Clifton D’Rozario will visit Australia to address the Ecosocialism 2023 conference over July 1–2 in Naarm/Melbourne. He is a central leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation (CPI-ML) — one of India’s three mass communist parties — and a labour lawyer with extensive experience representing workers in the fight for their rights, often against fierce repression.
D’Rozario will report on the heroic battle to win union representation and greater rights for Dalit sanitation workers, who carry out the extremely hazardous job of manually unblocking sewer pipes in Bangalore. Previously known as “untouchables”, or Scheduled Castes in the Indian constitution, Dalits are at the bottom of the caste system.
The early workers’ movement in India assumed that, with the spread of capitalism, the caste system would fade away. Instead, the opposite has happened — Indian capitalism has reinforced castes to solidify class divisions and divisions within the working class itself.
The CPI-ML considers it a strategic priority to organise among Dalit workers to advance the working-class struggle and prevent the internalisation of caste prejudice and privilege, which has plagued the Indian labour movement.
D’Rozario will also be speaking about the fight to save democracy in response to the increasingly autocratic right-wing Hindi chauvinist Narendra Modi government, which threatens to overturn India’s foundation as a secular republic.