Arundhati Roy: Do turkeys enjoy thanksgiving?

That time of the year again! Let’s revisit (and re-read) the inimitable Arundhati Roy:
(text of her speech at the opening Plenary of the World Social Forum in Mumbai on January 16, 2004):

Do turkeys enjoy thanksgiving?

By Arundhati Roy

LAST JANUARY thousands of us from across the world gathered in Porto Allegre in Brazil and declared — reiterated — that “Another World is Possible”. A few thousand miles north, in Washington, George Bush and his aides were thinking the same thing.

Our project was the World Social Forum. Theirs — to further what many call The Project for the New American Century.

In the great cities of Europe and America, where a few years ago these things would only have been whispered, now people are openly talking about the good side of Imperialism and the need for a strong Empire to police an unruly world. The new missionaries want order at the cost of justice. Discipline at the cost of dignity. And ascendancy at any price. Occasionally some of us are invited to `debate’ the issue on `neutral’ platforms provided by the corporate media. Debating Imperialism is a bit like debating the pros and cons of rape. What can we say? That we really miss it?

In any case, New Imperialism is already upon us. It’s a remodelled, streamlined version of what we once knew. For the first time in history, a single Empire with an arsenal of weapons that could obliterate the world in an afternoon has complete, unipolar, economic and military hegemony. It uses different weapons to break open different markets. There isn’t a country on God’s earth that is not caught in the cross hairs of the American cruise missile and the IMF chequebook. Argentina’s the model if you want to be the poster-boy of neoliberal capitalism, Iraq if you’re the black sheep.

Poor countries that are geo-politically of strategic value to Empire, or have a `market’ of any size, or infrastructure that can be privatized, or, god forbid, natural resources of value — oil, gold, diamonds, cobalt, coal — must do as they’re told, or become military targets. Those with the greatest reserves of natural wealth are most at risk. Unless they surrender their resources willingly to the corporate machine, civil unrest will be fomented, or war will be waged. In this new age of Empire, when nothing is as it appears to be, executives of concerned companies are allowed to influence foreign policy decisions. The Centre for Public Integrity in Washington found that nine out of the 30 members of the Defence Policy Board of the U.S. Government were connected to companies that were awarded defence contracts for $ 76 billion between 2001 and 2002. George Shultz, former U.S. Secretary of State, was Chairman of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq. He is also on the Board of Directors of the Bechtel Group. When asked about a conflict of interest, in the case of a war in Iraq he said, ” I don’t know that Bechtel would particularly benefit from it. But if there’s work to be done, Bechtel is the type of company that could do it. But nobody looks at it as something you benefit from.” After the war, Bechtel signed a $680 million contract for reconstruction in Iraq.

This brutal blueprint has been used over and over again, across Latin America, Africa, Central and South-East Asia. It has cost millions of lives. It goes without saying that every war Empire wages becomes a Just War. This, in large part, is due to the role of the corporate media. It’s important to understand that the corporate media doesn’t just support the neo-liberal project. It is the neo-liberal project. This is not a moral position it has chosen to take, it’s structural. It’s intrinsic to the economics of how the mass media works.

Most nations have adequately hideous family secrets. So it isn’t often necessary for the media to lie. It’s what’s emphasised and what’s ignored. Say for example India was chosen as the target for a righteous war. The fact that about 80,000 people have been killed in Kashmir since 1989, most of them Muslim, most of them by Indian Security Forces (making the average death toll about 6000 a year); the fact that less than a year ago, in March of 2003, more than two thousand Muslims were murdered on the streets of Gujarat, that women were gang-raped and children were burned alive and a 150,000 people driven from their homes while the police and administration watched, and sometimes actively participated; the fact that no one has been punished for these crimes and the Government that oversaw them was re-elected … all of this would make perfect headlines in international newspapers in the run-up to war.

Next we know, our cities will be levelled by cruise missiles, our villages fenced in with razor wire, U.S. soldiers will patrol our streets and, Narendra Modi, Pravin Togadia or any of our popular bigots could, like Saddam Hussein, be in U.S. custody, having their hair checked for lice and the fillings in their teeth examined on prime-time TV.

But as long as our `markets’ are open, as long as corporations like Enron, Bechtel, Halliburton, Arthur Andersen are given a free hand, our `democratically elected’ leaders can fearlessly blur the lines between democracy, majoritarianism and fascism.

Our government’s craven willingness to abandon India’s proud tradition of being Non-Aligned, its rush to fight its way to the head of the queue of the Completely Aligned (the fashionable phrase is `natural ally’ — India, Israel and the U.S. are `natural allies’), has given it the leg room to turn into a repressive regime without compromising its legitimacy.

A government’s victims are not only those that it kills and imprisons. Those who are displaced and dispossessed and sentenced to a lifetime of starvation and deprivation must count among them too. Millions of people have been dispossessed by `development’ projects. In the past 55 years, Big Dams alone have displaced between 33 million and 55 million people in India. They have no recourse to justice.

In the last two years there has been a series of incidents when police have opened fire on peaceful protestors, most of them Adivasi and Dalit. When it comes to the poor, and in particular Dalit and Adivasi communities, they get killed for encroaching on forest land, and killed when they’re trying to protect forest land from encroachments — by dams, mines, steel plants and other `development’ projects. In almost every instance in which the police opened fire, the government’s strategy has been to say the firing was provoked by an act of violence. Those who have been fired upon are immediately called militants.

Across the country, thousands of innocent people including minors have been arrested under POTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act) and are being held in jail indefinitely and without trial. In the era of the War against Terror, poverty is being slyly conflated with terrorism. In the era of corporate globalisation, poverty is a crime. Protesting against further impoverishment is terrorism. And now, our Supreme Court says that going on strike is a crime. Criticising the court of course is a crime, too. They’re sealing the exits.

Like Old Imperialism, New Imperialism too relies for its success on a network of agents — corrupt, local elites who service Empire. We all know the sordid story of Enron in India. The then Maharashtra Government signed a power purchase agreement which gave Enron profits that amounted to sixty per cent of India’s entire rural development budget. A single American company was guaranteed a profit equivalent to funds for infrastructural development for about 500 million people!

Unlike in the old days the New Imperialist doesn’t need to trudge around the tropics risking malaria or diahorrea or early death. New Imperialism can be conducted on e-mail. The vulgar, hands-on racism of Old Imperialism is outdated. The cornerstone of New Imperialism is New Racism.

The tradition of `turkey pardoning’ in the U.S. is a wonderful allegory for New Racism. Every year since 1947, the National Turkey Federation presents the U.S. President with a turkey for Thanksgiving. Every year, in a show of ceremonial magnanimity, the President spares that particular bird (and eats another one). After receiving the presidential pardon, the Chosen One is sent to Frying Pan Park in Virginia to live out its natural life. The rest of the 50 million turkeys raised for Thanksgiving are slaughtered and eaten on Thanksgiving Day. ConAgra Foods, the company that has won the Presidential Turkey contract, says it trains the lucky birds to be sociable, to interact with dignitaries, school children and the press. (Soon they’ll even speak English!)

That’s how New Racism in the corporate era works. A few carefully bred turkeys — the local elites of various countries, a community of wealthy immigrants, investment bankers, the occasional Colin Powell, or Condoleezza Rice, some singers, some writers (like myself) — are given absolution and a pass to Frying Pan Park. The remaining millions lose their jobs, are evicted from their homes, have their water and electricity connections cut, and die of AIDS. Basically they’re for the pot. But the Fortunate Fowls in Frying Pan Park are doing fine. Some of them even work for the IMF and the WTO — so who can accuse those organisations of being anti-turkey? Some serve as board members on the Turkey Choosing Committee — so who can say that turkeys are against Thanksgiving? They participate in it! Who can say the poor are anti-corporate globalisation? There’s a stampede to get into Frying Pan Park. So what if most perish on the way?

Part of the project of New Racism is New Genocide. In this new era of economic interdependence, New Genocide can be facilitated by economic sanctions. It means creating conditions that lead to mass death without actually going out and killing people. Dennis Halliday, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Iraq between ‘97 and ‘98 (after which he resigned in disgust), used the term genocide to describe the sanctions in Iraq. In Iraq the sanctions outdid Saddam Hussein’s best efforts by claiming more than half a million children’s lives.

In the new era, Apartheid as formal policy is antiquated and unnecessary. International instruments of trade and finance oversee a complex system of multilateral trade laws and financial agreements that keep the poor in their Bantustans anyway. Its whole purpose is to institutionalise inequity. Why else would it be that the U.S. taxes a garment made by a Bangladeshi manufacturer 20 times more than it taxes a garment made in the U.K.? Why else would it be that countries that grow 90 per cent of the world’s cocoa bean produce only 5 per cent of the world’s chocolate? Why else would it be that countries that grow cocoa bean, like the Ivory Coast and Ghana, are taxed out of the market if they try and turn it into chocolate? Why else would it be that rich countries that spend over a billion dollars a day on subsidies to farmers demand that poor countries like India withdraw all agricultural subsidies, including subsidised electricity? Why else would it be that after having been plundered by colonising regimes for more than half a century, former colonies are steeped in debt to those same regimes, and repay them some $ 382 billion a year?

For all these reasons, the derailing of trade agreements at Cancun was crucial for us. Though our governments try and take the credit, we know that it was the result of years of struggle by many millions of people in many, many countries. What Cancun taught us is that in order to inflict real damage and force radical change, it is vital for local resistance movements to make international alliances. From Cancun we learned the importance of globalising resistance.

No individual nation can stand up to the project of Corporate Globalisation on its own. Time and again we have seen that when it comes to the neo-liberal project, the heroes of our times are suddenly diminished. Extraordinary, charismatic men, giants in Opposition, when they seize power and become Heads of State, they become powerless on the global stage. I’m thinking here of President Lula of Brazil. Lula was the hero of the World Social Forum last year. This year he’s busy implementing IMF guidelines, reducing pension benefits and purging radicals from the Workers’ Party. I’m thinking also of ex-President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. Within two years of taking office in 1994, his government genuflected with hardly a caveat to the Market God. It instituted a massive programme of privatisation and structural adjustment, which has left millions of people homeless, jobless and without water and electricity.

Why does this happen? There’s little point in beating our breasts and feeling betrayed. Lula and Mandela are, by any reckoning, magnificent men. But the moment they cross the floor from the Opposition into Government they become hostage to a spectrum of threats — most malevolent among them the threat of capital flight, which can destroy any government overnight. To imagine that a leader’s personal charisma and a c.v. of struggle will dent the Corporate Cartel is to have no understanding of how Capitalism works, or for that matter, how power works. Radical change will not be negotiated by governments; it can only be enforced by people.

This week at the World Social Forum, some of the best minds in the world will exchange ideas about what is happening around us. These conversations refine our vision of the kind of world we’re fighting for. It is a vital process that must not be undermined. However, if all our energies are diverted into this process at the cost of real political action, then the WSF, which has played such a crucial role in the Movement for Global Justice, runs the risk of becoming an asset to our enemies. What we need to discuss urgently is strategies of resistance. We need to aim at real targets, wage real battles and inflict real damage. Gandhi’s Salt March was not just political theatre. When, in a simple act of defiance, thousands of Indians marched to the sea and made their own salt, they broke the salt tax laws. It was a direct strike at the economic underpinning of the British Empire. It was real. While our movement has won some important victories, we must not allow non-violent resistance to atrophy into ineffectual, feel-good, political theatre. It is a very precious weapon that needs to be constantly honed and re-imagined. It cannot be allowed to become a mere spectacle, a photo opportunity for the media.

It was wonderful that on February 15th last year, in a spectacular display of public morality, 10 million people in five continents marched against the war on Iraq. It was wonderful, but it was not enough. February 15th was a weekend. Nobody had to so much as miss a day of work. Holiday protests don’t stop wars. George Bush knows that. The confidence with which he disregarded overwhelming public opinion should be a lesson to us all. Bush believes that Iraq can be occupied and colonised — as Afghanistan has been, as Tibet has been, as Chechnya is being, as East Timor once was and Palestine still is. He thinks that all he has to do is hunker down and wait until a crisis-driven media, having picked this crisis to the bone, drops it and moves on. Soon the carcass will slip off the best-seller charts, and all of us outraged folks will lose interest. Or so he hopes.

This movement of ours needs a major, global victory. It’s not good enough to be right. Sometimes, if only in order to test our resolve, it’s important to win something. In order to win something, we — all of us gathered here and a little way away at Mumbai Resistance — need to agree on something. That something does not need to be an over-arching pre-ordained ideology into which we force-fit our delightfully factious, argumentative selves. It does not need to be an unquestioning allegiance to one or another form of resistance to the exclusion of everything else. It could be a minimum agenda.

If all of us are indeed against Imperialism and against the project of neo-liberalism, then let’s turn our gaze on Iraq. Iraq is the inevitable culmination of both. Plenty of anti-war activists have retreated in confusion since the capture of Saddam Hussein. Isn’t the world better off without Saddam Hussein? they ask timidly.

Let’s look this thing in the eye once and for all. To applaud the U.S. army’s capture of Saddam Hussein and therefore, in retrospect, justify its invasion and occupation of Iraq is like deifying Jack the Ripper for disembowelling the Boston Strangler. And that — after a quarter century partnership in which the Ripping and Strangling was a joint enterprise. It’s an in-house quarrel. They’re business partners who fell out over a dirty deal. Jack’s the CEO.

So if we are against Imperialism, shall we agree that we are against the U.S. occupation and that we believe that the U.S. must withdraw from Iraq and pay reparations to the Iraqi people for the damage that the war has inflicted?

How do we begin to mount our resistance? Let’s start with something really small. The issue is not about supporting the resistance in Iraq against the occupation or discussing who exactly constitutes the resistance. (Are they old Killer Ba’athists, are they Islamic Fundamentalists?)

We have to become the global resistance to the occupation.

Our resistance has to begin with a refusal to accept the legitimacy of the U.S. occupation of Iraq. It means acting to make it materially impossible for Empire to achieve its aims. It means soldiers should refuse to fight, reservists should refuse to serve, workers should refuse to load ships and aircraft with weapons. It certainly means that in countries like India and Pakistan we must block the U.S. government’s plans to have Indian and Pakistani soldiers sent to Iraq to clean up after them.

I suggest that at a joint closing ceremony of the World Social Forum and Mumbai Resistance, we choose, by some means, two of the major corporations that are profiting from the destruction of Iraq. We could then list every project they are involved in. We could locate their offices in every city and every country across the world. We could go after them. We could shut them down. It’s a question of bringing our collective wisdom and experience of past struggles to bear on a single target. It’s a question of the desire to win.

The Project For The New American Century seeks to perpetuate inequity and establish American hegemony at any price, even if it’s apocalyptic. The World Social Forum demands justice and survival.

For these reasons, we must consider ourselves at war.

©Arundhati Roy

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Author: Saswat Pattanayak

Journalist, Generalist, Atheist, Poet, Lover, Photographer, Communist, Third wave Feminist, LGBT ally, Black power comrade, Peacenik, Anti-capitalist, Critical media theorist, Radical film critic, Academic non-elite…

26 thoughts on “Arundhati Roy: Do turkeys enjoy thanksgiving?

  1. I respect Arundhati Roy as a writer but as a social thinker she comes out pauper.

    She talks about new imperialism, policing, formenting war and genocide by imperialist, but fails miserably for providing an alternate solution. We have seen what havoc communism (on erstwhile USSR) and socialism (on India) has caused. For common man, its always the choice for choosing one, which is lesser evil and never the choice for a better one.

    She opines, “… complex system of multilateral trade laws and financial agreements that keep the poor in their Bantustans… ” thus promoting inequality, but Dear Ms. Roy, can you think of some other way by which ordinary people can make money to feed themselves and there dependents. Ok agreed clothes from Dhaka are taxed more at 20% but atleast some money is earned by Dhaka, which is then used to feed its working population.

    What if there is no trade? What will happen to thousands of workers who have to feed there family?

    Remember when people are unable to get there basic amenities fulfilled, they become a breeding ground for fermenting unrest and waging a civil war.

    She talks about 80000 muslims(mostly) being killed by security forces in Kashmir and another 150,000 in gujarat who were driven away? Why did she fails to recognize the ethnic cleansing to kashmir??? What about 250,000’s of kashmiri hindus who have been made to flee from valley and are now leaving as refugees in there own country. Why such myopic view? Why doesnt she see other side of coin aswell?

    There was a massacre in gujarat, but why was it considered as of Muslims only??? Hindus too were killed, there women gang raped, there chilldren burnt alived… but alas no one speaks for them… Reason, if they talk about hindu suffering they will be immediately branded as right wingers, fanatics…

    Ms. Roy talks about people being fired at for protesting against encroachment on forest lands, but playing with the media she choose not to refer it as suffering on people but as sufferings for dalits and adivasi.
    It is fashionable in India to include words like Dalits, back ward classes and Secularism in your statments ans speeches. These words are sure shot for making your statments as headlines of news papers, thereby catapulating you to fame.

    Being a progressive thinker, why cant Ms. Roy refer to a society as a whole rather than dividing it based upon caste, creed and religion. For politicians, it is understandable, but what stops Ms, Roy.

    And lastly and most importantly, in the whole article she has been dismissive and wary of war forced on third world by imperialists, but does she have anything to offer for overcoming invaders???

    Shutting down corporations which offers jobs to thousands, in effect bringing an employed work force to be deprived of employment…

    Ms. Roy, all these things look good either on paper or when your belly is full. When there is burning hunger in your stomach and you need to take care of satisfying hunger of few more at home, you dont bother whether your employer is benefitting from Iraq contracts or you are assigned task to curb racist violnce in france.

  2. Mr. Sanjay, what good is a writer who cannot think for the betterment of the society? So either you respect Ms. Roy for what she stands for and thus writes, or you are on the other side, and are opposed to her views. There is no middle ground to hold certain opinions when one is proclaimed as a social thinker or a conscientious citizen of the human kind.

    Perhaps you did not read the article carefully enough. When you say that she “fails miserably for providing an alternate solution” you forget that the article mentions in the begining that the speech was made at the ‘opening Plenary of the World Social Forum in Mumbai’ and narrates about the thousands who gathered in Brazil to provide an alternative solution, i.e. “another world is possible”.

    The havoc of communisim in erstwhile Soviet was based on the simple foundation of food,clothing, shelter, and equal rights for all its citizen. And guess what, in the erstwhile Sovient Union every family had 2 houses one in the city where they worked and one in the countryside, everybody who wanted to work had a job, every child’s education was guaranteed, houswives were paid by the state for taking care of their families (these facts are not from books alone but from Russian friends I have interacted with)….the list goes on and not to mention the strides the Russians made in every field possible, may it be in sports, science or arts during the 70 years of Soviet era.
    And what is Russia today without the clutches of communisim?….you can assess that.
    Now turning our focus to socialism in India: When was that? what period? Please enlighten. So I dont get the point when you compare communism in USSR with “socialism” in India.

    The Jammu n’ Kashmir was never wholly and is still not an indisputed territory of the Republic of India. In addition Kashmir is the only state of India where the majority population is muslim, has a military presence since independence, and Indian military is predominantly Hindu. And so when both Hindus and Muslims die there, we know who is to be blamed– the governed or the governing military force.

    Gujrat riots:it was originated from, perpetuated by, and instigated through Hindu fundamentalists who were ruling the state there, the common people and mostly muslim business owners fell prey to the heinous barbarism. The ritaliation from the muslim population in terms of turmoil is understandable because they are the minority and live in insecurity created for them by the majority hindus.

    The whole point was not made to choose between hunger and job at a sweatshop in a third world country or living in the ghettos of France and feeling blessed that one is alive, rather it is to; a) make people ask the right questions: why does hunger exist in the world where everything is in abundance for all the creatures to peacefully coexist? or why the handful of imperialists devise and still control the lives of millions across continents (not in the best way for sure)? b) To hammer in the fact that the onus lies on the educated, the privileged, and those who have the luxury to be politically aware to uncover the deceit and discrimination inflicted on the less privileged by the imperialists. And Ms. Roy is doing a wonderful job at that.

    We, the privileged should join the forces by supporting the right causes and spreading the awareness among the poor and illiterate. Life may be all about surviving–for the unfortunates –but they too want to live, and who will support their dream to simply be happy to be alive?

  3. The problem with leftist thinkers is that they fail to understand the changing geopolitics of the world today and instead harp upon some non aligned movement age which is increasingly becoming irrelevant. As an Indian, I don’t really care about what happens in Argentina or Africa or any of those countries. If they fail to keep up with the world, it’s their problem, not the problem of globalization. As Sanjay says, no one cares when we Hindus are killed, raped or rendered homeless, but pseudo secularists like Ms Roy’s hearts bleed when Muslims are met with retaliation for any of their action. Again, I agree that not all muslims are terrorists, but there are some inherent deficiencies in the Islamic religion as outlined by the Koran that need to be addressed before Muslims in general are exonerated. However, no one ever takes a critical view of the Koran, and if someone does, he or she is immediately issued a fatwa upon. I would advise Ms Roy to take a few courses on Economics and then argue about communism and capitalism. It is apparent that her knowledge on both is very limited and based on what the (left dominated) media says. It is OK to have an opinion, but there is opinion and there are facts. I would advise Ms Roy to brush up on the latter.

  4. “As an Indian, I don’t really care about what happens in Argentina or Africa or any of those countries.”

    Wow! Why do I feel that as I keep hearing this line from more and more Indians, I feel less and less good about being called an Indian myself? And what makes one think India is any better developed than Argentina and Africa (btw, Africa is not to be confused as a country like Argentina: it’s a continent with several countries with various layers of developments)?

    Ironically, as India enters the globalized world more, we see the leaderships in India fail to make us realize that we need to be even all more internationalists than to grow nationalists. The workers’ problems across the countries become all the more homogenous in an increasingly globalized world –with more sweatshops, more profit hankering whirl-marts and microsofts.

    As we reflect less on Indian hegemony in south asia, we also look less at the systematic deficits in Hindu religion (which is practiced by more than 80% of Indians). So we find Islam as the easy target of displaced anger when everything goes wrong with the Hinduism as practiced today or has been since centuries. A section of Hindus looks at Islam families instead of looking at their own domestic violence in Hindu society, they look at Pakistani greed of Kashmir without looking at 60 years of military occupation of Indian army, some Hindus blame Muslims for Gujarat instead of looking at Narendra Modi for answer. They conveniently forget Advani for Ayodhya, or Thackarey for Mumbai. And last of all, we the majority of India are to be blamed for allowing these suckers to stay in power by gleefully electing them, instead of running cases against them for ruining our lives-by setting us back by hundreds of years with communal riots.

    Human lives lost in Kashmir or in the North East are not of the Muslims or the Hindus. It’s the otherwise innocent civilians who are paying a price for New Delhi hostilities being meted out by people who are legitimized by the rest of India.

    Keeping up with the tradition of never being self-critical, it becomes easy for a section of Hindus to attack Koran. We know it only too well, that Hinduism is the only religion in the world where human rights to dignities are determined since the time of birth by virtue of a vicious caste system. It’s a religion which does not allow people to change their castes if they want to! Will a Sudra become a Brahmin if he (sorry for sounding sexist…but religions have made it so—no she panda!) wants to become a priest (so much for division of labor theory elaborated by Vivekananda). Of course Hindus are no more heinous than Muslims or Christians or any other religion when it comes to treating women as second class citizens. But interestingly, Jagannath Temple does not allow even converted Hindus in its premise! It’s easy to dismiss the pandas as non-Hindus. But what are we left with then? A Sankaracharya alleged with murder charges? Both the texts and the practitioners of Hinduism are no way any better than any other major religion of the world today. Instead of attacking Koran for every inferiority complex we have, we need to heavily reform or better still, do away with our own traditional biases inherent within Hindu religion first. Every house is built of glass. Hindus must protect their own before firing self-righteous salvos.

    I am not sure about Ms Roy’s expertise on Economics, but she does well to remember that in the era of globalization, the cultural, national and religious purity is a big bad myth. And that makes her a great and effective human being.

  5. Dear Ms Amrita,
    “… turning our focus to socialism in India: When was that? what period? Please enlighten…”

    Please refer to Constitution of India.

    “WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens …”

    More on, being priviliged and supporting right causes later.

    Regards,
    Sanjay

  6. Sanjay,
    Sounds like India is also a Secular country too! Also a Democratic one!!!! if we believe the preamble!

    I have lived all my life in India and realize the paradox between the written words and the implemented actions.

    Plus, “Socialist” word was introduced by Indira Gandhi in 1976 (by 42nd amednment).
    Of course it irked the Patel followers (who always believed the Indian constitution was a Patel Constitution) in the right-wing and soon with help from reactionary aids of master countries made all efforts to destabilize India. And boy! did they succeed!

    Of course the reactionaries came to power and fought with each other for power sharing in such dirty manner that people threw them out of the kursi. Their greed for property was such vicious that Indira Gandhi after resuming power incorporated a Soviet-style Fundamental Duties and abolished the ‘Right to Property’. And the ceiling was also imposed on consolidation of land holdings. Banks were all in toto nationalised.

    All these progressive steps were being carefully watched by the reactionaries and when the Secular part of the preamble began getting implemented, she got brutally murdered.

    Thats a short history of the seemingly left wing socialist attempts.

    By the way, if you thought of a “phase” in Indian political history when it was practiced, I thought you knew that the only proclaimed “Socialist” bloc was led by the Morarji Desai government. By Laloo Yadav and George Fernandes. They declared themselves socialists and they indeed ruled (albeit for the shortest period in New Delhi–sorry, Vajpayee outdid that greed by accepting to enjoy the kursi 13 days!).

    But again, we understand that their socialism was not one of the left wing that you would have wanted to pinpoint. For, Hitler not so long ago was also a proclaimed socialist.

    The trick is to know the two different brands of socialism–one leading to fascism and one leading to communism. So far, we have seen only the former brand at dirty play in India.

  7. Blaming foreign hand (can we say, reactionary aids from master countries) was once a favourite way out from any tricky situations by one of our Prime minister. Though we never came to know whose hands were being referred to. He would be very happy to find an ardent follower in you who always passes the buck to either some unknown Imperialist or some mastering countries.
    It was the same primeminister who proclaimed his secularness by reversing a judgement from apex court, entitling a muslim woman for her right of maintenance after a divorce, so as to appease the muslim male voters, by amending the constitution.

    Democracy is still alive otherwise Bihar would not have got rid from the cluthes of Lalu and family.

    Agains as you say about two different brands of socialism, so is the case with democracy and secularism. Secularism – one which goes with policy of appeasement and another which we only hear about.
    Democracy – one where bullets and not ballots decide the result and another where leader like Indira Gandhi had to face defeat becaus of her totallitarian actions.

    Yes we need to learn to differentiate between good and evil, but it takes time for the people to understand whats right or wrong for them.

    India may be plagued with numerous evil, but still is a vibrant country, marching ahead to make a mark of its own. It still is a place worth living and dying for. Lets do something positive to brighten things and not see things always in shades of gray.

  8. Abir,
    The problem with lofty-thinkers is that they do not think deep enough, and that is why they fail to understand that when the world is going global no country can afford to remain oblivious of any other country. Geopolitics is always changing and no history is irrelevant, because history will narrate why we are the way we are today.

    Today when the world is becoming increasingly nuclear, volatile (in matters of religion, race, and power), and unipolar (US emerging as the decision making entity for most of the world), it is all the more important for us to understand the dynamics of how social, political, and economic relations between countries determines our lives.

    When you say ‘pseudo-secularists’ like Ms. Roy’s hearts bleed when muslims are harassed, I feel you are misjudging her statements. Whether it be Hindu or a Muslim a human life is sacrificed at the altar of religion; religion used as a weapon by a handful of politically motivated power hungry people. So may it be a true-secularist or pseudo-secularist, one cannot say that a Hindu killed is better than a Muslim killed……..however in a country where the minority are the Muslims, voices from the mainstream are necessary to support there cause so that their plight does not go unheard.

    It is factually untrue that ‘no one ever takes a critical view of the Koran’, because a fatwa cannot be issued on someone out of the blues. The fight against so called terrorism, global fear for jihad, and the tales of atrocities on women, at the hands of fundamentalist Islamic forces are not only critical but oppositional stances that most of the allied countries hold today. A person does not become a terrorist because he/she is a muslim, the simplistic cause-effect theory is never the explanation to a serious phenomenon that is griping that world; may it be in the Middle-east, Kashmir, north-east India, Spain, or U.S. So you are damn right when you agree that all muslims are not terrorists.

    Every institutionalized religion which have a decisive role in running the course of world affairs, may it be Islam, Christianity, or Hinduism (in India), have been and still are critically viewed, criticized, and perceived as dangerous. And everyone needs to brush up their knowledge on facts before rendering opinions.

  9. Sanjay,
    What’s sad is that i exactly know what side you have chosen. And hence, you dont see neither the foreign hands, nor the domestic hands that reinforce those foreign hands. Of course to you, both RAW and CIA seem to be some fictionalized theories.

    History of colonialism has been founded on this basic precept: the foreign rulers have always invariably found support from the domestic reactionaries. In india, it has been the case too. Same has been found to be true in many African countries (of course about whom you have said so arrogantly that you dont care!).

    And yes, being secular means that one does need to accord special privilage to the minorities because historically the majorities have condemned them to misery. So its essential that leaderships in India must appease the Muslim voters way more than they succumb to Hindu voters’ pressures. If you have read the constitution that you are so eager to quote from time to time, you would get this essence.

    But the unfortunate thing is that some Hindus do not just yet want to mature into that level of sacrifice, as some brahmins dont want to give up their privilage yet.
    As for Lalu getting rid of, it does not show there is democracy in India. It just shows that politics of opporutnism still prevails in India. To imagine that ballot box is a way to democracy in the land of illiterates !!! Sure Nitish Kumar is the new Laloo! And who was this Laloo? Who was the great friend of Fernandes? Who is Fernandes? Great friend of Vajpayee. Who is Vajpayee? Ahem…Tehelka was not that old history!!!

    What we certainly are in great need even today is the totalitarian rule that Netajee Subhas Bose had envisaged. Sad that they killed him first, and then of course Indira. because democracy based on necessary illusions, as Chomsky says, is bound to be more popular than authoritative rule by visionaries who work for social justice. It soothes, like the country music. Or like the hindustani classical. What we need is Rage Against the Machine!

    I am not seeing anything in shades of gray, as you assume. I can’t afford to. The shades are still just pretty horrible when hungry mothers sell their babies and people die of starvation in Orissa. India is a place worth dying for, surely. But the death must come to the homegrown capitalists and their foreign imperialist partners. Its only a matter of time.

    Laal Salaam!

  10. As Saswat has rightly pointed out: ‘socialism’ per se has not seen the light of the day in India, neither has democracy or secularism. Yes the preamble is impressive, so is the constitution, perhaps the best in the world..
    ………… but India has a long way to go before it’s citizens can experience each clause.

  11. Laal Salaam, comrade!
    Being an American radical, what I know of India is that it once housed some of the bravest revolutionaries. And today it seems like a country full of yankee junkies being loyal to dollars off the vending machines of the Software Slaveship.
    Carry on the good work of educating this breed of neo-indians.

  12. Socialism, democray, constitution, sound only good on books. Do one can think india as democratic state….come to the ground reality, you will hardly find anything as such. Justice, equality, rights important aspect of Democracy….Does it really exist?

  13. Hi Naveen,
    thanks for the response. Well, such things as socialism, democracy and constitution are good only in socialist, democractic and constitutionally driven countries (sorry, India is no more one of these countries).

    India has a very vibrant religious, caste-ridden, patriarchal society as it is today. Many of us, including you since the days I know of you, are fighting against the grander schemes of things in India that makes the nation stronger at the cost of its muted population.

    Justice, equality and rights are utopian in a ballot-based democracy. They hold values only in revolutionary democracy.

    So to answer you, yes they do really exist. And they have formidable forces to destroy them in order to propagate another version of what is democracy (the military-industrial complex).

    How is life treating you otherwise? Share with us your post-modern insights!

  14. Ms Amrita,
    I did read the article carefully and still stand by my point.
    It would be good for all (uninformed like me and others) to know what steps were taken to make “make another world” possible. Just picketing a office of a company involved in building contracts of Iraq is definitely not the one which can be counted as a step.
    I agree with your point of, “social thinker or a conscientious citizen of the human kind” but you should also allow, as you say educating the uninformed, to see other side of coin also.
    There cannot be a unipolar world and radically different sets of ideology needs to coexists. You cannot go on imposing on people, your kind of ideology.

    The havoc of communisim in erstwhile Soviet was based on the simple foundation of gulag, opression and elimination of non-conformists and not as you say. Agreed people shared food, clothing and shelter, but coming to rights???
    Everything was pre determined for you, and you dare not fall out of place. Where was the freedom of press and freedom of speech.
    The system was no better than caging a bird , lest it falls prey to a predator.
    And coming to equal right, what do you have to say about the elite of erstwhile USSR who enjoyed limitless powers, fine vodka’s, luxurious dacha and holiday villas…
    In capitalist economy, 97% people work for 3% which is far better than communism where 99% work for 1% governing members.
    And if communism was so good, why did citizens of erst while USSR denounced it at the first opportunity they got???
    After Bolshevik revolution, Lenin too started with a market economy, but it was tight fist rule of Stalin, which saw the introduction of Collectivism and at what price? Millions of peasants died at the hands of Stalin, just because they refused to give there land to central authority.
    Russia today is trying to stage a comeback in the present unipolar world. Citizens of Russia are trying to ward off the complacency which had set in there mind because of getting habituated to assured food, shelter and clothing. People were doing things what they were asked to, they existed as robots, programmed to obey orders rather than being human and questioning and resaoning.

    And to talk about Jammu and Kashmir, never thought you would be so ignorant about it. If you refer to past, you will know that military presence was increased during 1989-90 becaus of rise in insurgency instigated by pakistan and groups of jehadis camping in afghanistan (ably assisted by USA to fight USSR)

    Why is it that Gujarat riots are only brandished? What about Caliphite movement, Mooplah rebellion and Marad Violence.

    Violence by any group is heinous and should be condemned. I too agree there was an excess in gujarat, but at the same time we need to move on. Let the scars heal and allow soceity to move on. Digging past has never solved any problem nor will it. Raising bogey of Gujarat riots at the slightest pretext will only act as a catalyst for the mobilization of more and more fundamentalist under there respective banners.

    “The whole point was not made to …
    a) make people ask the right questions: …”
    Exactly thats my point, whats right for someone may not be right for another. There has to be inclusiveness among ideologies and not mutual exclusions. Every ideology has points of inflexions and we need to assimilate good parts into our lives unless they start stagnating start producing corrupt, fascist, and totallitarions views.

    Whether Ms. Roy is doing a wonderful job or not, only time will tell. Ideologies and not persons should become all too important.

    Yes, We, the privileged should join forces supporting right causes and spreading awareness and thats only possible when we are positive from within ourselves. Being critical is one thing and condemning for not towing your line is another.

  15. Hi Saswat,
    I am all too well aware of the domestic and foreign hands plauging India. I am aware of KGB, MI6 and ISI too in addition to RAW and CIA.

    Saswat no where i made a comment about dont care attitude towards Africa. Guess you are attributing someone’s else stmt to me.

    Saswat, time and again you are referring to minorities being opressed in India. May i know when/where (Apart from the recent gujrat riots). If you would have taken your history lessons seriously you will know that India has been continuously targeted my muslim invaders, the majority being subjected to brutalities of rape, torture, deaths and conversion of faith. Moghul rule is not so distant in history. You will know that moghuls were no majority rulers but a minority invaders who ruled us for 500 years before being thrown by britishers. History of moghuls is all too full of destruction, segreggation and subjugation of majority population.

    Dear Saswat, when you talk about minorities, they dint sprang up from air, they came into existence either because of forcefull conversion or conversion by coercion.

    But the unfortunate thing is that some Hindus do not just yet want to mature into that level of sacrifice, as some brahmins dont want to give up their privilage yet.

    You talk about totalitarian rule Saswat, but do you understand what are you asking for? Had it been the case, you wouldnt have been in a position to air all your thoughts…

    Yeah mother selling there babies is equally apalling as a farmer committing suicide for not being able to repay his loan.

    But to think that bringing communism is the solution to problem, i doubt.

    Change doesnt happen by running away from the system, but rather by churning the tides to fresh air from within the system.
    Improvements are happening and sure time will come when we will have a India where things are not just in words, but in action too.

  16. I am not responding to you, Sanjay, in particular. But to the general sentiments expressed.

    I have spent a considerable period of time in playing into the hands of the marketplace of various ideas–the ideology of pluralism, the so-called phony democratic ideals of majoritarinism.
    What I have realized is what Marx said. It’s about the views of the times are the views of the dominant class at any time of history. So interestingly, today’s individualism, free speech, western democracy are some of the dominant world views as expressed by Fox, CNN and BBC or the ruling classes which sponsor and fund them and who rule the world through property acquisition . (or their subsidiaries aka Murdorch machines elsewhere).

    Almost all of knowledge productions that take place in the world today are produced by five to seven giant media houses sitting pretty in USA, UK and Germany. The mental consumption of ideas, thoughts, references (what is a prime minister, what is hinduism in today’s world, what is islamic militancy etc etc or even what is a computer’s use) are all manufactured by a very small elite group.

    Now of course that has always been the case. Never has the majority ever ruled the world. It just has not happened that way.

    Hence, what really matters is to understand this: which side are we to take? In today’s world (even in Moghul’s era, for chrissake!), who comprise the unjust ruling class? In today’s world, after all the technological progresses, who are the perpetrators of inhuman crimes? Who makes the laws that breaks the morale of the people?

    The problem is we can know of all these only if we do a critical study of the genealogy of the system. The system that has so long (so far..so far..never without a break except very few years here and there) always worked to benefit those whose class interests have been these: Profit-driven, anti-people, feudal, capitalistic, patriarchal, sexist, racist (casteist where applicable), religious (yes all of the drugs put together–Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Christianity etc etc).

    What’s interesting is that these traits have worked alongside each other to strengthen each other. For example, a fascist country strives with religious examples, by drawing people to war and genocide, by showing the fraternity of males, by claiming aryan superiority, and running all over with private industries.

    These factors together can only make up the system. Not separately. So far, the unjust world (Moghuls or Vajpayee, Hitler or Bush) have been based on these systematic school of thought: where the people are governed in the name of manufactured divisions.

    I don’t know what meaning you make of diversity, but it does not mean that we get prejudiced because of differences. It rather means that we understand that we are different because we come from very different backgrounds (yes racial, religious, secular and what-nots) and celebrate those differences. So it appears your definition of diversity is just polar opposite to mine. The divisions are all man-made, served to interest the ruling class. Religion or race are all social constructs by the ruling class so that dividing and ruling will become easy. But for the majority to be color-blind and religion-blind today will be to mean that the after all the damage done to the minorities there will be no need for compensation. The oppressors will pay only when they are forced to realize that the oppresses await justice. They are not simply human beings. They have been kept backward because of their race, class, religion.

    All Hindus in the India (which by the way came to form in 1947) must pay back dime by dime to all Muslims their dues. All higher caste people in India must serve the same terms of torture in the hands of the lower castes who they had comfortably relegated as untouchables. All rich class people must be forced to pay taxes whereas the working class must not pay taxes. This will be possible only when the muslims in India recognize that “hey, you hindus called us names and targetted us (everywhere in india, why only gujarat..why blame poor modi alone?)..and now pay us back the damages that you have caused to our business.”

    But you know what, its not gonna be that way in a democratic fashion! because the hindu majority will say bullshit, you open your mouth and we will frame you like Khakee showed (one of the only few sensible movies to have come out of Bollywood !!!). Because the Hindus in India run the police state. Like the Czar in Russia. Or like Batista in Cuba.

    So who will chain the cat? That’s why we need authoritarianism. We need the force. We need to force the minority elites to pay back by force. Well, the common error is to presume that in authoritarian rule, lack of freedom will also affect people like me.

    Well, my friends, that will not be the case. I will still be able to air my views. You know why, because I will still be writing such matters for the people, not becoming a sycophant of business houses. Because I won’t be dissenting like a reactionary, but will be contributing constructively to the progress. Sans private industries, they will need more of me, to write social texts, not supremacists texts. So don’t worry about my position to air my thought!

    During Soviet Union, we saw millions of book being written. Excellent books. Who wrote them? Even after Lenin was gone! So, you see, we need to write books like that too.

    What’s important to understand is that its not that freedom needs to be sacrificed entirely. But that, as Gramsci says, the counter-hegemonic forces need to replace the structure (not ‘change’).
    Essentially, the majority of the world (the poor, the people of color, the women) will rule. Not the elite white men of India and America.

    We need to choose sides. The class divides in the world are so rampantly known that only the privileged ones can remain blind and talk of reformism. We cannot work within the system to change it. We must overthrow the mental chains of reformisms.

    Voices of the reformers, the reactionaries, the religious bigots, the corporate slaves, the privileged race and color blinds will not be permitted to view their voices. Historically they have been owning the press and the forums of expressions. Its time they are silenced. Its time their thought control machines are closed. Its time that the combined majority of people of the world (the people of color, women, working class—who have been isolated for long to be made into believing that they are the minorities in draconic concepts like “countries”) need to be together to replace the system.

    The workers of the world need to organize, unite, call strikes, take over industries, take by force their right to dignified life. No law ever has been made by the minority elites to appease the workers. The people have snatched these by revolts. Because the elites always refuse to believe that there is any such thing as class divide. Their idea is to normalize. The workers’ ideas need to challenge that.

    Many revolutionary rehearsals have taken place already. Some have failed. Some have succeeded. The war is on. You are either with the reactionary causes, or the progressive causes. You are either with the elite owners or the dispossessed workers. You are either with the religious bigots, or the godless revolutionaries. You are either working for or by professing indifference, helping the right wing. Or working for and radicalizing for the Left.

  17. That was some reading…We love you saswat. Now will people plz realize that time is running out in such talks that make up this fucked up democratic shit.
    And saswat, stop lecturing around everyone, will you? I wonder if your students listen to you in the class. btw, I am from umcp.

    And plz stop converting this blog to yet another ‘marketplace of ideas’. Yo man..let me grab that post again..

  18. Mr Sanjay:
    This is basically the end of my dialogue with you. By now we clearly know each other’s worldviews. I am sorry, I cannot entertain your views any more. As such, there is Fox News all over the world. Just a quick response to all your personalized attacks:

    You say, “Just picketing a office of a company involved in building contracts of Iraq is definitely not the one which can be counted as a step.”

    I say, “yes that’s a far better step than remaining indifferent in the face of injustice” you have no idea of the world social forums (which have taken place elsewhere also) or similar thousands other activisms, because you take comfort at commenting on them rather taking part.

    You say: “radically different sets of ideology needs to coexists. You cannot go on imposing on people, your kind of ideology.”

    I say: “there is no need for sets of ideologies to coexist. What needs to exist is basic standards of living for all humans. And that’s not possible within the context of profit-driven capitalist market. Hence, we need to impose the ideology that ensures dignified living”

    You say: “gulag, opression and elimination of non-conformists were part of soviet era”

    I say: “reactionaries need to be perished wherever they are. Its needed so that progress take place.”

    You say: “Agreed people shared food, clothing and shelter, but coming to rights???”

    I say: “food, clothing, shelter are way more important than any of our selfish rights which are anyway conditional upon our access.”

    You say: “Where was the freedom of press and freedom of speech.”

    I say: “press served different purpose that of education, in USSR. Freedom of speech does not mean you can criticize a leader. That’s rather easy to do. Everyone in America criticizes Bush. That’s funny!”

    You say: “The system was no better than caging a bird , lest it falls prey to a predator.”

    I say: “I have Russian friends. You have American media.”

    You say: “elite of erstwhile USSR who enjoyed limitless powers, fine vodka’s, luxurious dacha and holiday villas…”

    I say: “You still have American media to educate you. All Indian media are filled with AP, AFP, Reuters and living rooms are filled with CNN and BBC. You mean you get more knowledge than vodka?”

    You say: “In capitalist economy, 97% people work for 3% which is far better than communism where 99% work for 1% governing members.”

    I say: “where do you get all these fancy numbers from? You should be hired by CIA by now!”

    You say: “And if communism was so good, why did citizens of erst while USSR denounced it at the first opportunity they got???”

    I say: “they did not denounce. They just fell into the market economy trap which had been building up there ever since Lenin’s time. For 70 years it survived the counter-intelligence. Finally it took an agent by name of gorbachev to sell the country. and post-communist Russia is a joke, as we all know. A cruel one. Of course America achieved what it wanted. Maybe your wish was also heard! Why else the world is such a rotten place?”

    You say the difference between Stalin and Lenin.

    I say, I don’t get the point. First, Lenin and market economy? What book do you read? So Lenin said market economy (capitalism) was the way to go? Sure, that’s a new rightist theory. As for stalin, you mean he was not a Leninist? That’s the second theory gone haywire.

    You say: “Russia today is trying to stage a comeback in the present unipolar world.”

    I say: “by listening to the rulers wiping away Chechnya?”

    You say: “And to talk about Jammu and Kashmir, never thought you would be so ignorant about it. If you refer to past, you will know that military presence was increased during 1989-90 becaus of rise in insurgency instigated by pakistan and groups of jehadis camping in afghanistan (ably assisted by USA to fight USSR)”

    I say: “I did not know you were so ignorant about Kashmir. It was not during 1989-90 that military was increased. You forget the entire period of president’s rule in Kashmir when the rest of India was having all sorts of leaders having fun. Check the history books. Bipan Chandra, sumit sarkar, irfan habib, romila thapar. That should do. Don’t quote from the revisionist right wing historians..pleaseeeeeeee!

    You say: “Why is it that Gujarat riots are only brandished? What about Caliphite movement, Mooplah rebellion and Marad Violence.”

    I say: “I don’t know whats Caliphite? As for Moplah (again check your spelling) rebellion was one of the greatest freedom struggle in India. Muslims contributed their whole lot to drive the British out. British fought back with help of Hindu landlords. It was so embarrassing for the reformed Hindus that Gandhi had to pitch in and support the Moplah and declared that Muslim’s freedom struggle will always be remembered. Of course incidents like these made the intolerant Hindus to kill the Mahatma! Its such a shame that you compare Moplah freedom fight with Modi cheap communal violence.
    About Marad violence, if only hindu extremists in RSS were still banned in India, we would not have seen the clashes.”

    You say: “I too agree there was an excess in gujarat, but at the same time we need to move on. Let the scars heal and allow soceity to move on.”

    I say: “how convenient of you! You can even give example of Gulag to discard communism but give example of Gujarat and say, lets move on!! That’s nasty. I don’t think Muslim business houses can move on even if they wanted. After Indian police officers rape their women, burn their houses and end their businesses, you have the audacity to preach.”

    You say: “Yes, We, the privileged should join forces supporting right causes and spreading awareness and thats only possible when we are positive from within ourselves. Being critical is one thing and condemning for not towing your line is another.”

    I say: “not condemning people for their racist views is despicable. Its just incidental that my line is completely different from yours. We both cannot be right. You support the communal hindu fanatics. You support a system of oppressive India. Sorry, your line is different. And i am not stopping you from joining my line. Why are you hesitating?”

  19. Thanks Amrita!

    As for this discussion, it has to end, sadly so. Thanks Sanjay for providing for all of us a plethora of mainstream views. But unfortunately this blog is an alternative media site and its not a Times of India forum which publishes its Black and White Columns every Sunday where opposing views contest each other much to the glee of an audience waiting to see who wins.

    I dont subscribe to the notion that brother vs brother or sister vs sister contests do any good. Democracy based on ballot boxes are competitive and lead to suspicion among contestants. Likewise a blog to promote debate is never my aim.

    My ideas are quite clear. You know it by now. I hope educated people like you who seem to have lot of time as well, can help further the cause further, instead of airing mainstream populist voices that we hear everyday on the television to curtain the growth.

    Plus, some of the views expressed by you are hurtful to the religious and racial minorities in India and elsewhere. I cannot allow the site to be a free-for-all platform where anyone with any agenda will feel free to have fun.

    The revolution will not be televised: said Scott-Heron. Thats because we cannot have pep-talks and counterpunches going on every passing day. As someone rightly pointed out, the time is running out, my people.

    It will be nice to have you with us, this side of the fence. For that you have to ‘come out’ openely in support of the Muslims in India, Blacks in America, Homosexuals everywhere, trade unionists in capitalist societies, support the Narmada Bachao Andolan, support the woman’s right to abortion, oppose prison establishments, picket military-industrial complexes, voice support for the homeless, agitate people to fight the imperialists, loot during the natural disasters if the government is not doing anything, educate people about how to resist corporate authority, allow your individual liberties to be sacrificed, promote social equality by abandoning your lands, not work in a sweatshop, nor study engineering so that you can be part of a sweatshop…etc etc…

    And you have to do all of the above at the same time. Not do one and ignore another. Because nothing is worse than the imposters. You must look red at injustices. Not cool.

    If so, your feedbacks are valuable. Otherwise, we are no pigs. We enjoy no muds.
    Laal Salaam!

  20. The discussion was worth a read. I must say however, that when a web page is made editable, the creator is prepared to receive (if not accept) views of its readers and critics. What then is the point in closing the discussion in such a disrespectful manner? You might want to consider providing a read-only view so the communication is one-way.

  21. Dear Piyush,
    As you can see, you can still have your opinions published instantly, without any moderation whatsoever. I have not closed the discussion at all, let alone in any disrespectful manner. I have never moderated even a single word of anyone’s comment in any manner although some of them have stood contradictory to what I stand for, or this blog stands for.

    However, what I have stressed all along is that this forum is not one for the right-wing views to be expressed. There are plenty of other platforms for the same. One can go and express merrily at Sulekha or Rediff or Andrew Sullivan. And it is no mainstream media platform either trying to get two opposite views to object neutrality. I cannot be neutral to anything going on. As Zinn had said, you cannot be neutral on a moving train. And at this point what I need is support for the side I am on. I cannot afford to waste time explaining elementary political economy to everyone who will say that there has never been a targetted attack on Muslims except during Gujarat violence.

    Its one thing being critical, another to misguide people through unsupported statistics, or any hate speech language aimed at minorities (in this case Muslims in India).

    This forum has certain stands made clear. Hate talks against Muslims will not be accepted, nor will any talk against the LGBT, nor any causual remarks against African peoples and so on and so forth. Certainly no mockery of the activists who are picketing capitalist bastions.

    As Malcolm X had said its freedom for all, or freedom for none. So far the freedom has been always for the only a few. Any more freedom to these few elite neutral objective observers will only render the majority without any freedom at all for still more time to come. My idea is surely to silence the reactionaries and ask them as Marcos does: to shut up and listen. Enough of the multiparty opportunistic talks. What we need is for the voiceless to raise their voice and silence the historically privilaged.

    Mind you, a blog is a forum that will never reach the underprivilaged folks. So its at best an attempt to empathise with their problems and how best to address them by empowering them with the power structure, not by referring to some lousy legal rights written on behalf of a constitution that does not give a shit to them since it allows appointment of judges that are right wing corrupt idiots serving as necessary component of the sustenance of the system.

    If we educated mass take on a critical view of the current unjust world and not languish into thinking that the world will automatically change, rather work towards replacing the systems of oppression, then that will be a good step indeed. As Marx said, they cannot lead, they must be led. We need to lead the peoples. Activism is way to do it.

    But historically there are counter-revolutionary forces who preach that everything will become ok if you are just ok, world will be happy if you are happy, pray god and make bombs, all is god’s illusion, listen to soothing romantic music, or listen to everyone irrespective of what the person is saying.

    Sounds good, but its tragic, because if we listen to everyone, eventually the historically privilaged will continue to enjoy their (better and bigger) platform (they know more language, usage of language, points of access etc). Since I consider myself to be a privilaged person at least educationally if not economically, I understand how much access I do have. Ironically the hungry and homeless will never have time to think beyond roti, kapda and makaan. So what i see as solution is exploiting the social model that has grown me up (which is quite incidental anyway, since I could have been born to a famished family in Somalia too), in order to reverse the same model if i understand that its necessary for the radical change thats needed (for the benefit of the Somali families too). I cannot wait for my grandchildren’s lifetimes for this to happen, my friend. The onus of revolution as Marti says, lies on the revolutionaries. if they indulge in petty debates wearing make-ups in front of the camera, they are not doing the job right. they just are helping the system continue as it is by proclaiming: hey look at this democracy, we allow you left assholes a chance too. thats called freedom.

    to that i say: hey you big media, we refuse to be entertainers on your show to provide you food for your airtimes. we own our freedom since birth. we just dont want to do the same drama of plurality that you are enacting up there. we want all you court suit journalists ripped off your public relations spinning jobs.

    if i dont myself want to be part of the useless debates, i dont certainly want to encourage it here either. Any constructive criticism (like pointing out better than picketing McDonald’s is arresting the ministers who are responsible for free trade (just like the free speech, free trade benefits only a historically few masters). Of course i would like to know how can people, not the dogs of the government or the watchdogs of democracy, can arrest these post 1990 liberalization savvy mcdonaldized puppets of capitalism.

    I would love to hear from you. Thanks. Regards.

  22. Saswat, sorry for posting again, but this had to come before i sign off from http://saswat.com.

    Views are easily acceptable when they are expressed in a forum of like minded people.
    Harder part is winning from the other side and incidentally, I who belong to other side just happen to come across your site.

    No, mud slinging was never my intention, nor making any racist comments. Extremely sorry if i appeared to you, as doing so.

    I tried to put other side of coin as i had seen and experienced. I was impressed by views of some one who appeared to me as highly intelligent and educated.

    But so much for my thoughts. Your zeal is nothing less than that of a fanatic.

    Equality is what i have always believed in and will continue doing so. And when it comes to fundamentalism, i am equally opposed towards every religious fundamentalism and not double speak by being supportive of one and at the same time condemning other.

    On the path towards equality lets see whether we cross each other in future.

    Jai Hind, Jai Jawan, Jai Kissan.

  23. Thanks, Sanjay for your very kind note.
    You are right, my zeal is nothing less than that of a fanatic. Because anything less will simply not do. As Russell says in his essay on “What harm do good men do”, believing in some nice things is simply not enough, nor being considerate to everyone. He says that good men dont drink in front of ladies and dont swear in front of children, and visit churches on sundays and remind people their birthdays. However these acts also act as necessary aspect for the continuing system to flourish, not the system to perish. This existing system, I find so oppressive that it needs to die, and this system you find faulty, but not as bad (since you hope on the idea that it will by itself, with time, as the wounds keep healing, improve) that you need any point to hold on. Indeed, you can forgive Gujarat too. For some reason, I agree with Russel in assuming that these spirals of comfortable indifference cause more harm than any good. Expressing one’s rebellion as Camus said, with zeal, are necessary for the revolution.

    I have all due respects for your very energetic participation and shall cherish these posts forever. Hardly people these days talk beyond their own personal comforts. I think you have very brightly contributed and I am always grateful for that.

    However, I do hope you understand my predicaments in restating my stand/side which I firmly hold may not be the only way to do things around (and so, there surely is hope that we cross each other in future), but surely is a way I shall refuse to let go of.

    Between the working class liberation movement and the owning class productions saga, I have very clearly chosen the side. And the only way I see it happening is not by calling nationalistic shots, but by calling unionist calls.

    Thanks!

  24. Communism sucks balls..
    Find me a single line in the Gita, Bible etc. that says go out and kill the non believers of vishnu or jesus or whatever. I can show you atleast 50 lines in the koran professing violence against ‘kafirs’. Terrorism is done today not by christians or hindus, its done by muslims. all in the name of allah.
    And i still dont care abt what happens to people in africa as long as they dont land at my doorstep. Kinda like my feelings about bangladesh except.. they are at my doorstep.

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