Silent Majority

First they came for the Muslims, and I did not speak out – Because I was not a Pakistani. Then they came for the women, and I did not speak out – Because I was not a Feminist. Then they came for the Adivasis, and I did not speak out – Because I was not a Naxalite. Then they came for the Dalits, and I did not speak out – Because I was not an Ambedkarite. Then they came for the rationalists, and I did not speak out – Because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the…

Roots (and prospects) of Justice

Maulana Mohani was concerned that in our anticommunist quest, we were ignoring an emancipatory USSR Constitution, while heavily borrowing from colonial legacies of oppressive Constitutions of the imperialist world, and that, by doing so, we were facilitating prospects for dangerous communal violence in the coming years

The need for Political Correctness

The censorship argument just as the artistic expressions themselves needs to be politically correct – the position must spring from the point of raised consciousness where the needs of the times – taking into consideration various locations of exploitations and associated struggles for social justice – are well understood and articulated.

2015: Of Incidental Revolutions

What about the promises this new year shall bring Ballads of scrutiny, merciless calendar sings Memories slurping away, with bitter windtongues Cruel time ticking away, sans any arbitrary stops Moments of endless reflections, for the years past us Stunning silence of missing airplanes, roaring blunders What if this, what if that, had we tried our best Could we have ended this bloody war, that electoral race A patriotic bunch in India murdering Gandhi again Revitalized danger, right wing fascist men Third World Project a dying form of irrelevance Playground for capitalists, turf for deathly dance Irreparable losses of beloved poets…

No Thanks(giving)

Murder the Indigenous Slaughter those turkeys Thank the Indigenous Pardon that turkey No thanks Kill the dissenters Land of freedoms Celebrate survivors Build more prisons No thanks Demand gratitudes Columbus to Obama In lieu of guns, drones Such Thanksgiving drama. No thanks – Saswat Pattanayak, Peoples’ Poet, 2014 (Published in Gossamer)

Sovereignty, Unity and The State Of Denial

Contradictions abound in the new political landscape. Like Savarkar’s divisive Hindutva excluded other religions, so does Modi’s prescription of Hinduism as the way of life for Indians. To reemphasise my point: Modi did not win the people’s mandate because he opposed divisive politics, but because he profited from it. Not because he spoke against identity politics but because it is the victory of the identity politics – specifically that of the Hindu identity. It is the victory of the idea of a Hindu nation.

International Women’s Day: Anti-War, Anti-Capitalist Movement to Emancipate All Workers!

By Saswat Pattanayak   “Down with the world of property and the power of capital! Away with inequality, lack of rights and the oppression of women – the legacy of the bourgeois world! Forward to the international unity of working women and male workers.” (Alexandra Kollontai) The radical roots of International Women’s Day are being systematically suppressed via liberal appeals for male virtues to prevail upon a patriarchy. Revolutionary struggles waged by the women and men to challenge feudal and capitalistic orders are being overshadowed by reformist emotions dramatized in commercials targeting women as a burgeoning consumer class. Incessant demands…

The Politics We Deserve

By Saswat Pattanayak   “Politics hates a vacuum. If it isn’t filled with hope, someone will fill it with fear.”  (Naomi Klein) Fear-based politics reaches disproportionate heights when coupled with nationalistic frenzies. As a first sign of fascism, it assumes a normalized state, masquerading as an agency to dispel fear itself. To rejuvenate the political climate with a fresh lease by resorting to masculine rhetorics becomes its core strategy. It predictably attacks the progressives as conspiratorial and traitors, while it paints the secularists as impotent and pseudo. Fear-based politics mocks constitutional frameworks, not out of concern, but from disdain. It…

Matter & Consciousness: Revisiting Lokayata

Lokayata did not deny the consciousness so much as it complicated it. Instead of acceding to an assumption that consciousness could be a peculiarity of the spirit, it depicted consciousness as an attribute of the body. This occurred, according to them, because whereas the material elements comprise the living body, consciousness is produced in it.

Pete Seeger: UnAmerican Communist and a People’s Songster

By Saswat Pattanayak Pete Seeger was not the “American conscience”, as he is being now crowned by the corporate media after his demise. In reality, he was the UnAmerican conscience. And to understand this, it is important to underscore the extent of his internationalism, his commitment towards humanity, his selfless unpatriotic journey as a fervent communist, his lifelong quest against American militarism, adventurism and exceptionalism. Most importantly, to use history as a weapon in the class struggle, as Pete used music as his tool, it is pivotal to not let go of the “unAmerican” label that was imposed upon him…