In Defence of World Peace
The 25th Conference of the All India Kisan Sabha notes with grave concern the threat of nuclear war due to the reckless policies pursued by imperialism, headed by the Reagan Administration, Such a war would destroy all humanity and life on earth. US imperialism has embarked on an unprecedented building up of its war machine and the creation of new sophisticated weapons of destruction. It has now taken the dangerous step of militarizing the space through Its “Star Wars” programme. All these war preparations are directed primarily against the Soviet Union and the socialist countries, in its drive for global domination, US imperialism is also threatening the independence and sovereignty of the newly-independent countries.
The adventist war psychology of US imperialism was manifested recently in the terrorist bombing of Libya—an action, which has aroused worldwide indignation and isolated the United States from even most of its NATO allies.
That imperialism stands for war while socialism Stands for peace has once again been strikingly brought out by refusal of the Reagan Administration to accept the various peace proposals made by the Soviet Union in the last two years. The Soviet Union declared a unilateral moratorium on nuclear tests last year and requested the USA to respond similarly. Despite extension of the Soviet moratorium for full 8 months the USA has brazenly conducted two nuclear tests and sabotaged the possibility of a permanent moratorium. On behalf of the Soviet Union, Comrade Gorbachev on January 15, 1985 put forward a three-stage plan for the elimination of all nuclear weapons by the year 2000. This proposal has also been rejected by the Reagan Administration. It has also turned down the Six-Nation proposal for peace. The recent proposals made by Comrade Gorbachev for withdrawal of all nuclear weapons from Europe and for disbanding of the NATO and WARSAW Pact have been met with silence. The stubborn refusal to respond to the eminently reasonable proposals of the Soviet Union has exposed the warmongering character of the US Administration.
This policy of the USA is meeting with resistance from even sections of the ruling circles in Western Europe who see in the reckless militarism the threat of imminent war in Europe.
The Conference greets the millions of people in Western Europe, United States, Japan and other countries who have joined the powerful peace movement to raise their voice to protest against the danger of nuclear war. The forces in defense of peace are gathering strength every day. The powerful Socialist system and the vigilance of the Soviet Union are a firm guarantee for peace in the in the present tense situation. The peace movement in India has to be immeasurably strengthened to join this worldwide struggle for peace. The All India Kisan Sabha will exert its utmost efforts to rally the broad mass of the Indian peasantry to join this vital struggle in defense of peace for humanity. The participation of the millions of the peasants in India in the peace movement will ensure the advance of the anti-imperialist forces in the country.
Against Imperialist Designs in Asia
US. imperialism in its aggressive quest for global domination has stepped up its military presence in Asia; seeks to suppress national liberation movements; and is actively engaged in subverting the independence of the newly liberated counties of Asia These offensive actions are meeting with the resistance of the people of different countries in the Asian continent who are increasingly realizing the threat posed by imperialism.
In West Asia, the USA continues to arm Israel and utilizes the Zionist state to launch aggression against the Arab countries. In Lebanon, Israeli troops continue to occupy parts of southern Lebanon. The Palestinian liberation movement and Lebanese progressive forces are courageously battling the Israeli forces and their reactionary allies. The Conference greets the Palestinian fighters who are waging their struggle for liberation with courage and determination. The US imperialists seeks to divide the Arab peoples and utilizes Egypt for this nefarious purpose. Egypt has provided the United States with military bases and facilities for the Rapid Deployment Force.
The continuance of the Iran-Iraq war causes grave concern as it undermines the unity of the anti-imperialist forces in the area. The Conference urges, therefore, an immediate end to this senseless war which is against the interests of the peoples of both countries.
The Conference extends its warm solidarity with the government and people of Afghanistan. The US imperialists maintain their support to the armed counter-revolutionaries based in Pakistan who are conducting criminal attacks on the peaceful civilians of Afghanistan. Withstanding these provocations, the government is uniting all sections of the people steadily advancing on the road to social and economic progress.
The US imperialists, defying the united voice of the littoral states, is steadily building up its naval strength in the Indian Ocean. It has converted Diego Garcia into a base with nuclear weapons and the growing influx of naval vessels in the Ocean poses a direct threat to the littoral states, including India. In its feverish quest for domination in the Indian Ocean, it has also acquired naval facilities in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka. The Conference demands the dismantling of the Diego Garcia base and the declaration of the Indian Ocean as zone of peach free of nuclear weapons.
In South East Asia, the US imperialists prop the military regime of Thailand and utilize the Thai border to sustain and equip the mercenaries who are seeking to destabilize Kampuchea. Vietnam, Kampuchea and Laos are targeted for subversion and attacks by imperialism. This Conference greets the governments and peoples of Vietnam, Laos and Kampuchea who are engaged in peaceful reconstruction after long years of war and are marching ahead triumphantly surmounting all obstacles.
The 25th Conference of the AIKS greets the revolutionary and democratic forces in the Philippines who have won a significant victory in the over throw of the hated Marcos regime and who are now continuing battle for eliminating the hold of US imperialism and fighting the powerful US sponsored oligarchy in the country.
In East Asia, Japan continues to be the kingpin of the US strategy for domination in the Asia-Pacific region. The militarization of Japan, the forging of the Washington—Tokyo—Seoul axis constitutes the serious threat to the countries of this region. South Korea has forty thousand US troops stationed on its soil, and a thousand nuclear projectiles are aimed at the DPRK. The USA and the South Korean dictatorial regime refuse to respond to the initiatives of the DPRK for step by step normalizations of relations and for the peaceful reunification of the country. Rather the United States continues to support the Taiwanese regime and to obstruct the People’s Republic of China’s reasonable proposals for the reunification of Taiwan with the Mainland.
The Conference expresses its fraternal solidarity with all peoples and countries of Asia who are fighting to rebuff the US imperialist maneuverer, defend their countries’ independence and sovereignty, and who are engaged in the struggle to overthrow US sponsored dictatorial regimes. It calls for the widest unity of all anti-imperialist forces in Asia, of all progressive and democratic forces to unitedly foil the US drive for domination in Asia.
In Solidarity with the Liberation Struggle in Africa
The Twenty-fifth Conference of the All India Kisan Sabha warmly greets the black people of South Africa who are waging a heroic fight to end the hated racist regime and apartheid. Braving the most brutal terror and repression unleashed by the white minority regime, hundreds of thousands of black people have come out in death-defying struggle to end racial discrimination and slavery. Thousands have been killed by the armed forces of the racist regime, thousands more languish in prisons and concentration camps, but the popular resistance continues to grow in intensity and scope. The Conference sends its fraternal greetings to Nelson Mandela, the indomitable symbol of liberation, whose powerful voice cannot be suppressed by the resists’ jail. The Conference denounces the Reagan Administration and the British Government for their shameful support to the Botha regime and their refusal to impose effective economic sanctions against the racist regime. The Conference renews its pledge to support the African National Congress and wishes it all success.
The Conference sends its fraternal greetings to the people of Namibia who, under the leadership of SWAPO, have carried on a courageous struggle to liberate Nabibia from the clutches of the South African racist regime. The Botha regime is continuing to occupy Namibia, defying the United Nations resolution on freedom for Namibia. The Conference wishes their struggle all success and is confident that the total liberation of Namibia will be successfully achieved by the militant freedom fighters of SWAPO.
Imperialism is unable to reconcile to the changing map of Africa. The existence of the liberated states of Zimbabwe, Angola and Mozambique is a standing testimony to the failure of imperialism to hold on to old-style colonialism. It seeks to recover ground by egging on South Africa to attack the front line states and organize subversive activities against Angola and Mozambique. The Conference expresses its solidarity with the front-line states in Southern Africa and extends its full support to their efforts to maintain the territorial integrity and independence of their countries.
The Conference sends its warm fraternal greetings to the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic and to the Polisario Front who have made big advances in liberating their country from the American backed Moroccan occupation. The brave fighters. of the Polisario Front have liberated vast stretches of territory from Moroccan occupation and have achieved the diplomatic recognition of 63 countries, including India. The Conference pledges to continue its support to the cause of the Saharawi people. The Conference greets all the democratic and progressive forces in Africa who are engaged in throwing off the legacies of colonialism, foiling neo-colonialist conspiracies and are determined new life for their peoples.
Solidarity with the People’s Struggle in
THIS Conference expresses its solidarity with the peasants and other people of Pakistan and Bangladesh in their struggle against military dictatorship and for the restoration of democratic rights, including the establishment of popular governments based on adult franchise. The peasant and democratic movements in these countries are of special interest to the All India Kisan Sabha because in the pre-independence united India the peasants of these countries fought shoulder to shoulder with peasants of present day India in the a struggle against foreign rule and feudal imperialist exploitation.
In Pakistan fight against Zia-autocracy has reached a new peak, with millions now attending rallies convened by the opposition parties, and more and more people are coming forward in this struggle, defying police and military. Age-old attempts to divert popular attention by raising anti-India slogans have not been working so effectively as in the past, nor the boggy of Communist aggression via Afghanistan. This regime without popular base is surviving on bayonet and on the support, financial and military, it is receiving from the US. imperialists. The latter are pumping arms and resources into this country with a view to using this country as the base for their clandestine activities against Afghanistan, Soviet Union and India. Two military bases in Peshawar and Gwadar, play an important role in the US military strategy in the area, along with its significance in overseeing Indian Ocean. The militarist Zia- regime is actively helping the Khalistani extremists by giving them training and arms and is now seeking to make a nuclear bomb to scare the neighbors. This Conference sees this as a dangerous development which violates peace and brings war nearer to India; it lends its full support to the democratic toilers of Pakistan who are struggling for restoration of democracy and establishment of a popular government which would be able to find a solution of the outstanding problems between our two countries and would pave the way for normal economic and cultural relations with India.
In Bangladesh too, fight against military-autocracy has reached a new phase following the declaration of election. Though the declaration itself was a positive outcome of the struggle for the restoration of democracy, the election was not be free and fair and was rigged on a very large scale, but the democratic aspirations of the fighting, people of Bangladesh, who successfully fought against Pakistan’s military dictatorship to achieve independence, cannot be suppressed. The Conference notes in case of Bangladesh too, the deep penetration in the economic and political life by the United States imperialists. Chittagong port has offered refueling facilities to US Navy, while the economy is almost entirely controlled by the US or British multinational companies.
Ershad Government is also training the TNV insurgents in its territory and uses them for insurgency in the Indian state of Tripura. The Conference congratulates the fighting people of Bangladesh for the sacrifices they have undergone in their fight for democracy. We express full solidarity with them and are confident that the day is not far off when people of Bangladesh will be able to have a popular government committed to good neighborly relations with India.
On Latin America
THE 25th Conference of the All India Kisan Sabha warmly greets the government and people of Nicaragua led by the Sandinista Front for National Liberation. After having overthrown the despotic Somoza regime backed by US imperialism, the people of Nicaragua have advanced on the path of social progress and consolidating national independence US imperialism has therefore targeted Nicaragua for destabilization and naked aggression. Utilizing the counter-revolutionary gangs, the Contras, based in Honduras and Costa Rica, imperialism is attacking Nicaragua and murdering innocent civilians and children. Reagan publicly threatens intervention and his Administration seeks funds from the US Congress to wage war on Nicaragua. Economic sanctions, CIA-sponsored provocations, and now the open threat of military intervention are used to support counter-revolution.
The people of Nicaragua have firmly united behind their revolutionary government to resist imperialist blackmail and to protect the hard-won gains of their revolution. The people of other Latin American countries have expressed their firm opposition to US intervention and expressed their solidarity with the people of Nicaragua. This Conference denounces all the illegal and criminal actions by US imperialism against Nicaragua. It demands an immediate halt to the financing and arming of the Contras. The AIKS sends its fraternal message of solidarity to the FSLN and the fighting peasantry and people of Nicaragua.
The Conference hails the courageous fighters of the Fara-bundo Marti National Liberation Front in El Salvador who are struggling to overthrow the US imposed dictatorial regime of Duarte. In this tiny country US imperialism is putting all its efforts to crush the liberation movement. However, the fighters of the FMLN have registered significant advances and liberated one third of the country from the clutches of the neo-colonial regime. The Conference extends its full solidarity with the fighting people of El Salvador and the FMLN.
The Conference greets the progressive forces and people of Chile who are successfully waging a united resistance to the fascist Pinochet regime and have struck serious blows at the tottering government. The Conference greets the progressive forces fighting fascist terror and repression in Guatemala, Colombia and Paraguay.
US imperialism which has been treating South America as its colonial backyard and subject it to the most vicious exploitation, is now faced with the resurgent spirit of independence and revolt of the countries and peoples which are victims of imperialist loot. The huge external debts of the Latin American countries incurred by the imperialist policies of the USA and the world financial institutions have led to growing impoverishment and crisis in the lives of the peoples of Latin America. Today there is a growing unity between governments and peoples of different political persuasions in the region to resist imperialist plunder and blackmail.
Symbolizing this spirit is Socialist Cuba which, in the past two and a half decades, has emerged as the outpost for Socialism in the Western hemisphere. Revolutionary Cuba’ constant support to the cause of national liberation and anti-imperialism in Latin America has served as an inspiration and rallying point for all the Latin American peoples. Cuba has firmly stood up to US blackmail and built a Socialist society which is a model for all peoples of the region.
The Conference extends its full support and solidarity to the people and government of Cuba. The Conference sends its warm greeting to all the revolutionary and democratic forces of Latin America who are struggling to overthrow the yoke of US imperialism and advance their countries on the path of national liberation and social progress.
On Center-State Relations
THE Twenty fifth Conference takes note of the concentration of power—economic and political—in the hands of the central government, while the state governments are working under severe constitutional limitations which constraint the scope for implementing a pro-people programme at the state level. Apart the emergency powers which enable the central government to remove the duly elected state governments and to administer the state from Delhi, the powers to introduce policy measures on education, land reforms and other issues which cannot be put off by state legislations, the long list of important subjects under ‘central list’, the constitution offers very limited power to the state governments for raising taxes and thereby perpetuates the dependence of the state governments on the centre for financial supports. From time to time the state governments have been coerced, against the threat of constitutional section or withdrawal of financial support, to implement anti-people policies under central direction.
Under pressure from the states the central government was forced to appoint Sarkaria Commission to go into the question of center-state relations but the recent utterances of the Prime Minister and other Cabinet Ministers raise doubts about the intentions of the government.
This Conference therefore demands redistribution of powers between the centre and the states in order to reduce their financial dependence on the centre, and to make it possible for them tn implement programmes devised by themselves without being under any constitutional threat. This has become all the more necessary with the break up of the Congress monopoly of power and policies at the state level, and the formation of left-wing governments with alternative policies. This Conference strongly condemns the discriminatory policies being followed by the central government with respect to those states, in order to starve them into submission or to engineer disruptive activities in order to undermine the administration. This Conference particularly deplores the use of the office of the Governor as a tool of the central government.
This Conference strongly stresses on the need for national Integration, and feels that unity at the national level would be strengthened by the decentralization of the decision-making, in the present level of development of the country. On the contrary, any attempt to mechanically impose any unity by way of excessive centralization would be counter-productive and would actually undermine national unity and come handy to separatist forces. The relationship between the centre and the states should be based on the recognition of the need of nation a unity on the one hand, and the cultural diversity and divergent historical experience on the other hand. A country of India’s size cannot be run by administrative fiat from the centre, only the strong states can make the centre strong. The Conference therefore seeks a policy which would promote unity in diversity harmonies the development of different cultures and expand contacts between those cultures to develop national identity and strong and united India.
On Attacks on Democratic Mights
THE Twenty fifth Conference takes note on numerous instances of attacks on the democratic rights of the people of the country during the three and half years since the Conference at Midnapore. National Security Act has been used to detain opposition political activist without trial for long periods. Essential Services Maintenance Act has been used to break legitimate working class struggles, and the police and military have been used from time to time to aid the vested interests in order to suppress the democratic movements of the toiling people, in several parts of the country, particularly Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, noted criminals and dacoits have been deployed, along with police and CRP to unleash a reign of terror and demolish the organization of the working people. Elections have been rigged, the phenomenon of booth capturing has become the norms in some areas, and genuine voters have been chased, thereby making a mockery of elections in such places. In several cases—e.g., Andhra and Jammu and Kashmir through the office of the governor—the democratically elected governments have been removed to make way for a ministry of the Congress party supported by the defectors. In cases of states run by the left wing parties the governors have often been used to disrupt the normal functioning of the administration, by ignoring the constitutional norms, at the dicta of the central government.
Such attacks on democratic rights are becoming more pronounced with the growing disillusionment of the people with the government at the centre. Having failed to meet the popular needs and aspirations the government is seeking to bulldoze the population into submission by the use of or by threating the use of authoritarian devices. The present Prime Minister of the country7thas been on record justifying the declaration of emergency during 1975-77.
Against this background of attacks, the Conference appeals to the peasantry to strengthen the unity of the peasants and other toiling masses and build broad resistance against repressive attack on democratic rights and against government’s drive towards authoritarianism.
Charter of Demands
AFTER having reviewed the situation in the agrarian sector the 25th Conference of the All India Kisan Sabha has come to the conclusion that experience of almost four decades of independence has belied the expectations of the peasantry and other toiling masses. Instead of solving the major problems facing the , country to meet their basic needs of food, shelter, education, health and working, the tendency has been to pass the burden of deepening’ economic crisis on to the shoulders of the vast rural masses in the form of inflation, taxes, and higher, prices}, for agricultural inputs and “essential commodities. The Congress government goes on enhancing taxes like water rates, electricity charges and fares apart from the huge doses of indirect taxes. As a result the living conditions of the peasantry have deteriorated and inspite of many schemes Tor eradication of poverty the problem remains as acute as before. In fact the problem of poverty is combined, with the. increasing landlessness, joblessness and even homelessness on the one hand, and the concentration of land, agricultural equipment,, income ‘and wealth on the other.
Despite the optimism on the eve of the country’s independence that land problem will be satisfactorily solved, very little has been done by way of land reform in the country as a whole. After a great deal of trumpeting, about 7.2 million acres of [and has been declared surplus and only 4.4 million acres actually distributed to the landless and poor peasants .and that too mostly on the initiatives taken by the Left Front governments of West Bengal and Kerala,, despite virulent opposition from the vested interests led by the Congress party. /Furthermore, whatever success has been achieved in protecting ‘the rights of the sharecroppers, tenants, agricultural labors and tribal peasants is also due to legislation and administrative measure and mass actions in the Left Front states of West Bengal and Tripura and in Kerala during the period under Left and Democratic regime. Even in other states concessions were acquired only under the pressure of the mass movement. In other states the government not only failed to implement any radical land reform measure but thousands of thousands sharecroppers have been evicted from the land they were tilling from decades. The state governments have not yet even cared to provide them with record of rights. Even assent to the West Bengal second land reform amendment bill was delayed for five years, trying to frustrate all attempts to provide relief to the landless and land poor. The Rajiv Gandhi’s government has been abandoned the rhetoric of land reforms, and is actually trying to develop agriculture on the basis of new technology with the help of rural rich. The Seventh Plan document only emphasizes this, aspect to increase agricultural production. The bonded labour still exists in many parts and semi-feudal form of exploitation continues. While income becomes concentrated in the hands of upper strata to the peasantry which can afford the cost of new technology and have access to the administration.
Atrocities on the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes are on increase at the hands of landlords and their hired gangs with the connivance of the police, the issues involved being mostly related to the land or wages.
Agricultural workers are being denied even statutorily fixed minimum wages. The central government has refused to enact a central legislation for agricultural workers to ensure minimum wages and better living conditions.
Nothing is being done to protect the meagre earnings of the toiling peasantry. Over the last few years the price of agricultural products has failed to keep pace with cost of inputs, which has been inflated both by higher import prices and also _by the declared increase major prices, of the indigenous products, Oil price has been increased at a time when in the world market the oil prices are falling. Freight charges have been hiked as also the price of dieseI7 both of which have affected the cost of agricultural production. On the other hand, prices of some of the commercial crops like jute, cotton and coconut registered as a steep fall here by making the investment made on these highly unremunerative.
Moreover the natural calamities, including the crop failures ; due to pests, have further added to the already increasing miseries of the peasants. In the absence of adequate relief in teases of floods, drought—and cyclone, etc. and any scheme of .crop insurance worth its name, they are left helpless before the vagaries of nature. The peasants are groaning under heavy indebtedness and all the schemes of the government to provide credit to the poorer sections have failed to touch even the fringe of the problem. After 39 years of independence the usurers continue to have their pound of flesh. The imbalance between prices and cost are reflected also in the phenomena of growing indebtedness among—the, peasantry and the decline in the rate of repayment of bank and cooperatives loans. Where as the total amount of rural debts was 750 crore in 1951-52,- by now it has reached the colossal figure of Rs. 13 thousand , crores.
As a result of these policies which aggravated the agrarian crisis the discontent among peasantry is rapidly growing. But in the absence of a strong peasant movement taking country as a whole communal and divisive forces are trying to divert this discontentment into disruptive channels. In certain states the | landlord elements are also trying to. project themselves as champions of the interests of the peasantry on issues like ’agricultural prices and taxes. Crimes are on the increase. We continue to read reports in the press about rapes and dowry deaths. This poses a big challenge to the organized peasant movement.
The government, instead of solving these problems, is resorting J;o suppression of democratic rights. It is not even allowing the state governments to discharge their minimum responsibility towards the people of the states by refusing re-structuring of center-state relations and to give more powers to the states for which problem have come to the fore in the whole of the country. This throws a big challenge before the democratic movement as a whole and peasant movement in particular. Since 70 per cent of our population is still dependent on agriculture, this challenge can be met by organizing mass campaigns, leading united actions of the peasantry on different issues affecting their lives and by building powerful organization of the All India Kisan Sabha.
Therefore the 25th Conference of the All India Kisan Sabha has,to fight back the offensive of the government, landlords and the moves of the divisive forces and launch a countrywide campaign on the following urgent demands :
- The Union Government should guarantee adequate supply of all essential commodities,such as food grains, pulses, edible oils, salt, sugar, domestic coal, kerosene, common cloths, paper, life saving drugs, matches etc., through a comprehensive network of public distribution system’, to the urban and rural, -consumers without discrimination at “subsidized and controlled rates, by drastically curbing down the profits of whole-salers and reducing substantially the excise duties imposed these commodities. The movement of these commodities be given top priority by public transport like railways.
- Remunerative prices be ensured to the agricultural producers. Adequate purchases be made, by state agencies as soon as the harvest begins to arrive in the market to protect the peasants from distress sales.
- The prices of agricultural inputs be brought down by reducing the excise duties on them and by restricting high profits. Reduce electricity charges, irrigation rates, and other taxes heavily to give relief especially to the lower sections of the peasantry.
- Ensure cheap credit and supply of farm inputs to the peasantry with a view to give relief to the poorer sections. Steps should be taken to bring down the rates of interests payable by agriculturists to rural credit agencies, bruiting down overhead expense reducing the number of intermediate agencies and by improving the efficiency of functioning. No penal interest should be charged from agriculturist defaulters when the default payment is due to damages to crops as a result of crop failures or natural calamities. The practice of showing a low value of land as compared to prevailing market prices during attachment or mortgage proceedings must end, and nobody should be evicted from his land as a result of default in repaying agricultural loans.
- Persons affected by natural calamities like floods and droughts be adequately compensated and a scheme of comprehensive crop insurance be introduced all over the country to protect the peasantry from the miseries due to crop failure, pests and hailstorms etc.
- Allocation for the NRER be increased to help the agricultural workers in getting employment and guaranteed minimum wages. Wages under NREP, RLEGS should nowhere be less than Rs. 10 per day and in no case be lower than the minimum wage fixed by law in the concerned state for agricultural workers.
- A central legislation be urgently enacted to ensure minimum wages and better working conditions for agricultural workers, and other necessary measures be initiated to improve the living conditions of rural poor.
- Defeat the game of Communist and divisive forces to disrupt the unity of the peasantry and which is also threatening the unity of the country.
- Stringent measures be undertaken to put an end to the physical attacks on the scheduled castes and tribes, religious minorities, women and other weaker sections of society.
- Center-state relations be restructured by giving adequate powers to the states so that they can implement their programmes of social, economic and agricultural advancement. Democratize the institutions of local self-government, like panchayats, block samitis and zilla parishads
- NSA & ESMA be withdrawn. The Conference appeals to all AIKS units to mobilize the peasantry in support of these demands and organize struggles, in unity with other parties and peasant organizations. Only tithe united action of the peasants can force the government to reverse its anti-people policies.
On Agricultural Labourers
THIS Twenty fifth Conference of AIKS notes with concern that despite the country’s independence thirty nine years ago, and despite the repeated promises made by the government to alleviate their conditions, the agricultural labourers, apart from their exploitation as wage labourers, continue to be subjected to feudal forms of exploitation. Reports given by two Agricultural Labour Enquirers and Two Rural Labour Inquiries reveal the extent of their poverty, deprivations and landlessness, ‘and also the exploitation and domination to which they are still subjected. Bonded labour still survives in many parts of the country, despite legislations against it, and government programmes to ‘rehabilitate’ those has made no significant impact on their life. Still now a very large number of ‘hired attached labourers’ suffer from an acute sense of insecurity, tied as they ’ are to one employer and can be removed at will. The hired the usual labourers are offered wages which do not meet the basic minimum requirement of those families. On top of all these, they are subjected to all kinds of atrocities—including the burning of their huts, abduction and rape of their women, and killing. A large majority of them belong to scheduled castes and tribes, and continue to become victims of social oppression, ‘in addition to the economic exploitation. All the schemes under the new 20-point programme have failed to improve their lost. Large numbers of them remain unemployed during the major Dart of the year, many live without homes and drinking water facilities. They are evicted from tiny plots of land. The central government has refused to pass the central legislation on the images and conditions of work for the agricultural workers.
This Conference congratulates the agricultural labourers for working conditions the formation of All India Agricultural Workers Union as a separate organization of the agricultural labourers. The Conference urges the Agricultural Workers Union to work closely, with the All India Kisan Sabha at all levels in order to forge unity of agricultural workers and peasantry, the two major currents of the agrarian movement.
This Conference demands that evictions of the agricultural labourers be immediately stopped, they are made owners of the land on which their houses are located ; and are provided with through various public works programmes. The Conference also demands a central legislation on agricultural labourers, which would ensure a minimum wage and human conditions of work, would set up a machinery for settling despites with the employer, and would take drastic measures to put an end to social oppression.
On solidarity with the Working class
This Twenty fifth Conference of the AIKS congratulates the working class for the many heroic struggles it has launched in v fight against exploitation during the period of one hundred ’years since May 1, 1986, when the valiant struggle of the workers in Chicago for an eight-hour day drew world-wide attention. In this year, commemorating the Centenary on May Day, this Conference expresses its solidarity with the working people all over the-world. During this period the struggle of the working class has not only led to improvement in their working conditions and wages, beginning with the Bolshevik revolution in 1917, it has captured political power in alliance with the peasantry in a number of countries, covering more than one-third of the population of the world.
This Conference is taking place at a time when world capitalism is passing through a severe economic crisis which has led to 30 million unemployment in advanced capitalist countries. In contrast, the working class in alliance with the peasantry in the Socialist countries has succeeded in building a society of their own where system of exploitation has been put an end to, unemployment has ceased to exist, and science, technology and culture have flourished to increase productive capacity, .and, vastly improve their conditions of life. The lessons of the past hundred years unmistakably point to the future which the toiling masses should pursue—a society where the working people are in control, poverty has been banished.
In India too unemployment is mounting, and has by now reached a staggering figure of 28 million, who. have registered with the employment exchanges, ignoring those who have not registered. The working class here too has been subjected to a severe depression which has led to large scale closures, lay-offs and dismissals, and some of the precious democratic rights of the working class have been taken away. The working class in India is fighting heroically against such attacks on their rights and livelihood. Recent strike of coal workers is one such examples of the united action of the working people against such onslaughts.
From its First Conference fifty years ago, AIKS has always been conscious of the role the history has assigned to working class and peasantry to fight together against remnants of feudalism and then to lay the foundation of a just society without exploitation. Solidarity with working class has been the cornerstone of its polity for bringing about a drastic restructuring of the society. This Conference too repeats this pledge-of solidarity With the working class and supports its demands in its fight against capitalist exploitation and for social transformation.
On the Danger of Communal and Divisive Forces
The 25th Conference expresses its alarm at the rapid growth of communal, divisive and separatist forces in the country in the recent years. The situation in Punjab came to serious pass when the extremists declared the formation of so-called independent state of Khalistan from the precincts of Golden Temple, throwing an open challenge to the unity and integrity of the country. They continue to resort to terrorist activities taking the toll of the lives of innocent people, and are carrying on a vicious campaign to incite communal hatred. The newly organized Shiv Sena by Hindu communalists is adding fuel to the fire, further intensifying the communal polarization.
In Jammu and Kashmir Jamate-Islami and other communal organizations have taken the upper hand in creating communal tension and polarization which the state had never faced.
In Assam, the new ministry pursues separatist aims and its followers run a campaign of intimidation _ and murder of opponents. The ministry is also preparing for steps which may lead to expulsion of thousands of Indian citizens from Assam dubbing them as foreign nationals. The Congress (I) government at centre and in states compromises with these elements, and in its narrow partisan interests, take steps which help and encourage the communal and divisive forces. The unlocking of the Ram Janam Bhoomi temple in the midst of present critical situation can be described as an act of unmitigated provocation to the Muslim masses, which is now being fully utilised by fanatical communal leaders. Simultaneously the Congress (I) government, with a view to protect its Muslim electoral base, compromised with worst section of Muslim communalists, on the question of Tight of Muslim divorce woman to secure maintenance: from her husband- The legislation which it got adopted by the Parliament by using its majority, to negate the Supreme Court verdict, is a shameful surrender of the right of Muslim women before obscurantism.
In many cases, the justifiable discontent of the people against the policies of the central government have been utilised by the divisive and separatist elements to serve their own ends, particularly in places where KisanSabha and other democratic movement are weak,. They arouse caste and communal passions to disrupt the unity of the toiling people.
This Conference sees this growth in divisive, communal or separatist influence as a danger to national-integrity which should be fought by the peasants in alliance with other democratic forces. This also undermines the unity of the peasants— and weakens its organization and militancy. The Conference urges its members to remain vigilant against these disruptive; influences and oppose steadfastly such attempts to divide; peasantry on communal and caste lines.
Atrocities on Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes
THE 25th Conference of the All India Kisan Sabha expresses its deep concern and distress at the fact that, even after 39 years of freedom, attacks and atrocities on scheduled castes and scheduled tribes still continue. Almost every other day we read reports of mass murders, burning of entire busters and even rape of scheduled caste and scheduled tribe women in police stations. According to government figures for 1984-85, altogether 15535 atrocities had been committed on scheduled castes, out of which 587 were murders and 675 were rapes. 3985 cases of atrocities were committed on tribals, out of which 164 were murders and 285 were rape cases. More recent reports indicate continuation of these atrocities. Four harijans were killed by Lorik Sena in the month of March 1986, in Noria village of Dhanapur sub-division. The brutal killings of 15 adivasis including former M.P. by police firing took place in April 19, 1986 in Bihar. 11 harijans, including pregnant women and children, are shot dead by landlord goondas in Raibareilly in U.P. in 1985. Three harijans were shot dead in Etah in Uttar Pradesh in the month of March, 1986. On 19th April, 1986 in a dispute over a bill of land, more than 40 persons were shot dead by the police at Arwal in Bihar. The Arwal carnage has shocked the country.
These are only reported cases and represent only a fraction of the total number of atrocities, since most of the cases of atrocities are not reported due to the fear of reprisals by the powerful landlord oppressors.
It is also to be noted that more than 80% of these crimes were committed in only four 4 Congress (I) ruled states of Madhya Pradesh, U. P., Bihar and Rajasthan, while very few cases were reported from the Left Front ruled states of West Bengal and Tripura. There can be no doubt that the pro-landlord policies of the Congress (I) government is mainly responsible for this sorry state of affairs. In Bihar the landlords have their organized senas and armed gangs of muscle men “to teach lesson” to the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, agricultural workers and poor peasants who dare to demand payment of statutorily fixed minimum wages or do occupy and cultivate land allotted to them under 20-point programmes, or refuse to vacate land on the orders of the landlords.
The Conference calls upon all units of the Kisan Sabha and other mass organizations and democratic sections of the people to raise their voice against these atrocities and defend the scheduled castes and tribes from the attacks of the landlords and their armed men. The Conference also demands that the Government should take stern measures against the recalcitrant and aggressive landlords and to immediately put a stop to the atrocities being committed on scheduled castes and tribes.
Observe the Year 1986 as Golden Jubilee Year
APRIL 11, 1986 marked the Fiftieth Anniversary of the All India Kisan Sabha and we are holding this Golden Jubilee Session in Patna to mark this historic occasion of great significance for the peasantry and the organized peasant movement of our country
Born as the All India Kisan Congress (the name was changed later) at the Foundation Conference in Lucho on April 11, 1936, the AIKS has traversed a long and memorable path in these fifty years. The Kisan Sabha was born out of the realization that agrarian relations in India needed a radical change and that only an organized peasant movement would be able to struggle for such an agrarian revolution.
Inhuman imperialist and landlord exploitation and oppression during the colonial rule had, in the 19th century itself, led to the outbreak of peasant revolts, though local and spontaneous, like the Santnal rebellion, the Indigo revolt, etc. The peasantry in large numbers participated in the freedom struggle, joining non-cooperation movements in response to the Indian National Congress.
Peasant struggles on their own demands were breaking out in various parts of the country, especially on the demands of tenants —for abolition of intermediaries, fair rent, security of tenure, against usurious interests, etc. Peasant organizations were also getting formed in various places, though there was no coordination between each other.
The depression of the early 1930s which engulfed the whole capitalist world and left its impact on India also, and the Indian peasantry was the worst sufferer with the prices of crops crashing to the lowest levels while there was no relief from rent, taxes and exorbitant interest on loans. By then the non-cooperations movement had also ended in failure.
Radical elements inside the Congress, leaders of the Congress Socialist Party, Communists and some others came to the conclusion, in this situation, that an all-India organization of peasants had become an urgent necessity not only for winning immediate relief for them but to rally them in the struggle for radical agrarian reforms as well as for national independence.
An organizing committee was formed in Meerut in January 1936, and the founding conference was held in Lucknow on April 11, 1936. The conference declared that, “the object of the All India Kisan Congress is to secure complete freedom from economic exploitation of the peasantry and the achievement of full economic and political power for the peasants and workers and all other exploitated classes. The main task of the Kisan Congress shall be organization of the peasants to fight for their immediate political and economic demands in order to prepare them for their emancipation from every form of exploitation.”
Many struggles, big and small, were fought by the peasantry under the leadership of the All India Kisan Sabha, and the organization of the AIKS spread to all provinces of the country.
The post-second world war period saw some of the glorious struggles of the peasantry—the Tebhaga struggle in Bengal, the glorious actions in Punnapra-Vayalar (Travancore) and North Malabar, the Warli peasants in Maharashtra and the struggle of occupancy tenants of Pepsu, the struggle of Surma Valley peasants for tenancy rights, the struggle on Bakasht land in Bihar, the resistance of tribal peasant of Tripura and, to crown them all, the heroic armed struggle of Telangana where in thousands of villages, the Deshmukhs were forced to flee and their land was distributed to the landless and land-poor. These struggles had to face unheard of repression, thousands were martyred.
These struggles had their impact on the Congress leaders of post-independence period. They saw that the message of agrarian revolution was growingly gripping the peasant masses. To meet these rising challenges, they, on the one hand, resorted to the Bhoodan maneuverer under Vinoba Bhave’s leadership, and on the other, abolished zamindaries and jagirdaries and enacted some land reforms legislations, mainly the land ceiling acts.
These laws did not in the least help to solve the burning problems of the peasantry. Except for a section of tenants being enabled to become landowners, that too with the payment of big compensation amounts, these laws, because of the loopholes in them, could not break land monopoly which continues, while many join the ranks of the landless year after year. The Congress promise made during the days of the freedom struggles of land to the tiller, remains unfulfilled to this day.
The peasantry is being subjected to ever growing exploitation. They are denied remunerative prices for their produce while the cost of their inputs and consumption goods steadily goes up ; they are groaning under heavy indebtedness and more and more burdens in the form of levies and taxes are imposed on them. It was against these growing burdens that the post-independence India saw one of the biggest struggles of the peasantry—the anti-betterment-levy struggle in Punjab. In recent years there has been veritable peasant upsurge for remunerative prices and against additional tax burdens.
The Left Front governments in West Bengal and Tripura and Left & Democratic government of Kerala have taken innumerable measures to provide relief to the peasantry and agricultural workers along with land reforms measures giving a big fillip to the kisan movement; and the units of the AIKS played an important role in the developing movements for land reforms and against the pro-monopoly policy of the central government. This has given immense strength to the AIKS in these states and has become a source of inspiration for the rest of the country.
The fifty years of the Kisan Sabha are years of which everyone connected with it can be proud. Today the All India Kisan Sabha has become the biggest organization of the peasantry Mill around eight million members and units in all states.
But it should not be forgotten that the peasants organized in the AIKS and other peasant organizations and under their influence are only a very small percentage of the peasants population in the country. Vast areas in our country, especially in the Hindi speaking region, are untouched by the activities of the organized kisan movements. It is imperative that this grave weakness is overcome as quickly as possible.
The Golden Jubilee Year of the AIKS should become the starting point of the biggest activity to expand the Kisan Sabha to all the areas, to spread the massage of the agrarian revolution in every part of the country. The Kisan Sabha’s aim should be to see that there is no revenue circle in the country without an AIKS unit. Seventy percent of our population lives in the rural areas and is engaged in agriculture, handicrafts and other rural trades. Without organizing the bulk of them, neither their genuine interests can be defended nor can there be any successful agrarian revolution. The guarantee of success is a powerful Kisan Sabha as the mass organization of the peasantry, championing also the cause of agricultural workers and forging unity with them and building the unity of the peasantry with the working class. Let the Golden Jubilee Year see the beginning of the efforts to fulfill this historic task.
The Golden Jubilee of the AIKS comes at a time when the national situation is bleak and the international situation is menacing because of the imperialist threat of nuclear war. Only by strengthening the organization manifold as speedily as possible can the AIKS mobilize the peasantry of intervene in the national situation and strengthen the struggle for peace against the imperialist atomaniacs.
Let us bend all our efforts to these tasks. The 25th Conference calls on all AIKS units to celebrate the whole year as Golden Jubilee Year with special attention to expand the Kisan Sabha, to take the message of the agrarian revolution to the peasantry, to organize struggles independently and in unity with other peasant organizations against the burdens that are thrown on the peasants by the government’s new pro-private sector, pro-multinational economic policy, and join hands with all peace-loving forces to save the world from a nuclear holocaust.
LONG LIVE THE GOLDEN JUBILEE OF ALL INDIA KISAN SABHA
Date: May 17-19, 1986