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Chinese ambitions - An imperialism in formation

Chinese ambitions - An imperialism in formation

 
Pierre Rousset

 

6 June 2014

 


 

China is not an “emerging country” but a power that has emerged. It is not a “sub-imperialism” ensuring order in its own region, but an imperialism “in formation.” The new Chinese bourgeoisie is aiming to play in the big league. The success of its enterprise is still far from assured, but this ambition determines its international policies, both economic and military.

 

 

The new “emerging powers” are often grouped together under the acronym BRICS; namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

These states are in fact trying to form a bloc in the international arena, organizing “summits”; the Fifth of them took place in Durban (South Africa) in 2013 and the next one is due to take place shortly in Fortaleza (Brazil). They have announced the creation of an international development bank under their control, an alternative to the World Bank. They are engaged in competition with the traditional imperialisms for access to resources, especially on the African continent. The results of this venture have proved for the moment to be mediocre, but there remains the temptation to formulate a “common critical analysis” of the BRICS in order, in particular, to strengthen the capacity of popular “South-South resistance and solidarity”, counterposing the “brics-from-below” to the “BRICS-from-above” [1].

Patrick Bond, an influential activist in the global justice movement and a politically committed university professor in South Africa [2] develops his analysis in a recent article in Pambazuka [3]. Although for the “more radical proponents” supporters of the BRICSs bloc, there is an “anti-imperialist potential”, there are “far greater dangers”: to see these countries playing “a ‘sub-imperialist’ role’ in contributing to neoliberal regime maintenance ”. Bond’s analysis is nuanced and he takes into account the different situations in the various countries concerned, even raising the possibility of seeing some of them being part of”inter-imperialist“conflicts, as Russia is attempting to do in Ukraine/Crimea. But he still comes back to the use of the concept of sub-imperialism for all of the components of the”bloc" - China included.

As noted by Bond, the notion of sub-imperialist countries has a long history: it was invoked by Ruy Mauro Marini in 1965 to describe the role of the Brazilian dictatorship in the Western Hemisphere and “then repeatedly applied during the 1970s.” This is where things become problematic. “Sub-imperialisms” really do exist today, but the conditions for the emergence of Chinese power are so different from the countries we were talking about then that it is doubtful whether the same term enables us to understand this specificity.

The present Chinese regime has certainly helped to extend (massively!) The sphere of international accumulation of capital; it has been integrated into globalization and economic financialisation; it has legitimized the dominant order by joining the World Trade Organization (WTO), which is opposed by all progressive social movements; it has provided transnational companies with a labour force that has no rights and can be exploited at will (the rural migrants from the interior of the country) - all things that are part of the role traditionally assigned to sub-imperialisms. In doing so, China could have once again become a dominated country like the others, under the yoke of the traditional imperialist powers. This possibility was perceptible in the early 2000s, but the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the new Chinese bureaucratic capitalism decided otherwise. They had the ability to do so thanks to the legacy of the Maoist revolution: the relationships of dependency with regard to imperialism had been broken, which is not true of any other member of the BRICS except Russia - and unlike the latter, the ruling party has been able to control continuously the process of capitalist transition, profoundly transforming the class structure of the country. [4]

This is not to say that the other countries that are more or less characterized as sub-imperialism (from Brazil to Saudi Arabia, from South Africa to Israel) are only pawns in the hands of Washington. But the logic within which the international policy of Beijing is situated is qualitatively different. When Brazil sent troops to Haiti and India sent troops to Sri Lanka, they were playing the role of regional gendarmes of the world order. In East Asia, China has engaged in a standoff with Japan - which is not at all the same thing - and by doing so it is launching a challenge to the United States: already a permanent member of the UN Security Council and an official possessor of nuclear weapons, it is postulating the status of a first-rank power.
 

 Economy and Strategy

To serve its new ambitions, Beijing has an economic base that is much superior to that of Russia, which depends more exclusively on its military capabilities. China’s place in the global economy has grown in a rapid and impressive fashion. How far will this rising power go? For Bruno Jetin, in this area many uncertainties remain [5].

In absolute terms, China has had since 2010 the second biggest gross domestic product (GDP) in the world, behind the United States, but ahead of Japan and Germany. If current trends continue China could on this level take first place in a few years. [6] The important thing here is not the accuracy of the calculations or the prognostics, but the trend.

China also represents the second biggest market, one of the principal lenders and the biggest “workshop” in the world; a position that competition from other Asian countries with very low labour costs cannot easily threaten because the country also possesses a number of non-salary advantages. It is more difficult to measure the extent to which the Chinese economy is moving up market in the field of technological innovation. Because, once again, of its position of independence with regard to the traditional imperialisms, the regime can negotiate significant transfers of technology, but it has not yet made a leap forward in terms of radical indigenous innovations [7]. The CCP leadership has fixed for itself the objective of overcoming this limit in the future (including through the acquisition of Western companies).

Affirming its weight on a new terrain, China has just for the first time intervened as an “international gendarme” of competition, blocking a multinational rapprochement (in this case European) in which none of its own businesses was directly concerned: the link-up between the world leaders in maritime transport, Maersk (Danish), MSC (Swiss-Italian) and CMA-CGM (French), which had however already been approved by Brussels and Washington. [8] The choice of sector - shipping – for this surprise intervention was no accident: China is the largest exporter in the world.

The question remains: is the “Chinese model” of capitalist development sustainable? It is not sure that it can withstand the bursting of speculative bubbles (as in real estate) and a major social crisis; a new global recession, the outbreak of conflict in East Asia or acute tensions with the transnational Chinese capital. It has given birth to a particularly unequal social formation, similar to those of Latin American countries and far from those of Western countries - even though the United States is also highly unequal and some European countries are on the road to “ThirdWorldization”. Corruption is poisoning the country to the point of jeopardizing the implementation of economic policies. More and more very wealthy families - including those belonging to the upper echelons of the regime - engage in speculation and use tax havens to escape official controls. The coherence of “bureaucratic capitalism” is under pressure with the rise of private capitalists and is also undermined from within by the individualism of the “red princes”, children of dignitaries. However, it is this core of the present ruling class which controls the strategic project of creation of the new imperialism, which gives it its strength; if it breaks up, how will the conversion be carried through?

That having been said, for the moment Chinese international economic policy does not only aim to make profits: it also aims to lay the foundations of a superpower. In terms of raw materials, China lacks or will lack almost everything; it is buying on a massive scale agricultural and mining land (oil, gas, rare metals ...) all over the world and is taking control of multinationals [9]. It guarantees direct control over production by monopolizing the management of its businesses, but also by exporting Chinese labour (Africa ...) or by recruiting by preference citizens of other countries who speak Chinese (Vietnam ...). Correlatively, it seeks to ensure secure channels of intercontinental communication by buying ports [10] and airports, investing in merchant shipping and gradually deploying its military fleet on the occasion, particularly, of operations against piracy on the high seas.

Purchases of sovereign debt or banking institutions, diversification of its foreign exchange reserves, creating renminbi clearing banks in London and Frankfurt following on Singapore - and soon Paris ... China is strengthening its position in international finance, having made very good use of Hong Kong for this purpose. In October 2013, the Chinese renminbi supplanted the euro as the second currency in the financing of international trade, even though it is not yet fully convertible. [11]

Admittedly, for international financial transactions as a whole, the renminbi is still the seventh currency in the world (far behind the euro) and the supremacy of the dollar is not about to be challenged; but Beijing can take advantage of the concern caused by the way the United States demands a right to inspect accounts in dollars all over the world and to impose its laws outside its own borders on all commercial transactions denominated in its currency, as shown in the case of BNP Paribas, literally placed under U.S. supervision. [12]. In these conditions, the search for an alternative currency will gain strength.

China is also becoming more influential in another sector dominated by the traditional imperialisms. According to the latest report from SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) for the first time since the end of the Cold War, China ranks among the five largest arms exporters, a “top five” that had up till then only comprised the United States and Europeans. [13] With 6 per cent of sales, it ranks in fourth place just behind Germany (7 per cent), ahead of France (5 per cent) and the United Kingdom (4 per cent) which slips back to sixth place. [14]
 

 The maritime conflict in East Asia

It is in East Asia that tensions between China, its neighbouring states and the USA are the sharpest. This is not something new. Washington deployed enormous resources to stem the tide of revolution that began in the region around the Second World War. After the conquest of power by the Maoist forces in 1949, a network of military bases was formed in an arc from South Korea to Thailand via Japan (Okinawa) and the Philippines. The outbreak of the Sino-Soviet conflict, when Moscow made a nuclear deal with Washington and placed China before a fait accompli, reinforced the encirclement syndrome in Beijing. What has changed, however, is the social nature of the Chinese state and, correspondingly, the policies that it implements in order to break the threat of physical isolation of which it fears it is the object [15].

This policy has today an economic dimension related to the massive export of capital that is one of the marks of the emergence of a new and very conquering Chinese capitalism, and to the explosive growth of trade relations. Beijing is creating a double dependency in countries of the region: through the importance of the Chinese market to their economies and through the growth of its investments in many of its neighbours. Thus, the CCP no longer hesitates to bypass the North Korean regime in order to strengthen directly its relations with South Korea.

Beijing is dangling the offer of a pax sinica that would consolidate these relations of economic dependency - but this policy also provokes growing social and national resistance where populations are victims of commercial dumping and unequal cross-border trade (Thailand ...), are threatened by huge infrastructure projects such as giant dams (a project aborted in Vietnam, another in Myanmar suspended ...), suffer too harsh working conditions in Chinese companies (Vietnam ...) or are driven from their lands which have been acquired by China (Philippines ...).

The implosion of the USSR and the end of the period known as the Cold War between blocs has made the geopolitics of East Asia very unstable, with multiple “hot spots” – festering crises that have been unresolved for decades. In this context, Beijing seeks to establish itself as a key player in the international diplomatic manœuvres. This was obviously the case for the Korean peninsula, but China is now also present in Afghanistan.

This all-out regional policy has also a very aggressive military and territorial component that highlights how far this pax sinica would be unequal. To pander to the great-power nationalism that is filling the ideological vacuum left by the collapse of Maoism, to give legitimacy to the regime, to appropriate marine wealth, but also to ensure access for its fleet to the Pacific Ocean and the straits of Southeast Asia, Beijing has claimed sovereignty over nearly all of the South China Sea (a claim that is obviously rejected by the other countries that border these waters). It grants itself rights that apply in principle to an inland sea, not to an international shipping route. It in fact imposes its demands by building various military structures on uninhabited archipelagos, islets, rocks and reefs which are claimed or possessed by other countries in the region - it invites its citizens to fish everywhere under the protection of its coastguards and to engage in prospecting for oil, with the installation on May 2 of a drilling platform off the coast of Vietnam.

Against Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines, Taiwan and Japan, Beijing takes possession of or demands the entirety of the Paracel and Spratly Islands, the Scarborough Reef, the Senkaku /Diaoyu Islands; and it is extending its own territorial waters to point of leaving virtually nothing for the other countries of Southeast Asia. Points of military friction have emerged to the west with Vietnam and to the east with Japan. Although in the first case very violent incidents have taken place, it is in the second that a “controlled” escalation has raised the stakes very high since Tokyo “nationalized” in September 2012 the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands [16] - to such an extent that last November, China declared an air defence identification zone (ADIZ) including this small archipelago.

No power today wants to start a war in East Asia, but from provocation to counter-provocation, dangerous slippages cannot be excluded. And we are in the most nuclearized region of the planet where - as shown by the Korean crisis - China, Russia, the United States and Japan find themselves face to face. In a region that is also marked by the rise of xenophobic nationalisms and maritime militarization (where the biggest and the third and fourth biggest fleets in the world manœuvre). The United States has been constantly announcing its grand return to Asia and the Japanese right wants to free itself from the pacifist clauses of its Constitution: despite the opposition of a majority of the population, the Japanese cabinet of Prime Minister Abe has adopted a new “interpretation” of this Constitution, which should facilitate the participation of its army in military operations abroad ... [17]

The end of blocs as a result of the implosion of the USSR and capitalist globalization has created a situation of great instability, and not just interdependence (the United States dependent on Chinese capital and China dependent on the U.S. market). Washington cannot police the world alone and some regional “sub-imperialisms” are not enough to help it: it would need imperialist allies, even if they were “secondary”; but the European Union is conspicuous by its impotence and Japan cannot yet stand on its own two feet. For the moment, Beijing is taking advantage of this situation, on both the economic and military levels. But if (if!) the constitution of the new Chinese imperialism continues without major regime crisis, it will be accompanied by rising geopolitical tensions.

East Asia is certainly not the only region of the world marked by instability and by a rise in armed conflicts - the Middle East remains from this point of view by far the “hottest” region! But it is in Asia that the confrontation between all the major powers takes the most direct form.



 

 

Notes

[1] Patrick Bond, “Which way forward for the BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) in Africa, a year after the Durban summit?”Pambazuka No. 673: http://www.pambazuka.org/en/categor... Available on ESSF (item 31676).

[2] University of KwaZulu-Natal

[3] Patrick Bond, “BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa]) and the tendency to sub-imperialism”, Pambazuka No. 673: http://pambazuka.org/en/category/fe ... available on ESSF (item 31709).

[4] See on this process Pierre Rousset, “D’où surgit le nouveau capitalisme chinois ? « Bourgeoisification » de la bureaucratie et mondialisation” of the bureaucracy and globalization”,
ESSF (article 31179):
http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spi...

[5] See Bruno Jetin, “China: unavoidable rise or possible decline?” in Au Loong Yu, China’s Rise: Strength and Fragility, Merlin Press, Pontypool, 2013. Much of the following data are taken from this chapter. For a historic overview of the rise of Chinese capitalism in the international arena, see in the same book, the chapter by Au Loong Yu, “China Going Global.”

[6] According to IMF calculations, which use data whose reliability is questionable, such as that concerning exchange rates.

[7] For example, in the car industry... http://www.autoactu.com/les-dangers...

[8] Denis Cosnard, Le Monde, 19 June 2014.

[9] This has been the case for example in the dairy sector since 2010, with capital acquisitions by food giants controlled by the Chinese government such as Bright Food; New Zealand was the first target (the country is the world’s largest exporter of dairy products), followed by offensives in the United States and Europe, and recently in Israel. It is a question at the same time of securing the importation of products, ingredients or technologies in a very sensitive sector, following on the repeated health scandals concerning especially powdered milk for babies. Still in the food industry, a similar movement is underway in the meat sector, notably with WH Group taking control in 2013 of the pork processing enterprise Smithfield, which was the largest acquisition of a U.S. company by a Chinese group.

[10] Quite recently, the Chinese Premier visited Athens to negotiate, in particular, the extension of its interests in the port of Piraeus, put up for sale by the Greek government.

[11] Isabelle Chaperon, Le Monde, 29-30 June 2014.

[12] The big French bank BNP Paribas was sentenced to a record fine of nearly $9 billion (among other sanctions) for having traded in U.S. currency with countries subject to American embargo, even though such operations were conducted in Switzerland. It is surprising that the bank, warned of the risks it was running, persisted; but the bottom line is that any transaction must be recorded in dollars in a bank in the United States, which provides an opportunity for the American judicial system to intervene.
Furthermore, it is the New York branch of BNP Paribas which will monitor all flows in dollars; it must also create a “Financial Security” department - still in New York - to ensure that operations worldwide respect American regulations: the largest French bank thus finds itself subjected closely to U.S. authorities.

[13] http://www.sipri.org/yearbook/2013/...

[14] http://books.sipri.org/product_info... The two biggest exporters are obviously the United States (29 per cent) and Russia (27 per cent).

[15] It is not possible within the scope of this article to revisit the complex history of the Asian policy of Beijing in the Maoist era.

[16] Pierre Rousset, “Asie du Nord-Est: bruits de bottes pour une poignée d’îlots inhabités”, ESSF (article 26587)

[17] This article focuses on the rise of Chinese power. An article about the geopolitical situation of East Asia should obviously develop the specific roles of the “traditional” imperialisms, the USA and Japan.

 

* Translation International Viewpoint. http://www.internationalviewpoint.org/

Legitimate support of the Palestinians has no common ground with anti-semitism

France:

Legitimate support of the Palestinians has no common ground with anti-semitism

Wednesday 23 July 2014, by NPA

François Hollande et his prime minister, Manuel Valls have chosen to outrageously link the struggle for the rights of the Palestinian people to anti-Semitism. Today, because of their bans on pro-Palestinian demonstrations, they are principally responsible for any incidents which may happen on the fringes of such protests.

The NPA condemns, as it has always done, all anti-Semitic acts and ideas, whether they come from the far right Front National, people like Soral and Dieudonné, or any other dangerous and irresponsible people who would make a mockery of legitimate solidarity with the Palestinians.

Neither the NPA, nor the movement in solidarity with the Palestinian people, confuse the Jewish population, here or in Israel, believers and non-believers, with the defence of the colonial policy of the Israeli state. This is in contrast to those who claim that all Jews in France support Israel, such as Conseil Représentatif des Institutions juives de France (Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions) or the Ligue de Défense Juive (Jewish Defence League) which is calling for pro-Israel demonstrations in front of synagogues. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not a religious one, it’s an entirely political one.

Given the bloody balance sheet of recent days (with more than 500 Palestinians killed, mostly civilians and large numbers of women and children) it is urgent that we demand that the Israeli state end its land offensive and bombardment of the Gaza Strip. We also demand that it end the blockade of Gaza; respect United Nations resolutions and the rights of the Palestinian people.

The NPA calls on all political, trade union and community organisations to support these demands by demonstrating next Wednesday at 6.30pm at Denfert-Rochereau and to join other such events across the whole of France.

Montreuil, 21/07/2014


From International Viewpoint

Disingenuous Diplomacy to Push Forward BJP’s Nuclear Policy


Disingenuous Diplomacy to Push Forward BJP’s Nuclear Policy

Sukla Sen

 

In his Agenda for nuclear diplomacy1, the author, Rakesh Sood, has rather intriguingly tied up two different issues together.

But before taking that up, let's look into the claim made by the author right at the very beginning of his article: "On June 22, the Narendra Modi government announced that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Additional Protocol had been ratified (emphasis added)."


This appears to be rather misleading. On two counts. One, while some of the news reports indicate the ratification as an accomplished fact, some others indicate otherwise. For example: "I can confirm that we are ratifying (emphasis added) the Additional Protocol to the IAEA Safeguards Agreement," said Syed Akbaruddin [on June 23], spokesman for the Ministry of External Affairs.2

What, in this regard, is far more important is that while the Additional Protocol had been signed by the Government of India (GoI) back in early 2009 (March 15, as reported by Sood in his subject article; while the IAEA site3, however, reports that the Additional Protocol was actually signed by India on May 15 2009), the ratification was pending for long five years; and it was to be ratified by the Indian parliament. Here is an authoritative testimony to that effect: "The Indian parliament must ratify the [additional] protocol for it to enter into force."4 While the UPA never presented the "additional protocol" before the Indian parliament for ratification, nor did the NDA during the last (brief) session of the parliament (from June 4 to June 11). 


So, the version given out by the Reuters, and also a few others, to the effect that India has given a commitment that it would be ratifying the Additional Protocol appears to be the correct position in this regard.
It is rather striking that how Sood, who should be knowledgeable enough on this issue given his career profile, committed such an obvious slip. (So is the deafening silence all around as regards the fact that the Indian parliament is yet to ratify the Additional Protocol as required.)


This actually takes us to the issue why the ratification of the Additional Protocol remained pending for more than five years since signing of it by the GoI.
The reason is rather simple. There was virulent opposition to the Indo-US Nuclear Agreement5 both by the Left Front and the BJP. (The Additional Protocol6 was only a part of the process to get that Agreement clinched.) The Left Front withdrew its outside support to the UPA-I government on this issue and the BJP not only voted against the confidence motion which had to be moved as a consequence of the withdrawal of the Left support but also created a great ruckus in the Lok Sabha during the debate on the motion. The BJP had also publicly committed to renegotiate the Agreement as and when it comes to power7. The BJP position as regards the Indo-US nuclear deal is quite succinctly captured in these words (of its own, spelled out in August 2008): "[The] BJP and many other political parties stand firmly in opposition to the deal. ... (I)n the [India-specific Nuclear] Safeguards Agreement India has not been accorded the status of a nuclear power state in line with USA, Russia, UK, France and China. BJP feels that as a consequence of this deal India will not be able to conduct a nuclear test if any time, in future, it thinks it is necessary in the interest of defence and security of the country. It will also come in the way of India becoming a nuclear power state. It will compromise with our national sovereignty and our strategic interests."8 There was also specific objection to India-specific Nuclear Safeguards Agreement and the Additional Protocol (on the ground that it'd curb India's nuclear sovereignty) The ferocity of the opposition to the deal is the only reason one can think of why the Additional Protocol was not presented to the Indian parliament for long five years even after it being signed by the GoI. Sood's own explanation that the issue "was left pending ratification because there were other, more difficult and more critical issues that needed to be tackled first" sounds utterly unconvincing. Sood, as it appears, just does not want his readers to revisit the stand taken by the BJP on this issue (only in the recent past) given its complete U-turn now, without offering even the faintest hint of any explanation whatever. (The Presidential address to the joint session of the parliament delivered on June 9 (in its 31st para) just blandly informs: "The international civil nuclear agreements will be operationalized and nuclear power projects for civilian purposes will be developed."9 “Renegotiation” is just a completely forgotten idea!

 

So then why the (somewhat ambiguously worded) official announcement as regards India ratifying the IAEA Additional Protocol at this particular point of time? For that we'll have to look into the precise chronology of a few closely related events.

 

It was on Monday, June 23 (not June 22 - a Sunday, as indicated by Sood), the announcement was made.10 The same Reuter news report, confirming the date, also informs: "In a report last week, a defence research group said one Indian enrichment facility, located near Mysore, was undergoing an expansion and could be capable of producing a large surplus of weapons-grade uranium from mid-2015." The "report" referred to above had actually been released on June 20.11 The key portion of the report reads: "IHS Jane’s defense and security intelligence experts have identified a possible new uranium hexafluoride plant at the Indian Rare Metals Plant (IRMP) near Mysore, India. This site in India will support new centrifuges that will substantially expand India’s uranium enrichment capacity, most likely to facilitate the construction of an increased number of naval reactors to expand the country’s nuclear submarine fleet, but also, to potentially support the development of thermonuclear weapons. (Emphasis added.) IHS Jane’s experts assess that the new uranium enrichment facility could become operational by mid- to late-2015."11 Quite significantly, the Reuters report quoted earlier further informs: "[Indian] Officials have shown displeasure over the [IHS] report, with a newspaper quoting one saying it was "mischievously" timed to influence a meeting this week of the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in the Argentinian capital Buenos Aires (emphasis added)."10 And another news report tells us: "Days ahead of the June 26-27 NSG meeting in Buenos Aires, India said it was ratifying an agreement, a so-called Additional Protocol, with the International Atomic Energy Agency (emphasis added) to expand oversight over its civilian nuclear programme."12 This report also informs that "(a)n influential world body [i.e. the NSG] that controls nuclear exports will address the sensitive issue of closer ties with India (emphasis added) - which is outside the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty - at an annual meeting this week, a draft agenda obtained by Reuters showed." 

 

Now, therefore, it won't perhaps be too irrational to connect the dots and thereby infer that if the IHS report (released on June 20) on the discovery of a clandestine Indian site meant for uranium enrichment and potentially supporting a thermonuclear weapons (or Hydrogen Bombs, in common parlance) development programme was (deliberately) timed to mar India's case in the then forthcoming June 26-27 NSG meet, India's (sudden) announcement as regards ratifying the IAEA Additional Protocol on June 23, without actually doing so, was very much meant to offset its (anticipated) impact. In fact a commentator on and analyst of nuclear issues of very considerable repute, Mark Hibbs, has been quoted in the aforementioned Reuters news report to have drawn the very same conclusion: ""India sees its ratification of its Additional Protocol as an arrow in its quiver supporting its quest for NSG membership," said Mark Hibbs, a nuclear expert at U.S. think-tank the Carnegie Endowment."

 

Moreover, the negotiations for nuclear trade with the US commenced soon after signing of the relevant agreement between India and the US on October 10 2008.13 & 14 And accordingly Mithi-Virdi in Gujarat and Kovvada in Andhra were (reportedly) earmarked for supply and installation of nuclear power plants by US-based companies - the former for Westinghouse and the latter for GE Hitachi.15 And, at no stage, non-ratification of the Additional Protocol was reported as a hindrance.

 

Not only that, had the real intention been to impress the US President whom the Indian Prime Minister is scheduled to meet only in (late) September then one would have rather waited for the Indian parliament's budget session due in early July (from July 7 - August 14) which would provide an opportunity to get the Additional Protocol actually ratified by the parliament.

 

And, if still Sood is terming the subject announcement as a move towards boosting India-US nuclear trade (echoing the official position16). it has apparently twin purposes. One, to help camouflage the real intention. And, two, more importantly, to use this argument as a springboard for launching his public campaign in favour of tweaking the India's Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, 2010 (in sync with the Modi government's anticipated move?). 

 

Be that as it may, we'll now try to look into the second part, arguably the very core, of Sood's article.

 

Sood’s Central Argument

 

Sood's central argument is: "Ratifying the Additional Protocol was the low-hanging fruit but significantly, the decision indicates that nuclear diplomacy will remain a priority for the Modi government. The focus should therefore now shift to resolving the ambiguities of the 2010 Nuclear Liability Law. (Emphasis added.) Without this exercise, India can only import nuclear fuel for the existing power plants; it will not be able to undertake the much-needed expansion of the nuclear power sector. It is not only the foreign suppliers who would like clarity on this issue; Indian vendors are equally concerned about its ambiguities." And, he further goes on to urge: "what the Modi government needs to ensure is that supplier liability does not become “infinite” or “open-ended” (emphasis added). What is necessary is a genuine effort to address the concerns of the suppliers’ community so that their liability can be quantified in a manner that does not raise costs to prohibitive levels." Though Sood is careful enough not to make it explicit, he, in fact, even justifies the concept of supplier's liability in principle (even if just for the record); given the present context, the sum and substance of his urging is that that India's nuclear liability law will have to be sufficiently bent to meet the demand of the (potential) suppliers. 

 

But a careful examination of the case would reveal that the actual reality is hugely different from what is being presented. The UPA-II government by laying down the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damages Rules17, notified on November 11 2011, had already seriously tampered with the very essence of the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, 201018 enacted by the Indian parliament after due and detailed deliberations, including consultations with different sections of the public, only to appease the potential suppliers. It also tried to go even further, albeit unsuccessfully because of widespread protests. On the strength of a legal opinion obtained from the then Attorney General of India, the UPA-II government wanted to empower the NPCIL to enter into arrangement with nuclear vendors/suppliers from the US wherein the written contract between the NPCIL and the US vendors would contain a clause to the effect that the operator NPCIL has abdicated and waived off the "right of recourse" as provided under section 17 of the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, 2010. This move, however, appears to have been silently dropped in the teeth of public outcry. Quite significantly, BJP leader Arun Jaitley, now the Finance-cum-Defence Minister in the Modi Cabinet, had in a signed article opposed the move and termed it legally untenable.19

 

Now, let's come to Sood's specific arguments that under the liability law supplier’s liability must not become “infinite” or “open-ended.”

 

The factual position is, as per the Act, the liability of the operator, under sub-section 6 (2) (a) is limited to a maximum of Rs. 1,500 crore for a single accident involving a nuclear reactor of 10 MW or above.18 Evidently, the liability of the supplier cannot exceed that of the operator. So it is neither “infinite” nor “open-ended.” But, far more interestingly, the section 24 of the relevant Rules drastically brings down the limit, in a number of ways.

 

The sub-section (b) of section 17 of the Act allows the operator recourse, i.e. to claim damages from suppliers when the nuclear accident happens owing to the fault of a supplier, such as a patent or latent defect of equipment or material supplied or sub-standard services provided. The sub-sections (1) and (2) of section 24 of the Rules, arguably, negate this provision.

 

As regards the time limit, the sub-section (2) of section 24 of the Rules provides that the right to recourse is restricted to either the period of granting of initial license or the product liability period, whichever is longer. The product liability period is a standard warranty period, generally of 12 months after commissioning of the plant. The initial license period is again generally of 5 years duration. "Normally, an operator will have to secure a license before he can start construction. Since the plant construction takes more than 5 years, the initial license period would have expired even before a nuclear plant is commissioned. So with this clause, the Government has effectively limited the period of recourse only to the warranty period. If an accident takes place after 12 months, the supplier will then have no liability."20

 

The sub-section (1) of section 24 of the Rules provides for "right of recourse [which shall be included in the contract] for not less than (emphasis added) the extent of operator's liability under sub-section (2) of section 6 of the Act [i.e. Rs. 1,500 crore in case of a nuclear reactor of 10 MW or more] or the value of the contract itself, whichever is less (emphasis added)." Here, things are admittedly a bit hazy. (One wonders whether it’s a case of lousy drafting.) While the floor limit of the “right of recourse” is defined (which could very well be the value of the contract), it does not (explicitly) talk of the upper limit. So, the upper limit will be as per the sub-section (2) of section 6 of the Act, i.e. Rs. 1,500 crore in case of a nuclear reactor of 10 MW or more.

 

What, however, is most interesting is the Explanation 2 to section 24 of the Rules. This provides that "an operator’s claim under this rule shall in no case exceed the actual amount of compensation paid by him up to the date of filing such claim. (Emphasis added.) This is nothing less than ridiculous. As per this provision, the accident has to take place, (subsequent to that) the compensation claims have to be filed by the victims, (then) the claims “should be settled and paid by the operator, all within the first 12 months of [commencement of] the operation of the plant, if the operator has to exercise his right of recourse. This is as good as no recourse at all!"20

 

In this context, it needs be specifically noted that the section 24 of the Rules relates only to the sub-section (a) of section 17 of the Act; it does not at all mention the sub-section (b) of section 17 of the Act. It thereby, apparently, tries to convey that the Rules make the sub-section (b) of section 17 of the Act infructuous. But all the vendors may not be too impressed. As per alternative (and not too unreasonable) interpretation, the sub-section (b) of section 17 of the Act would continue to stand on its own, untampered by the Rules. (This interpretation (quite plausibly) presumes that sub-sections (a), (b) and (c) of the section 17 of the Act would operate independently of one another.) And the section 46 of the Act perhaps only further adds to their concerns.

 

The plain fact, however, remains that in spite of all such acrobatics the foreign vendors, the US-based ones in particular, have still strong reservations about coming to India.

 

And, that being the case, Sood's plea for "resolving the ambiguities of the 2010 Nuclear Liability Law", in effect, is an argument for fundamentally altering the original Act passed by the Indian parliament – to completely defang it, couched in diplomatic equivocation.

 

July 3 2014

 

The author is an anti-nuclear peace activist and a founder member of the Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (CNDP), India.

 

 

Notes and References:

 

1. See: <http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/agenda-for-nuclear-diplomacy/article6152407.ece?homepage=true&utm_content=buffera8b03&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer>.

2. See: <http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/06/23/uk-india-nuclear-idINKBN0EY14O20140623>. Another similar, but even more explicit, example: “Let me confirm to you that the government has decided to ratify the additional protocol (emphasis added) to Indian specific safeguard agreement. We had signed this earlier, what we have decided is to take next step of ratification. This is a signal of our commitment to abide by our international obligations,” the Spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry said. (Source: <http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/india-to-grant-greater-ease-to-iaea-to-monitor-its-civilian-nuclear-programme/>.) An equally, or even more, definitive contrary statement: The ratification, concluded last week (emphasis added), also appears well timed with the meeting on Monday in Buenos Aires of the Nuclear Suppliers Group — the elite 45-country club India aspires to join, which controls the global flows of nuclear wherewithal. (Source: <http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-more-open-to-ninspections/article6139494.ece>.)

3. <http://www.iaea.org/safeguards/documents/AP_status_list.pdf>.

4. See: <https://www.armscontrol.org/act/2009_04/IndiaProtocol>.

5. For a highly informed evaluation of the Agreement, see: <http://centreright.in/2013/03/the-prodigal-state-indias-new-nuclear-clothes/#.U7E-FUATxqI>. For a tentative assessment by this commentator, while the negotiation was still on, from an anti-nuclear peace activist’s standpoint, see: <http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article10224>.

6. For the text, see: <https://armscontrollaw.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/indias-iaea-ap.pdf>. For a very recent comment on it, see: <http://armscontrollaw.com/2014/06/23/india-finally-ratifies-its-additional-protocol-but-does-it-mean-anything/>; also see an informed evaluation by Siddharth Varadarajan at <http://www.hindu.com/2009/03/07/stories/2009030755691000.htm>.

7. For example: Describing the Indo-US nuclear deal as a "blind trap" and tantamount to acceding to the NPT regime, BJP today [on October 2 2008] said once it comes to power it would renegotiate the deal and even keep open the right to conduct a nuclear test if need arises. (At: <http://www.rediff.com/news/2008/oct/02ndeal6.htm>.)

8. Source: <http://www.bjp.org/images/upload/other_publications/indo_us_deal_e.pdf>. 

9. See: <https://in.finance.yahoo.com/news/full-text-of-the-president-s-speech-to-parliament-074449489.html>.

10. See: <http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/06/23/uk-india-nuclear-idINKBN0EY14O20140623>.

11. See: <http://press.ihs.com/press-release/aerospace-defense-terrorism/ihs-reveals-new-potential-nuclear-enrichment-site-india>.

12. See: <http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2014-06-24/news/50825758_1_nsg-npt-daryl-kimball>. For a preliminary report on the outcome of the NSG meet, see: <http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/07/02/nuclear-trade-india-idINL6N0PC43620140702>.

13. See: <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/India%E2%80%93United_States_Civil_Nuclear_Agreement#Formal_signing_of_the_deal>.

14. "The Indian Government has provided the United States with a strong Letter of Intent, stating its intention to purchase reactors with at least 10,000 megawatts (MW) worth of new power generation capacity from U.S. firms. India has committed to devote at least two sites to U.S. firms." This is an excerpt from a written statement submitted by William J. Burns, the then Under Secretary for Political Affairs, Department of State, during his oral presentation at the hearing before the Committee on Foreign Relations, US Senate on September 18 2008. (Source: <http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-110shrg46951/html/CHRG-110shrg46951.htm>.) This was even before the formal signing of the Agreement on October 10 2008.

15. See: <http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Country-Profiles/Countries-G-N/India/>.

16. For example: “The move is clearly tied to the new government’s push for enhancing energy security, which is slated to have a significant nuclear component. It will not be surprising if countries such as Japan, France and the United States now enhance the level of their civilian nuclear trade with India,” official sources said (emphasis added). (Source: <http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-more-open-to-ninspections/article6139494.ece>.)

17. See: <http://www.prsindia.org/uploads/media/Nuclear%20Rules/Civil%20Liability%20for%20Nuclear%20Damage%20Rules%202011.pdf>.

18. See: <http://lawmin.nic.in/ld/regionallanguages/THE%20CIVIL%20LIABILITY%20OF%20NUCLEAR%20DAMAGE%20ACT,2010.%20(38%20OF2010).pdf>.

19. See: <http://www.rediff.com/news/column/diluting-nuclear-suppliers-liability/20130922.htm>. The view of the present commentator on this issue, predating Jaitley’s article, is available at <http://www.dianuke.org/attorny-general-interpretation-of-nuclear-liability-law-is-legally-untenable-sukla-sen/>.

20. Source: <http://www.dianuke.org/nuclear-liability-act-and-its-rules-the-tail-wagging-the-dog/>. Also see: <http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/liability-rules-leave-very-little-recourse/article2675389.ece>. Both these analysts, apparently, read “not less than” as provided in the sub-section (1) of section 24 of the Rules as “not more than.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Founding Statement of Ganamancha

DECLARATION

(issued at Press Conference on 2/7/2014)

We the undersigned political parties and organisations have decided to come together to form a struggle platform: “Working People’s Movement for Democracy and Secularism”.

BJP’s Rise

We have felt the need to unite in a common platform in the backdrop of Modi-led BJP’s ascent in the country, particularly in West Bengal. BJP’s victory in the general elections was mainly because of the misrule, corruption and anti-people policies of the Congress-led UPA regime, which alienated and angered the people. While the Congress has been decisively rejected, other forces, including the Left, have failed to offer a credible, progressive alternative.

Narendra Modi has become the Prime Minister of the country with the full backing of the big corporate class and international finance capital on the one hand and the communal-fascist forces led by the RSS on the other. Even while the new PM was being sworn in, communal clashes were reported from Ahmedabad and Bijapur. A young software professional from the minority community was beaten to death by members of a Hindu extremist outfit in Pune. Provocative statements on article 370, Ayodha temple, Vedic texts being introduced in school textbooks etc. have already been made from different quarters. The BJP government has imposed Hindi in official communications in the social media and the Health Minister has launched a tirade against condoms and sex education in the name of “Indian values”. All these betray the communal, obscurantist and divisive agenda of the RSS-BJP.

While promising “achche din” during the course of the election campaign, the PM has now started talking of a “bitter pill”. The steep hike in railway fares on the eve of the budget indicate the economic agenda of the BJP government. Inflation is climbing, with sugar and vegetable prices rising sharply. The move to enhance the FDI cap beyond 51% in the defence sector is aimed at developing a foreign controlled military-industrial complex in India. Cuts in subsidies and welfare measures and aggressive neoliberal policies are also in the offing.

With the unfolding of a full-throated rightwing agenda, it becomes imperative for all progressive, democratic and Left forces to unite in building resistance in defence of democracy and secularism.

West Bengal

The authoritarian and corrupt regime headed by the West Bengal Chief Minister over the past three years has frustrated the people. Attacks on democratic rights, state sponsored violence directed at opposition parties, atrocities against women and myriad crimes like murder and extortion carried out by the goons patronized by the Trinamul Congress have become the order of the day. People’s hard earned savings have been looted through scams like Saradha. The state is witnessing the closure of factories like Jessop, Hind Motors, several tea gardens and jute mills.  

Workers are suffering due to joblessness, rampant contractualisation, low wages and relentless price rise. Peasants are faced with the pincer attack of rising agricultural input costs and depressed output prices. The deprived sections like dalits, adivasis and Muslim minorities continue to suffer from neglect. Rather than implementing the substantive recommendations of the Sachar Committee and Ranganath Mishra Commission, the TMC government has indulged in irresponsible, non-secular tokenism. All this has contributed to growing discontent among the people.

The CPI(M)-led Left Front has failed to play the role of an effective opposition in West Bengal, in manifesting peoples’ aspirations and building up struggles against the TMC government’s misrule. The Left Front government, especially in its last decade of rule, had pursued neoliberal policies like building SEZs and coercive land acquisition in an aggressive manner. There were major violations of democratic norms by the CPI(M), as a ruling party, in various spheres alongside a rise in corruption and high-handedness by party leaders. Unfortunately, despite the defeat in the 2011 assembly elections, the CPI(M) has failed to rectify its ideological-political deviations.

The anti-democratic character of the TMC regime and the continuing decline of the CPI(M)-led Left Front have provided space for the BJP in West Bengal. BJP’s rise in the state will lead to communal polarisation and destroy its secular and progressive legacy. We believe that the threat posed by the communal forces can be combated by mobilizing people in a mass movement and not by tailing discredited anti-people parties like the Congress.

Struggle Platform

We are coming together in a common platform to build a movement to defend democracy and secularism. We are committed to:

(a)  Democracy and defence of democratic rights

(b)Secularism and communal amity

(c)  Opposition to pro-corporate neoliberal policies which increases social inequality and leads to plunder of resources

(d)  Social justice for women, adivasis, dalits, minorities and other deprived sections

(e)  Upholding progressive and democratic values across the world and opposition to militarism and hegemony

 

We are inviting all progressive, democratic, secular and left political parties, organisations, groups and individuals, who agree with the above-mentioned principles and are willing to fight for them to join hands and strengthen the platform. We shall raise our voice against all instances of violation of democratic rights and crimes against women in the state and strive to stand by the victims of state-sponsored violence. We shall raise the issues of informal sector workers, organised workers, peasants, agricultural labourers, women, dalits, adivasis, Muslim minorities and fight against all forms of exploitation and oppression.

 

We will be organizing a Convention in Kolkata on August 2, 2014 to finalise the Charter of Demands and chalk out the future course of action.   

Sd/-

 

Convenors of “Working People’s Movement for Democracy and Secularism”

 

Abdur Rezzak Mollah, Samajik Nyay Vichar Mancha

 

Abhash Munshi, Mazdoor Kranti Parishad

 

Kunal Chattopadhyay, Radical Socialist

 

Partho Ghosh, CPI ML Liberation

 

Prasenjit Bose, Left Collective

 

CONTACT NUMBER: 033 6555 4474

Radical Socialist Statement on Starvation Death of Tea Garden Workers

Tea gardens in West Bengal continue to be sites of super-exploitation of workers. The death due to starvation of six persons from the Raipur Tea Estate in North Bengal has driven home this point once again. Yet the only response of the government of West Bengal has been to announce one more Committee to discuss the matter. The matter is a straightforward one. For at least one decade, tea plantations in West Bengal have been closing, workers have been paid terribly low wages, not paid in the name of crisis of the industry, and have suffered from malnutrition and starvation. According to the 51st Annual Report 2004-05 of Tea Board of India, a total of 118 tea gardens were reportedly closed between the years 2000-2005 that had affected 68,442 workers. In many of the tea gardens, owners do not declare the tea garden as closed but ‘conveniently’ abandon them. The company has to apply for closure in order to close a garden. These companies owe huge dues not just to the workers in terms of Provident Fund and Gratuity dues but also to the respective state governments and concerned banks. An important feature/nature of such closures and abandonment was that the tea gardens would reopen during the peak season and again close during the lean period as in the case of one tea garden in West Bengal that was closed five times during 2001-2006 and on 13 January 2006 it was closed permanently. In Raipur Tea Estate, there had been previous cases of starvation deaths, recorded as far back as 2005. In all, a few thousand workers and their family members have died out of starvation and malnutrition in the last one decade. As a result of ill payment, plantation workers have been caught in a viscous circle of poverty, poor literacy and ill health, with children of tea workers ending up in the same ill paid work as their parents and grandparents before them. Radical Socialist condemns the collusion of owners and governments that have made possible repeated deaths of workers and the systematic super-exploitation of the laboring force for the profit of the owners. While the Minister for labour, purnendu Bose, acknowledged the possibility of malnutrition, his colleague, Jyotipriya Mallick has blamed the tea labourers, saying they do not take government medical aid and that is the cause of their deaths. We condemn this policy of civering up for owners and blaming the victims. Neither the previous, nor the current state government of West Bengal has done anything concrete for the workers. Yet there are obvious remedies that need to be taken up.  In the first place, the Tea Act should be invoked and any plantation that is not being run properly should be taken over by the government.  In the second place, factory and plantation books should be inspected with full participation by workers representatives elected by them, so that action can be taken against managers and owners who have not paid PF, etc to workers.  The right to life is higher than the right to profit. Take over the wealth of the owners who flout laws and push workers to death, to ensure the survival of the workers

Radical Socialist, 2 July 2014

DEMAND THE RESIGNATION OF TAPAS PAL FROM PARLIAMENT AND LEGAL ACTION AGAINST HIM:

DEMAND THE RESIGNATION OF TAPAS PAL FROM PARLIAMENT AND LEGAL ACTION AGAINST HIM:

FIGHT THE PERSISTENCE OF POLITICAL RAPES AND THREATS OF THE SAME

 

Tapas Pal, film actor and in recent times a Trinamul Congress Member of Parliament, has reiterated openly the threat that many political leaders utter a little covertly. He has stated that if women supporters of “our party” are attacked, men of the party will be sent to rape women of the opposition. In earlier times, at least since the rise of mass communal and casteist politics in India, this had been a regular strategy of such communal/casteist forces. This was taken over and used systematically by the Hindutva forces, for example in Gujarat during the 2002 pogroms, when the false news that women had been dragged from a train and raped by Muslims was spread in order to incite rioting mobs of Hindutva cadres to rape and sexually attack Muslim women (as well as to kill men, women and children because of the Godhra deaths). 


In West Bengal, in the past, we have seen the former ruling party, the CPI(M), and its leaders using violent and sexist language against women, and have condemned these immediately. We have also seen the use of rape as a political weapon on several occasions, and have joined hands with feminists and women’s rights groups, civil liberties organisations, and other progressives, to resist such cases, regardless of the party, class, community or caste colour, for we do not believe that any progressive social or political work can be achieved using such means, and see it as our task to resist all practices that promote rape or violence on women, and the use of political violence under conditions of democracy. 


This violent, criminalized and sexist political culture has been absorbed and regurgitated by the ruling TMC of West Bengal. The latest case is the speech by Mr. Pal, the M.P., at a meeting in Krishnanagar today. He claimed that CPI(M) members had attacked his party members, and said that not as an MP, but as a TMC activist, he was warning that he would avenge such things. He went on to threaten the killing of CPI(M) members and the rape of women. 


Mr. Pal has been elected MP, and as long as he holds on to that position, public utterances by him have that effect. So whatever his disclaimer, this was an MP, someone who has sworn to uphold the Constitution of India, urging people to go and rape women of opposition parties and kill members of the opposition. As for the recurrent claim that the CPI(M) is using violence, we question this on two grounds. If indeed the CPI(M) uses violence, the response should have been the use of due legal process. And secondly, the CPI(M) today is in shambles. Its cadre base is so pathetic that in the elections of 2014 the Left Front had its share of votes lowered to 29 per cent and the CPI(M) could not even put enough people even in all booths. So the bogey of CPI(M) violence, based on what was a reality in the past, is used by Pal to call for nothing less than lynch law, a call that can be easily used to stage “events” and then take “revenge”. The ultimate case one can remind is the Reichstag fire, but plenty of lesser events exist. 


The TMC has tried to go into a damage control mode by saying that the context must be examined. We reject this absolutely. No context justifies calling for killing the members of an opposition party or raping their women cadres. 


Above all, however, we warn that appealing to various state institutions will be futile, unless ordinary people, women and men, people in political parties, people in social movements, unite to protest and resist. 
Our goal is not one of scoring points, nor of removing one hated government only to replace them by a new set of the same kind but to defend the democratic rights of everyone. Radical Socialist has always taken the position that in a bourgeois polity, any call for defending democracy must stress the role of mass action rather than calling upon the bureaucratic state of the ruling class. It is not by appealing against Pal to Narendra Modi, but by appealing to the democratic traditions of our working people, that we must mobilise against the political use of rape. 


We demand:
• Immediate legal action against Tapas Pal by the Government of West Bengal. 
• Resignation of Mr. Pal from the Parliament.
• Proceedings against Mr. Pal to be initiated by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
• Immediate action be taken by the National Human Rights Commission and the National Commission for Women.
• An end to criminalization of politics and use of women’s bodies as a political tool. 
• Safeguarding of democratic rights of all as enshrined in the Indian constitution.
• Right of women to move and work freely without the constant fear of being sexually assaulted.

30 June 2014

Support the Struggles of Brazilian Workers, Condemn the Dilma Rousseff Regime's Patronage of the Rich in the Name of Promoting the World Cup

Support the Struggles of Brazilian Workers, Condemn the Dilma Rousseff Regime's Patronage of the Rich in the Name of Promoting the World Cup

 

 

 

Statement of Radical Socialist, 12 June 2014

 

 

 

As the “World Cup fever” grips the world, or more accurately, as it is rammed down us through the media, Brazil has erupted in struggles. For a year, popular mobilizations of immense dimensions have been shaking the country.

 

 

 

At its peak, a million people or more have been out protesting. This is not some abstract protest. When in 2007 the Brazilian government of Luis Inacio da Silva (Lula), of the Partido dos Trabalhadores (Workers Party) put forward its bid for the 2014 World Cup and was given it by FIFA, Brazil, like India, was seeing itself as part of a new acronym, BRICS, and imagining that the crisis of capitalism was finished and the country, notably its elite, were on the way to international stardom and the world cup would be the icing on the cake. $11 billion has been spent for the world cup by now. This at a time when the masses of working people are angry at the lack of development of educational and health facilities. As a result, the most visible governmental role over the World Cup has been to augment security repeatedly. 57000 troops, over 1,00,000 law enforcement personnel, even 34 anti-aircraft guns have been reportedly pressed into service.

 

 

 

Meanwhile, every opinion poll shows this growing cost of the World Cup has been viewed as detrimental by ordinary people. Workers, students, have come out, demanding a reorientation of government priorities. Students and teachers have struck, demanding more funding for education. But most worrying for the government in recent times has been the transport workers' struggles. From 5 June, Metro workers in Sao Paulo have been on strike. In order to achieve its goal of getting political prestige out of the World Cup, the government has taken strong action. The transport workers carry 4,000,000 passengers every day in the city. On 8 June, the courts declared the strike illegal. They demanded that workers must immediately return to work, and declared a fine of US $ 222,000 per day on their union for defying this order.

 

 

 

While Brazil has a Social Democratic regime, whereas in India a party rooted in fascist politics has gained parliamentary majority, what is common to both countries is the determination of the ruling class to use neo-liberalism for its own expansion at the cost of the toiling people. Radical Socialist expresses solidarity with all the fighting militants, especially with the workers of Sao Paulo out on strike and the militants attacked and beaten up by police on the eve of the World Cup. We call on working class, socialist and democratic organisations in India to protest, to express solidarity with the toiling people of Brazil.

 

 

 

Long live working class struggles for emancipation

 

 

 

Full support for the Sao Paulo Metro Workers

 

 

 

Long live proletarian internationalism.

 

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