While the earlier
three meetings of the WSF in Brazil have witnessed much dissent, this was the
first time that it had to face a parallel event challenging its anti-imperialist
credentials. While the WSF went on for six days, the MR was on for four days.
The first two days
witnessed the opening and closing Plenary sessions, together with a series of
workshops. It culminated on the 18th night with a mashal morcha
(torchlight procession) around the grounds, creating an electrifying atmosphere.
On the third day was organised the "Waves of Cultural Resistance", where
cultural troupes from many parts of the country and abroad put up performances
around progressive and revolutionary themes. Also on that day (as also on part
of the first day), there was the "Reels of Resistance", which presented
about 20 progressive documentary films from all parts of India. On the final
day, Jan.20, a rally and public meeting was planned to the US consulate. The
police banned the rally but the public meeting was held at the August Kranti
Maidan — the grounds closest to the US consulate. Here, the public meeting
culminated with the burning of an Israeli and US flag. The Mumbai Declaration
was presented and accepted by the entire audience.
Shahid Bhagat Singh
Nagar, the venue of the MR was awash with slogans and songs from early in the
morning, as the programme got off to a rousing start. The inaugural session
began with a theme song and the main invitees getting onto the stage and joining
hands. The revolutionary poet and popular ballad singer Gaddar, accompanied by
Sambhaji Bhagat of ‘Vidrohi’, and Amithabh from Bihar rendered the inaugural
song —"the awakening". This was preceded by the unveiling of a portrait
of Shahid Bhagat Singh by Badruddin Umar, Crispin Beltran of the ILPS,
revolutionary writer Vara Vara Rao, B.D.Sharma, Gaddar, and Alfred Klein of the
Anti Imperialist Camp, Austria, even as the venue echoed with revolutionary
slogans. Over 310 organisations, intellectuals and those committed to fight
imperialism and capitalistic forces from different parts of the world were
participating in the MR-2004.
Then, over a thousand
delegates from different parts of the country and a sizable number from abroad
listened while speaker after speaker called for a sustained and consistent
struggle against imperialism.
Message by Justice V
R Krishna Iyer
The new Millennium
is a militant challenge for the people’s of the Earth to battle for survival
against the militarist Establishment fueled by the Multi national
corporations, whose only appetite is ruthless aggrandizement of wealth and
power. The poor perish with none to shed a tear. The rich rush to make more
wealth on an exploitative basis. This basic contradiction between humanity on
the one side and deprivation of people’s resources on the other must end.
Struggle is the only way we can assert human rights against "dollar" dominated
people, non-entitised cruel social order. For this global operation we need
unity, integrity and fearless firmness with one goal before us - we shall
overcome. As Victor Hugo put it once Not all the armies of the world will
win against an idea, whose time has come. It is now for us to prove that
the idea of human liberation has come.
ARISE, AWAKE AND
STOP NOT TILL THE GOAL IS REACHED.
I am old and weak
but my heart and soul are with you. Let us be together in our MARCH FORWARD.
Justice V R Krishna
The two-day Seminar
was inaugurated by Badruddin Umar, a well-known author from Bangladesh, and
secretary of the Bangladesh Lekhak Shibir. Umar gave a clarion call to the
masses and organisations to resist the forces of imperialism at the
international level and also their agents in different countries. He said "Undoubtedly
imperialist globalisation can only be resisted with a well organised, principled
and programme-based struggle of the people. And this has to be targeted against
national governments (which act as agents and instruments of imperialism) as
well as imperialist financial and military organisations. Though protest
demonstrations and anti-imperialist conferences are important, they cannot be
Then, the Keynote
Address was presented by Crispen Beltran, Chairperson, International League for
People’s Struggle & National Council Member, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Philippines.
The address was entitled ‘The International Movement Against Imperialist
Globalisation and Prospects for the Decade’. After outlying the devastation
caused by globalisation he ended saying: "The global village, with all its
might of money and ‘muscle’ of all descriptions, can be no match to the might of
the people in the microcosm of their village-republics. The global forces will
have to beat a retreat sooner than later for the simple reason that the
sovereign people have become aware about the issues involved. They have acquired
a faith in their cause, which no trapping of the formal state or market can
shake or influence."
A message was also
sent by Com. Arman, General Secretary of the ILPS, as he was denied a visa to
attend the programme by the reactionary Indian government. Others denied visas
were delegates from the Philippines and Palestine.
Indian Farmers Decide To Create A Global Peasant Forum
Outside World Social Forum-2004
Coordination Committee of all the farmers’ organisations from all the states
which met at Doddaballapur, Karnataka on 3rd and 4th November 2003 decided
not to associate itself with the World Social Forum 2004, after having felt
difficult to believe neither in its found actions, nor in its principles,
but decided to provide a separate space for the global peasantry,
independent of the WSF-2004, by organising a Global Peasant Forum under the
banner of Mumbai Resistance-2004 along with other genuine anti-imperialist
forces in India and abroad. Mumbai Resistance-2004 will also be organising
many plenary sessions, workshops, seminars, cultural festival and finally
ending with a Rally during the same dates January 17 to 20, 2004 in Mumbai
and appeal to all genuine anti-imperialist forces from India and abroad,
including those who will be attending WSF in Mumbai, to join and strengthen
the trend of true resistance to imperialist globalisation and War. In
another resolution, the Indian Farmers decided to participate in the
International discussion on "Ideological Plurality" in June 2004 in Brazil
before deciding the question of the continnuance of their relationship with
the International Farmers’ Movement.
Ch. Mahendra Singh Tikait,
Ajmer Singh Lakhowal,
The late Prof. M.D.Nanjundaswamy
1. Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), Uttar
2. Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU),
3. Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU),
4. Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU),
5. Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU,
6. KRRS (Karnataka)
7. Farmers’ Relief Forum, Kerala
8. Tamil Nadu Farmers’ Association,
9. Nandyal Farmers’ Association,
Chairman Bharat Jan Andolan, who welcomed the delegates, pointed out that the
imperialist forces were becoming more and more aggressive, swallowing national
economies by looting away their resources. The resources have been commoditised
by snatching the rights of people over them. He said there was a spontaneous
response of the masses from all over the world, even as the MR-2004 is evidently
the global expression that outright rejects imperialist policies. That apart,
the conference, he said, also takes a clear stand vis-à-vis the WSF, which has
deliberations without any action and tends to be chaotic.
Prof. Jagmohan Singh,
nephew of Shahid Bhagat Singh, traced the legacy of people’s struggle against
colonialism and imperialism by the latter, and his associates Rajguru and
Sukhdev, as witnessed by himself when he was a child then.
The plenary session
was presided over by Norma Binas of the Philippines. Darshan Pal, the convenor
of MR-2004, who was also on the presidium, highlighted the objectives of the
MR-2004 and the efforts taken by several organizations and individuals in
organizing the event.
Finally a number of
messages were read out. The message of By Prof. Jose Maria Sison, General
Consultant, International League of Peoples’ Struggle, stated that "The
organizations and personnel concerned deserve all the congratulations for having
succeeded in realizing Mumbai Resistance 2004 as a coalition against the US and
other imperialist powers and their bilateral and multilateral instruments for
plunder and war as well as against the special agents of imperialism that
dominate and manipulate the so-called World Social Forum....... It is fine that
MR 2004 is confronting the so-called World Social Forum and exposing its
reformist and counterrevolutionary character, its undemocratic practices and
processes and its dependence on funding from imperialist states and big
business. The WSF seeks to derail and co-opt the growing militancy of the people
against imperialist globalization and war and redirect this towards reformism in
order to perpetuate the world capitalist system........ I hope that your plenary
sessions, workshops, your cultural activities and the march against the
US-British war of aggression and occupation of Iraq will all be successful and
will serve to help raise the level of solidarity and militancy among the peoples
of the world against the US as the No. 1 terrorist force and enemy and against
all other forces of imperialism and reaction."
message was from Com Gaurav, PB member, CPN (Maoist), from Chennai jail, India.
After welcoming the MR event and analysing the present situation he ended saying
"Hence, in the present international context, united and unified struggle of
the masses against imperialism, and US imperialism in particular, have become a
pertinent question of tremendous significance today. I think it will be better
to try to unite with other like-minded anti-imperialist revolutionary
international forums like the World People’s Resistance Movement (WPRM). I
herewith like to appreciate your highly significant effort in forging such an
international organisation and organising this conference. I hope and believe
that it will be able to devise a correct line and plan to unite the broadest
possible masses against imperialism. Once again, I like to extend my
revolutionary greetings and wish a grand success to this international
From the afternoon of
the 17th to the afternoon of the 18th, 12 workshops were organised — six on each
day. The themes chosen were related to the impact of globalisation on various
classes and sections of the people, which was able to draw them into the
anti-imperialist struggle. So the workshops were on the impact of globalisation
on workers, peasants, tribals, dalits, women, minorities and the oppressed
nationalities. Also there were workshops on "attacks on democratic rights"
and Hindu fascism — both of which are by-products of globalisation. Then one
seminar was on Iraq events and another on the actual concrete alternatives to
imperialism. An ILPS Study Commission on Concern No. 1 was also held on the
question of the "Cause of National Liberation, Democracy and Social
Liberation from Imperialism and all Reaction". Here, a paper was presented
by Prof. Jose Maria Sisson.
The format of the
workshops were such that first there would be presented the main theme paper.
This would be followed by papers on sub-themes and reports. This was to be
followed by discussions and finally a concluding resolution passed on the
subject. Thereby a detailed analysis would be combined with a focus, giving a
direction to action on the issue under discussion. Unfortunately, due to the
large number of papers presented at most sessions, hardly any discussion took
workshops on the Peasantry, working-class, dalits, Iraq and on democratic rights
were widely attended. The participants at the 12 workshops varied from 60 at the
minimum to up to 300.
Organizations in Solidarity with Mumbai Resistance 2004
Our country is
passing through a critical phase. Communal fascism is on the rise. The
growing tide of communalism is being very much supported by the rulers of
the country. In fact, it is being abetted by them. Not only this, they are
also openly allying with US led imperialist and Zionist forces
internationally which have declared war against the people of the world.
The people of the
whole world are reeling under the onslaught of globalisation, which is
destroying the livelihoods of the people not only in the poor and backward
countries but also in the advanced ones and whatever that is indigenous,
national, patriotic is being destroyed. It is a dreadful aggression on the
diversity of the cultures in which the people of the world live.
The Muslim states
of the world are being made the special target as, incidentally, these are
the lands where most vital natural resources to run the modern economies are
found. That is why the war against the people of the world has taken the
form of an anti-Muslim crusade, as Bush has clearly stated. The wars on
Afghanistan and Iraq and the US incursion into Central Asia duly indicate
And the Zionists
of the illegal State of Israel, which is a settler state built on the land
robbed from the Palestinian people, is carrying on its aggression against
the Palestinian and Arab people more viciously than ever. The whole of
Palestine has been turned into a huge concentration camp to control all
kinds of resistance against occupation.
In this way the
interests of the Indian ruling elite have coincided with the interests of
the imperialists and the Zionists in the local and international context.
That is why a US-Hindutva-Israel nexus is emerging.
struggle against communal fascism, imperialist globalisation and war is also
fusing into a single movement to confront the common enemies of the Indian
Though there are
many who raise their voice against these anti-people forces yet some of them
are for an uncompromising struggle to smash them and are striving to build a
people’s world without imperialism. The organisations associated with the
Mumbai Resistance-2004 Against Globalisation and War, have declared to abide
by this programme and are ready to take the struggle forward unitedly.
undersigned organisations and individuals appeal to the people, and
especially the Muslim community, to join forces with the MR 2004 which is
holding a four day event in Mumbai from 17th to 20th January at the
Veterinary College grounds in Goregaon, Mumbai. On the 20th a protest March
will be taken from Kamgar Maidan, Dadar to the American consulate. We appeal
to all the people to join this march and make it a mammoth show of people’s
strength and determination.
1) Jamait-e-Ulema-e-Hind (Maulana Mustakeem and
2) MY INDIA - Muslim Youth of India (Feroze H.
Mithiborwala, Sayeed Khan, Abdul Shakeel, Shabana Warne, Shabana Khan, Arif
Kapadia and Afaque Azad)
3) Qaumi Majlis-e-Shura (Meraj Siddiqui)
4) Ulema Council (Maulana Atahar Ali)
5) Muslim Intellectual Forum (Sarfaraz Arzu, Syed
Iftikhar Ahmed and Muazzam Naik)
6) Shia Council of India (Maulana Zaheer Abbas Rizvi)
7) Secular Activists Watch - SAW (Adv. Saeed Akhtar,
Adv. Qazi Mehtab)
8) Maharashtra Muslim Lawyers Forum (Adv. Uraizee and
Adv. Niloufer Akhtar)
9) NEEDS (Asif Ali Khan, Prof. I. U. Khan and Salim
10) Bazm-e-Niswaan (Gazala Azad)
11) Lagja (Mehmood Parvez Ansari)
12) Muslim Backward Council (Mushir Ansari)
13) Jogeshwari Muslim Front ( Munawwar Khan and Farid
14) ModernYouth Association (Sajid Sheikh)
15) All Hind Ekta Comm (Imran Sheikh and Ismail
The Global Peasant
Forum was well represented by all the major peasant organisations of India and
even many from abroad. It was to be presided over by Prof. Nanjundanswamy of the
KRRS, but, as he was on his death-bed due to cancer (since passed away), he sent
his message to the forum — his last before his death. Besides the KRRS, the
Forum was attended by the BKU units from the Punjab, Haryana and UP, the RCS
from AP and the Kisani Pratishtha Manch. Internationally the KMP of the
Philippines attended and Rafael Mariano spoke on their experience of the impact
of the WTO on the peasantry. He also spoke about the struggles of the peasants
in his country where socio-economic conditions are semi-feudal and the ruling
class is in close collaboration with imperialist forces. Peter Custer from
Bangladesh presented a paper on "Free Trade Regimes and Peasants in the LDCs".
The theme paper was presented by K.R.Chowdhary, retired Prof. Of Agricultural
Economics. He strongly upheld the slogan raised by the farmers movements and the
militant mass organisations within the MR that "there is no other option but
to quit WTO."
The workshop on
Democratic Rights was presided over by Lawyer Nadita Haksar and coordinated by
Advocate P.A.Sabastian. The theme paper was presented by prof. Manoranjan
Mohanty. It was one of the most well-attended workshops with representatives
from various organisations outlining the pathetic state of democratic rights in
the country. Particularly Prof. Sheshaiah, of the APCLC, gave a horrifying
account of the state of terror by the Naidu government in Andhra Pradesh. A
number of papers were presented on the use of POTA, particularly against
ordinary people in Jharkhand and against Muslims in Gujarat. At the
international plane, Endre Olaliya, of the IAPL (International Association of
People’s Lawyers) outlined the enactment of anti-terrorist laws throughout the
world after 9/11. Hashim Bustan presented a case against the suppression of
democratic rights in Jordan. ATIK (Turkish workers in Europe) presented a paper
on the sate of democracy in Turkey. A surprise speaker at this event was Prof.
Gelani who had been incarcerated by the BJP government in the attack on
parliament case on false charges.
The workshop on "The
Impact of Imperialist Globalisation on Dalits" (‘untouchable’ castes in India),
witnessed a number of lively presentations and was well attended, with many from
the WSF crossing over to attend. Presenting the theme paper, Dr. Anand Teltumbde
gave a detailed description of the impact of globalization on the dalit
community, following which Udit Raj, leader of the Social Justice Party and the
Confederation of SC/ST Organizations, spoke about how impossible it would be to
discuss the impact of globalization in India without specific attention to the
problems of dalits. "The WSF," he said, "was more focused on
collecting funds," and it was necessary for all sections of the oppressed
sections of society to come together. Ramesh Kamble discussed the limitations of
religious conversions as a means to escape from caste oppression, while K.
Satyanarayana of the Kula Nirmoolan Porata Samithi discussed the ‘Bhopal
Agenda’ and the limitations of those intellectuals who are suggesting that
globalization could be a tool to alleviate the problems of the dalits. He said
that only a sustained and militant struggle against globalization could provide
a long lasting solution. Before concluding the session, A.P. Praja Kala Mandali
staged a short play on the fights against dalit oppression.
The workshop on Iraq
was the best attended with Arundhati Roy presenting the theme paper. The session
was presided over by Com. Halug Gerger, Turkey. A series of papers were
presented by: the WPRM (Europe), MATW (Medical Aid for the Third World-Belgium),
Feroze of MY-India, for Gaurav of Nepal, Carol Ruth of ILPS (Philippines),
Anti-Imperialist Camp (Europe), AIPRF, Militant Movement (Greece), Bayan, a
Korean Organisation and many others.
The Worker’s workshop
was coordinated by the CMM (Chhatisgarh Mukti Morcha), KMU (Philippines)
and Kamgar Magazine (Mumbai). The theme paper on "role of the Working class
in the fight against imperialist globalisation and imperialist war" was
presented by Abhyankar, who in on the Kamgar editorial board and is the Vice
President of All India Council of Unilever Unions. The CMM presented an account
of their movement. Other papers presented were by KMU (Philippines), A.N.S.W.E.R.
(USA), DDBS (Turkey), Militant Movement (Greece) and Mukul Sinha of the New
Socialist Movement (Ahmedabad).
Then the Session on
the "Alternatives to Imperialism" saw a number of papers presented most
of which saw the necessity of socialism as the only alternative to imperialism
and the only "Other Possible World". Papers were presented by Daphna Whitmore,
Sec., Workers Party of New Zealand, SFPR, Varavara Rao, RWA, Militant Movement
(Greece), ATIK (Confederation of Turkish Workers in Europe), and also by
B.D.Sharma, Gary and others. The session was presided over by Yuva Bharat.
The session on the
National Question was coordinated by CMM and Yuva Bharat, with Gautam Navlakha
presenting the theme paper. The sub-theme papers presented were on: the Moro
struggle of the Philippines, the national struggle in Baluchistan, On the
National Minorities of the Chhittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh, The Sind,
Assam, Naga and Kashmir questions, Imperialism and the National question
by ILPS Turkey, EU: Imperialist Unification as well as nation State in crisis
by the Anti-imperialist Camp, on the anti-Bases movement by the Militant
Movement (Greece), on Nationalism within the nation state under globalisation
by Yuva Bharat, on India Expansionism in South Asia by R.Rehman
(Bangladesh), & on movements due to Regional Imbalances by Bhoomaiah (Telangana
In the session on
globalisation’s impact on women the theme paper was presented by Gabriella of
the Philippines. The session was coordinated by Gabriella, Chaitanya Mahila
Samakya (AP) and Mahila Jagruti (Karnataka). Sub theme papers were presented on
the "Economic onslaught of globalisation" by CMM, on the "commoditification
of women due to imperialist globalisation" by Daphne Whitmore of WPNZ, New
Zealand, "Globalisation and increasing violence on women" by Tripta Vahi
of Delhi and the session on Women’s resistance to Globalisation was facilitated
by Suguna Pati of South Gujarat University.
The session on
tribals was coordinated by AIPRF, Bharat Jan Andolan and the Cordillera People’s
Alliance of the Philippines. The theme paper was presented by B.D.Sharma. Sub
theme papers were presented by the Dandakarnaya Tribals organisation, by the
Archaeologist, Shirin Ratnagar on "Tribals versus indigenous people debate",
by Debaranjan Sarangi (Orissa), amongst others. A report was also presented of
the Anti-Kudremukh National Park Struggle by the Karnataka Vimochana Ranga (KVR).
There was the session
on "Global Fascism, Hindutva and Experience of Gujarat Genocide" in which
the theme paper was presented by the AIPRF. The Gujarat experience was presented
by the trade unionist Mukul Sinha; "Where is the Temple" by Shirin
Ratnagar; and "Clash of civilisations – Pre-emptive war of US Empire and New
Forms of Alliance" by the Anti-imperialist Camp. KVR presented a paper for
the "united struggle against Hindutva Fascism".
And finally there was
the session on globalisation’s impact on students and youth, where Sudipto of
the Revolutionary Student’s Federation of West Bengal presented the theme paper.
A paper on the "Cultural impact of globalisation on students" was
presented by V.K.Sridhar. RSF and the Telangana Students Front presented a paper
on "Repression on student movement". A paper on "restricting access to
education" was presented by Prof. Babahaih; and one on "impact of ‘war
against terror’ on students and youth" was presented by Nandita Haksar.
At the end of each
session, resolutions were passed which gave the anti-imperialist orientation to
the struggles concerning that particular topics being discussed.
By the time of the
concluding session the number of delegates that had visited the MR were 2,400.
The thousands of journalists from India and abroad that had come for the WSF
crossed the road to find out details of the MR programme. No feature article on
the WSF could pass by without some mention of the MR. Though the media in India
sought to black out all news on the MR programme, the internet carried it nearly
as widely as it did the WSF. All, including the WSF’s own bulletin, had to take
cognisance of the MR programme. In fact the Jan.17 issue of Terraviva, the
independent newspaper of the WSF, had two articles that refer to MR. Many
serious persons crossed the road from the WSF to MR and partook in the
discussions. Even more came on the next day during the cultural resistance
programme, where registration was not required.
During the concluding
session, that went late into the night, thousands listened with rapt attention
of the struggle reports from all over the country and the world. Peasant and
trade union leaders came up and spoke of the struggles of the exploited classes
against the policies of globalisation. Udit Raj spoke of the struggles of the
dalits, while Muslim leaders spoke of the struggles of the minorities for their
rights. Shoma Sen spoke on women’s struggles. The struggle of the oppressed
nationalities of India was portrayed vividly. At the international plane the
struggles of the Palestinians, Iraqis, Basque people, Afghan people, and
numerous more were presented.
But the highlight of
the speeches were the armed struggles being waged by various Maoist parties all
over the world, which were a part and parcel of the overall anti-imperialist
movement. Varvara Rao outlined the legitimacy of the ongoing armed struggle in
India being led by the CPI(ML)(PW) and the MCCI. He particularly spoke of the
struggles in Andhra Pradesh and Dandakaranya, where the movement continued to
advance in spite of intense repression and the murder of thousands of activists
and leaders. He showed that how, in those areas where the peoples forces were
able to get the upper hand over the enemy, a new people’s power had developed in
embryonic form, coupled with a large number of schemes for the betterment of the
people’s livelihood. The report on the people’s war being led by the MCCI was
also reported, particularly the leaps the movement has taken in Bihar and
Then the people’s
wars in the Philippines and Turkey were reported and also the growing movements
in Greece, Bangladesh and other countries of the world under Maoist leadership.
A major attraction was the ongoing people’s war in Nepal, presented by
Lakshman Pant, which had already set up the new power in vast tracts of the
country. It was a living example of how "another world was possible" that
was free from all imperialist and reactionary rule.
The session was
interspaced with militant slogan shouting and revolutionary songs. Finally the
Mumbai Declaration was read out and accepted by the hall. It was a
People’s Declaration to intensify the struggle against imperialist globalisation
and war. The programme was concluded with a torchlight procession where the
entire crowd present wound their way around the venue holding torchlights and
shouting slogans and singing revolutionary songs.
Cultural Expressions Reflecting
Messages of Resistance
Songs, dances, street
plays, films, poster exhibitions, kavi sammelans and myriad other forms
of cultural resistance was the highlight of Day Three of the MR 2004 programme.
The power of the weapon of people’s culture and the rich and varied ways in
which it has become an integral part of the people’s struggles that are raging
all over the world had already been displayed in the messages conveyed by the
troupes who were part of the opening and closing plenaries and some of the
workshops as well.
This was further
stressed and elaborated at the Waves of Cultural Resistance on January
19. Among the highlights of the day were dramas staged by renowned cultural
Habib Tanvir and troupe performed "Jisse Lahore Nahi Dekhya, Voh Janmya hi
Nahi", while Arvind Gour and troupe from Delhi performed "Sabse Udhas
Kavita". The artistes of the Chhatisgarh Mukti Morcha presented "Navin
Anjar" and Hiren Gandhi’s troupe enacted "Sawal Hamare, Jawaab Tumhare"
on the Gujarat genocide, and the A.P. Praja Kala Mandali performed an hour long
ballet on the life and significance of freedom fighter Alluri Sitaramaraju.
The Reels of
Resistance featured documentary films by John Abraham, Anand Patwardhan, Milind
Champanerkar, Jaya Mehta, Pedestrian Pictures, a selection from the Travelling
Film Festival of Kathmandu and many others. Some of those shown were on the
Gujarat Genocide, Iraq war, anti-Coke struggle, revolutionary movement in Bihar,
of Resistance, a presentation of posters and other art forms used to
communicate the message of resistance, was inaugurated on 18th afternoon by
sculptor Gopal Naidu of Maharashtra and cartoonist Mohan from A.P.
The Waves of
Cultural Resistance was inaugurated by the revolutionary singer and
balladeer, Gaddar of AP and conducted by Sudhir from Mumbai. Gaddar, who
continues to have bullets embedded in his body by shots fired at him from
point-blank range by Chief Minister, Chandrababu Naidu’s vigilante forces, spoke
and sang on the role of revolutionary and anti-imperialist culture. He also
invited troupe after troupe onto the stage to put on their performances. On this
occasion the famous progressive film actress, Nandita Das, also attended and
said a few words.
By the 19th the
crowds had swelled to nearly ten thousand and the entire public was held
spell-bound by the numerous performances from all over the country and even from
many other parts of the world. From abroad, particularly notable was the
performance from Turkey. The programmes continued from early morning to late at
night. Police restrictions on the time prevented many a cultural troupe from
being able to perform due to lack of time. Here, progressive and revolutionary
art intermingled to create a composite mix of an anti-imperialist, anti-feudal,
anti-fascist festival of culture.
MR — A Step Forward
With the police not
giving permission for the procession, MR culminated with a public meeting at the
historic August Kranti Maidan, where on August 9, 1942 the call had been first
given for the British to Quit India. It was indeed symbolic that the
anti-imperialist globalisation event should culminate here. Over sixty years
later India continues to be a semi-colony ruled indirectly by the imperialists
through their comprador agents within the country. The Quit India call is still
as valid today. TNCs Quit India! Multilateral Institutions Quit India! Foreign
Intelligence agencies and military Quit India! Imperialist Policies Quit India!
US and other imperialists Quit India! But today they will not Quit the country
on their own accord; they have to be kicked out.
But that is not so
easy as they have a vast network of lackeys within the country that support
them. The top politicians, top bureaucrats and top brass of the police and
military, the big business houses, and all the other pillars of the
establishment are intrinsically bound up with the interests of these
imperialists. To kick them out inevitably entails crushing these agents within
the country who come to their defence.
Though the police did
not give permission the thousands that wound their way to the venue of the
public meeting defacto turned into numerous processions all ending at the maidan.
There, fiery speeches (and songs) were given by the leaders of mass movements
from India and abroad, which culminated in the burning of the Israeli and US
flags. All vowed to carry forward the struggle against imperialism in their
respective countries and unite ever more firmly in their common battle against a
common enemy. The Mumbai Declaration was adopted and the meeting decided
to take up as their first task the condemnation of the US invasion and
occupation of Iraq by observing March 20 as ‘anti-imperialist war Day’. The
symbol of Bhagat Singh, in whose memory the ground was named, who went to the
gallows fighting British colonialism at the tender age of 23, haunted the entire
public gathered there, strengthening their resolve to fight to continue the
battle to free their country from imperialist chains and for the total
destruction of imperialism worldwide.
MR was organised by
the stupendous effort of about 200 activists of the participating organisations
who divided themselves into six camps located in various slum pockets and
colonies in different parts of Mumbai, and two to three offices for six weeks
before the event. Those in the camps spent night after night wall-writing and
postering to propagate the programme. During the day they spread to different
parts of the city — its slums, colonies, factory gates, colleges, trains,
stations, bus stops, etc — singing songs against imperialism, giving speeches
and distributing anti-imperialist literature and raising funds. One team
prepared placards, banners, decorations, sculptures and various art works.
Another team worked tirelessly for the logistics of organising the event. Yet
another team coordinated activities in the city with all interested groups and
individuals. It was the hard labour and effort of comrades that made MR a
success not money-power as in the WSF.
though on a smaller scale, were held in many parts of the country. The MR
newsletter outlines extensive campaigns in the North, in the East and South of
the country. Funds were collected from the masses, sympathisers and
well-wishers. Various classes and sections were specifically approached like the
peasantry (which en bloc joined MR), the working-class, the nationalities and
also the dalits, Muslims and women. Various intellectuals also lent their name
to the MR event, either by being part of its reception committee or by being a
part of the workshops.
At the international
plane, the ILPS (International League of People’s Struggles), which originally
conceived of the MR programme, propagated the MR programme widely in Europe and
more extensively in Turkey and Greece. The Anti-imperialist Camp, with
headquarters in Austria, also campaigned in Europe. The WPRM (South Asia) —
World People’s Resistance Movement — mobilised forces from Bangladesh, Nepal and
also from India.
The MR saw a major
polarisation of all anti-imperialist forces on the approach and attitude towards
the anti-imperialist movement in the country and world. On the one side there
stood the compromising stand of the WSF, on the other the firm stand of the MR.
All had to choose. Throughout society the divisions were apparent. The peasants
joined en bloc the MR. The working class though under the strong influence of
the revisionists (one of the main organisers of the WSF), were split in their
views with much of the rank-and-file opposing the gang-up with NGOs and
supporting the MR event. Many of the Muslim forces also lent support to the MR.
The dalits, on whom the WSF spent much resources to mobilise, were also split
with a large section attending the MR. Most of the revolutionaries within India
finally opted out of participation in the WSF and joined MR. Some of these M-L
forces unfortunately sought to create confusion by splitting the process of
development of a genuine anti-imperialist pole in the anti-globalisation
movement by holding yet other events parallel even to MR. But, their programmes
went by with barely any real impact.
So, the WSF’s attempt to co-opt all
these forces met a firm challenge and many were able to see the WSF for what it
really is — a safety valve to let off steam of the growing anger against
imperialist globalisation and war. The contrast in the programmes across the
road was clearly visible to all and the difference widely reported in the media.
The MR has thereby helped the process of consolidating the genuine
anti-imperialist forces — both in India and also worldwide, and evolving an
anti-imperialist pole within the anti-globalisation movement.