An urgent and intense resistance to the Posco land-grab is required

June 14, 2011

The need for a united left approach

By Imtiaz Hussain

For every democratically-inclined person in India resistance to the ongoing land-grab by the Orissa government in favour of the proposed Posco steel plant is something to be hailed, cherished and earnestly fought for. The facts about this land-grab are well-known and disconcerting, to say the least. Not only is the state power (represented by both the Orissa and the Central Governments) hell-bent on ramming a project down the throat of the people the net economic benefit of which is highly suspect for the poor (in contrast to that for the rich and the super-rich), but also the whole operational procedure is entirely undemocratic. The well-known and stark facts are that the Orissa government is forcibly grabbing disputed land, without any consent of the inhabitants, in favour of big capital when even any Memorandum of Understanding, clarifying the terms and conditions of the project in question, does not exist.

The left in India, howsoever loosely and inclusively we could define them, broadly agree on at least the two following points.

(i) Big multinational capital, as a main component of imperialism, is a principal enemy of the common people, the coalition of exploited classes, in India.
(ii) A principal thrust of the left movement should be for deepening the democratic rights of the common people–one manifestation of which is in democratization of economic decision making.

The Posco land-grab is an assault, in fact a terrorist assault, on the common people by the state power of India on both these grounds.

Therefore, this movement is a battlefield where different shades of the left can come together in real fight against this land-grab, going beyond some token notes of disapproval or condemnation.

What might be some components of this real fight?

First and foremost, the left have to mobilize their political workers in large numbers to simply stand physically together with the Jagatsinghpur farmers so that the police cannot perpetrate another Kalinganagar or Nandigram.

Next, an urgent all-India General Strike. The campaign for this strike would not only highlight, once again, the criminal actions and terrorism perpetrated by the Indian state on its own people, but also it would educate the people in different parts of India on useful modes of united resistance when similar state-led terrorism descends on themselves.

Third, immediate mass political action in isolating the repressive apparatus of the state. If the police can encircle the fighting farmers in Jagatsinghpur, the people can also encircle the police and cut any further reinforcement. The people can also be mobilized to cut supplies of any food and water to the police unless the police retreat decisively.

Fourth, in solidarity with the Jagatsinghpur farmers the left trade unions can come forward for immediate long-term and militant strike actions in ports and industrial plants in India run by similar big capital. This will hit the big capital where it hurts most. This action will also convey a clear signal that the Indian poor, the coalition of exploited classes in India, would not like to sit docile when their own natural resources are being plundered, when their own democratic rights, howsoever nominal, are being trampled on and when their own labour is being grossly exploited by the big capital and their agents running the state power.

The programmes of the left almost always talk of the alliance between workers and peasants. Some of the above tasks are concrete examples of that. When dock workers in Paradip rise up in solidarity with farmers in Jagatsinghpur and perhaps fight, side by side, with them, when industrial workers around Bhubaneshwar stop police trucks, sent to beat up farmers in Dhinkia, from moving, a concrete step is taken in forging that very revolutionary unity between workers and peasants.