People's Democracy

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


No. 02

January 13, 2013







Left Holds Convention against FDI in Retail


Arun Latkar


THOUGH the Congress-led UPA-2 government, by its usual underhand dealings, managed to push through both houses of parliament its decision of allowing FDI in the retail trade sector, the Left parties have decided to keep up the campaign against this decision through conventions and meetings in major cities.


Accordingly, on December 22, 2012, an impressive convention was organised by four Left parties --- CPI(M), CPI, Forward Bloc and Indian Bolshevik Party --- at Nagpur, the second capital of Maharashtra. The convention was inaugurated by CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat while former CPI general secretary A B Bardhan was the chief guest. It was attended by people from all walks of life, including representatives of small traders’ and shopkeepers’ organisations.


Inaugurating the convention, Prakash Karat launched a scathing attack on the UPA-2 regime for its decision of allowing FDI in retail and rubbished all its false claims with facts and figures. He said the very reaction given by US secretary of state Hillary Clinton to this decision taken by the UPA regime, showed that the decision was taken under the pressure of American imperialism.


In spite of its dubious manipulative prowess, the UPA regime could succeed in mobilising only 252 votes in the Lok Sabha in favour of FDI in retail, which were still 20 short of a majority. Hence it is clear that the government does not enjoy the confidence of parliament on this issue. Most of the political parties have clearly expressed their opposition to this disastrous move.


Karat referred to the serious financial irregularities that have recently come to light about WalMart’s shady dealings in India, even before the government’s decision to allow FDI in retail. In Mexico, it has been exposed that WalMart bribed top officials to the tune of millions of dollars to get what it wanted. It is to such corrupt and unscrupulous companies in India that we are opening our doors wide.


The CPI(M) leader demolished the false claims made by the government that allowing FDI in retail would lead to an increase in jobs, that it would help farmers, that it would reduce prices for consumers, and so on. He called for a nationwide stir against FDI in retail and also against FDI in insurance and pension funds.


A B Bardhan said it was the experience of the whole world that FDI in retail has benefited no section in any country, except the multinational corporations themselves. And in spite of knowing this only too well, the prime minister and the UPA regime are going ahead with this disastrous measure. He called for a concerted battle against the anti-people policies of the UPA government.


CPI(M) state secretary Dr Ashok Dhawale was also present at the convention. An office bearer of the small traders’ organisation, Dnyaneshwar Rakshak, supported the Left in its battle against FDI in retail.


The presidium of the convention comprised Manohar Muley (CPI-M), Jammu Anand (CPI), Arun Bankar (FB) and Vaidya (Bolshevik Party). Arun Latkar of the CPI(M) conducted the proceedings.


An attractive pamphlet against FDI in retail, published by the CPI(M)’s Maharashtra state committee, is being sold well all over the state. Conventions and meetings have been held in other centres also.


On December 22 and 23, a two-day party class was held in Nagpur, and it was attended by 125 comrades. The subjects and teachers were as follows: 1. The Challenge of Identity Politics – Prakash Karat; 2. What is Marxism? – Dr Ashok Dhawale; 3. Building the Party Organisation – Nilotpal Basu.