Thursday, October 31, 2013
Sunday, October 27, 2013
Friday, October 25, 2013
রাজনৈতিক সংঘাত যদি অকারণ হয় আর তা যদি প্রশাসনিক সমন্বয়ের ক্ষতি করে তবে তা বিপজ্জনক হতে পারে। পশ্চিমবঙ্গ সরকারের সঙ্গে ডি ভি সি তথা কেন্দ্রীয় সরকারের সাম্প্রতিক অর্থহীন বিরোধ এরাজ্যের বন্যাদুর্গত লক্ষ লক্ষ মানুষের হয়রানি বাড়িয়ে এই সহজ কথাটি আবার প্রমাণ করলো।
মূল্যবান জাতীয় সম্পদ টেলিকম স্পেকট্রাম এবং কয়লা নিয়ম-নীতি বিসর্জন দিয়ে মুনাফাখোরদের হাতে কার্যত বিনামূল্যে তুলে দিয়ে লেজে-গোবরে অবস্থা কেন্দ্রীয় সরকারের। কাঠগড়ায় দাঁড় করাবার জন্য খোদ প্রধানমন্ত্রীকে নিয়েই টানাটানি শুরু হয়ে গেছে। এরপরও কংগ্রেসের অতি বেসরকারী প্রীতি কমেনি। তাই দেশের লাভজনক রাষ্ট্রায়ত্ত বিমানবন্দরগুলিকে এবার বেসরকারী হাতে তুলে দিতে মরিয়া হয়ে উঠেছে ইউ পি এ সরকার।
Sunday, October 20, 2013
GENERAL Vo Nguyen Giap died at the age of 102, on October 4, 2013. This marked the passing away of one of the greatest military commanders, anti-imperialist fighter and communist revolutionary of the 20th century.
Giap’s name, after Ho Chi Minh, is inextricably linked with the heroic national liberation struggle of the Vietnamese people. Giap implemented the decision of Ho Chi Minh and the then Indochinese Communist Party to wage a revolutionary struggle against the French colonial power. At the end of 1941, Giap formed the first guerrilla groups. By the middle of 1945 he had built up an armed militia of 10,000 men.
Between 1945 and 1954 the Vietnamese People’s Army, called the Viet Minh, waged a relentless struggle against the French armed forces. Giap had begun life as a school teacher. He taught himself military strategy relying on the revolutionary spirit of the people.
In 1954 the historic battle of
Dien Bien Phu took place. The French had built their military camp in this place which was surrounded by mountains thinking it would protect them from the Viet Minh. Under Giap’s command, thousands of peasants were drafted to carry heavy artillery and weaponry dismantled on cycles. The final assault led to the surrender of the French troops and the end of French colonial rule. The Democratic Republic of Vietnam was set up in the north, while the southern part came under the control of the after the French left. Giap became the defence minister of the government in United States . North Vietnam
Giap had led the first phase of this struggle for national liberation with indomitable courage. His wife and sister-in-law were arrested by the French authorities. His sister-in-law was executed and his wife died due to torture in prison. His father was also killed. But Giap never wavered in his determination.
In 1960 they decided to launch the struggle for the reunification of North and
. Giap, as the commander of the People’s Army, led the struggle against the South Vietnam occupation in the south. A strategist of people’s war, Giap began the struggle as a guerrilla war. The most powerful army in the world, the US armed forces, launched a full-fledged war of aggression. United States was subjected to continuous and heavy aerial bombardment while the armed struggle raged in the south. Giap provided the leadership for the logistics of moving troops and supplies to the south and conducting the armed struggle through different forms. The Tet offensive of 1968, when liberation forces struck the Americans in 35 places, was an example of Giap’s military prowess. The liberation war finally led to the defeat of the North Vietnam US military machine and in 1974 the puppet regime fell and was reunited. Vietnam
Giap was an outstanding strategist of people’s war. His well known work People’s War, People’s Army set out the fundamentals for building the people’s army. In it he stressed the importance of the leadership of the Communist Party and a correct political line adapted to the country’s economic, social and political conditions.
General Giap served in various capacities – as minister of defence, interior minister and vice premier – in the government. He was a member of the Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of Vietnam till 1982.
Giap will forever be remembered as an ardent patriot, Marxist-Leninist and a revolutionary hero.
The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of
(Marxist) issued the following statement on October 11, 2013. India
THE acquittal of all the accused in the Laxmanpur Bathe case by a division bench of the Patna High Court is an unacceptable judgement. The lower court had sentenced sixteen of the accused to death and given life sentence to ten others. To now give them the “benefit of doubt” when there is no doubt that fifty eight dalits were massacred in the village raises questions about the verdict.
Is it just a coincidence that in other such cases also where dalits have been killed by upper caste private armies the accused have been acquitted?
The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) demands that the
Bihar state government appeal without delay against this flawed judgement.
It also reiterates its earlier demand for appeal against the judgement of the Patna High Court which had acquitted Pappu Yadav in the murder of CPI(M) MLA, Ajit Sarkar, even though he was found guilty by the lower court.
Ever since the 2G spectrum and the Coalgate scam broke, there were attempts to make Prime Minister Manmohan Singh accountable. But his silence, coupled with a stout defence by the loyalist brigade surrounding him, thwarted all attempts by the Opposition to nail him. The revelation by the retired Coal Secretary, P.C. Parakh — against whom the CBI has filed an FIR in the coal blocks allocation case — that Dr. Singh approved his recommendation to allocate a block to Hindlaco implicates the Prime Minister. Can Dr. Singh wriggle out again?
On the Coalgate issue, the UPA government has repeatedly said it has nothing to hide. One who guards the lake need not declare every now and then that he has not tasted the waters. Just because Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is deemed to be honest, he need not be certified as being above board on all issues.
চেন্নাই, ১৯শে অক্টোবর— তামিলনাডুর ইয়েরকুদ বিধানসভা কেন্দ্রের উপনির্বাচনে এ ডি এম কে প্রার্থীকে সমর্থন জানাবে সি পি আই (এম)। শনিবার চেন্নাইয়ে সাংবাদিকদের একথা জানিয়েছেন সি পি আই (এম)-র রাজ্য সম্পাদক জি রামকৃষ্ণাণ। তিনি বলেছেন, জাতীয় ও রাজ্যের রাজনৈতিক পরিস্থিতির কথা বিবেচনা করেই এ ডি এম কে প্রার্থীকে সমর্থনের সিদ্ধান্ত নেওয়া হয়েছে। এ ডি এম কে-র তরফেও পার্টির কাছে সমর্থন চাওয়া হয়েছিল। এই কেন্দ্রে ডি এম কে-র টিকিটে লড়ছেন ভি মারান। উল্লেখ্য, এ ডি এম কে বিধায়ক সি পেরুমলের মৃত্যুতে এই আসনটি শূন্য হয়েছিল। আগামী ৪ঠা নভেম্বর ভোটগ্রহণ হবে।
কৌশলটা একই রয়ে গেছে। কোনো একটা ঘটনাকে তুলে ধরো, তারপর তাতে সাম্প্রদায়িক জ্বালানির যোগান দাও। যাতে ছোট্ট একটা ঘটনাও বরফ গোলার আকার নিয়ে সাম্প্রদায়িক তুষারঝড় তৈরি করতে পারে। বহু দিন ধরেই এই কৌশলের সফল রূপায়ন সঙ্ঘ পরিবারের কাছে জল-ভাত। সম্প্রতি উত্তর প্রদেশের মুজফ্ফরনগরে যা হলো ১৯৬১সালে জব্বলপুরে তাই হয়েছিল। সেবার এক মুসলিম বিড়ি শ্রমিকের সঙ্গে হিন্দু ঘরের এক মেয়ের সম্পর্ককে ‘অপহরণ’-এর তকমা সেঁটে সেই ঘটনাকেই মুসলিম নিধনের হাতিয়ার করা হয়েছিল।
বারবার চেয়ে পাঠানো সত্ত্বেও ত্রিফলা কেলেঙ্কারি নিয়ে সি এ জি-র একটি প্রশ্নেরও জবাব আজ পর্যন্ত দেয়নি কলকাতা কর্পোরেশন। শেষপর্যন্ত এবার সি এ জি-র দিল্লি সদর দপ্তর ত্রিফলা কাণ্ডের বেনিয়মের সঠিক জবাব চেয়ে নতুন করে চিঠি দিয়েছে কলকাতা কর্পোরেশনের লাইটিং বিভাগ এবং ইন্টারনাল অডিট বিভাগে।
এবারের স্লোগান ‘আক্রান্ত গণতন্ত্র, বিপন্ন নারীসমাজ’। এই স্লোগানকে সামনে রেখেই রবিবার সারা ভারত গণতান্ত্রিক মহিলা সমিতির ২৬তম পশ্চিমবঙ্গ রাজ্য সম্মেলন শুরু হচ্ছে। নদীয়া জেলার কৃষ্ণনগরে (লক্ষ্মী সায়গল নগর) ডন বস্কো স্কুলে (কমরেড নিরূপমা চ্যাটার্জি ও সন্ধ্যা চ্যাটার্জি মঞ্চে) আয়োজিত এই রাজ্য সম্মেলনে সমাজের বিভিন্ন স্তরের মহিলাদের বিভিন্ন সমস্যা ও রাজ্যের নারী আন্দোলনের যাবতীয় দিক উঠে আসবে। রবিবার এই সম্মেলনের উদ্বোধন করবেন মহিলা সংগঠনের সর্বভারতীয় নেত্রী সুধা সুন্দররমন। তার আগে কৃষ্ণনগর টাউন হল মাঠে সম্মেলনের প্রকাশ্য সমাবেশে বক্তব্য রাখবেন সর্বভারতীয় নেত্রী বৃন্দা কারাত, মিনতি ঘোষ, সাবিত্রী মজুমদার, রমা বিশ্বাস, বিভা ঘোষগোস্বামী প্রমুখ। সম্মেলন চলবে মঙ্গলবার পর্যন্ত।
চিকিৎসা ক্ষেত্রে রাজ্য সরকারের দলীয় দৃষ্টিভঙ্গির মাসুল দিতে হচ্ছে সদ্যোজাত শিশুদের। হাসপাতালে অস্বাভাবিক হারে শিশুমৃত্যুর ঘটনায় উদ্বেগ প্রকাশ করে শনিবার বিরোধী দলনেতা সূর্যকান্ত মিশ্র সাংবাদিকদের একথা বলেছেন। তিনি বলেন, এটা শুধু চিকিৎসা ক্ষেত্রে সরকারী অবহেলার ঘটনা নয়, সরকারের দলীয় দৃষ্টিভঙ্গির জন্য চিকিৎসা পরিকাঠামো ভেঙে পড়ছে। তার জন্য প্রতিদিন জীবন দিয়ে দাম দিতে হচ্ছে নবজাতকদের।
শনিবার দুপুরে তৃণমূল কংগ্রেস আশ্রিত ছয় দুষ্কৃতীর কাছে ধর্ষিতা হয়েছেন নবম শ্রেণীর এক ছাত্রী ঘটনাটি ঘটেছে গোসাবা থানার পাঠানখালী গ্রাম পঞ্চায়েত এলাকায়। অভিযোগ, বাড়িতে ঢুকে তৃণমূল কংগ্রেস আশ্রিত ছয় দুষ্কৃতী নবম শ্রেণীর ওই ছাত্রীকে পর পর ধর্ষণ করে। এই ঘটনায় গোসাবা থানার পুলিস স্থানীয় তৃণমূলী নেতা রফিকুল মোল্লার ছেলে মোরসেলিন মোল্লা, কালো পৈলানসহ চারজনকে গ্রেপ্তার করেছে। ধর্ষিতা ছাত্রীকে চিকিৎসার জন্য নিয়ে যাওয়া হয়েছে ক্যানিং মহকুমা হাসপাতালে। নবম শ্রেণীর ছাত্রীর ওপর পাশবিক অত্যাচারের ঘটনায় অভিযুক্তদের দৃষ্টান্তমূলক শাস্তির দাবিতে সরব হয়েছেন স্থানীয় বাসিন্দারা।
Friday, October 18, 2013
দলীয় নেতাকে খুনের ঘটনায় পুলিশের ভূমিকা নিয়ে প্রশ্ন তুলে কাটোয়ার মহকুমাশাসককে স্মারকলিপি দিল সিপিএম। বৃহস্পতিবার দুপুরে নিহত সিপিএম নেতা কার্তিক মণ্ডলের বাড়িতে যায় সিপিএমের একটি প্রতিনিধি দল। বোলপুরের সাংসদ রামচন্দ্র ডোম, বর্ধমান-দুর্গাপুরের সাংসদ সাইদুল হক ছাড়াও সেই দলে ছিলেন চার জন বিধায়ক। পরে তাঁরা মহকুমাশাসকের অফিসে যান।
Friday, October 4, 2013
THE pursuit of neo-liberal policies necessarily means bending to the caprices of international finance capital, so that it does not take offence and leave the country’s shores. This in turn necessarily means an attenuation of democracy, for democracy means that policies should be made in accordance with the wishes of the people and not those of international finance capital. Neo-liberalism therefore brings in its train a number of changes impinging on the constitutional arrangement of the country so that while it may retain all the outward trappings of democracy as before, there is a de facto shift in its orientation in favour of international finance capital.
One such shift in the constitutional arrangement is the increase in the weight of the executive at the expense of the legislature and the judiciary. In India what we have seen until now is an increase in the weight of the executive vis-à-vis the legislature; an increase in its weight vis-à-vis the judiciary however is bound to follow, especially with the judiciary taking up a number of “corruption cases”, unless the judiciary itself begins to get directly influenced by international finance capital (through judges having to take “refresher” courses at the World Bank or at metropolitan universities like Chicago that cater to the needs of international finance capital).
This increase in the weight of the executive should cause no surprise. The legislature, elected by the people, is under an institutional compulsion to remain accountable to the people. It cannot with impunity undertake measures blatantly favouring international finance capital at the expense of the people. The executive however can do so, provided the legislature’s hold over the executive is adequately loosened. This loosening is exactly what neo-liberalism brings about, which contributes to an increase in the weight of the executive at the expense of the legislature.
Two additional factors contribute towards this end. The first is the mode of recruitment into these organs of the State. Members of the “global financial community”, consisting of the group of academics, bureaucrats, consultants, management experts and financial “whiz-kids” who roam all over the world propagating the world-view of international finance capital and doling out as “advice” its favourite platitudes regarding the need for “austerity”, the need for privatisation, the urgency of financial reforms (including the autonomy of the Central Bank), and the need for freer entry for foreign capital into the various spheres of the economy, can obviously be more easily recruited into the executive than into the other two Montesquieu-an organs of the State.
Just to illustrate the point, Dr Raghuram Rajan, who till the other day was the chief economist at the IMF, first walked into the office of the chief economic adviser of the government of
India, and within a few months of doing so, has walked into the office of the governor of the Reserve Bank of . But Dr Rajan would not have got elected into the parliament and would have been hard-put even to get a ticket from any political party. India
The executive, barring the ministers at the very top who constitute in the era of neo-liberalism mere titular heads (for reasons we shall discuss later), largely appoints itself. An executive dominated by the “global financial community”, as is typically the case under neo-liberalism, can appoint into its corpus other members of the “global financial community” with ease, members who otherwise could never get into any other organ of the State. Even Dr Manmohan Singh, it must not be forgotten, despite being the prime minister of the country for years, is chary of contesting Lok Sabha elections. If this is true of such a distinguished member of the “global financial community” then the hurdles against other members of the “global financial community” entering the legislature can be well-imagined. And since the State under neo-liberalism must bend to the caprices of international finance capital, for which it must be run by personnel belonging to the “global financial community”, their preponderance in the executive must entail an increase in the weight of the executive relative to the legislature.
The second factor that works towards this end is the vilification of the “political class” that is typically seen as populating the legislature. The media, owned by corporate groups that are integrated into international finance capital, make it a point to highlight the venalities of the “political class”. This implicitly denigrates the legislature, even while presenting members of the executive belonging to the “global financial community” as knights in shining armour fighting for the revival of the Indian economy.
Even the Reserve Bank of India’s minor variations in interest rates which are periodically undertaken in a routine manner are now presented as high drama and the governor of the RBI as a Bollywood cult hero, single-handedly fighting for the country. Those elected by the people in short are presented as a pathetic venal lot while the members of the “global financial community” who uphold the interests of international finance capital and walk in and out of top offices of the country’s executive are made to acquire heroic dimensions.
True, the minor interest rate variations by the RBI have an impact on the stock market and hence upon the economy. But nobody can seriously argue that a 0.25 percent increase in the repo rate, which incidentally can be reversed any time, is of such outstanding importance that it has blighted the entire growth prospects of the Indian economy. Besides, even the impact it may immediately have is only transitory; but the media focus on it is meant to force the country as a whole to be interested in what concerns the stock market, and hence, implicitly, to cheer when the stock market cheers. The media focus on the interest rate policy in short is not so much because of its intrinsic importance as because it locates the stock market centre-stage, and hence implicitly deflects attention from other means of stimulating growth, such as fiscal and trade policies.
TRANSFER OF THE
LEVERS OF POWER
In presenting the “political class” as consisting of villains, the corporate-owned media get the support of “middle-class movements” like the anti-corruption movement. These movements themselves however are built up by the media so that we are in a peculiar situation where the media confer legitimacy upon the support that in turn confers legitimacy upon the media’s own crusade.
To say all this is not to deny or underestimate the venality of a whole group of bourgeois politicians who have misappropriated public money; it is only to underscore two points. First, focusing attention on the corruption indulged in by the “political class” deflects attention from the far more significant loot that the corporate-financial elite has been engaged in. After all, bourgeois politicians only get a “cut” from what the corporates get through illicit means, but the media focus has only been on the “cut” while the corporate elite appropriating the cake continues to be lionized.
Secondly, the members of the “global financial community” manning the country’s executive are both aware of, and complicit in, the corruption engaged in by the bourgeois politicians, whether or not they themselves get “cuts” out of it. There is in fact a subtle strategy at work here. While effective decision-making under neo-liberalism shifts to the members of the “global financial community”, the traditional bourgeois politicians are induced to reconcile themselves to this fact by the lure of private enrichment. “Corruption” therefore becomes part of a subtle strategy of international finance capital: if it goes un-noticed then it enables a snatching of the levers of power from traditional bourgeois politicians by members of the “global financial community”; and if it gets noticed then that discredits the traditional bourgeois politicians and hence serves again to transfer the levers of power from their hands into those of the members of the “global financial community”. For finance capital in short it is a strategy of “Heads I win, Tails you lose.”
The examples of the increase in the weight of the executive are numerous. The Indo-US Nuclear Deal was done behind the back of the parliament; and even now the government is colluding with the
administration to dilute the liability law behind the back of the parliament. The TRIPS agreement was signed behind the back of the parliament; the matter came up before the parliament at all because the Indian Patents Act of 1970 had to be amended to make it TRIPS-compatible, and when it did come before the parliament the argument used by the government was that it had already signed the Treaty and was therefore committed to it. US
Some may argue that
India never had the constitutional provision, as the has, whereby treaties entered into by the executive have to be ratified by the legislature. But this claim itself is dubious, as was pointed out by Justice Sawant during the debate on the Indo-US Nuclear Deal. Besides, such issues had never come to the forefront in the earlier years when the country was pursuing thedirigiste development strategy. They assume importance only in the era of globalisation when a veritable effort is made by international finance capital to break down all national barriers to the free movement of capital and commodities even when it adversely affects the people of a country. Hence precedents are irrelevant here. US
The government of
has been engaged in signing a series of free trade agreements without taking parliament into confidence. The executive’s aggressive drive to sign such agreements not only implicitly denigrates the central legislature of the country; it also violates the basic constitutional provision on centre-state relations. India
The FTA with ASEAN for instance affects the condition of agriculture in states like Kerala; and agriculture, as is well-known, is a state subject. But the central government not only barged into this state subject entirely on its own without so much as consulting with the concerned state governments, but it even violated its own solemn promise of making the draft agreement available to the state governments before the final signing.
The day is not far off when the central executive that has ridden rough-shod over the central and state legislatures will insist that the judiciary too should be “committed to the cause of growth” which is but a euphemism for being committed to neo-liberal policies.
Marxism holds that the essence of the bourgeois State is the bureaucracy and the standing army. A strengthening of the executive, of which the bureaucracy is at the core, constitutes a strengthening of the bourgeois State. Neo-liberalism entails ironically (since it claims to be “rolling back the State”) both a strengthening of the bourgeois State, and its growing appropriation by members of the “global financial community”.
Safeguard Our Secular, Democratic
Pluralistic Social Order
THE 16th meeting of the National Integration Council (NIC) was held in the aftermath of the horrendous communal disturbances in Muzaffarnagar and in the backdrop of the continuing tensions in western Uttar Pradesh. The Resolution adopted unanimously, amongst others, resolved “To condemn violence in any form committed to disturb communal harmony and to deal with all those indulging in such violence in a prompt and resolute manner under the law. To take all measures to preserve, sustain and strengthen the harmonious relationship between all communities and enable all citizens to lead their lives in freedom as equal citizens with dignity and honour.” The CPI(M)’s contribution to the various items on the agenda suggested by the government and deliberated in the meeting is carried elsewhere in this issue.
Cutting across party lines, many, particularly the secular voices present in the meeting, expressed dismay that such pious sounding resolutions have little meaning in the aftermath of communal riots and mayhem. Almost everybody decried that the promised annual meetings of the NIC (the last was held two years ago in 2011) were never held and, instead, meetings are convened only after disturbances have taken place. Unless there is a pro-active interventionist approach which can only happen through periodic and regular meetings, the situation cannot improve. Such post-event meetings only remain exercises in conducting a postmortem. Once again, the government gave familiar assurances notwithstanding the past experiences.
It needs to be recalled that during the six years of the BJP-led NDA rule, the NIC was not convened even once. It has faded beyond memory even to recollect if the NIC was ever constituted during the six-year Vajpayee rule. Even after the State-sponsored communal pogrom in Gujarat in 2002, the NIC did not meet.
Reflecting a similar approach and attitude, the Gujarat chief minister, busy as he is projecting himself as the country’s future prime minister, chose not to attend this NIC meeting. The BJP president was also not present. Amongst the chief ministers of BJP-led state governments, the only exception attending the meeting was the CM of Madhya Pradesh. Some other chief ministers from states like West Bengal, Tamilnadu, Odisha sent their representatives – ministers in the state cabinet.
The BJP’s leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha, speaking early in the discussion, raised the usual points repeated by the communal forces ad nauseum. She asked for a change in the Hindi term for secularism – dharma nirpekshata – to be replaced bypanth nirpekshata. The former meaning no discrimination between religions or that the State treats all religions as equal while the State itself does not embrace any religion to be replaced as the State not discriminating between sects. The unsaid but powerful underlining message being that only Hinduism qualifies to be a religion while all other religions can, at best, be described as sects. Despite all their present day disclaimers regarding Golwalkar’s brazen advocacy of `Hindu Rashtra’, they can only reinforce his fascistic arguments. Such a conception, by itself, lays the foundations for communalising the society by claiming that one religion is superior to all others. This is the very logic on the basis of which the RSS/BJP go about sharpening communal polarisation in order to transform the modern secular democratic Republic of India into their version of a rabidly intolerant fascistic `Hindu Rashtra’.
In a similar vein, the Madhya Pradesh CM spoke of the `appeasement’ of the minorities. While a vast majority of the participants spoke in terms of implementing the recommendations of Justice Sachar Committee on the status of Muslim minorities and the Ranganath Mishra Commission recommendations on reservations for minorities with the required urgency, the BJP articulated that such measures would amount to `appeasement’ of the minorities!
Prominent representatives of the religious minorities in the NIC, spoke alarmingly of the growing tensions against their brethren across the country in the run-up to the 2014 general elections. Noted jurist Fali Nariman, in fact, posed the question: Is India moving towards becoming a religious State?
Prominent leaders from UP and Bihar, along with their chief ministers, spoke of the frightening pace of communal polarisation that is underway. Unless the government and all political and social forces rally together to safeguard our secular democratic pluralistic social order, the very future of modern India would be in peril.
The representatives of India Inc. were conspicuous by their absence. By doing so, they have only reconfirmed that their pre-occupation is with their maximisation of profits irrespective of what may happen regarding the disintegration of our pluralistic secular democratic social and political order. Their new-found `messiah’, as articulated in these columns last week, appears to have motivated them not to participate in this meeting lest they annoy their hope for their future! So chillingly reminiscent of the corporate support and encouragement to Hitler and the rise of fascism in Germany.
It is clear that in the run-up to the 2014 general elections the RSS/BJP, as evidenced in their decision to project the Gujarat chief minister as their prime ministerial candidate, shall leave no stone unturned to sharpen communal polarisation and hope for electoral dividend on that basis. Such a cynical and gross misuse of the religious sentiments of our people for their petty electoral gains at the expense of destroying the very unity and integrity of our country’s social fabric and the secular democratic political order cannot be allowed. India’s rich plurality and its unity and integrity need to be preserved and, on that basis, the struggles for creating a better India for all our people must be strengthened.
(September 25, 2013)
Allende Remembered in Kolkata
ON September 14, the Friends of Latin America (FOLA),
, organised a seminar at Kolkata to commemorate the Chilean president Dr Salvadore Allende who died fighting for democracy against a military coup engineered by imperialist forces powers in 1973. As we know, this coup caused the death of millions of people in 1973. On the 40th death anniversary of Dr Allende, Suman Putatunda, secretary of the FOLA organising committee, made preliminary remarks on the subject of discussion: “Social Movements in Latin America – India Cuba, , Venezuela & Beyond, 1959 – 2013.” At the start, the function paid tribute to Chilean singer Victor Jara who sacrificed his life fighting against the coup attempt in 1973. Bolivia
Professor Amiya Bagchi, one of the key speakers, started the discussion in the evening. He dwelt on the overall Latin American scenario today as well as the historical perspective of the Bolivarian movement founded and led by Hugo Chavez. The renowned economist explained why and how the movement developed, its network among the people and how, on being elected to power, the standard bearers of the movement carried out far reaching reforms in favour of the poor and the unprivileged sections of the population, laying adequate stress on health, education and employment. The resources of the state, so long not utilised for the benefit of poorer sections of the population, began to be allocated substantially to raise their standard of living. Such public policy of the state substantially reduced the levels of poverty and prepared an overwhelming section of the population to act as active citizens of a democratic and progressive nation.
is one of the most interesting and probably the country where social movements, especially the ones grounded in the indigenous community, have had the greatest success in having their demands articulated by the leftist government in power. Bolivia
Nilotpal Basu discussed how the socio-political changes started with the victory of the Cuban revolution in 1959, led by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, and gradually spread to all over the continent and ultimately took concretised with the formation of “Bolivarian Alliance of the People of Our America” (ALBA). The latter is essentially a political, anti-neo-liberal and anti-imperialist project based on the principle of cooperation, complementary and solidarity, and seeks to mobilise popular and institutional forces for a new declaration of Latin American independence. This is thus a movement for peoples’ integration, for life, justice, peace, sovereignty, identity, equality, for the liberation of
Latin America, through an authentic emancipation that envisions Indo-Afro-American socialism.
The discussion was followed by a film show, War on Democracy, by John Pilger and a very animated question-answer session in which a large section of the young audience asked incisive questions on ALBA activities. Professor Asoke Bhattacharya and Putatunda did their best to elucidate the issues.