A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol.19, No. 51, 13–19 DECEMBER 2016
Reject the Modi Emergency,
Resist the Demonetization Disaster!
(Pledge Day Call issued by the Central Committee of CPI-ML on the occasion of the 18th anniversary of the passing of Comrade Vinod Mishra)
The Modi government at the Centre has completed half of its 5-year term. During the first two years, the government remained largely busy with populist programmes like Swachh Bharat and Digital India campaigns, Jan Dhan Yojana and so on while the extra-parliamentary complement of the new dispensation, the Sangh brigade, which has now been bestowed an unprecedentedly overt say in the functioning of the government, went on unleashing its vicious agenda, item by item, from 'love jihad' to cow vigilantism to all kinds of moral and thought policing, with the tacit and sometimes open support of the PM. With the crucial UP elections round the corner - victory in which can give the BJP a much stronger presence in the Rajya Sabha and facilitate various constitutional changes the party is known to be contemplating in accordance with the RSS agenda - the government now seems to be in a definite hurry.
The two so-called 'surgical strikes' in the recent past, the first allegedly on terrorists across the LoC and the second apparently on black money held inside the country, have been the biggest talking points of the Modi government till date. Both have proved to be thoroughly ineffective in terms of meeting their stated objectives. Attacks on Indian bases are continuing, Nagrota being the most glaring example after Uri and soldiers continue to lose their lives. And the Sangh brigade uses these attacks either to foment jingoistic frenzy or to silence every expression of dissent and grievance of the Indian people by invoking the sacrifice of the soldiers on the border.
The second strike came in the form of a sudden scrapping of notes of the two biggest denominations of Rs 500 and 1000. The move has inflicted enormous pain on the common people, and with an acute shortage of new notes to replace the scrapped currency, the cash-dependent sections of the population, virtually 9 out of every 10, are suffering from a debilitating cash crunch. And with every passing day it is becoming clear that the cash crunch is just the gateway to a much bigger and graver economic crisis hitting production and employment, and hence income and mass consumption across the board. The government initially talked about momentary inconvenience for a few days, but the pain is now threatening to become chronic and the damage permanent and irreparable.
The original stated purpose of the note ban exercise - neutralizing black money and counterfeit currency - now seems to be only an excuse. The government itself has offered to launder black money at just 5 per cent higher rate than the income disclosure scheme earlier on offer. People like Mahesh Shah who declared a black income of Rs 13800 crore, openly saying that the money belonged to politicians and businessmen, are being let off and the declarations dismissed without any investigation. We also know how ahead of the November 8 announcement, across the country the BJP converted huge sums of money into landed property and how BJP leaders are now being spotted with lakhs and crores of rupees in the newly introduced 2000 rupee notes. While common people had to defer weddings and were deprived of medical care owing to lack of cash, the likes of Janardan Reddy and Nitin Gadkari hosted royal weddings spending a fortune.
When the entire country complained about the utter lack of preparation of the Modi government, the Finance Minister said the preparation could not possibly have been better and Modi said only the corrupt hoarders of black money who could not make arrangements to save their black money were complaining. And now when it is becoming clear that almost the entire amount of scrapped currency is set to return to the banking system, putting paid to speculation and rumours of large-scale decimation of hoarded cash, Modi is incriminating Jan Dhan Accounts as repositories of black money. While thus inflicting immense pain and insult on the poor, Modi has however also launched a major emotional propaganda campaign to project himself as a messiah of the poor, cashing in on the poor's inherent anger against corruption and the growing inequality in society.
One important purpose behind the massive exercise of scrapping big notes seems to have been to bail out the banks which have been looted by India's big corporate houses and crooks like Vijay Mallya who was made a Rajya Sabha MP by the BJP and allowed to flee the country by the Modi government. Risky loans worth Rs 11 lakh crore have been extended over the years to the corporate sector, which are now being systematically written off in a phased manner. Note ban has sucked in all the savings of the common people, and the improved liquidity of the banks will now be translated again into cheap loans to the rich and the corrupt. Apart from injecting fresh capital into the banks, demonetization is also aimed at giving a big push to the digital India campaign and the entire gamut of pro-corporate economic reforms establishing greater corporate control over the entire economy. Everything small-scale, from small agriculture and trade to small industries and various enterprises and occupations in the informal sector, will now have to fight hard for sheer survival in the face of heightened corporate aggression.
By all indications, India is now in the grip of a veritable Modi Emergency. Police repression is on the increase everywhere, the broad daylight killing of eight young undertrials who were claimed to have escaped from the Bhopal central jail, the midnight assault on peaceful anti-eviction protesters in Barkagaon and the escalation of the war on the Kashmiri people demanding self-determination clearly announce the arrival of a police state. The systematic gagging of media freedom and citizens' right to freedom of expression, and deliberate devaluation and evasion of parliamentary accountability by the Prime Minister and his cabinet are also tell-tale signs of an autocratic regime. The advisories being issued on a daily basis also remind us of the coercive days of Indira Emergency.
Of course, the current Emergency is still formally undeclared. But that aside, we can clearly see some other major differences with the Indira-Sanjay era of 1975 Emergency. The economic discourse then revolved around the public sector, land reforms and socialistic welfare. Today it is all about land acquisition, free market and corporate-led 'development'. The foreign policy then was marked by India's close proximity to the Soviet Union, today it is all about a strategic alliance with the United States and Israel. With the victory of Trump in the American presidential election, we are going to see an unmitigated reign of racism and Islamophobia, and there is now every possibility of a rabidly Islamophobic convergence between the Trump Presidency and the Modi government, albeit in the name of a shared battle against terrorism. And last but not least, while Indira Gandhi's Emergency regime had only the Youth Congress as the extra-constitutional wing, the Modi regime has the backing of the entire Sangh brigade, with any number of RSS affiliates openly dictating and enforcing government policies and what passes for 'law and order' in the country. In fact, the government has become the implementing agency for corporate interests and the RSS agenda and the two are increasingly coalescing within a single integrated framework.
The Indian people are of course very much alive to this danger and we can see powerful resistance developing on many fronts. The land acquisition ordinance had to be consigned to the waste paper basket in the face of determined protests by the peasantry. The repressive tactic of sedition charges has been valiantly rebuffed by the student community and the democratic intelligentsia. The institutional murder of Rohith Vemula and the Una incident of brutal assault on four Dalit youths have given rise to a powerful new phase of Dalit awakening in the country. And as India reels under the Modi-made economic disaster of demonetization, protests have begun to intensify defying the systematic propagation of lies by the Sangh brigade whether through its own network or through the media. Revolutionary communists must work hard to bring about a growing convergence of these diverse strands of struggle in a powerful stream of popular resistance.
On the occasion of the 18th anniversary of the passing of Comrade Vinod Mishra, let us pledge our fullest might and best efforts to the task of saving India from the menace of the Modi Emergency, from the growing threat of corporate-communal fascism. The current year is also the 50th anniversary of the great Naxalbari uprising and the centenary of the Great November Revolution. It is our responsibility to carry forward the great revolutionary legacy and rise to the occasion. The year 2015 saw the Modi government suffer decisive defeats in the Assembly elections in Delhi and Bihar. 2017 begins with elections to the state Assemblies of UP, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur. For the people who are paying the biggest price for the Modi government's demonetization disaster, this is a great payback opportunity and we must make sure that the suffering of the people is translated into yet another roaring rebuff for the BJP.
Modi Hatao, Roti Bachao! Save Democracy, Save India!
Protest against Demonetization
The CPI(ML) Darbhanga district committee protested in front of the Darbhanga Collectorate demanding rollback of demonetization; re-starting of closed factories; a permanent and stable solution to deal with floods and droughts; starting of paddy purchase; possession of land for parcha holders; construction of the Donar and Laheriyaserai Chatti over-bridge; stopping the razing of bastis of the poor without first making alternative arrangements; and ration cards for hitherto deprived families.
United March by Left parties in Uttar Pradesh on 6 December
On 6 December, a day that marked the 24th anniversary of demolition of the Babri Masjid and the 60th Parinirvan Day of Babasaheb Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar, the left parties took a united march against fascism and in defence of constitution and harmony, and demanding punishment for those responsible for the demolition of the Babri Masjid. in various district capitals of Uttar Pradesh. Marches were held in Lucknow, Baliya, Varanasi, Doeria, Mau, Chandauli, Seetapur, Pilibhit and other districts. On the same day left parties organized a united dharna in Gazipur and Allahabad and organized seminars in Kanpur and Gonda.
Jauhar-Nirmal-Ratan Memorial Foundation Stone Laid in Bhojpur
The foundation stone of the memorial to former CPI(ML) General Secretary Com. Subrata Dutta (Com. Jauhar), Dr Nirmal, and Com. Rajendra Yadav (Com. Ratan) was laid in Gadhani (Bhojpur) on 29 November 2016, the 41st anniversary of their martyrdom. The three, who were leaders of the anti-feudal farmers' struggles in Bhojpur inspired by the Naxalbari movement, were killed on this day in 1975 in a police firing while they were resisting the Emergency at Babubandh (Charpokhri).
Present on the occasion were CPI(ML) General Secretary Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya, Com. Ramjatan Sharma, Com. Amar, Com. Nand Kishore, Com. Santosh Sahar, Com. Mahanand, and Dr Nirmal's colleague eminent physician Dr BNP Yadav. Thousands of people rent the air with enthusiastic slogans as Com. Dipankar laid the foundation stone after 2 minutes' silence was observed for all the martyrs of the Indian revolution. The meeting was also addressed by Tarari MLA Com. Sudama Prasad, State committee members Comrades Raju Yadav, Qayamuddin Ansari, Ajit Kushwaha and Manoj Manzil.
AIARLA Protests in Bihar against Demonetization
Demonetization has become a source of distress for villages and the rural poor. Farmers and agricultural labourers in rural areas are in difficulties. Farmers are unable to sell their paddy. Workers are unable to earn their daily wage. They are left with no option but to work for deferred wages or to accept rice or wheat as wages. The rural wage rate has fallen. Lakhs of Bihari workers working outside are returning to their villages for want of work. Work is not available either in villages or in cities. Poor patients are dying for lack of treatment and medicines. Marriages in poor families have had to be cancelled or postponed. The sowing of the rabi crop has been obstructed, as have the studies of their children.
AIARLA organized protests in front of District Headquarters on 22 November to demand relief from this distress forced on the villages and the poor, in which thousands of farmers and sharecroppers took part. These protests also raised the issues of the Central government reducing ration, housing, and pensions of the poor and snatching away panchayat rights. The protests strongly raised the issue of the Nitish government's negligence towards land rights housing rights, and health and education rights.
In Samastipur district a 2 day "Ghera Dalo Dera Dalo" campaign was conducted which found enthusiastic participation and an increase in organizational activities in 3 or 4 blocks in the district. In Patna a march to the Vidhan Sabha was organized under the leadership of the AIARLA Patna district unit. Anger was rampant among the workers, women, and the poor who participated in the march because ration-kerosene has not been distributed in Patna district for the last 4 months. The march was led by AIARLA State Secretary Com. Gopal Ravidas, District President Com. Vidyanand Bihari, Secretary Com. Aklu Paswan, comrades Mukhiya Asha Devi, Rakesh Manjhi, Sanjay Paswan, Sarifa Manjhi and others. Comrades Dipankar Bhattacharya, Kunal, Amar, AIARLA National General Secretary Dhirendra Jha, Shashi Yadav and other leaders participated in the march.
When the march reached Gardanibagh, the venue of the dharna, a memorandum was submitted to the DM. Later, an AIARLA delegation met the Rural Development Minister and expressed the anger of the poor at the loot of their ration and the insensitivity of the government.
AICCTU Protest in Bangalore
AICCTU sanitation workers led by Com. Nirmala, General Secretary of BBMP Guttige Powrakarmikara Sangha, gheraoed the Raja Rajeshwari Nagar zonal office of BBMP (Bruhat Bangalore Municipal Corporation) on 7 December 2016 demanding revised minimum wage of Rs. 14400, payment of 3 months salary, reinstatement of illegally retrenched worker Rangaswamy, drinking water, toilet facility, free breakfast, and other demands. Sanitation workers from 6 wards, including, Kengeri, Anjananagar, Gollarahatti, Hegganahalli, etc., participated in the protest.
Public Talk organised in Bangalore on 6 December
On the 24th anniversary of the demolition of Babri Masjid, a Public Talk on 'Babri Masjid Demolition: A Barbaric Attack on Secularism and Democracy' was organised in by CPI(ML) in Bangalore. Com. Balan, CPI(ML), Shivalingam, Swabhimani Dalit Shakti and Abdul Majid, GS, SDPI addressed the gathering while Com Shankar presided the meet and Com Clifton delivered vote of thanks. Similar programmes organised jointly by left and progressive organisations, including CPI(ML) was held at Gangavati and was addressed by Com. Bharadwaj along with others.
Kisan Mahasabha Block Level Conferences in Patna
The All India Kisan Mahasabha has taken up a national level project under its organizational drive to increase membership and hold district and block level conferences. So far 5 block level conferences have been held in Patna district under as part of this drive, the target being to conduct a total of 12 conferences in different blocks after which district level conferences will be held. So far in Patna district, conferences have been held in Fatuha (20 Nov), Masaurhi (23 Nov), Dulhin Bazaar (22 Nov), Naubatpur and Maner (25 Nov).
The conference at Fatuha was presided over by Com. Ravindra Prasad Yadav, conducted by Com. Ramjanm Yadav, and inaugurated by State Joint Secretary Com. Umesh Singh. The conference decided to intensify the membership drive and elected a 9 member block committee with Com. Ravindra Yadav and Com. Ramjanm Yadav as President and Secretary respectively.
About 200 farmers took part in the conference at Dulhin Bazaar on 22 November inaugurated by Patna District Secretary Dr Kripa Narayan Singh. The conference decided to carry forward the agitation for the modernization of the Son canals and other demands. An 11 member committee with Com. Anand Prasad as President, Com. Mangal Yadav as Secretary was elected.
The 23 November Masaurhi conference, attended by over 100 farmers, was jointly presided over by comrades Shiv Paswan and Bisheshwar Yadav and conducted by Com. Bhagwan Singh. Conference discussed issues such as: rollback of the Punpun canal project which is destroying agricultural land; starting of defunct government hand pumps, and other irrigation-related questions. The conference was addressed by State Joint Secretary Com. Umesh Singh. A 15 member committee with Com. Shiv Paswan as President and com. Bhagwan Singh as Secretary was elected.
120 farmers participated in the Naubatpur conference which was presided over by Com. Madheshwar Sharma and conducted by Com. Tribhuvan Prasad. The conference discussed irrigation-related issues like the Son canal and defunct hand pumps, free electricity, Rs 2900 minimum support price per quintal of paddy, guarantee of purchase, and decided to carry forward struggles for these demands. The conference elected a committee with Com. Tribhuvan Prasad as President and Com. Madheshwar Sharma as Secretary. The Maner conference, under the supervision of Umesh Yadav, was presided over by Com. Subodh Yadav and conducted by Com. Ramkumar Singh. About 100 farmers participated in the conference which identified issues important to farmers and decided to carry forward struggles for demands related to these issues. An 11 member committee was elected with Com. Umesh Yadav as President and Com. Ramkumar Singh as Secretary.
Protest at Labour Commissioner's Office in Bhubaneswar
A massive rally was organised outside the State Labour Commissioner's office in Bhubaneswar on a 11 point charter of demands. Around 700 comrades participated in the rally that started from Nagbhusan Bhavan and ended outside the labour commissioner office. During the march, the participants raised slogans against demonitization and the Modi-Naveen governments at the centre and the state who have been working with an understanding on anti-people measures. After reaching the labour commissioner office, a public meeting was held. Com. Radhakant Sethi, General Secretary of AICCTU Odisha, elaborated on the impact of demonetization on working class and how the working class has been suffering the entire last one month in different parts of the state. He criticized PM Modi for his anti-poor and also unplanned demonetization. He said that the only planned part in it was the planned process to loot the common people. Com. N.K. Mohanty, President of AICCTU's Odisha unit shared that the contract workers in different industries were not getting minimum wages and that the Naveen government was doing business with the corporates. After the meeting, a six members delegation team led by Com. Mahendra Parida, national secretary of AICCTU, met the Chairperson of the Building and Construction Workers' Welfare and discussed several issues with him. They were assured that their demands will be fulfilled.
Birsa Jayanti Observed in Ranchi
On 15 November 2016, the occasion of Birsa Jayanti, CPI(ML) activists took out a Sankalp (Resolve) March from the Birsa Central jail square and paid tributes at his memorial in Kokar by garlanding the statue of Birsa Munda.
The Sankalp March was led by District Secretary Com. Bhuvaneshwar Kewat, Com. Ajab Lal Singh and Com. Sudama Khalkho. The activists who participated in the march paid tribute to Birsa with slogans such as "Village and City Call Alike, Company Raj Will Not be Tolerated", "Stop Killing Farmers and Adivasis", "Take Back Amendments to CNT Act", "Jail for the Guilty in Police Firing Incident", and "We Shall Build the Jharkhand of Birsa's Dreams".
Floral tributes to Birsa's statue were paid by CPI(ML) leaders. Addressing the gathering at the Birsa Memorial, the Party leaders said that even after 16 years of statehood the condition of villages in Jharkhand is dismal. Each successive government has indulged in empty promises and proclamations which has turned the people's initial happiness and enthusiasm at the founding of the State into anger. In order to crush this people's anger the government is resorting to killing farmers, adivasis, and students through violence and police firing. They resolved to strengthen the movements against the government ploys to loot the land and livelihood of people.