On National and International Situation

legislation like the SEZ Act 2005 or the Land Acquisition Bill that has been approved by the UPA cabinet or systematic subversion of existing laws and parliamentary procedures to promote the PPP model.

7. The phenomenal growth of corruption in recent years can only be understood as an organic feature or upshot of the growing state-corporate nexus. Mega scams unearthed by the CAG clearly show that corruption is essentially an expression of corporate subsidy or corporate plunder. And corporate plunder is as much an act of defrauding the national exchequer as of looting the resources of the country and robbing the people of their rights. While the ruling classes and their ideologues seek to camouflage and legitimise this plunder in the guise of development, Marxist scholars and people’s movements across the world rightly identify it as accumulation by dispossession, over and above the normal process of capitalist exploitation, whereby enormous amounts of wealth are amassed in a few hands by dispossessing and depriving vast sections of the population.

8. Price-rise, which along with corruption has emerged as the other most burning issue, is also a direct outcome of the government’s economic policies. Prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas have been deregulated and now the latest rail budget has also proposed to deregulate passenger fare in the railways by linking it to variable fuel prices. Coupled with increasing commercialisation of basic services like education, healthcare and other civic amenities, the rise in prices of all basic goods and services constantly reduces the purchasing power of the working people, pushing more and more people deeper into poverty and even starvation. Instead of taking urgent measures to check prices and providing some cushion to the poor with effective subsidies, the government has responded by fudging figures and ridiculously lowering the poverty line itself and now it proposes to further reduce subsidies and reach it to fewer beneficiaries through direct cash transfer methods while leaving the vast majority of the working people at the mercy of the market.

9. The corporate-market onslaught is accompanied by a relentless truncating of the democratic space. Just as corporate plunder is sought to be camouflaged as development, the systematic assault on democracy is sought to be legitimised in the name of national security. The Indian state’s current doctrine of national security is nothing but an Indian extension of the American doctrine of global hegemony disguised as ‘national security’ and anti-Islamism camouflaged as the ‘war on terror’. It internalises the American prejudices and priorities, combining them with India’s own traditional contention with Pakistan and China, the habit of running Kashmir and the Northeast at gun-point and the assessment of the Maoists as the biggest threat to internal security. This has now become a self-perpetuating cycle with terrorism and state terrorism reinforcing each other.

10. The doctrine of ‘strong state’ – a euphemism for making India virtually a police state with increasing involvement of the Army in civilian governance – is shared by almost all major parties of the ruling classes, particularly by the Congress and the BJP among national parties and the Shiv Sena among regional parties. Lathicharge, firing, and wholesale arrests have become the default setting of Governments and police in dealing with any people’s movement or working class movement. In tandem with the US ‘war on terror’, counter-terrorism measures in India have become a pretext for Islamophobia. In spite of rapidly mounting evidence of widespread framing of innocents by intelligence agencies, the witch-hunt of minorities continues unabated. Even as the government had to withdraw the draconian POTA in the face of growing resistance, democracy continues to be systematically trampled under draconian legislations like the AFSPA, UAPA and the sedition law left behind by the British colonialists. Every suggestion to repeal or even amend AFSPA has been rejected by the government on the plea that the armed forces do not favour it, and the armed forces say they cannot possibly contain civilian disturbance without the special powers of immunity granted under AFSPA. The UAPA provides the legal weaponry for Operation Green Hunt and similar repressive campaigns, enabling governments to detain without trial while the sedition law (section 124A of IPC) continues to incriminate dissent and kill freedom of expression. In the wake of the recent Hyderabad blasts, the UPA