A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol. 14, No. 44, 25 – 31 OCTOBER 2011
'Liberation' of Libya:
Challenges for the Arab Spring and American Autumn
It was Iraq in 2006. It is Libya today in 2011. In 2006 Bush Administration had celebrated the conquest of Iraq by exhibiting the mutilated body of Saddam Hussein as a prized trophy. The spectacle of celebration of Libya's 'liberation' is turning out to be remarkably similar. On 20 October 2011 the world came to know about the ruthless elimination of Libya's deposed ruler Muammar Gaddafi. He was captured alive – and unlike in the Saddam case there was no pretence of a trial – only to be murdered brutally and his blood-streaked body was put on display in a commercial freezer at a shopping centre in Misrata town. Around the same tIme his son Mutassim was also captured and killed in Sirte, reportedly the last stronghold of the Gaddafi regime. While Obama Administration and NATO immediately hailed the 'liberation' of Libya, American and French flags could be seen being waved on Libya's streets alongside Libyan flags.
It is indeed a queer irony of history. On the one hand, the Arab Spring that had started in Egypt and brought an end to the three-decade-old reign of Hosni Mubarak has reached the American soil in the form of the Occupy Wall Street movement, on the other hand the US-NATO war campaign is desperately trying to subvert and subjugate the Arab Spring to its strategic objectives and calculations. Libya is strategically no less important than Iraq – both for its oil reserves and its standing as the geo-political gateway of Africa. The post-Gaddafi transition in Libya will be as messy as post-Saddam Iraq providing enough opportunities to the US and other NATO powers to tighten their grip on Libya and use it as a launching pad for a veritable invasion of Africa and for toppling other regimes in the Middle-East.
There can of course be no denying the fact that in recent years the Gaddafi regime in Libya, like the Saddam regime in Iraq, had lost its legitimacy and momentum. There was a period in the 1970s and 1980s when Gaddafi led the building of modern Libya – he nationalized the oil economy in this former British colony, built the infrastructure of a modern country, stood by Palestine against Zionist aggression and occupation, and extended full support to the anti-colonial anti-racist assertion all over Africa. But over the years Gaddafi earned increasing notoriety as a ruthless dictator. Meanwhile, the sanctions imposed in the wake of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing incident (in which Libya was falsely blamed) had also crippled the Libyan economy considerably. In the wake of the collapse of the USSR and more recently, the US-led invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, Gaddafi was known to have developed a working relationship with Britain and other Western powers perhaps in the vain hope that Libya would be left alone.
Mired militarily in Afghanistan and Iraq, and faced with a stubborn recession at home, the US has been looking for a different tactic to cater to its strategy of global domination. It has chosen to ride piggyback on the Arab Spring. Using the local resistance and opposition to dictatorial and unpopular regimes in the Middle-East, the US is seeking to effect regime changes and acquire greater economic and political control over the process of transition. The tactic seems to have worked quite effectively so far in Libya. Apart from gaining control over oil and gas and other key natural resources including land, the US also looks to counter the growing economic presence of China in Africa. It is well known that while the US is busy spreading its military tentacles all over the world, China has deepened its economic role in Africa through growing infrastructure projects and other related investments.
The 'liberation' of Libya would surely encourage the US to intensify its scramble for Africa. Towards the end of the second term of Bush Presidency, the US had established a unified military command called AFRICOM to direct US' military role for all the 54 countries of Africa. Fully operational since 1 October 2008, AFRICOM is aimed at protecting US national interests 'from transnational threats emanating from Africa' and remaining ever prepared 'to prevail against any individual or organization that poses a threat to the United States, our national interests, or our allies and partners'. With Libya secured, the US is already busy strengthening its military role in Africa in the garb of 'humanitarian intervention' and 'peaceful engagement' in countries like Congo, Uganda, recently bifurcated Sudan and several other African countries.
This US-NATO game plan clearly poses a frontal challenge to the spirit of both Arab Spring as well as American Autumn. While the Arab people want to run their countries independently and democratically, the Occupy Wall Street movement has come out against both corporate greed and plunder and US military bases and interventions across the world. The OWS movement is informed by a painful realization that the working people of the US are reeling under the burden of not just economic recession and enormous bailout packages handed out to Wall Street but also the crushing weight of the Empire what with the growing cost of US military expeditions the world over. The spirit of the OWS movement is thus directed as much against Wall Street as the Pentagon. But while acknowledging the frustration of the American people and the stubbornness of the recession, the Obama Administration continues to fuel the US war machine. The democratic aspiration underlying the Arab Spring and the American Autumn will therefore have to squarely challenge the US imperialism's entire design of global domination.
Condemn the Heinous Killing of Muammar Gaddafi
(Party General Secretary's statement - 21 Oct)
Former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has been killed at the hands of NATO-backed fighters. Reportedly, he offered no resistance when discovered in hiding, and even requested his captors not to shoot. Yet he was shot dead in cold blood.
It is ironic that such a blatant war crime is being welcomed by the imperialist US and its allies, as a harbinger of democracy in Libya! The US-NATO aggression on Libya is yet another instance when the imperialist quest for oil and strategic dominance in the region is being dressed up as an altruistic support for democratic regime-change.
After its costly military misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq, the US is trying a new tactic in Libya to usurp the spirit of the Arab Spring, capture precious resources like oil and strengthen its geo-political stranglehold in this region of strategic importance. The US-NATO gameplan in Libya must be condemned and resisted as strongly as the whole world has rejected the US-led war, occupation and intervention elsewhere in the world.
Towards AICCTU's 8th National Conference
(11-13 November 2011, Shankar Guha Niyogi Nagar (Bhilai, Chhattisgarh), Darashram Sahu Hall)
The 8th National Conference of All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU) is being held in the backdrop of the pro-corporate, anti-worker, anti-people new economic policies which have been dominant for the past two decades has been thoroughly exposed. Corporate Loot and corruption, land grab, escalating prices and all-out attack on democracy and people's rights are the essence of these economic policies. The mass disillusionment and anger against these policies is exploding in the form of demonstrations and street battles throughout the country and mass resistance ranging from cities to villages, towns and tribal areas. The high level of people's participation in the recent anti-corruption movement and subsequent retreat by the UPA Govt in the face of this movement has given a big boost to the ongoing country wide movement against corporate loot and corruption. In this situation of turmoil, the working class must play a vanguard role in targeting the hegemony of corporates and capitalists and their agents in all the vital spheres of national life.
Increasing Globalization of Working Class Resistance: On the other hand, in the international arena, the chief proponents, responsible for thrusting the policies of loot and plunder on the world, the US and the Europe, are neck deep in a serious financial crisis. World-wide, huge and militant strikes and demonstrations of workers and common people are being witnessed against cuts in social welfare and jobs in the garb of crisis. The anger and protest is getting globalized against the policies of globalization. An unprecedented solidarity of workers of the world is developing against the loot and plunder of imperialists and their agents.
The ever intensifying struggle of the Indian working class: The movement of Indian working class is continuously intensifying against the policies of privatization, contractualization, and repression and for better wages, social security and Trade Union rights. The success of the most recent nation-wide strike of bank employees against privatization and outsourcing was unprecedented with the participation of employees of private sector banks in large numbers. The coal workers too could achieve some victory after warning of a 3 day strike in coal industry. The public sector workers' movement is strengthening against privatization, outsourcing and contractualization.
Regarding the struggles for TU rights, the ongoing movement, particularly of contract and other non-permanent workers of Maruti-Suzuki Plant (in Manesar) is exemplary. Some time back, the workers of Pricol and Nokia group (Foxcon) in Tamil Nadu set an example of struggle and sacrifice on the issue of achieving TU recognition. The Tea garden workers were successful in holding a general strike and bandh in 6 districts of North Bengal for their demands including better wage, and thus created a newer height of their struggle.
A huge section of contract workers created in the public sector, government departments and private sector as a direct result of new economic policies are getting organized and waging struggles for TU rights, better wages and secure jobs. A vast section of workers recruited on the basis of honorarium or commission, particularly women workers like ASHA in the government sectors like health, education and social welfare, are compelled to work in the most insecure and inhuman conditions. These new workers are getting organized in big numbers today and their assertion can be seen from the state to national level, as on 5 September at Jantar Mantar in Delhi under the banner of AICCTU. These lakhs of honorarium/commission workers and crores of contract workers are unitedly giving a militant, movemental form to the ongoing TU movement. Also, the pensioners and the general workers are on the path of struggle in various states on the issue of guarantee of a fixed minimum pension and other old age social security measures. On 25th August - during the monsoon session of Parliament - these state level struggles found their echo at national level, when hundreds of pensioners and workers under the banner of AICCTU held a sit-in against the government's new pension scheme, EPS '95 and privatization of pension.
Joint Trade Union Actions: Basing on this onward motion of workers' movement, the joint trade union actions are also gaining momentum. Following the last year's historic General Strike of 7th September and the massive united Workers' Parliament March on 23rd February, the joint nationwide campaign and actions are intensifying further. Now, all the major central trade unions are gearing for the coming Jail Bharo action programme in the month of November. And as a culmination of the ongoing joint action, a general strike action, much bigger than before, is being planned. In taking this joint move forward and also in terms of mobilization of workers in this move, the left trade unions are playing a frontal role, and AICCTU is an important part of this all India Joint Action.
Growing people's movement against corrupt, scam-tainted governments - from UPA to all state governments: In this ongoing situation, AICCTU proved to be the only trade union organization to take initiative on the same issues at national level by organizing nation-wide Jail Bharo programme on 9th August.
Strengthen the AICCTU, Make the AICCTU National Conference a great success: AICCTU is relentless in its struggle for a national minimum wage as 11,000/- per month, secured jobs and job security and trade union rights and against privatization and contractualisation. It has organized many campaigns and struggles on these issues in last few years and in the process uniting with all forces of struggle to carry forward the basic issues of toiling masses. AICCTU is in the forefront to raise powerful voice for the reversal of policies of privatization and liberalization, which are at the root of corporate loot and corruption, attack on trade union rights and democracy.
Let us strengthen the AICCTU, Make the 8th national conference of AICCTU a great success and strengthen the independent assertion of Indian working class in today's challenging situation.
AIALA's 4th National Conference
Comrade Ram Naresh Ram Hall (SK Memorial hall, Gandhi Maidan,Patna)
21-22 November 2011
• Stop the 26-32 game, ensure the names of each and every poor person in the BPL list !
• Stop corporate loot and land grab. Make a national policy for the development of villages and rural poor!
• Guarantee Food Security Right for the poor and the Right to land for the landless!
• Ensure Rs 250 wage in MNREGA and 200 days of work, implement National Pension Scheme for agricultural labourers and rural workers!
Against hunger, corruption, and freedom from repression
And for land, livelihood, social security and dignity
Dear toiling-rural-poor brothers and sisters,
The poor in our country are facing an intensive offensive as national wealth worth crores of rupees is being siphoned off, as millionaires and billionaires are exercising their control and domination in the Parliament and legislatures, and as a result of the pro- rich and pro- corporate policies of Manmohan and Montek Singh. The rural poor, who are already facing displacement, land grab, price rise and feudal-kulak attacks, now are going to be cheated and removed from the BPL list. It is nothing but a cruel joke that a poor person, who is spending Rs. 32-26 daily (on clothes-food, education -health, medicines, transport, shelter and living facilities), is being faced with eviction from the BPL list, as per the affidavit filed by the Planning Commission. Despite widespread protests across the country, the government is unwilling to withdraw this affidavit, and instead has begun to peddle falsities of extending schemes meant for BPL beneficiaries to others. Infact the government is going all out to hide the 86 crore poor in the country from the glamour and glow of
its pro-rich growth model, and further encourage corporate loot and subsidies. Actually it wants to avoid enacting a broad based Food Security Act and turn away from the provision of social security and the Right to health and education.
In the current pro-rich, corporate zamindari environment, states have bid goodbye to land reforms, worse they are actually reversing the steps towards land reform, so much so that now it has become a character of all governments to not even legally recognise share-croppers. In a signs of increasing assaults on the rights of the landless in recent times, the newly formed Mamta Govt in West Bengal has called the collective assertion on land by the poor and taking its control as a case of "land robbery", while Nitish Kumar has begun legal eviction of the poor from seized land.
Housing rights and homestead land movements have been facing severe state sponsored assaults in various places and lakhs of farmers and adivasis are facing relentless displacement drives as a result of these policies. It has also become a practise to attack movements and get the activists implicated in false cases and arrests. It has also become a feature of our times that amidst a host of announcements, poverty levels increase, as do corrupt politics and politicians indulging in loot and black money. In a government made by the votes of the Dalits and poor, in a country of 86 crore poor people, the schemes and policy maps have no place for the poor, instead they are being converted into a populace for distributing relief crumbs.
The downsizing of the much talked about MNREGA has already started and it has become a means for looting and cheating in the name of Gandhiji. The limited welfare schemes for the poor have already been offered as a tribute to a corrupt system and the panchayats handed over to middle men and wheeler dealers. Nitish government is running away from its promise of giving ration and kerosene to one and half crore poor people and three decimal land to the landless, instead it is handing over few rupees in the name of ration and thereby snatching away the right of the poor to get its due from the public distribution system. In all the states, fabrication and falsification of BPL lists and PDS is rampantly present, and robbers are having a field day in the name of the poor. The BJP led government made universal PDS into a targeted PDS, and now the Congress led UPA II government is trying to limit the Food Security Act further by making fun of the hunger faced by the poor and deprive them of their rights. The Central and state governments are negligent of the rights, security and dignity of lakhs of migrant workers, who move out of their villages in search of a livelihood and are acting in favour of communal, regional mafia.
Friends! In this all around attack and assault on the poor, the governments from Delhi to the states are involved. The faces of Mayawati, Mamata, Marandi, and Nitish are all the same in the mirror of the poor. It is the need of the hour that the rural poor and agricultural labourers are organised to become a massive class force so that these sycophantic governments of the rich, feudal, corporate houses, and its leaders and policies can be given a befitting reply. This is the only way that the land, livelihood social security and dignity of the poor can be guaranteed, and freedom be attained from hunger, corruption and repression. This fourth Conference of AIALA is dedicated to this objective. The preparations for the Conference be made into a broad-based campaign in villages and among its poor and in one voice declare that the poor are not to be trapped within quotas, committees and commissions. All the poor must be registered in BPL lists and a guarantee must be made for ensuring their food, land, shelter, education, health and other social security.
In the movement against corruption, from the panchayat and block levels to the scams at the top levels, the role of the rural poor must be increased. CPI-ML's 'Combat Corruption, Save Democracy' rally on 21 November at Patna is presenting a big, revolutionary political base to the national conference of the rural poor and agricultural labourers.
Come! Ensure the success of the Rally and Conference.
Appealed by, AIALA, National Council
• In Bihar, one and half crore families will have to be given BPL cards and ration and kerosene!
• All the landless in the state must be given 3 decimal homestead land.
• The AC-DC Bill and the Biada land scam must be investigated by the CBI.
• Implement the land reform commission's report and make a law for share croppers.
UPA and NDA are friends in arms, ever willing to put up the country on sale!!
Participate in several thousands in CPIML 's Combat Corruption, Save democracy rally, 21 November, Gandhi Maidan, Patna
Edited, published and printed by S. Bhattacharya for CPI(ML) Liberation from U-90, Shakarpur, Delhi-92; printed at Bol Publication, R-18/2, Ramesh Park, Laxmi Nagar, Delhi-92; Phone:22521067; fax: 22442790, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, website: www.cpiml.org