The fourth Jharkhand State Conference of CPI(ML) was held at Koderma on 23-25 March. The town had been rechristened Comrade Mahendra Singh Nagar, and the Conference venue was named after Comrade Ibn-ul Hasan Basru.
The Conference was preceded by an impressive ‘Rally Against Loot, Repression, Displacement’ on 23 March. Thousands of women and men marched to gather at the rally ground, raising slogans against the rampant corporate loot of natural resources, and repression and displacement of adivasis and poor peasants. Gates dedicated to Bhagat Singh and other revolutionary martyrs, and red flags decorated the entire town of Koderma.
The rally was presided over by the party’s Central Committee member Comrade Bahadur Oraon, and conducted by the Koderma district secretary Comrade Prem Prakash. Speakers at the rally included Comrade Vinod Singh, MLA from CPI(ML) in the Jharkhand Assembly, CPI(ML) Central Committee member Kavita Krishnan, elected Zila Parishad members Comrades Basudev Yadav and Ramdhan Yadav, and Vice-Pramukh Shyamdev Yadav, AICCTU State President Devdeep Singh Diwakar, JHAMAS (agricultural labourers’ organisation) State Secretary Parameshwar Mehto, AIPWA leader Geeta Mandal, Garhwa Zila Panchayat Chairperson Sushma Mehta, and party State Committee member Comrade Rajkumar Yadav. The rally passed several political resolutions presented by Comrade Bhuneshwar Kevat, secretary of the party in Ranchi, demanding a speedy probe into the coal scam, condemnation of the horse-trading that took place as all the ruling parties vied to woo Jharkhand MLAs over the Rajya Sabha elections, and demanded intervention by the Governor to ensure a probe and appropriate punishment for the corrupt MLAs, demand for honouring the families of those martyred during the Jharkhand separate state movement, condemnation of state repression in Jharkhand, demanding release of CPI(ML) activist Comrade Ramdas Minz of Garhwa, and condemning the violence unleashed by supporters of BJP’s MLA on CPI(ML) activists preparing for the State Conference in Koderma.
The delegate session of the Conference began in the evening of 23 March. A presidium comprising Comrades Devdeep Singh Diwakar, Anant Prasad Gupta, Geeta Mandal, Bahadur Oraon, Usman Ansari, Susheela Tigga, and Sushma Mehta were entrusted with conducting the Conference. Two minutes of silence were observed in memory of the martyrs. Inaugurating the Conference, Politburo member Comrade Swadesh Bhattacharya called on the CPI(ML) to emerge as a powerful revolutionary force of resistance to corporate plunder and struggle for people’s rights in Jharkhand. Outgoing state secretary of the party, Comrade Janardan Prasad, presented the draft document for discussion at the Conference.
On 24 March, delegates discussed and debated the work report. In the course of the day, several guests also addressed the conference, including Lokyuddh editor and Central Committee member BB Pandey, Liberation editor and CCM Kavita Krishnan, Central Control Commission member Comrade Rajaram, and Politburo member Comrade DP Buxi. The presidium read out a moving and inspiring letter by CPI(ML)’s Garhwa leader Comrade B N Singh, sent from Hazaribag Jail where he has been incarcerated since 2003 on false charges by feudal forces.
Teams and individual singers of the Jharkhand Jan Sanskriti Manch presented rousing revolutionary songs. At the end of the day, Comrade Janardan concluded the debate on the document, responding to many questions and issues raised, and following this, the document was unanimously passed by the house. Addressing the delegate session, party General Secretary Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya called upon the party in Jharkhand to overcome all the attacks by ruling forces and its own subjective weaknesses, and to prepare with all vigour for the party’s Ninth Congress which is to be held in Ranchi next year.
On 25 March, the house elected a 39-member State Committee, which reelected Comrade Janardan Prasad as Secretary. The Central Committee observer of the Conference, Comrade Prabhat, addressed the delegates, congratulating the party on its successful Conference and looking forward to the party’s growing assertion in the state.
Delivering the concluding speech, party General Secretary Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya said that the Assembly poll results had showed a widespread disenchantment with the main ruling class contenders Congress and BJP, and this mandate, along with the powerful response to the All India Strike and the protests against the Union Budget, showed that people were seeking an alternative. This situation, with a weakened UPA and NDA, led some to talk of a non-Congress, non-BJP Third Front. However, even if such a Front were to materialize, comprising erstwhile constituents of the UPA and NDA, could not possibly provide any genuine alternative or resistance to the neoliberal, anti-people policies, corporate plunder and repression. The only hope for a genuine political alternative, could emerge only from intensifying people’s resistance to these policies. In Jharkhand, CPI(ML) has always been at the forefront of such resistance on the streets, and has been the sole voice of revolutionary opposition within the Assembly. The party must take up the challenge of consolidating our expansion and increasing our political assertion in Jharkhand. He said that the preparations for the Ninth Congress of the party to be held in Ranchi in 2013 presented not just an organizational but also a political challenge – as could be gauged by the repression unleashed on the party in Garhwa, and the attacks by BJP goons on party supporters in Koderma in the course of preparations for the state conference.
Volunteers were felicitated and thanked for their efforts in making the Conference successful. The Conference passed a series of political resolutions, including a detailed plan of political campaigns, mass organization conferences, fund collection, and other preparations for hosting the Ninth Congress. The Conference concluded with the rendering of the Internationale, and with rousing slogans.
Red Salute to all delegate comrades at the party’s fourth Jharkhand Conference that is beginning on Bhagat Singh’s martyrdom day!
In his letter to Batukeshwar Dutt who had been sentenced to life imprisonment, Bhagat Singh had written, “I have been sentenced to death by hanging. There are many criminals in these cells who are waiting for the gallows. They are praying to be spared the noose somehow, but perhaps I am the only one among them who is eagerly waiting for the day when I will have the good fortune to swing from the gallows for my ideals. I will climb the gallows with joy, to show the world how bravely revolutionaries can sacrifice their lives for their ideals…I have been sentenced to death, but you have been sentenced to life imprisonment. You will remain alive, and you have to show the world that revolutionaries can not only die for their ideals, but can remain alive and face every adversity…and can bear the worst atrocities in the suffocating, small and dark jail cells.”
That letter is not only for Batukeshwar but for those like me, professional revolutionaries associated with the peasant movement, showing how to present a model even while living the tough life of life imprisonment. Jail is really an institution that dehumanizes; where everyone from top authorities to the lowest functionary in the jail teaches that it’s every man for himself. It is established that while leaving jail, one should never leave anything behind, or else you will end up back in jail: this is propagated so that no other sufferer can get relief from your belongings.
With our limitations, we too have tried to stand up for the oppressed sections in the jail. Inside the jail, we have organized struggles, so as to raise the respect for our party and hold high the legacy of the red flag, even if means that we have had to suffer some troubles for as a result. Though the number of party members in the jail is small, we have played a leading role in joint struggles inside the jail. Immediately after the last state conference, we led a big section of prisoners to struggle against the severe beating and shackling of prisoners by the administration, in the name of searching for mobiles. We not only held a hunger strike, but once locked up in wards, we continued the resistance for two days, beating on our plates and raising slogans. In the night, the locked wards were opened and prominent leaders from the ML and Maoist streams were brutally beaten up, but despite this we continued the movement and forced the administration to beat a retreat.
In 2009, all prisoners participated in a 3-day hunger strike led by CPI(ML)’s leading activists, and succeeded in forcing the administration to give prisoners the rights due to them. The administration had to increase visitors’ timings, and lift the ban on bringing necessary items into the jail.
We have also organised prisoners to support movements outside the jail: for instance, against the lathicharge on the joint struggle in Daltonganj; in support of the struggle against a fake encounter in Barwadih; relay hunger strike in support of the anti-corruption movement; a hunger strike on 6 December 2011 in support of Irom Sharmila’s ongoing fast against AFSPA.
Friends, in supporting the party’s draft document, I feel a new sense of direction. The fundamental difference between cadres and common people is that we keep preparing ourselves to sacrifice everything for the people and for our country. Others may be more intellectual, more capable, but communists gain ascendancy because of their pro-people orientation and their dedication to the people.
May the State Conference that begins on Bhagat Singh martyrdom day infuse new energy in the comrades struggling against corporate plunder and feudal domination. With best wishes for the success of the conference,
JP Central Jail, Hazaribagh
The CPI(ML)’s ninth Bihar State Conference was held on 9-10 April 2012 at Darbhanga. The inaugural highlight was a massive Worker-Peasant Unity Rally at Darbhanga Raj Maidan. CPI(ML) General Secretary Comrade Dipankar addressed the thousands of workers and peasants who came mainly from north Bihar’s Mithilanchal and border areas. A large number of the participants were working class women.
Comrade Dipankar said that the murder of Comrade Bhaiyyaram is evidence that the Nitish Government has emboldened the feudal-criminal forces. The Government is instigating communal forces by propagating Mithilanchal as a new centre of terror; but the identity of Darbhanga or Mithilanchal is its labour and not communalism. Bihar’s identity is labour and struggle, and only Bihar’s working people and its radical movements can transform it. The rally was also addressed by Comrades KD Yadav, Rajaram Singh, Saroj Chaubey, Satyadeo Ram and Mahboob Alam. The proceedings were conducted by Comrade Dhirendra Jha, Party’s Mithilanchal incharge and Central Committee member.
The delegate session began in the evening at Comrade Ram Naresh Ram Auditorium (University Auditorium). The city of Darbhanga has been renamed as Jankawi Nagarjun Nagar (People’s Poet Nagarjun city) on this occasion. The dais and platforms from where the delegate session was conducted was named after Comrades Chandrashekhar and Bhaiyyaram Yadav. 500 delegates, guests and observers attended the Conference.
On the second day deliberations and debates continued on the draft document presented by the outgoing State Committee. The house resolved to intensify the struggles against eviction of sharecroppers from land and freeing up the land of land entitlement holders from illegal occupation. The Conference also discussed strategy to intensify and reorient the anti-corruption movement in the State, where several scams- AC/DC Bill scam, mining scam, bicycle scam and many others during Nitish’s rule need to be exposed. The Conference also discussed bringing students-youth to the forefront as a force for radical change.
CPI(ML) Conference has emphasised on developing fighting, progressive culture based on worker-peasant unity against the regressive culture of state-power based on women’s exploitation, feudal violence and communal prejudice. The Conference also discussed the issue of enhancing membership strength and expanding and consolidating organisational networks of its mass based organisations.
Red flags and banners were visible all over the Darbhanga city. Several welcome gates were raised in the names of martyrs and leaders of the communist movement- Brajesh Mohan Thakur, Ram Sharan Sharma, Maheswar Bhagat, Bhogendra Jha, Dr. Nirmal, Santu Mahto, Mahendra Singh among others. Buildings where the delegates have been accommodated were also named after communist leaders. More than hundred local comrades served as volunteers to make arrangements and make the Conference a great success.
On 11 April, the third day of the CPI(ML)’s Bihar State Conference began with an address by Politburo member Comrade Swadesh Bhattacharya who drew the attention of the delegates to the changing land and agrarian relations in Bihar and the need to intensify land struggles and organize the share-croppers and tenants as a core force of the peasant movement. Following this, the central observer, CC Member Comrade Sudhakar, presided over the election of the new State Committee. The conference elected a 53 member State Committee and the newly elected State Committee then elected a 21-member Standing Committee, and Comrade Kunal was elected as the new State Secretary.
In his address, Comrade Kunal emphasized the need to respond to changing conditions and organize struggles of the new generation of workers in urban and rural areas. The central observer Comrade Sudhakar expressed the confidence that the party in Bihar would rise up to the occasion and meet the challenges and possibilities posed by the political situation in the state.
Addressing the concluding session, party General Secretary Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya observed that the past year was one of serious challenges for the party. Veteran leader Comrade Ram Naresh Ram passed away. Results of Assembly and panchayat polls were disappointing. Recently, our young comrade BhaiyyaramYadav was assassinated. He congratulated the outgoing state committee and its leadership for successfully steering the Party in the face of these challenges.
He said that in spite of disappointments, we should not stop dreaming big: the focus of our discussion should be whether we are making appropriate plans and putting in our best efforts and making effective use of all the resources at our command.
Pointing to the growing disillusionment with the Nitish regime, Comrade Dipankar called upon the conference to meet people’s aspirations for an effective Left opposition and take all-round initiatives.
Comrade Dipankar called upon the delegates to stay ideologically alert and politically agile without unnecessarily stretching and elevating small differences arising in the course of practical work to some presumed ideological-political plane. He reminded the conference of the 8th Congress emphasis on the integral nature of our tasks where political, ideological and organizational aspects merge into a single whole. Instead of treating the Party as a sum total of different mass fronts and remaining preoccupied with Party’s relations with mass organisations, he stressed the need for everybody to focus more on expanding and developing our mass organisations within the masses of concerned classes and social strata and building Party within the advanced elements produced by this mass practice.
He emphasized that we need to pursue both expansion and consolidation: only by expanding to new areas and among new sections of people can we consolidate existing areas of work. Feudal domination in society continues, but the leaders, slogans, and forms of such domination change. While keeping our basic anti-feudal orientation, we must take all the new initiatives and new issues and forms necessary to contend with the changing situation. He ended by expressing confidence that the new committee would take on the task of taking the party and movement to new heights.
The Conference ended with a rousing rendition of the Internationale. Around 150 volunteers had worked day and night to make the Conference a grand success.
The 9th Tamil Nadu Conference of the CPI(ML) was held at in Coimbatore from 30 March to 1 April. A month-long, mass political campaign against the anti-people, authoritarian ADMK Government culminated in a colourful, impressive ‘Working People’s Rights Rally’ and mass meeting on 30th March, 2012.
More than 2000 working people from all over the State participated in the Rally. At the forefront marched 200 workers from Coimbatore wearing red shirts and carrying red flags. Preceding the rally was a a group of young workers of the Pricol automobile factory, carrying a torch honouring the memory of the martyrs from the memorial of Chinniyampalayam Martyrs. Women and men workers wearing red and waving huge red flags marched ahead of the Rally. The impressive Red Rally drew the attention of every passer-by. Comrade Balasubramanian, district secretary of Coimbatore led the Rally.
The Rally ground was named after Comrade Appu, founder of the Party in Tamil Nadu and Politburo member, who was martyred in 1970. At the outset of the mass meeting, presided over by Comrade Balasubramanian, Politburo member Swadesh Bhattacharya received the martyrs’ torch. The gathering observed a minute’s silence in homage to Comrade Bhaiyyaram Yadav and other martyrs and departed leaders.
Coms Kumarasamy, PBM, Balasundaram, State Secretary and SCMs Bhuvana, and Bharati addressed the mass meeting. The rally resolved to intensify working people’s struggle against the anti-people ADMK government. It also demanded an enquiry into the killing of Comrade Appu, and unconditional withdrawal of cases foisted on Comrade Kumarasamy and workers’ leaders. The meeting also condemned repression let loose on the democratic struggle against the Koodankulam nuclear project. AISA comrades contributed Rs 30,000 as fund for the Tamil Nadu party organ Theepori and party fund.
On 31st March, the martyrdom day of Comrade Chandrashekhar, veteran party comrade Ponraj hoisted the party flag. All the leaders and delegates paid floral tribute to the martyrs’ column and observed silence. Comrade Swadesh Bhattacharya inaugurated an impressive poster exhibition: ‘The Story of Capitalism and the Struggle against Capitalism’. A nine-member presidium chaired by Chandramohan, in including Janakiraman, Seetha, Jacqueline Mary, Ilangovan, Jayaveeran, Dhanavel, Valathan and Damodaran, proposed by Comrade NK, was unanimously elected by the house, which in turn appointed a five-member steering committee led by Comrade Desikan, Malarvizhi, Venkatachalam, G Ramesh and Rajasankar to conduct the proceedings.
Inaugurating the delegate session Com Swadesh Bhattacharya called upon the state’s leading cadres to strengthen the party and mass organizations and go for bigger mass struggles and bigger political initiatives. As health of the roots is very important for the health of a tree, strengthening the lower level party structures is very much important for the health of the party, he emphasized.
Balasundaram, secretary of the outgoing state committee presented the draft work report. In a democratic spirit, 63 delegates presented their views, opinions, amendments and dissent notes. In order to consolidate the gains acquired through intense mass activities and mass organizations’ development and strengthen the lower level party structures, the report proposed a Strengthen the Party campaign from April 22-July 28. Highlighting the Pricol workers’ struggles and experiences both in term of mass movement and party building, the conference resolved to make all-out efforts to build stable pockets of rural struggle. The conference decided that 2012 will be the year of party consolidation and newer initiatives on the student-youth front. It was resolved to double party membership with particular emphasis on recruiting members from students, youth, and women. The conference resolved to strengthen our own movement in order to intervene in the ongoing democratic movement and fill the void of left and democratic space. The report was unanimously adopted by the house.
Nine women workers of Pricol who are facing murder charges and spent over a hundred days in jail, were presented by Comrade Swadesh Bhattacharya with a shawl honouring, as the entire hall raised revolutionary slogans. State Secretary of CPI(ML) in Puduchery, Comrade Balasubramanian; State Secretary of Kerala, John K Erumely; Comrade Chandran of LMW; and Comrade Simpson of Liberation Front of the Oppressed, greeted the conference. Comrade Venugopal of Kerala also attended the conference.
The conference elected a 31-member state committee. The committee unanimously elected Comrade Balasundaram as the new state secretary. Altogether 277 delegates including 51 women delegates, 15 observers and 4 invitees attended the conference. The organizers came with a novel idea of providing a plate and a water bottle to every participant.
Com. Kumarasamy, PBM, in his message called upon the house to make the organization stronger, as the iron is hot and the hammer needs to be strong enough to wield a powerful blow. The curtain was down with the rendering of Internationale. The newly formed party committee of Coimbatore, and hundreds of Pricol workers, made the Conference a memorable event in the history of the state party with their revolutionary spirit and hard work.