Monday, March 25, 2019

India - All-India convention against fascist offensive staged in Delhi - part 1 - part 2

  All-India convention against fascist offensive staged in Delhi- Part 1


By Harsh Thakor
Around 800 people from all over India congregated the hall for the All-India convention against fascist offensive staged in Delhi on February21-22nd. It was arguably the most significant and progressive event in the progressive revolutionary movement today when Hindutva fascism has reached it's ultimate crescendo or a height not attained since Independence. Hindu Safron ideology has penetrated every rung of society deeper than ever before. Democratic voices have been stifled at a level surpassing even the emergency with the foisting of false cases and arrests of genuine democratic activists like Sudha Bharadawaj, Rona Wilson, Anand Teltumbde etc. If the present BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) regime wins the next elections even the limited rights or liberties prevailing in bourgeois democracy may be stripped. The Muslim minority has never lived in such peril as today with the administration virtually given a license to attack them.
A glorious chapter was written in the struggle against Hindutva fascism. I congratulate the forces particularly of the  Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist) C.P.I.(M.,L.) New Democracy, being the main organizers of this historic convention. They did most painstaking work in preparing people for this event. The majority of the ranks that participated were from this stream. The group did remarkable work in mobilizing their mass organization forces here like Punjab Students Union, Indian Federation of trade Unions, Naujwan Bharat Sabha. Etc. Significant that workers, peasants and students participated. Main participation was from Punjab, Telengana and Andhra Pradesh but also some people from Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Bihar etc. However cadre from other streams also participated. Comrades from the pro-C.P.I.(Maoist) ranks like Ravi Narla and wife Anuradha and Sukhwinder Kaur of Punjab Lok Sangram Manch greatly praised the convention, terming it as an outstanding success. Thus generally Maoist stream supported the approach here. Also notable support from the C.P.I.(M.L.)PCC whose leader addressed the convention. Negligible participation from streams like C.P.I.(M.L.), C.P.I.(M.L.) Liberation and C.P.I.(M.L.) Red Star which reflected the sectarianism prevailing today. The ranks of the C.P.R.C.I.(M.L) supported the event from outside but did not wish to join the preparatory committee .They felt that it was only focusing on the B.J.P. fascism and shading no light on the Congress. It also felt there was not adequate emphasis on revolutionary class struggle to fight fascism. Notable that Narain Dutt of Inquilabi Kendra became part of the preparatory committee formed.
Prof Manoranjan Mohanty, in his capacity as head of the reception committee, welcomed the delegates and the dignitries on the dias. The inaugural address was made by Justice (retd.) Janardhan Sahai of Allahabad High Court, followed by the address by acclaimed writer Arundati Roy.
The most impactful speech was by Arundhati Roy. First she thanked the organizers ,spoke about the great diversity of people present in the hall. and how all the speakers would redress the apects of land, workers, peasants, education, adivasis etc. when India had still to emancipate the workers ,peasants and a divasis who were still living in a state of turmoil. Caste, Capitalism, communalism and corporatism in her view were an integral part of India's social order. under Narendra Modi. She placed stress on the aspect of inequality and need for re-distribution of wealth. She reflected on the question of divide and rule which she felt did not originate in the time of British rule but in the Social system prevalent thousands of years ago which gave birth to the caste system. Caste was capitalism in her view. She explained that today corporate monopoly in agriculture had replaced the traditional semi-feudal order, thus creating phenomena of corporate feudalism. In her view today we are strangulated by the Emergency of communalism ,attack on minorities linked to emergency of inequality -Arundhati referred to the 1967 naxalbari struggle in this context with light to land to the tiller, equality, re-distribution of wealth. Made a comparison of days of naxalbari to today on issue of adivasi land. She gave an example that the wealth of the 9 richest people in India was more than the rest of the population of the nation together. The wealth of Ambani itself was in her view more than the total money invested by the govt. in the people. Arundhati demanded tax on wealth, regulation on inheritance ,cap on how many businesses one could own and other curs on the filthy rich. Spoke about how the so many TV channels were controlled by the Corporate forces which brainwashed the people .Felt we really have to talk about structures to the, particularly polarization of attacks dalits. Privatization of education has destroyed any gains achieved by dalits through reservation etc. Since 1947 the army has been deployed in every boundary of the country to suppress various sections of the people. She felt we must demand justice and not just human rights. Spoke about artificial intelligence or automation which was robbing people of employment and replacing all manual labour with robots. Everyone must have a minimum wage right to health, education etc. She explained the new surveillance system made we must return to our most revolutionary demands of an equal society and justice in her view.
AIKMS national president Comrade V Venkaramaih  Pradeep of IFTU Rajinder of Punjab Students Union, Aparna of IFTU, Anil Sadagopal, Biswasjeet Chakraborty, Uma Chkraborty, Sead Naqvi Mashkoor Ahmed Usmani (last year's president of Aligarh Muslim University Students Union), Chandrashekar Azad (Bhim army) and Venugopal Rao also adressed the convention. Venugopal Rao with elaborate detail summarized the socio-economic conditions of India and its connection with the govt. policies. related how Hindu saffron fascism was accentuating the economic crisis and aggravating the poverty or disparity. In depth he described the fascist nature of the RSS-BJP combine and how it was destroying the very backbone of constitutional democracy. Pradeep summarized the objectives of the convention and the general economic crisis in relation to politics of Hindutva. Senior journalist Saeed Naqvi spoke of the role of the mainstream media in Fascist Onslaught and the possibilities for alternative media. Prof Biswajeet Chakrabarty from Assam addressed the issue of 'National Citizens Register' and the 'Citizenship Amendment Bill. 'Known Hindi journalist and political critique, Anil Chamadia addressing the session on 'Media and the Fascist Onslaught' 3 plays were staged on caste oppression.
At the end an 11 member preparatory committee was elected.
Significantly the social media blanked out .This is a perfect illustration of how the media functions as a tool of the Corporate houses and also blows the trumpet of Saffron ideology.
The expected blanking out by the media notwithstanding, successful conclusion of the 'All India Convention Against Fascist Onslaught' on the 22nd shall definitely add to the ongoing struggle against 'Hindutva Fascism.'
Resolution adopted at the end of the convention
We have come together at the All India Convention Against the Fascist Offensive, here at New Delhi this 21st and 22nd February 2019,
Recognizing that:
There is a grave threat of fascism both here at home and abroad. As the world faces a deep and possibly irrecoverable crisis of capitalism and growing competition with in imperialist countries: in many countries across the world we are witness to growing fascism in the form of racist movements of white supremacy and anti-immigration;
In India, since coming to government in May 2014 the BJP-RSS have attacked religious minorities especially Muslims, women, Dalits and Adivasis in order to create a homogeneous society rooted in the RSS’s ideology of Hindutva as the sole conception of nationalism;
The BJP governments, both at the centre and in the states have allowed Sangh Parivar promoted vigilantes to set about enforcing their hegemonic majoritarian ideology through mob lynching and violence while the government has supported the vigilantes through inaction and failure to enforce law;
The ideological hegemony of Hindutva has been sought to be pressed through legislative change in the form of the beef ban, the NRC, the Citizenship Bill, the Triple Talaq Ordinance etc.;
There is a concerted attack on rationalist and scientific thought – including through the day light murders of Dhabolkar, Pansare, Kulburgi and Gauri Lankesh – on universities, on student unions and on the education system as a whole;
The BJP in government at the centre has sought to destabilize parliamentary democracy as it exists with the executive abrogating to itself powers away from the legislature, undermining the independence of judiciary and devaluing agencies of government that are autonomous of the executive;
The BJP through its commitment to fiscal conservatism has presided over an economic policy that serves the interest of the big bourgeoisie and big land lords resulted in rising inequality resulting in the huge transfer of incomes from the poor to the rich, demobilizing of the agrarian economy resulting in the immiserisation of the peasantry, undermining of the manufacturing industry through devaluing the public sector and opening the economy up for FDI in all areas and destabilising the financial system by attacking public sector banks; and therefore presiding over the largest levels of unemployment in five decades; and promoting demonitisation and GST to centralise the economy;
There have been various amendment through B JP state governments in relation to LAAR Act, resulting in continuing displacement, and labour laws, devaluing the limited workers rights enjoyed, and various attempts by the union government to do so;
The BJP government has attacked the right to nations and peoples through the unrelenting attack in J&K, and the north eastern states persisting with deployment of the army an d providing it cover under AFSPA, seeking to advance a foreign policy that demonises Muslims and targeting Pakistan; promoting jingoism, bigotry and xenophobia in the name of nationalism, indulging in war mongering and creating at times a war like situation;
The BJP has actively compromised with imperialist forces in advancing its agenda;
By creating the spectre of the ‘urban naxal’ and such other the BJP has sought to create a climate of ‘anti-nationals’ and to this end has employed the draconian laws of UAPA and NSA, in order to put away democratic rights defenders, intellectuals, lawyers and trade unionists in order to supress dissent, the freedom of speech an d create fear and attacking the right to freedom of association;
Understanding that:
There is a growing resistance to the agenda of the BJP-RSS from a range of forces including at the level of states and from our own organisations through various platforms and fronts;
Yet, the agenda of the BJP-RSS being pressed through the strengthening of the executive, centralizing control of society and the economy and promoting aggressive nationalism in terms of majoritarian Hindutva makes for the basic structure of a fascist state that calls upon us to build a stronger countrywide resistance;
The rising fascist offensive has to be met and fought back by the broadest possible united front bringing together all democratic, progressive and militant forces together to fight against the fascist organizations and the state.
And so as to advance this struggle countrywide we come together and go forward from here as “All India Forum Against Hindutva Fascist Offensive’
Calling upon all democratic, progressive and militant forces to come together and unite to reverse this offensive and in so doing join our energies and our strengths in one voice and in one struggle against imperialism and fascism through countrywide actions on:
23rd March 2019 marking the martyrdom of Bhagat Singh &
13th April 2019 marking the 100 years of the Jalianwala Bagh Massacre.
To be continued=>

All-India convention against fascist offensive staged in Delhi- Part 2

By Harsh Thakor
I do feel personally the conference failed to highlight the repressive role of the Congress and it's role in endorsing or blessing Hindu fascism. The aspect of the anti -people pro-corporate economic agenda of the Congress was not touched upon. Nor did it sufficiently reflect on the aspect of revolutionary class struggle and movements to conquer fascism. It was the very Congress that founded liberalization and globalization from 1991, opened the doors to the Babri Masjid and its demolition earlier and was responsible for the Sikh massacre of 1984 .There is a strong tendency within the revolutionary camp to singlehandedly target the major enemy the BJP but not the socio-political order or the state as a whole and thus make alliances with opposition. or revisionist parties .A clear cut revolutionary coherent class stand is lacking addressing the workers ,peasants and other sections. This has been revealed in the position of the C.P.I.(M.L.)P.C and Red Star groups and also in forums oriented towards the C.P.I.(Maoist) like the coalition formed in Uttar Pradesh a year ago against fascism. Tendency of strong vacillation towards Ambedkarism or minority communalism.
We must all remember that the independence we gained in 1947 was merely a transfer of power to the Comprador bourgeoisie and that very Congress crushed the revolt of the peasantry in Telengana and remove a democratically installed Communist party in Kerala. Workers were also brutally attacked in West Bengal in that time. To attack fascism at its roots we have to hit at the base of the very social order nurturing the phenomenon.
No doubt we have several features of conventional fascism like banning of a genuine revolutionary Communist party, incarceration and framing of democratic activists, murder of activists in cold blood in the name of encounter, suppressing of revolutionary mass organizations and movements, isolating minorities completely, suppressing all rights of dalit community, introducing laws which violate essence of bourgeois democracy like UAPA. etc.
Since regime of Congress itself in pre-emergency and post-emergency we have witnessed the worst massacres. Prominent examples are Arwal and Laxmanpur Bathe in Bihar of dalit labourers by police and upper caste senas , of tribals in Indravelli and Karimnagar of Andhra Pradesh, of railway workers in Mumbai, Mine workers in Bhillai and Chattisgarh and cement workers in dhalla , of Sikhs in Delhi and of Muslim s in Bhiwandi and Meerut climaxing in the Babri Masjid demolition, cold-blooded assassination of civil liberties activists in Andhra Pradesh and of Mine workers leader Shankar Guha Nyugi ,persecution of the Kashmiri masses demanding self-determination, supression of Dalit panther movement etc. All the grounds for the Hindu fascist offensive of BJP of recent times was laid by the Congress.
The BJP after seizing the reigns of power has tried to bang every nail in the coffin to formally establish a Hindu state and has subjugated minorities and dalits to a scale of suppression unprecedented as well as on democratic intellectuals. It has introduced laws which have suppressed dissent as never before. and made the Judicial subservient to the state as never before .Through laws like UAPA it has framed false charges on professor Saibaba, Leaders of Maruti workesr union and intellectuals like 'urban Maoists' in recent times. Life sentence to Saibaba and Maruti Union leaders has surpassed even past opressive judgements of the Congress. University campuses have been attacked at a scale never before by the police supporting the saffron brigade.It has impeached the constitution morally at a level never done before in attacking the minorities and oppressed sections.
However still opposition parties and civil liberties organizations can function, limited level of protest is allowed, revolutionary democratic journals permitted, intellectuals able to raise their voice against the system to a certain extent. which would bot prevail in a fascist state. If completely fascist the anti-fascist convention would not have been allowed nor the protest of democratic activists against arrest of intellectuals permitted at Jantar Mantar in Delhi in August last year. Only because of features of bourgeois democracy prevalent could books be published like Bernard De Mello's 'Unfinished history-50 years after Naxalbari" or Amit Bhattacharya's 'Storming the Gates of Heaven' on Maoist movement in India or even revolutionary blogs like Sanhati, democracy and class struggle or Peoples Review .
Till last year one could even access banned thought blog started in 2009 with suppressed documents of revolutionary organizations .However last year the BJP govt blocked it which was a significant turn towards fascism. Morally certain areas of India could be termed as functioning as fascist areas like Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa or earlier Lalgarh where all dissent was virtually prohibited. The continued arrest of Professor G.N. Saibaba without any proper trial was the most defining movement of the Indian state turning its tide towards fascism.
A more thorough study has to be undertaken to analyze the true character of Indian fascism as distinct to that practiced by Hitler and Mussolini earlier or even China under Chiang Kai Shek. It is very hard to visualize the fabric of parliamentary or constitutional democracy being totally destroyed in India as in Germany or Italy in the 1930's.Still there are possibilities of India emulating the road of Chile under Pinochet and Philippines under Marcos in 1973.In 1975 the constitution was suspended and political opposition banned but even then India was semi-fascist and not completely fascist. The parliamentary system India inherited from the colonial legacy or the bourgeoisie is too strong to completely incorporate fascism. India is also a nation of great diversity with so many communities and religions and it is very hard to destroy the federal structure so quickly. Unlike Chile and Philippines earlier India does not directly face neo-colonialism or subjugation to a single superpower.
Rather than terming it fascist it is more accurate to call it 'fascination 'of the Indian state. In my view India lies in between a bourgeois democracy and a fascist state .Many intellectuals like Vijay Singh of Revolutionary Democracy or Ashim Roy of NTUI feel that India could well go on the road of Chile under Allende. Others like former All India Peoples Resistance forum secretary Arjun Prasad Singh or Punjabi journal Surkh Leeh editor Pavel Kussa feel that the Indian parliament is too strong to permeate complete fascism and thus improbable that India would become completely fascist. Both feel the BJP would have to use the very legal organs of parliamentary democracy to survive and consolidate. In my view I find it very hard to conceive the Indian state going completely fascist even under the BJP rule.
I recommend readers to read an article written by Arjun Prasad Singh on fascism which differentiates the shape fascism will take place in India from orthodox fascist states .One of the best examples in India of combating fascist trends was that of the Democratic Front against Operation Greenhunt of Punjab which attacked fascism at its very base with a series of seminars and rallies of democratic revolutionary intellectuals and section and section sof broad masses. The views of the C.P.I.(Maoist) party on India becoming a fascist state after Babri Masjid in 1992 are rather ambiguous but possibly it is only used as a terminology. Nicholas Glais of Democracy and Class Struggle blog and Scott Harrison of Massline have views more coherent with the Maoist party, justifying India being termed fascist today. They both feel India are on the verge of turning from a semi-fascist state into a completely fascist one. Harrison feels India is bourgeois democratic mainly in the cities but fascist in regions where the Maoist party works. Intellectuals like Arundhati Roy no doubt are very progressive and enlightening but simply lack a revolutionary class perspective and hardly throw light on the semi-feudal and semi-colonial aspects and portray revolutionary democracy from an Ambedkarist or caste viewpoint. Arguably the most accurate assessment is done by the Communist Party Re Organization Centre of India (M.l) which summarizes that only revolution can defeat the advance of fascist reaction .
Arguably today the undeclared emergency prevailing is a greater danger than the emergency of 1975.The most significant factor combating complete fascism are the civil liberties organizations with regards to peoples movements and cadre of the left parties with regards to Hindutva ideology. Unlike the emergency of 1975 the opposition parties are not banned or the social media while in 1975 the Congress had no concrete ideology. The BJP are establishing their social base in a much more organized fashion with a definite ideology. Quoting journal Peoples Review "An undeclared emergency is more dangerous than a declared one because under it though the people lose all rights, they aren’t informed about it. Unlike emergency, in which the media is censored by the rulers, during an undeclared emergency, the media follows self-censorship, desisting from criticizing the government and works as the mouthpiece of the regime. The corporate houses, whose interest the government serves, own the major media outlets and through them, they try to broadcast the propaganda of their own government. Their media, toady in character and servile in nature, try to portray a positive and “all-is-well” image of a really gloomy and disastrous situation."
There are two possibilities before India today, either fascism will totally destroy the autonomy of the legislative, judiciary and the executive, or fascism can be smashed altogether through joint resistance. The people have already lost their faith in the legislative, which is why the Election Commission and big business houses have to spend millions on advertisements to lure people to the polling booths. Those who cast their votes even don’t believe that the polls will change any aspect of their lives at all. Now this clash within the ‘sacred’ institutions of the judiciary and executive blackened the image of these two in front of the people. It may be a bad thing, however, it also has a good side as real democracy can be achieved only by outcasting the sham one. The more the people will see the mask falling off the grotesque face of the fascist Indian state the more they will fight for true democracy, a people’s democracy.(Peoples Review article)
One of the best examples in India of combating fascist trends was that of the Democratic Front against Operation Greenhunt of Punjab which attacked fascism at its very base with a series of seminars and rallies of democratic revolutionary intellectuals and section and section of broad masses. Infact it is in the state of Punjab today where the best organized movement has been built against state repression by encompassing all sections be it the peasantry, workers govt.  employees, students or women. This was demonstrated in a rally of almost 10000 persons in city of Chandigrah last September organized by a joint front of various democratic mass organizations. Forces from all trends of the Communist revolutionary camp participated and created a big impact.
The development of fascism, and the fascist dictatorship itself, assume different forms in different countries, according to historical, social and economic conditions and to the national peculiarities, and the international position of the given country. In certain countries, principally those in which fascism has no broad mass basis and in which the struggle of the various groups within the camp of the fascist bourgeoisie itself is rather acute, fascism does not immediately venture to abolish parliament, but allows the other bourgeois parties, as well as the Social-Democratic Parties, to retain a modicum of legality. In other countries, where the ruling bourgeoisie fears an early outbreak of revolution, fascism establishes its unrestricted political monopoly, either immediately or by intensifying its reign of terror against and persecution of all rival parties and groups. This does not prevent fascism, when its position becomes particularly acute, from trying to extend its basis and, without altering its class nature, trying to combine open terrorist dictatorship with a crude sham of parliamentarism. In certain countries, principally those in which fascism has no broad mass basis and in which the struggle of the various groups within the camp of the fascist bourgeoisie itself is rather acute, fascism does not immediately venture to abolish parliament, but allows the other bourgeois parties, as well as the Social-Democratic Parties, to retain a modicum of legality. to go completely fascist would mean to annul every democratic institution along with elections. it is not possible. the working class will desert Modi which is Modi's main support as far as elections are concerned. & other bourgeois parties along with the media will go against Modi. I think we should examine Fascism in stages - we have Proto Fascism the precursor of fascism some see it as right wing Populism - it is the route to power - when Fascism is in power it operated quite differently and the opposite of the rhetoric that brought it to power- this is the initial state of Fascism - from this consolidation it moves to full Fascism which will be external War and elimination of dissent at home - all three stages or phases have to be looked at with their own national characteristics. In early phases communist party is banned but other bourgeois parties allowed Communists pose existential threat to Fascism and can't be tolerated We have problem today of social fascism - revisionists like CPIM and CPC in China. Fascism of German type will not arrive and the economy of fascism of 1930s was different. Fascism is not dictated only through banning of parliamentary opposition. That’s why we are not saying it is fascist but fascist tendencies. Certain similar features.(Views of Comrade Manu Kant of Stalin Society )
In the era of Imperialism, Fascism emerges mainly out of the Crisis of Finance Capital. It destroys the Parliamentary form of Democracy and turns it into a Terrorist Dictatorship. To fight against this Dictatorship, a broad based people's front under the leadership of working class is the need of hour. So, we must not satisfy ourselves by forming anti-repression or anti-communal type front. Bourgeois Democracy is in itself a bourgeois dictatorship. So, the Parliamentary form of govt. will remain, but it's nature will change qualitatively. In my opinion it will take time to materialize.  Modi  Rule is heading towards Fascism, but still Indian state has not been turned into a fascist state. Fascism emerges mainly out of the Crisis of Finance Capital. Fascist power may use caste, race or religious sentiments of the people to suppress all types of their resistance. It is true that Indian revolutionaries are giving more stress on communalism, rather than economic base of Fascism."(Views of Comrade Arjun Prasad Singh of PDFI).
The End.

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