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Updates from CPI (ML) Red Star

CPI (ML) Red Star, March 2019


Appeal of CPI(ML) Red Star for 2019 Lok Sabha Elections

The great Naxalbari uprising, putting forward agrarian revolution with the slogan land to the tiller, and upholding national liberation and democratic revolution took place in 1967 in the course of fierce ideological struggle against the reformist and opportunist positions of CPI and later the CPI(M). It was followed by the formation of CPI(ML) in 1969. However, due to the left adventurist line it took due to wrong analysis of the Indian situation and fierce state repression, the movement had to face severe reverses in the beginning. It was through uncompromising struggle exposing the degeneration of CPI and CPI(M) to ruling class positions, and consistently taking positions against left adventurism that CPI(ML) Red Star could evolve as a struggling revolutionary organization over decades.

Meanwhile, Party’s efforts to apply Marxist-Leninist theory and practice according to concrete conditions have enabled it to have more clarity and understanding on the post-war neo-colonial international and Indian situation in the proper perspective. In continuation to numerous struggles and movements led by the Party in different parts of the country including great sacrifices inspiring the toiling and oppressed, the Bhangar people’s movement has become a breakthrough. It has opened immense possibilities for developing people’s movements at different levels according to the concrete situation.

CPI (ML) Red Star has been consistently fighting against neo-liberal policies since their very inception, even while the CPI (M) led Left Front has become adherents of neo-liberalism along with other ruling class parties. While resolutely fighting against the anti-people, pro-corporate, reactionary policies of successive Congress-led and BJP-led governments, the party took specific initiative for launching agrarian struggles with the land to the tiller slogan, while forming the Caste Annihilation Movement envisaging basic democratization of the Indian society. It has been in the forefront resisting Modi’s ultra-rightist economic polices like demonetization and GST. Together with all progressive-democratic forces and the oppressed, it is now campaigning against the Economic Reservation of Modi that has undermined the caste-based reservation in India.

The CPI (ML) is contesting the Lok Sabha elections fielding candidates in most of the states based on the Election Manifesto, which shall be published in the first week of March. It calls for building a People’s Alternative against all ruling class alternatives.

At a time when the corporate-saffron stranglehold in its diverse reactionary manifestations is intensifying day by day, building-up the people’s alternative based on this Manifesto uniting all genuine left, patriotic, democratic, secular, oppressed sections and forces assumes great significance.

The CPI (ML) appeals to the working class, the landless-poor peasants and agricultural workers, to all other toiling masses and the patriotic democratic secular forces to rally for building this People’s Alternative.

Defeat Corporate Saffron Fascist Forces!

Build up People’ Alternative based on Independent Left Assertion!

Modi's Sabre-Rattling After Pulwama Will Only Worsen the Situation

Prime Minister Modi says “Pulwama shows that the time for talks has passed”. Then it is the responsibility of all citizens to ask what he is going to do? Since he has asked the armed forces to retaliate, to what extent they are asked to go? In the present situation, maximum the armed forces can do is another surgical strike, like the one performed after Uri. Anything more, including asking the air forces to bomb strategic spots in Pakistan can lead to dangerous consequences. If any of the aircrafts is shot down and the crew is arrested by Pak forces, the conflict can widen. If the Line of Control is crossed by the armed forces on a major scale, it may escalate in to another war with the possibility for escalating as a nuclear conflict. Should we allow such a situation to develop?

When the all party meeting was held in which all participants gave full freedom to do whatever the Modi government wants to avenge Pulwama, Congress and all other parties acted most irresponsibly. Can a saffron fascist Modi be allowed to stop the path of dialogues and go for retaliations which may even escalate to a nuclear war?

As far as Modi is concerned, he is trying to utilize Pulwama for his election gains to overcome his alienation from the masses. It is clear that it was his sabre rattling against the people of Kashmir and wanton militarization of the problem that has led to extreme alienation of the Kashmiri masses. Pakistan is utilizing this alienation of the Kashmiri people for launching terrorist attacks to keep the question alive.

In this situation we should ask Modi to stop issuing irresponsible statements, and start dialogue with all sections of Kashmiri people. The dialogue should be extended to bilateral discussions with Pakistan also. The opposition has acted irresponsibly by not doing so. In this situation it is the task of all genuine left and democratic forces to campaign among the people for opposing Modi’s militarist statements and ask for starting dialogue with the people of Kashmir and Pakistan.



Budget As a Means of Purchasing Votes?

PJ James

Since its ascendancy to power in 2014 with just 31% of the polled votes in the context of disunity among the opposition parties, the corporate-saffron Modi regime has been systematically manipulating or undermining the parliamentary institutions, constitutional offices and all administrative bodies in conformity with its sinister Hindutva design. Of course, a party or conglomeration of parties that gobbles up less than one-third of polled votes capturing power itself is a manifestation of the fundamental weakness of the parliamentary-electoral system that India still pursues. And what Modi did during the last five years was making the parliament as a mere spectator and surpassing or distancing himself from it with regard to strategic policy decisions. In the meanwhile, the saffron fascists in consonance with their ultra-rightist orientation of entrusting economic power with corporate-market forces had already abolished the Planning Commission and made the entire budgetary process a mockery as most of the key economic questions and policy decisions are resolved outside the budget.

And coming to its last ‘budget’ presented on February 1, 2019, the Modi regime has once again displayed its total disregard of the so called parliamentary traditions and scruples. For, it has been an established practice since 1961 that every budget shall be preceded by an Economic Survey to be presented to parliament. This Economic Survey prepared on the basis of official statistics collected by the government’s own agencies particularly constituted for collection and analysis of data is indispensable for parliament and people to know about the real “state of the economy” and, above all, the budget shall be quoting such reliable ‘figures’ for properly estimating its revenue and expenditures. However, for the first time in Indian budget history, the Modi regime has violated this precedent of presenting the Economic Survey as a prelude to the budget. The reason is obvious. Such statistical information coming through the Economic Survey would have exposed the last five years’ of frightening economic disruption that has created by the Modi regime. In fact the BJP government has been trying its level best to deliver a series of doctored data by manipulating National Sample Survey and Central Statistical organisations and unable to withstand the pressures, several leading members of these agencies were compelled to resign from their posts. Obviously, this was the context that prompted the Modi regime to abandon the practice of presenting Economic Survey on the eve of the budget.

Another aspect is with regard to the content of the budget document itself. According to established parliamentary conventions, when the term of the incumbent government is coming to a close and the country is going for a general election, it is the usual practice on the part of the outgoing government to refrain from making any policy announcements. In that case, instead of a full-fledged one, the budget document shall be nothing more than an “annual financial statement” or “vote on account” or utmost an “interim budget”. It will be the immediate task of the newly elected government to convene the budget session of the parliament and present the full-fledged budget with policy announcements at the earliest. But true to its fascistic orientation of disrespecting and discrediting even bourgeois parliamentary institutions and norms, the Modi regime in the guise of an interim budget has overstepped its mandate (which is for presenting five full budgets only)) and manipulated the occasion for presenting the sixth full budget with a series of policy announcements including the outlining of a “vision statement” for the next ten years. In the process, Piyush Goyal who now acts as finance minister, in his rhetoric spanning 100 minutes utilized the opportunity to convert the budget presentation into an election speech based on manipulated data and bogus claims with a whole set of freebies, giveaways, tax concessions, money transfer schemes and other populist programs, each being addressed to specific vote-banks.

Before coming to an exposition of the bundle of promises in Goyal’s speech, the financial sources of which have not at all earmarked and hence its liability shall be on the coming government, it would be in order to have a glance at the poll promises upon which Modi sought votes in 2014. The most infamous of all was his commitment of bringing back Indian black money from foreign tax havens and putting Rs. 15 lakh in to the account of each Indian citizen. To this day not even a rupee has been deposited in this manner. On the other hand, black money and corruption have assumed a multi-dimensional growth under Modi. While Modi regime has suppressed domestic data on corruption and black money, international agencies have come up with their studies as to how India under Modi has become a “flourishing example of crony capitalism” and how it became the most corrupt country in Asia. Again according foreign studies, Modi regime has granted all opportunities to the leading Indian corporate giants to loot the public sector banks in the guise NPAs such that the first ten corporate looters led by Ambani, Adani, Essar and so on are responsible for more than 90 percent of the Rs. 15 lakh crore worth of NPAs created in India. Demonetisation itself was a cunning move that facilitated the most corrupt corporate-saffron black money holders to whiten their black money. According to latest available RBI report, while it had printed only Rs. 14.11 lakh crore demonetised notes, it really got back Rs. 15.28 lakh crore worth of them! On the other hand, Modi government’s affidavit submitted to Supreme Court had claimed that around Rs. 3-4 lakh crores of demonetised notes being black money would not be returned to RBI. Hence if the claims both RBI and Modi regime are taken in their face value, then around Rs. 5 lakh crore worth black money might have been whitened through demonetisation.

Another poll promise of Modi was regarding the creation of 2 crore jobs per annum. But under Modi what occurred has been a total disruption of the productive and employment-oriented sectors of the economy. Not only no new jobs were created, but according to the 2018 statistics, the country is actually losing more than 1 crore jobs per annum. Even the logo of the much trumpeted “Make in India” was designed abroad and the unhindered entry of foreign capital in to the economy and concomitant growth of crony capitalism has led to an unparalleled joblessness. Demonetisation that denied cash transactions that form the life-blood for the informal sectors where 93 percent of the workforce depends for sustenance was a mortal blow for the unemployed millions. Further GST that put the tax burden on the unorganised sectors also resulted in massive job loss. Modi has not taken any step to fill the 24 lakh vacant posts in the central government sector so far. Decreasing the price of petrol to Rs. 40 per litre, reversing the depreciation of rupee, ban on FDI in retail, etc. were similar election promises of Modi; but what happened was the opposite. It was under his 5 year-rule that the number of peasant suicides crossed all previous records. Thus goes the list, and by this time Modi has proved an expert in the art of making election stunts.

The upshot of the argument is that it will be difficult for Modi regime to fool the people again. All the populist announcements in the budget speech by Piyush Goyal solely aiming at appeasing vote banks are the last resort of a desperate Modi who is sure that there is little chance of his return to power. The only gamble for him is to hoodwink the people once again. Therefore, the budget, breaking all previous records in terms of populism, has attempted a “cash-for-votes” program to please a range of vote-banks, most important being farmers, unorganised workers and middle classes.

The most populist among them is a farmer distress relief program known as Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi covering 12 crore small and marginal farmers who own up to 5 acres of land. It is an insult to the peasants of this country that the Modi regime which was consistently ignoring them for the last five years has suddenly woken up and started shedding crocodile tears for their plight. As laid down in the budget, the farmer who comes under this scheme shall get an annual money transfer of Rs. 6000 (Rs. 500 per month). If implemented, for a peasant family of five, this would mean just Rs. 3.30 per day. Ironically, as a result of Modi’s ultra-rightist and pro-corporate policies, the wealth of just 9 billionaires with Ambani in the forefront is swelling at the rate of Rs. 2200 crore a day, and the total wealth of 119 Indian billionaires has crossed Rs. 28 lakh crore in 2018! While large sections of the peasantry are landless, those with meagre possessions are deprived of credit, and the prices of all agricultural inputs and outputs are determined by corporate speculators. Fund allocations for agriculture and rural development remain in paper only. With reduction in fund allocation to MGNREGA, the peasants displaced through agricultural corporatisation are migrating to urban slums in search of sustenance, and for them Rs. 3.30 per day is nothing but an eye-wash. Even non-BJP state governments like Telengana and Odisha have announced more attractive cash-transfer programs for farmers.

The pension scheme, namely, Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maandhan addressed to informal or unorganised workers envisaging social security for 10 crore among them is the second in the series of dole-outs. According to this scheme, an unorganised worker who carries on remitting Rs. 100 per month as premium shall get Rs. 3000 as pension if she/he is lucky enough to live beyond the age of 60. Today more than 93 percent (around 45 crores) of the Indian workforce is depending on the informal/unorganised sector which is totally outside the social security net including pension. During its five-year term, the Modi government has done nothing to deal with the pitiable situation of this largest section of Indian society. On the other hand, demonetisation and GST designed at the behest of corporate centres have devastated the unorganised altogether. How can a casual worker in India regularly remit Rs. 100 per month for 30 years or more until he/she reaches is itself a serious question. No analysis is needed on the part of well-meaning people to easily comprehend the cunningness behind this announcement targeted at informal workers.

The income tax rebate proposing a gain of Rs. 12500 for those whose annual income is up to Rs. 5 lakhs is definitely intended to gather urban middle class votes. However, so long as the tax slabs remain unchanged, this rebate is going to be enthusing only a minor section who has extra income to invest in tax-saving schemes of the government. Therefore, the extent to which this measure can pacify those middle class voters who have been hit hard by such assaults as demonetisation, fuel price rise and GST is uncertain.

In the same vein, several giveaways are showered on marginal and weaker sections without any financial backing. Allocations for SCs & STs, MGNREGA, national Education Mission, Integrated Child Development Scheme, Mission or Protection and Empowerment for Women, Ayushman Bharat, etc., the liability of implementation of which will be on the shoulders of the coming government are done in a high-sounding way, though the real value of such expenditures are coming down. But in a context in which the Modi regime has become infamous for hiding or withholding economic data, it will be difficult for the people to believe what the regime has proposed. And if we take the Consumer Confidence Survey released by RBI in September 2018 in to consideration, the electorate is totally dissatisfied with the Modi regime.

Coming to the resource mobilisation front on the other, no new efforts are there to tax the superrich and the billionaires who control the entire reins of the economy. While the number of billionaires and wealth accumulation by them are galloping, there is no move in the direction of reinstating the wealth tax which the BJP government had abolished in 2015, and no initiative is there to bring the spectacular speculative gains gobbled up by the top one percent of financial elite who controls 73 percent of the additional wealth created in India under the Modi regime. Consequently, direct tax collection as a proportion of total collection is steeply going down. Under the new GST regime, (GST-evasion by leading corporate businesses who control the market for goods and services is also resulting in loss in revenue collection through this route also) there has been a further shift of the tax burden to the shoulders of broad masses of toiling people. While the direct-indirect tax (burden of the latter is borne by common people) ratio in India is 35:65, the reverse is the case with other countries in general. According to conventional bourgeois economic theory, increasing wealth concentration is a favourable condition for taxing the rich more intensively and improving the tax-GDP ratio which for India, despite very unequal, is one of the lowest in the world. With the existing nominal corporation tax rate of 25 percent (the effective rate while taking the exemptions in to account will come to around 15-16 % only),the tax burden on the upper richest section is one of the lowest in the world, even much below that of the leading capitalist countries. Modi-bhakts and saffron intellectuals who become ecstatic about the dole-outs to the poor are conveniently silent over this grave inequity in the budget.

Thus, in view of the impending Lok Sabha elections, the Modi government which during the past five years has been ignoring or side-lining the vast majority of the poor voters and shamelessly serving the most corrupt corporate class, is suddenly bending back to appease the voters through several allurements throwing to winds the so called solemn principles of bourgeois budget. Needless to say that this attempt at winning election with a populist budget is an insult to the political consciousness of the people. Vast majority of the people are suffering from lack of food, shelter, livelihood, essential services such as drinking water, education, health facilities, and other basic amenities indispensable for a decent life. Modi’s last budget has treated all of them as if they are last-minute deliverables, while over the years he has been destroying the foundations of the economy by facilitating the corporate plunderers, both Indian and foreign, to loot the workers and country’s resources under the camouflage of “make in India”, “start-up India”, “skill India”, etc. While his doctored statistics claim about the biggest GDP growth rates for India, it is a fact of life that people are not experiencing it. As a manifestation, unemployment rate is the highest in 45 years, that is, since the 1970s and agriculture growth has become negative. Around 60 percent of the GDP growth that Modi claims comes from the money-spinning service or tertiary sector, even as agriculture (where almost 50 percent of the Indians still cling on for sustenance) and industry are displaying deterioration. And the money-spinning, speculative service sector, on the other hand, provides employment only to less than 10 percent of the population. Nothing substantial is done towards creation of gainful employment to the unemployed whose number is now reaching 20 crores — much larger than the total population of many European countries taken together. Modi has cleverly excluded the issue of unemployment and corruption from his election stunt this time.

No amount of populism can resolve the basic malady confronting the economy which require a fundamental restructuring of the whole socio-economic structure. Modi regime or a different government led by another ruling class combine cannot resolve this question. The only alternative is a sustainable development paradigm led by the politically organised people capable of demolishing neoliberal-corporatisation altogether.

React Immediately Against Supreme Court Order for Forced Eviction of Tribals

The Supreme Court has ordered the forced eviction of more than 1,000,000 tribal and other forest-dwelling households from forestlands across 16 states after the government failed to defend a law protecting their rights. The final country-wide numbers of forced evictions are likely to rise substantially as other states are forced to comply with the court orders. The court’s orders came in a case filed by wildlife groups questioning the validity of the Forest Rights Act. The petitioners had also demanded that all those whose claims over traditional forestlands are rejected under the law should be evicted by state governments as a consequence.

The Union government failed to present its lawyers in defence of the law on February 13, leading a three-judge bench of Arun Mishra, Navin Sinha and Indira Banerjee to pass orders giving states till July 27 to evict tribals whose claims had been rejected and submit a report on it to the Supreme Court. The written order was released on February 20. The court said that the state governments would “ensure that where the rejection orders have been passed, eviction will be carried out on or before the next date of hearing. In case the eviction is not carried out, as aforesaid, the matter would be viewed seriously by this Court.” The next date of hearing is set for July 27 – the effective date by when states would have to evict tribals to comply with the court orders.

The total number of rejected claims from 16 states that have reported rejection rates so far to the apex court add up to 1,127,446 tribal and other forest-dwelling households shows an analysis of the court order. Several other states that have not provided details to court have been asked to do so. Once they follow suit these numbers are likely to swell.

The Forest Rights Act, which was passed during the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance’s first tenure, requires the government to hand back traditional forestlands to tribals and other forest-dwellers against laid down criteria. The Act, passed in 2006, has seen opposition from within ranks of forest officials as well as some wildlife groups and naturalists. This, combined with the fact that at the ground level it is the forest bureaucracy that has to administer the law has made the implementation difficult and tardy.

Tribal groups contend that their claims have been rejected systematically in some states and need to be reviewed. In several states there have been reports on administrations going particularly slow on even accepting community-level claims. Petitioner Bangalore-based Wildlife First, believe the law is against the Constitution and it has led to deforestation. They say that even if the law now remains in place, rejection of claims should lead to automatic eviction of tribal families by the state authorities.

Tribal groups have argued that the rejections in many cases are faulty, need to undergo review under new regulations that the tribal affairs ministry brought in mid-way to reform the process, the law does not lead to automatic evictions and in some cases the claimants are anyway not in possession of lands they had sought as their ancestral forests.

The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government is squarely responsible for being a ‘silent spectator’ in the case and that the absence of central government lawyers betrayed the government’s intention to drive out lakhs of tribals and poor farmers from forests. At first, the court hearing and oral observations of the judges had left an ambiguous note about whether the court had ordered evictions or merely a report on the status of evictions from states. The written order on February 20 left no doubt. The Union government is yet to react to the order. If the central government fails to take immediate action, mass-scale country-wide evictions at this scale never been seen before would take place.

The last time country-wide evictions took place was in 2002-2004, during Vajpayee government’s period, again triggered by a Supreme Court order, which led to many cases of violence, deaths and protests in the central Indian tribal forested areas and uprooting of around 300,000 households.

CPI(ML) Red Star calls on all progressive democratic forees to immediately take necessary steps to mobilize the affected sections of people and resist any evictions.

KN Ramachandran,

GS, CPI(ML) Red Star


Call by CPI(ML) Red Star:

With Pakistan handing over IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman in a gesture of peace, there seems to be, for the time being at least, perceptible de-escalation of tensions between the two countries. However, the jingoistic fervour, ceaselessly whipped up by Modi and his government, as also irresponsible and pro-Modi media, has not quite abated. Meanwhile, further state atrocities in Kashmir, in the name of 'combating terrorism', have worsened matters.

It is obvious that on the eve of the general elections, the Modi government, which has failed to deliver on all its promises and led the country to doom, is desperate to win back popular support by fanning the flames of national chauvinism.

Under Modi, unemployment has reached record levels, economic growth has actually shown a decline, our resources are steadily being sold to big corporates for a song, workers and peasants are facing unprecedented devastation, there is an all-out attack on democratic rights, the saffronisation of public institutions has reached absurd proportions, society is being deliberately split along caste and communal lines, and women, Dalits and minority communities are facing systemic violation of the inalienable rights of life and liberty.

Thus the frenetic warmongering and rabid jingoism resorted to by the Modi government barely a month before elections is a vile attempt to cover up its total failure in office, the murky scams discrediting the government in no small measure and the socio-economic disaster it has plunged the country into.

When Modi and the Sangh Parivar are hysterically shouting that the country is in safe hands, we assert: No, the country is not in safe hands,

The entire series of events, from the Pulwama terror attack on a CRPF convoy to the retaliatory IAF air strikes, is shrouded in mystery. It is apprehended that as elections approach and uncomfortable facts related to both come up, the Modi government may resort to further warmongering to divert public attention from its gigantic failures.

The need of the hour is to categorically and unequivocally stand for peace and call for rapid and absolute de-escalation. It is clear that citizens of both countries want peace, not war. The way in which Pakistani civil society raised the demand for the release of Wing Commander Abhinandan is a clear indication of the mood of the people of our neighbouring nation.

CPI (ML) Red Star calls upon all democratic and peace-loving citizens to –
• Demand political and peaceful solution to the Kashmir question;
• Demand an end to state atrocities in Kashmir;
• Demand that there should be no tampering with Article 370 or Article 35a;
• Call upon the Modi government and all opposition parties to stop warmongering;
• Call upon the Modi government to refrain from all acts of external aggression and indeed from any action that may provoke war; and
• Unite for peace, and against war.

KN Ramachandran, General Secretary,
CPI(ML) Red Star.


MASA RALLY: Thousands march to Parliament against NDA’s Anti- Labour policies

The Mazdoor Adhikar Sangharsh Abhiyan (MASA), an umbrella organisation of workers’ unions, took out a rally in the national capital on Sunday demanding better working conditions and social security for the unorganised sector.


New Delhi: The Mazdoor Adhikar Sangharsh Abhiyan (MASA), an umbrella organisation of workers’ unions, took out a rally in the national capital on Sunday demanding better working conditions and social security for the unorganised sector. The rally was to protest and resist the increasing attacks on working-class rights, living wages, division of labour, state repression and the unjust distribution of resources.
The massive rally was also organised against the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government’s attempts to weaken the labour laws and privatise the public sector.

The rally began at Ramlila Maidan and ended at Sansad Marg. It was attended by workers from around 20 states across the country.

Some of the biggest labour representations came from organized sectors like automobile, electronics, garment, pharmaceuticals and related sectors from the core industrial regions in Gurgaon-Manesar (Haryana), Neemrana-Jaipur (Rajasthan), Rudrapur-Haridwar (Uttarakhand), Ahmedabad-Sanand (Gujarat), Pune-Mumbai-Goa, Chennai Sri Perumbudur. Tea garden Workers were also present which included Chai Bagan Sangram Samiti (CBSS) in Darjeeling Hills-Terai-Dooars and Chah Mukti Sangram Samiti, Assam. Workers of Coal mines from Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Bengal and Jharkhand also came to represent their voices. Rural workers from across the country, like MNREGA Mazdoor Union and Construction Workers Union from Haryana, were also present. Workers from unorganized sectors were also there in strength, like the Safai Karamcharis from Gujarat and Rajasthan, Rickshaw and Thela Pullers, Jari makers, Bidi Workers Union, Construction Workers Union, Anganwadi Workers and Domestic Workers Union from West Bengal.
“Today, neoliberalism, and especially the present regime backed by fascist forces, is wreaking total havoc on the toilers of the country. We see increased exploitation, repression and criminalisation of workers, intensifying contractualisation and unemployment, falling real wages and standards of living. But in the current context, where war hysteria peaks before the election, the issues of workers and farmers are completely absent from discourse. Hence, there was a need for the rally,” a volunteer of MASA said in a report by The New Indian Express.
Among other demands, the MASA has demanded the abolition of the contract system, creation of permanent jobs, Rs. 25,000 as minimum wage, halting the privatisation of public sector undertakings, and Rs15,000 pension, the right to unionise, including all social security benefits, for all unorganised workers.
The MASA constitutes organisations like All India Workers Council, Grameen Mazdoor Union (Bihar), Indian Centre of Trade Unions, Indian Federation of Trade Unions, IFTU Sarwahara, Inqlabi Kendra Punjab, Inqlabi Mazdoor Kendra, Jan Sangharsh Manch (Haryana), Shramikshakthi (Karnataka), Socialist Workers Centre (Tamil Nadu), Struggling Workers Co-ordination Committee (West Bengal), Trade Union Centre of India, Workers Solidarity Centre (Gurugram), and Workers Solidary Centre (Uttarakhand).
“A country runs on workers’ toil. But the country’s working class neither gets respect for their labour nor do they make their ends meet with their wage,” the organisers said.
MASA is a joint platform of struggling workers’ organisations and trade unions from across the country. Over 13 such bodies, including Indian Center of Trade Unions, All India Workers’ Council, Federation of Trade Unions, participated in the “Chalo Delhi” rally.
It is a broad coalition of working-class forces from across the country rooted in labour struggles. They have come together in the last three years to get their 17-point Charter of Demands approved.
Two and a half years back, on 26 August 2016, 14 workers’ organisations came together to form MASA in a Convention in Delhi and started with focusing initially on these central issues of a workers’ movement – against anti-worker labour law reforms, demanding a minimum wage of Rs. 22,000 (calculations based on the price level on 1st January 2016), abolishing the contract labour system, calling for permanent workers for jobs that are permanent in nature, attending to the demands of unorganized sector workers, and to build an uncompromising struggle against anti-worker neoliberal policies, a report said




US dumps Nuclear Plants in India as Compensation for losing Cheap Venezuelan Oil ?


As India is moving towards the election of a new government at the Centre, at the 9th round of US-India Strategic Security Dialogue in Washington on May 13, the Modi regime in violation of established precedents has once again succumbed to Trump’s pressure for establishing 6 US nuclear power plants in India.


The Modi regime has already yielded to the US diktat by agreeing to a review its import of cheap oil from Venezuela in continuation of agreeing in principle to the Yanki demand to cut oil import from Iran. As of now, India is the second largest buyer of crude oil from Venezuela, and the new US challenge that follows in the aftermath of US trade sanctions for not providing “equitable and reasonable access to the markets of India” is going to aggravate the worst economic downturn and inflation that the country is confronting under the Modi regime. Trump administration that has already prepared a blueprint for regime change in Venezuela is planning an economic embargo over it and its diktat to Modi regime to stop oil import from that country should be seen as part of this agenda. Following this, while directives have been issued to public sector oil refineries, Reliance, India’s largest refiner is reportedly in close coordination with US State Department to ensure full compliance.


It is in this context that US imperialism has strengthened its pressure on Modi to accept its supply of 6 nuclear reactors as an alternate source of energy. The American lackeys in Modi regime who have taken part in the Strategic Security Dialogue is reported to have agreed to the US ‘offer’ in view of US support of India’s membership in Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). Details on all issues including liability rules especially relating to who should shoulder the costs and responsibility of an accident are not yet known.


Ironically, to overcome the US isolation in relation to the Paris Climate Agreement, American think-tanks and ruling establishment have once again started proposing “carbon-free” nuclear energy as a “catch-all solution” to climate change and the Indian technocrats are also echoing the same despite the extreme mistrust on nuclear plants prevailing India among all concerned, especially with regard to nuclear accidents, waste disposal and high expenses. Therefore, it is high time on the part of all sections to come out strongly resisting and defeating this anti-national move by Modi regime, that too at the fag-end of its rule.


CPI(ML) Red Star Odisha State Committee declares its approach and candidates’ list for Lok Sabha and Bidhan Sabha Elections 2019


In a press meet at Bhubaneswar on March 14, 2019, Odisha state secretary Comrade Sivaram declared the slogans on the basis of which the Party would contest elections in the state. These are: 

* Defeat Corporate Hindutwa Fascist BJP.

* Defeat Anti-People BJD, Congress & their allies.

* Build People’s Alternative based on Independent Left Assertion.

* Vote for CPI(ML) Red Star Candidates.


The list of candidates was also announced. The Party would field 5 candidates in the elections to the Lok Sabha and 3 candidates in the elections to the Bidhan Sabha.

Lok Sabha

1. Koraput - Rajendra Kendruka

2. Kandhamal - Tuna Mallick

3. Aska - Sankar Sahu

4. Bhubaneswar - Pramila Behera

5. Puri - Ranjan Mishra.

Bidhan Sabha

1. Laxmipur – Purna Mandingi

2. Bhanjanagar – Purna Chandra Pradhan

3. Bhubaneswar North – Rajendra Prasad Barik.

The Party would also support Independent candidate Advocate Abani Gaya in the Brahmapur Bidhan Sabha seat. In fact, intellectuals, concerned citizens and social activists of Brahmapur City, Ganjam District, Odisha, have decided to support Advocate Abani Gaya, leader of Save Medical Movement/ Health/ Education Movement as MLA candidate from Brahmapur. This was declared on March 12 in an intellectuals’ and activists’ joint meeting at NGO Hall, Gate Bazar. Abani Gaya is a committed and dedicated activist and advocate. He has a clear stand against corporate, communal fascist forces and is against anti-people, neo-liberal policies and forces.





CPI (ML) Red Star to field candidates in 5 parliamentary constituencies in Karnataka; will support Prakash Raj at Bangalore Central


The Karnataka state executive committee of Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Red Star met at the Bangalore party office on March 10, 2019, and issued the following statement on the forthcoming general elections.

Based on the decision of the Central Committee of the Party, the Karnataka State Committee shall lead the electoral fight on the basis of the following slogans:

  • Defeat corporate saffron fascist BJP! 

  • Rally for people’s alternative!

In Karnataka CPI(ML) Red Star will contest in five constituencies independently. These are: 1) Mysore Kodagu: Comrade D S Nirvanappa; 2) Udupi-Chikkamagalore: Comrade S. Vijaya; 3) Koppal: Comrade Hemaraj Veerapur; 4) Raichur: Comrade Veerupaxy Gouda and 5) Bellary: (candidate to be announced)

The Party will support Independent candidate Prakash Raj in Bangalore Central constituency and also other candidates who are really fighting against neo liberal policies and communal fascism.


State Secretary, Karnataka


Crony Capitalism Foils Election Commission’s Move to Curb Black Money in Elections.

- P J James

The Election Commission (EC) initiative to curb the use of black money in the forthcoming costliest 17th Lok Sabha Election through coordination among tax authorities, financial institutions, investigative  and law enforcement agencies is going to be just a window dressing in the context of the flourishing Electoral Bond Scheme established by the Modi regime with effect from January 2018.

Electoral bonds designed by the think-tanks of crony capitalists associated with BJP is an ingenious devise to channel huge sums of unaccounted black money from the most corrupt corporate thugs and foreign tax havens in to the coffers of the ruling party. Almost 95 percent of this unaccounted money generated through this scheme has reportedly gone to BJP that came to power in 2014 with an anti-corruption plank.  In spite of that, the Congress is keeping a studied silence on this most corrupt election financing invented by BJP as the same will be useful to the former when it comes to power.

EC’s attempt to check the use of illegal cash, fake currency, etc., by deploying law enforcement agencies shall remain superficial as under the electoral bond scheme black money holders and corporate financiers have already pumped unlimited volume of unaccounted money mainly to the saffron party most anonymously. And the recipient is not legally bound to disclose the source of these funds as per the scheme. While the ruling party with its control over banks can identify the source and the amount that the opposition parties may receive, the latter will not be in a position to know the details of such flows to the former.

Therefore led by BJP, the electoral bonds scheme, which has become a synonym for corruption and crony capitalism will make the 2019 election the most corrupt. And the EC’s much publicised talk of curbing black money use in election will remain as mere wishful thinking as thousands of crores of black money without any transparency flow uninterruptedly in to campaign financing.



Chartered Accountants’ as Corporate Mouthpiece: Another Flourishing Example of Crony Capitalism!
P J James

It was on March 14 that 108 eminent economists and social scientists from the academic profession issued a statement questioning the credibility of Modi government’s statistics “for being influenced and indeed even controlled by political consideration” and called for restoration of "institutional independence" and integrity to the statistical organisations. As in the case of other autonomous institutions, the Modi regime is alleged to have made systematic political interference in India’s statistical machinery such as CSO and NSSO “to suppress uncomfortable data” leading to the recent resignation of two members of the National Statistical Commission itself.

Just four days after this statement by economists, that is, on March 18, 131 accountants and auditors have come out with a counter statement calling former’s apprehensions as   “bogus” and “choreographed”.  They asked: “Now when India has become the Fastest Growing Economy in the world they are worried about the credibility of data. Is it their intention to scare Foreign Investors by creating doubts on the credibility of Data?” The signatories had also gone on putting things in the standard corporate-saffron format as if it was BJP’s election manifesto eulogising GST, Demonetisation, Aadhaar, Jan Dhan Accounts, tremendous increase in market capitalisation, India becoming the fastest growing economy …, etc., and concludes: “We appeal to the professionals around the world to come together to present the true picture of India and counter baseless allegations with political motivations.”

Of course, this is not the context to expose these claims of accountants as the vast majority of the people in India have not at all experienced any of them in their real life. Demonetisation was the biggest corporate attack that sucked out the life-blood of the people on the one hand, and whitened all the black money with the most corrupt corporate elite on the other. GST transferred economic power to corporate capitalists after destroying the constitutional foundations of federalism. Peasant suicides became unprecedented during the five year period. India became the most corrupt country in Asia.  Even the logo of the much trumpeted “Make in India” was designed by a foreign company, namely, Weiden+ Kennedy and the unhindered entry of foreign capital to the economy has led to an unparalleled joblessness.  India’s ranking in Global Hunger Index has deteriorated by 37 percent reaching 100 among 119 countries, much below that of neighbouring countries. The top one percent of the super-rich holding around 52 percent of country’s total wealth and the total wealth of the top 9 billionaires being equal to that of the bottom 50 percent of the population, India has become one of the most unequal countries in the world. As a result of Modi’s policies, while the wealth of these billionaires swelled by Rs. 2200 crore a day, the total wealth of 119 Indian billionaires crossed Rs. 28 lakh crore in 2018! Thus goes the list.

However, while leading accountants and auditors are driven to quick defence of the corporate-saffron regime, at a global level, the audit& accounts profession, on account of its proximity to corporatisation and financialisation, is in acute crisis today. Leading audit firms such as KPMG, Deloitte, PwC, and EY and the professionals associated with them are already blacklisted by several countries on account of their unholy alliance with corporate CEOs. In the mad rush for ensuring fabulous profits for corporate capital, leading auditing and accounting firms work hand in glove with  corporate thugs leading to financial swindles, artificial fixing of asset prices and  account manipulations for shoring up corporate profits. Auditing and accounting scandals associated with the collapse of Lehman Brothers are a much discussed topic. What are being exposed through the Paradise Papers and Panama Papers including the links between audit firms and tax havens whose undercurrents are manifested in India too are intimately connected with account manipulation under neoliberal crony capitalism.
This being the situation, that is, at a time when the credibility of the accounting and auditing profession on account of its unholy nexus with corporate capital is at a low ebb, the aforesaid position of the economists seems credible as against the counter-statement that came in the garb of  chartered accountants.


March 19, 2019
We the undersigned, with deep anger and profound sorrow, condemn the killing of the dalit activist Dani Batra at the gate of the Vedanta Alumina refinery plant at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district yesterday morning.  Sujit Kumar Minj of the OISF has also been killed. Over 50 people were badly injured in the brutal lathicharge by the Odisha Industrial Security Force (OISF) and admitted to the Lanjigarh hospital.
As per media reports, a heavy clash took place between contract employees of the refinery plant and the OISF personnel. The contract workers were demanding permanent jobs, education for their children and provision of jobs for more people. As villagers from Rengopali, Chatrapur and Bandhaguda too joined the protest, the OISF forces present took the law into their own hands. 
We deplore the violent suppression on contract workers of the Lanjigarh plant and on people from surrounding villages. Their demands are an outcome of years of simmering discontent ever since the company had acquired their land by making false promises of employment, education, health care facilities among others. The Odisha state government too has failed completely in making the company fulfil its promises. Instead of listening to their just grievances on March 18, 2019, the company let loose a reign of terror at the hands of the OISF. The entire area is now under Section 144. .
The state government has asked for 150 companies of Central Armed Police Force from the Centre with the approach of the Lok Sabha and assembly elections. It is in this atmosphere of tension and intimidation that people are continuing to press for their just demands. It is deplorable that instead of the government implementing the 2013 Gram Sabha verdict of the people, the local administration has only increased the presence of CRPF and its surveillance. The entire of Niyamgiri has been subject to relentless state repression ever since the gram sabha verdict. It is evident from the more recent arrest of Lingaraj Azad who has been at the forefront of the struggle of the people against bauxite mining. 
The largely dalit community living around the Lanjigarh plant at the foothills of the Niyamgiri mountain have been putting up with untold suffering. The pollution caused by effluents discharged into the Vamsadhara  river has caused both deaths and diseases among the people dependent on the river. The creation of ash ponds too has been the biggest environmental hazard to the Niyamgiri habitat with its rich diversity of flora and fauna. Indeed, the corporate greed for bauxite from the mountain is making the company flout all existing laws while the state government aids in providing security forces and crushing the voices of its citizens.
In recent months, the administration has undertaken a series of repressive measures curtailing people’s Right to Dissent. Dadi Kadraka and Jamu Gouda have been through intense interrogation.  Lada Sikaka was picked up by the Raygada police and physically roughed up and interrogated and their protest rally for October 23, 2018  was asked to be called off despite their having obtained police permission.  The demand of the rally was to withdraw the CRPF and stop the routine harassment of local people through daily surveillance and combing operations. A public hearing was held near Trilochanpur where people unanimously decried the setting up of yet another CRPF camp in the area.  Earlier, British Kumar, a dalit youth leader of the   Bhumi Adhikar Surakshya Samiti  and a member of the CPI (M) had been detained in the office of the SP of Kalahandi and severely beaten.  In recent years many random arrests of Dongria Kondhs have taken place such as Saiba Pusika, Dasuru Kadraka and Bako Jakasika. Allegations of having connections with Maoists had led to the detention of Kuni Sikaka and Drimbli Jakasika in May 2017. The intense mental torture has led to the suicide of Drika soon after emerging from prison life. There are many more such incidents.
The adivasis and dalits of Niyamgiri are paying a very heavy price living in the midst of combing operations and daily surveillance. Their struggle to save Niyamgiri by claiming the rights of the dalits and adivasis over the mountain, its forests and land continues. Niyamgiri is not only a source of life and livelihood but their identity and cultural heritage too. Very recently, thousands of adivasis and dalits, largely forest dwellers, had marched in protest demanding the scrapping of the Supreme Court order of February 13 that directed 21 states to evict 11.8 lakh forest dwellers whose claims to forest land had been rejected.  They were supported by many mass organizations and Ambekarite organizations.
We demand strict accountability from the government and all political leaders to ensure that lives, livelihoods and rights of all citizens of the Niyamgiri region be upheld. Their struggle is a struggle for justice; for the mountains, rivers, and streams; for a place on this planet that belongs to them.
We urge all democratic and progressive forces to protest against corporate violence against people!
We demand that the Odisha government:
o Initiate cases against Vedanta on charges of criminal conspiracy and murder.
o Institute an enquiry into the incidents of killings and lathicharge by SIT.
o Announce compensation of Rs 1 croreto  next of kin of victims.
o Repeal of all cases pending against villagers for opposing Vedanta!
o Independent probe into the alleged encounter death of Manda Kadraka and Bari Pidika.
o Withdrawal of CRPF and other security forces from the area.
o Thorough enquiry into the pollution and destruction caused by Vedanta and their violation of environmental laws.
o Ensure a cleanup of the entire area that has been contaminated by toxic discharge and effluents from the Lanjigarh plant.
o Implement the 2013 Gram Sabha verdict of the people of Niyamgiri!!
Narendra Mohanty, Campaign against False and Fabricated Cases
Biswapriya Kanungo, Advocate and Activist
Pramodini Pradhan, PUCL
Ranjana Padhi, Activist and Writer
Surya Dash, Video Republic
Prashant Paikrai, PPSS
Rumita Kundu, Activist
Sudhir Pattnaik, Journalist and Activist
Debaranjan, GASS
Srikanta Mohanty, CPI ML
Pramila Behera, CPI ML Red Star
Subal Charan Sahoo, TUCI
Ramachandra Sahoo, Basti Surakshya Manch
Lenin Kumar, Poet and Activist
Chandranath Dani, Advocate, Human Rights Defenders Alert India (HRDA)
Swati Mishra, ISCU




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