All posts tagged: Communism

Sahir Ludhianvi – Communist and a Poet

By Saswat Pattanayak It was more than a coincidence that Sahir Ludhianvi was born on an International Women’s Day. His concern and respect for women was as much personal as it was political. For him, no one – and nothing – was more important than his mother Sardar Begum. Resenting her husband’s feudal properties, his mother had left that household and raised Sahir on her own. And Sahir grew up as an organic revolutionary against landlords and burgeoning capitalism of that era. And more importantly, as a progressive poet deeply aware of the capitalistic exploitations of women and the working class. An avid reader of Marx, Sahir early on was influenced by Faiz and Josh – prominent communist poets of that era. His early compositions included “Jahaan Mazdoor Rehte Hai” [Where Workers Reside]. In 1937, Sahir joined All India Students Federation (AISF), affiliated to the Communist Party of India (CPI) – committed to anti-imperialist and anti-colonial struggles. He was expelled from both the colleges (in Ludhiana and Lahore) that he attended, due to his political …

Free Market War on Gaddafi: Unjust, but Natural

By Saswat Pattanayak The war against Libya is a continued assault on part of the imperialist and rogue nations of the First World against the champions of anti-imperialism, anti-colonialism and progressive socialism of the Third World. Contrary to corporate media spins, the war is neither about oil money, nor about installing democracy. It is neither about the rebel uprising in the Arab world, nor about merely ending a dictatorial regime. The war against Libya is an attack on every remnant of collective human aspiration for freedom, peace, justice and equality. The war against Libya is a war against every future possibility that can enable international solidarities among peoples who envision a better world that belongs not to oligarchs and media monopolists, but is shaped up by the ideas of the internationalists, the pan-Africanists. Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s demand for the United States of Africa does not manifest in a Utopia. Quite the opposite: it is a scathing indictment of an unequal world whose mammoth immoralities are deep-rooted in an oppressed Africa. The only way the world’s …

Lucy Parsons :: Revolutionary Feminist

By Saswat Pattanayak No legal case in American history has been more cited than The Scottsboro Trial. Nine young African American men, aged 13 and up, were jailed in Scottsboro, Alabama to await trial over an accusation that they had raped two white women on a train in the Spring of 1931. The nature of racism in this instance was not the novelty – indeed, American society was witness to countless false charges brought against the black people. However, The Scottsboro Trial became a landmark via the manner in which racism for the first time was fiercely and openly challenged in the United States. When the entire country was refusing to take side of Scottsboro Nine, it was the Communist Party which came to aid the young men. International Labor Defense – a coalition formed by the communists to defend Scottsboro Nine benefitted from the active involvement of a black woman on their national board – a pioneering champion of labor classes in America – Lucy Parsons (1853-1942). Class, Race and Gender Parsons’ commitments towards …

Remembering Howard Zinn (August 24, 1922 – January 27, 2010)

(For publication in Radical Notes) By Saswat Pattanayak “To be neutral is to collaborate with whatever is going on, and I as a teacher do not want to be a collaborator with whatever is happening in the world today.” (Howard Zinn) In the grossly unequal world that we inhabit, it is always tempting to remain apolitical, especially if one is an academician materially benefiting from the status quo system of education. It is only logical to separate classroom instructions from political activisms, since teachers are desired by the system to enhance employability of students within the social framework, not to agitate their conscience to challenge the social order. In a world of established, codified and professional knowledge, it is required on part of historians to promulgate official narrations of national heroes and victorious wars; not overthrow ruling class histories to replace them with versions of the oppressed subjects. Howard Zinn’s aspirations to become a teacher were also founded with similar convictions. But unlike most people in his times, he was fundamentally a radical thinker. When …

Communists Must Win, Now That the Election is Lost

By Saswat Pattanayak Elections are social, not political events. Whereas social functions entail an understanding of, and adherence to established norms, effective political actions require empowered state of conscientious being. Democratic elections – from ancient noble Greece to enslaved corporate America – take place independent of mass empowerment, most often, by keeping the participants oblivious. People are kept sufficiently ignorant about the repercussions of their actions by not only the political parties, but by their media cohorts in general. What is instead propagated at an almost constant level comprises pure trivia: the equations of wins and defeats, the seats and the states, and the number games to legitimize a victor. What results is a triumph of the end-product of elections, than an exposition of process complexities so as to challenge existing structures of power. Every mass-based hierarchical election that claims to have democratic character in turn produces a winner which revels in celebration of conquest as a finality of purpose, not identification of its purpose as worthy of celebration. After all, identification of purpose in …