Volume 5, No. 2-3, February-March 2004



A Step Ahead in the ongoing Anti-imperialist Struggle



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.

The Inauguration

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.


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 Iyer

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 the solution".

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

The National 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 Pradesh

2. Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), Rajasthan

3. Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), Himachal Pradesh

4. Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), Madhya Pradesh

5. Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU, Lakhowal) Punjab

6. KRRS (Karnataka)

7. Farmers’ Relief Forum, Kerala

8. Tamil Nadu Farmers’ Association, Tamil Nadu

9. Nandyal Farmers’ Association, Andhra Pradesh

Earlier, B.D.Sharma, 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."

Another important 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 conference."

The Workshops

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 place.

Particularly the 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.

Muslim 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 this.

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.

Similarly, the struggle against communal fascism, imperialist globalisation and war is also fusing into a single movement to confront the common enemies of the Indian people.

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.

We the 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 Gulzar Azmi)

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 Alware)

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 Batatawala)

14) ModernYouth Association (Sajid Sheikh)

15) All Hind Ekta Comm (Imran Sheikh and Ismail Quereishi)

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 Jan Sabha).

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.

Concluding Session

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 Jharkhand.

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 troupes.

Noted playwright 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, etc.

Meanwhile Strokes 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.

Similar campaigns, 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.




Home  |  Current Issue  |  Archives  |  Revolutionary Publications  |  Links  |  Subscription