September 5, 2008

Media reports Left rally against imperialism on 1st Sept.


Half-a-million march in Kolkata
to condemn the pro-imperialist
stance of the central government

KOLKATA,1st Sept.: vast sea of people started to advance in waves that rode on the strength of anti-imperialist feelings of the strongest kind as over five lakh of people – from virtually every cross-section of the society – strode along the streets and lanes of Kolkata. The people’s march organised by the Bengal Left Front was led by the LF leadership with the LF chairman Biman Basu despite injuries to his right foot, leading the marchers by example – the blazing sun above and the molten tar underfoot were of little hindrance.

The march commenced amidst rousing anti-imperialist slogans from the Suhrawardi Avenue near the Brabourne College grounds and by the time the first columns, banners, festoons, buntings, tableaux, and countless Red Fags fluttering in the freshening welcome breeze, as LF chairman Biman Basu released a single white dove that flew right up in the background of a glittering blue mid-day sky overhead.

The marchers started to walk along the A J C Bose Road and we were quite astounded to see another equally long column marching along the opposite footpath in the ‘wrong’ direction. Polite enquiries revealed that these streams of men and women, many of the latter carrying children suitably and carefully shielded from the sun under their pallus, were in fact going to Park Circus to join up with the eternally long ‘tail’ of the procession.

Police wireless buzzed to speak of numbers—and the ‘guesstimates’ were constantly revised, upwards, of course – from ‘one lakh, sir,’ to finally, with a bit of surprise in the voice, ‘over five lakhs, sir,’ and did we or did we not note a hint of glee in the voices of at least some of the men in uniform on duty or was our old aural √©quipe playing up in the sun?

Whatever – the fact of the matter was the lengthening line of people who soon decided to merge into a single, albeit a bit clumsy, a bit boisterous, and a tiny bit belligerent wave of humanity that advanced relentlessly and called upon the central government to stop kneeling lower and lower down before US imperialism, the perpetrators of all kinds of crimes against humanity itself, all over the world.

Faces in the crowd we saw aplenty as we dodged in and out of the processionists. We saw Sudeshna Paul from Belghoria, a former student who is now a young professor and who teaches sociology at a college in faraway Nadia and who had come to the city braving the train services that suddenly but not strangely had started running well behind schedule on this particular day, quickly snatch up and gather together her shopping bags from the roadside stall where she was making a hasty purchase of some increasingly higher-priced daily necessities, and then literally run swiftly join the marchers as the wave advanced-- soon getting lost in the sea of faces. We also Akram-ul Huq, a garage ‘mechanic,’ an underpaid helper actually, forego a day’s wage to join in, for the marchers are ‘talking about meri desh being sold out to videshis of a faraway land.’ This is grassroots nationalism in action.

We espied a clutch of budding entrepreneurs, among them Dwijendralal Banerjee accompanied by his colleagues who came all the way from the far side of the E M bypass, braving a fever and a cough, and they were soon joined by a tad sweaty, and very neatly but unsuitably dressed for the Kolkata summer -- ties and jackets and formal trousers and all – young men and women, oh, maybe a couple of thousands of them, perhaps a bit more, who had left the drudge of seven-days-a-week-work and had emerged from the unease of the secluded comfort of the confines of air-conditioned alcoves IT offices in sector V of Salt Lake onto spaces open and sunny, and had rushed out to catch the marchers as the waves of people passed onto the Moulali crossing and then proceeded towards the Sealdah flyover.

There, the procession was hugely swelled as a very large number of unorganised workers, mostly mutia-mazdoors (headload carriers) and auto-rickshaw drivers and ‘mechanics,’ who joined in, shouting slogans, waving the Red Flag -- CITU banners held high as always. Khet mazdoor Paran Mondol appeared a bit bewildered. ‘How could these many men and women come and who called upon them to come out on a holiday, and how, babu?’ was his innocent enquiry.

He himself had come with a hundred-odd group of his fellow agricultural labourers from the extreme southern fringe of Kolkata buttressing south 24 Parganas that still harboured the clean and fresh of unending green stretches of rice paddies, from where the metro citizens have their steady supply of seasonal vegetables, and rice.

Why have you come, Paran? Well, dada, I understand the Delhiwallah’s government (ok, meaning understood, fully) is actually engaged in buying rice from videshis and allowing those ‘nasty’ (that was not the colourful Bengali invective he actually used, of course) ‘blackers’ of around here and there in the whole country in fact to get away with their ‘nasty’ (ditto) ways.

The march went on, on, and on – passing along A P C Bose Road. School students joined in somewhere along the line holding up banners that had photos of the eternal inspirational figure of Che Guevara and emblazoned with the immortal words ‘egobo, jotokhhon na jitbchhi!’ (onwards, until we achieve victory!’) The innumerable tableaux carried photos of a molly-coddling photo of Bush adoring Singh, and the other way around.

The marchers included black-jacketed lawyers, engineers, artistes, intellectuals, littératures, students from every tier of education, housewives, sports persons, film personalities, and above all the common man, the members of the toiling masses who shouted out anti-imperialist slogans from the core of their hearts and who made the procession come alive, made the march a living protest against imperialist forays and the betrayal of the people by the Singh government, and the people had the final say on this day and for all the days to come.
(INN)

THE HINDU, 2nd SEPT., 2008

Left rally against imperialism

Be wary of divisive forces: Biman Bose


KOLKATA:
The ruling Left Front on Monday organised a huge procession here against imperialism and in support of peace. Major arterial roads in the central and northern parts of the city went out of bounds to traffic.

“Anti-people” policies


The rallyists carried festoons and posters condemning the U.S.’ threats to India’s independent foreign policy and the United Progressive Alliance government’s “anti-people” economic policies, leading to rising prices of essential commodities and inflation. Some Ministers too joined the procession, which covered a distance of 8 km.


“People from all strata of society, even different sports organisations, have joined the march against imperialism and communalism,” said Biman Bose, Secretary of the CPI(M) State Committee.


Orissa violence


On the communal violence in Orissa, Mr. Bose said: “The Bharatiya Janata Party is not in power does not mean that communal forces are not active in the country.” He said the people of the country should be careful as divisive powers were still operative.
“Strengthen unity”

“We have to strengthen our unity to fight against U.S. which is trying to impose its wills on our country,” Mr. Bose said.

Rally at Siliguri

The protesters arrived in buses, trucks, mini-trucks and trains from all districts in South Bengal. A similar event was organised at Siliguri in north Bengal.


Road blockade

Mr. Bose said that many supporters from the Burdwan and Hooghly districts had to cancel their journey because of “the illegal road blockade by the Opposition party on the Durgapur Expressway at Singur, forcing people to take eight-hour detour to reach the city.”



FROM PRAJASHAKTI CORRESPONDENT:

People of Bengal witness historic anti-imperialist rally

Massive turnout as Lakhs of protesters marches through Kolkata streets echoing their anti-imperialist slogans: another rally also flooded north Bengal

Kolkata. September 01: The massive rally that Kolkata witnessed today, once again reiterated the Kolkata’s claim as the bastion of anti imperialist struggle. At the call of the left front committee of West Bengal Lakhs marched together in an honest bid to show their pro peace and anti imperialist sentiments. The rally started from Park Circus Ground at Central Kolkata at about 1 pm in the afternoon. Braving the hot and humid conditions thousands of sloganeering protesters marched through the heart of the city chanting slogans and holding colourful placards in their hands. The rally started from the Park Circus ground after a short meeting in a makeshift platform from where prominent Left Leaders including the Left Front chairman Biman Bose addressed the gathering twelve pigeons were released in the air by 12 leaders of the Left front in a symbolic gesture in favour of everlasting peace. The anti-imperialist campaigners started their walk in the prescribed route which was scheduled in such a manner as not to obstruct the traffic flow of the city. Expected that more than 2 lakhs people attended in this Grand rally. People of every walk of life today participated in this historical rally with great enthusiasm, where bidi workers of Murshidabad district walked in this rally with joining hands with coal workers of raniganj. Student-Youth-Workers-kishans-women- teacher-lawyers every section of society today added more colour in this anti-Imperialist rally. Total 13 districts of south Bengal participated in this rally today as like Kolkata, Siliguri also was flooded by the sea of people. In North Bengal another anti-imperialist grand rally was staged at Siliguri where about one lakh people from the 6 districts of North Bengal participated in this rally. This rally was stated from baghajatin Park area in Siliguri and concluded at Kanchanjangha stadium. Here urban development minister Ashok Bhattacharya, CPI(M) Darjeeling district secretary S P Lepcha, Jalpaiguri District secretary Manik Sanyal led this rally, mentioning that even avoiding violent threaten of GJM activists, thousands of CPI(M) supporters, activists participated in this rally. Every Left Front MLAs, MPs, member of west Bengal cabinet were almost present in these two rally in Kolkata and Siliguri as per distribution.

The rally was marked by enthusiastic participation from large range of socio- political cultural and sports organisations like West Bengal Volleyball Association, sports organisations like ‘Friends of the Stadium” and cultural organisations like Panther Panchali, and many others. Abdul Barik a class 12 student of Karola High school in Ghatal of West Midnapore district, walked hand in hand with the eminent lawyers of Kolkata High Court who joined the rally as a part of their organisation Demiocratic Lawyers Forum . Huge number of students of Calcutta university and its different colleges marched in the rally under the banner of their organsation “SFI”.One such participant Avishek Dey & Arpita Chatterjee of Manindra Chandra College echoed the sentiments of the rally through expressive placards in their hand. Puspa Dutta an 82 years old woman ,a CPI(M) enthusiast was seen covering the whole stretch of the rally spanning over more than 6 KM’s ,with an arm wrapped over the shoulder of her younger comrade . It seemed that the whole rally was echoing the sentiments of the mass singer who singing for continuous peace and harmony among the different races . The anti –imperialist mood of the rally was also evident citizen workers and peasants walked hand in glove to defeat the forces of imperialism . The hatred of the common towards the US led forces was evident as the rallyist raised high pitched slogan s, voicing their opinion to cancel the upcoming naval strategic exercise in the Malabar coasts in Kerala . The vastness of the rally was evident from the fact that when the front portion of the rally have already reached the destination point at Desbandhu Park (North Kolkata)the tail was still waiting at the inception point of the rally at Park Circus grounds.

Addressing this huge attended rally, Today Left Front Chairman Biman Basu has stated that “ West Bengal always stand in front line in the battle against imperialist aggression, and today again people of Bengal echoed their voice against US imperialist force at the same marked they strong reaction against UPA incumbent those shamefully surrender before US imperialist force. Biman Basu also has added that “we, left parties already withdraw our outside support from this UPA incumbent, because we couldn’t extend our support to a government, those want to build up strategic relation with United States”. Mainly raising 22 point of slogans, this historic rally vibrated Kolkata Street with great commitment to carry out such pro-people, anti-imperialist and anti communal struggled under the banner of Red flag. Even renowned personalities, actor, actress, film director, famous magician P C Sarker, poet, intellectuals also present in this rally.

SUDIPTA BASU
1ST SEPETEMBER, 2008

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