Archive for the ‘CPI(Marxist)’ Category

CPI(M): Transformation to Social Democracy and Ruling Class decay

August 2, 2007

I honestly believe that the CPI(Marxist) is suffering from case of multiple
personality disorder… A case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

Its West Bengal unit murders farmers to acquire their lands for
industries while its Andhra Pradesh unit has its cadre murdered
by state terror forces in its land struggles.

CPI(Marxist): Transformation to Social Democracy and Ruling Class decay

observer

when a prominent daily of Kerala, Mathrubhumi, published full details of a 2 crore deal between the management of Deshabhimani, CPI(M)’s daily, and Santiago Martin, one of the dons of lottery mafia in South India, now absconding from Tamilnadu police, CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat had to air dash to Thiruvananthapuram and order a probe by leading members of state secretariat. It was only a week before that a prominent manager of Deshabimani had to be dismissed for receiving Rs. one crore from the chief of a financial company indulging in large-scale cheating of the public – a blade company as it is called in the state.

It was to save its face from such numerous Kozha (bribe) cases, on which High Court ordered a vigilance enquiry, the LDF home minister had ordered another vigilance enquiry about a two year old allegation that the state Congress chief had received Rs. 10 crores from Himalaya Company, another blade company, the owners of which are involved in a multiple murder case. But this initiative by the CPI(M) minister has boomeranged with the announcement of Himalaya owners, who are on bail, on 19th July that they have handed over a big amount to one of the resident editors of Deshabhimani too in one CPI(M) Member of Parliament’s flat in Delhi.

Along with these multi-crore allegations, already the image of CPI(M) leadership, especially that of the state secretary who is the main accused in the Rs. 374 crores Lavalin case, was much tarnished with the building of a luxurious house for him and owning amusement parks and hundreds of crores worth property by the party. The climax was that the CPI(M) office built in an illegally transferred plot at Munnar was constructed by a real estate firm which is allowed to run it as a fabulous resort for ten years on BOT basis, similar to the CPI office nearby. That is why both CPI(M) and CPI leaderships were enraged when their own chief minister ordered the re-capture of nearby 60,000 acres of government land illegally occupied by Tatas for last three decades, in which these resorts cum party offices also stand.

The CPI state secretary, the revenue and forest ministers belonging to it and its other top leaders were the first to come out opposing the appointment of a special team to take back the land and the deployment of JCBs to bring down the resorts including CPI and CPI(M) offices built on land illegally transferred by Tatas. They acted like naked dalals of Tatas true to their three decade long history of shameless servitude to them. Tatas helped them by recognising AITUC as the only recognised union for a long time and providing generous benefits of all kinds to AITUC and CPI leaders. CPI tried and is still trying to undermine the chief minister’s initiative to take back the government land from Tatas. So when CPI called for a fund to revive Janayugam, its daily which was closed down a decade back, it could collect Rs. 10 crores much beyond its own expectations as Tatas like corporate houses and land mafias generously contributed. In spite of all its protestations CPI is exposed more than ever as a reactionary agent of Tatas like forces. Its ministers have cut down their tours fearing protest demonstrations against them.

Munnar Kannan Devan Hills, about 1,37,000 acres in area, was given on 99 years lease to a British man for tea plantation by a local king which lapsed in 1971. In 1974 under a Land Board order 57,000 acres were given to Tatas on a new lease for tea plantation and accessories. 20,000 acres were kept for Eravikulam wild life sanctuary. Though the whole land had to be surveyed and rest of the land was to be taken over by the government, for 33 years neither the UDF nor the LDF governments did not do so as they were generously contributed by Tatas. Meanwhile violating conditions of lease, Tatas sold large plots to many private agencies, individuals, CPI, CPI(M) like parties and many relatives of UDF leaders. The chief minister, who was being increasingly side lined by the group led by CPI(M) state secretary within the organisation, took initiative to recapture the land under Tatas’ illegal occupation not because he was against the social democratic line of the party, but with the intention of increasing his influence among the cadres by the time of the party state conference in February 2008.

But once the Munnar operation began all UDF and LDF parties including CPI(M) state leadership, the bureaucracy and the monopoly media joined hands to sabotage it directly or indirectly. Tatas spent lavishly to please these dalals and is engaged in utilising the High Court to delay the operation. And the CPI(M) district secretary who had grown from rags to riches with Tatas’ help openly challenged the chief minister by announcing that he will cut the hands of those who dare to continue the operation. It shows the extent of degeneration of CPI(M) and the gravity of the feud between chief minister Achuthanandan and CPI(M)’s state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan factions which is intensifying even after suspension of both of them from politbureau.

Even if one forgets about Singur, Nandigram and other happenings in West Bengal and Tripura where CPI(M) led Left Front governments are in power for a long time, what is happening in Kerala during last 15 months after CPI(M)-led LDF government coming to power alone is sufficient to expose the degeneration of CPI(M) to the level of any other ruling class party in the country. It will be interesting to add here that even the article written by Prakash Karat in People’s Democracy criticising the 2 crores deal with the lottery don was diluted while it was published in Deshabhimani. In 1985, in The Marxist, the theoretical quarterly of CPI(M), Prakash Karat has written an article: Naxalbari Today: At an Ideological Dead end. It will be interesting to hear what he has to say about what is happening to CPI(M), its politics, ideology and organisation today, when what the Naxalites had analysed about CPI(M) as a party fast degenerating from neo-revisionism to social democracy is proved correct and when the ‘Naxalites’ overcoming their sectarian past are regrouping and providing a serious challenge agianst imperialist globalisation, SEZs and other ruling class policies.

The West Bengal chief minister Budhadeb Bhattacharyee has justified this transformation in his latest interview to The Hindustan Times (19th July) as follows: “The world is changing. Communists are also changing. We can’t stick to our old dogmas. Deng Xiaoping used to say: Learn truth from the facts, not from dogmas.” This faithful disciple of Deng of ‘Black cat, White cat theory’ adds: “Without industry how do you progress? This is the general trend of all civilization – from village to city, from agriculture to industry. You cannot stop it, you should not stop it. And for that you need private industry, private capital, you need big business. We need multinationals.” The same words are echoed by EP Jayarajan, managing director of Deshabhimani in Kerala: “Once we worked taking black tea and dal vada, using simple dress. Can we work in same manner today. World has changed.”

These leaders forget that Deshabhimani survived by getting the contributions of ordinary people once, ordinary people like Palora Matha, a poor peasant woman, who gave the only property she had, a calf, for its fund, and thousands of others like her. By forgetting it and going for crores worth contributions from lottery dons like criminals, CPI(M) has abandoned its very class line itself. It has reached a dead end as far as Marxist approaches are concerned.

Cpiml.in

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Right In, Left out

August 1, 2007

Even while the Left in Latin America flies on the wings of new radicalism, the official Left, especially the CPM, devoid of any coherent ideology, is rapidly sinking in a statist quagmire of crony capitalism

Rajat Roy Kolkata

In mid-June this year, the remnants of erstwhile East Germany’s Communist Party (PDS) and the disillusioned section of the Social Democrat Party of former West Germany got together in Berlin to form a new party, ‘Die Linke’ (The Left). The declaration in the founding Congress stated that its new ideology will be based on the trinity of ‘socialism, democracy and freedom’. More importantly, to distance themselves from the age-old Stalinist model of ideology, they stressed the exclusion of ‘State Socialism’ from their party framework. Expectedly, the delegates mentioned Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels and Rosa Luxemburg, but, significantly, ignored Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin. Indeed, when entire Europe is moving towards the Right (witness the recent French presidential election), Germany’s Leftists managed to achieve what eluded them even in the time of Adolf Hitler’s rise to power. The new party boasts a membership of about 72,000, with 55 MPs in Bundestag (Germany’s Parliament); obviously, it seems to be a sizeable leftist force in German politics and in Europe.

In recent times, while winds of change have started blowing in the ‘radical world’ in Europe, the Left in Latin America has turned it into a whirlwind. Fidel Castro’s Cuba was always there as a great symbol of resistance in the backyard of the US, but it was only after Hugo Chavez’s charismatic rise to power in Venezuela (and popularity across the world) that progressive currents started moving. Countries, one after another, are moving towards the Left. Often, it’s not the party but the trade unions that are at the forefront of the movement. They have been successful in attracting broader sections of the society, the peasantry, tribals, marginalised ethnic communities, to form a wide political platform in the fight against US-led globalisation. Riding on the wave of this popular movement, the Leftists in Latin America are repeatedly winning the battle of the ballot. The recent victory of the Left in Bolivia is a case in point—a coalition of several small parties and mass organisations defeated the oligarchy.

Two dimensions of the Left movement in contemporary Latin America make them distinctly different from the past traditions of communists world-over (Cuba included). One, there is no single-party hegemony over the movement; second, they are not following the classic concept of armed struggle, nor the Che Guevara style of guerrilla warfare, though, Che, undoubtedly, remains a legendary revolutionary icon for progressives in South America and rest of the world. Crucially, changes are coming through parliamentary means and democratic movements. Orthodox Marxists are now becoming a rare species in Latin America.

While the Left in Latin America are trying to mobilise larger alliances to gain electoral majority, in India, the mainstream Left is hamstrung by orthodoxy. Established under the direct influence of Moscow, the undivided Communist Party of India (CPI) started toeing the ‘Moscow line’ from the beginning, resulting in a series of historical blunders. The 1960s saw a serious rift between Soviet Union and China, vertically dividing the international communist movement. As an immediate fall-out, the Indian Left got divided into pro-Moscow and pro-Peking (now Beijing) groups. This, later, led to the split in the CPI and the formation of Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) in 1964. In 1969, the CPI-M was divided after the Naxalbari movement into the CPI-ML (Marxist-Leninist), which further split into various new ‘ML’ and Maoist formations.

The long tradition of following either Moscow or Beijing left an indelible mark on the mindset of the mainline Left. The Left’s intellectual shortcomings reflected in their inability to grasp the essence of the Indian social/political reality—the caste, religious and ethnicity factors. Instead, they obsessively applied their dogmatic ‘class theory’, leading to marginalisation. After the Congress, the communists are the second oldest organised political force in India. Yet, today, in a Parliament of 544 members, the combined Left has 60 seats, and this is their highest tally since Independence. Indeed, compare this with the rise of the Hindutva Right!

Though both the CPI and CPM have been seriously pursuing the parliamentary path since 1952, they still look terribly lost. The contradiction became transparent after the 1996 general election when Jyoti Basu, a CPM veteran, was offered the prime ministerial post of the coalition government. But his party rejected the proposal. Why? Because, unless the party has overwhelming strength to influence policy, it will not join the government! Basu later called it a ‘historic blunder’. Ten years later, in 2004, yet another general election saw the CPM change its tactics. The CPM had no hesitation in backing the UPA regime led by its traditional political enemy, the Congress.

Not long ago, the CPM punished and eventually forced Saifuddin Choudhury (one of their popular parliamentarians) out of the party, for insisting on joining hands with the Congress to thwart the growing threat of communal forces led by the BJP. Now, despite the UPA stonewalling Left demands and brazenly following the neo-liberal, pro-India Shining line, the Left has unequivocally declared that to stave off the BJP threat they would continue to support the UPA. So how is it influencing policy in the current regime?

While their influence remains restricted to West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura, their attempts to broaden their electoral and organisational base have so far met with little or no success. In the last 15 years in UP and Bihar, two major states of the Hindi heartland, the communists have been hitching on the bandwagon of caste-based parties like the Samajwadi Party and RJD with no visible impact in grassroots politics.

In recent decades, the mainstream Left has made no attempt to mobilise the dalits, tribals and other ethnic minorities for a broader movement. Thus, when thousands of tribal people fight for almost two decades against their displacement for the construction of a big dam like the Sardar Sarovar Project on Narmada river, the Left is nowhere in sight. The ‘official Left’s’ suspicion of any movement that has the potential of becoming popular, and yet outside their organisational control, kept them away from mass movements or mobilisation. Thus, most civil right and environmental issues have been deliberately ignored by this Stalinist, hegemonic attitude.

However, there is no doubt that the mainline Left has shed off much of its old ideological inhibitions. The CPI never had a big stake in power politics, though they made a conscious attempt to disentangle from Stalinist orthodoxy. It is their Big Brother, the CPM, which is now fast adapting to the capitalist path. In West Bengal, where they are in power for the last 30 years, the CPM is openly pursuing an overtly non-Left line, that of wooing ‘Big Capital’—even openly working against the interests of farmers and poor sections.

Indeed, Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharya never lets go of an opportunity to remind his party and the people that his government is pursuing the capitalist path. The CPM in Bengal is no more ashamed to be intimately associated with the ‘Big Bourgeoisie’—once their declared ‘class enemy’. In party documents, the CPM retains the old slogans, despite changing the party programme a few years back. But the new-found pragmatism is rapidly transforming the party. So much so, veterans are having difficulty in adjusting to the Rightist, neo-liberal currents. One senior member explained: “After the demise of the Soviet Union, a lot has been said about the need for more openness in our party. The stress was for adapting to reality. Now, at Singur, party cadres are seen guarding the Tata Motors land with red flags in their hands. We forgot that there is a difference between openness and nakedness.”

The European communists, after prolonged debate, debunked their ideological baggage and embraced social democracy. In Latin America, the Left has developed a healthy respect for broad mass movements, leaving aside the attraction of guerrilla warfare. But in India, the CPM has embraced the path of capitalism without any real debate in the party. Charges of corruption and drastic lifestyle changes within the party apparatchik are becoming glaringly conspicuous. Devoid of any coherent ideology, the mainstream Left, especially the CPM, is rapidly sinking in a statist quagmire of crony capitalism. No wonder critics are calling it a classic case of ideological and political bankruptcy, led by the West Bengal chief minister himself.

Hardnews

Indian communists take to caste mobilisation

July 11, 2007

Parliamentary communists take to caste mobilisation

New Delhi, July 3 (IANS) After asserting for decades that only class matters, Indian communists are finally organising the poorest of the poor, the Dalits in particular, along caste lines.

Leaders of the Communist Party of India (CPI) and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) say there is growing realisation that caste cannot be ignored in the political arena.

‘Caste is a social reality whether we agree or not. It is important that the Dalit question is addressed earnestly (by communists),’ said CPI’s deputy leader D. Raja, a Rajya Sabha MP and the country’s most senior Left leader of Dalit origin.

‘It is imperative that the communists should strengthen class struggle in a comprehensive way,’ Raja told IANS.

A senior CPI-M leader who did want to be identified by name admitted that his party was increasingly networking with Dalits as a community, which forms 16 percent of India’s population and which is overwhelmingly poor and destitute.

‘Earlier we had a doctrinaire position on this, like some algebra problem,’ the leader said. ‘Caste is a reality. It is part of our social structure. You have to deal with it.

‘Dalits themselves see the value of Dalit mobilisation. They see themselves as Dalits first. That is why the appeal of Dalit groups has increased. The Left has to take this into account.’

In recent times, the CPI-M and other Left groups have organised seminars and meetings on the Dalit question and also held huge demonstrations that have drawn large numbers of Dalits, once derisively known as ‘untouchables’.

For a long time since its formation in 1925, the CPI – one of the oldest communist parties in the world – refused to pay heed to the caste divides saying that caste identity would get suppressed by class struggle.

The Dalits occupy the bottom heap in caste-ridden Indian society. Upper castes have traditionally tormented and tortured them, producing a cruel system that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has compared with apartheid.

Economically too, the Dalits are the worst off, often doing menial jobs no one else wants. Over the decades, they did join the Left groups in large numbers. But the Left saw them as peasants, as workers, as poor – not as Dalits.

Although discrimination against Dalits has waned in urban areas, it is a reality in rural areas across the country.

The steady growth of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and caste-based parties such as Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in northern India robbed the Left of a lot of their support base. Naturally, the CPI and CPI-M began looking at caste with a fresh perspective.

The CPI-M leader, who is a member of the party’s Central Committee, however, accused the CPI and the radical Communist Party of India-Marxist Leninist (CPI-ML) of having become ‘casteist’ in places like Bihar.

‘Caste has to be understood in the context of the cross-cutting reality,’ the leader said. ‘There are now conscious efforts to enter Dalit politics. But CPI and CPI-ML are espousing caste identity at the cost of class differences. In a way they have reversed the old dogma.’

Raja pointed out that the caste divide was unique to Indian society and that much of what Dalit icon B.R. Ambedkar preached was close to communist ideas on issues such as state control of industry and banks.

K. Elangovan, a former student leader at the Jawaharlal Nehru University here and who served in the CPI for years, feels the communists are unlikely to make much headway despite their newfound understanding of the Indian social system.

‘There was a time when communist parties dubbed caste consciousness as false consciousness,’ Elangovan told IANS from Chennai, where he is now a lawyer. ‘The cadres never had an answer to caste question. It happened to me personally.’

The CPI-M leader admitted there were dangers in caste empowerment.

‘There will be no immediate benefits for us in the short run,’ he said. And we have to figure out this question as we go along. For now, we are only organising the Dalits, no other caste.’

© 2007 Indo-Asian News Service

CPM declares open war on pro-naxalite bloggers

July 1, 2007


The CPI(Marxist) has declared an open war on pro-maoist bloggers and other websites which had exposed the criminal activities of CPM in West Bengal in particular.

Biman seeks NRI help as SEZ war hits cyberspace
Bidyut Roy

Kolkata, June 26: CPI(M) state secretary Biman Bose is taking the “facts” on Nandigram and Singur to the US. Bose is leaving for the country on June 27 to raise funds for his non-governmental organisation, Vidyasagar Foundation, which works on literacy programmes in rural areas.

However, he is extending his fund-raising trip by eight days during which he will talk to influential Bengali NRIs on what happened at Nandigram to counter the Internet campaign launched by Naxalite groups and the Trinamool Congress. The cyber campaign centres around the police firing of March 14 at Nandigram in which 14 villagers were killed when a protest against a now-abandoned land acquisition programme turned violent.

For the Vidyasagar Foundation trip, Bose is going to Detroit, the headquarters of the Uttar America Banga Sanskriti Sammelan or North American Bengali Cultural Conference. He will be accompanied by Anup Sarkar and three other office-bearers of the Vidyasagar Foundation.

Sarkar told Newsline: “We have already fixed up five meetings in the US with influential Bengali groups there.” The North American Bengali Conference will be held in Detroit from June 29 to July 1. “After this, Biman da will meet Bengali professionals who are US citizens to discuss Nandigram,” Sarkar said.

Earlier, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee had decided to use non-resident Indian supporters of her party and of the Naxals to propagate the anti-CPI(M) campaign over Nandigram. Mamata and her Naxal allies have already chosen three influential NRIs for this task. Trinamool sources said these people have begun their campaign among the Bengali community.

Indianexpress

CPI(M) lies about Tapasi Malik’s death – apologist Vijay Prasad disseminates untruths

June 30, 2007

By Partho Sarathi Ray, Sanhati

The brutal rape and murder of Tapasi Malik, the 18 year old girl who was a highly motivated member of the Save Farmland Committee spearheading the struggle against land acquisition in Singur, had sent shockwaves through the body politic of West Bengal last year. The Save Farmland Committee had accused the CPI(M) cadre who double as night-guards for the fenced off area of land, forcibly acquired for setting up Tata’s factory at Singur. The CBI had taken up the investigation due to strong protests against the incident.

However, CPI(M) leaders and the police had tried to pass it off variously as suicide, result of a love affair etc. Most vociferous and prominent among these was Debu Malik, who appeared on several TV channels claiming to have seen Tapasi go towards the fenced off area with a can of kerosene in her hand. Soon, and sure enough, some intellectuals serving the CPI(M) took up the task of adding a new twist to the story.

In a widely circulated article which appeared on the prestigious American leftist newsletter Counterpunch on May 23, 2007, Sudhanva Deshpande and Vijay Prashad wrote the following about the death of Tapasi Malik:

“Stories were blown out of context, and allegations flew around (sexual assaults, murders) that have since been shown to be false. The most sensational was the murder of a young woman, Tapasi Malik, who had been a leader in the Singur struggle against the land acquisition. The blogs and the capitalist media blamed this death on the CPM. The Central Bureau of Investigation is now of the view that she was killed by her father and brother.”

The two authors cavalierly accused the bereaved father and brother of the victim for her murder, without attributing it to any source, and passed it off as an assessment of the CBI. It now turns out that the only source on which this accusation was based was an article in the CPI(M) organ Peoples Democracy which said the following on the matter

“NEW and definitive light has been shed on the murder of a young woman named Tapasi Malik. Tapasi was done away brutally nearly five months ago one early morning on December 8 and her remains stuffed in a hole within the limits of the automobile factory that is coming up at Singur. Her body was set on fire and was partially burnt. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probing the case now believes that the young woman’s father and brother might have had something to do with her murder.”

The article went on to say “In all probability, the duo (Tapasi’s father and brother) will be subjected to sophisticated probing techniques as narco-analysis, brain-mapping and DNA testing. The blood samples taken from the murder site apparently do not match the samples of blood collected from Monoranjan and Surajit. The father-and-son may also be subjected to a ‘lie-detector’ or ‘polygraph’ test.” All this was attributed to un-named “CBI officials” talking to an un-named “all-India English daily”. A miasma was tactically created to accuse the father and brother Tapasi Malik for her death and was propagated by Vijay Prashad and Sudhanva Deshpande in their article.

Now let us fast-forward to the facts which has been coming out in the last few days. The person whom the CBI subjected to the lie-detector test were not the father and brother of Tapasi but Debu Malik, the powerful CPI(M) activist from the area who was in charge of organizing the CPI(M) cadre for safeguarding the land acquired for their capitalist master. Debu Malik failed the test and broke down under interrogation to confess to the crime of raping and murdering Tapasi. Interestingly, he also confessed that it was done on the orders of Suhrid Datta, the influential Singur zonal committee secretary of CPI(M) who was also subsequently arrested. Debu is also the close confidante and driver of the former CPI(M) Singur zonal committee secretary and current district committee member Dibakar Das, who was also called up by the CBI for interrogation.

It has become clear that the entire crime was ordered by the local CPI(M) leadership to teach a lesson to the teenager protesting the loss of her family’s livelihood. Binay Kongar, the CPI(M) leader who is officiating as the CPI(M) state secretary in absence of Biman Bose who is enjoying a vacation in the USA, has disowned Debu Malik by saying that he is a “supporter/voter” of the party and not a “member”. However, the arrest of Suhrid Datta and the possible arrest of Dibakar Das has somewhat subdued the tone of the normally indomitable Binay Kongar. What this incident has also done is to expose the bankruptcy of the CPI(M) allied intellectuals who propagate the falsehoods emanating from their party in a Goebbelsian manner, hoping that a lie repeated a hundred times will become the truth.

Tapasi Malik 16 – A strong willed girl and one of the youngest
and most dedicated organisers in singur.

Tapasi Malik raped and burnt alive on orders of CPM leaders
to teach her a lesson.

Civilization died that day in the fields of Singur….

_____________________________________________

CPI(M) men arrested for Tapasi Malik’s murder

The Statesman, KOLKATA, June 29

Two CPI-M activists, Mr Suhrid Dutta and Mr Debu Malik, who were arrested in connection with the Tapasi Malik murder case, were remanded in CBI custody by the additional chief judicial magistrate of the Chandernagore SDJM court in Hooghly today.

Mr Dutta, a CPI-M Hooghly district committee member and his associate Mr Debu Malik, were charged under sections 302, 120 (B), 376 and 201 of the IPC, said Mr Tapas Basu, CBI advocate who submitted a remand application before the court. He said the CBI had found evidence of the duo’s involvement in the murder. The magistrate later ordered the CBI to present Mr Malik before the court on 7 July. Mr Dutta was remanded in CBI custody till 12 July. Mr Dutta, who is also the secretary of the CPI-M Singur zonal committee, alleged that he was falsely implicated. The duo was produced before the court around 10.50 a.m. CBI officers grilled Mr Dibakar Das, another CPI-M Hooghly district committee member, yesterday but he was not detained.
More than a thousand supporters of the Trinamul Congress, SUCI and other Opposition parties staged a sit-in demonstration in front of the court gate demanding that the accused be handed over to them for punishment. The agitators were chased away. Tension ran high in the court premises after local CPI-M supporters assembled in the area to take out a rally alleging “highhandedness” of the CBI. They alleged that Mr Dutta fell victim to a conspiracy of “Opposition parties”.

Defence counsel Mr Keshablal Mukherjee, who submitted the bail application for Mr Dutta, said the 55-year-old CPI-M leader should be released on bail considering his health condition. He claimed that Mr Dutta was framed by his rivals. The CBI advocate, however, countered the allegations and told the magistrate that the investigating agency had got evidence of the leader’s involvement in the crime. He said that Mr Malik had given a statement under Section 164 CrPC before the Patiala metropolitan magistrate court disclosing Mr Dutta’s involvement in the murder. Mr Malik reportedly told the CBI that five other men were involved in the murder which took place on 18 December last year. The CBI advocate said the murder was committed to creating a fear psychosis among the people of the area. Advocate Mr Kishor Mondal, who submitted the bail petition for Mr Malik said the CBI officers “had drugged his client” to keep him silent in the court. “Debu was under the influence of drugs when he was produced before the court. He didn’t respond to my quarries,” said Mr Mondal. The defence counsel said they would decide on the next course of action after speaking to the family members of the accused.

Meanwhile, Singur Krishi Jomi Raksha Committee supporters and their counterparts in the CPI-M today took out rallies trading charges against each other. While the former demanded capital punishment for the accused, the later alleged that the CBI and the Opposition parties have conspired against Mr Dutta. Interestingly, Mr Malik, who was very close to the CPI-M, has fallen from grace and the party has already started stamping him as “a mere sympathiser of the party.” Trinamul Congress chief Miss Mamata Banerjee visited Tapasi’s residence at Bajemelia and assured villagers that no criminal would be spared. She will address a meeting of the Krishi Jomi Raksha Committee to be held at Singur tomorrow.

CPM unleashes white terror on members of USDF

June 28, 2007



USDF is one of the fastest growing student unions in calcutta which the authorities claim is backed by maoists of various hues.

Around 5:30 p.m. on monday, the students were attacked by a group of CPI-M activists when they were seen taking measurement near the proposed thermal power super-project at Srikhand village.One of them is in a critical condition with severe head injuries

Statesman News Service
DURGAPUR, June 26: Three of the five students of United Students Democratic Front who were detained by Katwa police last evening were released after preliminary questioning. Though Lokeshweri Dasgupta, second year history student at Jadavpur University, Priyonkar Dey of JU and Supriyo Sur of Presidency College were released, Jaladhar Mahato was arrested for his suspected links with Maoists.

Police said that Jaladhar might have links with the Lalgarh squad of the Maoists in West Midnapore and his name had figured during investigations following two Maoist strikes in Belpahari in 2005. The other three students were released after police did not find any links with them and the Maoists. However, police are yet to question Ashim as his condition is not stable and is currently admitted at a local hospital with critical head injuries. All the five were taken to the Katwa police station yesterday following a squabble at a village about six km from Katwa town.

Around 5:30 p.m. yesterday, the students were attacked by a group of CPI-M activists when they were seen taking measurement near the proposed thermal power super-project at Srikhand village.One of them is in a critical condition with severe head injuriest

Statesman

CPM member arrested for his role in Tapasi Maliks murder

June 28, 2007


Statesman News Service
KOLKATA, June 21: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today detained a youth in connection with the murder of Tapasi Malik in Singur about six months back and took him to Delhi for a polygram test, commonly known as lie detector test. The youth, Debu Malik, is a close associate of a CPI-M Hooghly district committee member.
According to reports, the special crime branch of Central Bureau of Investigation detained Debu after they found irregularities in his statement regarding the circumstances that led to Tapasi’s murder.

The Central Bureau of Investigation had questioned at least 20 people in connection with the murder including Debu and the CPI-M Hooghly district committee member, with whom Debu reportedly has close links.

Debu had claimed during questioning that Tapasi was not murdered, but had committed suicide as her family had objected to her relationship with a local youth. After Tapasi’s family declined to marry her off to the youth of her choice, the girl committed suicide.The charred body of Tapasi Malik (16) was recovered from inside the fenced-off area for the proposed Tata Motors small car project in Singur on 18 December 2006.

Tapasi, who had been participating in a hunger strike in protest against land acquisition at Singur, was allegedly raped, strangled to death and finally set ablaze by unidentified miscreants near Bajemelia.

The state government, under pressure from the opposition parties, had first handed over the case to Criminal Investigation Department, but then asked the Central Bureau of Investigation to investigate.

Statesman

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Tapasi Malik Raped and burnt alive for by CPM goons and West Bengal Gestapo Police

The Ghosts Of Nandigram

May 3, 2007

This article is by far one of the most hilarious takes on nandigram.

On this occasion we would like to unveil the new symbol
of the Capitalist Party of India (Murderers).

This symbol is going to be adopted at the Annual General Meeting.

The Ghosts Of Nandigram

By Satya Sagar

01 May, 2007
Liberation

There was panic at the CPM headquarters on Calcutta’s Alimuddin Street as rumours spread like wildfire of a ‘special’ investigative team having arrived to do some fact-finding on the gory events of 14 March 2007 in Nandigram.

The ‘dream’ team, spotted by party activists and corroborated by airport immigration staff, is said to have comprised of the founding fathers of the global communist movement – Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels themselves. As if their presence was not enough, accompanying them in tow were a certain Vladimir Illych Lenin and Mao Tse-Tung.

Eyewitnesses reported seeing two white bearded men with prophetic looks asking for directions to get to Nandigram and expressing frustration at the fact that all official road signs in the city showed only turns to the right. Ordinary folk on the other hand were observed turning left even if this sometimes meant breaking through brick walls blocking their way.

One person with a Lenin beard sitting inside the dark-windowed car was seen taking down notes under the heading ‘What is to be done?’ while the Chinese gentleman, with an enigmatic countenance, was overheard saying sceptically “Comrades, getting to Nandigram is not going to be a tea-party”.

This was the grim scenario the CPM top brass had been worried about for years together- the return of Marx, Engels, Lenin or Mao to West Bengal. As long as they dangled like dead corpses from party banners it was fine but now Nandigram had brought them back to life among the people and this was dangerous.

“Why are you all looking so worried” said Buddhadeb Bhattacharya looking around at the glum and sullen faces of top party leaders urgently gathered to discuss this latest crisis hitting them. “And who are these four fellows anyway? Foreign investors looking for land to purchase?” he quipped.

“Idiot! In all these years how many times have I told you to memorise their names and remember what they look like? And yet every time you open your mouth to say ‘Marx’ out comes the word ‘Market'” barked a voice across the table.

“The photos, hanging in party offices all over the country – of Marx, Engels, Lenin – you have not observed them even once in all your life- have you Buddha?” the voice continued. “You just see your own reflection in the glass frame, adjust your kurta, comb your hair and wear that silly grin you got from the last corporate orgy you attended”.

It was Buddha’s turn now to look glum and sullen for nothing he did these days seemed to please Jyoti Basu anymore. And imagine, to be scolded like this in public when he was only following in his mentor’s footsteps and taking forward his legacy.

“Yes, the photos. What will we do with them now? If these blokes, Marx, Engels, whoever…. write a report critical of our land grab operations in Nandigram, we will have to throw away all those expensive portraits? They cost a damn lot of money to make, and will all go waste now” whined Biman Bose.

“Give them to the CPI” whispered someone (with a sense of humour) in the room.
No one laughed of course and instead an ice-cold Brinda Karat, adjusting her red bindi, said “We give nothing to the CPI from now on, not even leftovers. The bloody backstabbers, bad-mouthing us in public!”

The damp Calcutta air inside the party meeting room froze. Only someone with such cold-blooded clarity could induce this sudden drop in temperature so effortlessly (a clue to tackling global warming!). The mood among those gathered also changed abruptly now.

“Ok, enough of lamenting the fact that these stalwarts of global communism are here to check out what really happened at Nandigram. The question is how do we get out of this mess now, for given their reputation they will surely get to the truth?” said Prakash Karat, grateful to Brinda for giving him a chance to break into the conversation.

“Easy enough. Just discredit them thoroughly and make sure no one believes them at all,” said Biman Bose. “After all that is what we have been doing to anyone criticizing us, even if it is those who have been with our own party all these years”.

“Brilliant! Biman da! You can start with the simple fact that all four of them – Marx, Engels, Lenin, Mao – are outsiders in Bengal. Obviously they are here to incite the peasants, join hands with Mamata and bring down the Left Front government” said Sitaram Yechuri, excitedly jumping from his seat and almost leaping onto the table like in the good old SFI days at some JNU canteen.

“Not just that, they are all foreigners anyway so they must be surely foreign funded too otherwise how did they get here all the way to Calcutta? Who bought their plane tickets?” said Biman, warming up to his old passion for throwing mud and making it stick- anywhere – even on Marx or Engels.

“They may have come by the sea-route, all subversives these days do that” said Brinda.
“Foreigners causing trouble in Bengal? That sounds like the Salim group or Dow Chemicals” said someone at the back of the room in a soft voice. The time for hearing soft voices had however long passed and the discussion now was at a frenzied pitch.

“I like your logic Biman da. Now that I remember, from all the reading I have done – all four of them can be shown to be anti-communist in general and anti-CPM in particular” said Prakash Karat trying to give a pretty theoretical cover to the ugly stuff flying around.

“To begin with, Marx himself said at some point ‘I am not a Marxist’, which can only mean he was anti-Marxist and automatically an enemy of ours. Engels’ father owned a textile mill, so he was a bourgeois masquerading as a revolutionary. On top of this both of them have long beards like the Hindu or Muslim communalists. Lenin too came from an aristocratic background and Mao Tse-Tung is of course the biggest Naxalite in all of modern history” continued Prakash, leaning over to Brinda to see if she was taking notes to send to N Ram of The Hindu.

“Bravo General Secretary! You have finally clinched the logic, now it is time for us to prevent these guys from reaching Nandigram and stopping West Bengal from becoming a global capitalist power. Call Laxman urgently to get the boys ready for action,” shouted Biman.

“Did anybody say action? I know what we should do – get our women cadre to show their backsides to this ‘special’ fact-finding team!” said an excited Benoy Konar, who despite his age still had the spring of a street urchin about him. He was famous for blowing hammer and sickle rings with his beedi smoke- a cool comrade at 75.

“I run the women’s wing, you get Laxman’s goons to do whatever they want” hissed Brinda, the bindi now a fiery red. She didn’t like this old fogy stepping on her turf.

“Laxman’s men had better watch out around Chairman Mao comrades! He still wears his spiked boots from the Long March”, piped up someone in the room.

At this point Buddhadeb woke up with a jolt on his bed. The mobile phone was ringing loudly. He was sweating all over. Phew! What a nightmare it had been! From Marx to Mao in Nandigram indeed!
Buddha picked up the phone, “Salim, is that you?”

“What’s wrong with you babu moshai? You have been seeing the ghosts of Nandigram in your sleep again?’ said the voice from Jakarta with a laugh. “I told you many times, we killed a million communists in Indonesia long ago and you are still spooked by a few dozen dead in your little province?”

“Yes, I saw them again” said Buddha, wiping his brow. “Here I am looking for German, Russian and Chinese investors and all I get are Marx, Engels, Lenin and Mao giving me sleepless nights. Oh! Why on Earth do we still call ourselves a communist party and pretend to be Marxists?”

“Good question, Buddha. Welcome to the Salim and Suharto neo-liberal fraternity”

For the first time in an entire month Buddha Smiled.

Countercurrents

Nandigram: Fact And CPI(M)’s Fiction

April 30, 2007

Nandigram: Fact And CPI(M)’s Fiction

By Kavita Krishnan

25 April, 2007
Countercurrents.org

[Kavita Krishnan from Liberation takes a look at facts about the Nandigram massacre and Communist Party of India (Marxist) -CPI(M)-sponsored fiction. Quotations from CPI(M) leaders are from Brinda Karat’s ‘Behind the Events at Nandigram’ ( The Hindu, March 30, 2007), ‘Some Issues on Nandigram’ also by Brinda Karat, People’s Democracy, Vol. XXXI, No. 13, April 01, 2007, ‘Defeat the politics of Terror’ (PD editorial of March 18), CPI(M) Politburo statement of March 14, ‘Singur: Just the Facts Please’, Brinda Karat, ( The Hindu, December 13, 2006)].

‘Behind the events at Nandigram’, says Brinda Karat, is no peasant resistance against corporate land grab. It’s not ‘bhumi ucched’ (eviction from land) but ‘CPI(M) ucched’ (evict CPI(M)) that’s up, she says. In a series of articles and statements by the CPI(M) top brass in media as well as the CPI(M) party organ PD, there is a concerted attempt to serve up CPI(M)’s version of Nandigram episode. Despite mandatory noises of ‘regret’ at the loss of lives in police firing, and a promise to ‘introspect about mistakes, ‘if any’, the arguments being put forth are old, familiar ones. The firing it is said is regrettable, but it’s the gang-up of Trinamool-Naxalites-Jamaat that really has to take the blame for the killings, because they attacked the police who were forced to fire to disperse the crowd. As a result, “in the crossfire that ensued, as always, innocent people became victims”. It’s the CPI(M) supporters who’re the victims of a cleansing operation – contrary to the reports of all independent fact-finding teams. And ‘foreign-funded’, US-backed enemies of communists are spreading canards about large-scale participation of CPI(M) cadre in the March 14 operation, and about sexual assaults on women.

Let us examine the main arguments of Brinda Karat and Co., one by one.

“Once the CM Had Assured No Land Acquisition Without Consent, Why Was the Movement Called Off?”

Brinda Karat argues that there was no raison d’etre for the continuance of the resistance in Nandigram since January 9, since the CM had assured that there would be no land acquisition if the people of Nandigram did not wish it. She adds, “Indeed he is the only chief minister in the country who has made such a categorical statement that a condition for land acquisition must be farmer consent.”

After such a principled declaration by Buddha, why indeed need the movement have continued?

Well, in the first place, let’s ask what price CPI(M)’s ‘facts’ and ‘assurances’? May we draw Brinda Karat’s attention to an article titled ‘Singur: Just the Facts Please’ published in her name in The Hindu after the first bout of police-cadre violence in Singur. In that article she had asserted as ‘fact’ that “Of the 997 acres required, the Government has received consent letters from landowners for 952 acres.” Similar declarations had also been made in an article by no less than the CPI(M) General Secretary in a PD editorial titled ‘Singur: Myth and Reality’.

But an affidavit filed in response to an order of the Kolkata HC by the WB Government on March 27 records a different reality. In this affidavit, the Bengal government admitted that land was acquired in Singur under a section of the Land Acquisition Act 1894 that does not entertain disputes.

It further says that owners of just 287.5 acres accepted the 10 per cent bonus offered by the government for agreeing to not move the court. This translates to a little over 30 per cent of the total 997 acres acquired for the Tata small car plant and ancillary units.

It says compensation cheques have been collected for just 650 acres till date. And this compensation does not in any way imply consent, since it is being accepted as a last resort after the fait-accompli of acquisition. And even this figure amounts to around 67 per cent, which is still lower than the 96 per cent claimed by the CPI(M).

All too clearly the lack of consent presented no hurdle for the CPI(M) to go ahead and deliver the land into Tata hands. And neither Brinda nor Prakash Karat felt any qualms about peddling a deliberate falsehood about ‘consent’ subsequently disproved by the WB Government’s own affidavit! Were the people of Nandigram wrong then, to continue with their visible and determined dissent that could not under any circumstances be construed as ‘consent’? Had they not done so, would they have succeeded in preventing the SEZ from coming up on their lands?

We have repeatedly pointed out how the much-touted ‘compensation package’ at Singur inverts the principles of Operation Barga (which allotted 75% of the agricultural produce to the sharecropper and only 25% to the absentee landlord), giving just 25% compensation for sharecroppers. Neither Brinda Karat nor PD have ever bothered to explain the logic for this reversal.

However, Brinda Karat and Co. may be right that the motive behind March 14 may not be land grab – it was instead a cold-blooded act of retribution on the very people who had been staunch members of the CPI(M) till the other day. It was an act of collective punishment, in keeping with the promise Benoy Konar made in January: “We’ll surround them and make their life hell.” Tanika Sarkar, in her moving and disturbing narration of her visit to Nandigram after the carnage, recounts how villager after villager repeats the threats they receive: “Cross over and join the CPI(M) camp, or else we’ll cut you to pieces”.

But the victims of March 14 were left in no doubt of the nature of the ‘crime’ which had brought such punishment onto their heads. According to Tanika Sarkar, women who show the marks of sexual assault and beatings all over their bodies said that their attackers in police uniform (referred to interchangeably by the villagers as prashasan, cadre and police) accompanied the violence with abuse – “Saali, jomi debi na? Jomi rakhbi? ” (Bitch, won’t hand over your land? You’ll keep your land will you?”

“Nandigram Struggle: Not Peaceful, not Democratic”

The CPI(M) PB statement states clearly: “It is regrettable that lives have been lost in police firing. But the organised elements who utilised bombs and pipe guns on the police have to take the blame.” So the CPI(M)’s ‘introspection’ about ‘mistakes’ leads it to the same ‘blame the outsider’ conclusion! Brinda Karat and other party leaders have referred to the Nandigram struggle as an a bid to ‘cleanse’ Nandigram of CPI(M) supporters. It is claimed that 2500-3000 such supporters have been driven out, turned into refugees and subjected to terror. What about their human rights, she asks? She adds that “shockingly and sickeningly”, reports by Left intellectuals have not referred to this crime against hapless CPI(M) people, who are also poor peasants just like the victims of police firing. Surely the police had a responsibility to curb the “lawlessness and anarchy”, restore order and ensure these refugees could return?

No fact-finding report, even the one by Medha Patkar, has referred to the Nandigram struggle as a ‘peaceful’ one. The Nandigram mass was an organised and experienced Left mass, which had witnessed the Singur developments and learnt from them. In Singur, they had seen police and CPI(M) cadres employ terror and succeed in grabbing land. So at the very first sign of land grab (the HDA notification) they lost no time in ensuring that Singur could not be repeated. They quite openly cut roads to prevent police entry, chased out CPI(M) cadres who were terrorising the movement locally, and organised night-watch and crude arms to keep at bay the regular assaults and bombings from the CPI(M) camp in Khejuri.

The question to be asked is: do such tactics amount to “lawlessness and anarchy”, or do they fall under the rubric of a democratic movement?

Eminent Leftist historians have vouched for the fact that the tactics used by the Nandigram peasants are all classic strategies used during the Tebhaga movement and the freedom struggle of which Nandigram was a major centre. History records that Nandigram and Tamluk subdivisions had formed the Tamralipta Jatiya Sarkar, or Tamralipta National Government in 1942, with people evicting the British from the area digging trenches to keep police out, and ‘liberating’ the area for months. If the movement of the peasants of Nandigram against forcible land acquisition is ‘anarchy and lawlessness’, so too must CPI(M) term the Quit India Movement, Tebhaga movement and the Telengana movement to be ‘anarchy and lawlessness’!

CPI(M) has been fond of throwing out the accusation that Nandigram was being turned into a ‘Liberated Zone’ by the anti-SEZ protestors. Well, comrades, can you tell us what is an SEZ – if not a Liberated Zone where corporates are free to loot, levy taxes, enjoy massive subsidies, take over the functions of a municipality, and enjoy impunity from many laws of the land?! If people conduct a ‘Quit India’ struggle against such a Liberated Zone where they lose all their freedoms, how can any Communist, or any democratic individual, blame them?

Further, according to the values and standards of the Left, can there be any equivalence between the might of the State’s repressive arm and the cadres of a privileged and dominant ruling party working in close co-ordination with the State machinery, and the ‘violence’ incurred in the course of the resistance of poor and desperate peasantry?

What of the people in the CPI(M) refugee camps? By all accounts, these camps continue to function as base camps for the CPI(M)’s war against the anti-land-grab forces. Villagers told Tanika Sarkar that the terror is far from over; every night there is a rain of bombs from the CPI(M) base at Khejuri. But it is true that the CPI(M) base, whatever remains of it, are in fact poor peasants too. Brinda Karat asks, “Who gains from this division of the poor, from their feelings of insecurity, loss of livelihood?” Well, comrade, isn’t the answer staring in our faces? The corporates stand to gain land, and the CPI(M), their lost dominance, by pitting one section of the poor against another.

“Nandigram’s Poor: Innocent Villagers ‘Instigated’ by Anti-CPI(M) Gang-up through False Fears of Land Grab”

We would like to remind Brinda Karat that on March 14, and before too, she and other leaders had claimed that “outsiders” were responsible for the violence, while Nandigram’s own people were all for the SEZ and for the CPI(M). Yechury even on March 14, had declared in a press conference that “Outsiders, frustrated by the lack of support from local peasantry in their bid to whip up false fear of land grab, had attacked the police, necessitating firing.”

Subsequently, however, the CPI(M) has had to admit that CPI(M) supporters had in fact deserted the party and joined the struggle fearing land grab.

Brinda Karat will have to answer: is it really credible that this mass of people, who had voted CPI(M) or CPI to power in election after election, had more faith in discredited Mamata and the organisationally weak Naxalites who had no local base, rather than in the assurances of their own MP, MLA, and local CPI(M) leaders? How come they turned against their own party and chased them out, on the ‘instigation’ of those whom they had never before given the time of day? Does the CPI(M) version sound remotely plausible – that this CPI(M) stronghold was tamely led astray and agreed to view the CPI(M) as an enemy, on some false and baseless fears whipped up by a tremendously weak Opposition?

The answer is self-evident: they were forced to lose faith in the CPI(M) because its cadres and leaders, instead of asking their opinion and respecting it, had declared the decision to ride rough-shod over their refusal to give up land. Overnight, CPI(M) forces had turned into a menacing and organized army, agents of corporates who threatened them to give up land or face eviction by force. “Consent…or else” was the message – but the Left training of the mass kicked in, and they chose the tools of resistance that generations of struggle had taught them.

“False Claims of Sexual Violence; Police Fired Due to Provocation “

In other words, was March 14 a mistake or a massacre?

Brinda Karat has taken issue with several fact-finding reports including that of the CPI(ML) team; and has advised that concocting tales of sexual assault will harm the credibility of the women’s movement demand that women’s own statements be accepted as evidence in the absence of any other evidence.

Brinda Karat must be asked a question in return. She is a Rajya Sabha MP, and has been the leader of a highly respected women’s organisation.

The CPI(ML) report relies very little on hearsay – and more on the clear evidence of those who lay injured in hospitals, whose injuries have been recorded medically, and who can definitely be taken to have been on the spot on March 14. In that report, it is mentioned that one woman in Tamluk Hospital who has indeed filed a complaint of rape, has one breast lacerated with a sharp weapon. In SSKM Hospital, too, there is yet another woman whose buttocks are hanging, having been nearly severed by a chopper.

Why does Brinda Karat remain silent on these injuries – clear evidence that the attack on March 14 was not merely somewhat excessive ‘firing’ by a provoked police? Why has she not bothered to go and see for herself if these reports of chopper injuries on private parts of women is indeed true or not, and whether these women could be helped to file complaints and pursue the case?

Again, the clear medical evidence recorded by a large team of doctors from Kolkata is that 70% to 80% of the patients in four camps they set up two weeks after the massacre, have had serious eye problems since March 14 – caused by some substance in the tear gas. Eye irritation caused by ordinary tear gas does not last so long – and certainly cannot cause loss of eyesight. Whereas several people in Nandigram have lost much of their vision due to exposure to the tear gas. Again, this is something Brinda Karat is silent on, and certainly has not bothered to go herself and verify.

If there is any iota of truth in the CPI(M) accusations that their supporter was raped – it is highly condemnable, abhorrent and indefensible, and must be punished. But it cannot be used as a reason to deny the clear evidence of a planned state-sponsored carnage on March 14, or of large-scale sexual violence on women of the anti-land grab movement.

Brinda Karat expresses pious outrage at the ‘cynical’ way in which women and children were placed in the front row. Did these women suffer chopper injuries on breast and buttocks because they happened to be in placed in the front row, comrade? How come Comrade Brinda never says a word of condemnation for the fact that the police were not deterred by the presence of women and children, and police and her party’s cadre indulged in sexual assaults accompanied by abuse?

Were children torn apart and killed? Describing one woman who lies in hospital, crying inconsolably because she says a child was torn from her arms and killed before her eyes, Tanika Sarkar said “One can only hope that such heart-rending accounts of children being beaten to death, drowned or chopped up are some sort of collective hallucination, and the children are actually safe. But one fears these accounts are true.”

The statement by pro-CPI(M) intellectuals had said the West Bengal Government would pay compensation to those affected by the Nandigram attacks. One wonders how come not a single one of Brinda’s articles on Nandigram mentions a word about compensation for those who’ve lost their loved ones, their eyesight, their organs? These are agrarian labourers and marginal farmers, how can they afford blindness; how are their families surviving while earning men and women are forced to do long hospital stints?

On the evidence of the use of a huge number of bullets not usually used by police, of firing above waist level (to kill rather than to rather than to disperse), of the arrests of ten CPI(M) men in a brick kiln with police uniforms and a stockpile of ammunition – both Brinda Karat and PD offer no explanation except to promise that a proper probe, preferably by the judiciary rather than by CBI, will reveal the truth. Meanwhile, inexplicably, the CBI findings have been suppressed and the hearing on it delayed by the High Court.

“Those who oppose SEZs and support the struggles of Singur and Nandigram are ‘anti-industry'”

A whole section of Left economists and intellectuals who have been very close to the CPI(M) have raised serious questions about the WB Government’s commitment to industrialisation and employment generation.

Would Brinda and the PD care to answer or explain:

They speak of ‘facts’, why are they silent on the details of the Tata deal at Singur – details that the WB Government tried to suppress as a ‘trade secret’ until forced to reveal them in court?

Has Brinda Karat happened to read an article in (‘Santa Claus Visit the Tatas’, Telegraph, 30 March 2007 ) by Ashok Mitra, former Finance Minister of West Bengal in CPI(M)’s own LF Government? We quote from the article:

“…The Tatas are, of course, rolling in money. Only a couple of months ago, they invested a sum roughly the equivalent of Rs 50,000 crore to take command of a giant international steel complex. To persuade this fabulously rich group to start a modest-sized car factory here, the state government has already spent something around Rs 150 crore to acquire close to 1,000 acres of land. …the Tatas have been handed over this entire tract of land on a ninety-year lease without any down payment at all. … the government is, really and truly, making a free gift to the Tatas of the land in Singur.

…The state government is, in addition, offering the Tata group a gift coupon in the way of a loan worth Rs 200 crore carrying a nominal interest of only 1 per cent (as against the rate currently charged by the banks of at least 10 per cent); …the entire proceeds for the first ten years of the value-added tax on the sale of this precious car in West Bengal are proposed to be handed back to the Tatas, again at a nominal interest of only 1 per cent. …

All told, therefore, the Tatas are being offered the allure of around Rs 850 crore by the state government…”

Finally, Mitra asks: “Does it not appear obscene that a state government, carrying a burden of debt of more than Rs 150,000 crore and with a countless number of problems, would offer a freebie of Rs 850 crore to an industrial group which has made an outlay of over Rs 50,000 crore only the other day to satisfy their expansionary ego overseas?”

Does Brinda Karat or the PD have an answer? Has Ashok Mitra also turned ‘anti-industry’ according to them?

We also quote from an article by Prof. Tanika Sarkar in Hardnews:

“…industries (in West Bengal ) were allowed to die away, leaving about 50, 000 dead factories and the virtual collapse of the jute industry. …While factories remained closed, half the annual funds under the NREGA (Rural Employment Guarantee scheme) were sent back untouched. We may say that the history (of the LF Government) shows no concern for promoting real industrialisation, or for public concerns, nor for employment generation. What flourished with tender government nurture had been upper middle class luxuries and corporate profits…”

Prof. Tanika’s article goes on to say how in the mid-90s, huge tracts of highly cultivated land were taken over by the Jyoti Basu Government at New Rajarhat near Kolkata. No industry was set up on this land – instead what came up were ‘Vedic Villages’ for the super rich, set up by corporate groups. Various observers report that in these complexes, each house boasts of a swimming pool, and there are massive water sports complexes!

Why was this land from not used for productive industry? Why were the poor evicted from fertile land in vain? Wouldn’t a fraction of the Tata freebie of 850 crores have been enough free locked industrial land for fresh industries?

“US Anti-Communist Conspiracy and Maoist Plot”

Finally, Brinda Karat tries to make for the lack of answers to glaring questions, by falling back on the good old standby of alleging sinister conspiracies and a ‘foreign’ hand. She claims that the “sea route through the Bay of Bengal is being used by the Maoists to come into Nandigram”. Once they land, will they use the Imperius Curse to hex the CPI(M)’s supporters into turning into Naxalites, comrade? Better allow fantasy to remain in the pages of Harry Potter rather than insulting people’s intelligence with tall tales!

Brinda Karat also alleges a US conspiracy angle, saying a US official met with “a leader of the minority community”. This may sound like stuff and nonsense, but the attempt to demonise the minority community by suggesting it is ‘anti-national’ is dangerous.

And if meeting a US official makes one anti-communist and anti-CPI(M), what do we make of Buddhadeb Bhattacharya? On March 7 Buddha was praised by no less than the US Consul General in Kolkata, Henry V. Jardine, for embracing the doctrine that capital has no colour. And is it coincidence that on April 14, exactly a month after the Nandigram massacre, the Bush administration has invited Buddha to pay an official visit to the US? Issuing the public invitation, United States Trade Representative Susan Schwab said “We would like to hear about the political and development aspects of his success”. Surely Bush is not interested in CPI(M)’s success in revolutionary struggles and expanding communism – it’s Buddha’s success in wooing capital and putting down protest that he wants to hear about!

Coutercurrents

– P.C. Joshi rehabilitated means that Promode Dasgupta is finally dead

April 23, 2007
RESTORATION DRAMA

– P.C. Joshi rehabilitated means that Promode Dasgupta is finally dead

I wonder how Promode Dasgupta would have reacted to his party, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), finally rehabilitating P.C. Joshi in the pantheon of communist heroes of India. None other than the CPI(M) general secretary, Prakash Karat, signalled the change by taking a leading part in the inaugural programme of Joshi’s birth centenary celebrations in Delhi last week and then by following it up with a full-page article on the man in the party organ, People’s Democracy.

But the party that Dasgupta built and led in Bengal negated almost everything that Joshi, the first general secretary of the undivided Communist Party of India, stood for. Many of the problems Bengal has to grapple with today are a result of Dasgupta’s emphasis on mass action. The CPI(M) alone may not be responsible for the decline of the educated gentleman in Bengal politics. But the Dasgupta line that banished “intellectualism” from mass politics institutionalized the trend.

In Bengal, Dasgupta was the prime mover of the hardline faction, led by B.T. Ranadive and P. Sundaraya, that tormented and eventually hounded Joshi out of the leadership. Although Jyoti Basu became the public face of the party in Bengal, it was Dasgupta who laid down the rules of the party games, chose the players and assigned them their roles. This was so even after Basu became the chief minister. And also after Dasgupta died in Beijing in the winter of 1982: because the party in Bengal continued to be controlled by the PDG boys.

Of their many differences, let me consider what I believe to be the two most important ones. The first is related to the debate on what political line the Indian communists would take about the Congress; the second, on what kind of people would provide the best leadership for the CPI.

But it was the debate on the qualities of communist leaders that left the PDG stamp on the party in Bengal. Joshi was in favour of the best and the brightest young men coming into the party and eventually leading it. That explains why the earlier generation of CPI leaders included so many people educated at Oxford, Cambridge or the London School of Economics. Joshi’s approach on this was best illustrated when he inducted Mohit Sen, a bright young man from Cambridge, straight into the ‘party centre’ in Delhi. In short, Joshi was an ‘elitist’. Soon after the Left Front came to power in Bengal in 1977, Dasgupta launched a feverish “anti-elitist” campaign, which Basu was powerless to oppose and which has had a crippling effect on education and other aspects of life in Bengal for the past thirty years.

In contrast to Joshi, Dasgupta represented the section of leadership that was sceptical or even suspicious of the English-speaking, Western-educated comrades from affluent middle-class families. I never met Joshi, but I knew of Dasgupta’s disdain for such comrades.

Soon after the Bengal government abolished the study of English from primary education in 1982, I and a senior colleague from the newspaper with which I then worked met Dasgupta at the CPI(M) office on Alimuddin Street. The newspaper planned a three-part report on the possible impact of the government’s decision on the study of English in higher classes and on higher education in general. Who needed English, Dasgupta shot back when we questioned him on the wisdom of the government’s decision. But his most vitriolic comments came when we referred to reports that it was more the party’s (that is, Dasgupta’s) than Basu’s decision. He paused for a brief moment, drew a heavy breath and snapped, “We can do without English-speaking people.”

We have known the devastating effect of this ‘anti-elitism’. The cynical demolition of Presidency College as a centre of excellence only symbolized the process. If the Naxalite violence of the late Sixties and the early Seventies drove the best and the brightest out of Bengal, the Dasgupta brand of anti-elitism made it impossible for most of them to come back to the state in the subsequent years. The government opened new schools and colleges in villages and small towns. Education was said to have reached the masses. But teachers, both in schools and in colleges, came to be used for party work as never before. Loyalty to the CPI(M) became a prime consideration for the appointment of teachers. Mediocrity and party loyalty together made it impossible for better-quality people to work in this suffocating atmosphere. It was a case of bad money driving away good money.

The irony is that the CPI(M) itself gradually began to discard the Dasgupta line. English was brought back to the primary classes in stages. The duplicity of the party’s ‘anti-elitist’ approach was evident once again in its handling of the affairs of Presidency College. On the one hand, the party delayed granting the college an autonomous status. On the other, party leaders admitted their sons and daughters to the college, hoping to gain an upward social mobility for the next generation. In other words, they now sought ‘elitism’ for their children. It is another matter that the quality of education at the college is now marginally better than in other colleges. Party leaders now actually aim higher — some even send their children abroad for higher studies.

At the national level, the party now has a Western-educated general secretary in Karat and a number of ‘English-speaking’ members in the politburo, such as Sitaram Yechuri and Brinda Karat. The problem is that the party is now incapable of repairing the damage it has inflicted on Bengal’s education and politics.

Joshi would have loved the other signals of the CPI(M)’s change, particularly the reformist zeal of Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. The chief minister’s transformation would have pleased him for another reason as well. Bhattacharjee, like most other party leaders of his generation in Bengal, has always been a PDG boy. Joshi would have liked to see the PDG legacy being demolished by the latter’s chosen ones.

The ultimate defeat of the PDG line is, of course, signalled by the CPI(M)’s support to a Congress-led government at the Centre. If Basu had managed to persuade the party to join this government in 2004, that would have been his ultimate victory against the long, inner-party battle against Dasgupta. I have no doubt that he would be happy with his party’s rehabilitation of Joshi because it means that PDG is finally dead.

The Telegraph

CPM backed trade union smashed in workers’ cooperative elections in Haldia

April 5, 2007

All the efforts of the CPM goebbels has failed , the people have seen through
the propoganda and the CPM today stands exposed like never before.

CPM loses out in port union

Statesman News Service
MIDNAPORE, April 4: Red rampage in Nandigram has rocked the Haldia port. The anti-Left Kolkata Port Trust shramik union has wrested the Haldia dock institute, a cultural club of the officers and employees of Haldia Port, from the Citu after defeating the latter in the managing committee election of the club by 10-8 votes results of which were declared on Saturday.

The results have created a sensation in the port city as the Citu-controlled Kolkata Port Trust and shore mazdoor union has been ousted after 30 years of its stay in power. Though a club of the officers and the employees it plays a vital role in different affairs of the port’s management. The inglorious defeat of the shore union is said to be a virtual rubbing of Mr Lakshman Seth, the party MP and district president of the Citu.

Statesman

Related Posts

SFI smashed in Presidency College and Jadavpur University Elections

SFI(Social Fascists of India) pseudo leftist student union unleases terror in Calcutta

April 5, 2007

Reeling from blow after blow the social fascist student
organisation of the CPI(Marxist) has
un leashed terror after suffering humiliating defeats.
We now know from whom they learn this type of
criminal behavior.

SFI ruckus in South City College
Express News Service

Kolkata, April 4: The Students Federation of India (SFI) today created a ruckus at South City College on the eve of the student union elections, likely to be held tomorrow. SFI members beat up representatives of the Trinamool Chhatra Parishad and injured them. Three injured students were taken to SSKM Hospital for medical aid.

Paiswanor Chatterjee, president of the West Bengal Trinamool Chhatra Parishad, said: “SFI members don’t want other parties in the college to continue their election campaign in peace. Yesterday they tore off all the graffiti and posters put up by the Trinamool Chhatra Parishad members. Today they beat up our boys so that our campaign is interrupted.”

Chatterjee alleged that the same SFI members had murdered a local resident, Raju Prasad, because he had objected to their consuming alcohol and misbehaviour. “It has been a fortnight since the incident took place and the hoodlums are still roaming free. Our boys had protested and they were beaten up. Everything happened before the police but they did not say anything. They stood there like mute spectators,” said Chatterjee.

Indian Express