of separate state to strengthen itself and the recent communal violence in Hyderabad was part of this effort. Now with its recent alliance with the TRS in the bye-elections, ground is being prepared for its growth. He appealed to all secular parties in the state to recognise and become alert to this danger. He concluded by appealing to the people of the state, who have got a rich legacy of militant struggles, to get ready for the forthcoming struggles.


CPI(M) Central Committee members Thammineni Veerabadhram, Mallu Swarajyam and M A Gaffoor also spoke in the meeting which was presided over by Paturi Ramaiah. Earlier, Polit Bureau member and chief minister of West Bengal, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee came to the venue of the meeting and greeted the assembled people. He had to leave early to catch a flight to Hyderabad enroute to Kolkata.