Yukrand invited Kamgar Ekta Committee and Lok Raj Sangathan to conduct a workshop on Privatisation for its activists in Pune

 

Report by Kamgar Ekta Committee (KEC) correspondent

 

Yukrand (Yuvak Kranti Dal) invited the activists of Kamgar Ekta Committee (KEC) and Lok Raj Sangathan (LRS) to conduct a workshop on 11th September 2022 in Pune for its activists. Shri Vivek Kashikar of Yukrand had attended the joint meeting of activists of various workers’ and people’s organisations in Pune on 12th June 2022 in Pune (refer to https://aifap.org.in/5861/ ) to develop an Action Plan against Privatisation and had facilitated the organising of the workshop.

The hall was full of young activists and others young at heart who are retired, but definitely not tired! After all, the best qualities of youth – boldness, fearlessness, passionate willingness to fight for justice and equality and hope for a dignified life for all human beings – are there in older people too. Apart from Yukrand, the participants included activists of Apna Vatan Sanghatana, Vicharvedh Sanstha, Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti, Path Vikreta Ekta Samiti and the Samrat Ashok Foundation as well as journalists, students, counsellors and workers from public sector enterprises.

Shri Sudarshan Chakhale welcomed the participants and Shri Sandeep Barve, (both leaders of Yukrand) introduced the participants to the activities of Yukrand and outlined the importance of the workshop.

The workshop was conducted by Prathmesh, member of KEC, Shri Ashok Kumar, Joint Secretary, KEC and Sanjeewani Jain, Vice President, LRS. It was a very interactive and enlightening workshop and many participants later expressed their gratitude for organising it. Informal discussions continued for a long time after the formal sessions ended and many invitations were received to conduct it in more places so that more activists would be enabled to participate in the movement against privatisation.

We present the main points made in the presentations by the various speakers.

  • Workers of one sector understand the dreadful impacts of them that privatisation of their sector would have on them. However, due to the strong false propaganda made by various governments and the monopoly-owned media, many of them support the privatisation of other sectors. We need to expose this propaganda.
  • The workers of one sector are the consumers and users of other sectors. While the workers of one sector may be in lakhs at the most, consumers and users are in tens of crores. We need to make them conscious about the harmful effects that privatisation would have on them and organise them to fight against it.
  • The direction of the economy during the British Raj was to increase the wealth of the British ruling class at the expense of the Indian people. This direction did not change when the British were replaced by the new ruling class of exploiting owners in 1947.
  • In 1944 itself the Tatas, Birlas, Mafatlals and other big Indian industrialists of those times had formulated the “Bombay Plan” in their interests. This laid down the basis of India’s economic development after the British left.
  • Accordingly, after independence, public money was used to build up the heavy industry and infrastructure (Railways, electricity, roads, steel, etc.) that was needed for Indian industry to develop and the capitalists to grow. This was later presented as the “socialist” sector, because at that time there was a wave in favour of socialism sweeping around the world and among Indian people.
  • At that time the capitalists neither had the capital required to invest in heavy industry and infrastructure. In any case, the returns on these investments took far too much time.
  • The policies of various governments helped the big capitalists to grow till the end of the 1980’s when they were big enough to compete on the world stage.
  • That was when the policy of LPG (Globalisation through Liberalisation and Privatisation) was launched by the then Congress government under the orders of the biggest monopolies, both Indian and foreign.
  • Privatisation is not an agenda of any one party. It has been implemented by every government at the Centre and in most states.
  • Big corporates invest money only when it is exceedingly profitable for them and governments enable them to do so by various means – deliberately wrecking the targeted sector, doing false propaganda to fool the people, etc.
  • Privatisation amounts to looting the property and labour of the people.
  • The economy can either be oriented towards maximising the profits of the capitalists, particularly of the biggest corporates, or towards maximising the welfare of the people. It cannot do both.
  • The Government collects money from every Indian, rich or poor by way of taxes. Even the poorest of the poor have to pay indirect taxes like GST, when they buy anything in the marker. Indirect taxes make up nearly 2/3 of the total collection.
  • While it has the right to collect taxes, it also has the duty to look after the security and welfare of the people. While various governments squeeze the people more and more through taxation, none of them have fulfilled their duty towards them.
  • Privatisation, like other policies of various governments, is a program exactly opposite to the Directive Principles laid down in the Indian Constitution. However, there is no way that the government can be brought to book by the people for violating them.
  • Likewise government routinely violate promises they make to the people, but there is no way they can be held accountable.
  • One of the latest examples is the written assurance given to the kisans, after more than 700 died in their andolan, that the government will not enact the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2022. The government intends to violate this promise.

Struggle against anti-workers, anti-people and anti-national Privatisation

Short term goals

  • Experience of India and of various countries shows that privatisation can be halted.
  • This has been done when workers have unitedly fought against it and mobilised the support of their families and of other people as well.
  • There is an urgent need to make users and consumers aware of the harmful effect of privatisation on them and not be fooled by the propaganda of the government.

Long term goal

  • While we fight our daily battles against privatisation of targeted enterprises and services, we have to fight with the perspective of establishing Lok Raj, in place of the Corporate Raj that exists today.

Participants were then introduced to AIFAP and were also exhorted to join the campaign against the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2022. A leaflet of Kamgar Ekta Committee titled “Why you as consumer need to oppose the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2022” was distributed among the participants and they were exhorted to spread it widely.

The workshop ended with many participants expressing their desire to spread awareness about the anti-people nature of privatisation.

 

 

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