Thursday, July 29, 2010

Public Meeting Called for August 3 to Protest the Killings of Azad and Pandey

Public Meeting–Concerned Citizens & Forum Against War on People

*Protest against the Killing of Azad, Spokesperson of CPI (Maoist) and Journalist Hem Chandra Pandey




Amit Bhaduri

Arundhati Roy

Ashish Gupta/ PUDR

B D Sharma

G Haragopal

G N Saibaba


Manoranjan Mohanty

Mehar Engineer


PC Tiwari

Rajender Sachar

Pushkar Raj, PUCL

Rajkishore, RDF

SAR Geelani


Sujato Bhadro


Pankaj Bisht

Sumit Chakravartty

Varavara Rao

And Others

Azad, the spokesperson of the Central Committee of CPI (Maoist) along with a freelance journalist, Hemant Pandey from Delhi was murdered in cold blood in the early hours of 2 July 2010. The circumstantial evidence clearly shows that both were caught in Nagpur by Central and Andhra Pradesh intelligence agencies in a joint operation and killed in custody. Later their bodies were thrown in the Sarkapalli forest in Adilabad district of Andhra Pradesh by the police to cook up a story of an ‘armed encounter’.

According to the CPI (Maoist) sources, Azad, their spokesperson was caught by the intelligence agencies in Nagpur around 10 am on 1 July 2010. As per the family members of Hem Chandra Pandey, he left for Nagpur in the evening of 30 June 2010 to meet with his professional responsibilities as a journalist and hence thereafter remained incommunicado since the morning of 1st July.

On the morning of 2nd July, the Andhra Pradesh police cited the case of an armed encounter in the wee hours in the thick jungles of Adilabad district wherein two persons were killed. One of the deceased was identified as Azad alias Cherukuri Rajkumar while the other was declared unidentified.

It is not for the first time that a senior member of CPI (Maoist) was killed in this kind of a catch and kill operation by the intelligence agencies. What is strikingly shocking in this case is that Azad was approached by the Government of India through Swami Agnivesh towards facilitating the modalities of a ceasefire. It was, as evinced by the Government of India and the CPI (Maoist) party, the preliminary and crucial step towards initiating a dialogue with a view, at least, to suspend a major civil war situation in the history of post-1947 in the heartland of the country.
The killing of Azad angered those who have been wishing to see a genuine path towards a Peace Process to evolve in contrast to the military solution of the government to the resistance struggles of the adivasis in central and eastern parts of the country. This killing of a leader of a political party in captivity with impunity by the law enforcing agencies of the so-called largest democracy has attracted worldwide condemnation. Most people suspect that he was killed because the Government is not serious in its proposal to establish a ceasefire and initiate dialogue with the people who are waging a steadfast resistance against the destruction of their lives and livelihoods.

Thousands of intellectuals, journalists, writers, activists attended the funeral of Azad in Hyderabad and Hem Chandra Pandey in New Delhi unequivocally demanding an impartial judicial inquiry into the cold blooded murder of this messenger of peace and justice by the very Government who killed them.

Dumb struck by the killing of Azad, Swami Agnivesh—the interlocutor made by the Government of India with whom the former was communicating for a peace process—declared that Azad must have been traced down by the Government intelligence agencies through the very channels the latter was communicating sanctioned by the Home Ministry. His shock got consummated when Home Minister P. Chidambaram out rightly rejected the forthright demand of Swami Agnivesh for a judicial inquiry. The entire civil society was taken in by the criminal act of a government who had indulged in the worst crime of killing a leader and messenger with whom it was ostensibly working out a ceasefire which everyone believed and sincerely hoped will move towards a meaningful dialogue addressing the burning issues of the vast sections of the deprived of this country.

Azad as the spokesperson of the recently banned political formation in the country—CPI (Maoist)—has been known to one and all for more than a decade engaging in public debate on behalf of his party on many burning issues concerning the future of vast majority of the people through hundreds of press statements, articles and rejoinders.

In his letter dated 26 June to the Union Governments’ interlocutor, Azad broadly agreed for the ceasefire followed by a possible dialogue responding to the letter of offer for ceasefire and dialogue by the Union Home Minister written on 11 May 2010 addressed to Swami Agnivesh asking him to approach the banned CPI (Maoist).

The public meeting on 3 August 2010 will discuss the crucial issue of the unfolding scenario in the wake of the brutal murder of a messenger who was categorical to agree for peace with the very Government that had committed in paper towards setting up the peace process. Eminent intellectuals from the civil society who engaged in the process—while categorically opposing the Government’s policy of unbridled exploitation of natural resources in the tribal heartlands threatening their very extinction—will deliberate on this dangerous turn of events as the Government has once again failed before the people in fulfilling its commitment, as it claimed, as one who would leave no stone unturned for a lasting peace in the country. By its very act, the Government has once again proved before the peace loving people of this country that it hardly respects the burning concerns of the vast sections of toiling masses of this country who would want a life with justice, dignity and peace free from all forms of mistreatment, oppression and exploitation.

 Institute judicial inquiry into the killing of Azad and Hem Chandra Pandey

 Stop Operation Green Hunt

 Withdraw Paramilitary Forces from Tribal and other regions

 Make public all MoUs on minerals and other projects

Concerned Citizens &
Forum Against War on People

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Protest against Vedanta over India mine project

Amnesty International and Survival International led a protest of Vedanta shareholders, against a bauxite mine in India on Dongria Kondh lands

India-focused Vedanta Resources would face protests at its shareholders’ meeting on Wednesday from investors and pressure groups over its plans to establish a bauxite mine in an area sacred to indigenous people.

Pressure groups have long opposed a planned mine in India’s eastern Orissa state, but the sympathetic move by major asset manager Aviva Investors (part of insurer Aviva Plc) marks a more activist stance by institutional investors on social issues.

Aviva said it had organised a meeting on Friday of investors which in total hold around 5 percent of Vedanta shares with human rights group Amnesty International.

In order to show its concern over the Bauxite mining project and other issues with the company, Aviva said it plans to vote against three resolutions at Vedanta’s meeting on Wednesday, regarding the annual report and accounts, the remuneration report and the reappointment of the board member who chairs the health, safety and environment committee.

Vedanta shareholders will also confront more colourful protests as they enter the meeting, including two people made up as indigenous people from the hit film Avatar, which chronicles how a futuristic mining company threatens the existence of the Na’vi people.

A report on Vedanta submitted to the environment ministry in March said the company was violating environmental guidelines and had not taken adequate consideration of the impact on the Dongria Kondh people.

Meanwhile, Vedanta said that the mine in the Niyamgiri mountain forests, beneath which lie 78 million tonnes of bauxite, will not violate the rights of local tribes and the company is also funding schools, clinics and income-generation projects in the area.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Downloading a document from the Internet can land you in jail

janakeeya manushyavakasa prasthanam

Laws abused to intimidate activists, scribes in conflict zones

Administration stages encounters with impunity
Police use the media to frame the accused

Following is a news item published in Hindu daily 05th April, 2010.

When does downloading a document from the Internet land you in jail? In the strife-torn Jammu and Kashmir, the Official Secrets Act (OSA) can do the trick. Like it did for journalist Iftikhar Gilani back in 2003.

When does calling upon “Dalits, women, minorities, farmers and adivasis to build organisations in order to fight for their rights” (among other things) qualify as sedition? In the police notice to Dr. Rati Rao, vice president of the People's Union for Civil Liberties, it does.

Mr. Gilani and Dr. Rao were among the journalists and activists who spoke of State repression at a conference of Media and Law organised by the Human Rights Law Network, here on Sunday.

“When they arrested me they said it was in the national interest. When I was released, they said it was in public interest,” Mr. Gilani told the audience. Jailed for seven months, he said several victims like him were “rotting” in the prisons of J&K. He recalled a man who had spent 12 years in jail under the Public Security Act (PSA) for digging up a cricket pitch.

Maqbool Sahil, writer and Chief Editor of Pukar in Kashmir was subjected to the third degree after being arrested under the PSA and accused of spying for Pakistan. “Journalists are performing a challenging task since the militancy of the 90s. Eleven journalists have died so far in direct and indirect attacks by the government. I was held without trial for 30 months. When I was released in January 2008, I had lost all contacts and sources. I rejected an offer from the Hurriyat to become a separatist leader. Instead, I have returned to my profession.”

Preventive detentions, threats and encounters have become the order of the day in conflict zones. For journalists working in such areas, “it's like walking in a minefield,” said Irengbam Arun, Editor of IREIBAK, Manipur.

Mr. Arun said “the culture of impunity,” built when the Armed Forces Special Powers Act was in effect, has now spread to the police. Six journalists, one recently, and five others in the 90s have died in various encounters. “When it happens, you don't know if it's the army, the police or the militants,” he said.

In the backwards areas, the anonymity of remote jungles and the tag of ‘naxalite' make for a perfect combination for the administration to stage encounters with impunity. “Police atrocities are increasing in Narayanpatna and Naupada in Orissa. Children are kept in jails. People are shot in jungles and termed naxalites,” said journalist and activist Khuturam Sunani, himself charged with sedition.

From Lakhmipur in Uttar Pradesh, journalist Samiuddin Neelu of Amar Ujala recounted his close escape from a possible police encounter.

“They claimed to have recovered a lion's nail, the skin of a rhino and a sandalwood stick from me,” he said. The National Human Rights Commission later ordered the U.P. government to pay Rs. 5 lakh to him for illegal detention.
Mr. Gilani's fight opened his eyes to the way the media treats crime stories. While he was still inside his house during a raid, the television reported him to be absconding. And the papers reported that he had admitted to being an ISI agent in court. “If the media did that to me, what about the other people? The reportage built up an atmosphere [of distrust]. Since the police have no proof, they use the media [for such purposes],” he said.

Rapidly Growing U.S.-India Military Ties

By Jim Garamone

American Forces Press Service

July 23, 2010 – The growth of military-to-military cooperation between India and the United States is “stunning,” and it is poised to continue to increase, U.S. officials told reporters here today.

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is in New Delhi to explore ways to increase the military partnership between the two nations.

“It is stunning how many things we are working on with the Indians … and how fast our partnership is growing,” said one U.S. official, speaking on background to reporters traveling with Mullen. “The chairman’s visit, obviously, is reflective of the important cooperation we have in terms of the defense side and the strategic partnership.”

The defense relationship between India and the United States is fairly mature and goes back to 1995, when then-Defense Secretary William Perry signed the first memorandum of understanding with his Indian counterpart.

Today, military-to-military cooperation between India and the United States mostly involves bilateral exercises, personnel exchanges and training.

“We do more with the Indians than the Indians do with any other country,” said another U.S. official. “That shows the importance of the relationship to the Indians.”

India and the United States have many bilateral exercises with some multilateral, officials said. India has been invited to be an observer at next year’s Cobra Gold multinational military exercises, and India has participated in Air Force Red Flag exercises at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

U.S. forces exercise with Indian navy ships throughout the Indian Ocean region, and U.S. and Indian servicemembers cooperate with each other around the world, officials said. American and Indian servicemembers also have worked together closely in U.N. peacekeeping operations.

U.S.-India military exercises, officials said, are becoming more complex and more joint. In the past, the individual services tended to operate with their counterparts, the official said. Special operations forces will be part of up-coming exercises.

India also is looking at buying U.S. defense systems.

“This is the next step ahead,” said the official, noting that India has bought six C-130J Hercules transports. With the purchase of these aircraft, Indian military noncommissioned officers and other enlisted personnel will travel to the United States for training, the official said, and this opens up a whole new window for cooperation.

“We’re hopeful that we will conclude the contract for 10 C-17s,” the official said. “That will change the depth of the relationship as we move along.”

U.S. defense firms also are competing for a $10 billion contract to replace India’s aging fleet of MiG-21 jet fighter aircraft, the official said. Lockheed-Martin has offered the F-16 Falcon and Boeing the F/A-18 Super Hornet. They are competing against Russian, Swedish and French firms for the 126-plane deal.

The United States also cooperates with India on counterterrorism, including sharing intelligence, the official said, noting the two countries also cooperate on regional issues.

Pakistan is always a topic of discussion between the United States and India, officials said. Pakistan and India have fought a number of wars since both countries became independent in 1947, and continue to regard each other with suspicion.

The Mumbai terror attacks on November 26, 2008 – what Indians call 26-11 – killed 166 people and wounded more than 300. The Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba was responsible for the attacks.

Most Indians want a stable Pakistan, said another U.S. official, and they believe Pakistani officials now realize how serious the threat from terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba is.

India also is working with the international community and specifically the United States in Afghanistan. “India has provided $1.3 billion in economic aid and governance support in Afghanistan,” an official said.

Meanwhile, the India-U.S. military partnership continues to grow, officials said. In addition to normal land, sea, air and space cooperation, they said, the United States and India are looking at the problem of cyberdefense.

Home About FRS India: Attempting to Silence the Voice of Revolution

by N Venugopal

In a deliberate attempt to suppress the most powerful and articulate voice of Indian revolutionary movement, the state has indulged in cold-blooded, brutal assassination of Cherukuri Rajkumar, popularly known as Azad, spokesperson of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), along with freelance journalist Hemchandra Pandey on July 2. Azad was supposed to meet a courier at Sitabardi in Nagpur, Maharashtra at 11 am on July 1, to go to Dandakaranya forest from there. The courier returned back to the forest after missing him at the appointed time and place. Thus Azad might have met Pandey before that and might have been picked up either before they reached the place or at the place before the courier reached there. Dead bodies of both of them were shown on a hillock in the forest between Jogapur and Sarkepalli villages in Adilabad district of Andhra Pradesh, about 250 kms from Nagpur, with a story of an encounter that took place in the early hours of July 2. Since the “encounter” stories are very common and Azad is a very important functionary in the Maoist movement, this killing raises several questions that remain unanswered.

Andhra Pradesh is a state with about a dozen television news channels and one gets information flashes within minutes of happening. Around 9 in the morning on July 2 the channels started flashing that there was an “encounter” in which two Maoists were killed. Slowly the news developed to identify the dead bodies of two “top leaders” in the beginning and a “top leader” (“because there was one AK-47”) and his courier later. Within the next few hours it was speculated that the deceased were Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad and Pulluri Prasada Rao alias Chandranna, secretary of North Telangana Special Zonal Committee. By afternoon Gudsa Usendi, spokesperson of Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee came online and told the channels that the second person might be Sahadev, an adivasi courier sent to fetch Azad, after an appointment in Nagpur. By the next day Usendi came again online and told that Sahadev returned back safely after not finding Azad at the rendezvous. Almost at the same time, friends of Hemchandra Pandey recognized the picture of his dead body that appeared in New Delhi edition of Telugu daily Eenadu and Pandey’s wife Babita announced that at a press conference in Delhi. Pandey was not identified for the first two days and passed off as a Maoist and once he was identified, police started denying that he was a journalist, implying that killing a Maoist cannot be an issue.

The official version of the incident goes like this: On the night of July 1 police got information that there was some movement of Maoists in Maharashtra – Andhra Pradesh border forests for the last 10-15 days and a combing party consisting of police from both the states went in search of them. Around 10.30 in the night the police party identified the Maoists and asked them to surrender, but the intransigent Maoists, numbering around 20, started firing at them. In order to defend themselves the police returned the fire and the exchange of fire continued till 2.30 in the morning. The police party could not search the area due to pitch darkness and came back next morning to find out two unidentified dead bodies, along with an AK-47, a 9 mm pistol, two kit bags and revolutionary literature.

However, newspaper readers in Andhra Pradesh are sick of this version that they have been reading the same sentences over and over again for the last forty years with changes in proper nouns alone. That nobody believed the version handed out by police and accepted Usendi’s statement was a commentary on the credibility of state machinery.

There are a number of reasons even usual believers in police stories could not trust this time round: Azad is known for his vigilant and alert attitude so much that police do not even have his recent photograph and content with a 30-year old picture of him. Given the importance of Azad as a member of politbureau and central committee, he would not be alone and would be protected by a well-guarded team if he were in forests. He could have been unarmed and single only if he were in an urban area. Newspersons who visited the site where dead bodies were shown also said that it was difficult terrain and would have been impossible for police coming out without a bruise, if it were a real exchange of fire. More over, there were no tell-tale signs of exchange of fire at the place except two bullets and the nearby villagers did not hear any sounds of gun fire, even as police claim that cross firing lasted for four hours.

The ruling class’ wrath against Rajkumar was so much that even his dead body was not allowed to be accorded due honour. Rajkumar’s mother, an ailing 75-year old Cherukuri Karuna, pleaded with the High Court to direct the government to bring the body from the remote Jogapur forest to Hyderabad, instead of a nearby hospital that does not have necessary equipment to protect the body from decomposition. She told the court that her age and health would not permit her to go all the way to Adilabad district and hence her request should be considered sympathetically. The court directed the police to postpone the post-mortem till the mother sees the dead body of her son, as if it was benevolently granting permission to a mother to see her son’s dead body. Even at the ill-equipped hospital at Mancherial, where hundreds of people gathered to pay their last respects to Azad, heavy police force was deployed and people were dispersed with lathicharge. Finally the police allowed mother and brothers only inside the hospital.

Azad is a very popular leader of the CPI (Maoist) and in his capacity as spokesperson of the central committee of the party he interacted with a number of media organisations, including EPW, as well as with important members of civil society during the lat couple of years. People who know Azad for a long time describe him as the personification of commitment, experience and expertise.

Cherukuri Rajkumar was born into a middle class family of Krishna district in May 1954. His father, an ex-service man, shifted to Hyderabad to run a small restaurant to raise a family of four sons and a daughter, Rajkumar being the second son. Rajkumar had his primary education in Hyderabad and secondary education at Sainik School, Korukonda in Vizianagaram district. He did his graduation in chemical engineering at Regional Engineering College (REC), Warangal and post graduation in marine engineering at Andhra University, Visakhapatnam. He was a brilliant student throughout and his mother remembers: “He suffered from eyesight problem when he was in class X and had to begin using contact lenses. Initially he could not adjust to the lenses and arranged a friend to read out the lessons to him. By just listening, he secured distinction in seven subjects that year.” Even when he was an activist, his teachers and friends say, he was a meritorious student as well as a prize winner in elocution and essay writing contests.

Srikakulam struggle broke out when Rajkumar was in high school and several of his family members were influenced by the struggle. His maternal grandfather’s family settled in Adilabad district and some of them were part of peasant struggles in that area along with Kondapalli Seetaramaiah, one of the founders of the Naxalite movement in Andhra Pradesh. Rajkumar used to spend his summer vacation in that area and was influenced by the revolutionary environment around.

By the time he joined REC in 1972, it was a hot bed of revolutionary student movement, inspired by peasant movements in Warangal district, and being a very sensitive and sharp person, he became a part of that fervour. He was two years junior to and follower of Surapaneni Janardhan, a very effective radical student leader. Not only the impact of Janardhan, but also the peasant and working class movements in and around Warangal in the pre-Emergency days made a lasting impression on Rajkumar. Students of REC were in the forefront in forming Andhra Pradesh Radical Students Union (RSU) at state level in October 1974 and Rajkumar was part of that group. While the RSU held its first conference in February 1975 in Hyderabad, it had to undergo severe repression within three months, with the imposition of Emergency. Several radical students went underground to avoid arrest as well as to organise peasants. Rajkumar was also arrested under the MISA and let off after a couple of months. Janardhan, along with three other student activists, were killed in a fake encounter in July 1975 in Giraipalli forest in Medak district.

Giraipalli killing, along with several other killings, created furore in post-Emergency period. Janardhan, like Rajan, another REC student from Calicut, became a symbol of democratic rights movement then. Jayaprakash Narayan set up a people’s fact finding committee under the leadership of V M Tarkunde to enquire the fake encounters in Andhra Pradesh. It was Rajkumar who helped Tarkunde Committee in gathering the necessary information and protecting the witnesses in Giraipalli forest and surrounding villages. Tarkunde Committee’s report led to the constitution of Justice V Bhargava Commission which held its enquiry during 1977-78. It was again Rajkumar who helped the defence team led by K G Kannabiran in arguing the case before the commission. K G Kannabiran fondly remembered the help and efficient assistance rendered by Rajkumar during those days, in his autobiography 24 Gantalu, published in 2009.

Radical Students Union was revived after Emergency and held its second conference in Warangal in February 1978 and Rajkumar, by that time doing his M Tech in Visakhapatnam, became its state president. It was at this conference, RSU gave the famous call of “Go to Villages” to students. These village campaigns of students brought out a sea change in the outlook of participating students as well as spreading the revolutionary message at the grassroots. The campaign was a prelude to Karminagar – Adilabad peasant struggles and in turn RSU gained strength through the peasant movement. The ‘Go to Villages’ campaigns directly led to the formation of Radical Youth League in May 1978 and Raithucooli Sangham in 1980. During these historic years, Rajkumar was the president of RSU. He was re-elected twice at the third conference in Anantapur in February 1979 and fourth conference in Guntur in February 1981. However, by the time of Guntur conference he was being hunted by police and he could not even attend the public proceedings.

In the meanwhile, both as the president of RSU and as a student of M Tech at Andhra University he led a number of struggles in Visakhapatnam in particular and throughout the state in general. Struggle against private local transport system in Visakhapatnam, under his leadership, resulted in nationalisation of city buses. He was a powerful public speaker and addressed hundreds of meetings of students and others till 1981. All these activities made him a dangerous person in the eyes of state and he was implicated in a number of cases, beginning from his arrest under the MISA in 1975 till arrest in a case of exceeding permitted time of a public meeting in Narsapur and burning national flag in Visakhapatnam.

During the second half of 1980 itself he chose to become whole timer and began his underground life and there was no looking back. However, even working clandestinely he never lost touch with people and his activity spread far and wide. In August 1981, RSU organised an all India seminar on the nationality question in India in Madras. Rajkumar wrote an introductory pamphlet as well as a paper to be presented at the seminar on behalf of APRSU. This seminar connected various students’ organisations of different nationality struggles as well as radical democratic movements. As a follow up of the seminar, Revolutionary Students’ Organisations Co-ordination Committee (RSOCC) was formed and culminating four years of deliberations, All India Revolutionary Students’ Federation (AIRSF) held its first conference in Hyderabad in 1985. Rajkumar was one of the major forces that coordinated all these efforts.

For the next 25 years, he worked in different areas like Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Kerala, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Dandakaranya, giving theoretical, political and organisational inputs to struggles in all these places. He guided party units and committees in all these states as well as South-western Regional Bureau. He is known to have acquired fluency in at least six languages during this time. It is learnt that he used different names at different points of time for the sake of camouflage or depending on the nature of the job. He was known as Uday, Madhu, Janardhan, Prakash, and Gangadhar at different points of time. Though he was part of a collective decision-making body of the party, his personal contribution in terms of vision, expertise in several fields and a sharp insight into different developing themes helped the movement quite a bit. He was a voracious reader and a prolific writer. Given the nature of his clandestine activity he wrote under different pseudonyms, and more often credited his writings to collective, but one could easily identify his style in numerous writings in Voice of the Vanguard, People’s March, People’s Truth, Maoist Information Bulletin, etc. His hand could be identified in various documents of the party also. It is reported that he began thinking of international activity and solidarity about 15 years ago, demonstrating that he looked much ahead. There is an unconfirmed report that he participated in an international conclave of Maoist parties held in Brazil a few years ago. It is also reported that he was instrumental in setting up Co-ordination Committee of Maoist Parties in South Asia (CCOMPOSA) and addressed its meetings several times.

A couple of instances of his theoretical, political and organisational guidance and coordination are worth mentioning:

When K Balagopal raised some fundamental questions on the relevance of Marxism as an instrument of social transformation, even as accepting it as an efficient tool of analysis, in 1993, a number of revolutionary sympathisers felt disillusioned and a theoretical rebuttal was expected from the party. It was Rajkumar who wrote a critical essay in 1995 and another in 2001 answering all the philosophical questions of Balagopal. Despite being so critical on the questions of perspective, Azad paid rich tributes to Balagopal after the latter’s demise. The condolence statement stands as a model in recording both positive and negative aspects – respecting the significance of Balagopal’s contributions to people’s movements as well as mentioning post-modernist tendencies in him.

Consistently exploring the importance of the nationality question in India, he was again instrumental in holding an international seminar on nationality question, under the auspices of All India People’s Resistance Forum (AIPRF) in February 1996. Participated by scholars like William Hinton, Ngugi wa Thiongo, Luis Jalandoni, Raymond Lotta, Jalil Andrabi, Manoranjan Mohanty, this seminar had more than 30 papers on various nationality movements in India and across the globe. The seminar led to the formation of the Committee for Co-ordination of Nationalities and Democratic Movements (CCNDM), an important milestone in the expansion of revolutionary people’s movement in the country.

In 2002, the government of Andhra Pradesh accepted the proposal of some well-meaning intellectuals and Committee of Concerned Citizens (CCC) to hold talks with the then CPI (ML) Peoples War to bring about peace. It was Rajkumar who guided the efforts of peace negotiations on the part of the revolutionary party and he wrote a number of statements, gave interviews to newspapers clarifying the party’s position. The talks could not go ahead at that time, except a preliminary round between the emissaries proposed by the party and the government representatives.

Rajkumar was also part of the collective that guided Mumbai Resistance 2004, an event organised parallel to World Social Forum, which attracted quite a few revolutionary organisations from various countries towards the people’s movements in India under the leadership of the CPI (ML) Peoples War.

Again in 2004, in Andhra Pradesh the Congress party made an election promise to hold talks with the revolutionary parties and came to power. This time round the talks moved a little forward till the first round of negotiations between the representatives of CPI (Maoist) and CPI (ML) Janasakthi on one hand and the representatives of the government on the other. Beginning in May 2004 when Congress acquired power till January 2005, when the party withdrew from the process after gross violations of cease-fire agreement and spate of encounters on the part of the government, it was again Rajkumar who guided and prepared a lot of statements and documents for the talks. In fact, the party was so well prepared for the effort that it wrote the agenda, it prepared background papers on the three issues that were discussed and it circulated a number of documents and met with different sections of people to share the party’s point of view, while the government, with its mammoth machinery and all resources at its disposal, could not even prepare a single sheet of information throughout and the government representative did not do any home work.

Then again beginning with 2007 when the Prime Minister described the Maoist movement as the biggest internal threat, Rajkumar consistently exposed the real intentions of mining mafia behind the onslaught, including Operation Greenhunt. Through various writings and interviews in several media, he elaborated the party’s positions on various issues including the peace process. Indeed, a number of statements given by him, an 18-page interview along with audio sent to press in October 2009, his 12,262-word interview given to the Hindu in April 2010 and his letter of May 31, 2010 in response to Home Minister P Chidambaram’s letter of May 10 to Swami Agnivesh are crystal clear expositions of what the CPI (Maoist) thinks and does right now.

Azad’s killing is an integral part of the Operation Greenhunt and by killing him the government wanted to scuttle the voice of resistance and revolution. The Operation Greenhunt is a mission of the Indian ruling classes to surrender rich resources of Indian people to MNCs and their Indian junior partners. Rajkumar was also a great resource of Indian people and the ruling classes have eliminated this resource since he was a powerful expression among those obstructing the outright plunder of people’s natural resources.


N Venugopal is Editor, Veekshanam, Telugu monthly journal of political economy and society.

On a wall in Mumbai

Azad’s assassination: An insight into the Indian state’s response to peoples’ resistance

by Gautam Navlakha

The assassination of Cherukuri Raj Kumar a.k.a Azad on July 1-2, 2010 killed a senior leader of the CPI (Maoist) and scuttled a peace process thus virtually destroying the hopes of millions of Indians who wanted the government offensive against the Maoists to be halted. In this sense it was a double killing.

We were encouraged by the news reports that the Union Home Minister had written to Swami Agnivesh on May 11, 2010 to explore the possibility of a 72 hour ceasefire to pave the way for talks between the Maoists and the Indian State and the letter sent by Cherukuri Rajkumar a.k.a Azad, on 31st May, 2010 reiterated that Maoist party was serious about talks. In particular, unlike in the past, party’s response was unambiguously positive. Azad wrote that “to ensure the establishment of peace there should be ceasefire or cessation of hostilities by both sides simultaneously instead of asking one side to abjure violence … lift the ban on the party and mass organizations so as to facilitate them to take up open forms of struggle …. initiate measures to release Party leaders as a prelude to the release of political prisoners …. and …. stop all its efforts to escalate the war including the measures of calling back all the para military forces deployed in the war zones.” Indeed even in his interview given to The Hindu (April 14,2010) he had stated in response to the question whether by engaging in talks the Maoists wanted “to buy time” or is it a “re-evaluation of political strategy” he had been candid. He had said that “it does not need much of a common sense to understand that both sides will utilize a situation of ceasefire to strengthen their respective sides.” But he pointed out that “talks will give some respite to the people who are oppressed and suppressed under the fascist jackboots of the Indian state and state-sponsored terrorist organizations…”. In the same interview he also reminded that it was the “imposition of the ban that had led the Party and the mass organizations to take up arms in the first place…….What shook the rulers at that time (in 1978) and compelled them to declare Jagtyala and Sircila taluks in Karimnagar district of North Telengana as disturbed areas in 1978 was not the armed struggle of the Maoists (which had suffered a complete setback …by 1972) but the powerful (movement against) anti-feudal order in the countryside….” In short the manner in which the party responded this time further inspired hopes in the possibility of ending the war.

Granted that hope generated about prospects of talk had weak foundation. No political party in government power has ever shown willingness to engage in sincere dialogue with the revolutionary left. This should caution us against raising our hope. The 2004-05 peace talks between the Maoists and the Andhra Pradesh government ended because fake encounters continued to be carried out by the AP police and so did Maoists retaliation. Thus even before substantive issues could be taken up talks got sabotaged and AP police crackdown ensued which dealt a severe setback to Maoists in AP. However, we also know that sooner or later both sides have to talk.

The assassination of Azad on July 1-2 has made the already difficult task bleak.

It is evident from facts available in the public domain that Cherukuri Raj Kumar a.k.a Azad and Hem Pande were unarmed when they travelled to Nagpur where Azad was to meet a courier between 11.30-1.30 pm of July 1, 2010. They left on June 30th from somewhere in north India and were disappeared most likely on the morning of 1st July either before the train reached Nagpur or on reaching Nagpur. It appears that he was on his way, among other reasons, to meet other senior leaders of CPI (Maoist) to decide on the date from which 72 hour ceasefire was to commence. Swami Agnivesh had communicated to him on June 26 that “Maoists should set a date for abjuring violence for 72 hours. In my letter I had suggested three dates: July 10, 15 and 20. Before he could respond, the police killed him.” (The Sunday Times, 18 July, 2010).

It is alleged that Azad was killed because the Maoists did not cease their ambushes causing fatalities which demoralized security force personnel, such as the June 29 ambush in Narayanpur district of Bastar in which 29 CRPF jawans lost their lives. While ceasefire had not commenced and both sides were engaged in attacking each other it is one thing for such attacks and counter-attacks to continue. However, the greyhound which kidnapped Azad and then killed him were aware of his identity (but not of his companion) and therefore knew that he was engaged in talks with the government. They could have either allowed him to travel or else to arrest him and his companion. The fact that they chose to do neither meant that they had sanction to liquidate him. And therefore, it is likely that the AP greyhound knew that by doing so they would be scuttling the incipient peace process.

After this it would be difficult for Maoists to heed the demand for cessation of hostilities if a leader engaged in these backchannel contacts can be eliminated. Because it sends a message that no one is safe at the hands of trigger happy security forces. On the other hand it imperils the efforts of all those who wanted to end this war from escalating. From circumstantial evidence it is clear that warmongers have won this round. The July 14th 2010 meeting of the chief ministers of Naxalite-affected states makes it clear that the Indian government post-Azad assassination is going ahead with escalating its war efforts. For instance it was announced at the meeting that 36 battallions of India Reserve force will be added to the 105 already raised along with 16,000 more Special police officers (SPOs – civilians trained and armed by the government to combat Maoists) bringing their strength to 30,000. However, this falls short of the numbers touted by no less than Union Home Secretary who told Economic Times (April 19th, 2010) that “our (armed) police requirement today is roughly three and half lakhs short….we want to reach the UN average and to get to it I need another five lakh policemen. So we need to recruit eight lakh over next five years…” or 175,000 jawans annually.

Also in order to prepare the way for army deployment four unified commands are being setup headed by the chief secretary and with a retired major general as an advisor. Indeed the army chief, two days after the meeting of the CMs, told his senior officers to be “mentally prepared to step into the fight against Naxalism….It might be in six months or in a year or two but if we have to maintain our relevance as a tool of the state, we will have to undertake things that the nation wants us to.” (Indian Express 17 July 2010).

This may persuade some to question the political strategy of the Maoists and blame them for widening the war. This would be a grossly erroneous exercise. To essentialise the issue of Maoist violence is the way in which class society dehumanizes struggles and movements. If the bottomline is that reproduction of social inequality is unacceptable then those who believe in step-by-step process, and others in leap or qualitative jump, from one stage to another, must accept that there will remain a divide and yet both are also symbiotically linked to each other. Those who decry armed struggle claim that popular movements can make existing institutions responsive to people’s needs.

The point is such efforts were being made even when Maoists had not emerged as the biggest threat to the Indian ruling classes and have not ceased because of Maoist rebellion. Except such efforts have actually gained more leverage thanks to the Maoist movement emerging strong. This becomes even more remarkable because in 2004-05 when Maoists were dealt a blow in Andhra Pradesh and more or less wiped out with mere presence in a single district followed by Salwa Judum type repression in Chattisgarh. No one believed that they would emerge stronger this time around. Well they did. So much so that almost all the contemporary social welfare legislations, be it NREGA, Forest Act, enforcement of PESA, proposal to make joint forest management committees managed by the gram sabha…and the Planning Commission’s “Special Problems of Tribal Development” have all been inspired or advocated by referring to the need to wean away the poorest among the poor from the Maoists/ Naxalites? Consider that the Prime Minister had drawn attention to the need to withdraw lakhs of cases filed against the tribals for petty crimes, since 1980, lest such persecution of tribals drive them to join Maoists/Naxalites. The union law minister had opined that “(t)here is a feeling among the common citizens, especially the poor, women, the elderly and the weaker sections, that the legal and judicial process is far removed from them.” He added that common man’s disenchantment was manifesting itself in “new form of violence and strife – civil unrest, armed peasant and tribal movement, Naxalite and Maoist rebellion.” (HT 25/10/2009). One can go on and on….

Thus even peaceful or non-violent movements owe their credibility or their relative effectiveness to the Maoists armed resistance. Then why should anyone decry Maoists for their armed resistance or want them to stop the war when resistance itself derives succor from this? It is important, I believe, to keep exploring possibilities of peace which can enable the Maoists to work openly and launch mass struggles because they have captured the imagination of the poorest among the poor.

Moreover, while violence will continue to play a role, as long as State pursues militaristic approach, violence also has its limits. These limits are set by politics. It is one thing to resist but another to promote alternative politics. While displacement, land grab by and for mining and mineral based conglomerates, forest rights, welfare needs have received spotlight, alternative to the present order of things is somehow missing. Why is it that ten thousand suicides by farmers evokes less revulsion than a criminal act committed by the Maoists? Consider that received wisdom which regards prospects of agriculture playing a role in the growth process to be negligible, particularly, from the viewpoint of employment generation and as driver of economic growth. What does the revolutionary left, in particular the Maoists, have to offer to reverse the decline of agriculture, which accounts for livelihood needs of 60% of the rural workforce? Do we not need the alternative and not just a critique of this received wisdom. Will land reform/distribution invigorate production and generate employment? On the other hand if manufacturing is the key sector to bring about equitable development is it to be an unbridled growth or be planned? Wherein should investments go? What should be the mineral policy? Should we, for instance, halt mining of bauxite? Why must it be the case? Do we need poverty reduction so that state can play benevolent role? Or is there an alternate vision for removal of poverty and empowering the people? How is it that decade long military suppression in NE and J&K does not encourage us to ponder the nature of our State which can year in and year out crush movements which demand right of self-determination, an eminently democratic and peaceful approach? Is the Indian state anti-Muslim, pro-Hindu, racist….or a repressive state which presents itself as one or the other depending on which section of people it is engaged in crushing and therefore demonizing. The point is that for left to be credible it must go beyond surface manifestation of wrong and address the underlying causes and processes which account for skewed and unequal and stunted growth. Regrettably, parliamentary left despite 58 years of open politics and despite holding government power at provincial level, has not offered an alternate vision. Yes they have some achievement but these are hardly of the kind which inspires anyone to claim that they present a different vision of politics. While their failure does not cancel out open politics what it does is reminds us of where we fail and what we lack.

Now Indian State propagates that Naxalites are irredeemably bent upon waging a war against the Indian State and short of suppressing them there is no other option. Of course Maoists want to seize power. That is a perfectly legitimate objective. In the last four decades several Naxalite parties gave up this path to pursue non-violent parliamentary or extra parliamentary struggle. Their experience hardly inspires confidence that the Indian state has become amenable to people’s concerns now that some of these left wing rebels gave up arms. Appeal and prospect of non-violence has been undermined, by the state itself. Lest we forget be it NREGA, the forest bill or the decision to enforce Panchayat Extension to Schedule Areas, which was passed in 1996 but not implemented and so many other such issues figure on the agenda thanks to the fear that were this not done the poorest among the poor will continue to turn to Maoists.

The point is that so long as State monopolises means of violence they will remain enabled to subject people to a life of indignity and enslavement. Freedoms and liberties would remain prerogative of the middle classes to enjoy. Working people are vulnerable; no sooner they appear to have succeeded in mobilizing people and begin to question the inequalities and inadequacies of the system they become target of State’s oppressive ways. Therefore, it would be a recipe for disaster to surrender the right to offer armed resistance until such time that the State outlaws war against the people. Indeed unless people get armed one cannot neutralize the great advantage the ruling classes enjoy over means of violence, which is primarily employed against the masses.

India, for all its verbosity about non-violence, is one of the most heavily armed state both in terms of accumulation of destructive power of its arsenal as well as size of its military force, which gets force multiplied by draconian laws, and thus enables the ruling classes to practice ‘slow genocide’. Consider that 45% of children below 6 years suffer from malnutrition, malnourishment and stunted growth, or that by playing around with calorie intake, bringing it down from 2400 to 1800 or even less to 1500, one can statistically reduce the number of people living below poverty line and thus reduce Food Security entitlement for hundreds of millions of Indians! This exposes our own people to a slow death. To then argue that violence has no role to play is quite wrong. It is as good telling people to wait patiently for the fruit to fall into their lap. This may be touching display of fortitude and of religious faith, but for the fact those at the receiving end may be getting desperate after 63 years of practicing it. Ironically, whereas India dropped to 134th position in global human development index we moved up the ladder, to occupy ninth position, in military spending and 12th largest economy! Take another example whereas 126,700 High Networth Individuals (billionaires and multi-millionaires) in India own one third of gross national income of the country, 645 million Indians suffer pangs of poverty and deprivation!

Despite being weak and with patchy urban presence it is clear that Maoists enjoy legitimacy in the eyes of the poorest of the poor. Thus were the ban on the party removed they could emerge as a fulcrum around which resistance could become vigorous. Indian rulers do not want this to happen. By assassinating Azad security apparatus has thus killed a senior leader of the Maoist party, scuttled peace process and throttled the possibility of Maoists coming overground anytime in near future.

No New Deal is possible

Radical Philosophy

No New Deal is possible

Antonio Negri

John Maynard Keynes was a gentleman – that is, an honest bourgeois, not a petty-bourgeois like Proudhon, or an ideologue, but an easy man – and when political economy was still concerned with the political ordering of market and society every classical economist knew this. Keynes thought that knowledge functioned factually and that, in the culture of pragmatism, a teleological dispositif needed to be brought into the analysis of series of phenomena and their assemblage; that by organizing the order of facts one could cautiously and efficiently construct the order of reason. In his case, this dispositif consisted in securing the reproduction of the capitalist system.

In Keynes’s times economic science was not that horrid little mathematical device that all variants of financial adventurism and derivations of rent now have at their disposal. Now we know what happens when this mathematization ends up in the hands of dodgers’ individualism… This is not to say that mathematics has nothing to do with economics or other disciplines; quite the opposite: it can be useful and productive for political economy, but at a completely different level. One instance is where neo-Keynsianism resulted from the encounter between socialist planners in the Soviet Union (or the liberal planners of the New Deal) and the mathematicians of market rationalization invented by Léon Walras. But for Keynes and his contemporaries the relationship between reason and reality was still entirely political: capital still sought clarity for itself.

Keynes entered the scene of economic science and the political field of the critique of political economy at the end of World War I, as a member of the British delegation at the Conference of Versailles. Shocked by the stupidity of the politicians who wanted to crush Germany with further impoverishment, he stated in The Economic Consequences of Peace: ‘Vengeance, I dare predict, will not limp.’ In 1919 – witness to the folly of elites who, engaged in reshaping the postwar order in fear of the powerful appeal of Red October, tried to apply the methods of classical imperialism inside Europe – Keynes already warned against ‘that final civil war between the forces of Reaction and the despairing convulsions of Revolution, before which the horrors of the late German war will fade into nothing, and which will destroy, whoever is victor, the civilization and the progress of our generation’. He realized that the Russian Revolution had completely changed the political economy of capitalism, the market was definitively broken, and that ‘one divided into two’ (as a Communist leader would later say).

The fact that capitalist development was traversed and prefigured by class struggle and its movements had to be acknowledged, and Keynes expressed a first sign of this realization when he wrote: ‘Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the Capitalist System was to debauch the currency… Lenin was certainly right. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society.’ So he scientifically tackled this political problem: how to use currency and finance to defeat communism. On Keynes’s trail this became the main question of political economy for the whole of the twentieth century.

Keynes’s communism of capital

Keynes believed in the virtues of finance; he even had an equivocal relationship with the Stock Exchange until he got kicked in the teeth – as often happens even to the most adept. (I disagree here with his biographer Harrod, who claimed that Keynes had financial speculation in his heart.) From Keynes’s realistic point of view, the virtue of finance was that it was the beating heart of capitalism. Keynes subverted the old moralist conceptions that, from the Middle Ages to Hilferding, had downplayed and disqualified the hegemony of money in the production of wealth and the reproduction of social order. Against them, Keynes claimed that financial markets functioned as wealth multipliers. Can this theoretical assumption still be valid in a period of economic crisis? ‘Of course it can’, he asserted from his position in the middle of the crisis that started in the 1920s and assumed gigantic proportions by the end of the same decade. The state will have to intervene in society and reorganize it productively: ‘Thus it is to our best advantage to reduce the rate of interest to that point relatively to the schedule of the marginal efficiency of capital at which there is full employment.’1

This was how the entire therapeutic cookbook of Keynsianism emerged out of the crisis that kept affecting development. In building a new model of equilibrium whilst being pragmatic and keeping the continuous lack of equilibrium in mind, Keynes proposed to determine a persisting imbalance of state initiative through deficit spending. However, this deficit created new margins for effective demand and aided the development of capitalist dynamics whilst accepting the severe rigidity in workers’ wages. This was the way class struggle got reabsorbed into the system of capital.

Keynes’s proposal was wholly progressivist. He fully recognized it when, in the negotiations leading to the establishment of the Bretton Woods system of international monetary relations, he faced the opposition of the conservative representatives of Washington who were not willing to allow the currency of reference to forget a real standard, as this standard was the dollar that functioned as a means to organize labour and its international division based on the accumulation of gold in the US Central Bank. For them, deficit spending – which each capitalist and national government could have advanced so as to progressively contain the movements of its national working class, who sought to change society and break the capitalist yoke – needed to be controlled by a capitalist centre, the Komintern of Wall Street. Farewell to the illusion of bancor, Keynes’s great invention, an ideal currency based on free exchange that could have given way to the establishment of different equilibriums that referred to the desires of populations and the intensity of the struggle of the organized working class…

Keynes was a serious capitalist: he knew that with reaction and revolution, on the one hand, and an established socialist power, on the other, there was no third way of defending capitalist interests, only a more advanced political synthesis. Deriding the ‘hegemony of real production’, Keynes believed that when confronted with production – production here as ‘civil society’ – finance could become the mediation of opposing class interests, the construction of a new model of capitalism. Against Bolshevism Keynes refuted the slogan ‘Power to the workers’ and its corollary legitimization ‘he who will not work shall not eat’.2 He also realized that socialism and communism went beyond the prospects of constructing a new order of labour and these primitive watchwords and banal political objectives. According to Keynes, communism could represent the totality of abstract labour extracted from the totality of workers in society, every citizen, and hence all socialized human beings. Accepting these paradoxical exclamations, we could now say that communism is the form of the ‘biopolitical’, intending by ‘biopolitical’ the fact that not only society but also life has been put to the work of commodity production and that not only social relations but the relationship between minds and bodies have been made productive. With great foresight, Keynes seems to have understood the advent of what we now call ‘the communism of capital’.

Keynes wished to contain class struggle within the rules of a society where the exploitation of labour was directed not simply towards the production of profit but also towards progress in the satisfaction of needs. We can understand how strong was his hatred for the rentier! Keynes thought that anyone willing to save the capitalist system must hope for the ‘euthanasia of the rentier’, and he saw this as a morally legitimate and politically urgent task, because the rentier is anarchic, selfish, and exploits the possession of land and estates, metropolitan spaces, as well as the labour that surrounds them and keeps valorizing them. The rentier spends nothing in the game; he earns without working and wins without fighting. This squalid exploiter has to be eliminated. And here he reached the highest point of the capitalist intelligence that spent the twentieth century trying to understand its enemy in class struggle.

Fighting for basic income

Allow me a smile at this point. Keynes looks like a subversive genius, in view of the centrality of rent to the post-industrial system of organization of contemporary capital. Today no political leader or economic thinker has the courage to attack rent. … All we see are moralistic sweeps against the obvious thieves and corruptors of banking credit systems. But who is attacking the habitual and surreptitious thieves, the rentiers who are worse than the usurers? Who will ever bring into the frame the sacred, both real and symbolic, foundation of every form of property? Keynes tried, to no avail, but at least he tried…

The attack on rent was certainly the highlight of Keynes’s political discourse but also the point where the illusory character of his reasoning becomes manifest. In fact, as he developed his progressivist discourse aimed at salvaging capitalism, Keynes too often forgot the preconditions on which it rested. Two preconditions were insuperable and, in his view, beyond doubt: one was that colonial power, as an accomplished fact and a tendency, had finally consolidated; the other was that the form assumed by the organization of class relations in trade unions and the social welfare infrastructure in Europe was definitive. The difficulty with presenting Keynesianism as the dominant theory of development between the second half of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first century derives from the massive transformations of labour, class composition and the geopolitical dimensions of class struggle. From this perspective, from the turn of our century, Keynes is no more than an event, an intellectual flash of intuition of the twentieth century, at the endpoint of the long crisis of Western capitalism. His response to the Soviet revolution was adequate and representative of the hegemonic urge to bring class struggle under the control and development of capital, but no more than that. It failed to account for the global extension of class struggle, the end of colonialism, and, above all, the exhaustion of the ability of capital to transform modes of exploitation and accumulation in the First World. Look at what happened after Keynes: the revolution advanced through the underdeveloped world preventing capital from governing with the instruments of classical colonialism; dependency gave way to interdependency; capital won by globalizing and unifying itself, but at the same time it also lost, because the old order was certainly destroyed and building a new one is a hard task. That is why it is impossible to recuperate Keynes today.

The reason is easy to explain: the Keynesian New Deal was the outcome of an institutional configuration based on three essential prerequisites: a nation-state capable of independently developing national economic policies; the ability to measure profits and wages inside a relation of redistribution that is democratically accepted; and industrial relations that allow for a dialectics between the interests of the enterprise and the movements and demands of the working class that can be agreed upon in a legal framework. None of these prerequisites exists in the present circumstances of political economy.

The nation-state is in crisis because of the processes of internationalization of production and financial globalization, which are the grounds for a definition of a supranational imperial power. Furthermore, the dynamics of productivity increasingly tend to depend on immaterial production and the involvement of human and cognitive faculties that are hard to measure by traditional criteria, so social productivity makes it impossible to ground the regulation of wages on the relationship to productivity. The crisis of the trade unions is, from this perspective, exemplary – albeit not definitive – of the development of contemporary capitalism. And so when we come to the crisis of contractual relations, all the subjects of Keynesian agreements are absent. Moreover, the only thing capitalist interests share is the pursuit of short-term profit, first, and the radical exploitation of the chances for enjoying rent from land, estate and services, second. All of this makes it practically impossible to formulate progressive reforms.

As a result, there is no room for any institutional policy of reform in contemporary capitalism. The structural instability of capitalism is definitive, no New Deal is possible. If we really want to make the effort of resurrecting Keynes, we should direct his deficit spending – his idea of the socialization of investments – towards the institutions of basic income and towards policies that anticipate new forms of development and organize the fiscal structure of the state in relation to the global productivity of the system – that is, the productive power of all citizens. By doing so we would probably move beyond the measures and anthropological requirements of a capitalist society, especially well beyond the ideologies of individualism (of property and patrimony) and the political consequences of its development. Basic income is more than a wage; it is the recognition of the exploitation that affects not only workers but everyone who is available to capitalist organization in society. Fighting for a basic income and recognizing this reality already signals a move beyond the image of capitalist ownership. One has divided into two: whilst Keynes incessantly worked to close this division and redirect all social struggles to the One, in a Hobbesian way, today sees the opening of this division and of struggles. A season of class struggle is probably flourishing. Keynes loved dance (he married a dancer), not flowers (he was allergic to them).

Translated by Arianna Bove


  1. The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, 1936, ch. 24.
  2. The saying ‘Qui non laborat, non manducet’ originally appeared in the Bible, 2 Thessalonians, 3. It notably recurred in Jeremy Bentham’s (1797) Writings on the Poor Laws as the ‘No work – no eat principle’. In other languages it appears as ‘No mill, no meal’, ‘Il faut travailler, qui veut manger’ (Fr.), ‘Wer nicht arbeitet, soll auch nicht essen’ (Ger.), ‘Chi non lavora non mangia’ (Ital.), ‘El que no trabaja, no come’ (Sp.) [Trans.].

Saturday, July 24, 2010

India’s Cultural Negotiations: Shaping the Political Imagination

(India, Nepal--two very different Maoisms. Flames of the Snow, a Documentary on Maoism in Nepal, arrives in India. At first, it is banned. Then, negotiations. Whether to denounce all Maoism, and ban the film--or to negotiate some changes in its presentation, becomes the question for the Indian state and the powers of public culture)

An Indian journalist’s documentary film on the Maoist uprising in Nepal has finally won its battle with the Indian censors after a panel, headed by veteran Bollywood actress Sharmila Tagore, gave it the green light.

It was a moment of triumph for Anand Swaroop Verma, whose 125-minute documentary, Flames of the Snow, was approved for public screenings by the Revising Committee of India’s Central Board of Film Certification without being asked to delete any scenes.

Last month, citing the growing Maoist violence in India, the Board had declined to allow the film, saying “any justification or romanticisation of the ideology of extremism or of violence, coercion, intimidation in achieving its objectives would not be in the public interest, particularly keeping in view the recent Maoist violence in some parts of the country”.However, Verma, who is considered close to Nepal’s Maoist leadership, challenged the decision and the film was viewed in New Delhi last week by six members of the Board’s Revising Committee, including its chairman and veteran actor Sharmila Tagore.

“Finally I won the battle,” a jubilant Verma told IANS on the eve of flying to Kathmandu Friday to hold consultations with Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda and other senior leaders of the formerly banned party.

“I got the certificate without a single cut.”

The Board however asked Verma to add a disclaimer, saying the views expressed in the film by various persons underlying the Maoist ideology were those of the author and producer and that the documentary was not against any person or country.

In reply, Verma pointed out that the documentary carried interviews with 16 people, including two prominent leaders of the Nepal Maoist party, and a Nepal Police officer.

“They are expressing their own views,” Verma told the Board. “The author or producer can’t put his words into their mouth. This is not a feature film where author provides them dialogues to read before camera. This is a documentary film.”

Finally, a compromise was reached with a new disclaimer that says the substance of the documentary has been compiled from various media publications. The views expressed are those of the individuals interviewed and it is not the intention of this documentary to offend the sensibilities or sentiments of any country or individual.

The film begins with the founding of the Shah dynasty in Nepal in 1770 by the first powerful king of the clan, Prithvi Narayan Shah. It covers nearly 250 years of absolute rule, first by the kings and then by the Rana prime ministers, punctuated with people’s rebellions.

It ends with the formal abolition of monarchy after a historic election in 2008 that saw the Maoists emerge victorious to head the new government of Nepal.

Flames of the Snow is directed by Verma and New Delhi-based Ashish Srivastava, formerly associated with Discovery channel, and produced by a Kathmandu-based human rights organisation, Group for International Solidarity.

It includes an interview with Maoist supremo Prachanda, describing the genesis of the armed movement in 1996.

The documentary made its debut in Kathmandu in April 2008, during the last days of the Maoist government, when it was watched by Prachanda and other Maoist leaders.

Now Verma wants to hold public screenings of the documentary in Nepal as well.

Ironically, while Flames of the Snow passed unscathed at the hands of the Indian censors, the Nepal Censor Board asked Verma for a cut.

A brief scene of unrest that shows Palestinians burning Israeli and American flags will not be shown during the screenings in Nepal as the Nepal government’s foreign policy is to maintain good relations with all nations and 2010 marks the 50th year of diplomatic ties between Kathmandu and Tel Aviv.

The Indian censors’ decision comes as Indian film director Ananth Mahadevan’s Red Alert: the War Within, a film focusing on the impact of the armed movement in rural India, released in India this month.

Lalgarh - Massive protest by women against rapes committed by security personnel

by Partho Sarathi Ray

July 22, 2010

On 20th July, around 50,000 women under the banner of “Committee to save honour of women” tried to march into Jhargram town to protest against the recent incidents of raping of women in Sonamukhi village by the joint security forces. Such a huge, and militant, mobilization of women has not been seen in Jhargram in recent times. The marchers, including school students in uniform, teachers, housewives and even many elderly women tried to enter Jhargram town via four different routes. Even the vice-chairperson of the CPI(M) controlled Jhargram panchayat samiti, Shipra Barik, joined the march. The marchers carried posters demanding the hanging of CPI(M) leader Prashanta Das, who has been known to have identified the houses of anti-CPI(M) villagers in Sonamukhi following which women from these families were raped by policemen.

The women tried to reach the Subdivisional officer’s (SDO)
office to register their protest and demand the punishment of the perpetrators of the atrocities. However, the joint forces blocked all the four routes they were following. One of the processions was blocked at the Jamda deer park. However, another rally, comprising around 5000 women, coming from the direction of the Jhargram Raj college evaded the joint forces and reached the SDO’s office. The employees in the SDO’s office all fled although the marchers remained completely peaceful. Somehow the additional SP reasoned with the marchers and persuaded them to leave the SDO complex. However, the police confronted another rally of around 20000 women coming from the Lodhashuli side with force. The joint forces chased them all the way till Kalaboni. Many women were injured in the melee. Throughout the day the women marchers tried to enter the town multiple times but were confronted by joint forces personnel. Even though the marchers wanted to meet the SDO, C. Murugan, to place their demands he refused to meet them saying that he has done whatever he was supposed to do. The Sonamukhi atrocities have again taken the rage against the atrocities of the joint central and state forces occupying Jangalmahal to boiling point.

How long until the wall comes down?

At the Israeli Apartheid wall (Banksy)

“Operation Green Hunt” — the Cultural War

BJP seeks ban on movie with Maoist theme

The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Orissa Wednesday sought a ban on an Oriya film with a Maoist theme and accused its producer and actors of gloryfying the Left-wing extremists’ ideology.
A delegation representing the state youth unit of the party met Governor M.C. Bhandare and submitted a memorandum demanding a ban on the release of ‘Swayamsidha’ in which two leaders of the state’s ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) would be seen in prominent roles.
‘At a time when the country is struggling to fight Maoism, how could a movie like this be allowed to be screened? We want a ban on the release of the film,’ Bibhuti Jena, president of the BJP’s state youth wing, told reporters.
However, the producer of the movie, Prabhat Ranjan Mallick, denied the charge and said ‘it (the movie) was an attempt to bring the so-called Naxals (Maoists) to the mainstream’.
Sidhant Mohapatra, a BJD member of the Lok Sabha, will be seen in the role of a Maoist leader in the film.
Mohapatra has acted in over 100 films, mostly in Oriya. ‘Swayamsidha’ would be his first release after entering the Lok Sabha last year.
Another BJD Lok Sabha member, Prasanna Patsani, will be seen in the movie in a special appearance.
‘Mohapatra doing a role in the movie has gone to the extent of justifying Maoism and has glorified them. He has endorsed their activities,’ Jena said.
The movie was shot in the dense forests of Koraput district, which is considered a Maoist hotbed.
Jena suspects that Maoists have helped the actors and the producer, a charge they denied.