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BEYOND BOLLYWOOD

VIEWS: 32 PAGES: 6

									  BEYOND BOLLYWOOD
‘Development’ and People’s Resis-
         tance in India
by the International Campaign against War on the People types of work for life. While the government says it is solving
of India                                                the problem by reserving a certain percentage of jobs and
         All over the world, people are beginning to ask ques-      places in schools for dalits (also known as “untouchables”)
tions about the nature of India’s society and government, and       and other lower castes, today caste oppression continues to
about the war on the adivasis--the tribal peoples--that has         define social reality for Indians, especially in the rural areas.
been launched by that government, with strategic assistance                   Around 30% of the people are dalits, who are con-
from the US and Israel.                                             fined to jobs such as garbage collectors in the cities and ex-
         Most commentators admit that the Indian people             crement haulers in the villages. India’s reservation system
suffered greatly under British rule. But today, it is claimed,      has created a new dalit elite, but for the vast majority of the
India is on a path of rapid technical progress and develop-         dalits, life is still hell on earth.
ment; India has its own Silicon Valley, complete with high-                   Peasants/farmers: The dalits are the most oppressed
tech R&D and hundreds of call centers for everything from           among the farmers and peasants, who make up the majority
Amazon to Victoria’s Secret. New wealth is being created at         of India’s population. Indian farmers eke out a living on plots
a rapid rate, a large middle class is developing that is enjoying   that average ½ to 5 hectares depending on the state, hardly
shopping malls, multiplex cinemas and imported cars, and            enough to support a family but enough to feed a layer of usu-
much of this wealth is allegedly working its way down to the        rious bankers and moneylenders. One-third of the workers
villages and urban slums seen in Slumdog Millionaire.               in the countryside, or about 80 million people, are landless
        Largest Democracy in the World?                             laborers.
          The most common claim is that India is “the world’s                 Special Economic Zones: Some of the sharpest
largest democracy.” However, for the vast majority of the 1.2       struggles in recent years--including the successful mass
billion people who live in India living and working condi-          movements at Singur and Nandigram in West Bengal that
tions have not changed for the better from colonial times           stopped construction of a Tata auto plant and a huge foreign-
to the present. According to a 2008 study by the US Agency          owned petrochemical complex--have developed among
for International Development, three-quarters of the people         farmers and adivasis who are threatened with displacement
(836 million) live on less than $2 per day.                         by mining companies or by corporations operating out of
          Illiteracy is widespread in the countryside, where        more than 500 newly created Special Economic Zones.
more than half of the women cannot read or write and many                     These are more accurately known as Special Exploi-
children leave school to support their families. Notwith-           tation Zones, which ban strikes and labor unions, and are
standing its “socialist” pretensions, successive governments        run by development corporations that are not bound by In-
since independence in 1947 have failed to deliver free and          dian law. Tens of thousands of villagers in Orissa are fighting
compulsory education for children.The threat of starvation          against the capitalist “development” plans of POSCO, a US/
constantly hangs over the heads of millions.                        South Korean steel corporation, and Vedanta, a British com-
          Over the past 10 years, nearly 200,000 farmers have       pany, which will have devastating economic and ecological
committed suicide by drinking pesticide because they could          consequences for the indigenous Gondh people.
not keep up with demands to repay loans. In Andhra Pradesh                    Adivasis: Nearly 100 million adivasis live in the
and Karnataka, which were at the forefront of ‘modernisa-           forested areas of central and eastern India. They were never
tion’ of agriculture, farmers had been led to believe they          conquered by the British, or by the Aryans and Muslims be-
would benefit if they adopted a market-oriented approach.           fore them. The adivasis are not part of the caste system and
Capital intensive farming, requiring taking out loans for fer-      have collective customs that include equal participation of
tilizers, pesticides and reorienting to more water intensive        women in the workforce and political life. India has the sec-
crops, promised high prices and large returns --but the WTO         ond largest number of indigenous people after Mexico, and
regime of open markets meant depression in agricultural             they are covered by UN conventions on the rights of indig-
prices, and the impoverished farmers could not recover their        enous people.
costs.                                                                        The adivasis live in areas containing the richest natu-
          Dalits: India is a vast, diverse and extremely oppres-    ral resources in India. Most of India’s iron ore, bauxite and
sive society. It is claimed that India has ended the oppressive     coal come from Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Jharkhand and Andhra
caste system, which assigned everyone to a specific caste and       Pradesh. To paraphrase the well-known writer and activist
                                                                    Arundhati Roy, Indian and multinational capitalists think
that the adivasis are sitting on top of their minerals and de-     ing off development funds meant for adivasis, CPM leaders
priving them of deserved riches. These profit-addicted com-        and cadre have been driven out of the Lalgarh region. In
panies have already signed hundreds of MoUs (Memoranda             response, the Indian state has blanketed the Lalgarh region
of Understanding) with state governments to start mining           with paramilitaries and police. They have taken heavy ca-
and build steel, aluminum and other industries.                    sualties but have had little luck in finding the Maoists, who
         The adivasis, and the progressive and democratic          have widespread political support among the local people.
organisations that have been working among them for de-                      Political Repression: Complementing the military
cades in some areas, stand in the way of the capitalists’ elabo-   suppression in the Lalgarh region and other states by Opera-
rate plans to exploit these riches. One of these groups is the     tion Green Hunt, the central government and the states have
Communist Party of India (Maoist), which has set up par-           made it a crime (a political crime, that is) punishable by long
allel governments in many adivasi areas that organize col-         prison sentences to be a member of the Communist Party of
lective farming, agricultural research and development, ir-        India(Maoist). The government has also passed laws such as
rigation projects, and build schools, health centers and roads     the 2008 Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), under
with local materials. The Indian government has set out to de-     which anyone accused of contact with the Maoists can be kept
stroy these progressive political and social developments in the   in jail for 180 days without trial and bail. When held, trials
adivasi-inhabited regions in order to get at the minerals that     are held before a secret court with the identities of witnesses
are worth hundreds of billions of dollars/euros and trillions of   also kept secret. Such fascist laws have been a common fea-
Indian rupees.                                                     ture of “Indian democracy” throughout the post-indepen-
         Salwa Judum: The immediate precursor to the ma-           dence period.
jor military operation code named Operation Green Hunt                       The UAPA is being applied widely in West Bengal
was the formation of Salwa Judum (Purification Hunt) in            today, especially targeting Kolkata intellectuals and rights
2005. This government-armed private militia emptied 644            activists--some of whom who politically support the Mao-
Chhattisgarh villages of their inhabitants (allegedly Maoist       ists, and others who are falsely charged with being Maoist
supporters) and left adivasi villages in smoking ruins. This       supporters.
brutal military campaign killed thousands of villagers and                   Today, India’s prisons are filled with more than
scattered 300,000 of them throughout the region. The Salwa         100,000 political prisoners, including large numbers of Kash-
Judum forced nearly 50,000 adivasis into squalid concentra-        miris, Muslims, Northeast peoples and Maoists, living under
tion camps similar to the strategic hamlets that the US set up     squalid conditions that lead to early death. Such conditions,
in Vietnam in an unsuccessful attempt to separate the Viet-        including the denial of necessary medical care, recently led
namese people from the National Liberation Front.                  to the first casualty of the UAPA in Kolkata, the death of Swa-
         After five years of political mobilization through-       pan Dasgupta, editor of the Bengali edition of People’s March
out India--which included heavy fighting in Chhattisgarh           magazine.
between Special Police Forces/paramilitaries and the Mao-                    Muslims and Christians: India has the third largest
ists--the Salwa Judum forces have been beaten back. Accord-        population of Muslims in the world, or 160 million people.
ing to Gandhian Himanshu Kumar, who advocates for the              Muslims are significantly poorer than Hindus and live in
adivasis in south Chhattisgarh displaced by Salwa Judum,           urban ghettos and separate villages where they are periodi-
this campaign generated widespread anger and resentment            cally victimized by Hindu mobs animated by the chauvinist
among the adivasis.                                                ideology of Hindutva. The small Christian minority in India
         Lagarh Movement: In some ways, Operation Green            (most of whom are lower-caste Hindus who have converted
Hunt is a reaction by the Indian government to the defeat          to escape the caste system) also faces severe religious perse-
of Salwa Judum in Chhattisgarh and similar government-             cution with the rise of fundamentalist Hindu organisations.
backed militias in Bihar and other states. It is also a response             Women: Women in India are still married off by
to the following, startling events in the Lalgarh region of        their families irrespective of their wishes, and marriages of-
West Bengal.                                                       ten require large dowries. Though dowries were legally pro-
         Starting in November 2008, tens of thousands of           hibited in 1961, this payment in cash or in kind by the bride’s
adivasis organized in the People’s Committee against Po-           family to the bridegroom’s family is still practiced. Dowry
lice Atrocities rose up against the Communist Party of In-         abuse is a rising practice in India, particularly bride burning-
dia (Marxist), the misnamed capitalist party which is now          -murdering women whose dowries are not considered suf-
the dominant force in the “Left Front” government in West          ficient by their husbands or in-laws.
Bengal. This party, known as the CPM, first came to power                    Domestic battery and rape are endemic and rarely
about three decades back. Its reign started after a period of      punished by the notoriously venal, male-dominated police
political volatility during the late 1960s and early 1970s when    and courts. Women are kept out of many high-paying pro-
more than 18,000 Naxalite (Maoist) revolutionary activists         fessions and jobs.
were killed.                                                                 Kashmir and the Northeast states: India is a pris-
         After years of systemic police brutality, and siphon-     on house of nations. 700,000 Indian soldiers and paramili-
taries occupy the northern predominantly Muslim state of             site (www.icawpi.org) has over 200 articles categorized by
Kashmir. Since the partition of the British colony into India        News, Resistance, Analysis/Opinion and The Campaign,
and Pakistan in 1947, the Indian government has denied the           and is an invaluable resource for activists, educators and stu-
right of self-determination to the Kashmiri people, and it is        dents. ICAWPI organizers in many countries will be getting
currently trying to put down a new “intifada” led by stone-          the word out through speaking tours, educational forums,
throwing Kashmiri youth.                                             film showings and solidarity actions.
          In the small states in the Northeast (Assam,                        (2) Political Mobilization: Activists in Delhi and
Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Na-                  other Indian cities have organized marches, press confer-
galand and Tripura), the Indian military has been carrying           ences and forums against Operation Green Hunt. Turkish
out counter-insurgency operations aimed at suppressing na-           and Kurdish immigrants in Europe spearheaded half a dozen
tional liberation movements. Altogether 1/3 of the country           demonstrations condemning Operation Green Hunt at In-
is under military law and constitutional protections do not          dian embassies and consulates on February 5, 2010. Actions
apply there.                                                         took place in London (where 250 demonstrated), New York
          As one critic put it, unlike the United States and other   City and San Francisco on Indian Independence Day on Au-
big powers which have used their militaries in foreign impe-         gust 15, and an inspiring demonstration condemning Oper-
rialist ventures, “the Indian military has been used primarily       ation Green Hunt was called for and led by a radical peasant
against the Indian people: against Kashmiris, Nagas, Assa-           organization in Brazil.
mese, North-eastern peoples, Muslims, Dalits, Adivasis, or ...                In February 2010, when the Indian government was
Maoists.”                                                            making claims that the war was continuing only because
          Political Actors--not Victims: Another set of well         the Maoists insisted on fighting, Kishenji, a leader of the
propagated myths portray the people of India as victims who          CPI(Maoist), made a bold challenge to the Indian govern-
are not capable of standing up and fighting for their interests.     ment: Declare a 72 day cease-fire, cancel the MoUs between
India is presented in Western media as 5-star Delhi hotels           the states and the MNCs, stop the mass killings of adivasis,
and tourist sites--or as victims, images on fundraising post-        and start up negotiations over issues such as ending “en-
ers for charity-dependency projects.                                 counter killings” (assassinations of Maoists and suspected
          In fact, the Indian people have a long standing and        supporters), freeing tens of thousands of political prisoners
proud history of struggle, including revolutionary struggle.         being held in terrible conditions, and withdrawing military
In recent years, peasants, workers, dalits and adivasis have         and paramilitary forces from the seven states of Chhattis-
forged united communities, organizations and the neces-              garh, Orissa, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Maharastra and
sary political ideas to stand up to the powerful Indian state,       Andhra Pradesh where Operation Green Hunt is underway.
whose military is third in size only to China and the U.S.                    Many intellectuals and rights activists and organiza-
          These people’s communities and organizations need          tions came out publicly in support of this offer and attempted
our political understanding and support, not our charity--or         to break through the wall of silence in the mainstream media
even worse, pity. For the unprecedented internal military of-        about the actual terms of the Maoist offer.
fensive known as Operation Green Hunt, the Indian govern-                     Union Home Minister PC Chidambaram, the main
ment has mobilized over 200,000 soldiers, with helicopters,          architect of Operation Green Hunt (and a former lawyer for
surveillance drones and combat-hardened units from Kash-             Enron) took the only position he can, given the reality that
mir and Nagaland, to attack the areas in eastern and central         he is a political representative of the Indian ruling class and
India where the adivasis are best organized and the Maoist           the US/EU imperialists behind them. Chidambaram said
forces have their greatest strength.                                 that there can be no peace talks unless the Maoists “give up
          Since November 2009, when Operation Green Hunt             violence”--that is, disarm while the government is free to at-
was launched, the life and livelihood of the adivasis have           tack them and the adivasis and other sections of the people.
come under severe threat because of the military assault by          He did not say anything about the suspension of constitu-
the state. However, people in those regions are also resisting       tional freedoms in 1/3 of the country and the widespread use
the onslaught in large numbers.                                      of “encounter killings,” rape and torture in areas of conflict.
          This is where the International Campaign against           This is not acceptable to our campaign and to many political
the War on People in India comes in. The campaign was                forces in India, who are instead willing to take up the Maoists
launched in January 2010 by activists from India, Europe,            on their offer.
Latin America and the US to support the struggle of the peo-                  (3) Work in the Media: We need to break through
ple in the adivasi regions to resist and stop Operation Green        the media white-out about Operation Green Hunt and the
Hunt. We are undertaking work in several areas:                      people’s struggles in India against it, and to combat the lies
          (1) Education: We are putting out a variety of educa-      about the Maoist and other resistance movements. This work
tional materials about conditions in India, Operation Green          may include letters to the editor, op-ed pieces and broad dis-
Hunt and the people’s struggles in India. The ICAWPI web-            tribution of campaign materials in the progressive media,
particularly on the net.                                             are pointed at the poorest of India’s people.
         (4) Anti-Military Campaign: We hope to organize a                   Please join in the work of the campaign and spread
campaign to cut off arms sales, joint military exercises, and        the word about it to friends, family and co-workers--and
training in counter-insurgency by US, Israeli and other im-          around the world.
perialist militaries as long as the weapons of the Indian state
  Indian State’s War On People And The Assault On Democratic Voices
         In a public meeting organised by the Forum Against          sends armed forces to crush them.
War on People at the Gandhi Peace Foundation on 24th April                     Dr. B D Sharma, the former Commissioner of SC/
2010, various organisations and individuals unequivocally            STs, Govt. of India and ex-Vice Chancellor of North East-
demanded an immediate and unconditional stop to Opera-               ern Hills University, Shillong, who has been working among
tion Green Hunt and the plunder of people’s resources. Prof.         the adivasis of Bastar and other regions, noted that we must
Randhir Singh, prominent political thinker and former Head           change our perceptions of and attitude towards the adivasis.
of the Department of Political Science in University of Delhi,       We must not consider them as poor, ignorant and lacking
noted that “the present government has armed itself with all         in understanding. The adivasis are fighting for establishing
kinds of armed forces in its war against people. In many parts       their claim over common resources, for each and every inch
of the country the behaviour of the Indian state can only be         of their land against the marauding army of the government.
described as a terrorist state. Much has been made of the recent     After 1947, in the name of industrialisation and develop-
killing of 76 CRPF personnel in Dantewada. But what were             ment, the resources of the adivasis have been plundered con-
they doing in that place? Is it not to repress the people and take   tinuously. The Samata Judgment of the Supreme Court says
away their land and resources to make way for the big corpora-       that the government does not have the right to hand over
tions? People’s democratic verdict has been repeatedly flouted       adivasi land to the non-adivasis and corporations. But this
by the ruling classes. So the people need extra-parliamentary        judgment has been conveniently set aside by the government
sanctions to pursue the democratic aspirations of the people.        while concluding hundreds of MoUs with foreign and Indian
Without extra-parliamentary sanction to defend, the people           companies. Dr. Sharma quoted the President of India, who
will not be able to fight for democracy. What is happening in        said that, “Let this not be known to the future generations that
this country is part of a much larger story unfolding. Whether       the edifice of the Republic of India was built on the blood and
it is Congress or BJP, they are part of furthering the neo-liberal   sweat of the adivasis.”
capitalist path of development. In contrast, the people’s alterna-             The meeting also raised its opposition to the wars
tive path of development has to be pursued and struggled for.”       waged by the Indian state on the people of Kashmir and
         Badshah Mandi from Jangalmahal (Lalgarh) in his             the North East. Malem of Committee for the Protection of
speech stated that “Police is resorting to indiscriminate fir-       Democracy, Manipur (CPDM) said, “We have been raising
ing, torture, imprisonment and killing of the people of Lalgarh.     our voice against the Indian state’s war on people for a long
Rape and torture is being used, people’s health centers built by     time. The people’s struggle for freedom in Kashmir, Manipur,
the PCPA have been occupied by the paramilitary forces, the          Nagalim, Asom and other places against the state is going on
medicines have been taken away. Lalgarh has created an al-           for many decades. The people’s democratic aspiration for free-
ternative to the governments run by the CPM, UPA or NDA,             dom is being crushed by the brutal armed forces of the Indian
since the development policy of these governments is nothing         state violently. These struggles can never be crushed by military
but the policy of genocide. The sufferings of the adivasi people     means. The military offensive waged by the Indian state must
are the result of these government’s policies. The people of this    be immediately stopped.” Prof. Jagmohan the nephew of Sha-
country are suffering from state violence for more than last 60      heed Bhagat Singh pointed out that this war of the people
years. The question of violence should not be reduced to armed       against the anti-people policies against the anti-people char-
struggle alone; the question is much deeper. The struggle is not     acter of the Indian government has reached Delhi through
between the Maoists and the paramilitary forces, but between         Kashmir, North East and the rest of the country as people
the people and the Indian govt., between the ‘development’           have risen in revolt. The disparities between the rich and the
polices of the government and people’s alternative develop-          poor have become so intense and sharp that the genuine an-
ment.” Aparna of the CPIML (New Democracy), gave more                ger of the people cannot be held back for long.
instances of atrocities on the people’s struggles all over the                 Varvara Rao, the revolutionary poet reminded the
country in the name of fighting Naxalism/Maoism. People              audience of the violation of its constitutional obligations
fighting for even their constitutionally mandated rights in          by the government. He said that the Naxalites have always
Kosambi and Ghoorpur in Uttar Pradesh, Kalinganagar, Na-             showed keenness from 1987 till today to sit for talks with
rayanpatna, Jagat Singhpur and Niyamgiri in Orissa are fac-          the government to address people’s basic issues like land, ir-
ing the brunt of this war on people. When people raise their         rigation, education and health. But the government’s policies
voices against government’s pro-corporate policies, the gov-         have failed to address the problems faced by the oppressed
ernment led by the Union Home Minister P Chidambaram                 sections of the society. In comparison, the Naxalites/Maoists
have established a pro-people alternative model of develop-         rations in the adivasi regions be immediately scrapped, the
ment. In Dandakaranya region, the Naxalites have distrib-           grievances and issues of the people be addressed and settled
uted lakhs of acres of land to the landless peasants, created       politically and not militarily. The government’s increasing
alternative forms of agriculture and irrigation, healthcare         practice of crushing democratic dissent and branding of
and education. Naxalites are fighting with the masses and for       people’s organisations and civil rights activists as Maoist/
the masses, unlike Chidambaram and others who are sitting           Naxalite sympathisers was also condemned. The gathering
in ivory towers and sending paramilitary forces to the adivasi      demanded that an immediate stop be put to such intimida-
areas. Now the Indian government is waging a war to crush           tory tactics.
this alternative form of development following the ‘Andhra                   The following Resolution was passed in the Public
model’. None, including those who differs with the Naxalites/       Meeting:
Maoists, do not support the structural violence perpetuated                  A barbaric, bloody and unprecedented war has been
by the Indian government. When the question of justice to           let loose by the central government against the common peo-
the people has been firmly put on the agenda by the Maoists,        ple of India. Paramilitary forces, helicopters, are already in
the absurd and unheard-of condition of ‘abjuring violence’          operation against the people; the government is now actively
has been forwarded by Chidambaram. When Chidambaram                 preparing to use military under the name of ‘special force’,
offered to resign, BJP on one hand and CPM on the other,            Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), etc. Successive govern-
said that we are with you. This shows the bankruptcy of the         ments of India have anyway been at war with the people of
parliamentary parties in India today. Talks must take place         Kashmr and the North East for decades; now the attack is
immediately, but it should take place on the question of jus-       engulfing all parts of the country. In various garbs and in
tice and not on violence.[...]                                      various names all forms of people’s struggles, all struggles in
         Arundhati Roy asked, is the government ready for           defense of land, of mineral resources, for defense of demo-
talks? The government is claiming that it is ready for talks,       cratic rights are the targets of the government.
only the Naxalites are not interested. However the reality is                The objective of this unprecedented armed offensive
that the government badly needs war, not peace. The money           against the people is to crush all forms of struggle and revo-
generated by the mining industry can buy off the govern-            lutionary movements so as to clear the way for giant MNCs
ment, the political parties, the judiciary, everything. This war    and big corporates with whom hundreds of MoUs have to
is waged by Mr. Chidambaram on behalf of them. Who are              be signed by the government. This ongoing war is leaving
the Maoists? They are the malnourished, hungry and pover-           a trail of devastation and death. Adivasis in scores of vil-
ty-stricken adivasis going through an acute struggle for sur-       lages in Chhattisgarh have been killed, democratic voices
vival. The government is using two guns to repress the people:      are under attack. Swapan Das Gupta, the editor of Bangla
‘development’ and the media. The government is confident            People’s March and arrested under UAPA died in custody on
that similar to Telangana, Mizoram, Nagaland, Manipur or            2nd February 2010. Lalmohan Tudu, president of PCPA was
Kashmir, it will be able to crush the ongoing movements of          picked up and shot dead by the paramilitary forces on 23rd
the adivasis as well. But the government needs to be remind-        February 2010. General terror on the fighting people of Lal-
ed that it has got embroiled in wars in Kashmir and North           garh is ever increasing. On 20th November 2009, Wadeka
East like the USA has got entrapped in Afghanistan and Iraq.        Singana, the President of CMAS in Narayanpatna was shot
We are saddened by the death of CRPF personnel. But what            dead by the police. Two leaders associated with the struggle,
of those adivasis who were brutally massacred by the gov-           Gananath Patra and Tapan Mallick have been arrested on
ernment’s armed forces in places like Gompad? It is simply          trumped up charges. In Kalinga Nagar, 28 platoons of the
possible for the government to kill of all the Maoists. Will the    police moved against the struggle of Visthapan Virodhi Jan
people be killed for dreaming of justice? There needs to be         Manch, and 16 adivasis were injured in police firing on 30th
talks, but it is going to be difficult unless pressure is exerted   March 2010. The police is continuing its atrocities. In three
by all of us on the government to sit for negotiations. We          districts near Allahabad in UP, no mass activity is allowed
must demand that there has to be an immediate cease-fire.           declaring these areas as ‘Naxalite infested’. 17 leaders of AIK-
Operation Green Hunt must be stopped immediately. The               MS stand arrested under the Gangster Act. Over 450 peasant
MoUs must be scrapped. The lakhs of adivasis displaced by           leaders in Punjab were arrested to prevent joining a peasant
the war and by the mining projects must be rehabilitated.           demonstration on 25th March 2010. Thousands are in jail
         Apart from the above, the public meeting was also          and are being tortured for allegedly being Naxalite/ Maoist
addressed by speakers representing many organisations, in-          sympathisers. People’s organisations and their activists have
cluding PUDR, Jan Hastakshep, and also by prominent ac-             been falsely implicated by the government.
tivists and intellectuals. The meeting reaffirmed the demand                 Stop war on people, stop Operation Green Hunt,
that Operation Green Hunt be immediately stopped, all               and hold dialogues with the organisations of the struggling
armed forces (special police, paramilitary, etc) be immedi-         masses of India!
ately withdrawn, the MoUs concluded with various corpo-
         In India, Forests Grow With Naxal People’s War
A new report has stunned and embarrassed imperialism               the Naxalite movement involving over 100,000 troops. Since
and Indian compradors: forests are growing in tribal areas         2005, the Indian state has funded anti-Naxal militias. The
controlled by Naxalites, India’s Maoist-inspired revolution-       Indian media has also launched a public relations offensive
aries. Some of the districts in which the Naxalites are based,     against the revolutionaries. The Naxals are often called crim-
Orissa, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, have seen remarkable           inals and murderers. Rather than fighting for social welfare,
greening, leading to a marginal net gain of forests through-       the Indian state claims the Naxals seek political power.
out India. Though it has received little media attention, the               For their part, the Naxals openly state they desire
news came shortly before world leaders met in Copenhagen,          political power, saying they cannot reasonably implement
purportedly to discuss curbing global climate change.              necessary social changes without it. They say they have
         Naxalites claim they are fighting for the economic        been pushed to this position from decades of exploitation
and social rights of India’s poorest. Their social base is the     and state violence and claim their own violence is defensive,
country’s peasants, forest-dwelling peoples and, to a lesser       aimed at compradors, government forces and other enemies
extend, the urban poor and sections of the intelligentsia. The     of the people. It is estimated that 42 percent of Indians cur-
Naxalite movement began as a peasant insurrection in 1967          rently live under the international poverty line of $1.25/day
against the ruling ‘Communist’ Party of India in West Bengal.      (PPP).
It was led by leftist opposition within the Party, influenced by            Imperialism has nothing to offer but its own wretch-
Maoism, then at its revolutionary height during the Great          ed self-preservation. The comprador Indian state has been
Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Today, Naxalites operate in       adamant. India’s poor will suffer deepened and widened ex-
over one-third of Indian and are organized into a number of        ploitation, continued division and sale of communal lands,
groups. They claim to be carrying out a people’s war: lead-        the building of more ‘Special Economic Zones’ and the
ing guerrilla offensives against government forces, building       militarism necessary to enforce these measures. At the same
independent bases of power and providing greatly-needed            time, in Copenhagen, imperialists haggle over who’s going to
social reforms in areas under their control. Naxal base ar-        profit from the devastating climate change they acknowledge
eas are said to be rich in iron, coal, bauxite, gold, uranium,     they’re creating.
magnesium and diamonds. Mining Companies are reluctant                      Imperialism breeds resistance. The Indian Naxalites
to enter these areas and it has been reported the investors        are fighting for a system which operates around the needs of
have been scared away in areas where the Naxal presence has        people, not capital accumulation. It should be of no surprise
increased.                                                         that areas under their influence have seen growth in forest
         The Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, has            coverings. Revolutionary struggle and social change, as the
called Naxalism the country’s greatest internal security           Naxalites are attempting carrying out in swaths of India, are
threat. In September of 2009, the Indian state launched Op-        the only real solutions to global climate change.
eration Green Hunt, a five-year military offensive against


This information was distributed by the Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist
Movement (RAIM). For more info on RAIM, visit www.antiimperialism.
wordpress.com. For more information on the Indian people’s struggles
and the International Campiagn Against War on the People in India, visit
                            www.icawpi.org

								
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