Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ark Tribe trial set for June 2010

(For background information on the Ark Tribe case see the Ark's Tribe website or the Rights on Sights website).

Adelaide construction worker Ark Tribe went to court again today – his fourth pre-trial hearing – and was given a three-day trial date in June 2010.

Today’s appearance was attended by several hundred construction workers, as well as representatives from unions representing teachers, public sector workers and the LHMU. The latter union brought along a group of Coca-Cola workers who had just won a fight with that multinational.

Before going into court, Ark thanked his many supporters. A quiet and softly-spoken bloke, it was the first time that Ark had addressed the crowds that had come out to support his court appearances.

In a video posted to the Rights on Sites ( website, members of Ark’s family also spoke out publicly for the first time, testifying to the fine qualities of the man and to the injustice of the charges brought against him.

A four-part poem by retired worker Bob Saltis was circulated at the rally. It is a great piece of working class literature, and I reprint it below with respect for its author:

By Bob Saltis

1. Building worker

In this sunburnt country
where workers toil for others’ gain
and all too often on building sites
mangled bodies scream accusation
and every week a wife or mother
we salute Ark Tribe
an ordinary bloke
who proudly wears his union badge
and stands up unyieldingly for workers’ rights

The law would have him wear the yoke
he does not cower and boldly defies the greedy sharks

“Dob in your mates,” fawning lackeys howl
“or six months jail awaits”.

But this man is built of sterner stuff
The flag he flies is the Southern Cross
Anger seethes in stern eyes
“I like my beer and darts with mates but
I’ll rot in your jail and not give up
the liberties my mates of old won for me.
Me and my union we’re in this boat together
We’ll fight till we smash this evil thing.”

2. Building bosses

The sharks have multiplied in the building industry
construction company sharks
bank sharks
insurance sharks and
private equity sharks

This is the age of the shark and the vampire in the building industry
The vampires have their fill of the blood
and the sharks wax fat on the gore
of workers slain in workplaces
by unsafe scaffolding, falling cranes
and collapsing bridges
by the bosses cutting corners and
taking risks

This is the age of the plunderer in the building industry
They gloat over rising profits
swindle their way to massive
lord it at the top of the heap
and squat on the workers’ backs

This is the age of hypocrites in the building industry
Smugly they dish out charity
while they shabbily turn a blind eye
on safety
and ruthlessly throw workers on the

This is the age of the dominion of capital and its owners
“We’ll have one more profit’” they cry
“We’ll cut corners and take risks
To this end we’ll bust
the building union
And we have a bead on Ark Tribe.”

3. Building watchdog

I accuse.
I accuse the ABCC of being a pro-boss
This is why building workers hold the
ABCC in utter contempt.
ABCC stands for Anti-union Bloody-minded Class-prejudiced Contemptible watchdog

A is for the anti-union watchdog set up
to bust effective unions and weaken
the union movement. To this end
unions are demonized with allegations
of corruption and violence and union
members are intimidated.

B is for the blackhearted bosses. Every
year in our sunburnt country mothers
wives and children mourn the
slaughter of fifty men in the building
industry but the bloody-minded
watchdog has never investigated the
bosses for unsafe worksites, or for
killing and maiming workers made to
work in unsafe conditions.

The first C is for cop on the beat. He
uses his oppressive powers to keep
unions off building sites checking on
the safety of members and to bully
workers into dobbing in their

The other C is for the class war the
class-prejudiced watchdog is
conducting on behalf of the bosses by
relentlessly hounding the workers and
their unions. They aim to consolidate
their class dominion and so to have a
free hand to exploit workers.

I salute Ark tribe who stands up
unyielding against this anti-union
bloody-minded class-prejudiced
contemptible watchdog.

4. Building industry

Fired by the spirit of Eureka
Ark Tribe and his union are in the fight
the fight for rights at work
the fight against wrong.
In the spirit of those rebel heroes
they blaze with icy anger
and stand up to the black-hearted

“One law for all!” the union demands
and hundreds take up the call.
“One law for all! One law for all!” the
workers chant
Ark’s comrades all.
“Comrade workers,” the union appeals,
“rally in support of Ark Tribe.
His fight for justice, to see justice done
Is not just for himself but for everyone.”

And in our thousands we take to the
the awakened understanding of a
disfranchised class.
Resolute we march shoulder to
heads high, strong and united
An unyielding family, young and old
stern warriors for “Your Rights at
we know each other by our clenched
Defiant voices rising like rain clouds
over the land
we sing a solidarity song.

And we join this fight
keenly aware of the sturdy and tested
that links us to those to whom
we owe the liberties we enjoy today.

We are singing a people’s song.

No destructive labels - stop league tables

(Above, school principals address the gathering before meeting with Minister Lomax-Smith)

Despite schools having closed for the holidays, a hundred or so AEU officials and school leaders met outside the head office of the Education Department yesterday to demand action to prevent the publication of league tables.

More than two hundred letters signed on behalf of individual schools by principals and sometimes by governing council (parents) chairpersons and AEU sub-branch secretaries, were delivered to the Minister for Education, Dr Jane Lomax-Smith.

The Minister was also presented with a copy of the AEU Charter on accountability, improvement, assessment and reporting (see: )

Chanting No Destructive Labels - Stop League Tables the principals and AEU officials called on Lomax-Smith to lobby her Federal counterpart, deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard to introduce legislation to prevent the formation of school league tables.

Gillard has created a MySchool website which will publish national literacy and numeracy (NAPLAN) tests results for grade 3,5,7 and 9 students.

This is a governmental misuse of a diagnostic test that was never intended to be a summative statement of how individual schools perform.

It is an even more shocking misuse in Queensland and South Australia, where year 7 is part of primary school, rather than the first year of secondary school.

In these two states, secondary school will be named and shamed on the basis of predominantly multiple choice questions of students in a single year level in a test that carries a high statistical margin of error.

Gillard is yet another Australian politician aping the failed education systems of the United States and the UK.

The social democratic ALP used to pretend that it wanted high quality free public education in every local community.

Now they want to promote “parental choice” through league tables as a cop-out from their former policy.

Rather than doing something about inequity in educational provision they want the parents to “walk with their feet” (Kevin Rudd) and be responsible for their own children being given a successful education.

This is the neo-liberal mantra of letting the market decide.

It continues the neo-liberal con job that has resulted in over a third of Australian students ending up in private education.

It is believed that Minister Lomax-Smith sees what is happening, disagrees with much of it, but feels unable to change the immoveable object that is the Deputy Prime-Minister.

Some educational commentators, including those who would not normally see eye to eye with the AEU such as Prof Brian Caldwell, have called on teachers to ban NAPLAN until there is legislative protection around its use.

Such legislation must outlaw the publication of school league tables.

A Marathon dummy spit!

Despite heroic attempts at capital raising to fund its pathetic existence, Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary despoiler Marathon Resources is sitting on the bones of its corporate arse.

Share prices that had once stood at $7-$8 fell to a new low of 44 cents overnight.
Boy, are we sad!

A terse announcement from the company states:

In order to protect cash reserves, Marathon continues to, where possible, take appropriate steps to reduce operating costs, including corporate administration expenses and the cost of services at the exploration site.

The number of personnel within our corporate office has been minimised and corporate, accommodation and other commercial commitments to the Arkaroola Village – for which Marathon has paid in excess of $1.9m over the past 4 years – have been terminated.

This all but signals the failure of the rebadging process that the company underwent when Shad Lynley was appointed a non-executive director in June 2008.

Lynley did an official mea culpa over the waste burial scandal and undertook an extensive PR campaign to prove that Marathon had had a “change of heart”, that it was a clean, green mining machine with a social conscience. In particular, he promised a new relationship with all stakeholders, including the operators of the Sanctuary, Doug Sprigg and Marg Sprigg.

In various shareholder chatrooms the parasitic wisdom was that the Spriggs were dependent on Marathon because it accommodated its exploration staff at the Arkaroola Village. The Spriggs needed this income, and when push came to shove, they would bend to the will of the company.

Pigs could also fly!

Doug and Marg have remained resolute in their opposition to mining in the Sanctuary.

Then came the state government’s Department of Primary Resources (PIRSA) and its Seeking a Balance report that defined a hierarchy of access zones in the northern Flinders Ranges (which encompasses Arkaoola).

“Getting the balance right” has fast become an excuse for every neo-liberal crime that the social democrats at state and federal level want to continue with but which they are too afraid to endorse in an explicitly neo-liberal format.

A deadline for public comment on the Seeking a Balance report has now been extended by about 6 weeks. This is what is behind the giant Marathon dummy spit.

This cash-strapped cowboy outfit thought it had the contacts (ex-Labor heavyweight Chris Schacht) and the financial backers (China’s giant CITIC and the corrupt Queensland coal magnate Ken Talbot) to just drive into Arkaroola and start ripping uranium out of the place.

It hasn’t worked out for them to date, so the urbane, sophisticated patience they tried to portray has run out of steam and they’ve turned nasty, venting their spleen on the Arkaroola Village.

That’s why this is the announcement of a failed strategy.

No more pretending to be Mr Nice Guy.

So let’s clarify this once and for all and have legislation that rejects “balance” and “compromise” and every other weasel-worded way of letting mining continue in Arkaroola.

We want Arkaroola protected by law!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A green hunt in red blood

Last September the Indian ruling class launched a war of annihilation against the Communist Party of India (Maoist) and the adivasi (tribal) masses with whom it has integrated.

More than 150,000 soldiers, including regular army troops and special units like the Cobras and landlord vigilantes like Salwa Judum have been deployed to liberated areas under Operation Green Hunt. The latter is a euphemism for spilling the red blood of the people.

The CPI(Maoist) inherits the rich traditions of the Naxalites and has applied Mao Zedong’s theories to the struggles of the poor and oppressed in the tribal areas.

Whole sections of India are under their control or subject to their influence.

Hence India’s war on its own people.

Please bookmark this website for regular updates on Operation Green Hunt:

Asian Dub Foundation is supporting the contemporary Naxalites with their song Naxalite. It can be heard on this YouTube video. The lyrics are printed below.

Brothers and sisters of the soul unite
We are one, indivisible and strong
They may try to break us
But they dare not underestimate us
They know our memories are long
A mass of sleeping villages
That's how they're pitching it
At least that's what they try to pretend
But check out our history
So rich and revolutionary
A prophecy
That we will rise again!

And we must never give up
Until the land is ours
No never give in
'Til we have taken the power.

Like springing tigers
We encircle the cities
To the future we will take an oath
High up in the mountains
Deep in the forest
Our home is the undergrowth.

And we must never give up
Until the land is ours
No never give in
'Til we have taken the power.

And we have taken the power
And the land is ours…

Because, I am just a Naxalite Warrior
Fighting for survival and equality
Policeman beating up me, my brother and my father
My mother crying 'can't believe this reality

'Iron like a lion from Zion
This one going out to all youth, man and woman
Original Master 'D' 'pon the microphone stand
Cater for no sceptical man me don't give a damn!

‘Cos I’m a Naxalite warrior….

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Save Arkaroola!

Public submissions on the SA government report titled “Seeking a Balance: Conservation and resource use in the Northern Flinders Ranges” are due by December 19.

There is no better overview of the issues surrounding the Report, which open significant parts of the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary to the threat of continued minerals exploration and subsequent mining, than that provided by Bill Doyle on his blog Unknown SA.

Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary directors Marg Sprigg and Doug Sprigg have major concerns for the future of this iconic treasure house. They recently established to defend the sanctuary.

This is an area with iconic status and legislative protection should be developed to ensure that no further mineral exploration takes place, and that mining within the sanctuary is forever banned.

The mapping of areas outside of the Sanctuary based on landscape quality, biodiversity values and Aboriginal heritage should be used to define Access Zones as per the Report. However, there should be a rigorous protection of those areas once defined. Strict guidelines and an independent process should exist in relation to any future variation of these Zones. The Report states in its concluding paragraph:

As new information comes to light over the years ahead on the region’s resource potential and geoscientific values and on the environmental, landscape and biodiversity values…the management zones will be further refined to ensure that the unique environmental and landscape values of the region are protected.

The latter paragraph is a major loophole in the Report’s purported commitment to protecting the values of the Northern Flinders Ranges. These weasel words provide no guarantees for ongoing protection of the region’s unique aesthetic qualities, its geological treasures, and its endangered or rare fauna and flora.

What is required is not a flawed management plan but ongoing legislative protection of the region’s unique aesthetic qualities, its geological treasures, and its endangered or rare fauna and flora.

Make a submission now (examples on the Sprigg website above).

Despoiling Arkaroola for greed and uranium
Is a perfect example of a bloody no-brainium!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

South Australia celebrates the spirit of the Eureka rebellion

The Eureka flag is a proud symbol of Australian struggles for democracy, independence and workers' rights.

At the request of the Spirit of Eureka Committee in South Australia, three metropolitan city councils, the Marion City Council, the Port Adelaide-Enfield City Council and the Campbelltown City Council, flew the Eureka flag in a Eureka Week Commemoration.

Campbelltown Council also flew the flag at its Migrant Memorial, a fitting gesture in a community with a large Italian-Australian population. The principal eyewitness account of the Eureka Rebellion is by leading participant Rafaello Carboni, one of a large number of Italians who took part.
While some so-called "patriots" try to misappropriate the Eureka flag for white supremacist and anti-immigrant purposes, it was Carboni who underscored the multicultural nature of the great rebellion, saying: "I call on my fellow diggers, irrespective of nationality, religion or colour, to salute the 'Southern Cross' as the refuge of all oppressed from all countries on earth."

The week commemorates the swearing of the Eureka oath on November 29, 1854 by gold diggers who were determined to resist the injustices of the authorities of the then British colony of Victoria, and the subsequent storming of the Stockade by police and troopers on the morning of Sunday December 3.

The simple words of the oath are as follows: "We swear by the Southern Cross to stand truly by each other and fight to defend our rights and liberties".

Labor MP Steph Key told state parliament on December 1 that the Charter of the Spirit of Eureka "would be a sound basis for a bill of rights for Australia" (see below).

On December 3, the Eureka flag flew above the South Australian parliament as the President of the Legislative Council (Upper House), the Hon. Bob Sneath led about 60 participants in reciting the Eureka Oath.

The swearing of the oath has been put on video:

The text of Steph Key's statement to parliament follows:

The Hon. S.W. KEY (Ashford) (15:54): I was really surprised and also pleased to hear that, on Thursday 3 December at 1.15 on the steps of Parliament House, the Hon. Bob Sneath, the President of the Legislative Council, along with a number of others, including Martin O'Malley from the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, will be conducting a celebration which commemorates 155 years of the spirit of Eureka.

Mr Venning interjecting:

The Hon. S.W. KEY: Eureka, yes. I understand that the Eureka flag will be flying. I am not sure whether it will fly from Parliament House, which would be unusual; we will have to wait and see and attend to find out. Needless to say, I think it is important for this house to note that the Spirit of Eureka Committee has been established in South Australia, as well as in other parts of Australia, including, of course, Victoria, where 155 years ago the Eureka Stockade rebellion took place.

Although I need to do a little more research into this organisation, certainly from the reading I have done so far it seems like one I would support. In its briefing information, the committee states:

We draw our inspiration from the fight for justice, democracy and a fair go for all that was born at the Eureka Stockade rebellion in 1854 which united more than 20 nationalities under the Eureka flag. The Eureka flag embodies the spirit of Australia's multiculturalism. It has become a national symbol for all those who fight for justice, unity, an egalitarian society and the vision of an independent and fair Australia. The Spirit of Eureka has adopted Eureka's spirit and its flag as an inspiration for all its endeavours.

I also understand that the Spirit of Eureka Committee has drawn up a charter of rights for Australians, known as the Eureka Charter, and that many of the demands it contains they believe would be a sound basis for a bill of rights for Australia to sit alongside a new updated and more relevant constitution. I know a number of organisations and people in Australia, particularly in South Australia, are very interested in investigating the bill of rights road for Australia. A number of really important points are made in the charter, which can be viewed on its website (, and I refer to one in particular, that is;

The right of all Australians to secure a dignified retirement that ensures decent and comfortable living standards through the social security and taxation systems.
Issues I know that are very dear to your heart, Madam Deputy Speaker, as well as to mine, are:

The right of working parents to have access to quality, free publicly funded childcare,

The right to employment standards that enable working parents to manage both work and family commitments and, in particular, that working parents have the time and opportunity to form and maintain relationships with their children which foster the child's development.

This really does reflect the campaigns that many of us, particularly women on the Labor side, have been involved with for many years for quality child care.

Points are also made about the acceptance by the government that infrastructure, such as education, health, public transport, energy, telecommunications, postal services, water and community services, are vital to the collective wellbeing of all citizens and must be publicly owned and managed, and the acceptance that efficiency of public service must be measured in terms of the quality of service provided, as well as the economic cost. I know that, again, this is an issue many of us hold very dear, particularly in regard to the public sector and the services it provides.

Indian ruling class to massacre the poor for corporate greed

The big bourgeoisie of the Indian ruling class is waging war against its own people.

The Indian government has announced Operation Green Hunt according to which hundreds of thousands of regular soldiers, special elite forces and armed thugs (Salwa Judum) will be unleashed on the jungle areas where the tribal people (adivasis) are resisting the plunder of their lands and their resources.

It is a plan to revisit the Black Hole of Calcutta on the villages of green hills and valleys where the poorest of India's poor live.

The Communist party of India (Maoist), which has introduced basic services like health and education to these villages, and helped to organise the resistance of the adivasis against dispossession from their lands, has been declared the "biggest internal threat" by the Indian Prime Minister. The Maoist party was recently declared illegal and banned.

The following is an appeal to the Indian people by a group of writers and intellectuals with information on the current situation.

Note that Indian units of measurement are referred to: a lalkh is 100,000 and a crore is ten million.

(Also read a similar statement by noted Indian author Arundhati Roy here).

An Appeal to Thinkers, Intellectuals, Artistes, and Writers

Dear Friends,

The Indian state has amassed troops in central India on an unprecedented scale, to swoop down on the people. It is the latest of the wars launched by the Indian State against the people living in this country. The government says that it has to move against these areas as Maoists hold sway over it and it is not under the control of central or state authority.

In fact the natives of these jungles have been living there for thousands of years and have protected these forests as they ensure life to them and is their only source of livelihood for survival. These tribals are the most poor and wretched in our land. Popularly called adivasis, they are the oldest inhabitants of our country, still living in an ancient age. For thousands of years they have lived an archaic life. In all these years, no one has been able to subjugate them. The British Empire tried to do this in 1910 but their marauding armies were repulsed and forced to beat a retreat. The resistance of the tribal people against the British forces was led by the great warrior Gundadhur. This is popularly known as the Bhoomkal Baghawat. Earlier, they had fought the British under the leadership of Birsa Munda in the famous Munda Rebellion in the nineteenth century.

Since then, no regime has dared to attack and attempt to subjugate them, whether they were the British or the post-British rulers sitting at Delhi. They have remained a free people all along, with their own culture, customs and a unique way of life. The central and state governments have been exploiting their forests and mineral and metal resources at an unbridled pace but have never done anything to provide them with basic requirements like drinking water, education, medical facilities etc. The loot of their resources has been enormous, to the tune of billions of rupees every year, with all the money going to the industrialists, bureaucrats, politicians, contractors and the police. All this was going on smoothly, till the tribals awakened to their rampant exploitation and inhuman oppression and took to the path of resistance. This resistance has been characteristic of their traditions and in accordance with their nature as an independent people. Their struggle is to put an end to this onslaught which has made their life, hell like. That is why they identified with the ideology of revolutionary Marxism which promises a world free of loot, exploitation and oppression. That is why they found common cause with the revolutionary Maoist rebels, who want to put a stop to every kind of exploitation and tyranny and build an egalitarian, humane society, free of any kind of discrimination.

Of course, as is well known by now, they are living on lands which are blessed with the richest minerals, metals and other natural resources like iron, coal, bauxite, manganese, corandum, gold, diamonds, uranium etc. The Indian state has never considered that tribals have a right to their land and jungles, and have constantly tried to usurp them in various ways. The State wants to further intensify this exploitation now, and has invited the foreign imperialist companies and Indian big industrial houses and their collaborations, to set up new projects on these lands. The Indian government has signed Memorandums of Understanding to the tune of lakhs of crores of rupees with the foreign and Indian industrial houses for this purpose. The contents of these MOU’s are secret and confidential and people have no access to them! The current offensive of the Indian state is to wrest back these areas from the control of these people and hand it over to these Companies. All this is being done in the name of development. But this development in fact is in no way the development of the material conditions of the life of the tribals and the people living around these areas. This is amply demonstrated in the earlier projects like Bailladilla, Balco, Bokaro, Bhilai, Jaduguda and numerous others.

Quite recently we have seen the people of Nandigram, Singur, Kashipur, Kalinga Nagar, Lalgarh, Pullavaram, Tehri and Narmada Project areas resisting the setting up of car factories, dams, huge mining pit centers, SEZ’s and other projects which have nothing to do with the development and well-being of the masses of ordinary toiling and poor in these areas or in the country elsewhere. It is meant to enrich the already handful of rich, who live a parasitic life, or to fill the coffers of foreign imperialist capitalists whose only religion is to loot, plunder and exploit. The people here have struggled and fought against the state for their rights over their lands and against the capitalist sharks on whose bidding the government acts.

The government has deployed lakhs of armed forces to destroy the resistance of the people, especially at places where it is strong and formidable and hampers the capitalists from acquiring resource rich lands. When government says it wants to take back the areas controlled by Maoists, in fact, it wants to smash the resistance of the people and snatch their lands to offer these to the mining giants, industrialists and super rich businessmen. Maoism is nothing but the rebellion of the people against injustice, notwithstanding whether the government calls them terrorists or whatever. Millions of people in these regions identify themselves with the cause of the Maoists and when millions become a movement for a just cause, they can’t be called terrorists.

The state admits that there are 223 districts out of a total of 600 where Maoists are active. This means that there are 223 districts where the people espouse this ideology and want an end to exploitation. That lakhs are support this resistance or are up in arms. That it has become a people’s movement. And what of the people in the remaining districts? Are there not workers, peasants, students, employees, petty shopkeepers and toiling masses who have no stake in this system, want a change for the better, and have the same dreams? If the 223 are up against injustice and the rest have the same aspirations then the state loses the right to use the invective of terrorism.

What the Indian state wants to destroy is not just the Maoists, but the aspirations of millions upon millions in this country, the dreams of every oppressed Indian.
It is using the media and all the propaganda machinery available, to denigrate and destroy this. To destroy the resistance of the down-trodden, their movement for change, which is the only thing that can bring them real happiness, in this wretched land of ours called Hindustan. This land, of the hungry. Of the exploited. Of the peasant who commits suicide. Of the youth facing a bleak future. Of the worker who is being laid off and kicked out of the factories. Of the employees of the organized sector who are losing all the rights gained over the years when their jobs are being contractualised. Of the government employees who have been booted out with a few crumbs in the name of VRS or Golden Handshake. Of the petty shop keepers and traders, whose enterprises are being gobbled up by the malls and the SEZs. This is the land crying for justice.

If Maoists are branded by the Prime Minister as the biggest internal threat to the country, then the rulers must think about what they have given to the people in the last 62 years of independence. Why have things come to such a pass? They have been ruling and organizing society and have utterly failed in the six long decades that they have been at the helm. The present state of affairs is their doing. Not that of the Maoists. Their development strategies have backfired and that can’t be blamed on the resisting people and the Maoists. The Maoists have come into the picture only recently, but what has the state been doing about the promises it made to the people at the time of independence? Where has the promise of a Tryst with Destiny vanished? The promise sworn by Jawaharlal Nehru from the ramparts of Lal Quila on the midnight of 14-15 August 1947? People are not to be blamed for that promise not being kept, nor are the Maoists.

So now, Operation Green Hunt is not being executed just because the government wants to wipe out the Maoists in an all out war, in the name of fighting terrorism. It is their attempt to annihilate the yearning of the people, their struggles, their resistance, their resolve for a better life, whether they are led by the Maoists or not. And when the tribal heartland refuses to cow down before such an attack, it deserves admiration. The state intends to bring in the might of the Air Force against its own people. This is the result of the 60 years of misrule and the anti-people policies, they have been imposing. The people have never given them a mandate to carry out these policies. Over these years they have only opposed these policies through petitions, protests, strikes, sit-ins, struggles, resistance and also through hunger strikes and work to rule agitations. And god knows how many times the so-called people’s democratic state has fired on the protesters. How many times they have killed people. How many millions they have cane-charged and how many millions they have put into jails, not to speak of the thousands of custodial deaths and mass scale encounter killings. They never stopped the repression. All these decades, rather than listen to the grievances of the people, this state, which swears by the non-violence of MK Gandhi, has been resorting to never-ending violence. Like a mafia. Yet, the resistance continued and revolts grew.

And now it has created the borders within, against its own countrymen.
The current attack on the poor in central India is nothing but an enhanced and more deadly version of the same state violence that has continued since 1947. It is meant to break the fight back of the people there, the fight of the poorest of the poor, of the tribal peasants, and workers working in the mines. It is meant to tell others everywhere in the country, not to stand up for their rights, not to oppose the policies of the state though they go against the interests of the people and the country.

The centre of resistance is being encircled not just to break it, but also to destroy the new things which the people have created during the course of their struggles and which they have toiled hard to build. The government has started a vilification campaign against those who refuse to budge, who refuse to kowtow and who refuse to be further misled by the never ending empty promises of development and progress. They know that this development is not for them. For a government which has discarded the ideal of a welfare state can’t genuinely embark on a thing which it has abandoned at the behest of imperialist capital, the World Bank and the WTO.

The people under attack have built their own local government, the Jantana Sarkar, at various levels, taking their future into their own hands, for a real tryst with destiny.

Let us have a look in brief, at what the people have built through their Development Committees in the villages in Dandakarnya, and what the State wants to destroy. It will give us a glimpse of what the Maoists hold as a vision for the progress and development of our country – development which is indigenously and self reliantly built, one which is people oriented and is constructed in the course of the people’s democratic participation, and one which cares for this land and its resources. Such development which will free us from the stranglehold of imperialist capital and its dictates. A course of action which can only be executed by the truly patriotic.

* The biggest reform undertaken is that of land. They have distributed lakhs of acres of land among every peasant household. And no one is allowed to keep more land than one can till. Thus doing away with unnecessary hiring of labour in agriculture. Even the Patels who used to oppress people and fleece them through unpaid labour have been allowed to retain land they can manage with their family’s labour. No non-tribals are allowed to own land there.

* Women are also given property rights over land.

* They have developed agriculture from the primitive form of shifting every one or two years, to systematic settled farming. They were taught to sow, weed and harvest the crops. They cultivate both their own private lands as well as co-operative fields for community use. The development of agriculture is being done without using chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

* They have introduced a wide range of vegetables like carrot, radish, brinjal, bitter gourd, okra, tomato etc., which the tribals of remote areas had never seen or tasted.

* They have planted orchards of bananas, citrus fruits, mangoes, guavas etc.

* They have built dams, ponds, and water channels for breeding fish and for the purpose of irrigation. All this has been done through collective labour and the produce is distributed free to every household.

* They have dug wells for safe drinking water.
The industrial projects have destroyed underground water resources, and streams have been polluted to such an extent, that the fish and water life have died as also the vegetation around it. Many fruit trees have stopped flowering around these water resources.

* They have set up rice mills in a number of villages. These mills have freed women from the daily pounding of paddy for extracting grain. Many of these mills have been destroyed by Salwa Judum which was launched by the government, which talks so much about development in these areas.

* They have built a health care system which reaches every tribal peasant in every village. Each village has a Medicine Unit which has been trained to identify diseases and distribute medicines to the villagers. The health of the tribals rates only second in priority to the fight against exploitation and oppression.

* The women participate equally in these developmental activities. Special attention is paid to the issue of patriarchy and that is why they come forward equally to defend their rights and lands.

* They run schools.
The schools built by the government are completely non-functional and are usually used by the police and paramilitary forces when they raid villages. That is one reason the people pull down these pucca structures which have become symbols of repression.

* They have published books and magazines in the Gondi language. As a result, it is for the first time that this language has found a place in the written world. Songs, articles and anecdotes written by the Gond people are published in the magazines brought out by the movement. These are the initial steps to develop this ancient language which has been neglected, just as the people have been. Though there is no existing script in Gondi, they use devnagri script.

* The remunerative prices for Tendu leaf collection and wages for the cutting of bamboo and timber is fixed by the Maoist movement taking into consideration the interests of the tribals.

* Trade in the movement area goes on without hindrance. The traders are not allowed to cheat the tribals in haat bazaars. The movement announces remunerative prices for the jungle produce and paddy which the traders agree to. The presence of guerrillas ensures fair trade practices. On the other hand, the traders feel happy that there is no danger of theft or robberies in the movement controlled areas and they can move about there, freely.

* They have their own justice system. People’s Courts are held to settle various disputes among the people, as well as with the oppressors.

* Theft, robbery, cheatings, murders for property and personal gains have vanished.

* Sexual harassment and rape by the forest department, the contractors and the police has become a thing of the past. Now the women walk freely in the jungle whether it is day or night.

* Democratic functioning has been introduced at the village level onwards. The Gram Rajya Committees (now called Revolutionary Peoples Committees) function at the head of various committees like Development Committees which look after agriculture, fish farming, education, village development, Medicine Units etc.

* The women and children have their own organizations in almost every village. The tribal peasants have their separate organization, with units in every village.

* Almost every village has units of People’s Militia which take up the responsibility of defense of the village.

* Cultural organizations thrive in these jungles as the tribals have great affinity for cultural activities. These organizations propagate through songs, dances, plays and other art forms, on all the issues whether local, national or international.

* The movement has been able to prevent starvation deaths in its areas.

Salwa Judum – the Privatization of State Violence

Salwa Judum was a terror campaign launched by the government, where the police recruited tribal youth at Rs.1500 per month as Special Police Officers (SPOs). The SPOs were given arms and let loose on the villagers in the movement areas. They burned, killed, raped and forced people to flee their homes, with the help of paramilitary forces and specially trained Naga Battalions standing guard.

Salwa Judum restricted and destroyed trade in these areas by closing down the haat bazaars and trying to demolish their economy to force the tribals into submission. From 2005-07, this went on for two years They destroyed standing and harvested crops, burned or poisoned the grain and other jungle produce kept by the tribals for exchange in the haat bazaars to procure other essentials of life. Even all this could not force the tribals to submit. Rather than surrender, they lived on bamboo seeds.

The bloody campaign of Salwa Judum killed hundreds of tribals, burned hundreds of villages, raped hundreds of women, forcing about 50,000 tribals to live in enclosures called relief camps, set up by the police, which the tribals ultimately fled. This campaign forced about 30,000 people to flee their villages for other provinces. Lakhs of people were forced to leave their homes and to roam in the interiors of the jungles. In fact the government tried to destroy their whole economy and sources of livelihood even threatening to poison open water sources in the forests.

But the resistance continued. It could not be broken.

And Now

Bitter with its failure to make the people yield to them, the government has now embarked upon Operation Green Hunt, a military campaign with nearly one lakh personnel. Under various pretexts, the Indian Air Force is weighing its wings to swoop down on the forests, in spite of promises to the contrary by the Prime Minister.

We have been told that Maoists are the biggest internal threat to the country. Who are these Maoists? They are just the people themselves who have taken to the path of resistance, to struggle against the various Indian governments, who one after the other, do not allow them a life of dignity or one of peace. The state is attacking its own people threatening to wipe them out, if they don’t vacate the lands they have lived on for centuries. And we know about the term collateral damage – the killing of the civilian population in a war. Salwa Judum killed the people without a declared war, now they intend to kill on a much huger scale. They want to break the back of resistance by killing people. They want to hand over the resource rich lands of the tribals to the greedy foreign capitalist lords. They want to destroy the alternate development what the people have created with their enormous toil and persistent struggles.

Let us think. Let us awake. Let us spread the word. Let us awaken the people everywhere else. Let us raise our voice against injustice. Let us tell the government that it must stop this war against its own people and instead listen to them, respect their aspirations and attend to their demands.

This is an unjust war which the government has declared on its own people. It must stop.
Here are the names who have so far consented to the paper and signed

The list continues:
1. Gursharan Singh, Dramatist-Activist, Punjab2. Prof. Bawa Singh, Guru Sar Sudhar College, Sudhar, Ludhiana3. Jaswant Kailvi, Ghazalgo, Writer, Ferozepur4. Baru Satwarg, Novelist-Activist, Rampuraphul, Bathinda5. Dr. Baldev Singh, Deptt. of Economics, Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Khalsa College, Delhi6. Jaspal Singh Sidhu, Veteran Journalist (Presently Media Consultant with Punjabi University, Patiala)7. Samual John, Director Peoples’ Theatre, Lehra Gaga, Sangrur8. Jatinder Mauhar, Film Director, Mohali9. Megh Raj Mitter (Shiromani Lekhak), Barnala, Punjab10. Dr. Mohan Tyagi, B.N. Khalsa Senior Sec. School, Patiala11. Master Des Raj Chhajli, Lok Kala Manch Chhajli, Lehra Gaga, Sangrur12. Jagdish Papra, Writer, Lehra Gaga, Sangrur13. Narinder Nath Sharma, Advocate, Patiala14. Dr. Tejwant Mann, Literary Critic, Sangrur15. Prof, Harbhajan Singh, Writer, USA16. Yadwinder Kurfew, TV Journalist, Delhi17. Harbans Heon, Writer, Banga, Nawanshahr18. Ajmer Sidhu, Writer, Nawanshahr19. Gurmit Juj, Poet, Singer, Krantikari Sabhayachar Kendar, Punjab20. Balbir Chohla, Activist-Journalist, Taran Taran21. Prof. Bhupinder Singh (retd), Sociology, Punjabi University, Patiala22. Satnam, Writer-Freelance Journalist, Patiala23. Buta Singh, Publisher, Baba Bujha Singh Prakashan, Banga, Nawanshahr24. Jasdeep, Software Engineer, Delhi25. Harpreet Rathore, TV Journalist, Delhi26. Veer Singh, Research Scholar, JNU27. Narbhinder, Activist-Writer, Sirsa28. Karam Barsat, Columnist, Sangrur29. Sukirat, Journalist-Writer, Jalandhar30. Makhan Singh Namol, Advocate, Sangrur31. Davinderpal, TV Journalist, Delhi32. Partap Virk, TV Journalist, Delhi33. Dr. Bhim Inder Singh, Lecturer, Punjabi University, Patiala34. Jasvir Deep, Journalist and Social Activist, Nawanshahr35. Paramjit Dehal, Poet & Literary Activist, Nawanshehar36. Prof. Jagmohan Singh, Democratic Rights Activist, Ludhiana37. Dr. Gurjant Singh, Punjabi University, Patiala.38. Iqbal Kaur Udaasi, Progressive Singer-Activist, Barnala39. Balvir Parwana, Editor Sunday Magazine, Nawa Zamana, Jalandhar40. Jugraj Dhaula, Poet-Singer, Barnala41. Dr. Ajit Pal, Writer-Activist, Bathinda42. Rajinder Rahi, Writer, Barnala43. Bhupinder Waraich, State President, Democratic Teachers’ Front, Punjab44. Didar Shetra, Poet, Nawanshahr45. Baldev Balli, Poet, Nawanshahr46. Jagsir Jeeda, Lyricist-Singer, Giderbaha, Bathinda47. Hakem Singh Noor, Poet-Activist, Barnala48. Charanjeet Singh Teja, Freelance Journalist, Amritsar49. Attarjit, Short Story Writer, Bathinda50. Rajeev Lohatbaddi, Advocate, Patiala51. Harvinder Deewana, Chetna Kala Kender, Barnala52. Balwinder Kotbhara, Writer-Journalist, Bathinda53. B.R.P. Bhaskar, Journalist, Thiruvananthapuram54. S.S. Azaad, Writer, Mansa55. Sadhu Binning, Writer, Vancouver, BC, Canada56. Hiren Gandhi57. Vijay Bombeli, Feature writer, Hoshiarpur58. Paramjeet Singh Khatra, Advocate, Nawan Shehar59. Daljeet Singh, Advocate, Nawan Shehar60. Baldev Singh, Advocate, District Courts Patiala61. Paramjit Kahma, Doaba Sahit Ate Sabhiachar Sabha, Jejon (Hoshiarpur)62. Dr. Ramesh Bali, Nawanshehar, Activist63. Puneet Sehgal, programme executive, DoorDarshan, Jalandhar64. Harkesh Chaudhry & Other Artists, Lok Kala Manch, Mandi MulanPur, (Ldh)65. Prof. Ajmer Singh Aulakh, Dramatist, Mansa66. Dr. Maninder Kang, Writer, Jalandhar67. Charanjit Bhullar, Journalist, Bathinda
Satnam (No.22), and Buta Singh (No.23) are the coauthors of this appeal