Monday, September 30, 2013

Videos of the Invisible (to the BBC) 50,000 people who protested at the Tory Party Conference in Manchester against cuts in National Health Service

India : In shift from guerrilla strategy, Maoists raise 2 new battalions

Democracy and Class Struggle publish this report for information - we cannot confirm accuracy of Report.

The People's Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) of the CPI(Maoist) has moved on to being a conventional fighting force in at least two locations and has raised two battalions, sources in the state police and Ministry of Home Affairs say.

This is a major shift from the Maoists' guerrilla strategy: it has always maintained that the "principal and central task" of PLGA is to transform itself "into a fully developed People's Liberation Army."

The Maoists insist on establishment of Revolutionary Base Areas as a precondition for transformation of the PLGA: this move is probably an indication that the CPI-Maoist considers itself sufficiently entrenched in certain locations to stop calling them Guerrilla Areas.

This has resulted in the raising of battalions by the Naxal Central Military Commission, with about 250-300 fighters in each. Two such battalions have been reportedly raised, at least partially — in Jharkhand's Latehar district and along the Orissa — Chhattisgarh border. These are an upgrade from PLGA companies and platoons, which have 40-45 and 8-10 fighters each, respectively.

A conventional fighting unit would have about 1000 personnel in a battalion.

There have been rumours PLGA would soon be upgraded. "They have been calling themselves PLA in some areas since the end of 2012 or beginning of this year. We have encountered battalion formations since the Katia encounter," said an officer of the state police. "Maoists claim to have raised battalions in the Orissa-Chhattisgarh border, too," said an MHA official.

"Maoists seem to be implementing a new strategy, Vikendrikaran. This is decentralisation. In the face of a larger enemy, they split and melt away," said the officer.

K Vijay Kumar, a Security Advisor at MHA, said the upgrade to PLA is part of the flexibility conventional fighting forces cannot afford. "This is why we call it an asymmetric battle: such flexibility is adversely loaded against even the strongest government. They exist outside rule of law; they can do things we cannot, like change squad strengths at will. PLA is considered the ultimate and third level of their strategy. However, it is easy for them to go back to the second stage without problems," he said.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

50,000 People take to streets in Manchester to protest at Tory Party Conference - Defend National Health Service

One of Britain's biggest cities has been witnessing its largest-ever protest - as health cuts draw tens of thousands onto the streets.

It's timed to catch members of the governing Conservative Party, who're descending on Manchester for their annual conference.

A message from Wales and from the spirit of Aneurin Bevan

"The National Health service and the Welfare State have come to be used as interchangeable terms, and in the mouths of some people as terms of reproach.

Why this is so it is not difficult to understand, if you view everything from the angle of a strictly individualistic competitive society.

A free health service is pure Socialism and as such it is opposed to the hedonism of capitalist society".'
Aneurin Bevan, In Place of Fear, p106

For Democracy and Class Struggle views of the relationship of the Welfare State to the Warfare State and a critique of Bevanite Social Democracy read:

Wake Up ! Oppose Trans Pacific Partnership - Key meeting in Indonesia next week - No secret trade deals

Kevin Zeese: The Trans-Pacific Partnership has nothing to do with trade or freedom, and ongoing demonstrations could encourage those on the inside to speak up.

Democracy and Class Struggle says TPP summit on Oct. 8 on Bali will be an "important milestone" toward TPP goal of concluding by the year-end a deal for creating one of the largest "free trade" zones in the world says the PR release, it should have read rigged trade not free trade.

Study the TPP Now - Organise your opposition Now !  Stop this massive corporate assault on democracy and  sovereignity Now !

See Also:

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Nepal: CPN Maoist defends Peter Tobin's right to free speech plus Peter Tobin's thanks for support

All the international support has been overwhelming - could you thank comrades through D&CS on my behalf.



KATHMANDU, SEP 28 - The CPN-Maoist has objected to media reports concerning the police's search of an Irish national who was spotted giving anti-election speeches alongside the party's General Secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa a few days ago. 

The party claims that the Irishman identified as Peter Tobin, 70, had not spoken anything objectionable as reported by the media. 

The party said Tobin was putting his remarks as a "party's guest and a friend of the Nepali people". 

“It's his natural right to express his solidarity with our campaign as a guest. It's not interference in Nepal's internal affairs,” reads the statement issued by Bishnu Hari Nepal, who is in charge of the party's pro-public department. 

The party has challenged the government and the police to initiate action against American, Indian and European delegates who, according to it, have interfered in Nepal's internal matters through "pressure on the government and the four parties to hold the election on November 19 at any cost"

See Also:

Portrait of GN Saibaba in Times of India "The Revolutionary in Delhi University" by Shreya Roy Chowdhury

Democracy and Class Struggle say while Maharashtra Police are trying to frame GN Saibaba the Times Of India have just published this report on his life story.
It is the story of a true son of India and one of India's 21st Century heroes who struggles for the hundreds of millions marginalised by India's neo liberal economics and politics.
Whither India in the 21st Century ? The road of GN Saibaba gives hope to the people - the neo liberal road despair.  

NEW DELHI: It's a fortnight since the police raid on Delhi University teacher G N Saibaba. The Ram Lal Anand teacher who police allege is "an urban contact" for Maoists, was asked to appear before the Maharashtra Police "out of Delhi or at Nagpur". Pointing out he's 90% disabled and uses a wheelchair, he's asked cops to conduct their "inquiry" in Delhi.

Born in Andhra's Amalapuram in 1967, Saibaba's known poverty first-hand. "He didn't have electricity at home," says his wife, "He got a wheelchair after coming to Delhi in 2003. Before that, movement was by crawling." His father grew rice on his three-acres but by the time Saibaba was 10, he'd lost that to money-lenders. A consistently stellar performance in class ensured scholarships throughout. But the fee for his entrance test for master's in Hyderabad was paid by his wife, then girlfriend.

He met Vasantha at a coaching class and they fell in love over grade 10 maths homework. The duo "exhausted" the literature section of the Amalapuram library. "My interest in politics is through literature." He read Gurujada Apparao (1862-1915) and Sri Sri (1910-1983) and "revolutionary literature in Telugu." His favourite author is Kenyan Ngugi Wa Thiong'o whom he met at a seminar.

Vasantha can't find the photos. "When the police returned the photos, those of Sai with Ngugi weren't there," she says. "They probably thought Ngugi's a Maoist," jokes Saibaba. The loss of the three hard discs is less funny. One had personal photos; another videos of protests; the third three manuscripts he's been working on.

Saibaba finished at SKBR College at the top of the university. Vasantha funded the trip to Hyderabad and a new set of experiences - he left Amalapuram and saw a train for the first time. Later, as an activist of the All India People's Resistance Forum (AIPRF), he travelled over 200,000 km to speak in support of liberation movements in Kashmir and the north east and campaign for dalit and adivasi rights.

Saibaba cut his political teeth with the Radical Students' Union during his MA-MPhil days. "My political life began with the Mandal Commission and the fight for reservation." Vasantha joined him in Hyderabad. They married in March, 1991. "RSU organized a public meeting on man-woman relationship," says Saibaba. The couple laughs at the odd way of solemnizing their nuptials, "We spent Rs 832 including registration." Till after their daughter's birth, Saibaba was practically a full-time activist with AIPRF. He abandoned his PhD; Vasantha joined a women's organization.

In Delhi, he returned to academics. He taught at Sri Venkateswara for three months in 2003 before moving to RLA. In 2005, AIPRF evolved into the Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF) -- accused of being a Maoist front. "We have an ideological understanding," says Saibaba, "But no organizational linkages." RDF's members have been arrested before and it was banned in Andhra last year. In Delhi, Saibaba organized fact-finding missions to Jharkhand, Kashmir, Assam and Manipur and completed his PhD.

The raid last week and the support from activists made him a curiosity. "I told my students why it happened." Saibaba believes it's an attempt to silence critics of Operation Green Hunt (OGH), started in 2009 to ostensibly counter Maoists. But activists believe OGH's main aim is "killing adivasis," clearing the area for mining. Saibaba, -----convenor of the Forum Against War on People, states, "We didn't take this campaign up for the Maoists."

The raid on Saibaba came close on the heels of the arrest of JNU student Hem Mishra who allegedly mentioned Saibaba's name. "If they can come to raid," says Vasantha, "They can question him here."

"I've said I'm willing to cooperate," says Saibaba, "And asked them to let me know the time so my teaching is not disrupted."

Friday, September 27, 2013

India - Observe Bharat Bandh on October 5 protesting the brutal massacre of 14 Maoists in Malkangiri by the neo‐fascist Naveen Patnaik government in Odisha



Press Release

September 17, 2013

On September 14, 2013 the SOG of Odisha conducted a joint operation with the District Voluntary Force and the police in Silakota forests in Podiya block of Malkangiri district in Odisha and brutally massacred 14 Maoists including a woman comrade. The police seized their weapons too. Our CC, CPI (Maoist) is calling upon the people of our country to observe Bharat Bandh on October 5 to protest this brutality perpetrated by the neo-fascist Naveen Patnaik government in collusion with the central government and under the guidance of the imperialists, particularly the US imperialists.

Naveen Patnaik has been shamelessly playing the ultimate comprador since he came to power by signing countless MoUs with the MNCs to hand over for peanuts the natural riches and resources of Odisha. The people of Odisha, particularly the Adivasis and the Dalit peasantry are engaged in a life and death struggle against the central and state governments and their mining mafia which are hell bent on displacing them and impoverishing them to please the corporate houses by implementing these MoUs.
On the other hand they are waging a bitter struggle against the big land lords, usurers and liquor mafia that are sucking their blood like leeches. 

The militant, long drawn and uncompromising struggles of the brave people of Odisha against POSCO and in Kashipur, Niyamagiri and Narayanapatna have not only inspired the fighting people of our country but also every activist fighting against the ill-effects of neo-liberal policies all over the world. Naveen Patnaik government born with deaf ears due to its comprador character has ignored the genuine demands of the people and instead resorted to severe repression with the complete support and aid including 27 Battalions of paramilitary forces including COBRA Bns on all the people’s movements ongoing in Odisha.

Massacres of people and activists including Maoists have become a common feature of this repression. Arrests, false cases, harsh punishments, inhuman incarcerations, beatings, atrocities, rapes, burning peoples homes and property – what not, the neo- fascists did not leave any stone of cruelty unturned to suppress the genuine aspirations of the people. Our party has been working since decades in Odisha and organizing the oppressed masses, particularly the Adivasis against the exploitation, oppression and suppression they are suffering in the hands of the ruling classes. It has either been in the forefront or has extended its full support to all the people’s movements against liberalization, privatization and globalization not only in Odisha but in majority of the states in our country.

So the Indian ruling classes under the guidance and goading of the imperialists launched the multi-pronged country wide offensive Operation Green Hunt – War on People since mid-2009 to wipe out our movement and suppress the genuine struggles of the people. Repression on oppressed masses is the hall mark of any exploiting state and OGH denotes a crucial node in this as it has surpassed all the previous offensives both in its scale and brutality. Though OGH is supposed to wipe out the Maoist movement it is in fact aimed to suppress every genuine democratic demand of the people, particularly for Jal, Jungle and Zameen. That is why the Maoists, democratic organizations and individuals and the people are at the receiving end of this offensive.

The Nazi Hitler, Fascist Mussolini or their current descendants like Bush, Obama, Hollande, Cameroon, or their desi avatars of Sonia, Manmohan, Rahul Gandhi, Chidambaram, Jairam Ramesh, Pranab Mukherji, or their satraps in the states like Raman Singh, Naveen Patnaik, Kirankumarreddy, Mamta Banerji, Piruthvi Raj Chavhan etc all have one thing in common. They all think they can play with people’s lives as and how they want. What they unfailingly don’t realize is that they are amassing the fury of the people and that they are bound to be buried underneath its torrent. The killings of people in Kashipur, Niyamagiri, Narayanapatna or in Malkangiri as on September 14 both in police firings and in fake encounters would never succeed in suppressing the people of Odisha.

If at all it would give them more reasons to hate this government and mobilize for its overthrow. The ignoramus DGP of Odisha, true to his nature of a boot-licking dog of the ruling classes has warned that any Maoists entering Odisha would face the fate of these 14 Maoists killed in Malkangiri. Would they never learn from history? No, unless it is their doomsday. It is the anti- people, pro-imperialist, pro-CBB, pro-land lord neo-liberal policies of the Indian ruling classes that is giving rise to Maoism in the vast rural tracts of our country in every state and there is no need for any Maoists to enter from ‘outside’ states or sky. Every comprador ruler who is implementing LPG policies is fated to face the resistance of the people and it is just one step forward in the right direction for them to turn into Maoists.

As all fascists he refuses to respect facts and that is why the beloved children of Odisha who were killed in Malkangiri are looking like ‘outsiders’ to this progeny of Goebbels. The people of Odisha would definitely avenge the killing of their beloved sons and daughter in Silakota forests by embracing Maoism in large numbers and by teaching the Naveen Patnaik gang a fitting lesson. Beloved People of India, Our beloved comrades who were killed in Malkangiri are mostly Adivasis who have taken upon themselves the duty of fighting the neo-liberal policies that are most detrimental not only to the Adivasis but all other exploited and oppressed masses in our country.

Protesting their encounter means lending your voice not only against the brutal offensive OGH but also saying a big NO to the pro-imperialist economic policies of the ruling classes. This year alone has seen massacres of people and Maoists in places like Lakadbandha in Jharkhand, Govindgaon, Bhatpar, Sindesur, Medri and Bhagawanpur in Gadchiroli of Maharashtra, in Edesmetta and Puvvarti in Chhattisgarh to name a few. In almost all these incidents both village women and women Maoists were also brutally murdered. All of them belong to the oppressed sections of our country and they have been fighting for the liberation of all oppressed sections in the society.

Protesting these massacres should be done by whoever opposes the lopsided development model of the ruling classes and we appeal to every citizen who aspires for democracy in our country to participate in the protest. We appeal to all the genuine democratic organizations, parties and individuals of our country to unequivocally condemn the September 14 massacre and organize and participate in protests against it. 

We appeal to the people of our country to observe Bharat Bandh on October 5 and participate in the protests in huge numbers.

(Abhay) Spokesperson, Central Committee, CPI (Maoist)

Today on September 27th we commemorate the 2nd death anniversary of Gursharan Singh by Harsh Thakor

Today on September 27th we commemorate the 2nd death anniversary of Gursharan Singh. No comrade has ever made a greater contribution to the development of Punjabi revolutionary theatre as Comrade Gursharan Singh.

He built one of the strongest  street theatre groups in the history of post-1947 India.

No dramatist in Punjab could touch the haert of the broad amsses as this valiant Comrade.

His plays literally lit a red flame in the hearts of the masses be it in the factories or the villages.His plays could make the masses aware of social,economic and political issues and could relate them to the problemsthey faced day-to-day  -be it price-rise,unemployment,hosing,and other burning issues.

They transpired deep feelings like a spark turning into a Priarie fire.Above all Gursharan Singh was able to develop an original form of theatre .Without formally upholding Marxism-Leninism-Maoism his plays reverberated the spirit of the ideology morally upholding anti-feudal and anti imperialist struggles.

His plays brilliantly portrayed the social reality  portrayed the tyranny of landlordism,mone-lenders, opression on women,price,rise,unemployment.,casteism,communalism,elections etc.

Throughout his life he upheld the politics of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong thought and the spirit of the Naxalbari uprising.

The author cannot forget how he inspired the 1st function of the All India league of Revolutionary culture  in the 1980's where he spoke about the great role of Comrade Mao in liberating women and the need for revolutionary slogans in the cultural movement.

Quoting the Communist Ghadr Party of India:

"Comrade Gursharan was inpsired by the legacy of the Ghadar movement and the revolutionary work of Shaheed Bhagat Singh and his comrades. Born in Punjab in 1929, he did his masters degree in Chemistry and began work as a cement technician with the Punjab government. During the construction of the Bhakra Nangal Dam in the fifties, his conscience rebelled against the anti  worker anti peasant attitude of the government. He wrote a live drama upon the plight of the workers of the project. He decided to devote his life to the cause of the workers and peasants, and wrote more than 175 dramas and hundreds of songs. 

His dramas were staged in most of the villages of Punjab. His work inspired thousands of peasants and revolutionary intelligentsia to take up the cause of the revolution. His dramas became popular all over the country and whereever abroad Indians resided.He experimented with new forms and contents, always linking his work with the toiling masses. 

His famous song —Eh Lal  Farera  Teri Kasam, Is Khoon Ka Badla Hum Lenge —  has inspired countless people to take up the cause of the revolution."

The author cannot forget the role of Gursharan Singh on the cultural front in the 1970's during the student and youth upheaval,during the Khalistani movement from 1982-1992 and in the last 2 decades with the great peasant movements erupting.His street plays were performed at gatherings paying homage to martyrs and to conferences of revolutionary mass organizations.

They ressurected a burning flame in the hearts of the masses in the meetings held to remember the masses of the Naxalbari Struggle and against the Khalistani movement.Gursharan Singh vehemently supported the movement against state and Khalistani terrorism in the 1980's  and early 1990's and even formed the Revolutionary Unity Centre -a conglomeration of  naxalite groups opposing Khalistani and state terrorism.

A famous 9 day rally was held a covering various parts of Punjab in March 1987.Secular politics was projected combating the Hindu and Sikh communal forces.His group also played an important role in the function sheld in memory of the martys of Sewawala in 1991.Later in November 1994 in Rajjeana and the innaugural conference of the Lok Morcha Punjab Gursharan Singh's theatre group performed.

He also played an important role in the Committee for the protection of political priosners of which he was the president.He inspired the formation of the Democratic Front against Operation Green Hunt in recent years in Punjab which exposed  the naked character of state repression.

Although he did not support any political revolutionary group he consistently combated revisionist tendencies and stood by the mass line.He openly was critical of the C.P.I and C.P.M who never opposed state terrorism. Morally he upheld the struggle of the C.P.I.(Maoist) nationally.

He proved how a revolutionary activist could play major role without formally belonging to any revolutionary party.

Today a programme is being held in Barnala in Punjab  by the Punjab Loksabhyacharak Manch- a cultural organization .Last year a huge memorial function was staged in Kussa .Over 10,000 people attended the gathering which was one of Punjab's most memorable gatherings ever.

On this day let us dip our blood in memory of this revolutionary hero who made an immortal contribution.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Maharashtra: Sunder Navalkar a tribute by Harsh Thakor


Democracy and Class Struggle are please to publish this tribute from Harsh Thakor for Sunder Navalkar who we know has a teacher of Kobad Ghandy one of India's 21st Century heroes and revolutionary communist thinkers.
No comrade, let alone woman comrade has arguably contributed more to the Communist revolutionary movement in Maharashtra as veteran comrade Sunder Navalkar.

The author can't express his admiration for the tenacity of the this veteran woman comrade who is active till this day,inspite of crossing 90 years in age.
In spite of so many journals being discontinued 'Jasood' continues till this very day.
This journal illuminated the flame of Marxism Leninism Mao Tse Tung thought in the hearts of cadres.This year is the 40th anniversary year of the journal' Jasood'. which was innauguarated in  May.1973.No journal ever in Mumbai has so consistently defended the polemics of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse Tung Thought as Jasood.For 40 years it has defended Mao Thought in every aspect-be it trade union movement.,peasant movement,essays on Lenin,Marx,Stalin and Mao,exposing communalism,exposing state repression in Kashmir etc.

The writer particularly appreciates the tribute of Jasood to Comarde Mao Tse Tung on his 100 th birthday on December 23rd.
He also admired the essay published defending Stalin and Socialist U.S.S.R in 1991, document opposing the communal riots in 1992-93 after the demolition of the Babri Masjid,the 30th year commemoration of the Naxalbari movement in 1997 and the recent articles defending the struggles of the C.P.I.(Maoist).memorable reports  were posted on the railway workers strike of 1974,the Mill workers strike of 1982 ,the bus workers

(BEST),sweepers,securitymen,construction works,students ,doctors and the peasantry.Other notable articles were those on the 1982 solidarity movement in Poland,the critique of the Denist regime in China and article on the cultural revolution in China,on the arab-Israeli conflict.

Publications were brought out of Mao's red book and of Lenin and Stalin.Finally reports have also been posted on martyrs from the Air India workers.

No political journal in Maharashtra so staunchly defended the line of Naxalbari ,re-organization of the Leninist party and the formation of the C.P.I.(M.L.) in 1969.
It stood like a rock when Marxist Leninist positions were attacked in 1989 and 1991 after the fall of regimes in East European countries and the fall of the U.S.S.R.
The journal brilliantly refuted the ideology of 'Perestroika' and tooth and nail defended the Socialist U.S.S.R regime from 1917-56 .
It also defended the armed movements of the erstwhile C.P.I.(M.L.) peoples war Group in Andhra Pradesh and Dandkaranya.
No Comrade refuted the revisionist trends of the Vinod Mishra or Satyanarayana Singh groups as Comrade Navalkar who combated the tactics of participation in elections relentlessly.
Today the journal although it opposes the C.P.I.(Maoist) adoption of formulation of 'Maoism' and differs with the party on urban work and nationality question, but staunchly defends the struggle of the Maoists.
On the urban front is consistently brings out reports on the struggle of Air India Workers.
It was the veteran comrade Sunder Navalkar who played a leading role in the Air India workers winning their right to permanency.
Few comrades have been as inspiring as Comrade Navalkar in her speeches defending the Naxalbari Movement.Comrade Navalkar had played an invaluable role in the formation of the Central Team of the C.P.I(M.L) in December in 1978 which at that time defended the polemics of 'Mao Thought' more than any revolutionary party.
She did meticulus work in educating workers with study classes and never became let economism replace political struggle.'Jasood' became a weapon in the hands of cadres and played a meticuluos role in educating political workers.

In 1998 Comrade Suniti Kumar Ghosh wrote a compliment to Jasood,stating it consistently defended revolutionary theory of Marxism-Lenism -Mao Tse Tung Thought. more than any magazine in Maharashtra.'
In it's 40 th anniversary this year let us salute 'Jasood' and the great contribution of Comrade Sunder Navalkar.
Hope an English translation of articles in 'Jasood 'can be made available,which would be a treasurehouse for revolutionary cadres.
In 1998 a special 25th anniversary commemorative issue was published which I hope is one day translated into English and Hindi.
Notable writers who contributed to Jasood were Comrade Shashi Shekhar Pradhan,Com Haridas,Com Sudhakar Sheikh,Com Radhakrishnan Kariyiketh,Com P.N.Khere and Com Damodar Ahire.Sashi Shekar Pradhan made a monumental contribution to the 1992 edition on 25 years of Naxalbari.Some of the others contributed inspite of facing poverty.

Protest in Chennai, Tamil Nadu against visit of Narendra Modi - Hindu Fascist aspirant for Prime Minister of India

There was a protest this morning against Hindu religious fanatical fascist Narendra Modi,  artistic and literary society, the revolutionary student and youth Front, New Democratic Labour Front, Women's Liberation Front are the principal organisers of the demonstration.

See also:


                                              Recent picture of Peter Tobin In Nepal

Democracy and Class Struggle have just had this disturbing report below from Kathmandu Post about the police seeking to arrest our comrade Peter Tobin for making a speech against the current fraudulent elections being planned in Nepal'

It is outrageous that a journalist making a speech about the elections in Nepal can lead to an arrest - clearly the ruling elite is Kathmandu is terrified that its election charade has been exposed even before it gets off the ground, hence their paranoia about a speech.

We call for wide publicity for this threat to Peter Tobin to expose reactionaries and to call for his right to free speech in Nepal be protected.


Editor of Democracy and Class Struggle


Police are after the Irish national spotted sitting alongside a group of CPN-Maoist leaders, including Ram Bahadur Thapa, on stage during a function organised by the party’s sister organisation, People’s Volunteers, at Charikot, Dolakha, on Tuesday.

Peter Tobin, who was introduced as a senior editor of Red Front, a quarterly journal published by Secondwave Publications in London, is wanted for fomenting anti-election activities. Addressing the function, the Irish had allegedly termed the upcoming Constituent Assembly election a ‘betrayal’ to Nepali people apart from calling India and Europe as Nepal’s top enemies.

  “The country is determined to hold the election and no foreigner has the right to speak ill of it,” said Dolakha’s Chief District Officer Prahlad Pokharel. It is learnt that Peter left for Kathmandu after stirring up a controversy by his speech that he had delivered sporting a red shirt emblazoned with a Nepali text in white that read “boycott the so-called election”. ' '

Deputy Superintenent of Police Suresh Prasad Kafle said they have already informed the center that Peter has already left Dolakha and that he may be in Kathmandu. “We took him for a foreign journalist.

It was after he left the function having spoken against the polls we found out why he was here,” said Kafle.

SEE Also

On Economic Democracy, Women's Liberation and System Change by Ann-Kristin Kowarsch

Conference on Democracy, Self-Determination and Liberation of Peoples
Brussels, 23 September 2013

On Economic Democracy, Women's Liberation and System Change

by Ann-Kristin Kowarsch

CENÎ – Kurdish Women's Office for Peace

Dear Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear  friends,

On behalf of Ceni – Kurdish Women's Office for Peace I thank the organizers of this important conference on Democracy, Self-Determination and Liberation of Peoples. We are living in a decade that is characterized by new destructive wars and crises of the capitalist system as well as by peoples' struggles and initiatives for democracy and self-governance.

 Against this background we see this conference as an important step to join the experiences and voices of progressive forces towards the respect of all people's individual and collective rights.

The second part of this panel has been dedicated to the issue “Economic Democracy, Women's Liberation and System Change”.

In this context I would like to share some of the experiences and the perspectives of the Kurdish women's movement with you.
1. Situation of women's collective rights, self-determination and freedom

The status of women can be described as “the first and last colony”1. While patriarchal oppression was the basis of ant form of oppression, at the same time the dynamics of women's liberation contain a potential for fundamental changes.
The enforcement and institutionalisation of the patriarchal family model formed the conditions for oppressive state structures, enslavement, economical exploitation and territorial occupations. Using myths and religions –later also philosophy and science - as tools of ideological justification women were categorized as “inferior gender”. Hereby women were excluded from all fields of public live. Being degraded as objects women were dispossessed of their collective rights and right to self-determination. Similar to this; peoples were declared as “inferior” or “uncivilised” for justifying colonialism and racism.

The universal declarations on people's individual and collective rights were important outcomes of peoples' struggles for democracy and their right to self-determination in the 20th century as well as the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) was a result of women's struggles.

The CEDAW Convention defines discrimination against women as "...any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field." Also the adoption of the UN Resolution on Women, Peace and Security (S/RES/1325) in 2000, was an important gain of women's struggles.

Nevertheless patriarchal violence against women, structural and social sexism continue with growing quantity and quality. Women's lives and women's rights to self-determination and freedom are systematically threatened by gender-based physical, sexual, psychological and economic violence. Its ideological, structural and institutional dimensions contribute to the legitimization of gender-based violence in society and on individual levels in daily life.

Every year 66,000 women loose their lives due to male violence. Worldwide, the ratio of murdered women to  men is 5:1.2 According to figures published by the UN 32 % of all women and girls in the world have been subjected to physical male violence at least once in their lives.

Rape is the most obvious expression for a system that breaks and denies women's free will and self-
determination on the basis of patriarchal, racist and militarist ideologies. Any kind of exploitation and
occupation are closely related to the concept of rape that degrades women, peoples and nature as “objects”.

Accordingly, rape and sexualized violence are systematically and widely used as strategies of war and ethnical cleansings. State forces, armies and paramilitaries use rape systematically as a means  aiming at breaking the resistance of people's movements.

Recently leaders of the Salafist “El-Nusra Front” which are one component of the oppositional “FSA” in Syria have called for raping and killing Kurdish, Ezidi and Armenian women as an act of their “holy war”.

These calls were followed by El-Nusra members committing mass rapes and massacres in the region of West-Kurdistan.

Economic violence and poverty also have a gender dimension: 2/3 out of 2,5 billion people living on less than 2 dollars a day are women. Due to poverty every year about 700,000 to 2 mio. Women are forced into trafficking and prostitution networks. This goes along with growing numbers of forced migration and labour slavery.

These are only some examples to demonstrate the global dimension of feminicides which mean a systematic abuse and neglect of women's individual and collective rights and has a close relation to the neglect of peoples' rights.

2. Experiences of the Kurdish Women's Movement in the process of establishing peoples' self governance in Kurdistan: Building up a democratic, ecological and gender-liberated society

The continuing resource wars in the Middle East, the wars in Kurdistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria are results of the history of colonialism and the continuing imperialist policy of “divide and rule”. Hereby the USA and EU countries are striving for gaining control over oil, water and other resources and markets in the Middle East. The aim of these wars is not as they claim “to bring democracy and women’s rights”, but to establish an order that serves the interests of the Western powers and multinationals.

Being divided and occupied by the states of Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey after World War I, the Kurdish people have been in the cross fire of resource wars in the Middle East, while their right to self-determination has been denied. Therefore Kurds in all 4 parts of Kurdistan have been the confronted with oppression, massacres, torture, assimilation, ban of the Kurdish culture and language. Against this background Kurdish women have been suffering from triple oppression: as Kurds, as women and due to the poverty caused by confiscations and wars. While being confronted with the restrictions of the patriarchal concept of “honour” within their own  families and society, millions of Kurdish women were displaced; hundred thousands were systematically tortured and raped or murdered in massacres and extra-juridical killings by state forces.
Kurish women were killed by chemical weapons or sold as “spoils of war” by the Saddam regime in Iraq; they have been imprisoned and executed as “enemies of god” in Iran; they have been expatriated and displaced by the Syrian government; no matter if alive or dead - Kurdish women have been raped and tortured by Turkish state forces.

With the AKP government, the feminicide in Turkey has gained a new dimension. The sexist neo-conservative concept of “political Islam” has lead to a high increase of violence against women, including murders and (forced) suicides.

Prime Minister Erdogan initiated the ban of Caesareans and abortions in Turkey. While propagating the role model of a woman who “wears a veil, supports her husband, and bears at least five children”, progressive women’s organisations and cooperatives have been raided and criminalized. Since 2009 over 3.000 Kurdish women activists of the Democratic Free Women's Movement (DÖKH) have been arrested, among them Members of Parliament and mayors of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), academics, journalists, lawyers, trade unionists, students, human and women’s rights defenders.

The ruling system perceives women activists who break with the patriarchal roles of being “week and submissive” as a great danger. Therefore guidelines of CIA counterinsurgency programmes advice “Shoot the women first!” This is the reason why Kurdish women's rights defenders, politicians and leaders are especially targeted – and even in exile. An example is the assassination of 3 leading members of the Kurdish Women's Movement in Paris on 9 January 2013. Three of our friends who symbolize three generations of the Kurdish women's freedom struggle Sakine Cansiz, Fidan Dogan and Leyla Saylemez were viciously assassinated with bullets of silenced guns being shot in their heads. Although this political murders were carried out in the centre of Paris till today the French authorities have not shown any intention to solve the crime and to identify the involved political forces.

Despite all forms of oppression Kurdish women and the Kurdish Women's Movement have become important political actors in social and political life in the last decade in Kurdistan, Turkey and the Middle East. In may 2013 the first women's conference of the Middle East was held in Amed (Diyarbakir) which was initiated by the Democratic Free Women's Movement DÖKH.

Realising that patriarchal and capitalist concepts of power, state and production have caused great destruction for humans and nature, the Kurdish women’s movement works and struggles for its own alternatives within the context of the establishment of the Democratic Autonomy in the different parts of Kurdistan.
The Democratic Autonomy means the self governance and self-determination of the people
It is not a status that has been requested from the occupying state forces, but it is an alternative system of peoples' democracy based on democratic confederate structures, communal people's councils, academies and cooperatives. While being an active dynamic within this process, the Kurdish women's movement has its autonomous structures. Women elect their own representatives into people’s local councils and congresses, which connect women and peoples beyond the boarders of national states unifying step by step the people of Kurdistan.

Hereby spaces for collective, democratic decision making processes and an alternative economy have been established. This process has been progressing in North-Kurdistan and Turkey since 2005 and was formally announced by the Democratic Society Congress (DTK) in 2011. Since 19 July 2012, the democratic autonomy has also rapidly developed in West-Kurdistan, which has also been described as a “women's revolution

After the forces of the Syrian government had to withdraw from the territory of West-Kurdistan congresses of the women's movement Yekitiya Star were held, women's councils were established in all communes, a number of women's centres, women's academies, women's popular education and health facilities were opened to educate, organise and empower women in all fields of life. A first women's textile cooperative was set up in Efrîn. Beside campaigns against violence against women, so-called „honour killings“ and patriarchal traditions like child marriage, the general assemblies of the Movement for a Democratic Society (TEV-DEM) in which all local people's councils and grass-roots organisations of West-Kurdistan are represented passed laws to outlaw these practices.

Women in West Kurdistan have also established their own Women's Defence Units (Yekîneyên Parastina Jin –YPJ), which have two important tasks: On one hand the YPJ units defend women and women's rights against sexist attacks and patriarchal violence, on the other hand together with the People's Defence Units ( Yekîneyên

Parastina Gel - YPG) they defend the towns and villages of West-Kurdistan against military attacks from outside. These can be attacks of Salafist groups, the Syrian army or any other reactionary forces, that are threatening rights and security of the population.

By organising under the umbrella of the Kurdish women's movement, by building local women's councils,cooperatives, media, academies, parks and institutions, by establishing platforms and networks, by leading campaigns against so-called honour killings, rape and all forms of violence against women, by working towards the establishment of alternative ways of life and production, and by mobilising in support of peace, democracy and human rights, Kurdish women have successfully broken through the patriarchal norms and taboos.

The confidence of the Kurdish society towards the political activity of women becomes obvious by the fact that  female representatives and mayoresses of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party BDP were elected by 70- 80% of the votes in their election districts in the Kurdish region. On every executive board of the BDP, in the leading positions of the Movement for a Democratic Society (TEV-DEM) and other institutions of the Kurdish society the co-chair-system has been established. This means that one woman and one man collectively are responsible for coordinating and representing a certain institution.
3. A Women's Perspective for Economic Democracy, Women's Liberation and System Change
From past and present we know, that women have always played a vital role in social struggles and revolutions. But after new regimes were established, women were always sent back to homes and kitchens, while violence against women continued in private and in public. The peoples' uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt are current examples. Therefore any struggle for democracy, self-determination and liberation needs to comprise a women's

liberation perspective and an organised women's movement. At the same time we are aware that it is not possible to gain women's freedom by demanding shares of power in an unjust system or just by struggling for legal equality. Women's freedom can only be reached by overcoming hegemonic patriarchal, nationalist imperialist and capitalist logics and structures. There is an urgent need for new democratic economic, social and political concepts and models. Women played a central role in production, in the distribution of essential goods and organising live and society.

This is also reflected by the actual meaning of the word "economy", which can be traced back to the Greek words “oikonomos”,meaning "one who manages a household". In this sense economy was a communal and democratic activity fulfilling vital needs and interest of all members of society. Patriarchy and capitalism on the contrary  confiscated women's labour and values – without an independent economy women (and peoples) are dependent on masters and rulers.

The capitalist system is not economy but exploitation, which has destroyed households and social economic activities of the majority of the world's population. This system and its logic has not only created a crisis but it is the core reason for the multi-layered crises that our societies are confronted with.
The present structural crisis of the capitalist system has once more revealed the need for fundamental changes. There is an urgent need to establish alternative economic structures which are not based on profit-making, consumption and alienated labour that is categorized into “reproductive” = unpaid and “productive” = paid labour.

In contrast we need an economy that is based on the real needs of the people, justice and ecological sustainability. Therefore communal means and ways of production should be established. Producer and consumer cooperatives which can ensure a fair exchange of goods between rural areas and cities as well as between cooperatives in different parts of the world can be steps towards the constitution of a new ecological and social economic system based on solidarity and mutual benefit.

Although it is a very new subject for the people in Kurdistan some first steps in this direction have been made. Against the neoliberal doctrines that want to make us believe that there is “no alternative” to the system and wars of capitalist globalisation, there are encouraging examples for the development of women's liberation and peoples' struggles creating democratic political and economic alternatives in Kurdistan and different parts of the world.

We can only achieve the realisation of women's as well as peoples' collective rights, self-determination and freedom by overcoming the mental and physical borders of the ruling system and by strengthening our networks of solidarity.

Finally, I would like to close with two demands and calls for solidarity, that are essential to be fulfilled for realizing democracy, women's liberation and peoples' right to self-determination in Kurdistan and the Middle East:

- Freedom for the Kurdish people's leader Abdullah Öcalan and all political prisoners!

- Justice for Sakine, Fidan and Leyla!


Other speeches presented at conference :