Towards People’s Power
The Fourth All India Convention of Lok Raj Sangathan recognizes that a direct democracy without the intermediate agency of power brokers is vastly superior to the current system of representative democracy that is dominated by political parties that want power exclusively in their hands.
This Convention resolves that Lok Raj Sangathan will use every opportunity to prepare the conditions for renewal of the current political system and political process, which are required for the establishment of direct democracy where the people will exercise power.
Towards this end, Lok Raj Sangathan will redouble its efforts in the coming period to build lok raj samitis and initiate widespread discussion and debate on genuine electoral reforms and constitutional guarantee of rights.
On the right to livelihood
The Fourth Convention of Lok Raj Sangathan resolves that the right to livelihood — including the right to work, right to food, shelter, clothing, education, health care, affordable and adequate supply of safe water and electricity and protection during old age, disablement and sickness – is universal, enforceable and inalienable. Hence, the State cannot absolve itself of its constitutional responsibility to provide these rights for the people. The Convention demands that constitutional guarantees must be provided and enforced for the realization of these rights.
On State terrorism
The Fourth All-India Convention of Lok Raj Sangathan strongly condemns the ‘war against terrorism’ being conducted by the Indian state and ruling parties as a war against the people and their rights; and demands that those guilty of terrorist acts, including communal violence and encounter killings, either directly or having command responsibility, should be apprehended, tried and punished in the most severe fashion, irrespective of any official or elected position they may hold.
The Fourth All-India Convention of Lok Raj Sangathan demands the repeal of all fascist laws including the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, Disturbed Areas Act, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, and others that violate basic human rights and democratic rights.
The Conventions vehemently condemns the escalating attack on minority communities, people of the north-east and Kashmir, and fighting forces in other parts of the country in the name of curbing so-called fundamentalists, terrorists, secessionists, naxalites, etc.
On Agrarian distress and the peasantry
The Fourth All-India Convention of Lok Raj Sangathan takes note of the acute agrarian distress that has led to many thousands of peasants and farmers committing suicides, about 90,000 in the 9 years 1997-2005 and expresses its strong condemnation of this tragedy and those responsible for it. It holds the State and ruling parties, the policies of successive central and state governments, geared to maximize the private profits of big corporations, responsible for this situation.
The Fourth All-India Convention of Lok Raj Sangathan further demands that:
- the governments should provide adequate support prices for all crops in all regions of the country, and establish a network of public procurement for ensuring a stable market for all agricultural produce.
- all risks threatening the producers of all crops should be covered under a public insurance scheme that is not geared towards maximizing profits.
- the tiller of the land should be guaranteed a secure livelihood and state support to increase productivity and achieve economies of scale, so that agriculture can fulfil the needs of the whole of society, as well as the needs of the peasants.
Corporatisation of wholesale and retail trade
The Fourth All-India Convention of Lok Raj Sangathan expresses its deep concern at the rapid course of corporatisation of wholesale and retail trade in the country, directly enabled by government policy in this direction. The Convention strongly condemns the use of force by the State against working people and shopkeepers in order to promote the corporatisation of trade.
The Fourth All-India Convention of Lok Raj Sangathan demands that:
- trade should serve the interests of ensuring availability of all essential goods and services to all members of society at affordable prices
- wholesale trade should be nationalized in the interests of the small producers and the urban working people
- retail trade should be subject to social control and regulation to ensure that there is no threat of profiteering and hoarding at the expense of the working people and small traders
Land Acquisition and the SEZ Act
The Fourth All-India Convention of Lok Raj Sangathan observes that the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Act, passed by the UPA Government in 2005, legitimizes corporate land grabbing, and serves the aim of concentrating prime land in the hands of capitalist corporations. It enables big capitalists to select whichever land they want and then the central or state government concerned acquires that land using whatever means, including through the use of force, backed by the SEZ Act and the colonial Land Acquisition Act.
The Fourth All-India Convention of Lok Raj Sangathan upholds the principle that land is a vital natural resource that belongs to nations and peoples. It cannot and must not be owned and managed by self-serving private corporate interests. Agricultural land needs to be secure in the hands of those who till it, while urban land must be brought under social ownership and control.
Based on the observations enumerated above, the Fourth All-India Convention of Lok Raj Sangathan demands
- Repeal of the colonial Land Acquisition Act;
- Repeal of the SEZ Act; and
- Enactment of a new law that will prohibit forcible acquisition of land by private corporate entities and ensure that peasants cannot be deprived of their land without their consent and approval by the concerned people and legislative bodies
Violence and terror in Nandigram
The Fourth All-India Convention of Lok Raj Sangathan unequivocally condemns the violence and terror unleashed in Nandigram against those who are opposing the ruling CPI(M) led Left Front Government and its policy on land acquisition. Use of force by the State and ruling party to suppress people’s opposition to land acquisition cannot be justified under any pretext. Use of force to settle problems of an economic and political nature is anti-democratic.
The Fourth All-India Convention of Lok Raj Sangathan unequivocally condemns the displacement and deprivation of livelihood and rights of thousands of tribal peoples, forest dwellers and adivasis in different parts of India, all in the name of development, and demands that
• Government at all levels must ensure that the interests of individuals and collectives are harmonized with each other and with the general interests of society, without allowing a minority of private interests to thrive at the expense of others.
The Fourth All-India Convention of Lok Raj Sangathan observes that whereas the peoples of this subcontinent have a long history replete with examples of mutually beneficial trade and cultural relations with the peoples of other lands, the present day rulers of India are pursuing a narrow minded foreign policy driven by imperialist self interest. With the aim of developing India as a big imperial power, successive governments in New Delhi have been striking deals and alliances with other aggressive imperialist powers, including the United States. Such a course increases the threat of war and chaos in South Asia.
The Fourth All-India Convention of Lok Raj Sangathan condemns the moves of the NDA and UPA governments to forge a strategic political, military and economic alliance with the United States, and
Amendment of the Constitution to ensure that the Government of India cannot ratify any international agreement without the approval of two-thirds of the members of Parliament. This Convention resolves to mobilize public opinion around this demand.
Constitution of LRS
The Fourth All-India Convention recognises the need to prepare LRS as an organization capable of paying a central role to bring together all the fighting forces of India under one banner, so that in the coming period the people’s agenda will occupy the centre stage of politics. Toward this, the Fourth All India Convention resolves to adopt the draft Constitution of Lok Raj Sangathan as a political organization with the amendments approved by this general body.
The Convention resolves to deepen and scale up the work of building Lok Raj samitis in work places and residential areas and building and strengthening the regional councils of LRS.
The Fourth Annual Convention resolves to take steps in the coming period to engage all the political forces in India who are committed to the empowerment of the people, in working out a common platform to intervene in the political arena, including in the electoral arena.
The Fourth Convention resolves to intervene in the state assembly elections due in 2008 in Delhi, Rajasthan, Chattisgarh and MP and parliamentary elections as well as in the General Elections due in 2009 and to work closely with all forces engaged in similar initiatives, putting the cause of empowerment of people at the centre of our efforts.
The Fourth Conventions resolves to organize joint actions all over the country to mark Human Rights Day (December 10) in defence of human rights against black laws, and to punish those guilty of communal violence and genocide.