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Influential NGOs on Congress Lok Sabha flopshow: It was defeat of progressives to provide alternative

By Our Representative
Several well-known people’s organizations, which had campaigned heavily against the previous UPA government, have declared that the results of the 2014 general elections are “not only a defeat of the Congress”, but also “a defeat of various progressive forces which were unable to provide any coherent alternative.” Pointing towards the need to “learn from the experiences during the UPA regime”, a note prepared by them says, “In the last few years, we were often preoccupied with specific issues and demands, while there was less emphasis on working together for broader socio-political goals.”
Prepared by Right to Food Campaign, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, Rashtriya Mazdoor Adhikar Morcha and Pension Parishad, note says, “Some of the broad alliances formed in the early 2000s tended to become preoccupied with sectoral concerns, our language was more focused on ‘demands’ and less on socio-political assertion and challenge to the system.” It adds, “In this sense, we had not put in adequate efforts for broader united action. However, now the situation would induce us to work together” by collectively providing “a broader popular ideological counter to right-wing forces” led by the BJP.
Pointing towards what has changed, the note says, there is a “shift from social-liberalism or neoliberalism with a Nehruvian heart to majoritarian neoliberalism or neoliberalism with a Hindutva heart.” Granted that under the UPA government, economic neoliberal policies were being implemented, the note underlines, “But these were combined with some social programmes and entitlements to maintain wider legitimacy of the system.”
“However”, the note particularly stresses, “under the Narendra Modi-led government, we are seeing emergence of aggressive neoliberal policies combined with a majoritarian agenda based on Hindutva, which would divide and divert people from negative consequences of economic policies.” But now “the scope for expanding social entitlements by the government appears to be getting restricted.”
Earlier there was “positive space that some activists had for ‘advising’ the government on designing and implementing social programmes and entitlements”, but this has also “now closed down.” In fact, “due to the imperatives of aggressive ‘growth’, attacks on people’s rights to natural resources (land, forests, water etc.) and on labour rights are now likely to accelerate”, the note points out.
The note further says, “In the new dispensation, the space for protest and dissent, especially by various sections of working people is now under serious threat, which we definitely need to address. Very specific targeting of community organizations, NGOs, and social movements challenging corporate resource grab in the name of foreign funding and branding them as threat to economic security through the leaked IB report is just one of the first steps in a larger game-plan to silence all types of ‘inconvenient’ dissent.”
Insisting on the need to counter this development, the note says, the next national meeting would be held in Delhi on September 26-27, 2014, where the NGOs would “take stock of processes in various states and plan more concretely for the national mobilisation in early December.” Following this, a major national protest programme would be organised on December 2-3, 2014 in Delhi, “where upwards of 10,000 people would be mobilized collectively by various constituent organisations and campaign networks.”
While NAPM is led by Narmada Bachao Andolan's well-known activist Medha Patkar, those who prepared the note were senior activists Abhay Shukla, Anjali Bharadwaj, Anuradha Talwar, Arundhati Dhuru, Ganga Bhai, Gautam Modi, Kamayani Swami, Kavita Srivastava, Madhuresh, Mukesh Goswami, Neeta Hardikar, Nikhil Dey, Rajesh, Rohit, Rupesh, Shankar Singh and Vandana Prasad. They based their note on a meeting of the NGOs held in Delhi on August 5.
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For full text of the note, click HERE

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Drafting committee for ‘movement convergence’ Members of the drafting group – Abhay Shukla, Anjali Bharadwaj, Anuradha Talwar, Arundhati Dhuru, Ganga Bhai, Gautam Modi, kamayani Swami, Kavita Srivastav, Madhuresh, Mukesh Goswami, Neeta Hardikar, Nikhil Dey, Rajesh, Rohit, Rupesh, Shankar Singh and Vandana Prasad said…
We are writing this mail in context of a news item posted on your website counterview.net – “Top NGOs which had opposed Congress now say it was a mistake, pledge for broader socio-political alliance”. (www.counterview.net/2014/08/top-ngos-which-had-opposed-congress-now.html)
As members of the drafting committee of the note which is quoted in this news, we would like to clarify that firstly, this note was intended only for circulation among various social organisations being involved in the proposed convergence, and was not drafted as a public statement to be covered by the media. The note is reflection of work in progress and is by no means a final statement. Secondly, we feel that the note has been quoted in a somewhat selective form in this posting, and the wording of the heading does not correspond with any section in the note. Overall we feel that this posting does not reflect accurately the content of the note.
In this situation, we request you to remove this posting from your website, or at least publish this note and the full text of the document prepared by the drafting committee on your website, to avoid any misinterpretation of our views by readers. (Please find attached the full text of the document with this mail).
We appreciate your intent in posting this news, and would be happy to share with you in future any news items and information that is intended for public circulation.


Rajiv Shah said…
Necessary changes have been made. Also, a link has been provided for the complete note.

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