Articles posted by Radical Socialist on various issues.

Mr. Modi's doublespeak

Mr. Modi's doublespeak - the self-proclaimed PS's lip-service to populist governance is nothing but empty words with contradictory action.

Rohit Prajapati


16 August 2014

In his first address as the Prime Minister on India’s Independence Day, Mr. Modi declared: “I am present amidst you not as the Prime Minister, but as the Prime Servant.[1]” This was one of many clever uses of populist rhetoric to appeal to the heart of his audience on 15 August 2014. While it may be the duty of the PM to represent the aspirations of all the people of India, Mr. Modi’s actions and those of his government’s demonstrate that in actuality he is committed to serving only the capitalist class for the sake of the GDP. Alongside his “development” agenda, Mr. Modi also serves Hindutva, as is very well-known. He reminded the nation of this when he stated, “My dear countryman, a national festival is an occasion to refine and rebuild the national character.” Through the election campaign, we are aware what Mr. Modi and his BJP mean by the “national character” -- the nation-strident rightwing hindutva at the cost of the rest.

The contradictions between Mr. Modi’s political record and his speech were numerous. In an instance of blatant flattery for political ends, Mr. Modi stated “My dear countrymen, this nation has neither been built by political leaders nor by rulers nor by governments. This nation has been built by our farmers, our workers, our mothers and sisters, our youth.” This recognition of the importance of farmers and common people stands in stark contrast to the Modi Government’s recent moves, which are anti-small-marginal-farmers, anti-working class and anti-people in general. Instead of going for more deserving amendments in ‘The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013’, the Modi Government  is planning to dilute the act to get rid of almost all major progressive provisions by way of amendments to allow for more land-grabbing. The Modi Government has begun the process to amend present labour laws to make them more investment-friendly so that industries have free reign as promised in the election.

The Modi Government is internationally famous for espousing a business climate for the profit and prosperity of mega industries - the government’s patrons - and not for ordinary people. Mr. Modi was clear in his Election Manifesto: “Take all steps: like removing red-tapism involved in approvals, to make it easy to do business, invest in logistics infrastructure, ensure power supply and undertake labour reforms, besides other steps to create a conducive environment for investors.”  It is thus all the more ironic when Mr. Modi rhetorically asked, “Brothers and sisters, can someone please tell me as to whether he or she has ever introspected in the evening after a full day’s work as to whether his or her acts have helped the poor of the country or not, whether his or her actions have resulted in safeguarding the interest of the country or not, whether the actions have been directed in country’s welfare or not? Whether it should not be the motto of one and a quarter billion countrymen that every step in life should be in the country’s interests?” His loyalty to building an “environment for investment” leaves people in the lurch. This is a question, that Modi instead of posing to the nation, should first ask himself and his party cohorts. The Modi Government is busy in building up the environment for the profit and prosperity of its patrons and not for ordinary people. Mr. Modi Government’s almost all actions are “honestly” in this direction. For Mr. Modi word ‘Environment’ means “Environment for Investment” [2].

Mr. Modi astutely observed, “Brothers and sisters, when we hear about the incidents of rape, we hang our heads in shame. People come out with different arguments, someone indulges in psycho analysis, but brothers and sisters, today from this platform, I want to ask those parents, I want to ask every parent that you have a daughter of 10 or 12 years age, you are always on the alert, every now and then you keep on asking where are you going, when would you come back, inform immediately after you reach. Parents ask their daughters hundreds of questions, but have any parents ever dared to ask their son as to where he is going, why he is going out, who his friends are. After all, a rapist is also somebody’s son. He also has parents. As parents, have we ever asked our son as to what he is doing and where he is going. If every parent decides to impose as many restrictions on the sons as have been imposed on our daughters, try to do this with your sons, try to ask such questions of them.”  But an appeal to the people to combat rape-culture from the inside - as autonomous feminist groups and other movements have been doing since years- is not sufficient action on the part of PM/PS of India. Mr. Modi must go beyond tokenism and sloganism to earn credibility on this issue. He must show political will and allocate sufficient resources, by way of budget and staff, to implement “The Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994, The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005, The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) 2012, The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013, The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act2013.” etc. Although as Chief Minister of Gujarat Mr. Modi failed to provide the necessary political support and resources to seriously implement laws that protect women from these injustices, I hope that the people will hold him to putting his money and action where his mouth is on this issue in his new national position of power.  

In yet another bizarrely ironic statement, Mr. Modi said “Brothers and sisters, for one reason or the other, we have had communal tensions for ages. This led to the division of the country. Even after Independence, we have had to face the poison of casteism and communalism. How long these evils will continue? Whom does it benefit?” Nobody should know the beneficiaries of communal tensions better than Mr. Modi. His role as the architect of communal divide garnered him immense political capital: first bolstering him to the position of chairman of the central campaign committee of BJP, then the PM Candidate of BJP, then the PM Candidate of NDA, and ultimately the PM of the country. His political career peaked only after carnage 2002 in Gujarat.

Mr. Modi said “Therefore, I appeal to all those people that whether it is the poison of casteism, communalism, regionalism, discrimination on social and economic basis, all these are obstacles in our way forward. Let’s resolve for once in our hearts, let’s put a moratorium on all such activities for ten years, we shall march ahead to a society which will be free from all such tensions.” This is welcome advice, from a most unexpected source: we hope that his party leaders & members and members of the all affiliates organisation of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and BJP’s electoral allies were listening. I have a question for Mr. Modi: why only for 10 years? What happens when his 10 years moratorium on communal violence is over and you are asking whom (all those peopleto implement this? Mr. Modi, can you eradicate the caste system without challenging the Hindu religion?

Mr. Modi appeal again when he stated, “Have we ever thought what the sex ratio in the country is like? 940 girls are born against per thousand boys. Who is causing this imbalance in the society? Certainly not God. I request the doctors not to kill the girl growing in the womb of a mother just to line their own pockets.  I advise mothers and sisters not to sacrifice daughters in the hope of son.” I wish to remind Mr. Modi that he has not even attempted to implement, ‘The Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994, in Gujarat and only used government money for the rhetoric of “Beti Bachao” while promoting the ideology behind dowry through the schemes like “Mangal Sutra” and “Kunwarbai Nu Mameru”[3].  Mr. Modi, the negative sex ratio is just a symptom of a major decease called patriarchy and you have to challenge the patriarchy with short term and long term programmes[4].

Mr. Modi said ‘Therefore, an account holder under ‘Pradhanmantri Jan-Dhan Yojana‘ will be given a debit card. An insurance of One Lakh Rupees will be guaranteed with that debit card for each poor family, so that such families are covered with the insurance of One Lakh Rupees in case of any crisis in their lives.” Mr. Modi, people want the “Right to Work” for fair and living wages, along with all the social securities. And if the government is unable to provide the work, the government should pay an “Unemployment Dole.” With their earning, people may have a chance to open the bank account and can also opt for insurance as additional social security with government further assistance for that. The Government should not withdraw from its social responsibly like education, health care, housing, food, etc.

Mr. Modi says “If we have to promote the development of our country then our mission has to be ‘skill development’ and ‘skilled India’. Millions and Millions of Indian youth should go for acquisition of skills and there should be a network across the country for this and not the archaic systems.”  Mr. Modi should understand that present and the past Government has deskilled the people at large through almost complete privatisation, commercialisation and commodification of education has in practice given a voluntary retirement from the education to the children of the ordinary people. Now a day the policies of the past and present governments mean knowledge and education for the students of IIT, NIT and so-called, well-known universities & colleges and so-called skill development for ITI & dropout students.

Mr. Modi said “The economics of the world have changed and, therefore, we will have to act accordingly.” Mr. Modi, be bold and admit that you are a proponent of liberalisation, privatisation, globalisation, FDI, less and less government and out sourcing of all major policy decisions to private and multinational companies; “Swadeshi” is just a political slogan when the nation’s masses are tuned into the television. The Modi Government is moving ahead with the economic reforms by taking firm decisions in the cabinet like raising of FDI limit in defence and insurance sector from 26 percent to 49 percent, and fully 100 percent in the railway. The Modi Government has started making changes in environment clearance policy to make it simpler for industries to get environment clearance, so that mere submission of the paperwork is sufficient for clearance regardless of the environmental merit.

Modi said “Therefore I want to appeal all the people world over, from the ramparts of the Red Fort, “Come, make in India”, “Come, manufacture in India”. Sell in any country of the world but manufacture here.” Obviously, first world and giant corporate will be sceptical of this appeal, but what about all other small countries and their indigenous industries? Are we interested as a nation to tell other small countries that they become our economic colonies and they should only import from us and not export from their country to our country?

Tourism has brought alienation of local communities through gross violation of human rights. Yet Mr. Modi said “Brothers and sisters, we want to promote tourism. Tourism provides employment to the poorest of the poor. Gram seller earns something, auto-rickshaw driver earns something, pakoda seller earns something and tea seller also earns something. When there is talk of tea seller, I feel a sense of belongingness. Tourism provide employment to the poorest of the poor.” In reality tourism had lead to forced land acquisition, large scale displacement, loss of dignity and traditional source of livelihood, lack of accessibility to public spaces are quite visible. These costs of tourism are not the concern for Mr. Modi, however - filthiness is a barrier.

Mr. Modi said “But there is a big obstacle in promoting tourism and in our national character and that is – the filthiness all around us. Whether after independence, after so many years of independence, when we stand at the threshold of one and half decade of 21st century, we still want to live in filthiness? The first work I started here after formation of Government is of cleanliness.” Mr. Modi’s main worry is tourism industries and not the people of India.

Modi said “Cleanliness is very big work. Whether our country can not be clean? If one hundred and twenty five crores countrymen decide that they will never spread filthiness, which power in the world has ability to spread filthiness in our cities and villages? Can’t we resolve this much?” Modi Government should know basic facts revealed in the ‘Report of the Task Force on Waste to Energy’ dated 12 May 2014 by Planning Commission of India. This report states that “As per CPCB report 2012 - 13 municipal areas in the country generate 1, 33,760 metric tonnes per day of MSW, of which only 91,152 TPD waste is collected and 25,884 TPD treated. The MSW, therefore, dumped in low lying urban areas is a whopping 1,07,876 TPD, which needs 2,12,752 cubic meter space every day and 776  hectare of precious land  per year.[5]

Mr. Modi, things are not as simple as you say. This waste generation figure covers only 31.15% population of India. Considering the waste generation figures of all of India, these figures will be even more daunting. The Planning Commission (which Mr. Modi wishes to abolish) of India’s report further states “A study, of the status of implementation of the MSW Rules 2000 by the mandated deadline by the States, was carried out in class 1 cities of the country. It revealed that in 128 cities except for street sweeping and transportation, compliance was less than 50% and in respect of disposal compliance was a dismal 1.4 %.” What about the government’s major roll in policy making for the reduction of waste and implementation of ‘The Municipal Solid Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules 2000’? Your tract record in the implementation of these rules in the Gujarat is worst.

The consistent follow up by the pollution-affected people, people’s organisations and NGOs regarding the increasing pollution levels in the industrial areas of India forced the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the State Pollution Control Board in 1989 to initiate the process of indexing the critically polluted areas. At that time 24 industrial areas, including Vapi, Ankleshwar, Ludhiana, were declared ‘critically polluted’. In 2009 the CPCB and IIT-Delhi, in consistence with the demands of the people’s organisation’s working on environmental issues decided to use a new method of ‘indexing the pollution levels’ of these areas, which is now known as the ‘Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index’ (CEPI). The CEPI includes air, water, land pollution and health risks to the people living in the area. However, our demand has been to include the health of the workers, productivity of land and quality of food / agriculture produce in the index since the presence of high levels of chemicals and heavy metals in food produce has severe health implications. This is affecting not only people living around the industrial area but anyone consuming it – hence not restricting the impact to the particular industrial area.

In December 2009 the CEPI of 88 polluted industrial clusters was measured; it was then that the CPCB and the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) of Government of India were forced to declare 43 of those as ‘critically polluted clusters’[6] and another 32 industrial areas as ‘severely polluted clusters’. Following this study the MoEF on 13 January 2010 was forced to issue a moratorium (prohibition on opening new industries and/or increasing the production capacity of the existing industries) on the 43 critically polluted areas.

As the very first step after assuming power as the PM, Instead of improving the environment of these 88 industrial clusters and taking the remedial measure in these area for clean up after moving to the Capital, Mr. Modi Government instead started lifted of the moratorium of industrial cluster like Ghaziabad (UP), Indore (M.P.), Jharsuguda (Orissa), Ludhiana (Punjab), Panipat (Haryana), Patancheru – Bollaram (A.P.), Singrauli (UP & MP) and Vapi (Gujarat) as a first order of business on 10 June 2014. Mr. Modi Vapi’s track record demand more ‘stringent action’ against the polluting industries of Vapi & concerned officers of Gujarat Pollution Control Board and definitely not lifting of moratorium from Vapi.[7]

Mr. Modi said “However, today I am going to announce a scheme on behalf of the Member of Parliament- ‘Sansad Aadarsh Gram Yojana’. We shall fix some parameters. I urge upon the Members of Parliament to select any one of the villages having population of three to five thousand in your constituency. The parameters will be according to the time, space and situation of that locality. It will include the conditions of health, cleanliness, atmosphere, greenery, cordiality etc. On the basis of those parameters, each of our MPs should make one village of his or her constituency a Model Village by 2016.” Mr. Modi, we want you to first spell out what do you mean by ‘Aadarsh Gram’ because your policies and action program in Gujarat when you were the chief minister of Gujarat for ‘Aadarsh Gram’ were neither acceptable nor ideal to local people. Why you, Mr. Modi do not want local Panchayat to work for their village? Let me remind Mr. Modi about the struggle which is going on against proposed nuclear power plant with the slogan “Not here, not anywhere; not in any country in the world” – with these slogans the farmers and other villagers affected by the proposed 6000 MW nuclear power plant at village Mithi Virdi in Bhavnagar, Gujarat are protesting.[8] Orchards of mangoes, chikoos, coconut trees, lush greenery, sea and ships passing by, describe aptly the Mithi Virdi - Jaspara area in the Talaja block of Bhavnagar district. This lush green area is the irrigated region of Shetrunji dam. Situated on the Saurashtra sea coast, one would assume that the land is barren and un-inhabited, but a visit here belies all these assumptions. The proposal for a 6000 MW nuclear power plant spread over 777 hectares on this green lush land is planned. Presently on this 777 hectare of land spread in Jaspara, Mithi Virdi, Khadarpar, and Mandva stand more than 50,000 fruit trees. Also, bajra, cotton, groundnut, onions and other crops are sown year round due to irrigation facilities. This area is therefore aptly called Bhavnagar's vegetable basket. Recently on 13 August 2014 the villagers took a pledge that “We today on August 13, 2014 take the pledge, To ensure clean air, potable water, fertile lands, nutritious, uncontaminated food and secure life for the future generations. We will do all that is possible to save and protect the land, agriculture, agricultural products and seeds. We will stop all industries and nuclear power plants that pose risk to our food, health and environment. We will protest against the genetically modified crops and the resulting contamination of the natural seeds through them. We will continue our consistent struggle against the so-called development policy that contaminate agriculture, land and water while seeking GDP growth. We will strive to save the society from all companies - national and multinationals - that seeks profits at any cost. We will strive to ensure the deserving amendments to The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013. We register our opposition and resolve to fight against the present government's move to dilute this act to make it anti-farmer to ensure pro industrial growth.” These villagers want to make their villages as Aadarsh Village. Will Mr. Modi allow them to do so?

We saw, however, in Gujarat that following the will of the villagers was not a priority for Mr. Modi. Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. needs 81 hectares of forest land in addition to the other land for the nuclear power plant. To facilitate this the Taluka Development Officer (TDO) of Gujarat State sent a letter dated July 15, 2013 to Sarpanch of Jaspara directing him to pass a resolution on the lines of the copy that he had sent, so as to have the village body's stamp of approval for the state government transfer of forest land to the NPCIL. In this letter the TDO instead of seeking the opinion of Gramsabha as per the law for the land transfer, illegally and unconstitutionally orders the Sarpanch to pass the ready-made resolution. The Gramsabha of Jaspara unanimously condemned and rejected such an unconstitutional letter of TDO. The Gramsabha unanimously resolved not to hand over the forest land for non-forest use to be handed over the NPCIL. Will Mr. Modi respect the decision of the Gramsabha?

Mr. Modi said “Thereafter, we have a feeling that it would be better to construct a new house altogether and therefore within a short period, we will replace the planning commission with a new institution having a new design and structure, a new body, a new soul, a new thinking, a new direction, a new faith towards forging a new direction to lead the country based on creative thinking, public-private partnership, optimum utilization of resources, utilization of youth power of the nation, to promote the aspirations of state governments seeking development, to empower the state governments and to empower the federal structure. Very shortly, we are about to move in a direction when this institute would be functioning in place of Planning Commission.” We do have a problem with present planning commission of India, but in the name of “public-private partnership” Modi Government is planning to outsource the planning to private interests. We had seen Mr. Modi use to take all major policy decisions and use to announce in the Vibrant Gujarat Summit when he was Chief Minister of Gujarat.

In sum, Mr. Modi gave a populist speech in which he doled out advice to the people, yet hardly acknowledged his and his government’s responsibility in policy decisions to resolve these problems. On the issue of development, one only needs to look to his record in Gujarat to understand the emptiness of his “pro-poor”, “pro-farmer”, “pro women” rhetoric.

While listening to the speech it reminds me that Adolf Hitler once said “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.” Mr. Hitler also said “Kill, Destroy, Sack, Tell lie; how much you want after victory nobody asks why?”


[1] Text of PM’s speech at Red Fort, August 15, 2014  http://www.narendramodi.in/text-of-pms-speech-at-red-fort/

[2] For “Modi-Festo” Word ‘Environment’ means “Environment for Investment”. - Rohit Prajapati, 8 April 2014 - http://www.sacw.net/article8260.html

[3] ‘Kunwarbai Nu Mameru’ is a scheme by the Social Justice and Empowerment Department of the Government of Gujarat for families below the poverty line. Scheme provides, at the time of marriage, Rs. 2000/- to parents and Narmada bonds worth Rs. 3000/- to girls belonging to SC, ST and Socially and Educationally Backward castes. ‘Mameru’ is a variant of the practice of dowry. Kunwarbai was daughter of the fifteenth century bhakti poet Narsinh Mehta. Legend has it that when Narsinh Mehta was unable to raise dowry for his daughter’s marriage, Lord Krishna appeared in the form of a merchant and provided the dowry to save him from social stigma. The tile of the programme casts the state as divine benefactor. The irony is that dowry was not traditionally practiced by most of SC, ST, and Socially and Educationally Backward castes.

[4] Juvenile Sex Ratio in Gujarat: A Deadly Combination of Patriarchy and Globalised Capitalist Development, by Shah Trupti, 2014.

[5] Report of the Task Force on Waste to Energy (Volume II) (In the context of Integrated MSW Management) -http://planningcommission.nic.in/reports/genrep/rep_wte1205.pdf

[6] As per the agreed upon measures, industrial areas with a CEPI of 70 and above are considered ‘critically polluted’ areas while those with a CEPI between 60-70 are considered ‘severely polluted’ areas. In our opinion, those industrial areas with CEPI between 40-60 ought to be labelled as ‘polluted areas’.

[7] The Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar decision to lift the moratorium of 8 critically polluted clusters of the country is inexplicable. The ministry took the decision on June 10 2014 but announced it publicly on July 24 2014 – Rohit Prajapati - http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/industrys-behest

[8] Laboratory of Fascism: Capital, Labour and Environment in Modi’s Gujarat by Rohit Prajapati and Trupti Shah - http://www.radicalsocialist.in/articles/national-situation/579-laboratory-of-fascism-capital-labour-and-environment-in-modi-s-gujarat


Resolution adopted at Ganamancha Convention, Kolkata 7 august

গণতন্ত্র, ধর্মনিরপেক্ষতা ও মেহনতি মানুষের অধিকার রক্ষার 
গণমঞ্চ আয়োজিত কনভেনশন
৭ আগস্ট, ২০১৪
ফণিভূষণ মঞ্চ (বাগবাজার, কলকাতা)


রাজ্য তথা দেশের জনগণের পক্ষে আশঙ্কাজনক এক সামাজিক, অর্থনৈতিক এবং রাজনৈতিক পরিস্থিতিতে আমরা একটি আন্দোলনমুখী মঞ্চ গঠন করেছি। "গণতন্ত্র, ধর্মনিরপেক্ষতা ও মেহনতি মানুষের অধিকার রক্ষার গণমঞ্চ” - সংক্ষিপ্ত ভাবে “গনমঞ্চ”। আমরা যে সম্মিলিত মঞ্চে একত্রিত হয়েছি তা নিম্নলিখিত রাজনৈতিক অবস্থানের প্রতি দায়বদ্ধ:

• গণতন্ত্র ও গণতান্ত্রিক অধিকার রক্ষা
• ধর্মনিরপেক্ষতা ও সাম্প্রদায়িক সম্প্রীতি
• নব-উদারবাদী, বৃহৎ কর্পোরেট-মুখী আর্থিক নীতি, যা সামাজিক বৈষম্যের এবং সার্বজনীন সম্পদ লুটের জন্ম দেয়, তার বিরোধিতা
• নারী, দলিত, আদিবাসী, সংখ্যালঘু ও অন্যান্য সামাজিকভাবে বঞ্চিত মানুষের সামাজিক ন্যায়ের দাবী
• দুনিয়া জুড়ে প্রগতিশীল ও গনতান্ত্রিক নীতির প্রতি সমর্থন এবং যুদ্ধ ও আধিপত্যবাদের বিরোধীতা

যে সমস্ত প্রগতিশীল, গণতান্ত্রিক, ধর্মনিরপেক্ষ ও বামপন্থী রাজনৈতিক দল, সংগঠন, গ্রুপ ও ব্যক্তি উপোরক্ত রাজনৈতিক অবস্থানের সাথে একমত ও এই বিষয়গুলি নিয়ে লড়াই আন্দোলন করতে প্রস্তুত, আমরা তাঁদের সবাইকে আহ্বান জানাচ্ছি হাতে হাত মিলিয়ে এই মঞ্চে যোগ দিয়ে তাকে আরো শক্তিশালী করতে।

নির্বাচনী প্রচারের সময় বিজেপি কেন্দ্রে ক্ষমতায় এলে ‘আচ্ছে দিন’ আনার প্রতিশ্রুতি দিয়েছিল। সরকার গঠনের পর কিন্তু প্রধানমন্ত্রী নরেন্দ্র মোদীর গলায় অন্য সুর - তিনি এখন মানুষকে 'তেতো দাওয়াই' দেওয়ার কথা বলছেন। ব্যপক হারে রেলভাড়া বৃদ্ধি এবং পেট্রল ডিজেলের নিয়মিত দাম বাড়ানো দেখলে বুঝতে অসুবিধা হয় না যে এই বিজেপি সরকার পূর্ববর্তী কংগ্রেসী সরকারের মতোই জনবিরোধী নীতি আরো উৎসাহের সঙ্গে প্রণয়ন করবে। এর সাথে বাড়বে আরএসএস-বিজেপির সাম্প্রদায়িক রাজনীতির বিপদও।

পশ্চিমবঙ্গে তৃণমূল সরকারের ভূমিকায় দিনকে দিন পরিস্থিতির আরো অবনতি হচ্ছে - তোলাবাজি, খুন এবং রাজনীতির দুর্বৃত্তায়ন ভয়াবহ আকার ধারণ করেছে। জনসাধারণের গণতান্ত্রিক অধিকারের ওপর তৃণমূল আশ্রিত দুষ্কৃতীদের আঘাত, সরকারি মদতে বিরোধীদের ওপর হামলা এবং মহিলাদের ওপর অত্যাচারের ঘটনা প্রতিদিনই ঘটে চলেছে। একে একে বন্ধ হচ্ছে জেশপ, হিন্দমোটর, ডানলপ, শালিমারের মতো পুরোনো কারখানা। পুনরুজ্জীবনের কথা ঘোষণা করেও ইলেকট্রমেডিক্যালের মতন সরকারী সংস্থাগুলিকে বন্ধ করে দেওয়ার চেষ্টা চলছে। বন্ধ কলকারখানা খোলার নির্বাচনী প্রতিশ্রুতি আপাতত ঠান্ডাঘরে ঠাঁই পেয়েছে!

তৃণমূল সরকারের অগণতান্ত্রিক শাসন ও রাজ্যের প্রধান বিরোধী দল সিপিআইএম নেতৃত্বাধীন বামফ্রন্টের ক্রমাগত ব্যর্থতায় রাজ্যে বিজেপি’র সমর্থন বাড়ছে। বিজেপি’র উত্থান সাম্প্রদায়িক মেরুকরণ ঘটিয়ে শ্রমজীবী মানুষকে বিভাজিত করার রাজনীতিকে আরো শক্তিশালী এবং রাজ্যের ধর্মনিরপেক্ষ ও প্রগতিশীল ঐতিহ্যকে ধ্বংস করবে।

রাজ্য রাজনীতির এই প্রেক্ষাপটে গনমঞ্চ একটি ব্যাপক গণআন্দোলন গড়ে তোলার লক্ষে কাজ করবে। মেহনতী জনগণের যে আশু সমস্যা এবং দাবিসমূহগুলিকে অগ্রাধিকার দেওয়া হবে তা হল:

১. জেসপ, হিন্দমোটর, ডানলপ, শালিমার, বিভিন্ন চটকল ইত্যাদি বন্ধ হয়ে যাওয়া কারখানা অবিলম্বে খোলার জন্য রাজ্য ও কেন্দ্রীয় সরকারকে উদ্যোগ নিতে হবে; উত্তরবঙ্গের চা বাগানে শ্রমিকদের অনাহারে মৃত্যু বন্ধ করতে বিশেষ ভাতাদানের মতো কার্যকরী পদক্ষেপ নিতে হবে; অসংগঠিত ক্ষেত্রে ন্যুনতম মজুরি মাসে ১৫০০০ টাকা করতে হবে

২. লাগামছাড়া মূল্যবৃদ্ধি রুখতে মজুতদারী-কালোবাজারীর বিরুদ্ধে রাজ্য সরকারকে পদক্ষেপ গ্রহণ করতে হবে এবং খাদ্য সুরক্ষার স্বার্থে কেন্দ্রীয় সরকারকে সার্বজনীন গণবন্টন ব্যবস্থার মাধ্যমে সস্তা দামে নিত্যপ্রয়োজনীয় সামগ্রী সরবরাহ করতে হবে

৩. কৃষিক্ষেত্রে সার-বীজ-কীটনাশক ও বিদ্যুতের ক্ষেত্রে মূল্যবৃদ্ধির সাপেক্ষে সরকারকে কার্যকরী সহায়তা দিতে হবে ও কৃষকদের ফসলের ন্যায্য দাম সুনিশ্চিত করতে হবে

৪. দলিত, আদিবাসী ও মুসলিম সংখ্যালঘুদের সামাজিক ন্যায়বিচারের জন্য নির্দিষ্ট পদক্ষেপ গ্রহণ করতে হবে; সাচার কমিটি ও রঙ্গনাথ মিশ্র কমিশনের সুপারিশগুলির বাস্তবায়ন চাই; বনাঞ্চল আইন ২০০৬–কে কার্যকরীভাবে লাগু করে অরণ্যবাসীদের জঙ্গলের অধিকার সুনিশ্চিত করতে হবে

৫. অবিলম্বে নারী নির্যাতন, ধর্ষণের বিরুদ্ধে কড়া পদক্ষেপ গ্রহণ করতে হবে; কামদুনি, মধ্যমগ্রাম, কোন্নগরের মতন মহিলাদের বিরুদ্ধে যে কোনো অত্যাচারের ঘটনার ক্ষেত্রে বিশেষ আদালতে দ্রুততার সাথে বিচার সুনিশ্চিত করতে হবে

৬. পশ্চিমবঙ্গে তৃনমূল কংগ্রেস সরকারের প্রত্যক্ষ মদতে রাজনৈতিক হিংসা এবং মানুষের গণতান্ত্রিক অধিকারের উপর আক্রমন অবিলম্বে বন্ধ করতে হবে; রাজনৈতিক হিংসা এবং সারদা, টেট ইত্যাদি দুর্নীতির মামলায় অভিযুক্ত শাসক দলের সাংসদ-বিধায়ক-নেতাদের অবিলম্বে গ্রেপ্তার করতে হবে

এই দাবিগুলিকে নিয়ে আগামীদিনে গণমঞ্চ সুনির্দিষ্ট আন্দোলনের কর্মসূচি গ্রহণ করবে।


গণমঞ্চের আহ্বায়কবৃন্দ:

আব্দুর রেজ্জাক মোল্লা, সামাজিক ন্যায় বিচার মঞ্চ 
আভাস মুন্সী, মজদুর ক্রান্তি পরিষদ 
কুনাল চট্টোপাধ্যায়, র‍্যাডিকাল সোশালিস্ট 
পার্থ ঘোষ, সিপিআই এম-এল লিবারেশন 
প্রসেনজিৎ বসু, লেফট কালেক্টিভ


Solidarity with Gaza/Palestine. Resist Zionist aggression

Resolution adopted at founding meeting of Forum for Solidarity with Gaza and Campaign for Human Rights on July 28, 2014


The Israeli attacks on Palestinians are being portrayed by the Western media as defensive actions. It is claimed that had Hamas not been an Islamic fundamentalist organisation dedicated to the destruction of Israel, such things would not have happened.
The following facts therefore bear understanding:

1. The state of Israel was created by the United Nations at a time when the Palestinian Arabs had no voice in the UN. Once oil was discovered in West Asia and North Africa, the western imperialist powers were determined to keep a stranglehold on the region. Britain’s Balfour's declaration of 1917 supported the creation of a Zionist state, at a time when very few people globally supported Zionism. Subsequently the UN, dominated by Europeans and North Americans, decided that the genocide on Jews in Europe should be expiated by creating a “Homeland” for the Jews, who had been living in Europe all this while, in West Asia, by carving out a territory. The Zionist movement’s slogan had been, “A land without a people for a people without land”, thereby effectively saying that Arabs were cattle, rather than human beings.
2. In 1948 the state of Israel was finally created through a monstrous crime – the expulsion of nearly a million Palestinians from their homes. This violence is known to Palestinians as the Nakba – the Arabic word for “catastrophe”. It was followed by a second humanitarian disaster in 1967 when Israel seized the whole of Jerusalem and the entirety of historic Palestine – leading to over 40 years of military occupation and successive waves of killings in defence of the Zionist state: in the twenty-first century these have included Operations Summer Rains (June 2006), Autumn Clouds (November 2006), Hot Winter (February 2008), Cast Lead (2008-9), Returning Echo (March 2012), Pillar of Defence (November 2012) and now Protective Edge, just to name a few.
3. Between 1948 and 1967, Israel attacked and took over further land, dispossessing the Palestinians, who became refugees. The UN Partition plan gave the Jews 55% of the land of Palestine, at a time when they actually owned less than 7% of the land and constituted less than one third of the population. By 1949, after one wave of wars, Arab areas had shrunk to 23%. 418 Arab villages (531 according to other estimates) had been depopulated and erased from the map. By September 1949 there were 726,000 Arab refugees outside the Armistice lines, plus a further 32,000 internal refugees within the Armistice lines – according to the UN itself. In 1967, the UNRWA estimates a further 3,55,000 Arabs became refugees as a result of a further war by Israel, which resulted in the occupation of Gaza, the West Bank and the Golan Heights.
4. The Israeli state invaded Lebanon and this resulted, in 1982, in the further displacement of 600,000 people, both Lebanese and Palestinians.
5. By 1991 there were some four and a half million people of Palestinian origin who were refugees or displaced persons, including those born as refugees.
6. The Palestine Liberation Organisation had been created to resist these continuous violations of the most basic human rights of the Palestinians. And it had been led for a long time by relatively secular, moderate and even conservative forces. By contrast, it was Israel that was a self proclaimed religious exclusionist state. It claimed to be a state of the Jews. Any Jew from anywhere in the world had a supposed right to return. And Palestinians repeatedly thrown out are denied the right to return.
7. It is this sheer provocation, through the use of the armed forces, as well as in other ways, that creates the conditions for Palestinian reactions. The rise of Hamas represents the extreme moderation, and dependence on Arab oligarchies, of the old PLO. To focus on the rise and role of Hamas, in addition, is to ignore the fact that Israel is a religious state that systematically discriminates against non Jews, and has been globally condemned as an apartheid state.
8. We are aware of the Israeli state mechanisms' attempts to legitimize their oppression of the Palestinian people and their denial of the right of Palestinians to self-determination through positioning themselves as the only democratic and liberal state in the region. One of the primary ways in which this is achieved is through 'pinkwashing', that is, promoting Israel as a LGBTQ friendly state and thereby downplaying its role in occupying Palestine and through this co-opting LGBTQ populations outside the region.
Nonetheless, we believe that acts of individual terror do not advance the Palestinian cause, not because of any false moralism that equates the violence of the oppressed with the violence of the oppressor, but because we believe that this is counterproductive under the current situation, where it enables Israel, backed by the “democracies”, to carry out brutal, sustained and ruthless terrorism. But we refuse to condemn such acts at par with Israel’s state terrorism.
That three young people were killed is certainly condemnable. However, Israel, knowing they were dead, pretended to go through the motions of searching, in order to intensify terror. They have named two persons for these killings, and even though no trial has been completed and nobody has been found guilty even by the Israeli courts, they have also informed the families of the suspects that their homes in Hebron are to be demolished. They have then launched a war by another name, killing about 1000 already. And the murderer Netanyahu tells the world and the bourgeois media parrots after him, that it is Israel that is under threat of Hamas rocket attacks, and defends the sustained violence. The form of “collective punishment” the Israeli authorities are carrying out, is reminiscent of similar “collective punishment” cases by all colonial powers and shows the hollowness of the Israeli claim to high moral ground.
Every ceasefire agreement has been violated by Israel. It is slowly but surely killing the entire population of Gaza, numbering close to 1.8 million. In November 2012, Israel agreed to “stop all hostilities in the Gaza Strip [by] land, sea and air including incursions and targeting of individuals.” Hamas asked that Israel should abide by this. Israel has rejected this, instead demanding new terms which amount to further violation of basic rights of Palestinians.
However, our protest against Zionist apartheid politics is in no way anti-Jew. We oppose the exclusionary, apartheid politics of Zionism, not the democratic rights of human beings, regardless of their religious or ethnic identity. We have no support for any anti-Semitic protest.
• We support the right of Palestinians to a homeland, returned to them from the seizures carried out over 67 years.
• Accordingly, we demand UN recognition of full statehood for Palestine.
• We demand immediate end to all violence including defensive violence.
• We condemn the continuous repression and murder of the Palestinians.
• We urge the Government of Egypt to open the Rafa border.
• We demand the trial of all Israeli politicians and other state personnel and individuals involved in the killings and torture, as war criminals, by organisations like the ICC (International Criminal Court).
• We call on all our fellow citizens to take part in the growing international campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. This once helped put pressure on the racist South African regime. This is a peaceful, yet powerful weapon that can compel the apartheid regime of Israel to accept that Palestinians have rights which must be respected.
• We demand that the Government of India and all state governments must snap economic ties with Israel. We demand that institutions and corporate bodies who have stable ties with Israel sever them.

Supporting the Palestinian people is legitimate; the government will not silence us!

Statement by NPA, France


This morning our comrade Alain Pojolat, who had filed on behalf of all the organizers, including the NPA, the declaration to the prefecture of the demonstrations which were subsequently banned, was charged and will appear before the Paris District Court on October 22, 2014.

The Israeli offensive has already caused more than 1,100 deaths, mostly civilians and many of them children, and more than 6,000 people have been injured. The "open air prison" that was Gaza has been turned into rubble, leading to demonstrations of solidarity with the Palestinian people all over the world, including in Tel Aviv. For the Hollande-Valls government the urgent task is not to make every effort to stop the massacre, but to attempt to prohibit demonstrations in Paris, to criminalize the solidarity movement and thus to affirm its support for the criminal policy of the State of Israel.

The NPA is proud to take responsibility for its participation in the two demonstrations on 19 and 26 July, which despite being banned mobilized thousands of people to denounce the Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people and the alignment of the French government on the extreme right-wing government of Netanyahu.

The NPA calls on all democratic forces, associations, unions, parties and all those who are committed to freedom of expression to react against this attempt at intimidation. That begins by a massive response to the call to demonstrate on Saturday, August 2 in Paris: still determined to voice our solidarity with the Palestinian people, to demand an end to the offensive and the lifting of the blockade of Gaza.

July 29

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.




[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):

[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


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.”