MEL is carrying out a series of interviews with leaders of the working class to get their view on demonetisation and its consequences for the people.
Com. Suryakant Shinge, leader of Ladaku Garment Mazdoor Sangh and activist Com. Vilas Kamble
MEL: What is the effect of Modi’s demonetisation on the lives of people in villages and towns?
Com. Shinge: Due to demonetisation, it has become very difficult to find jobs in villages. People have to stand in queues for so many hours in front of banks that may be 5-10 kms away. At times, people do not get money even after standing for hours. Then they have to go again the next day. People are strongly opposed to demonetisation. Prices of crops grown by farmers have crashed. They are unable to buy seeds and fertilisers. They are unable to get loans.
Com. Kamble: Everyone is badly hit by demonetisation. More than eighty people have died as a result. The Modi government is responsible for this.
MEL: Modi has claimed that demonetisation will strike at black money. Do you think this will happen?
Com. Shinge: This is wrong. Black money will not come out due to demonetisation. Black money is a necessary part of this system, and the largest amount of black money that is in the hands of the biggest capitalists is not even a part of this banking system.
Com. Kamble: The fact is that Modi does not even intend to end black money. The Modi government works for the capitalists. They are the ones with black money. The poor have only a little money, which they either keep in banks or at home for future use. Modi is doing this in order to get the poor to put their money in banks so that the banks are saved.
Who will benefit from demonetisation?
Com. Shinge: The capitalists will benefit. The interest on their loans will reduce. In the coming days the Modi government will even write off their loans. Black money will in fact increase due to the introduction of the Rs. 2000 note.
Com. Kamble: The capitalists will benefit and the government and administration will benefit as well.
MEL: Modi had earlier said that demonetisation will end terrorism. What do you think?
Com. Shinge: This is totally false. Terrorists get their money and weapons from imperialist states. The chief terrorist is the US state, which the government and Modi are embracing more closely. Demonetisation will have no effect on terrorism.
Com. Kamble: Modi is lying when he says that terrorism will be ended.
MEL: Will demonetisation end poverty and unemployment?
Com. Shinge: On the contrary, poverty will increase. Due to the decrease in jobs the capitalists will exploit the workers and peasants even more.
Com. Kamble: Notes are the means of circulation in the country. To end poverty it is necessary to understand it’s basis. Today state power as well as the major means of production are in the hands of big Indian and foreign capitalists. In these circumstances, the gap between the rich and poor will remain. This is a big lie that the PM is promoting.
MEL: The rulers are saying that those who are raising their voices against demonetisation are traitors to the country. What do you feel?
Com. Shinge: It is totally wrong to equate opposition to the government with treachery. Modi has imposed demonetisation on the people. This is an instance of dictatorship.
Com. Kamble: This is wrong. The people need notes to live. Demonetisation is very harmful to the public at large. It is their right to protest against it. The Modi government has no right to call them traitors.
MEL: The government is saying we should have a cashless economy. What do you think?
Com. Shinge: This is wrong. India has the largest number of poor people in the world. The rate of illiteracy is also very high. Half the people do not have mobile phones. Many of those who have them use them only for talking to others. There is hunger, poverty, unemployment. Bank branches have not reached rural areas even today. That is why it is not possible for our people to resort to cashless economy today.
Com. Kamble: In our country buying and selling is largely done through cash. The government wants to promote big business through credit and debit cards and destroy small ones. This intention of the government is anti-people.
MEL: We are very happy to hear your views. Thank you!