Table of Contents
1 Against Offensive of Imperialism
The 29th, Conference of All India Kisan Sabha strongly condemns the increase attack of US Imperialism and stepping up intervention around the world. The most glaring illustration of aggressive global domination was witnessed in the week-long areal bombardment of Baghdad, and other places in Iraq in December 1998.
Even after the calling off the aerial attacks, in the name of self defence practically every day American planes are dropping bombs in Iraq and since December operation in Northern Iraq alone 86 bombs have been dropped till the end of Feb. 1999. Latest revelations in the united states show that number of CIA men had been infiltrated into the inspection teams and they were actively collecting intelligence and indulging in activities which had nothing to do with the UN Teams mission.
In the West Asian region, the interim peace agreement worked out between Israel and PLO after US intervention in 1994, is in the doldrums. Israeli occupation of Southern Lebenan with the backing of US imperialism is now going on for more than 17 years.
The American efforts to intervene in the former Yugoslavia and hasten the process of its balkanisation is now focussed on Kosovo. United States and its European allies have been encouraging the seperatist Albanian forces in Kosovo province of Servia, Threatening of bombing and armed actions by NATO in Yugoslavia undermining the UNO is creating serious tension in the regionand will bring more miseries than settlement for the people of Yugoslavia including Albanians in Kosovo.
Utilising Indo-Pak conflict US imperialism is trying to intervene in this region and exerting pressure on India in various counts. In the absence of mighty Socialist Soviet Union today, United States and its European counter parts are trying their best to disorganise the non-aligned movement in order to carry on the efforts for global domination. US conspiracy against CUBA and north Korea is continuing, creating tension in those regions.
The US Imperialism and other imperialist countries, through their institutions like World Bank, IMF and WTO are exerting pressures on the developing countries to open up their economy in order to intensify their exploitation.
American imperialism is also exerting pressure on India to sign discriminatory treaties like CTBT, NPT etc and has imposed unjust sanctions. Instead of resisting these attempts, the present BJP government is .surrendering before imperialist pressures.
Apart from the political and economic attacks against the third world countries, this period also witnessed a massive imperialist cultural and media invasion utilising advances in the information technology. In the spheres of culture and information dissemination, imperialist controlled agencies are controlling the flow of information and facts to the third world countries. Through this, the imperialist countries have unleashed a big ideological offensive extolling values and principles that underpin its exploiting and hegemonistic designs.
The 29th conference of the All India Kisan Sabha calls upon the peasantry to come forward to protest against the attacks of imperialist countries on the people of the third world and to resist their attempt to pressurise India. The conference also urge upon the government not to surrender before the pressures of imperialist countries particularly US imperialism.
The Conference calls upon its units to keep up the heroic and glorious anti-imperialist tradition of the All India Kisan Sabha and do all the needful to moblise the peasantry against offensive of imperialism.
2 Resist the Dangerous Communal Forces
The country is heading towards a disaster. Despite the unprecedented development of science and technology and manifold increase of the productivity of labour, the anti-people policy of unbridled exploitation by capital based on compromise with landlordism has resulted in rampant poverty and widening of disparities. The shameless luxurious consumerism of a handful of people sharply contrasts with the condition of masses who are being deprived of the minimum needs of life comprising education, health care, shelter, safe drinking water etc. Because of the poverty of millions, the market is not expanding in accordance with the growth of productivity. Old industrial units are falling sick and getting closed down. The small-scale sector is in danger. Massive retrenchment is going on and new employment is virtually stopped. Consequently unemployment problem assumes frightening proportions with no future for the new generation. Taking advantage of the fierce competition among people for a job, the industrialists are hightening the exploitation and imposing the vile condition of work upon the working people. With unemployment increasing, the pressure of population upon agriculture is looking up. Inflation and price-spiral are eroding the purchasing power of the mass of people. Monumental amount of universally acknowledged black money leads to wild speculation over prices. The ruling classes, deep in debt trap, are bowing down to their imperialist masters and are in a hurry-scurry to implement the calamitous policy of liberalisation. It is accentuating the crisis in the lives of people and will further accentuate it. At a time when the widest unity among workers, peasants, employees, middle-class etc. is urgently called for to resist the disparate offensive of the ruling classes, the communal, fundamentalist and divisive forces, pampered by imperialism are out to disrupt the class unity of the people.
As a consequence of the weakeness of class and democratic movement, the compromises with and indulgence to the communalism forces by the erstwhile Congress governments at the centre and their narrow political opportunism, the BJP came to power at the centre and as a result the danger has increased all the more. Without officially including the communal agenda in the declared manifesto of the BJP-coalition, the Sangh Parivar has been implementing their communal programme. Hate-campaign against the minorities and attack upon them is being continually intensified. The Sangh Parivar decides the birthplaces of the epics’ characters— Rama, Krishna or Sita as they like and ignore the history. That the Sangh Parivar does not care for the court-verdict, whatever it may be and that they are organising stone-works at different places for the construction of Ram Mandir on the very site of Babri Masjid are being boasted openly. Burial grounds in different places including Lucknow have been closed. On the plea of painting Saraswati figure two decades back, the studio of the noted artist like Maqbul Fida Hossain has been vandalised while nude sculptures of goddesses adorns the temples in India. Hindutva is being projected as nationality instead of religion and on that logic whoever does not believe in the Hindu religion is being treated as anti-national. Education, history, research, culture — the appex official bodies in all areas are being put under the authority of the Sangh Parivar. In order to advance their communal objective, even minimum norms of parliamentary democracy is being violated. Official meeting of education ministers is being inaugurated by the RSS leaders. The outlook on the the basis of which the high-level Govt, officials would function, is being dictated by the RSS chief. Rape of Christian nuns is being projected as a sacred act. With a view to spreading communal hatred and anti-China canards, the nuclear war mania is being kicked up.
In the last election held in some states, this communal BJP has been vanquished. This is surely good for the democratic and class movement. But it would be a serious mistake to take this defeat of the BJP as that of communalism. Ours is a semi-feudal country and feudal influence is rampant in the cultural arena. In education, our country is backward, science-consciousness is at low key and superstitions prevail in a big way. This is the fertile soil for communalism, fundamentalism and divisive politics. The way, the communal forces are carrying on the campaign for the last few
years, the manners in which the hegemony of communal forces is being clamped on the organs of the state as well as the way, the media, in the name of culture and entertainment, has been relentlessly trying to rouse religious emotions, should not be underestimated in their impacts. Though the discontent because of serious price-spiral and the reflection of the grave crisis in the lives of the people could defeat the communal fmzy in the election, it would be very harmful to think that the base of communalism has been weakened. Moreover, there is still the BJP govt, at the centre and the communal forces impregnated in the state apparatus are active. Following the elections, the Sangh Parivar has openly intensified their communal programme. In the Jaipur session of the Viswa . Hindu Parishad, a Rs. five crore kitty has been created to open a Sakti-kendra with 25 villages in each of 200 districts to conduct antiminority tirade on the plea of ’Jana Jagran March. ’For all practical purposes these will be the centres of armed storm troopers. The RSS also, in its Nagpur session has decided to conduct Hindutva cam- pain. In Gujrat, armed brigades like this have been occupying the churches and schools of the Christian minorities, setting them afire and taking over their charitable institutions. Bibles were put to fire and even the dead bodies were dug out from the burials. In Karnataka attempts were made to root out a Muslim Darga, a confluence of both Hindu and Muslims. They are joyfully declaring that ’application of force is bearing dividends.’ This continues day in and day out but the BJP government is not only silent over it but is resorting to subterfuges in defense of the fascist attack projecting the above as as problem of conversion. Even the Gujrat Governer has been removed for sending critical report against these barbarities. Attempts are there to spread out the same to other states. How much devilish can this fascist force be, has been demonstrated in Orissa. A Christian benevolent person from Australia, working for years for the eradication of leprosy has been cold-bloodedly burnt dead with his two children by the armed Bajrang Dal gang. Barbarity is crossing all its limits. Relgious faith is a matter of personal choice. It is within people’s democratic rights to belive in any particular religion or not to believe in any religion. It is a historically established truth that many have proselytized themselves into Islam, Chirstianity or Buddhism in order to escape the shoddy caste discrimination or malice of Brahminism. Dr. Ambedkar, the father of the Indian Constitution had also to imbibe Buddhism owing to such factors. The state has no right to decide the religious faith of individual. The alibi of forcible conversion is being raised. The state can easily resist forcible conversion, if any. It does not require any armed fascist brigades.
Earlier, the Shiv Sena gangsters did not allow the noted Gazal singer Gulam Ali to perform in Mumbai. They did dig up the pitch at the Wankhede Stadium to foil the play by the Pakistan cricket team. Of late, they were publicly permitted in broad day light and in the presence of armed guards to spoil the cricket pitch in Delhi. The Prime Minister has been playing shameless role by trying to dilute this as ’patriotic outbursts’. At the different ’Melas’ held in various states, the Viswa Hindua Parishad, RSS, Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena etc are trying to hype up anti-minority hate campaign. These fascist bigots are so insolent as to indulge in slanders against not only mother Teresa but also against the Nobel-laureate Amartya Sen, famed for his welfare economics. The Director of the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies at Simla, even after he had invited Amartya Sen to deliver the Annual Radhakrishhnan Memorial Lecture, disgracefully cancelled it later on and arranged for Murli Monohar Joshi to deliver it. Facts show that the perils of commu- nalism have not waned. Hence the Kisan Sabha pledges itself to build up widest possible unity and organise ideological, political and organisational resistance against these dangers.
Supplementary to the majority communalism, the minority communalism is also trying to gain ground. Various organisations including Islamic communal organisations of the neighbours, abeted by imperialist forces, are organising subversive plots. It is noteworthy that the Jamat-e-ISlam Chiefs of Pakistan have been extending support to the Hindu Communalists’ demand to declare India as a Hindu State. These forces are raising the slogan of minority solidarity which in fact strengthen majority communalism. Unity of minorities cannot resist majority communalism. It is only the democratic unity of the minorities and the wide cross-section of the Hindus who are opposed to communalism and stand for the spread of secular ideas, which can effectively resist the majority communalism. This consciousness has to be spread among the minorities.
The 29th Conference of All India Kisan Sabha pledges itself to build up resistance movement against these communal forces that are most dangerous for building struggles against class exploitation.
3 On the Patent Legislation
This 29th conference of the All India Kisan Sabha expresses its concern at the way the BJP Government of India, operating in Collusion with the leading opposing party, Congress, is trying to push through a legislation on patents, at the instance of the unholy international Trinity of World Trade Organisation, World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. This legislation, purporting to give effect to two conditions for the membership of WTO, also known as “transitory rules’ to come to immediate effect, of ”exclusive marketing Right“ (EMR) and mailbox, would establish the hegemony of the multinational agri-business firms in the Indian market, would undermine India’s efforts towards indigenous industrial development, and would make India’s agriculture dependent on their technology and inputs. The lethal combination of two types of monopoly — arising from patents extended for 20 years, and exclusive marketing rights- buttressed by the gigantic size and economic power of these multinational global corporate bodies would cripple India’s agriculture and industry, and would take away the option of independent development.
Similarly, this Conferences is worried about the intention of the government to implement the provision in the TRIPs (Trade- related Intellectual Property Rights) agreement for the ’patent protection’ of plant varieties, by the end of this year, that would impose individual property rights on plant varieties that have evolved over centuries collectively by the micro-level communities, who had never erected barriers to the dissemination of knowledge. Taking advantage of the lack of legislative safeguards in India, the multinational agri-business firms are resorting to ’biopiracy’ that is taking away the germplasms of the Indian plants — such as neem, haldi, basamati, or jack-fruit — that had been an integral part of the Indian folklore from time immemorial, and patenting those in their own countries. Once patented, these companies are making use of provision of ’exclusive marketing rights’ to drive away authentic Indian production from the world market. If EMR were legislated in India too, the operative effect of that would be to push out authentic Indian plant varieties from the Indian market itself.
The Conference also takes note of another proposed legislation on bio-diversity, that would allow the multinational companies to take away the rights of the communities that have, through coutunies, evolved thousands of medicinal and other plants, by paying a token compensation. Still another proposed legislation on plant breeders’ rights, that completely negates the ’farmers’ rights’, would allow a registered plant breeder to seize the crop of a farmer who has planted his ’registered’ variety without his permission and without paying him a fee. While the essence of agriculture is regeneration and reproduction, these multinational companies have developed ’terminator’ seeds that would make the seed infertile after producing only one crop. The objective of the multinational agribusiness firms is to take away the independence of the farmers, and to make him work with inputs supplied by them and in accordance with their specifications, while the prices of both inputs and outputs would be unilaterally decided by these firms.
Taking into account these ominous developments, that would have serious, irreversible and long term negative consequences on India’s agriculture, this conference calls upon the government to abandon its servile attitude and not to surrender to the dictates of the unholy International Trinity and the MNCs specialising in agribusiness. The conference urges on the Indian Government and the leading party in opposition, Congress, not to give in to these external pressures, and instead to take leadership in moblising opinion in the poor countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America and force the rich countries to renegotiate the TRIPs agreement. The conference is alarmed that, when by the end of this year the TRIPs provision on plant protection would be coming for review and the entire TRIPs agreement would come for review a few months afterwards, rather than seriously taking up the task of consolidating the third world opinion to rectify injustices done to them by TRIPs and other GATT agreements, the government has chosen the path of submission at the feet of the international capital. The conference also urges the government to make the issues relating to patent a subject of national debate, so that the sovereign and independent people of India, after taking into account all the consequence of these proposed legislation can decide whether the actions of the Government are in conformity with national interest.
The conference calls upon all the constituents of All India Kisan Sabha, and also the other left, secular and progressive forces working among the peasantry, to undertake awareness campaign on this complex issue that has serious, irreversible, long term implications for Indian agriculture, and to rise in protest against this conspiracy to sacrifice India’s precious land, medicinal plants and other biological wealth, as also agriculture, at the alter of globalisation that only serves the interests of the rich country MNCs.
4 Against Social Atrocities
Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes forms one fourth of Indian population and the main chunk of the rural poor. Social discrimination against them, and atrocities on them are increasing.
The incidents of rape, arson, and severe injuries (Registered Case only) were according to statistics provided in Parliament were 5446 in 1991 and increased to 11,119 in 1992. The recent killings of Dalits in Bihar and atrocities in other states only shows that these are on the increase and not reduced.
Dr. Ambedkar once said, “On January 26,1950 we are going to enter into a life of contradictions. In politics we will have equality and in social and economic life we will have inequality” and “we must remove this contradiction at the earliest possible moment or else those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of political democracy.”
With this in mind the Constitution declared that “Untouch- ability and social discrimination has been ended in India. If any body indulges in untouchabihty and denies the principle of one man, one value, it is crime as per the law”. For this, untouchability act and protection of civil rights acts were enacted.
Despite all these laws and even after fifty years of independence the”atrocities are only increasing year after year, Untouchability and social discrimination is there in many forms in various states. Two different glasses in tea-shopes, problem of burial and funeral grounds, denial of roads to Burial grounds, preventing taking water from common ponds, preventing from entering temples and enjoying common properties of village are there in many states even now. With the upsurge of the weaker sections to fight for the right it has led to various caste clashes and killings. For instance, there were more than 200 killings in the southern part of Tamilnadu and most of them are from the poor sections.The communal and casteist forces making use of this situation for dividing the peasantry and weakening its striking force.
In this situation the only way to remove the social discrimination and stop the casteist forces to divide the peasantry is the active intervention of the All India Kisan Sabha and take up the social issues and fight against obscurantism and caste oppression along with the struggle for land and other economic issues.
Taking all this into account this 29th All India Conference of the All India Kisan Sabha, calls its units and members to intervene effectively to make the dalits and tribal people aware of their rights and privileges and fight for equality.
All India Kisan Sabha call its units to organise conferences, seminars and other forms of propaganda to take this issue effectively among the masses and also organise direct actions wherever necessary.
5 On the Attacks of Landlords on Dalits in Bihar
The 29th conference of All India Kisan Sabha expresses its strongest resentment and serious anguish to see the severity of cruelty perpetuated upon the land-less Dalits in Bihar which can only be compared with the most heinous crime in the history of mankind.
The barbarity of these attacks upon the most exploited section of society by the landlords with its private army under various names like Ranbir Sena, Brahma Sena, Kunwar Sena etc., far exceeds the degree of cruelty of the most ferocious animals of jungles. The aged women over 70 years of age and the newly born children are not spared from the bullets of these Senas and they are killed or burnt alive enmasse in the dead of night while they are asleep. These attackers are getting the protection of bourgeoisie landlord parties in Bihar.
Under the very nose of the administration, these so called armies are organised by the landlords by hired goondas and they are not only paid but, the lives of these rouges are insured with high value by the landlords, the premium are being paid by the organisers. Within last 3 years hundreds of Dalits have been mercilessly butchered by these landlords, the sole object being to perpetuate landlordism and crude form of feudal exploitation which exists because of the denials by all successive Governments to implement land reforms.
Unfortunately, some of the extremist and sectarian forces are trying to guide the peasants to the path of counter murder and thus helping to project the Dalits who are attacked at the same level with attackers, the landlords and their goons. These extremist forces sometimes kill innocent people only because they come from the same caste to which a tyrant landlord belongs. It impedes the task of isolating the landlords.
In a class society, where state power with all its might stand behind the exploiting classes, except without organising strong democratic public opinion and mass resistance, mere counterkillings of some individuals becomes unproductive and ultimately it isolates them from the democratic force and in reality harm their cause. Mere killing of few landlords or their agents cannot abolish feudal or other exploitative system, which actually lies behind the attacks, — this realisation has to be brought to the Dalits and other oppressed people.
It is also a fact that these exploited section belongs to Dalit communities and the exploiting landlords are of Upper castes in general and it is a historical fact that only the Indian society in the world is still featured by this sort of severe inhuman caste- hierarchy. In this context, some of the castist forces are trying to take advantage of this for their narrow political gains, project it as a caste-war to conceal the class nature of the attacks and lead it to self- defeating divisive channels.
In these premise, this conference call upon all the agricultural labourers, peasants, working-class, middle class intellectuals and all other peace-loving democratic forces to stand unitedly by the side of these exploited section and to help them in all possible manner so that these tyranny and exploitation is eliminated from the society.
This Conference at the same time call upon all its units to organise, campaign and demonstrate against these landlords and demand exemplary punishment of the culprits.
This Conference also urge upon all its units to launch a movement for collection of funds to be used to give relief to the kiths and kins of the victims in Bihar.
Date: March5–8, 1999
Author: All India Kisan Sabha, 4 Ashoka Road, New Delhi-1