Statement of Lok Raj Sangathan on the eve of the 15th Lok Sabha Elections
Dear fellow citizens,
Elections to the 15th Lok Sabha will be taking place soon. Serious problems confront the workers and peasants, women and youth of our country.
In the conditions of a deepening economic crisis, lakhs of workers from diverse sectors of the economy have either already lost their jobs or, they are in imminent danger of losing them. There is a massive agrarian crisis, with peasants being driven deep into debt and ruin. Youth are facing a bleak future, with unemployment on the rise. Women, as always, are facing the brunt of the onslaught. The attacks on our livelihood are accompanied by the bombardment of propaganda that the government is doing all it can to deal with the crisis.
This economic crisis is what is called a crisis of ‘over production’, which is the same as under-consumption by the toiling majority. It is an inevitable product and fellow traveler of this socio-economic system in which a highly socialised production process is controlled by a small elite and the lions’ share of the social surplus is pocketed by a tiny minority of private capitalist owners, headed by big monopoly corporate houses.
The severity of the current round of the crisis of over-production is accentuated by the unprecedented level of speculative profiteering by financial corporations, creating artificial boom in the stock market, housing and commodity markets. The bursting of these bubbles has wiped out the savings of millions of working and middle class families, aggravating the decline in consumption world wide as well as in our country. The crisis is revealing clearly the highly parasitic nature of this capitalist-imperialist system. It is revealing that it is the voracious greed for maximum profits by this plundering minority which is the driver of this economic system.
The vast majority of the population does not have enough money to buy what they need. Many of those who were meeting today’s needs by borrowing with credit cards, and other loans are now unable or afraid to live on borrowed money any longer. Production is being cut back and workers being laid off because the demand for goods is declining; and the lay offs are leading to further decline in demand.
There are two different and diametrically opposite sets of proposals to deal with the crisis.
On one side are the proposals of the corporate houses, voiced by their associations such as CII, FICCI and ASSOCHAM. On the other side are the proposals of the people, voiced by their numerous organisations including Lok Raj Sangathan.
The proposals from corporate houses are for giving thousands of crores of rupees of peoples monies from the state exchequer and public banks to private corporate houses. This is deceitfully portrayed by the spokesmen of the ruling class as wise measures to "stimulate the economy" and save us from the crisis.
Following the dictate of the big capitalists class, the measures that are being implemented by the UPA government at the centre today are for guaranteeing and protecting the super profits of the big capitalists both Indian and foreign. The government is vigorously pushing the global imperialist agenda of this plundering minority. The government’s measures are aimed at enabling the Indian corporate houses to exploit the global crisis to their advantage, by acquiring assets abroad cheaply and expanding their sphere of influence and control in foreign lands. They are aimed at assisting the Indian big capitalist class in its pursuit of big power status globally in order to participate in the loot and plunder of other countries as well. The government has nothing to give people except empty promises of relief.
People’s forces are proposing that voracious greed of the big capitalists for maximizing their profits in both the boom and the bust be curbed decisively. They are proposing investing in people’s livelihood, health and education as the way to stimulate the economy.
The clarion call of the toiling people of the world is to reorganize production and distribution to ensure the provision of food, clothing, shelter, and all the essentials of life to all people. Reorient the entire social production such that the fulfillment of the ever growing needs of human beings becomes the central motivation and rationale of the economy. Only such a people centered socio-economic system can put an end to this seemingly endless cycle of economic destruction in the name of development. This is the only way forward.
We know from our experience that the Congress Party and BJP have both faithfully followed the dictum that what is good for the big corporate houses is best for the country. Both these Parties and numerous other parties that comprise the UPA and NDA are all equally wedded to the program of globalization through privatisation, and liberalisation. The other parties representing various regional propertied interests that have ruled at the state level have also proved their credentials as parties of capitalist reform. All of them without exception have seized the lands of peasants in the name of industrialisation and Special Economic Zones. They have attacked the homes of slum dwellers and shops of small shopkeepers, in the name of modernising cities and towns. They have attacked the rights of workers in the name of making Indian economy globally competitive.
Agricultural land, forests and other common property resources have been forcibly expropriated and handed over to various Indian and foreign multi-national companies. Rivers and other water resources and even the sea coast are being privatised.
The old Public Distribution System has been demolished. Declaring that it was corrupt, the political parties responsible for its corruption have instituted a system called "targeted PDS" and BPL cards. This is a thoroughly corrupt system designed to create vote banks and engineer divisions amongst the people.
Education and health care have been turned into money making businesses. Electricity for our homes and pumpsets, seeds and fertilizers, trade within India and internationally, even arms production have been privatised to ensure the fulfillment of corporate greed..
From road construction to irrigation, from public housing to defence, from railways to agricultural mandis, have all been handed over to private profiteering in the name of "Public Private Partnership". Peoples monies such as our pension funds have been put at the disposal of big corporates ..
The list is endless. In short the agenda of big capitalists both Indian and foreign, that their profits be secured at all costs and in all fields has been put in command of all aspects of state policy by all the parties which have come to power.
Why is it that even though we the working people are in a big majority and we have been fighting for our right to live a life of dignity, it is only the agenda of the big capitalists and other exploiters that gets implemented? Why is it that government after government which have come to power since 1947 say that they are for us–the aam admi, but what they have done is only assisting the plundering minority.
This is because the political system, that is the legislature, the executive, the judiciary, the army and the police and a plethora of other institutions created to legitimize and protect this system were developed by the representatives of this plundering minority. It is they who have the sovereign power to decide the course of this country.
The electoral law guarantees the domination of the political process by parties of the elite and ensures that governments are formed from amongst those who will loyally serve the elite. Through successive amendments to the Representation of Peoples Act, the candidates selected by so called “recognized” political parties have many special privileges in the political process, such as common party symbol and state organized TV time for election campaigns. The existing political party system strictly serves the big capitalist’s interests and works to keep people’s representatives from power. The party or a coalition of parties that commands the support of a majority of MPs or MLAs forms the government and is mandated to rule as it sees fit.
The power to make and implement decisions that affect the course of society lies in the hands of the executive power, the cabinet. The legislative power – the parliament and the state assemblies, exists only to legitimize what the Executive does. The executive power is not subordinate to the legislative power nor are the elected MPs and MLAs subordinate to the people who elected them. They render accounts to their respective parties and follow the party whip when it comes to voting in the legislature. The Judiciary is appointed by the executive and is not accountable or answerable to anyone.
It is no wonder therefore that parties that come to power act unfailingly in the service of the most powerful economic interests who fund them.
People have no role to play in the governance of this country and they have been treated as mere vote banks. And when they do rise up to protest their exploitation and oppression and when they organize to fight for change they are brutally suppressed by the jack boots of the state. As a reliable adjunct to this parliamentary system the ruling class and their loyal political parties systematically organize communal pogroms against people of this or that religion, nationality, caste or tribe. This way they split the unity of the people.
The ruling powers label numerous nations and nationalities fighting for their identity and national development as anti-Indian and against the unity and integrity of India. They are branded as insurgents, militants, terrorists. The bogey of terrorism and separatism is used to impose brutal army rule.
People who dare to fight the forcible annexation of their agricultural land and their mineral wealth by the big corporate lobbies are branded as naxalites and untold crimes are committed against them including the creation organised vigilante groups like Salwa Judum to suppress them. The Armed Forces Special Powers Act in Kashmir and the North East, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, as well as various state specific acts like Chattisgarh Public Safety Act, expose the fascism that lurks just below the surface of Indian democracy.
The weapon of terrorism and state terrorism, under the banner of waging a "war against terror" is currently being perfected as the preferred weapon to suppress dissent of people’s forces. Terrorist massacres are being carried out by groups sponsored by the intelligence agencies of various countries.
The ruling circles of India and the world over, profit from terrorism. The pretext of a war against terrorism has been used for the over all militarization of the economy. Militarization provides lucrative contracts to Indian and foreign big capitalists to amass super profits. It provides them with the clout to establish control over new territories and spheres of influence, new markets and sources of raw materials.
In short the ruling class has perfected a system of rule where they through the ballot and the bullet impose their will on all of society. India’s claim to fame as the “largest democracy” comes from holding regular elections and peaceful transfer of power between the incumbent government and the newly elected one. However the ruling classes have perfected the system of ruling through the ballot and the bullet, elections and state terrorism.
If we want our agenda, that is the People’s agenda, to be implemented, we the people, need to wrest supreme decision making powers from the hands of a tiny self serving minority. We need to not only vest it in our own hands but to develop, establish and protect a brand new system of State structure based on a new Fundamental Law or Constitution.
The new law of the land must explicitly accord all Indians rights by virtue of the fact that they are human, unhindered by gender, caste or religion. The right to conscience, to livelihood, education and healthcare must be guaranteed to all as inviolable. It must establish enabling laws and mechanisms for the affirmation of these rights and make their violation justiciable. The new Constitution must respect the inviolability of the rights all the nations and nationalities that comprise this sub continent to self determination and national development. The unity of the peoples can and must be built on the basis of equal status in the polity and mutual benefit.
A new system of direct democracy and political process must replace the present talk shop parliament with bodies that combine executive and legislative functions. It must ensure the right of every citizen to elect, be elected, right to recall their representatives if found unsuitable and the right to legislate. The Representation of People’s Act must be reformed such that it redefines the role of the political parties as that of organizer and enabler of people themselves to come to power and it must disable the parties from becoming power brokers who prevent people from coming to power.
The reformed Representation of People’s Act must decisively curb the power of political parties by expressly vesting the power to select candidates for election in organizations of people in villages and mohallas, at workplaces and educational institutions. These organisations of people at the base of society must be provided with statutory powers to not only ensure accountability of the elected representatives but also the power to initiate recall of unsuitable representatives, and to initiate proposals for new laws and for the revision of existing ones.
Once the people are sovereign, they will wield the new instruments of Lok Raj and reorient the economic plans such that the needs and claims of the people are at the centre. Lok Raj will at the same time make provisions for the extended reproduction of society, including in it the need to protect and preserve the natural environment. The new power will necessarily have to suppress vested interests that seek to siphon out the resources. Lok Raj will safeguard the economic and political independence of the country while carrying out trade with all for mutual benefit.
The immediate task before the people’s movement is to get further politicized and organized around our own interests. This and this alone can take us closer to achieving our goal of establishing Lok Raj in India.
The election campaign to the 15th Lok Sabha has begun in real earnest. . With the economic crisis growing everyday, people are faced with an atmosphere of deep insecurity. The big corporate houses and other vested interests and the political parties funded by them are working overtime to lower the level of political debate. With tall claims they are trying to line up the people behind their false promises. The period before these elections saw an increase in communal and caste conflicts engineered by the political parties themselves. Numerous incidents of terror strikes including the much televised and debated strike of 26/11 in Mumbai, have been unleashed. Jingoism and war mongering has been raised to a pitch in the name of waging war against terror.
Burning questions such as ‘Where is our country headed and what is to be done to ensure all-round progress without crises’ are being deliberately sidelined. What the ruling class wishes to do is conduct an election under bayonets and guns in the name of security, engineer a mandate and install a government which will act in support of the capitalist imperialist course of the rulers. Such a government will then pursue the anti-worker, anti-peasant, anti-women, anti-youth and anti-national program of capitalist reforms with renewed vigour.
Lok Raj Sangathan calls on the people to defeat the plans of the ruling class by vigorously debating and developing, and uniting around the people’s alternative to this man eating system. Let us expose the present political system and further develop the contours of the new people’s order. Let us expose and oppose all the machinations of the exploiters to shift the burden of the crisis on to our backs.
Let us vigorously oppose attacks on the workers’ rights to unionize and strike. Let us escalate the resistance movement against the SEZs and other forcible seizure of our land and fight for comprehensive social security for all members of society.
Let us Unite and oppose state terrorism and all attempts to suppress dissent by labeling it as terrorism! Let us Oppose imperialist war and fight for lasting peace in South Asia!
Let us vigorously work to establish Lok Raj Samitis which are non-sectarian as our organs of constant political activity and struggle, to collectively assert our claims and defend our rights!
Let us redouble our efforts and utilize the election campaign to escalate our fight for a system which guarantees Sukh and Raksha for all in which the problem of under consumption disappears and the curse of poverty and war are banished for ever!
This is the call of the Lok Raj Sangathan!