05 May 2009

On Cover

Hum Dekhenge We shall witness Certainly we, too, shall witness that day that has been promised to us When these high mountains Of tyranny and oppression turn to fluff and evaporate And we oppressed – Beneath our feet will this earth shiver, shake and beat And heads of rulers will be struck With crackling lightening and thunder roars. When from this God’s earth All false images will be removed. Then we of clean hearts — condemned by Zealots, those keepers of Faith, We, will be invited to that altar to sit and govern. When crowns will be thrown off — and thrones will be overturned. We shall witness Certainly we, too, shall witness that day that has been promised to us… Only the name of Allah will remain Who is both absent and present Who is both the observer and the view itself When the anthem of truth will be raised Which I am and you are as well And the people of God will reign Who I am and you are as well We shall witness Certainly we, too, shall witness that day that has been promised to us… — Faiz Ahmed Faiz, (Translation based on the version by Maniza Naqvi that appeared in Times of India, 20 August 2008) Adieu Iqbal Bano! You will live on as the sub-continent’s voice of defiance against tyranny Iqbal Bano, the...

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Dr. Binayak Sen: “Punishment by Trial”

(This is the text of a letter written by the eminent Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer, former Supreme Court Judge, to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, dated April 17, 2009. Ed/-) I would like to bring to your attention a case of grave injustice which is a cause of much shame to Indian democracy: that of Dr. Binayak Sen, the well known paediatrician and defender of human rights. This good doctor has been incarcerated in a Raipur jail for nearly two years now under the Chhattisgarh State Public Security Act, 2005. Among the charges against Dr. Sen, who is renowned worldwide for his public health work among the rural poor, are “treason and waging war against the state.” Chhattisgarh State prosecutors claim that Binayak, as part of an unproven conspiracy, passed on a set of letters from Narayan Sanyal, a senior Maoist leader who is in the Raipur jail, to Piyush Guha, a local businessman with allegedly close links to the left-wing extremists. He was supposed to have done this while visiting Sanyal in prison both in his capacity as a human rights activist and as a doctor treating him for various medical ailments. The trial of Dr. Sen, which began in a Raipur Sessions Court late April 2008, has, however, not thrown up even a shred of evidence to justify any of these charges against him. By March 2009, of...

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Farewell to Comrade Dilip Banerjee

Innumerable friends, comrades and close associates bade farewell to the most loveable comrade Dilip Banerjee on Poila Baishakh (Bengali New Year or April 15). A veteran Party member, Comrade Banerjee died of an undiagnosed neural ailment resulting in multiple complications including a gastro-intestinal disorder on April 13 2009 at the SSKM Hospital, Kolkata. He was 67. Senior doctors, friends, comrades and relatives left no stone unturned to heal comrade Banerjee, but in vain. Comrade Dilip Banerjee, popularly known as Dilipda, had a rare personality and used to act as a bridge between the Party and large sections of democratic persons outside the Party in Kolkata. He had the rare quality of taking affectionate care of people in distress. In fact he was like a responsible friend as well as parent or brother to others. Dilipda did his PhD in synthetic chemistry from the University of Jadavpur in the turbulent 70s and got actively involved in the revolutionary movement. In the early 70s he was arrested and faced severe torture in jail – resulting in lasting damage to his nervous system. During the process of party reorganisation in the mid 70s Comrade Banerjee again came in touch with the Party. Very affectionate to junior comrades and friends, he played a special role in developing a number of youngsters as Party wholetimers. During underground days he shouldered a great responsibility in...

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‘Expelled’ Cuba Steals the Show

The Fifth Summit of the Americas, held on April 17-19 at Trinidad and Tobago, was Obama’s first formal encounter with Latin America since he became US President. The Summit is convened by the Organisation of the Americas (OAS), comprising 34 Latin American and Caribbean nations of the region barring Cuba which was expelled in 1962. The Summit had turned into a platform for mass protest when it last met at Mar del Plata, Argentina in 2005. On that occasion, Bush’s proposal of a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) was defeated. It was widely perceived that the Fifth Summit would see Obama attempting to revive US hegemony over a region over which US military and financial interests had once enjoyed total domination. Instead, this time, the Summit saw a remarkable solidarity of Latin American countries – asserting their own history, rejecting the agenda set by the US and introducing their own. Cuba – Rallying Point for Latin America Cuba – excluded from the Summit itself and kept out of the Summit’s stated agenda – ended up becoming a major agenda. Prior to the Summit, Obama had responded to calls for ending the blockade on Cuba by relaxing travel and remittance restrictions to Cuba. At the Summit, most of the Latin American countries loudly demanded an end to the blockade. In a very powerful way, Cuba became the symbol...

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World at the Crossroads Conference

(A ‘World at the Crossroads Conference’ was organized by the Democratic Socialist Perspective, Resistance and Green Left Weekly at Sydney on 10-13 April. Kavita Krishnan, who represented CPI(ML) at the Conference, reports.) As the world reels from a severe recession, as wars, occupation and repression scar the entire globe, and as climate change threatens the very future of humanity, it is widely acknowledged that the world is in a crisis. But the nearly 500 people from six continents gathered at Sydney on 10-12 April weren’t there for a mere academic discussion of the crisis. They were there to say the world has a choice. The same choice that Rosa Luxembourg spoke of so long ago: a choice between socialism and barbarism – one could say today, socialism and devastation. The theme of the Conference – “World at a Crossroads” – expressed this choice, and its slogan – “fighting for socialism in the 21st century” – declared the determination to struggle to make the world turn left at the crossroads! At the Conference, more than 70 activists representing a range of countries, movements and revolutionary parties, addressed 42 workshops and several plenary sessions, sharing experiences and strategies, and engaging in debates on issues ranging from climate change and meltdown to nationality struggles, cultural resistance and struggles and revolutions taking place across the world. The Conference opened with an ‘Acknowledgement of...

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Party’s Call to the Youth and Students

(This piece appeared in Liberation, September 1969, translated from the original Bengali text as appeared in the weekly Deshabrati of August 21, 1969. It is being reproduced as part of our regular feature in the 40th Anniversary Year of the Party’s foundation. Ed/-) In India, which has been under imperialist rule and subject to imperialist exploitation and oppression for two hundred years, the students and educated youth represent the educated community. Imperialist exploitation has condemned the masses of our people to illiteracy and ignorance. Therefore, it is essential that this educated community takes part in the revolutionary movement. The youth and students are not only educated, they have also great enthusiasm and capacity to make sacrifices, and the ability to adjust themselves to every kind of circumstance. That is why it is only they who, arming themselves with revolutionary politics, that is, Mao Tsetung Thought, can spread this Thought among the broad masses of our people, and in particular, among the poor and landless peasants, and can help establish revolutionary base areas in the villages of India by integrating themselves with the masses of poor and landless peasants. They are educated; that is why they have to shoulder the major part of the responsibility of carrying Mao Tsetung Thought to the uneducated masses of our country. At every stage of India’s struggle for national freedom, the youth and students...

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Crisis of Capitalism Vs. ‘Crisis’ of Marxism

(On the occasion of Marx’s Birth Anniversary, May 5, we reproduce this article that appeared in the Birth Centenary Year of Marx, in the September 1983 issue of Liberation. We invite you to re-read this article in this fresh phase of capitalist crisis, when a renewed interest in Marxism is witnessed globally. We have taken the liberty of correcting minor stylistic errors in the original. Ed/-) As during the lifetime of Karl Marx, so over the hundred years following his death a very interesting phenomenon has been witnessed throughout the globe. A certain set of bourgeois economists appear on the scene, set themselves at repudiating Marxism and declare it dead. Then again appears another set and confirms the death with great pedantry. During the last century, in fact the best of bourgeois brains have been caught up in fighting against the ‘corpse’ of Marxism. Latest in the series was Lord Keynes, the great savoir of post-war capitalism from the brink of collapse, who complimented Marxism as the economics of the underworld. Yet, barely after a quarter century, the bewildered bourgeois world found itself asking – Is Keynes relevant anymore? And the spectre of Marxism continues to haunt the bourgeoisie around the world. style=”text-align: center;”>I Of the hundreds of arguments forwarded by bourgeois economists seeking to “prove Marx wrong” on the economic plane, most are easily refuted. Take for instance...

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CPI(ML) : On the Campaign Trail…

A Note from Jharkhand Koderma Parliamentary constituency in Jharkhand had popped a surprise in the last (2004) election and CPI(ML) candidate was the runner up polling 1,36,554 votes. That is why the ruling class parties were in a state of anxiety this time. Babulal Marandi, ex-CM of the State who quit BJP, is the candidate supported by mafia-contractor-money bag nexus and tried to fool the masses by projecting himself as third front candidate. The campaign pitch and appeal of RJD too was not impressive to arouse enthusiasm among its social base. BJP too had its candidate here. The rank and file of Party took the call of Central Committee very seriously and whole heartedly to focus on this seat in Jharkhand. We were successful in expanding our class mobilization along with bringing closer newer social bases from Yadav, other backward communities and a large and new section of Muslims. The Party General Secretary too was present for guiding and participating in grassroots mobilization of the newer bases which also enthused the Party members. There was a series of dozens of public meetings and mass contact programmes were held widely for effective propaganda. The highlight of the campaign was a motorcycle rally comprising of more than 2500 motorbikes. The rally toured the entire constituency and helped in energizing the cadres. Jan Sanskriti Manch issued two rousing audio tapes and CDs...

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The Political Economy of Crisis Management in the Heart of World Capitalism

Do we see a faint glimmer of light at the — still distant — end of the tunnel? In March the housing market in the US stabilised somewhat and new claims for unemployment insurance stopped rising. Crisis-ridden US banks surprised everybody when they reported profits in mid-April, which was followed by a good stock market rally. But most other indices including retail sales figures seem to suggest that such optimism might be premature. As late as March 31st the OECD released a very gloomy prognosis, predicting that the American economy would shrink by 4% this year and not grow at all next year. Meanwhile, a great debate of sorts is raging over contradictory strategy options for crisis management, in the process revealing the class conflicts in American society — both between the bourgeoisie and the working class and among various sections of the bourgeoisie. Two Versions of the Nationalisation Slogan “As free-market economists teaching at a business school [at New York University’s Stern School of Business – A Sen] in the heart of the world’s financial capital, we feel downright blasphemous proposing an all-out government takeover of the banking system. But the U.S. financial system has reached such a dangerous tipping point that little choice remains.” Thus wrote Matthew Richardson and Nouriel Roubini (the latter, nicknamed “Doctor Doom”, is now admired for his almost uncanny capacity for making correct...

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Imperialist Agenda and Popular Resistance

The holding of the second G20 summit in less than four months comes as a measure of the importance the original G7 and its later incarnation G8 now attaches to the “emerging economies” of the third world. Being trade-surplus countries, the latter hold huge dollar reserves and can play a major role in tackling the international financial and economic crisis. The Global North is keen to manipulate that capacity to its own advantage, but itself remains a house divided. Not insignificantly, the November summit last year was held in Washington and this year’s April gathering in London, but both failed to adopt the US-UK plan of coordinated global fiscal stimulus. Nor was the European bloc demand of international regulation of major financial institutions accepted, with the US in particular rejecting any international regulation of its banking system. At the end of the day the G20 meeting produced little more than run-of-the-mill platitudes on the need of concerted international action for recovery, and the like. Playing to the gallery, the summit agreed to an additional “$1.1 trillion programme of support to restore credit, growth and jobs in the world economy.” It is doubtful whether the promise will be kept in full; it will prove grossly inadequate even if it is. This is a trivial amount compared to the $12.8 trillion already spent, lent or committed in US alone to bail...

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The Twin States Must Fight Terror Together

Like us, our western neighbour is bleeding under terrorist — and of recent, also imperialist — attacks. On March 27, as the US president was unveiling his new strategy to “disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda” and its allies in Pakistan, people of that country were cleaning up the debris of an explosion inside a mosque near the town of Jamrud in the Khyber agency region — an attack that killed some 50 Muslims offering prayers on Friday and wounded dozens more. Only days before that, Pakistani Taliban fighters and their Afghan counterparts were distributing an agreement to bury their differences in order to counter the new American-led offensive. Incidentally, Pakistan’s security officials had recently concentrated forces in the Khyber region, and especially in the Jamrud area, to fight militants attacking convoys carrying supplies for the NATO forces in Afghanistan. The Jamrud explosion was preceded and followed by a long series of increasingly violent terror attacks. While some of these senseless killings have their origins in Shia-Sunni conflicts, most are handiworks of terrorist groups. In recent months Pakistan has also been battered by American drone strikes in North West Pakistan, which clearly violate the country’s territorial sovereignty and bring grist to terrorist mills. It was in this tense and troubled backdrop that, on the very next day after the Friday mosque attack, President Asif Ali Zardari renewed — for...

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Appropriating Ambedkar

Around 14 April, the 118th Birth Anniversary of Babasaheb Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar, the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate L K Advani accused the Congress of having mistreated Dr. Ambedkar, referring among other things to his resignation from the Congress Cabinet in 1951, and said it was the BJP-backed V P Singh government which bestowed the Bharat Ratna on him in 1990 and not a Congress Government. Once again, the BJP and Advani have made a bid to appropriate Ambedkar – based, as usual, on deliberate distortion and suppression of facts and shameless duplicity. Ambedkar did indeed resign from the Congress cabinet in 1951 in protest over the dilution of the Hindu Code Bill – a legislation intended to do away with gender discrimination in Hindu marriage and property laws. It is also perfectly true that the legislation was opposed by a powerful conservative section within the Congress itself, including leaders of the stature of Dr. Rajendra Prasad. But the opposition to the Hindu Code Bill was undoubtedly led by Shyama Prasad Mookerjee – founder of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh, and Advani’s hero. Mookerjee said the Bill would “shatter the magnificent structure of Hindu culture”, as Dhananjay Keer recorded in his book Dr. Ambedkar: Life and Mission (1962, page 429, cited by A G Noorani in ‘Power Drive’, Frontline Volume 26 – Issue 08 :: Apr. 11-24, 2009). Advani’s mentor Guru...

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Asserting People’s Issues:

The media poll pundits have already declared that there are “no issues” in the 2009 Parliamentary polls. At the same time, the corporate media houses have launched campaigns seeking to ‘awaken’ middle and upper class voters. They have been awash in self-congratulation at their success in mobilising this class of voters – the only class, they imply, which is capable of making Indian politics clean and meaningful, because it is not a ‘vote bank.’ Slumdogs, they rue, are even willing to sell their kids, so their votes are suspect – while sheer wealth places corporates and crorepatis above corruption. The Congress made the Slumdog Crorepati’s ‘Jai Ho’ tune its election theme song; but the fact is that it is crorepatis who constitute a considerable section of its candidates in this election. In the second phase, the Congress has fielded the highest number of crorepati candidates (65) followed by BJP [46], BSP [28] and SP [16]. According to declared assets (routinely falsified to appear less vast than they really are), there were 193 crorepati candidates in the first phase and 288 in the second phase. In Karnataka, reportedly, one in every four candidates is a crorepati. In Maharashtra, 12% of candidates are crorepatis. In Orissa, no less than 27 candidates mock the poverty and hunger of its poor with multi-millionaire bank-books. As it is, even in times of economic crisis,...

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