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16 June, 2011

Where Do We Go From Here? Strategy meeting of NGOs at Wardha on July 3

The National Alliance of People’s Movements convening team writes:

The anti-corruption movement around the Jan Lokpal Bill manged to energize the various struggles going on in the country at different levels. Many who came on the street didn't come only because of the Lokpal; they were somewhere dissatisfied with the systemic corruption and other problems.

Many of the democratic movements struggling for decades for democratic rights, securing justice and a dignified livelihood feel that this has brought to us a moment for wider political awakening in the country and hopefully the struggles against the corporate corruption, massive loot of natural resources and larger institutional corruption will gain strength from this.

In line with that there are also discussions around the fact that the energy generated from this agitation needs to be channelized and onus lies on the secular and democratic political forces of the country to mobilize it for a larger political reform in the country. It is with such an intention that a meeting was called to explore the future strategies on May 8 in Delhi. Later similar consultations have been held by many others in the past month or so.

We would like to invite you for a daylong meeting to discuss future alliance processes and strategies for coordinated actions in times to come. Let us sit together to see if we can create a larger, wider, diverse, plural but all-encompassing alternative political/social and economic movement nurturing a kind of peoples' power which rejects the present power politics and its accessory exploitative systems and march towards a greater unity and bonding.

Let us meet to come together in spite of our immediate commitments, campaigns to sit and strategize. If we achieve this, innumerable people who want to see the transformation to happen will come forward to lend a helping hand from different section of the society. Together, we shall reach the farmers, workers, dalits, adivasis, women and men, young and old, all across rural and urban areas. We do hope you will be able to join us for this important meeting. Please do reply and confirm your participation.

We have made arrangements for stay there and if you reach on July 2nd night then let us know beforehand.

We have also attached a small note (see below) at the end of it for your reflections and thoughts.

Warm Regards,

Medha Patkar
Sandeep Pandey
Gabriele Dietrich
Suniti S R
Sister Celia
Prafulla Samantra
Ramakrishna Raju
and others from NAPM Convening Team.

The venue is Centre of Science for Villages, Kumarappapuram, near Dattapur, Wardha Nagpur Road, Wardha. Tt is 7 or 8 kms from the Wardha station. Autos charge around Rs 60. Share rickshaws are also available.

Where Do We go From Here...

A discussion note for the meeting on July 3rd Wardha, Maharashtra

The recent outpouring of public outrage at the spate of corruption, scandals, and scams involving public money by the politicians, bureaucrats and the corporations through out the country has rocked the conscience of the nation. Two strong manifestations of these outpourings are in the form of agitations led by Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev. Apart from this there are numerous ongoing struggles in the country today against the legalised loot of natural resources by the corporations and state. Anti POSCO agitation or fight against the builder mafia in Mumbai are one amongst many for the democratic control over the land, water and forest by social movements.

We all who firmly believe that the fundamental change / transformation in the society can only be heralded by peoples' movements are standing at this moment in history at a crossroad. On the one hand through our struggles we have made a significant headway in opposing the unconstitutional SEZs which encourages and fills our hearts with great hope but on the other in spite of so many movements and struggles going on across the country the bureaucrats, the capitalists and the powers that be of this country are hell bent upon displacing and looting the common masses and even callously refusing to give them their rightful share. Those of us who want to make the peoples' movements stronger and make them the real force for change sometime feel very much concerned about our own weaknesses, our ineffectiveness and inherent lack of persistence and perseverance. Even those of us who have accepted that struggle is the only way for movements to make an impact, feel that we do not give enough emphasis on re-construction programmes, and engage ourselves in searching for alternatives programmes as a result sometime we lose our balance and direction.

Under such circumstances and with this perspective in mind many of us who have been part of the movements for over decades believe that we are standing at a moment in history which reminds us of the pre 1975 – Emergency days, which is also being accepted by those in power. This poses to us an opportunity to rise above our ideologies, persuasions and differences and join hand to create a movement for total and fundamental transformation as aspired by the people's movements.

If it is a moment of crisis then it is also a moment of bountiful opportunities in the history for us to be organising and exploring the creative faculties of the masses and movements. The moment of reckoning has arrived and with that we urge all to rise above our own local actions, struggles and limited perspectives / visions and do some soul-searching. On the basis of this collective deep thinking let us all together begin our march towards the all-comprising goals of our movements and seek a planetary vision.

We need to dwell on certain fundamental issues and develop commonality of purpose and evolve our strategies accordingly. Hereunder, we mention some of the issues that come to mind :-

1. Do we, the spearheads of peoples movements, (jan-andolans) feel the need to go further than what we see as issues around us and our analysis there of and aim at a larger national transformation?

(Kindly note there is no Point No 2 in the document as it now stands)

3. Are the common masses (dalits, adivasis, women, the displaced, workers, farmers etc.) in a frame of mind and the conditions suitable for a long sustained struggle ahead at the national and international level which will shake the inner walls of the capitalism and the establishment?

4. Is the middle class, the intelligentsia willing to participate and stand by the side of the struggle against exploitation, oppression and inequality ? Are they willing to be a part of this process towards developing a planetary vision and secure justice and dignity for everyone?

5. Are we in a position to formulate strategies which will compel those in power to respond to the voices of a much wider social transformation ?

6. Democratic socialism is the alternative to capitalism. We do have alternatives for the present consumerist society (culture) and also technical alternatives. Can we, on the basis of this, obtain attitudinal changes in the minds of the people?

7. When the globalisation and liberalisation are in full swing, can we abolish the power of the market ? The belief that human beings and nature are for market only – Can we challenge such ideologies and thought processes?

8. Can the exploited and the distressed become the spearheads (leaders) of an independent, strong, sharp and people-oriented politics when the elected representatives of today's political set up turn out to be insensitive and devoid of all moral and ethical values ? Can such a leadership create a space for itself in the present set up, can it be a respectable entity in the current set up?

9. Can a national and international structure based on the principles of non-violence, sister-brotherhood, equality, sustainability and justice be born from such a leadership (refer to point 8), which will reject imperialism in toto? Depending upon the sovereignty of its people, space and resources can we create a nation which includes plural and diverse nationalities within itself?

We do try to find answers / solutions to such important questions, but remain encircled within the limits of our local or long-term issues and scattered campaigns. While we do find solutions to some, new ones are born and we find that inequality, exploitation, injustice, petty differences and violence surrounds us all around.

When we try to go deeper into this, some alternatives that we arrive at are as follows:

1. Let us make our organisational process deeper / stronger / reflective as far as we are able to, to achieve – (a) successes with twin simultaneous programmes of struggle and re-construction (sangharsh aur nirman) (b) stop wanton destruction, using legal avenues-intervention, if necessary, (c) seek to change constitutional framework wherever possible, (d) and to create social and political awareness of the masses. The ultimate goal of all these needs to be that of creating people's power, power of the masses. This needs to be carried on with perseverance, devoting it undivided attention.

2. The forces pitted against us are powerful, of capital and market – who loot, inflict poverty on the greatest number of people. There is violence of the state and its administration, violence at the international level of wars and within us we find politics based on castes differences, religious divides, and unequal distribution of nation's resources. Therefore, if found necessary at opportune moment, we shall not fight shy of joining the political process and defeat these exploitative forces. We shall follow the paths shown to us by stalwarts like Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia, Jayaprakash Narayan and others who struggled for ‘Total Revolution’ but also look beyond and deep inside our own struggles to develop a comprehensive programme. The sole purpose of all this is only to aggressively challenge the status quo relentlessly in all spheres of life.

3. Thirdly, the most important issue before us is the unity of all the social change movements, of those who believe in the sovereignty of people, in true democracy, justice, non-violence, and have full faith and are determined to work for Sarva Dharma Samabhav (dharma not literally in the sense of religion alone). The effort should be to bring all the above streams in one wider circle of movements, ‘assembly of movements’. We shall enlist support of respected and balanced thinkers, unblemished intelligentsia and spread ourselves as widely as possible in the far corners of the country to create an alternative to the present political process.

The main purpose of this note is to draw your attention to the need for creation of a larger, wider, diverse, plural but all-encompassing alternative political/social and economic movement. We need to nurture that kind of peoples' power which rejects the present power politics and its accessory exploitative systems and march towards a greater unity and bonding.

Let us all come together inspite of our immediate commitments, campaigns, and let us plan our responsibilities and actions for the years ahead. If we achieve this, innumerable people who want to see the transformation to happen will come forward to lend a helping hand from different section of the society. Together, we shall reach the farmers, workers, dalits, adivasis, women and men, young and old all across in rural and urban areas.
Note: This discussion note was written by Medha Patkar for the meeting on July 25th 2009 in Delhi called by NAPM in post-elections scenario to discuss future alliance processes and strategies for coordinated actions. It has been modified and is now being presented for the meeting on July 3rd, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm/Centre of Science for Villages, Wardha, Maharashtra.

For more details call Madhuresh Kumar 9818905316

National Alliance of Peoples' Movements (NAPM)
C/O 6/6 (Basement), Jangpura B, Mathura Road, New Delhi 110 014
Mobile +91 9818 905316 | 011 2437 4535
Web :

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