On July 28th a consultative meeting was organized by Makkalatchi Iyakkam (Lokraj Sangathan) at Nagercoil in Kanyakumari District of Tamil Nadu to discuss the ways and means to defend the livelihood of the people and build unity to take forward their struggles. Meeting was attended by various activists belonging to People’s movement against Nuclear Energy, Tamizhaga Vivasayeegal Sangam, Rubber plantation workers Union, Women’s collective, Vazhvurimai Makkal Iyakkam (Movement for people’s rights for livelihood), Tamil Nadu Democratic Workers union, Kanyakumari District Fishermen’s Sangam Federation, Navajothi, Care Trust, Ahilam Trust, Jeevajothi and few other organizations representing various cross sections of people. Unorganized workers Federation and National alliance of Peoples Movement have also extended their supported to these unity efforts.
Activists in the meeting discussed the continuing attacks on the livelihood and human rights. Workers are being denied even basic and established rights such as right to form the union of their choice, trade union rights and forced to work for long hours without adequate compensation and benefits. Peasants are squeezed between the high input prices and unprofitable prices for their produce. They are being exploited by the banks and other financial organizations, corporations involved in trading of agricultural produce and by the anti-peasant government policies. Fishermen are also finding it very difficult to survive due to the high prices of diesel, kerosene, nets and boats. In the unequal competition with the deep sea trawlers, fishermen with small boats loose out. Government of India does not enforce the 2 months ban on fishing on the foreign and deep sea fishing boats whereas our fishermen are prevented from fishing during these 2 months. Rubber plantation workers, head load workers also suffer due to the steep price rise and stagnant wages.
People of the region have been opposing the Koodankulam atomic power generation unit for years together. They have staged various agitations and make innumerable representations to the government. But the successive governments have ignored the concerns and welfare of the people. Makkalatchi Iyakkam has also shared their investigations and experiences of people at Thrapoor Nuclear power plant. Activists also expressed their concerns on the increasing attacks on the women in Tamil Nadu.
In the course of fighting against these attacks, rich capitalists and the government try to isolate and break the unity of the people. They are trying to render these just struggles as isolated ones and prevent other sections of people from supporting them. In order to oppose these tactics, it was stressed by various activists to treat "An attack on one is an attack on all" and on the urgent need to strengthen the unity of the people and their organizations, counter the misinformation campaigns and launch united struggles. Meeting ended with a positive view to build the fighting unity of various sections of the people and their organizations in the coming period and support each others just struggles.