First Day of Bhagat Singh Jan Adhikar Yatra, December 10
Phase 2 of The Bhagat Singh Jan Adhikar Yatra (BSJAY), which began on December 10, is set to cover 8,500 km, going through 80 districts and 13 states, and will continue until March 3. The Rally is primarily organised by the Revolutionary Workers Party of India (RWPI), Disha Students Organisation, Naujawan Bharat Sabha, and Mazdoor Bigul Dasta, along with numerous other progressive organisations. The Yatra is essentially an anti-fascist mass movement, aimed at combatting the ongoing fascist onslaught on the common masses of the country.
Fundamental Demands and Objectives
The Bhagat Singh Jan Adhikar Yatra (BSJAY) describes itself as an anti-fascist mass movement that seeks to mobilise the people along the lines of demand for employment, education, housing, and healthcare. The Yatra is reaching among the working population and actively organising them against rampant communalism by instilling a sense of revolutionary class consciousness and solidarity in them. Through the means of this Yatra, the movement aims to fill the working masses with the realisation that employment, free education, healthcare, housing, and secularism are the fundamental needs of the people. Some of their major demands include implementation of Bhagat Singh National Employment Guarantee Act (BSNEGA) and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA), end to privatisation, abolishment of indirect taxes to control inflation, proper subsidies for poor and middle peasants, imposition of special taxes on the rich, and a complete ban on communal organisations that spread communal and caste-based hatred, and are responsible for mob lynchings.
Such mass mobilisations of the people are necessary in times when fascist violence and onslaught are intensifying. Fascism, as a reactionary mass movement of the middle class, organises people by exploiting the prevalent economic insecurity among the people under capitalism and crisis. Unemployment and perpetual inflation usually culminate in a peculiar sense of anxiety where people find themselves being scared of falling into poverty. This economic insecurity of the people is weaponized by the fascist movement as the reactionary forces deploy their communal, racist and conservative propaganda to convince them into believing that these socio-economic conditions exist because of an ‘enemy figure’ - which is often a historically marginalised religious or racial community within the regional context. False narratives like; overpopulation, because of the Muslims, is the reason behind unemployment and that people from the reserved categories are acquiring all the seat vacancies, are examples of such fascist propaganda. This fabrication of a ‘fake enemy’ is a very instrumental tactic of mobilisation used by the fascist forces which diminishes the revolutionary consciousness of people and rather directs the energy of the masses towards a regressive upheaval. On the contrary, a revolutionary movement laboriously works to educate the people by revealing that the recurring crisis, and consequently worsening unemployment is because of the very economic system of capitalism our society operates on. Thus, only a revolutionary mass movement is capable of effectively fighting fascism. Moreover, this understanding of fascism as a mass movement of the middle classes prevents us from falling prey to the erroneous assessment of concluding the defeat of fascism by referring to the electoral fall of a certain political party.
Bhagat Singh Jan Adhikar Yatra (BSJAY) is addressing questions like “Why is inflation breaking all records?”, “Why is unemployment increasing every day?” “Why are we being fed the opium of communalism, casteism, and jingoism?”. Such questions help the common working population to critically think about their socioeconomic conditions in the light of a scientific approach towards systematic questions. Hence, in this context, Bhagat Singh Jan Adhikar Yatra (BSJAY) rightly serves as a revolutionary movement that contains the potential to efficaciously resist fascism by engendering the wake of the revolutionary potential of the people.
Failed Fascist Disruptions & Persisting Yatra
Phase II of the Bhagat Singh Jan Adhikar Yatra (BSJAY) began on December 10, in Bengaluru, Karnataka. The Yatra went through different areas like MG Road, Freedom Park and Shivaji Nagar. The Yatra organised several meetings (Sabhas) at different locations and eventually flagged off the Yatra after a Jan Sabha at Freedom Park. Shivani Kaul, an activist from the Revolutionary Workers Party of India (RWPI), addressed the Sabha and spoke about the unbounded worsening of inflation since the beginning of The Modi government’s tenure. Later, the issues of exponentially increasing unemployment and its adverse effects on the youth were also touched upon by her.
BSJAY at the village of Chinakakani, Guntur, in Andhra Pradesh
Since then, the Yatra has reached a number of different towns, cities and villages of Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad and Maharashtra. People from different localities, industrial areas and residential colonies closely observed the Yatra and expressed their solidarity with the movement by claiming that the Yatra is raising relevant issues that concern the common masses.
Apart from solidarity and support from the broad section of common working masses, the Yatra has met with multiple encounters with fascists. The activists from BSJAY have found them in working-class neighbourhoods, public libraries and middle-class residential areas. Nevertheless, their attempts at harming the unity of people went in vain as in almost every instance, the people did not pay these fascist goons any heed and instead continued their united struggle against communalism and fascism.
On 25 December, when the Bhagat Singh Jan Adhikar Yatra(BSJAY) reached Taljai, Pune, around 7-8 lumpens reached the street assembly of the Yatra and immediately started mobilizing their communal goons. Those disrupters even tried to incite the crowd of onlookers but no one paid any heed to them. However, the Yatra volunteers continued with their fierce revolutionary slogans and spoke to people regarding the demands of the movement and educated them about the fascist politics of the current regime. Moreover, their attempts to disturb the gathering by resorting to fascistic communal sloganeering failed miserably while the Yatra kept marching with their anti-fascist slogans and was ultimately successful in completing their program.
These examples are adequate in demonstrating that the most effective way to combat the escalating communal and caste-based animosity in our society, perpetuated by the ruling class to divert attention from the continually deteriorating economic conditions of the broader working population, is through a united revolutionary mass movement like the Bhagat Singh Jan Adhikar Yatra (BSJAY).
Vansh Yadav is an undergraduate student, and independent writer from Delhi, India. His areas of research interests include history, culture and political economy.
The article was initially published at countercurrents.org on 27/12/2023