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by the Sramik Sangram Committee, translated and published in Sanhati 18 May 2008, republished by Hydrarchy 18 May 2008

A fugitive criminal is ruling roost in Nandigram, directing a huge armed force of party cadres. A police officer waves and gives a beaming smile to the criminal while passing by in his jeep — a picture familiar in today’s ‘peaceful’ Nandigram. A group of socially established intellectuals were prohibited from proceeding towards Nandigram on the basis of Government’s directive a day before the Panchayat polls. If this is the treatment meted out to the people belonging to the higher ranks of social hierarchy, one can easily imagine the tremendous threatening, intimidating and terrorized situation in which the toiling masses of Nandigram are striving to live. You have to work for CPIM, participate in their party processions and if you defy, you will be confined in your home with broken limbs. If one dares to raise a voice of protest, houses will be set to fire, the protesting people will simply ‘disappear’.

There seems to be no other way with both the police and the administration not merely being silent observers but party to this mayhem organized by CPIM. The women are pleading desperately to the central army and the CRPF officers for protection. What a picture of Nandigram are we witnessing! Today’s Nandigram is indeed terrorized by the nexus of CPIM, police and administration. What we witnessed during the Panchayat elections is just a continuation of the terror unleashed since last November. Even the CRPF officers have not been spared from the threats by CPIM leaders. The continuous description of terror, beatings, violence, rapes .…wails, screams and groans — is this the only picture that characterize Nandigram?

No, the above picture is just one aspect of Nandigram. Nandigram signifies protests; it signifies spontaneous resistance by the peasantry. Nandigram stands as a symbol of resistive struggle against the attack of the ruling class. One has to remember that Nandigram is not merely represented by the incident of 14th of March, 2007. The real Nandigram revealed itself when a small procession of 40-50 people with a martyr’s dead body turned spontaneously into a 40-45 thousand odd peoples’ spontaneous protest rally on the 16th of March that drove out the perpetrators of violence, the party vandals from Sonachura and gained control over the village. The CPIM thugs who are on the carnage today had to flee to save themselves; the police were forced to escape and take shelter in the confines of school premises. The government was forced to bow down in the wake of this united resistance by thousands of land labourers and peasants. Where has that Nandigram disappeared?

Has that Nandigram been completely vanquished by the terror of CPIM? No, Nandigram is struggle and resistance personified — it can never die. The struggle continues to live within the fighting people, amidst the workers, peasants and toiling masses. Yet a question looms — why did such a situation evolve?

It has to be understood that the fighting mass of Nandigram failed to retain their power of united resistance within their control. The struggling people started losing their power and ability out of their own volition, from the moment they started submitting themselves in the hands of the parties. Perhaps they were under the illusion that it would be possible to re-exert themselves through the power of the parties in the forthcoming Panchayat elections. This marks the reason for their failure, the reason for backtracking — not exposed earlier but has become clear in this phase of ongoing bloody violence. However, this is not the end, this cannot be the end. People of Nandigram will definitely take lessons from history to revive and restore their unity and struggle.

Friends, CPIM has compelled us to chose between parties — either you are on ‘our’ side or ‘theirs’ which simply means that either you belong to CPIM or to the Trinamul. Are we such powerless, inanimate pawns in the hands of the stinking representatives of the ruling class? No, not at all. CPIM, Trinamul, Congress and the various other horses of the same stable do not represent West Bengal. Within this
West Bengal an embryo of a new West Bengal, a new India is gradually emerging from the struggle of the workers, peasants and the toiling masses. A West Bengal of workers and peasants is burgeoning from the fights that are striving to establish an
independent and autonomous struggle and organisation by completely detaching from the clutches of the established old parties. The ruling class and CPIM are scared of this spontaneous resistance by the workers and peasants and that is why they are determined to bulldoze these struggles. This explains the continued violence in Nandigram.

Raise your voice of protest against the terror unleashed by the CPIM in connivance with the police and administration. However, it is just not enough to protest against the terror, murders, rapes and inhuman torture. One has to stand for the new socio-political awakening, extend active support towards the emerging struggle and organization of workers and peasants. You will have to be an architect in building your own organization, in your factories or farmlands. Gather strength to fight against each and every onslaught of the ruling class; build up the power to resist. And this is how you can give a fitting reply to the onslaught of violence in Nandigram.

Sramik Sangram Committee

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