Tamil Nadu: Ground Being Prepared for Worker-Peasant Rally on April 5
At the rally held at Kallakurichi on March 10. Image courtesy: P Shanmugam
Amplifying the message of the Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh rally 2.0, which will culminate in Delhi on April 5, workers, farmers, and agriculture workers have been holding campaigns across Tamil Nadu.
In preparation for the travel to Delhi and to take the 14-point charter of demands to the nooks and corners of the state, various forms of campaigns were unitedly launched by the Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam (AIKS Tamil Nadu), Centre for Indian Trade Unions (CITU), and the All India Agriculture Workers’ Union (AIAWU).
A statement issued by the three organisations on March 10 mentions that a joint campaign and the march to Delhi seek a “life of dignity and security, free from fear and hatred toward one another”.
Van campaign at Andipatti taluk, Theni district on March 11. Image courtesy: CITU, Tamil Nadu
The charter of demands includes minimum support prices at C2+50% and 200 days of work, and wages not less than Rs 600 per day under MGNREGA among others. The workers' issues include a monthly minimum wage of at least Rs 26,000, social security pensions, and food security.
The rally has demanded the withdrawal of the Electricity (Amendment) Act. It was also a demand of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha.
A roadside meeting explaining the demands, in Vellore on March 11. Image courtesy: CITU, Tamil Nadu
In an article published in People’s Democracy, the all-India general secretary of CITU, Tapan Sen, was quoted as saying that the Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Rally “will be a culmination of the countrywide grassroots level campaign and mobilisations”.
“The worker-peasant-agricultural worker unity in action is the most crucial necessity of the time” and it has the potential of “drawing the entire people into a determined combat against the anti-people policies of the governments and the diversionary game plan of the ruling class,” he said.
AIKS state gen sec Samy Natarajan participated in the rally at Virudhunagar, on April 26. Image courtesy: Theekkathir
“The total number of billionaires in India increased from 102 in 2021 to 166 in 2022. In stark contrast, nearly 23 crore people – the highest in the world – live in poverty,” said Vijoo Krishnan, general secretary of the AIKS.
“The last eight years of Narendra Modi-led BJP government have also witnessed an unprecedented number of distress suicides by the peasantry, agricultural workers, daily wage workers and unemployed youth, at a staggering number of more than 4 lahks,” he added.
At a rally held in Tiruppur district. Image courtesy: CITU, Tamil Nadu
“The agricultural workers are the worst victims of the continued agrarian crisis. The sustained agrarian crisis is forcing small and marginal farmers to leave farming,” said B Venkat, general secretary, AIAWU.
“Although the number of agricultural workers has increased over the years, the number of working days in agriculture has decreased significantly, resulting in colossal unemployment and migration among agricultural workers and other rural poor. The economic crisis resulting in slow industrial growth has failed to provide alternate rural or urban employment opportunities to these masses” he said.
The rally held in Karur district on March 9. Image courtesy: Theekkathir
The decision to organise the rally was made at the national Workers Peasants Convention held on September 5, 2022, which was the 4th anniversary of the historic ‘Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Rally’ of September 5, 2018.
In the convention 6,000 CITU, AIKS and AIAWU members unanimously decided to strengthen the unity of these three class organisations and intensify united struggles against the neo-liberal policies and the corporate-communal ruling dispensation.
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