On May 10th, 2015, Lok Raj Sangathan organised a public meeting, in association with several other organisations, under the banner, “The lessons of history must not be forgotten”. The meeting was held to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany and draw historical lessons in the fight against fascism today.
Around 30 organisations who have been in the forefront of the struggle against human rights violations, against state terror, against the use of black laws to violate the right to conscience of people, came together and expressed their resolve to unitedly fight against the growing fascist attacks, in India and globally.
Students and teachers, doctors and lawyers, youth from the working class districts of National Capital Region, as well as activists from Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan participated enthusiastically in this meeting.
The meeting was held in the backdrop of the massive disinformation campaign launched by US imperialism and its allies to turn truth on its head as regards the causes of the Second World War, the rise of fascism to power in Germany, the role of the US, Britain and France on the one hand, and the role of the Soviet Union and the peoples fighting against fascism for national liberation on the other hand. It was held in the backdrop of the vicious campaign launched by the imperialists to paint people of the Islamic faith as the source of terrorism world wide, and Russia as the source of the problem in Ukraine, in order to justify growing fascism, imperialist wars of aggression and regime changes.
A powerpoint presentation at the beginning of the meeting provided an excellent account of what actually happened during WWII, reasons behind WWII and the systematic way in which Hitler and his Nazi Party were backed by the imperialist powers of US, Britain and France. It presented incontestable facts about the principle stands taken by the Soviet Union in dealing with Germany and contrasted them with the unprincipled agreements between the European powers and Germany which enabled Hitler to emerge as a powerful force and cause massive destruction.
A set of exhibition panels put up on display attracted a lot of viewers. The panels provided interesting information on global corporate houses which funded Hitler’s campaign. They also drew parallels between parliamentary democracy and fascism at the time of WWII and how they have been further refined today by present day imperialist powers.
The resolution passed jointly at the end of the meeting declared that “We will fight together to create a new India that defends human, national and other democratic rights and works for an international order of peace and friendship among all nations and peoples.” Activists of the Lok Raj Sangathan came enthusiastically from several colonies of the city.
The President of Lok Raj Sangathan, Shri. Raghavan welcomed the gathering. He pointed out that even after the victory of the anti-fascist forces over Nazi Germany, Italy and Japan 70 years ago, fascism, militarism and imperialist war continue to threaten the people of this world. Likewise, in our country the state that came into being in 1947 in the thick of fratricidal bloodshed, continues to organise genocide and violence against the people. The leaders of the political parties in government at various times have promised that it will not happen again, but our experience has been exactly the opposite. Therefore, looking at these events, LRS felt such a meeting as this was important to clarify our understanding of fascism and its roots.
He passionately called on all the organisations which are fighting the fascist offensive in different areas to come together to understand what is happening, to discuss what is to be done and to put an end to this. “We want that future generations should be able to live in peace, should be able to be free from communal violence and genocide. It is our duty and theirs to ensure this by learning the lessons of history”, he said.
This was followed by a power-point presentation which clarified the truth behind the course of events that led to WWII, the valiant role played by the Russian army and the deceit of the Anglo-American imperialists. The presentation scathingly exposed the lying propaganda of the US imperialists today, as they carry out armed intervention and justify “regime change” in all those countries which refuse to toe their line. Com. Siddhantkar, of CPI(M-L)- New Proletarian, while elaborating on the historical events that took place around WWII in India and abroad, stressed that the bbiggest lesson of WWII is how imperialism can be defeated by the united strength of people. He said that we have to take the work further forward against imperialism. We have to establish organisations of people to break the imperialist chain. Those who are ruling over us are using all the modern technology and they can shake up and devastate the whole world, so we must organize with full consciousness and take courage from historical experience of people. He concluded that the world’s proletariat has the ability to lead the people in defeating imperialism.
Shri Prashant Bhushan of Swaraj Abhiyan, explained that in today’s representative democracy, where elections are held regularly and parties come to power through the first-past-the-post system, the people are completely powerless. He pointed to the fact that various bodies such as the CVC and CIC are headless and the judiciary has become elitist. Fighters like Saibaba have been put behind bars without any evidence and are not allowed bail while Salman Khan, Jayalalitha, and Maya Kodnani get bail. He called on the audience to raise their voice against persecution of activists, widening gap between rich and poor, and for a democracy where people have a decisive role.
Adv. Sharfuddin Ahmed, National Gen Secretary of Social Democratic Party of India, said that SDPI stands with LRS in its efforts to defend people’s rights and against fascism. Today in India, there is full scale attack on rights of people. We cannot ignore this attack today. We have to fight for a society where nobody’s status should be determined by his/her birth. We have to establish a society where leadership is not based on money or muscle power but is in fact, based on local leadership. There are continuing atrocities against Muslims, Christians and other minorities even though Constitution declares that there should be no discrimination on the basis of religion.
Prof Vijay Singh, who spoke next, elaborated on the definition and nature of fascism pointing out that it represented the most reactionary sections of finance capital and imperialism. This inter-imperialist rivalry of the 20th century continues today. Even today, people like Prof Snyder of Harvard Univ, are presenting a thesis that Hitler and Stalin were both responsible for WWII. He blames the war on the non-aggression pact of 1939 between Germany and SU which is not true. Britain’s policy was that there should be war, and that Germany should attack Russia. Towards the end of WWII, Truman said that, “If we see that Germany is winning the war we ought to help Russia, and if Russia is winning we ought to help Germany, and in that way let them kill as many as possible,” showing that they were not against fascism.
Com Prakash Rao of Communist Ghadar Party of India, declared that this people’s victory which was realized 70 years ago, was a victory for human kind. Imperialism was the source of fascism and the Second World War. The target of fascism was the working class and broad masses of people at home, and the peoples of other countries that the imperialist bourgeoisie enslaved through the war for the re-division of the world. Today, US imperialism together with its allies is actively promoting fascism under the garb of democracy, and launching one war after another to bring the entire world under its domination. Repeating a lie a thousand times until it is accepted as truth is a hallmark of fascism, and US imperialism is past master at it. It is being said, that people of the Muslim faith are behind terrorism, and are pulling the world back, while US imperialism and its allies allegedly stand for democracy, progress, human rights, and peace. This is complete falsehood. The fascists in Germany called their party “National Socialist Workers Party”, to hide that in fact they were the party of the German imperialist bourgeoisie whose enemy was socialism and the working class of Germany and the whole world. The imperialists are trying to take the world back into medieval times. There is a sharpening conflict between imperialist and reactionary forces on one hand and the working class and progressive forces on the other. The imperialists use all kinds of tricks and lies to justify their actions, just as Hitler did. Today, the biggest monopolies rule through this or that party. The latter manage the state on behalf of the former. He concluded that we must fight against all lies, and learn how to judge truth by looking at facts. We must build a powerful united struggle to defeat imperialism.
Dr.Chibber, President of Naya Daur Party, congratulated LRS in organizing this meeting to dispel darkness on this issue. He explained how the fascists came to power after the Treaty of Versailles and playing on German pride. The imperialists realized the importance of oil and captured sources of oil. While oppressing Jews all over the world, they created Israel in the Middle East, justifying a homeland for them but in reality creating a base for themselves. They put in power, the tyrant, Shah Reza Pehlvi who they claimed to be the descendent of Xerxes. Dr Chhiber informed that he had seen with his own eyes the role played by Jagdish Titler and HKL Bhagat in 1984, but after that they were made Ministers. He appreciated the aim of LRS to enlighten the youth. We have to raise the level of all. We have to defeat capitalism. We have to ensure that the energies of people are devoted to building a society that respects the rights of people.
Adv K.P Mohammed Shareef of Popular Front of India, pointed out that the situation in India is highly volatile and we should be worried where India is heading. Those in power attack not only the Muslims, but Christians and Dalits as well. They have attacked Churches and schools. They manufacture riots, they have compulsorily introduced Gita and Suryanamaskar in school. They want to declare Taj Mahal as a Siva temple. They create provocations on such sensitive issues in order to divide of people. He concluded that we must unite together, adopt a practical approach to see how we can influence events for the benefit of people.
Sunny of Bigul Mazdoor Dasta, elaborated on the manifestation of fascism today and the strategy to counter this fascism. Fascism targets people across identities and nationalities. Monopoly capitalism is the source of fascism in the context of the current capitalist crisis. But it is not always in the form of military junta. It targets one community or another.
Fascism is the most reactionary aspect of monopoly financial capital. Now we are saying structural crisis. Fascism has taken a structural form. It is decaying capitalism. One can see crisis after crisis has followed since 2008. Everything has changed in form. We have to strategise our fight, we have to reach every gully, and the working class has to take up this fight. The afternoon session started with an inspiring poem by Anand followed by a speech from Shri Guruji Hanuman Prasad, Vice President of Lok Raj Sangathan. Guruji pointed out that we are gathered here at a very critical period. In all of human history, the fight has been against the exploiters, the plunderers and the usurpers who in the name of religion, nation, etc have carried on their attacks. Explaining the circumstances of WWI and later he explained that the National Socialist Workers’ party, the Nazi Party, came to power on the basis of presenting lies as truth. Today, the ruling class uses every method of the fascists, telling lies to the people and looting the people. Dangers are being posed against us by the monopolies. People have to organize to take political power in their hands. He pointed out that India has become a part of the world imperialist system and is going with US which is attacking various countries in the name of Islamic terrorists.
Com. Arjun of Peoples Democratic Front of India, stressed the point that we have to understand how fascism works in order to combat it effectively. He gave several examples from the time of the two World Wars. He also explained that fascism takes different forms in different countries.
Dr ND Pancholi, of Citizens for Democracy, said that the outcome of WWII was most positive for the colonies, which then fought for and achieved their liberation. But many of them have today forgotten the lessons of history and are not celebrating the event. He explained the history of the emergence of fascism in Europe. He pointed out that just like Hitler talked about “Germanisation” of the population, the ruling reactionary forces are raising fears of Muslim population overrunning the general population, and organizing attacks on Muslims.
Kashif Ahmed Faraz representing Association for the Protection of Civil Rights, pointed out that in the 1860s and 70s, there were a lot of fascist laws. We had hoped that these will be removed after independence. But reverse is taking place. In the 90s, the policy of liberalisation was taking place, and fascist laws such as TADA, POTA were brought. When Babri Masjid demolition took place, these laws were used to incarcerate a lot of youth. In the North East these laws were used against the youth. He gave several examples of attacks on youth. He concluded that we need to learn lessons from the struggle against fascism to unite and fight together.
Manishwar of Manipur Students Association of Delhi (MSAD) explained the situation in Manipur and the growing attacks on the people. He felt that human rights violations are on the rise and sustained efforts are required to build unity among the people. Among the students too there is a need to educate them and build unity.
Poonam of Purogami Mahila Sangathan said that while we are told that we have democracy, actually there is fascism. Indian ruling class has visions of becoming an imperialist power. Fascism is used to suppress our rights and our struggles every day. Today’s society has reached the last stage of capitalism, the stage of imperialism, where the class struggle is between capitalists and the working class. She concluded that we have to get organised wherever we work and live, to take our struggle forward.
Sajjid of Welfare Party of India, after congratulating LRS for initiating this meeting, pointed out that in 1945 there was only one Hitler, but now there are innumerable fascists. In India we have democratically elected fascist governments. There are so many draconian laws that are an outright attack on the rights of people. The situation is serious and needs unity of all organizations in the struggle against fascism. He concluded by expressing solidarity with this initiative to build unity against fascism.
Santosh of Mazdoor Ekta Committee (MEC) said that one important lesson of history is that the victims of war are workers and peasants. Whether it was Germans or Russians, they were all sons of workers and peasants. They become the fodder for war, not the children of capitalists. He continued that Hitler was just an individual, but there were forces behind him which used him to carry out their attacks on communists and people. Likewise, Modi by himself is not doing what he is doing. Behind him stand the forces of Reliance, Tata, Birla, etc. We have to be conscious about the dangers of war, which is the biggest threat to workers and peasants. Blood can be red or yellow or black, but it is blood.
Sucharita of Lok Raj Sangathan pointed out that defeat of the fascist powers led to the universal condemnation of unjust imperialist wars and to the UN Declaration on Human Rights. It led to all member countries agreeing to the principle of national self-determination and the independence and sovereignty of all states, big and small. However, imperialism led by the US, which took on the mantle of fascism post WWII, is violating every principle in its drive to hegemonise the entire world.
Several youth came forward to speak. They declared that it is the working class today which can lead the struggle to defeat fascism by defeating imperialism. The meeting concluded on this militant note and the unanimous passing of a resolution.
Presentations made during the public meeting: