Braving the heat and humidity members from different parts of India came to Delhi to attend Lok Raj Sangathan’s All India Council meeting on 12th July 2009. Starting at 10 in the morning the meeting went on till 7 pm with full participation from all members present.
Divided into three broad sessions, the meeting began with a brief introduction from the President of LRS, S Raghavan who was also chairing the meeting. Prakash Rao, Convenor of LRS presented the proposed agenda to take the meeting forward. Main agenda items included:
· Report of work in the last 4 months and Discussion
· Building of LRS and membership campaign
· Political and economic programme of the new government – A presentation
After approval of the agenda for the meeting, a detailed activity report of Lok Raj Sangathan for the period March to June 2009 was presented by the Convenor.
· Participation in the 15th Lok Sabha elections
Participation in the elections indicated once again that elections provide a conducive environment to discuss about the political process and explain the agenda of LRS to the people. Experiences of the work during this period clearly showed that people are coming around LRS’s political line. LRS was able to leverage this opportunity fully to reach out to people and present LRS’s vision for an alternate economic and political system. Giving detailed accounts of the experiences from the different areas – Delhi, Maharashtra, Tamilnadu, Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana –, the Convenor observed that it has been a major learning process for LRS. LRS is being built step by step as an organization which is working for people’s power.
AIC members from Delhi, Maharashtra and Tamilnadu—wherein LRS had actively supported people’s candidates — elaborated on their rich experiences. They spoke about the support and encouragement they received from people. They also shared the obstacles and problems they faced in undertaking the campaigning. This election, once again confirmed, that the election mechanism works only for parties of the capitalist class. The members spoke about the great learning process which they have undergone, and declared that it confirmed the absolute correctness of the call of LRS for a thorough overhaul of the political system and process.
In a significant intervention, a member pointed out that people are looking towards us for leadership. We have taken upon ourselves a very big task and people are looking at us with lot of hope, he said. We need to live up to their expectations. Another member shared the experience of collecting money from ordinary masses for campaigning. Initially it seemed a bit awkward to ask for donation that too from poor workers but we were able to shed our inhibitions by and by and went on to collect thousands of rupees from the workers, he said. During elections, the capitalists give donations to capitalist parties, and these capitalist parties do the work of the capitalists. We are different. We represent the people. We collect money from the ordinary people and we work for their interests.
Members pointed out how during the campaign in Mumbai, working people came forward to extend their full support. A member recalled the way people from a taxi union came forward to support the campaign. One of the best things was the LRS candidate was looked as a people’s candidate and not as just any independent candidate.
Members from the Tamilnadu pointed out how there was active participation of general public in the numerous street corner meetings. Immediately after the elections, they have launched a mass contact and mass membership program, and hundreds of people, entire families, are coming forward to join the LRS.
Apart from participation in the election, other activities in the last four months included-
· Work among youth and farmers in Hanumangarh
· Working among farmers, farm workers in Mansa, Bhatinda
· Work among peasants, against SEZs- Tutukudi
· struggle against state terrorism
· work amongst women
· supporting struggles of airport workers, railway workers, shoe factory workers, resident doctors, unorganized sector workers
· LRS President participated in meetings in London. Also gave a radio interview
· Activities organized in Canada
The second session saw active participation of members on the question of building and strengthening LRS as an organization for people’s power, an organization which works to make people decision makers.
There was very vigorous discussion on the urgency of building LRS as a membership based organization. All members hailed the post election mass contact work and membership campaign that was going on at full steam in different areas, and pledged to further strengthen this work in their respective areas.
The AIC called upon the members to go to their respective areas and carry forward the discussion on building and strengthening LRS in their respective areas. The AIC proposed November 7-8 2009 as the dates for the next All India Convention of LRS.
The AIC supported and expressed the need to participate actively in the seminar being organised by Kamgar Ekta Chalwal, and other organizations in Mumbai on labour issues on 2 August 2009. It was pointed out that it would provide an excellent platform to develop the discussion on the unity of the working class, as in coming times the attack on working class would be on the rise.
Thereafter, the financial report of the last four months was presented by the Convenor followed by an extremely informative and well researched presentation on the political and economic programme of the new government. The presentation fully exposed the real intention behind the government’s slogan of rapid and inclusive growth. It showed clearly how the programmes of the government favour only a handful of people by making large sections of the population poorer.
A large number of resolutions were presented at the AIC. The AIC authorised the Secretariat of the AIC to look at the resolutions and decide which of them merited wide ranging discussion in the organization before their approval at the All India Convention later this year.
The meeting ended with a positive summing up by the Convenor, who stressed on the need to strengthen the organization and expand our work in the coming months.