The first Conference of the Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF) is going to take place at a time when the imperialist forces and their props – the ruling classes of various colonial and semi-colonial countries – are going through an unprecedented economic depression resulting in a worldwide economic crisis, a condition which is of their own making. The reactionary Indian ruling classes, being agents of imperialism, have transferred the burden of the world economic crisis to the people of this country – the masses of the people who are already grappling with acute exploitation, poverty, unemployment and deprivation of the basic necessities of life. Their purchasing power has come down drastically. They have been denied the right over jal-jangal-zameen (water, forest and land resources) and other resources. Such conditions have generated disaffection amongst vast sections of people of the subcontinent manifested as a multitude of peoples’ struggles.
Despite every effort of the Indian state to hide the gravity of the crisis in which it is, the Indian economy has been severely shaken by the worldwide economic crisis due to its increasing dependence on the imperialist economy. The exploitative ruling classes, who never tire of making tall claims about outstanding ‘growth’ and ‘development’ riding on the fortunes of an export-oriented economy aided by imperialist globalisation, have lost their sleep over the present crisis. Those who used to wax eloquently of ‘development’ citing the speculative growth in the sectors of information technology, outsourcing, real estate, etc. has now been put on the dock. Due to the imperialist domination and dependence prevalent in the Indian economy, lakhs of workers have been rendered jobless and thrown out of sphere of production. Workers in hundreds of thousands have been at the receiving end of lay-offs and pay-cuts as a result of the closure of a large number of firms in the real estate industry, export-based industries, textiles, brass industry, jewellery and metal industry, mining, and so on. Now, the introduction of Foreign Direct Investment in retail trade will render more than 50 lakh people jobless by bringing Wal-mart and other imperialist players in retail business. Students particularly in the professional courses like engineering are finding little avenues of employment even through placement agencies. At the same time, however, imperialist forces such as foreign institutional investors are siphoning off the hard-earned wealth of the working people through speculative trading in the share market which are completely cut off from the real economy.
The impact of the economic crisis is evident in each and every sector of the Indian economy. The worst ever economic depression since the Great Depression in the 1930s has further deepened the agrarian crisis. As the demand of ‘Land to the Tiller’ remain yet as a tall promise with the ruling class bereft of any political will to fulfil the demand, the impact of the economic crisis on the working people engaged in agriculture has been very severe. The growing dependence of the rural masses on the agrarian sector has strengthened the landowners and moneylenders in the countryside, and has given them the opportunity to continue their exploitation and oppression. This exploitation and oppression takes the concrete form of caste-atrocities and caste-violence, the number of which is on the rise all over the country. Khairlanji, Lathor, Mirchpur incidents provide glaring evidence of this fact. More than 2.5 lakh peasants and agricultural workers have been forced to commit suicide in the last fifteen years due to the anti-peasant policies of the Indian state. In spite of this devastation, the imperialist stranglehold over Indian agriculture is being further tightened in the name of Second Generation Reforms and the Second Green revolution.
The path of independent and indigenous development of industry in the country has been blocked by imperialist dependency. In the name of Special Economic Zones (SEZ), imperialist enclaves are being established all over the country in which none of the laws of the land will be applicable. The natural resources of India which belong to the people of the country are being handed over to multinational corporations and the Indian big capitalists working as the local agents of the MNCs. Mines, mega dams and extractive industries that work as the conduits of this plunder of resources are being set up by displacing the peasantry – particularly the adivasis – from their land, forests, hills and means of livelihood. The latest attempt of the Jharkhand government to amend the Chota Nagpur Tenancy Act (CNT) is yet another desperate attempt to grab the land and resources of the Adivasis of Jharkhand guaranteed through the constitution of India. The people of this country have risen up to resist this destruction in the name of ‘development’, be it in Nandigram, Jagatsinghpur, Kathikund, Lohandiguda or Sompeta, Kakaralapalli and other Andhra Coastal corridor projects and other movements. Apart from its control over economy, imperialism which has aligned itself with feudalism – in its desperate efforts to maintain the surplus extraction at the present level without further decline – has also been consistently trying to mould the ideological and cultural spheres. It is propagating individualist and consumerist ideologies, including the spreading of obscenity and patriarchal values where women are transformed into commodities. The instances of heinous crimes such as sexual harassment and rape on the women of this country, who have been shackled for ages by feudal social norms and relations, are on a rise. The prevailing system of education has been segregated from its social role, the responsibility of serving the people, upholding of democratic values and aspirations for social transformation. Education which has fundamentally been undemocratic in content as well as in student-teacher relations primarily promoting feudal values is getting commodified and converted into a powerful tool in the service of foreign corporations and comprador Indian big capital. The distressed students and youth of the country are increasingly becoming active in the political arena by associating themselves with the struggle for social and political change.
The struggle for socio-political transformation continues to surge forward fighting against feudal-imperialist exploitation and oppression. The spark of Naxalbari which ignited the movement for the revolutionary transformation of society in 1967 has become a prairie fire, spreading its wings across, Telangana, Andhra, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, Bengal, Vidarbha, Uttar Pradesh and many other regions. The fight to establish a New Democratic India free from all forms of exploitation and oppression is marching forward in rapid strides and is pioneering the path of revolutionary transformation. In contrast to the parliamentary system – which has become the instrument of the exploitative ruling classes to promulgate draconian anti-people laws and exploitative policies – Janatana Sarkars have taken shape in the course of the revolutionary struggle as the new centres of peoples’ democratic power in embryonic form. Under this peoples’ government, new experiments are being conducted as part of developmental activities in the agricultural sector. Collective methods of work are being encouraged in all activities including production along with developing a higher level of political consciousness among the masses. A new just society is taking shape among the fighting masses, with a new people’s culture. At the same time, the struggle for ensuring people’s right over jal-jangal-zameen is being intensified through the building of militant mass movements. The land struggle in Narayanpatna, the movement against the proposed SEZ in Nandigram, the struggle against caste-violence in Khairilanji, the fight against state repression in Lalgarh and the movement of the Bastar adivasis for their right over land and forests clearly show that the people of this country are resolutely digging the graveyard for the present exploitative system and are strengthening the struggle to establish a New Democratic state in its place. In this context, the people of Bastar and other regions are moving forward by establishing alternate people’s model of development with all powers to Revolutionary Councils in the process of building a self-reliant people’s economy.
Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF) was formed in May 2005 with the aim to intensify the anti-feudal and anti-imperialist struggles for establishing a new democratic society, to coordinate among these peoples’ movements and to give it the form of an organised and united resistance struggle. RDF, which came into being as a result of the merger of All India Peoples’ Resistance Forum and Struggling Forum for Peoples’ Resistance, is committed to establish a genuinely democratic India by building and leading anti-imperialist and anti-feudal struggles. It is also committed to stand united with the peoples’ struggles that envision this aspiration.
Revolutionary Democratic Front stands opposed to all such oppressive policies of the reactionary governments which are being formulated and implemented in order to crush all peoples’ movements including those which strive for revolutionary social transformation. During the last three years the central government has embarked on Operation Green Hunt – a war on the people of central and eastern India – along with various state governments and led by the Indian army. By deploying lakhs of paramilitary personnel in Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Bengal etc., the ruling classes are trying to crush the revolutionary movement. Hundreds of people have been murdered by the government’s forces in this marauding war, while lakhs of people have been forced to run away from their homes. Women have been raped and mutilated – and sexual violence on women has been used as a psychological weapon of war. Even children are not being spared by these mercenary forces – their fingers are being severed and their bodies staked on bayonets. Of grave portends is the recently admitted presence of the US mercenary troops in South Asia including India ostensibly to help the Indian state fight ‘terrorism’.
Recently more than 5000 Indian army troops have been deployed in Bastar in the name of opening up an army training centre. The armed forces of the Indian government are working in tandem with private militias and gangs. In spite of the supreme court declaring them to be illegal, such state-sponsored vigilante gangs are routinely attacking the leaders, members and supporters of the revolutionary movement with impunity, be it the Salwa Judum of Chhattisgarh, Shanti Sena of Gadchiroli and Odisha, Nagarik Suraksha Samiti and Gram Rakhsa Dal in Jharkhand, CPI (M)’s Gana Pratirodh Committee and Harmad Bahini or Mamata Banerjee’s Bhairab Bahini in Bengal. The comprador big business houses are party to this strategy is evident from the releases of the FICCI providing recommendations to the Indian state to continue funding and protecting such vigilante gangs as part of the undeclared all out war on the poorest of the poor in the subcontinent. The governments at the centre and various states are trying to terrorise the masses by banning revolutionary parties and organisations. Staged encounters, torture, custodial death, forced disappearances, etc. have become the order of the day. By killing the two vanguard soldiers of the Indian revolution Azad and Kishenji in fake encounters in the name of peace talks, the Indian state has violated its own laws and constitution. Moreover, the government is trying to break the revolutionary resolve of the people by imprisoning thousands of political activists including Raja Sarkhel, Prasun and Jeetan Marandi of the RDF. In spite of such brutal repression, the revolutionary movement is surging forward. The rulers of India – the political entity which is nothing but a prison-house of oppressed nationalities – are playing with the peoples’ aspirations for freedom, independence and autonomy by responding to their democratic demands of various oppressed nationalities with bullets, and brutal state repression. Freedom fighters and people belonging to the liberation struggles of the oppressed nationalities of Assam, Kashmir, Nagalim, Manipur, Mizoram, etc. have been killed and brutalised in their lakhs. Even the people fighting for the genuine demand of separate states – Telangana, Gorkhaland, Bodoland, Kamtapur – are facing the brunt of state terror.
The ruling classes are also using the casteist and Hindu communal-fascist organisations to break the unity of the oppressed masses. Under the active patronage of the Indian state, the Hindu-fascist organisations are conducting pogroms and terrorist activities in order to portray the Muslims and Christians as the enemies. This is aimed at legitimising the further militarisation and securitisation of the state in the name of ‘threat to national security’ and also at diverting the genuine struggles of the people. The recent aborted attempt of the Congress government at the centre to form the NCTC is a clear step in this direction. The Gujarat pogrom against the Muslims and the Kandhamal genocide against the Christians have been perpetrated by the governments’ active planning and instigation.
In this context, RDF calls upon all democratic organisations and people to come together to fight unitedly for the unconditional release of all political prisoners, to do away with the sedition laws and draconian laws like UAPA, AFSPA, and also fight against the formation of anti-terrorism Centres. Further, the democratic and revolutionary movements should take ahead the movement to remove death penalty from the statute books.
Braving the Indian state’s repression, the people have continued to remain firm in the battlefields. Much like in Lalgarh, they are carrying forward the struggles with a new and heightened political consciousness fighting extreme forms of state repression. The militancy and intensity of peoples’ struggles is growing with the deepening crisis of the worldwide imperialist economy. History bears testimony to the fact that during periods of acute economic crisis in the capitalist world order, the oppressed and exploited classes of people have fought against imperialism and capitalism and paved the way for revolution – be it in Russia or in China.
RDF, onwards to its first conference, appeals to the entire masses of this country, the revolutionary and democratic forces as well as their organisations to come forward and transform this economic crisis into a revolutionary crisis by giving a decisive turn to the movements of the wretched of the earth for a new society free of all forms of oppression and exploitation. We are confident that this new tide of peoples’ movements will sweep away the exploitative ruling classes and will carry us forward in the path of building a new democratic society. The success of the first Conference of the Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF) lies in strengthening the militant mass movements against imperialism and feudalism.
22-23 April, 2012, Sundarayya Vignana Bhawan, Baghlingampalli Park, Hyderabad, Telangana
Procession 23 April (Monday), 2012 at 3 PM
Public Meeting at 4 PM
Stop Operation Green Hunt!
Withdraw the armed Forces from Bastar!