From: Newry, Co. Down, N. Ireland
Please find enclosed my subscription to Revolutionary Democracy.
At this time, when the USA is nakedly displaying its imperialist aggression against the neo-colonial state of Iraq, it was never more important that a solidly Marxist-Leninist journal should be published, and distributed as widely as possible.
It is the task of Communists everywhere to channel in particular the progressive, democratic, and anti -imperialist sentiments of tens of millions of especially youth, but not forgetting older people, working-class trades unionists etc. Let us lead them all into politics which will not only challenge capitalist imperialism, but will defeat it - the politics of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, and Enver Hoxha! That is the task of Revolutionary Democracy, and its supporters.
Eddie Mc Keown.
From: Leningrad, Russia
On February 22 President of the Trade-Union Committee of ‘Zashita’ (‘Defence’) of the Open Action’s Society ‘Mine ‘Vargashorskaya’’ Konstantin Pimenov was beaten badly. It was at 2100, when Konstantin Pimenov had gone home from his job. Bandits have used steel pipes. Now our comrade’s life is not in danger but, however, he has to recover his health after wounds that he has received a long time.
Apparently this beastly action is a result of Konstantin participating as a candidate to deputy for the election to the State Council of the Komy Republic. The authorities and bosses have decided take away the candidate who isn’t pleasant for them but has all chances that he will be a deputy from workers.
The Executive Committee of the Association of the Workers’ Trade-unions (AWT) ‘Defence of Labour’ asks all comrades to send their telegrams and faxes to the Prosecutor’s Office of the Komy Republic with demands to register this crime and find out who are guilty.
The address of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Komy Republic: 167010, Russia, Syktyvkar, Pushkina street, dom 23. Phone-fax: (8212) 24-44-26.
It is possible send copies of your telegrams and faxes to the address of AWT ‘Defence of Labour’, phone-fax (095) 292-89-06; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
From: Imphal, Manipur
Miss Irom Sharmila of Manipur has been on hunger strike for over two years. Her hunger strike was an immediate response to the Malom incident of 2 November 2000 when ten civilians were killed in indiscriminate firing by Assam Rifles troops following a bomb attack on their convoy at Malom in Imphal. Besides, at least 42 persons, including four women, were reported hospitalized after they were brutally assaulted by the Assam Rifles during combing operation after the bomb explosion. Sharmila, one of the social workers and women human rights defenders in Manipur, resolved to carry on the hunger strike even at the cost of her own life until and unless the Government repeals the controversial Armed Forces Special Power Act (of 1958) from Manipur. That she is determined to fight for the restoration of civil liberties and democratic rights of the people in Manipur is revealed in her writings. She once wrote, ‘ A woman is the beginning and the end. Women can raise into better a fallen community.’ The political manoeuvring by the State in suppressing and harassing human right defenders in Manipur was once again exposed when Sharmila was arrested on 5 November (on the third day of her hunger strike) by the police on charges of attempted suicide. Since that day she is being detained in the Sajiwa Jail in Imphal. On 23 November 2002 local Meira-Paibee (Torch-bearers) women volunteers saved her youngest brother from being beaten up by a police team in their attempt to arrest any family member of Sharmila. Sharmila is being forcibly nasal fed in judicial custody for more than two years. There is no attempt by the Government to fulfil her demand or release her by withdrawing the false charges against her so that she could lead a normal life. The worst of the political games is that the state is distancing itself from the public issue raised by Sharmila. Her request to grant her permission to meet the Chief Minister to discuss the Armed Forces Special Power Act issue was turned down by the judge sitting in the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate on 25 July 2002. She was allowed to meet the Chief Minister for the first time in August 2002 only. One of her intimate friends wrote in September last year: ‘At present the security personnel of the Criminal Investigation Department are guarding the private ward of Sharmila in the Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital. One is allowed to meet her only by obtaining special written permission from the Superintendent of Police, Inspector-General of Police and so on. However, it is difficult to obtain such permission. The media is not in a position to publish anything about her situation since they are not allowed to meet or interview her. People express their opinions about her in articles which are sometimes published in the newspapers. Sharmila is determined to carry on the hunger strike till death unless her demand is fulfilled. When she came out of the jail recently (in August) she was allowed to meet the Chief Minister after three days. A police team was commissioned to observe her health. Following that the police arrested her again one night and she was taken to the Jawarharlal Nehru Hospital where she was forcibly nasal fed. It was an attempt to make her regain her strength. However, her blood appears no longer pure. She looks pale and much underweight. She is very weak now. The police kept her medical report as confidential. The media and the people really don’t know what is going on with her. People always do support her hunger strike. However, we are helpless. We can only wait and watch her last breath. The Government is still not serious enough to repeal the Black Law.’
Ashim Roy needs to be congratulated for his well thought out analytical piece on the Gujarat genocide, published in the September 2002 issue of Revolutionary Democracy. He has succinctly summed up the process in the first few paragraphs, the only modification one would like to make is that the groups/persons who instigated and directed the pogrom cannot be called ‘representatives of the dominant hindu community’, because, as yet, the ideology behind the pogrom cannot be said to be the ideology of the hindu community as a whole.
However, there are certain points that one would have liked to be elaborated and I mention them below:
Roy mentions (p. 5) that the structure of the working class under the prevailing caste structure impedes the organising ability of the working class where workers from non-socially oppressed communities dominate the trade union movement. What I understand from this is that the trade union movement has not been able to create a leadership from the lower castes. But is this correct? Perhaps he can elaborate here.
He talks of the rise of a provincial bourgeoisie in Gujarat, (p. 8), originating from the Patel/patidar community and the communalisation of this bourgeoisie, (p. 10). In the current context will the rise of such bourgeoisies in the other nationalities that constitute the Indian union, always be towards a reactionary/communal/fascist character? Does it mean that the progressive nature of these nationalist bourgeoisies is over?
While Roy mentions the commonality of interests between the provincial bourgeoisie and the big bourgeoisie (p. 12) and specifies the main interests of the big bourgeoisie, could he elaborate on the non-rural economic interests of the provincial bourgeoisie and from this their contradictions against the big bourgeoisie? And while there are contradictions today, can the author elaborate on some of the issues that can nullify the contradictions?
Roy talks about US imperialism being the driving force behind Indian fascism and there are no two opinions about this. But I think he is giving undue credence to EU imperialism, by saying that it is for regional peace, strengthening and transparency of the market mechanism and the stability of multi-party democracy. However, this contradiction between the two imperialist groupings have to be seen in a twiddledum-twiddledee role since certain forces of the EU have taken a very reactionary role in contributing to the break-up of the multi-national Yugoslavia and in the creating and supporting of fascist type forces in the Balkans.
Finally, again there is no disagreement about the Congress sharing with the BJP a local communal space and the bourgeois media has already begun to succinctly label the Congress’s role as ‘soft hindutva’. But I disagree with the concept (p. 17, last lines) that the national leadership of the Congress is making, or attempting a reluctant shift towards secularism. From a revolutionary perspective, the role of the national leadership of the Congress today, is not a struggle against, but one of objective support of the drive towards fascism by the BJP.
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