Articles posted by Radical Socialist on various issues.

Cuba: Resist Imperialism, Defend the Democratic Rights of People, Question State Policies that Create Hardships

Since 1992, Cuba has brought the demand to end the U.S. embargo every year in front of the UN — a motion that is approved annually with the overwhelming support of the international community with the deafening exception of the U.S. and its closest ally, Israel. The non-binding request was, in fact, introduced again just about a month ago, and was approved with 184 votes in favour, two against (USA and Israel), and three abstentions (Colombia, Ukraine, and the United Arab Emirates). 

For years, the U.S. has hidden behind the excuse of fighting for “freedom” and “democracy” in Cuba while continuing to implement an embargo that starves the very people it claims to want to “free.” This claim has been repeated in the past week by U.S. politicians on both sides of the aisle. In a press conference on 11th July, the mayor of Miami, Francis Suarez, called for an international intervention into Cuba under US leadership.

For large parts of the Indian left, any protest against the so-called socialist states at any point of time has been seen as illegitimate and imperialist sponsored. This stems from the basic premises of Stalinism. In the case of Cuba, Indian Stalinists have put the entire responsibility on the imperialists, following the Cuban CP itself.

Undoubtedly, US imperialism bears much of the long term responsibility. The protests in Cuba come in the midst of the worst economic recession in 30 years. For months, videos circulated on social media have shown people expressing dissent over the shortage of basic necessities, the long queues for food, and the government’s mismanagement of the pandemic. According to the latest reports, in just the period of March 2019-2020, the embargo has caused an estimated $5.57 billion in damages to the Cuban economy. As the pandemic spread globally, the impact of the sanctions have been more disastrous, especially as the country’s primary industry, tourism, suffered terribly. The country’s gross domestic product fell by 11 percent. With businesses and restaurants still shuttered, many Cubans are now unable to work. Cuba's plan to vaccinate the majority of the population by September has hit a snag, since syringe production is affected due to the sanctions.

To stop here, however, would be to assume that whatever the Cuban Communist Party has done must be accepted uncritically. Support for the Cuban revolution cannot mean silence about the role of the current (or previous ) leadership. The pressures of imperialism cannot be withstood by a bureaucratic state apparatus which only tries to “mobilize” masses while stifling dissent. The process of liberalization that was started by the Raúl Castro regime is now rapidly continuing with the Díaz-Canel government. On the one hand, there is severe austerity for the masses in the form of inflation and cuts in “undue subsidies and free services,” as the government calls them. This came with the withdrawal of the CUC (Convertible currency) from circulation on January 1 and the implementation of a single exchange rate of 24 pesos (CUP) = $1, which resulted in the devaluation of the currency by 2400 percent. On the other hand, there is a new battery of measures to “attract foreign investment” and strengthen the private sector, the small and medium-sized merchants and business people who employ no more than a few dozen people. The aim of these measures is to bring in foreign investment with an ambitious “portfolio of opportunities” with more than 500 projects, mainly in tourism and oil, for $12 billion. But the most important measure was the announcement of the end of the obligation of majority-Cuban state participation in investments in tourism, biotechnology, and wholesale trade.

The protests that occurred have been a mixed bag, and certainly, as yet, relatively small. But the regime came down hard, and declared it wholly sponsored by imperialism. In a press conference, Díaz-Canel denounced U.S. imperialism, painting all protesters as counterrevolutionary and asked for “revolutionaries” to take to the streets and “defend the revolution.” Indeed, we reject the right wing, the church, and the “Patria y Vida” movement that continue to capitalize on this discontent over the situation in Cuba, attempting to stifle the continuing conquests of the revolution, and set the path for capitalist restoration. However, this is not the whole story. Although the first protests began peacefully, almost all the demonstrations ended up seeing violence, which was carried out by both sides. This series of simultaneous anti-government demonstrations is something never before seen in socialist Cuba. This must be taken into account to understand the events.

Three characterisations of the protests in Cuba on 11 July have been given. The government claims they were a confrontation between counterrevolutionaries and communists; the bourgeois press globally say they represented the oppressed rising against a dictatorship; others have argued this was a revolutionary working class against a politically degenerate bureaucracy. In reality, the 11 July protests brought together the three previous perspectives: the counterrevolutionary organisations—financed by the United States—violently attacking the Communist Party; groups of intellectuals, who feel their civil liberties severely restricted, facing censorship; and the working class demanding that the government improve their living conditions. However, although the overwhelming majority of protesters belonged to the third category, this cannot be understood as a politically conscious socialist mass, demanding more socialism from a stagnant bureaucracy.

Key Features of the Protest

§  Most of the protesters were not linked to counterrevolutionary organisations, nor were the protests led by counterrevolutionary organisations. 

§  The political legitimacy of the government is diminishing as shown by the large number of young people among the protesters.

§  The protests originated in the working class neighbourhoods with the greatest social problems. Social inequality is a growing problem in Cuban society. Poverty, social neglect, precariousness of public and social policies, limited supply of food and basic products by the state, as well as poor cultural policies, are characteristic of life in peripheral and lower-income neighbourhoods.

§  The protests did not represent a majority. Most of the Cuban population continues to support the government.

§  In the protests there were hardly any socialist slogans.

§  A small number of intellectuals were linked to the protests. but their demands for right to free expression and uncensored artistic creation had little resonance with the majority demanding basic improvements in life.

§  Lumpen groups were responsible for looting and vandalism distorting the otherwise peaceful spirit of the demonstrations in Havana.

§  Counterrevolutionary propaganda orchestrated from the US via social media certainly played a role  but were not the main factor triggering the protests.


The Way forward

The defence of the revolution is not a defence of the Communist Party bureaucracy which is entrenched in the state, but of the gains made by the working class in the revolution to expropriate the capitalists. Revolutions can be toppled by imperialism. But revolutions can also be subverted by one-party state bureaucracies that lead the way to capitalist restoration.

We defend the right to demonstration and union organization of those who fight to defend and deepen the conquests of the Cuban Revolution.

We call for an immediate release of the political prisoners as long as they have not committed actions that have threatened the lives of other people.

The only way forward is to participate in the popular protests, to defend within them an independent socialist program, to work towards the creation of much more direct institutional forms of  popular democracy even as we continue to oppose and challenge US imperialism and reactionary efforts to overthrow the regime but without becoming apologists for top down bureaucratic rule.


Radical Socialist

19 July 2021

ফাদার স্ট্যান স্বামীর প্রাতিষ্ঠানিক হত্যা সম্পর্কে র‍্যাডিক্যাল সোশ্যালিস্টের বিবৃতি


 Father Stan Swamy, 84-year-old Jesuit in Mumbai prison, may have Covid-19 |  America Magazine

ফাদার স্ট্যান স্বামী তাঁর জীবন উৎসর্গ করেছিলেন ঝাড়খন্ডের আদিবাসী সম্প্রদায়দের সঙ্গে থেকে ও কাজ করে। তিনি খনিজ সম্পদে সমৃদ্ধ অঞ্চলের অধিবাসীদের উপর ধনতান্ত্রিক শোষণ আর রাষ্ট্রীয় দমন-পীড়নের বিরুদ্ধে লড়াই করেছিলেন। মানুষের অধিকার নিয়ে কথা বলা ও মানুষের পাশে দাঁড়ানোর এই অপরাধের জন্য আরো অনেকের সঙ্গে তাঁকে ভীমা কোরেগাঁওয়ের মিথ্যা মামলায় জড়িয়েছিল কুখ্যাত জাতীয় তদন্ত এজেন্সী (এন আই এ)।   



একদিকে মোদী গণতন্ত্রের গুণগান গাইছে আর অমিত শাহ একটি প্রসিদ্ধ ইংরেজী দৈনিকে নিয়মিত গণতন্ত্র ও মৌলিক অধিকারের উৎস সম্পর্কে প্রবন্ধ লিখছে; আর একই সঙ্গে অন্য দিকে রাষ্ট্র যে কোনো প্রতিবাদী বা সমালোচনাত্মক কন্ঠ, সে সাংবাদিকদের হোক, উদ্বিগ্ন নাগরিকদের হোক, বুদ্ধিজীবীদের হোক বা ছাত্রদের হোক, তাঁদের উপর তীব্রভাবে ঝাঁপিয়ে পড়ছেআমরা এটা দেখেছি, নাগরিকত্ব সংশোধনী আইনের প্রতিবাদ যাঁরা করেছেন, তাঁদের বিরুদ্ধে কীভাবে পদক্ষেপ নেওয়া হল তাতে। আমরা দেখেছি, তারা যেভাবে চলমান কৃষক আন্দোলনের সঙ্গে যাঁরা যুক্ত, কীভাবে তাঁদের নামে কুৎসা রটিয়েছে,  আক্রমণ করেছে। আমরা দেখেছি তারা কীভাবে ২০২০-র দিল্লীতে সংগঠিত  ধর্মীয় গণহত্যার  প্রতিবাদ করেছেন যাঁরা, তাঁদের বিরুদ্ধে রাষ্ট্রীয় পদক্ষেপ নিয়েছে। জিঘাংসু রাষ্ট্র যে হিংস্র আইনের সাহায্যে ভীমা কোরেগাঁও মামলাতে জড়িত রাজনৈতিক কর্মীদের যেভাবে আক্রমণ করছে, সেটা হল সম্ভবত কর্মী ও বুদ্ধিজীবীদের উপরে সবচেয়ে মর্মান্তিক আক্রমণের নজীর, এবং সরকারের দিশার সবচেয়ে স্পষ্ট উদাহরণ।  


এই সবগুলিই হল ভারতে উদারনৈতিক গণতন্ত্রের যেটুকু খোলস পড়ে আছে, তা থেকে ভিন্নমতের কণ্ঠরোধ করা, এবং  ওই গণতন্ত্রকে নিশ্চিহ্ন করা।  এই কর্মীদের, ছাত্রছাত্রীদের এবং বুদ্ধিজীবীদের দুরবস্থা হল উদাহরণ, যা দিয়ে গোটা দেশকে বোঝানো হচ্ছে, সরকারের নীতিকে কোনোভাবে প্রশ্ন করলে  মানুষকে কোন মূল্য দিতে হবে। সরকারের এই নীতি হল এক বিষাক্ত মিশ্রণ, যাতে আছে কৃষিতে কৃষি আইন এবং শিল্প ক্ষেত্রে শ্রম কোডের মাধ্যমে ধনতান্ত্রিক শোষণের চরমতম বাড়াবাড়ি, আর সেই সঙ্গে হিন্দুত্ববাদী উগ্রজাতীয়তাবাদ, যার আছে ‘অপর’কে বাদ রাখার হিংসাত্মক প্রবণতা। এই দ্বিতীয় ধারাটির ফলে সরকার ক্ষুধা, দারিদ্র, বেকারত্ব, ইত্যাদি প্রসঙ্গ উঠলে যে কোনো সমালোচনাকে ধামাচাপা দেয়  মন্দির গড়ার কথা তুলে, বা মনগড়া ধর্মান্তকরণের দাবী তুলে

যে ভীমা কোরেগাঁও মামলাতে ফাদার স্ট্যান স্বামী সহ অনেককেই মিথ্যা অভিযোগে ধরা হয়েছে, সেটা তৈরি করাই হয়েছে সব প্রতিবাদী কণ্ঠরোধ করতে।  আদালতরা এরকম বহু মামলাতে রাষ্ট্রের কার্যনির্বাহক শাখার অনুগামী হিসেবে কাজ করেছে। আদালত স্ট্যান স্বামীর ৮৪ বছর বয়স হওয়া সত্ত্বেও, এবং তিনি পার্কিনসন্স ডিজিজ-এর মতো রোগে ভোগা সত্ত্বেও,  তাঁকে জামিন দিতে রাজি হয় নি। তাঁর স্বাস্থ্য এতটাই ভেঙ্গে পড়েছিল, যে তিনি হাতে একটা কাপ অবধি ঠিক করে ধরতে পারছিলেন না। তাঁর জামিনের আবেদন,  এবং সেই সঙ্গে আবেদন যে তাঁকে জেলে একটা সিপার কাপ ব্যবহার করতে দেওয়া হোক, তাতে দেরী হয়, কারণ এন আই এ আদালতরা বারে বারে চূড়ান্ত অমানবিকতা ও সহানুভূতিবিহীন আচরণ করে আবেদন বর্জন করেছিল। তিনি কোভিড নিয়েও জেলে থাকতে বাধ্য হয়েছিলেন,  যেটা ধরা পড়ে পরে, যখন তাঁর অবস্থা আরো খারাপ হলে তাঁকে হাসপাতালে পাঠানো অনিবার্য হয়।  একজন সামাজিক কর্মীকে এইভাবে সুপরিকল্পিতভাবে, ধীরে ধীরে অত্যাচার করা, হল শাসকদের প্রয়াস, যাতে প্রতিবাদী সকলকে ঠেকানো যায়। ফাদার স্ট্যান স্বামীর নিছক মৃত্যু হয় নি। তাঁকে প্রাতিষ্ঠানিকভাবে হত্যা করা হয়েছে।


র‍্যাডিক্যাল সোশ্যালিস্ট দাবী করছে, ইউএপিএ এবং এন আই এ আইন রদ করতে হবে, এবং সমস্ত রাজবন্দীদের নিঃশর্ত মুক্তি দিতে হবে। ঝাড়খন্ডের হাজার হাজার আদিবাসী সম্পদায়ের মানুষদের সঙ্গে, এবং দেশ জুড়ে আরো অসংখ্য মানুষের সঙ্গে, আমরাও অন্যায়ের বিরুদ্ধে নিবেদিতপ্রাণ এই জীবন কেড়ে নেওয়াতে শোকপ্রকাশ করছি।





Radical Socialist Statement condemning the institutional murder of Father Stan Swamy


Father Stan Swamy, 84-year-old Jesuit in Mumbai prison, may have Covid-19 |  America Magazine

Father Stan Swamy dedicated his life living and working with tribal communities in Jharkhand. He fought capitalist exploitation and state repression brought upon the people living in mineral rich areas. For these crimes of standing with and speaking up for people’s rights, he was falsely implicated along with many others in the Bhima Koregaon case by the notorious National Investigating Agency (NIA).

While Modi sings paeans on democracy and Amit Shah writes op-ed pieces in a leading English language daily about the roots of democracy and fundamental rights, the state continues to zealously crackdown on any voice of dissent or criticism whether it be by journalists, concerned citizens, intellectuals or students. We have seen this in the way they have dealt with the protestors against CAA, the way they have vilified and attacked those involved in the ongoing farmers’ protests, activists who spoke up against the organized Delhi pogrom in 2020 among many others. The pursuing of the Bhima Koregaon activists by a vindictive state under draconian legal provisions is probably the most harrowing for the activists and intellectuals involved as well as exemplary of the government attitude.

These are all methods of silencing dissent and hollowing out of whatever shell of liberal democracy that India was. The plight of these activists, students and intellectuals are meant to be examples of the very heavy price that people will have to pay should they dare to question the official line of the government, which is a toxic combination of the worst excesses of capitalist exploitation in agriculture (farm laws) and industry (labour code), and a politics of exclusionary ethno-nationalist Hindu chauvinism which helps them bury any criticisms by bringing up the question of building temples or fanciful claims of conversions whenever faced with material questions of hunger, poverty, employment etc.

The Bhima Koregaon case in which Father Stan Swamy was falsely implicated, along with many other activists, is similarly fabricated to stifle all voices of dissent. The courts, which in many such cases have simply acted as an extension of the executive arm of the state, denied Stan Swamy bail, despite him being 84 years of age and suffering from a serious degenerative disease such as Parkinson’s. His condition had debilitated to the extent that he could not even hold a cup properly. His bail pleas, along with his simple request to be allowed to use a sipper cup in jail, was greatly delayed by repeated rejections by the NIA courts showing a complete lack of basic humanity and compassion. He was forced to languish in jail with Covid, which was only detected later when he was transferred to a hospital when his condition deteriorated further. This deliberate and slow torturing of an activist to set an example out of them is nothing but an insidious attempt by the ruling regime to deter anyone who dares to dissent. Father Stan Swamy did not just die, he was institutionally murdered!

Radical Socialists demand a repeal of the draconian UAPA and the NIA Acts, and the unconditional release of all political prisoners. We join the thousands among tribal communities in Jharkhand, and many others across the country, in mourning the murder of a life dedicated to fighting injustice.

The case against nuclear power

From the Archives of International Socialist Review

In the shadow of a still-unfolding nuclear crisis in Japan, an argument for why nuclear power should be dismantled everywhere

FROM THE very beginning, unlocking the power of the atom for “peaceful” energy production was about waging war—war carried through to its logical end point: the power to indiscriminately destroy life on a planetary scale. In 1946 the U.S. State Department issued a Report on the International Control of Atomic Energy, drafted by Robert Oppenheimer and other nuclear scientists involved in the Manhattan Project, which stated, “The development of atomic energy for peaceful purposes and the development of atomic energy for bombs are in much of their course interchangeable and interdependent.”

People around the world stood aghast at the apocalyptic destruction wreaked on Japan during a few hellish minutes when the United States dropped the nuclear bombs Little Boy and Fat Man on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. While the official story about why the bombs were dropped remains one about saving the lives of U.S. servicemen by obviating the need for a ground invasion of Japan, the Manhattan Project leader General Leslie R. Groves in a 1954 testimony to Congress was clear about why the bombs were developed and dropped: “There was never, from about two weeks from the time I took charge of this project, any illusion on my part but that Russia was our enemy and that the project was conducted on that basis.”

The immediate loss of life, in the tens of thousands, coupled with the invisible and long-term effects of radiation sickness and cancers, brought the world up against the sharp razor edge of the nuclear age. The Second World War, which had revealed the barbarism of total war, including the attempted eradication of Europe’s Jewish population through the industrialization of mass murder and the deaths of 60 million human beings in the mutual slaughter between the contending powers, ended with the unleashing of the most terrifying of all weapons as the world entered the atomic age. The allied concept of “carpet bombing” civilian population centers (two days of incendiary carpet bombing by U.S. pilots killed more than 100,000 residents of Tokyo during the war) had now advanced to the next level: total annihilation.

Subsequently, the Cold War nuclear war preparedness policy of NATO was officially named MAD, Mutually Assured Destruction, a point parodied in Stanley Kubrick’s outstanding black comedy Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Today, the nuclear stockpile of the United States, which stands at over 7,000 warheads—some of which are still kept in permanent readiness—could alone destroy planetary life several times over.

If nuclear weapons were to have a future, perfecting them as the ultimate weapon of mass destruction needed some other justification than the annihilation of entire cities that left behind a multigenerational legacy of radiation poisoning. Moreover, plutonium, a necessary component of nuclear weapons and the most life-destroying element known to humanity, is not an element that occurs naturally on earth. It is a by-product of nuclear fission inside nuclear reactors. Hence, without a nuclear power program, justified as the peaceful use of unlimited, cheap, and safe energy, it is not possible to realistically generate the required amount of plutonium for nuclear weapons.

The first nuclear plants in the UK, at Calder Hall and Chapelcross, commissioned in the 1950s, were explicitly for the production of plutonium for Britain’s nascent nuclear weapons program; Electricity production was a secondary consideration.

In 1954, Lewis Strauss, chairman of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, when speaking of the possibilities of nuclear power declared in the heat of the technological optimism of the day that,

Our children will enjoy in their homes electrical energy too cheap to meter.... It is not too much to expect that our children will know of great periodic regional famines in the world only as matters of history, will travel effortlessly over the seas and under them and through the air with a minimum of danger and at great speeds, and will experience a life span far longer than ours, as disease yields and man comes to understand what causes him to age.

The intimate connection between nuclear power production and nuclear weapons is inescapable. Because nuclear weapons are designed to be the Hammer of God, the ultimate arbiter of power, any country that is under external threat will logically seek to develop nuclear weapons as a deterrent—which was their stated benefit and contribution to “world peace.”

North Korea—a country that didn’t have weapons of mass destruction—watched the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and quickly drew the logical conclusion that it needed to develop and test its own nuclear weapon as fast as possible. This fact is well understood by the U.S. government, which is doing all it can to prevent a civil nuclear power program developing in Iran despite it having the legal right to do so.

Hence, an important argument underpinning the anti–nuclear power movement has always been its insistence that an umbilical cord links military and civilian nuclear programs, which, as a consequence, drives a new and even more terrifying arms race.

There are four states with undeclared stockpiles of nuclear weapons developed from civil programs, and it is no coincidence that they are in some of the most volatile, militarized—and hence dangerous—areas of the world: Israel, Pakistan, India, and North Korea. Experts estimate forty more countries are capable of developing nuclear weapons as the nuclear club continues to expand.

Ex-president Jimmy Carter has accused the United States of being at the forefront of efforts to undermine the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) after setting up a nuclear technology exchange with India in 2005 and revealing that the United States was committed to a “first strike” policy—even against countries without nuclear weapons:

The United States is the major culprit in the erosion of the NPT. While claiming to be protecting the world from proliferation threats in Iraq, Libya, Iran and North Korea…they also have abandoned past pledges and now threaten first use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states.

However, the treaty itself is fatally flawed because it contains an intractable contradiction: in exchange for offering technology and nuclear know-how from established nuclear powers to set up civil nuclear programs, countries that sign on to the treaty agree not to divert material into a weapons program.

One might ask, why would Japan, a small country close to active fault lines and known as “the Land of Volcanos,” a country that was still recovering from the devastation of a double nuclear attack, decide to adopt nuclear technology from the country responsible for that attack? While domestic considerations connected to energy independence certainly played a role, the United States sought to make Japan the “Great Britain of the East” by offering it protection under Washington’s “nuclear umbrella,” and nuclear technology to power the country. This was one of the factors that then drove China to acquire and test its own nuclear weapons in the 1960s and similarly motivated North Korea four decades later.

The ongoing and deepening nuclear calamity in Fukushima and Japan’s abiding commitment to nuclear power, including the ability to reprocess spent nuclear fuel and generate plutonium, is therefore an outgrowth of imperial power plays at the end of the Second World War.

Reeling from a 9.0 earthquake and a devastating tsunami, Japan is now several weeks into the nuclear crisis at Fukushima, and desperate measures are all that’s left. These measures have included pumping thousands of tons of seawater into the crippled reactors and spent fuel rod containment pools, dropping water from helicopters, and trying to plug a containment leak first with concrete, then a polymer, and finally with sawdust and rags. Radiation levels in the surrounding water have soared as high as 7.5 million times the legal limit while elevated radiation levels are now being detected in the United States.

Murray E. Jennex, an associate professor at San Diego State University with 20 years of experience in examining nuclear containment structures, believes that because these ad hoc measures are untested, they could be leading to greater problems, as spraying water everywhere wrecks delicate electrical equipment; “They dumped water all over the place…They keep on generating more contamination. That’s the consequence of doing it. They got water on things that shouldn’t be wet.”

U.S. nuclear experts question whether filling the reactors with hundreds of tons of water isn’t also raising the possibility of a rupture in the containment vessel, which would trigger a massive further release of radioactivity. The immense pressure of the water on an already compromised containment structure subject to continuing aftershocks could be enough to crack it open.

For the hundreds of thousands of Japanese moved into temporary shelters either because their homes were washed away in the tsunami or because of the emergency evacuation caused by the nuclear crisis, there is very little prospect of moving back. Hidehiko Nishiyama, deputy director general of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, Japan’s nuclear regulator, admitted on March 29 that, “We will have to continue cooling for quite a long period. We should be thinking years.”

According to Tetsuo Iguchi, a professor in the department of quantum engineering at Nagoya University, if further complications arise and the situation deteriorates further, “The worst-case scenario is that a meltdown makes the plant’s site a permanent grave.”

Despite assurances from U.S. politicians and the nuclear industry that a similar disaster “couldn’t happen here,” the possibility of a nuclear accident in the United States is very real. According to a new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists cited by the Christian Science Monitor,

Nuclear plants in the United States last year experienced at least 14 “near misses,” serious failures in which safety was jeopardized, at least in part, due to lapses in oversight and enforcement by U.S. nuclear safety regulators…. While none of the safety problems harmed plant employees or the public, they occurred with alarming frequency—more than once a month—which is high for a mature industry.

Twenty-three of the 104 operational nuclear reactors in the United States are built on the same 1960s design, and by the same company—General Electric—as the reactors at Fukushima. They have been recognized to have serious design faults since the 1970s and have been regularly retrofitted (i.e., patched up) to take into account new research illustrating their design vulnerabilities to such things as power outages and other malfunctions that make possible a core breach and a resulting release of radioactive isotopes.

Many of these U.S. reactors sit on geologically active fault lines or are situated in coastal areas and close to extensive sources of fresh groundwater. The 40-year-old Indian Point nuclear plant, less than 30 miles from New York City, has a history of safety problems and sits on two fault lines. As U.S. government nuclear experts are arguing that Japanese authorities extend the current 12-mile evacuation and exclusion zone around Fukushima to 50 miles, a serious accident at Indian Point would mean relocating 17 million people. Alexey Yablokov, member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and adviser to President Gorbachev during the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, commented on the Japanese government’s playing down of the dangers, saying, “When you hear ‘no immediate danger’ [from nuclear radiation] then you should run away as far and as fast as you can.”

The U.S. department that would be in charge of such an operation is the same one that brought us the chaotic and ineffective evacuation of the much smaller city of New Orleans during the 2005 Hurricane Katrina debacle: the Department of Homeland Security.

A Coast Guard report released in April investigated its perfomance in response to the BP oil spill. The report does not inspire confidence that the U.S. government is in any way prepared for a possible nuclear accident. According to Roger Rufe, a retired U.S. Coast Guard vice admiral and chair of the team behind the report: “We clearly point out that contingency planning was not adequate, certainly not for a spill of this size…. There was a complacency that this was not going to happen at this scale.”

According to scientists, California has a 99.7 percent chance of being hit with an earthquake of 6.7 or greater within the next 30 years. And a quake could easily far exceed that level. Nuclear plants in California are only built to withstand earthquakes of only 7–7.5. How do we know a more powerful earthquake is possible? Because it’s already happened; the 1906 earthquake that tore apart San Francisco was measured at 8.3. The 42-year-old San Onofre nuclear plant, located halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego, is situated right on the beach, with a fault line five miles offshore. Its tsunami wall is 25 feet high, which would have been too low to withstand the wall of water that washed over northeastern Japan. The Diablo Canyon plant, located 200 miles northwest of Los Angeles near Santa Barbara, was built in 1968 near two fault lines, one three miles off the coast that suffered a 7.1 earthquake in 1926.

With the nuclear industry’s litany of smaller radioactive leaks, accidents, opaque safety plans, and a history of cover-ups, people have every right to be very alarmed at the potential for a devastating nuclear accident coming to a plant near them.

Moreover, with the clear connection to nuclear weapons production, alongside many unresolved questions surrounding long-term waste management and the decommissioning of old plants, there are more than enough compelling arguments against nuclear power—in addition to the potential for terrifying accidents—to justify shutting them down now.

The production of electricity from splitting apart uranium atoms is an inherently unstable process liable at any moment to run away, out of control. In other words, the operation of a nuclear plant is premised on constant control over a fundamentally uncontrollable process. The “chain reaction” that is necessary to get the fission process going has to be relentlessly monitored to keep it within tolerable limits. Hence the need to keep the core cooled at all times, for control rods to drop into place at a moment’s notice, to avoid radioactive leaks, for multiple back-up systems and fail-safe devices, at least two containment vessels, an evacuation plan, regular testing of workers and the surroundings, and so on.

This instability at the heart of the production of nuclear power, combined with the long-lived and extreme toxicity of the resulting byproducts, leads to the second insurmountable issue with nuclear power: its expense.

This is fully recognized by the people who would otherwise be investing in nuclear power plants. They won’t do it without cast-iron guarantees that they will have only limited liability for accidents and retain huge government subsidies. The Bush administration gave the nuclear industry $18.5 billion in loan guarantees to try to encourage investment in new nuclear plants. The Obama administration doubled down with an extra $36 billion.

But even with over $50 billion of taxpayer money pledged, to get the ball rolling the nuclear industry feels the need for more. It is now asking for $100 billion. The industry also requested an extension of tax credits without plant-size restrictions, an investment tax credit, and a worker training and manufacturing tax credit as well as reductions in tariffs on any imports of required materials and components.

A 2009 report by Citibank, an institution that has rarely met a risky investment it could say no to, highlighted in the title of its report on nuclear power what its analysis showed: “New Nuclear: The Economics Say No.” The report goes on to say: “The risks faced by developers [of new nuclear plants]…are so large and variable that individually they could each bring even the largest utility company to its knees financially.” In 2001 the Economist, a publication with its heart firmly in the camp of “free-market” capitalism wrote: “Nuclear Power, once claimed to be too cheap to meter, is now too costly to matter.”

The Price-Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act, first passed in 1957 and last renewed in 2005, restricts any costs payable by utility companies in the event of a nuclear accident to $12.6 billion. Anything above that amount—which would be easily exceeded by any major accident—is covered by the federal government’s coffers; i.e., us. Again, without that indemnity, without the government subsidies and loan guarantees, and tax breaks, the nuclear industry could not exist; the laws of the free market are not allowed to apply to nuclear power.

A comprehensive 2003 MIT report, The Future of Nuclear Power, made it clear what the difficulties of expanding nuclear power were. Prospects for nuclear energy as an option are limited, the report found, by four unresolved problems: high relative costs; perceived adverse safety, environmental, and health effects; potential security risks stemming from proliferation; and unresolved challenges in long-term management of nuclear wastes.”

A 2009 update recognized the ongoing challenges of getting a “nuclear renaissance”:

After five years, no new plants are under construction in the United States and insufficient progress has been made on waste management. The current assistance program put into place by the 2005 EPACT has not yet been effective and needs to be improved. The sober warning is that if more is not done, nuclear power will diminish as a practical and timely option for deployment at a scale that would constitute a material contribution to climate change risk mitigation.

When the report mentions that the current support program is “not yet effective and needs to be improved,” this is a clear reference to the requirement for increased government subsidies. According to a report cited inScientific American, the costs to the taxpayer of building 100 new nuclear power plants, over the lifetime of the plants, over and above costs associated with alternatives if they had been pursued, come to a truly gargantuan $1.9–4.1 trillion. As nuclear plants are notorious for cost overruns, the higher figure is much more likely.

The report’s concluding statement is highly significant for those environmentalists who have been taken in by the pro-nuclear argument that “at least it’s not coal.” Without an increase in the rate of new-plant construction that surpasses that of the global construction programs of the 1970s and 1980s, nuclear power cannot make a meaningful contribution to climate change risk mitigation. Just to maintain the current world production of nuclear power, either the oldest, creakiest plants need to be relicensed or a veritable orgy of nuclear construction needs to begin. To maintain the current proportional contribution of nuclear power would require building eighty new nuclear plants in the next 10 years—commissioning one every 6 weeks! A further 200 would be required over the subsequent decade.

The long lead times for construction that invalidate nuclear power as a way of mitigating climate change was a point recognized in 2009 by the body whose mission is to promote the use of nuclear power, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). “Nuclear power is not a near-term solution to the challenge of climate change,” writes Sharon Squassoni in the IAEA bulletin. “The need to immediately and dramatically reduce carbon emissions calls for approaches that can be implemented more quickly than building nuclear reactors.”

Wind farms take only 18 months to come online; nuclear plants typically take in excess of 10 years. The last nuke plant to be built and become operational in the United States, at Watts Bar in Tennessee, took 23 years to build and cost $6.9 billion. Hence, from an economic and environmental perspective, nuclear power makes no sense; numerous studies from the Wall Street Journal and independent energy analysts have put the cost of nuclear power at between 12-20 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). In contrast, those same studies put the cost of renewable energy at an average of 6 cents/kWh.

Furthermore, according to research by Friends of the Earth, if the extremely polluting and dangerous mining and refining of uranium are included in the running of nuclear plants, they emit 250,000 tons of CO2 for every year of operation. Moreover, one in five uranium miners in the Southwest has contracted some form of cancer.

The U.S. government and other governments around the world are enamored with nuclear power neither for its supposed environmental benefits (as if that weren’t a sick joke anyway) nor for its reliability, safety, or economic superiority. Ruling elites want more nuclear power because of its connection to nuclear weapons production, the need for energy independence, and the deeply entrenched and highly effective power of the nuclear lobby. However, that corporate lobby could not be so successful if its interests did not dovetail with the imperial geostrategic interests of the countries involved.

There are many other reasons to be against nuclear power: the cost overruns, the fact that no country has a fully developed or workable plan—or in most cases any plan—for what to do with the nuclear waste that is piling up alongside the nuclear reactors. If the government opened the long-term nuclear repository that was supposed to be beneath Yucca Mountain in Nevada today, it would be immediately filled with already existing nuclear waste.

The unresolved problem of long-term waste disposal—the U.S. government has pledged to sequester the waste for 1 million years—contributes to the astronomical cost of decommissioning nuclear power plants. Then there is the transportation of nuclear fuel for reprocessing and the international trade in nuclear waste. Alongside that, the highly centralized nature of nuclear plants means that if one or more goes down, at one stroke it takes out an enormous chunk of the electricity supply grid.

As nuclear plants have to be run continuously as close to full capacity as possible to even come close to justifying their enormous construction, operating, and decommissioning costs, they compete not just for funding, but they compete directly with clean renewable sources of energy such as wind and solar, which are similarly best operated on a continual basis. In addition, if regulators relicense nuke plants for another 20 years and start building new ones that will operate for 60, then there will be no “transition” to clean power until almost the end of this century. Goodbye clean world.

Can truly green, renewable sources of energy replace nuclear power? Easily. Scientific studies too numerous to mention show repeatedly that wind, solar, geothermal, and tidal sources of clean energy are abundant and easily accessible. Unlike coal and oil, these renewable forms of energy are freely available, don’t pollute the environment with waste (radioactive or otherwise), don’t need to be fought over, don’t contribute to global warming, and don’t require massive amounts of farmland, energy, and water as do biofuels. Furthermore, we have the technology to tap into them to provide not just the 20 percent of electricity currently provided by nuclear in the United States, but to provide all of our electrical needs.

But President Obama and the vast majority of Democrats are resolutely in the pro-nuke camp, even in the face of the catastrophe in Japan. They also favor more offshore drilling for oil in the Gulf and the Arctic, “clean” coal, and increases in agro-fuels such as ethanol. If we want a transition to a sane and clean energy policy, we will have to independently organize and fight for it. 
We should take a page from the playbook of the German antinuclear movement. Mass protests in Germany against nuclear power have already forced Prime Minister Angela Merkel’s center-right government to announce a three-month moratorium on plans to extend the life of Germany’s seventeen nuclear power plants. Not satisfied, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in four major cities at the end of March, including more than 100,000 in Berlin, calling for an end to nuclear power.

We need to organize local demonstrations against nuclear plants here in the United States, and resurrect the incredibly strong and successful antinuke movement of the 1980s. Let’s bring back the slogans “Nuclear Power—No Thanks” and “No Nukes Is Good Nukes.” We need to organize in our workplaces, unions, communities, and campuses for a national March on Washington in the fall for Jobs, Clean Energy, and Climate Justice. Because, to quote the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”


The Inheritance of Resistance and Opposition: Santal Hool

The first sustained resistance to colonial rule from the toiling people of India came from adivasis. Bourgeois nationalist historiography tried to marginalise these struggles, and when that was no longer viable, to portray these as somehow ‘primitive’ and therefore not worthy of being considered proper parts of the national struggle. If however the Indian nation is to be seen as a modern creation, forged out of anti-colonial struggles, then the struggles of adivasis from Baba Tilka Majhi (Tilka Murmu), through the Kolhan revolt, all the way to Birsa Munda's resistance, or the Tana Bhagats, must be given their due. Among these struggles, few match in scope, valour and audacity the great Santal Hool of 1855. To pay tribute to the struggle, to reflect upon its relevance for today’s class struggles, is the duty of revolutionaries. We asked Professor Maroona Murmu, Professor of History, Jadavpur University, who is also the first Adivasi Professor of any History Department in any West Bengal University, to contribute a guest post. – Administrator, Radical Socialist

Maroona Murmu


On 30 June 1855, the children of Chunar Murmu – Sidhu, Kanhu, Phulo, Jhano, Chand, Bhairo, sent out the shal gira  ( branches of the shal tree) to mobilize within a very short period of time some ten thousand Santals of Damin-i-Koh, Birbhum, Bankura, Chhotanagpur, and Hazaribagh areas to proclaim the Santal Hool or revolt. By doing this, they had indeed shown the road ahead for resistance. It was indeed a novel revolutionary effort, to face the cavalry, the infantry, the cannons and the elephant forces of the Dikus (the oppressive money lenders, zamindars, jotedars and their chief patron, the British Government), in an exceedingly unequal war, with only bows and arrows and pole-axes for weapons.


The History, In Brief

Let us try to find out why the peace-loving Santals were angered enough to organize the Hool. The Governor General William Bentinck had invited the Santal adivasis from Birbhum, Singbhum, Dhalbhum, Shikharbhum, Odisha, Bardhaman, Palamau, Chhotanagpur, Hazaribag, Medinipur, Bankura, Purulia to settle in the densely forested Damin-i-Koh area and make it fit for cultivation. The memories of the Santals were filled with eternal evictions and a nomadic life – an eternal story of travelling from the land of Chai Champa. So they hoped that now at last that was coming to an end. Bentinck announced that for the first few years the Santals would be allowed to enjoy the land without any tax. But by 1854-55 the annual revenue had mounted to Rs. 58,000. So during the Hool, the demand of Sidhu and Kanhu was that since the Santals themselves had cleared the forests and turned them into cultivable habitations, the time had come to snatch the power away from the British government and establish an independent Santal Raj.

However, it would be erroneous to imagine that the rebellion was caused by this enhanced revenue demand alone. The trader-like mentality of the East India Company and the monetized economy they had introduced, encouraged the influx of Bengali, Panjabi, Rajasthani, and western (Indian) usurers and traders who all hit hard at the barter based Santal economy. The Santals, accustomed all these years to an egalitarian and equal rights based society, were not prepared for the discipline of a commercialized economy and polity. They had dreamt of a social-cultural life and an administrative structure under their own Majhis and Morols. In trying to keep pace with the fast changing world the Santals fell into the honey-trap of the consumer goods brought by the trades. In exchange for token amounts of money, tobacco, salt and clothes, they sold ample paddy, rice, mustard, linseed, bora and other oil seeds. These traders resold goods bought from Damin at higher prices in Kolkata or Murshidabad, and much of the mustard would be re-exported to England. The traders with their sharp practices would often use rigged scales to cheat the Santals over weight, using heavy weights when weighing the goods of the Santals and lighter weights when weighing their goods, and they would also buy things from the Santals at prices much below market rates. Often, in order to buy what they wanted to buy, the Santals had to borrow from the moneylenders, and they would not be able to repay those loans. When they failed to repay the loans, the moneylenders would loot their cows, buffalos, goats, hens, their pots and pans, iron ornaments, and other household implements. In the same way, they got enmeshed in a debt-trap when they were unable to pay the enhanced revenue demands or taxes to the landlords. If they were unable to pay the taxes, the landlords would unleash cattle, donkeys, horses, goats, even elephants to destroy their growing crops.

And the Santals did not only lose their crops, their ploughs and their buffaloes due to indebtedness. Both personally and through inheritance they would become bond labourers, virtually slaves. These people were called kamias. However much labour they put in round the year, the interest ranging between 50% and 500% could never be paid off. There was of course the custom of writing a bigger loan amount than what had actually been given, and getting the Santals to affix their thumb prints to those. If someone sought redress in the courts, complications increased rather than the problems being solved. Accustomed to the humane and arbitration-based justice of the village council, the harassment of the Santals only increased when they confronted the bureaucratic and harsh justice of the British. To all this was added the abduction and rape of Santal women by British adminstrators, engineers and staff engaged in extending the railways, moneylenders and zamindars.

Sidhu and Kanhu demanded that in the Damin area every Santal family was entitled to equal amounts of land. Since no revenues had been fixed in a proper way, so the zamindars must be evicted from all land apart from their residential land. When the independent Santal rule was to be established, all dikus or outsiders would have to pay a tax of five rupees. Only lower caste Hindus, like the Chamars, Kamars, Hadis, Bagdis, Dhangors, Goalas, Bhunyias, Doms and the Muslim weavers would be allowed to live in tax free land. Sidhu and Kanhu also declared that the unjust burden of interests that moneylenders and traders had imposed on the Santals for all these years would be cancelled, and  henceforth an interest of 1 paisa per rupee would suffice.

It was also decided that the local administrators must be accountable to a Santal court for the sustained repressions. Kirta, Bhadoo and Soona Majhi, recognised figures in the Santal society, were entrusted with the task of writing formal complaints against the Commissioners of Bhagalpur and Birbhum, the Collector, the Darogas of the Dighi and the Tikri Police Stations, and also against some zamindars. Sending an official letter of complaint is evidence that in their own way the Santals attempted one final time to arrive at a mutually agreed settlement. Since no responses came from the local authorities, on 7 July 1855 it was decided that a demonstration would set out from Bhagnadihi to Kolkata to the Governor General, seeking to know how oppression by European administrators, mahajans (moneylenders), traders and zamindars can to be contained.

Hearing about the Santals gathering, mahajans brought false charges of theft against Sidhu and Kanhu to the notorious Daroga of the Dighi Thana, Maheshlal Dutta. The Daroga was killed  when he came to arrest Sidhu. Five notorious Bengali mahajans – Manik Chowdhury, Gorachand Sen, Sarthak Rakshit,  Nemai Dutta and Haru Dutta were also killed. The flames of the rebellion spread across Godda, Pakur, Maheshpur and Bhagalpur in Bihar, and Birbhum, Bankura and Murshidabad in Bengal.

Something worth a special mention is the moral stance of the Santals even while facing unspeakable repression and destruction. One must not forget that when Trivuban Majhi led an attack that killed two European women and children, Sidhu and Kanhu meted out stern punishment. E. G. Mann writes that Santals despite being accustomed to using poisoned arrows, did not use them against the British during the conflict.

Against that there is the acknowledgement of British atrocities in Major Vincent Jarvis’ diary, where he wrote: “It was not war; they did not understand yielding. As long as their national drum beat, the whole party would stand, and allow themselves to be shot down. Their arrows often killed our men, and so we had to fire on them as long as they stood. When their drum ceased, they would move off a quarter of a mile; then their drums beat again, and they calmly stood till we came up and poured a few volleys into them. There was not a sepoy in the war who did not feel ashamed of himself."

During the second week of February 1856 Sidhu was shot dead. Some hold a different position and say that he was hanged. Chand and Bhairo died in a confrontation with the British troops in Bhagalpur. A woman Santal leader, dressed like a man, also died. More recent research says Jano and Phulo Murmu, sisters of Sidhu-Kanhu-Chand- Bhairo, killed 21 British troopers. On the third week of February, Kanhu was arrested and hanged in broad daylight. An Englishman has written that an extensive area from Birbhum to Bhagalpur was bathed in the blood of between fifteen thousand and twenty-five thousand Santals.

Bengali intellectuals wrote in the papers Friend of India and Calcutta Review, that the revenge for the defeats and killings of the British should be so terrible that in future the Santals should never in the future show the guts to assert themselves through rebellions. Such opinions were also expressed as, the ‘uncivilized’, ‘ugly’, ‘black ghosts’ of Santals should be sent off to the forests of Burma in exile, or that they should be shot or hanged till death. In courts, 251 persons were convicted, of whom 191 were Santals and the rest from oppressed caste Hindus. 76 of the accused were boys aged eight to ten, who were ordered to be whipped. The rest were sent to the Andamans or to imprisonment for between seven and fourteen years.


Results, Contemporary Relevance

Let us move on to the material results. The Santal rebellion led to the emergence of a Non-Regulation district named Santal Pargana in the map of India. By the Act XXXVII of December 1855, this Pargana was created out of parts of Damin-i-Koh, Birbhum and Bhagalpur. It was self-governing. Owing to the tremendous power of the revolt, the rulers realised that a people who could be defeated in a trial of arms but would not surrender but give up their lives, should not be allowed to mix freely with people from other parts of India lest the sprouts of rebellion raise their heads elsewhere too. This separate district was given to the charge of George Yule, the Commissioner of Bhagalpur. It was divided into five administrative sub-units, in charge of five Assistant Commissioners and four Sub Assistant Commissioners. But acknowledging the traditional structures of Santal society, revenue collection and administration of justice were handed over to Morols or Majhis. For this district, stamp duties were waived for private as well as revenue related transactions. The police control was toned down. The need for intermediaries between complainant and the Assistant Commissioner was abolished. Courts were set up in Dumka, Rajmahal and Godda. Santals were given the responsibility of producing the accused and the witnesses. Both interest on loans, and revenue rates, were lowered. In order to overcome the economic uncertainty faced by Santals, land transfer to non-adivasis was cancelled, and most of the land was restored to the previous Santal inhabitants. But though their traditional culture was saved, the Santal dream of a permanent homeland could not be realised in practice. Livelihood needs compelled many to accept the life of ‘coolies’ in the tea gardens of Assam.

 But that does not reduce an iota of the significance of the Santal Hool. Research shows that Santals continued to protest repeatedly against social-economic inequality and repressive policies afterwards too. The united Santals, representing the toiling masses, did not only create the first peoples’ army against the powerful British government, but also initiated a long term nationalist awakening. The banner of mass struggles that the Santal rebellion of 1855 had raised, the drums of revolt they had sounded, provided inspirations to the Great Rebellion of 1857, to the Indigo Rebellion of 1860, to the peasant struggles of Maharashtra of 1875-76. This revolt teaches that it is the resistance to colonial and feudal rule that is the most important thing, not the periodic defeats.

In Santal folk songs, folk tales, bardic songs Hool talks about both a present that is full of possibilities as well as holding out the promise of a dream of renaissance. This revolt brought about a transformation in the daily life of the Santal community. It became a part of their daily existence to be prepared to join in any revolt or opposition. In the revolt of 1857, Santals of Chhotanagur, Odisha and South Bengal Santals took part. In 1858, despite it not being a declared day of the shikar, huge numbers of Santals gathered at Deoghar with bows and arrows. In 1871-72, they resisted the enumeration process of the Census. In 1874-81, they started the socio-economic and religious reformist Kherwal movement. In 1917, when the British were recruiting Santal workers in Mayurbhanj, the Santals protested.

And, the Present

The fires of that revolt have never died down in the 74 years of independent India. The Supreme Court in its order dated February 13, 2019, had directed the eviction of more than 11.8 lakh adivasis from forestlands in 16 states of India under the Forest Rights Act 2019. a This virtual repeat of the colonial Act of 1927 is aimed to hand over the mineral rich adivasi dominated areas to Indian and foreign big corporate capital. This violates the Constitutional safeguard of full autonomy to adivasis in these areas. Moreover according to the Panchayat Act of 1996 in these areas, the adivasi gram sabhas or village communities wielding the highest administrative powers have the sole power to decide and sanction the sale or transfer of land to any non adivasis. Adivasis built up utmost levels of resistance to this government assisted corporate loot. In 2013-2014, we find how the Odisha government agreed to the proposals of Vedanta Aluminium Limited to dig the Niyamagiri hill in Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district to procure bauxite. Local Dongria Kondh adivasis built up a tremendous resistance to that. In 2016-17, when the Jharkhand government brought in an amendment to the Chhotanagpur Tenancy Act to transfer adivasi land for commercial profits, adivasis of Khunti, Gumla, Singbhu and West Simdega created the novel Patalgarhi agitation to resist the loot of water, forest and soil. They inscribed on stone slabs the part of the constitution dealing with the areas inhabited by people from the Scheduled Tribes.

In West Bengal, on 16 August 1992, the first graduate of the Lodha Sabar community, Chuni Kotal, took the path of ending her life in order to free herself from continuous casteist repression. Nobody has been punished in all these years under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities ) Act of 1989. According to a news of 16 October 2017, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes brought a charge against the government of West Bengal, that in terms of crimes against Dalits and adivasis, this state ranks second, and the government is not merely indifferent to this, but indeed irresponsible. Facts reveal clearly that the adivasi communities of West Bengal are neglected in terms of education, livelihood, financial conditions, and standards of living, and their standing is in most cases below the all India average. On one hand the cases of violence against adivasis has been growing, and on the other hand the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities ) Act is being diluted.

The mentality of ‘social distancing’, which has struck deep roots in the quotidian life in this society, dominated by Brahminical hegemonism and its aggressive caste discrimination, may not be fully extirpated even from a Covid-19 less life. The thousands of years of deprivation, defrauding, exploitation and domination faced by adivasis may not change in the near future. But an uncompromising attitude is built into the outlook of the adivasis. So their deathless valour and resistance will persist against social and state repression. Thousands of Thangjam Manoramas and Soni Soris will keep alive through the ages the spirit of resistance of Phulo Murmu and Jhano Murmu. This I firmly believe.


Public Statement on Palestine by Concerned Indians


           Around 260 Indian citizens signed the statement calling on the Government of India to de-recognise the state of Israel, identifying it as an Apartheid state. They also called upon all Indians, as individuals, as civil society organisations, trade unions etc., to endorse the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction of the Israeli state and all its allied institutions. Finally, they declared their solidarity with the Palestinian people whose Right to Political Self-determination and Right of Return must be respected and fulfilled .

The signatories included Javed Anand, Vrinda Grover, Nivedita Menon, Sumit Sarkar, Tanika Sarkar, Teesta Setalwad, Anuradha Talwar, Dipankar Bhattacharya, Feroz Mithiborwala, Prabhat Patnaik, Utsa Patnaik, Zoya Hasan, Ammu Abraham, Harbans Mukhia, Mihir Desai, Anand Patwardhan, Admiral L. Ramdas, Soma Marik, Kamayani Bali Mahabal, and Sumanta Banerjee. The statement and full list of signatories is attached herewith is relased for public circulation.

Achin Vanaik and Kunal Chattopadhyay
(On behalf of the initiators and signatories)


In the wake of the latest round of brutalities by Israel on Palestinians in Gaza, West Bank and Jerusalem we call upon progressives in India to take a clear stand, and declare to the people that enough is enough! We demand nothing less than the complete de-recognition of Israel by this and all future Indian governments as long as it is a  Zionist apartheid state which denies the right of self-determination and the right of return to the Palestinian people. This means the complete severing and cessation of all diplomatic, political, military, economic relationship with Israeli government. Twenty one countries have never recognized Israel while seven countries which had recognized it, subsequently withdrew this recognition. Two of the countries to do so, namely Cuba (in 1973) and Venezuela (in 2009), have a stated commitment to socialism.

            We also appeal to individuals, institutions, civil society organisations, trade unions, academics, artistes, etc. to respect and follow the campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of the Israeli government and all its allied institutions.

            In the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) there is a formal definition of Apartheid that is based on a set of "crimes" which are listed separately as well as based on the Covenant Against Racial Discrimination. The essential content of that definition can be presented as follows: "Apartheid exists when you have on one territory, one power controlling that territory and you have two different legal systems which are applicable to two groups of different people based on their race  and ethnicity, for the goal of domination of one group over the other." Human Rights Watch and even the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem, now recognize and speak of it openly as an apartheid state!

            Consider this: Israel is not only guilty of carrying out (through extreme forms of overt and covert violence) the longest running illegal military occupation of modern history but continues to carry out a "creeping colonization' in the West Bank. Golan Heights and a part of Lebanon is under its control while Gaza remains the world's largest open-air prison. Zionist Israel is the only state in the world that is NOT a state of its own citizens but is a state of the Jewish people who everywhere have full rights denied to non-Jews in the territories controlled by Israel itself. This means that like apartheid South Africa---which the Indian government never recognized---Israel is an inherently racist and apartheid state.

We the Undersigned:

* Completely reject all racist ideologies and therefore Zionism.

* Call upon the Indian government to completely de-recognize Israel forthwith.

*Declare our solidarity with the Palestinian people whose Right to political Self-determination and Right of Return must be respected and fulfilled.


1.     Javed Anand


2.     Tapan Bose

New Delhi

3.     Swapan K Chakravorty


4.     Neera Chandoke

New Delhi

5.     Kunal Chattopadhyay


6.     Ipshita Chanda


7.     Mihir Desai


8.     Sandhya Gokhale


9.     Arjun Gourisaria


10.  Vrinda Grover

New Delhi

11.  Rita Manchanda

New Delhi

12.  Soma Marik


13.  Nivedita Menon

New Delhi

14.  Ritu Menon

New Delhi

15.  Feroze Mithiborwala


16.  Peggy Mohan

New Delhi

17.  Sukumar Muralidharan

New Delhi

18.  Vibhuti Patel


19.  Sumit Sarkar

New Delhi

20.  Tanika Sarkar

New Delhi

21.  Teesta Setalvad


22.  Navsharan Singh


23.  Atul Sood


24.   Anuradha Talwar

 Badu, West Bengal

25.   Achin Vanaik

New Delhi

26.  Aashita Dawer

New Delhi

27.  Ritajyoti

Mohali, India

28.  Maroona Murmu


29.  Suchetana Banerjee


30.  Arun Khote


31.  Abhijit Roy


32.  Noor Ahmad Baba


33.  Hartman de Souza


34.  Anusha Ravishankar


35.  Rama Melkote ,prof. Retd. Osmania university

Hyderabad, Telangana State

36.  Amir Rizvi


37.  Shalini Dhawan


38.  Professor Mohammad Javed


39.  Dr. Almas Kabir


40.  Amit Bhaduri


41.  Persis Ginwalla

Ahmedabad, Gujarat

42.  Ayesha Khan


43.  Wandana Sonalkar

Navi Mumbai

44.  Kranti L C


45.  Alya Rizvi


46.  Dr Lubna Sarwath

Hyderabad India

47.  Sudhanva Deshpande

New Delhi

48.  Padma Velaskar


49.  Sania Hashmi


50.  Ashok Tiwari

New Delhi

51.  Tarun Kanti Bose


52.  Arundhati Dhuru

Lucknow UP

53.  Sandeep Pandey

Lucknow UP

54.  Jalindar Adsule

Dhule, Maharastra

55.  Vinutha Mallya


56.  Partha Chatterjee


57.  Amitadyuti Kumar

West Bengal

58.  E.V.Ramakrishnan

Kannur, Kerala

59.  Gautam Mody

New Delhi

60.  Usman Rafiq


61.  Dunu Roy

Delhi/New Delhi/South

62.  Revati Laul

Shamli, Uttar Pradesh

63.  . Professor K.M.SHRIMALI, Retd., University of Delhi


64.  Nandini Sundar


65.  Geetanjali Shree


66.  Ali Asghar


67.  Ravi Nitesh

Lucknow, U.P.

68.  M. Sreekumar


69.  Asiskusum Ghosh


70.  Vijay Kumar Kalia


71.  Prabhat Patnaik

New Delhi

72.  Utsa Patnaik

New Delhi

73.  Sudha Vasan

New Delhi

74.  Pamela Philipose

New Delhi

75.  Amit Bhattacharyya

Kolkata, India

76.  Renu Khanna


77.  Uma V Chandru

Bangalore, Karnataka

78.  Tapati Guha-Thakurta


79.  Walter Fernandes

Assam, Guwahati, Kamrup Metro district

80.  Prafulla Samantara


81.  Anu Chenoy

New Delhi

82.  Apeksha Vora


83.  Sushil Khanna


84.  Rajashri Dasgupta


85.  Mritiunjoy Mohanty


86.  Vasavi Kiro


87.  Prabir Purkayastha

New Delhi

88.  Rajeev Bhargava


89.  Jyothi Krishnan


90.  Githa Hariharan


91.  Abey George


92.  Zoya Hasan


93.  Ammu Abraham

Maharashtra, Mumbai, Greater Mumbai

94.  Pankaj Butalia

New Delhi

95.  Vivek Sundara


96.  Mohan Rao


97.  Pradip Kumar Datta

New Delhi

98.  Mrinmoy Pramanick


99.  Vincent Manoharan

Tamilnadu - Madurai - Madurai

100.                Vithal Rajan

Ketti, The Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu

101.                Taskeen Aga


102.                Chakradhar Rao, K.

Hyderabad, Telangana

103.                Rabin Chakraborty

India, Kolkata, West Bengal

104.                Sujata Patel


105.                Sagar Dhara


106.                Debal Deb


107.                Mita Dutta


108.                Partha Majumder


109.                Dr. Richard Devadoss

Chennai, Tamilnadu

110.                Harbans Mukhia


111.                Vincent Rajkumar


112.                Ammu Joseph


113.                Shubhra Chaturvedi

New Delhi

114.                Swatija Manorama


115.                Pushpamala N


116.                Bobby Kunhu


117.                Manas Das


118.                Dilly Naidoo

KwaZulu Natal, Durban

119.                Vidya Dinker


120.                Sankar Ray,veteran journalist

Calcutta,West Bengal

121.                Arup Baisya


122.                Sushanta Kar

Tinsukia, Assam

123.                Ayesha Kidwai

New Delhi

124.                Sameera Iyengar


125.                Wilfred Dcosta

New Delhi

126.                Subhash Mendhapurkar

Jagjit Nagar Solan Himachal Pradesh

127.                Sandip K Luis

New Delhi

128.                Shaukat Zaman Ansari


129.                Dhruv Raina

New Delhi

130.                Prafulla Samantara


131.                Sadanand Menon

Tamil Nadu, Chennai

132.                Sucharita Sen

New Delhi

133.                Hiren Gandhi


134.                Saroop Dhruv


135.                Gita Jayaraj


136.                Antara Dev Sen


137.                Pratik Kanjilal


138.                NS Madhavan


139.                Mithilesh Kumar Jha

Guwahati, Assam

140.                Goutam Kumar Bose

Jharkhand/Jamshedpur/East Singhbhum

141.                K.P. Sasi


142.                Sandeep Pandey

Lucknow, U.P.

143.                firoz


144.                Prasad V


145.                Ajith Pillai

New Delhi

146.                Rev. E. Immanuel Nehemiah

Karnataka, Bangalore

147.                Ashok Shrimali


148.                Usha Rai,

Gurugram 122017, Haryana

149.                Dulal Sen

Assam Guwahati Kamrup

150.                Ekabali Ghosh


151.                Arun Kumar


152.                Nandini Manjrekar


153.                Meena Gopal


154.                Ashish Kothari

Pune, Maharashtra

155.                Farida khan


156.                Anand Patwardhan


157.                abha bhaiya

Himachal Pradesh, dharmashala, Kangra

158.                Zoya Hasan


159.                Sonia Jabbar

Darjeeling District

160.                Gautam Gupta

Kolkata, West Bengal

161.                Akhtar Ehtisham

New York, USA

162.                Vijay Prashad

LeftWord Books.

163.                Rushda

New Delhi

164.                Zoha

Florida/Boca Raton/West Palm Beach

165.                Dipankar Bhattacharya

New Delhi

166.                Sukla Sen


167.                Preeti Mehra

New Delhi

168.                Prabhat Kumar


169.                Sarwar khan

Pune, Maharastra

170.                Tariq Islam

Uttar Pradesh/Aligarh/Aligarh

171.                Manoj T Sarang

Kerala / Thalassery / Kannur

172.                Annie Raja

Delhi, New Delhi

173.                Neha Naqvi

New Delhi

174.                Gauhar Raza

New Delhi

175.                Arvind Sivaramakrishnan


176.                Arun Mitra

Ludhiana Punjab

177.                Anand Swaroop Verma

U P/Noida/Gautam Buddha Nagar

178.                N. Paul Divakar


179.                Adv.Anastasia Gill


180.                Vimal Bhanot

Rajasthan /Pilani/Jhunjhnu

181.                PK Sarkar

Bengal/ Bankura

182.                Suneeta Dhar

New Delhi

183.                Sagari Ramdas


184.                Kalyani Menon Sen

Gurgaon, Haryana

185.                Nityanand Jayaraman

Chennai, Tamil Nadu

186.                Sanjiv Shah


187.                Arundhati Dhuru


188.                Sandeep Pandey


189.                Indira Chandrasekhar

New Delhi

190.                Aban Raza


191.                A. Mangai

Chennai, Tamil Nadu

192.                Deepshikha Shahi

New Delhi

193.                Pallab Sengupta

New Delhi

194.                Ahmar Raza

New Delhi

195.                Arushi Vats

New Delhi

196.                Partho Sarothi Ray


197.                Nandita Narain


198.                Sanjay Kumar


199.                SR Darapuri I.P.S.(Retd)

U.P. Lucknow

200.                Satwik Raj


201.                Nuzhat Kazmi


202.                Kamal Chenoy

new delhi

203.                Siraj Kazmi


204.                Rafeeq Ellias


205.                Nikhat Fatima


206.                Amitava Chakraborty


207.                John Dayal


208.                Karen Gabriel


209.                Latha Jishnu


210.                Atul Bhardwaj

New Delhi

211.                Pallavi Sobti Rajpal


212.                Khursheed Ahmed


213.                Admiral L. Ramdas


214.                Lalita Ramdas


215.                Imrana Qadeer

New Delhi

216.                Vivan Sundaram

New Delhi

217.                Aatika Singh

New Delhi

218.                Mritiunjoy Mohanty

Kolkata, West Bengal

219.                Neshat Quaiser


220.                Faraz Ahmad


221.                Dr Asha Saxena Ahmad


222.                Samir Faraz


223.                Nidhi Singh


224.                Shweta Damle


225.                Kamayani Bali Mahabal


226.                Chayanika Shah


227.                Avishek Konar

Sonipat, Haryana

228.                Komal Mohite


229.                N.D.Jayaprakash1


230.                Ranjan Solomon

Salcete, Goa

231.                Badayl

Salcete Goa

232.                Roselle


233.                Leila Passah

Karnataka, Bangalore

234.                Bittu K R

Sonipat Haryana

235.                Shailesh joshi


236.                कामाक्षीभाटे


237.                अद्वैतपेडणेकर


238.                गुरुनाथपेडणेकर


239.                प्रमोदमुजुमदार


240.                Ahsan


241.                Renuka Kad


242.                Yusuf Hajarat Bennur

Hubballi ,Karnataka

243.                नितीनसामंत


244.                विदुलारमाबाई


245.                Shafique Qazi


246.                Arshad Shaikh

Navi Mumbai

247.                उज्ज्वलामेहेंदळे


248.                Sandhya Mhatre


249.                दिलीपजोशी


250.                Ramesh Sawant


251.                प्रतिमाजोशी


252.                प्रभागणोरकर


253.                Sandhya Phadke


254.                Megha Pansare


255.                Vanessa Chishti


256.                Snehil Manohar SIngh


257.                Anish Vanaik


258.                Kriti Budhiraja

New Delhi

259.                Sumanta Banerjee

Hyderabad, Telangana state

260.                Nayanika Chattopadhyay




“A turning point in the Palestinian struggle”

Since the Great Strike of 1936, Palestine has not experienced a collective action by its people as vast and as strong as that which is now taking place. In all previous militant stages, the action was confined to one or more specific regions, supported by the rest of the Palestinians. Today Palestine has risen with all its population towards a new stage whose paths are cleared by the people on the ground, these young people who, day and night, are in the streets of Lod, the tunnels of Gaza, the squares of Haifa or the mountains of Jenin.

“This war is different”

Gaza, that open-air prison, once again saw its skies ablaze with missiles and the colonizer’s anger. Since the guns fell silent, 55 days after the start of the 2014 clashes, the war has not stopped in Gaza, it has instead taken another form: blockade, negotiations on reconstruction and starvation of the inhabitants, orchestrated by Israel with the complicity of regional regimes and the so-called international community. For its part, the resistance in Gaza, with all its factions, continued to strengthen its capacities. Israel has repeatedly threatened an operation against Gaza, and the resistance has asserted its readiness to confront this threat. No one was unaware that the battle for Gaza was inevitably to come. The only unknown in the equation was the context and the timing.

“This war is different”: a phrase you hear among Gazans with every war and every escalation. But this battle is genuinely different, whether in the unprecedented unanimity in supporting the resistance, or in its evolving capacities, or because of the feeling that Gaza is no longer alone. It is also different because of the enormity of the destruction that the colonial state’s missiles inflicted on humans and buildings.

Gaza was not alone

Because with the acceleration of the course of events in Jerusalem and the call of some inhabitants of the city that Gaza to enter the front line, the people of Gaza have not hesitated in turn to put pressure on the leaders of the resistance factions, demanding support for Jerusalem, despite their full awareness of the risk of killings and devastation that this could entail for them. This is why the few voices that criticized the rocket strikes at the start of the clash remained marginal, since most of them came from outside the besieged Gaza Strip, and they quickly fell silent because of the unprecedented broad popular support for the action of the resistance.

It’s certain that the military and political leaders of the resistance factions heeded these demands. But the most decisive factor remained the resistance’s conviction that this was the most appropriate time for a confrontation that would come sooner or later. With the launch of the resistance’s first rocket salute, settlers stormed the area around the al-Aqsa Mosque and cheers from Palestinians spread across the country.

For more than a decade, the inhabitants of Gaza have become accustomed, during wars and waves of escalation, to bearing the brunt of the battles on their own, while in the rest of Palestine the question was confined to demonstrations of support in the West Bank (when the Palestinian Authority allowed this) and the same was true in the occupied interior (within the limits of Israeli goodwill). The great surprise of this clash is that Gaza was not left alone to the murderous Israeli machine, despite the repression by the Authority in Ramallah of any solidarity action and any attempt to defy the colonial state from the areas of the West Bank it controls. The inhabitants of all the towns and villages of Palestine came out, from Jaffa and Haifa to the Triangle [of Galilee], to Al-Jalil and Al-Naqab. The city of Lod has become the icon of the most violent clash, thus belying the legend of “the specificity of the situation inside the Green Line”. All of this revived Palestinians’ ability to dream and their full readiness to rise up to continue the battle for freedom.

Palestinians surprise themselves

This shook Israel and was a traumatic wake-up call for its people. The army and intelligence services considered Gaza as a secondary front which could simply be placed under siege, while buying the silence of the resistance by allowing the passage of some goods and aid, which allows people to survive, nothing more. As for the other front, the enemy believed they had already settled the business and had moved it away from the heart of the conflict since the Nakba of 1948. But Tel Aviv, once far away from the battlefields, has received a deluge of rockets, and the Palestinian masses are now revolting in the very heart of the main cities of the colonial state. There is no longer a safe place in Israel. And it gave a great moral boost to the people in Gaza, who began to closely follow all the information and images of what is happening in the towns and villages, from which they had been driven. Better still, for many of them, talking about return or release now seems a question to be discussed rationally and no longer a dream that is difficult to achieve. This is how the Palestinians have surprised themselves, as if discovering an extraordinary strength enabling them to overcome all the shackles of the dream.

It is in this sense that the Gazan activist, Awssaj, wrote on his twitter account: “The best thing will be that after these days, when you talk about the liberation of Palestine, you will be taken for. an optimist, but never again for a dreamer, or even for a madman”. For his part, Rafat Abu Aish tweeted from Bir Essabâa: “Even if the liberation does not take place today, it is enough that everyone has realized that it is possible!”. […]

No one yet knows how this round of the conflict will end, what is certain, however, is that it has broken all the political ceilings created by the various Palestinian political parties, which must also rethink their action in the light of this event or disappear. Likewise, the impact of this round on the conscience of the Palestinians will remain engraved as a turning point in the history of their struggle. And despite the great pain and deep wounds, the people, with Gaza’s usual stubbornness, refuse to be victims, they prefer to be the spark that ignites the flame.

Translated from the French version in l’Anticapitaliste. Full version in French and Arabic on Assafirarabi. Translated by Saïda Charfeddine.