People’s Resistance at Yaithibi


Democracy works in ugly ways wherein people have to bleed to live.

Man being a social animal lives in a society. Ours being an agrarian society, agriculture is the largest economic activity of the people of the state. The economic system is called capitalism using a political system called democracy. We live as a society whether we accept it or not. This society is ridden with an ever increasing amount and lethality of violence.

Many contradictions are inherently needed by a profit seeking economic system that supports a political structure to divide and weaken the people based on various lines that are felt and treated in isolation as exclusive problems while failure to see a common problem that affects all these communities is one of the biggest hurdles in the way we move forward as a progressive society that is emancipated of oppression.

A society cannot be completely free unless there are both economic and political emancipations. Poverty and economic related problems are faced by people belonging to all communities in Manipur society irrespective of community and ethnicity. Over 50% of our population is agriculturists. Thus, naturally agriculture and allied activities are the primary economic activities of the people of the state. Any assault on them having short or long term effects is a direct assault on the people and their interests. Hence, it is the duty of the whole society to support the resisting people against violent state actions.

To save our society, we need to support our peasants and farmers belonging to all regions, communities and ethnics. This is the crux of what has taken place in the case of resistance movement against the anti-people policy and violent activities of the state in the National Sports University Project at 44 Yaithibi Khunou, Thoubal district, Manipur.

State policies and activities that destroy our main economic activity are naturally anti-people. Why destroy precious wetlands, agricultural and arable lands for projects that are considered sacrosanct when suitable conflict free sites are available in other parts of the state? Who and what are destroying Manipur will be seen as clear as a sky when this question can be answered. 44 Yaithibi Khunou agrarian society has resisted against illegal state actions that have violated their rights to their land and collective rights of the people who depend on agriculture. The farmers have been resisting violent state actions for the last two and half years.

The armed resistance movements in the state have suffered huge setbacks. Their respective nationalisms have been one of their biggest enemies. Nationalism alone cannot emancipate the people socio-economically as it is an emotional tool used by controlling elites to sway the mass by emotions infuriating the people to die for the elites in the emotional trammels of it. Nationalism is a false notion that legitimizes the oppression of those underneath by blinding them with the same idea that fogs peoples’ critical thinking capacity on matters to what is causing them sufferings. It is one of the biggest tools of mass deception. No oppression that includes genocide can be justified in the name of nationalism. A real nationalist will always respect the nationalism of another. It is a deadly tool of the elites to keep people blinded by disabling them from thinking and questioning on matters that pertain their real common interests.

Respecting each other’s ethnicity and community, as long as people are strengthened to control the means of production and their surplus, we, as a society can take a leap forward with happy farmers, they being, the main producers of our economy. The war on our peasants and farmers is a direct assault on our stomach. Tragically, the problem is seen and treated in isolation. The state is violent and the non-state is silent over key issues, people are left to themselves. Any state policy that gives an irreparable blow to the central economic activity of the people must be resisted and supported by all sections of the society in the interest of a common future.The state acts as the enemy of the people using violence. Thus the legitimate question is what rights do the people have to defend themselves from state violence?  What we see is a pattern of increasing state violence using armed forces and civil authorities alike.

Soldiers die, the intensity and number of war increase while the free people are no freer in deeper financial debt each day. Then, 2+2 does not add upto 4. Somewhere something is wrong. The wars are supposed to end sufferings. They are waged by powerful nations upon people whom they want to conquer. Either war is profitable business in which the lower class suffers most or is the soul of imperialism. Only the one who starts it has the responsibility to end it. But it won’t as war is an inherent character of imperialism. War is an essential tool for conquest of free people and is always violent. Imperial powers need more and more colonies. How can that situation be possible without violence on the free people? Society will not remain stagnant at this stage as social change and revolution are a continuous process. In the war that India waged upon the democratic people of Manipur by forcibly annexing it, thousands have died, maimed and disappeared with no accountability, worse humiliation on our human dignity and rights as free democratic people. Do the people of our society feel free? However, the definition of democracy does not have these elements in its society. Apparently, the stage of this capitalist society is where every act is legitimate in the name of democracy and hence wars and violence upon the people.People belonging to the lower strata have suffered most and this prevents formation of a healthy strong middle class which serves system perpetuation. Revolution is halted. Generations of indigenous are being wiped out systematically by India’s multipronged approach solution to the armed resistances that have been born out of the war India waged upon the free people. Political rights are limited to saleable and buyable votes whereas economically we are dependent and in more debt.

Those who claim to love the people and the land must raise their voice against this proxy war that hits the heart of the economy of the people. This is the society’s responsibility.

The society as a whole is ridden with various conflicts with no clear path on the horizon. Due to alienating nature of capitalism, the economic system is not inclusive and hence, divides people and segregates itself from nature’s rights and laws. What is our biggest common problem? Economic problems faced by people belonging to all communities. The rent that comes from India is for the MLAs, contractors, bureaucrats and the rest of the local petty bourgeoisie. Everywhere there is more and more suffering with an ever dependency upon others’ produces. The rent is shared by local bourgeoisie while the agriculture sector is being destroyed systematically using violence and atrocities. So, who is the enemy of the people? Who will hear the people’s voice when it is the state who is committing terrible violence and atrocities to them? What options do the people have to defend themselves? The over 12 lakhs poor in Manipur belong to people of all communities. For the suffering of a community, one whole community should not be blamed. Certain section in all communities own more assets and prosper materials disproportionately than the rest. Those are the ones responsible for selling out the interests of the people and the land. The local bourgeoisie aids India to keep the people exploited, suppressed, repressed and oppressed. Striking at the common problem, to hack a solution for that, the people must be educated on their rights and responsibilities using various mediums on common problems that affect us with right and free information that educate them to think critically.  A poor and indebted peasant in any society is most vulnerable to exploitation. He does not have the opportunity to think for anything else other than his immediate needs. Be it for Marxist or Democratic Socialism, for any reasonable lay man, it is a sound idea to save ‘agricultural and arable’lands in an age where we have to buy everything making us more dependent on others. Food is our basic need.What better way to start than by organizing and supporting the base of the population that is our society’s backbone? What do we do to stop this buying? With strong agriculture we can reduce a bulk of buying food and so less dependency.

The establishment of Sports University in the state is welcomed by the villagers of 44 Yaithibi Khunou. The affected farmers have resisted against the state action that is going to destroy an agricultural society using policies that are anti democratic and violent in nature and hence, anti people. The people of Manipuri society have been going through more violence with each passing phase. Ours is a deep seated political issue. However, the struggle for political freedom needs peoples’ participation upon their economic emancipation. A hungry and unaware population cannot participate in the struggle for socio-economic emancipation but fall victim to exploitation.

Poverty and unawareness prevent people from being organized to form a formidable force to fight the real issue. Like war, poverty is needed for the system to flourish. The activities of the state that are undertaken in the name of development are neo liberal policies that strengthen only few to the impoverishment of the majority thereby weakening the society as a whole. We are a part of the system that is an ugly super powerful monster of the united 1% who owns more than the 99% of total global population own. We try to see the fairness in this distribution of wealth. This amount of capital accumulation is not possible without exploitation that comes in various forms. We are run by an establishment that cannot survive and flourish in peace.Imperialism is conquest. Conquest of free people is possible only with wars. A political arrangement without economic emancipation is nothing but structural arrangement to hide the beast in sheep’s clothing. We as a society cannot afford to turn blind to issues that affect us all.

Then a consequential question is why this group of super powerful people who ownsmore than the rest of 99% of global population cannot take measures to bring and maintain global peace where the working class are happy and free? The system is based on profit motive with minimum input (thus, low wage for workers is an investment for the owner) and must keep the workers always in bondage. Under capitalism, workers’ wage may be increased at the most as an adjustment but it is slavery that fuels the engine of this economic system. Slavery changed color with changing color of imperialism. Human labor and other raw materials must be available cheap and in constant supply for the corporates to manufacture things and services at minimum investment for maximum profit. This constant supply of raw material is not sustainable and possible without exploitation. Hence, capitalism works against laws of nature.

Nature may be destroyed but the war against it can never be won. The limited resources of nature do not have that kind of raw material wanted by the greeds. Manipur problem is part of a global problem of the same nature. We have been going through various acts of war of same nature. Endowed with rich natural resources including petroleum, gas, aluminium, chromite, limestone, precious stones, water, forests, medicinal plants to name a fewin huge quantities, Manipur is also a colonyof the Indian state.The region is full of objects of lust for the corporates who come to loot them using state. What we have in Manipur we need to know and work out on an objective to let the people of the region have sole sovereign right to guard over their land and resources. Apart from having a dependent economy, our only substantive economic backbone when destroyed by state policies and acts, who is acting against the peoples’ interest as their enemy? How will a small group of villagers go on resisting against a state who is rich and whose acts are both undemocratic and violent supported by standing army and police? The state is mighty and rich. When their acts encroach upon the weaker people, what do we do as a society? The people affected by the  destructive activities of the state are part of our society. Leaving aside respective nationalities, differences and prejudices, the struggling people need our support.A society can never be considered progressed when few sections in it own maximum assets while majority of it reel under poverty each day under stiffening silence of relevant voices who can shape public opinion in the right way, we as a society must listen to and support each other. This is why war being most profitable, the society is kept violent. There is constant war being waged upon the people in the name of their welfare. Building and setting up of a Sports University in Manipur is a blessing for this region but this can be set up without compromising our economic backbone, i.e., agriculture. There is no dearth of conflict free sites in the state for the sacrosanct University.

Several bones have tumbled out of the documents and testimonies in this project that are proofs of gross crimes that areviolative of human rights and accepted democratic principles.One observation here is of the similarity of patterns of state violence across the globe. The attack on the peasants and farmers. Manipuri society can produce more food and cut down on buying. This is achievable only when our agricultural and arable lands are saved. We support and strengthen the peasants and farmers, the revolution is halfway forward. It is worth mentioning here that a society cannot be static and thus revolution is a continuous process.  A starving and uneducated farmer cannot think of anything else other than his immediate basic needs.  Agriculture does not need violence,peasants and farmers need our help in this war being waged upon them by the state. State will not empower farmers to make them independent. It is against their interest. It is funny at times how they paint their neo liberal policies as people friendly when at the same time the peoples’ sufferings go virulently deeper while the rich gets richer and fatter. Poverty is promoted and politicized by the state when the real issue is lack of purchasing power. The resisting people of 44 YaithibiKhunou are peasants and farmers whose primary economic activity is agriculture, mainly paddy and allied activities. The people should have been properly and transparently informed on what have taken place and educate them on their rights with respect to the project before initiation of the work. The people have methodically resisted (detailed specific report on the case will be published). This and many procedural lapses, misuse of authority, forgery, criminal intimidation and more importantly fraudulent withdrawal of crores of rupees from state exchequer  have taken place all in broad day light with no qualms of accountability.

The state is heavily armed under the order and command of corporates who sponsor them. All banks in a country are under its central bank. Reserve Bank of India is India’s central bank. Whether we acknowledge to see the connectivity of Manipur problem by identifying key areas with other global problems or not, the common factor is thatwe live under an economic system called capitalism under the same political system run by the central bank and corporates. There is increasing violence and wars are being justified for ends of installing democracy. If democracy has prejudiced protection for the ruling class to the sufferings of the general populace, we need a more critical analysis of this system. Do the people have the liberty to freely exercise their fundamental human rights to protect themselves from violent state actions? No. This is because capitalism and democracy are enemies of each other. Capitalism uses democracy to justify  imperialism and its associated violence. Capitalist economy is alienating and not inclusive (it does not include nature too) whereas democracy is about the people and people only with a dangerous number game. The system we live under may be called democracy but when the people go on being exploited and oppressed, we ought to find out the root cause of our problems to find a solution ourselves. Living in a money economy, the medium of exchange is money. It is a printed legal tender. The state prints it. The state makes laws. The state commands the armed forces, including civil police who are at its disposal. These forces, including money, armed forcesand laws areat the disposal of the state and used violently against the people who are considered a threat against the state while selling their interests out.For a state who treats its people as enemy, what measures do the people have and what is their political position under the system?

When the state itself is constantly waging war against its own people, who are the people to them?  What chance do the people stand against the enemy state then? Yes, there are plenty of strength in the people. In fact, there goes the adage there is no force stronger than the united strength of the people. When they wage this sort of war on the people, what weapons and support do these people who are affected by the project need? In terms of logistics, people stand no chance in front of the mighty state except their spirit and unity which are their biggest strength. Bloodshed takes place in violence. Conflicts should be treated with the objective to solve it. But, the trend is towards lengthening and multiplying it. Conflict is a huge industry. To help ourselves progress as a society, issues must not be treated in isolation. Each issue that affects the people needs support from all sections of the society. The fight that the affected people fight against the neo liberal viral pol ,cies of the state is hugely in favor of the all powerful state. So, for people to resist successfully, careful strategies are needed. When people suffer, they need support most. The case of Resistance at 44 YaithibiKhunou is not issue specific only for the specific resisting people but for the entire people of the region who depend on agriculture and its produces. We need free farmers to free ourselves. High time for democracy to stop being funny.

By Thounaojam Brinda

Source: Imphal Free Press


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