Vizhinjam Port Struggle in Kerala writes new chapter in history of people’s movement


The Kerala State Committee of SUCI (Communist) extended its heartfelt greetings to the architects of ‘‘Vizhinjam Port Struggle’’ while simultaneously saluting the heroic role of the coastal communities, especially the fishermen in the same. The fishermen sustained their consistent struggle by bravely resisting the calumny and slander which the CPI (M)-led government had heaped upon them in its shameless efforts to support the designs of the Adani group. The government had not even shown the minimum courtesy to rehabilitate the 284 poor families who were consigned to accommodate themselves in cement godowns in the face of advancing sea erosion displacing them from their households. In their eagerness to corner the valiant struggle of the fishermen, the CPI (M) led Front government chose to align itself with the BJP, without even considering the grave consequences which may arise out of such a communal campaign in Kerala. They didn’t even shrink from resorting to the ugly fascist mode of setting up a pandal in opposition to the struggle of the fishermen & unleashing terror against them. The fishermen, who through their selfless sacrifices and courageous efforts rescued countless people trapped in their flood marooned households and who received the heartfelt appreciation of the people are now being branded as terrorists and communal elements by the CPI (M). By using police, the CPI (M) has unleashed a reign of terror on these hapless people. False cases have been slapped on more than 3000 individuals, with the TVM Arch Bishop being named as the first accused. Braving all such suppression, slander, calumny and misrepresentation, the struggling fishermen through their 138 days long enduring movement against the demoniac corporate forces have scripted a path of struggle which will inspire the resistance of people in the coming days.
The leadership of the struggle committee itself hasn’t so far claimed that all demands have been already achieved. It has further clarified that it’s not entirely happy with the present temporary pause in the movement which has been necessitated by the present turn of developments. This matured reasoning of the leadership not only provides an insight into how seriously it has understood the complexities of the ground realities of the struggle but the measured words used in its official note also reflects the onerous responsibilities it’s called upon to uphold.
Evaluation about the successful outcome of any democratic movement, cannot be solely gauged upon, only on the demands it has been able to successfully wrestle out from a reluctant government. The Vizhinjam Port movement has been able to create a heightened sense of democratic consciousness, fraternity and confidence among the masses involved in the struggle and this will undoubtedly act as a valuable experience in launching mass movements in future. The struggle by the coastal communities has been able to create a better awareness among the discerning citizens of Kerala, about the disastrous environmental, social, and economic impacts of the Adani Port project. With the CPI (M) joining hands with the BJP openly to suppress the struggle of the fishermen against construction of the Monopolist Adani-owned Port, the common people have been gradually understanding the pro-capitalist line of these forces. People have been realizing through the fire of struggle that all parliamentary parties irrespective of hue are wedded to serve the class interest of oppressive capitalism. This developed understanding will pave the way for more encompassing movements in future. As corporate forces extend their spheres of exploitation to the vast natural resources of the shoreline in the form of mineral sand mining, blue economy, large scale construction and reclamation of the coastal areas, the problems of the poor coastal communities will mount, making their life conditions more miserable than ever. Democratic movement will be the only way through which succour can come. This is an important lesson of the Vizhinjam Port struggle.
Since the policies and practices of all governments are wholly subservient to the class interest of the monopoly capital, for a movement of people to attain a comprehensive and complete victory, it should be able to successfully sustain itself till the very end and channelize along correct line by a correct leadership. The movement should be able to garner the support of not only the direct victims of the anti-people policies of the government but should also be able to mould public opinion against such disastrous policies. People’s struggle committees are the instruments of the struggle of the people. The leadership should be not only broad-based but also anchored on correct line so that no opportunity is provided to the adversaries to brand it as communal, sectarian or opportunist. Lessons of the historic year-long peasants’ movement succeeded the fascist autocratic central government to its knees. Earlier, Singur-Nandigram movement wrote a new chapter in the history of mass movement. Prior to that, a 19-year long education movement compelled the then CPI (M) government of West Bengal to reintroduce English at primary school level. The lessons of the anti-Silver line (K-rail in Kerala) movement which forced the CPI (M)-led Kerala government to backtrack on the project are also to be imbibed. The valuable experiences provided by these successful movements should guide us in building greater movements. To save the state of Kerala from the disastrous policies of the corporate houses and their political lackeys, the coastal communities in Vizhinjam including the fishermen should come forward and initiate the movement. The toiling masses of the state should protect this movement. The people of the country should unitedly stand in support of it.

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