Statement of the Central Committee of Communist Ghadar Party of India, 18 August, 2011
Starting from late in the evening of 15th August, the Government of India unleashed its security forces to prevent a popular rally against corruption from taking place in Delhi and in many other places all over the country. In the early hours of 16th August,in a pre-meditated and planned way, security forces under the command of the Home Ministry swooped on Anna Hazare and other leaders of the agitation, placing them in “preventive custody”. Thousands of people who had come out to register their support were also arrested.
Home Minister Chidambaram claims that the pre-emptive arrests are legitimate because the Anna team did not agree to a long list of conditions formulated by the Delhi Police. One of the conditions they were supposed to sign on is that no more than 5000 persons would assemble at the main venue of the protest. Another condition was that the protest was to be limited to three days. The Home Minister claims that while a citizen has right to dissent, it has to be within “reasonable restrictions” imposed by the police.
Is it reasonable to ask a popular movement against the existing corrupt system, a movement that is calling on all the people to join in, to agree that not more than 5000 would assemble in the capital city or that the protest should be limited to three days? Would any self-respecting political movement agree to such conditions? No, it is not acceptable. It is not at all reasonable for those in power to impose restrictions on those opposing their rule, and claim that this is necessary in the national interest and for the sake of GDP growth.
The Communist Ghadar Party condemns the deprivation of the right to conscience and right to dissent as fascist actions of the Central Government!
Faced with outpouring of thousands of people in the capital and all over the country, the government has been forced to temporarily retreat. It has been compelled to allow the protest to go on for a period of 15 days without restrictions on number of participants.
In his speech delivered at the Red Fort on 15th August, on the occasion of the 64th anniversary of India’s political independence, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh accused all those who oppose the present course of our country as being roadblocks to the progress of India. Alluding to the crisis in US and Europe and the development of events in North Africa and West Asia, he attacked the people’s struggles in our country, saying some forces are trying to destabilize India. He equated the progress of India with the expansion in wealth and global clout of the capitalist monopolies. He rejected the demand of the people that they must have a say in governance, a say in laying down the laws of the land and in crucial public decisions.
The spokespersons of the Congress Party are trying to justify the attack on popular dissent as being unavoidable while maintaining "law and order". This is the same logic which the British colonial rulers used in the past. They branded our revolutionary martyrs, like Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukjhdev, as being roadblocks to the advance of British India. They deprived them of their right to conscience and of the right to life itself. They condemned them as being terrorists.
Today we have the “brown sahebs” who represent the independent Government of India, which is condemning those who raise their voices in protest as being roadblocks to progress, as disrupters of India’s rapid advance.
The skyrocketing food prices, massive loot of the public exchequer by monopoly capitalists and the ministers and officials in their pay, along with attacks on workers’ rights and forcible grabbing of peasant and tribal lands, are bringing lakhs of our people onto the streets in protest.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh brazenly declares that only Parliament can decide the laws of the land. People have the right only to petition the government and the parties in Parliament. People cannot decide about laws and policies. They cannot be allowed to decide their own future. They can protest but only within limits imposed by the ruling power.
The colonialists declared that they had been given the right to rule and plunder India because they were "civilized", while our people were allegedly unfit to rule themselves. The present day champions of parliamentary democracy claim they have the right to rule and plunder our land and labour, and to impose “reasonable restrictions” on all protests, because the 1950 Constitution of India says so. More and more people in our country are refusing to accept this assertion.
If economic policies can be changed when they become outdated and no longer suitable for the big capitalists, why should a 60 year-old Constitution be treated like a holy cow? Why should there not be a referendum on the need for a modern Constitution that affirms the inviolability of people’s rights, including their right to rule themselves?
The opposition parties in Parliament are playing a devious game. They are pretending to be in favour of the right to dissent, but their aim is limited to dislodging the Congress Party and taking its place. They are in full agreement with the Congress Party that the Parliament is supreme and the people should not have any role in decision making.
Today, there are sharp conflicts amongst the monopoly capitalists over who will benefit the most from the loot and plunder of the land and labour of our country. These contradictions can be seen in the way different capitalist groups are taking opposing positions on the ongoing mass protests. It cannot also be ignored that the US imperialists are calling upon the government of India to “exercise restraint” in dealing with the protests. People must ponder over why the US imperialists, who are bombing Libya, Afghanistan and Pakistan and have wreaked death and destruction all over the world, are expressing such views.
The agencies of imperialism, headed by the United States, are well known for infiltrating people’s movements in Asia and all over the world. US imperialism masterminded so-called revolutions of yellow, orange and other colours, always with the aim of establishing regimes aligned with the geo-political strategy of Washington. It is interfering today in the mass movements in Tunisia and Egypt.
The point is that the Government of India is not consistent in opposing foreign imperialist interference. It regularly collaborates with the US to interfere in Pakistan and Afghanistan. When it wishes, the Government of India raises its voice against the “foreign hand”, as it is doing at this time. This reflects the imperialist nature of Indo-US relations, characterised by collusion as well as contention.
People must be vigilant about, and not be fooled by, the games of the parties in Parliament, the games of the different capitalist groups, and the geo-political games of US imperialism and Indian imperialism. We must remain focused on defending our right to dissent, to gather in public places, to discuss and organise to change the corrupt and exploitative system.
There is a historic clash taking place today between those who want to end the monopoly of power and wealth; and those who are defending the existing order and its political process of representative democracy.
Those holding power want to convert all forms of dissent into a crime. The very same Manmohan Singh government, which had earlier declared armed struggle to be a crime, now declares that non-violent methods of struggle are also a crime. Defence of the right to dissent is essential to fight the fascist offensive headed by the Home Ministry.
The struggle against corruption is part and parcel of the struggle to change the political and economic system in our country. An important and immediate aim of this struggle is to reclaim from Parliament what belongs to the people, namely — sovereignty, the supreme decision making power.
Forward with the program to vest decision making power in the hands of the people!