Obama Accession and the
The US – and the world – has just witnessed Bush's exit from and Obama's entry into the White House. The mood at Obama’s inauguration – an event replete with symbolic resonances, situating the Obama Presidency in the history of the civil rights movement against racism in the US – indicates the endurance of that groundswell of popular hope in the US which powered Obama’s campaign. For a US people reeling from financial crisis and the highly unpopular Bush presidency, Obama has offered a promise of ‘change’. Obama is quite aware of this crisis of confidence – domestic as well as global – in the hegemony of the US empire. He began his inaugural speech by acknowledging the economy weakened by greed, the lost jobs and homes, expensive healthcare, and schools that fail many, and tried to address the “sapping of confidence … a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable.” Clearly, for Obama, ‘change’ must mean a restoration of the deeply damaged credibility of the US. At the same time, for the people of the US, and much of the world too, it is clear that their hopes rest on a more thoroughgoing definition of change – a break with the long history of imperialist war-mongering and aggression and capitalist hubris...Full text
Arun Goyal and Srilata Swaminathan
On January 7 2009, R. Ramalinga Raju, the CEO of Satyam Computer Services (the fourth largest company in the Indian IT industry) sent shockwaves throughout the financial world, already reeling under the global financial meltdown, by announcing his resignation and a fraud of over Rs. 7000 crores over several years.
Combating the Corporate Idolisation of Modi
The Vibrant Gujarat Global Investor Summit held recently in Ahmedabad produced some strange sights and sounds. Pictures of a smiling and kite-flying Narendra Modi greeted newspaper readers across the country. And then there was this corporate chorus contemplating ‘Narendrabhai’ as the future leader of the country. Anil Ambani said the progress registered by Gujarat under Modi’s stewardship had made him “a proud Indian and a proud Gujarati”. Sunil Mittal of Bharati Group joined the Ambani scion to lavish praise on Modi’s “capacity to dream with open eyes” and his “drive for achieving results”. “If he has done so much for Gujarat, imagine what he would do for India?”, they exclaimed. British MP Barry Gardiner went one step ahead to proclaim: “Gujarat can lead the world.”....Full text
Terrorism : Are Stronger Laws the Answer ?
(Slightly abridged from the original. The author is a senior advocate of the Supreme Court.)
The terrorist attack on two five star hotels in Mumbai has led to a lot of jingoism and muscle-flexing in the media, and on the streets. “Get tough on terror” is the new mantra and among other things, getting tough means bringing tougher laws. The UPA government which repealed POTA just 4 years ago because it was found to be draconian, misused and counter-productive has now used the jingoism to enact a “tougher terror law” in the form of amendments in the already draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. These amendments were introduced in Parliament on 15 December 2008 and passed the next day with virtually no debate and without any opportunity for civil society to study, digest and debate the implications of the amendments......Full text
Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act 2008
At last, the Parliament has passed the Unorganized Workers’ Social Security Bill 2008. The UPA Government has brought into effect an Act which does not have any binding on the government, and yet which it hopes to cash in the coming election.
A Murder for Mayawati’s Birthday
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati’s birthday bash this year lacked the usual fanfare and display of cash. Widespread protests and people’s anger against the gruesome murder of a PWD engineer Manoj Gupta by an MLA of her party, Shekhar Tiwari, allegedly for failing to pay up a sum of Rs. 50 lakh towards Mayawati’s ‘birthday gift’, put a dampener on the event. Mayawati has been put on the back foot, perhaps for the first time since she came to power in May 2007, when she formed the first single party government in UP in more than a decade.....Full text
Central Committee Meeting at Boddapadu
Party Central Committee (CC) met from December 18 to 21 in the historic Boddapadu village in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh. The village has been a stronghold of the revolutionary communist movement for decades and has been associated with the lives and struggles and sacrifices of legendary martyrs like Comrades Tamara Ganapati, Panchadri and Nirmala Krishanmurti, Subbarao Panigrahi, Vempatapu Satyanarayana and several others. December 18 this year marked the tenth anniversary of the demise of Comrade Vinod Mishra......Full text
Boddapadu’s Revolutionary Legacy
CC member, Comrade Malleshwar Rao, a native of Boddapadu, penned a history of revolutionary political activity there.
Women recall tumultuous times
(Following the CC Meeting, Comrade Ramji Rai spoke to some of the women of Boddapadu whose loved ones were killed at the hands of the police at the time of the Srikakulam movement. These conversations were facilitated by CPI(ML)’s Andhra Pradesh Committee members Comrades Aruna and Comrade Ravi, and Comrade Rama Rao who translated from Hindi to Telugu and vice versa.)
Sri Lanka: Déjà vu all over again
In over two decades of being a journalist it was the first time ever that I have cried upon reading a newspaper editorial. Having watched closely the shameful decline of the media in India – and indeed around the world – from being a force that once spoke Truth to Power to one that now Sups with the Devil I have not surprisingly become cynical about my own profession. And yet there I was just a few days ago unable to control my tears while reading the editorial written by Lasantha Wickramatunga, Editor of the Sunday Leader in Sri Lanka, that he asked to be published upon his murder. On 8 January 2009 Lasantha was murdered by masked gunmen in Colombo – an event he not only predicted but also pinned the blame for on the Sri Lankan government of President Mahinda Rajapakse.....Full text
Explaining the Paradox of J&K Elections
The large number of people who turned out to vote in the 2008 J&K elections surprised most observers and political commentators. Despite all the apprehensions stemming out of the turmoil that the state witnessed from June onward in connection with the Amarnath Yatra land issue, the polls were a success with a 61.23 per cent turnout, the highest since the militancy started in 1989. The success was acknowledged by the whole political spectrum across the State. Both the mainstream parties as well as the separatists – barring Syed Ali Shah Geelani – acknowledged that no forced rigging took place. In fact, separatist leaders like the Mirwaiz and Sajjad Lone conceded that the large voting turnout was indicative of the popular mood, when they emphasized the need for introspection in the separatist camp post-elections. Also, unlike the earlier elections, 2008 saw a complete absence of – threatened or real – militancy-related violence in the State....Full text
Saffron Offensive in Karnataka
Further emboldened by its victory in the by-elections in 5 out of 8Assembly seats, the ruling BJP has intensified its communal fascist onslaught. At Mangalore, a coastal district is the nerve centre of Sangh Parivar’s saffron offensive. B V Seetaram, Editor of a Karavali Ale, a magazine that had been a bold voice against the BJP Government, was arrested recently on flimsy charges and even displayed in handcuffs. The arrest came on the heels of months of harassment, fake cases, attacks on the magazine’s office and public bonfires of copies of the magazine....Full text
Separating the Truth from the Hype
(Abridged from an article in Counterpunch, January 6, 2009. Ed/-)
In a rare moment of honesty, the New York Times divulged the real motive behind the bombardment and invasion of Gaza. In Ethan Bronner's article, Israeli Vice Premier Haim Ramon said, "We need to reach a situation in which we do not allow Hamas to govern. That is the most important thing. If the war ends in a draw, as expected, and Israel refrains from reoccupying Gaza, Hamas will gain diplomatic recognition...No matter what you call it, Hamas will obtain legitimacy."...Full text
Thieves of Delhi
A B C D Chaida Mainu, Vadi Biddi Chaida Mainu
Oye Lucky Lucky Oye is about a real life superchor Devender alias Bunty, a compulsive thief whose niche was burglarizing independent bungalows in posh Delhi colonies. He is reported to have committed more than 500 burglaries, amounting to loot worth millions of rupees. From luxury cars to flower pots and cutlery, his range was truly eclectic. He was finally caught in 2002 after dodging different state police departments in the most creative ways possible. What director Dibakar Bannerji and his co-script writer Urmi Juvekar have done to this story of a real life character is to turn it into a much larger comment on the sleaziness of Delhi. While it is true that Delhi is often characterized as such, owing to its wheeler-dealer population of politicians and bureaucrats, the film’s originality lies in looking at this sleaziness from a non-bourgeois perspective. Far from seeing the whole package of corruption, kickbacks,.....Full text
Red Salute to Comrade Madhukar Katre
Comrade Madhukar Katre, President of Lal Nishan Party (L), passed away on 16 of January, 2009 in a hospital in Ahmednagar, Maharashtra. Born in Pune on 05.02.1927, Com. Katre joined the freedom movement even as a young schoolboy in Kolhapur....Full text
Alright, Mr Bush!