08 August 2008

G8 Summit: No Good News on Climate Change

For those who have been watching the climate change negotiations over the part decade, the recently concluded G8 Summit was more of the same: arm twisting and muscle-flexing by the US, and desperate attempts by the rest of the world to get it to make the least of concessions. There was however a difference this time. After more than 15 years of bullying and holding the environment to ransom, the US has finally got what it has been angling for. Now, despite being the world’s most energy-intensive economy, the US will not have to move a little finger for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions unless developing countries like India and China do. This is a major victory for the US and its ideological position, and is undoubtedly the most significant development of the G8 Summit in Hokkaido, Japan. Right from the beginning of the climate change negotiations, the US has been using two weapons. Firstly, challenging the facts and rubbishing the science behind global warming. Secondly, holding highly populated countries, India and China in particular, responsible for the crisis. The US has consistently refused to be part of any emissions reductions effort unless India and China also make reduction commitments. In other words, the US wants to shift the responsibility of the crisis away from the energy and capital intensive lifestyles of the developed world to the subsistence existence...

Read More

On Cover

The Smile on the face of the Tiger Manmohanji, what is this 123? It is really bothering me. Stop worrying about it. I am telling you it is all right. Isn’t that enough? But Manmohanji, in school whenever I ignored the 123, I got into big trouble… You are not in school now, just leave it and do as I say! Still, I am worried. If it is all right, why should we hide? What are you talking about? Oh, I get it, you are worried about the Hyde Act. That is nothing. Actually quite helpful to us. When you met Bush at the G 8 in Japan, you told him you “were happy to report” that Indians (at least the thinking ones) were beginning to appreciate the need to ally with the USA. Why were you submitting a ‘report’ to him? Well, after all, it’s him who has to decide if I’ve passed or failed…. But Manmohanji, when I was with you in the Planning Commission, you would always tell me not to trust the Americans. What is so different now? Do you think it is good to hide behind the bush? “Bhaiya, I am losing my patience, but let me tell you that in the new reality Bush is better than Putin! So, you are telling me not to put in my trust in the Russians, but...

Read More

Towards 7th National Conference of AICCTU

(The 7th National Conference of AICCTU is being held at Chennai on August 4-5-6 2008. Towards the Conference, we carry some excerpts from the draft report for the Conference as well as a report of the inaugural Conference of the All India Federation of Construction Workers held recently. Ed/-) Long Live the Legacy of July 23 2008 Centenary of the Political Awakening of the Indian Working Class On July 23 1908, the nascent Indian working class came of age by doing direct and militant battle with the British colonial regime – not on any immediate bread-and-butter question but on the question of Indian freedom and democracy. In protest against the nationalist leader Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s arrest on charges of ‘sedition,’ wave upon wave of workers of Mumbai poured out on the streets and clashed with the police in front of the courthouse. The struggle intensified during the entire trial, with workers facing off with the colonial police force and the army. There was repeated police firing on the striking workers. 200 workers and common people lost their lives in the course of the struggle. Lenin hailed the political awakening of the Indian working class in the following words: “The infamous sentence pronounced by the British jackals on the Indian democrat Tilak … evoked street demonstrations and strike in Mumbai. In India, too, the proletariat has already developed to conscious...

Read More

Reports

AIALA Gears up for 3rd National Conference About 100 cadres assembled in Banaras on the 8 July for a Poorvanchal (Eastern UP) level cadre convention of AIALA. The cadre convention was held to gear up the organization for the forthcoming third national conference of AIALA, proposed to be held in Ballia in November this year. Addressing the gathering as the guest speaker, Com.Dhirendra Jha, National General Secretary of AIALA underlined the need of a powerful class assertion of the agrarian workers against the pro-imperialist foreign policy of the UPA government manifested in the Nuke Deal and also against the soaring prices, which were hurting the poor the most. He said that UP provided an excellent opportunity for AIALA to grow and all the cadres should seize the opportunity of the forthcoming national conference to expand. He said that the forthcoming conference of AIALA is aimed at furthering the movement of agricultural labourers and rural poor against the betrayal of the UPA Govt. In developing the movement of rural poor on the issues of employment, food, homestead land rights apart from traditional issues of land, wage and dignity, the AIALA should come forward to strengthen the people’s resistance against the continuing attack of the pro-rich pro-corporate policies of ruling establishment of all hues. The convention was also addressed by party State Secretary Sudhaker Yadav and Ramji Rai, PB member, Krishna...

Read More

Women’s Movement and Communist Party: Basics Revisited

(Continued from last issue) In this last part of the article we propose to elaborate on the two important and interrelated areas of our concern, already touched in Part II: (a) grasping the proletarian approach to women’s movement and (b) promoting communist attitude to women in the party and society. The first we will discuss in light of the words and deeds of some prominent women leaders of the international communist movement; the second in the light of Lenin’s teachings. To round off the whole discussion, we will then conclude with a few words on the connection between socialism and women’s liberation. Class and Gender in the Works of Marx, Zetkin and Luxembourg As we saw earlier, the theses of the Third Congress of CI put the whole stress on “drawing them into all forms and types of civil conflict…encouraging women to participate in the struggle against capitalist exploitation, in mass action against the high cost of living,…unemployment…” — in short, on mobilising women in the general stream of class struggle. And this was precisely what veterans like Eleanor Marx, Zetkin and Luxembourg had long been doing and advocating. In the process they had to wage a relentless battle against bourgeois feminists, whom they called ‘women’s-rightsers’ because the latter regarded women’s juridical rights (under the existing social order) to be the be-all and end-all of their agitation and programme....

Read More

Protests Against Nuke Deal During Parliament Session

CPI(ML) observed a nationwide Vigil on 21-22 July during the Parliament discussions on the Nuke Deal. This was meant to let the parliamentarians know that the nation would be closely observing their behaviour over the Nuke Deal, and to warn that the people would punish them for their moves to sell out and betray India’s sovereignty. In Delhi, hundreds of people attended the Vigil at Parliament Street, Jantar Mantar on 22nd July which was addressed by Party General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya besides many other senior leaders. The Vigil was decorated with banners and placards terming the UPA ‘Unashamed Partners of America’; and declaring ‘Buy Nuke Deal, Get Hyde Act Free’. He called upon the entire rank and file of the Party to make the nation-wide Campaign to be launched July 23 with a National Convention “For National Resistance against the UPA’s Pro-Imperialist Betrayal” at Constitution Club in Delhi, a great success. 23 July marks the centenary of the first political strike of the Indian working class in 1908 against the arrest of Bal Gangadhar Tilak, and is therefore a powerful inspiration for today’s struggles against imperialism and for democracy. The campaign would culminate with a massive Jail Bharo movement on August 20, the day of the general Strike called by the Central trade Unions. The Vigil was also attended by CPI(ML) CC members Prabhat Kumar, Delhi State Secretary Sanjay...

Read More

Expose BJP’s Pretence of Resistance to the Nuke Deal

The BJP and NDA are only too happy to be subservient allies of the imperialist USA – their only condition is that they should have the hegemonic status in the subcontinent and be USA’s local cop on the beat in this region. It is well known that Vajpayee as PM had initiated the process of the Indo-US Nuke Deal, and reportedly, Jaswant Singh had congratulated the UPA policy makers who negotiated the Deal on “a job well done”. So, the sole concern on the Nuke Deal professed by the BJP is based on a bomb-based jingoism. For all its ‘bomb-astic’ expressions of nationalism, the BJP’s position on the Deal as well as on all other matters of national interest smacks of servility to the imperialist US. The BJP has no concern for India’s sovereignty and self-respect The BJP claims to oppose the Indo-US Nuke Deal because, according to them, it will restrict India from developing its military nuclear potential – i.e, bombs. Its own claim to nationalism is based on Pokhran II – which it projected as a “Hindu bomb” which it tested in defiance of US sanctions. The truth, however, is rather different. The fact is that it is Pokhran II which placed India’s neck firmly in the US’ strategic noose – the Nuke Deal pursued by the UPA regime is merely tightening that noose. The US imposed...

Read More

CPI(M)’s Opportunist Tactics: Exposed In the Mirror of the Nuke Deal

The CPI(M)’s stance is that it has withdrawn support from the UPA Government because that Government is “bringing about a rightward shift in both foreign and domestic policies” (see a recent CPI(M) Booklet on Left Parties and the Nuke Deal) – citing price rise, the Nuke Deal, neoliberal economic policies and numerous surrenders to communal forces as instances of this rightward shift. The question inevitably arises – why did the CPI(M) continue to allow such a rightward shift to take place for nearly the whole of the UPA’s tenure? To keep out the communal forces, perhaps? But the CPI(M) itself says in the same passage of the booklet that “Communal forces cannot be fought just on the basis of political manoeuvres. They can only be defeated through the pursuit of an alternative set of policies that mobilises and unites the people of the country.” By failing to pursue such alternative policies, “it is the Congress-led UPA Government which is paving the way for the communal forces.” The unfolding events of the nuke deal serve to highlight how the CPI(M), in the name of fighting both communalism and imperialism, has based its tactics on nothing but ‘political manoeuvres’ rather than principles. Had the CPI(M) pulled out support at a different juncture, when it could have still commanded some initiative, it might have retained at least some semblance of the claim...

Read More

Will the Nuke Deal Solve Power Shortage in India?

Power shortage and rising prices of oil are something our people experience in their daily lives. In fact the Government is facing tremendous popular anger against privatisation of power and price rise of essential commodities spinning off from oil price hike. The UPA Govt is claiming the Nuke Deal will solve that shortage. Recent newspaper ads, put out by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas have claimed that nuclear power becomes more important as an alternative to traditional power sources like diesel in the light of rising oil prices. And Congress is propagating that the Nuke Deal will provide “Ghar Ghar me bijli” (electricity in every home). Can nuclear energy really replace coal and oil, light up our homes, run our trains and trucks? Today, nuclear energy generated by India’s 17 reactors accounts for less than 3% of India’s total electricity-generating capacity. Even according to the optimistic (and possibly inflated) estimates of the Government, nuclear energy even after the Deal will only account for 7-9% of India’s total installed capacity by 2020. Electricity in India (and much of the world) comes from coal, not nuclear energy. Secondly, nuclear plants take far longer to build than thermal power plants and gas-fired plants. Thirdly, nuclear power has very high capital costs, and is necessarily centralised: i.e you cannot have a nuclear plant in each region or even state. Therefore, there...

Read More

NO To The Nuke Deal ! Intensify The Movement For National Resistance Against Pro-Imperialist Betrayal !

To bite or not to bite, that was the question. And by the time the Left watchdog overcame the Hamletian dilemma and decided to act, it had already lost its teeth. Out-flanked by the SP-Congress marriage of convenience on the issue of the nuclear deal, the Left Front no longer remained the sole arbiter of the UPA Government’s fate. But the more or less comfortable position of the UPA government soon came under clouds of uncertainty. The rift in SP was effectively abetted by BSP. Small parties and MPs whose support the government banked on kept their cards close to their chests. In the run-up to the trust vote and in anticipation of snap polls, the game of numbers began to hot up. In addition to customary horse-trading, other — often quite novel – methods of manipulation were being worked out. The UPA offered to rename an important airport in the country to woo a leader commanding just three MPs. Another old hand, having five MPs in his kitty and bargaining with the UPA to get back his favourite berth in the cabinet, had before him the no less lucrative NDA offer of CM’s chair in his home state. Criminals lodged in jails were also brought to parliament to cast their precious votes. The final acts of the unfolding episode have already been commented on in the opening pages...

Read More

UPA Has Won a Tainted Trust Vote – It Must Now Be Defeated by the Might of People’s Struggles

Amidst widespread allegations and counter-allegations of horse-trading and an unprecedented televised flashing of cash right inside Parliament, the parliamentary showdown over the nuclear deal has ended rather tamely in favour of the Congress. The final tally of numbers indicates cross-voting or calculated abstention or absence by nearly two dozen opposition MPs, giving the government a total strength of 275 votes, a lead of 19 votes over the combined opposition. While the lure of money and the spoils of office obviously played a huge role in determining the numbers, the real reason for the Congress victory certainly lay in the ruling classes’ essentially united commitment to the cause of strategic partnership with the US. Not only did the UPA expose its true colours as the Unashamed Partners of America, the BJP too provided ample evidence of its well-known loyalty to Washington. In the course of his speech, Advani reiterated his party’s abiding commitment to strategic ties with the US and promised only to ‘renegotiate’ the deal on being voted to power, ostensibly to make sure that India had the leeway for a possible Pokhran-III. The Congress conveniently delinked the nuclear deal from its real essence of being the centrepiece of New Delhi’s growing strategic partnership with Washington, projecting it as just another innocent idea for electricity generation. The Hyde Act which explicitly demands compulsory congruence of Indian foreign policy with...

Read More