Category Archives: Left watch

Two Reports and Many Strategic Agents: Post-Disaster Thinking in Kerala

Two massive calamities, tremendous losses, continuing signs of serious ecological destruction impending — yet all we Malayalis seem to have produced in response: two reports, and even more frenzied strategic calculation. There is little doubt that the disasters happened in the first place at least partially because of the latter, but there seems to be no rethinking. Instead, we have strategic agents refurbishing their strategies to the new circumstances.

What else explains the Kerala government’s  Rebuilding Kerala Development Programme Report (RKDPR)? It popped up all of a sudden around the end of last year, after the UN-led Post-Disaster Needs Assessment Report (PDNAR), and even members of the Chief Minister’s Advisory Council were caught unawares.  The economist K P Kannan, whose life’s work has been focused on Kerala’s economy, a member of the Council, remarked in a recent interview in the Sastragathy that they did not know of it until the third meeting of the council. None knew who put it together, and there is no mention of this in the report itself. It draws heavily but selectively on the PDNAR, but also perhaps on the projects that were prepared for World Bank funding – and Kannan reaffirms this impression. The draft report was made available online for comments but there is no clear idea about these experts or the public consultations. Continue reading Two Reports and Many Strategic Agents: Post-Disaster Thinking in Kerala

Healing Kerala: Thoughts after the Second Warning

 

Everywhere the talk is still about rebuilding Kerala: I say, we need to talk about healing Kerala. The change in phrasing is not trivial. When we admit that we need to heal, rather than rebuild, we are admitting much that we did not care to own up till now. That is, we would be agreeing that the problem at hand is a human one and not just one that can be resolved through technical intervention; that, as a complex process, it will take its time and quick-fixes will not suffice.  Thankfully, there is a widespread discussion on the recommendations of the Gadgil Committee Report and the Post-disaster needs assessment report of last year; quarrying has been stopped all over the state. Maybe we will heal, indeed. What do we need to do to heal, and not just rebuild? Continue reading Healing Kerala: Thoughts after the Second Warning

After Kavalappara: Is the Future that of Ecological Patriotism?

I guess bad habits in development take a very long time to unlearn. Even in the face of the direst of warnings.

I know that last year, when taken completely by surprise, Kerala rose to the occasion. It appeared that a new civil society had come to being around the flood rescue and relief work, and that promised a new lease of life for our flagging-if-still-working project of people’s planning and political decentralization. It appeared that there was a real chance to stop the bureaucratic-technocratic coterie from shoving this ecologically-fragile area down the path of utterly destructive infrastructure-obsessed growth. It seemed that we could now seriously expose the depredations of the predatory capitalists, especially in the construction sector. Continue reading After Kavalappara: Is the Future that of Ecological Patriotism?

Marx in Brussels

The most remarkable development during his time in Brussels was the penning down of the Communist Manifesto, which firmly established Marx as well as Engels as the intellectual leaders of the working class movement.

Marx in Brussels

Karl Marx

Lived in Brussels from February 1845 to March 1848

He celebrated New Year’s Eve 1947/48 together with the “Deutscher Arbeiterverein” and the “Association Democratique” in this place

The plaque put on a building which housed a restaurant ‘Le Cygne, The Swan’ now is the only memory left of the days when history was ‘made’ here. According to legend, it is the same place ‘[w]here the First International had convened’  and Marx and his lifelong friend and comrade Engels ‘[h]ad written the Communist Manifesto’.

No doubt it was the same place when Marx, Engels, Mozes Hess – who was another early luminary of socialism and who supposedly had influenced Engels about communism – and other associates of the surging workers movement pondered over many of those ideas which have been memorialised in the opening sentences of the Manifesto, “A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of communism….”

May be the historic slogan ‘Workers of the World Unite, You have nothing to lose but your chains’ which later reverberated throughout the world – whose echoes are still heard – had its ‘humble’ beginning in one of those very rooms, where Marx and his close associates used to educate workers about their exploitation.

Scores of people sitting in this particular restaurant which was serving them sumptuous food and choicest drinks were completely oblivious of all those details. Few of them rather looked at us with a sense of disbelief and dismay, when they witnessed us taking photos of the nondescript wall which had the plaque put on it. Perhaps they looked more satisfied that they are enjoying food at a place which is situated on the Grand Place or Grote Markt, which is the central square of Brussels and is considered one of the most beautiful squares in Europe and is also part of UN Heritage.

( Read the full article here : https://www.newsclick.in/karl-marx-in-brussels)

विचार ही अब द्रोह !

(‘चार्वाक के वारिस : समाज, संस्कृति एवं सियासत पर प्रश्नवाचक ‘ की प्रस्तावना से)

कार्ल मार्क्‍स की दूसरी जन्मशती दुनिया भर में मनायी जा रही है।

दिलचस्प है कि विगत लगभग एक सौ पैंतीस सालों में जबसे उनका इन्तक़ाल हुआ, कई कई बार ऐसे मौके आए जब पूंजीवादी मीडिया में यह ऐलान कर दिया कि ‘मार्क्‍स इज डेड’ अर्थात ‘मार्क्‍स मर गया’; अलबत्ता, यह मार्क्‍स की प्रत्यक्ष मौत की बात नहीं थी बल्कि मानवमुक्ति के उस फलसफे के अप्रासंगिक होने की उनकी दिली ख्वाहिश को जुबां दिया जाना था, जो उनके नाम के साथ जाना जाता है। याद किया जा सकता है कि सोवियत रूस का विघटन होने के बाद और जिन दिनों पूंजीवाद की ‘अंतिम जीत’ के दावे कुछ अधिक जोर से उठने लगे थे, पूर्व सोवियत रूस के एक गणराज्य में बाकायदा एक पोस्टर मार्क्‍स की तस्वीर के साथ ‘‘मोस्ट वाटेंड’’ के नारे के साथ छपा था।

यह अलग बात है कि हर बार इस भविष्यवाणी को झुठला कर अग्निपक्षी/फिनिक्स की तरह मार्क्‍स राख से बार बार ‘नया जीवन’ लेकर उपस्थित होते रहे हैं। आलम तो यहां तक आ पहुंचा है कि 1999 में- अर्थात सोवियत रूस के विघटन के लगभग नौ साल बाद- बीबीसी के आनलाइन सर्वेक्षण में मार्क्‍स को सहस्त्राब्दी का सबसे बड़ा विचारक कहा गया था। Continue reading विचार ही अब द्रोह !

Clinical Establishment Act Kerala: A Historic Initiative — B Ekbal

This is a guest post by Dr B EKBAL

The Kerala Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act 2017 is being implemented with effect from Jan 2019. The rules pertaining to the Act have already been framed. In the first phase, establishments under modern medicine including hospitals, clinics and laboratories will come under its purview.

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Thejus – The Death of a Daily Newspaper

[This is a GUEST POST by N P CHEKKUTTY]

 

It is rarely that a journalist writes about himself or herself, because they are supposed  to be detached observers of history-in-the-making. But this time I cannot help it because one of the things that happened in the Sabarimala-obsessed state of Kerala this week happens to be the demise of Thejas, a daily newspaper that I was associated with for almost 14 years. It was a death foretold over two and half months ago, but no one took notice and no one raised any serious concerns about the passing of a newspaper that existed in our civil society for over a decade. It is sad that the newspaper which was known for its fierce anti-Sangh Parivar positions leave the scene just a few months ahead of a general election that will decide the future course of this country. Continue reading Thejus – The Death of a Daily Newspaper