(excerpts from Comrade Dipankar’s speech at Singur, 14 September, 2006)

WE have come here to congratulate you for the message of hope and resistance that you have sent out from Singur. Neither the Tatas nor Buddhadev could have possibly imagined that they would run into this kind of resistance in a state where only the other day the CPI(M) returned to power for the seventh successive term with such thumping majority. Both probably believed that they were the undisputed monarch of whatever their eyes could survey and perhaps they had also thought that the people of Singur would start competing among themselves to sell their land and get some compensation.

They could not be more mistaken. The women of Singur chased away the joint team of the Tatas and State Government officials. The jhantas (brooms) of Singur have proved to be heavier for the time being than the combined might of the Tatas and the state government that is prepared to do everything to please the Tatas, Ambanis and Salims. We know Jyoti Basu scolded Buddhadev for not doing enough homework, for not pressing the Party and the CPI(M)-led peasant association into service. Since May 22, they are trying all means – but you continue to hold your fort. This itself is a very big victory and it has set a shining example for all who are trying to save their land in the country from the corporate land sharks.

We salute your readiness for every sacrifice to defend your land. You have said that if the CPI(M) tries to capture your land by force, it will lead to a bloodbath. May I add that if blood flows in Singur, it will wash away the CPI(M)’s seat of power in Kolkata.

The Tatas are talking about setting up a motor vehicle plant on your land. You are not going to ride these cars. But are you going to get jobs in that plant? The Birlas have a motorcar plant in your district, at Hindmotor. Are you going to get the kind of wages and rights like the permanent workers of Hindustan Motors have got? As you all know, this question too does not arise. A peasant leader of CPI(M) has said that you can still find work as domestic workers.

What audacity! They want to take away agricultural land in the name of industrialisation, they say agriculture giving way to industry is the law of history and progress, but they want to turn peasants and agricultural labourers into paupers and beggars. Ask them if agriculture has to make way for industry, why can’t they turn peasants into industrial workers with secure wages and working conditions?

We have been told that some absentee landlords have agreed to surrender their land. These people have no living connection with their land, they use their land ownership to exploit others. This is why the communists have always raised the demand: land to the tiller. Yes, I am talking about communists and not the CPI(M). Those who have turned into agents of corporate houses and multinational corporations, those who look at land from the point of view of real estate business and conspire to turn peasants into paupers have ceased to be communists. But however much the CPI(M) may degenerate, the CPI(ML), the party of revolutionary communists, the party of Naxalbari will always uphold the red flag of communists, of workers and peasants.

I do not know how long and how far the Trinamul Congress will stand by your struggle. After all, Kalinganagar happened in a state ruled by another NDA partner. In fact, when it comes to usurping land from the peasants and adivasis, and pushing the rural poor into suicides and starvation deaths, the attitude and policies of all governments are becoming increasingly similar. Some parties talk in two voices depending on whether they are in power or in opposition. But the CPI(ML) has always spoken in only one voice, the voice of the workers and peasants, the voice of democracy and social transformation. The success of your struggle will make this voice louder. We will always stand by you in carrying forward your struggle to victory.