Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bal Thackeray, or, Why the Communists Did Nothing


by Saroj Giri
Right where Bal Thackeray was cremated, at Shivaji Park in Mumbai, another event had taken place in June 1970: “a twenty-five-thousand-strong funeral procession marched to Shivaji Park, the Sena stronghold, shouting anti-Shiv Sena slogans,” reports Gyan Prakash in his Mumbai Fables (Princeton University Press, 2010, p. 247). The reason: the murder of Krishna Desai by the Sena in June 5, 1970. Bal Thackeray was supposed to be directly involved in it.
Desai was the sitting Communist Party of India (CPI) MLA from central Bombay, a popular and militant working class leader. He was also one of those who went beyond the diktats of the official CPI leadership, which discouraged self-defence and direct action and could not integrate them in its overall political strategy. That evening of the day he was murdered, it is told that thousands of workers spontaneously came out to avenge the murder. This could have meant they would have ‘liquidated’ Bal Thackeray and his cohorts.
Of course given the leadership’s ‘rule of law’ approach, this was not to happen: the angry workers were told to disperse and the Hriday samrat was born. Thackeray went to town boasting about the murder, promising to carry out more such ‘actions’. Seeing that their leaders can be murdered and nothing happens to the murderer, workers loose morale and think that the communists are not serious about defending their interests. So that when Desai’s widow Sarojini Desai contests in the elections, even a sympathy wave for her dead husband who was a hero for the workers does not fetch her victory. The tide turned: the Sena wins, gets its first legislator from the jaws of communist hold. Large sections of the workers ‘go with the winner’, while the loser, the communists, increasingly fail to resist and retaliate and try to foolishly seek protection of the law and courts.
Earlier, “on September 10, 1967, Thackeray declared in Marmik that his object was the ‘emasculation of the Communists.’ Three months later, the Sena activists attacked the CPI’s Dalvi Building office in Parel. They burned files and threw out the furniture. It was an audacious attack, brazenly carried out to strike at the very heart of the enemy. What was the Communist response? Nothing.” (Prakash, p. 242)
It is out of this ‘nothing’, that void left by the communist leadership, against the will of militant workers, that Thackeray and the Shiv Sena come to life.
And yet today the progressives do not want to ask ‘why was the communist’s response ‘nothing’’. Instead they are busy pointing out Thackeray’s overt qualities, qualities that were anyways meant for public consumption and moreover, for the Sena, proud display. We are told that he epitomised the politics of fear and hatred, how he was a fascist and communal and divisive and so on. There is over-reliance on this kind of a ‘politics of exposure’, which is merely old rehashed wisdom about the Sena and Thackeray. Such hollering is done so seriously that one forgets that it alone changes nothing, does not weaken the Sena, nor even expose it. Nor does it shame the Indian state and security apparatus to now become an ally in your anti-communal or anti-fascist struggle.
The ‘politics of exposure’ is moreover part of a tendency to then present Thackeray as just a mad crazy exception, whom we just need to ‘expose’ and soon the rest of ‘democratic society’ and civil society will shun him to hell. The hollering invests the political atmosphere with such illusions. After all, it is not that the workers who joined the Sena did so since they found the organization ‘democratic’ and upholding the rule of law. Nor will they now leave it since they have finally found that it is ‘fascist’, a gang of thugs etc.
Above all, this hollering tends to make us forget that Thackeray emerges as a tacit ruling class response to a particular conjuncture of the class struggle in Mumbai. So let us instead ask: what could the Indian state and big capital have done when they were faced with the kind of ‘enemy’ like the organised communist working class power which had Bombay in its grips in the 1960s? The Indian state is, officially speaking, bound one way or another by its secularism, labour laws and things like that – which is all fine and creates no real hassles for the ruling classes so long as you have a decrepit left but not fine if you are confronted by a powerful working class movement. The movement was so powerful that even the CPI leadership, given the illusions it had about Indian democracy, feared its most militant sections and power.
Hence to deal with this communist monster you needed a force to ensure two (contradictory) things at the same time. First, decimate or liquidate the working class movement. Second, to maintain, at the same time, the garb of democracy, secularism, and so on. A banana republic or a Pinochet would have concentrated only on the first but here you had the ‘idea of India’ too which had to be uphailed – and to which even sections of CPI leadership not to speak of other progressives and ‘left-liberals’ were deeply attached.
An extra legal force like the Sena was exactly what fitted the bill. Not the right wing vigilante armed gangs cut off from the society to be found in Latin America but one which would have a deep organic connect to ‘society’. Hindutva and the populism of the Marathimanoos ensured this connect. A cross between a vigilante and a grass roots populist movement. Put it this way: Thackeray and the Sena were something like the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) emerging from within the underbelly of majoritarian society, articulating its latent organic fissures. I mean, if it is war on terror or against anti-nationals, the state is comfortable in sanctioning murder and extra-judicial killings through extraordinary laws formally passed in Parliament. There is no fear of losing democratic legitimacy in the eyes of mainstream upper middle classes.
The working classes or even Naxals are however a different matter, trickier to handle. It is difficult to paint the working classes in textile mills of central Bombay as anti-national and hence for the state to move against it – particularly, when the working classes are consciously portraying themselves as a class in an organised fashion, as a ‘class-for-itself’, and are also politically represented in legislatures and are also largely ‘Hindu’. Decimating working class struggle is of the highest importance and yet executing it demands utmost discretion, a higher level of cunning.
The extra-legal decimating force cannot therefore take the shape of a formal law, even an extraordinary one through an act of Parliament and so on. ‘Society’ then has to ‘produce’ such a force from within its organic underbelly – hence, while enacting the most general interests of capital, Thackeray was not someone who could be a hired goon for the capitalists and mill owners of Mumbai. A hired goon or henchman would only defend particular interests of specific capitalists and industrialists. Thackeray did that too – Rahul Bajaj recalls how Thackeray ‘sorted out’ a workers-related issue at his manufacturing facility. There must be many such cases of ‘sorting out’ by the Sena.
But beyond a point Thackeray ‘rises above’ these individual cases and becomes a higher presence, Hriday Samrat. Or, ‘Maharashtra’s patriarch’, as HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh put it and whose loss he wants to mourn. The point is clear: why would a banker mourn the death of ‘a patriarch’? We have here a much deeper conduit between the (upper caste Hindu) underbelly and (publicly acknowledged) capitalist class interests – Hindutva and the general interests of capital merge in Thackeray.
Moreover, Thackeray could enact all this in the name of the ordinary Marathi manoos. What is not so common knowledge is that he also made liberal use of the anti-Brahman language and symbolism from Jotirao Phule when “he ridicules the pompousness of the Brahmin cultural establishment and ‘high society’” (Thomas Blom Hansen, Wages of Violence, p. 199). If this was not enough, Blom Hansen reports that CPI leader Dange was once invited to share dais with Thackeray, to tremendous applause. And that the ‘socialist’ George Fernandes was a family friend of the Thackeray clan. Further also that the Sena flirted for some time with the idea of ‘practical socialism’ in the early 1980s.
This deep nexus between the Sena and the Indian state and big capital does not however seem credible to many progressives. The word they use is ‘collusion’ between the state and the Hindutva forces. This suggests that the nexus is not deep enough and you expect that when the fascist thugs come for your life you can still be saved by the state – since the state is constitutionally bound to do that for you! Thus when the Sena came gunning for them, the CPI leadership was indeed looking for a way to convert a clearly anti-communist offensive, nay a murder plan, of the Sena and the ruling classes, into a case of a wider attack on the so-called secular fabric of the nation and so on.
Well, did the secular fabric and the Indian state come to the rescue of the communists? It didn’t: the secular fabric turned the other way, just the manner in which Indian security forces often look the other way when hapless Muslims appeal for help in a riot situation. The difference with Muslims is that the communists are targeted first. Indeed the Shiv Sena phenomenon is a clear case of ‘first they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak up because I was not a communist…’. And yet there is today a veiled attempt to avoid probing the period when communists were face to face with the Sena. We need to revisit the communist strategy and find out why the response was ‘nothing’, above all keeping in mind that an anti-communal front cannot be where communists should be taking refuge.
But ‘revisiting communist strategy’ is not to now utter postcolonial inanities like ‘the communists emphasized the class question too much and never really understood caste, or religion or identities’. It is not to validate what in ‘cultural studies’ is called ‘the problem of translation’, that class is supposedly a Euro-centric category and cannot comprehend Indian social reality. Instead it is to state that there is really no problem of translation.
The problem of translation was not for the communists but for Thackeray: isn’t it common knowledge that he had to resort to the language and politics of class, that he had to take up the interests of the workers and lower castes, in order to institute his ‘identity politics’. He was forced to do that – he had to translate his identity politics into class lines in order to gain entry into the ‘communist stronghold’ of central Bombay. As the political scientist Aryama pointed out to me, unlike ‘fascists’, the Shiv Sena did not really crush the working class movement. It rechanneled the movement along ‘safe’ lines of Marathi manoos, anti-Muslim politics and so on.
It was not emphasis on class and the problem of translation which undid the communists but a half-hearted emphasis – there was emphasis on the working class ‘issues’ but not on class power, on the organised power of the working class led by the vanguard party. Working class power would have given us a different scenario after Desai’s murder. That is, in a bizarre twist, it was the Sena which would mobilize workers’ ‘militancy’, now misdirected, rather than the CPI leadership which ditched both ground level leaders like Desai and other workers by instead relying on the supposed rule of law and Indian constitutional, legal protection and so on.
So when did ‘direct action’ become a purely fascist trait, as the progressives are telling us today? Here is today a left which turns its back on working class history apparently because class is not an adequate category for Indian reality and so on – something which does not follow from actual facts. Perhaps, it was such a decrepit left which convinced those like Namdeo Dhasal to join the Sena rather than the left – for the Dalit Panthers did also use direct action as a way to defend the interests of Dalit working classes. The communist tradition has a strong place as much for direct action as for direct democracy – you however cannot have one without the other. This needs to be reasserted.
Direct action can be critiqued. But such a critique cannot be geared towards suggesting that we should now come under the mediation of the rule of law and the constitution – and then refuse to see how these latter cannot be upheld at the expense of the workers’ power. Thackeray’s direct action was to ultimately defend the mediation of the rule of law, facilitate its normal functioning and preserve the status quo. It was an exception meant to reinscribe the rule. It was the Hindutva thug’s AFSPA – extraordinary law to ensure the return to ordinary laws, to ‘peace and development’.
The communist workers and the Dalit Panthers’ ‘direct action’ is merely a (Hegelian) move to recognize the Sena’s ‘direct action’, the Hindutva thug’s AFSPA to be an integral part of the normal functioning of the law and the norm. The pro-state (or democratic/parliamentary) left, including many social movements, fails to recognize it as such and is in denial. It treats the Sena’s ‘direct action’ as an aberration from ‘our constitution’ or ‘democratic tradition’ or ‘the idea of India’ – it hence rushes to the state and the rule of law to seek ‘correction of this aberration’, seek legal protection and in the process claim to be democratic and peace-loving and so on. It would have been fine if this was done to strategically build a powerful wider movement. Instead it reduces the entire movement to just this. This is clear, for example, from the way it equates ‘direct action’ by the communists with that of the fascists.
This has historical parallels. After the collapse of Nazism, western liberals tried to present Nazism as an aberration, as something which just happened – if only we would not forget how horrible fascism was, we could stop it from repeating itself. Marxists, in particular the Soviet countries, treated fascism as a live possibility so long as the bourgeoisie was in power. So the Soviets would not merely build memorials to the victims of a past event, which we should not forget, but emphasise that the war against fascism is an ongoing one. Fascism is not in that sense a historically singular aberration.
Moreover when it came to the communist resistance to Nazism, the Soviets were equated to the Nazis. So we are told you have the Nazi concentration camps, but you also have Soviet concentration camps! We cannot take these claims at face value as simple statement of facts. At another level, we must seriously take Slavoj Zizek’s provocation: “in today’s era of hedonist permissivity as the ruling ideology, the time is coming for the Left to (re)appropriate discipline and the spirit of sacrifice: there is nothing inherently “Fascist” about these values” (‘The True Hollywood Left’ ).
The rejection of direct action by equating it with fascist tactics therefore is not just a simple and sincere way to counter the Sena offensive. It conceals a refusal to open up a whole history of communist and working class resistance in Mumbai which used ‘similar’ tactics – including by the Dalit Panthers. We are very good in upholding the cultural heritage of the left movement, right fromtamashas to nukkad nataks to the poems and songs from IPTA. If these are not to become mere cultural artefacts and floating images, we must uncover the history of very real battles that have been fought, street by street, factory after factory, chawl after chawl.
Perhaps lot of the questions about organization, agency, mass mobilization, vanguard; about class struggle and identity/caste and so on can be better addressed through an account of these struggles. Meena Menon and Neera Adarkar’s work is highly commendable in this respect but we need more work in this area which would directly tell us about communist organizing rather than provide only an ‘ethnography of labour’ (One Hundred Years, One Hundred Voices: The Millworkers of Girangaon, An Oral History, Seagull, Kolkata, 2004). An elementary aspect of workers insurgency is waiting to be written. Perhaps this will also help us expand our approach to understanding revolutionary struggle beyond the Tebhagas and Telanganas and the Naxalbaris – particularly, if one is really serious about ‘the urban perspective’.
To start with, we might want to find more about Krishna Desai’s Lok Seva Dal about which we are told by Prakash: “Desai founded the Lok Seva Dal as much to counter the Sena’s ideological appeal as to confront its physical force. With these twin purposes in mind, the Lok Seva Dal held political-education classes as well as organized physical exercise programs and games. Since the party leadership offered no support, Desai raised money locally to pay for expenses” (p. 245). Now, are you about to tell me that the “organised physical exercise programs and games” reminds you of a RSS shakha?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

‘Those Who’ve Tried To Change The System Via Elections Have Ended Up Being Changed By It’

[Common to capitalist politics, and especially in the areas of semi-feudal and semi-colonial countries dominated in comprador fashion by imerialism, is the currency of bribes, corruption, gangs and cartels all of which fuel the political system with gross threats and extreme illicit wealth.  Responding to inquiries about how this works in India, which has recently been visited by prominent anti-corruption campaigns, Arundhati Roy sums up some key points which illuminate this corruption in India and in many other countries. The interview appears in Outlook India Magazine, November 26, 2012.

On the anti-corruption movement that has implications for politics, media and the national discourse

In August last yearArundhati Roy wrote a piece that raised important questions about the Anna Hazare movement. A lot has changed since then and Arvind Kejriwal and Anna have taken divergent paths. Kejriwal will launch a political party on November 26 and in the last few months he has, along with lawyer Prashant Bhushan, taken on powerful politicians and corporates. Saba Naqvi sent Arundhati five questions on e-mail to get her views on what is an evolving situation that has implications for politics, media and the national discourse. Here are Arundhati’s very detailed answers.

What do you make of these many corruption exposes and do you see this as a healthy development?

It’s an interesting development. The good thing about it is that it gives us an insight into how the networks of power connect and interlock. The worrying thing is that each scam pushes the last one out of the way, and life goes on. If all we will get out of it is an extra-acrimonious election campaign, it can only raise the bar of what our rulers know we can tolerate, or be conned into tolerating. Scams smaller than a few lakh crores will not even catch our attention. In election season, for political parties to accuse each other of corruption or doing shady deals with corporations is not new—remember the BJP and the Shiv Sena’s campaign against Enron? Advani called it ‘Looting through liberalisation’. They won that election in Maharashtra, scrapped the contract between Enron and the Congress government, and then signed a far worse one!
"Each scam pushes the last out of the way. If all it ends in is an extra-acrimonious election campaign, it’ll only raise the bar of what our rulers think we can tolerate."
Also worrying is the fact that some of these ‘exposes’ are strategic leaks from politicians and business houses who are spilling the beans on each other, hoping to get ahead of their rivals. Sometimes it’s across party lines, sometimes it’s intra-party jockeying. It’s being done brilliantly, and those who are being used as clearing houses to front these campaigns may not always be aware that this is the case. If in this process there was some attrition and corrupt people were being weeded out of the political arena, it would have been encouraging. But those who have been ‘exposed’—Salman Khurshid, Robert Vadra, Gadkari—have actually been embraced tighter by their parties. Politicians are aware of the fact that being accused or even convicted of corruption does not always make a dent in their popularity. Mayawati, Jayalalitha, Jaganmohan Reddy—they remain hugely popular leaders despite the charges that have been brought against them. While ordinary people are infuriated by corruption, it does seem as though when it comes to voting, their calculations are more shrewd, more complicated. They don’t necessarily vote for Nice Folks.

Why do you think stories that the media knew about but never carried or paid a price for carrying are suddenly coming out like a rash and new details are emerging in the process?

Just because there is a new kid in town, we mustn’t forget that some media houses and several other groups and individuals, at cost to themselves, have played a part in exposing major scams, like the Commonwealth games, 2G and Coal-gate, which shone the light on private corporations and sections of the media as well. Ironically, the Anna Hazare movement last year concentrated solely on politicians and let the others off the hook. But you’re right, there are cases in which the facts were known, but they remained unpublished until now. And suddenly it’s raining corruption scams now—some are even being recycled. Corruption has become so blatant, so pathological that those involved don’t even try very hard to hide their tracks. Anna Hazare, Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan have all played an important part in making it hard for the media to elide the issue. But the sudden rash of exposes also has to do with the growing competition between the various coalitions of politicians, mega corporations and the media houses they own. For example, I do believe there is some substance to the speculation that the expose of Gadkari has to do with Narendra Modi—backed by big business—positioning himself to become the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate and trying to get hostile lobbies out of the way. Now since it’s the era of corruption and balancesheets—blood is passe. It’s strange how often you hear commentators saying that it’s time to move on from the Sangh parivar’s Gujarat pogrom against Muslims in 2002 and to look ahead. The Congress party-led ’84 massacre of Sikhs in Delhi has been forgotten too. Killers and fascists are OK as long as they are not financially corrupt? What the newest anti-corruption movement led by Kejriwal and Bhushan is doing is important work that ought really to be done by the media and investigation agencies, and by people pressurising the system from outside. I’m not sure a new political party that is going to fight elections is the right vehicle. Given how elections work in India, given the amount of money and the machinations that go into them, what does this decision to stand for elections mean? There is a reason why the big political parties gleefully invite everybody to stand for elections. They know they control the arena, they want to turn newcomers into clowns in their circus, and wear them down by having to perform endlessly before a carnivorous media.
"While ordinary people are infuriated by corruption, it seems, when it comes to voting, their calculations are more shrewd. They don’t always vote for Nice Folks."
Many have walked this plank before. If, for example, Kejriwal’s party wins just a few seats, or none at all, what would it imply? That the majority of Indian people are pro-corruption? What stands exposed in all of this, other than the grand nexus between politicians and business houses, is that the media is struggling with its role as the ‘Fourth Estate’. A new political party, however good or honest, is not going to be able to resolve that anytime soon, because that is a structural problem. The media is hobbled by its economics. Recently in an interview, Vineet Jain of the Times Group was disarmingly frank when he said the Times Group was not in the business of news, but in the business of advertising. Apart from this, we have the problem of paid news and of outright ownership. Industrialists have always owned newspapers, but the scale of the operation has changed. Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), for example, recently bought 95 per cent shares in Infotel, a TV consortium that controls 27 TV news and entertainment channels. Sometimes it’s the other way around: we have media houses own mining companies. Dainik Bhaskar, with a readership of 17 million, owns 69 companies with interests in mining, power generation, real estate and textiles. And then, of course, we have the newspapers and TV channels owned by politicians like Karunanidhi, Jayalalitha, Jaganmohan Reddy and others.
As the boundary between big business, big politics and news melts away, it’s becoming harder for journalists and reporters to do what was once considered an almost sacred duty—to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. That ideal has been more or less turned on its head.

‘Being against corruption is not ideology’. (Photograph by Sanjay Rawat)

Can anti-corruption be a valid plank for a political party?

I don’t think so. Corrupt politicians have shown themselves to be hugely popular. I hope Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan’s party will have more to its plank than just anti-corruption.
"Since it’s the corruption and balancesheets era, blood is passe. We are asked to move on from the 2002 pogrom against Muslims in Gujarat and to look ahead."
I think the middle-class definition of corruption—as a sort of accounting problem—isn’t necessarily everybody else’s definition. Corruption is a symptom of a widening gap between the powerful and the powerless which, in India, is one of the worst in the world. That is what needs to be addressed. Moral policing, or even actual policing, can’t be a solution. What is that meant to achieve? Making an unjust system cleaner and more efficient? Setting up a parallel government with tens of thousands of police and bureaucrats, which is what the Jan Lokpal Bill envisages, will not solve the problem. Have our police and bureaucrats shown themselves to be guardians of the poor? Which pool will these new, honest souls be culled from? In a country where a majority of the population is illegitimate in the ways in which they live and work, the Jan Lokpal Bill could easily become a weapon in the hands of the middle classes—“Remove these filthy illegal slums, clear away these illegal vendors crowding the pavements”—and so on. The point is how do we define corruption? If a corporate house pays a thousand crore bribe to secure a contract for a coal-field, it’s corruption. If a voter takes a thousand rupees to vote for a particular politician, it’s corruption too. If a samosa-seller pays a cop a hundred-rupee bribe for a place on the pavement, that too is corruption. But are they all the same thing? I do not mean to suggest that there shouldn’t be a grievance redressal mechanism to monitor corruption, of course there should be. But that will not solve the big problem, because the big players only become better at covering their tracks.
For a political party to view the politics of this vast and complex country through the lens of corruption is—to put it politely—inadequate. Can we understand or address the politics of caste and class, ethnicity, gender, religious chauvinism, the whole of our political history, the current process of environmental devastation—and the other myriad things that make India’s engine work, or not work—all through the narrow, brittle lens of corruption? They can only be addressed if you know your people, if you have vision and ideology, not by just changing the props or costumes activists wear on stage when one or the other group accuses them of something or the other. Being against corruption is not in itself a political ideology. Even corrupt people will say they’re against corruption.
Change will come. It has to. But I doubt it will be ushered in by a new political party hoping to change the system by winning elections. Because those who have tried to change the system that way have ended up being changed by it—look what happened to the Communist parties. I think the insurrections taking place in the countryside will move towards the cities, not under any single banner, not in some orderly or revolutionary way, necessarily. It will not be pretty. But it’s inevitable.

Sections of the ruling class see the current exposes as ‘anarchy’. After the Ambani, KG basin and oil issue was raised, there were some commentaries about Kejriwal and “his leftist” friends. Your comments on this.

By ‘anarchy’, I presume they mean chaos, which is not what anarchy means. May I say that what the ruling classes are engaged in today, that is anarchy, by their definition. (By the way, I don’t know which of Arvind Kejriwal’s friends is a ‘leftist’.) Or are we now supposed to collapse ‘chaos’, ‘anarchy’ and the ‘left’ into one big ball of wax?
"As boundaries between big business, politics and news melt, journos find it harder to do what was once sacred duty: comfort the afflicted, afflict the comfortable."
I want to make just one very simple suggestion, and it is far from radical. Let’s say it is just a common minimum programme. We have become a country that is more or less run by private corporations. Let’s look at two of the biggest corporations who rule us today: Reliance and Tatas. Mukesh Ambani, who holds a majority controlling share in RIL, is personally worth $20 billion. RIL has a market capitalisation of $47 billion. Its business interests include petrochemicals, oil, natural gas, polyester fibre, SEZs, fresh food retail, high schools, life sciences research and stem cell storage services. It has a controlling interest in 27 TV news and entertainment channels. It has endowed chairs in foreign universities worth millions of dollars.
The Tatas run more than 100 companies in 80 countries. They are one of India’s largest private sector power companies. They own mines, gas fields, steel plants, phone, cable TV and broadband networks, and run whole townships. They manufacture cars and trucks, own the Taj Hotel chain, Jaguar, Land Rover, Daewoo, Tetley Tea, a publishing company, a chain of bookstores, and a major brand of iodised salt. The Tatas are also hugely invested in foreign universities.
I don’t think that there are corporations like these elsewhere in the world—none with this range of business interests, that control our lives so minutely, that can hold us to ransom and can shut us down as a country if they are unhappy with the deals they are being given. This is the biggest danger facing us.
What our economists like to call a level playing field is actually a machine spinning with a centrifugal force that funnels the poor out like disposable residue, and concentrates wealth in fewer and fewer hands, which is why 100 people have wealth equivalent to 25 per cent of the GDP and hundreds of millions live on less than `20 a day. It is why most of our children suffer from severe malnutrition, why two lakh farmers have killed themselves and why India is home to a majority of the world’s poor.
"Unless mega corporations are reined in, unless cross-ownership of business is regulated, unless media is freed from its control, we are headed for a shipwreck."
Whether you are Communist, Capitalist, Gandhian, Hindutva-ist, Islamist, Feminist, Ambedkarite, Environmentalist, whether you are a farmer, a businessman, journalist, writer, poet, or fool, even if you believe in privatisation and in the new economy—whatever—if you have a modicum of concern or affection, leave alone love, for this country, surely you must see that this is the clear and present danger? Even if these corporations and politicians were scrupulously honest, it is an absurd situation for a country to be in. Unless mega corporations are reined in and limited by legislation, unless the levers of such untrammelled power (which includes the power to buy politics and policymaking, justice, elections and the news) is taken away from them, unless the cross-ownership of businesses is regulated, unless the media is freed from the absolute control of big business, we are headed for a shipwreck. No amount of noise, no amount of anti-corruption campaigns, no amount of elections can stop that.

You have in the past described the system as “hollowed out”. In that case do you see all this as a pantomime?

Pantomime is a harsh word. I see what is happening now as part of the unrest, anger and frustration that is building up in the country. Sometimes the noisiness of it makes it hard to see clearly. But unless we look things in the eye—instead of heading off in strange quixotic directions—we can look forward to the civil war, which has already begun, reaching our doorsteps very soon.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

സിപി എം പ്രതിസന്ധിക്കുപിന്നില്‍

 സി പി എമ്മിന്‍റെ രാഷ്ട്രീയ പ്രതിസന്ധിക്ക് ഒരു വ്യക്തിയിലോ വ്യക്തികളിലോ കാരണം തിരയുന്നത് അപഹാസ്യമാണ്. ചരിത്രത്തെക്കുറിച്ചുള്ള തെറ്റായ അവബോധവും നവലിബറലിസം, നവമുതലാളിത്തം എന്നീ പ്രധാന വിഷയങ്ങളെ സംബോധന ചെയ്തതില്‍ വന്ന ഗുരുതര പാളിച്ചയുമാണ് സിപി എമ്മിനെ തളര്‍ത്തുന്നത്. ഒപ്പം വി എസിന്‍റെ നിലപാടുകള്‍ക്ക് ചരിത്രത്തിന്‍റെ അഭാവമുണ്ടെന്നും അത് പൊള്ളയാണെന്നും പ്രമുഖ പത്രപ്രവര്‍ത്തകനും മാര്‍ക്സിസ്റ്റ്‌ ചിന്തകനുമായ കെ പി സേതുനാഥ്. ടി പി ചന്ദ്രശേഖരന്‍ വധത്തിനുശേഷം ഇടതുപക്ഷ രാഷ്ട്രീയവുമായി ബന്ധപ്പെട്ട നടന്ന ചര്‍ച്ചകളില്‍ ഏറ്റവും ശ്രദ്ധേയമായ ഒന്ന്.

(ലേഖനം മാതൃഭൂമി വാരികയില്‍ പ്രസിദ്ധീകരിച്ചത്)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

രണ്ടു പെണ്‍കുട്ടികളും കേരള പോലീസും ( Two Female Children and Kerala Police)

കടപ്പാട് : സമകാലിക മലയാളം വാരിക (Courtesy : Samakalika Malayalam Vaarika )

Meena Kandasamy's  letter to the Kerala Chief Minister Oomen Chandy asking him to direct the Kerala police force to stop harassment of two female children because their parents are suspected of being Maoists

(some excerpts in English)

Last year, I had read the Open Magazine story about the manner in which two young girls 15-year-old Amy and 8-year-old Savera were being harassed by the Kerala Police for the sole reason that the state considers their parents as “wanted” Maoist sympathisers. I also read about the difficulties the children were put through at the behest of the police force that visited their home at untimely hours, raided the premises, and threatened them with all sorts of consequences and slandering. A few months ago, I got the opportunity to meet the girls and also become Facebook friends with them. In these circumstances, when I read about the continuing use of police threats and harassment against these children, I decided to take a chance, and write this appeal to you.

Perhaps you will read my letter with disdain and question the locus standi for my writing this to you. Perhaps you will question if I have roots in Kerala, or what is a rank outsider me doing by talking about the conduct of your police force. Perhaps you will say that I am doing this to create controversy. Perhaps you will say that everything cited in this letter is a conspiracy and a fabrication. Perhaps you will say that this letter is the result of my communist sympathies. Perhaps you will even levy the greatest possible allegation against me, you will dub me a Maoist sympathiser. I have decided to take a chance, and any amount of name-calling is not going to silence me in this regard. Allow me a little time to run you through the sequence of events.

I don’t think the Indian Constitution, or the Indian Penal Code, or any of the legal manuals empower the police force in India to advise children to commit suicide. In fact, from the little I know about the law, I think it is a crime to even attempt suicide. But the police force in Kerala needs to be reminded of this technical detail. But as
one learns from a fact-finding report, on 31 May 2011, Circle Inspector Ravindranath of Valappad Police Station, who has since been posted as a Security Officer at the Kerala High Court, had advised Amy and Savera’s seventy-year-old grandmother to take poison as well as to feed it to the children. The police, on that occasion had forcibly entered the premises of their home and had seized Amy’s cellphone without any warrant. They had also indulged in the cheap manoeuvre of trying to cast aspersions on Amy’s character. The fact-finding team
consisting of advocates from Tamil Nadu also detailed the difficulties that they had to face in order to go ahead with their independent inquiry. They had been detained and questioned at the Trissur East Police Station for 6-7 hours, after having been forcibly picked up from the guest house at which they were staying. This speaks volumes about the levels of surveillance to which the two girl children have been subjected.

Reading the fact-finding report (it can be found online here:, or even the Open magazine article allowed me to have the naive belief that perhaps the bad publicity surrounding this misbehaviour of the police force would have put an end to their atrocious acts. However, this does not seem to be the case. I had no idea that the Kerala police could be so tenacious in their efforts to portray their cruel and extrajudicial side.

Some aspects of the harassment reveal a pattern. On 31 May last year, they had threatened Amy and Savera that their father would be killed, his head would be crushed with boulders. This year, when Mr. Babu, a police officer from the Crime Branch paid a visit to their home on 24
July, he broke the news that their father had been killed. Such psychological harassment, especially for children who are not having the safety of living with their parents, is too traumatic. Their
grandmother, who takes care of the children is over seventy years old and she is a heart patient. Amy’s letter also chronicles how her friends are being hunted because they arranged a hostel for her in Kozhikode so that she could stay there and attend school. The picture
that emerges here certainly does not resemble the activities of a
democratic state.

I hope that you share my belief that two young children cannot be held responsible for the political beliefs of their parents. I hope you understand that neither the law nor any legal mechanism under the Indian Constitution would permit these psychological operations
carried out by the Kerala police force. With the firm conviction that writing to you would improve the situation, I request you to kindly direct the Kerala police to stop harassing the two girls. I also
request you to use the power vested in your office to take action against those police officers who have invaded the privacy and personal liberty of these children.

I hope that your act of kindness will bring them a little peace in an uncertain world. What has been done cannot be undone,
but if the police force is made to restrain itself, the much-maligned image of the state machinery will at least not suffer further damage.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Hidden History of the Olympic Games

This programme reveals that behind the familiar face of the Olympic Games lies a hidden history of propaganda, international rivalry and social struggle

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

1968 Olympics Black Power salute

"The goal of Olympism is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world
by educating youth through sport practised without discrimination of any
kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with
a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.

Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on 
grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible 
with belonging to the Olympic Movement. "

Olympic Charter,
Fundamental Principles

In a world where discrimination of all sorts remains to be a reality, the Olympics can't escape it.  The spirit of friendship and solidarity can be realized only by acknowledging and addressing the realities existing.  The historic Black Power Salute or Human Rights Salute in the 1968 Olympics testified this. 

On the morning of 16 October 1968, U.S. athlete Tommie Smith won the 200 meter race in a world-record time of 19.83 seconds, with Australia's Peter Norman second with a time of 20.06 seconds, and the U.S.'s John Carlos in third place with a time of 20.10 seconds. After the race was completed, the three went to collect their medals at the podium. The two U.S. athletes received their medals shoeless, but wearing black socks, to represent black poverty. Smith wore a black scarf around his neck to represent black pride, Carlos had his tracksuit top unzipped to show solidarity with all blue collar workers in the U.S. and wore a necklace of beads which he described "were for those individuals that were lynched, or killed and that no-one said a prayer for, that were hung and tarred. It was for those thrown off the side of the boats in the middle passage.  All three athletes wore Olympic Project for Human Rights (OPHR) badges after Norman, a critic of Australia's White Australia Policy, expressed empathy with their ideals. Sociologist Harry Edwards, the founder of the OPHR, had urged black athletes to boycott the games; reportedly, the actions of Smith and Carlos on 16 October 1968 were inspired by Edwards' arguments.
Both U.S. athletes intended on bringing black gloves to the event, but Carlos forgot his, leaving them in the Olympic Village. It was the Australian, Peter Norman, who suggested Carlos wear Smith's left-handed glove, this being the reason behind him raising his left hand, as opposed to his right, differing from the traditional Black Power salute. When "The Star-Spangled Banner" played, Smith and Carlos delivered the salute with heads bowed, a gesture which became front page news around the world. As they left the podium they were booed by the crowd

'Black America will understand'

At a press conference after the event Tommie Smith, who held seven world records at that time, said: "If I win I am an American, not a black American. But if I did something bad then they would say 'a Negro'. We are black and we are proud of being black.
"Black America will understand what we did tonight."

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president, Avery Brundage, deemed it to be a domestic political statement, unfit for the apolitical, international forum the Olympic Games were supposed to be. In an immediate response to their actions, he ordered Smith and Carlos suspended from the U.S. team and banned from the Olympic Village. When the US Olympic Committee refused, Brundage threatened to ban the entire US track team. This threat led to the two athletes being expelled from the Games.
A spokesman for the IOC said it was "a deliberate and violent breach of the fundamental principles of the Olympic spirit. Brundage, who was president of the United States Olympic Committee in 1936, had made no objections against Nazi Salutes during the Berlin Olympics. He argued that the Nazi salute, being a national salute at the time, was acceptable in a competition of nations, while the athletes' salute was not of a nation and therefore unacceptable. Brundage had been one of the United States' most prominent Nazi sympathisers even after the outbreak of the Second World War, and his removal as president of the IOC had been one of the three stated objectives of the Olympic Project for Human Rights.

The three athletes and the OPHR proved that the rhetoric of equality and brotherhood will remain mere words unless they are practiced.  

To know more on Black Power Salute check

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Bhilai Steel Plant in Chhattisgarh faces shutdown due to lack of iron ore as Maoists oppose mining

India Today

The Centre is worried that one of the country’s biggest steel plants, the 53-year-old Bhilai Steel Plant in Chhattisgarh, will have to be closed down in the next three years as it runs out of iron ore supplies.
A high-level meeting was held at the Union Home Hinistry on Monday, attended by home secretary R.K. Singh, steel secretary DRS Chaudhary and Chhattisgarh’s chief secretary and director-general of police after reports that Naxals are bitterly opposing mining in a new area called Rowghat for the Bhilai Steel Plant as well as the construction of a railway line to transport the iron ore from Rowghat to the plant.
The new railway line will pass through Maoist zones.

Mining the new reserves is crucial as the existing iron ore reserves at Dalli Rajhara area, which keep the steel plant running now, will be exhausted by 2015. The new mining project involves deforestation in an area of over 2,030 hectares in Kanker and Narayanpur districts, both Naxal hotbeds. Further, the proposed 235-km railway line will run through Abujmad, also a red zone.
Rowghat is estimated to have 510 million tonnes of iron ore reserves, sufficient to keep the plant running for decades.

The Chhattisgarh government has said it has no security force to spare for the project. At Monday’s meeting, it was decided that an exclusive force will be created drawing personnel from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Border Security Force (BSF) and the Chhattisgarh Armed Police for the purpose.
Till then, two battalions from the CRPF and the BSF will guard the mining area and the railway line, for which all necessary forest and environmental clearances have been given.
At present, only four CRPF and BSF companies are posted in the area and, hence, are in no position to provide foolproof security to workers engaged in the deforestation of the mine area. The Home Ministry wants the state police to provide a matching force but the Chhattisgarh Police are non-committal.
The Bhilai Steel Plant is India’s first and primary producer of steel rails and the sole supplier of the country’s longest rail tracks, which measure 260 metres. It is a flagship unit of the Steel Authority of India and its largest and most profitable facility.
To keep the plant running, the Steel Ministry identified Rowghat for fresh iron ore mining. For the purpose, no village will be displaced. Only the area will be deforested and a new railway line constructed.
But Naxals are objecting to the plan to mine the area as well as the new railway line, which will pass through Maoist zones such as Balod, Kanker, Narayanpur, Kondangaon and Jagdalpur districts. The home secretary, in Monday’s meeting, asked the Chhattisgarh government and the steel ministry to make the tribal people aware of the benefits of the project.
The Chhattisgarh Police are of the view that as the mine area and the railway line are close to Abujmad, it will invite violent reaction from the Maoists as well as local tribals. Sources said the project was destined to run into rough weather as no amount of security can protect every inch of the proposed railway line, which is going to be the lifeline of the steel plant – the plant literally drives the economy of the region. The home ministry has suggested that both the projects – deforestation and the railway line – should be taken up simultaneously.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


                                                                    (കെ ജി ശങ്കരപ്പിള്ള)

എന്‍റെ മുണ്ടിന്‍റെ കരയുടെ നിറം ഇളകുമായിരുന്നു.
ഓരോ തവണയും ഡോബി പറഞ്ഞു:

   ഓരോ തവണ അലക്കുമ്പോഴും
   ഈ ചുവപ്പ് ഇളകി വരുന്നു.
   ഇതിനുംമാത്രം ചുവപ്പിതിനുള്ളിലെവിടിരിക്കുന്നു!
   ഇത്തരം ചിലത് ഇതിനുമുമ്പും ഞാന്‍ കണ്ടിട്ടുണ്ട്;
   നിഷേധികള്‍. അനുസരണംകെട്ടവ.

ഒടുവിലൊടുവില്‍ ഡോബിക്ക് വാശിയേറി:

    ഈ ചുവപ്പിളക്കമൊന്നു നിറുത്താമോന്നുനോക്കട്ടെ.

എന്ന് പറഞ്ഞിട്ട് പോയി

അടുത്ത തവണ ഡോബി വളരെ വൈകി വന്നു

വിധി പറയാന്‍ ജഡ്ജി ഫയല്‍ തുറക്കുന്ന ഗൗരവത്തില്‍
ഒന്നും മിണ്ടാതെ
മേശപ്പുറത്ത് വെച്ച് മുണ്ടുകെട്ടഴിച്ചു.
ആ മുണ്ട് അസാധാരണമാംവിധം വെളുത്ത്
ഒരു നാഗരികനെപ്പോലെ സുന്ദരനായിരുന്നു.
എടുത്തു നിവര്‍ക്കുമ്പോള്‍
ആകെ കീറിപറിഞ്ഞിരുന്നു
രക്തചുവപ്പിന്‍റെ വേലിയേറ്റമുണ്ടായിരുന്ന ഓരോ ഞരമ്പും
കരിമ്പാറയിലെ അടിയും തൊഴിയുമേറ്റ്
വിളറി വെളുത്തുപോയിരുന്നു

                     പക്ഷേ, അപ്പോഴേക്കും
       കൂട്ടത്തിലുള്ളവ മുഴുവന്‍ ചുവന്നുകഴിഞ്ഞിരുന്നു
             പുഴകളും തടാകങ്ങളും മുഴുവന്‍

(നിഷ്ഠൂരമായ അടിച്ചമര്‍ത്തലുകള്‍ക്കിടയിലും മാവോയിസ്റ്റ് പ്രസ്ഥാനം കാട്ടുതീ പോലെ പടരുന്നതായി ഭരണകൂടവിലയിരുത്തലുകള്‍. ഇന്ത്യയില്‍ ഇന്നേ വരെ ചെങ്കൊടി കണ്ടിട്ടില്ലാത്ത വടക്കുകിഴക്കന്‍ സംസ്ഥാനങ്ങളില്‍ വരെ ജനകീയ യുദ്ധത്തിനു തുടക്കം കുറിക്കാന്‍ തക്ക വളര്‍ച്ച പ്രസ്ഥാനം നേടിക്കഴിഞ്ഞിരുക്കുന്നു. ആസാമില്‍ നിന്നും മറ്റും മാവോയിസ്റ്റുകളും സൈന്യവും തമ്മിലുള്ള ഏറ്റുമുട്ടല്‍ വാര്‍ത്തകള്‍ വന്നു തുടങ്ങുന്നു. ചിത്രത്തില്‍ കാണുന്നത് ആസാമിലെ ഒരു മാവോയിസ്റ്റ് വനിതാ ഗറില്ലപോരാളി )

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Obama has a Monsanto plan for Africa: (Beware of Genetic Engineers Bearing Gifts)


How the US Sold Africa to Multinationals Like Monsanto, Cargill, DuPont, PepsiCo and Others

The G8 scheme does nothing to address the problems that are at the core of hunger and malnutrition but will serve only to further poverty and inequality.

May 23, 2012  |  Driving through Ngong Hills, not far from Nairobi, Kenya, the corn on one side of the road is stunted and diseased. The farmer will not harvest a crop this year. On the other side of the road, the farmer gave up growing corn and erected a greenhouse, probably for growing a high-value crop like tomatoes. Though it's an expensive investment, agriculture consultants now recommend them. Just up the road, at a home run by Kenya Children of Hope, an organization that helps rehabilitate street children and reunite them with their families, one finds another failed corn crop and another greenhouse. The director, Charity, is frustrated because the two acres must feed the rescued children and earn money for the organization. After two tomato crops failed in the new greenhouse, her consultant recommended using a banned, toxic pesticide called carbofuran.
Will Obama's New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition help farmers like Charity? The New Alliance was announced in conjunction with the G8 meeting last Friday. Under the scheme, some 45 corporations, including Monsanto, Syngenta, Yara International, Cargill, DuPont, and PepsiCo, have pledged a total of $3.5 billion in investment in Africa. The full list of corporations and commitments has just been released, and one of the most notable is Yara International's promise to build a $2 billion fertilizer plant in Africa. Syngenta pledged to build a $1 billion business in Africa over the next decade. These promises are not charity; they are business.
This is par for the course for the attempted “second green revolution” that is currently underway. The Gates Foundation and its Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa are working to build up a network of private seed companies and private agro-dealers across Africa. The goal is to increase average fertilizer use in Africa by more than a factor of six and to decrease the distance each African farmer must travel to reach a shop selling seeds and inputs. Those who support this vision have heaped praise on Obama and the G8's New Alliance. In fact, with both Republican and Democratic support, this is one of the only things both parties agree on.
But what do actual Africans think? Not just the elite, but the peasant farmers? Charity, for her part, is frustrated. Most of Kenya's land is arid or semi-arid, making agriculture difficult if not impossible. But Ngong Hills receive adequate rainfall – or they did anyway. The climate crisis has changed the previously reliable rainfall patterns within Kenya and even a wet area like Ngong Hills is suffering. The stunted, diseased corn one sees there was planted from the “best” store-bought seed and ample chemical fertilizer was applied. The crop failure was not due to lack of inputs.

In another part of the country, about an hour from Nairobi, Samuel Nderitu points out more failed corn crops. Corn – or maize as Kenyans call it – has been the main staple since Kenya was colonized by the British. But the corn growing on the demonstration farm of Nderitu's NGO, Grow Biointensive Agricultural Center of Kenya (G-BIACK) is healthy and thriving. So are G-BIACK's other vegetable crops and fruit trees. Why will he harvest a successful crop when his next-door neighbor will not?
G-BIACK is an organic farming training center, and the crops there were grown with manure and compost instead of chemical fertilizer. G-BIACK also saves seeds instead of purchasing seeds from the store. The farmers in this region, near the city of Thika, farm tiny plots – as small as one-fifth of an acre and averaging one acre. Many use chemical fertilizer, but since it is expensive, they often fail to use enough. “Here, in Kenya, if you plant anything without chemical fertilizer, if you don't know anything about organic farming, it can't grow,” says Nderitu. But, as G-BIACK proves, those who do know how to farm organically achieve great success. G-BIACK was named the NGO of the Year in 2010 by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization and the Government of Kenya. And its next-door neighbor with the failed crop is now attending its trainings to learn organic farming.

Don’t Put Monsanto in Charge of Ending Hunger in Africa

Written by Yifat Susskind 
This past weekend, President Obama hid out from protesters at Camp David. He was hosting the leaders of the world’s eight wealthiest economies, known as the G8. As they readied to meet, on Friday, Obama put forward his New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition.
This occasion gave Rajiv Shah, the administrator of the US Agency for International Development, the chance to make an astonishing statement:
“We are never going to end hunger in Africa without private investment. There are things that only companies can do, like building silos for storage and developing seeds and fertilizers.”
That’s news to millions of women farmers in Africa. Their harvests feed their families and generate income that sustains local economies. For generations, they have been doing just those things: storing their harvests, protecting and developing seeds, using natural fertilizers.
Smallholder women farmers save and exchange seeds that help keep local crops viable. They demonstrate how to adapt to climate change by adjusting planting cycles, experimenting with new drought-resistant crops and more. They produce crucial food supplies using the small-scale, organic methods that are increasingly recognized as vital to the health of the planet—and everyone who lives on it.
There are differences, of course. Unlike big companies, small-scale women farmers do not grab millions of acres of land for monoculture plantations that destroy local biodiversity. They do not develop the terminator seeds that hold farmers hostage to the seed patent rights of corporations. They are not the inventors of chemical fertilizers that worsen climate change.
Those honors belong to the very companies that President Obama is inviting to oversee Africa’s food security. We know that their primary goal is not anybody’s food security but their own bottom line. That’s why it’s governments, and not corporations like Monsanto, that should bear responsibility for funding and developing agriculture. It is simply not true that only companies can build silos and develop seeds and fertilizers.
President Obama anticipated these criticisms when he addressed “whether this New Alliance is just a way for governments to shift the burden onto somebody else.” He was quick to assure that, even in hard economic times, his administration would continue to make investments in development aid. Let’s make sure that those investments work to prioritize the right to food over corporate profits.
Because here’s the truth: we’re never going to end hunger in Africa without upholding the rights of smallholder women farmers who feed the continent and care for its ecosystems.
This post was originally published by Common Dreams.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

ചന്ദ്രശേഖരന്‍റെ രക്തസാക്ഷിത്വം ആവശ്യപ്പെടുന്നത്...


പ്രദീപ്‌ കുമാര്‍ 

അധോലോകത്തിനെ അസൂയപ്പെടുത്തുന്ന തരത്തിലുള്ള കൊലപാതകങ്ങളും, അതിക്രമങ്ങളും നടത്തുവാനുള്ള സിപിഎം-ന്‍റെ വൈഭവം പുതിയതല്ല. റവല്യൂഷനറി മാര്‍ക്സിസ്റ്റ്‌ പാര്‍ട്ടി നേതാവായ ടി പി ചന്ദ്രശേഖരന്‍റെ നിഷ്ഠൂരമായ ഹത്യയും ഇത് തെളിയിക്കുന്നു. പക്ഷേ ഈ വൈഭവം സിപിഎം-നു മാത്രമല്ല മറ്റു ഭരണവര്‍ഗ പാര്‍ട്ടികള്‍ക്കും സ്വായത്തമാണ്. കോണ്‍ഗ്രസ്സും, ബിജെപിയും, മുസ്ലീം ലീഗുമെല്ലാം ഈ മേഖലയില്‍ തങ്ങളുടെ കഴിവ് വേണ്ടത്ര തെളിയിച്ചവരാണ്. അതുകൊണ്ട് തന്നെ ചന്ദ്രശേഖരന്‍റെ  കൊലപാതകം സിപിഎം-ന്‍റെ കേവലമായ രാഷ്ട്രീയ പകപോക്കലിന്‍റെ തലത്തില്‍ മാത്രമായി കാണാനാവില്ല. കേരളത്തിലെ മുഖ്യധാരാ രാഷ്ട്രീയമെത്തിനില്‍ക്കുന്ന സവിശേഷസന്ദര്‍ഭത്തിന്‍റെ സൂചനയായി ഈ സംഭവത്തെ വിലയിരുത്തേണ്ടതുണ്ട്. തികച്ചും ഉപരിപ്ലവമായ ഭിന്നതകള്‍ മാത്രമാണ് കേരളത്തിന്‍റെ മുഖമുദ്രയായ ഇടതു-വലതു മുന്നണികളെന്ന ഭരണവര്‍ഗ രാഷ്ട്രീയം. അടിസ്ഥാനപരമായ ഭിന്നതകള്‍ ഇല്ലെന്നുമാത്രമല്ല മുന്നണികള്‍ ഒരേ ബിന്ദുവില്‍ യോജിക്കുന്നതിന്‍റെ തെളിവുകളാണ് ദൈനംദിന  രാഷ്ട്രീയത്തെ സൂക്ഷ്മമായി വിലയിരുത്തുമ്പോള്‍ മനസിലാവുക. പൊതുമുതല്‍ സ്വകാര്യ മൂലധനത്തിന് കൈമാറുന്ന പ്രവര്‍ത്തനമാണ് ഭരണമെന്ന പേരില്‍ ഇവിടെ അരങ്ങേറുന്നത്. അതിന്‍റെ ഉത്തമോദാഹരണമാണ് ദേശീയപാതാ വികസനം.  ദേശീയപാതാ വികസനം 30 മീറ്ററായി പരിമിതപ്പെടുത്തണമെന്ന ഒന്നാം സര്‍വകക്ഷി യോഗത്തിന്‍റെ തീരുമാനത്തെ അട്ടിമറിച്ചുകൊണ്ട് 45 മീറ്ററില്‍ പാത വികസിപ്പിക്കാനുള്ള തീരുമാനമെടുക്കുന്നത് പിണറായി വിജയന്‍, രമേശ്‌ ചെന്നിത്തല, കുഞ്ഞാലിക്കുട്ടി എന്നിവര്‍ ചേര്‍ന്ന രണ്ടാം സര്‍വകക്ഷി യോഗമാണ്. ദേശീയ പാതാവികസന അതോറിറ്റിയുടെ ധനസഹായം കേരളത്തിനു ലഭിക്കുകയില്ലെന്ന യുക്തിയാണ് ഇക്കാര്യത്തില്‍ ഇവര്‍ ഉന്നയിക്കുന്ന കാര്യം. സംസ്ഥാനത്തെ ആയിരക്കണക്കിന് കുടുംബങ്ങളെ വഴിയാധാരമാക്കി, ഊഹിക്കാനാവാത്ത തരത്തിലുള്ള ലാഭം സ്വകാര്യ സ്ഥാപനങ്ങള്‍ക്ക് ലഭ്യമാക്കുകയും ചെയ്യുന്ന പാതവികസനത്തിനെതിരെ സമൂഹത്തിലാകെ പ്രതിഷേധമുയരുമ്പോള്‍ അതിന്‍റെ മുന്‍നിരയില്‍ നില്‍ക്കുന്നതിനുപകരം എതിര്‍ദിശയിലാണ് കേരളത്തിലെ മുഖ്യധാരാ കക്ഷികളുടെ നില. സംസ്ഥാനത്തിന്‍റെ സവിശേഷമായ ആവാസവ്യവസ്ഥ കണക്കിലാക്കി പാതവികസനത്തിന്‍റെ കാര്യത്തില്‍ പ്രത്യേക ഇളവുകള്‍ നേടിയെടുക്കാനുള്ള ഇച്ചാശക്തിയില്ലെങ്കില്‍ കേരളത്തിലെ ഈ രാഷ്ട്രീയ പാര്‍ട്ടികളുടെ പ്രസക്തിയെന്താണ്‌? ദേശീയപാത അതോറിറ്റിയിലെ ഉദ്യോഗസ്ഥരെടുക്കുന്ന നയപരമായ തീരുമാനത്തെ ചോദ്യം ചെയ്യാനും, തിരുത്തുവാനുമുള്ള ശേഷിയില്ലാത്ത ഈ കക്ഷികളെ എന്തിനാണ് കേരളത്തിലെ ജനങ്ങള്‍ ചുമക്കുന്നത്? കേരളത്തിന്‍റെ സവിശേഷമായ പ്രശ്നങ്ങളില്‍ മാത്രമല്ല സംസ്ഥാനത്തെ പൊതു സമ്പത്തുകകളായ വനം, ജലം, ധാതുക്കള്‍, സമുദ്രതീരം, നെല്‍പ്പാടങ്ങള്‍ - തുടങ്ങിയ ഏത് മേഖലയെടുത്താലും ഇത്തരത്തിലുള്ള ചോദ്യങ്ങള്‍  സ്വാഭാവികമായെത്തുക ഈ കക്ഷികളുടെ ഭരണവര്‍ഗ സേവയുടെ സ്വഭാവത്തിലെ ഐക്യപ്പെടലിലാണ്. അതിന്‍റെ വിശദാംശങ്ങളിലേക്ക് ഇവിടെ കടക്കുന്നില്ല. ഇത്തരമൊരു പശ്ചാത്തലത്തിലാണ് ചന്ദ്രശേഖരന്‍റെ കൊലപാതകത്തെ വിലയിരുത്തുവാനാവുക. 

ചന്ദ്രശേഖരനെപ്പോലെയുള്ള ഒരാളെ ഹീനമായനിലയില്‍ കൊലപ്പെടുത്തിയതിനോടുള്ള സ്വാഭാവികമായ പ്രതിഷേധവും, അറപ്പും ഹൃസ്വകാലത്തേക്ക് മാത്രം നിലനില്‍ക്കുന്നതാണെന്നും, അതുകഴിഞ്ഞാല്‍ 'രാഷ്ട്രീയം' അതിന്‍റെ സ്വാഭാവികമായ ദൈനംദിനവ്യവഹാരങ്ങളിലേക്ക്  മടങ്ങുമെന്നും വ്യക്തമാണ്. ഭരണവര്‍ഗ രാഷ്ട്രീയത്തിന്‍റെ സ്വചന്ദതയിലെക്കുള്ള ഈ മടക്കത്തെ ചെറുക്കുകയാണ്, അനുവദിക്കാതിരിക്കലാണ് ചന്ദ്രശേഖരന്‍റെ രക്തസാക്ഷിത്വം ആവശ്യപ്പെടുന്നത്. അത് പൊലീസിന്‍റെ കേസന്വേഷണത്തിലൂടെ നേടാവുന്നതല്ല. കൊലപാതക രാഷ്ട്രീയത്തെയും, നൈതികതയെയും, കേരളത്തിന്‍റെ 'മെച്ചപ്പെട്ട' ജനാതിപത്യത്തെയുംപറ്റിയുള്ള  ഉത്കണ്ടകള്‍ വിലയിരുത്തേണ്ട ഭൂമികയെന്താണ്? മൂലധനത്തിന്‍റെ വിശ്വസ്തസേവകരായ ഇടതു-വലതു മുന്നണികള്‍ അവയുടെ നിലനില്‍പ്പിനായി നടത്തുന്ന പതിവ് സംവാദങ്ങള്‍ക്ക് പകരം ബദലുകള്‍ അന്വേഷിക്കുകയാണ് അതിന്‍റെ ആദ്യപടി. ചന്ദ്രശേഖരന്‍റെ കൊലപാതകത്തിലുളവായ സ്വാഭാവികമായ  അമര്‍ഷം മാറ്റിനിര്‍ത്തിയാല്‍ ഈ വിഷയവുമായി ബന്ധപ്പെട്ട മറ്റു പ്രധാനവാദങ്ങള്‍ എന്തെല്ലാമാണ്? വികസനവും, സിപിഎം-ന്‍റെ അക്രമ രാഷ്ട്രീയം, കമ്മ്യൂണിസ്റ്റ് അസഹിഷ്ണുത തുടങ്ങിയ പ്രമേയങ്ങളാണ് ഉയര്‍ന്നുവന്നിട്ടുള്ളത്‌. വികസനം X അക്രമം എന്ന പ്രമേയത്തെ മുന്‍നിര്‍ത്തിയാണ് കോണ്‍ഗ്രസ്സും മറ്റു കക്ഷികളും സിപിഎം-നെ നേരിടുന്നത്.

സിപിഎം വര്‍ഗസമരമൊന്നും നടത്തുന്നില്ലെന്ന തിരിച്ചറിവിന് സാമാന്യയുക്തി മതിയാകും. ഈ സാഹചര്യത്തിലാണ് ചന്ദ്രശേഖരനെപ്പോലുള്ളവരുടെ ഉന്മൂലനം സിപിഎം-ല്‍ തന്നെ അലോരസമുണ്ടാക്കുന്നത്. പദ്ധതിയോരോന്നിനും ശരാശരി 30 ശതമാനം വെട്ടുമേനി ലഭിക്കുന്ന 'വികസനം' പൊടിപൊടിക്കുന്ന സാഹചര്യത്തില്‍ ഇത്തരത്തിലുള്ള പങ്കപ്പാടുകളില്‍ ചെന്നുചാടുന്നതിന്‍റെ ആവശ്യകതയെപ്പറ്റിയുള്ള ഉത്കണ്ടകള്‍ സ്വാഭാവികമാണ്. അക്രമരാഷ്ട്രീയം വികസനത്തെ പിന്നോട്ടടിക്കുമെന്ന വാദഗതികളുടെ അടിത്തറയിതാണ്. അക്രമത്തെപ്പറ്റിയുള്ള അതിവൈകാരികമായ ഉത്കണ്ടകളുടെ സുപ്രധാനദൗത്യം ഭരണവര്‍ഗ വികസനവാദത്തില്‍ അന്തര്‍ലീനമായ അക്രമത്തെ മൂടിവക്കുകയും, നീതീകരിക്കുകയുമാണ്. ആയുധത്തിന്‍റെ നിയന്ത്രണം ഭരണവര്‍ഗത്തിന്‍റെ കൈകളില്‍ ഭദ്രമായിരിക്കുന്നിടത്തോളം  അക്രമം സാധാരണനിലയിലുള്ള നിയമം നടപ്പിലാക്കല്‍ മാത്രമാവുകയും, ഈ നീതിരാഹിത്യത്തിന്‍റെ ഇരകളുടെ ചെരുത്തുനില്‍പുകള്‍ അക്രമമായി വ്യാഖ്യാനിക്കപ്പെടുന്ന ഭരണവര്‍ഗ തന്ത്രം തിരിച്ചറിയേണ്ടതുണ്ട്. രണോത്സുകമായ പ്രതിഷേധങ്ങളും, സമരങ്ങളും ഭരണവര്‍ഗ സമ്മതികളുടെ കാപട്യത്തെ നിരന്തരം വെളിപ്പെടുത്തുന്ന വര്‍ത്തമാന സാഹചര്യത്തില്‍ അക്രമത്തെക്കുറിച്ചുള്ള ഉത്കണ്ടകള്‍ ഭരണവര്‍ഗത്തിന്‍റെ  ഭാഗത്തുനിന്നുമുയരുന്നത് സ്വാഭാവികമാണ്. ചന്ദ്രശേഖരന്‍റെ ദാരുണമായ വധത്തിനോടുള്ള അമര്‍ഷത്തെയും, പ്രതിഷേധത്തെയും ഒരുതരത്തിലും വിലകുറച്ചുകാണുകയല്ല. എന്നാല്‍ ഈ പ്രതിഷേധങ്ങളും, അമര്‍ഷവും വ്യക്തമായ രാഷ്ട്രീയദിശാബോധം തേടേണ്ടതുണ്ട്. സിപിഎം-ന്‍റെ സോഷ്യല്‍ ഫാസിസ്റ്റ് സ്വഭാവം സംഘടനാപരമായ പിഴവല്ലെന്നും വളരെ ആഴത്തിലുള്ള ആശയപരമായ വ്യതിയാനങ്ങളുടെ ഫലമാണെന്നുമുള്ള ബോധത്തിന് ഈ ദിശാബോധം ആവശ്യമാണ്‌. അല്ലാത്തപക്ഷം, സോഷ്യല്‍ ഫാസിസ്റ്റുകളുടെ പകപോക്കലിനെ കമ്മ്യൂണിസ്റ്റുകാരുടെ 'ജനിതകമായ' അസഹിഷ്ണുതയായി അടയാളപ്പെടുത്തുന്ന രേഖീയമായ കഥാകഥനരീതിയുടെ ഉപഭോക്താക്കള്‍ മാത്രമായി നീതിബോധം പരിമിതപ്പെടും. അത്തരം പരിമിതപ്പെടുത്തലുകളാണ് മുഖ്യധാര മാധ്യമങ്ങളില്‍ നിറഞ്ഞു നില്‍ക്കുന്നത്. ഈ പരിമിതികളെ ഭേദിക്കുന്ന രാഷ്ട്രീയമായ ഉള്‍കാഴ്ചകളും അവബോധവുമാണ് വര്‍ത്തമാനകാലം നമ്മോട് ആവശ്യപ്പെടുന്നത്.