February 15, 2015

JHARKHAND: CPI(M) State Conference Calls For Defeating Corporate Loot Of Land, Forest and Natural Resources

Prakash Viplav

THE fifth state conference of CPI(M) Jharkhand was organised successfully in Bokaro Steel City. The city houses one of the largest public sector steel plants in the country. There has been a sharp decline in the number of regular workers, who have been replaced by part time contractual workers in the plant over the years. The latter are subject to severe exploitation as a result of the neo-liberal economic policies. These workers have realised that their exploitation would not cease without launching a conclusive struggle which could be successfully organised only by strengthening the CPI(M) and the Left forces. These workers of the Bokaro Steel Plant, along with peasants of the district, played an important role in organising the fifth state conference.

The conference began on February 2, 2015 with hoisting of the Party flag by veteran comrade Rajendra Singh Munda at Sector 12 community hall which was renamed as Comrade Jyoti Basu Nagar. This was followed by garlanding of the statue of Birsa Munda, martyr of the Munda Uprising against the British and landlords in 1900. This was followed by ‘Mazdoor-Kisan Ekta’ rally which culminated into a mass meeting at Mazdoor Maidan. Brinda Karat and Md Salim addressed the mass meeting, which was attended by hundreds of peasants, workers, youth, women and people from different sections of the society. Addressing the meeting, Brinda Karat said that the true face of the Modi led BJP government is slowly being exposed by its anti-people, pro-corporate policies. To divert the attention of the people, the RSS is playing its communal cards and trying to polarise people on the lines of religion. Md Salim said that the big corporates had invested heavily to ensure victory of the BJP in the last parliamentary elections and now it is time for the Modi government to pay them rich dividends on their investments. To suit the interests of the corporates the government is resorting to ordinances overlooking the parliament, thereby hurting the very spirit of democracy in the country.

In the inaugural session, Brinda Karat emphasised on the need of a strong and united Left to counter the onslaught unleashed by pro-right forces at the centre. Fraternal delegates K D Singh from CPI and Anant Prasad Gupta from CPI(ML) also stressed on Left unity.

The inaugural session was followed by the delegate session, wherein the political organisational report was placed by G K Baksi, state secretary. The report concretely analysed the changing nature of class structure and social composition in the state. It was highlighted that a section of feudal and semi-feudal elements in the rural society in nexus with brokers and middlemen are emerging as a new exploiting class. They are establishing their hegemony over the rural economy and society. It is this class that acts as brokers during acquisition of land by corporates and paves the way for fundamentalist right wing groups in the society. On the other hand the plight of the toiling masses is getting more and more miserable. People are being forced to migrate to urban areas and even other states as unskilled labourers, due to lack of livelihood opportunities in the state.

Widespread unemployment and continuous reinforcements into the labour market from rural areas has resulted in very low wages in urban areas. Disinvestment and privatisation of the PSUs combined with outsourcing and contractualisation of jobs in all sectors has brought down real wages as well as permanent job opportunities. On one hand, capitalists and contractors have benefitted from the situation but the condition of the working class has deteriorated.

Communal and identity politics have resulted in polarisation of votes between bourgeoisie-landlord parties and the performance of the CPI(M) and Left forces in recent elections have been far from satisfactory. This needs to be countered by relentless class oriented mass movements and building up of strong, politically and ideologically equipped mass organisations, thereby proving a Left democratic alternative to the people in our journey towards the People’s Democratic Revolution.

The conference was attended by 248 delegates/observers, 53 of whom enriched the report. Discussions were held in a constructive, self-critical atmosphere. Central Committee member Madan Ghosh intervened in the delegate session and emphasised on the role of the leadership and need of strong mass organisations to build up a strong Party base in the state. He added that conducive subjective conditions do exist in Jharkhand for expansion of the Party, but organisational strength must be achieved to materialise on the possibilities.

Following adoption of the political organisational report, the conference adopted resolutions on problems faced by contract workers, Muslim minority, rights of dalits and tribals, domicile policy, providing rights to elected local bodies, strengthening the PDS and against communalism, privatisation of the coal industry, land acquisition amendment, cuts in MGNREGA and privatisation of the health sector.

The conference unanimously elected a 35 member state committee. The state committee in its first meeting re-elected G K Baksi as the state secretary. The conference also unanimously elected 8 delegates and 2 observers for the 21st Party Congress.

Polit Bureau member S R Pillai giving the concluding address at the conference, asserted that while raising local issues, there should be an interconnection with the basic class issues and they should be linked up with the alternative policies pronounced by the Party. He also urged all Party comrades in the state to discuss the draft of two documents released by the Central Committee before the Party congress, ie, the political-tactical line and political resolution, in their respective units.

The conference ended with greetings to the reception committee and volunteers followed by the singing of the Internationale.