Articles posted by Radical Socialist on various issues.

The Left Front and the United Progressive Alliance (2004)

The Left Front and the United Progressive Alliance (2004)

Kunal Chattopadhyay and Soma Marik

A Bourgeois Government Sold With Left-wing Wrapping Paper

The elections of 2004 witnessed in India the reversal of a decade-long trend. While no party or pre-poll alliance won a clear majority, voting patterns revealed deep popular hostility to neoliberalism. The ruling NDA lost seats. The most vocal champions of computer led growth (for in India in recent years the IT sector has been viewed as the key to modernisation) – the Telugu Desam party government in Andhra Pradesh, a key NDA ally, as well as the Congress government in neighbouring Karnataka -- both suffered disastrous defeats, as provincial elections had also been called in these two states. The left won its biggest ever block of seats – 61. In Kerala, the ruling Congress led front was wiped out. In West Bengal, however, after 27 years of left rule, the Congress did reasonably well. It picked up 6 seats (NDA partner Trinamul Congress, a split off from the Congress, went down to 1) and received a significant share of the popular votes.

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Gendering the Revolutionary Party

Gendering the Revolutionary Party: The Bolshevik Practice and the Challenge before Marxists in the 21st Century

This paper intends to do three things. First, there will be a brief discussion on what constitutes the Bolshevik heritage of building a revolutionary working class party. Second, there will be a discussion on the role of women in the Bolshevik party, and the focus will be on how far class, class vanguard and party cadre were considered in gendered terms by the Bolsheviks. This discussion will be mostly confined to the period up to the October revolution, because the third purpose is to deal with the implications of the lessons of Bolshevism for the revolutionary strategies of the 21st century.

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Proletarian Socialism and Women's Liberation

Proletarian Socialism and Women's Liberation: The Historical Roots of Socialist-Feminism?

Soma Marik

One of the factors behind the rise of socialist feminism in the 1970s was the challenge of radical feminism.  Early radical feminism asserted that: (a) the state was patriarchal; (b) women existed as an exploited social layer; (c) violence against women was not incidental but built into the social structure. This compelled Marxist women, who accepted the concept of a class-state, to try and integrate analyses of capitalism with analyses of patriarchy. Since the Marxist political movement, claims at the same time to be the movement for working class self emancipation, and to be the movement of the immense majority in the interest of the immense majority,  the first question to ask was whether the category of gender has an autonomous space within class, or whether, in the words of Heidi Hartmann, the relationship between the two is like the relationship between husband and wife in English common law, where in a marriage the two are one, and that one is the husband? 

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Lenin and Democracy

Review article


Lenin and Democracy: Recovering Truth From Mythology


Kunal Chattopadhyay


Lars T. Lih, Lenin Rediscovered: What Is to Be Done? In context.
Historical Materialism Book series. Brill, Leiden and Boston, 2006. pp. xx+ 867. 125 Euro.

Lars T. Lih has written one of the most significant studies straddling Marxist political theory and socialist, especially Russian socialist history. The Russian Revolution of 1917 posed the most serious challenge till now to international capitalism. The rise of the soviets and factory committees put forward the possibility of a democratic system that far surpassed anything that existed in most capitalist countries then, or later.  Studies of the Bolshevik Party in 1917, likewise, have suggested that it was an extraordinary party, with tremendous levels of rank and file initiative and internal democracy combined with a deep revolutionary commitment.  This has however not deterred self-styled sovietologists and Marxologists from saying that Bolshevism was fundamentally authoritarian, and that it led ineluctably to Stalinism.

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Hindutva,Fascism and the Politics of Gender (2002)

Soma Marik

The Game Plan of Fascism

“It started at 9 am on February 28th. That’s when the mobs arrived, shouting - Mian Bhai nikalo (Bring out the Muslims). Many of them were wearing kesari chaddis (saffron shorts or underwear) The mob included boys from the neighbouring buildings – Gopinath Society and Gangotri Society. I ran out of my house with the entire family – mother, father, sister, sister’s daughter, my wife Zarina, my brother, my sister-in-law, and my niece…there were 11 of us. We all ran towards the Police chowki. The Police said, ‘Go towards Gopinath and Gangotri’. In the melee, I was separated from my wife. What happened to her, she told me later. She tried to escape the mobs by leaping over a wall. But found herself in a cul-de-sac. They gang-raped her, and cut one arm. She was found naked. She was kept in the civil hospital for many days.” This report of the gang rape of Zarina is one of several testimonies reproduced by a six member fact-finding team, whose full report is reproduced I this volume. Reading these reports, any decent human being would react by asking, “how could they do such things?”

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Class Struggle and Environmental Activism



A very popular view of environmentalism is that trade unions and left parties are set in opposition to the environmental activists. It is believed that in the perception of the left parties and trade union activists, environmental activism is very often anti-labour. One has only to consider the famous New Delhi case where pollution was raised as an issue in such a way that shifting the factories out of Delhi was seen as a good solution. For unionists, this was doubly a bad solution, for it put a burden before the workers, who, if they wanted to retain their jobs, would have to move out; and who, in addition, were just not seen as being the major victims of industrial pollution. So there can be real reasons for conflicts, notably where the environmentalists have a purely middle class orientation.

On the other hand, environmentalists often find trade unions narrow and corporatist. Class approach to them turns out to mean, not steps to class unity and the struggle for social transformation, but certain short run apparent benefits of their direct constituency. So trade unions have been known to oppose the shutting down of industries even when they are hazardous. Thus, Gopal Krishna of Toxics Link argued that he had found no response from even respected and senior unionists like M. K. Pandhe over the problem of asbestosis and the continued import of asbestos in India.  

This paper will explore the complexities of class struggle and environmental activism by looking at a case where environmental activists and labour movement activists and left party activists made a serious attempt to come together. This was facilitated by the fact that there was a significant overlap of the core activists. Yet, the story as it has developed till now shows that while a simple reading of opposition between Green and Red is incorrect, any prospect of a Red-Green alliance in India, as it has already happened in a number of countries, (e.g., the large scale presence of socialists in the Green party in USA, the Red-Green alliance in Denmark, the Left Bloc in Portugal and other cases) is a long way off.

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Statement on the Arrest of Chhatradhar Mahato


Statement on the Arrest of Chhatradhar Mahato and the Extension of State Terror in West Bengal

The police terror in Lalgarh has now been compounded by attempts to extend the terror to other parts of West Bengal, including Calcutta. The arrest of Chhatradhar Mahato, leader of the Peoples Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) was done in a flagrantly illegal manner, with police dressed as journalists arresting him, rather than being in uniform, and not providing the arrest memo in accordance with a Supreme Court judgement.

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