Political Statement – from the meeting of groups in Delhi on the 22/23-02-2014
As a follow up of the Jashn-e-Sangharsh of movements, activists and community leaders along with cultural groups, held in Chirala (Andhra Pradesh) in January 2014 a political meeting of people’s movements, organised and unorganised sector trade unions and traditional natural resource based community representatives was held on the 22nd and 23rd February 2014 in Delhi.
The existence of social movements and trade unions dates back to the history of left movement in India itself. The mass organisations and trade unions in the country, affiliated to a party or otherwise, have played very important role in deciding the future of government formation at the centre and the states and it is important that we take this historic opportunity to assert our militant unity and radical positions and re-emphasise the importance of social movements and its political views outside of the electoral politics.
Discussions within social movements, trade unions and the larger left constituency, in the context of the 2014 parliament elections in India, must bring in debates and dialogues around the leading political parties along with an analysis of the emerging political trends.
Some of the main positions taken during the meeting were to recognise that:
The times demand new political coalitions and alliance-building amidst social movements and between people’s movements and trade unions, bringing together the diversity of our political history as represented through the Red, Green and Blue flags! New political formulations that weave through class, gender and caste, organised and unorganised, environment and human must be found.
This coalition must be built on the basic ideological premise of our collective opposition against global capitalism, brahmanism, feudalism, patriarchy, religious fundamentalism and jingoistic nationalism.
The need to effectively tackle and take forward the political resurgence of the past ten years, since 2004 WSF Mumbai, Sangharsh 2007 and the new political uprisings since 2000s, like; Nandigram, Singur, Mundra, Raigad, hilly terrains of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, Latehar, Chengara, Haripur, Nayachar, POSCO, Niyamgiri, Odisha and Andhra coastal regions, Kudankulam, Kalinga Nagar, Jashpur, and Sonbhadra, Bundelkhand, khiri, Maruti workers, unorganized labour struggles led by the communities and workers themselves, which are exemplary examples of this
At a time when people’s struggles are directed against the state-corporate nexus, there is a need for building a national joint platform of social movements and trade unions especially in the context of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections 2014.
The battle against patriarchy, and its manifestations in the physical and structural violence against women, should be strengthened through strengthening women’s role in family, society, movement and political dialogue
There is a historical need to re-assert the lives of leaders of political resistance and social change, like: Birsa Munda, Tilka Majhi, Sidhu Kanu, Ayyankali, Periyar, Savitribai Phule, Gandhi, Bhagat Singh, Ambedkar, Lohia and Jayaprakash Narayan
It was decided that the efforts to build this sort of a political alliance must be made immediately, especially in the run up towards General Elections 2014.
1. The need for evolving a joint agenda and rationale in the political dialogue with political parties, in the run up to the elections
2. The participation of critical mass-based movements in the election process – focus being agenda-setting with movement demands
3. The realisation that movements and groups must engage with greater clarity, in a multi-party political democracy, to put forth our issues, concerns and ideological demands to a cross-spectrum of political groups
4. The realisation that some of the movement groups and leaders have decided to join the electoral process and to contest elections themselves. The situation needs understanding, but should not be allowed the space of political interpretation that all social movements and trade unions are with one political party
5. The realisation that the decades old struggles of social movements & trade unions and centuries old struggles of natural resource-based traditional communities – especially Dalits & Adivasis, have a collective strength that is rooted in the politics of being in the opposition, asserting the rights of people in the fight against the state. This must not be diluted.
Hence, there is a need to unite our demands and assert the fact that we are not pleading for legislations or to have our people in parliament or for our demands to be heard but we are wanting a political dialogue on each of these issues and will soon be aiming towards drafting a people’s charter on these lines.
It was decided to give a call for a national level mobilisation of representatives, leaders, activists and cultural movements to assemble in Delhi on the Shaheed Diwas, the commemoration day of the martyrdom of Shaheed Bhagat Singh and his comrades. The day will mark a political rally of Adivasi and Dalit groups, forest workers, fishworkers, handloom weavers, domestic workers, street vendors and hawkers, women’s groups and organisations that have been working in the country for social and political change.
The rally on March 23, 2014 started from Shaheed Park in Delhi, and culminated in Jantar Mantar, in front of the Parliament.