Wednesday, February 13, 2008

CPM urges cadres to take on NGOs it frowns on

CPM urges cadres to take on NGOs it frowns on
Rajib Chatterjee

KOLKATA, Feb. 13 (Statesman): The message seems clear and borrowed directly from President George W Bush: civil society be damned, you are either with us or against us. For, after targeting human rights organisations for raising their voice against violations by the state and its police in Bengal, the Marxists now have Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in their line of fire. The CPI-M has accused NGOs they don’t approve of accepting foreign funds that are aimed at encouraging “anti-Left activities” in the country and in states where the Communist movement is strong.
In the 28 January edition of its mouthpiece ~ Peoples’ Democracy ~ the CPI-M has demanded an amendment in the law to prohibit “foreign funding for NGOs”. The CPI-M states that “anti-imperialist agencies” use these NGOs to carry out anti-Left and anti-CPI-M propaganda. The CPI-M has claimed that many such NGOs are RSS-run and receiving funds from abroad. Some ultra-left elements are also running civil liberties and human rights organisations “with external links” in order to carry on anti-CPI-M activities in the country, the party stated. What remained unstated was that there are, obviously, good NGOs and bad NGOs; and those willing to do the party’s dirty work when it wants to target or demonise a citizen or a group obviously fall in the former category!

In the article, the CPI-M expressed concern over the number of foreign-funded NGOs in the country. The party said the number of NGOs receiving funds from abroad had been “steadily increasing” and many of these organisations were “intervening in political issues” and were engaged in “anti-Left activities”. The article further reads: “The law should be amended to prohibit foreign funding for NGOs and the so-called social movements which indulge in political activities.” The party informed its members that the matter would come up for discussion during the upcoming nineteenth party congress.

The CPI-M has alleged that “imperialist agencies”, as part of its campaign against organised Left movement in the country, are trying to inject anti-Left ideology among the people through NGOs. The CPI-M has also demanded that the role of the “NGOs which organise people utilising foreign funds” should be “exposed”. The party has instructed its cadres to “counter the activities of the NGOs” which “take anti-Left positions” and attempt to “de-politicise people.”

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