Youth of Lok Raj Sangathan organize workshop in Thane, Maharashtra
“Which Way Ahead – Glory or Doom?” This was the intriguing title of the two-day workshop organized in Thane on 25th and 26th January at the initiative of its young members by the Lok Raj Sangathan. The workshop was held in the backdrop of the euphoria created in the media over the US President’s visit as the Chief Guest for this year’s Republic Day. A large number of student youth, mainly young college-going girls and boys, participated enthusiastically in this workshop. There were also garment workers from Central Mumbai as well as women of the farming community from villages in Thane district.
A number of burning issues of the day were addressed in the two days. How reliable a friend is the US? This was the issue explored in the first session. The two young presenters started with a quiz, asking the audience questions about US history of aggression. In a very dramatic and thoughtful way, the crimes of the US government, the genocides that it has perpetrated in various countries all round the world were brought forth. It was pointed out that, under different high-sounding slogans like “defence of democracy”, the US has toppled democratically elected governments in numerous countries while befriending various dictators. After the decline of the various colonial powers 70 years ago at the end of the Second World War, US imperialism emerged as the superpower that wants to rule over the whole world. The participants were astounded to see how many military bases the US has in countries not far from India. It was pointed out that the economy of the US and the manifold US MNCs are is heavily dependent on the armament industry, in whose interest it is to promote war, not peace, between different countries.
The presentation brought out clearly that while the US government and all that it stands for is the greatest threat that humanity faces today, the ordinary working people of US are not to be blamed. They are misled by the barrage of propaganda that they face every day, but many of them are now realizing that their government is not to be trusted. In fact thousands of US soldiers left the armed forces after they realized that they were being used as tools for perpetrating the cruelest crimes against various people in the world. The presentation included video clips of US war veterans – of soldiers who had fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, believing that these countries were threats to all that they stood for. What they saw there brought them to their senses. In a massive demonstration not far from the NATO summit, veteran after veteran – young women as well as men – came forth. First each of them gave a short speech apologizing for the crimes carried out against Iraqis and Afghans and on how their enemies were not thousands of miles away in different lands as they are told, but instead just a few meters away in boardrooms heading various multinational companies! As a climax they took off the medals for ‘heroism’ that each of them had been awarded, and hurled them away in the direction of the summit. This video touched everyone to the core, eliciting tears not just of empathy, but also of hope for the future of humanity.
In another presentation, it was brought out how the “War on Terror” is a big fraud, led by the most terroristic state in history. The litmus test is who benefits from terrorist acts, whether it be in Peshawar, Paris or anywhere in India. At the end of the session the participants were convinced that we should not be fooled by the government propaganda that blames Pakistan and Muslims for every act of terror in India.
There was a session on what the Modi government has delivered in the months it has been in power and the dangers for common people in the course that it is pursuing. While working people have already started experiencing that the promised “Acche Din” are only for the bourgeoisie, many students used to be under the impression that good times have been indeed ushered in. They were deeply shaken when they understood what the government is cooking up for young workers.
The session on history was an eye-opener for many participants. It was very clear that even after independence, the exploitative system set up by the British rulers has been preserved intact, and that the need of the day is to establish the real rule of the people – Lok Raj!
Inspiring songs and a skit by college students portraying the problems with the present political setup were performed in between the sessions.
All the sessions were interactive, with a high level of involvement on the part of participants. People freely raised questions and doubts and also expressed their opinions. Many of them felt that the material presented in the workshop needs to be taken to a much wider audience so that the lies spread by the ruling class through its media are exposed and people come to know the truth. The effectiveness of the workshop was evident from the feedback given by the participants. Many of them expressed their appreciation and changed their views. A number of them became members of Lok Raj Sangathan and expressed their desire to work for building a new society.
“Spark – Voice of Youth” is another initiative of the young members of Lok Raj Sangathan, and the first issue of this magazine was launched on 25th January by the youngest member of the Thane Youth Committee.