September 22, 2012

Massive Anti-Imperialist Rally in Kolkata

KOLKATA: witnessed yet another historic rally with hundreds of thousands of people marching against imperialist aggression and protesting the growing intervention of US imperialism in India. The rally, held on September 1, was organised by the Left Front.

People, mostly from the districts of South Bengal, participated with full of enthusiasm to mark their protest against US aggression and to commemorate the Anti-Imperialist Day of 1st September. The state leaders of Left Front led the rally that started at 1 pm fromRani Rashmoni Road. It took more than two and half hours for the rally to reach Deshbandhu Park, even as the end part of the rally was still waiting at Rani Rashmoni Road. The rally was fully decorated with flags, festoons, and most importantly the mobile tableaus that remained the most attractive part of the rally.   It was exactly 4:30 pm when the last tableau along with people reachedDeshbandhu Park in the northern end of the city. People from all walks of life participated in the rally. Thousands marched with Red flags, once again registering the nature of protest in West Bengal.  

The rally raised voice against US imperialism’s thirst for natural resources in the world, its war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, its interference in South Asia, particularly in Indian economy through FDI in retail sector, privatisation of insurance sector, pension funds etc. The rally raised the voice for defending sovereignty and independent foreign policy of the country.

Addressing the huge gathering at the end of the rally, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee gave a backdrop of USimperialism to correlate the magnitude of the contemporary imperialist aggression in the world. Having mentioned the Atom Bomb attack over Hiroshima and Nagasaki as a birth of today’s US-led imperialism, Bhattacharjee explained the contours of imperialist aggression from Vietnam to present day Iraq. Now the danger of imperialism comes in a different direction when US and allied countries target China and try to set base in India. We won’t tolerate US base in India to blockade India and would launch bigger protests, he said.

Bhattacharjee said that India is trying to set up a strategic partnership or alliance with USA. “What strategic alliance is this? We will protest against any such alliance. US secretary of state Hillary Clinton had made her visit to West Bengal. It was unprecedented for her to visit Writers’ Buildings?  Why did she go there”, he questioned. The state government has also expressed its inclination to invite US president for the youth festival in the state. Bhattacharjee warned of strong resistance if any such eventuality took place.

Left Front chairman Biman Basu while congratulating the people for making the rally a great success said that US corporates are using our markets to meet their internal crisis. “They are trying to control our economy. So we must keep our struggle on against such imperialist aggression. If any of US official comes to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda on 12th January next year, the state will definitely revolt”, asserted Basu.

Siliguri too witnessed an impressive anti-imperialist rally on the day where at least 10,000 people participated.  

Rallies Planned against Imperialism on September 1

KOLKATA: 1ST September, 1939 was the day when fascist Germany led by Adolph Hitler invaded Poland to start the world's deadliest war till date against humanity. Since then the destruction of life and property continued for five long years - throwing the entire world into war and anarchy. To remind ourselves of the futility and destruction of war, people of the world have been observing 1st September as the World Peace and Anti War Day. West Bengal has a long tradition of observing the World Peace Day. This year is going to be no exception. The Left Front Committee of West Bengal has convened a rally in Kolkata and Siliguri to observe this day.

The non-aligned foreign policy of our country has seemed to be derailed. India has voted for US proposal of strengthening sanctions on Syria in Security Council when even Pakistan dared to abstain. Before that India supported US-British proposal against Iran in International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).  India-US military understanding has also been in progress. Despite protests from different corners of the country, the government went ahead with Defense deal, joint army exercises, assistance in military operations etc. India has also endorsed CTBT and civil nuclear treaty. Imperialism now has a direct impact on the life of every Indian citizen and the UPA government in pushing the country to be a junior partner and collaborator of US imperialism. The recent WikiLeaks exposes have also thrown light on how the Indian government has bent to the whims of US imperialism. The pipeline issue with Tehran went under wraps after indirect intervention from US.

The military aspirations of imperialism have been on violent display during recent period. Unresisted, the imperialism would bring the humanity to the verge of destruction once again. There is therefore urgent need to bolster up the flag of humanity and raise our voice in favor of peace and against war. The World Peace and Anti War Day, therefore, is still relevant, stressed the Left Front leaders.

The Left Front’s demands on World Peace and Anti War Day:
       No war but restoration of peace. Imperialism be demolished. US imperialism go back.
       Raise voice against imperialist aggression in several countries
       US -Israel must go back from Palestine
       US imperialism must go back from the Arab world
       US interference in South Asia has to be stopped
       US warships must be removed from the Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal
       UPA government has to answer for their soft stand against blatant US pressure
       Foil imperialist conspiracies against India. Stop US interference in India
       Resist compromise of sovereignty to the imperialism
       Set aside India’s pro-imperialism foreign policy
       Unite against domination of imperialism in Asia Pacific region
       Set aside the civil nuclear treaty with US
       Gas supply treaty with Iran should not be amended due to US pressure
       Stop US interference in Syria
       Israel has to do away with the illegal capture of Palestine
       Stop US-Israel barbaric activities on Arab people
       India has to stand by Iran against US- Israel conspiracy

Tributes Paid to Comrade Lakshmi Sehgal

KOLKATA: RESPECTFUL tributes were paid to Comrade Lakshmi Sehgal in Kolkata in the commemoration meeting organised by the Left Front on August 14. The meeting, presided over by Left Front chairman Biman Basu, was addressed by Ashok Ghosh, the veteran leader of Forward Block and Subhashini Ali, CPI(M) leader.

Subhashini Ali told about her mother who was dedicated to the cause of downtrodden and the working people. She fondly remembered how her mother used to devote more time for children of toiling people rather than caring for her own daughters. Ali also told that after Comrade Sehgal joined CPI(M) she used to term it as ‘home coming’.

Ashok Ghosh described the outline history of INA and the important role it played in India’s struggle for freedom. ‘Captain Lakshmi Sehgal was the product of a revolutionary struggle against imperialism”, he said.

Biman Basu, in this respect, stressed that the struggle against imperialism has not stopped. In fact, it has assumed greater importance in the backdrop of US hegemonic belligerence and its growing military-political presence in Asia. “Indian ruling classes are subscribing to the imperialist pressure and weakening the sovereignty of the country” , he asserted.

Left Front has called for a mass rally against imperialist designs on September 1. There will be a week-long campaign against imperialism, starting from August 24. The meeting  took oath to carry forward the legacy of Comrade Lakshmi Sehgal through wider struggle against imperialism.

Among others, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Suryakanta Misra, Md Amin, Benoy Konar, Manjukumar Majumdar (CPI), Khiti Goswami (RSP) and leaders of Left parties were present.

Now Judiciary in the Line of Fire from Mamata

KOLKATA: WEST Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee hit out at the judiciary on August 14, alleging there were instances when court judgements have been delivered for money. This was a statement made while speaking at a seminar in the Assembly House on the platinum jubilee of the state assembly.

"What I see. Why should many judgements today be delivered for money? Why? I am sorry to say. I am saying this in the Assembly," she said with venom. "One may file a contempt case against me. I will be really very happy. I may be charged with defamation and I may even be arrested. But I will have to give my opinion at some place or the other," the chief minister said.

This comment has not been observed as a general or stray criticism of a section of the judiciary. It was more a reflection of consecutive setbacks for state government in the courts in recent period, which included Singur law.

That the chief minister was merciless for anyone questioning her government has been reflected by her attack against the judicial commissions. Questioning the efficacy and accountability of judicial commissions, the chief minister said "attempts are being systematically made to destroy Constitutional structures.... So much money is spent on these commissions, but the only thing they do is talk to higher officials and do nothing," she added. "The commissions summon the chief secretary, the home secretary, the DGP, the commisisoner of police and they are made to sit for 12 hours," she alleged.

This was her reaction to the strong verdict of state human rights commission regarding the cartoon controversy. The commission has strongly criticised the police action against Professor Ambeksh Mahapatra and his neighbor Subrata Sengupta in April this year for forwarding an e-mail consisting of a cartoon of Mamata Banerjee and Mukul Roy. The commission has directed the state government to pay Rs 50,000 each to both of them as compensation. The commission also directed to initiate departmental proceeding against the police officers.

The chief minister’s intolerance to any amount of criticism has now spread to judiciary. But it has evoked strong reactions from different quarters in the country. "It is a serious allegation against the entire judiciary, which is very irresponsible, especially for a chief minister," Supreme Court Bar Association president Pravin Parekh said. He said SCBA has not taken any decision to move the court against the remarks made by the chief minister. He, however, said he has heard that some petition is likely to be filed. Parekh said there is an option to move the Supreme Court or the Calcutta High Court for contempt and also for seeking damages.

"What about the cases, she has won in court? Who paid the judges? Mamata? This shows the absurdity of the allegations. I mean, one expects a mature reaction...I am very very disturbed," eminent lawyer Soli Sorabjee said. Retired Justice Santosh Hegde, who was once Lokayukta of Karnataka,  said the chief minister should have been more prudent. "...If this is going to be the tone and tenor of Indian democracy, then I think our Constitution is in serious peril," senior Supreme Court advocate Harish Salve said. Terming as "highly irresponsible" Banerjee's statement, Constitutional expert and lawyer P P Rao said, "this is not expected from a person holding a responsible position". 

On the Occasion of Golden Jubilee of Deshhitaishee

By Sitaram Yechury

(The following is the text of the speech delivered by Sitaram Yechury, Polit Bureau member of the CPI(M) in Kolkata on August 16, 2012 on the occasion of Golden Jubilee of Deshhitaishee.)

REVOLUTIONARY congratulations to the West Bengal state committee of the CPI(M) for successfully completing fifty years of publication of the Party weekly Deshhitaishee.  This golden jubilee has come facing many trials and tribulations imposed by evolving contemporary political developments that had demanded many a sacrifice of life and limb of thousands of our comrades.  Revolutionary red salute to our martyrs.  It is, indeed, a matter of immense satisfaction that we are today commemorating this golden jubilee.  


The importance of the Party paper can never be undervalued.  Vladimir Lenin who provided leadership for ushering in humanity’s transition from capitalism to socialism had in 1901 said in “Where to begin?”: “In our opinion, the starting-point of our activities, the first step towards creating the desired organisation, or, let us say, the main thread which, if followed, would enable us steadily to develop, deepen, and extend that organisation, should be the founding of an All-Russian political newspaper. A newspaper is what we most of all need; without it we cannot conduct that systematic, all-round propaganda and agitation, consistent in principle, which is the chief and permanent task of Social-Democracy in general and, in particular, the pressing task of the moment … Never has the need been felt so acutely as today for reinforcing dispersed agitation in the form of individual action, local leaflets, pamphlets, etc., by means of generalised and systematic agitation that can only be conducted with the aid of the periodical press… Without such a newspaper we cannot possibly fulfill our task – that of concentrating all the elements of political discontent and protest, of vitalising thereby the revolutionary movement of the proletariat.”

Further he says: “The role of a newspaper, however, is not limited solely to the dissemination of ideas, to political education, and to the enlistment of political allies. A newspaper is not only a collective propagandist and a collective agitator, it is also a collective organiser.”

Later in “What is to be done?”, Lenin says: “This newspaper would become part of an enormous pair of smith’s bellows that would fan every spark of the class struggle and of popular indignation into a general conflagration. Around what is in itself still a very innocuous and very small, but regular and common, effort, in the full sense of the word, a regular army of tried fighters would systematically gather and receive their training.”


Many, however, say that the civilisational advances of the 20th century, particularly the scientific and technological advances, have so completely transformed the situation that instantaneous communication is today possible in a manner that would be incomprehensible at the beginning of the 20th century.  The emergence of radio and television with the latest invasion of cyberspace and cell phones, some argue, has rendered the newspaper as an obsolete means of communication.  Therefore, they would ask if there is any point in recollecting Lenin’s views on the Party newspaper.

Notwithstanding these advances, the importance of the Party newspapers does not merely remain but has grown multifold to meet the current challenges. In every age and time, the ruling classes have always consolidated their class rule by exercising an ideological hegemony over contemporary society.  As Marx and Engels said, “The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch, the ruling ideas: i.e., the class which is the ruling material force of society is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, consequently also controls the means of mental production so that the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are on the whole subject to it. The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relations; dominant material relations, grasped as ideas: hence of the relations which made the one class the ruling one, therefore, the ideas of its dominance. The individuals composing the ruling class possess among other things, consciousness and therefore think. In so far therefore, as they rule as a class and determine the extent and compass of an historical epoch, it is self-evident that they do this in its whole range, hence among other things rule also as thinkers, as producers of ideas, and regulate the production and distribution of the ideas of their age; thus their ideas are the ruling ideas of the epoch.” (German Ideology, Moscow 1976, p. 67 emphasis added.)

It is this hegemony of the `ideas' of ruling classes that as Gramsci explains is not enforced merely by the State. The State is only the "outer ditch" behind which stands a powerful system of "fortresses and earth works", a network of cultural institutions and values which buttress the rule and domination of the ruling classes.

Under capitalism, while culture as an ideological formation bolsters the rule of capital, the forms of culture go through a process of commodification, as everything else in society. Much has been written about this process and needs no repetition. The cultural products of capitalism are aimed at achieving social control rather than expressions of social creativity. The exchange value of these products always supersede their use value. This, of course, does not hold for those cultural products that emerge from dissent and opposition to capitalism...The cultural hegemony that such a globalisation process seeks is expressed in the need to create a homogenisation of public taste. The more homogenous the taste the easier it is to develop technologies for the mechanical reproduction of `cultural products' for large masses. Commercialisation of culture is a natural corollary of such globalisation.

Viewed in terms of class hegemony, the culture of globalisation seeks to divorce people from their actual realities of day to day life. Culture here acts not as an appeal to the aesthetic, but as a distraction, diversion from pressing problems of poverty and misery. Consequently, it seeks to disrupt the energy of the people and their struggle to change and improve their miserable existence. As Michael Parenti says, "A far greater part of our culture is now aptly designated as "mass culture", "popular culture", and even "media culture", owned and operated mostly by giant corporations whose major concur is to accumulate wealth and make the world safe for their owners, the goal being exchange value rather than use value, social control rather than social creativity. Much of mass culture is organised to distract us from thinking too much about larger realities. The fluff and puffery of entertainment culture crowds out more urgent and nourishing things. By constantly appealing to the lowest common denominator, a sensationalist popular culture lowers the common denominator still further (media page 3 culture). Public tastes become still more attuned to cultural junk food, the big hype, the trashy, flashy, wildly violent, instantly stimulating, and desperately superficial offerings.

"Such fare often has real ideological content. Even if supposedly apolitical in its intent, entertainment culture (which is really the entertainment industry) is political in its impact, propagating images and values that are often downright sexist, racist, consumerist, authoritarian, militaristic, and imperialist." (Monthly Review, February 1999)

Media culture that globalisation promotes is starkly exposed by the manner in which it underrates or outrightly ignores people’s protests and their conditions of miserable existence.  For instance, the very day when team Anna was holding their hunger strike on issue of corruption, over two lakhs of workers at the call of the All India Trade Unions had marched to the parliament in Delhi protesting against price rise and corruption.  While the former hogged the headlines and dominated the electronic media, the action of the working class was largely ignored. Adding insult to injury, the Times of India, in an obscure page carried a small news item bemoaning the traffic disruption caused by the worker’s rally in the country’s capital!  Yet again, in July this year, the five-day dharna by the Left parties demanding food security for our people was again largely ignored while team Anna’s movement that finally fizzled out taking place next to the Left parties dharna, once again hogged the headlines and the electronic media attention.  

Nearly a hundred and fifty years ago, Marx in his analysis of capitalism made a very penetrating observation. "Production not only provides the material to satisfy a need, but it also provides the need for the material. When consumption emerges from its original primitive crudeness and immediacy -- and its remaining in that state would be due to the fact that production was still primitively crude – then it is itself as a desire brought about by the object.  The need felt for the object is induced by the perception of the object.  An object d'art creates a public that has artistic taste and is able to enjoy beauty – and the same can be said of any other product. Production accordingly produces not only an object for the subject, but also a subject for the object. (Karl Marx, "Introduction" to Economic Manuscripts of 1857-58) (Emphasis added.)

The billions of dollars spent annually on advertising are creating the `subjects' for the `objects' that the system churns out. Likewise in culture. The audience is first created to receive a product of mass consumption. The homogenisation of public tastes is thus created through an advertisement blitz that dullens if not erases critical faculties. It is not therefore, as though, this `culture' is catering to people's taste. Tastes and ideas are being created to accept uncritically the `culture' that is being churned out.

How does one then combat such a cultural onslaught? An onslaught that drives away truly popular people's culture. At the first instance, it is necessary to bring back on to the cultural agenda people's issues, whose obfuscation and erasure is the raison d'etre of the culture of globalisation and communalism. This is paramount to counter the cultural hegemony that they seek.


The current situation in which we are conducting our political activities today is dominated by imperialist globalisation.  The CPI(M) 20th Congress Ideological Resolution notes:

“The ideological war to establish the intellectual and cultural hegemony of imperialism and neo-liberalism has been on the offensive during this period. Aided by this very process of globalisation and the vastly elevated levels of technologies, there is convergence of information, communications and entertainment (ICE) technologies into mega corporations. This monopolisation of the sphere of human intellectual activity and the control over dissemination of information  through the corporate media is a salient feature of this period that seeks to continuously mount an ideological offensive against any critique or alternative to capitalism. The cultural hegemony that such a globalisation process seeks is expressed in the need to create a homogenisation of public taste. The more homogenous the taste, the easier it is to develop technologies for the mechanical reproduction of ‘cultural products’ for large masses. Commercialisation of culture is a natural corollary of such globalisation. Viewed in terms of class hegemony, the  culture of globalisation seeks to divorce people from their actual realities of day to day life. Culture here acts not as an appeal to the aesthetic, but as a distraction, diversion from pressing problems of poverty and misery.”

The development of ICE technologies and the control over them, also allows imperialism to develop and maintain sophisticated surveillance technologies. Such technologies are being increasingly used to monitor, influence and sabotage a large variety of popular movements that challenge the hegemony of imperialism.

For instance, the mega corporation Time had earlier merged with the entertainment giant Warner Bros. The information giant American Online Ltd (AOL) has now acquired Time-Warner at a cost of $ 164 million to become the largest ICE conglomerate in the world. Rupert Murdoch now commands a combined news, entertainment and internet enterprise which is valued at $ 68 billion. Likewise, Walt Disney has now acquired Marvel (of Spiderman fame). The cultural products that are universally created are bombarded across the world garnering phenomenal profits. As recently as in January 2011, Comcast Corp has completed its takeover of NBC Universal,  creating a $ 30 billion media behemoth that controls not just how television shows and  movies are made, but how they are delivered to people’s homes. Comcast, the No. 1 provider of video and residential internet service in the United States (with over 23  million video subscribers and nearly 17 million internet subscribers), acquired a 51 per  cent stake in NBC Universal from General Electric Co. The newly created joint venture is  called NBC Universal LLC and its assets include NBC broadcast stations, cable channels like Bravo, USA and E!, the Universal movie studio as well as theme parks among other  assets.

Some instances in the Indian context: Reliance Entertainment (formerly known as Reliance BIG Entertainment) is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, its media and entertainment business, across content and distribution platforms. The key content initiatives are across movies, music, sports, gaming, internet and mobile portals, leading to direct opportunities in delivery across the emerging digital distribution platforms:  digital cinema, IPTV, DTH and Mobile TV. Reliance ADA Group acquired Adlabs Films Limited in 2005, one of the largest entertainment companies in India, which has interests  in film processing, production, exhibition and digital cinema. Having won 45 stations in the bidding, BIG 92.7 FM was India’s largest private FM radio network. Big Cinemas is India’s largest cinema chain with over 516 screens spread across India, US, Malaysia and Netherlands. The chain caters to over 35 million consumers. BIG Cinemas has established leadership in film exhibition in India with 253 screens and accounts for 10 to 15 per cent of box office contributions of large movies.  The company forayed into the largely untapped video rental market in India by acquiring  Big Flix and started further expansion. In April 2008, Reliance Big Entertainment acquired DTS Digital Images, a digital film restoration company based in Burbank, California. On 15 July 2009, Reliance Big Entertainment and Steven Spielberg announced a joint venture with a funding of $ 825 million. Recently, Big 92.7 FM  launched a radio station in Singapore considering 8 per cent of the population residing there is  Indian. On January 15, 2010, Reliance reportedly joined the bidding for MGM. On April 5, 2010, they acquired a 50 per cent stake in Codemasters.  Reliance had invested about 26 billion rupees in Eenadu Group's regional TV channels when it announced the deal with the TV18 group's Network18 on January 3, 2012.  Reliance holds a 100 per cent economic interest in five ETV regional news channels and five ETV general entertainment channels. It also owns a 49 per cent economic interest in  ETV Telugu and ETV Telugu News.

Such mega corporatisation of media is playing havoc with distorted dissemination of information and deliberate campaigns of disinformation.  The rise of the phenomena of `paid news’ shows the extent of commercialisation of media.  Truth and objectivity are the casualties that buttress the hegemony of the ruling classes.


This monopolisation of media as a weapon of ideological hegemony that the ruling classes unleash needs to be combated much more aggressively.  New ideological postulates like post-modernism are aggressively propagated.  Its main thrust, as with all other anti-Communist ideological expressions of the past, is the negation of classes and, hence, of class struggle.  It seeks to compartmentalise society in terms of ethnic, regional and other micro identities and, thus, disrupt the unity of the exploited classes.  Such theories, therefore, weaken the class unity of the exploited people and, thus, buttress the class rule of the exploiters.  

The Party newspaper, along with other forms of media, today has to  rise to meet such challenges and, therefore, act as a powerful weapon in the hands of the  revolutionary forces to propagate their ideas, to organise the exploited classes and, thus, to strengthen  the struggle  for creating a society free from all forms of exploitation – socialism.

I am confident that Deshhitaishee will continue to play its role and will rise to effectively meet and combat the current challenges. 

Exhibition on PS in Muzaffar Ahmad Library

KOLKATA: ON the occasion of birth centenary of Comrade P Sundarayya, an exhibition on his life and work was inaugurated in Muzaffar Ahmad library in Ganashakti Bhavan. The poster exhibition was inaugurated on August 5, the birthday of Comrade Muzaffar Ahmad.

In the exhibition, outline of PS’s life from his childhood has been portrayed through photos and graphics. His extraordinary work among the masses, the period of first expansion of the Communist Party in southern India were highlighted through excerpts from different books. A great part of the exhibition is obviously devoted to Telengana Peoples’ Armed Struggle. PS’s role in the fight against revisionism, then again against sectarianism has been detailed. Along with posters, some of his books and Bengali translation of his pamphlets have been displayed. His important articles in Peoples’ Democracy and other Party organs were displayed as photographs.

Biman Basu inaugurated the exhibition. CPI(M) state leaders were present. The exhibition will continue in Ganashakti Bhavan upto August 12. However, according to suggestions by senior Party leaders, the exhibition may travel to districts.

West Bengal state committee of CPI(M) has decided to observe PS birth centenary in a fitting manner, specially through programme of Party education. On September 14, there will be a central public meeting in Kolkata to be addressed by Party general secretary Prakash Karat.


KOLKATA: The Left Front in West Bengal observed three day sit-in demonstration in Kolkata from August 1 demanding food security for all. The sit-in took place in Rani Rashmoni Road. At the beginning Left Front chairman Biman Basu addressed the gathering. He criticised the centre’s dilly-dallying with food security bill. He demanded universal PDS throughout the country.

Leader of opposition in Bengal assembly, Suryakanta Misra said that USA and international finance capital was pressuring the Indian government to follow a policy of export of cash crops, which would bring disaster for food security of our people. He castigated the state government for its failure in addressing the crisis in agricultural production, fair prices for the farmers and for the spiraling price rise as well.

The second day of the sit-in was vibrant with participation of mass organisations. CITU, SFI, DYFI, AIDWA activists joined in the demonstration. Among others Shyamal Chakraborty, Minati Ghosh, Abhas Roychowdhury, Sayandip Mitra addressed the sit in.

On the last day CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, in his address, said the policies of central government were primarily responsible for the unabated price rise. The centre’s policy of letting everything work according to market forces has led to such a situation. We want subsidy for the people, not for the richer sections in the form of tax relief. The struggle for food security will continue, he asserted.

Biman Basu expressed concern about deteriorating agricultural production in West Bengal. Among others Manjukumar Majumdar (CPI), Jayanta Roy (Forward Block), Kalyan Mukherji (RSP), Shyamali Gupta (CPI-M) addressed the gathering. 

During these three days thousands of people participated in the sit in in districts as well. The Left Front has decided to campaign on food security throughout the month of August.

Ganashakti Under Attack: Call for Fund Raising from People

KOLKATA: IN the bizarre media scenario in West Bengal, where almost all business newspapers and channels, except a handful, are brazenly anti-Left, the only viable and steady alternative is Ganashakti, the CPI(M) daily organ that has a broad readership and broader acceptance among people for decades.

In the changed political scenario in the state, Ganashakti has practically become the sole voice raising questions about the functioning of the state government, depicting the atrocities being committed against the peasants, workers, women and other democratic sections of people. It has already exposed corruption, nepotism and utter failures of the TMC-Congress government. Naturally, Ganashakti has also become a target for attack.

In fact, for the last 14 months Ganashakti has been facing fierce attack of the ruling parties of West Bengal. From urban belt to rural belt, the attacks were everywhere. The attacks were initiated all over the state just after the declaration of results of the assembly election. The ruling party activists immediately started threatening and also initiated attacks in many areas to stop the sale and circulation of Ganashakti. It was declared as ‘banned’, hawkers were attacked, and even the packets of the daily  were burnt.  Several boards of Ganashakti were dismantled by the anti-socials. Yet, the circulation and sale of the daily continued under such difficult situation. The readers’ increasing interest toward Ganashakti is also evident.

Beside the physical attack, the state government, in a completely illegal move, stopped issuing advertisements to Ganashakti. Even private institutions that are issuing advertisements to the daily are facing direct or indirect threats from the ruling party. So, Ganashakti has been facing huge financial loss for the last one year. Moreover, the devaluation of the rupee in comparison to dollar has resulted in a steep increase in the price of newsprint. Allied expenditures have also increased.

In these circumstances, the CPI(M) West Bengal state committee has given a call for collecting fund for Ganashakti from people. Party state secretary Biman Basu, in an appeal, said that Ganashakti has been playing its role even amidst these multidimensional attacks. It is only this daily that has been regularly taking initiatives to protect the interests of poor people including the workers and peasants and also effectively exposing the attacks on democracy. Through its news, features, articles and special contributions Ganashakti has been instrumental in revealing the undemocratic face of the state government.

Basu said that Ganashakti has been resolutely continuing the fight against the anti-people policies of the central government. It has been operating as the only alternative newspaper when almost all business newspaper groups are playing anti-Left role and eulogiser of TMC and Congress. Daily newspapers and other organs of Communist Party have always tried to portray the real picture of the society to the largest possible reach. Ganashakti has the rich inheritance of Janajudhha and Swadhinata publications. The common people have always extended assistance in publication and management of the organs of the Communist Party. The people of West Bengal protected Ganashakti during Emergency. In those dark days many people risked their lives to render support for Ganashakti. The support of the readers helped it to overcome stiff hurdles.

Basu appealed to workers, sympathisers of Left forces, common people and above all the readers of Ganashakti to stand by the daily in this adverse situation. Fund raising to support Ganashakti will be organised in the entire month of August. Basu expressed confidence that Ganashakti will continue to play a strong role to bolster the right to freedom of expression of the democratic people of West Bengal in the future.

Mamata’s Singur Law Declared Unconstitutional

CPI(M) Wants Fair Resolution

KOLKATA: THE Mamata Banerjee government received a jolt when the Calcutta High Court declared its Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act 2011 as illegal and unconstitutional. The state government had passed the act on June 13, 2011, exactly a month after the assembly poll results were declared, among apprehension that the move was not legally valid. On September 28, after a challenge by Tata Motors, a single judge bench of the Calcutta High Court upheld the validity of the act. But on June 22 of this year, Justices Pinkai Chandra Ghose and M K Chaudhury ruled that the act violated the constitution on three counts. First, it did not have presidential assent. Second, returning land to the original owners did not constitute public interest, and hence the land could not be vested by the government. And third, the act did not have any provision for compensation to Tata Motors for the losses they have suffered.

The move by the state government was ill-conceived from the very beginning and it was more of a publicity stunt than any real intention to solve the Singur issue. The face of loss in court was compounded by the governor’s assertion that he had no idea that Singur legislation needed presidential approval. The governor said he had been given a legal advice on that line only. “I thought we did not require presidential approval. That was legal advice also,” Governor M K Narayanan told after three days of the court verdict. The governor’s public statement indicated that the state government had misled even him.

While criticising the attitude of the government, the CPI(M)  called for such a resolution of the problem as would defend the interests of the people of Singur.

CPI(M) Polit Bureau  member and West Bengal’s former industry minister Nirupam Sen observed that there should be a fair solution of the Singur problem without considering who had won or who was defeated. Sen said, “The factory in Singur was abandoned after completion of 90 per cent of works. It damaged the image of the state. Also damage was done to the people of Singur.”

Sen further said, “When we were in government, the then opposition (now ruling party) demanded return of land to the so called unwilling farmers. We took legal consultancy and observed that it was legally impossible. We wanted to start the factory after giving fair compensation to and rehabilitation of the farmers. But we failed to convince the opposition. We repeatedly told at that time that the so called unwilling farmers of ‘400 acres’ were just a myth. But a huge campaign by the opposition and a section of the media created confusion. Now that the new government has taken initiative to return the land, it was found that hardly 30 acres of land of the ‘unwilling’ farmers exist in realty. The entire state had to bear the cost of abandoning the project. When the new government wanted to push through the new bill in the assembly, we raised doubts about its legal validity. We told them to move after checking the legal points. But they refused to heed. And now the people of Singur are the worst sufferers as they lost both the factory and the land.” Sen appealed to the state government to take proper lessons and move forward in a manner so that an industry could be built there.

Leader of opposition in West Bengal assembly, Surjya Kanta Misra, said in his reaction to the court verdict, “We were for industry in Singur. But we were defeated. TMC has got the mandate of the people. In such a situation we did not oppose the move to return land if that was possible. But we repeatedly told the government, a year ago when the bill was moved, that proper legal method was necessary. We told the government that their hasty effort would come into conflict with the central law. There was no provision of differentiation between willing and unwilling farmers. It was better to add an extra clause to the central law, like Tamilnadu did. But the chief minister was not in the habit of listening to any advice. She thought her words were law. It is the state government which created the impasse.”

CPIM) state secretary Biman Basu criticised the state government for not heeding to advice of the opposition and not taking care about legal implications. Basu also questioned how the governor gave his assent without cross checking the legal option.