Category Archives: India

CPN-Maoist CC threatens to launch people’s revolt

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January 31, 2013

CPN-Maoist press meet. (Photo: Keshab Thoker)

Making public its protest program Wednesday to exert pressure for a roundtable assembly to break the political deadlock, the CPN-Maoist has threatened to launch a people’s revolt.

A meeting of the party’s central committee concluded that the ruling alliance led by the UCPN (Maoist) and the opposition alliance led by the Nepali Congress were focused only on power, leaving out the people’s agenda.

“We would have no alternative but to go for a people’s movement if we cannot find a solution through a roundtable assembly,” said Mohan Baidya at a press meet at his party’s head office.

He claimed that the ruling UCPN (Maoist) was involved in anti-national activities, referring to the Baburam Bhattarai government´s signing of the BIPPA agreement with India and also its turning over of security at the national and international airports to India. The opposition parties were just demanding leadership of the government without any agenda, he said.

“We will move ahead criticizing both sides – the ruling parties’ anti-national activities and opposition parties just demanding leadership of the government,” said Baidya, claiming that neither camp had a solution to the political and constitutional deadlock.

Baidya said that the roundtable assembly could find a solution through fresh elections or a revival of the constituent assembly. The Maoists’ immediate program was to hold a roundtable assembly while a people’s revolt on the foundation of people’s war was the party’s political line, he said.

The Maoist party has scheduled a program of struggle against the ‘anti-national’ activities of the government and for national sovereignty and people’s livelihood, from February 12.

Demanding the scrapping of all unequal treaties with India, dismissal of cases dating back to the insurgency period, and a roll back of price hikes, the CPN-Maoist has said that it is to launch a people’s movement.

Maoist party has made public a program of interactions, gatherings, sit-in protests and mass rallies in the cities.

The party also decided to hold extensive dialogue among the federalists, republicans and nationalists, to form a joint front.

Earlier, the Maoists had formed a joint front under the leadership of Vice-chairman CP Gajurel. Eleven fringe leftist parties were involved in the front.

The joint front is one of the “magical weapons” of the revolution. The revolutionary communist party, the revolutionary army and joint fronts are supposed to be the magical weapons.

The party also decided to uphold a policy of one person one post for party leaders and cadres.

Similarly, the party decided to dissolve its non-geographical state committees, but non-geographical braches would be formed in the main cities.

The CPN-Maoist has a total 14 state committees, including geographical and non-geographical ones.

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Is a New Maoist Revolution Brewing in Nepal?

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The following article below was originally published by News Junkie Post

By Dustin Lewis
January 25, 2013

Around 1,000 leading cadre of the regrouped Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) agreed to pursue a strategy of “people’s revolt” against the coalition government that includes their former allies, during their seventh general convention on January 9-14. The event was the first of its kind since a radical faction of the United Communist Party of Nepal (UCPN) split last June and retook the CPN-Maoist name that the party held during its decade-long insurgency that resulted in the ousting of the Nepali monarchy in 2007.

In a document released to the press following the convention, CPN-Maoist Chairman Mohan Baidya described the current coalition-led Nepali government as “puppets.” The document called for scrapping the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) and other economic treaties with India. Critics inside and out of CPN-Maoist say such agreements go against the interests of the Nepali people and relinquish the country’s political and economic sovereignty to imperialism. Convention declarations of CPN-Maoist also included harsh words for UCPN Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Vice-Chair and Nepali Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, describing them as “stooges of foreign powers” and criticizing them for betraying the revolution.

CPN-Maoist leaders say a strategy of people’s revolt will be pursued on the foundations of the previous “people’s war.” The goal, CPN-Maoist cadre say, is a “new democratic revolution.” According to documents released by the Maoists, plans for a revolt in the Himalayan country will be carried out in secret. Immediately after the convention, Baidya publicly warned that his party will take up arms if the “rights of the people” are not ensured by the present government.

UCPN Chair Dahal simultaneously assured Western monitors of his party’s desire to improve the country’s strained political and economic conditions. Mr. Dahal recently proposed an ideological shift away from the goal of a “new democratic revolution” and towards a “Nepali revolution.” According to his comrades-turn-critics in CPN-Maoist, Dahal’s recasting of the revolution’s aim is a ploy to deceive the Nepali people.

Background on Nepal’s Maoists

The roots of CPN-Maoist go back to 1991, when the Communist Party of Nepal (Unity Centre) held its first convention and pledged to pursue a strategy of “protracted armed struggle on the route to new democratic revolution.” In practice, the party continued along the route of parliamentary struggle. Three years later a militant faction broke away and named itself the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist).

In 1996, the new Maoist party launched its guerrilla “people’s war,” kicking off a decade-long armed civil conflict. This conflict escalated after a 2001 attack by the Maoist guerrillas on Nepalese Army forces. The People’s Liberation Army, the CPN-Maoist’s armed-wing, controlled a majority of Nepal’s rural territory by 2005. That same year the Maoists, under the leadership of Dahal, changed their strategy and opted for permanent peace accords while seeking a multi-party alliance against the monarchy. In 2006, following a general strike and waves of popular demonstrations in Kathmandu, King Gyanendra stepped down and a 240 year-old dynasty was annulled.

In a bid to gain legitimacy, later in 2006 the Maoists signed the Comprehensive Peace Accords, which promised that the insurgents would lay down their arms in return for a seat in a U.N.-sponsored political process. In 2009, the CPN-Maoist merged with another communist party and renamed itself the United Communist Party of Nepal. Since laying down its arms in 2006, the UCPN has achieved what many would describe as worthy goals. Both its Chairman Dahal and Vice-Chairman Bhattarai have served as the country’s Prime Minister. During the 2008 constituent assembly election, the UCPN came out ahead of all other parties and garnered 229 out of 601 seats. In 2012 UCPN was removed from the U.S. State Department’s list of terrorist organizations.

CPN-Maoist cadre contend that these achievements do not outweigh drawbacks that include a failure to implement revolutionary changes in Nepali society. For example, the failure of the constituent assembly to write a new constitution led to its dissolution in May 2012. Now that members of CPN-Maoist have accomplished a vertical split, it is unlikely that the UCPN will repeat its electoral success during the next constituent assembly election in 2013.

Maoist International Relations

Besides leading to a split within his own party, the Dahal-led 2005 strategic reorientation has created tensions with the neighboring Communist Party of India (Maoist) (CPI-Maoist).

A 2009 open letter from CPI-Maoist questioned the strategic turn taken by the UCPN, describing it as “right-deviationist” and “Euro-communist.” The CPI-Maoist letter also partly blamed the UCPN for causing the collapse of two international Maoist organizations: the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement and the Coordination Committee of Maoist Parties and Organizations in South Asia. Security analysts worry that the reconstitution of CPN-Maoist may once again lead to cross-border operations and relations between armed Maoist groups from both countries. The CPI-Maoist is the largest party in India behind the Naxalite insurgency: an ongoing civil conflict rarely reported in Western media.

Maoist parties are also currently engaged in armed conflicts with state forces in Bhutan, Bangladesh, Turkey, the Philippines, and Peru.

Geo-Political Considerations

One of the controversies dividing CPN-Maoist from UCPN is the relationship between Nepal’s revolutionary movement and the neighboring states of India and China. While in power the UCPN has fostered close ties with the Indian state, a move that CPN-Maoist and CPI-Maoist cadre disapprove of.

The UCPN, on the other hand, accuses the leadership of the CPN-Maoist of secretly meeting with Chinese state officials, a taboo within international Maoism. Maoist parties have ideologically and practically distanced themselves from the Chinese state and Communist Party since the early 1980s because, according the historical narrative followed by most Maoists outside of the People’s Republic of China, Maoist ideology was abandoned by the ruling Chinese Communist Party after the death of Mao Zedong in 1976 and a subsequent coup led by supporters of Deng Xiaoping against the Gang of Four.

Though China and Nepal are neighbors, they are economically and politically cut off from each other by the mountainous terrain between them. CPN-Maoist supporters contend that any meeting between the Nepali Maoists and Chinese officials would serve to create the distance from India necessary to carry forward the revolution in Nepal. CPN-Maoist supporters argue that, since India is a key regional ally of the U.S., moves by the UCPN to further tie Nepal to India strengthen U.S. imperialism regionally and globally.

Dustin Lewis is an independent writer and political analyst in the United States. He can be contacted directly at dustin.reads.much[at]gmail[dot]com.

CPN-Maoist Chairman Kiran: ‘China respects our sovereignty, India sets evil eye on Nepal’

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The following article below was originally published by Telegraph Nepal

Mohan Baidya Kiran, Chairman of the Nepal Communist Party-Maoist.

Mohan Baidya Kiran, Chairman of the Nepal Communist Party-Maoist.

Nepal note: China good, India evil, NCP-Maoist leaders claim

January 9, 2013

Whereas China respects Nepal’s sovereignty unconditionally, India on the other hand, has set an evil eye on Nepal. The northern neighbor has respect for us but the Indian ruling elites have always looked towards us with mal-intent. India’s evil eye towards Nepal must come to an end.

Addressing the inaugural session of the sixth general assembly of the party, Chairman Mohan Baidya Kiran of Nepal Communist Party-Maoist, made these fiery remarks in Tudikhel in Kathmandu, January 9, 2013.

Chinese Ambassador Yang Houlan was also present on the occasion. This has immense meaning.

Vice Chairman C.P. Gajurel informed the crowd that the party has received a congratulatory message from the Communist Party of China.

“The Indian expansionism is the major obstacle towards successful completion of our revolt,” Baidya continued.

“We do not want to criticize India for nothing. We want friendly relations with the people of India and we also want good relations to exist between the two countries. There exist several unequal treaties between the two countries. The Indian ruling elites continue to treat us unequally and they have set an evil eye on our country. There lay threat to our sovereignty from the South.”

In his high voltage speech, Chairman Baidya also said that his party was ready to take the charge of the nation.

But only if awarded. But who will begin this charitable work?

“We will come with new policies, plans and objectives. We will focus our discussion on defeating imperialists and expansionists. We will bring our plan of action to successfully complete the revolt that began a decade back. We are ready to take the country forward in the direction traced by our party.”

“It has become wide and clear that the parliamentary parties have become a failure. They are outdated. There is however, the need for alliance between real communists, republicans and nationalists. We do not want to maintain our relations with the parliamentary parties.”

Seated beside the firebrand leader Netra Bikram Chan Biplav was the Chinese ambassador followed by the Ambassador from North Korea.

Biplav, as per the media reports, has been secretly meeting PM Bhattarai upon his return from China.

The party leaders Dev Gurung, Ram Bahadur Thapa ‘Badal’, Netra Bikram Chand Biplav, C.P. Gajurel, Manik Lal Shrestha were also present on the dais.

Spokeswoman, Pampha Bhusal told the reporters that none representing the parliamentary parties including the Unified Maoists Party were invited to take part in the inaugural session.

Societal boycott?

“Our objective is to fight against the parliamentary system. It would have been unsuitable to have brought them to the dais”.

Capitalism: A Ghost Story

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The following speech below was originally given by Arundhati Roy on the 20th of January, 2012 at Xaviers college, Mumbai: 

By Arundhati Roy

Is it a house or a home? A temple to the new India, or a warehouse for its ghosts? Ever since Antilla arrived on Altamount Road in Mumbai, exuding mystery and quiet menace, things have not been the same. “Here we are,” the friend who took me there said “Pay your respects to our new Ruler.”

Antilla belongs to India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani. I’d read about this most expensive dwelling ever built, the twenty-seven floors, three helipads, nine lifts, hanging gardens, ballrooms, weather rooms, gymnasiums, six floors of parking, and the six hundred servants. Nothing had prepared me for the vertical lawn—a soaring, 27 storey high, wall of grass attached to a vast metal grid. The grass was dry in patches; bits had fallen off in neat rectangles. Clearly, Trickledown hadn’t worked.

But Gush-Up certainly has. That’s why in a nation of 1.2 billion, India’s 100 richest people own assets equivalent to one-fourth of the GDP.

The word on the street (and in the New York Times) is, or at least was, that after all that effort and gardening, the Ambanis don’t live in Antilla. No one knows for sure. People still whisper about ghosts and bad luck, Vastu and Feng Shui. Maybe it’s all Karl Marx’s fault. (All that cussing.) Capitalism, he said, “has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, that it is like the sorcerer who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells.”

In India the 300 million of us who belong to the new, post-IMF “reforms” middle class—the market—live side by side with spirits of the nether world, the poltergeists of dead rivers, dry wells, bald mountains and denuded forests; the ghosts of 250,000 debt-ridden farmers who have killed themselves, and of the 800 million who have been impoverished and dispossessed to make way for us. And who survive on less than twenty rupees a day.

Mukesh Ambani is personally worth $20 billion. He holds a majority controlling share in Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) a company with a market capitalization of $ 47 billion and global business interests that include petrochemicals, oil, natural gas, polyester fibre, Special Economic Zones, fresh food retail, high schools, life sciences research and stem cell storage services. RIL recently bought 95% shares in Infotel, a TV consortium that controls 27 TV news and entertainment channels including CNN-IBN, IBN Live, CNBC, IBN Lokmat, and ETV in almost every regional language. Infotel owns the only nation-wide license for 4G Broadband, a high speed ‘information pipeline’ which, if the technology works, could be the future of information exchange. Mr. Ambani also owns a cricket team.

RIL is one of a handful of corporations that run India. Some of the others are the Tatas, Jindals, Vedanta, Mittals, Infosys, Essar and the other Reliance (ADAG), owned by Mukesh’s brother Anil. Their race for growth has spilled across Europe, Central Asia, Africa and Latin America. Their nets are cast wide; they are visible and invisible, over-ground as well as underground. The Tatas for example, run more than 100 companies in 80 countries. They are one of India’s oldest and largest private sector power companies. They own mines, gas fields, steel plants, telephone, 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, a major brand of iodized salt and the cosmetics giant Lakme. Their advertising tagline could easily be: You Can’t Live without Us.

According to the rules of the Gush-Up Gospel, the more you have, the more you can have.

The era of the Privatization of Everything has made the Indian economy one of the fastest growing in the world. However, like any good old-fashioned colony, one of its main exports is its minerals. India’s new mega-corporations Tatas, Jindals, Essar, Reliance, Sterlite, are those who have managed to muscle their way to the head of the spigot that is spewing money extracted from deep inside the earth. It’s a dream come true for businessmen—to be able to sell what they don’t have to buy. Read the rest of this entry

The village India didn’t know about: Maoist red army its govt.

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By Harinder Baweja
April 22, 2012

Helicopters were kept on standby for casualty evacuation; targets were chosen with care after studying satellite images and the troops were warned — the encounters would be fierce and the naxals could be in the hundreds, even thousands. After weeks of planning, security forces armed with automatic rifles, satellite phones and Swedish Carl Gustav rocket launchers made their very first foray into the dense Abujhmad jungle, straddling the two states of Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh.  Abujhmad, or ‘unknown hill’ — 6,000 sq km of thick forest — has not been surveyed since the British.

As part of the operation, security forces had zoomed in on a map of the area with the help of Google Earth, on to a couple of structures they identified as a ‘naxal camp’. A plan was prepared to go in and take out the naxalites. The mission had a second aim — the stronghold had to be psychologically breached, since it is as much home to the naxals as it is a zone ‘liberated’ of all government control.

Primed for a fierce fight, weapons ready, the troops marched 70 km to the ‘naxal camp’.

What they found instead was a village with 15 to 20 thatched huts. The cluster of buildings the forces saw for the first time on Google Earth were homes of Muria tribals, now startled at the sight of armed men in uniform.

“Nobody knew there was a village called Bodiguda,” S Elango, CRPF DIG (operations) exclaimed, of a village that had been discovered for the first time since Independence.

The nameless, faceless tribals — who have never seen or heard of electricity or water taps, schools or dispensaries, men or machines — have grown up believing the naxals are the government. The rebels bring them rice and medicines and take care of their daily needs. They’ve never seen transport or ration through PDS; what they are familiar with is the Red army.

The closest to civilisation is a larger village — or town — called Behramgarh, 29 km away, which also has a police station but the tribals of Bodiguda seldom venture there.

The grand strategy — to control the naxal spread — is to clear, hold and develop. Last month’s security operation that took weeks of planning ended with a one-hour exchange of fire in the jungles. Two injured jawans, no naxal arrests, and yes, the discovery of Bodiguda.

Early this week, home minister P Chidambaram, speaking of the Red threat to chief ministers, said they did not have the upper hand because “there are not enough men, weapons and vehicles, not enough roads, and not enough… civil administration.” He could well have added another line — and some states don’t know of villages where our own live.

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A Tale of Two Rocket Launches

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By Stephen Gowans
April 22, 2012

A tale of the two rocket launches: North Korea's Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 (left) and India's Agni-V (right).

North Korea launched a rocket on April 13 to loft a satellite into space–part of the country’s civilian space program. The rocket, based on ballistic missile technology, broke up only minutes after launch. Western state officials and media rebuked Pyongyang for directing part of its strained budget to a rocket launch when it depends on outside food aid. Along with other countries, India “voiced deep concern.” [1]

Six days later, India launched Agni-V, a ballistic missile capable of delivering a 1.5 ton nuclear warhead to any point in China. India–which the American Federation of Scientists estimates has an arsenal of 80 to 100 nuclear weapons—boasted that the launch represented “another milestone” in its “quest to add to the credibility” of its “security and preparedness.” [2]

Both launches violated UN Security Council resolutions. Security Council Resolution 1172 (1998) calls upon India “to cease development of ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.” [3] Security Council Resolutions 1718 (2006) [4] and 1874 (2009) [5] direct North Korea to do the same.

On April 16, North Korea was censured by the Security Council for violating resolutions 1718 and 1874. [6] India has not been censured for violating resolution 1172. Indeed, that a Security Council resolution exists which prohibits India’s ballistic missile program has been almost completely ignored.

What’s more, while North Korea was savagely attacked in the Western media for its satellite launch, the same media treated India’s long-range ballistic missile test with either indifference or approval. India’s massive poverty was not juxtaposed against its decision to allocate resources to building nuclear warheads and the missiles to carry them.

North Korea’s nuclear weapons

The United States was the first country to introduce nuclear weapons to the Korean peninsula, in the form of tactical battlefield weapons. Later, when the USSR dissolved, Lee Butler, the head of the US Strategic Command, announced that the United States would retarget some of its strategic ballistic nuclear missiles from the former Soviet Union to North Korea. One month later, Pyongyang withdrew from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. [7]

A cardinal principle of nuclear nonproliferation is that countries with nuclear weapons should not target countries without them. Doing so provides the targeted country with a reason to develop its own nuclear weapons as a deterrent.

After North Korea’s first underground nuclear test, on October 9, 2006, the UN Security Council met to impose sanctions. At the meeting, North Korean ambassador Pak Gil Yon explained that North Korea initiated its nuclear weapons program because it felt compelled to protect itself from the danger of war from the United States.

This was hardly paranoid. Washington’s desire to see the collapse of North Korea is undoubted. An ideological competitor vis-à-vis the United States whose zeal for economic and political independence is second to none, North Korea remains one of the few remaining challenges to the US-led neo-liberal world economic order. In an attempt to crush the fiercely independent state, Washington has made North Korea the most heavily sanctioned country on earth—and hasn’t relieved the pressure in six decades.

This, on top of tactical and strategic nuclear weapons threats, nearly 30,000 US troops on the Korean peninsula, the incessant visits of nuclear weapons-equipped US warships and warplanes to South Korean ports and airbases, and the Pentagon’s de facto control of the South Korean military in peacetime and de jure control in wartime, constitutes a significant existential threat to North Korea.

In 2003, the Bush administration ratcheted up the threat by naming North Korea as part of an “axis of evil.” It then invaded the first country on its list, Iraq, and warned the other two to “draw the appropriate lesson.” [8] In light of this, Pak’s explanation that North Korea conducted the nuclear test to “bolster its self-defense” and that it “wouldn’t need nuclear weapons if the US dropped its hostile policies” rings true. [9]

Since then, the United States has delivered an additional reason for Pyongyang to draw the appropriate lesson—though not the one it hoped. Nato’s intervention in Libya on behalf of al-Qaeda-connected rebels likely wouldn’t have happened had the country’s leader, Muammar Gaddafi, not given up his chemical and nuclear weapons programs in exchange for reversal of sanctions and Western investment.

Hypocrisy

Washington says that it believes China sold North Korea the chassis for a missile-transport vehicle displayed in a North Korean military parade shortly after the failed satellite launch and would use “the episode to tighten pressure to better enforce United Nations sanctions forbidding the sale of weapons or technology to North Korea that would aid its ballistic missile and technology program.” [10]

Security Council resolution 1718 directs member states not to supply North Korea with battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, artillery, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, missiles or missile systems. A truck chassis hardly fits the list, and is clearly not a nuclear weapon or technology.

But why does a resolution—which concerns a nuclear test—ban sales to North Korea of conventional military equipment? Resolution 1172, dealing with India’s and Pakistan’s nuclear tests, imposed no similar sanctions on these countries. The likely explanation is that the resolution aims to deny Pyongyang an effective means of self-defense, both nuclear and conventional. In other words, the Security Council used North Korea’s efforts to tighten its security as a pretext to block its access to the equipment, technology and materials it needs for self-defense. By contrast, since the United States dropped its sanctions on India last decade, the latter has been permitted to add to the credibility of its security and preparedness without impediment.

Moreover, why was North Korea sanctioned at all? Having withdrawn from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty under the threat posed by US strategic missiles, Pyongyang was bound by no international covenant prohibiting it from developing nuclear weapons. The Security Council justified the sanctions on the grounds that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is a threat to international peace and security. Invoking authority to prevent possible outbreaks of war between nations, however, has become a convenient way for the Security Council to legitimize arbitrary actions. It simply describes some incident as a threat to peace between nations—whether it is or not–and thereby hands itself authority to act.

Have North Korea’s nuclear tests truly represented a threat to international peace and security, or only a threat to the ability of certain permanent Security Council members to target North Korea with nuclear weapons free from the risk of nuclear retaliation? The United States, Britain and other countries that have nuclear weapons emphasize the deterrent nature of their nuclear arsenals. Rather than threatening international peace and security, these countries maintain that their WMDs preserve it. Why, then, should WMDs in the hands of countries threatened with nuclear annihilation constitute threats, while in the hands of the countries that pose the threat, nuclear weapons are considered a buttress to international peace and security? It seems more likely that peace and security between nations would be strengthened were the United States to cease targeting North Korea with nuclear weapons or were it deterred by Pyongyang’s possible nuclear retaliation.

Obviously (though not so obviously to Washington) a truck chassis is not a nuclear weapon or technology, but it is not unknown for Washington to broaden the definition of banned items to turn ostensibly narrow sanctions into broad-based ones. [11] UN Security Resolutions 1718 and 1874 do the same. While they appear to be limited to prohibiting North Korea from developing ballistic missile technology for military use, they have been interpreted by the Security Council to prohibit civilian use, as well. Hence, in censuring Pyongyang for its satellite launch, the president of the Security Council noted that any rocket launch that uses ballistic missile technology, even for civilian use, is a violation of the UN Security Council resolutions. [12] This means that as far as the Security Council is concerned, North Korea cannot have a civilian space program.

The United States’ criticism of China for selling North Korea a truck chassis, on grounds that the sale is a violation of a Security Council resolution, is not only baseless, it’s hypocritical. Washington has agreed to sell India spent nuclear fuel and nuclear technology, not only to “bring tens of billions in business to the United States” but to also cement “a new partnership between the two nations to counter China’s rise.” [13] Yet Security Council resolution 1172 directs “all States to prevent the export of equipment, materials or technology that could in any way assist programs in India or Pakistan for nuclear weapons.” Hence, while the United States accuses China of violating a Security Council resolution by selling the North Koreans truck parts, Washington itself has cleared the way to export equipment, material and technology to India to assist its nuclear program in violation of a Security Council resolution. Canada, too, which is selling uranium to India, is violating the same Security Council resolution. [14]

There are, then, four sets of double-standards that mark the West’s reaction to North Korea’s satellite launch.

• North Korea was censured by the Security Council for launching a satellite as part of a civilian space program, but India escaped censure for launching a ballistic missile whose purpose would be to destroy Chinese cities. Both launches violated Security Council resolutions, but the Security Council and Western media ignore the resolution prohibiting India’s ballistic missile program.

• North Korea’s attempt to loft a satellite into space was reviled by Western media and presented as a threat, while India’s launch of a long-range missile capable of carrying a payload to wipe Chinese cities off the map merited few critical remarks.

• North Korea was rebuked for what was widely described as an extravagant expenditure on a rocket launch at a time Pyongyang is dependent on outside help to feed its people [15], while India’s widespread and profound poverty hardly seemed a consideration to a Western media that could find little critical to say about India’s expensive nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program.

• China has been criticized by the United States for selling truck parts to North Korea, presumably in violation of a Security Council resolution prohibiting sales of conventional military equipment to Pyongyang, while it has approved the sale of spent nuclear fuel and nuclear technology to India in violation of Security Council Resolution 1172.

India’s efforts to add to the credibility of its security and preparedness are accepted as legitimate by Western governments and media because they’re directed at China. Pyongyang’s efforts to add to the credibility of its security and preparedness are reviled and censured because they’re aimed at bolstering North Korea’s defense against hegemonic threats. India’s actions—insofar as they contribute to the United States’ new military strategic focus of containing the challenge of China’s rise—is in Wall Street’s interests. North Korea’s actions—in challenging the United States’ ability to forcibly integrate the country into the US-led neo-liberal world economic order—is against Wall Street’s interests. Accordingly, one rocket launch is condoned, the other condemned.

1. “India’s role in Asia-Pacific enormously important: US”, The Economic Times, April 17, 2012.
2. Simon Denyer, “India tests missile capable of reaching Beijing”, The Washington Post, April 19, 2012.
3. http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N98/158/60/PDF/N9815860.pdf?OpenElement
4. http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N06/572/07/PDF/N0657207.pdf?OpenElement
5. http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N09/368/49/PDF/N0936849.pdf?OpenElement
6. http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N12/295/91/PDF/N1229591.pdf?OpenElement
7. Bruce Cumings, Korea’s Place in the Sun: A Modern History, W.W. Norton & Company, 2005. 488-489.
8. The warning was issued by US Undersecretary of State John Bolton. The other country on the list was Iran, now subjected to economic warfare, assassinations, sabotage, incursions by US reconnaissance drones, attacks by proxy terrorist armies, destabilization and threats of military intervention by the United States, its invariable cobelligerent Britain, and Israel.
9. http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N06/572/07/PDF/N0657207.pdf?OpenElement
10. Mark Landler, “Suspected sale by China stirs concern at White House”, The New York Times, April 20, 2012.
11. Similarly, Nato bombing campaigns notoriously broaden the definition of legitimate military targets to cover civilian infrastructure, including roads, bridges, TV and radio broadcasting facilities, factories and even farms.
12. The combined implication of the resolutions is that:

• North Korea cannot lawfully defend itself against the threat of nuclear attack;
• It cannot lawfully be sold conventional military equipment for self-defense;
• It cannot lawfully have a civilian space program.
13. Simon Denyer and Pama Lakshmi, “U.S.-India nuclear deal drifts dangerously”, The Washington Post, July 15, 2011.
14. Bill Curry, “Canada signs nuclear deal with India”, The Globe and Mail (Toronto), June 27, 2010.
15. Sanctions contribute heavily to North Korea’s food security problems.

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India: RDF Statement – ‘Condemn the cold-blooded murder of Maoist Leader, Kishanji’

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The following statement was originally published by the International Campaign Against War on the People in India

November 25, 2011

Kishanji, aka Mallojula Koteswara Rao, Politburo Member of CPI (Maoist)

We strongly condemn the cold-blooded murder and planned assassination of Kishanji alias Mallojula Koteswara Rao, Politburo Member of CPI (Maoist) in Burishol forest area, Paschim Midnapore District, Jangalmahal, West Bengal on 24 November 2011. At the time of this murder Kishanji was dealing with the process of peace talks through the interlocutors appointed by the Chief Minister of West Bengal Ms. Mamata Banerjee. Such a heinous crime should be condemned by all justice loving people.

According CPI (Maoist) statement issued to the media on today, Kishanji was arrested and tortured and then brutally killed. This murder looks much similar to that of Azad’s in July 2010, when Azad was brutally tortured and killed while he was dealing with the Union Government’s offer of peace talks through union Home Ministry appointed interlocutor.

In these circumstances, the Joint Forces’ story of a fierce gun battle in Burishol forest of Paschim Midnapore district comes out to be a concocted one.  It is significant that the mother of Kishanji, Ms. Madhuramma while maintaining it is a fake encounter has also demanded a judicial enquiry. Under the circumstances, we demand:

1.     The fake encounter killing of Kishanji should be investigated by a Judicial Enquiry Committee of a sitting or retired judge of Supreme Court.

2.     Immediately register a case of Murder against the police, and paramilitary personnel who have claimed to have killed Koteswara Rao alias Kishanji, Politburo member, CPI (Maoist) in Burishol Forest area, Paschim Midnapore District, Jangalmahal, West Bengal taken place on 24-11-2011.

3.      All those who are the suspects and involved in this coldblooded murder should temporarily be removed from the office till the Judicial Enquiry is completed.

4.     Kishanji’s body should be airlifted to Hyderabad and handed over to his mother after proper post-mortem being conducted by the designated team of doctors and forensic experts not below the rank of civil surgeons.

5.     Meanwhile, Kishanji’s body should be preserved with appropriate embalming.

 

B D Sharma,Former National Commissioner for Scheduled Castes and Tribes

G N Saibaba, Deputy Secretary, Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF)

Communist Party of India (Marxist), On Occupy Wall Street Protests

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‘OCCUPY WALL STREET’ PROTESTS

Growing Anger Against
Capitalist Crisis

AT the recently-concluded summit of India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA) held at Johannesburg, South Africa, prime minister Manmohan Singh has called upon the developed countries to “take steps to avoid hard landing of global economy”. This call comes a fortnight before the leaders of G-20 are to meet at Cannes, France.

Before departing for the summit, the prime minister held high level consultations with the managers and advisors of the Indian economy expressing deep anxiety on tackling Indian economy’s twin problems of soaring inflation and sharply declining industrial growth rate.

Both the PM’s call to the developed nations and the prescription to be adopted for the Indian economy reflect the fact that India under the leadership of the UPA-II government continues to look for solutions within the framework of neo-liberal economic reforms. These, as we shall see later, will only deepen the misery of the vast mass of the Indian people.

Importantly, these expressions of the Indian prime minister show that he is completely oblivious, as many leaders of the global economy have ‘chosen’ to be, of the growing global anti-‘Wall Street’ protests. These are sweeping across the world from Australia through Asia, Europe and, of course, to the Americas. Over 1500 protest actions took place all over the world on the ‘global day of action’ in 82 countries. The `Occupy Wall Street’ movement began on September 17, 2011 in Liberty Square in New York Manhattan’s financial district and has now spread to over 100 cities in the USA. The rallying point of all these actions was the focus against `corporate greed’ as the cause of the current global capitalist crisis that is threatening to slide into a double-dip recession.

While, on the one hand, protestors in Boston outside the Bank of America building carried screaming headlines declaring `class war’, the rightwing Republican Party has raised the alarm that these protests are, indeed, a `class war’.

Since the global recession began, reportedly the sale of Karl Marx’s Das Kapital have soared. Even the venerable Pope, reports suggest, has ordered copies for the Vatican. During the anti-Vietnam war protests, in the same city of Boston, university campuses had posters saying: “if you want to make the grade, then you have to be good at Mar(x)ks”.

Those falling back on Karl Marx’s seminal work Das Kapital to understand the functioning of the capitalist system and the genesis of its crises will do well to read the concluding chapter of Volume I. “Capital comes dripping from head to foot, from every pore, with blood and dirt”. He buttresses this with a quote, in a footnote, from a worker T J Dunning: “With adequate profit, capital is very bold. A certain 10 per cent will ensure its employment anywhere; 20 per cent will produce eagerness; 50 per cent, positive audacity; 100 per cent will make it ready to trample on all human laws; 300 per cent and there is not a crime at which it will scruple, nor a risk it will run, even to the chance of its owner being hanged.” It is this pathological drive to maximise profits at any cost, the inherent character of the capitalist system and not the individual greed of some or weakness of regulatory mechanisms that is the root cause for the present crisis.

Greed is but a euphemism, one amongst many others, for profit maximisation, the raison d’etre of the capitalist system. The myth that greed is something alien to capitalism and, hence, can be kept under check is, once again, exploded. Capitalism has greed as its inseparable companion. It is the system and not the avaricious attributes of individual capitalists that is the culprit.

Another consciously engendered myth that the State under capitalism is a benign neutral entity has been shattered. True to its character, the capitalist State intervened to bailout those very financial giants who, in first place, caused the current crisis. The Special Inspector General for the US government’s financial bailout programmes says, “Since the onset of the financial crisis in 2007, the federal government, through many agencies, has implemented dozens of programmes that are broadly designed to support the economy and the financial system. The total potential federal government support could reach upto $ 23.7 trillion.” Compare this with USA’s GDP which is just over $ 14 trillion. The US treasury spokesman, however, denies the veracity of this figure.

Similarly, there have been large-scale borrowings by the governments of several developed countries to finance such bailouts. Corporate insolvencies have thus been converted into sovereign insolvencies. In order to meet this debt burden, the EU is today in convulsions with governments like Greece, now Spain more likely to follow, adopting severe `austerity’ measures, meaning, drastic cuts in social benefits and expenditures for the working people. General strikes and protests have become the order of the day.

The impact of the crisis has been severe. One in six US citizens are living in poverty, according to new census data. The US Census Bureau reported that average household incomes dropped and the poverty rate increased for the third year in a row. The official unemployment rate is currently 9.1 per cent, meaning 14 million US citizens are out of work. And the overall poverty rate climbed to 15.1 per cent in 2010, or 46.2 million, up from 14.3 per cent in 2009. The poverty line is set at an annual income of $22,300 for a family of four. Real median household income declined by 6.4 per cent to $49,445 between 2007 and 2010. The income drop for black people was a whopping 15 per cent compared with a 7.1 per cent average. The unemployment rate for African-Americans is currently 16.7 per cent. Reflecting the impact of the recession, the US poverty rate from 2007-10 rose faster than any three-year period since the early 1980s, when a crippling energy crisis and neoliberal government cuts contributed to inflation, spiraling interest rates and soaring unemployment. The total number of people living in poverty — over 46 million — is the highest in numerical terms since the census began tracking it in 1959. As a proportion of the population it ties with the 1993 poverty level for the highest since 1983. The income share of the country’s top 1 per cent is hovering around 20 per cent, up from about 8 per cent in the 1970s.

Further, new US census data analysed by the Pew Research Centre shows that the recession wreaked havoc on the wealth of all Americans but that whites lost the least amount as a percentage of their holdings. Between 2005 and 2009, the median net worth of Hispanic households dropped by 66 per cent and that of black households fell by 53 per cent. In contrast, the median net worth of white households dropped by only 16 per cent. The median net worth of a white family now stands at 20 times that of a black family and 18 times that of a Hispanic family — roughly twice the gap that existed before the recession and the biggest gap since data began being collected in 1984. The recession also has slashed the wealth of Asian American households, which in 2005 had higher median wealth than white families but by 2009 had less. Their median wealth figure dropped by 54 per cent. Between 2005 and 2009, the share of wealth owned by the wealthiest 10 per cent of all households rose to 56 per cent from 49 per cent. The share of Americans with no wealth at all rose sharply during the recession. A third of Hispanics had zero or negative net worth in 2009, up from 23 per cent in 2005. For blacks, the portion rose to 35 per cent from 29 per cent, and for whites, it rose to 15 per cent from 11 per cent. For years, statistics have depicted growing income disparity in the United States, and it has reached levels not seen since the Great Depression.

On the other hand, what is the situation of the financial giants on the Wall Street that in the first place triggered this crisis? The Bank of America, having then acquired the ‘bankrupt’ Merrill Lynch has earned $ 3.7 billion in the first half of 2011. Goldman Sachs set aside $ 5.23 billion as bonuses to its executives. The bank reported net additional revenues of $ 11.89 billion and net earnings of $ 2.7 billion for the first quarter.

In this context, the PM’s concerns noted above, indeed, appear natural. But what are the prescriptions that are being offered to us in India? While headline inflation stood at 9.72 per cent in September, food, fuel and consumer goods grew costlier than this. On the other hand, the index of industrial production fell to a dismal 4.1 per cent. Global recession has seen exports falling from 82 to 36 per cent between July-September. Imports fell likewise indicating a sluggish domestic demand. This has widened our trade deficit to an unprecedented $ 73.5 billion.

Investors are complaining that the RBI’s measures to control inflation has pushed the cost of credit, leading, in turn, to declining investment. The presumption is that if cost of capital is cheap, then investment will rise leading to higher growth.

The fallacy lies in the fact that what is produced through higher investments needs to be sold which requires purchasing power in the hands of the people. With this drastically declining globally and in our country, the neo-liberal prescription simply cannot work. It is only a veil to camouflage the earning of higher speculative profits utilising cheap credit. This is reflected in the global trends where the same financial corporates that triggered this recession increased speculative trading by increasing the amount of derivatives on their books by $ 11.3 trillion in the third quarter from the first quarter. The main culprits of the current recession, J P Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs account for about 90 per cent of the activity in derivatives or speculative trading.

Keynesian State intervention was one possible way in which such naked pursuit of profit maximisation could have been muted. Keynesianism far from being the palliative to provide relief to the people was structurally designed to stabilise the capitalist system from its inherent tendencies of plunging into recurrent crises. Under the neo-liberal dispensation, however, State intervention comes to the rescue of corporates at the expense of the people, further destabilising the system.

In the Indian context, as noted repeatedly in these columns, our economic fundamentals can only be strengthened and stabilised when interventions are designed to expand the purchasing power of our people, thus, enlarging aggregate domestic demand. This, in turn, would set in motion a trajectory of sustainable growth.

The PM and his advisors could do well to reconsider and reverse the trend of providing over Rs 5 lakh crores as tax concessions to the rich, as revealed in the last two budget documents. These monies, if instead, were invested in public work projects, this would have built the much-needed infrastructure while generating large-scale employment and, thus, vastly enlarging people’s purchasing power.

The choice can still be made. The UPA-II government must be made to make this choice through mounting popular pressures backed by mighty protest actions.

Source

Indian communist leader speaks to U.S. activists

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By John Catalinotto
October 1, 2011

Manik Mukherjee

Manik Mukherjee, co-chairperson of the International Anti-Imperialist and People’s Solidarity Coordinating Committee and a leader of the Socialist Unity Center of India, spoke to a gathering of political activists in New York City at the Solidarity Center on Sept. 19.

Those at the meeting included Marxists and other activists originally from the Philippines, Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh and India besides those working with the International Action Center in New York.

The IAPSCC is holding its third international conference, this one in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where it will coordinate its work with the mass movement there. Mukherjee said, “We are getting positive responses from many countries and expect it to be a big success.”

Mukherjee warned about the growing collaboration between U.S. imperialism and the government of India, which he characterized as “also an imperialist power.” He gave a historic overview of the developments in India since the country’s liberation from Britain.

“In 1948-1949, the government produced a five-year plan and claimed that was socialism. Big industry was supposed to gradually go over to state ownership. (Jawaharlal) Nehru promoted this project.

“Many people believed state ownership was socialism. This is not so. The Communist Party of India at the time (it has since split into the Communist Party of India and the CPI-Marxist) both supported the Nehru government. They advocated nationalization of the banks. But U.S. imperialism knew it was not really socialism.”

Later, in response to a question, Mukherjee explained the difficulty posed to revolutionary parties because the CPI and the CPI-M have been the parties in state power, but the state is still a capitalist state. Thus the CPI-M takes the responsibility in many cases for crushing workers’ and peasants’ struggles, as they did over the last few years in West Bengal. Mukherjee also differentiated his group from the Naxalites, who he said carry out their struggle with participation by the masses.

On U.S.-India relations, Mukherjee stated: “In 1948 India was a relatively weak capitalist or imperialist power. But it was able to accept help from both the United States and the Soviet Union, and gave the appearance of being neutral.

“Now Indian imperialism is much stronger. India and China have both been free of the economic crisis that is buffeting the U.S., Europe and Japan. The U.S., Britain, Germany, France, Italy are all suffering from recession.

“The collaboration between India and the U.S. will continue. India needs the U.S. market. Washington wants the alliance in order to contain China. Both target China.”

Mukherjee described the potential for further struggle in the country: “In India, 65 percent of the people live below the poverty line. Only 10 percent of the people are earning enough to live reasonably comfortably. A tiny number of very wealthy capitalists — among the richest people in the world — are able to buy industries in England. But industry is gradually being closed in India.

“Though India is doing relatively well now, we have no illusions that India will escape the capitalist crisis, which can’t be avoided.

“The capitalists are unable to invest in new industrial production, except in new war industries, and the governments spend on the ‘defense’ industry.

“However,” Mukherjee stressed, “there is no automatic development of class and political consciousness from the crisis. The capitalist economy is unable to provide, so people are rebelling. But in the absence of a revolutionary party this rebellion is limited. The subjective conditions are not there yet.

“A conscious proletarian movement will develop from within with the help of a Marxist-Leninist party. A revolutionary party will have to educate the people. This can only be done under the leadership of a communist party in India.”

Clearly referring to organizing internationally, including in the United States, Mukherjee said, “a party like Workers World Party will have to expand its influence and will have to explain to the people what will be needed.”

“It is impossible to solve the problems of the crisis — to provide for health, jobs, environment, peace — while maintaining the same system we have today. We will need a system of peoples’ power like the soviets of the 1917 Russian Revolution.”

Source