A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol. 18, No. 28, 07 – 13 JULY 2015
The Greek Referendum and its Global ResonanceT
he Greek people have done it again. In January this year they had given a powerful anti-austerity mandate by voting Syriza to power. And now in the face of tremendous economic hardship and concerted political blackmail by the powerful lobbies and institutions of global capital, they have once again said a loud no to the austerity commandments of the Troika of IMF, European Commission and European Central Bank. In the July 5 referendum called by the Syriza government, more than 61% voters said OXI or NO to the humiliating and disastrous EU package of austerity. Regardless of the future trajectory of the Greek crisis, the bold popular assertion has indeed been a historic moment, a definitive assertion of the courage and power of the people over the commands and conspiracies of capital.
In economic terms, the Greek crisis is an alarming case of systematic debt-driven devastation of an otherwise developed country. The Troika and propagandists of the neoliberal order the world over attribute the debt burden on Greece to allegedly profligate public spending and advocate austerity – deep cuts in wages, pensions and welfare expenditure – and privatisation as the 'solution'. The Truth Committee on Public Debt – an independent committee of experts from 11 countries set up by the President of the Greek Parliament – has shattered this propaganda in its preliminary report released on 17 June 2015. The preliminary report has shown that public spending in Greece has been lower than that in other Eurozone countries and that the debt burden is almost entirely due to the payment of extremely high rates of interest to creditors, excessive military spending under previous governments, massive illicit capital outflows and the transition from the erstwhile Greek currency Drachma to the new common currency Euro.
Particularly revealing is the escalation of the debt burden since 2010, when Greece was subjected to harsh measures of austerity in the name of 'rescuing' its economy. The so-called 'bailout' packages have been appropriated almost entirely by Greek and other European private banks, with hardly 10% going to fund any kind of public spending. The cuts in wages, pension and public spending rather depressed the economy and increased the debt-GDP ratio, thereby deepening the debt trap. The committee says the IMF itself had warned about the unsustainable nature of the debt, yet it opposed any rational restructuring of the debt and only allowed the burden to escalate. The committee has therefore described the debt as not only unsustainable but illegal, illegitimate and odious, insisting on a substantial write-off and restructuring of the debt and rescheduling of loan repayment.
The rationality of the Greek position can be better appreciated if we compare the Greek problem to similar situations elsewhere in the past and also in recent times. Germany, which currently dominates the European establishment, was itself a beneficiary of a major debt write-off in the post-war period. The end of the world war in 1945 had left Germany with a crushing debt burden twice its GDP, but the London Debt Agreement of 1953 cancelled 60% of Germany's external debt obligations and also favourably restructured its internal debt. Today Germany is bent upon inflicting austerity on Greece and exacerbating its debt crisis! To take another example, let us look at the US which is today the most indebted country in the world and which also suffered a major banking crisis in recent past. But the freedom with which the US bailed out its banks and continues to manage its debt is denied to Greece. While the US can simply print dollars, Greece has no control over its present currency Euro. It has to keep borrowing Euros to maintain internal liquidity of its banks, let alone repay its past debt.
What is the way out of the Greek crisis? Many believe the answer lies in the eventual exit of Greece from the Eurozone and European Union, a return to its earlier currency Drachma and nationalisation of its banks. Many who voted OXI would actually support this radical position and they believe Greece cannot possibly hope to strike any 'reasonable deal' within the current European framework. The Syriza government has, on the other hand, rested its case on the plank of a just and dignified solution for Greece within the European framework, for a treatment of Greece as 'an equal among equals' as Tsipras put it. To facilitate a possible deal, Tsipras has even replaced his Marxist finance minister Yanis Varoufakis with his deputy, the soft-spoken Euclid Tsakalotos, who has been the chief negotiator for Greece with the European establishment. On his part Varoufakis has resigned gracefully promising to help Tsipras 'exploit, as he sees fit, the capital that the Greek people granted ... through (the) referendum.'
Only time will tell if and how Tsipras manages to withstand the next phase of negotiations with the European establishment. But by setting up a Truth Commission on the issue of Greece's public debt and by invoking the initiative and voice of the Greek people through the historic July 5 referendum, the Syriza government has surely managed to expose the irrationality of the Troika and mobilise popular anti-austerity pro-democracy solidarity for Greece across the world. The Greek battle has already spread to Spain; the question of restructuring of the Greek debt is growing into an agenda for a European Debt Conference to solve the debt problems of other European countries like Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Italy; and, the slogan of European solidarity has begun to challenge the menace of European austerity. And this can also only further strengthen the demands for the cancellation of the enormous unjust debt burden which many Third World countries have been bearing since the 1980s.
The Greek assertion of its economic sovereignty and the invocation of the people's choice is a particularly inspiring example for us in India, where the ruling classes have been complicit with the troika of IMF, World Bank and WTO in inflicting the policies of liberalisation, privatisation and now austerity on the Indian people. In fact, even the CPI(M)-led state governments in West Bengal and Kerala also chose to comply with the central policies whether in the name of 'provincial compulsions' in a federal set-up or in the name of reaping the harvest of 'growth and development' rather than go to the people and draw on their energy and courage to challenge the neo-liberal tyranny. Apart from drawing inspiration from the Greek experience of popular resistance, the Left in India will also find it relevant to study the Syriza experiment of "unity and struggle" where various Left currents are engaged in serious debates even as they pool their strength to push the coalition ahead. Let us wish all power and victory to the Greek people.
Joint Statement by Six Left Parties
Press ReleaseJuly 5, 2015: Leaders of six Left parties – CPI(M), CPI, AIFB, RSP, CPI(ML)-Liberation and SUCI(C) met today and issued the following statement:
All the claims made by the BJP central government and the Prime Minister that during the course of this one year the NDA government has offered a corruption free administration are being thoroughly exposed by the day.
In the Lalit Modi-IPL scam, the Union Minister for External Affairs and the Rajasthan Chief Minister have figured as persons grossly misusing their office to help a fugitive from Indian law, Lalit Modi.
The Union Minister for Human Resource Development has given a false statement regarding her educational qualifications.
Cases of misuse of office for pecuniary gains have come up in the BJP ruled states of Maharashtra, involving two BJP state ministers. In other BJP ruled states like Chattisgarh such instances of high level corruption are being reported.
The Left parties demand that a thorough CBI investigation under the supervision of the judiciary must be conducted in these cases and the guilty should be booked and punished. All tainted ministers in the Centre and the states must be removed from office until the investigations are completed and action taken.
Crime & Corruption: The admission and recruitment scam in the state of Madhya Pradesh – Vyapam scam -- has exposed the BJP state government as having perpetrated one of the worst corruption cases in the state ever. Officially 27 people associated with this case, including nine important witnesses, have died under mysterious circumstances. Important journalists, reporting on the scam, have also been victims of such mysterious deaths. Nearly 47 inexplicable deaths of people connected with this scam in one way or the other have been reported.
July 20 – All India Protest Day
The Left parties decided to hold an all India protest exposing corruption at high levels in this BJP central government as well as in various states on July 20. State level protest actions will be held demanding the removal and action against all those involved in corruption and nepotism.
The state units of the Left parties will take up the state level issues of corruption, like the massive Saradha and other chit fund scams in West Bengal, Bar licence scam etc in Kerala, along with those mentioned above in their state level protest actions.
2. Hindutva Terror: The Left parties strongly condemn the efforts of the BJP governments at the Centre and the states to subvert justice in investigated cases of Hindutva terror like Malegaon, Hyderbad Mecca Masjid, Ajmer Sharief and the Samjuatha Express cases. In the Malegaon and the Ajmer Sharief investigations, efforts are on to scuttle the cases.
3. September 2 Workers Strike: The Left parties decided to give a joint call of support to the September 2 all India call for strike given by the central trade unions.
4. Bihar Assembly Elections: The Left parties have decided to jointly contest the forthcoming assembly elections in Bihar as an independent, united bloc.
The meeting was attended by Sitaram Yechury and Prakash Karat from CPI(M), Sudhakar Reddy and D. Raja from CPI, Dipankar Bhattacharya and Swapan Mukherjee from CPI(ML)-Liberation, G Devarajan from AIFB, Satyawan and Pran Sharma from SUCI(C) and Abani Roy from RSP.
CPI(ML) Statement on Vyapam Scam
The shocking trail of Vyapam deaths has stunned the entire country. Admission and recruitment scams have been exposed in several states, but Vyapam has become notorious as a killer scam. The systematic serial elimination and intimidation of witnesses, whistleblowers, doctors and even journalists covering the scam that the country is witnessing challenges the very foundations of justice and democracy.
Faced with growing mass resentment over the Vyapam deaths, the BJP has finally accepted the demand for a CBI probe. The CPI(ML) insists that the probe must be closely monitored by the Supreme Court and Shivraj Singh Chauhan must immediately resign in view of his dubious role in the entire episode.
AIPF-CPI(ML) Organize Countrywide Programmes against Company Raj on 'Hul Diwas'
On the completion of the 100 days of AIPF campaign for land rights and labour rights, which marks the end of the first phase of the campaign, various programmes were held on 30 June 2015 in different parts of the country. 30 June is also celebrated as 'Hul Diwas' for the famous Santhal upsurge against the British Raj.
Jharkhand: Protesting against the Land Acqusition ordinance and the anti-people policies of the Modi government, AIPF & CPI(ML) held a protest demonstration outside the district office in Giridih and also held a march. Hundreds of people participated in this march raising the slogan of "Gaon Shehar se Uthi Awaaz, nahin Chalega Company Raaj" (Call of every village and town, company raj down down!) Addressing the gathering of the people the General Secretary of CPI(ML), Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya said that the one year of Modi government has been dedicated to the service of Adani and Ambani instead of the common people. BJP's promise of 'Acche Din" during the election campaign has been long shattered. In Jharkhand and several other states, land and rights of adivasis are being forcefully snatched in keeping with policies aimed at establishing the Company Rule. Comrade Manoj Bhakt, CPI(ML) MLA Com. Rajkumar Yadav and ex CPI(ML) MLA and Jharkhand state in-charge of AIPF, Com. Vinod Singh, also addressed.
A day earlier, on 29 June 2015, an 'Adhikaar March' (March for rights) was organized in Dhanbad. The march was led by Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya, CPI(ML) CC member, Com. Shubendu Sen and Com. Vinod Singh. Hundreds of people participated in the march holding the banner of 'Save Democracy, Save Jharkhand'. Addressing the march, Com. Dipankar said that with BJP at the centre and the state, the mafia raj had only been strengthened. Referring to the anti-people changes being made in the labour laws, he said that we must already start prepairing for the All India Strike on 2 September.
Protest marches were also organized on 'Hul Diwas' by AIPF in Dumka, Garhwa, Gumla and Ramgarh in Jharkhand. CPI(ML) and AIPF leaders addressing these marches pointed out how on this day several years ago, the adivasis of Jharkhand had ignited the spark of revolt against the colonial rule of the Company. Remembering the leaders of that revolt- Siddhu, Kanhu, Chand, Bhairav. Phulo and Jhano, they reminded people the need to once again launch a determined struggle against the present day Company Raj.
Uttar Pradesh: Protest marches, rallies and meetings were held at Lucknow, Kanpur, Baliya, Gazipur, Gorakhpur, Chandauli, Faizabad, Seetapur and Mau among other districts. In Sonebhadra, on the day when AIPF rally for land and labour rights was to be held, i.e., on 30 June, the police arrested the members of the AIPF early morning. Despite the machinations of the administration which besides arresting AIPF leaders, also threatened those who were to participate in the rally, people refused to be bullied into silence and still went ahead to hold the rally.
West Bengal: A massive AIPF rally was organized on 30 June in Kolkata in which hundreds of people participated carrying colourful banners and holding cultural performances. The protestors marched from College square raising slogans demanding end to corporate loot by the Modi Govt. They also held banners demanding release of political prisoners.
Odisha: Programmes were organized in various districts between 24-30 June. In Bhadark district around 300 CPI(ML) activists organized a colourful rally shouting slogans against Modi government under the leadership of Com. Samar Bal and Sanjay Swain. CPI(ML) CC member Com. Yudhistir Mahapatra and SCM Com. Mahendra Parida addressed the rally in front of the office of the district magistrate. Both criticized the Modi government's one year rule and Naveen government's corporate friendly policies in the state. On 29 June, protest demonstrations were held in Bhubaneswar and Khurda. On 30 June a huge rally was organized at Rayagada in the leadership of Comrades Tirupati Gamango, Brundaban Bidika and Sambrasabar that saw a massive participation of hundreds of people. In Puri also, around 400 comrades joined the protest rally in front of DM's office. Demonstrations were also held in Kendrapara and Rourkela.
Puducherry: A People's Rights Convention was held at Puducherry on 30 June presided by Com. S. Balasubramanian, State Secretary, CPI(ML), in the presence of comrades G. Kandasamy, Trade Union leader in CPWD, M. Muthukannu, Social Activist, R. Thanigai Thambi, Journalist and V. Murthy. The convention was well attended and saw a discussion on several relevant issues. Com. S. Balasundaram, Vice-President AIARLA spoke extensively on the issue of 'Guarantee of Land, Food and Livelihood'. Others who spoke on various issues affecting the people included Com. K. Mohanasundaram, National Council member, AIPF, Prof. M.L. Thangappa, Member, Advisory Panel, AIPF, Social activist and NCM A. Laigat Ali, P. Murthy, Ex. MLA of Puducherry Assembly, Manjakkal Upendiran, former TU leader and presently editor of local monthly journal, R. Muruganantham, NCM, AIPF and R. Mangayarselvan, Campaign Committee member AIPF. An eleven points resolution was introduced by S. Thamizhmani, Friends of Earth and was passed unanimously.
Andhra Pradesh: A weeklong protests and rallies on 'Land and Labour Rights' were held in East Godavari, Srikakulam and Krishna districts. On 30 June, protest programmes were held at Kakinada and Vijaywada. Around 1500 people attended the dharna organized in Kakinada.
Comrade Arun Pandey, A Popular CPI(ML) Leader of Koyridih, Brutally MurderedComrade Arun Pandey, CPI(ML) block committee member of Sariya block, Giridih district, Jharkhand, was brutally murdered on 5 July morning when he was on his way from Simrabeda village to Koyridih on a cycle. As he was riding, he was attacked by Baleshwar Manjhi, Pawan Pandey, Jayprakash Verma, Ramashankar Thakur and Bheem Maanjhi. As soon as he fell off his cycle, his throat was brutally slit and he died on the spot.
Com. Arun Pandey was on the target list of his political opponents owing to his following among the poor adivasis of the area. They had on earlier occasions too tried to attack him and frame him on several false charges. On several occasions the local MLA Nagendra Mahto appeared from the side of the above mentioned assailants in police station. Following his murder, massive protests have been staged by CPI(ML) demanding immediate arrest of his killers.
Thousands of people joined the funeral procession of Com. Arun and paid their tributes.
Red Salute to Comrade Arun Pandey!
Protest in Jahanabad against BJP's Communal Politics and Attack on CPI(ML) Leader Com. Upadhyay Yadav
On 2 May 2015, a young CPI(ML) leader and a member of the Jahanabad Zila Parishad, Comrade Upadhyay Yadav was fired at repeatedly by criminals. Com. Yadav is one of the leading leaders in the movement in Ratni block for paddy procurement. The attack on Com. Upadhyay had led to massive unrest among the people leading to a people's movement as a result of which the police was forced to arrest the attackers. On 27 June a people's resistance rally was called to protest against the attack and the repeated attempts by the communal forces to create communal frenzy in the district. However, on the same day, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad declared a bandh in Jahanabad, in order to once again try and create trouble. Thousands of people came out to participate in programme despite rains and also defying a bandh called by the VHP. People not only from Jahanabad but also from the neighbouring district of Arwal, participated in the rally. The massive and enthusiastic participation by thousands of people once again sent an emphatic message to feudal and communal forces that their kind of politics will not work in Jahanabad and that the poor of the district will give a befitting response to each and every tactic of theirs.
Due to his courage and strength Comrade Upadhyay Yadav has not only survived four bullet wounds to his chest but is also recovering well at the moment.
Pudukottai district of Tamil Nadu is known for caste domination and atrocities against Dalits. Mr. Sait of Ambedkar Periyar Makkal Kazhakam was one among those in the forefront in the struggles against atrocities on Dalits in 1990s. He was murdered on 19th May 2015. More than 1000 people assembled at the spot of murder demanding justice. Few people were arrested immediately by police. However, as per the police version the murder was committed by a dalit youth who was arrested and sent to jail. Even though people were not able to identify the real culprit, suspicion looms large among the dalit community about the police' version.
Frequent Killings of Dalits in TN
In this background, CPI(ML) held a demonstration against honour killings and atrocities on dalits on 26.06.2015. It also included a demand for impartial probe into the murder of Mr. Sait and also demanded that the suspicion in the minds of the people be cleared. The police denied permission for the programme. Defying the ban, dalit youths in and around Gandarvakottai poured in and raised slogans. Protestors also demanded justice in the recent case of honour killing of Gokulraj of Salem. Police arrested hundreds of youths assembled there and this programme was widely welcomed by other left and dalit outfits.
Protest by AIPF in TN and APMore than 400 people attended a public meeting organised at Coimbatore on 26th June against the undeclared emergency in the country today. It was presided over by Com. Balasubramanian, district secretary of CPI(ML). The meeting was addressed by Com. Kumarasamy, Politburo member of CPI(ML), Com. Balamurugan, state GS of PUCL, Com. NK Natarajan, State President of AICCTU, Com. Chandramohan, National Campaign Committee member of AIPF and Com. Balamurugan, GS of Shanthi Gears Employees' Union. On the same day a convention was also organised at Sriperumputhur. Com. Rajaguru, state president of RYA presided the meeting. It was addressed by Prof. A. Marx, National campaign committee member of AIPF, Advocate Prakash, NCM and also President of the United Labour Federation, Com. Sujatha Modi, NCM as well as National secretary of NTUI, among others. Workers from factories like Diamond engineering, Nippon express, Hyundai and C &F participated. The Nagerkoil convention was presided by Dr. RS Lalmohan of Nature protection trust and the welcome address was delivered by Com. Mary Stella, TN's SCM of CPI(ML).
In Andhra Pradesh too anti-emergency day dharnas were organized on 26 June in front of 12 mandal revenue offices. Hundreds of people participated in these dharnas. The protestors also raised slogans against the undeclared emergency that has been imposed on the nation today by the Modi government.
AIPWA Held Country-wide Protests against Vitriolic Social Media Attack on AIPWA National Secretary Com. Kavita Krishnan and Actor Shruti Seth by Supporters of the PM
The national executive of AIPWA condemns in the strongest words the personally directed social media attack replete with racism, misogyny, homophobia and brutal verbal violence that has been unleashed on Com. Kavita Krishnan and actor Shruti Seth for daring to critique the 'selfie with daughter' campaign initiated by the Prime Minister.
AIPWA held countrywide protests against the attack and abuse from 2nd to 4th July.
Edited, published and printed by S. Bhattacharya for CPI(ML) Liberation from U-90, Shakarpur, Delhi-92; printed at Bol Publication, R-18/2, Ramesh Park, Laxmi Nagar, Delhi-92; Phone:22521067; fax: 22442790, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, website: www.cpiml.org