PREPARATIONS for the ‘Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Rally’ on September 5, 2018 are going on in full swing all over the country. The rally itself will be historic as the workers, peasants and agricultural workers together will march shoulder to shoulder on the streets of the national capital for the first time, voicing their demands. Besides, in terms of mobilisation also, the rally is all set to be a landmark in the struggles of the toiling people of the country.
The very fact, that the urban and rural toiling people are joining together to fight against the neoliberal attacks on their livelihood and living conditions, has enthused people. This rally is expected to pave the way for a strong alliance of the workers and peasants and to intensify the struggle to decisively defeat the neoliberal policies. Besides, such joint struggles of two major sections of people, who produce the wealth of the country, alone can defeat the divisive and disruptive agenda of the RSS guided BJP government of Modi. Such intensified joint struggles alone can ensure that the BJP does not return to power in 2019 to implement its neoliberal and communal divisive agenda much more aggressively.
Reports being received from across the country indicate that all the state committees of CITU, AIKS and AIAWU have made preparations for the campaign and mobilisation for the rally independently and jointly as well. In several states, joint meetings of the state level leadership of the three organisations were held to plan the campaign. In some states, such meetings were held even at the district and lower levels.
Extensive preparations for the rally have been made by the CITU at all levels to ‘reach the unreached’ and ‘link up issues with policies and expose the politics behind the policies’. Over one crore leaflets, pamphlets, booklets etc have been distributed among the workers in different sectors all over the country. Lakhs of posters have been pasted and thousands of banners and flex boards with the demands have been displayed across the country. Social media and video clips to highlight the demands have also been used in the campaign. General body meetings at the lowest levels of the unions have taken place in many states. The campaign helped in activating many of the district committees and union committees, which were inactive for some time. Regional, district and block level conventions of scheme workers, construction workers and village level meetings of MGNREGA workers have been organised in several states.
At present, in the last phase of the campaign, regional, district and lower level jathas are traversing in many states, organising meetings at mandal/taluk levels. The initial plans had to be modified in some states due to the incessant rains.
Employees from different sectors including telecom, state government, teachers, central government, bank and insurance etc will be participating in thousands in the rally. Telecom and insurance employees have decided to gather at different points in Delhi and march to the Parliament Street where the public meeting will be held.
The Delhi state committee of CITU is gearing up for the rally. With the help of other mass organisations, well wishers and supporters, it has taken up the responsibility to receive the lakhs of workers and peasants. In addition it has also taken up campaign through industrial area, residential area and street corner meetings, street plays etc.
A reception committee has been formed with eminent economist Prof Prabhat Patnaik as chairman and several intellectuals, progressive thinkers, leaders of fraternal mass organisations, and trade union, kisan and agricultural workers’ leaders to oversee arrangements.
Because of the huge participation expected, participants have been asked to reach Delhi in advance. Two camps are being built, one in Ramlila Maidan near the New Delhi railway station and another near the Sahibabad railway station. The camps at these places will be ready to receive the thousands of participants who are expected to reach Delhi from September 3rd morning.
As per reports, thousands of workers and employees from different sectors have already booked their tickets to reach Delhi from September 2nd onwards, as it was impossible to get reservation to reach on September 5. Most of them have made their own arrangements for staying in Delhi.
A meeting of the reception committee on August 24, chaired by Prabhat Patnaik took stock of the arrangements. Another meeting of the central leadership of the three organisations, CITU, AIKS and AIAWU also reviewed the preparations across the country and planned the details of the programme.
The main procession will start from the Ramlila Maidan near New Delhi railway station and march to the Parliament Street. In addition, seven to eight smaller processions will start from different points in the city and march to the venue of the public meeting in a very disciplined and orderly manner taking care not to cause inconvenience to the people. Besides, hundreds of industrial workers from different industrial centres of Delhi plan to bicycle their way to Delhi with flags and placards highlighting the demands of the rally. Three kisan activists from Palakkad have decided to travel the entire distance to Delhi on their motorbikes.
Thus the city will witness a rare sight of processions with red flags raising the demands of the common people, converging to the Parliament Street, a stone’s throwaway from Parliament, from different points in the national capital.
The main demands
1. Curb price rise; universalise Public Distribution System; ban forward trading in essential commodities
2. Implement concrete measures for generation of decent employment
3. Declare minimum wage of not less than Rs 18000 per month for all workers
4. Retract anti worker labour law amendments
5. Ensure remunerative prices for the peasants as per Swaminathan Committee recommendations; and timely public procurement
6. Implement debt waiver for poor peasants and agricultural workers
7. Pass Comprehensive Central legislation for agricultural workers
8. Implement MGNREGA in all rural areas and amend the Act to cover urban areas as well
9. Ensure Food security, health, education, housing for all
10.Provide Universal social security
11.No contractorisation of employment and equal wages for equal work for men and women.
12.Implement Redistributive land reforms
13.Stop forcible land acquisition
14.Provide Relief and rehabilitation for the victims of natural calamities
15. Reverse neoliberal policies