Monthly Archives: February 2013

RDF: “OBSERVE ALL INDIA WORKER’S STRIKE ON 20 AND 21 FEB. 2013!” Revolutio

RDF: “OBSERVE ALL INDIA WORKER’S STRIKE ON 20 AND 21 FEB. 2013!”

Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF) extends its solidarity with the workers who are going on a two-day All India general strike on 20 and 21 February. While all the major trade union centres affiliated to various ruling class parties of the country have come together for giving a call for this strike due to the pressure from the working masses, the revolutionary and militant trade unions and workers’ organisations too have given a strike call for these two days. This strike is an opportunity for the workers across different sectors of the economy and regions to come together to highlight the burning problems of their common concern, which require urgent redressal. All the progressive, democratic and pro-people organisations and individuals of the country as well as the peasantry, the students, teachers, intellectuals, government and private employees, need to stand in solidarity with the striking workers in the struggle for achieving their just and genuine demands.

The strike call comes at a time when the imperialist world economy is going through its worst crisis after the Great Depression of the 1930s. The inherent contradiction of the capitalist economy between socialised production and privatised profit came into full force, leading to large-scale overproduction, unprecedented destruction of productive forces, high levels of unemployment, runaway inflation and mass impoverishment. The collapse of the imperialist economy was averted when monopoly finance capital resorted to Fascism in Europe and through massive militarisation and spending in the World War II, which was the direct result of the crisis in capitalism. During this period, achievements which the international working-class movement had won in the form of labour rights through decades of life and death struggles were virtually wiped out. In the post-war period, a resurgence of struggles by the working masses and the spectre of communism and national liberation movements forced the governments in imperialist, bourgeois and semi-colonial countries to recognise the rights of the workers under the garb of ‘welfare economics’.

The so-called Nehruvian Socialism adopted by the feudal and comprador ruling classes of India was nothing but an attempt to conceal their continued subservience to imperialism with a new mask. After transfer of power and declaration of sham independence in 1947, the Indian state merely carried forward the approach of the British colonial rulers towards to the workers – to nominally recognise some of their rights in response to militant working class movements – but in reality facilitating the unbridled exploitation of the labourers by domestic and foreign big capitalists. The comprador bourgeoisie and foreign capitalists preserve the prevailing semi-feudal and semi-colonial social relations for exploitation of cheap labour and plunder of natural resources of the country. They maintain wages at a below-subsistence level, depriving the working masses of even the basic necessities, keeping them dependent on agriculture and other land-related activities for survival, tying them in feudal bondage and perpetual debt trap, subjecting them to extra-economic coercion, and so on. Since the implementation of labour laws cut into their profits, the employers flout these laws with impunity in connivance with the state machinery. It is not surprising, therefore, that the dignity, social respect, political and legal rights, social security and political power – i.e., overall status and condition the workers experienced as individuals or as a class in the erstwhile socialist countries such as the USSR and China – are in sharp contrast to that of the workers of India. In the absence of even a bourgeois democratic transformation due to the colonial stranglehold followed by the persistence of a semi-feudal semi-colonial economy, the condition of the industrial workers in the country remains far worse than their counterparts of the capitalist countries as well.

Whether in urban or in rural areas, the predominance of pre-capitalist production relations has resulted in a vast mass of unorganised workers. Their occupation continues to be determined more by caste, religion or region, etc., and less by free choice. These fissures are cleverly used and manipulated by the employers to undermine working class consciousness or action even by the politically advanced 5 crore industrial workers – in itself a staggering number. In spite of such adverse factors, the industrial working class of India have fought heroic struggles including historic strikes for the betterment of their lives and for the country’s independence from colonial rule. But since the leadership of the working class movement in India has traditionally remained with the ruling classes (that includes the revisionist ‘Left’ parties such as CPI and CPM), the working people have often failed to protect their class interests against the relentless assault of the employers and the government. Nor could they play the role of the revolutionary vanguard in the class struggle by countering the Congress and the capitulationist line of the undivided Communist Party before and after the transfer of power. It was only in the Naxalbari Uprising and the subsequent formation of the CPI (ML) in the 1960s, that the workers of India finally found its correct ideological-political orientation and organizational form. However, even before the message of Naxalbari could reach the vast masses of workers in the whole country and they could reorganise themselves on the ideological foundation of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, the movement was brutally crushed.

Nevertheless, it was primarily the workers along with the poor peasants who have carried forward the revolutionary movement in India from then on, protecting it for the last four decades from the twin dangers of the ruling classes and the revisionists.

A backward and regressive mode of production have ensured that the industrial sector in India remain marginal in the overall economy. In terms of its share in employment and GDP, the industrial sector has lagged behind agriculture and even the ‘service’ sector. Similar to the imperialist-dictated schemes like the Green Revolution in agriculture, efforts by the Indian state to boost up industrial production through PSUs have mostly ended in failure. In the global context of collapse of Soviet social imperialism and the ascendance of the US as the strongest imperialist power, the Indian ruling classes in the 1990s threw away even the fig-leaf of the ‘welfare’ state and opened the floodgates of Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization. World Bank employees, IMF consultants and other comprador agents are being installed by the imperialist powers in key government posts like the Prime Minister, Finance Minister, Planning Commission members, Chief Economic Advisor etc. to implement their policies. Contractualisation of work, outsourcing, sweatshops, SEZs, sale of PSUs, ‘Disinvestment’, unrestrained inflow and outflow of Foreign Institutional Investment (FII) and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in nearly all sectors of the economy, deregulation of the currency and fuel prices, withdrawal of subsidies and social security measures, etc. have followed in its wake. With the Indian economy swaying with the ebbs and tides of the worldwide economic upheavals, the rulers of the country seem totally incapable of controlling the spiralling inflation, skyrocketing price rice, or the growing unemployment and destitution of the people. Indeed, the Indian ruling classes have become the much-despised instruments of imperialist forces in extracting the labour and resources of the toiling masses of the country.

The close integration of the Indian economy with the imperialist global economy has darkened the menacing shadow of moribund finance capital, contributing not only to a brewing agrarian crisis but also a stagnant industrial sector, with serious implications for the country’s workers and peasants as well as the small and middle bourgeoisie. The global economic crisis which has paralysed the major imperialist countries has started to have a telling impact on the overall Indian economy – irrespective of the contrary claims made by the rulers – and the ‘10% growth story’ has already started to turn sour. Manufacturing has been badly hit by falling demands, and compared to the 6.9% growth shown by the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) in April-June 2011, the IIP for the same period in 2012 decelerated to -0.1% and is still hovering around the 1% mark. Hit by such a severe crisis, industries have lost much of their capacities to generate employment, and are resorting to drastic cost-cutting measures like retrenchment, hire-and-fire labour policy, artificial depression of real wages, denial of legally stipulated social security benefits like ESI-PF, bonus, pension, healthcare, prolonging of working hours, and so on.

Worsening working conditions and adverse terms of work have led to a series of militant workers’ struggles all across the country in the recent times. In the Auto industry alone, there have been a number of struggles – Maruti Suzuki, Manesar (2011), Allied Nippon, Sahibabad (2010), Mahindra, Nasik (2009), Hyndai, Chennai (2011-12), Pricol, Coimbatore (2009), Bosch Chasis, Pune (2009), Honda Motorcycles, Gurgaon (2009), Volvo, Hoskote (2010), MRF Tyres, Chennai (2010, 2011) General Motors, Halol (2011), Graziano, Noida (2008), and so on. In many instances, workers destroyed machinery, burnt down plants and even killed managers in expression of their discontentment and rage. Such militant protests are often preceded by denial of longstanding demands of the workers, their intimidation, humiliation, ill treatment and violent repression by the management, inaction of the authorities and collusion with the management, etc. Predictably, the state comes down heavily on the workers to crush their ‘indiscipline’ and ‘unrest’. The role of the trade unions affiliated to the ruling class parties and the renegade ‘communist’ parties like CPI and CPM is often of the middleman who tries to placate the management and the state by reigning in worker’s militant movements. It is not surprising that in most of the cases, militant protest actions have been led by independent workers’ unions which have refused to comply with the diktats of the central trade unions.

The anti-people and anti-worker policies pursued by the Indian state in the last two decades have led to an overall decline in the standard of living, forcing the toiling masses of the country into a situation of acute impoverishment, malnutrition and destitution which is worse than sub-Saharan countries. Economic disparity has touched new heights, with 77% of the population surviving on less than 20 rupees a day. The propertied classes and the government in the country are increasingly resorting to fascist methods to tackle this explosive situation. Not only the basic political and democratic rights, but the statutory legal rights of the working masses too have been denied or subverted. The right to strike as a legitimate weapon of struggle has itself come under unprecedented attack. For instance, the West Bengal government led by Mamata Banerjee brought out circulars in 2012 banning state government employees from calling or participating in strikes. The strike of the workers at Blue Star Company at Wada in Thane district which began on 7 February 2013 for higher wages has been declared illegal. The Karnataka government even threatened striking doctors and health workers last month of booking under the National Security Act after terming their strike as illegal. In the more than 1000 Special Economic Zones (SEZs) approved by the government – which are being touted as ‘engines of rapid industrial growth’ – the right of the workers to organise themselves in trade unions or to call strikes are completely done away with. Other forms of collective struggle by the workers too are being undermined. It is this worsening condition of the working people of the country – particularly the industrial workers – and their demand for a fight back against the anti-worker policies of the government that have forced the central trade unions to come together and give a call for a two-day all India strike on 20 and 21 February 2013.

Let’s identify our enemies and friends. All the demands cited by the trade unions for calling the two day strike are genuinely connected to the problems faced by the workers in the country today. However, it is ironic that these very trade unions are directly related to the ruling class political parties in power – be it the Congress, BJP, CPM, and so on. These parties are directly responsible for implementing a series of anti-worker policies in the last two decades. The strike for them is mere tokenism and a calculated move to befool the workers in the name of struggle. As it is necessary to fight the ruling classes and their policies, it is equally pertinent to expose and smash the machinations of the reactionary and revisionist trade unions. A strike is a weapon in the hands of the working people. Trade unions controlled by the ruling class parties should not be allowed to misuse or blunt this weapon. As the world economic crisis deepens and the imperialist powers push us once again to the brink of war and fascism, the ruling classes in India are going to step up their assault on the workers, peasants, religious and national minorities, Dalits, Adivasis and the other oppressed peoples of the country. Only a high-tide of revolutionary and democratic struggles by the popular masses will be able to counter this impending onslaught. RDF appeals to the workers and their militant unions to seize the initiative, intensify the struggle for immediate economic demands and compliment with the political struggle for a revolutionary social transformation by smashing the two shackles binding the people of India – feudalism and imperialism. A successful two-day strike on 20 and 21 February 2013 with the aim of raising the wages as per the basic needs of the workers, full implementation of labour laws, against contractualisation and other related demands will be a step in this direction.

Death to the System which has hanged Afzal Guru in a dastardly manner!

REVOLUTIONARY DEMOCRATIC FRONT (RDF)

Contact: revolutionarydemocracy@gmail.com, rdf-india.org

Death to the System which has hanged Afzal Guru in a dastardly manner!

Let life be dead, but death must not be allowed to live” – Marx

 

Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF) condemns the Indian government in the strongest possible terms for hanging Mohammad Afzal Guru at Tihar Jail this morning in a dastardly manner. The process of his arrest, trial, his sentencing by the lower court and the upholding of the death sentence by the Supreme Court, the rejection of his petition to the president, denial of his right to a judicial review of this rejection, and finally his secret hanging – all point towards the farcical nature of Indian judiciary and the complicity of the entire present political system in persecuting political dissidents. Moreover, we also condemn the arrest of Prof. SAR Geelani by the Delhi Police and the indefinite curfew imposed on the Kashmir Valley to muzzle the voices of protest against the judicial murder of Afzal Guru.

 

The staging of the ‘Parliament Attack’ on 13 December 2001 was the result of a conspiracy hatched by the Indian government, its armed forces, intelligence agencies and the Kashmir police under the directions of the then NDA home minister L K Advani. It is no surprise that the identity of the five attackers who were killed has never been revealed. In the worldwide political scenario following the attack on the WTC on 9 September 2001, the comprador Indian ruling classes desperately wanted to be a part of the US-led ‘War on Terror’. The attack on the Indian Parliament was orchestrated by the BJP government to prepare the grounds for persecution of the Muslim religious minorities in general and the national liberation movement of Kashmir in particular.

 

What followed globally after 9/11 and in India after 13 December 2001 has a similar pattern. As a part of the imperialist ‘War on Terror’ and Islamophobia, thousands of Muslims – both Indian and Kashmiri – were arbitrarily arrested, tortured, imprisoned and killed by the Indian state with complete disregard for the rule of law and justice. Under the garb of defending ‘national security’ and the unity and integrity of the nation’ in the aftermath of the attack on the parliament’, the Indian ruling classes strengthened its coercive apparatus and launched a vicious campaign against the Muslims, which continues to this day. Afzal’s hanging, like the hanging of Maqbool Bhat on 11 February 1984 in the same jail – are going to embolden the Hindutva fascist forces on the one hand, while stoking the fires of the liberation struggles waged by the masses in Kashmir and India on the other.

 

Like countless other Kashmiris, his has been a life faced with constant threats from Indian security forces stationed in Jammu and Kashmir. During the 1980s, many Kashmiri youth were retaliating against the military force of the Indian state that sought to impose itself against the aspirations of the Kashmiri people. Afzal also joined the armed resistance struggle and crossed over as a JKLF volunteer to get trained in Pakistan. But soon he got disillusioned with the internecine conflicts of various groups and decided to quit. He surrendered in front of the State Task Force (STF) in Kashmir. He started his new life with a shop, selling medicines and surgical instruments. But Afzal was approached by the corrupt STF to work as an informer, which he refused. From then on he was time-to-time picked up by the security forces and brutally tortured in the STF camps. He was often kept under illegal confinement. Tabassum, Afzal’s wife, had to sell her jewellery to pay the bribes to get him released.

 

It is in this atmosphere of constant threat and intimidation that Afzal was entrapped by the STF in 2001 and got him implicated in the Indian government’s conspiracy of the Parliament attack. He has clearly stated all this in his letter to Sushil Kumar, Senior Advocate in the Supreme Court. Afzal Guru was arrested and named an accused on the basis of concocted evidence. The only piece of ‘evidence’ the prosecution could produce against Afzal Guru was his phone number which was claimed to be found on a piece of paper the body of one of the persons who took part in the attack.

 

While in custody, Afzal was forced to admit that he was behind the Parliament attacks. He was also threatened of dire consequences for his family. On his arrest, Afzal was also subject to an unjust trial by media on 20 December 2001. Thus, he was already painted as a ‘terrorist’ even before the start of a trial. The entire atmosphere was vitiated and even the judiciary was prejudiced against Afzal, exposing the Hindu majoritarian character of the state and its judiciary.

 

Afzal was handed out an unfair trial all through the legal process, extending till his killing by the state in Tihar jail. Afzal was denied a lawyer of his choice in the lower court where the case against him was built up. In fact, none of the 80 prosecution witnesses were cross-examined on his behalf. Afzal had asked the designated POTA court for a lawyer and had even given a list of eight lawyers. However, the lower court judge was too prejudiced to heed to his requirement. Later, the amicus curiae who was appointed by the court was not a criminal lawyer who could handle cross-examination with the right expertise.

When the verdict of death penalty by the trial court was reviewed by the High Court, the court itself observed that Afzal has been pronounced death sentence on the basis of evidence fabricated by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police. The Supreme Court also cleared him of association with any banned organization. The courts had to admit that the evidence against Afzal is very weak and circumstantial. The judges also noted that the Delhi Police lied on oath, manufactured forged documents and used torture to extract false confessions from Afzal. There was no direct evidence against him, and the so-called evidence managed by the police did not prove his involvement beyond any reasonable doubt.

The conspiracy of the state to frame and implicate Muslims for the Parliament Attack was exposed when the Supreme Court was forced to acquit his two other co-accused, S A R Geelani and Navjot Sandhu, for lack of evidence. Yet, in a brazen mockery of justice, the highest court of the land refused to set aside the death penalty on Afzal by simply stating that “the collective conscience of the society will be satisfied if the capital punishment is awarded to the offender”!

Afzal Guru’s unfair persecution by the state and denial of justice did not end with the pronouncement of the death sentence. His petition to the President was cruelly kept pending for over eight years, with the shadow of death constantly hanging over him all the while. Indeed, his death penalty should have been converted to life imprisonment, and then he should have been set free since he had already served a jail term of twelve years. But this was not done, and instead, the gallows were readied for his execution.

When the President finally rejected his petition on 3 February 2013, this was not communicated to the outside world. His right to the judicial review of the President’s rejection of his petition – to which he is entitled as per the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court – was denied to him. Finally, today in the morning he was hanged in a highly secretive and conspiratorial manner at Tihar Jail even without informing his wife and family about his impending execution. Then, to crush all voices of protest, the Indian state moved to clamp curfew in Kashmir and also arrested Prof S A R Geelani who was strongly exposing the state’s conspiracy through the electronic media immediately after Afzal’s hanging was confirmed.

The execution of Afzal Guru must be protested by all the democratic and progressive forces of the country. Like the hanging of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Bhoomaiah & Kista Gowda and of Maqbool Bhat, the murder of Afzal Guru will inspire us to intensify the struggle for a complete overhaul of this unjust and exploitative system, and to bring about a new society.

Rajkishore

General Secretary, RDF

09717583539

 

 

 

Varavara Rao

President, RDF

09676541715

Joint Press Statement on the hanging of Afzal Guru

Joint Press Statement

 

We, the undersigned, wish to express our shock and outrage at the secretive, unethical and blatantly inhuman murder by hanging of Afzal Guru, by the Indian State. This action was undertaken despite evident doubt in establishing Afzal Guru’s guilt in the Parliament Attack case. In fact, the honourable High Court had clearly stated that the evidence against Afzal Guru had been fabricated, and the honourable Supreme Court had stated that death sentence would be awarded to Afzal Guru only to satisfy the collective conscience of the nation. Moreover, we are astounded by the extreme impropriety of the decision to swiftly bury Afzal Guru’s body in Tihar Jail, rather than returning it to his family for the due and final rites. This shameful secretive manner of hanging and burying political prisoners should be immediately seized.

 

And shockingly and outrageously, when various groups, organizations, and individuals had gathered at Jantar Mantar today to protest peacefully against the hanging, they were viciously and brutally assaulted by RSS and Shiv Sena cadres, as well as by the Delhi Police. Astoundingly, instead of arresting these cadres, the police arrested the protestors after attacking them. Simultaneously, Prof. SAR Geelani was picked up swiftly by the police and remains in custody on unknown charges. After his arrest, Geelani has not even been allowed to meet lawyers despite several requests from senior lawyers to meet him. We also understand that Iftikar Geelani, journalist, was also arrested. But due to heavy pressure from fellow journalists, he was finally released in the evening. Further, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and his family were harassed in their home in Malviya Nagar. We are also given to understand that similar violent police action has taken place against peaceful protests by cultural groups on the same issue in Hyderabad. These outrageous attempts to suppress democratic dissent constitute more in the growing number of instances of the blatant collusion of right-wing fundamentalist forces with the repressive organs of the state.

 

We condemn, strongly and unequivocally, both the unjust, shameful and unconscionable hanging of Afzal Guru as well as the unlawful detention of SAR Geelani and the harassment of his family. We also condemn in the same terms the unprovoked assault on peaceful protestors and their illegal arrest. We condemn the heavy deployment of police outside the Gandhi Peace Foundation during the event organized by the Forum Against War on People. We demand that the Indian state return Afzal Guru’s body to his family immediately. We also demand stringent punishment of the errant police officers involved in the fabrication of evidence against Afzal Guru. We also demand that any Presidential decision to reject a clemency petition should be followed by enough time to permit judicial review as per the due process of the law.

 

 

Individuals: B. D. Sharma, Sumit Chakravarty, Subrat Kumar Sahu, Shyamla Mustafa Muhammad, Nandita Narain, Karen Gabriel, PK Vijayan, Radha Kapuria, Hany Babu, Jenny Rowena, Pankhuri Dasgupta, Pratik Ali, Amartya Kanjilal, Dhruv Jain, Babita, Pawan Kumar Gupta, Kamlesh, Arbind Kumar, Santosh, Josna, Rohit Joshi, Vijendra, Saroj Giri, Srinivas Burra.

 

Organizations: Mazdoor Patrika; JNU Forum Against War on People; Campaign Against War on People, DU; Democratic Students’ Union (DSU); Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF); Naga Students’ Union, Delhi (NSUD); National Confederation of Human Rights Organizations (NCHRO); Campus Front of India (CFI); Nowroz; Krantikari Naujawan Sabha (KNS); Students Islamic Organization (SIO); All India Students Association (AISA); Pragitisheel Mahila Ekta Kendra; Inquilabi Mazdoor Kendra (IMK); Delhi General Mazdoor Front; Bharat Jan Andolan.