Category Archives: Movements

Second Statement from Chomsky, Tariq Ali et al

[We have received this second statement by Noam Chomsky, Tariq Ali and other signatories of the earlier letter on Nandigram. As will be evident, in this letter the authors have made some clarifications in response to the reactions they received from a range of people in India.

However, in the meantime, there has been a misrepresentation of what we thought was a private response from Prof Chomsky to the signatories of the statement issued by some of us (See the post Response to Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn et al on Nandigram). For instance, see the comment by Hindol Bhattacharya on the above post. Regarding that comment, we must clarify one point here: Prof Chomsky’s letter to us explained the situation in which he had felt compelled to issue the first statement, his explanation being that an earlier private email correspondence with some individual supporter of the ‘opposition’ had extracted one part of that correspondence and it was ‘used as a slogan in demos’. The person concerned could probably better clarify this situation, which is indeed unfortunate. We refrained from publicizing Prof Chomsky’s response to us, given this previous misuse by somebody of his private correspondence.

However, Mr Bhattacharya has now produced an extract from another mail (private? public? we do not know) supposedly from Prof Chomsky which runs thus:

“The statement that you saw has been grossly misinterpreted by segments of the Indian left. As those who responded know, but didn’t say, the statement was issued after members of the opposition took a phrase from a letter of mine expressing concern but saying that I did not know enough to support them, and manipulating it into a statement of support. The statement that I and others signed was in part a reaction to this misrepresentation.”

This is truly astonishing, for he wrote to us AFTER we sent him our response – as a response to our response. The charge therefore of “our knowing but not saying” is entirely unfounded. There are several different voices raising questions about the CPM – it is simply convenient to conflate all of them as “the opposition”.

The new statement by Chomsky et al is published below:]

We are taken aback by a widespread reaction to a statement we made with the best of intentions, imploring a restoration of unity among the left forces in India –a reaction that seems to assume that such an appeal to overcome divisions among the left could only amount to supporting a very specific section of the CPM in West Bengal. Our statement did not lend support to the CPM’s actions in Nandigram or its recent economic policies in West Bengal, nor was that our intention. On the contrary, we asserted, in solidarity with its Left critics both inside and outside the party, that we found them tragically wrong. Our hope was that Left critics would view their task as one of putting pressure on the CPM in West Bengal to correct and improve its policies and its habits of governance, rather than dismiss it wholesale as an unredeemable party. We felt that we could hope for such a thing, of such a return to the laudable traditions of a party that once brought extensive land reforms to the state of West Bengal and that had kept communal tensions in abeyance for decades in that state. This, rather than any exculpation of its various recent policies and actions, is what we intended by our hopes for ‘unity’ among the left forces.

We realize now that it is perhaps not possible to expect the Left critics of the CPM to overcome the deep disappointment, indeed hostility, they have come to feel towards it, unless the CPM itself takes some initiative against that sense of disappointment. We hope that the CPM in West Bengal will show the largeness of mind to take such an initiative by restoring the morale as well as the welfare of the dispossessed people of Nandigram through the humane governance of their region, so that the left forces can then unite and focus on the more fundamental issues that confront the Left as a whole, in particular focus on the task of providing with just and imaginative measures an alternative to neo-liberal capitalism that has caused so much suffering to the poor and working people in India.


Michael Albert, Tariq Ali, Akeel Bilgrami, Victoria Brittain, Noam Chomsky, Charles Derber, Stephen Shalom

Arundhati Roy on Taslima Nasreen and Nandigram: Interview with Karan Thapar on

As we have been discussing both Nandigram and the situation that Taslima Nasreen has found herself over the last few weeks, I thought that it might be interesting to listen in on a conversation that Karan Thapar has had with the writer Arundhati Roy that takes on both these questions. This interview was broadcast today on CNN IBN.

Transcript of Arundhati Roy interviewed on the treatment of Taslima Nasreen by Karan Thapar on ‘Devil’s Advocate’, broadcast this evening on CNN-IBN

The transcript was published on Sun, Dec 02, 2007 at 20:32, on the website

A video of the interview is also available on the website.


Hello and welcome to Devil’s Advocate. How do India’s leading authors respond to the treatment given to Taslima Nasreen over the last 14 days? That’s the key issue I shall explore today with Booker Prize- winning novelist Arundhati Roy.

Karan Thapar: Arundhati Roy, let me start with that question. How do you respond to the way Taslima Nasreen has been treated for almost 14 days now?

Arundhati Roy: Well, it is actually almost 14 years but right now it is only 14 days and I respond with dismay but not surprise because I see it as a part of a larger script where everybody is saying their lines and exchanging parts.

Continue reading Arundhati Roy on Taslima Nasreen and Nandigram: Interview with Karan Thapar on

Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Tariq Ali: The Seductions of Stalinism

Once more, Stalinism’s seductions have taken over even libertarian Leftists and Trotskyists, who, one would imagine, should know better about the methods of this devious ideological machine. Leading intellectuals like Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn have issued a statement addressed to “Our Friends in Bengal”, which you can read here. The statement offers the solemn advice that in the face of Iraq and the impending attack on Iran, ‘it would be impetuous to split the Left’. Suddenly, as if by magic, ‘all Leftists’ from anarcho-communist Chomsky, Trotskyist Tariq Ali, and many many Liberal Leftists – all become ONE with Stalinism (‘The Yet-Unsplit Left’). For it will be apparent to any one who reads the statement that the appeal not to split the Left is made not to the CPM, but to those who oppose its crypto- capitalist policies.

Continue reading Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Tariq Ali: The Seductions of Stalinism

Karl Marx Replies to Comprador Intellectuals

NOT IN MY NAME – KARL MARX (See image below)

You are not what you wereAshok Mitra after 14th November, 2007:

buddha modi

[For all the stories that Sudhanva Deshpande has to tell – quoting what else but Ganashakti – we reproduce here the agonized remarks of another ‘pathological Left-hater’ (in SD’s words, that is what every CPM critic is!). Somewhere here, you might get a clue as to why the likes of Prabhat Patnaik ‘had to sign on the dotted line’ – on a statement drafted in AKG Bhavan. Has Patnaik made his ‘Lukacsian choice’? Our sympathies are with him. Read the full translated version of the original Bengali article here. – AN]

“Till death I would remain guilty to my conscience if I keep mum about the happenings of the last two weeks in West Bengal over Nandigram. One gets torn by pain too. Those against whom I am speaking have been my comrades at some time. The party whose leadership they are adorning has
been the centre of my dreams and works for last sixty years…”

Continue reading Karl Marx Replies to Comprador Intellectuals

Pakistan’s student movement

I saw this first in an incredible Pakistani blog on the matrial law shared by fellow Kafila-ite Mahmood Farooqui.

Lets face it, right now the Indian media can learn a few things from its Pakistani counterparts, let alone all of us…

This report is about Punjab University terrorised by Jamaat goons for many years, this is a turning point, when students rallied against the JIT, whose local leaders had grabbed Imran from a demo at the University and handed him over to the police…

Students rise for Imran, against IJT Unprecedented campus march

By Mansoor Malik

LAHORE, Nov 15: A large number of Punjab University students on Thursday held a protest demonstration against Islami Jamiat Tulaba (IJT) for its manhandling of Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf Chief Imran Khan.

The event was unprecedented in the history of campuses in Punjab, which have been under the Jamiat’s rule for decades. Continue reading Pakistan’s student movement

Dhikkar Michhil: One Lakh March in Kolkata – Moinak Biswas

[We present below a participants’ account, by Moinak Biswas, of the massive and unprecedented Dhikkar Michhil [condemnation rally] in Kolkata, protesting the killings in Nandigram. We now know, notwithstanding the cold blooded claims of ‘liberation’, that the operation carried out there was no different from what any marauding army does – kill rape, rape, maim. And so, Kolkata rose up in spontaneous condemnation – AN]

kolkata rally

The organizers were obviously not prepared for size of the turn-out. That it would be big they must have known, as the outrage had reached a boiling point since the second offensive against Nandigram villagers started on the 6th. . But no one could have anticipated the multitudes that would render numbers obscure on the streets yesterday. The organizers didn’t even bring enough of those little badges which just said ‘Dhikkar’ (‘Shame!’). But then who were the organizers? Some familiar faces were using a loudspeaker to issue basic instructions – ‘Please do not carry organizational banners; do not shout slogans; our route will be.. .’ No one was leading. Many people did not know who gave the call for the rally; they still do not know. Continue reading Dhikkar Michhil: One Lakh March in Kolkata – Moinak Biswas

Time for Alternative Left Platform in W Bengal

The CPM mask is off. Beneath it you can see the face of the totalitarian face of the Biman Boses, Benoy Konars and Brinda Karats. Much more is to come in coming days but one thing seems to be becoming clearer with each passing day: it will be wrong now on, to count the CPM as a Left wing force (at least in West Bengal). Unless we are able to shed this misleading idea, we are likely to misread the situation in the state completely.

The situation in Nandigram is developing rapidly. The area has been ‘liberated’ – which is to say brought under CPM control. Nobody, including journalists and political and civil rights activitsts can enter the area. All you have are marauding criminal gangs of AK 47 (and other assorted weapon) wielding ‘cadres’. They roam about with the red flag and have no compunction in attacking the likes of Medha Patkar and Anuradha Talwar, punching them in the face and tearing at their clothes. This is a political style and culture that we have so far only associated with the fascist right. We have seen glimpses of it in the recent past in the state but now it has assumed a generalized form. And while the armed gangs are at work in Nandigram, the state’s police has started targetting protestors in Kolkata.

Continue reading Time for Alternative Left Platform in W Bengal