Tuesday, February 18, 2014

National Convention for Democracy and Secularism - New Delhi, February 27, 2014

People's Alliance for Democracy and Secularism
National Convention
27th February 2014, Hindi Bhavan, Near ITO, New Delhi

The spectre of communal politics is once again haunting the country. The recent violence in western Uttar Pradesh should be taken as a warning. Added to this is the attraction among sections of the public for authoritarian solutions. The coming general elections may prove to be a watershed. There is a real danger that political forces which have routinely violated democratic rights of ordinary citizens on the basis of their religion, language or sub-national identities, may succeed in their long term goal of establishing an authoritarian and fascist state power. The threat is not only to minorities; an authoritarian state will attack democratic rights of all.

Recent developments have deep roots. Even though Indian state is governed by a secular constitution, communal forces of all colours have thrived in our society. All of them are marked by intolerance, patriarchal attitudes and the habit of unleashing violence in the name of 'hurt sentiments'. Nearly all political parties play upon communal identities and sentiments. Communal tendencies are present in media, bureaucracy, and popular culture. Nor can these be separated from the widespread casteism and gender violence. All Indians who value their democratic rights, including working poor, women, and oppressed castes and minorities, should ideally be standing against communal-authoritarian forces. We are the overwhelming majority of Indians, yet no viable political force exists to mobilise and fight for our aspirations for a democratic and secular India.

Communalism can be resisted and defeated only by strengthening democratic institutions and practices. The People's Alliance for Democracy and Secularism (P.A.D.S.) is an attempt of democratic and anti-communal organisations and individuals to deepen the roots of democracy and secularism in Indian society. It is organising a National Convention for Democracy and Secularism in Delhi on 27th February. Large number of democratic and anti-communal organisations and individuals from different parts of the country are expected to participate. The convention will be a day long exercise in analysis, planning and strategising against communal-authoritarian forces, both in the immediate context of coming general elections, and the long term goal of building a democratic and secular society.

The People's Alliance for Democracy and Secularism appeals to all democratic and anti-communal organizations to endorse its call for its national convention and make the convention a success.


Session I - 10 AM to 1 PM
Confronting the Fascist Challenge: Deepening Democracy and Secularism
(About 8 speakers, talking about themes related to communal politics)

LUNCH - 1 pm to 2 pm

Session II - 2 pm to 4 pm
Political Strategies in Resisting Communalism: Activists’ experiences
(Experiences related by anti communal groups & individuals)

TEA - 4 pm to 4.30 pm

Session III - 4.30 pm to 6.30 pm (may be extended if necessary)
Future Courses of Action
(Open house discussion will address the coming national elections; and the matter of popular democratic resistance. There will be an informal meeting the following morning, 28th February, at SPWD office, to discuss long term plans. All participants are welcome.)

People's Alliance For Democracy and Secularism
In Solidarity,

ALFA educational,
All India Secular Forum,
Aman Biradari,
Aman Ekta Manch,
Ayodhya Ki Awaz,
Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan,
Bigul Mazdoor Dasta,
Black Pepper Publications,
Centre for Harmony and Peace,
Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha (CMM),
Darshan Organisation,
Delhi Mazdoor Union,
Disha Students' Organization,
EKTA (Committee for Communal Amity), Mumbai,
Focus On Global South,
Human Rights Defenders’ Alert – India,
Khudai Khidmatgar,
Muslims for Secular Democracy,
Nadi Ghati Morcha,
National Alliance for Peoples Movement,
National Movement For Land Labor & Justice- NMLLJ,
New Wave (Bolshevik Leninist),
New Socialist Initiative (NSI),
New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI),
Peoples Research Society,
Program for Social Action,
Progressive Organization of People (POP),
Progressive Writers' Association,
Rajastan mazdoor Kisan Union (RMKU),
Right to Water Campaign, 
South Asia Citizens Web (sacw.net),
Scavengers Watch,
Stree Adhikar Abhiyan,
Women For Water Democracy, 
Yuva Samvad.

(NB- This list is not exhaustive, and more endorsements are awaited)



It seems there are all -- women, mazdoor, students, writers, socialists, Muslims et al --- in solidarity with the alliance/conference. But there is a conspicuous absence of any dalit rights organizations ( except the 'scavengers watch' ) ! Don't you think the forum must reach out too them too ? I am also thinking why such dalit rights groups are not reaching out to such movements for secular democracy on their own ?

Post a Comment