Articles posted by Radical Socialist on various issues.

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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Lalgarh - Our Stand

The Lalgarh movement, which began in November 2008, is one major form of manifestation of popular unrest among Santhals, Mundas, Shabars and Lodhas, some of the most exploited adivasis of West Bengal. It explodes in a particularly graphic manner the claims of the Left Front government about its treatment of adivasis, which is not particularly different from governments in other provinces or from the colonial regime even six decades after independence. Located near Salboni in West Medinipur district of West Bengal, it is in the eastern part of the vast tract of the central part of India inhabited by adivasis (stretching over Jharkhand, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharastra and Gujarat), Lalgarh is an extremely poverty stricken area. Each day is a struggle against poverty, starvation, malnutrition, ill health, illiteracy, unemployment and unending list of marginalisation. Laws about forests and forest dwellers have been ignored. Forests have been illegally cleared by contractors while adivasis have suffered. Few pattas have been given to adivasis in West Midnapur.


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Condemn the State Terror

Lalgarh is invaded. Lalgarh is bloody. In the name of stopping Maoist activities, the combined forces acting on behalf of the Indian state have declared war on the people with such alacrity, and have established a nightmare of terrorism in village after village, that words fail us in our attempt to condemn them.

We believe that in the name of tackling the Maoists, the government is seeking to negate the legitimate demands of the Lalgarh movement, and at the same time to annihilate that movement and its leading organization, the Peoples’ Committee Against Police Atrocities (Polisi Sontras Birodhi Janaganer Committee). In this context, we want to remind the government that for the so-called “decline of the law and order situation” in Lalgarh, the state and the central governments are both responsible. The people of that region have been compelled to take the path of protest and resistance because of the long years of ill-treatment, exploitation as well as the recent spate of police tortures.


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Social Democracy Punished

Jan Malewski, François Sabado

(From International Viewpoint)

At the centre and south of Europe — in Germany and Portugal — parliamentary elections on September 27, 2009 marked a historic electoral setback for social democracy. In Germany the SPD lost a third of its electorate, or more than 4.5 million votes, in five years, and with 23% of those voting obtained its lowest score since 1949. In Portugal, the PSP of the outgoing prime minster José Sócrates lost a fifth of its electorate, or more than 500,000 votes, and with 35.56% of the votes it no longer has an absolute majority in Parliament. This was its worst result since 1991.

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