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Saturday, October 27, 2007


Truth Matters

By Charles Sullivan

26 October, 2007

I have been writing political essays for a few years now. I do so as a reluctant enthusiast, not because I wanted to write on these themes; but because, it seemed to me, that professional journalists were not telling the whole story; that significant parts that would allow people to connect the dots and understand what is happening from a historical perspective, was being deliberately omitted from the official version of current events, and from history.

As propaganda, the elements that are deliberately left out of media are as important as those that are retained. It is propaganda by omission, as much as by content. What people are not told shapes their world view and influences their behavior, as surely as what they are told. Imposed ignorance and selective knowledge go hand in hand to forge public opinion and to shape cultural identity. These conditions set the stage for belligerent government and aggressive nationalism.

It is not coincidental that professional journalists, those who write
for profit in the mainstream media, are the least likely to tell us the
truth, the whole truth; whereas, free-lance writers, who operate under a different set of rules and out of the mainstream, are more likely to serve the public interest, and tell us what we need to know in order to be a free people, and good world citizens.

Professional journalists are beholden to a code of ethics and personal conduct that free-lance writers are not. Namely, they are part of a fraternity, a part of the cultural orthodoxy, with an incentive in maintaining the established order. The incentive is always financial and professional, and involves creating the acceptance and trust of those in power, which may, when properly executed, even result in the celebrity status of the journalist.

Journalists who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo or advancing their careers do not operate in the public interest. Their purpose is not to inform but to deceive.

When a major news anchor reports upon the invasion and occupation of sovereign nations, uncritically putting forth pentagon propaganda as justification for the attack, he or she is in essence acting in the manner of a celebrity athlete endorsing a product. The basketball star may endorse Nike sneakers, manufactured by indentured servants in foreign sweatshops; while the news anchor is endorsing war and disaster capitalism projected around the world by Lockheed Martin and the Carlyle Group. Both are prostitutes.

Mainstream corporate journalism is not about speaking truth to power, it is about selling products and perceptions. It is about creating a culture of ignorant consumers incapable of distinguishing between propaganda and news, fact and fiction.

This is marketing and perception management masquerading as unbiased, objecting reporting. I call it the big lie.

If the mainstream journalist wants to prosper, if they want to have
access to the inner circles of power, they must play the game according to the established rules. They must toe the corporate line, and provide cover for the corporate assault on human freedoms, and the conquest of nature, while keeping hidden agendas concealed from public view. Journalists must be able to sell widely objectionable concepts to the people, packaged in the garments of seductive—often patriotic language, in order to make them palatable.

How many soldiers, outside of those under the private contracts of firms like Blackwater, would voluntarily stake their lives for corporate profits, and the subjugation of a sovereign people, if they knew that is what they are really fighting for, rather than the more popular and desirable goal of freedom or democracy?

Freedom, liberation, and democracy have never been corporate objectives; nor can they ever be the objective of corporate governance. They are only selling points that conceal hidden corporate agendas; the attractive packaging for war, occupation, and privatization, obtained at pubic expense.

If news stories are not believable to the multitudes, if they fail to
garner popular support by masking corporate agendas behind deceptive language, the majority of governmental polices and private agendas could not be enacted. If the people knew what was being done in their name, and who is profiting from those policies, there might be widespread opposition and even social upheaval. It would be difficult to field a voluntary military that knows it is fighting for the bottom line of Halliburton, Bechtel, and Lockheed Martin, rather than for freedom and democracy, as they are told.

Thus those who would serve in the military as self-ordained patriots are sold a bill of goods. By invading and occupying Iraq, they are, in effect, undermining the very principles they claim to hold sacred, including those set forth in the Constitution and the preamble to the Declaration of Independence. Likewise, the average US citizen is sold a similar bill of goods in order to garner support for policies they would, presumably, never voluntarily sustain, if they understood them better.

That is the genius of modern capitalism and its impressive marketing apparatus. The results have been breathtaking.

Skillful perception management always precedes empire. Well presented propaganda allows history to be presented as a kind of fairy tale that ignores the horrible things the government has always done in our name, at the behest of corporate America and our wealthiest citizens, which should be too well known to bear reiteration here.

In our capitalist culture, journalism must not be thought of as a
reporting of facts, but as marketing propaganda—the selling of ideas that might not otherwise be embraced by those who must carry out hidden agendas, or the people on the receiving end of them. Seen in this way, the US soldier and the Iraqi citizen are both pawns in a rich man’s game: the former as the implementer of unjust war and occupation, the other as the unwilling recipient of them.

The end result for both soldier and Iraqi citizen is tragic: the soldier is told that he or she is protecting their country from foreign threats, something that is patently false; while the innocent Iraqi citizen, defending his or her home from foreign occupation, knows that she or he is not a terrorist, but is treated like one, nevertheless.

Both occupier and the occupied share a common foe, but it is not each other; it is the criminals, aided and abetted by the corporate media, who put them in formal opposition to one another for financial gain.

Our recent history would have been impossible without the consolidation of the media that occurred during the Clinton presidency, and has continued ever since. The entire spectra of mainstream media are now under the control of only four or five corporations. We no longer have reporting on local issues stemming from diverse perspectives rooted in local communities, but a monoculture of state and corporate propaganda that betrays the public trust in its pursuit of corporate profits.

Aided by the president and congress, the public owned airwaves were hijacked and are being used against the people by giant multinational corporations.

The result of this media monoculture, as purveyed by the likes of Judith Miller and Tom Brokaw, and countless others, is tragic. And they represent only the tip of the mainstream iceberg. Think of the horrible and shameless lies, the baseless fear and hate that are continuously voiced by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, and the hateful broadcasts that emanate from Bob Jones University, masquerading as Christian theology.

Corporate media is the vanguard of empire and environmental destruction on a global scale.

Unlike its corporate counterpart, reporting truth requires people of
unassailable integrity. It requires a thirst for justice with the strength of character to oppose the powerful undertow of manufactured perception and conformity, and the seductive language created to execute the hidden agendas of corrupt governments. Uncovering truth requires commitment to the people, rather than to profit driven corporate agendas.

Only a handful of professional journalists have attained the kind of
stature that makes such reportage possible in the United States. Their names are not at all well known, with the possible exception of Seymour Hersch, Robert Fisk, Bill Moyers and Greg Palast.

More often than not, that responsibility falls on the shoulders of
independent journalists and unpaid free-lancers. The professional
journalist must answer to his/her boss, and portray the corporation that employs them in a favorable light, even if they are profiting from unprovoked war and occupation. In contrast, the free-lancer is bound only by the constraints of conscience, imagination, and ability.

Occasionally, an astonished responder to one of my more poignant essays will tell me that I should forward the piece to the New York Times: to NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News, or even the BBC. I never have.

It would be hard for me to imagine any corporation undermining its own profitability by exposing its hidden agendas, and denouncing itself as a commissioner of murder and mayhem, motivated by insatiable greed and a lust for wealth and power that would astonish even the staunchest mafia don. Don’t hold your breath waiting for it to happen! Snowballs in hell have a better chance.

Its not that free-lancers like me wouldn’t like to get paid for what we do; it’s that our views do not enhance the bottom line of corporate giants and, in many cases, actually undermine them. Thus it behooves the professional journalist and the corporate media to ignore or discredit us as purveyors of truth and seekers of justice.

Soon it will be an act of sedition to speak truth in this country. Yet,
truth will continue to exist, despite all attempts to destroy it.

Whether they admit it or not, virtually all of the best known
journalists in the US subscribe to the racist and sexist ideologies of American exceptionalism and manifest destiny, and they go to great lengths to advance these ideas, by presenting them as something other than what they really are. Slight of hand is the rule of mainstream journalism, not the exception.

Conversely, by serving the people, free-lance journalists are, of
necessity, undermining the corporate agenda. Thus they are treated as enemies of the state, which has become indistinguishable from the corporation itself. We live in a culture where one cannot value truth and carry forth corporate agendas. Truth is the enemy of empire.

This might also explain why so many unembedded journalists have been deliberately killed in Iraq and the Gaza strip by US and Israeli snipers. The world must not know what the occupiers do, or the propaganda veneer may no longer have its intended effect on the consumers of media.

Speaking truth to power, especially corrupt power, is dangerous
business— particularly in war zones and fascist states, like the one evolving in the US.

Corporate media is the vanguard of colonialism and imperialist policy. It plays a key role in preparing the public mind for imperialist wars and occupations and their subsequent puppet governments; it also serves the emerging police state at home that erodes our freedoms, until there is nothing left of them.

Yet, occasionally, even in this artificially constructed myth loving
culture, truth wins out simply because someone cares enough to tell it like it is, without sugar coating. Truth matters; and that is—and always will be—of primal importance to some people. Let future historical records show that there was opposition to what was being done in our name, that there were people willing to speak truth to power, to stem the evil tide by standing up for justice, cost what it may.

Future historians of the dominant culture are likely to cast these
accounts into the memory hole and pretend that they never existed, carrying forth the myth that the people were always united behind the injustice and tyranny of our time. We saw this in Nazi Germany in the buildup to World War Two, and we are seeing it now in the US.

But a culture that does not value truth and justice is not worth
preserving. Such cultures will self destruct and implode upon
themselves; the world will eventually unite against them and bring them down. All of the military might in the world, all the subterfuge, is not powerful enough to overcome simple truth.

Any individual who values truth more than lies, who keeps truth alive in his or her heart, despite all efforts to dislodge it from its ethical moorings, is more powerful than even the most advanced weapons systems. Truth emerges unscathed from the rubble of fallen empire as immutable as an inviolable law of nature. Nothing can bring it down because it is real.

If we are to evolve into a justice loving people, truth must become our moral foundation, the basis of our existence as a people. Truth and justice are inseparable partners on the road to liberation from tyranny and fascism.

Concord’s greatest citizen, the poet-philosopher, Henry D. Thoreau, summed it up well: “The one great rule of composition…is to speak the truth. This first, this second, this third; pebbles in your mouth or not.” Perhaps more than anything, that simplistic ability to speak plain truth, and in all languages, is what I most admire about Thoreau. There is much to admire and respect in a man who spoke in those terms, and lived by that simple credo.

Truth is simple and uncomplicated, whereas lies and distortions are complex. Truth stands strong and unwavering without artificial support; lies and propaganda require elaborate schemes and constant propping up, the mask of deception.

More of us must learn the language of truth; we must be its faithful
guardians, if we are to be valuable citizens in this world, rather than the useful idiots of empire. By holding truth and justice in the highest regard, we demonstrate that another world is not only possible, but highly probable.

As voracious consumers of media, we must be as careful about what we admit into our minds, as the food we put into our bodies. Food can nourish and sustain us, or it can produce disease and decay. And so it is with media.

To date, we have not been very discriminate, and the result is that we have become a culture of the mentally obese, fed on junk media. Our minds, our souls, have been deliberately poisoned; our perceptions twisted and distorted, our humanity abandoned to the quest for profits and power.

We must purge our minds of junk media and replace it with something more nutritious, if we favor health over disease. Peace is not possible without two essential ingredients: truth and justice. Neither is possible in the absence of the other. We must live as if truth still matters.

Charles Sullivan is a nature photographer, free-lance writer, and
community activist residing in the Ridge and Valley Province of
geopolitical West Virginia. He welcomes your comments at


Vilifying Islam

By Ida Audeh

23 October, 2007

"Islamofascism," an emotionally loaded but meaningless
term, has been used with numbing frequency by
politicians and commentators who are eager to take the
"war on terror" to one Muslim country after another.

Fascism, an authoritarian ideology that places nation
(and often race) above the individual, is
characterized by the presence of a dictatorial leader,
severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible
suppression of opposition. These criteria are not met
by any Islamist movement (or Arab government, for that
matter). Even al-Qaida doesn't resemble what we think
of as a fascist movement (e.g., Franco's Spain or
Mussolini's Italy); it lacks the nationalist and
racial dimension, and its targets are for the most
part the nationals of countries that are attacking
Arab or Muslim countries -- not quite the same thing
as forcibly suppressing (domestic) opposition.

In fact, referring to Islam as a single entity is
inaccurate. It is a religion believed in by hundreds
of millions of people around the planet, and it is
broad enough to encompass hundreds of currents and
points of view. A monolithic Islam or Muslim point of
view does not exist.

Not surprisingly, the most incessant warnings of
potential Islamofascists lurking around every corner
tend to come from neoconservatives who are staunch
supporters of Israel and who advocate wars against
Arab and Muslim countries in part to advance what they
refer to as Israel's security.

The list of proponents (by no means exhaustive)
includes David Horowitz, founder of Students for
Academic Freedom (a group that monitors the political
leanings of academics and claims that professors treat
conservative students unfairly) and editor of the
conservative pro-Israel Web site FrontPage Magazine;
neoconservative Frank Gaffney, founder and president
of the think tank Center for Security Policy; one-time
CIA Director James Woolsey, who is a member of the
Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP)
Board of Advisors and has called for the bombing of
Syria; defeated Senator Rick Santorum, who now as
program director of the Ethics and Public Policy
Center promotes the theme that America is slumbering
while "Islamic fascism" gathers steam; Eliot Cohen, a
neoconservative advisor to US Secretary of State
Condoleeza Rice who began advocating war against Iraq
soon after the 9-11 attacks despite the lack of a
connection between that country and the attack; and
columnist Clifford May, who warns of "jihadists" and
"Muslim supremacists" on the warpath.

Pro-Israel advocates lead the vilification campaign
against Islam and Arabs -- as a people, a
civilization, and a culture. They would have us
believe that Muslims around the world pose a threat to
the United States and that their ultimate goal is to
impose Islamic law on the western world -- a gutsy
line of attack to take at a time when Muslims are
being killed in record numbers in Afghanistan, Iraq,
Lebanon, and the occupied Palestinian territories.

And now these same feverish minds have formalized
their obsessions and taken them to college campuses
around the country. The vilification campaign, labeled
Islamofascism Awareness Week (22 -26 October) and
spearheaded by Horowitz, includes on its roster of
speakers well-known vilifiers of Arabs and Islam. In
addition to Horowitz and Santorum, there is Daniel
Pipes, founder of Campus Watch (another watchdog group
that has dossiers on faculty who are the least bit
critical of Israel and its policies) and a virulent
attacker not only of what he chooses to define as
"radical Islam" but also of American Muslims, whose
affluence, stature, and enfranchisement he views as
threatening. Pipes is leading the attack against an
Arabic language bilingual school in Brooklyn on the
grounds that teaching Arabic leads to teaching Islam
and pan-Arabism, which are dangerous to US students.
Another "expert" speaker is Robert Spencer, director
of Jihad Watch (a program of the David Horowitz
Freedom Center) and author of several Islam-bashing

The threat to the US does not come from Islam or from
Muslims but rather from increasingly criminal US
policies, advanced by the war hawks in government,
think tanks, and in the media. Our lawless, unprovoked
pummeling of Iraq appalls the world: 100,000 Iraqis
killed in the first Gulf war, 1 million through the
medieval-type sanctions that the US engineered, and
about 1,083,000 Iraqis since the 2003 invasion
( antiwar.com estimate). The same cheerleaders of the
Iraq war are urging a US attack on Iran (an item high
on Israel's agenda). A campaign has been underway to
demonize Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, and
sanctions are being threatened. The pattern is
sickeningly familiar.

When a religion is vilified, those who believe in it
can be disposed of without creating a domestic uproar.
That seems to be the real purpose for using the
Islamofascist label. We must reject the bogus excuses
given by the US government to wage perpetual war on
third-world nations for the sole purpose of securing
US and Israeli hegemony over the region.

Ida Audeh is a Palestinian who grew up in the West
Bank and now works as an editor in Boulder, CO. She
can be reached at idaaudeh@yahoo.com

End The Double Standard

Excerpted From An Article By Irfan Engineer In Secular Perspective
"In Coimbatore as well as in Mumbai, the police and
the politicians showed extraordinary zeal in bringing the guilty of the
bombings to justice and utterly failed and neglected their constitutional
duty to bringing the guilty of communal riots to justice. This establishes a
sort of pattern. The right wing Hindu organizations could target minorities
with impunity and some of the communalized police officers could also join
the right wing Hindu organizations without fearing any reprisals or action
against them. If some hot headed Muslim youth or victims of communal riots
wrongly decided to "avenge" the riots by violent means like bombings,
targeting innocent persons of Hindu community, they would be quickly brought
to justice and the police would act overzealously in marshalling all the
evidence to convict those guilty of the violent and criminal acts undertaken
by some members of minority community.

The only way to break this spiral of violence is for the state to intervene
in enforce law without impartially and take action mandated by law against
the guilty of bombings as well as communal violence or any hate crime
committed by member any community, sect or group or professing any identity".

Irfan Engineer
Director, Institute of Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution,
603, Silver Star, Next to Omkar Building, Near Railway Bridge, Prbhat
Colony, Santacruz (E), Mumbai, India. PIN: 400055.
Tel: (Off) +91-22-26149668;
(Cell) +91-9869462833
(fax) +91-11-6100712
e-mail: irfan...@hotmail.com

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Left Rule Wedded To Bigotry (In Defence Of Family And Culture?)

The death of Rizwanur Rehman and 30 years of `Left' rule
Death of Rizwan-ur Rahaman in Calcutta
The killing shows again the abysmal depth CPI(M) has stooped down to

Proletarian Era, 15th October 2007

Inter-caste, inter-community or inter-religion marriages hardly face
any hindrance in any civil, democratic society, for instance, in those
of the western world. But attempts to undertake such marriages appear
to be meeting insurmountable stumbling block of disapproval in our
country. Even after sixty years of independence, the country is not
freed of this curse of condemning such marriages. Rather, under the
spell of rising spate of communal, obscurantist, superstitious ideas,
gained momentum, courtesy arch-communal Hindutwavadi forces like
BJP-RSS combine and similar communal forces of other religious
communities, these shameful social maladies are spreading their roots
further into the society, even not excluding that of states like West
Bengal, which remain under the 'leftist rule' of CPI(M) for decades.
The reason, we will have to seek in the historical course of modern
nation-building processes, for it is there that people of different
caste, religion or language etc. are united in one single whole of
nation. Whereas, in western countries, modern nations emerged during
the days of Renaissance and development of bourgeois civilization,
fighting uncompro-misingly against these social differences and
maladies based thereupon, our fight for nationhood took place at a
time when the bourgeoisie had become moribund, unable to undertake any
uncompromising struggle towards social and cultural revolution uniting
people of different castes, languages, religions etc. The force like
Congress, that represented the Indian bourgeoisie in the leadership of
our independence struggle, threw aside the tasks of social and
cultural revolution, in the haste of their greed to assume political
power. Post-independence days, too, could see only the natural
aftermaths, as the different political parties of the same capitalist
class, Congress, BJP or their different alliances rose to power, but
did never take up the task from their fear-complex of revolution. Only
people had to pay for it, as their disunity on different terms, often
bursting out into internecine strife, went on increasing, vitiating
the social atmosphere. The fall-out is seen in the rise of such
maladies as among others, social, and even administrative disapproval
of inter-caste, inter-community or inter-religion marriages. A number
of the latest of such fall-outs, come from West Bengal where the
pseudo communist CPI(M) boasts of ruling for a record span of three
decades. The most glaring of them is the very recent case of
Rizwan-ur Rahman.

In Calcutta of West Bengal, Rizwan-ur Rahman and Priyanka Todi, both
of right age, fell in love and married themselves, duly and legally on
August 18. Rizwan came of an ordinary middle-class Muslim family,
and Priyanka of fabulously rich and Hindu, Todis. Reportedly, Asok
Todi, bride's father, once an ordinary trader, had connection with
unlawful betting syndicate dealing with cricket match-fixing, but
eventually built up his multi-hundred crore corporate empire, by
developing and nurturing a closely-built up network of connections
with the police- local or of the Calcutta Police headquarters at
Lalbazar- administration-business world and high-ups of the society.
On August 31, Priyanka moved out to live with her husband and his
family without carrying any valuables from her paternal source, lest
her father file any case of theft against Rizwan and her. Also, there
had been earlier cases in the same Todi family, in which inter-caste
marriages were intercepted and broken, of course not in lawful ways.
So on the same date, apprehending interception and interference from
Priyanka's father, the couple sent copies of their marriage
certificate to the Police Commissioner and DC (Calcutta South), both
in the police headquarters at Lalbazar and to different concerned
officers of the local police stations, where Rizwan and Priyanka
lived. Priyanka then talked with her father on mobile phone, stating
her decision to stay with her husband. Same evening, Asok Todi came to
Rizwan's house along with a few other members of his family, of which
one was some Anil Saraogi, an uncle of Priyanka, at whom she reacted
vehemently as 'criminal' and 'murderer'. In presence of a number of
members of Rizwan's family, they first tried to persuade Priyanka to
return to her paternal family. Finding Priyanka firm on her stand,
Asok Todi, stayed for the whole night and threatened Rizwan's
inmates with dire consequences, to the extent of wiping out the whole
family. He then filed a case of abduction of his daughter by Rizwan,
not with the local police station, but with the Lalbazar itself, with
which, as mentioned, Todis were well connected. On the other hand,
between September 1 and 8, deputy commissioners Gyanwant Singh
(headquarters) and Ajoy Kumar (detective department), assistant
commissioner of anti-rowdy section Sukanti Chakraborty and a
sub-inspector of the same section Krishnendu Das, either sending
instructions or working under such from their superiors as the case
may be, summoned the couple and even the witnesses of the
marriage-registration repeatedly to Lalbazar and threatened them in
presence of Todis in their office. They forced Rizwan, under threat
of imminent arrest, ultimately making the couple sign over a
plain-paper, agreeing to send Priyanka back for seven days to her
father's house. On September 8, Priyanka went back to be seen for the
last time. Rather, in a mysterious situation, Rizwan-ur was found dead
beside a railway-track on September 21 morning. Apprehensive and
sensing a foul play, Rizwan and his family members and friends, had
also approached the Human Rights Commission or other NGOs. Before
there was any post-mortem report and before he saw the body of Rizwan,
the police commissioner (CP) held a press conference on September 23,
where he termed Rizwan's death a suicide framing up the possible modes
and motives and arrogantly justified such naked interference by the
police into the exclusively private matters of two adult citizens,
terming it as a social act of relieving tension of parents whose ward
might have married against the parents' wills. To add here, he has
been a police commissioner enjoying unstinted favour of none other
than the Chief Minister, who, apart from other favours, had referred
to the CP, as "my candidate" in an election for the lucrative post of
the president of Cricket Association of Bengal. The privilege, thus
acquired, seems to have enthused the CP to make such haughty, uncivil,
undemocratic statements. People's opinion, including that of his
family members, was however otherwise; they suspected long and foul
hand of forces in power. On 21st night, Rizwan's brother complained
to the Kareya Police station, under which they lived, in writing about
the threats from Asok Todi and suspected a hand of him behind his
brother's death. The police station cared the least to take any
action. The whole array of circumstantial evidences, as they came out
from different sources, however, stood against the suicide mode of
Rizwan's death and pointed palpably to a murder. A few minutes before
he met his death, he had talked on cell-phone to fix up a vital
appointment with legal personnel at 2-30 pm, showing no sign of any
depression to lead him to suicide immediately afterwards. Secondly, no
driver of any of the trains that must have passed by that track around
the time of his death reported anybody to be hit by their vehicle.
Rizwan's skull bore the whole injury; there was nothing else to be
found on the body, a case unthinkable for a run-over victim of a
speedy train. There were also allegations of a fat sum of money
changing hands and use of hired professional killers in the process, a
method with which Todis were not totally unacquainted, as was known
from their past records. In this case too, some unidentified goons
threatened Rizwan's family members on September 3 at their own house.
However, with their blue-eyed CP under fire, the West Bengal State
Secretary of the ruling party CPI(M), held brief for the Police as a
part of a cover-up operation stating that they did not know the couple
to be rightfully married, a blatant false statement as it was. It has
already been mentioned that apprehending interception from the Todis,
the couple informed the concerned local police stations and the
Lalbazar of their civil marriage immediately after they had gone into
it. Soon the CPI(M) top leader of the state had to eat his words to
add that he did not know that the police had been aware of the
marriage. The incident and the shameless act of the CPI(M) leaders and
the police not only brought rude shock to people, they created deep
anger and strong indignation among all sections of the masses. Under
pressure of such rapidly growing adverse opinion, the government
announced a CID enquiry, meaning a branch of the police force was
given the charge of investigating the case, in which high officials
of another branch of the same force were already involved. Under
fire of criticism and opposition, the Chief Minister apparently made
another backtrack and announced setting up of an one-man judicial
enquiry commission under a retired judge. CBI enquiry, though also not
generally fruitful, was demanded by the inmates of Rizwan's family.
At first, it was summarily rejected; later as the bereaved family
moved the court, it was tagged up conveniently with a long-drawn legal
procedure to be dismissed ultimately.

Such being the essence of the series of relevant events, the first
point to note is that, particularly, in a country like India where
people are miserably divided into different castes, creeds, religions
etc., and repeatedly fall victims to internecine strife, such acts
of inter-caste or inter-religion marriages, as undertaken by Rizwan-ur
and Priyanka, would have provided, all the more, courageous examples
to the younger generation to make amends with the prevailing disunity
and hostility among people, at least in their personal life. Further,
even the Supreme Court ordered encouragement of these. But, as
mentioned, people are shocked with horrid tales of such couples
being ostracized, tortured, chased by the Police, even lynched
brutally, as mark of 'honour-killing' , at the instance of some
influential moneyed person or group. It is not much different in
states ruled by the arch-communal BJP-RSS combine on one extreme, and
in states like West Bengal ruled by a party, like CPI(M) which
clamours of Marxism and its pro-people attitude; neither there is any
difference between areas dominated by the Muslims or by different
other religions. Hardly, if ever, the victims find any protection or
support from the administration and even the much- trumpeted CPI(M)
party machinery. In fact, the local party bosses and the local
administration, generally either wash their hands off or even
directly join the bandwagon itself.

Right from the moment the news of this Rizwan- Priyanka incident had
come out in public, it stirred up strong indignation and hatred among
people, irrespective of religion or other differences, against the
police, which had apparently acted well beyond their legal and
constitutional jurisdiction of non-interference into personal matters
of adult citizens, in this case a valid civil marriage. People were in
no mood to meekly accept this criminal audacity of the Police and
the party. Only a few months back, the villagers of Singur and
Nandigram had stood up against the pro-capitalist, anti-people move of
the CPI(M). Particularly in Nandigram, the organized, sustained
movement of people, united cutting across the prevailing political
identities and irrespective of religion or other differences, forced
the government to abandon its project of setting up chemical hub and
SEZ in that area at the cost of life and livelihood of lakhs of
people. In fact, Nandigram incident did not remain confined to that
village. It stirred up the long-dormant conscience of people of the
entire state, from workers, peasants, students, youth and common
middle class section of the population, to even the fore-ranking
intellectuals of all shades of opinion. They stood rock-solid in
defence of the Nandigram people's right to live and against the
utterly anti-people policies of the CPI(M) that reflected their total
subservience to the ruling class, the moneyed people. When, on this
backdrop of rising surge of democratic movement, that even sent its
impact beyond the state and over the whole of the country, as well as
outside it, Rizwan had to pay with his life for his love, it did not
fail to create its impact also in the people at large. Suicide or
homicide, there was no doubt that it was the threat and intimidation
from the highest levels of the police and the Todis with their
ramified connections with the administration and even government,
which lay at the root of this tragic end of a young innocent life.
And what was the role of the master of the police, the government
itself? Did the police act on its own? No, they could not; at least,
they did not have to worry about the expressed or silent approval of
their master. Any civilized government would not have denied the
moral responsibility of revealing the truth behind this ghastly crime
with which the police was directly involved. It would have taken
drastic action against the officers, immediately suspending them. But
here the CPI(M) in government acted to the contrary. As immediate
reaction, the CPI(M) state secretary, the honourable state secretary,
flatly came up in their defence. Unfortunately, his effort was based
on sheer falsehood. As stated above, when he backtracked and said
that he had been unaware of the fact that the police knew about the
marriage, was he again making a false statement or did it betray the
sense of responsibility of a leader of his position with which he had
made the earlier statement ? Everybody knows that in a class-divided
society, the police is one of the ugliest organs, the hounding
watchdog of the state to defend interest of the ruling class. In our
capitalist state, there are ample examples of how the police stand in
favour of the moneyed class to deny and deprive the poor even their
minimum legitimate rights. In the present case also, the police was
acting in favour of the Todis, as against Rizwan and his
family-inmates, even his wife. And the CPI(M) leaders are coming up
in naked defence of the police, just as they had stood for the police
perpetrating carnage on innocent villagers, including women and
children in Nandigram or dastardly suppressing movement of peasants at
Singur. The course followed in Rizwan case reflected the same trend.
The only aim of the government is to hush up the affair, the tragic
death, the completely illegal behaviour of the highest officials of
the Police overstepping their jurisdiction and absolutely unwarranted
unlawful interference into constitutional right of individuals, all at
the instance of and to the benefit of the moneyed people, who are
hand-in-glove with the administration, the Police and thus the
government. As it stands in this country, it is hard to believe that
justice can be meted out through any CID investigation, where higher
officials of the Police are themselves involved and continue to be in
their posts while the investigation is on. Yet the government went
for that. So there are questions raised from people of any and every
stratum or section. Even there are murmurs among the ruling party or
its allies, since the incident endangered the prospect of cashing upon
minority vote-bank in the Panchayat or other elections in the near
future. The apprehension is proved correct in the interim report of
the CID, which did not mention the name of any of the involved Police
officers, even if the CID had summoned at least some of them,
questioned them and expressed concern over presence of contradictory
statements in their answers. Neither did CID file a FIR, without which
the whole investigation boiled down to an eyewash. The judicial
enquiry Commission under a retired judge instead of a sitting judge,
was another shady move, that too taken under pressure of criticism.
When named, the judge was found to be a person who had past
record of amity with the ruling party. Besides, as required formally,
the setting up of such a Commission and the associated steps were not
even reported to the Chief Justice, that really nullified the
validity of that move. It was all the more necessary to inform the
Union government, because of the involvement of IPS officers in the
incident, though the Commission had no power to deal with IPS
officers. In addition, people of the state are fully aware of a score
of such judicial enquiries ordered on past incidents ending in fiasco
without any result whatsoever for years together. There remained the
point of CBI enquiry. CPI(M), at least as the past record goes, has
never proved at all reluctant to demand CBI enquiries into this or
that incident. However, in this case, the demand of a CBI enquiry
by the inmates of Rizwan's family and others was summarily rejected;
reportedly, leaders of CPI(M) even rushed from Delhi to visit
Rizwan's family members and to persuade them not to demand CBI

We may reiterate the sum and substance once more. Rizwan will never
return. Whether Priyanka will be allowed by her brute family members
to cherish even the tragic memory of her beloved husband, is yet to be
seen. Already there are indications otherwise. Shutting Priyanka off
from the world and the media, Todis allowed only members of the
CPI(M)- dominated Women's Commission to interview her. Incidentally,
it was this Commission, which termed the brutal rape and palpable
murder of Tapasi Malik of Singur a suicide and concluded from their
talks with the rape victims of Nandigram, that there had been no rape
there. So it appears that Todis-Police- CPI(M) combine is monitoring
a script to use the Women's Commission in their cover-up game. In the
meanwhile, in face of severely adverse people's opinion, CPI(M), the
party in power and thus in charge, is playing the worst kind of
hypocritical role. The veteran former chief minister or the present
incumbent as well as other leaders of the top echelon of that party,
try to assure people that nobody found guilty will be spared, while at
the same time, the government takes such measures and avoid such
others, as discussed above, as to simply confuse the process of
finding the truth and delay meting out of justice, thus in effect and
in reality leaving the culprits safe and denying the victims the
justice. The more there are criticisms and opposition from people, the
more frantic and erratic attempts, the government and the CPI(M)
leaders make to shield the criminal police officers and hush up the
horrid incident at any cost.

Now, a bunch of questions may disturb right-thinking people who have
followed the course of events. The first is: how could the police, in
a state governed by a party like CPI(M), claiming to be Communist, act
so highhanded to perpetrate this abominable crime of interfering into
the legally performed civil marriage of two adults. And then: Why is
the government so keen on shielding the implicated police officers and
covering up the whole issue. To find answers, it must be noted that
after assuming power, even the lip-service to democratic movement
CPI(M) used to pay at one stage, although it was reformist
constitutional in nature, was completely abandoned by that party in
its bid to serve the ruling class to continue to remain in power; also
it has done away with all shades of morality and ethics. It has
simply turned out to be a watchdog to protect the interest of the
ruling class and has thus become a part and parcel of the system of
exploitation of people. And concomitant to all this, utter selfish
attitude and opportunist bent of mind are spreading fast among people
to provoke acts purported to make the most out of the situation.
Cumulatively, it is vitiating the social environment and bringing
CPI(M) further into bogs of corruption. On the other hand, having been
isolated from people as a result of these, CPI(M) is now using the
brute force more and more in suppressing the democratic movement. The
police and the bureaucracy have thus turned out to be the main planks
of their power. They cannot simply afford to live without their
support. Naturally it is providing the police and the bureaucracy with
added fillip and encouragement to go ahead with more and more
highhandedness and arrogance. Unhesitatingly, they are bringing down
ruthless attacks not only on democratic movements, also on minimum
democratic rights of people to live. This is evident in the present
case and not just here. For example, in Nandigram they pounced upon
innocent villagers, women and children not spared, fighting for their
life and livelihood or in Katwa an ill reputed officer killed a leader
of peaceful demonstration from point-blank range and went scot-free.
Under such circumstances people must come out with a massive,
organized and united struggle unequivocally demanding a neutral
enquiry of Rizwan's death by a commission formed of judges, law
professionals, intellectuals and journalists, in whom the people have
faith. They must demand for immediate suspension, and not just
transfer, of police officers implicated in the murder and immediate
arrest of Asok Todi and his accomplices, in the interest of neutral
enquiry. Only that can make some amends for the gross injustice the
society has inflicted upon the young couple, as desired by Rizwan's
hapless mother.
The other serious issue that evokes concern in right-thinking minds
relates to the cultural aspect. It makes them wonder how in the
cultural atmosphere of a state run by a party like CPI(M) boasting of
leftism for long three decades, such an incident of harassing and
threatening two adult individuals for undertaking a perfectly legal
inter-religion marriage and finally bringing death, whether suicide
or homicide, to one of them, could take place. To get the right
answer, the first point that must be realized is that had there been a
genuine leftist party in power in West Bengal, then from its seat of
power, it would have tried to give people whatever relief it could.
At the same time it would have engaged itself in developing massive
movements one after another, to help people wrest their legitimate
demands from the government and the ruling class, keeping those
movements free from the interference of the police and the bureaucracy
and building up those movements on the edifice of higher culture,
morality and ethics. And in that process, realizing the need of
uniting people of the country, irrespective of caste, creed, religion
and language, a task that was neglected by the bourgeois leadership
of our independence struggle and thus devolved upon the genuine
leftists in free India, it would have also made every possible
attempt to develop rock-solid unity and amity of the toiling people
irrespective of caste- race-religion-language, wiping out the
prevailing disunity and distrust among them. It is such an
environment given birth to by the intense united mass movement of
toiling people that would have created the concrete reality in which a
free exchange, intermixing and interaction of toiling people would
have been possible. CPI(M) has, however, never trodden that path.
Rather they have chosen the path of clinging to power, shunning the
path of democratic movement, playing upon people's disunity to gain
premium in vote-bank politics and thus, ultimately playing a totally
subservient role to the ruling class. And by these, they are simply
helping in unbridled spread of bourgeois culture, thinking and
attitude. In their thirty-one year rule, not to speak of developing
higher culture-morality and ethics, there has been rapid cultural
degeneration spreading its roots throughout the society.

And so West Bengal today finds even minimum democratic acts like
inter-religion marriages being condemned; the couples, even their
friends and family members, are being hounded by the police, at the
instance and instigation of some influential moneyed persons, and, as
in the case of Rizwan- Priyanka, the rabid communal BJP terming
people's indignation against Rizwan's killing as 'excess', thus lend
support to otherwise isolated CPI(M). It is found that with every
passing day, rampant corruption, both material and spiritual, is
devouring every walk of life, warped mindset is gaining more and more
currency, all divisive and deriding traits and propensities are on a
spiral, crude individualism, sickening philosophical intolerance and
forcible muzzling of opposing views are becoming dominant features,
sex-perversion and such other degraded mentalities are getting firmly
entrenched, drug peddling and smuggling are assuming mind-boggling
proportions, the state stands second in the country in woman
trafficking, first in child trafficking; obscurantist thoughts and
religious bigotry are found to be extremely pronounced. Instances of
rape, molestation and lynching of women even in public, prostitution,
dowry deaths are reported every hour. Witchcraft, sorcery are
increasing in rural particularly tribal belts. Liquor shops and
gambling dens mushroom throughout the state on liberal license from
the government. In many of these criminal or unlawful acts, leaders,
cadres and even supporters of CPI(M) are found involved in or abetting
the acts, be it in running a sleaze racket in Calcutta proper, or in
organizing vulgar stage shows like Hope '86. The very same CPI(M)
minister linked with Hope'86 also boasted of his close ties with
godmen or frequented temples to flaunt his 'Brahmin' credential. A
CPI(M) zonal committee secretary has been implicated in rape and
brutal murder of Tapasi Malik, a teenaged activist of Singur
resistance movement of peasants. A senior CPI (M) central committee
member openly asked the female cadres of the party to 'show their
buttocks' to Medha Patkar, in protest of her standing by the Nandigram
carnage victims. Instances galore are there. Surely all these acts and
activities only smack of typical subservience to bourgeois class
politics committed to pollute people from within, rob them of human
essence and turn them into spineless creatures so that they are unable
to stand erect against oppressions and suppressions unleashed on them.
It is in this backdrop, that the latest incidents of attacks on
inter-religion marriages and CPI(M)'s reactions to them are to be
viewed and judged.

Naturally, such limitless cultural degeneration has only encouraged
people or forces like the police or the Todis to commit the crimes
they have done in Rizwan's case. So it is precisely the crop of the
same seed of degenerated, corrupt cultural atmosphere that the CPI(M)
has carefully sown and cultivated through all these thirty one years
of its rule. And it is neither really unexpected of CPI(M), nor it
came out of the blue. This party has never grown up as a real
communist party; all through it has been a social democratic force. It
has always borne all traits of bourgeois culture and vices leaving
imprints upon the behaviour and activities of its leaders and cadres.
Noticing this painful phenomenon in CPI(M) and for that matter also in
CPI, Comrade Shibdas Ghosh, the founder General Secretary of our party
SUCI, pointed out time and again that the banner, the name and the
title of a party do not really matter. He maintained : The living
soul, the kernel of any lofty ideal is ingrained in its cultural and
ethical standard. If the cultural and ethical standard is not high,
the frame of even an advanced political ideology becomes a lifeless
body. When in a body, even if it is beautiful, there is no life, it
becomes a useless corpse. Left to itself, it causes harm to society.
In the same way, if anybody speaks of a lofty ideal, but does not
reflect high ethics and cultural standard, it also becomes equally
harmful for society and putrefied. So, it is not enough if a party
engages in loud and tall talks of ideology. Whether the ideology it
reflects is really high is proven by whether its leaders, cadre and
supporters reflect high ethical and moral standard in their personal
life, daily work and habits and political activities and behaviour.
Had CPI(M) been a genuine revolutionary party, increase in its
influence within the society would have brought a restraining effect
on lowering of cultural standard and degeneration of morality
resulting from decadence of capitalism. But it was not that; rather
the contrary was true (free translation from a Bengali speech of
Comrade Shibdas Ghosh made on 25th Party Foundation Day on 24 April,
1973). These notes of caution and criticism, sounded a few decades
back, revealed the reality prevailing then. Thereafter, wallowing in
power and pelf for years together, parties like CPI(M) have further
degenerated; the stench is now coming out terribly in incidents like
Nandigram carnage or Rizwan's death in West Bengal, no less from
rampant corruption unveiled in Kerala. People thus face a two-fold
task. In addition to their united movement demanding revelation of
truth and punishment of the culprits, as mentioned above, they must
rid themselves of harbouring any illusion, if they may still have,
about the real character of CPI(M) or such forces, and find out and
strengthen the force that continues to fight for people on genuine
Marxism- Leninism with their leaders and cadres and even the masses
involved in movements under their leadership reflecting a higher level
of cultural-ethical standard, that is the proletarian culture and
ethics. Failure in performing either of these tasks will only lead
to such tragic incidents as Rizwan's killing

Why People Disbelieve The Stories Of The US Establishment On Combating Terrorism?(Discussion In Greenyouth Forum)

Many people disbelieve the stories told by the US Establishment not because of scientific explanations/ lack of explanations alone.
On the contrary, they disbelieve these stories just for the reasons you mentioned; reasons originating from politics and ideology. These are powerful enough to point finger on the global hegemonic designs of the US, the zionist Israel and their allies and their apologists elsewhere.
Because these forces combined is the fundamental cause of terrorism.
These are causing genocides everywhere and destabilizations of sovereignty.
Therefore, I mean not that terrorism itself is a whimsical thing.
My point, however, is terrorism as defined by the US &Co,
as something originating solely from a concept of Islamic jehad ,
as something to be fought by a global alliance patronized by the US and zionists,
as something that justifies the killings of innocent people for capturing power,
as something that repeatedly casts aspersions on motives of States' agency in one or other jehadi organization( real or imaginary ) being named as responsible,
as something which renders practically no accountability for arbitrary actions including outright genocides against muslim populations/ countries , overthrowing democratically elected governments, etc.
and something which calls neither for enquiry nor fair trial to establish agency for any terrorist crime, before punishing the enemies (countries, individual heads of States , and individuals randomly picked up by the police) who in advance may have been arbitrarily fixed as terrorist(s) with the accompaniment of media hype and elaborate propaganda,
and finally,
as something which becomes a convenient ploy in the hands of real terrorists and a few corporate giants with nuclear ,chemical and conventional weapons of mass destruction in hand , for dislodging even the democratically elected sovereign powers in the process of plundering water, oil and other natural resources ,
is just unacceptable
I hope you may find it interesting to go through excerpts from an article by Tavleensingh with a few comments edited by me.

"There is an inability among believers of this conspiracy theory to understand that in open societies, it is not possible for governments to organise acts of terrorism against their own people without being found out and condemned."

"..things have become so complicated, so twisted, so full of subterfuge, so full of lies and planted stories, fabricated evidence, that whenever there is an "attack", one never knows who has carried it out. Never. It could be the "terrorists", it could equally be the spooks. There's absolutely no knowing. This is not some crazed claim. Intelligence agencies have done this through the ages. In country after country. It's a hoary tradition. When it comes to these things, I can no longer believe what I'm asked to believe, I have no faith in what I read in the papers, in what I see on TV. It's mostly crap. No one ever gets to the bottom of anything. It's all left hanging, the air is thick with the ghosts of the victims of unsolved crimes. We seem to suffer from a pathological lack of curiosity...
(Arundhati Roy)

." Apparently, they do not notice that by refusing to accept the possibility of Islamist terrorism they create the atmosphere for it to flourish. They do this by not acknowledging that violence in the name of Islam is a reality and that on the Indian sub-continent it has become the biggest threat to peace, stability and a happy, prosperous future."

Why are the acts of terror by the RSS organizations not seen among the biggest threats, or as part of the reality?
Euphemism in this kind of bloodthirsty calls by the pen-pushers for more extra-constitutional and extra-legal State interventions implying more violence against Muslims, in the name of combating Islamic terror is easily seen through. This could well be read as evidence of further extension of US foreign policy through these 'embedded' scribes on the one hand, and part of attempts in perpetuation of Brahmanic social order by their most favoured loyalists (perhaps, after the zionist Israel State) on the other.

"First, it was only Pakistan where the state encouraged and nurtured violent Islamist groups to be used for acts of terrorism against India".

"In India we may not have so far seen the kind of suicide bombing that killed nearly 150 people in Karachi last Thursday, but we are seeing an alarming increase in terrorist violence." "Hyderabad, Ajmer, Ludhiana within weeks of each other most recently and before that a long, long list. Ayodhya, Varanasi, Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore, to mention only a handful of Indian cities that the jihad has targeted since Dr Manmohan Singh became prime minister."
The massacre at Gulberg Society in Ahmedabad, in which Ehsan Jaffri — who made the mistake of campaigning against Modi in the Rajkot elections — and 70 other people were killed and 10 women were raped before being murdered over a period of ten-and-a-half hours. A mob of thousands of armed people began to assemble inside the Gulberg Society colony. That day, Jaffri made 200 phone calls, including many to senior police officers, to Modi and LK Advani. At about 10.30am, the then Commissioner of Police, PC Pandey, visited Gulberg, which is not far from the police headquarters. At about 2.30pm, Ehsan Jaffri surrendered himself to the mob, hoping the others would be spared. The mob stripped him, hacked off his body parts, paraded him half-alive around the colony to terrify people and then burned him alive. Subsequently, 70 people were killed and 10 to 12 women were gangraped before being burned alive. KG Erda, the inspector of the Meghaninagar police station, stood by and watched. PC Pandey was promoted to Director General of Police, Gujarat. As public prosecutor, the Gujarat government appointed a man called Chetan Shah who had already appeared for the accused in the same case!..." (Arundhati Roy in the same interview)

Can we say that these things actually happened because of Islamic Jehad?
Or were they just the kind of patriotic responses, this scribe would have liked to see in the context of defending the country against 'jehad' (=godhra)?

"Privately, policemen and politicians admit that they work with only half a heart because they are afraid of being labeled anti-Muslim. It is the fear of offending ordinary Muslims that deters real action against known terrorist front organisations like SIMI and hundreds others of similar genre."

"The Indian state cannot be accused of directly nurturing terrorist groups as the military governments of Pakistan and Bangladesh have done, but not taking firm action to destroy our home-grown Islamists is nurturing of another kind."
"Meanwhile, Dr Manmohan Singh's government has gone out of its way to encourage a sense of grievance among moderate Muslims through efforts like the Sachar committee."

Actual Implementing of Sachar Report must be Certainly more than going out of the way!!

"At the end of its grand tour across the country to seek out aggrieved Muslims, the committee recommended that in districts with large Muslim populations officials and policemen should be selected with Islam as their primary qualification."

"If Narendra Modi did this in reverse in Gujarat, he would be vilified and branded."

"But, it's all right for 'secular' leaders to use religion as a job qualification because they occupy the high ground."

" So the prime minister had no compunctions last week in accusing Modi of a 'holocaust' in Gujarat without noticing that he would then need to apply an even bigger word for what happened to the Sikhs in 1984 when Rajiv Gandhi was prime minister."

"Dr Singh needs to choose his words more carefully and now that elections are no longer imminent he needs to recognise that his government has done nothing towards winning the fight against terrorism. If he does not recognise this, it is only a matter of time before we see in India the sort of attack on a political procession that happened in Karachi last week."

Scribes, again, arrogating to themselves the role of dictating the agenda of global ction against terror to an elected Head of State!

Do these words rhyme with the verbosity we have much familiarised with ?(I mean the US Propaganda On War On Terror? If these do not, please excuse me.)

"It will happen if we do not deal firmly with our home-grown Islamists. Moderate Muslims who inadvertently promote the Islamist cause by pretending that there is no terrorism in the name of Islam can be persuaded that they are wrong"

". All it needs is political will".

Try to make out who speaks for whom; at least try a guess work!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

George Galloway On The Relevance Of A Pluralistic Left Politics To The Humanity

GEORGE GALLOWAY writes in the Morning Star of his vision of pluralistic left politics.

PERHAPS orbiting around Gordon Brown’s planetary-sized brain is the aphorism, “To think too long about doing a thing becomes its undoing.”

Forgive me for returning to events of a fortnight ago, but this is my first opportunity in this column. Gordon Brown’s grim weekend of indecision followed by ineptitude is going to haunt his premiership. And the image of Iron Gordon, crumpled in a rusted heap following his exchanges with David Cameron at the Prime Minister’s questions that followed will become iconic. PMQs is just light entertainment, Downing Street aides have muttered in an effort at reassurance - not least for themselves. There’s a grain of truth in that. William Hague regularly beat up Tony Blair at the despatch box only to come out of the 2005 election with a net gain of just one MP.

But what has happened to Brown, just 100 days into his government, is far more wounding than being monstered by an old Etonian.

His moment of “doubt, hesitation and pain” - to quote Robert Browning’s supremely apt The Lost Leader - confirmed everything that those who have known Brown for 30 years have said about him - his indecisiveness. More damaging was the renewed and instant identification in the public mind of this government with spin and deceit, thus undermining the reputation for straightforwardness that it had been steadily building up over the summer. To draw analogies with the hapless John Major administration, I’d say that this was more of a “black Wednesday” moment than a “cones hotline” moment - more tragic than farcical.

The rapid turn of events earlier this month has revealed something profound about politics in Britain, rather than inside the Westminster bubble.

John Cruddas, the plain-talking Labour MP for Dagenham, has pointed out that Labour has lost 4.5 million voters during the Blair era. Despite all the hype about the so-called Brown bounce, the staggering turnaround in the opinion polls - you know, the ones Gordon wasn’t looking at - shows that Labour has not succeeded in winning significant numbers of those voters back.

The “Brown effect” promised by those who pushed inside the Labour Party for him to replace Blair earlier has shown itself to be extremely limited. Of course, there has been a recalibration with Blair’s departure, but the basic parameters of politics remain. That includes over the wars - Iraq, Afghanistan and the threatened attack on Iran.

The Stop the War demonstration two weeks ago, which broke the politically inspired ban on marching to Parliament, was a joyous success. The mobilisations against the war and occupation, of course, vary in size and strength. The underlying indignation that we were dragged into George Bush’s folly remains undimmed among the many millions who opposed the war from the outset. Moreover, for many millions of people, the war is not only a moral outrage, it symbolises all that is wrong with our truncated democracy and political system. How did we end up here and remain with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, when the majority of people opposed this crime?

At the same time, Brown’s neoliberal offensive, coupled with abandoning such social democratic staples as a meaningful inheritance tax, is putting the bonds between new Labour and organised labour under ever greater strain.

If you factor in how life and death issues such as climate change are leading many more - particularly young - people towards radical politics, you’re left with a positive assessment of the space for progressive politics, despite the convergence at the top of the three established parties.

In every arena - at meetings and rallies, on my radio show, in the current debates in Respect - I’m struck by how many people want a pluralist, democratic force to the left of Labour. It’s what those of us had in mind nearly four years ago when we founded Respect and I sense among considerable constituencies that the commitment to that approach has grown.

We’ve gone some way and we need to go a lot further. It’s a challenge to some of the habits that the traditional left has often lapsed into.

Salma Yaqoob, who is becoming more and more a force in the land, has reminded us eloquently that what will attract new forces into progressive politics is real collaborative working, a sense of coalition in which no component part dominates or exercises control. As someone who can be classed as part of the traditional left, I find these words fresh and crucial to act upon. That must also be so for organisations which are even more prone to establishing settled patterns of thinking and working.

These are the vital questions as we face the prospect of a Brown government which continues the worst of the Blair years and, in so doing, depresses working people so thoroughly that even Cameron’s Tories might look like a prospect in a year or two.

Can we extend and deepen a left coalition - which Respect has played a vital but by no means definitive or exclusive role in developing so far?

There are millions of disenfranchised working class people who need us to. And there are many thousands of activists, old and new, who want to be part of a truly inclusive left coalition, which, unlike Brown, can look forward to a glad, confident morning.


Project Hate and Holocaust: Time to Sit Up and Take Note
As if we dont have enough nut cases of our own --- Francois Gautier ! this
is not the first time he is doing this exhibition thing. he has talking
about this and raising funds for it since gujarat riots. and i seem to
remember him having actually put together one exhibit. he has been raising
funds throuh overseas hindutva and some fringe indology networks. 200 crore
museum in Pune ? that will make sure to stoke up trouble whenever things
quieten down.
see this report where he whines about how the french government doesnt take
him seriously even though he has been given the natchiketa award by atal
behari vajpayee

the maninderjit singh bitta that the above report mentions is the same youth
congress leader who played an important role in facilitating SP
Gill's covert action against terrorism (mainly promoting bogus militant
groups in punjab and recruiting local thugs as special police officers) and
the same guy who lost his leg when a bomb targeting him went off near
the youth congress building in delhi in 1993.
he quit the congress at some point and since then has been up to some
strange antics see the link below


I had the opportunity to have a discussion with this gentleman (Francois Gautier) some time back in Bangalore, at the end of which he was reduced to tears because of what he referred to as my "anti-nationalism, anti-patriotism and anti-indicism". I had pointed out numerous absurdities in what he had spoken about, including the interpretation of the name "Hindu Kush" (of the mountain range in modern Afghanistan and NWFP of Pakistan, that radiates out westwards from the Pamir Knot) as "Hindu-slayer"...
..This proposed museum and moving exhibition by Gautier has potential for great mischief as it can be used as an instrument to foment communal tension. I hope people in and around Pune takes notice.
( Partho )

The point is what effective steps we can take to stop
I've already sent the message to: "Amnesty India"
< hre-in@amnesty.org>, "AMNESTY"
<amnestyis@amnesty.org>, ncm-mma@nic.in,
Maybe others also may do something likewise.

But something more effective?
Gautier, as it appears, is a French national. How to
ask for his deportation for carrying out hate

(Shukla Sen)

October 02, 2007

Hindu Janjagruti Samiti Exhibition in Goa: An Invitation to Hate

Gomantak Times, Panjim, 2 October 2007

An Invitation To Hate and Spread It

Jason Keith Fernandes

This weekend I had the misfortune of visiting the most obnoxious exhibition. Set up by the Hindu Janajagruthi Samiti, the object of the exhibition was to 'educate' the average Hindu about the violence by Muslims on the Hindus of Kashmir and Bangladesh. I say 'educate' the Hindu, since every display of violence was followed by a caption addressed to the viewer indicating that if they were Hindu, then these visuals should make their blood boil, and tomorrow this violence could possibly be visited on them. If they were not moved, they were not fit to be - and hence not - Hindu. The theme of the exhibition purported to be the violence occurring in Kashmir, and yet, addressing the plight of the Kashmiri whether Hindu or Muslim was not its concern. On the contrary, the attempt through the exhibition was to ensure that local Hindus see the local Muslim as the natural and necessary enemy. What this exhibition is, therefore, is a very clear and deliberate attempt to create communal divisions in Goa.

Now I am not surprised by this display of anti-Muslim hatred, since one has gotten used to seeing this daily violence perpetuated for not being a certain kind of Hindu. For the Hindu right wing, it is not enough to hate only the minorities. Not being brahmanised upper-caste and minority hating is just as bad in their book. What is surprising is that this very blatant organizing of Hindus against Muslims (and by logical conclusion against the Catholics in Goa) is that it is taking place in the premises of the Kala Academy. Why the premier cultural institution of a secular state is allowing violent activities on its premises is a question that the authorities of the Kala Academy must immediately answer. The authorities can reprieve themselves of this abuse of authority only by withdrawing permission for this exhibition immediately. Worse, this is not just an exhibition; there was also a screening of inflammatory documentaries, followed by similar discussion sessions which were nothing short of unnerving.

Walking through the exhibition, the organizing women clamoring quite literally for the blood of local Muslims, was extremely unnerving. I fancy myself as a reasonably rational individual not given to acts of passion. And yet in this environment, I was strangely drawn toward pulling down the posters, destroying the projector and disrupting the meeting that was being conducted, knocking a few heads while I was at it. It was when placed in this environment that I finally realized what it must be like to be a persecuted minority, and especially a Muslim in this country. Every apparently innocuous saffron flag is in fact a threat, telling you that your time is coming and you had better be careful. If then I, as an individual who is not being directly threatened here, who has an escape route out of the country in terms of livelihood options, should respond irrationally and violently to such stimuli, how would a Muslim, already on the economic fringes of society, and subject to no less that 60 years of harassment respond to this threat? The object of the exhibition then, is twofold. It is first to tell the individual that you are Hindu (or not Hindu) first, and that every Muslim is your presumed enemy and you should 'get' them before they get you. The objective: The creation of a communal divide, and an invitation to violence. It exceeds this-one sided mobilization however, and also operates as a provocation to local Muslim groups. Of course, once the Muslims have been hounded enough to retaliate, all of society will turn around, refuse to see the provocation and shrug, saying "It is true, these Muslims are violent by nature." A minimum of 60 years of such violence has produced nervous and insecure Muslim groups in India. 60 and more years of Hindutva aggression has created the communal bloodbaths of this country, and the current exhibition is a fantastic example of who and what is responsible for it.

This particular exhibition has been touring Goa for some months now and it is a sign of the power and arrogance of these groups that they dare to take over the Kala Academy, the space of the secular and sophisticated in our capital. This is nothing less than a final flexing of muscle before they act out their fiendish agenda. While we must guard ourselves from this venom, they must first be cast out from the Kala Academy and the Academy asked to explain how they got there in the first place.

[The exhibition mentioned in this article is a photo-documentation by Francois Gautier. He subscribes to the fascist Hindutva project, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francois_Gautier]

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Permalink posted by Caju on Tuesday, October 02, 2007

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always want to defend peace, justice, peoples' right to love each other and live with dignity,struggles against parochial visions and hatred;instinctively a defender of socialist and democratic values  

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