Category Archives: Capitalism

The Lady Vanishes – Justice and Law in Our Age: Dilip Simeon

Guest post by DILIP SIMEON

[Names and publications of cited authors are listed at the end of the essay.]

The sophists taught, rather publicly, the view that the summit of happiness is to combine the appearance of justice with actual injustice: Gregory McBrayer (2015), p 44

To speak of justice has always been to plunge into a metaphysical abyss, especially as the issue has been intractable since (at least) Plato’s most famous work, The Republic was written some twenty-five centuries ago. Not least has been the permanently contentious issue – named the theological-political problem by Leo Strauss – of whether we should live according to divine or human guidance. But to speak of justice in India is confront our deeply divided souls; and in the most horrendous cases, to stare evil in the eye.

If Mrs Indira Gandhi dreamt of a ‘committed bureaucracy,’ our current rulers appear to be bent upon the complete domestication of civil society by their ideological enterprise. This requires a committed judiciary too, for which aspiration clues are ample, because they conspire in broad daylight. It was inevitable that some members of the judiciary were and continue to be complicit in this totalitarian project. We should be grateful that there are men and women of courage and conscience within. One of them was named Judge Loya.

Continue reading The Lady Vanishes – Justice and Law in Our Age: Dilip Simeon

Police Violence against the Fisher People on the Kerala Coast: A People’s Account

Below, I share a write-up by Johnson Jament, an academic researcher from the coast of the Thiruvananthapuram district, where an intense struggle against the Adani Port Project has been unfolding. Arrayed on opposing sides are the fisher people who have inhabited the coast since the past 500 years (according to historical record) and more, whose livelihoods are at stake, and the Adani Port Project, supported by the combination of natural resource predators and the CPM-led government of Kerala. The leadership of the CPM (though not the ranks, or at least all of the ranks) can be quite fairly described as a ‘post-socialist oligarchy’, and hence their support of Adani Ports is pretty understandable. The battle has been equally one of wits too, with the Kerala government pulling out all their progressive aces, including the longtime literary-cultural acolytes of the CPM but also some of the (former) stars of Kerala’s oppositional civil society — notably, the poet and critic, K Satchidanandan! Questioned about his stance, this early teacher of Euro-Marxism of a whole generation claimed that the conflict was because of ‘binary thinking’ that supporters and opponents of the Port project both equally indulge in, forgetting notably, that something like ‘structural contradiction’ may be becoming evident in and through this struggle. Perceiving it, of course, is not indulging in binary thinking.

Continue reading Police Violence against the Fisher People on the Kerala Coast: A People’s Account

Questioning the Make-in-Odisha Conclave and the Current Development Model: People’s Movements Write to Governor

Following is the text of an open letter sent by the Bisthapan Birodhi Jana Andolon Mancha, a coalition of people’s organizations, activists, journalists and citizens to the Governor of the Odisha. It was released in Bhubaneswar yesterday the 3rd of December 2022.

Respected Sir,

We as concerned citizens, social activists, political and human rights activists, environmentalists and journalists and the leaders of twelve mass organizations on behalf of Bisthapan Birodhi Jana Andolon Mancha, Odisha appeal for the protection of natural resources and an immediate end to the continuous forceful displacement of people from their lands and dwelling places.

We express our protest and dissent against the Odisha government’s Make-in-Odisha Conclave in Bhubaneswar. Inviting more investments in the name of development will uproot the lives and livelihoods of people dependent on these land, forests and coasts. We appeal to your conscience to intervene and prevent the exploration and exploitation of natural resources through unmindful and unwanted mining of bauxite, iron ore, chromite, coal, river sand, china clay and other resources in the name of development. People are struggling against all odds and hardships to protect the same for future generations even as they remain deprived of access to basic needs like education, health and nutritional food security.

Continue reading Questioning the Make-in-Odisha Conclave and the Current Development Model: People’s Movements Write to Governor

Who are these ‘Hindus’? The Tragedy of Vizhinjam and the Despicable Cruelty of the Majority

The struggle against the ecologically-fatal Adani seaport being built at the seaside village of Vizhinjam in south Kerala is probably the first large-scale instance of ‘accumulation by dispossession’ in the history of this state. The state — the ruling government, the police, and judiciary — hold hands now in their effort to dispossess the large population of fisher people whose home this coast has been since centuries, for the convenience of predatory capital. As usual, the port-building commenced after massive ‘opinion-building’ exercises by all the major political parties among their supporters in the port-affected villages, promising them golden futures (now that the resources of the sea, which they had depended on for centuries, were robbed, in the course of some seventy years since the 20th century, through the commercialization of fisheries). Doing fieldwork in those areas around 2013, I remember how hard it was to even broach the topic without provoking massive, sometimes, violent, disagreements — it has divided the people completely and left the major social force there, the Latin Catholic Church, quite confused. Now, after 2018, the ecological destruction wrought by this foolish act of greed is nakedly evident for all with eyes to see; and most residents of the sea coast are convinced that in just a few years, the sea will take everything, including the houses built with sweat and tears, labouring for years abroad, even.

Continue reading Who are these ‘Hindus’? The Tragedy of Vizhinjam and the Despicable Cruelty of the Majority

Stop the Slander: Solidarity Statement Against Attempts to Tarnish Activists in the Anti-Adani Seaport Struggle at Vizhinjam

The other day, the citizens of Kerala witnessed an extraordinary coming -together of CPM and BJP leaders in Thiruvananthapuram — in support of the Adani sea port, against the fisher community of the Thiruvananthapuram coast.

Continue reading Stop the Slander: Solidarity Statement Against Attempts to Tarnish Activists in the Anti-Adani Seaport Struggle at Vizhinjam

Why no Admissions this year in Central Universities? JNUTA statement

Did you even know this? That there have been no admissions this academic session so far, to any Central University,  as the results of the new UGC mandated centralized Common Universities Entrance Test (CUET) are yet to be announced as late as September 2022, when the academic session was to have begun in July/August. The UGC Chairperson M Jagadesh Kumar (who ran JNU to the ground in his extended tenure) has tweeted that results for the Undergraduate courses will be announced latest by September 15th. The exams for Postgraduate  courses were conducted only this month!

And I dare you to find a single news item that reports the CUET as the large scale massive failure it is. At best you get bland information such as that undergraduate admissions are about to begin in Deli University this month and that classes are expected to begin on October 20th.  No questioning of why there has been a three month delay already and even now everything is only “expected”!

And again earlier this month, as late as September 2022, the National Testing Agency informed Central Universities it will be unable to conduct the Common Test for the Ph.D programme, and the universities will, at this point, START the process of conducting these exams themselves.

The first time in India admissions to universities were severely delayed was due to the Covid virus in 2020-21, but different universities had different processes and could accomplish admissions by the end of the year. In the last year too there was delay, but as universities were still holding different entrance text exams,   universities differed in when they managed to complete admissions in 2021. This academic year, however, when there are no pandemic induced closure of any university, the situation is the worst ever, due entirely to a targeted human endeavour to destroy India’s public university system, by imposing an unmanageable, centralised examination that lakhs and lakhs of students all over the country must take for admission into universities.

That this disaster for public universities and for two generations of students is not making  the news, let alone the headlines, says much about the state of the media in India today.  That nobody will be held accountable for this national disaster is almost unbelievable except that  we have had to to believe so many unbelievable developments in our unfortunate country since 2014, that perhaps the destruction of public universities seems minor in comparison?

Please take a look at the detailed critique provided by the JNUTA.

Continue reading Why no Admissions this year in Central Universities? JNUTA statement

Debating Strategy for the New Phase of Janatha Aragalaya: MAYA JOHN

Guest post by MAYA JOHN

[This article is based on the discussions with activists of the Janatha Aragalaya and concerned Sri Lankan citizens. It is a humble contribution towards ongoing debates within the movement. As the French proverb goes: “De choc des opinions jaillit la vérité” – Truth arises from a conflict of opinions. – MJ]

With the deepening crisis of the world capitalist system, we see social upheavals erupting in one country after another. Most recently, Sri Lanka, a relatively small island country in South Asia that is enveloped by a staged debt crisis, has amply revealed circumstances which are infused with revolutionary possibilities. Resembling dark clouds that announce the gathering of a storm, Sri Lanka has shown how rapidly a revolutionary situation can develop.

Heading the floundering ruling establishment, and harbouring perpetual dismissiveness of the swelling discontent, the ruling family of Rajapaksas expectedly attracted massive public ire. Fighting hunger, spiralling inflation, long queues for fuel and rations, crumbling medical facilities, loss of employment, frequent and long power outages, angered citizens came to see the Rajapaksas as well as other mainstream politicians as creators and perpetuators of the grave crisis. Importantly, the distrust of the people has not been limited to individual politicians and ruling cliques whose moral right to govern is being openly challenged, but is a latent distrust for the system itself. At present, majority of the public rightfully views all established parties with deep suspicion and hostility. The majority perceives the rise to power of President Ranil Wickremesinghe as an epitome of the rot in the political system. They see his government as an illegitimate one.

Continue reading Debating Strategy for the New Phase of Janatha Aragalaya: MAYA JOHN

भारतीय फ़ासीवाद और प्रतिरोध की संभावना : आशुतोष कुमार

Leading Critic Ashutosh Kumar, Editor ‘Aalochana’ , who teaches at Department of Hindi, Delhi University will be delivering the sixth lecture in the ‘Sandhan Vyakhyanmala Series’ ( in Hindi) on Saturday,13 th August,  2022, at 6 PM (IST).

He will be speaking on ‘ भारतीय फ़ासीवाद और प्रतिरोध की संभावना’ ( Indian Fascism and Possibility of Resistance) 

This online lecture would be held on zoom and will also be shared on facebook as well : :facebook.com/newsocialistinitiative.nsi

Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89995508417?pwd=QWdlMVVjNElaUXEyQURZd2dFVTNrUT09

Meeting ID: 899 9550 8417
Passcode: 336956

Organised by :NEW SOCIALIST INITIATIVE ( NSI) Hindi Pradesh 

संधान व्याख्यानमाला : छठा वक्तव्य 

विषय : भारतीय फ़ासीवाद : प्रतिरोध की संभावना 

वक्ता : अग्रणी लेखक एवं संपादक ‘आलोचना’

आशुतोष कुमार 

हिंदी विभाग, दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय 

शनिवार, 13 अगस्त, शाम 6 बजे 

सारांश :

भारतीय फ़ासीवादऔर प्रतिरोध की संभावना 

कुछ  प्रश्न:
क्या भारत की वर्तमान परिस्थिति को फासीवाद के रूप में चिन्हित किया जा सकता है? अथवा क्या इसे केवल सांप्रदायिक ध्रुवीकरण , धार्मिक कट्टरता और रूढ़िवाद की राजनीति के रूप में देखा जाना चाहिए? यह सवाल महत्वपूर्ण इसलिए है किस के जवाब पर इस परिस्थिति से मुकाबला करने की रणनीति निर्भर करती है।

अगर यह फासीवाद है तो इसके उद्भव और वर्तमान शक्ति-सम्पन्नता के आधारभूत कारण क्या हैं? क्या यह केवल वैश्विक वित्तीय पूंजीवाद के संकट की अभिव्यक्ति है, जैसा कि प्रभात पटनायक जैसे अर्थशास्त्री समझते हैं?

 क्या भारतीय फ़ासीवाद जैसी किसी अवधारणा के बारे में सोचा जा सकता है? या यह सिर्फ एक वैश्विक प्रवृत्ति है ?

अगर यह फ़ासीवाद नहीं है तो क्या यह पश्चिम और पश्चिमपरस्त राजनेताओं और बौद्धिकों द्वारा अन्यायपूर्ण ढंग से दबाए गए हिन्दू राष्ट्रवाद का उभार है, जैसा कि के भट्टाचार्जी जैसे सावरकरी टिप्पणीकार दावा करते हैं?

क्या यह संघ के बढ़ते लोकतंत्रीकरण के चलते उसके नेतृत्व में वंचित- उत्पीड़ित जन समुदाय द्वारा किया गया सत्ता परिवर्तन है, जिसने कुलीन वर्गों की कीमत पर अकुलीनों को शक्तिशाली बनाया है? जैसा कि अभय कुमार दुबे और बद्री नारायण जैसे सामाजिक लेखक संकेत करते हैं?

 क्या वर्तमान सत्ता संतुलन को बदला जा सकता है? इसे कौन कर सकता है और कैसे?

कुछ बातें

फ़ासीवाद का सबसे बड़ा लक्षण कार्यपालिका,विधायिका और न्यायपालिका के एक गठबंधन के रूप में काम करने की प्रवृत्ति है। लोकतंत्र में इन तीनों के अलगाव और इनकी स्वायत्तता पर इसलिए जोर दिया जाता है कि कोई एक समूह राजसत्ता का दुरुपयोग न कर सके। तीनों निकाय एक दूसरे पर नजर रखने और एक दूसरे को नियंत्रित करने का कार्य करें। इस व्यवस्था के बिना एक व्यक्ति और एक गुट की निरंकुश तानाशाही से बचना नामुमकिन है।

अयोध्या-विवाद से लेकर गुलबर्ग सोसाइटी जनसंहार  और छतीसगढ़ जनसंहार तक के मामलों में हमने सुप्रीम कोर्ट को संविधान-प्रदत्त नागरिक अधिकारों और न्याय की अवधारणा के विरूद्ध राज्य के बहुमतवादी फ़ैसलों के पक्ष में खड़े होते देखा है. हाल ही में सुप्रीम कोर्ट ने धन-शोधन निवारण अधिनियम के अन्यायपूर्ण प्रावधानों के खिलाफ दी गई याचिका पर राज्य के पक्ष में फैसला दिया है. सीएए और धारा 370 के निर्मूलीकरण जैसे मामलों में चुप्पी साधकर भी उसने नागरिक अधिकारों के विरुद्ध राजकीय निरंकुशता का समर्थन किया है.

नाज़ी जर्मनी में ग्लाइसेशतुंग या समेकन के नाजी कानूनों के जरिए इसी तरह राज्य के सभी निकायों को सकेन्द्रित और एकात्म बनाया था.  हिटलर की तरह मुसोलिनी ने भी ‘राष्ट्र-राज्य सर्वोपरि’ के सिद्धांत के तहत न्यायपालिका को पालतू बनाने का काम किया था. भारत में भी हमने गृह मंत्री अमित शाह को सबरीमाला  मामले में  सुप्रीम कोर्ट को चेतावनी देते देखा है.

भारत में फ़ासीवाद के सभी जाने पहचाने लक्षण प्रबल रूप से दिखाई दे रहे हैं। एक व्यक्ति की तानाशाही और व्यक्ति पूजा का व्यापक प्रचार। मुख्य धार्मिक अल्पसंख्यक समूह के विरुद्ध नफरत, हिंसा और अपमान का अटूट सिलसिला। अल्पसंख्यकों के खिलाफ अधिकतम हिंसा के पक्ष में जनता के व्यापक हिस्सों का जुनून। विपक्ष की बढ़ती हुई असहायता। स्वतंत्र आवाजों का क्रूर दमन। दमन के कानूनी और ग़ैरकानूनी रूपों का विस्तार। मजदूरों और किसानों के अधिकारों में जबरदस्त कटौती। आदिवासियों, दलितों और स्त्रियों के सम्मान के संघर्षों का पीछे ढकेला जाना। शिक्षा पर भगवा नियंत्रण। छात्रों के लोकतांत्रिक अधिकारों का विलोपन। फ़ासीवादी प्रचार के लिए साहित्य, चित्रकला, मूर्तिकला, सिनेमा और दीगर कला-विधाओं के नियंत्रण और विरूपण को राज्य की ओर से दिया जा रहा संरक्षण और प्रोत्साहन।

अभी भी कुछ लोग भारत में फासीवादी निज़ाम से सिर्फ इसलिए इंकार करते हैं कि इस देश में गैस चैंबर  स्थापित नहीं किए गए हैं। उन्हें समझना चाहिए कि भारतीय फ़ासीवाद ने फ़ासीवाद अतीत से बहुत कुछ सीखा है। उसने समझ लिया है कि भारत जैसे विशाल और विविधतापूर्ण  देश में  भौतिक गैस चैंबर से कहीं अधिक असरदार और स्थायी  व्यवस्था है देश के भीतर सामाजिक और  मनोवैज्ञानिक गैस चैम्बरों का विस्तार।

लगभग समूचे देश को एक ऐसे सांस्कृतिक गैस चेंबर में बदल दिया गया है, जिसमें एक व्यक्ति और एक विचारधारा की गुलामी से इनकार करने वाले स्वतंत्रचेता जन अपने जीवित होने का कोई मतलब ही ना निकाल सकें।

यूरोप की लोकतांत्रिक परम्पराओं के कारण फ़ासीवादी राज्य की स्थापना के लिए कानूनी बदलावों की जरूरत थी. भारत में ‘भक्ति-परम्परा‘ की जड़ें बहुत गहरी हैं. शर्तहीन-समर्पण का संस्कार प्रबल रहा है. क्या यह भी एक कारण है कि भारत में यूएपीए और अफ्स्पा जैसे कुछ विशेष कानूनों के अलावा व्यापक कानूनी बदलावों की जरूरत नहीं पड़ी है?

फ़ासीवाद की मुख्य जीवनी शक्ति नफ़रत की भावना है। हमारे देश में वर्ण व्यवस्था और जाति प्रथा के कारण अपने ही जैसे दूसरे मनुष्यों से तीव्र नफरत का संस्कार हजारों वर्षों से फलता फूलता रहा है। वोट तंत्र ने इस नफरत को उसकी चरम सीमा तक पहुंचा दिया है। क्या भारतीय फ़ासीवाद नफरत के इस चारों ओर फैले खौलते हुए समंदर से उपजे घन-घमंड के रूप में ख़ुद को जनमानस में स्थापित कर चुका है?

इस बातचीत में मैं ऐसे ही कुछ सवालों के जरिए यह देखने की कोशिश करूंगा कि क्या हम ‘भारतीय फासीवाद’ की कोई व्यवस्थित  सैद्धांतिकी निर्मित करने के करीब पहुँच गए हैं. ऐसी किसी संभावित सैद्धांतिकी की रूपरेखा  क्या होगी और इस उद्यम से हम अपने किन सवालों के जवाब हासिल करने की उम्मीद कर सकते हैं. 

Burning Questions before the Sri Lankan People’s Movement: Maya John

Guest post by MAYA JOHN

[This article is based on a talk delivered at the online session organised by International Solidarity with the People’s Movement in Sri Lanka on a 23.07.2022]

The people’s movement in Sri Lanka has entered into a deadlock with the ‘(s)election’ of Ranil Wickremesinghe as President. Within hours of him assuming office, a mid-night crackdown on the Galle Face protest camp was unleashed. Only cowards attack in the dead of the night as they have much to hide during the day. Despite brutal state repression, the people’s movement shows a resilient commitment to continue. This resilience stems from a simple fact: the people are fighting against Wickremesinghe for the same reason why they were fighting against his predecessor.

Continue reading Burning Questions before the Sri Lankan People’s Movement: Maya John

The Popular Uprising in Sri Lanka – What Next?

Guest post by MAYA JOHN

People converge at the Presidential building in Colombo, July 9, Photo: @UnionProtect/ Twitter, courtesy greenleft.org.au

A powerful Sri Lankan people’s movement, Janatha Aragalaya, has shattered the legitimacy of the ruling establishment of the country and has come to pose a serious challenge to the imperialist powers that have been backing the corrupt regime. Functioning from the Colombo’s Galle Face and numerous other centres which have surfaced across towns and villages, the movement amply reveals that the Sri Lankan people are questioning the misuse of the popular mandate by the country’s ruling elites. One can easily glean that the people’s aspirations go beyond the simply dethroning a few powerful politicians.

Continue reading The Popular Uprising in Sri Lanka – What Next?

 The Role of Individuals in resisting the Majoritarian State – Aakar Patel

Eminent author and rights activist Aakar Patel will be delivering the 17 th lecture in the Democracy Dialogues Series, organised by New Socialist Initiative, at 6 PM (IST), Sunday, 3 rd July, 2022.

He will speak on ‘The role of individuals in resisting the majoritarian state’. You can also watch it live at facebook.com/newsocialistinitiative.nsi

About the Speaker :

Aakar Patel is a syndicated columnist, author and rights activist and is Chair, Amnesty International India

He has edited English and Gujarati newspapers. His translation of Saadat Hasan Manto’s Why I Write was published in 2014 ( Tranquebar). His study of majoritarianism in India ‘ Our Hindu Rashtra : What It Is. How We Got There came out in 2020 ( Westland) and his next book which seeks to explain data and facts on India’s performance under Narendra Modi, titled ‘Price of ‘The Modi Years‘ was published in 2021 ( Westland). His forthcoming book is on protest and participation by citizens

Abstract :

The role of individuals in resisting the majoritarian state.

India is going through a transformational period when many feel constitutional values have been undermined, an oligopoly has been handed control over large parts of the economy and the secular and pluralist basis of the nation are being eroded. 

What can the individual do in these circumstances? A talk on the ways of meaningful resistance

Why Google News Does Not Want To Talk Caste ?

The Google episode shows the right-wing vision of unity is exclusionary. But this vision is increasingly being challenged in the United States and beyond.

On 9 May 1916, a young BR Ambedkar presented a paper at Colombia University in the United States titled Castes in India: Their Mechanism, Genesis and Development. He referred to caste as a “local problem, but one capable of much wider mischief”. He wrote, “…if Hindus migrate to other regions on earth, Indian caste would become a world problem.”

More than a century later, as one of the biggest corporations, Google, battles allegations of caste discrimination in the United States, the predictive value of Ambedkar’s words is evident. Recently, Google News cancelled a scheduled talk by Thenmozhi Soundararajan, the founder and executive director of Equality Labs, after many Google employees (of Indian origin or Indians) opposed it. The discussion was supposed to mark Dalit Equality Month, celebrated every April to mark the month Ambedkar, the first law minister of independent India and its leading anti-caste activist, was born. Equality Labs is a leading non-profit group in the United States that advocates Dalit rights. According to its 2016 survey, a third of Hindu students in the United States reported experiencing caste discrimination.

Thenmozhi was subjected to an organised campaign led by a section of Google employees, who called her “Hindu-phobic” and “anti-Hindu”. The name-calling went on in emails her opponents sent to company bosses and documents they posted on a mailing list that thousands of Indian employees access.

( Read the full article here)

STOP UNLAWFUL DEMOLITIONS IN DELHI: Women’s groups, other groups, and concerned citizens of Delhi

Letter of Deep Distress and Concern to
THE LG OF DELHI, CM OF DELHI, COMMISSIONER, MUNICIPAL CORPORATION OF DELHI

Stop Unlawful Demolitions in Delhi;
Compensate, Rehabilitate, Restore Livelihoods
of the Affected Immediately

We, the undersigned, wish to express our deep concern at the bulldozer-led demolitions carried out by various municipal corporations in Delhi. As is well known, the first round of demolitions was carried out by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation in Jahangirpuri resettlement colony on April 20, 2022, soon after the communal violence in the area just four days prior to that. The recent visits to and subsequent statement by the SDMC Mayor regarding areas earmarked for future demolition points to the real and present danger that the actions in Jahangirpuri and Kalyanpuri over the past week will be repeated in these areas that have already been named – Shaheen Bagh, Jasola, Sarita Vihar, Jaitpur and Madanpur Khadar.  It is deeply disturbing that demolitions in these areas have been put on hold only because the Delhi Police publicly asked for ten days’ notice in order to cooperate with the order. Massive presence of paramilitary forces in some of these areas as well as frequent processions of slogan shouting crowds led by BJP leaders are contributing to an overall climate of intimidation and terror.

It is appalling that the bulldozers hired by civic authorities are targeting temporary structures essential for livelihood such as handcarts and cycle carts, fruit stalls, gumtis, and wooden ‘shop’ tables. These structures are used all over the country by some of the poorest communities in the city – rickshaw pullers, fruit vendors, women running marginal and subsistence businesses, ragpickers, garbage sorters, vendors and hawkers. The brutality of the action to destroy the precious belongings of some of the poorest residents of the city is unprecedented in the history of Delhi. The affected are overwhelmingly unprotected informal economy workers who have already suffered sudden and severe destruction of their livelihoods during last two years of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown.  Continue reading STOP UNLAWFUL DEMOLITIONS IN DELHI: Women’s groups, other groups, and concerned citizens of Delhi

Silence of the Powerful

Why the Corporate Czars are Silent over increasing attacks on Social Fabric and rising Communalism 

Celebrity actors and players share an interesting commonality in this part of South Asia.

Their moral compass normally veers towards the ‘righteousness’ of the rich, powerful and the influential.

Lynching of innocent people on the streets for their faith, social and governmental hounding of lovers belonging to different communities, call for genocide of religious minorities from public forums and similar hate filled acts, nothing normally impinges on their conscience.

Corporate elites are qualitatively no different.

Occasionally, there are feeble voices of disagreements also.

What Kiran Mazumdar Shaw – founder of India’s largest biopharmaceutical company Biocon – did was exactly this only. She expressed her indignation about growing religious divide in the country and underlined how it would be detrimental to India’s global leadership in ITBT ( Information Technology and Bio Technology)

Definitely her statement which was couched in ‘economic terms’ was very mild, but it did not stop attacks by right-wing trolls.

( Read the full article here)

US, Russia and Ukraine – The Death Trap beyond the New Cold War: Vishwas Satgar

This article by VISHWAS SATGAR was earlier published in the Daily Maverick, South Africa, Satgar has written for Kafila on earlier occasions.

Vladimir Putin’s regime, unlike Franco, Mussolini or Hitler, has a formidable nuclear arsenal. In this context, the contemporary world stands on the brink, facing extinction either through nuclear holocaust emanating from battle fields in Ukraine or worsening the climate crisis, while in our everyday lives prices for food and fossil fuels are skyrocketing.

Precariousness, uncertainty and complex risk have become the lived reality of deep globalisation in which markets for finance, energy, food and production have been integrated.

The fragility of this global economy was exposed in the “great financial crisis” (circa 2007-2009) from which the world economy has not recovered, by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, and now by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. These realities cannot be understood through simple memes, propagandistic binaries or abstract security concepts.

The full article can be read here.

 Secularism, Communalism and Indian Politics Today : Professor Achin Vanaik

The 15 th lecture in the Democracy Dialogues Series will be delivered by Prof Achin Vanaik on Sunday, 27 th February at 6 PM (IST) 

He will be speaking on 

Secularism, Communalism and Indian Politics Today‘ 

Speaker 

Writer and Social Activist, Former Professor of Political Science at Delhi University Prof Achin Vanaik is a fellow of the Transnational Institute

He is author of numerous books including The Furies of Indian Communalism ( 1997) , The Painful Transition : Bourgeois Democracy in India ( 1990) , Hindutva Rising – Secular Claims, Communal Realities (2017), “Nationalist Dangers, Secular Failings:A Compass for an Indian Left”

Summary  : 

The presentation will start with a series of definitions of crucial concepts such as secular, secularization, secularism as well as distinguishing between religious fundamentalism, religious nationalism and communalism. This is important to get a handle on how the widespread Indian understanding of secularism as an ancient form of ‘tolerance’ is dangerously mistaken. Of course the rise of the political right and far-right is a global phenomenon in the last few decades giving rise to different forms of what can be called the ‘politics of cultural exclusivism’. So the first principle of explanation for this rise has also to be transnational. After this the question of the rise of the Sangh/BJP in the wider context of developments in India over time will be taken up. It is obvious that the Sangh/BJP is seeking to expand its existing power and influence i.e., to establish and expand its hegemony and this must be understood as well as what are the projects central to its efforts to establish a Hindu Rashtra or Nation. It should be obvious that its particular conception of how to secure a strong Indian nation/nationalism must be exposed and combated. The presentation will end with recognising that this is a long term struggle and how we must go about it.

New Socialist Initiative 

Peru, Honduras, Chile and Challenges before the Latin American New Left

Feminist demonstration in Santiago – a crucial factor in the Boric victory, image NACLA

A New Left Resurgence

Leftists are Ascendant in Latin America as Key Elections Loom‘ announces a recent report in New York Times. And this report isn’t talking only of Leftist victories of the last two years but also of possible forthcoming ones in Brazil and Colombia, later this year. ‘Economic suffering, widening inequality, fervent anti-incumbent sentiment and mismanagement of Covid-19 have all fueled a pendulum swing away from the center-right and right-wing leaders who were dominant a few years ago’ underlines the report.

Close on the heels of the victory of Xiomara Castro as the first Left-wing, woman President in Honduras in the beginning of December 2021, came the news of the victory of Gabriel Boric in Chile (19 December). Unlike the socially conservative Left wing position of Peru’s Pedro Castillo, who stands opposed to abortion and same-sex marriage, the Chilean victory, in particular, has been strongly backed by the feminist and queer movements. Honduras’ Xiomara Castro too has legalization of abortion as one of her election planks, which is significant since it is one the few countries that has a complete ban on abortion as of last year.

Continue reading Peru, Honduras, Chile and Challenges before the Latin American New Left

An Unprecedented Struggle, A Glorious Victory – Looking Ahead


The victorious farmers at Delhi borders, image courtesy NDTV

It is a time for rejoicing and celebration. It is a time for thanksgiving. For the victory of the farmers is not just theirs. Theirs was not just a struggle to protect their own livelihoods but also a valiant battle fought for all of us, so that we continue to get our food at affordable prices. It is a time for thanksgiving also because the movement has broken the hubris of an arrogant government that has absolutely no accountability whatsoever. It has given us some breathing space.

Even as this piece is being written, the victorious farmers camping at the Delhi borders for the last one year are preparing to leave for their homes. It has been a long haul for them in the course of which over 700 have died. It has been especially trying for the Punjab farmers who had started the stir months before they decided on their march to Delhi on 26 November 2020. Nobody had expected that the shifting of the venue to Delhi would end up being one long ordeal, continuing months on end, through the freezing winter, scorching Delhi heat and torrential rains. Not to mention an intransigent government that had already started the ground work for corporatization of agriculture and handing over parts of it to Adani and Ambani, even before the laws were formally promulgated.

Continue reading An Unprecedented Struggle, A Glorious Victory – Looking Ahead

Historic Triumph of the Farmers’ Movement — A celebration tinged with grave apprehensions: C.P. Geevan

Guest post by C.P. GEEVAN

What the farmers’ movement has achieved is nothing short of historic, even if the authoritarian government had not gone back on its intent for uncompromising implementation of the laws meant to reinforce major structural changes for facilitating corporate dominance of the farm sector. The inflexible approach of the government and the massive repression has claimed almost 700 lives since agitation began nearly one and half years back. Be it celebration or analysis, we must pay sincere homage and tributes to all those dead.

Continue reading Historic Triumph of the Farmers’ Movement — A celebration tinged with grave apprehensions: C.P. Geevan

COP(OUT)26, Climate Emergency and the Indian Left

Demonstration in Glasgow during COP26, image courtesy The Herald

We are in the midst of a climate emergency – and this is no longer a secret. In fact, in November 2019, 11,000 scientists declared in a signed statement, in no uncertain terms that “planet Earth is facing a climate emergency.” “Scientists”, they said, “have a moral obligation to clearly warn humanity of any catastrophic threat and to ‘tell it like it is’.” They noted that even 40 years after the First Climate Conference attended by over 50 scientists (in Geneva in 1979) had agreed that there were alarming trends of climate change that made it necessary to act, the situation has only worsened. “Alarming trends” have since given way to a full-on emergency. Although the 2015 Paris Agreement arrived at in COP 21 is considered a paradigm shift in that it produced a legally binding international climate treaty (adopted by 196 parties), the change since then has not been significant.

Continue reading COP(OUT)26, Climate Emergency and the Indian Left

Will India Survive as a Democracy ? : Ashutosh

The 11 th lecture in the Democracy Dialogues Series organised by New Socialist Initiative was delivered by Ashutosh, TV anchor, columnist, author and co-founder of satyahindi.com at 6 PM ( IST), Sunday, 31 st October 2021.

Mr Ashutosh spoke on ‘Will India Survive as a Democracy ?’
A highly acclaimed journalist and TV News Anchor, a reputed Columnist, and a successful Author, Ashutosh was associated with AAP for a while but was soon disenchanted with this experiment and returned to journalism again with a new experiment in the form of satyahindi.com

He has many books to his credit,  Anna – 13 days that awakened India, (2012) ; The Crown prince, The Gladiator & The Hope — Battle for Change ; Mukhaute ka Rajdharm ( 2015). In his latest book Hindu Rashtra published in 2019, he  takes a hard look at the political reality of India and what its future may hold.

The lecture was live on facebook.com/newsocialistinitiative.nsi

Please write to us at democracydialogues@gmail.com if you are interested in attending the coming lectures.