Topics‎ > ‎

India, Pakistan, Bangla

Pakistan

Showing posts 1 - 23 of 23. View more »

Reply to Brigitte (from Jonathan Clyne)

posted 8 Mar 2012, 00:01 by Admin uk

 In the past three decades many things have got worse – mass  unemployment came to stay, the welfare state has been considerably weakened, and the labour movement and the left generally is a shadow of its former self. But nonetheless there are also some things which have got better, at least in advanced capitalist countries. One such thing is the social and legal attitudes towards women, especially in the last ten to fifteen years. I have written more about this here: http://forum.tanit.co/joomla/index.php/forum/16-Chapters/738-The-usurpation-of-freedom.                                                       

 

An important aspect of this has been the sea change in attitudes towards rape. Previously the attitude was not dissimilar to Pakistan today. Rape was something that happened to women who were beaten down by an unknown stranger and had the physical damages to prove it. If this was the case, and the woman had not worn “provocative” clothing nor had any previous sexual interests outside of marriage, then the steepest sentences could be doled out against the rapist. Because rape was considered not only an abuse of the woman but also a property crime. The property of the father, brother or husband had been damaged.                     

 

Today things are different. It is generally understood and legally accepted that the overwhelming amount of rapes are actually committed by somebody known, even close, to the victim. A symptom of how late this change in attitudes has come is that Germany only introduced a law in 1997 that made marital rape punishable. Even since then laws have been changed in a number of countries redefining rape legally.

 

It is also understood and legally accepted in many countries today that rape need not be connected to a physical attack, that incapacitation of the victim can happen by other means, and that the victims previous clothing and sex life are irrelevant. Just because one wants to have sex and has had sex does not mean that one wants to have sex with anybody who is around and just then. Here is a good example of what is socially and legally considered a rape today, but would not have been considered one 25 years ago: http://www.interactivetheatre.org/resc/jackm.html. Superficially this example could be seen as a seduction, as a game between consenting adults, but in this case it is clear that the girl was not in agreement and that the guy went ahead regardless. And it most likely led to a lasting trauma for the girl.

 

There has been a sliding scale during the past decades from the completely archaic view to the modern view of rape.

 

When I was a member of the CWI and later in the IMT, rape was never discussed. It was considered an issue irrelevant to the class struggle and therefore insignificant. Therefore there is no reason to assume that attitudes were much better in a control commission than in society in general. In fact, in terms of tolerance for appalling behaviour, things were worse among the majority of the leadership than among a broad swath of the population.

 

Of course it is difficult to establish what happened 25 years ago in the case referred to by Birgitte and I have no intention of trying to prove things either.

 

I had no idea that she would read what I wrote, nor were there any hints in what I wrote through which somebody who was not very closely connected to the CWI leadership in the mid-eighties (a mere handful of people) could identify her role in this sorry business. It was not my intention to identify her, and I apologize for that. I should have expressed myself even more generally. Because the main reason I raised the issue was not to mention her, but to show my distrust in the private courts that have been the norm in some left-wing organisations. There is more about that here: http://forum.tanit.co/joomla/index.php/forum/16-Chapters/737-The-judiciary#737

 

In retrospect I would have approached the alleged rape of a comrade in Pakistan differently. But any new discussion is a learning process. And I do not regret pursuing the issue. It has been confined to the shadows for too long, and if it had not been taken up lessons would never have been learned.

 

Nor do I regret that I wanted the allegations against the IMT published on www.karlmarx,net. Even sensitive issues, such as rape, should be subject to a public discussion. Public discussion is one of the important  reasons why attitudes have changed such a lot in the past decades. Rape culture, a culture where sexual violence is both made to be invisible and inevitable, has been pushed back as people have become aware of what the situation actually is. Both sides should of course be able to present their case, and that has been done. Readers have now got the opportunity themselves to judge for themselves what side contains the most self-contradictions, falsehoods, and irrelevancies. 

Reply to Jonathan Clyne by former CWI control commission member

posted 7 Mar 2012, 09:26 by heiko khoo   [ updated 8 Mar 2012, 00:10 by Admin uk ]

Jordi jordi@marxist.com    
International Marxist Tendency       

Dear Heiko and Jonathan,                

I have received this statement from Birgitte in reply to Jonathan's statement on karlmarx.net ( http://www.karlmarx.net/topics/Pakistan/replytowhatseemstobetheimtsdefenceagainsttherapeallegations ). She is asking that it be  published on karlmarx.net and any other forums where Jonathan's text has been published.                           

Jordi                         
...........
        
Dear Jordi,
 
Inclosed please find answer to Jonathan.
 
All the best
 
Birgitte
----------------------------------------------------------------------    

I have just seen on www.karlmarx.net a document signed by Jonathan Clyne called “Reply to what seems to be the IMT's defence against the rape allegations”. I do not want to comment on the arguments he puts forward. He has, however, not the right to say things that are not true and he has not the right to make personal attacks, especially against comrades who are not in a position where they can defend themselves.

In his document he says:
“An example is the experience of a young Swedish comrade who was raped many years ago by a South African comrade. At an international control commission the Swedish comrade was subjected to the type of interrogation that would be unacceptable if done by the police or a court of law in Sweden. After that the South African was suspended for two years and the whole thing was silenced. Nothing was done to use this dreadful event to clarify the gravity of this issue to the whole organization. Rape, just like all other political issues, must be dealt with openly.”
I have, as Jonathan knows very well had very serious political differences with Peter Taaffe and his supporters in the old CWI and parted company with them long ago.
There were many things wrong with the way that the organization worked, and I have criticized them openly at the time when they happened. But it is wrong to invent stories and to claim that some things happened when they never happened.
He then says that this was hushed up by the leadership, and the “rapist” was never punished properly.
Rape is a serious accusation. If any comrade in a revolutionary organization is guilty of this, he should be treated accordingly. It is known, however, that for the wrong reasons it is sometimes easy for someone to say they have been raped. Also: Sometimes there might be exaggeration involved. It is necessary to look carefully into such accusations and try to be as objective as possible. I believe that this was the case here.
The question was not ignored. There was an internal investigation and I was a member of the commission of inquiry which was formed to find the facts.
The commission went into this very thoroughly and interviewed both the girl in question and the man for quite a long time. In the end we found that the accusation of rape was not true.
Therefore, there was no question of a “cover-up”, or of any disciplinary measures.
Jonathan says that a female Swedish comrade was raped by a South African comrade and states this as a fact. But how does he know? Was he present at the rape? I do not think he was. Was he present when we talked with the two individuals? I know he was not. In other words, what he presents as a fact is not a fact at all but only his personal opinion.
If Jonathan had any proof of the rape allegation he should have presented them to the investigating commission 25 years ago. He did not, because he didn’t have any proof then, and he does not have any now. Now he expects everybody to accept his opinion as if it was a fact. This is not honest.
I HAVE SOMETHING MORE TO SAY:
1)  These events took place 25 YEARS AGO. I do not understand why Jonathan Clyne, after having said nothing all these years, suddenly decides to talk about this case. If he was really so concerned about it as he says, why did he not raise it at the time?
If he felt that the commission was not being conducted properly, why did he not make a complaint about it? He could have written to the Swedish CC or EC, and if he was not satisfied with the reply, he could have made a complaint to the IEC or the IS. But he did not do any of these things. As a matter of fact, he said nothing at all. Why was all this not considered interesting for 25 years and why has it suddenly become interesting now?
2)  How can he claim to have such a thorough knowledge of events that occurred so long ago? And how does he know how the investigation was conducted WHEN HE WAS NOT PRESENT AT ANY OF THE INTERVIEWS WE HAD WITH BOTH PARTIES?
Maybe he will say he has spoken to the girl who made the accusations. But then he has made up his mind without listening to both sides. This is not to be serious.
He says he is dissatisfied with how the investigation was conducted. But he cannot say anything about this because he was not there. So what is his complaint against us? Is it because we did not automatically support the allegations made by the Swedish comrade? Is he saying that every accusation of rape must be true? If that is so, then I disagree. Even in a capitalist court it is usual to listen to both sides. I know from experience that they do. The youth wing of the Danish Social Democracy took me to court in 1989. The court listened to both sides and the YS did not win the case. I think that our standards of justice should be at least as good as the one we get in a capitalist court.
Jonathan says that the female member of the commission (myself) behaved badly:
“It is not uncommon for rape victims to consider the “investigation” as a second 'rape'. This has nothing to do with whether the “investigators” are men or women. In the Swedish case mentioned earlier, the woman “investigator” was by far the worse.”
How does he know that my conduct “was by far the worse”? What did my “bad behaviour” consist of? He does not know and he cannot know, because he never took any part in the proceedings. But now 25 years later he is playing the part of Judge as well as Jury. This is not to be honest.
What he writes is a personal attack upon me. I am used to being attacked by all kinds of people. I am, however, still here and can defend myself. But the South African comrade whose name he also tries to dirty is not able to defend himself because he has been reported dead.
Maybe Jonathan will say he has not slandered anybody because he does not use any name. He just writes about “a South African comrade”. But I know who he means and so do other people. That is what I call a slander.
It is not OK that somebody keeps silent for 25 years and then attacks someone who is reported dead
As for myself, I have been active in the Movement for 33 years. No doubt I have made many mistakes. But to tell lies was never one of them:
I remember the South African comrade concerned. He was a black comrade with an outstanding record in the revolutionary movement. He was in South Africa when he was accused and he came back to face the charges. This was at the height of the Apartheid period, when it was very difficult and dangerous to get in and out of South Africa. He could have refused to come to answer the charges, but he did not do so. He came as he was asked to do and answered all our questions. It was very clear to us that he was not guilty of what he was accused of.
Jonathan Clyne says that the man was kept out of the organization for two years. That is also not true. As he was found not guilty, the question of sanctions did not arise. He went back to South Africa where he continued his revolutionary work.
Whatever gossip about me Jonathan wants to bring to the market place I cannot care less about but the S.A. comrade is dead and cannot defend himself.
Birgitte, Denmark

Manzoor Ahmed and the IMT - report of a visit to Pakistan

posted 4 Mar 2012, 12:27 by Admin uk   [ updated 4 Mar 2012, 14:56 ]

 Back in 2009 it had increasingly become clear to some IMT members internationally that the International Executive Committee had been presenting misleading information regarding internal developments in the Pakistani section. In an attempt to ascertain the truth, Jonathon Clyne, an ex member of the IEC visited in April/May 2010. As his report below shows, he found much of what the IMT membershp had been told was incorrect. Unfortunately the internal regime within the international denies full information to rank and file members in the interests of the leadership and against the rank and file. That is why we have opened KarlMarx.net to IMT comrades in Sindh who reported their recent expulsion from the Pakistani section and allegations of rape at a regional event which the say the IMT had refused to investigate.We have also subsequently published the IMT's rejection of all these claims. However, in the IMT's reply to the Sindh comrades they continue their campaign of political and character assassination against Manzoor Ahmed. For that reason we republish below Jonathon Clyne's report of his 2010 visit.

--------

In August 2008 Manzoor Ahmed, founder-member of the IMT section in Pakistan and former member of  the Pakistani National Assembly, was expelled from the IMT. He was accused of opportunism in relation to his election campaign, the strike at Pakistan Telecommunications (PTCL), privatisation, and a coalition government of the PPP and Nawrah Sharifs righwing party. The formal grounds for his expulsion were that he had received high positions from Pakistan's President Zardari and that he had refused to resign from them after having been instructed to do so by the IEC of the IMT. Subsequent to his expulsion he was also accused  of receiving money not only from Zardari, but also from the Pakistani secret service.

As a member of the IEC at the time I did not question the evidence that was presented about Manzoor's opportunism. I trusted the IS and Lal Khan. I opposed the posing of an immediate ultimatum to Manzoor, because I felt the issue had to be dealt with in Pakistan by comrades on the ground. However, when this line was defeated at the IEC meeting in July 2008, I supported the ultimatum. This was out of a misplaced desire to show that the IEC was united.

Manzoor was not present at this IEC meeting. The IS ruled later that he was not allowed to defend himself at the following IEC, because he had not obeyed the instructions to resign from his positions. Thus he was never given  chance of defending himself in front of the IEC. Pakistani comrades sent protests to the IS, but these were not passed onto the IEC.

Shortly after this, the Spanish conflict exploded.  Whereas all communication about Pakistan basically went through one comrade – Lal Khan – the Spanish conflict burst out into the open, at least for the IEC. Both sides made strenuous attempts to keep the spread of information limited, but despite that I could follow this conflict closely. The way the IS, with the support of Lal Khan, and the Spanish leadership handled this dispute undermined their authority in my mind. Instead of an open discussion about the problems in Spain, the IS resorted to all kinds of subterfuges, intrigues, diplomacy and ultimatums. The way they handled the Swedish sections critique of a number of things and the China question helped to make clear the real character of the IS.

After having left the IMT, and after hearing accounts from Atif, Mel and Heiko that appeared to completely contradict the view I had heard previously, I went to Pakistan to hear the other point of view directly from Manzoor and the comrades in the Left Opposition (this is what the group that was expelled/left at the same time as Manzoor calls itself). I wrote to Lal Khan and offered to meet him in Pakistan for a discussion, but I never received a reply.

Mayday

 

My first stop in Pakistan was a meeting organised by the Commemoration Committee for the Chicago Martyrs, a committee connected to the trade unions affiliated to the PPP.  About 600-700, mainly trade unionists, were packed into a hot auditorium. Manzoor was on the platform, but due to delays there was no possibility for him to speak.

 

The first speaker was a trade unionist from the railway workers union who was also in charge of the Commemoration Committee. He began by welcoming the Minister for Labour and thanking him for taking time to come to the meeting despite all the hard work he had to do. But then he turned to the Minister and to cheers began to talk about what he thought should be implemented by the government. First he took up that everybody in the public sector should get proper employment contracts, instead of temporary employment. This means 100 000's of people. Then he went on to demand that all anti-labour legislation be repealed, that the minimum wage be raised from 6 000 rupees to 15 000, and that wages be raised for everybody in the public sector. And several other very solid demands. What is more he demanded that the minister declare his support for these demands immediately and that the government begins to implement them within 48 hours. To me, it was a model way of starting the meeting.

 

After that the Minister spoke and a real battle between him and the audience ensued. First he tried to push the responsibility away from him, saying that the other parties in parliament would not support it and that it was up to everybody there to put pressure on the other parties. This was a somewhat dangerous line of argument for him (after all, it was unlikely that he wanted to encourage mass demonstrations outside parliament). But then, as if to defuse this line, he started to promise that the government would do all kinds of things. Workers children should all be able to go to universities – in the future. He agreed that raising the minimum wage from 6000 to 8000 was insufficient, but did not propose an alternative figure (the following day the government announced a raise to 7000). The audience cheered when he made a good proposal and grumbled when he made a bad one and sporadically everybody shouted slogans in favour of the PPP.

 

The Minister said the government would raise dowries to 70 000. Then somebody from the audience shouted that the workers in the end would never get that if the government decided upon it. The Minister blamed bureaucrats for taking their share.

 

He was again interrupted when he said that the government would review wages in the public sector. A trade unionist exclaimed that Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto had promised that 36 years ago and still it had not happened. This was no lone heckler. Everybody listened in silence and gave the heckler their undivided attention. He had the audience with him.

 

In the evening there was a rally of about 800-1000 people and 200 motorcycles followed by an outdoor meeting in Kasur, Manzoors hometown, of a similar character, although there it was the provincial Minister of Labour who was put under pressure. In a certain sense I was reminded of scenes from films where people in the past used to go to petition the emperor. At the meetings I went to some formulated their demands in a servile manner, although far from all. However, the big difference was that it was not the petitioner that stood alone in front of the emperor with his entourage, but the Minister who almost alone had to defend himself against petitioners with mass support. Manzoor spoke in favour of socialist revolution.

 

It is incomprehensible why Marxists should not wholeheartedly throw themselves into organising and participating in these kinds of meetings. The present tactics of the IMT in Pakistan are instead to do “independent work”, that is organising meetings in the name of the Marxist organisation or a front organisation (PTUDC, YFIS, BNT).

 

The character of the PPP

 

The federal Minister, in an attempt to placate his audience, talked about the workers and the PPP as belonging together like body and soul. It is clear that he assigned the role of body to the workers, but that is not the important point. The fact of the matter is that there is a very close relationship between the PPP and the workers.

 

A workers party is not defined by having a socialist name or banner, many workers as members, and a democratic structure with a large apparatus. The PPP has none of that. A workers party is not even defined by having a socialist program, which the PPP does happen to have (but the Labour Party in Britain no longer has). A workers party is defined by a broad layer of workers seeing it as a vehicle through which they can express themselves politically. And, if like in the PPP, there are not even branch meetings to express this through, they will find other means of doing so, like these public meetings that occur 10-15 a year throughout the country.

 

Of course the PPP is a bit more complex than that, because not only do the workers, a small minority in society see it as their organisation, a section of the bourgeoisie and feudal landlords also see it as the means to gain political power. One could object and say that the Democratic Party in the USA is in a similar situation, but that would be a mistake. The PPP was born out a revolutionary struggle of the working class in 1969 and the connection has been renewed through struggle several times since then. As such, it has a very different place in workers consciousness than the Democratic Party.

 

Strategy to build a mass revolutionary party

 

A central question for Marxists is how to build a mass revolutionary workers party. Can this be done simply by keeping some sort of nominal orientation to the PPP and focusing on recruiting to a Marxist organisation? Planning for someday when that organisation is big enough and worker's disenchantment with the PPP is sufficiently large so that the two processes merge, and a Marxist organisation rapidly grows into a mass workers party. I believe this to be fundamentally incorrect. It takes no account of the real development of workers consciousness and all the tough processes that have to be gone through to create a mass workers party out of, what is initially, mainly disconnected individuals. The working class cannot leap from being a class in itself to being a class for itself. The organisations that tie workers together into a class aware of its historic mission, have to be built over a long period of time, experiencing both rapid growth and decline, many struggles, and many different phases.

 

Today, from the point of view of developing the working class into a class for itself, the most important task is to create an organised link between the party and the trade unions. As the trade unions are the organisations that are most closely connected with the working class, this would strengthen the working class side of the PPP's character at the expense of its feudal/bourgeois side. Through the Peoples Labour Bureau, which is headed by Manzoor, it has been possible to initiate a campaign to affiliate trade unions to the PPP for the first time. In May there will be at least five regional conferences leading up to a national conference of trade unionists. Out of this the Peoples Labour Federation (PLF), a federation of unions affiliated to the PPP, will be born. Zardari, leader of the PPP, understanding that only Manzoor would be accepted as head of the PLF, appointed him as such. In a typically bureaucratic manner, this was simply done by presenting Manzoor as the head when the people on the platform at the Mayday rally in Islamabad were introduced. Manzoor had not even been informed of his appointment in advance.

 

The creation of the PLF can be followed by two steps that strengthen the working class further and thereby prepare the way for a mass revolutionary party. Firstly, the PLF will call for a TUC to unite all Trade Union Federations, of which there are many of all sizes and colours. Secondly, by proceeding to democratize the unions that are affiliated to the PPP, for example by organising model congresses with democratically elected delegates and electing a leadership, the PLF can become a model organisation. The PLF can then be used to call for a PPP congress with democratically elected delegates, something which the PPP has never had. This would decisively transform the PPP.

 

By playing an important role in this process a strong Marxist organisation can be built. Building a strong Marxist organisation is also a precondition for this process taking place successfully. Once the PLF has been formed at least ten young trade unionists from every trade union affiliated will be invited to attend special trade union schools. Political discussions will also be on the agenda. This will provide an excellent recruiting ground for Marxists.

 

Perspectives

 

When Benazir Bhutto returned millions turned out to greet her. It was the biggest manifestation in the history of Pakistan. It showed the deep-rooted support that the PPP had, but it also meant that the leadership was under enormous pressure. Benazir responded by sounding more and more left. And then she was assassinated. This unleashed an enormous wave of frustration and anger, that for three days completely paralysed the state apparatus. The police, military, secret police and judiciary disappeared from sight and power was effectively in the hands of the masses. It is completely true that if there had been a mass workers party during those days it could have lead to a socialist revolution. Therefore the IMT perspective was that after the three days had subsided there would be further revolutionary upheavals soon; that it was important to lay greater emphasis on independent work to reach all those that had been on the streets; and that then the Marxist organisation would grow rapidly.

 

However, there was no mass workers party and therefore the IMT perspective of a new revolutionary upsurge soon was false. Instead a PPP government was elected and the open struggle receded.

 

The PPP government is physically threatened by the fundamentalists. The war in the Swat valley is a mere 160 km from the capital, Bomb blasts and heavy fighting even occurs in the middle of the capital. In Islamabad, just like in most Pakistani cities, heavily armed guards, police, and military have always been very prominent every time I have been there, but now Islamabad felt like a beleaguered city.

 

The situation is extremely unstable and the government is very fragile. For many years, all Pakistani institutions (parliament, state apparatus, parties, etc) have been very weak and torn by conflicts. They are not a reliable power basis.

 

As a result of the mass struggle after Benazir's assassination and because of the desperate need to get some kind of base, Zardari has made all the leading lefts ministers (including two MP's that Alan Woods had recruited to the IMT). Manzoor was offered a ministerial post but turned it down. As a whole the party has had to re-emphasize its connection to the working class. That is also why the Minister of Labour had to expose himself at the Mayday meeting in Lahore.

 

The government has implemented a whole series of reforms that have strengthened workers rights and has even taken steps to improve their material conditions to a certain extent. This has given the unions a good opportunity to grow and orientate to the PPP. This is counter-balanced by the economic crisis. Unemployment, inflation, and power cuts drastically worsen most workers and peasants conditions. But this does not mean a rapid disillusionment with the PPP government and the outbreak of a revolutionary movement, as the IMT expects.

 

It all depends upon how the government is perceived – is it doing what it can to help workers or is it attacking workers? Even in Sweden we saw for a period of time an increase in support for a right-wing government after the financial crisis hit and unemployment began to rise. The government blamed the greed of the American bankers for the crisis, and when the social-democratic leaders instead of attacking capitalism and calling for nationalisation moaned that “the government was doing too little”, the social-democratic leadership just lost credibility. Naturally, if there had been a mass revolutionary party in Pakistan or Sweden that would have meant that the perception of the respective governments would have been entirely different and socialist revolution would have been on the agenda. But again, there is no mass revolutionary party. It cannot be created overnight. But I do believe that the Left Opposition now is taking the necessary practical steps to make that possible.

Eventually, the government will disappoint large sections of the population. It simply cannot solve the problems facing society.

 

Without an understanding of the role of the PPP and without correct perspectives, any Marxist organisation is lost. The IMT has failed on both counts, and the Left Opposition has been right. However, that does not exhaust the question. Even with these basic pre-conditions in place, it is possible to make opportunist mistakes. Therefore I examined every accusation against Manzoor carefully.

 

The election campaign

 

There has been much discussion about Manzoor's election campaign and why his posters had neither the Struggle logo nor the same slogan that he had during the last election - “An irreconcilable struggle for socialist revolution”. He has been accused of having a less class based campaign this time and that this was the reason why he lost the election.

 

He explained that his last election victory was due to many factors. That some people had supported him due to his class-based campaign, others due to his family connections and friends (not insignificant in a semi-feudal country like Pakistan), and still others due to his connection to the PPP. This I can vouch for, as I was there during the election campaign. All these different forces produced their own posters and other means of supporting him. He had no control over what others than the Tendency produced.

 

This time it was the same thing, except that he got next to no support from the centre. The bulk of the Tendency's resources were put into the election campaign in Karachi. And in addition they even sent a full-timer (Ilyas Ameen) to support a sympathiser's (Ghulam Abbas) campaign rather than putting resources into Kasur. This meant that the posters produced at the centre did not dominate the campaign. Nonetheless, due to his reputation, his vote increased by 27 000 to 44 000 in total. In the previous election he had received most votes in the rural areas. This time his votes in the city had doubled compared to last time. He lost, because the votes against him were less split than last time and most likely there was vote-rigging too.

 

It is not excluded that Manzoor or other leading public figures at a certain point could tone down their public profile when under pressure. Karl Liebknecht, together with Rosa Luxembourg, is one of the iconic anti-militarists of the twentieth century. Few people know that he bowed to the party whip and voted in favour of war credits in the very first vote. It was only when he was criticised by industrial workers in the Stuttgart area of the Social Democratic Party that he changed his mind and became the only German MP to vote against war credits. He was sent to the Eastern front, where he served burying the dead, and was later sentenced to jail for four years and one month.

 

Manzoor said he was prepared to accept any comrade criticising him publicly if they thought he was on the wrong track. This openness is the best guarantee against opportunism.

 

The PTCL strike

 

One of the main criticisms of Manzoor has been his role in the PTCL strike. It is a very complex issue. Despite having looked several times at all Mel's interviews on Youtube, I still couldn't make head or tale out of it. But after several hours discussion with Manzoor and Kabeer, who both played important roles in the conflict, I finally began to understand.

 

PTCL is a telecommunications company that was privatised in 2005 by the Musharraf government. There are 18 different unions in the PTCL. Elections are held regularly to see what union has the most support among the workers. This union is then proclaimed the Collective Bargaining Agent, CBA. The CBA is the only union that is allowed to bargain and reach agreements with the management. The CBA at the PTCL had last been elected in 2004 when it got 31% of the vote. The CBA had supported privatisation and was on excellent terms with the management.

 

At the PTCL in Islamabad a conflict began in May 2008. Workers at the PTCL are employed with three different types of contracts, for the sake of simplicity I call them short, medium and permanent employment contracts. The workers in Islamabad, supported by two non-CBA unions, set up camp outside the entrance and demanded that the short and medium term workers should get permanent contracts and that wages should be raised for permanent workers. These workers endured enormous hardship as the protest dragged on for week after week. Over 200 workers were suspended from their jobs. Manzoor and other comrades went there and helped collect food and prevent harassment by the police.

 

After 53 days of struggle, the workers decided that their only chance of winning was to increase the pressure on the management by locking the entrances and thereby preventing anybody from entering the workplace. This was the spark that lit the prairie fire. Thousands of PTCL workers throughout the country came out on strike inspired by this bold action. This movement was not primarily in support of the Islamabad workers. A couple of days earlier the CBA union had reached an agreement with management to downgrade permanent workers via the so called Unified Pay Scales (UPS) scheme. This is what had fuelled the strike. The bold step of the Islamabad workers of locking the doors, had inspired them into going on strike.

 

The government formed a ministerial committee, consisting of four ministers, to try and settle the dispute which was threatening to disrupt the whole economy. This committee met with management, unions and Manzoor, who had been asked by the workers to put their point of view to the committee. This is a far cry from being a member of a government arbitration board, which Manzoor was a accused of belonging to (a claim since retracted).

 

After three days of strike an agreement was hammered out and signed. This had four points:

  1. All suspended workers should be reinstated.
  2. No downgrading of permanent workers.
  3. Short and medium-term workers to be given permanent contracts.
  4. Revision of pay scales so that wages would rise.

Points 3 and 4 were referred to a committee that within seven days would work out the technical details about how this would be implemented, but agreement had been reached in principle. In the meanwhile, as a condition for the agreement being signed the strike was to be called off. This was a decisive victory for the workers.

 

However, the management had a trick up their sleeve. Manzoor was given the task of announcing the agreement to the media. However, when the PTCL spokesman was asked about the agreement he claimed that he knew of no such agreement! This caused complete confusion. While the militant unions that had led the struggle from the beginning were calling off the strike, in accordance with the agreement, the CPA union and other unions were calling for the strike to continue, as there was no agreement according to them. Then, the following day, the management signed an agreement with the CPA union instead. This agreement was worse than the one which had been reached earlier, although still a significant victory. This way the management friendly CPA union regained authority, the management had to pay out less than they would have done otherwise, and Manzoor and the militant unions were discredited for claiming to have an agreement when there was none. In the recently held elections for the CBA, the old CBA union (Pakistan Telecom Employees Union) got the biggest vote, 8000. However, the two militant unions that initiated the struggle received 12000 votes together. Unfortunately, comrades attempts to unify the two unions had failed, and therefore the old CBA union could continue to be the CBA.

 

Manzoor and the comrades involved in the struggle (nobody from the centre came to the struggle during all that time) did not err on the side of opportunism. I think Manzoor is correct when he said that they made ultra-left mistakes at two crucial turning points. Firstly, they did not attempt to get agreement from the other unions for locking the entrance. And secondly, they did not try to get the other unions to sign the agreement they had struck with management. They could have used the force of the movement to tie the CPA union to each step which was taken, thus making it impossible for the union to reach a separate agreement with the management.

 

The Benazir Stock Option Scheme (BESOS)

 

The PPP government decided that it would give workers, free of charge, 12% of the shares in the state owned enterprises in which they workers. This will also apply to those companies that had been privatised by the previous government. Giving away shares in a state owned company to individuals is an obvious case of privatisation, of at least part of the company. But the construction of this scheme is not like a normal privatisation, as the workers cannot sell the shares on the stock market. Instead, if they retire or leave the company, the shares are sold back to the company at a price worked out according to a formula.

 

In many Eastern European countries shares were given to workers after the fall of Stalinism. But because the economy was in free fall, the workers got no dividends and the market value of the shares was extremely low. They were glad when rich people offered to buy the shares, at least they could buy some food then. Thus almost all the shares ended up in the hands of a few oligarchs. However, given the present structure of the Pakistani scheme this cannot happen. Instead the workers get a bit of income from dividends, a small pot of money when they retire, and some influence on the companies board. No wonder they are very enthusiastic about it.

 

It could be argued that the present structure of the scheme can easily be changed in future and that it prepares the ground for an Eastern European privatisation. That might happen, but whether or not it will, will be decided by a struggle of living forces. And we must ask ourselves: what is a better preparation for such a struggle? The IMT says that we must warn the workers now and try to get them to refuse this gift from the government. Then they will come to us when they realise that the government has fooled them. In practice, it means telling the workers that they are stupid for enthusiastically accepting free shares, and then hoping that they will be grateful some time in the future for having been told that.

 

The alternative is to welcome the benefits that workers receive from this scheme, but make it clear that this is not privatisation and should not be used as a means to achieve privatisation in future. Instead, workers should struggle for even more control over the companies they work for. Surely, this approach, the Left Oppositions approach, is more likely going to mobilise workers in a struggle against privatisation in future?

 

The biggest difficulty with this way of handling the question is how to take up concretely how workers should get a greater control over the companies, how to raise transitional demands in the context of the popularity of BESOS.

 

It is unclear, as far as I know, exactly how the workers stocks will translate into influence on the boards. The Left Opposition raised the demand for workers control but it is not clear exactly how this can be formulated concretely. The demand that the workers should have 100% of the shares was raised. It points in the right direction, but it is problematic at the same time. Because if the workers in a particular company had 100% of the shares it would be a private co-operative.

 

The old three thirds model springs to mind. This was raised in the past as a means by which workers would manage nationalised industries – one third of the board would be elected by workers in the their company, one third by the TUC, one third by the state. Perhaps it it is time to resurrect it in a different context – one third of the (unsellable) shares should be owned by the workers in a company, one third by workers in the rest of the public sector, one third by the state.

 

A transitional approach is not an easy thing in a real struggle. It is far easier, in a distant office. It is no use being very general when workers are enthusiastic about ownership. We should also be enthusiastic about workers wanting to improve their conditions and gaining more control over their work place. We have to make clear suggestions as to how to take that spirit forward. Just screaming opportunism in this situation leads nowhere.

Call for a coalition government

At the time of Manzoor's expulsion, newspaper cuttings were presented that cited Manzoor as supporting a coalition government between the PPP and the right wing party of Nawrah Sharif. Many comrades I spoke to, without the presence of Manzoor, said that Manzoor had never supported a coalition government and had often spoken against it. They said that the newspapers were reporting from a meeting in which the theme of most of the many speakers was in favour of a coalition government. They said that the papers had simply mistakenly identified Manzoor as also speaking in favour of a coalition.

 

State financing

 

It has been claimed that the Left Opposition is being financed by the state. Considering that the group has no office, only one part-timer, had to borrow the money to hold a congress, and Manzoor does not even get a wage for all the positions he has, this claim has no credibility in my opinion.

 

Positions

 

The question of Manzoors positions must be put in the general political context, as explained above. In the present situation it was correct for Manzoor to hang onto his appointed positions in the PPP. He has no positions in the state, only in the party. If he would have taken the ministerial post which he was offered (and which Alan Woods previously had encouraged him to do), that would have been completely wrong. His key position is as head of the Peoples Labour Bureau and the PLF. This work is strengthened by him being in the party leadership and in charge of the Central Secretariat of the PPP.

 

I visited the shabby and poorly equipped offices of the Central Secretariat. With less than a dozen people working there, it felt far removed from the offices of most governing parties in the world. Ordinary party members come there in droves everyday. It was clear that these were poor people who came to ask the party to support them with their various, mainly personal, problems. Manzoor's main task seemed to be to talk to them one after one and then write a letter recommending their cases to various charities, ministries, and other authorities. A sort of social information bureau for PPP members, rather than a den of iniquity. I questioned why Manzoor was doing this unpaid job not because of the possibility of corruption, but because it is a lot of donkey work for the party, which takes time away from doing more political work. Manzoor replied that it was worth doing because it gave him authority among ordinary party members and because it was an opportunity to be in contact with them. In a similar manner, comrades with a position in for example a Swedish trade union sometimes find themselves having to help individual members with their work and personal problems.

 

As long as the Left Opposition can use Manzoor's positions to connect to the unions and the struggle outside the party, it will be more than worthwhile to hang onto them. And by gaining more support among struggling workers and bringing them towards the PPP, other comrades should also accept more positions in the party, which in turn can be used to bring more workers into the party, and so on.

 

Manzoor's positions means that he spends time even with the highest ranking bureaucrats. It would be a mistake not to. We must know and understand bureaucrats, capitalists, feudal landlords, and other people at all levels in society. Otherwise we will never be able to have a successful revolution. The class struggle would be a drawing room exercise. What trade unionist does not have to rub shoulders with bureaucrats in their union and the boss at their work place? If they are corrupted by simple doing that, they will never withstand the pressures which will be upon them in the future. We should always be civil, but completely firm with our demands, when we mix with them. Trade union or party activists who scream and shout and hurl abuse always end up isolating themselves – from most of the workers they are supposedly representing.

 

Public profile

 

Whenever he got the occasion, Manzoor linked the current struggle to the need for socialist revolution. The paper was also distributed by comrades at all the events. The titles of the articles in the paper were translated to me and their content sketched. From almost every page the words socialism or permanent revolution or Trotsky or Ted Grant sprung at one. I thought there was too much of that for the paper to be a real workers paper, but comrades explained that they printed 2000 copies. Half went to the approximately 1000 members which they say they had and then they were expected to sell one paper each. Thus the paper has more the character of a theoretical magazine.

 

The degeneration of the old organisation

 

The basic cause for the degeneration of any section of the IMT has been the same. Bourgeois and Stalinist organisational methods (“the basic rules of democratic centralism”) lead to a bureaucratic clique developing at the top of the organisation. This began at the very top, the IS, and was then replicated lower down. Because a clique needs to maintain its prestige at all costs, political mistakes are not corrected, but made worse by zig-zags. The confusion that this creates strengthens the bureaucratic tendencies. This leads inevitable to splits.

 

However, each country has its peculiarities. In Pakistan, there have been some adventurist excursions throughout the years. I knew about the attempt to transplant YFIS into Pakistan (the same mistake was made in Britain). Another adventure came as a complete surprise to me. In the late eighties, Shahida Jabeen, a well-known veteran from the struggle against the Zia dictatorship, was launched as a parliamentary candidate against the PPP. She got 157 votes out of a total constituency electorate of seven million. But unlike in Liverpool, this was not hailed as 157 votes for socialism and a great victory. Instead the whole thing was quietly buried.

 

I was also told that there have been a whole series of expulsion. I remember that some leading comrades I knew such as Shahida Jabeen, Khaled Bhutti (who went on to found a section for the CWI), and Dr. Zia had left the organisation, I was told that they had been expelled one after the other. Apparently this also happened to others. According to Manzoor these were comrades who were considered a threat to Lal Khan's position. With them small groups of other comrades left or were pushed out in one way or another. However, the general orientation of the tendency was mainly correct.

 

After Manzoor's election in 2002 a whole new layer were attracted to the Tendency and it grew rapidly, but by 2005 it began to stagnate around the 2500 mark. Manzoor said that this was due to the two sides of the organisation parting ways. The organisational structure of the tendency could not keep up with the growth of the mass work and all the possibilities that brought with it.

Mass work can only be 'controlled' through a public battle for the organisations key political ideas. Full-timers can play an important political role. They can orientate the organisation towards participating in the movement, recruit from the movement, and integrate new comrades. But they cannot organise the movement from the outside. That the movement must do itself. Full-timers who want to 'control' everything are bound to fail. Instead they end up removing themselves from the mass work and focus on that which they can control, the organisation internally.

 

As the gap widened between the two wings, stagnation continued. And as the internal apparatus could not accept that it made any mistakes, they concluded that it must be the other wing which was to blame. They were not doing enough. Their profile was too low. Unrealistic perspectives were invented which justified accusing Manzoor of not being sharp enough in his criticism of the PPP leadership. The political lines of the two wings began to diverge more and more, until there was a split when Manzoor was expelled.

 

Summary

 

Before going to Pakistan, I had made careful notes of all the things I considered doubtful about the Left Opposition. This came from IMT material and things I had heard. I was persistent. I double-checked things with different comrades. I took up any discrepancies I found in what comrades said. And yet, at the end of the day, I must say that the expulsion of Manzoor and his group from the IMT was completely unjustified.

 

Jonathan Clyne

20 May, 2010


(There are further reports and video interviews with Manzoor and other Pakistani comrades on this section of the site.)

 

IMT official reply to allegations of rape at their Karachi school

posted 2 Mar 2012, 12:36 by Admin uk

Dossier:

Halt the provocations!
Support the Pakistan Marxists!

In the last weeks a new attack has been waged against The Struggle,
the Pakistani section of the International Marxist Tendency. This
attack is aimed at some of our most prominent members, comrades who
have been actively involved in leading positions in the mass movement.
The launching of this campaign of slanders and fabrications is no
accident, and nor is its timing. It has all the hallmarks of a
deliberate provocation.

The perpetrators of this provocation have been promoting the idea that
a crisis in the section has erupted and a large number of members have
resigned in Hyderabad, Kashmir, Karachi, etc. There is not a single
word of truth in this.

The most disgusting aspect of this campaign is the allegation that a
female comrade of the Pakistan section has been “gang-raped” (!) at a
Marxist school. It is further claimed that this alleged act was
carried out by some leading comrades, and that the leadership of the
section had covered that up.

These slanderous allegations have been widely circulated in public and
semi-public forums by a few former members of the IMT and its Pakistan
section who have publicised them by the usual tactic of mass spamming
to undisclosed recipients, on Facebook and postings on some leftist
forums.

All these accusations are baseless and false. They only have one aim:
to undermine and destroy the Marxist Tendency.
Two worlds
There are two worlds. They are so different that they might as well be
two planets. And one world has no knowledge or understanding of the
other.
The first world is comfortable to live in. In this world a man can sit
before a computer screen and live in a virtual world of “revolutionary
struggle”. He can do this all day, every day because he has nothing
else to do. In such “struggles” no shots are fired and nobody is
killed or injured. It is a comfortable sort of “revolutionary
struggle”.
In this world small groups, frequently consisting of one or two sad
individuals, constantly spy on other, similar, groups. They study all
the minutiae of what is said and written (but not what is done,
because they never actually do anything). They comment, discuss and
gossip – above all, gossip. They assiduously spread the latest gossip,
no matter how outrageous. In such circles, this is what passes for
“revolutionary activity” – which is no activity at all.
Then there is another world. It is the world of countries like
Pakistan. Here the revolutionary struggle takes place on a quite
different level. Very few people sit in front of computers because
they cannot afford them. They can scarcely afford bread. Very few
people read what is published on Facebook because many people cannot
read at all.
In Pakistan, the revolutionary struggle is fought for real. In this
struggle, people are killed every day. People are arrested and
tortured by the police. People are killed by American drones and
murdered by the bosses agents or religious fanatics. The struggle
between political parties is often conducted with fists and guns.
In addition to physical violence and actual assassination, there are
other weapons: slander, lies, intrigues and character assassination.
Corruption is yet another weapon. Corruption exists in the developed
nations also. It can be seen in American elections. But nothing in
Europe and America can compare with the level of obscene corruption in
Pakistan’s political life.
In Pakistan everything is for sale, not just discreetly, in the
corridors of power, but openly, blatantly, and in the public market
place. Members of parliament change parties in exchange for vast sums
of money. The possession of public office is regarded only as a means
of plundering the people. There are no real corruption scandals
because corruption is accepted as a way of life.
The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), which grew on the basis of the
1968-9 Revolution, is really two parties. On the one hand there are
the millions of workers and peasants who vote for the PPP and stand
for socialism, and hundreds of thousands of loyal Party members who
stand for the same thing. On the other hand there is Zardari, one of
the richest men in Pakistan, and the right-wing clique who control the
leadership and are in government.
These two parties are at war. The right wing Zardari clique has
completely sold out to big business and US imperialism. It is corrupt
to the marrow of its bones. It is carrying out a vicious anti-working
class policy. It is privatizing everything in the interests of the
capitalists. It is presiding over falling living standards and daily
power outages. It is collaborating with the USA. And it is hated by
the workers and peasants.
The workers and peasants of Pakistan have no alternative but to fight
to defend themselves. This is not a matter of choice. The workers of
Britain or the USA are facing hardship. But the workers of Pakistan
are facing actual hunger.
Despite extremely difficult conditions, there have been many strikes.
And in many cases these strikes and protests have been led by members
of the Pakistan Section of the IMT. This has enraged the PPP
leadership, which has been waging war on the Marxist Tendency for
years. This one-sided war was intensified when Zardari came to power.
This latest attack is just one more example of this.
1) The story of “gang rape”

The story of gang-rape is a complete fabrication from start to finish.
In the first place, we wish to point out that the female comrade who
our enemies are targeting in this malicious campaign is a respected
leading figure of the Pakistan section who is currently leading our
women’s work in Karachi.
The comrade was completely surprised when she heard about this story.
She indignantly denies that any part of this atrocious tale is true.
As a matter of fact, she is enjoying her revolutionary work with the
leading comrades of Karachi and regularly attends Marxist Schools.
She was present at both National schools held in 2011, though she had
to travel a long distance and had to spend from her meager income. Her
pictures can be seen in the reports of those schools.
Actually, the National Schools this year were a big success. Not only
was the participation huge but the level of discussion was very high.
A member of the CEC of the PPP was present at our National school in
Multan. He attended whole school for three days with pen and paper in
his hands, listening to lead offs by comrades half his age. He made
only one intervention in the school in which he said that if these
schools happened at the time of his youth, things would have been
different now. Actually 50 percent of the youth at the Marxist school
in Multan were below 20 years of age.
Another important feature of the National School is the meeting of the
National Women Bureau. For last 2 years we have been regularly holding
3 national meetings of the NWB every year: one at the Congress and 2
along side the National School. This has helped to advance our women
work, especially the cadre building of women comrades is being
focused, which is giving good results.
We will not reveal the identity of this comrade out of respect for her
personal dignity and honor, unlike our enemies, who did not hesitate
to give details about her in public, knowing that this would do her
harm. We have in our possession a letter in which she emphatically
denies that any such thing occurred.
The first thing to note is that these allegations are UNSIGNED. The
second point is they are COMPLETELY UNSUBSTANTIATED.
The alleged victim has sent us a signed statement denying that the
alleged offence ever took place. She writes the following:
“Hello comrades!
“The story of gang rape is totally manufactured by enemies of IMT. I
seriously condemn this act and declare that I am enjoying
revolutionary work with leading comrades in Karachi and elsewhere. I
also want to declare that it is a daunting task for women here to
participate in revolutionary work. It is a common practice here to
spread rumours and scandalize comrades.
“Enemies of revolution are using mean tactics to destroy our work. I
condemn all this and vow to continue my struggle for the emancipation
of working class.
“With Bolshevik regards,
[Signed] 18/2/2012”
This letter should make all those who participated in this vicious
campaign, helping to circulate such lies, hang their heads in shame,
if they have any shame left – which we doubt.
2) The “witnesses”

What about the “witnesses” cited by the accusers? The key
“witness” (the female “comrade I.”) has sent us a signed statement
saying that her alleged statement is false and a malicious invention.
She has written the following:
“Dear comrades,
“As I informed on 17th February by comrades that Zafar Imam wrote an
email in which he wrote a statement about me that I had been eye
witnessed of a gang rape happened to a female comrade at Karachi
School in December 2010. When I saw my statement in e-mail I was
completely shocked that how Zafar can wrote that statement about me
without asking me? I want to tell you that I with my husband and other
comrades of Hyderabad went to Karachi school which was so highly
educational experienced for me.
“I need to tell you, that night no any such incident happened at
school. Zafar has blamed highly dirty and cheap allegations on
organisation and comrades. I am going to tell you about the location
of that hut where the school was held. There were two big rooms, one
corridor holding grand lawn. One room was allotted for female comrades
and more than 100 comrades used to sleep rest of the hut.
“As you know that after sessions in evening comrades organize social
gatherings in which comrades singing, dancing and enjoying with each
other, however that night all comrades were also present in the lawn
and making discussion. I and more than 20 other male and female
comrades were there in exciting mood. After a moment comrades of
management made an announcement that all comrades go to their room and
get sleep, because next day we start last day’s sessions early in the
morning and many comrades have to sleep in that lawn and then we all
females went to our room making discussion till late night and gone
sleep.
“How can such incident (gang rape) happen in a place where about 200
comrades gathered? And how can any comrade act like that? Zafar Imam
who made a fake and dirty statement about me. He was participated many
organizational events and activities with his sisters and wife, and
never such any incident happen to his family and now he is alleging on
comrades. It can be judged this cultural, political and ideological
level from such allegations he created.
“The main point is that he was not present at the school because on
the 3rd December there was a reception of his own marriage in his town
Shahdadkot. And as he mentioned that I resigned from organizational
membership is not true. I am still active member at my branch in
Hyderabad Area. I am taking part in all organizational activities and
recently we organized an Area Marxist School in Hyderabad office.
“I request to the comrades don’t consider such information by these
people, who one making fake propaganda against IMT and Pakistani
Section. [Signed]” (our emphasis)
This letter speaks for itself. It presents a truthful account of what
really happened at the school. It also points out that the individual
making the accusations was not even present at the school where this
was supposed to have occurred. The statement claims she “resigned from
the organization in disgust”. In fact, this comrade never resigned and
is playing a very active role in the organization.
From this it is abundantly clear that there is not a word of truth in
all these accusations.
Another "eyewitness" named in the "report" is comrade Tahir, an ex-
member of the organization. He has told us the following:

"It is pointed out that my name is badly used as witness in the bogus
story of "rape case" in the Marxist school at Hox Bay Karachi on
4/12/10, which [is] launched by ex angry member of The Struggle
comrade Rashid Lughari. Moreover, I left behind all political
activities of The Struggle as a past stories... it is request to all
comrades of the IMT Pakistan section: please don't believe on such
bogus references.

“With best wishes Tahir Biag"

Among the innumerable falsehoods and inventions, the “report” states
that “the Gulab Leghari area dissolved itself” in protest at the
“expulsions”. This is completely without foundation. We have a letter
from the Regional secretary of Sindh, including the list of membership
of Gulab Leghari sub area, with 35 names.

Finally, the "report" talks of Amjad Lakheer mentioning the so-called
gang rape the day after in the plenary session. This is also false. In
fact, this comrade was not even present in that school. We have a
signed statement by him confirming this.

In other words, the alleged victim completely denies that any such
incident occurred, and this is firmly backed up by all the witnesses –
except for one. THE ONE EXCEPTION IS “XULFI MARXIST” – THE ONE WHO HAS
CONCOCTED THE ENTIRE STORY.

With this totally unfounded slander, our core work of cadre building
is being targeted which shows that this is the result of serious
planning of our enemies. By circulating this manufactured story of
“gang rape” our enemies want to sabotage our important activity of
National School. If such rumors are put in circulation and gain
credence, it will be very difficult to get more women to participate,
as a result of pressure from parents, husbands, brothers etc.
Those who manufactured this story know just what they are doing.
Anyone who knows anything about Pakistan society knows that it is
extremely difficult to get women to participate actively in a Marxist
organization. Thanks to the tireless and self-sacrificing work of our
female comrades we have made good progress in our work in this
important field, although there is a lot more to be done.
The timing is also no accident. The attacks are taking place at a time
when we are focusing on our preparations for the 2012 congress. With a
big rise in fares and other commodities it is a lot more difficult for
comrades with meager incomes to attend congress this year. This
unscrupulous attack by our enemies is nothing else but a desperate
effort to sabotage our congress.
3) More lies: The JKNSF
Another lie that is put in circulation is that the Marxists have “lost
control of the JKNSF (Jammu Kashmir National Student Federation)”.
The allegation that the JKNSF has been hijacked by nationalist
elements and has gone out of the influence of International Marxist
Tendency is baseless. The realities on the ground are quite the
opposite of what is being presented by this dishonest propaganda. As
recently as December 28th, 2011 the JKNSF held its central convention
in Rawalpindi, with the participation of more than 2000 students and
youngsters.
The convention was not only attended by the leadership of the JKNSF
but leadership of many other student organizations was also present
there. These include: Tariq Afghan (President Pashtoon Student
Federation), Zubair Baloch (Senior Vice President Baloch Student
Organization), Saqib Farooq (Chairman Publicity Board Jammu Kashmir
Peoples Students Federation) and leaders from many trade unions.
This convention was an important milestone in the history of student
politics of Kashmir and Pakistan, as representatives from progressive
student organizations of all the provinces and nationalities attended
it and a serious debate on the ideas of Marxism started within
different organizations after it. This will help spread the ideas of
revolutionary Marxism within wider layer of youth in the future.
The Central Leadership of the JKNSF was elected unanimously in the
convention. The average age of this leadership is not more than 20
years and majority of them are studying at various colleges and
universities. Hence, for the first time in the history of the JKNSF, a
real students' leadership has not only came forward but was elected in
a purely democratic and transparent way.
After the convention, an alliance of progressive student federations
with the name of "All Pakistan Progressive Youth Alliance" was formed,
and the ex JKNSF president, comrade Amjad Shahsawar was elected as its
organizer which shows that our student work is a role model and
inspiration for other progressive student organizations.
A few days ago, the anniversary of the death of Maqbool Butt, a hero
of the Kashmir independence movement, was celebrated by the branches
of the JKNSF, not only in Kashmir, but in various cities of Pakistan.
Marvelous rallies and seminars attended by hundreds of students were
organized in Muzaffarabad, Kotli, Bagh, Rawlakot, Sandnoti and
Rawalpindi, Lahore, Karachi.
Right now the JKNSF is the only student organization in Kashmir active
in the struggle for solutions to the common problems faced by students
and youth. Central President JKNSF comrade Rashid Sheikh visited whole
of Kashmir in January 2012, when he arranged meetings and a serious
debate on organization building took place.
The slanderers are basing themselves on the fact that a couple of
former activists of JKNSF left us because they wanted to have the new
president’s position. However, the young comrades refused, not just
because of their over age which is nearly 40, but because of their
sabotaging activities against IMT, carried out at the behest of
Manzoor Ahmed and co. One of them, Shoaib Sham had actually left JKNSF
many years ago.
As usual, disgruntled elements who abandon the Marxist movement feel
the need to blacken its name in order to justify their desertion. But
we do not need the company of deserters who go over to the ranks of
the class enemy. They are very welcome to them.
4) Our revolutionary work
Because of our work in the PPP and labour movement the leadership of
PPP and Peoples Labour Bureau (the PPP trade union wing) is worried
about the growing influence of the Marxists. Let us just cite a few
recent examples:
Also, on the death of Nusrat Bhutto, mother of Benazir Bhutto and wife
of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, we organized a condolence public meeting in
Malir, Karachi from where we contested general elections in 2008. This
public meeting was organized from the platform of committee of
ideological workers inside PPP.
It was a successful meeting in which die-hard workers of PPP openly
spoke against the leadership. Also we are holding study circles of
leading members of youth and student wings of the PPP in Karachi‘s
most dangerous areas.
Due to these activities our comrades in Karachi received death
threats, first from MQM and later by Peoples Aman (Peace) Committee
which is an armed gang propped up by the PPP leadership.
Our position against the alliance of the PPP with the MQM (a neo-
fascist party) is attracting many workers towards us.
On 5th January in Hyderabad press club, we celebrated the birthday of
PPP founder ZulfikarAli Bhutto with veteran Communist leader Jam Saqi
as chief guest. This was organized on the platform of the ideological
workers inside PPP. Similar activities are being held in Gulab Leghari
and many other cities of Sindh, which is considered as the strongest
base of PPP. (ZAB and his family is from Sindh). This is annoying not
only the local leadership of PPP but also the top leadership.
On the trade union front, the PTUDC is getting a lot of influence in
trade union movement. The nationwide tour of the PTUDC leadership was
a big success.( )
From Malakand in the North to Karachi in the south comrades travelled
to all the big cities and proletarian centres and held successful
public meetings, conventions, rallies etc. The important thing is that
many major trade union leaders not only participated under our banner
but expressed complete solidarity with us.
The CBA unions from OGDCL (the Oil and Gas Company of the Pakistan
government.), CDA Islamabad, Railways, WAPDA and many others showed
their appreciation of the work of the PTUDC and vowed to join our
struggle.
A successful labour conference in Islamabad recently was also a big
blow to opportunists in labour movement and PPP( )
A few days ago workers of hospitals in Islamabad won a big battle due
to our participation in the struggle. Our comrades were playing key
role in nurses union while other comrades were inviting trade union
leaders from other key sectors who made speeches there and supported
this movement. (
WAPDA, the Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority, was created
in 1958 as a Semi-Autonomous Body for the purpose of coordinating and
giving a unified direction to the development of schemes in Water and
Power Sectors, which were previously being dealt with, by the
respective Electricity and Irrigation Department of the
Provinces.WAPDA is the key department in Pakistan not only
strategically but also because it has the largest workforce. Hydro
union of WAPDA is the largest union in Pakistan and is leading the
largest federation Pakistan Workers Federation and confederation.
In the last week of December 2011 a national public meeting of Hydro
union was held in Hyderabad in which its central leadership was
participating. This meeting was called to denounce the current policy
of the government to privatize WAPDA and break it into smaller units
at regional levels. Hundreds of workers were there. The central
leadership, as always was giving no concrete strategy and was
confusing workers. In the meantime with the efforts of PTUDC comrades
in Hyderabad, comrade Paras got a chance to speak. Actually this
happened due to the efforts of our comrades from the Jamshoro Power
Station branch. Jamshoro Power Station is also being privatized along
with 8 other Power Stations in Pakistan.
Comrade Paras took a strong position and said that we should go on
strike against this and, if necessary, we should switch off the
electricity of the entire country against this policy. This made the
workers jubilant and they took Paras on their shoulders. After that a
resolution was passed from the platform, that if government will not
end its policy of privatizing WAPDA we will go on strike and
eventually will switch off the electricity of the entire country.
The Central Leadership of WAPDA was quite embarrassed.
There are many other incidents where our comrades have done marvelous
interventions in trade union movement.
In the Steel Mills in Karachi our influence is growing. Our comrade is
joint secretary of the CBA and is fighting against the policies of the
union leaders and the PPP government. Also we have set up a new branch
among young workers of the Steel Mills.
In Lahore, we are reviving the tradition of Arif Shah, which is
creating panic for the industry owners in North Lahore. Young doctors
are also very active against Punjab government and have won important
battles which resulted in a huge increase in their salaries. These
days they are on strike against a fake medicines scandal of Punjab
government. YDA, Young Doctors Association is actually our brainchild
and led by our longstanding comrade Dr. Aftab who is currently
Information Secretary of YDA Punjab.
In Rahim Yar Khan, the PTUDC is leading the labour movement and we
have branches and comrades in Unilever, Coca Cola, FFC etc.
In Nestle, Kabirwala, a big struggle was recently launched by the
workers against the management in which trade union leaders were even
sent to jail. The PTUDC played a key role in defending the rights of
the workers.
Another industrial hub is Taxila, Wah where we have made good
advances. In Pakistan Ordnance Factory Wah we have won leadership of
CBA and are holding regular study circles.
In the Railways we are also advancing. We have 3 branches in Railways
in Rawalpindi, in Peshawar we are leading both the unions in Railways
(labour union and workers union), General Secretary of Labour union
Peshawar Railway is CC member (Railways minister is also from
Peshawar, who is threatening our comrades). in Multan and Khanewal we
have one branch each in Railways, in Hyderabad, Mirpur Khas, Rohri,
Quetta and Karachi leading union leaders are members of PTUDC and org.
May day 2011 in Quetta was held on Railway Station.
5) Who is being attacked?
The main target of these calumnies is the alleged victim of “rape”
herself. Those who invented this story are well aware of the serious
consequences for such things in Pakistan. This is a cynical attempt to
disrupt our work among women, which will not succeed in its objective.
We have already published her reply above.
The other targets are leading members of the Section, starting with
comrade Riaz Lund, a courageous class fighter with a proven record of
years of revolutionary struggle. Comrade Riaz played an important role
in some of the moist significant struggles of the Pakistan working
class, including the victory of the PIA and Karachi electric supply
workers last year, which enormously boosted the influence and stature
of the IMT amongst the workers.
Our enemies cannot forgive Riaz Lund for getting 46,080 votes in the
2008 elections - the highest ever vote for PPP in that constituency.
Comrade Lund achieved this in struggle against the neo -fascist MQM.
Yet after the elections the PPP leaders formed an alliance with the
MQM. This has infuriated the PPP rank and file in Karachi, which is
Pakistan’s Petrograd.

The other leading comrade being attacked is comrade Paras, who has
also played a leading role in the struggles of the workers in the
recent period. In 2011 there was a big movement of workers in the
Karachi Electric Supply Corporation KESC in which comrade Paras and
others played a leading role.
The speeches of comrade Paras played a key role in keeping the
movement alive for many months. Thousands of workers gathered in sit-
ins for many weeks and in strike etc. always listened to comrade Paras
with interest and carried him on their shoulders after his speeches
raising revolutionary slogans.
In a speech at a sit in on 14th August 2011(Independence Day of
Pakistan) when all the leadership of the Karachi PPP was sitting on
stage, comrade Paras first of all criticized right wing parties and
then openly criticized the anti labour policies of the PPP government.
He said that workers will take revenge on Gilani and other leaders who
are betraying the founding principles of the PPP. Nearly 10,000
workers present at that time chanted revolutionary slogans in
jubilation. But the PPP leadership was annoyed.
No we have an active branch of most militant and leading workers of
KESC. All this is casing alarm in the upper ranks of the PPP and the
trade union bureaucracy. That, and no other, is the reason why they
are trying to spread poisonous attacks against leading Marxist
militants of unimpeachable honor.
6) What is the reason for this attack?

It is difficult for someone who is used to the relatively civilized
standards of a western bourgeois democracy to comprehend the methods
used by the PPP bureaucracy, which is closely enmeshed with the
Pakistan state. The levels of intrigue go far beyond what would be
considered normal even for the most corrupt and degenerate
bureaucratic leaders in the west.
The Pakistani state has noted the successes of the Marxist Tendency,
and Zardari and the right wing PPP leadership has been trying to
orchestrate a covert campaign to damage the organization. He tried to
do this first from within through treachery and deceit. He bought the
services of Manzoor Ahmed for this purpose. But the organization
defeated these attacks and intrigues.

Zardari looked for a weak link in our leadership and found it in
Manzoor Ahmed, whom he bribed with the offer of a high position in the
Party, following his election defeat. We have already given full
details of how this was done. At first, Zardari attempted to use
Manzoor to bring the Marxists under control. But this tactic failed
and Manzoor was compelled to leave the organization with a small
handful of people whom he had corrupted with offers of jobs, contracts
or promotion. This so called ‘drama’ was orchestrated and staged with
the sponsorship of the Pakistani establishment.
Since that time, the main activity of this renegade, apart from
pushing Zardari’s privatization campaign, has been to undermine, split
and destroy the Marxist Tendency. For this task he has been provided
with plush offices in Islamabad, manned by well-paid stooges. Their
sole activity is to spy on the Marxist Tendency, infiltrate it to
undermine it from within, organize splits etc.
They assiduously gather information about any internal problems and
gossip about comrades’ personal lives – anything that can be
“recycled”, magnified, exaggerated and turned into black propaganda
and slanders. They systematically recruit people with grudges,
egotists, careerists who feel they have not been sufficiently promoted
and so on, whom they use for organizing intrigues and provocations.
7) Who is making these allegations?
We have seen the names of the people who (publicly) are behind the
allegations. We know these individuals very well. They are former
members of the Tendency who left for a variety of reasons and have a
deep grudge against us. They are partly motivated by spite, but also
have allowed themelves to be manipulated by hostile elements who are
pulling the strings from behind the scenes.
a) As far as Adil Khan is concerned he left the organization, seduced
by the offers made to him by Manzoor Ahmed. He was present in many
open activities sponsored by M.A., paid for by the funds doled out by
Kashmir Government.
b) Zafar Imam from Sindh writes a column in Sindhi newspapers almost
daily. Because of this, a few people started to know him, which has
filled his intellectual ego with a lot of hot air. Due to “pressure”
from his readers he changed his position on the National Question and
PPP work. He has openly criticized IMT in his columns. Also, he told
comrades in Hyderabad that because he is now a famous person, they
should not ask him to buy paper, pay subs or attend meetings. Comrades
should meet him only through his columns.

c) Dr. Harish was a full timer (4 years ago) but withdrew from that
after a failed love affair. He is presently working as a doctor of
psychiatry and works in 3 different mental hospitals at different
times. This means that he has been unable to carry out his
revolutionary duties satisfactorily. This comrade’s record shows that
he is personally extremely unstable and unreliable.

Dr. Harish is also general secretary of Left Unity - a group of
various NGOs and sects in Sindh, and sponsored by ISI. Comrades
opposed Harish accepting this position but he couldn’t resist, due to
his weak character and opportunistic tendencies. He is always the main
speaker in gatherings of this organization.
Ironically, only a few months back Zafar Imam and Dr. Harish were
bitter enemies of each other and were not ready to work with each
other. They made serious allegations against each other. Now they have
joined together to attack the Section. It is not the first time we
have seen such a thing, nor will it be the last.
d) Xulfi and Rashid Leghari are both declassed youth who benefit from
a bit of higher wages from Zafar and Harish. Neither of them have paid
their subs for last 2 years and they were not attending official
meetings. They were not only ridiculing active comrades but
threatening them if they did not agree with them. They were in regular
contact with lumpenproletarian elements of students federations of
Nationalist parties, who are infamous for kidnapping for ransom,
target killing etc.

The case of Xulfi (who pretentiously signs himself Xulfi Marxist)
would be funny if its implications were not so serious. His
“activities” were entirely confined to Facebook, where he appointed
himself a “virtual member” of the IMT. For some time he praised the
organization to the skies. Indeed, his praise was so lavish and
exaggerated it was embarrassing. Now he finds himself outside, he has
gone to the opposite extreme. It is hard to say which was worse, his
praise or his calumnies!

Incidentally, according to his own version, he was aware about the so-
called “gang rape” 18 months ago, yet he only began to shout about it
when he was taken off the membership lists. This poses the question:

What kind of a man is it who, being supposedly aware that the leaders
of the organization have committed a heinous crime, not only remained
silent on the subject, but continued to sing the praises of the
organization and its leaders on every conceivable occasion? Either he
is a dishonest hypocrite who is complicit in a crime, or a brazen liar
who has invented a non-existent incident for the purpose of blackening
the name of the organization he used to belong to, because it has
parted company with him. In fact, the latter is the case.

All these dubious elements were approached by our enemies, namely by
Sajjad Mehdi, a crony of Manzoor Ahmed, based in Islamabad. He had a
meeting with them in Hyderabad where they hatched a plan to sabotage
the IMT. We have answered them in successful aggregates in Karachi,
Hyderabad, Dadu, Mirpur Khas, etc.
8) PPP involvement

Our achievements in building the revolutionary movement are well known
to our friends and enemies alike. They are being made at a time when
labour movement in Pakistan is at a low ebb. It is not an easy task to
attract people towards Marxist ideas when they feel betrayed by their
leaders and are in no mood to fight. Comrades have to run after each
and every worker continuously.
The successes of the Marxist Tendency have created problem for Manzoor
Ahmed and his cronies, along with the leadership of the PPP. Please
keep in mind that ex-comrade Chaudhary Manzoor is in charge of Peoples
Labour Bureau nationally – that is to say, he is in charge of selling
the line of Zardari and the right wing PPP leaders to the workers,
above all Privatization.
Even before he came to power, Zardari knew that he would be carrying
out the dirty work of the ruling class and imperialism. He knew he
would face bitter opposition from the workers to privatization and
other anti-working class policies. He knew he would face a revolt in
the ranks of the PPP. How could he permit the existence of a powerful
Marxist Tendency in the Party?
The PPP is under the pressure of the IMF and World Bank to carry out a
big scale privatization, and they are using M.A. to control the labour
movement. However, there is a resistance in the rank and file workers
and the ruling class is afraid that it might erupt somewhere.
In 2011 the strike in PIA is a good example, where workers went on a
strike and demanded end of privatization. Manzoor was appointed by
Zardari for negotiations with workers. However, he failed miserably
and the workers won the battle. Please note that CBA in PIA is the
Peoples Unity, which is affiliated to the PPP through the Peoples
Labour Bureau.
Zardari has always appointed his cronies as president of the People’s
Unity rather than the workers of PIA. M.A. tried to buy workers of the
People’s Unity and ended up with dividing the Peoples Unity in two
groups. However, a majority of workers remained loyal to the strike
which ended in victory. The PTUDC played a key role in all this, as a
result of which the central vice president of the Peoples Unity,
comrade Shoaib, is now a member of our organization and will attend
congress 2012.()
At a time when the PPP government wants to go for aggressive
privatization () they fear a backlash. But from whom they fear? The
trade union leaders can be bought easily, though they may be a little
reluctant due to pressure from below, but eventually they are for
sale.
It is from the IMT in Pakistan they feel a real threat. To counter
this threat they have made serious plans. A plush office near
Islamabad has been made available for this conspiracy. That is where
Atif, Sajjad Mehdi along with other employees of the bureaucracy with
fat salaries are working under the leadership of Manzoor Ahmed.
9) ISI involvement

These tactics are very well known in Pakistan. They are the same
tactics that have always been used by the Pakistan Intelligence
Services (ISI) to combat leftist organizations. And we know that the
right wing Zardari clique has close contacts with the ISI who we are
in no doubt the real authors of this strategy. These attacks have got
the fingerprints of the ISI all over them.
Why should the ISI be concerned? The ISI (Pakistan Military
Intelligence) is conscious that there is a growing threat from the
Marxists, especially due to our work in Malakand and Waziristan (the
tribal areas near the border with Afghanistan). We have recently won
50 new comrades in Swat. This area was the ground for a fake war
between Pakistan Army and Taliban.
Two years back Taliban were ruling Swat and were mercilessly killing
common people. We have won these people due to our positions against
the Taliban, the Pakstan Army and US Imperialism: all three. But it is
important to note that comrades working there had to put their lives
at risk by putting these positions. Their lives are still at risk.

Pakistan Army is establishing a cantonment in Swat, while the Taliban
are trying to stage a comeback. In this situation big growth of IMT in
this area is alarming to the ISI.
Similarly we are organizing the labour movement in Bannu, an important
city near North Waziristan, Osama bin Laden stayed in suburbs of Bannu
for a long time. In this city which was constantly under curfew and
where mobile phone service was banned for many years, and where a
blast occurred every other day, we held May Day activity and other
labour union gatherings, when nobody else dared.
In Wana, South Waziristan comrade Ali Wazir is a popular communist.
Actually, when he contested general elections in 2008 he was among
more than a dozen candidates. He is the only one who is alive now.
Our advances in Afghanistan are also a big step forward. We will give
details of that work to comrade A.W when he visits Pakistan.
This is why that our enemies are being funded heavily only for one
purpose: to sabotage the IMT in Pakistan.
You doubt this? But it is not really so surprising. In the so-called
“western democracies” the state and its intelligence agencies pays
close attention to the Labour Movement and to all Leftist
organizations. It is public knowledge that MI5 had at least 30 agents
inside Militant in Britain. In the 1950s the FBI had many more agents
inside the American Communist Party. And more recently it was exposed
that the British police had an agent infiltrated in a Green activist
group for seven years.
If such methods are used by the intelligence services in “western
democracies”, can there be any doubt whatsoever that the agencies of
the Pakistan state would use even more blatant methods to infiltrate
and destroy a large and influential Marxist organization? As for
Zardari and the PPP right wing, their motivation is quite clear.
We will not be defeated by dirty methods!
To be a Marxist in Pakistan is no easy task. We are involved, not in
Facebook politics, but struggling in real life revolutionary work in
extremely difficult and dangerous conditions. On a daily basis we face
beatings, arrest, torture and murder, as well as incredible poverty,
bad housing and all the other ills suffered by the masses in our sorry
country. Despite all the difficulties we have succeeded in winning a
significant layer of the most advanced workers and youth to the banner
of revolutionary Marxism.
This is not a children’s game. Our comrades face repression and danger
every day: from the bosses, who assassinated our leading trade union
comrade Arif Shah, from the state, from the fascist MQM who put a
bullet in the body of comrade Riaz Lund, from the Taliban who issue
death threats every day to our comrades in Waziristan, and from the
hired goons of Zardari and the right wing leaders of the PPP.

People in the West may not be fully aware of the extent of filth,
deceit and treachery in politics in Pakistan. There are innumerable
Facebook and internet organizations claiming thousands of members
whose only aim is to use scandals for the purpose of blackmail and
extortion.

It has to be stated clearly that the source of the present campaign of
slanders has to be identified in our enemies within the state
apparatus, the PPP, particularly the deserter Manzoor Ahmed whose aim
is to destroy our Pakistani section on behalf of the PPP top brass.

The successes of the Pakistan Marxists are well known – not only to
our friends but also to our enemies. The latter have now joined in an
unholy alliance in an attempt to destroy us. Should we be surprised
that these elements attack the Marxists and use every conceivable
dirty method to blacken our name and sabotage our revolutionary work?
No, we are not surprised at all.

To attack the Marxists is the role of our class enemies. Manzoor Ahmed
and his clique has no paper, no organization, no subs etc. But it has
access to unlimited financial resources. It it is acting as a special
cell of the ISI to counter the IMT. We expect much more brutal attacks
from this source, including physical attacks from them in future.
Already Manzoor has been responsible for getting the police to beat up
and arrest our comrades.

We expect this kind of thing, and we know how to combat it. But what
are we to say about self-styled “Leftists” in London and Stockholm who
spend all their time pouring dirt over the Marxist tendency and
spreading and magnifying the lies and slanders manufactured by the
bourgeois state and its hired mercenaries?

It has come to our attention that certain former members of the IMT
have been deliberately spreading dirt against the IMT and the
Pakistani comrades internationally. Using the hypocritical pretence of
“informing members of the IMT of what has been going on”, they are, in
fact, actively participating in a dirty campaign of disinformation
that has been hatched in Islamabad by the renegade ex-Leftist Manzoor
Ahmed.
People who leave the Marxist Tendency who have no principled agreement
on anything, form a bloc to throw filth at the organization to which
they used to belong in the hope that a little will stick. Lacking any
trace of principles or anything resembling a theoretical level, they
are compelled to sink to the level of the sewer, where they can swim
quite happily in their natural element.
These “Facebook heroes” are really insignificant people who are
incapable of building anything, but are quite expert in destroying
what others have built. These individuals represent nothing and nobody
themselves. They would be not worth mentioning, were it not for the
fact that they have become a faithful echo of the most reactionary
wing of the PPP leadership, that wing, represented by Manzoor Ahmed
who has stabbed the workers in the back and are pushing Zardari’s
privatization plans.
It is important that everybody knows the real source of these attacks,
who is behind them and what ends they are pursuing. But these attacks
will never succeed. Our firmness in defence of our Marxist ideas, our
unflinching dedication to the cause of revolutionary socialism is
stronger than ever. The attacks of our enemies only serve to make it
even stronger.

This is not the first smear campaign against us, nor will it be the
last. We condemn all these baseless allegations and appeal to our
comrades in other sections to have complete faith in the comrades of
the Pakistani section who are risking not only their lives but also of
their families for a socialist victory in Pakistan and South Asia.

We protest indignantly against these vicious attacks and slanders, and
emphatically condemn those who are continually putting false rumours
in circulation for their own sectarian and splitting purposes.

No more lies!
No more provocations!
Defend the Pakistan Marxists!
Irreconcilable struggle till Socialism!
Lahore, 20 Feb. 2012
Postscript
In order to put the record straight we have made this statement. We
undertook this distasteful task without enthusiasm. We are sure that
any honest worker in Europe will be clear as to what this is all
about. In Pakistan it was clear long ago.
As for our enemies, we are under no illusions that will try to
continue their attacks and provocations against the Marxist Tendency.
But we have no intention of responding to any further lies and
slanders. We refuse to waste a single moment more on this disgusting
trivia.
Carry on with your calumnies, gentlemen! As far as we are concerned,
they will henceforth be met with silence and the contempt they
deserve. We have no time to waste in futile wrangling with sectarians.
We have urgent work to do building the revolutionary movement in
Pakistan and the rest of the Subcontinent."
Reply With Quote

Why it is necessary to publicize the rape allegations against leading members of the IMT's Pakistani section

posted 27 Feb 2012, 09:49 by Admin uk   [ updated 4 Mar 2012, 12:20 ]

 by Jonathan Clyne former member of the International Executive of the International Marxist Tendency.  

 

The fundamental reason is because rape is a political question and should therefore be discussed openly.    

The traditional view is that rape is not a political question. It has been seen as personal failure of the rapist or a misreading of signals in a game between adults or simply the inability of some men to control their supposedly naturally greater need for sex than women. All human behaviour is complex and there are always various tendencies at work, but that has never been a barrier to try and analyse the main (often underlying) tendencies at work, without pretending that there can't be other tendencies at work too. The same thing should be done with rape.    

Looked at in that light, none of the above explanations for rape hold, whether rape is explained as a personal or a natural phenomena. Different societies show very different rape rates. The fact that a South African woman has a greater chance of being raped than learning to read and write has nothing to do with either “natural” or “personal” causes. Nor the facts that every sixth US woman has experienced rape or an attempted rape. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_statistics)

In a large survey, 35 percent of US male college students admitted that they would commit rape if they believed they could get away with it. Note, this was a question about their willingness to rape, that is a clearly stated illegal action, not a question about cases that they might defend on the grounds that it was not really rape. Another survey about more loosely defined sexual abuse showed that “43 percent of college-aged men admitted to using coercive behaviour to have sex, including ignoring a woman's protest, using physical aggression, and forcing intercourse.” (http://www.uic.edu/depts/owa/sa_rape_support.html)

All this indicates that rape is not a question of unfortunate isolated incidents, but is a broader problem and has social causes. A problem that has largely been buried.

The causes of rape are connected to the oppression of women, and more generally to the existence of hierarchical societies. Therefore rape must be treated as a political question. Concretely, that means, just like with all political questions, bringing things out into the public sphere for discussion. And working out ways for society to deal with it. Police intervention is an insignificant part of that. Rape is the most unreported crime, and of reported rapes only a tiny minority end in convictions. Factoring in unreported rapes, about 95 percent of US rapists will never spend a day in jail. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape)

Clearly other measures are necessary, and confining it to the police and personal (sympathy and help for the victim) spheres is completely inadequate. Bringing out details about rapes is a necessary part of the political process, just like publicizing details of life under capitalism is an important part of the political struggle of the working class generally. Even if it is considered in bad taste. (Recently the Swedish upper class was scandalized at the bad taste of some activists who organised a bus trip for a “safari” to the “ghetto of the rich” to show ordinary people how the rich lived. Apart from being reported to the police, they were pelted with eggs by a gang of upper class youths.)

Here are two excellent articles about the issue of rape in Pakistan - http://www.marxist.com/rape-women-pakistan.htm and http://www.marxist.com/rape-women-pakistan.htm. It is worth noting that in one of the articles the author comments: “The large number of cases goes unreported because any suggestion of sex is considered taboo in Pakistan”. We should not fall into the trap of not writing about rape because of the risk of being salacious. 

Rape culture is not confined to countries like Pakistan.  A 'rape culture'  is defined as a culture where "sexual violence is both made to be invisible and inevitable" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_culture). Fighting rape culture therefore must involve making rape clearly visible.

Perhaps even more important than looking at the causes of rape is the need to look at the effects of rape. As such, it plays a role in maintaining both women's oppression and the general hierarchy of society. Like any act of violence or threat of violence, it is the ultimate means of maintaining a hierarchy of power. Therefore rape is often systematic and sanctioned from above in war.

In Pakistan, the use of rape as means to maintain power is not an underlying tendency, but openly stated and exercised in countless cases. It is not unusual for a village council to decide to use gang rape as a means of keeping women in their place. This is regardless of the law, and even when gang rape is prosecuted its chances of success are small (for an example see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-13158001). Even before things get to court women have to go through a tremendous ordeal in Pakistan. Seventy percent of women in police stations were subjected to sexual and physical violence. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_Pakistan#Sexual_violence) Having gone through that, it is the woman that can end up in the dock, accused of adultery. (http://www.jazbah.org/asmaj.php)

Having said all the above in order to prove that rape is a political issue and should therefore be discussed openly, it would be futile to deny that for me there is also a personal and moral element involved in why I want the issue publicized. Nobody can fight simultaneously against all injustices. One always picks and chooses one fights and often they are related to a personal starting point.

I have visited Pakistan many times. I have seen the position of women there. I know some of the people involved. And since its inception until two years ago, I sat in the leadership of the IMT. I bare a certain responsibility for what has possibly happened.

I don't give a damn about the present political positions of the IMT, but I do care when a person is possibly seriously affected. Then I feel I must act within the means available. I seriously regret I did not act decisively when I came to know about a similar issue years ago. Then I hid behind the women's assurance that I need not pursue the matter.

It is impossible from a distance to dig out all the facts about an individual rape case. But that makes it no less important to bring to light alleged abuses and allow them to be dealt with openly. Leaving it to the leadership, to deal “sensitively” with the issue, appears to have been a failure in this case. Two years have passed and nothing seems to have been done.

To my knowledge letting the leadership deal with these things “sensitively” has always been a failure, whether it was dealt with by the leadership itself or a control commission. In practice the control commission is not independent, but selected by the leadership. Of all the cases I know of issues of any type going to a control commission, I know of none which I consider has dealt fairly with the issue.

An example is the experience of a young Swedish comrade who was raped many years ago by a  South African comrade. At an international control commission the Swedish comrade was subjected to the type of interrogation that would be unacceptable if done by the police or a court of law in Sweden. After that the South African was suspended for two years and the whole thing was silenced. Nothing was done to use this dreadful event to clarify the gravity of this issue to the whole organisation. Rape, just like all other political issues, must be dealt with openly.

The internal culture of the IMT and its predecessor the CWI is such that it tends to smooth over the behaviour of its leaders. This is in keeping with its closed in atmosphere where no discussion is allowed to be held publicly (and even internal discussion must “go through the proper channels”). The justification for this is that “the leadership must lead” and that a united image must be presented to the outside world, lest it give ammunition to “the enemy”.

Without committing myself to the guilt of those that stand accused, I find the testimonies published on this site sufficiently credible that they should be publicized in order for the case to be dealt with openly. I know from personal experience that some of the important circumstances connected to the case are true. I have been in close contact with the leadership of the Pakistani IMT's section for many years. It is clear to me that the consumption of alcohol among the leadership is clearly excessive, even by European standards, never mind the standards of a country where alcohol is illegal. There is a strong social pressure for comrades to consume alcohol. I also personally know of two incidents when a heavily intoxicated leader of the Pakistani section overstepped the boundaries of unwanted sexual attention, although the incidents were not of  the gravity that affected Comrade F.

The publication of these testimonies is an attempt to inform members of the IMT of what has been going on. They are unlikely to hear about it any other way, as the leadership maintains a monopoly over the means of communication within the organisation. It expels people who do not accept that. The best that can be hoped for at this stage is that the wrong Comrade F has been, most likely, subjected to be redressed by IMT members demanding a thorough and open investigation. The perpetrators should be expelled if found guilty.


Reply to what seems to be the IMT's defence against the rape allegations

From Jonathon Clyne

On http://www.revleft.com/vb/gang-rape-allegations-t168012/index2.html, an internet community that discusses small left groups, somebody who calls himself Leon T puts forward what I think appears to be the IMT leaderships attempt to (internally and to close sympathizers) dismiss the rape allegations. It worth analysing this effort. This is what Leon T writes:

The allegations made by Heiko Khoo, and a clique of expelled members of the IMT are COMPLETELY false. This is part of a smear campaign by HK and some ex members to blackmail the Tendency to re-admit them (or else). I have reviewed all documents and testimony's by the witnesses and accused, and find little to no validity in them. Just as a few examples: The situation took place over 2 years ago, and has only been brought up since the expulsions. NO official legal action was taken at the time. The accusers refuse to allow anyone to question the "so-called" victim. The accusers said they would gladly sweep this under the table if they were re admitted, thus making them complaisant in the act if it indeed happen. No one actually witnessed a rape, but a room full of very drunk comrades with different degrees of clothing on, including the "so-called" victim.

Heiko Khoo is a megalomaniac, and ever since his expulsion a few years ago has sworn to slander the IMT, and bring it down. In many ways he is similar to the case of Atlee Yarrow and the SPUSA, after his expulsion.

The leadership of the IMT were and have been all over this since the allegations were made, and made several trips to Pakistan to see for themselves.”

Let us take things bit by bit.

1. “The allegations made by Heiko Khoo, and a clique of expelled members of the IMT are COMPLETELY false. This is part of a smear campaign by HK and some ex members to blackmail the Tendency to re-admit them (or else).”

I was not expelled. The majority of the Swedish section voted to leave. While we considered staying on and letting ourselves get expelled, we firmly rejected that option. We wanted to show that the IMT was not worth belonging to. We preferred possible international isolation, than staying on there. Heiko was expelled, but I am sure the last thing he wants is to be readmitted.

2. “The situation took place over 2 years ago, and has only been brought up since the expulsions.”

It is not uncommon that rape cases take a long time to be brought up. Just think of all the paedophile cases in the Catholic Church that took decades to come to surface. Rape is a sensitive issue, embedded in a rape culture that puts pressure on people to keep the issue private. I have only brought it up now, because I knew nothing about it previously. I cannot exactly assess the motives of why the expelled Pakistani comrades have only brought it up now. However, being familiar with the mindset of the IMT leadership, I know it is considered a cardinal sin to take up criticism of any sort, without going through the “proper channels”. That is, only raising things with the leadership and giving them an interminable amount of time to deal with things “sensitively”. To take things up in any other way is heavily criticized and to take things up publicly is subject to immediate expulsion. A comrade was expelled at a British CC meeting for publicising previous abuses in Pakistan. And that was at the same meeting where she said she was going to resign. Despite that offer, she was expelled to make sure that the message to everybody was clear - raising things in public could not be tolerated.

3. “NO official legal action was taken at the time.”

Apart from what has already been mentioned in the above paragraph, anybody putting forward this argument is either blissfully unaware or deliberately misleading of what happens to women when they make rape allegations officially in Pakistan. See my previous contribution.

4. The accusers refuse to allow anyone to question the "so-called" victim.”

Considering how a rape victim that I know personally was treated by an international control commission, I think that is entirely justifiable. And unnecessary, as many others have come forth and are prepared to testify. It is not uncommon for rape victims to consider the “investigation” as a second 'rape'. This has nothing to do with whether the “investigators” are men or women. In the Swedish case mentioned earlier, the woman “investigator” was by far the worse.

5. The accusers said they would gladly sweep this under the table if they were re admitted, thus making them complaisant in the act if it indeed happen.”

With this statement Leon T scores an own goal. Either this is a complete lie, a vain attempt to smear the accusers, or it is true, in which case it means that the accusers had something of substance with which to negotiate.

6. No one actually witnessed a rape, but a room full of very drunk comrades with different degrees of clothing on, including the "so-called" victim.”

Judging from the testimonies, it is not clear that sexual intercourse was completed, but that does not disqualify it from being a rape. This is how rape is defined “Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person's consent. A person who commits an act of rape is known as a rapist. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or with a person who is incapable of valid consent.[1][2][3][4]” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape). To say that it is only rape if sexual intercourse has been completed is archaic. Even Leon T acknowledges that the alleged victim was very drunk and therefore incapable of valid consent. Abuse of authority seems to also have been involved, as have coercion and physical force. Today a sound body of knowledge exists that it is not unusual for rapists to be impotent, instead they utilize their hands or an object such as a bottle or a knife to complete the rape. (http://www.jem-journal.com/article/S0736-4679%2808%2900930-X/abstract)

7. “He [Heiko] is similar to the case of Atlee Yarrow and the SPUSA, after his expulsion.”

After his expulsion Atlee Yarrow joined a white nationalist group in the USA. Hardly comparable to Heiko who has continued to passionately argue for Marxism. To compare him to a fascist and call him a megalomaniac is simply slander.

8. The leadership of the IMT were and have been all over this since the allegations were made, and made several trips to Pakistan to see for themselves.”

The Pakistanis who have raised the allegations and who have testified, claim that the IMT leadership internationally have not even answered their appeals that the case be raised. Going to Pakistan “to see for themselves” can hardly be taken seriously, if they have not spoken to eye witnesses, and accepted their expulsion.

If this is the best the IMT leadership can manage, it seems that they are guilty as charged. However, it cannot be excluded that Leon T is not in possession of all the facts. Which just goes to prove the need for an open investigation, if the IMT does not want to stand unfairly condemned.

What does an open investigation mean in practice? It does not mean that the alleged perpetrators or the alleged victims be tried in public either in a kangaroo court composed of IMT members or of other leftists. Nor does it mean that the case should be given to the Pakistani courts. It does however mean that all the facts and documents connected with the case should be made available to a public discussion, while guaranteeing the anonymity of those involved. This is the only correct way of dealing with what is essentially a political issue.




Witness statements on the Allegation of Gang Rape of a Female Comrade of the IMT in Pakistan

posted 18 Feb 2012, 22:03 by heiko khoo   [ updated 18 Feb 2012, 22:11 ]

 This was sent to us by Zafar Imam and other comrades of the IMT in Pakistan.
.................

Gang Rape of a Female Comrade of IMT in Pakistan, Explusion of Comrades and Related Questions   

 

In Pakistan section of IMT, recently there has emerged a crisis, which

is direct result of the wrong doings of Pakistani section's

leadership.     

Comrades from Kashmir region, Islamabad and Hyderabad Region of Sindh

Province were expelled during the month of November, December 2011 and

January 2012, without any prior notice, warning or any chance of

clarification. After such bureaucratic decision, many comrades gave

resignations from their basic memberships or gone in-active in

organizational activities.

8 out of 11 CC members of JKNSF were expelled bureaucratically by Adam

Pal on a phone call. L.K and Adam Pal plotted the expulsion. The

militant and hardcore leadership of JKNSF working in the difficult

terrain of Kashmir were expelled because of the differences of

opinion! Is this Marxism or a religion? Is this science or blind

following of Adam Pal and L.K?

 

After the expulsion of comrades, including comrade Aadil (former JKNSF

president), Shoaib Sham (CC member JKNSF) the position of JKNSF went

very weak in Kashmir. The opposite nationalist group of JKNSF regained

the majority in JKNSF and IMT lost the JKNSF. These bureaucratic

policies of leadership have facilitated the fall of IMT in Pakistan

and accelerated the process of its destruction.

 

The same happened in Islamabad and Lahore too. Key comrades were

expelled from there too.

Comrade Xulfi Marxist, Zafar Imam and Rashid were expelled from

Hyderabad region of Sindh, and then comrade Haresh's expulsion

followed them. A whole area of Gulab Laghari comprising of four

branches dissolved itself in reaction to this decision, including the

fall of active branches from Hyderabad, Shahdadkot and Ratodero Branch

in Larkana.

 

These comrades were expelled because they used to ask questions

related to political line of Pakistani section, which is

unquestionably run by one man. These comrades had differences of

opinion on national question primarily, Enterism in PPP,

bureaucratization of organization by one man and many other

undemocratic decisions.

 

These comrades had another objection over section's top leadership's

role. Three of top leaders were involved in a gang rape of a female

comrade. Organization gave cover to this crime, and instead of

expelling the culprits, they were kept on leading positions. After

whole two years of repeatedly demanding the expulsion of rapists,

instead of punishing the culprits, those comrade were expelled who

demanded explanation of such crime. These were the same comrades who

have recently been expelled.

 

The leadership of Pakistani section is still in state of denial. Not

only this, but IMT's International leadership too has kept silent.

After repeated appeals for probe, comrades of International section

kept unfriending these comrades from Facebook.

Comrades have now concluded that neither of IMT's leadership is

serious to probe into the matter. It just looks at the matter as if it

never happened. They might be thinking of these comrades as 'some

stupid third world loosers'.

 

The expelled comrades are given life threats by CC members of IMT's

Pakistani section to 'shut their mouth' otherwise face the

consequences. Evidences of such threats can be produced on demand.

There was no other way left for these comrades, but to write each and

every thing in detail publicly. This became necessary to face the

character assassination tricks observed on these comrades by Pakistani

section leadership.

We are writing this account of the rape incident publicly because

IMT's leadership failed to contact comrades and showed inserious

attitude towards their grievances. Below is the account of gang rape

of female comrade.

 

 

Gang rape of female comrade in Karachi

Time: some where between 10.30 pm and 11.30 pm in night

Location of Crime: Karachi Hawks Bay

Related Event: National Winter Marxist School of IMT Pakistan Section

Date: 04 December, 2010

 

Gang Rapists:

1. PJ ( CC member of IMT Pakistan

section)

2. RL (CC member of IMT Pakistan section)

3. CK (CC Member of IMT Pakistan section)

 

Victim: Comrade 'F' from Karachi

 

At the night of 3 December 2010, National Winter School of Pakistani

section was held. At the night of 4 December 2012, just before the

dinner was served, three comrades belonging to national leadership in

Pakistani section got fully drunk and entered the room of female

comrades. There, they molested comrade 'F', belonging to Karachi.

During the gang rape, the incident was reported to top leader of the

section on phone by female companions of the victim, and the leader

called back to culprits to get off and run away. They followed the

orders.

 

At the night after incident and the other day that followed, the whole

leadership of the section was mobilized to apologize from the victim,

forgive and forget the incident. Moral tricks and psychological

pressures were used to calm her down the next day, because ‘the school

would get disturbed’. It was promised to her that strict and severe

action will be taken against the rapists, but she should be silent the

next day in the school.

 

However, despite such tricks and giving cover to culprits, next day at

morning, the incident echoed in the words of comrade Amjad Laakhair's

contribution. He, in his contribution in the school, condemned the

event and asked for the immediate action. But...........the leadership

kept silent. A criminal silence was maintained. Leadership is still

silent to this day.

 

Eye Witness: Xulfi Marxist, Female Comrade Ishrat

 

Evidences: Almost all participants of the school that night, but to

name a few: Comrade Xulfi Marxist, Comrade Tahir from KPK, Comrades

from K.N.Shah Branch, Comrade Razaq Laghari, Comrade Fahad Memon,

Comrade Ishrat, Comrade Amjad Laakhair.

 

Eye Witness Account by Xulfi Marxsit (as reported):

 

At the night of 4 December 2012, when I was passing by the female room

in the wing, where comrades stayed at night during Hawks Bay Winter

School in Karachi, I heard the sobbing voice of a woman. A slow

weeping sound of a woman was coming out of room. I hurried to inquire

what is wrong. I first knocked the door, no reply came. Then I opened

the door. I was astonished at the sight of what I saw. Down the bed at

mattress, was lying comrade 'F'. At one side of her was PJ,

fully drunk. On the Other Side of Her was RL. CK was

sitting nearby her. All the three men were fully drunk as I noticed it

from their movements. Comrade 'F' was weeping, she too was drunk. I

saw that P and RL were molesting her, and she was totally

handicapped by them. On the bed was comrade R, sitting and

weeping. When she saw me, she cried and yelled 'What the hell you

people are doing. I am just now calling L.K, these drunk bastards are

molesting her and giving us threats.

 

Comrade R also forced me to get out and get lost. She was angry,

weeping. I immediately returned back to report the thing to other

comrades nearby and do something.

 

Eye witness account by comrade Ishrat as reported:

 

Female comrades participating in Winter School in Karachi were given

separate room for living. My companions in the room were comrade

Raheela, Myself, comrade 'F' and some others. At the night of 4

December 2010, when we had yet not taken dinner, I was still in my bed

in the room. Comrades outside had drunk and were singing, dancing and

crying. During this hoopla, Comrade 'F' entered the room and lied on

mattress down the bed. She was heavily drunk. Immediately after her,

three men entered our room. I could see they were fully drunk and were

not able to talk properly. At first I thought that comrades might have

got some immediate work with us, that is why they have entered our

room unwelcome. But I quickly understood that there was something

wrong with them.

 

RL opened his arms and stretched them to comrade 'F', who was

lying totally dozed on mattress. He cried in zeal, "I love you 'F', I

love you" and suddenly broke into her bed over her. He was quickly

followed by the other two, who forcefully entered her bed. For me, it

was unbelievable. We resisted and shouted at them to get lost of our

room. But they could hardly listen to us. They kept on molesting

comrade F, who was unable to resist them by force because of her

condition, though she was abusing them to get off her body. I and my

other companion started to abuse them, shout at them and then kick

them to get away from F. This resulted in threat by PJ, who

asked us to keep silent otherwise he will beat us. This was

unbelievable and tormenting.

 

Before us, comrade F was weeping and abusing them to get away from

her, but neither she nor we were in position to get off with those

drunk monsters.

We started to cry and weep, totally feeling helpless. To whom could we

ask for help? We were frightened from all of the male comrades present

that night in the School. Because most of them were drunk, and who

knows how will they react? Will they too do the same with us? There

were enormous doubts. We were fearful. My companion comrade Raheela

called comrade L.K from her cell phone to report to him the incident

and help us. She could hardly talk to him.

 

Quickly after she talked on phone, the mobile phones started to ring

and one of the monsters talked on the phone. They then quickly got off

from 'F' and ran away out of our room.

After about half hour of the incident, almost every body in the School

came to know what had happened. Different comrades kept knocking our

door and expressing their grief with us regarding the incident. But to

be honest, we were really frightened. We could hardly sleep that

night.

 

Post-incident Remarks of some comrades:

 

Comrade Taahir from KPK: Comrade Tahir was present at the occasion

that night, who witnessed the whole thing. He was a newly recruited

comrade, who had come first time to attend the Marxist school. After

this gang rape incident, he was highly disappointed by IMT and left

the organization. Currently he lives in Kohat. Contact details of

Tahir can be provided on request.

 

Taahir: It was unbelievable for me to witness such crime committed by

those who preached for a just society. I couldn't believe that the

Marxists could do so? For days, the incident disturbed me mentally. I

could not get along with such organization, where the leadership was

raping its own comrades. At that night, after I knew about the

incident, I wanted to beat the rapists. But somebody told me that they

had escaped from the scene. I left the organization. I was totally

disappointed.

 

Comrade Ishrat: Comrade Ishrat was a female comrade, who was companion

of the victim that night. After coming back from school, she left the

organization immediately. To this day, she abuses the organization

because it did nothing to punish the rapists. Contact details of

comrade Ishrat can be given on request.

 

Ishrat: I had seen the rape with my own eyes and I couldn't help my

companion. This feeling of helplessness had torn me apart. From that

night, I can't figure out how those can do such a crime who advocate a

society of justice, peace and free from chains? I simply couldn't

believe my very own eyes that night. I hate those bastards. They were

monsters. I decided to leave this organization, where female comrades

are too much insecure. In fact, they are male chauvinists.

 

The Moral Trick

 

After the incident of rape came to surface, first time publicly on

Facebook, comrades were replied with threats of facing serious

'consequences'. One CC member, namely Anwar Panhwar, in branch meeting

of Shahdadkot, clearly gave death threat to comrade Haresh - the

expelled one. After that, such tricks continue to date.

 

One special trick that Pakistani section leadership of IMT did was:

Why didn't these comrades went public about the gang rape at that time

when the gang rape was committed? Why do they now openly 'allege' on

Facebook and break the discipline of organization? Isn't against the

'discipline' to 'allege' comrades and true 'Marxists' publicly? Why

did they not contact the organization before coming public?

 

Well, it is hypocrisy at its best in the first place. Why did not the

organization bothered about the rape incident for whole two years?

Why, we ask, did it not take action against the rapists even after

repeated demands of probe by different comrades at different times?

Why, in the first place, did it give cover to rapists and kept them on

the highest possible leading positions of the section till date?

 

And, what about this advice that the 'discipline' of the organization

should have been followed? To your knowledge, the matter was being

discussed within the organization for whole two years. Leadership

didn't bother to take an inch of step ahead against these culprits.

This moral trick of 'discipline' can not be imposed on the expelled

comrades, because they followed the discipline for whole two years and

kept trying to solve the matter - along with some other political

differences - within the organizational discipline. But when they were

kicked out of the organization, how could they keep silent? Which

discipline to follow?

 

Further, did the organization itself cared a little of 'discipline'?

From giving cover to rapists to expelling the comrades, it kept on

breaking its own discipline. Why should the expelled comrades now

respect the discipline of a dead skeleton, which has no meaning for

them now?

We now think that the time is over to appeal before IMT's

International leadership. It played the wait and see game for long. It

didn't intervene. It kept itself aloof, as if it was a supernatural

structure resting on the Mars, knowing nothing of the world near it!!

 

Even then, if IMT's International leadership is a bit serious about it

and wants to probe into the matter, we are ready to provide access to

all eye witnesses and evidences. But in our understanding, we think

that the time for IMT is over. A Marxist organization can not keep

itself aloof from the crimes of leadership of its section. If it does

so, it is accountable to history.

Long Live Socialist Revolution! Long Live the voice of truth

 

Comrades from Lahore Region

Comrades from Hyderabad Region

Comrades from Islamabad Region

Comrades from Kashmir Region

New IMT expulsions in Pakistan

posted 27 Jan 2012, 09:11 by Admin uk   [ updated 27 Jan 2012, 10:42 ]

The following is part of a report from Pakistan posted on FB recently.

This is the second wave of explsions from the IMT section in Pakistan, see earlier posts regarding leading national figure Manzoor Ahmed and his supporters.


"Pakistan Section of IMT has gone bureaucratic against its comrades!
Pakistan section of IMT has recently been suffering from bureaucratic
clutches observed on ordinary comrades. Principles of democratic
centralism have been violated and basic document of organization,
passed in congress 2011 of the section, too has been violated during
the year at many occasions. Equilibrium between democracy and
centralism has distorted. There is no room for comradely dissent. Who
so ever utters a word of dissent over organizational and political
matters, is met with a un-comradely criticism from leadership.
Leadership of the section is trying hard to maintain control on the
organization in these times of deepening crisis of new recruitment.

"This situation has been present in the section around some years, but
recently it has sharpened, as the contradictions of the society have
sharpened and the movement of working class is in low ebbs.
Pakistan Section’s heavily youth-centered organization has become very
slow in achieving new recruitment. It has been unable to
proletarianize itself despite different efforts, namely “PTUDC”. In
the times of near absence of working class movement, which could hold
the grip of mainstream politics and bring to the forefront the agenda
of class struggle, Pakistan section’s organization has gone introvert.
Not only introvert, but it also has been unable to inject new blood in
its body through recruitment. Situation is quite similar to
stagnation. Already active branches are going in-active, despite hard
efforts to make them active. Support from below has been nominal, as
branches occasionally meet and that too with visible sense of burden.
Super structures of organization, like central committee and regional
committees can be seen active, but all active layers below them
(branches and areas) have gone inactive and frozen.

"In such times, there is a strong need to explore new vistas and do the old things
with new and creative ways. But such creativity is met with strong
negation and criticism, as the leadership in the super structure is
afraid of loosening control and reluctant to adapt to changes.
This situation has led to bureaucratic tactics to maintain control.
Even if organizational document and principles are at stake, they are
taken little care of. The “Theory of Necessity” is practiced. It is:
Whatever is correct in the view of leadership at some particular time
in some particular situation IS right – whatever may be the result.
Comrades from below are seldom contacted for suggestions to improve
work. Equilibrium between democracy and centralism has distorted,
resulting in bureaucratic centralism. There is a clear sense of
favoritism: He who is near to central leadership and favorable for it,
is uplifted to higher organizational and decision-making positions,
thus giving the full control of organization in few hands. Where is
democracy in this whole process? It is name sake. Where are the
ventilating spaces for comrades, where they can express their thoughts
and views and contribute in the development of the organization?
Nowhere.

"Expulsion of Comrades

"Recently, three comrades have been expelled from the organization
without any prior notice, any opportunity to clarify their positions
and even without any valid political and organizational reason.
Comrade Zulfikar Mahesar (Xulfi Marxist), Zafar Imam and Rashid were
expelled from organization on December 28, 2011, without any prior
notice.

"These comrades belong to Sindh Region of Pakistan section – a region
of thriving political opportunities for IMT.

"These three comrades received a text message from Regional Secretary
Hanif Misrani, that they have been expelled from organization by CC.
Sub Committee. After asking the reason why such decision was taken in
such haste? comrade Hanif replied, “because comrades were in-active.”
Though, all these comrades have been active according to their roles,
but this reason (inactivity) does not disqualify any comrade from
basic membership of IMT. If this is so, then it can be proved that
Pakistan section’s organization will lose half of its membership on
such criteria. Thus, it turns out that there must be some other
reasons for the expulsion of comrades! And what are they?
Regional and central leadership of Pakistan section has been unable so
far to convince to comrades the exact reasons why these comrades were
expelled?! Neither it is ready to call the meeting of any responsible
institution/body where comrades can appeal for the restoration of
their basic membership and clarify their positions. This particular
situation neither can be justified on the basis of organizational
document, nor is it something what is the legacy of Bolshevism. It is
a clear cut bureaucratic centralism.

"Roles of Expelled Comrades

i)      Comrade Xulfi
Comrade Xulfi has been working in organization from last 7 years on
different responsibilities. Recently, he has transformed his role
according to global social networking trend, and started to gain
contacts from different parts of world for recruitment in IMT. Comrade
Xulfi is no unknown figure for all those comrades who usually use
Facebook. He has about 3 to 4 thousand contacts; he has provided
contacts to IMT in different parts of the world for recruitment
including India. He was surprised by the text message about expulsion
the evening of 28 December 2011. It was totally against what he has
been preaching on social networking sites across the world. It was
entirely un-comradely, un-revolutionary, un-democratic and
non-Bolshevik attitude to expel some comrades without any prior notice
and valid, justifiable and proven reason. After asking the reason
multiple times, he only received this text message from Regional
Secretary, “You will be told in RS meeting.” (*RS meeting controversy
will be defined later).

ii). Comrade Zafar Imam
Comrade Zafar Imam is former member of Central Committee of the
section. How he was expelled from central committee, is a different
story, which shall be described later!
He has remained on different responsibilities in the organization.
Comrade Zafar has been working in organization from 2006.
He is an active blogger, columnist of a Sindhi daily, where he
propagates the ideas of Marxism and IMT publicly, and has been the
back-bone of Information Technology department of organization in
Sindh. He is the developer of Sindhi website of Pakistan section of
IMT. (http://www.classtruggle.com )
He also received text message of his expulsion from organization by
regional secretary. After asking the reason, he was replied with one
word answer. “Inactivity”. !

iii). Comrade Rashid
Comrade Rashid has been working in the organization from last 6 years.
At the time of his expulsion, he was working as an elected member of
regional committee of Sindh. He was elected on December 23, 2011 by
regional aggregate just five days before his sudden expulsion. He had
laid the basis of the whole new area of Sindh region, namely Gulab
Laghari. Seeing his role, he was elected by regional aggregate as a
member for regional committee in Hyderabad."

Pakistan conference of ‘Revolutionary Struggle’ - the left wing movement in the Pakistan People's Party (PPP)

posted 7 Apr 2011, 15:36 by Admin uk   [ updated 7 Apr 2011, 15:43 ]

 March 25 & 26, 2011 in Rawalpindi

 Our Congress took place in the biggest hall in Rawalpindi, the Liaquat auditorium. This is located exactly at the place where Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan’s ex-prime minister and chairperson of the Peoples Party, was assassinated. 700 Comrades registered for both days. The comrades came from all over the country, from Karachi to Kashmir, Pakhtoonkhwa to Baluchistan and from the Gilgit and Baltistan. The workers who participated in the conference came from all walks of life including the Steel Mills, Port Qasim, Pakistan International Airlines, Paramedical, Railways, Civil Aviation Authority, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, Capital Development Authority, Banking and various other private sector areas. Also represented at the Conference were youth, students and lawyers organizations: Peoples Students’ Federation, the Pakhtoonkhwa Students’ Federation, JKNSF, JKPSF, the Peoples Lawyers’ Forum and the Peoples Youth Organization.

Opening Session

The Conference began with the singing of a revolutionary song followed by poems of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Habib Jalib. Then Irshad from the Electricity Union started the political section. Manzoor Ahmad ex-member of the National Assembly and leader of the PPP’s Labour Bureau commenced the discussion. He thanked all comrades who came from far flung areas to attend congress.

He reminded the Conference that while the ‘Revolutionary Struggle’ tendency had started out as an international tendency in concept, it had no links internationally. However, it is already making such links through TANIT (Towards A New International Tendency) as the Conference can see from the banner above the stage. In particular, he welcomed two representatives from TANIT to the Congress, Heiko Khoo and Pat Byrne.

Kabir from the Telecommunications Union read out the messages of revolutionary greetings to the Congress that had been received. These were from Melanie MacDonald from Canada, Wojtek Figel from Poland, Alex from Germany, Nadim from Tunisia (living in Britain), and Jonathan from Sweden.

World Economic and political perspective and character of the present Epoch


After the Opening Ceremonies Manzoor introduced the main speaker for this session, Pat Byrne. Pat is of Irish background born and brought up in Britain, but now living in Turkey. He came from a Labour family and had joined the Militant in 1972. He had been mainly active in the Labour Party and his union. And had participated in the IMT after the split in the CWI. He was an active member of TANIT’s international coordinating committee. After that the first session on World Economic and political perspective and character of the present Epoch started formally.

Pat began (full speech available in text and audio in English with Urdu translation on TANIT and on www.tanit.co and www.karlmarx.net) by referring to the Arab revolution taking place as the conference met. He hailed the courage of the Arab masses in braving attacks and even death to overthrow their dictators. Now revolution was everyone’s lips. But what kind of revolution and what was likely to follow it?

He gave a historical background of the role of the US after the Second World War which had given capitalism such stability. He explained the rise of neo-liberalism and detailed the rise of globalisation and how it was undermining the strength of the advanced countries. He outlined some of the causes of the Great Recession of 2008.

He returned to the question of the Arab Revolution, explaining that it was a political revolution not a social revolution. That the democratic aspirations of the people could not be delivered by capitalist ‘representative democracy’ which he proceeded to critique in detail. He contrasted this with what a real democracy would look like under the genuine control of the majority. That the Arab masses would soon be disappointed with the results of their revolution. A vacuum that we should seek to fill.

He finished by talking about the role of modern communication technologies in the Arab uprisings and their potential for future struggles. That just as the invention of printing helping the bourgeois come to power, the invention of the internet could do the same for the socialist movement, bringing the old slogan ‘Workers of the World Unite’ to reality.

In response to a question about Libya, Heiko spoke and gave some background to the Gaddafi regime. How it had nationalised the oil and gas in Libya and abolished capitalism. This had led to a rise in living standards and welfare services. But the regime was ruling through a bureaucracy and police repression. How the Gaddafi family had looted the resources of the country for themselves. Therefore, we could not support the regime. Nor could we support the Coalition powers in their military intervention. The Western powers hypocritically supported democracy purely for their own gain. We had to base our position on what was in the interests of working people in Libya.

Forty Five written questions were passed to the speaker. In Pat’s reply, he answered the following questions (full speech on audio available in English with Urdu translation on www.tanit.co and www.karlmarx.net):

Subjects he covered included:

What about the Banks? Law unto them – bonuses continue etc.

What has happened in Ireland? Elections, Labour Party, ULA 200 billion Euros debt in a country with only 5 million people.

Why is Left not organising the Arab uprisings?

Will imperialism succeed in Arab countries?

Control of Internet? How to overcome hurdles on internet by dictators?

What will be the benefit of social revolution/socialism?

What are differences between GB Shaw and Marx – with regards to democracy?

The role of leadership? – We are not anarchists

What is the definition of the working class?

What are the roots of terrorism?

What will be the future of capitalists after the revolution? Nowhere to hide – offshore banking.

We do not advocate violence nor are we pacifists. We will defend ourselves and the people against attack.

Muslim versus socialist versions of revolution? Role of religion in politics. Islam was not the motor force of the Arab revolutions. It was a secular movement. In Bahrain it has clearly become mixed up with the movement.

Why do we need a new international rather than the old one?

What about Democratic centralism?

Which conference should we follow – IMT or this one? We should not ‘follow’ either – we want cadres not followers. Study the differences yourself and make up your own minds.

Pakistan Economic and Political Perspective

After an hour’s break, the Conference’s second session on the subject of Pakistan Perspectives was opened by comrade Manzoor.He said that we are not going to abuse anybody. We are going to make a solid analysis so that people can understand what is happening in Pakistan. We don’t want this analysis to be restricted to just the leadership but involve all of you. The state and the system in Pakistan cannot solve its problems. The failure of the Communist Party to make the revolution in the old Hindustan state laid the basis for the problems we have today. Great Britain blamed the failure of the Hindustan state on the problems between the Hindus and the Muslims.

Contributions in the discussion:

By a trade union comrade
We should exchange our ideas with people not here. Only socialist revolution can solve the people’s problem. The PPP must return to its original constitution and slogan: ‘Socialism is our Motto’

By a student
Students are all now talking about revolution. But they don’t know which kind of revolution. The only revolution that can work is a socialist revolution and we are the wing that stands for this.

From a comrade from Karachi
we need more attention towards cadre-building to prepare for revolution. There have been too many movements in the past but they have not been following the correct aim. The workers of the world must be united.

From Sindh comrade and CC member
The PPP have been leaving their traditions and leaving a space where youth are joining other organisations some of them using terrorist methods. This is very dangerous.

President of People’s Student Federation in Punjab
The state is divided and has no direction. Only conflicts are arising and the youth and the ordinary people are victims of this. This system is moving towards destruction by its own hand. Either it will end in anarchy or revolution. There are only two alternatives. The PPP is divided into two main factions – the capitalist wing and the working class wing. The capitalist wing is constantly on the offensive against the working class wing.

Female Media Worker
The media is owned by a few rich people. The people’s views are not represented. Why cannot our views be expressed through the state media?

Railway worker – Chairman of one of the large Railway unions
between 1967-69 the revolution was not completed but diverted into reforms. Everyone is now talking about revolution but what do they mean by this? The media have achieved independence but are following the tune of the multinationals to create a mindset to help oppress the workers further. This media is actually helping the fundamentalists. We the revolutionaries should have our own media, our own stations. We need our own television and radio stations, our newspapers and websites. Our more educated comrades who have more time should spend time on this. I am a working man with no time to read websites and books. This dark night must go away. We are waiting for the red dawn. We are doing our work among the workers. We need the youth to help us. Speeches are fine at conferences but we need revolutionary action.

Student comrade from Kashmir
The Pakistan state is cutting back so much on education. Many institutions are being privatised. Soon it will only be rich children who can afford a good education. The solution is not to take up the gun but books and pens in our hand. Some people say that the PPP cannot make a revolution. That we should break away and form another Party. But the majority of workers look towards the PPP. Of course we can form a pure party with just a few comrades in it. We see so many other small left groups do this. We prefer to remain where the workers are. The working class will make the revolution.
We are not intellectuals. We are active in the broad popular organisations. We can use Marxism to guide us in the struggle.

Manzoor’s summing up

I have received so many questions. There is no time to answer them all but it shows that the comrades are taking great interest in this congress. The collisions between the different factions of the state can provide chances for us – the collision between liberalism and fundamentalism. Neither offer a way out. The murder of the politicians fighting the Blasphemy Law was answered by lighting candles. But this achieved nothing. We needed a mass reaction. If fundamentalism comes into force it will not discriminate between liberals, socialists or moderate Muslims. It will crush all trends and move forward over their bones. Only revolution and the working class can defeat fundamentalism. The ruling class cannot understand how to get rid of these crises.

Talibanisation is taking place in Punjab. Factions of the army support the Taliban. They regard it as a strategic asset. The army and police are more scared than the public. The PPP cannot rule because every day they are under blackmail from other parties or sections of the state machine. They have no space to solve the economic crisis or create jobs. We support the national aspirations of the Kashmiri people as we do of all the nationalities in Pakistan. But the conflict between Pakistan and India over Kashmir is fundamentally about access to water.

Only stressing lines of national independence will not solve the people’s problems. We need jobs, health, and education for the working class. Only if the workers of the different nationalities unite can we go forward. Unless we get rid of this ruling class we cannot achieve any real independence for the nationalities. We must unite as working class irrespective of race, religion, nationality and so on because we all suffer common problems. We must not become divided along these lines in our own movement. Privatisation is not the main threat in such an unstable situation. If somebody tries to privatise any institution we will become a wall against them. Privatisation has failed everywhere in the world. If we lose our offices inside the PPP in the fight against privatisation we will. The media is changing. You can’t block the spread of information any more. Information is spreading in seconds.

Full speech in Urdu & English live translation on audio available on www.tanit.co and www.karlmarx.net)

 

SECOND DAY
This session began with various performances of music, dance and poetry

The Chinese Economic Miracle- Triumph for Capitalism or the Planned Economy?

The Third Session on CHINA was led off by Heiko.Heiko outlined the birth of the Chinese Communist Party and took us through its struggle in the 1920s up until the revolution of 1949. He then detailed the experience of the Soviet Union after the revolution and the various economic debates that took the country through War Communism, the New Economic Policy, the Left Opposition’s alternative and Stalin’s policy on collectivisation. He then talked about the mistakes of Mao’s Great Leap Forward and the significance of the Cultural Revolution. He then explained that the reasons for the current economic miracle were the combination of planning, public ownership of the largest enterprises and the control of banking and credit. How central planning and investment meant that China did not significantly suffer from the slump in the capitalist world in 2008-9.

He gave examples about the strength of the Communist Party, the rapid growth of the trade union movement now at 240 million, the struggles of the workers and the response of the state. China was a state in transition, neither socialist nor capitalist. There were tremendous contradictions. A state based on dictatorship of the proletariat with a constitution and laws that declare full workers’ rights but where bureaucrats and private bosses trying to deny these rights.
He argued that the best way to proceed in China is to seek to help those communists and trade unionists who are seeking to turn the fine words of the constitution into practice.

 

Discussion
A comrade from Karachi
We see a great disappointment after Soviet Union’s disintegration and observed a massive decline in the labour movement especially in left politics. But after hearing Heiko’s speech about China there is a ray of hope which can play a positive role to stimulate our youth and working class. Of course, at present China is seen as an economic success story which includes a tendency towards Marxist ideas. We need to spread these ideas worldwide among working class.

Pat intervened with an explanation of some of Jonathan’s analysis as expressed in his document which had been translated into Urdu and circulated to al the comrades. How the ideas expressed in the Soviet Union in the 1920s concerning the need to make the state companies more effective than their capitalist competitors were being implemented in China. How the Command Economy of the Soviet Union could never work, with a central bureaucracy trying to ignore the realities of the market and decide on prices for every commodity and centrally plan everything. The fall of the Soviet Union had led to a disastrous fall in production and terrible hardship for the population.

The Chinese Communist Party leadership saw this and decided to take a different road combining state control and planning with market disciplines. Step by step they embraced the market and are beating the capitalists at their own game. Pat added some examples of his own. How the Chinese state companies are wining because they have virtually unlimited credit behind them, long-term planning and a willingness to take risks and massively invest in technologies etc. In one sector after another they are succeeding in building up their industries.

 

Finance Appeal
Irshad from the Electrical Workers Union launched a Financial Appeal by explaining that we have been operating for three years without any full-timers. However we urgently need a full-timer to develop our website.
Then followed a stream of comrades with individual financial contributions and pledges from their areas.

Full speech on video available in English with Urdu translation on www.tanit.co and www.karlmarx.net)

 

 

 

Organization

The Fourth Session of the Conference was on organization. It was led off by Comrade Kabir from the Telecomm Union. He pointed out that the uprisings around the world lacked revolutionary leadership. If a socialist revolution was to take place in any one country, the modern methods of communications could allow it to quickly spread across the world. The tragedy is that all the left groups and parties across the world are unable the gain leadership of the masses. The reasons there are so many splits within the left movement is that whenever differences arise they are incapable of discussing them in a mature way – they dismiss any opposition. This is their main problem.

Internally they suffer from leaderships with an Ego problem who are determined to hold onto their positions against any criticism or challenge. The left groups are producing followers not cadres.

In our group, Revolutionary Struggle, we do not want to create a central command structure – we need a system where every comrade can participate. Not implementation of orders but democratic decision-making.

Modern methods of communication are bringing together all humans. The old left Leaderships were trying to keep information centralised in order to keep power in their hands rather than share it with the membership. But modern technology makes this impossible.

Our organisation is only 3 years old. We were thrown out of the IMT. They used abusive language and accused us of working for our own private interests and selling out to the PPP leadership. Now people can see that we are none of this.

 

The IMT group in Pakistan gives the impression of being a large organisation but in fact it is run by full-timers with very little beneath it. Their branch structure is extremely weak. We must not repeat these mistakes. We must have strong democratic branches.

We have weaknesses. In some regions our work depends too much on key individuals. We need to change this and build a collective organisation in those areas. We don’t need gurus. We need to democratise our paper. All comrades must develop the skills of writing to contribute to it.

Finance – what we have achieved so far has been made in very difficult circumstances because we did not have enough finances. In all regions we need to build a necessary infrastructure to promote our ideas.
Capitalism has lost its progressive role. It now needs to intensify exploitation to overcome its current crisis.
The uprising in the Middle East can be spread to other regions. If it comes to Pakistan we have to ask ourselves: are we ready to lead and direct it in a true direction?

 

Central Committee Election

A new more democratic system was introduced for the election of the CC. Instead of it being nominated from the leadership as it was in the past, nominations were made from each region. Comrade Manzoor read out these nominations and said a few words about each nominee.

Introduction to TANIT

The Conference’s Fifth Session was an Introduction to TANIT . Pat explained that TANIT came out of a split in the International Marxist Tendency. However, he did not wish to dwell on the IMT which would be the typical behaviour of other groups who tended to focus on such internecine struggles.

TANIT began on the 1st of April last year with the launch of a simple email list. Since then we have held conferences in Belgium, Germany and Greece. The idea of such frequent local conferences was to allow the rank and file comrades in those countries to participate. This was a break from the past practice of international conferences being held only once a year or every two years and being only open to the leading comrades in each section. Next month we shall be meeting in Sweden.

We have decided to begin by focusing on four main topics: Nature of the Epoch, Transition to Socialism, Attitude towards the broad organisations of working people, and Organisational culture.

We have launched an online Discussion Forum which gives a chance for every comrade to participate in debate, put forward proposals, or amendments to others etc. We will hold a Conference in August in Poland to agree positions on these documents. After the August Conference we will create a website to promote these ideas including audio-visual presentations to better explain our positions.

In these very early days we have participants in about 20 countries. In the main these comrades are in small groups or are individuals. We also have contacts in many other countries. But we have not been recruiting. First we must work out our ideas. Once this has been done sufficiently we will be reaching out to new people and groups.

TANIT is not trying to create some proto-international. A real International can only consist of mass organisations made up of tens of millions of members. Also we are not sectarian against other mass left formations. Thus we will help activists in broad parties to the left of social democracy like the Left Party in Germany, the United Left in Spain, the Scottish Socialist Party and so on. Wherever, the workers are we should be there assisting them achieve a programme of democratic socialism and helping their organisations to unite with other workers mass organisations.

We don’t want to create an international group controlled from one centre. It is ridiculous to think that comrades in an office in London as with the IMT and CWI, can direct the work in countries like Pakistan. Rather we are building an international network – a genuine partnership of socialist left-wing organisations who can share ideas, inspire each other and organise solidarity across the world. We also want to leave behind the old model of narrow organisation where everyone has to agree on every dot and comma handed down to them from a few top leaders. And when you disagree are forced to leave or are expelled.

Pat finished with some personal observations about Revolutionary Struggle:

This is the first time that I have ever seen a political group like yours dominated not by full-time political ‘experts’ but by the comrade’s active in the mass movement. This is how it should always have been in our movement. Last night I attended the Trade Union Commission. When I heard the demands from the comrades in all the areas for the setting up of the People’s Labour Federation and the great potential this federation has to unite the divided trade union movement and extend it across Pakistan, I saw most clearly how correct it has been for the comrades to continue the struggle in the PPP.

Then I listened to Manzoor’s great contribution. How can such a dedicated comrade who is giving all his time and energy to the struggle be accused of opportunism and careerism. Then I listened to Kabir’s brilliant summary of the various issues involved in organisation and the internal life of your movement. Comrades we have nothing to teach you and everything to learn from you.”

 

Organisational Session Summing Up (by Kabir)

We now have 1067 members. The Fighting Fund collection resulted in 167,000 Rupees.There was voting on three issues open to all members at the Conference:The political position on Pakistan as put forward by Manzoor .Pat’s report on behalf of TANIT.The CC slate as nominated and read out. All three votes were overwhelmingly in favour with 1-2 votes against on each item.

Comrade Mansoor summed up the Conference

The Conference concluded with the singing of the International, followed by the chanting of slogans: ‘Revolution, Revolution, Socialist Revolution’ and ‘Dark night go away, the red dawn will come’.

 

The above is based on some notes taken by Pat Byrne. Layout and photos from Amjad. A fuller record by text, video, audio and photos is available on: www.tanit.co 

Indian independence (part 3) – Role of the Communist Party of India during Partition

posted 26 Feb 2011, 03:26 by Admin uk

In his previous article Jamil has shown that, far from standing for a unified secular democratic India, the bourgeois leaders of the independence movement based themselves on communalist appeals to the Muslims (Muslim League) and Hindus (Congress). This led directly to the catastrophe of partition.

Could the Communist Party of India (CPI) have made a decisive difference? Here Jamil shows they had their own organisational weaknesses. Above all they were prisoners of the policies imposed by Stalin on the international communist movement. In backward and colonial countries, Stalin decreed, the movement had to go through two stages - democracy, then socialism. In Russia this had actually been the policy of the Mensheviks, successfully overcome by the Bolsheviks in the October Revolution. Jamil has demonstrated that, in India as everywhere else, the 'progressive national bourgeoisie' was a myth. Yet this was the non-existent class the CPI proposed to march behind in a 'Popular Front'.

The policies imposed on the international communist movement by Stalin were normally reformist, indeed counter-revolutionary. But occasionally he lurched into an ultra-left phase as in 1947-48, called the 'Zhdanov offensive.' In lurching from right to left, a drunk will at one point be found upright. That is the significance of the correct perception of what was happening in India by the Moscow commentators Dyakov and Zhukov.In the 1940s the Communist Party of India (CPI) was a prisoner of the policies imposed by Stalin on the international communist movement. In backward and colonial countries, Stalin decreed, the movement had to go through two stages - democracy, then socialism. This proved disastrous for the workers of the whole of the Indian subcontinent.

In the Indian communist movement, there are different views on exactly when the Communist Party of India (CPI) was founded. The date maintained as the foundation day by the CPI is 26 December 1925. But the Communist Party of India (Marxist), which split-off from the CPI, claims that the party was founded in the USSR in 1920. During the 1920s and beginning of the 1930s the party was badly organized, and in practice there were several communist groups working with limited national coordination. The British colonial authorities had banned all communist activity, which made the task of building a united party very difficult. Only in 1935 was the party ready to be accepted as the Indian section of the Communist Third International.

The Communist Party of India (CPI) could have acted as a powerful factor in taking up the interests of national minorities in identifying their specific interests and to fight for them within the framework of their struggle for independence. It is true that the CPI arrived rather late historically as an effective political force at a time when communalism had already become a very powerful factor in Indian politics; but even then if they had meaningfully linked up class struggle with the struggle of national minorities since the early 1930s, then the political developments in India could have taken a different turn.

The importance of various national minorities, emphasised by Lenin as far back in the early 1920s, was not properly grasped by the leaders of the CPI, though in their own way they tried to formulate a policy on the national question and unity of India as late as 1942. The CPI could have acted as a powerful factor in taking up the interests of national minorities, but in spite of making some efforts in that direction they floundered on the national question and failed to expose the communal designs and conspiracies of Indian big capital.

Role of the CPI

The CPI failed to inspire and mobilise the people and play an effective role for two basic reasons. The CPI did not extend the national question to properly embrace the various national minorities other than the Muslim religious minority. The CPI depended too much, almost entirely, on Congress-League unity as the outcome of the national minority question and thereby left that question in real terms in the hands of those who were already divided quite decisively as communal parties of the upper and middle class Hindu and Muslim communities respectively.

Thus they failed to inspire the religious, ethnic, linguistic and other minorities, as well as the scheduled castes (untouchables) among the Hindus, in identifying their specific interests and to fight for them within the framework of their struggle for independence. The failure of the CPI was disastrous because they could open separate dialogues with Jinnah and the Sikhs and others on the question of national minorities. But instead, they pursued a policy of uniting the hands of Gandhi and Jinnah as leaders of the two most important and dominated religious communities and depended in a ridiculous manner on the prospect of a Congress-League understanding under the given conditions. It is because of a wrong analysis of the Indian national question and this failure of policy that the communist movement in India suffered a terrible setback from which it has not yet been able to recover.

It should be mentioned that at the second congress of the CPI in February-March 1948, greatly influenced not only the communist party of India and Pakistan but the history of the entire sub-continent. The central committee of the CPI in the last week of June 1947 arrived at certain decisions which were published as a ‘Statement of Policy'. In that Statement of policy laid their attitude towards Nehru, in that they characterised Nehru as a person who was capable of guiding the democratic movement in India. The statement said, "In the area of building the Indian Republic on a democratic basis, the Communist Party would proudly extend full co-operation." Extending their policy to Pakistan, they said that the Communist Party also thought that in order to implement any democratic programme in the Sub-continent it was necessary to unite the left of the Muslim League and the Congress.

Withdrawal

In order to extend their support to the Congress and Muslim League regimes in Pakistan and India, the Communist Party virtually withdrew all the programmes they were following just preceding independence. They even withdrew the Tebhaga (sharecroppers) Movement in Bengal in November 1947. The CPI made an appeal to the peasants not to initiate any direct action in demanding two-thirds of the crops, because the new government was to be given an opportunity to fulfil their promise. In fact, no promise was ever given to the peasants regarding ‘Tebhaga' by the new Muslim League in East Pakistan.

It is quite amazing that shortly before the division of India in June 1947, the Soviet theoretician A. Dyakov, in an article called "The New British Plan for India" published in the Soviet paper, New Times, on 13 June 1947, said "the division of the Indian sub-continent is a well-planned conspiracy to keep the sub-continent under the British imperialist control." He added that by submitting themselves to it the Indian leaders had compromised with imperialism and in this they had been forced by the Indian big commercial interests. Through this arrangement imperialism and commercial interest had tried to sabotage the revolution by dividing the home market between themselves.

Following Dyakov's article another article by Soviet theoretician E. Zhukov called "Concerning the Indian Situation" was published in which he said more clearly and in a straightforward manner that the Indian National Congress was nothing but a representative of the Indian big bourgeoisie and monopoly capital and in reality Congress entered the reactionary camp. He also said that the bourgeoisie were afraid of the people much more than imperialism.

From the articles of Dyakov and Zhukov it can be said that the Soviet leaders and the CPI were well aware of the situation in India before partition. Despite their awareness of the situation they were still following the Stalinist stance of the Popular Front.

Following the Popular Front stance, the CPI theoreticians totally failed to take into account the very clear power factors and the state of the existing production relations. Thus they failed miserably to analyse the actual situation in India after partition. In the absence of such analysis their political line was full of imaginary ideas and doomed from the very outset. It was nothing short of surrender to the Indian ruling classes. In order to justify their line the Indian communists involved themselves in the stupid exercise of separating Nehru from Indian monopoly capital which he represented.

One of the biggest mistakes of the second congress of the CPI was lumping India and Pakistan together as one unit. Much of their analysis rested on their attitude to Jawaharalal Nehru, a factor totally irrelevant to the situation of Pakistan. It is true that till that time the CPI remained formally undivided, but this did not mean that exactly the same strategy could be applicable to both India and Pakistan.

The relations of the class forces and the strength of the organisation of the working people, the state of the party organisations, as well as the power of the Indian big monopoly capital, of the state and its armed forces, were not taken into consideration at all while evaluating the situation in India at that time. Nothing could be more futile than this blindness to obvious facts, and soon the organisation of the CPI was deeply endangered more by their own stupid acts than by any repressive measure of the governments of India and Pakistan.

Colonial masters

All the problems of minorities survived after partition and there was no sign of any attempt to improve the situation. The partition that both the Hindu and Muslim majorities carved out with the help of the colonial masters to their own advantage, was to the utter detriment of the interests of minorities of all descriptions.

Large scale migrations followed in the wake of partition which happened in its worst form and maddening proportions in West Pakistan and West India, particularly on both sides of the Punjab, where widespread riots broke out between Muslims on one side and Hindus and Sikhs on the other, resulting in the killings of tens of thousands of people and almost a total exchange of population.

The partition of India was, in a very real sense, a game of majorities, and as such the interests of Muslim and Hindu minorities in India and Pakistan respectively, and along with them, the interests of scores of other minorities of British India remained a matter of indifference to the Congress, the Muslim League and the British, who presided over the partition of India.

1-10 of 23

Comments