China with the Communist Party in power had its criticism. But seeing the mega development projects, Bangabandhu wrote: “The opium addicted nation has woken up from sleep suddenly. Nobody takes opium now, nobody feels dozy. They are now full of optimism, not frustration. The country has been independent, everything is for the country’s people.”
Though China’s pro-labour policy fascinated Bangabandhu, he did not want the same socialism in Bangladesh. He clarified: “I am not a communist. I believe in socialism and do not believe in the capitalist economy.”
This trip gave him food for thought to reform the social system. Bangabandhu’s political career was pro-people from the very beginning. He saw the acceptance and popularity of his early political colleagues and veteran politicians Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy and Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Huq among the farmers. Later, while accelerating anti-Pakistani politics, demands related to farmers and workers were mostly highlighted in the 11-point charter. The urge for an exploitation-free society always complied with the rise of nationalism through the language movement. All student organisations, including Chhatra League formed by Bangabandhu himself, voiced against the capitalistic attitude, called for the cancellation of foreign money and nationalisation of big industries. In continuation of these demands, Jukto Front also pledged to abolish the Zamindari system and nationalise the jute mills.
The 11-point charter in 1960 also demanded the nationalisation of banks, insurances and jute mills. The Awami League campaign and programmes also called for establishing socialism in 1969 to ensure economic justice for all.
Awami League included socialism in the 1970 election manifesto. Ahead of the election, there was a biennial conference of the party in June. From the council, it was announced: “The equality among the people will be established by abolishing monopoly, capitalism, feudalism, zamindari, jotdari, mahajani system and introducing socialist economy within democratic structures.” The announcement from the council also read: “A socialistic economic system will be introduced in democratic structure to ensure equality among people.” Following this announcement, Awami League launched its election campaign. From then, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman stressed the need for bringing the ownership of the country’s wealth to the country’s people at every election rally. The principle of founding an exploitation and discrimination-free state and equity-based social system is regarded as socialism in the Bangladesh context.
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