Read at: http://www.flonnet.com/stories/20121228292502100.htm
Contrary to the claims of the UIDAI, fingerprints are a highly inappropriate tool to uniquely identify individuals.
"The CPI(M) does not share the EPW editorial view that all non-Congress, non-BJP parties are merely “right-wing, regional, caste-based outfits”, who do not have any democratic potential. Such an ahistorical and holier-than-thou attitude would only isolate the left in national politics and aid the polarisation of the Indian polity into Congress- and BJP-led camps, which is so desperately desired by the ruling classes...Left tactics have to be shaped on the basis of ground realities and not wishful thinking.
The EPW edit berates the CPI (M)-led government in West Bengal for crushing “peasant resistance to the grabbing of their land” in Nandigram. The CPI (M) has repeatedly regretted the police firing in 2007, which led to tragic deaths. It needs to be reiterated, however, that not an inch of land was actually acquired in Nandigram. To argue that the CPI (M) has lost its credibility forever on that account is odd and rancorous.
EPW seems to be oblivious of the significant peasant struggles being waged by the All India Kisan Sabha since 2007 against forcible land acquisition across several states like Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Odhisha and Madhya Pradesh. CPI (M) has also been actively participating in the anti-land acquisition struggle against the Jaitapur nuclear power project in Maharashtra. The DPR unambiguously states: “The Party and the kisan and agricultural labour organisations should take the lead to fight for the rights of the peasants on land and to oppose any forcible land acquisition” (Para 2.27). The DPR has also adopted a strong stand against the provisions of the proposed Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation Bill which seeks to facilitate land grab under the cover of addressing farmers’ concerns (Paras 2.28 and 2.29).
Besides, the Kisan Sabha is taking up other agrarian issues like lack of fair prices, subsidy cuts in fertilisers, hike in power tariffs, etc. There was a day-long agriculture strike in West Bengal in early January 2012 sponsored by left-wing peasant organisations against the crash of paddy and potato prices. Over 30 farmers have committed suicide in West Bengal since the TMC-led government has come to power in May 2011, because the crop procurement machinery has collapsed in the state. The debate on agrarian issues needs to move beyond Nandigram and focus on the current plight of the peasantry in West Bengal and elsewhere."
“…to pin the blame on the principle of democratic centralism, which, going by AM’s explanation, has led to an inevitable degeneration in the CPI(M), is confusing. If one accepts this as the basic flaw within the CPI(M), then the task of rectification should start by abandoning democratic centralism. The evidence across the world, especially in the European countries, clearly show that abandoning democratic centralism far from leading to any rejuvenation of the communist left in the post-Soviet Union period, has led to their ideological disarray and organisational decimation. This is because democratic centralism as a concept is central to the functioning of a communist party, arising out of the necessity to have an organised and disciplined structure, which can take on the organised might of the bourgeois state apparatus. This necessity does not arise only during a revolutionary situation, but remains generally valid because of the very nature and power of the bourgeois state, which is ever keen to weaken class struggle and snuff out the communists.
… abandoning democratic centralism, far from aiding the rectification effort will only derail any attempt at course correction.”
“...should not be seen in isolation from the overall strategic tie-up with the United States. The nuclear cooperation deal is an integral part of the July 2005 joint statement, which has political, economic and strategic aspects. It is also closely linked to the June 2005 military framework agreement signed with the United States. It is therefore not possible to view the text of the bilateral “123” agreement negotiated with the United States as a separate and compartmentalised entity without considering its implications for India’s independent foreign policy, strategic autonomy and the repercussions of the US quest to make India its reliable ally in Asia...”.
“The two reactors set-up in Koodankulam and purchased from Russia much before the nuclear deal falls in a different category. The local people have various apprehensions about the safety and the impact on the environment of these reactors, especially after the Fukushima accident. It is necessary to conduct an independent safety review and allay the apprehensions of the people before commissioning the plant. The CPI(M) has demanded an immediate halt to the import of nuclear power plants to Jaitapur and other locations. Existing nuclear power plants in India should undergo a thorough safety review to be conducted by an independent body. There has to be an independent and autonomous nuclear safety regulatory authority. The proposed legislation by the government to set up such an authority will only make it a controlled body captive to the government.”
“The State Committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Wednesday urged Central and State governments to initiate steps for commencing operations of the Koodankulam project soon after reviewing the reports submitted by the expert committees.”
“The State unit of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Friday called upon anti-Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) protestors to give up their agitation, as panels of experts appointed by the Centre and the State governments had vouched for the safety of the plants...In a statement here, State secretary of the party G. Ramakrishnan welcomed the State government decision to go ahead with the commissioning of the plants. He requested the local people to extend their support for the functioning of the plants.”
“The State unit of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has urged the Centre to defer the generation of power from Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project until all its safety aspects are ensured. In a statement here, CPI (M) secretary G. Ramakrishnan said that after the accident in a Japanese atomic power plant following tsunami, a fear psychosis had cropped up all over the world regarding atomic power stations. This had triggered a fast at Koodankulam in which a number of local people and organisations were involved.
While a number of countries were subjecting their atomic power plants to re-certification, India was also trying to get such a certification for the new nuclear reactor it was planning to buy from France. “However, as far as the Koodankulam plant is concerned, only a superficial inspection was conducted after the incident in the Japanese plant. It is not satisfactory,” he said.
The CPI (M) pleaded that a “trustworthy team” of experts should certify the safety aspects of the Koodankulam plant. Besides, both the Atomic Energy Commission and Nuclear Power Corporation should set up all the safety measures. “In addition, this atomic power plant should be brought under the Nuclear Liability Bill”.
“Also, the government should convince the public that their livelihood will not be affected because of the plant. Till these things are completed, commencement of power generation should be deferred”, he said.”
“On the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project, Mr. Ramakrishnan said that the people in Tirunelveli district still entertained fears about the safety of the project. He, therefore, wanted the government to keep the project in abeyance till an independent committee of experts studied the project and guaranteed its safety.”
“The Centre should put on hold all works at the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project till an independent expert committee certified the safety of the nuclear reactors there, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) secretary, G. Ramakrishnan, has said. Talking to reporters here on Friday, he said that though the type of reactors used in Koodankulam were in use in European countries for the last four decades, it was for the first time that this type of reactor was being installed in India. Pointing to the apprehension expressed by the local people, Mr. Ramakrishnan said that the Centre should appoint an independent expert committee to study the safety aspects of the reactors. “Till such time the panel certifies the safety of the reactors, the work should be put on hold,” he said. The Centre should handle the issue in the right way, he added.”
“On the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant row, he said that the priority of the government should be to allay the fears of the local people on the safety of the plant. The Centre should also consider developing livelihood infrastructure for the local people as suggested by the former President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, he added.”
“In a release, CPI (M) general secretary G. Ramakrishnan stated that based on former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s recommendations, the Centre should ensure the safety of those in and around Koodankulam and allocate Rs.200 crore for development activities.”
“The CPI(M) condemns the police repression on the people protesting against the commissioning of the nuclear power plant at Koodankulam. Those arrested are being charged with sedition and for waging war against the State which is baseless and unwarranted. There are reports of water supply being cut off and other essential supplies being blocked to the Idinthakari village. The CPI(M) calls upon the state administration not to resort to repression and force against peaceful protesters. Since there are a number of issues still agitating the people regarding the nuclear plant, the concerned authorities should immediately begin talks to address these issues.”
“In a statement, State secretary of the party G. Ramakrishnan welcomed the State government decision to go ahead with the commissioning of the plants. He requested the local people to extend their support for the functioning of the plants. Mr. Ramakrishnan said that instead of resorting to repressive measures such as filing criminal cases against the protestors, the State government should take steps to allay the fears of people about the technology and safety aspects of the Koodankulam project.”
“CPM state secretary G Ramakrishnan on Friday urged the state government to make efforts to muster support for the Koodankulam nuclear power project by convincing the anti-nuclear protesters on the safety aspects.”
“Mr. Ramakrishnan said that instead of resorting to repressive measures such as filing criminal cases against the protestors, the State government should take steps to allay the fears of people about the technology and safety aspects of the Koodankulam project.”
CPI (M) demonstration demanding withdrawal of cases on people of Idinthakarai: 100 persons including MLA Nagai Mali, arrested
Tirunelveli, dated May 18th 2012
The CPI (M) carried out a demonstration demanding the withdrawal of cases instituted by the Government of Tamil Nadu against the people opposing the Koodankulam nuclear plant. Hundreds of people who participated in the demonstration, including MLA Nagai Mali, were arrested.
The Secretary of the Tirunelveli Corporation unit of the CPI (M) R. Karunanidhi presided over the demonstration and meeting, which took place in Jawahar Maidan in Palayankottai.
The CPI (M) district secretary spoke inaugurating the demonstration. Former MLA Noor Mohammed and Nagai Mali MLA spoke condemning the launching of cases. The CPI (M) district secretariat member V. Palani, other District Secretariat members, corporation committee members, District Committee members and many others participated. Since there was no police permission for the demonstration, the police arrested hundreds of people who took part in the demonstration. They were released a few hours later.
|A photo of the demonstration organised by the CPI (M) at Jawahar Maidan in Palayankottai dated 18th May 2012 against police repression on agitating people at Idinthakarai.|
From another news report on the same speech in Tamil:
"காங்கிரஸ் ஊழல் கறைபிடிந்த கட்சி, பிஜேபி மதவெறி கட்சி, இந்தியாவில் உழைக்கும் மக்களுக்காக குமரி முதல் இமயம் வியாபித்து போராடும் இயக்கம் மார்க்சிஸ்ட் கட்சி என போராட்டக்குழுவின் அமைப்பாளர் உதயகுமார் வரவேற்று பேசினார்."
“On May 18, 2012, a Communist Party of India (Marxist) team came to visit us at Idinthakarai under the leadership of Comrade P. Mahalingam (aka V.P. Nagai Maali), an MLA from Kilvelur constituency in Tamil Nadu. That evening the CPI(M) organized an agitation at Tirunelveli in support of us and some 50 of them including 6 women were arrested by police.”
"നാലര പതിറ്റാണ്ടു മുമ്പ് കോട്ടയം ജില്ലയിലെ ഏറ്റുമാനൂര് പട്ടിത്താനത്ത് കുരിയച്ചിറയില് ചാക്കോ-മറിയം ദമ്പതികളുടെ രണ്ടു മക്കളില് മൂത്തവനായ കുര്യാക്കോസ് എന്ന യുവരാഷ്ട്രീയ നേതാവ് . . . ഐക്യകേരളത്തിലെ ആദ്യത്തെ ജനകീയ സര്ക്കാര് ഇ.എം.എസ്. മന്ത്രിസഭയ്ക്കെതിരെ പ്രതിലോമ ശക്തികളൊന്നാകെ അഴിച്ചു വിട്ട കുപ്രസിദ്ധമായ വിമോചന സമരത്തിന് ഊര്ജ്ജം പകരാന് സമരക്കാര് തന്നെ രൂപം നല്കിയ 'കുറുവടിപ്പട' എന്ന ഗുണ്ടാസംഘത്തിന്റെ ഏറ്റുമാനൂര് നിയോജക മണ്ഡലത്തിലെ ക്യാപ്റ്റന്. ആദ്യ ജനകീയ മന്ത്രിസഭയുടെ അമരക്കാരനായിരുന്ന ഇ.എം.എസ്. ന്റെ ജീവിത മുഹൂര്ത്തങ്ങള് അനാവരണം ചെയ്യുന്ന ചിത്രപ്രദര്ശനത്തില് പിരിച്ചുവിടപ്പെട്ട മന്ത്രിസഭാംഗങ്ങളുടെ നിയമസഭയില് നിന്നു മടങ്ങുന്ന ചിത്രം കണ്ടശേഷം അദ്ദേഹം പ്രതികരിച്ചു . . . വിമോചന സമരം ഒരു സമരാഭാസമായിരുന്നു . . . കാരണം, ഓരോ സമരരംഗത്തും പൊലീസിനെ പ്രകോപിപ്പിക്കാന് അത്യാവശ്യം കല്ലുകളുമായി ഒരു ദൗത്യസംഘത്തെ തന്നെ സമരക്കാര് പ്രത്യേകം നിയോഗിച്ചിരുന്നു. സമരത്തിന്റെ തലേദിവസം കുമ്പസാരിച്ചായിരുന്നു ഞങ്ങള് സമരത്തിനണിനിരന്നത്. വെടിവയ്പ്പില് മരിച്ചാല് സ്വര്ഗ്ഗപ്രവേശനത്തിനായിരുന്നു പാപങ്ങള് ഏറ്റു പറഞ്ഞ് കുമ്പസാരിച്ചിരുന്നത്" (http://www.onlinepalakkad.com/details.php?id=331).But, as history shows, this kind of violence was unable to thwart progress on land reforms or the fight against caste discrimination.
"If anybody in the CPI(M) has any role in the murder of T. P. Chandrasekharan, such people will not remain in the party." (Mathrubhumi, 17 May 2012)See: http://www.mathrubhumi.com/story.php?id=272760
"The party will consider the murderers of T. P. Chandrasekharan as class enemies. The murder of T. P. Chandrasekharan was tragic and brutal. Hired goons were used to murder him. The whole goon culture needs to be uprooted and destroyed." (Mathrubhumi, 19 May 2012)See: http://www.mathrubhumi.com/online/malayalam/news/story/1610799/2012-05-19/kerala
"The Communist Party does not have any objection if there are indeed CPI (M) members among the culprits and if they are nabbed. The Communist Party does not have to defend anybody regarding this. There is no way we are going to defend anybody. If anybody (in the party) is involved, we'll look into it and take appropriate action on the basis of that." (Indiavision channel, 16 May 2012)See: http://youtu.be/lGPobpp-5Yc
"Personal security aims to protect people from physical violence, whether from the state or external states, from violent individuals and sub-state actors, from domestic abuse, or from predatory adults. For many people, the greatest source of anxiety is crime, particularly violent crime."I am sure the CPI (M), as always in Kerala, will take a lead here too. Modi's kite flying may well end up a day-dream. People of Kerala have rebuffed his politics, and will continue to rebuff his politics.
"പക്ഷെ ഇത് സ്വാതന്ത്ര്യസമരത്തെ സംബന്ധിച്ചിടത്തോളം വലിയ ഒരു ആഘാതമായിരുന്നു. പൂര്ണസ്വാതന്ത്ര്യം എന്ന ലക്ഷ്യത്തില് നിന്ന് ഹരിജനോദ്ധാരണം എന്ന ഭാഗിക പ്രശ്നത്തിലേക്ക് ജനശ്രദ്ധ തിരിച്ചു വിടപ്പെടാന് ഇത് വഴി വെച്ചു" (page 565, 2009 reprint; page 608, 1982 reprint).The accurate translation of this quote would be as follows:
“However, this was a major blow to the freedom movement. For this led to the diversion of people’s attention from the objective of full independence to the partial objective of the upliftment of the Harijans.”Clearly, there was a major error in translation, which was not done by EMS. What should have been “partial objective” was wrongly translated as “mundane cause”. Nevertheless, writers who have not read the original Malayalam version have for long crucified EMS based on this quote and painted him as an anti-Dalit leader. I hope that the practice will come to an end with this clarification.
“...subordinated the struggle for Swaraj to the day-to-day activities for the upliftment of the depressed castes. What is more, Gandhi gave a moral (religious) character to this political approach…Thus, the Congress as well as its undisputed leader, Gandhi, which was engaged in a country-wide struggle with the objective of liberating India from the British rule, engrossed itself in the programme of liberating the Depressed Castes and other Hindus from the curse of untouchability from which the entire Hindu religious community had been suffering…A direct result of this was the weakening of the civil disobedience movement. Thousands of Congress activists and many prominent leaders like Rajagopalachari, who were active in the midst of the civil disobedience movement for the past several months, gave up their activities completely and got themselves involved fully in the movement for the upliftment of Harijans...” (AHIFS, pp. 496)This was the context in which EMS wrote about the shift of focus from full independence to the “partial objective” of Harijan upliftment. Any careful reader of the book would recognise that EMS does not subordinate Dalit causes to any secondary position in this analysis.
“…we started, under the leadership of KPR [Gopalan] and AKG (A. K. Gopalan), and instructions of Mahatma Gandhi, to work for the upliftment of Dalits…I, along with a number of young Congress workers, was in the forefront of activities like bathing Dalit children in village ponds, putting clothes on them and taking them to schools to protect them from attacks by upper caste members.” (the full text of the interview is at http://tinyurl.com/ok6vlzu).Still further, it was Gandhi’s call to abruptly end the Guruvayur Satyagraha and his equally abrupt withdrawal of the civil disobedience movement in 1934 that led to massive disillusionment in Malabar with the Congress, the formation of Congress Socialist Party (CSP) in 1934 and the formation of Communist Party of India (CPI) in 1939.
“…it would…be unrealistic to pose the problem as if it is either class struggle or caste conflict. The fact is that there is a certain interpenetration of class and caste…In the actual social conditions of Kerala, the development of the democratic movement is bound to be linked with the organised struggle against caste-Hindu domination” (“Once Again on Castes and Classes”, Social Scientist, 1981, 9 (12)).To understand EMS’ views on the caste system better, we can return to EMS’ analysis of the events of the 1930s that led to the failure of the civil disobedience movement. For him, the core issue “was the basic weakness of the national freedom movement headed by the Indian bourgeoisie.” About the leaders of the Congress party who were trying to find reasons for the failure of the civil disobedience movement, EMS had this to say in 1979:
“All this was conveniently blamed on the ‘wily manoeuvres’ of the British rulers and the ‘lack of patriotism’ on the part of the caste and communal leaders. Mahatma Gandhi made the heroic statement that, if only the British rulers left India to her fate, all the caste and communal problems would be solved immediately and automatically. The total unreality of this assertion was proved not only by the large-scale massacres that accompanied the partition of India - massacres which are perhaps the most inhuman in the history of mankind - but by the fact that, after full 31 years of independence, India today is as politically divided as it was in the pre-independence days on caste and communal lines. Those nationalists who even today blame caste and communal organisations for all the evils that are overtaking our country should ponder over the question of why they (the caste and communal leaders) are able to release the worst kind of sentiments among the people for inciting the most inhuman atrocities on the scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and backward communities” (“Caste Conflicts v/s Growing Unity of Popular Democratic Forces”, Economic and Political Weekly, 1979, 14 (7-8), pp. 333-334).Why were oppressed people from backward caste groups not ready to accept the leadership of bourgeois parties like the Congress? EMS explained thus:
“The national movement, as was sought to be built up by its bourgeois leaders, was primarily a movement for the ‘revival’ of the ‘age-old’ Indian civilisation and culture. This civilisation and culture, let us remind ourselves again, is based on the village community at whose centre is the division of society into a hierarchy of castes. Millions of people, who had, out of sheer helplessness, borne the burden of this caste-based society, were for the first time able to see that they need no more be bound by the ideology of Varnashrama Dharma. They started imbibing a part of the modern bourgeois ideology - freedom, equality and fraternity. They were not prepared to tolerate a movement which would culminate in the replacement of the then ruling British imperialism by the old Varnashrama society.”What then is the alternative? EMS wrote:
“…one has to abandon all ideas of paying tributes to the ‘age-old’ civilisation and culture of India. One has to realise that the rebuilding of India on modern democratic and secular lines requires an uncompromising struggle against the caste-based Hindu society and its culture. There is no question of secular democracy, not to speak of socialism, unless the very citadel of India’s ‘age-old’ civilisation and culture - the division of society into a hierarchy of castes - is broken. In other words, the struggle for radical democracy and socialism cannot be separated from the struggle against caste society.”MB has a few more falsehoods to offer in his article. He argues that EMS called the caste system “a superior economic organisation”, which “facilitated organised production through a systematic allocation of labour”. According to MB, EMS did not understand Ambedkar’s distinction between “division of labour” and “division of the labourer” under the casteist relations of production. These accusations further betray MB’s total lack of reading of EMS, which, though, does not prevent him from calling EMS as someone with a “predominantly upper-caste mindset”.
“The essence of social organisation based on the hierarchy of castes and sub-castes is the monotonous repetition of the same job from generation to generation. Each person is allotted the job which is supposed to be his or her caste’s (or sub-caste’s). Here, therefore, there is no room for innovation, which is the essence of technological development. This is all the more true of a social organisation which has, besides caste, the village community and joint family as its two other pillars…”MB appears to have had no time to read such detailed analysis of the caste system by EMS. Instead, he goes on a trip accusing EMS of having a “predominantly upper-caste mindset”, being “an exemplar of progressive casteism in the history of Left politics and thinking in India” and so on. One would only request writers like MB to spend some time reading what EMS and his fellow Marxists like B. T. Ranadive (BTR) have written on caste. For instance, MB argues that Indian Marxists have ignored caste as an apparatus of ideology. Here, MB needs to read BTR’s writings, who always highlighted the need to attack caste as an “ideology” as much as its material basis; BTR had written in 1979 that:
“In attacking the inequalities of the caste system and caste consciousness the anti-caste non-Brahmin leaders were attacking the ideology and the super-structure of the earlier feudal age. The ideology and consciousness had to be attacked and the superstructure had to be exposed and undermined, if society were to change. It can be nobody's argument - let the economic situation gradually change, let new economic realities and new classes emerge and the caste-system and caste-consciousness will automatically be eliminated” (Ranadive, B. T., “Caste, Class and Property Relations”, Economic and Political Weekly, 1979, 14 (7-8)).Finally, MB and his ilk may also do well to read the CPI (M)’s programme to clarify a few of their other doubts. For instance, MB thinks that “…critics in the Indian Left see the Dalit movement as being merely a ‘politics of recognition’ and having no revolutionary potential.” The CPI (M) programme, updated in 2000, deals with this issue in detail. It says:
“The bourgeois-landlord system has also failed to put an end to caste oppression. The worst sufferers are the scheduled castes. The dalits are subject to untouchability and other forms of discrimination despite these being declared unlawful. The growing consciousness among the dalits for emancipation is sought to be met with brutal oppression and atrocities. The assertion by the dalits has a democratic content reflecting the aspirations of the most oppressed sections of society. The backward castes have also asserted their rights in a caste-ridden society.
"At the same time, a purely caste appeal which seeks to perpetuate caste divisions for the narrow aim of consolidating vote banks and detaching these downtrodden sections from the common democratic movement has also been at work. Many caste leaders and certain leaders of bourgeois political parties seek to utilise the polarisation on caste lines for narrow electoral gains and are hostile to building up the common movement of the oppressed sections of all castes. They ignore the basic class issues of land, wages and fight against landlordism, which is the basis for overthrowing the old social order.”Having read the above, MB can better address his own lament regarding the “limitations of the historical conjuncture of Dalit politics”, which he forgot to pursue in the midst of abusing EMS and Marxists. He will then have time to pause and look at the state of the Republican Party of India (RPI) in Maharashtra and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in Uttar Pradesh. He can better analyse their failure in ameliorating the plight of Dalit peasants or Dalit labourers beyond abstract recognition and self-respect. Even as these freedoms do constitute gains, the experiences with RPI(s) in Maharashtra and BSP in Uttar Pradesh point to the continuing relevance of the points raised by Marxists like EMS and BTR.