Sunday, August 31, 2008

We demand return of Singur farmland to the peasants

The West Bengal government, CPM and a section of media have been engaged in campaign that if Tata has to quit from Singur, then it will be a great loss for West Bengal as already chief ministers of five different states invited Tata to shift the nano project in their states.

It is now important to remember that Tata had to quite from Kalinganagar (Orissa) and Dhaka (Bangladesh) because of strong public protest. There is no point to believe that in other states Tata will not face any resistance from the people as the government has to acquire land for the proposed project; none of the chief ministers will donate their paternal property to Tata. These chief ministers and the state machinery are the agents of multinationals and comprador big capitalists. They have engaged themselves in a race to prove their loyalty to their masters.

The CPM says and a section of Bengalee middle class believe that the Singur nano project along with ancillary units will generate a huge job market that could help relieve the problem of unemployment in the state. It is better to remember that having engaged somewhere with a salary not sufficient to meet the ends should be termed as severe exploitation rather than employment. All over the country and in the West Bengal people have to work mostly in contractual basis more than eight hours a day for mere Rs 60 to 80. In Singur project the scenario will not be the different. The project is not to solve the problem of poverty and unemployment, but to maximize the exploitation.

Our critics, at this point will say, if there will be no investment by the multinational or comprador giants, then whatever people can earn now will be stopped. Therefore, for the interest of people we need their investment although the working condition may not be ideal. To improve the condition, we should negotiate with them, but must not oppose.

With due respect to our critics we would like to mention that people simply cannot negotiate with these sharks. They are motivated by maximization of their profit; and it means maximization of exploitation of people. Here negotiation means acceptance of the terms and conditions which favours the interest of the multinationals and comprador capitalists. And we already showed why we should not call the engagement of the people in their projects as employment.

Our intellectual critics sometimes remind us the huge value addition that takes place in a factory. From the same land the annual income must be far less if it is engaged in agriculture. Here we need to mention that we do not consider the issue as a simple matter of industry versus agriculture. In contrast, we see what fraction of the income will be for the people from a given land. In case a factory is built by a corporate giant on a land, the fraction of the income retained with the people is far les than that retained if it were engaged in self-farming. We do not blindly oppose building a factory on a land, but do oppose maximization of the extraction of profit for the interest of corporate sectors.

We have no doubt over the dwindling situation of agriculture. But, it is because of the severe semi-feudal (for example in the form of usury) and imperialist exploitation. Peasants do not have any control over the seeds, fertilizers and pesticides. Introduction of the 'hi-fi' technology actually devastated our crop diversity and organic basis of the farming. Pesticides and chemical fertilizers are being used indiscriminately and unscientifically, which is just to promote their sale (and essentially magnifying the profit). There is no way under the circumstances peasantry can survive. The only way out from this situation is to demolish the semi-feudal basis of the Indian socio-economic foundation which is the support of the imperialist plunder.

Looking for an alternative outside the agriculture only helps strengthening the imperialist clutch over the people.

In order to strengthen the unity against multinational corporations, comprador big capitalists, we support the resistance against any attempt for the maximization of their profit. We therefore demand unconditional return of farmland to the peasantry of Singur.

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