Contribution (towards NAPM) - Rs. 5/
December 1996National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM)
In the villages and valleys of India, on its hill-sides, beaches and festering cities, millions of people are struggling for a livelihood with dignity.
Villagers in different parts of India are trying to save their common natural resources like forests and pastures from privatization and exploitation for short-term profits, while the urban poor are struggling for their right to life and livelihood.
In many places adivasis and other rural people are struggling to save their lands from submergence by dams or from being ravaged by large industrial projects.
Elsewhere marginal farmers and landless labourers are fighting for land-rights and fair wages.
Traditional artisans whose livelihood has been undermined by the mechanized mass production of the modern economy, are striving to find ways of surviving.
Meanwhile millions of people, who suffered this fate over the last century are toiling in the expanding metropolitan cities and living in sub-human conditions. Even those who have acquired higher incomes and joined the middle class are caught in tension-filled, automated lives in which there are subtler form of alienation.
Even the elites, who live in luxury, are not entirely protected against the negative fall-out of what has passed for 'progress' and 'development' for over a century. They must, after all, breathe the same polluted air and suffer the impact of a depleted ozone layer.
Thus all over the world some people are urgently striving for a new kind of 'development' - one which does not irretrievably damage the environment and demean the sacrifice the toiling masses for the prosperity and pleasure of the upper classes.
In India this awareness has found expression in various different forms of thought, action and struggle over the last five decades. A diverse range of individuals, groups and movements have opted to stay out of the structure of state power and work for the unfulfilled promise of a democratic, egalitarian and independent India. These efforts have extended from local issues based campaigns and agitations to lobbying for policy changes, to nation-wide mobilisation on broader issues.
Over the last decade many people involved in this work have felt the need for building a common platform and formation which will go beyond mere networking on specific issues. Several attempts have been made in this direction and it is out of those experiences and processes that the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) emerged in 1992, as the 'New' Economic Policy began to take effect and the Ayodhya agitation shook the nation. This lent a still greater urgency to the need for an effective alliance to strengthen the secular ethos and struggle for a development that empowers people against the hegemonic, exploitative culture associated with the terms 'privatisation' and 'liberalization'.
The NAPM has been a growing process. It does not strive to be a federation of constituent members. It is a coming together, a process of like-minded groups and movements who while retaining their autonomous identities, are working together to bring the struggle for a people-oriented development model to the centre-stage of politics and public life. It is understood that such an alliance, emerging with a definite ideological commonality and common strategy, can give rise to a strong social, political force and a national people's movement.
Over the last three years a series of discussions have led to the evolution of a minimum agreed ideological and programmatic basis. Evolving a finer understanding of these concepts and finding more effective ways of working towards these goals is an ongoing process which requires the participation of more and more people. Over the last four years there have been several national and regional meetings of NAPM all over the country. A mass rally was organised against Dunkel in Delhi and at other places. A meeting of like minded organisations, including some trade unions, organised in Bhopal on December 1, 1992, saw the process take a definite shape. The organisation held meetings and conclaves at Calcutta, Bangalore, Puri, Allahabad, Baroda, Bombay and various other parts of the country to thrash out many issues and areas of conflict and also to clarify the ideological aspects. However the alliance got strengthened with the shared campaigns and common programme that highlighted the issues at stake. Among other programmes, the public meeting at Delhi on March 3, 1993 against the Dunkel Draft and New Economic Policy (NEP) was attended by over ten thousand people from the grass root organisations from all over the country who expressed their resolve to fight against the current policies and the paradigm of development. Following that, regional meetings were held in all parts of the country and the campaign against NEP and multinational companies was observed. A national conference on development and displacement was organised at Mumbai in September 1995 in which eighty organisations engaged in mass struggles on development issues participated. A determination to form a political force with the victims of the post-independence development model, programmes and projects at the fore-front gave rise to a national strategy. Meetings of public interest lawyers from various states as well as of the artists and writers were arranged in Mumbai, to appeal to them to play a role. This process of dialogue with intellectuals, scientists, technologists and journalists is to continue in all regions hereafter. The alliance of movements and organisations with a mass base and separate identities is a people's political process that sees and stresses its role and relevance beyond the elections and electoral power politics. Our strategy, therefore, will always be drawn with the main purpose of putting the people's fundamental issues on the national political agenda.
The state of electoral politics today is that for the first time in post independent India, there is a similarity in the nature, policies and behaviour of all major political parties - national or regional. All of them are in power in one or more states and are pursuing NEP with vigour. In a sense, the present national politics and its agenda does not take cognisance of the issues of eighty percent of the population- the toiling masses, the real producers and the backbone of the nation. Moreover people are mad to believe that there is no alternative. So it is time to reaffirm our vision and our plan for a just and sustainable appropriate development. People should now take the initiative, dictate and control through a national endeavour outside of narrow electoral politics.
Thus NAPM's work has to gather the kind of momentum and scale that the present situation demands and become a national movement indeed. There is a need for many more people to come together and explore ways of creating an effective political platform for building a movement for fundamental change. This process requires a deeper dialogue and discussion on many more issues and questions than those we have addressed so far.
National Tour and Convention
With this objective in mind and in the context of the forthcoming general elections NAPM had organised and undertaken a National Tour from January 31 to mid March. The tour commenced at Ahmedabad and culminated at Sewagram Ashram in Wardha. Activists numbering 15 and more from various organisations traveled together, mostly by road in 14 States to meet like-minded organisations and hold discussions, public meetings and press conferences. The meetings discussed the possibility, nature and goals of a national level alliance. It focused on how the issues mentioned earlier could be raised to have a bearing on the forth-coming elections. The tour appealed to people to question candidates on these issues and also to explore other ways of placing them on the national agenda.
The tour culminated in a national convention in Wardha. Over 300 people representing about 100 organisations from 17 states gathered there to decide on how to strengthen this platform and launch a national movement for people based development.
We were aware that even though there is a widely shared sense of urgency and solidarity about the objectives outlined here, there may be some skepticism about the viability of such an endeavour. To some extent these doubts are a consequence of how the earlier attempts have fallen short of our own expectations. But we can learn from these experiences and by building closer working association, we can forge the links which will form a chain capable of sustaining a movement that will prevail.
It is towards this that the 3 day long deliberations at Wardha tried to evolve a People's Resolve. This is neither a manifesto nor a charter of demands. It clarifies our ideological position on most of the issues and can be a basis for strengthening the unity among people's organisations of a wide range and also for evolving a programme. A National Programme for NAPM which has a twofold action plan -at the local as well as the national level was finalised by consensus at Sewagram. Both the People's resolve and the Programme follows.
The organisational form and administrative framework was discussed to finally select a team of national convenors and the state convenors. The latter are to call a meeting of all concerned organisations and individuals at the state level to introduce our issues and goals and can forward the process of a national unity through state level committees and common action programs. NAPM appeals to all the concerned individuals and organisations to join us and be a part of the process to shape it as a national movement.
NAPM resolves that:
1. We believe that people's right to life with dignity is paramount. We are committed to fight poverty, loss of livelihood, unemployment. We oppose all policies and processes which exclude people, deprive them of their livelihood, result in spiraling prices, create unemployment, and prevent their human potential to contribute to the enrichment of social and cultural life. We strive towards an equitable, just, and sustainable society which ensures rights and opportunity for all its members to live with dignity and without fear.
a. We are committed to a people-oriented and ecologically sound economic policy giving priority to protection of people's livelihood and production for people's needs in a sustainable way.
b. Such a policy requires the development of a people's democracy based on people's control over resources. This should be built up from the local community through the intermediate to the national level. The basic principle will be that the first claim on the use of resources will be with regard to the satisfaction of basic needs and the protection of livelihood. Regarding further use democratic planning and decision-making has to be introduced at all levels. A revised Panchayati Raj (Gram Raj), will be the basis for this. A basic precondition is the right to information and matching of experience with expertise regarding the availability and sustainable use of resources.
2. We oppose the uncontrolled powers of global and national capital. We oppose all forms of foreign imperialist intervention which deprive a people of their control over resources and security of food and livelihood. The present process of globalisation is artificial and unsustainable. It is not irreversible as ideological propaganda tries to make people believe.
a. We oppose the profit-oriented New Economic Policy with its attendant liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation, because it marginalises and even excludes a majority of people and exhausts the resources of the nation for the sake of accumulation of profit in the private hands of a minority at the national as well as international level.
b. We, therefore, propose that India quits the WTO and campaigns for an alternative institution to regulate world-trade in a democratic, pro-people and environmentally sustainable way.
c. We propose that India refuses to submit to any conditionalities and structural adjustment programmes imposed by IMF, WB and similar international institutions. These organisations should not be allowed to formulate and influence polices in any sector, and particularly, the vital areas of health, education, communication, media, public distribution system, biodiversity, environment, labour legislation. These institutions should be appropriately democratised to reflect the composition and the aspirations of the world community.
d. Multinational companies should be made to quit India. We call upon people to boycott all MNC goods.
e. The foreign debt is, on one hand, unreal; and on the other, it is an imposition by the elite on our masses. This so called debt has been repaid several times over. It must be unilaterally written off. India should launch an international campaign to confront the global debt-regime, with its unjust and unsustainable mechanisms of accumulation. It should seek support from fellow Southern countries for an alternative international exchange, trade and finance system.
3. We struggle for a reorientation of economic policy. Priority will be given to the protection of existing livelihood, generation of useful and remunerative employment, production for people's needs, development and ecologically sustainable harnessing and use of natural resources.
a. We are committed to the removal of unemployment and control over spiraling price-rise by adopting decentralised production and marketing, using labour intensive technology, ensuring distributive justice which meets the needs of the people.
b. The village community as a whole must be in full control of natural resources, planning replenishment and utilisation of resources and implementing accordingly. This is to ensure fulfillment of basic needs and freedom from want. It will safeguard creativity within a simple lifestyle and ensure that biodiversity will also be protected. Special steps need to be taken to guarantee full participation of Dalits, Adivasis and women in all decision making of each village community.
c. We oppose the integration of agriculture into the world market. Priority should be given to food security and improvement of people's health status through it. This cannot and should not be pursued by banking on large-scale, high-tech farming which neglects and destroys the productive potential and the livelihood of crores of middle and poor peasants and landless labourers. We call for a reversal of the surplus extraction from agriculture/rural areas and the institution of fair and equitable wages for agricultural labour. We are committed to equitable redistribution of land and water controlled by local communities and people's institutions and with ecologically sustainable and non-destructive farming techniques.
d. We support the legal protection of people's right of access to common property, resources of forests, common land and water. Public debate and democratic procedures are needed to plan and monitor sustainable use and upgrading of these resources. Our aim is a revitalisation of the rural economy, including the resource-base for forest dwellers, rural artisans and rural industries with the help of old and new eco-friendly technologies. The same approach applies to the fisheries, fodder economy sector.
e. We oppose the present industrial policy which abandons social responsibility and devalues human labour, as it looks only at profitability and not at the usefulness of products, employment potential and environmental costs. First priority deserves to be given to create humane conditions in the informal sector which provides an extremely vulnerable livelihood to a large majority of workers in the country. Appropriate legislation regarding minimum-wages, safety, health, working hours and environmental protection is needed. The viability of production in this sector has to be enhanced by regulated prices of raw materials, public subsidy for relevant R&D, fiscal policy and other measures.
f. We oppose the irresponsible policy of closures and lockouts in the organised sector and support the take-over of units by the workers (along the lines of the take-over of Kamani tubes).
g. We oppose an energy, communication and transport policy which channels public funds into creating the infrastructure of big dams, telecom facilities, air and road transport, etc. for the benefits of global and national capitalists, consumerists and the elite. These funds should be diverted into the development of the Infrastructure of cheap local transport, small scale energy generation mostly through presently non-conventional, environmentally non-destructive and replenishable sources including bio-mass, solar, wind, and tidal energy, education and health facilities for the mass of people.
4. Human beings and nature have a unique relation. Natural resources are our life support. No living being can survive without using nature and hence all have a right to natural resources. Beyond survival, we love nature, its beauty and generosity. We relate to nature as a giver of life and owe its endowment to future generations.
a. We value conservation of our natural wealth - air, land, water, forest, mineral and aquatic wealth and biodiversity. Human and all forms of life are dependent on nature and are part of the larger universe. We oppose the irreversible destruction of nature. In the present critical condition, destruction of natural forests and rare, endangered species must be immediately stopped and regeneration should receive highest priority.
b. We stand for water management beginning with micro-watershed development and river basin as the unit of planning. We oppose large, centralised water projects. Within a watershed, community level distribution should be on per capita basis not excluding the landless and with priority for drinking water, one crop protection, water-intensive cropping and use for industrial purpose in that order. Forest management and protection should be done by granting community right to forest - with minor and major forest produce and maintaining 'community forest' with people's consent and participation.
5. We uphold human dignity and equality in all respects, but support positive discrimination as a historical necessity for justice.
a. We stand in solidarity with the struggles of the Dalits to secure fundamental human rights and justice. We support the policy of reservations for sections, economically and socially deprived for ages, irrespective of religion. We oppose casteism in its entirety and strive towards its total elimination, and the full and equal participation by Dalits in all aspects of social, political, economic, and cultural life which would make the reservation measures superfluous. We affirm freedom of religion provided it does not come in the way of any of the oppressed sections. We work for enforcement of laws against untouchability and discrimination through adequate mechanisms of implementation, irrespective of religion.
b. The nature based life, economy and culture of Adivasis - settled and nomadic - cannot be encroached upon. Their land and other life support taken away by illegal means or immoral ways should be returned back with proper historical investigation. We stand for tribal self-rule with their rights to natural resources and their distinctive cultural identities. We do not rule out the need for exchange between tribal communities and the rest of the society on technology, systems of knowledge, trade and economy with due protection from exploitation. Any change in their life should be on their own terms and with their meaningful participation in the decision making about their life and society.
c. We reaffirm freedom of religion and the foundational secular tradition of India, and the rich diversity of cultural, religious, and humanist traditions. We strive for the protection and equal participation by Muslims and all other religious communities within our nation. We oppose communalism and resolve to intervene in caste and communal riots to establish peace and protection of life and livelihood. We resolve to actively stem communalisation of politics as well as civil and administrative life; and to oppose all attempts to establish the social and political domination of religious nationalism.
d. We propose and stand committed to complete universal primary education in the mother tongue all over the country. The present emphasis on higher education and elite educational systems must be reversed. We believe that it is feasible to achieve universal primary education with the resources available in the country.
6 a. We denounce production, trade and import of all alcoholic drinks and harmful habit forming addictive drugs. They must be prohibited and banned. We will strive for educating and motivating people to be free of addictive habits.
b. We propose to prohibit and ban the propagation of consumerist culture which demeans the dignity of women, encourages child abuse, thwarts the growth of children into mature human beings and encourages violence; and develops insensitivity to the finer values of life. We value the conservation of our inherited plural cultures and values based on family and kinship of village community. There is an immediate need to halt the invasion through unrestrained broadcasting of Western culture through television, radio, and internet.
7 a. We envisage a new understanding of Bharatiyat (Indianness) grounded in the equality of all our cultures and languages. It should be possible for different, particularly, hitherto marginalised and excluded perceptions of Indianness to find a place within this broad definition of culture. These must be expressed and respected in the institutions of education, communication and governance.
b. We condemn all organized violence both private and state. The problem of terrorism which has arisen in the wake of the alienation and repression of minorities, cannot and should not be tackled by state-terrorism through the deployment of military and paramilitary forces and their intervention in civil matters.
c. The recognition of diverse cultural traditions should go ahead hand in hand with the affirmation and safeguarding of basic universal human rights and collective obligations. Arts and literature of various cultural traditions should be treated with dignity and uniqueness and not just preserved but facilitated and supported for fullest expression.
8. We oppose gender inequality, which is fundamentally based on patriarchy, in every form; and strive towards providing all basic human rights for women irrespective of caste and religion. We recognize that women are oppressed at the multiple levels of caste, class, religion, and gender. We work towards fully gender-just civil laws which shall govern marriage, divorce, property rights, inheritance, adoption, maintenance, free from discrimination on ground of religion. We support the equitable valuation of women's labour and recognize the significance of women's contribution in sustaining community and culture. We value women's empowerment and participation in all fields equal with men in all decisions, policy-making and implementation in social, economic and political aspects.
9. We are committed to a new polity which can't be achieved merely by changing a few politicians. Decentralisation of power and fully participatory democracy which will ensure maximum economic political power to rest with the people and the role of the State reduced to a minimum. We believe that the unity of people's organisations will go a long way in appealing to the nation to rise up and not just demand electoral reforms with right to recall but a basic transformation in political structures and administrative processes. Non-electoral politics too will have not a weak but strong position and role to play in empowering, mobilising the people, stirring the conscience of the nation and bringing to the central stage, people's agenda. It will be people's politics.
a. We support peace and peaceful resolution of conflicts in all arenas. We demand comprehensive global nuclear, chemical, and biological disarmament, and a ban on testing and development of all such and new weapons. We call for a drastic reduction of conventional armaments and forces to maintain minimum defensive capabilities.
b. We strive towards the establishment of fraternal and close relations in all areas with our neighbouring countries with whom we share common bonds of culture and history. We support people's initiatives to promote grassroots participation in this area.
c. We call for a restructuring and reinvigorating of the United Nations system to reflect the plurality of our world's cultures and communities. We demand that the UN system be fully democratised and made accountable to the people. All international economic bodies must be brought under the purview of this renewed United Nations.
10. We are determined to work for a humane, inclusive and democratic society based on mutual respect and care for life. Sadagi (simple living) is not an ideal dream. A commitment towards Samata (equality) and distributive justice necessitates a more judicious use of resources which ensures fulfillment of the basic needs of food, clothing, shelter, health and education for all. This can be ensured only when superfluous public spending and wasteful consumption are stopped and not material abundance but creativity and selfless humanity is valued.
Cognisance must be taken of existing traditional knowledge systems that have existed through the ages. Such systems have contributed towards Swavalamban (self-reliance) and respect for nature. While encouraging the contribution of traditional knowledge systems to the Indian way of life, inegalitarian exploitative relations within and exploitation of these systems by foreign interests should be prohibited. We are neither against science nor do we reject technological innovation. We are committed to careful choice of technology based on our values and vision, goals and means. An organic interaction and interrelation between the traditional sustained practices and beneficial new discoveries should be promoted on the basis of equality and justice, to attain a truly prosperous and humane life for all.
1. To organise a strong agitation against the controversial proposed Enron Power Project with an aim to remove the multinational destructive project. The Enron Power Project is but a symbol of the so-called development planning which has been imposed on the people without their participation: lack of political transparency: politics of non- accountability: unequal globalisation and unwarranted role of Multinational companies and foreign capital: unsustainable power policy and anti-people paradigm of development. We will make an instant move against the project and strengthen the ongoing struggle.
2. We should struggle for the abrogation of the Land Acquisition Act and bring in the development policy, law for a decentralised planning with the right over the resources like land, water, forest, minerals and fish of the village communities and full participation in the development planning of these resources. The idea of the village self rule for tribal villages envisaged in the Bhuria Committee Report should be made applicable to all rural areas and opposition to displacement and 'no' to development without consent of the people. 'Land Grabbing' program for re-occupying the land which was alienated from the people fraudulently or forcibly would be taken up.
3. Opposition to the destitution and displacement from livelihood, villages in the coastal areas and fish workers and other communities due to globalisation, encroachment of the MNC's, on massive wealth, or due to Tourism, Prawn Culture and other forms of displacement. The Coastal Zone Regulations should be strictly implemented without violating the rights of the local people regarding livelihood and residence.
4. Every organisation will choose one or more villages within its range and work for the 'village self-rule' on the basis of equality and self-reliance. A camp of the representatives of the organisations will be organised in the Narmada Valley in June 1996 regarding the "identification and evaluation of local resources". The villages for such an action program would be declared on 15th August, and the evaluation, target and scope would be decided by 1996 October.
5. A camp of the women representatives of the people's organisations from all over India for the planning of a nationwide campaign on "anti- liquor, anti-lottery" agitation under the leadership of women. The camp would decide about the strategy, program and action.
6. Every organisation would launch struggle against 'atrocities on women'. Every organisation should write letters to the Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court condemning the injustice meted out to Bhanvaribai and insisting on justice to her.
7. In case of raking up Kashi, Mathura or any other place after Ayodhya by the communal forces, strong action program against such attempts by the people's organisations all over India with the help of 'Rashtriya Yuva Sangathan'.
8. A sustained and intense campaign against MNC's with the slogan "Not Pepsi/Coke- we want water". A vigorous campaign for Swadeshi with the actions like smearing the posters/hoardings of Pepsi/Coke.
9. The alliance calls unto peasants all over India while raising the demands of-
(a). Doing away with the subsidies on consumerist items, urban-industrial elites sections and rural elites.
(b). Renumerative prices for the agricultural produces based on the real costs, like those of industrial products.
10. The emancipation of scavenger section of the populace from abominable traditions and their rehabilitation in an honorable profession and mobilisation against caste system.
11. National/regional convention for a campaign by the youth against corruption, consumerism, destructive industries. The youth groups should collect "superfluous" material from every house in their town/village on a voluntary basis. Auctioning of the 'swadeshi' articles (proceeds of which may go to NAPM and local movements) and bonfire of foreign goods.
12. Special programs for the local representatives of the organisations who happen to be from the depressed classes, whereby their leadership would emerge
13. Meetings/conventions of the lawyers, literateurs, artists, journalists on national/regional level. These are already fixed in West Bengal, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar.
14. Any atrocity, repression on any of the colleagues of the Alliance should be responded to immediately with the participation of all.
15. A documentation centre is to be started in West Bengal. All member organisations are requested to send data and documents.
16. A bulletin in English for communicating NAPM programs, propagation, consultative groups should be made available at various places for technical information, guidance etc.. The NAPM colleagues should help in purchasing the periodical (Rs. 5) as much as possible.
Hindi and other languages planned.
(All addresses are in India)
NAPM Bulletin & Documentatlon Centre (ENGLISH)Ajit Narayan Bose/ Subasis Mukhopadhyay, 268; Jodhpur Park, Calcutta, West Bengal- 700 068 Ph: 033-4732281 Fax: 033-4786970 (attn: Mr. Samar Bagchi ) Ph: 4736803/4734841 (For: Ajit Narayan Bose)
To all secular people's organizations working towards people-oriented development:
Cheques, drafts, money orders and cash in the name of:
National Alliance of People's Movements at Bombay address.
Please obtain receipt. 80-G or other exemptions not applicable.
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