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‘The Dangers are Great, the Possibilities Immense’

The Ongoing Political Struggle in India

It is always easy to criticize and dismiss an argument in its weakest formulation. Attacking the policies of the security-centric Indian state establishment, particularly the Home Minister, today does not need much daring. So let us instead take the benign, almost humanist utterance of the Prime Minister in his address to state police chiefs in September 2009: don’t forget, he said, that the Maoist movement has support among the poorest of the poor in the country. Those on the left opposing the impending armed state offensive often invoke this quote from the PM to buttress their point about how these are really poor people, innocent civilians and ordinary villagers who will suffer if the offensive is undertaken … | more |

Interview with Baburam Bhattarai

Transition to New Democratic Republic in Nepal

World People’s Resistance Movement: Thank you for meeting with us today. In your article in The Worker #4 ‘The Political Economy of the People’s War’ you write that “the transformation of one social system into another, or the destruction of the old by the new, always involves force and a revolutionary leap. The People’s War is such a means of eliminating the old by a new force and of taking a leap towards a new and higher social system.” Why then did the Maoist party enter the peace process and attempt to change society through Constituent Assembly elections? … | more |

Analyzing Political Islam

A Critique of Traditional Historical Materialist Analytic

Political,1 more so, militant Islam has become an influential religious and social force in many post-colonial states.2 The militants face very little by way of real political opposition within Muslim-majority societies, but they are now targeted and attacked militarily by the United States, other Western imperial interests, and client post-colonial states. In the context of the war in Iraq, the occupation of Afghanistan, and the “war on terror,” much has been written by people on the left. But, there is little by way of understanding political Islam from a historical materialist perspective. Some months back, however, Samir Amin offered his traditional historical materialist analysis of political Islam (Monthly Review, December 2007) and very briefly touched on a range of issues, such as modernity, secularism and imperialism. Amin has been generally dismissive of political Islam and unambiguous in saying that Islamists have been in the “service of imperialism.” … | more |

Comments on Tariq Amin-Khan’s text

I am not surprised by our Pakistani friend Tariq Amin-Khan’s critique. I was expecting it. Therefore, I would like to offer some comments on his criticisms of me, which mainly result from ignorance of what I have written on the questions he raises … | more |

“Interview with Kathryn Mills and Pamela Mills”

In 1956, C. Wright Mills wrote a personal letter to his friends Harvey and Bette Swados.  “Let’s not forget,” Mills advised the Swadoses, “that there’s…more that’s useful in…the Sweezy kind of Marxism than in all the routineers of J.S. Mill [a.k.a. variants of modern political liberalism] put together.” … | more |

Drop Charges, Release Dr. Binayak Sen Forthwith

We, the undersigned, are dismayed at the continued detention of Dr Binayak Sen, General Secretary of the Chhattisgarh People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), since May 14. Dr Binayak Sen is also the National Vice-President of the PUCL, one of the oldest civil liberties organisations in India … | more |

China, Capitalist Accumulation, and Labor

Most economists continue to celebrate China as one of the most successful developing countries in modern times. We, however, are highly critical of the Chinese growth experience. China’s growth has been driven by the intensified exploitation of the country’s farmers and workers, who have been systematically dispossessed through the break-up of the communes, the resultant collapse of health and education services, and massive state-enterprise layoffs, to name just the most important “reforms.” With resources increasingly being restructured in and by transnational corporations largely for the purpose of satisfying external market demands, China’s foreign-driven, export-led growth strategy has undermined the state’s capacity to plan and direct economic activity. Moreover, in a world of competitive struggle among countries for both foreign direct investment and export markets, China’s gains have been organically linked to development setbacks in other countries. Finally, China’s growth has become increasingly dependent not only on foreign capital but also on the unsustainable trade deficits of the United States. In short, the accumulation dynamics underlying China’s growth are generating serious national and international imbalances that are bound to require correction at considerable social cost for working people in China and the rest of the world … | more |

The Nepali Revolution and International Relations

A revolutionary civil war in Nepal ceased de facto with the popular triumph over King Gyanendra in April 2006, and de jure with the peace agreement reached in November 2006. The Royal Nepal Army (“RNA”) now calls itself the Nepal Army, and the peace agreement requires its democratization under the authority of the new government that includes the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). As of the date of writing this has not yet occurred and the Nepal Army is still commanded by those, primarily of the quite literally feudal elite, who — with U. S. “advisers” — had pursued the civil war with lawless brutality and impunity. Yet it is important not to underestimate the extent of the revolutionary changes in Nepal. Today both Nepal Army and the revolutionary armed forces (the People’s Liberation Army or “PLA”) are given in substance equal status under a peace agreement negotiated by the Nepalis themselves, and administered with the assistance of the United Nations.… | more |

It Could Happen Here

A deepening crisis pervades Pax Americana and with it a rising interest in fascism and the fear that it may be coming or is already here. While some observers are alarmed at the prospects of fascism, others dismiss the topic as conspiracy theory or just plain rubbish. In the most absurd recent use of the term, George W. Bush has declared America at war “with Islamic fascists seeking to destroy freedom loving societies.” It is hard here not to invoke Huey Long’s famous idea that fascism would come to America clothed as anti-fascism … | more |

Did Mao Really Kill Millions in the Great Leap Forward?

Over the last 25 years the reputation of Mao Zedong has been seriously undermined by ever more extreme estimates of the numbers of deaths he was supposedly responsible for. In his lifetime, Mao Zedong was hugely respected for the way that his socialist policies improved the welfare of the Chinese people, slashing the level of poverty and hunger in China and providing free health care and education. Mao’s theories also gave great inspiration to those fighting imperialism around the world. It is probably this factor that explains a great deal of the hostility towards him from the Right. This is a tendency that is likely to grow more acute with the apparent growth in strength of Maoist movements in India and Nepal in recent years, as well as the continuing influence of Maoist movements in other parts of the world … | more |

What Maoism Has Contributed

The Second International’s Marxism, proletarian-and-European-centered, shared with the dominant ideology of that period a linear view of history—a view according to which all societies had first to pass through a stage of capitalist development (a stage whose seeds were being planted by colonialism which, by that very fact, was “historically positive”) before being able to aspire to socialism. The idea that the “development” of some (the dominating centers) and the “underdevelopment” of others (the dominated peripheries) were as inseparable as the two faces of a single coin, both being immanent outcomes of capitalism’s worldwide expansion, was completely alien to it … | more |

Universal Rights and Wrongs

Roper v. Simmons, Torture and Judge Posner

The title of a talk should arouse curiosity and even skepticism. The title must give the speaker enough leeway to change the content at will. After all, I chose this title with only a vague idea of what I might actually say. Oh, I knew then and know now the subjects I will discuss. I have studied, written and practiced about them for more than forty years … | more |

Alice Thorner (1918–2005)

Alice Thorner’s life was lived in three continents, and her interests lay in studying processes of change in India’s colonial economy and the experience of planned development following decolonisation. She interacted for over six decades with academics and academic-bureaucrats, who were not inconsequential actors in what Gunnar Myrdal had termed the ‘Asian Drama’, and she too played a part in that unfolding drama. It was while visiting England on the eve of the WW11 in 1939 with husband Daniel who was researching his thesis at the India Office library in London, that she first met the group of enthusiastic Indian nationalists which included V. K. Krishna Menon, P.N. Haksar, K.T.Chandy and Feroze Gandhi. Many were to become lifelong friends … | more |

Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)

on the Successful Attack on the Fortified Army Base in Kalikot on August 7th-8th, 2005

The revolutionary forces in Nepal led by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) have been engaged in a country-wide people’s war (“jana youdha”) against the royal government. Much of the country has been liberated. The palace and the Royal Nepal Army now retain control over the central valley of Nepal and areas adjacent to their fortified bases in the district towns in the countryside, and few other areas … | more |

“Note of Dissent” Presented by Comrade Laldhwaj

I am hereby presenting my note of dissent on the wrong charges and wrong actions, which are against the interest of the Party and the revolution, against Com.Laldhwaj, Com.Rahul (Alternate PBM) and Com.Ashok (PBM) by the recently concluded meeting of the politbureau of our glorious Party, I request you to register this formally in the records of the Party and circulate it throughout the Party rank and file in a proper manner … | more |