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Labour Party Pakistan starts Inkaar Tehreek (No Movement)

People of Lahore not to pay the new bus fares

Despite heavy raining, LPP activists gathered in front of a private bus stand at Railway Station Lahore area to protest the recent raise in Lahore bus fares. They appealed to the people of Lahore not to pay the revised bus fares. They demanded an immediate withdrawal of the increased oil prices. Many travelers joined the very live demonstration and agreed with the demand.... more




The emergence of New Left in Pakistan

By: Farooq Tariq

The four articles on the different aspects of the Left in Pakistan appearing on editorial pages of Daily Dawn is generating a lot of discussion among the different Left and Right trends in Pakistan. This discussion represents welcome progress. The arguments by Mohammed Ali Siddique have been refuted by Asha Amir Ali, Dr Arif Azad and Haider Nizamani, and rightly so. The idea that Mr. Tony Blair's ideas could help any left party is amazing. He adopted all neoliberal politics and economics as he could get away with. Especially he espoused the idea that industry did not matter, that the country could make a living through Finance. This led directly to the credit crash of 2008/9. Some of these commentators ignore huge events if the existence of these events gets in the way of their opinions.

According to Wikipedia, the Left is defined as:

“Traditionally, the Left includes: progressives, social liberals, communists and anarchists while the right includes: conservatives, reactionaries, monarchists, nationalists and fascists. The terms left and right are often used to spin a particular point of view, rather than as simple descriptors. In modern political rhetoric, those on the Left typically emphasize their support of working people and accuse the Right of supporting the interests of the upper class, whereas those on the Right usually emphasize their support of individualism and accuse the Left of supporting collectivism. Thus, arguments about the way the words should be used often displace arguments about policy by raising emotional prejudice against a preconceived notion of what left and right mean.” 

The emergence of Pakistan People’s Party in the late '60s was mainly based on slogans, policies, tactics and programme adopted by most of the Left parties internationally. Being on the Left was the fashion. (This was the time when the traditional Left in Pakistan was divided among pro-Moscow and pro-Peking groups. Differences split groups into Stalinists, Maoists or Trotskyists.)

The ideas of People's Democratic Revolution or National Democratic Revolutions were heatedly debated. This placed the historic role of modernizing society on the progressive or nationalist bourgeoisie. But both then and now the bourgeoisie in Pakistan are interconnected to international imperialism. They were too weak to play a progressive role. 

The traditional Left was bitterly divided over such political perspectives and consequently sidelined. Thus the Pakistan People’s Party took up the political space the Left should have occupied. General Zia's military rule, combined with the collapse of the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and lately of China as “Socialist,” has clarified many of these issues. Many illusions around the independent role of Pakistan bourgeoisie and their political representatives have been shattered. The Left now generally agrees that there is no progressive element among the Pakistani ruling class that can end feudalism, democratize the society, create a national identity or help in the society's industrialization.

The last two decades have almost eliminated all the historical divisions among the Left. Debates are more around the nature of the fight back rather than on the nature of the coming socialist revolution. There is more unity among the Left forces in Pakistan today than at any other time.

Anti-imperialism and anti-religious fundamentalisms are two main pillars of Left unity in Pakistan. A Left that justifies any alliance with either of these issues cannot go very far.

The paradox of history is that those who were considered Left at one time in Pakistan have adopted all the policies and practices of the Right. This is also a very welcoming development. Among other Left forces the Pakistan People’s Party is no longer considered part of the Left. 

The mainstream media have concentrated more on prominent Left personalities and have not given due attention to the rising Left forces and their role in developing mass movements of the workers, peasants and also of lawyers.

* The most daring and militant movement in the history of peasantry in Pakistan is the Anjaman Mozareen Punjab of Okara and other districts. The Labour Party Pakistan and other Left forces have played a decisive role in developing, sustaining and continuing this militant peasant movement. Women have also played a leading role in this movement. The peasants have occupied 68000 acres of land since 2001. Despite all the repression, they have not paid any amount! They have become the owners of the land without possessing papers or registering.

* The recent textile and power loom workers struggle for better wages and conditions in Faisalabad is another important example.

* On the eve of the Sixth Congress of Labour Party Pakistan, on 29 January 2010, the famous Dhobi Ghat ground of Faisalabad saw of the historic gathering of over 10,000 workers and peasants.

* The 44-day Awami Tehreek Long March in Sindh is another shining example of the development of Left forces in Pakistan. Thousands of Sindhies men and women walked all the way to Karachi, garlanded everywhere as heroes of this Long March.

* The merging of several Left groups and parties in the newly formed Workers Party of Pakistan is another sign of the growth of left forces in Pakistan.

* The 2006 World Social Forum in Karachi marked an important moment in which the Pakistani Left was linked to the global justice movement. Anti-globalizations is an important part of the Pakistani Left's activities.

* There is also a new radicalization among the youth. This is mainly under the influence of the lawyer’s movement. While the '90s generation missed the ideas of the Left, this new generation is reading the Marxist classics. 

A new and united Left is emerging. It united in opposition to the neoliberal agenda, to religious fundamentalism and to imperialism. It combines social and political activists in actions and forums. This rise of social movements along with the class movement is building a strong new Left in Pakistan. 

We all see the sign of recovery. Traditionally Left forces are good in the streets and not in the parliamentary field. This shortcoming is currently one of the main Left discussions. A united Left list in the upcoming local elections can pave the way for greater Left unity and more successes in the parliament. 

The Left can move ahead by developing the mass movement of the workers, peasants, minorities, and women and by defending the rights of the different nationalities. The ideas must be a vehicle for actions.



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