Wednesday, February 21, 2007

First conference of Anti-Displacement Front

Chalo Ranchi! Chalo Ranchi! Chalo Ranchi! Chalo Ranchi! Chalo Ranchi!

Onwards to the First Conference,
Anti-Displacement Front
March 22nd, 23rd 2007, Ranchi, Jharkhand
Observe 76th Martyrdom Day of Bhagat Singh as Anti-imperialist Day

In Lieu of an Invitation

Heaven is a forest of miles and miles of Mohua trees
And hell is a forest of miles and miles of Mohua trees with a forest guard in it.
--A popular saying of the Muria Adivasi of Bastar, Chhattisgarh

Whatever contributes to forcefully assimilating people to Nature is a dangerous threat… At least that has been the lesson, of any discernible reading of the history of humankind. Here too, in the South Asian sub-continent, the experiences of the vast sections of the people have not been an exception. Specifically, after the advent of British colonialism…

Post-1947, there has hardly been any difference in the experiences of the people of the sub-continent. “If you are to suffer, you should suffer in the interest of our country”, this was what Jawaharlal Nehru asked the villagers, while laying the foundation stone of the Hirakud dam in Sambalpur, Orissa. Hirakud, or the dam at Bhakra, Nehru termed these ‘temples of modern India’. Ever since then, through the years of the so-called ‘green revolution’, canal irrigation cultivation, introduction of cash crops and hybrid variety of seeds we have daily proof that we create our world against Nature for want of profit. That people are forced to be the mute recipients of this expropriation of wealth in the name of development; of creating a new world out of Nature that is useful for a few rich and powerful. Even the most conservative estimate of the Government of India in 1994, after lot of jugglery with statistics, had to admit that more than 10 million (1 crore) people are still to be rehabilitated displaced by dams, mines, deforestation and other ‘development projects’.

Today this logic of creating a world against Nature have taken the most aggressive turn; voluminous in its scope of exploitation and destruction; murderous in its reach in that it ravages the lives and livelihoods of lakhs and lakhs of peoples. The tall claims of Special Economic Zones as havens of employment generation and productivity with legal provisions totally different from the law of the land is further evidence of recolonisation of the land and its people for brutal exploitation of imperialist and local capital. The innumerous Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) that are being signed by the GoI with various monopolies for mining in Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand are open invitations to loot and plunder the natural resources for the predatory needs of the market.

The grand design to construct mega-dams in hundreds across the sub-continent so as to generate power to sell it to the far-east market and massive super highways to access every nook and cranny of the region to the reach of big capital will without fail ravage various cultures, memories, lives and livelihoods of these peoples. Not to say, this package to loot and plunder the wealth of these regions will pit the various peoples in this region against each other.

Big labour, big industry and big capital have forced the people of the sub-continent to adjust and be assimilated in accordance to its needs. These experiences legitimized with it a history of exploitation, of domination, of considering human beings as ‘human resources’. Significantly, the use of the word ‘human resources’ confirms the dangerous threat of forcing people to comply with the needs of imperialism and its domestic lackeys. The poorest and the most vulnerable become easy targets. The tribal whether in Orissa, Jharkhand, Arunachal or Meghalaya and the worker in the small scale sector in Delhi, Mumbai or Calcutta, the landless agricultural labourer in Haryana, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh or Andhra Pradesh and even the small and middle peasant in Punjab, Haryana, Vidharbha and Andhra Pradesh all are classified, registered alongside the mineral, vegetal and animal resources. Mind you, people so designated are not the aim of production, but its raw material.

From Polavaram to Tipaimukh, from Nandigram, Singur Shalgoni, Dadri to Vidharbha, from Kalinganagar, Kashipur to Chhattisgarh and North Andhra and Telengana and Karnataka this language is not deceptive: as we all know, resources are to be exploited, and in our world they are bound to be destroyed. The struggle has increasingly become between two worlds in opposition: that of the world of the greatest number of people labeled as ‘natural resources’ and the world of those who treat them as such.

The reckoning of the hour is to forge an uncompromising resistance at the ground level while building a massive public opinion against this politics of loot and plunder in the name of development. At the South Asian and international level.

Significantly, this year marks the birth centenary of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, whose death defying martyrdom had stoked the flames of revolution among the youth and the vast section of the impoverished masses in the sub-continent against British colonialism. Moreover, that March 23rd his Martyrdom day marks the conclusion of the founding conference of Anti-Displacement Front will be a resounding start for a militant movement against all forms of displacement. It is time that we once again reclaim the revolutionary legacy of this great freedom fighter. It is important and inevitable that the resistance be forged at as many levels as possible.

As you may know, a process towards building a mighty resistance against these displacements under the garb of ‘development’ has been initiated. The first preparatory meeting was at Ranchi, in Jharkhand on the 20, 21st of January 2007. Over 100 organizations and individuals are part of this process to build a massive people’s resistance against all forms of displacement at the South Asian level.

The first conference of this Anti-Displacement Front will be on the 22nd, 23rd of March 2007 at Ranchi, Jharkhand. We invite you to be part of and hence strengthen this process.

Cultural performances against displacement and anti-imperialism by eminent theatres and people’s cultural artistes will start on 21st March onwards.
A detailed programme will be sent a week before the Conference.

Please let us know your response and inform us your participation in advance.

No to Displacement! No to Rehabilitation!
Only Change with Equity & Justice!

On behalf of the Preparatory Committee
Against Displacement
Dr. B D Sharma & G N Saibaba
Phones: 011-24353997, 9910455993.

13 February 2007.

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