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An Open Letter to the Revolutionaries

by Dilip Simeon, 8 January 2009

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This is an attempt to communicate through the only way possible for those like me. Even halting and mediated communication is better than silence. The political situation in the country is grim, and the plight of the exploited classes is worsening. There is no doubt that a powerful mass movement is needed to obtain even the mildest of popular demands, such as adherence to minimum wage regulations, and the protection of trade union rights.

Comrades, consider what might have happened in 1990 if all groups and parties in the communist movement had set aside their differences in order to defend the Babri Masjid. Had they unitedly resisted the tide of communal mobilisation, they might have prevented the terrible atrocities unleashed by the right extremists. Society is desperate for relief from constant fear, insecurity and intimidation. One of the roots of this is the violent regime imposed upon agrarian and informal workers whose poverty is the basis for the cheap labour that the Indian bourgeoisie boasts about, but should be ashamed of. Democracy is a necessity for the workers movement, if there were no democracy we would have to fight for it. It is the ruling class for whom democratic institutions are a nuisance. The proper functioning of these institutions requires that people be able to exercise their basic rights without fear, and hence relief from violence would be a major gain for the most oppressed sections of society. Forcing the Indian rulers to implement the Constitution is a major task that will require mass movements on an unprecedented scale. This can only result from statesmanship of a high order among all those who claim to work for the exploited classes in Indian society. Comrades, you are in a position to initiate such a historic process.

Comrades, consider the impact if you were to give up the armed struggle and challenge the ruling class to adhere to the Constitution, reform the monstrous flaws in the criminal justice system, root out corruption in the police and judiciary, punish the instigators of communal and caste killings and the murderers of Shankar Guha Niyogi, disband militias such as the Ranvir Sena and Salwa Judum, implement the NREGA, repeal the SEZ Act, pass the Women’s Reservation Bill and develop the forest and tribal areas for the benefit of the people rather than corporate interests. A step such as this, accompanied by an unconditional declaration that you will lay down arms and cease the violence will electrify the situation. It will also place you in a central political position, for you will be challenging the entire Indian establishment.

And the precious lives of thousands of ordinary people, including women, children and the elderly; quite apart from those of your committed cadres, shall be saved. There has been too much bloodshed. Violence is predictable. Do something different and unpredictable. It will bring a smile to millions of faces.

Speak the truth

Stop the killing

Dilip Simeon

February 24, 2008