15 March 2011

Wanted: Democracy, Not Party Slaves, For West Bengal Assembly Elections

[With the forthcoming Assembly elections in West Bengal, we put forward our charter of demands for consideration by all political parties participating in the elections. We demand that the elected representatives function as servants of the people, not as slaves of their party. Once elected, they represent all in their constituency and, for this, they must rise above sectarian party interests and become true representatives of their constituencies.]

Elections come and go. Ruling groups change with power equations. Projects and programmes are put forward in the name of national development. While different groups traverse the corridors of power, we the ordinary working people realise from our daily experience that the king changes, but our everyday lives don’t. As the juggernaut of development travels faster and faster, the speed of the daily suffering of the working people also increases. Today, development and displacement have become synonymous. Job losses and unemployment go hand in hand with the accumulation of capital and the construction of factories. There is a new addition to the economic dictionary: jobless growth.

The launching pad of development is capital, not people. Water, forests and land are being destroyed behind the smokescreen of development. Nature’s equilibrium is being destroyed. Sub-soil resources, from water to minerals, are being robbed; forests are being cleared. Those who lived in organic relationship with Nature are losing their livelihoods and way of life. Farmlands are being taken over in the name of industrialisation. Food production is suffering and food security is on the brink of an abyss. The interests of the working class are being sacrificed in the interests of capital. The current discourse of development is fundamentally opposed to the interests of the working people. If it falls on some to pillage and to enjoy the proceeds, others are condemned to work, to produce ceaselessly and to starve. The core of this developmental ‘thinking’ is: rob whatever you can.

This cannot change merely by changing ruling groups within the framework of the current state structure. The structure needs to be challenged at its base and the economic thinking transformed. This has to be done in stages, the first of which is the fight for working people’s rights. As part of this struggle, we have to force the ruling groups to negotiate on these rights, to force them to accept those.  Here are our demands which we are placing before all parties standing for Assembly elections in 2011.  Look at Poster    Read More

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