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Posted: Apr 30 2012, 04:37 AM
Member No.: 235
Joined: 1-August 09
1st conference of Revolutionary Democratic Front in Hyderabad .
On 22nd and 23rd April 2012 ,the Revolutionary Democratic Front held their first state conference. It was a remarkable achievement that the organization could stage the historic conference when it’s units and constituent forces faced the onslaught of state repression all over the country.3 of the comrades of RDFCentral Committee, Comrade Raja Sarkhel and Comrade Prasun from West Bengal and Comrade Jatin Marandi from Jharkhand are languishing in jails. The theme of the conference was on the opposing of Operation Green Hunt. This front was formed in May 2005 as a result of the merger of the All-India Peoples Resistance Forum with the Struggling forum for Peoples Resistance. The significance of this formation was the need for an organization to give solidarity and support to the anti-feudal agrarian revolutionary movement and to the anti-imperialist movement. Such a force like R.D.F has immense significance when the democratic rights of struggling, revolutionary sections are being trampled upon on all spheres of life. An Organisation standing by the right of the broad masses be it the peasants,youth,working class or intellectuals is the need of the hour.
Earlier ,a constituent of the Revolutionary Democratic Front, the All-India Peoples Resistance Forum staged 3 conferences. These took place first in Calcutta in 1994,(a fantastic mobilization in the rally consisting of over one lakh people)then in Hyderabad in 1997 and finally in Sangrur in 2000.They were historic steps in assembling the struggling revolutionary organizations like the Andhra Pradesh Radical Students Union and Andhra Pradesh Rytu Collie Sangham or the Mazdoor Kisan Sangrami Parishad and Bharat Naujavan Sabha in Bihar etc.They also gave solidarity to the nationality struggles ,democratic rights of minorities and the anti-imperialist mass movements .The author cannot forget the 1992 rally in Calcutta attended by 10 lakh peasants resembling a storm thundering, literally lighting a red flame .I also have similar feelings towards the seminar on ’50 years of independence ‘held in Mumbai.Here all aspects of repression and struggle were represented throwing light on the armed peasants struggles in Andhra Pradesh,Dandkaranya and Bihar. Above all the best programmes were those opposing the state repression in Bihar,Andhra Pradesh and Dandkaranya carried out in 1999 in Punjab,Bihar and Andhra Pradesh.They lit a torch in opposing the iron feet of oppression by the state against the democratic revolutionary peasant movements.
Sadly since its formation ,unsurmountable repression has been launched on the Revolutionary Democratic Front. In West Bengal 2 of their office bearers have been arrested and in Jharkhand open rallies are virtually prohibited. They are simply dubbed as ‘Maoist’ outfits and their revolutionary democratic identity is virtually erased. The R.D.F.has units in Punjab,Uttarkhand,Delhi,West Bengal,Jharkhand ,Kerala and Bihar.However it has still been unable to form effective functioning units becoming consistent victims of state repression.The Constituernt units of peoples m,ass organisatin sof all spheres are weak.Infact in some states where R.D.F operates such mass fronts do not even exist. In Orissa it was banned even before officially forming an organization,while in Uttar Pradesh,Haryana or Maharashtra they have stray contacts but no proper organization. In recent years the R.D.F carried out a huge range of programmes covering every sphere of struggle. They fought for the release of political prisoners, defended struggles of nationalities, opposed repression on minorities, gave solidarity to peasant movements in Lalgarh and Dandkaranyanya and supported anti-imperialist movements.It is a tribute to the organization that withstanding the repression they held sammelan sin Punjab in 2007 and 2011 ,in Bihar and Jharkhand in 2009 and in Uttarkhand in 2010. The most important struggles which the R.D.F launched independently were against the death sentence on the Bihar peasants in 2004 (programmes in Bihar,Delhi and Jharkahand ), for the unconditional release of political prisoners from 2-8 2006,,against Salwa Judum in Chattisgarh from 19-25 January in 2006,forming the Campaign committee for the release of political prisoners in April 2006,a bandh call in Orrisa,Jharkhand and Bihar on 14th October 2006 against the arrest of leader Sheela Devi,an all-India conference on March 23rd 2007 opposing displacement on Bhagat Singh’s martyrdom day. With other organizations R.D.F. under the banner of CATAS launched a campaign from 10August to November 10th against Salwa Judum in 14 states with a culmination convention in Delhi on 9th nad 10th November with a public rally organized and a memorandum given.R.D.F. endorsed several anti-war fronts and promoted a series of joint forums condemning the killing of Azad and opposing Operation Greenhunt. Against Nandigram and Singur RDF joined a series of Dharnas.It also sent civil liberties activities to visit places of State repression.Sadly we could not witness the level of open struggles like the erstwhile organizations like the All-India Peoples Resistance Forum. After 2006 there were great efforts to curtail the movements of the R.D.F.RDF.also participated in important joint programmes like the public protest meeting against the killing of Kishenji in December,2011,the joint convention against army intervention in Bastar in May 2011 IN Delhi, a public meeting against the killing of Co.Azad along with journalist Hem Chandra Pandey in August 2010,etc.
The historic first conference of the Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF) went underway ton 22 April 2012 in the Sundarayya Vignana Bhavan in Hyderabad with the hoisting of the RDF flag by Goru Madhav Rao, the veteran fighter of the Srikakulam Armed peoples’ uprising and the founding president of All India Peoples’ Resistance Forum (AIPRF). The red flag was hoisted with slogans hailing the ongoing revolutionary movement and condemning the Indian state’s repressive class violence in the form of Operation Green Hunt and now Operation Haka and Operation Vijay. In the inaugural session, B. S. Raju, the Secretary of the Reception Committee of the Conference welcomed the delegates and participants, and declared that the RDF stands resolutely in favour of a democratic and separate Telangana state. M T Khan, chairperson of the Reception Committee, condemned the Chhattisgarh government for preventing the 34-member team of delegates from that state coming to attend the conference.Homage was also paid to Comrdae KhagenDas,the founding president of R.D.F.who became a martyr due to illness.He made an invaluable contribution to the movement on the political literary front.
Professor Jagmohan, noted democratic rights activist and the nephew of shaheed Bhagat Singh, inaugurated the 40th issue of Samkaleen Jan Pratirodh, the magazine of RDF, dedicating it to the people of India and the Indian revolutionary struggle. Pankaj Dutt, the renowned people’s intellectual and academic presented the Keynote address on economic crisis and possibility of revolutionary upsurge in the country. He analysed the confluence of imperialism and feudalism in a semi-feudal and semi-colonial reality like India, which then generates what is usually understood as ‘growth’ and ‘development’ which is so disastrous for the vast masses of the country. Arun Ferraira, the civil rights activist who has recently been released after years of incarceration in Nagpur jail for allegedly being a Maoist, unveiled the collected writings of Comrade Anuradha Ghandy titled Scripting the Change.
One of the main speakers of the conference, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the Chairperson of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, Jammu and Kashmir, was welcomed by GN Saibaba, the Deputy Secretary of RDF.. Syed Ali Shah Geelani in his speech, addressed the audience as his own brothers and sisters, and said that he respects the dedication and commitment of the revolutionaries carrying forward the Indian revolutionary movement. He complimented RDF for raising the voice against the Indian state, against oppression, exploitation and injustice. Geelani said that he belong to place which is being oppressed by the Indian state through sheer military might. He declared that the Kashmiris are not fighting against the people of India, and in fact they have good wishes for the Indian people. He stated that once India was freed from British colonialism, the rulers of India should not have treated other oppressed peoples and nationalities as slaves.
A Bhumaiah of the Telangana Praja Front (TPF) said in his speech that Hyderabad, where this conference is taking place, is a part of Telangana. RDF has already recognised Hyderabad as a part of Telangana. For recognition from the Indian government the Telangana struggle will have to be intensified. He thanked RDF for taking the cause of separate Telangana to various parts of the country and mobilising public opinion in its favour in the subcontinent.
Varavara Rao, revolutionary poet and Virasam member, told the audience that on Lenin’s birthday we are having the historic RDF conference. 1970’s was a period of division in the revolutionary movement in India, while from 80’s efforts have been made for consolidation and 1990s onwards was a period of unity. In 2003-04, when the merger of CPI(ML) PW and MCC resulted in the formation of the unified Maoist party, it gave a new energy and thrust to the Naxalite movement. He stated that huge mass movements need to be created and political work among the people has to be intensified for transformative politics to take advantage of the crisis in imperialism and its agents, the Indian ruling classes. He appealed to everyone to strengthen this struggle.
Shoma Sen of Committee against Violence on Women (CAVOW) said that we have to understand the essence of the Maoist slogan ‘women hold up half the sky’. When companies are closed, it is the women who suffer the most. In times like today with inflation and price rise, the task of managing household and the families is taken up by women.
Professor Anand Teltumbde, noted civil rights activist, emphasised the need for the Dalit and revolutionary movement to come together to annihilate caste and to complete the democratic revolution in the country. He was critical of both the parliamentary ‘Left’ like CPI and CPI(M) as well as identity-based parliamentary Dalit political formations, and said that there is a need to carry forward the class struggle with the participation of Dalits and other oppressed masses. He said that Dr. Ambedkar too believed in class-based politics, and therefore the need of the hour therefore is to reinvent Dalit militancy as well as revolutionary resurgence under Maoist leadership.
G Kalyana Rao, the noted revolutionary Telugu author, released a compact disk of Jana Natya Mandali songs on the martyrs of the Maoist party. Kalyana Rao stated that revolutionary culture is the expression of the oppressed, and this culture articulates the blood and sweat of the wretched of the earth, presented in the form of songs, dance, plays and other popular forms, and thereby carry forward the message of class struggle.
Many speakers such as Lenin Kumar, editor of Odiya cultural magazineNishan, Jharkhand’s Sharmila of Nari Mukti Sangh, and others addressed the delegates of the conference on its first day. Sharmila noted the role of revolutionary culture as an integral and organic part of the lives of the Adivasis, which has traditionally upheld the principles of collective life and production. It is this voice of revolutionary culture and resistance that the fascist Indian states are trying to crush, by perpetrating violence and class hatred.
Fraternal organisations and peoples’ movements sent their solidarity messages to the RDF Conference. Atom of National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN) of Nagalim sent the good wishes and political solidarity from the national liberation struggle of the Naga people.
Along with speeches and messages, cultural troops from Jharkhand, Delhi, Telangana and Punjab performed revolutionary songs and dance.
The first RDF conference strongly and unequivocally condemned the fascist Chhattisgarh government for preventing the 34-member team of delegates from that state coming to attend the conference, and demanded their immediate release. In addition, RDF also condemns the Andhra Pradesh government for cancelling the permission to the RDF mass rally scheduled for 23 April 2012.
The meeting unanimously elected a body with Varavara Rao as President. An 18-member team has been formed under his leadership to formulate strategies and future course of action. Ganti Prasadam was elected as vice-President while Saibaba and Jiten Marandi will be General Secretaries.
Resolutions were passed on supporting National Liberation Movements in South Asia,on the release of political prisoners on the attack of the Trinamool Congress on peoples movement in Nonadanga,against Operation Greenhunt and Indian state’s hunt on it’s own people, supporting the right to form the Telengana state, supporting the movements in West Asia and the Arab World. against attacks on Muslim minorities, against caste atrocities on Dalits,against fake encounters on Azad and Kishenji,against communal fascism carried out by the R.S.S.-V.H.P.-Bajrang Dal forces, against Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption façade ,against the entry of U.S.troops in South Asia and against privatization and liberalization on higher education..
The author was impressed with the enthusiasm of the participants, however much they lacked in quantitative numbers. The cultural programmes particularly of the troupes of Punjab and Jharkhand reverberated the revolutionary spirit of the masses. The Punjab team superbly depicted the repression launched by the feudal and imperialist forces while the Jharknd team inspired the agrarian revolutionary struggles. The songs of the Andhra Pradesh cultural team also sang a note in the hearts of the participants. Inspiring films of the revolutionary marty Kishenji were shown in Telegu and a big set of cd’s were released.
Sadly the rally at the conclusion of the conference was banned by the Andhra Pradesh govt.This was really sad as now the protest against Operation Green Hunt was curtailed and could not be reached to the broad masses. In all the first 3 A.I.P.R.F.conferences the rally was permitted but on this occasion it was prohibited. A resolution was passed condemning this. The author feels it was undemocratic of the Andhra Pradesh govt to ban it in the name of endorsing “Maoist ‘ideas. Irrespective of the correctness or wrongness of the line or practice of the C.P.I.(Maoist)one has to recognize the revolutionary democratic right of the people of Jharkhand or Dandkaranaya to fight for their rights in an-anti-feudal struggle. Even those disagreeing with the ideology of Maoist forces have to understand the significance of the government prohibiting such a rally and their non- recognition of the C.P.I.(Maoist)as a revolutionary democratic force. It teaches us a lesson on how even our bourgeois democratic right to protest is curtailed even more in ‘Operation Greenhunt. We also learn how much our democratic space has been curtailed. In all the conferences the rallies of the All-India Revolutionary Students Federation were permitted be it in Hyderabad in 1985 or in Madras in 1989. One pertinent observation is the weakness of the democratic Rights movement and a strong democratic Rights organization is the need of the hour.
On certain issues the author of this article has differences be it on the question of casteiesm,nationalities and the line of the C.P.I.(Maoist).Intellectuals like Vara Vara Rao asserted the correctness of the line of the Maoist party claiming it as the only revolutionary party in the country, which the author differs with. In the author’s views the revolutionary party still has not been re-organised and different groups still constitute it’s components.Infact a very important aspect is the differentiation and independent identity of a revolutionary mass organization from that of a revolutionary party. The R.D.F.supports active boycott’ of elections which however revolutionary is in the author’s opinion in certain areas not the correct political tactic.(In some areas only active political campaign is the correct tactic and the struggling masses are not prepared to imbibe the boycott slogan) On Dalits the author disagrees with the resolution on Brahmanical feudalism which does not provide an adequate class or Marxist-Leninist analysis and replaces class with ‘caste’struggle.Infact there was a powerful trend amongst intellectuals to endorse this view disregarding the class factor .Infact one spokesman even suggested ‘Brahmanical Imperialism!. I still feel that revolutionary democratic forces have still to be strengthened and mass revolutionary democratic functioning has to be developed to a larger extent. Sadly gone are the days of the Andhra Pradesh Radical Students Union ,Rytu Coolie Sangham or Mazdoor Kisan Sangrami Parishad,which had earlier led historic struggles and open rallies. This again brings the need to develop the mass struggling organizations,inspite of state repression being so intense.
The author ends this piece congratulating the Revolutionary Democratic Front for it’s staging of the conference which has immense significance in the struggle against Operation Greenhunt.It is a tribute to their tenacity that they have defended the struggles in Dandkaranya and Jharkhand and remained a fighting force. The need of building broader independent revolutionary democratic forum to defend the revolutionary rights of the masses is the need of the hour and the 1st conference of the R.D.F.was an answer to it.
the author is not a supporter of any organisation but a democratic writer