Monthly Archives: December 2007

RELEASE GOVINDAN KUTTY, THE EDITOR OF PEOPLE’S MARCH!

31 December 2007

RELEASE GOVINDAN KUTTY, THE EDITOR OF PEOPLE’S MARCH!

UNCONDITIONALLY WITHDRAW
FALSE CASE FABRICATED ON THE EDITOR!!

On December 19th the Kerala Police, under the orders of Ernakulum Police Commissioner, raided the room of Govindan Kutty, 65, the editor and publisher of Peoples March which is not a banned publication and confiscated all his literature and computer hard disk. Govindan Kutty was arrested under the charges of spreading sedition and indulging in unlawful activities and was remanded in judicial custody by a lower court at Aluva in Kerala. He was implicated in a fabricated case under a number of clauses like section 134 A and 163B of Indian Penal Code and 13 of (1) b of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and sent to Aluva prison.

The Left Democratic Front (LDF) government in the State under the close instructions of UPA Government at the Centre resorted to this crackdown on the popular revolutionary magazine. Govindan Kutty, according to his lawyers, was harassed and psychologically tortured for a day in the name of interrogation before being sent to judicial custody. Ever since he was arrested he was on hunger strike protesting against the trampling down of his right to freedom of speech and Freedom of Press.

He continues his protest within the four walls of the prison demanding his unconditional release. His lawyer who met him two days ago said that his health condition was serious given his age and chronic ailments with which has been suffering. His life is in a serious threat.

The arrest of Govindan Kutty and the police crackdown on the office of the publication was an attack on the freedom of press. As hundreds of thousands of people from all corners of the world know, the People’s March supports all revolutionary movements including the Maoist movements in India , Nepal and elsewhere. It is a fully legal publication registered with Indian registrar of Newspapers of the Government of India with the RNI number KER ENG/2000/2051 and the postal registration number: KL/EKM/614/2007-09. The magazine has been coming out for over 7 years (since 1998) meeting all the legal requirements. The magazine has been freely available not only in bookstalls all over India, but also in prominent libraries in New Delhi and other major cities in India and abroad.

The People’s March publishes news reports and interviews of Maoists, both from India and abroad like all other hundreds of magazines and newspapers in India. It is People’s March today which is under attack, tomorrow all other media will face the same threat if we don’t raise our voice against this attack on freedom of press.A year ago the website of People’s March was blocked by the Indian Government without assigning any reasons. When its editors started publishing the online magazine through a blog on googlepages, it was also blocked by Google in December 2007, under the pressure of Indian Government.

The arrest of the editor and the foisting of fake charges against him are nothing but an attempt of the Government of India to further stifle freedom of speech in the country. The so-called largest democracy in the world with a gigantic army, Paramilitary and police force feels threatened by a mere monthly magazine with a limited circulation of a few thousands in print. This action displays the fascist character of the Indian state and the cowardly action of the Kerala police.

The Revolutionary Democratic Front appeals to all democratic and revolutionary organizations and individuals to raise their voice against the arrest of the editor of People’s March, a popular independent revolutionary newspaper from India.

We demand the immediate and unconditional release of Govindan Kutty and allow the continued publication of People’s March. We hold the government entirely responsible in the face of any damage to his health or threat to his life due to hunger strike within jail.

Rajkishore
General Secretary

All India Committee
Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF)

Lend Support to the ongoing revolutionary movement in Dandakaranya, India!

REVOLUTIONARY DEMOCRATIC FRONT (RDF)

Lend Support to the ongoing revolutionary
movement in Dandakaranya, India!

Condemn the Continuing Genocidal Fascist Attacks
on the fighting tribals of Bastar in the name of Salwa Judum!

In the name of Salwa Judum in Bastar region of Chhathisgarh, India, not only have hundreds been arrested, tortured, murdered, gang-raped, but their entire economic lifelines have been smashed by the state. Through brutal terror the government’s aim is to extinguish the sparks of revolution developing day by day in the very heart of India. Over the last 25 years the people of the region have witnessed a great awakening.
Over the past 25 years, the Naxalites, as Maoists in India are known, became one with the tribals of the region in their struggle for a life of self-respect and dignity, smashing the cruel, brutal, exploitative authority of the state machinery while establishing the rudimentary forms of the new people’s power. It is an epic struggle of sacrifice and determination, of daring visions and dreams, where hundreds of Maoists—tribals themselves—and their supporters in this region have given their lives for the birth of a new society. Prior to the entry of the Naxalites, thirty years of so-called independence had done little for these people; in fact their conditions only worsened, their land snatched from them for mining projects, and regularly hounded and looted by forest and other government officials in league with the local feudal elements. There had no education, no health care, no electricity, no clothing and even very little agricultural development. And the little they earned in forest produce was robbed off from them by traders, forest officials, and the village elite.
The 25 years of armed struggle against the government forces have made them educate themselves while organizing into a people of higher consciousness. They have developed the culture of settled agriculture, health care etc. — no doubt with all its shortcomings in rudimentary form — through the organizations of new power set up under the leadership of the Maoists who live and die with them. The media and many of the pro-state policy analysts and academics cry hoarse that the Naxalites are preventing development; but the reality is that the Naxalites have brought the tribals to the centre of their world where they live; they belong; in control of their lives and the world around them. And now the fruits of these small, but certain victories are sought to be snatched away from them with the utmost brutality.
Thousands forcibly displaced; over hundreds brutally murdered; more than 70 villages burnt down, 642 villages vacated, 500 people killed, 51 women gang-raped, crops destroyed, cattle and poultry looted — all in the name of Salwa Judum or ‘peace campaign’ till the end of 2006. In the past 11 months many more people were killed and women raped. This has been on since June 2005, but due to a systematic black-out by the state, the outside world has been ignorant about the murderous campaign of the state in the region. Except for a few fact finding reports, what has come in the press is only government propaganda.
The brutalities are horrifying. The boys being beheaded; their severed heads stuck on the posts of their own houses. Women gang-raped, tortured and their breasts severed; the fetuses of pregnant women ripped open…and then left bleeding to die an agonizing death deep in the forests. Entire villages burnt down, crops destroyed and all the cattle/poultry robbed or destroyed. The people herded into concentration camps — on the lines of the “strategic hamlets” used by the imperialist blood sucking US forces against the heroic people of Vietnam and other counter-insurgencies. The people live as slaves in these extremely unhygienic concentration camps doing forced labour for the police, Naga battalion and para-military for a pittance.
In an attempt to starve the revolutionary masses so as to submit themselves to the status quo state at first closed down all local weekly markets and then stopped supplying essential commodities, like rice, to the ration shops. As it is well known, the weekly markets are the sole economic life line for the Adivasi peasants, as it is in these markets they sell their produce and purchase for their daily needs. Closing the weekly markets amounts to nothing but to cut off their lifeline and starve their families to death. So the State’s intention is very clear — either surrender or starve to death. Already living a subsistence existence it is estimated that roughly Rs.15 crores of destruction has taken place. A huge mass of population face starvation, including women and children. And with Salwa Judum operations still continuing the situation has becoming a virtual hell for the people there.
The entire campaign is being led by the Congress Party leader of the Opposition, Mahendra Karma—a landlord among the tribals—with full support from the local BJP government. Both parties are hand-in-glove in this campaign of brutality and terror where para-military forces, lumpens, feudal elements, government officials and police have all ganged up in a systematic and well-planned campaign. All this dance of death and mayhem is at the behest of the local big monopolies and their imperialist masters. This region is very rich in iron ore and the Tatas have already signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for land in this area. The Naxalites have been vehemently opposing the displacement wrought by such projects going under the grand slogan of ‘development’.
The only succour for the people is the support they get from the Naxalites in the forests who share their limited food with the displaced tribals. It is under these conditions that we appeal to you to lend a helping hand to the starving tribals who have faced unimaginable brutalities, for the single reason that they have ‘stood up’ and refused to heed to the call of the corrupt, exploitative and oppressive rule of the present system.
Your solidarity and support to this historic struggle going on in the very heart of India can be in very many ways. You can come and lend your expertise by staying in the area for a few months, or contribute money—even small contributions will be appreciated—medicine and any other means that will be of use to the simple people the tribals and their forces fighting there. We also request you to tell the world of what is becoming of the so-called largest democracy in the world, its real murderous, fascist face, which is consciously being kept away from public scrutiny. It is important that the truth reaches the people of the country and masses of the world at large.
We thank you for your support
Raj Kishore,
General Secretary
Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF)

Email:rdfindia@gmail.com

India: A Catastrophe or a Break with Imperialism

India: A Catastrophe or a Break with Imperialism

Interview with GN Saibaba of the
Revolutionary Democratic Front, India
India is at a turning point, says GN Saibaba, a representative of the Revolutionary Democratic Front. He stresses the deep poverty and terrible living conditions of ordinary Indians co-existing with the economical boom. Either India breaks with imperialism or sectarianism and Hindu right-wing nationalism will prevail, he warns. His is a message of hope, but also fearful warnings.

Poverty boom
The economy of India, when measured in USD exchange-rate terms, is the twelfth largest in the world, with a GDP of US $1.09 trillion (2007). It is the third largest in terms of purchasing power parity. India is the second fastest growing major economy in the world, with a GDP growth rate of 9.4% for the fiscal year 2006–2007.

- If these are indicators of growth, I’m afraid that these indicators could never speak about the real growth that is developing in India, says GN Saibaba, the deputy General Secretary of the Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF).

India’s huge population results in a per capita income of $4,182 at PPP and $964 at nominal (2007 estimate). The World Bank classifies India as a low-income economy. Co-existing with the economical growth is widespread poverty. The population of the vast South-Asian country is among the worlds’ poorest and most down-throdden. The UN Human development index ranks India as 126th.

An economy of impoverishment

- This poverty is a real indicator of how growth develops in India, says Saibaba. An even better indication is the fact that 150,000 farmers have committed suicide. Even in Sub-saharan Africa these kind of numbers don’t exist. These are forced suicides, not voluntary!

Saibaba sees the Western picture of India as a state of economical and technological progress as a fiction. – The growth rate is illusive! It’s mostly based on calculated and speculated capital, which is very fragile. One day the capital could be here and another day it will fly to another territory in the world. This growth rate is artificial and calculated.

Special Economical Death Zones

Currently the Indian government is designating and building more than 500 “Special Economical Zones” to stimulate further growth in the Indian export industry. The zones are put at the disposal of large multi-national companies and products will mainly be exported.

- These are fragile investments, one would never know if they would remain permanently. Any kind of turmoil could easily cause a shift, says Saibaba. Through the Revolutionary Democratic Front he’s participating in Visthapan Virodi Jan Vikas Andolan, which is an umbrella organization consisting of more than one hundred local mass movements all over India.

To build the new zones local peasants are being bought out off or expelled from their land. Violence is often applied to expel those who are determined to stick on to the soil, like in Nandigram, close to the capital Kolkata of West Bengal, where the official Communist Party (Marxist) are heading the regional government. 150 were massacred and 2000 wounded when militias hired by the “communist” government were rushed in to clear the peasants out.

Many intellectuals and others concerned about the social and sometimes deadly consequences of the “economical wonder” are also connected with the movement.

Still a feudal economy

Traditionally the maoist analysis applied by the inspired Indian naxalite rebels has been to say that the Indian economy is a feudal economy. Yet this image is contrasted by a sharp growth in the economical standards of the bourgeoisie and the upper middle class.

But Saibaba denies that there’s any development towards real capitalism in the country. – The capitalist entrepreneurs in India are dependent on imperialist capitalists, they are unable to take independent decisions. India is a traditional supplier of raw material. They export raw material cheaply and remain on the receiving end of the market for the finished goods, so in a double way you are helping the imperialist entrepreneurs.

The new economics also give little in terms of investment to the people. While money is tossed into building new universities and campuses, the beneficiaries are foreigners and the Indian diaspora, not the common man, in the view of Saibaba.

- They build some good educational institutions, but ordinary people don’t have the opportunity to go. And though there are developments of science and economy, it’s dependent on the Western powers. New campuses are being built financed by foreigners.

Several Sub-Saharan regions in India

- India is a very complex phenomenon says Saibaba. – There are several Nepals in India, there are several regions in India resembling Sub-Saharan conditions. In other words, India has multiple modes of production. So similarly you have a capitalist development, a feudal system, a slave system and a tribal systems. You have people still remaining in the hunting system, you have a feudalist system and also a capitalist system, dependent on monopoly capital from abroad.

Given these multiple modes of production, you can say that all modes of production from human history exist in India. The category called semi-feudal and semi-colonial have these multiple modes of economies existing together built within it. Another trait is subsistence economy, the majority produce just to survive.

A vicious trap

In present India 55% of the GDP is from the service sector, 19% of the GDP is from agriculture, 55% is employing only 0,5% of the work force. 19% of the GDP is giving employing 70% of the work force. Only 3% of the GDP is located in the manufactural sector.

- These numbers show clearly how the Indian economy is completely based on agriculture, says Saibaba. 55% of the GDP is from the service sector, but only sheltering 0,7%, while a vast majority is surviving on agriculture while their share of the GDP. This figure clearly shows how India is semi-colonial and semi-feudal and the weakness of the manufacturing sector is also clear from this picture.

- 77% of the Indian population live on 20 rupi a day (0,5 USD). The growth rate is only for the top ten percent and it doesn’t effect the vast majority of the people. If you add together all the rich people in India, you’ll get huge numbers, but they are just 13%. Numbers are huge because the population is huge.

- The vast majority of the indian population has no power, they have no purchasing power, if they had purchasing power, industry could grow. This is a vicious circle.

Change is possible

- The only way entrepreneurship could grow is if the people got purchasing power, says Saibaba.

- It’s possible, if the ruling elite would like to change, but they don’t have the will to do it. If agriculture is given importance, indigenous ways to develop agriculture is taken into consideration, land is distributed so that the population could move forward in agriculture, people would get purchasing power.

Those who depend on agriculture in today’s India are mainly landless, 70% of the land is in the hands of 23% of the people, only 13% of the land is in the hands of the 70% of the population occupied in the agricultural sector.

- Huge amounts of land is left uncultivated in India. If this would have been distributed among the people there would be a real development boom. This population is skilled workers, they could improve the productivity, if land is given to them, apart from the land in the hand of the big owners. Huge amounts of land is left uncultivated.

Rise of hindutva fascism

While the picture of an economical boom is being contrasted by roaring poverty, another feature of modern Indian society is politics being played out in an increasingly sectarian pattern of bigotry.

- No single party can form a government of their own, explains Saibaba. The all-India parties lost their importance. Different layers of maldevelopment in different regions has created different politics. The situation now is much worse than at the time of liberation from the British in 1947.

In the end of the 80s the movement of hindutva nationalism, a right-wing movement based on a hinduist identity began to gain momentum and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the party of the wider right-wing nationalist movement, held government from 1996-2004. The BJP government in the Indian regional state Gujarat was criticized widely for its failure to prevent widespread violence against the minority Muslim community in the year 2002. Amnesty International’s annual report on India in 2003 claimed the “Gujarat government did not actively fulfill its duty to provide appropriate relief and rehabilitation to the survivors”. It also claimed that “the same police force that was accused of colluding with the attackers was put in charge of the investigations into the massacres, undermining the process of delivery of justice to the victims.”

- Regionalism has grown together with hinduvatva fascism, because of the conflicting situation, Saibaba explains. – This is related to politics and economics. Politics because with 60 years of malgovernment, which has given a scope for the right-wing and regionalist forces to grow. Politics, because the revolutionary left is growing. The lumpenization of the economy is contributing to the growth of the right-wing in the urban cities, while the impoverishment of peasants is resulting in the growth of the left on the country side.

Together with the muslim minority

Together with the rise of hindutva nationalism, islamic movements are on the rise in India. The Revolutionary Democratic Front believes that this comes as a reaction the marginalization and insecurity muslims experience in modern India.

- They are pushed into a corner, says Saibaba. – Muslim fundamentalism is no doubt growing, but this islamization is because of severe acts by the majority. The revolutionary forces would like to win over the muslim population, while the hindu fundamentalists belong to the ruling classes.

Bigotry attacks on muslim minorities is common in many Indian states, while poverty remains high among ordinary muslims. – Small section of muslims are pushed towards fundamentalism, but security the main issue, Saibaba explains. – They could be attacked by hindutva forces anytime and are pushed into ghettos. Opportunities are not given to the muslims, because most of them are workers, most of them are hand skilled workers, poverty is very rampant.

The Revolutionary Democratic Front compares the rise of hindutva nationalism with the rise of islamist movements elsewhere. – The islamization of Pakistan would be similar to Hindutva in India, says Saibaba. – If I was in Pakistan, I wouldn’t understand the fundamentalists as I do in India. The fundamentalist forces in Pakistan are much more reactionary and tied to the state, while muslims in India are only fundamentalist because there is a threat to security.

Today the Indian revolutionaries are seeking cooperation with all kinds of muslim organisations because they believe the muslim groups have to be looked upon as minority groups without equal rights.

- The question would not be whether they are fundamentalists or not, they are the allies of the people. As a minority section they are an ally of the revolutionary forces. So the revolutionary forces are in a process of aligning themselves with the religious people. The question of fundamentalism in India is the question of the hindutva forces. This doesn’t mean that the rev forces ignore the fundamentalism of the muslims, the revolutionary forces take a different point than them. But to bring them out of fundamentalism you have to take the them out of the physical conditions that are making fundamentalism attractive to them. They should have their full religious rights.

Maoist surge

- The last two years you have seen in the central part the growth of the maoist movement, consolidated in CPI(M), it’s an indication of two things. First, the revolutionary forces have come together and formed a unified party and secondly, the popularity of the communist ideology among the masses

Indian government officials say that for the first time in history “the single biggest threat internal security is the Naxalites”. – This is an indicator of the phenomenal growth, a formidable challenge to the right-wing forces and imperialists, says Saibaba.

Saibaba does not see a contradiction between the different political and economical tendencies in the urban and rural areas.

- The strategy of the maoists is not only to capture the countryside, but to wage armed struggle to capture power finally at a country level. In fact those who have power in the vast rural areas ultimately will acquire power in Dehli. Neither BJP or Congress cannot win power based only on the urban centers, in terms of representation, only rural centers will matter. When the BJP comes to power it comes to power with a large number of regional parties, with the congress it’s the same, but they have also a rural base.

Sometimes the sectarian forces, like in Ghujarat and Utar Pradesh, these are the states where the revolutionary forces have not grown, are using muslim-hindu tensions to create a vote bank.

The last moghul of Congress

Historically the Indian Congress Party founded by Mahatma Gandhi led the anti-colonization movement. Today, according to the Indian revolutionaries, they are the resembling their former oppressors.

- It’s a traditional force, representing the feudal elements, says Saibaba. – But today there’s little difference left between congress and BJP. Though the BJP is more dependent on the trading class while congress is more dependent on the rural, feudal class, but in terms of the nature of both parties, there’s hardly any difference remaining. So congress congress could easily succumb to the BJP.

- It looks like their new leader, Rahul Gandhi, would be the last moghul of congress. The only difference is that the last moghul was an anti-imperialist who fought the british, while history repeats itself in a very sad way, in that this moghul is on the side on imperialism.

The official left is losing

The parliamentary left would be the biggest loser. The current government is dependent on the left. For the first time have the largest number of parliamentary seats in the history.

In the 2004 elections the official Indian left parties, the Communist Party of India and the Communist Party of India (Marxists) gained a historical high number of MPs, by many seen as a reaction to the neoliberal policies of the BJP 1999-2004 government.

- Since Congress took power, they’ve been the biggest supporters of the same policies. It was a shock of the peoplel that the Communist Party (Marxists) is supporting US imperialism, like implementing the Special Economic Zones in West Bengal, where they are in government, and also in central government. They vote against pension schemes, people’s livelihood, security, in support of the unhindered loot of the imperialists.

Because of this the revolutionaries in India believe the official, parliamentary left will lose ground. So it depends on the revolutionary forces, if they gain the ground lost by the parliamentary left. If they gain ground, it could be a revolutionary situation comparable to that of Nepal.

A dark or bright future

But the picutre isn’t only bright. – There’s a danger, if the rev forces don’t gain space, that the most reactionary right-wing forces would be able to control the situation for a longer period. The in-between forces have no space now. You have to choose a side, if the right-wing forces gain more space, then the chaos of civil war will be much more serious, if the revolutionary forces gain ground, it’d be paving a way for better developments

- I can’t confidently say that either side will gain grown, but there’s a chance for the revolutionary forces. Of course, ultimately, the rev forces, but now, I don’t know. With the class contradictions and the class struggle going on, either side could win, but ultimately the revolutionary forces.

Whatever way India turns, it’d have a large impact, the situation in India would have a great impact on the world situation.

Interview by Lars Akerhaug
Norway, December 2007

ORISSA GOVT. BANS SEVEN MASS AND DEMOCRATIC ORGANIZATIONS

ORISSA GOVT. BANS SEVEN MASS AND DEMOCRATIC ORGANIZATIONS

Dear friends and comrades,

Orissa Govt. has banned seven mass and democratic organizations today on 09-06-2006. These are peasant-workers-cultural organizations including democratic organizations like Daman Pratirodh Manch and Revolutionary Democratic Front.

 

We condemn this undemocratic and repressive measure of the Orissa Govt. We call upon all the democratic and justice loving organizations and individuals to raise their voice of protest against this anti people decision of the Orissa Govt.

 

 

Press Clippings

Orissa to ban CPI (Maoist), 7 front forums

Bhubaneswar, June. 9 (PTI): The Orissa Government today decided to ban CPI (Maoist) and its seven front organisations.

The seven naxalite organisations are Daman Pratirodh Manch, Revolutionary Democratic Front, Chasi Mulia Samiti, Kui Mulia Samiti, Kui Lawenga Sangha, Jan Natya Mandali, Krantikari Kissan Samiti and Bal Sangam, Home Secretary Santosh Kumar said after a cabinet meeting.

The state cabinet has also announced a comprehensive rehabilitation package for naxalites who would surrender before the administration

 

NDTV

Correspondent

Friday, June 9, 2006 (Bhubaneshwar):

The Orissa government has banned the CPI-Maoist and seven of their front organizations. The state cabinet took the decision after an escalation in naxal violence. However the state home secretary has clarified that this will not lead to arrest of the office bearers of the organisations or any raid on their offices.

But they will not be allowed to hold any more rallies or public meetings, although simultaneously the cabinet recommended a rehabilitation package for surrendered extremists. The rehabilitation package includes cash incentives up to Rs 20,000, allotment of homestead land, bank loan and subsidy and withdrawal of cases involving minor offences. The seven organisations which have now been declared unlawful in the state are: Daman Pratirodh Manch, Revolutionary Democratic Front, Chasi Mulia Sangh, Jana Natya Mandali, Krantikari Kisan Samiti and Bal Sangam.

All India Mass Campaign Against the Attack on the very Existence of Adivasis,

COMMITTEE FOR THE ASSISTANCE OF TRIBALS

AFFECTED BY SALWA JUDUM (CATAS)

All India Mass Campaign
Against the Attack on the very Existence of Adivasis,
their Culture and Habitat, in the name of ‘Salwa Judum’

 

Stop the State Terror!

Lend Support to the Displaced Tribals!!

It is now over one year since the Government of India launched its massive onslaught against the tribals of Bastar in the name of Salwa Judum. Their only crime is that they have lent full support to the Naxalites who have now spent 25 years amongst them. It is now clear that the initial reports were a government spread lie that the Salwa Judum was a spontaneous uprising against the Maoists. Numerous visits of journalists, academics and even government officials have proven that it is nothing but a state sponsored terror campaign. It is estimated that till now over 250 have been mercilessly and brutally killed, about 100 women have been gang-raped (and many then killed), 3,000 houses have been burnt down in 700 villages and over 60,000 tribals have been forcibly displaced and re-settled in what are de-facto concentration camps. A whole populace has been uprooted from their habitat of which they were an organic part and re-settled in horrifying conditions on the roadside next to the police and para-military camps under the watchful eye of the Salwa Judum hoodlums.

 

Why Salwa Judum Now?

Even after the so-called independence the tribals of Bastar, as in other parts of the country, lived a marginalised existence in extreme poverty and backwardness looted by one and all. Their own village elders would fleece them, so would the forest officials, the traders, the police, and the entire bureaucratic apparatus. Tendu leaf contractors, paper mill contractors, and others would exploit their labour for a pittance. The tribal women were used by these contractors, traders, police, bureaucrats, etc at will and had to be at their beck and call. There was no education in the region, no medical health care, no development of agriculture and no means of livelihood. Even the meager amounts they earned through agriculture and sale of forest produce were robbed from them by the exploiters. It was worse than an animal-like existence. This continued during British rule and there was no change whatsoever after 1947.

 

It was in this scenario that the Naxalites entered their lives in 1980. They integrated deeply with the tribals; shared their woes; ate the same food that they shared with them; and taught them a life of self-respect. They showed them the reasons for their poverty and organised them to fight the exploitation of the landlords, forest officials, police, bureaucrats and traders. They organised them for a decent wage for tendu picking and cutting wood. They stopped the fleecing by traders by demanding a reasonable rate for forest produce and a proper rate for purchase of essential items like salt.

 

Over the years as the Naxalites gained in strength the tribals got a whiff of freedom for the first time ever. Not only did they end generations of exploitation they began to take control over their lives and habitat. The three slogans resounded in ever corner of Bastar: ‘Forest, Land, Water belong to the Adivasis’; ‘Land to the Tiller’; ‘All Power to the Kisan Organisation’. Having put an end to the exploitation their living standards began to improve; and the Naxalites also brought basic education and health care to the tribals. The government and landed interests sought to crush this new awakening many a time through mass repression but the tribals, led by the Maoists, successfully beat them back. Of course, many in the process heroically laid down their lives, including some top leaders. But the movement grew in depth and width spreading to newer and newer areas.

 

By the 1990s the exploiters had been chased away, the power was in the hands of the Kisan organisations and they asserted their new power through building up their agriculture, small irrigation projects and other developmental works and adjudicating justice through the people’s courts. All this development was done throughshramdan. By 2000 the tribals began building the rudimentary forms of their new people’s government in the form of the Revolutionary People’s Committees.

 

Then came the era of globalization and the post 9/11 scenario, a even more vicious offensive of imperialism on backward countries of the world. Our slavish rulers, no matter which party was in power, capitulated totally, implementing fully their policies of loot of our country. The new UPA government outdid the NDA and within just one year signed over Rs.3 lakh crores of MoUs to the international and comprador mining mafia. A month before the Salwa Judum was launched, in May 2005, the BJP Chief Minister of Chhathisgarh went on a trip to the USA and signed many a secret agreement, including one with the US power company, Texas Power Cooperation. In the very month the Salwa Judum was started, June 2005, a MoU was signed with the Tatas for iron ore mining in Dantewada (the focal point of the initial attack). Then in February and May 2006 the Mumbai-based US consulate made two trips to Chhathisgarh and even visited the Jungle Warfare military camp at Kanker. The Chhathisgarh government have signed MoUs worth Rs.60,000 crores with the mining mafia.

 

Bastar is extremely rich in mineral and forest wealth, including high grade iron ore, limestone, dolomite, diamonds, bauxite and a host of precious forest produce, besides the normal wood and tendu leaf. The imperialists and compradors have their eyes on this huge wealth and they know that this loot is impossible without crushing the Naxalites in the area. And this is the prime reason for the present vicious attack in the name of Salwa Judum. Its ruthlessness and brutality can be measured by the potential profit from this area.

 

Destruction of Adivasis Culture and Habitat

The Adivasis of Bastar have a deep relation with their habitat — the land, forests, rivers — in which they have existed for centuries. They have seen what ‘development’ the Bailladilla iron ore mine has brought them, where top grade iron ore is fully looted by the Japanese imperialists. Not one tribal was given a proper job; they work for rapacious contractors for 12 hours per day for a pittance; their women have been forcibly use by contractors and traders and hundreds pushed to prostitution — in this mining town life is a living hell for the tribals while the ‘outsiders’ have reaped crores. They know this will be their ‘development’ when the others too move in. The new proposed plants being private could be even more horrifying. So they have uncompromisingly been opposing all such ‘development’ as in the Nagarnar Steel Plant and have stopped attempts to set up mines in Raoghar and other places. Seeing this effective resistance the moneybags have pushed into service their mercenary forces to physically liquidate the tribals and the revolutionary movement of which they are a part.

 

The level of state brutality, whether by the Naga forces, the CRPF or the Salwa Judum hoodlums, is unbelievable. Heads are chopped off and planted on posts in the village to terrorise the populace. Women are gang-raped and then their stomachs ripped open and foetus thrown out and crushed. Youth are brutally tortured and then killed. Many are chopped to pieces even while alive. Entire villages are being burnt down, all their belongings looted and even their crops destroyed. Thereby they are being forced into the roadside camps under direct vigil of the police/paramilitary and control of the Salwa Judum hoodlums. Here their entire tribal existence is sought to be destroyed as they are being forcibly removed from their natural habitat.

 

Now over 50,000 have been forced into these hell holes. Tribals are told that “either you live in these camps or we will consider you a Maoist and kill you”. They use the Bush formula “either you are with us (here Salwa Judum) or we consider you an enemy (here Maoist)”.

 

The purpose of such settlements are, first, to separate the population from the influence of the Maoists and thereby make their attack on the Maoists easier; second, to clear the forests forcibly and hand it over to the imperialists and compradors.

 

All the camps are located next to the para-military/police camps which have been set up every 5 kms in the name of carpet security. They are ‘guarded’ (terrorized) by the Salwa Judum goons now converted into SPOs (Special Police Officers) on a salary of Rs.1,500 per month. These SPOs are a law to themselves, and regularly beat, torture, and kill people and rape the women. The camps have no hygiene, no medical facility and the people no source of income. They have to work like slaves on any work given by the mercenary forces and at a payment they decide. The health conditions of the children, old and women in these camps are particularly bad. All young women are regularly used by both the Salwa Judum goons and the para-military. If anyone is suspected to show sympathy to the Maoists they are cruelly tortured and even killed. Their bodies are thrown into the Indravati river and no record is kept.

 

Salwa Judum is a Gondi term meaning “cooperative (joint) hunting”. Here the hunters are the state forces and the victims are the tribals. They are to be hunted down until they surrender to the moneybags and go back to their earlier slavish existence and serve the mining mafia docilely. Meanwhile a whole populace is sought to be destroyed and an entire culture uprooted by the so-called forces of civilization.

 

Appeal to the People of our Country

Inspite of this terror the people of Bastar and the Maoists have been putting up a heroic resistance. They have been fighting back to maintain the gains achieved over the past two-and-a-half decades. So far, inspite of the inhuman terror they have been able to successfully beat back the mercenary forces and expose the real character of the Salwa Judum. The people of Bastar are confident they will win, as justice is on their side.

 

Today it is the tribals of Bastar, tomorrow it will be the people of Orissa, Jharkhand, AP, West Bengal, etc. and elsewhere where huge projects are planned. In the past decade over one lakh peasants have been forced to suicide. This is the official figure the actual toll will be far worse. What is at stake is the very future of this country and its people being pushed to the brink by the present imperialist/US-sponsored model of development. Tomorrow it will be you. Except for the top elite no one can escape the ill effects of the imperialist sponsored rapacious polices in our country.

 

And while crores are being pushed to destitution a handful of urban elite are allowed to mint crores and crores of rupees. There are two Indias: one comprising 90% of the oppressed masses living in hell-holes; the other of the malls and multiplexes living a luxurious life as an adjunct of the imperialist project. The first is the realIndia; the second a foreign/imperialist enclave. All must choose where they belong.

 

Dear friends,

We Appeal to you to actively come out in support of the oppressed tribals of Bastar. We Appeal to you to strongly condemn the brutalities being perpetrated on these tribals in the name of Salwa Judum. We appeal to you to protest in whatever way possible against the genocide going on there. We appeal to you to help the tribals there in whatever way you can, whether it is through giving monetary support, medicine, clothing, or in any other small way. We Appeal to you to join the battle against the imperialist/US sponsored policies of development which is destroying our country and its people. We appeal to you to say a big NO to Salwa Judum type actions whether in Bastar or in any other part of the country.

July 2006.

Committee for the Assistance of Tribals Affected by Salwa Judum [CATAS]

 

 

Five leaders of CPI ML (Janashakti) arrested

Press Statement

 

Five leaders of CPI ML (Janashakti) arrested

 

We have received information that five leaders of CPI ML (Janashakti) including its all India General Secretary, Rajanna were arrested between Lucknow Bara Banki railway stations at 2.30 P.M. on 31st August 2006. The other four are A. Narasimha Reddy, a retired teacher from Andhra Pradesh, Narasimhaiah, Central Committee member, Ashok Kumar, UP and Ramu Pawar, Maharashtra – all belonging to the same party. All these CPI ML (Janashakti) comrades are senior leaders of the party.

 

Rajanna is the present all India General Secretary of CPI ML (Janashakti), who hails from Andhra Pradesh. Ramu Pawar belongs to Maharashtra and secretary of that state committee of CPI ML (Janashakti), while Narasimahaih is the Central Committee member of the same Party. A. Narasimha Reddy is a Government school teacher and the President of Andhra Pradesh Teachers Federation.

 

Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF) demands that they should be immediately either released unharmed or produced in a court of law. There is a threat to their lives as it is know that revolutionary and social activists whenever are detained illegally are many a time killed in the name of encounters.

 

We also appeal to the National Human Rights Commission to intervene and save the lives of these five leaders.

 

We appeal to all democratic rights, civil rights and human rights organizations to immediately intervene and pressurize the government to safeguard the lives of these revolutionaries and social activists.

 

 

 

RAJKISHORE

General Secretary

Post Box No. 11664

Pushpa Bhawan

New Delhi 62

rdfindia@gmail.com

COMRADE BUDHNI MUNDA, PRESIDENT OF NARI MUKTI SANGH ARRESTED BY THE SUNDERGARH AND ROURKELAPOLICE IN ORISSA.

RDF APPEAL

COMRADE BUDHNI MUNDA, PRESIDENT OF NARI MUKTI SANGH
ARRESTED BY THE SUNDERGARH AND ROURKELAPOLICE IN ORISSA.

 

Comrade Budhni Munda, President of Nari Mukti Sangh was arrested by the Sundergarh and Rourkela Police in Orissa along with two other activists, Sanjay alias Bijay Tudu, and Rajan Rahul Munda at Gati Jaran in Ladhi Matha Police Station limits on 7th September 2006 at 7 A.M. They were interrogated for 36 hours illegally in the CRPF camp at Lathikata before producing before a local magistrate.

 

Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF) severely indicts the illegal arrest of comrade Budhini Munda and others. Comrade Budhini Munda is also known as Sobha and Shila. It was learnt that she had been to Orissa as part of her organization’s work. She organizes Nari Mukti Sangh in four states including Orissa.

 

Nari Mukti Sangh is working legally and uses all open means of protest methods. Budhini Munda and two others who have been arrested along with her were remanded to police custody on the 8th evening in the name of further police investigations. We condemn this act of police taking her into their custody and further torturing her psychologically.

 

We demand that her police remand be cancelled and she should be sent to judicial remand. We demand her release on bail or by scraping all illegal cases booked on her.

 

The RDF calls for a 24 hours bandh in Orissa, Jharkhand, and Bihar on 14thOctober, 2006. We appeal to all sections of people in these three states to observe bandh (General Strike) voluntarily and make it a success. We also appeal to all democratic organizations to support the bandh call.

 

 

Rajkishore

General Secretary

 

Post Box No. 11664

Pushpa Bhawan

New Delhi-62

rdfindia@gmail.com

NANDIGRAM: THE ROAD TO SOVEREIGNTY OF INDIA

NANDIGRAM: THE ROAD TO SOVEREIGNTY OF INDIA

(Paper presented by RDF at the Kolkata Conference Against SEZs
and other Industrial Projects displacing people held on 2nd and 3rd of June, 2007)

 

Dearest Delegates of the Conference,

 

Introduction

This is not perhaps the first attempt by people’s organizations in this country to come together to forge a platform against the question of displacement. And when this effort is on we have in front of us the shocking and gripping accounts of violence and repression from the killing fields of Nandigram—perpetrated by the West Bengal police ably supported by the CPM cadre armed to the teeth. In Singur, one could see the photographs of the same CPM cadre moving in two-wheelers with a red flag and the life size portrait of Ratan Tata trying to ‘educate’ the people about the virtues of the TATAs as the harbinger of industrialization in post-47 India. What was more shocking for the opinionated middle class was the shattering of that myth of a pro-people face of the so-called left front people’s government in West Bengal.

 

But at this juncture arises the most fundamental question: Is displacement due to development or the development of displacement an inevitable thing like ones own shadow—a necessary evil that has to be lived with when one thinks about development? Or is there a possibility of a development which is free of any form of displacement; any form of violence on the people? Is this phenomenon of displacement due to development a new feature in the trajectory that India followed post-47? These are vital questions we cannot shy away from if we are serious in fighting the question of the four dreaded Ds—Displacement, Destruction, Destitution and Death. The Heart of India is for sale. The spectre of development of displacement is not a phenomenon restricted to West Bengal. The state of Orissa has become a virtual battleground with the giant steel company from South Korea, the Tatas and other big monopolies having investment plans which spell doom for the people of Orissa as the package is a veritable sell out of the valuable resources that makes Orissa one of the richest states in terms of mineral deposits. The neighbouring states of Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh have similar tales to say. The massive dam at Polavaram in Khammam district of Andhra Pradesh, which would displace more than 2,00,000 people—mostly tribals—is certainly the largest ever displacement due to a dam in the history of post-47 India. Besides there are massive projects of bauxite mining, Uranium Projects, Ring Road in Hyderabadand open cast mining which would wreak havoc to the ecological balance of the state. In Chhattisgarh, MoUs worth lakhs of crores of rupees have been signed with various monopolies, international and domestic, eager to

extract all the mineral wealth that the state is abound with. The situation in Jharkhand is no less different. All these states mentioned above are the sources for more than 60 percent of the mineral deposits in India. Besides these minerals are the rich sources of forest wealth. The local tribal people who are the forest dwellers have been asked to move out as they have become stumbling blocks to that hyperbole of excitement of the sensex curves in the stock exchanges of Bombay, Delhi, Calcutta etc. which, please don’t misunderstand are the essential determinants, the sure signs of growth, of India shining.

 

The Legacy of 1947

Friends, this is the bitter truth of the present phase of Liberalisation, Privatisation and Globalisation of the Indian economy, of the south Asian sub-continent. That today CPM has become the defender of local and foreign monopolies like TATAs and the Salim group fromIndonesia is not a coincidence. Not even a matter of surprise. It is the logical culmination of the trajectory of a development model that was inaugurated in Post-47 India which saw big dams, big industries, as the ‘Temples of Modern India’. From Bhakra to Hirakud and fromNarmada, Tehri to the Polavaram dam to be constructed in Andhra Pradesh the logic has been the same. It is again interesting to note that the Tatas who would never miss a chance to invest in educational

institutions, as part of their commitment to improve academic excellence had taken extra care not to start a college or any other educational institution when it started its steel township in Jamshadpur. And the technology that was brought for the core industry was mainly from the erstwhile Soviet Union doled out as its strategy of division of the world with US imperialism. There was never an effort to develop that technology and further fuse it with the specificities of the Indian economy.

 

In fact, in 1947, when Nehru went ahead with the Hirakud dam the main plea that he made to the protesting people was the need to sacrifice for the greater common good. And today when the West Bengal chief minister calls on the people of Singur and Nandigram with the promise of prosperity and development he is no different from his predecessor. It is significant that till date not even a single case of displacement due to ‘development’ was successfully addressed from the point of view of rehabilitation. Millions displaced by development since 1947 are still awaiting their rehabilitation speaks volumes about the anti-people nature of development that was being promoted ever since 1947 when the British left the sub-continent. Again, it is not the first time that the people have protested against displacement. Against they being displaced from their lives and livelihood.

 

Displacement is inevitable in the present model of development

The present model of development that was ushered in after the British left the sub-continent in 1947 had little to do with the interests of the vast sections of the people. It was tempered by a strategy that perpetuated dependence on imperialist capital and technology. It is this dependence that left its mirror image in the ‘democratic planning’ of Nehru promoted as the Five Year Plans. This particular model of development left the sub-continent market captive to the needs of imperialist capital and technology. And it is this process that has made displacement inevitable when the state undertakes any form of development activity. The apologists of the so-called Nehruvian model of development cannot any longer close their eyes to this hard reality.

 

Thus displacement was inevitable in a development0 path which was subservient to the needs of imperialist technology and capital the sole motive of which was the insatiable search of captive markets and profits. In this arrangement, displacement was the only way one could bring in a capital intensive technology that would engulf the local technology and its market; big capital that would eat away the entrepreneurial possibilities of small savings or enterprises. This development induced through capital penetration from outside—mainly foreign capital or domestic comprador capital—will strengthen the edifice of those structures in the economy which would facilitate the process of surplus extraction through such grand projects as green revolution, PL-480, white revolution, garibi hatao, five year plans, all forms of yojanas for employment generation and infrastructure development, health campaigns. All these are geared towards addressing fundamentally the need of the economy to maintain its exploitative dominating structures, hierarchies while at the same doing out crumbs to the poor and the needy.

 

It is the same development path which would build a Hirakud dam with Japanese technology near Sambhalpur Orissa and when the dam develops a crack will not seek expert opinion from the engineering college that is just 4 km. away but would again run for ‘experts’ fromJapan. It is thus an economy driven by experts, using the same lingua franca alien to the common people and their livelihood. It is the same mentality of the expert who would weigh the stakes of different sections in the economy vis-à-vis their purchasing power, their stakes in the stock market. For these experts, the agrarian crisis that has gripped the economy, the rising spectre of rural impoverishment is hardly a matter of concern as the purchasing power of an IT professional is equivalent to 100 peasants put together. And so peasants really don’t matter. It has led to the destitution of people and destruction of our natural resources. This model of development has been responsible for displacement of crores of people from their land and other sources of livelihood. The aggressive process of globalization and the present policies of the various governments as part of what they say ‘second phase of reforms’ is nothing but a much more ruthless way of furthering the displacement of people.

 

Any development that perpetuates inequality will bring displacement

What do we mean by displacement? Does it only comprise of the people displaced due to the construction of dams? Of Super highways? Of mining? Of big industries? We have to move beyond the conventional way of looking at displacement. Then only can we find the root cause of the reasons of an economy that promotes displacement as the fundamental principle of its reproduction; its perpetuation; its survival strategy i.e. to benefit a few at the cost of many. In that sense the fundamental necessity of a development that engenders displacement is the common running thread when one talks about Special Economic Zones, dams, mining, super highways, urban beautification, retail marketing by monopolies and so on. Here we have to grasp the point that all these forms of displacement are intertwined so as to reinforce each other in realizing the fundamental axiom of imperialist globalization—that of value and profit maximization. The strategy is to retain all regressive structures within the sub-continent economy that would facilitate and perpetuate this process while weeding out all possibilities within the economy that can generate a dynamic of resistance primarily in the form of development while not ruling out other forms of resistance.

 

In other words, we have to locate the prime motivating factor of displacement in the matrix of the production relations and productive forces that is the fulcrum of any economy. India is primarily an agrarian economy with vast sections of her people dependent on agriculture. It is the surplus generated in the agrarian sector that is being extracted to run the economy including the so called industrial sector. This has created an economy with huge disparities; wealth getting concentrated at the urban centres and massive impoverisation of the rural sector. This in itself is displacement with a whole lot of people unable to utilize their productive capabilities held as captives under the confines of a skewed market in the rural sector. Thus this development model creates disparities between the urban and rural, between agriculture and industries, big industries and small industries, big capital and small capital, big labour and small labour and finally mental and manual labour. As have been mentioned before there will pockets of ‘growth centres’ while the rest of the regions suffer from lack of opportunities and impoverishment. Men, women, young and old, none are left out of the ambit of this development menace.

 

Such a development path despite all its pretensions of being democratic, socialist or what not cannot but hide itself from being complicit to the horrors of displacement and dispossession. The imperialist capital that enters the economy of the sub-continent is not in search of creating jobs, prosperity, livelihoods for the vast sections of the masses. Its need is to expand relentlessly. To expand and expand is the rule of the game. The moment it ceases to expand it ceases to be capitalism and imperialism in the present context. Its need is to maximize the profits. Without this, the purpose of imperialist globalization or imperialism and the structures that reproduce it at the local level is meaningless.

 

Today this development model has reached a flash point from where the only way out for it is through a violent restructure of the existing economy in favour of a much more brutal exploitation of the people and the resources. This crisis to restructure—for profit and value maximization— within the existing semi-feudal and semi-colonial mode of production, the only way of survival and reproduction of this mode of production can be ensured through the violent maximization of value and profit for the imperialist capital and their local agents.

 

Integrated Struggle against Displacement of all Kinds is the Need of the Hour

The enormity of the crisis that is gripping the ruling classes is getting manifested in various forms. The initial inference is the readiness of the state and its various arms to break the law of the land. The manner in which the repressive machinery of the state is being mobilised to brow beat the people into submission by violating constitutional guarantees and other norms and procedures of a democratic polity speak volumes about the need of the ruling class to some how go ahead with these policies. At the same time the state is also enacting new laws to clamp down all forms of dissent. The state is tying to divide the people fighting against various forms of displacement.

 

The struggles against various kinds of displacement should be integrated taking into consideration the underlying commonality of the issue that is confronting the various sections fighting against displacement. This can only ensure a mighty stream of struggle that can ensure an alternative not only as empty slogan but also as a reality. The people in their local areas have been building valiant struggles all over India against various projects displacing millions of people from their local habitats. These projects have been either under way or are in pipeline through MoUs signed by the Union Government or state governments. The variety of projects that have been planned

to massively uproot the people include Special Economic Zones, mega projects, super highways and other infrastructure schemes, big dams, urban renewal and beautification, corporate agriculture, national parks and sanctuaries, etc.

 

These struggles waged at the local areas of displacement which erupt at different spells of time are being crushed by the governments using the police and paramilitary forces along with local goons, ruling party henchmen, and the good old divide and rule tactics of the firm involved in the project. A network of people’s struggles at all India level, or let us say the sub-continent level, is the need of the hour so that these diverse grass-root movements are expanded by collectively

facing the onslaught of state repression.

 

A separate front of people’s movements solely against SEZs will divide the anti-displacement movement, which has to be knitted across the country. SEZs are part of the large plan of the imperialist forces and the Indian ruling classes to take ahead the so-called second phase reforms as part of the Globalization process. It is the unmitigated and unprecedented loot of all our natural resources on a massive scale.

 

Hence our efforts to build an all India front of hundreds of peoples movements that have been fighting against SEZs, or big dams or superhighways or large scale mining or urban displacement should be brought together under a single umbrella, without which it is easier for the ruling governments to suppress these movements. At the same time, we should at this juncture focus our attention on building a people’s resistance movement against SEZs. But this movement should also target the entire agenda of imperialist globalisation and its ideology. The resistance should be planned in such a way that we challenge the present model of development and in the process simultaneously we should be able place an alternative model of development.

 

A formidable resistance is possible across the country if all the genuine resistance movements against displacement can be brought together without any narrow-minded short term benefits for any individuals or organizations involved in this process. The broadest and lofty goal of this process should be to build boundless resistance and solidarity among the fighting forces as it is clear for all of us that the Indian rulers and their imperialist masters 00000are determined to use the highest repressive mechanism to suppress the movements against land acquisition and implementation of their projects.

 

We, the genuine fighting forces, should not divide among ourselves into separate fronts. There is not much time left for us. There should be only a single front of people’s organisations against all kinds of displacement whether it is through SEZs or Urban beautification or mining or big dams and hydel projects or national parks and super high ways. A separate front against SEZs and industrial projects would necessitate different fronts on other kinds of displacement. Since the nature of displacement and the larger issues related to it are the same here a united front of people’s forces against all kinds of displacement would inspire everyone to make a formidable resistance movement.

 

An all India level united resistance struggle should be initiated by bringing together all struggles against all kinds of displacement, though we can gather the largest support possible by focusing on SEZs at the beginning. The integrated movement against displacement of people from their natural habitats due to the large scale intrusion of the Industrial monopolies of the imperialist countries should have certain clear demands before the people of the country. Some of the points of immediate interest are:

 

1. The Special Economic Zones regime should be done away with by repealing the SEZs Act, 2005. Wherever land is acquired should be returned back to the farmers with adequate

compensation for the period of time the land is held away from the farmers.

 

2. The Land Acquisition Act, 1894 should be repealed. The concept of ‘eminent domain’, which gives unlimited power to the rulers to exercise control over people and their resources should end.

 

3. No big dams should be built. The river-interlinking project should not be taken up. Only small scale irrigation projects which do not displace the people and impact the environment adversely should be built after proper consultation with the people.

 

4. No mining projects should be opened without proper evaluation of the use of minerals underneath for the use of people in the country. Mining of minerals should not be given to

any monopoly company–foreign or domestic. Large scale mining which displaces local people and degrades environment should not be taken up.

 

5. The displacement of people in the urban areas in the name of beautification and restructuring the cities and towns should be immediately stopped.

 

 

NGOs and the diffusion of People’s Movements

Any development or any aspiration of the people to build a different world–a new world–a world free of exploitation and inequalities, off the beaten track of ‘development’ followed by this semifeudal, semi-colonial state subservient to the needs of imperialism is met with violent response from the state. For an alternate model of development, an alternate model of values, ethics and morality implies total negation of legitimacy of the existing state apparatus, its rule of law which is but a justification of its necessity to exploit, dominate, breeds inequality, unevenness–islands of prosperity and oceans of misery, destitution and devastation.

 

It is in this juncture that the need for a militant, uncompromising resistance becomes inevitable. And it is precisely this aspect that is missing in the orientation of NGOs and hence the politics of NGO-isation. What at best NGOs does is, to put it crudely, build a consensus towards the legitimacy or primacy of the existing state and its legal etiquette. In other words it builds a consensus towards the existing model of development.

 

In a scenario where it is difficult for the state to tap the rich surplus abounding the rural economy due to skewed markets and production relations NGOs become handy tools to reach out to the rural population. This process is facilitated through projects of ‘capacity building’, ‘self help groups’, ‘empowerment’ of various kinds which become easy ways to tap the surplus generation in the rural markets. Thus NGOs instead of breaking the fetters that are holding back the productive capabilities of the rural masses will instead strengthen it by maintaining the hierarchy of the society which is the basis for exploitation and domination. The recent relief works in the tsunami effected areas of Tamilnadu or the earthquake effected areas ofGujarat are striking examples.

 

One need to study deeply into the various ‘development’ initiatives undertaken by NGOs in the North East, Jammu & Kashmir as well as the various tribal belts in Central India. Any attempt at a united struggle should also take a serious note of the penetration of imperialist agencies in different forms directly or indirectly in the name of ‘capacity building’, ‘conflict resolution’, ‘institution building’ or ‘facilitating good governance’ ‘participatory democracy’ which are quite often facilitated through Non Governmental Organisations heavily funded by imperialist agencies. NGO-isation of the people’s movements is a common phenomenon in all parts of our country today. We should take extreme care in checking this phenomenon. Otherwise the entire effort of bringing together various grass-roots movements will become counter productive. The pacifist world outlook of the agencies under the guise of people’s organisations could smash a movement like Nandigram in no time.

 

For the NGO’s, the militant movements like Kalinganagar, Singur, andigram or Polavaram are the fields for study and projects for earning enormous amounts of money or shaping fighting forces into fine-tuned elite activists who are made to turn away from their own people and their struggles. The movements are diffused by co-opting sections of the youth from the same displaced people as agents of imperialists through projects of ‘capacity building’ with the so-called modern institutions of ‘good governance’.

 

Displacement and Rehabilitation Policies

The uncompromising principle of our fight should have at its centre the slogan of ‘a big NO to displacement’. Similarly, a big NO to rehabilitation packages, however progressive it may sound. No compensation whatever the magnitude it maybe should be acceptable for all of us. The total rejection of displacement-and-rehabilitation frame should be the central motto of such resistance movement.

 

However, we should demand for the just and proper rehabilitation of all those millions of families and people who have been displaced since 1947 as a result of mining, mega-projects, dams, industries, etc. Displacement as a concept should be removed from the notion of development.

 

Displacement is an exclusivist principle which is central to the present model of development. Any policy of rehabilitation is used only to divide the people who oppose the imposition of sacrifice on them for the benefit of others who benefit from the projects. For example, after 1947, there has been no project or dam where at least a sizeable population is rehabilitated. Rehabilitation is an impossible scheme, no matter whatever the progressive nature of the rehabilitation package/policy is, in this model of development. We must understand that rehabilitation means throwing some crumbs of leftovers. We should also realise that no just rehabilitation can ever be made possible.

 

Alternative Model of Development

An alternative model of development can be built only by smashing the present model of development which is inspired by the colonial world order and in turn serves it. An alternative model of development is a people-centred model based on a self-reliant economy which is free from all kinds of imperialist influences and pressures. It must smash the feudal structures that are still in vogue in our country and it should rise from its death knell. This model basically addresses the well-being of the people and serves their interests. A people-oriented model of development allows the natural resources of the country to be used in a limited way for the needs of the masses of people, not for surplus generation for the capitalists and imperialists or for extravagant business of a handful of elite class or for creating a consumerist market.

 

An alternative model of development could be built as part of the resistant movement of the people to the present exploitative model of imperialist development. The resistance struggle of the people against the present model of development cannot be seen in isolation from what the people’s struggle should build in the course of it.

 

The SEZ policy has to be totally reversed. In the place of the present exploitative regime, indigenous industry that generates employment and displaces none from their natural habitats should be developed. Not only protecting labour rights should be the policy while building the indigenous industry be pursued, but the industry should be run and managed by the workers themselves. This kind of an alternative model of development is possible only when we start from below by depending and developing agriculture sector through distributing land to the landless peasants. The agro-based industry which serves the purpose of absorbing the agrarian produce and surplus labour from the rural sector should be developed. This model should develop with an

aim to drive towards ‘community ownership and individual right to use land and industry’. Land should not be allowed to concentrate in the hands of a few nor should it be allocated to build large and mega industrial complexes. The infrastructure projects should in fact concentrate on building people’s health care and education systems instead of building super high ways or mega malls.

 

Protection of environment, developing regeneration methods of natural resources should be integral part of this alternative developmental model. Industry and business that aims at super profits could never address this question. It’s only by smashing the concept of surplus generation in the hands of a few people that one can build towards environmental regeneration. People take the decision-making power into their hands in this developmental model. Reproduction of everlasting methods of equitable distribution of resources and produces should be ensured.

 

We cannot fight effectively against the present model of development without also simultaneously projecting an alternative model of development which should gradually take concrete shape in the hands of the struggling people. This in turn is possible only by the people’s organizations with vast experience of working among the peoples’ resistance movements to come up with a model to be placed before the people. As part of the united resistance movement on a short term basis, people’s sectors of production should be built like the soviets in the revolutionary Russia. The gains of the resistance movements should be turned into at least partial successes by consolidating into people’s sectors. However, one should be extremely careful not to fall into the reformist mould and these small projects of alternative models of development should be protected as part of continuation of the resistance movement further till imperialists and their local agents are removed from power.

 

Towards a United Struggle

We should all work together to build a resistance movement to put an end to the present developmental model, the sole purpose of which has been opening up of our natural resources to the imperialist monopolies and exploitation of our labour resources at cheapest possible rates and opening up of our market for the MNCs goods. We should hold this developmental model for the perpetuation of inequalities of unprecedented proportions in our society.

 

 

Dear Friends,

Nandigram has become an icon. It is a dynamic icon, a living symbol, of the struggling masses of India. It is like Naxalbari. Like Naxalbari sprouted everywhere in India. Like Naxalbari which challenged the mighty Indian dalal state in the world. It challenges the so-called left rule in West Bengal. It tore apart the pretensions of the so-called socialist, secular democracy, the largest democracy in the world.

 

And it challenges the Indian Parliamentary democracy. It may not carry all the ideological overtones of Naxalbari with it. It may not have reverberated with all that Naxalbari stood for. Nevertheless Nandigram promises all that Naxalbari gave us. Nandigram has evolved as the model of peoples’ resistance against displacement of people across the country today from their local habitats whether it is through SEZs, big mining projects, big dams, big industrial complexes and urban displacement in vast proportions.

 

Let us take Nandigram to our hearts.

And our deeds. Because it is anti-imperialist; anti-feudal. Because it tells us to sacrifice our lives and our comforts and professions and makes us realize it is the stepping stone to fight for all freedoms of life.

 

G N Saibaba
Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF)
Email: rdfindia@gmail.com
Phone: 09910455993