Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Capitalism: A Ghost Story

A 2012 essay by Arundhati Roy. An extensive work on how capitalism in India exploits public wealth, resources from the land, indigenous people and the status of India in the world.
Source: Outlookindia
Roy's speech at Xaviers College, Mumbai here

Is it a house or a home? A temple to the new India, or a warehouse for its ghosts? Ever since Antilla arrived on Altamont Road in Mumbai, exuding mystery and quiet menace, things have not been the same. “Here we are,” the friend who took me there said, “Pay your respects to our new Ruler.”

Antilla belongs to India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani. I had read about this most expensive dwelling ever built, the twenty-seven floors, three helipads, nine lifts, hanging gardens, ballrooms, weather rooms, gymnasiums, six floors of parking, and the six hundred servants. Nothing had prepared me for the vertical lawn—a soaring, 27-storey-high wall of grass attached to a vast metal grid. The grass was dry in patches; bits had fallen off in neat rectangles. Clearly, Trickledown hadn’t worked.

But Gush-Up certainly has. That’s why in a nation of 1.2 billion, India’s 100 richest people own assets equivalent to one-fourth of the GDP.

The word on the street (and in the New York Times) is, or at least was, that after all that effort and gardening, the Ambanis don’t live in Antilla. No one knows for sure. People still whisper about ghosts and bad luck, Vaastu and Feng Shui. Maybe it’s all Karl Marx’s fault. (All that cussing.) Capitalism, he said, “has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, that it is like the sorcerer who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells”.

In India, the 300 million of us who belong to the new, post-IMF “reforms” middle class—the market—live side by side with spirits of the nether world, the poltergeists of dead rivers, dry wells, bald mountains and denuded forests; the ghosts of 2,50,000 debt-ridden farmers who have killed themselves, and of the 800 million who have been impoverished and dispossessed to make way for us. And who survive on less than twenty rupees a day.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The contradictory rise of China: an interview with Chuang by InfoAut

Source: Chuang

Publicizing this article does not mean we necessarily agree with all its aspects

Photo:Eric Jenkins-Sahlin
Comrades from the Italian website contacted us with some questions about recent developments in China. Below are our responses.1 
Here is how InfoAut introduce themselves:
InfoAut is a portal of the Italian antagonistic movement that, for ten years, has produced and documented counter-information, analysis, theory and stories of struggle. The website is an expression of a network of experiences of conflict that connects social centres, student collectives, and struggles for habitation, in the workplace and over the environment. The tendency of Autonomia in Italy finds expression in InfoAut, using it as an instrument of expression and subjectivisation [i.e. constituting the proletariat as a political subject], and also as a space for debate.
  1. This November the CPC will carry out the renewal of the Politburo, during a critical phase for the country. President Xi Jinping has effectively elevated himself to the fundamental “core” of the CPC and the state, and has, over the past five years, vested within himself control of a majority of the country’s most prominent political and military positions. In this way, Xi has obtained a role with a level of power comparable to Mao and Deng. Nevertheless, these Congresses are moments in which one can see, through the election of this or that official, possible tendencies in the development of the politics of the People’s Republic of China. What kinds of indications, with respect to domestic and foreign policy, can we derive from the nominations? Which groups within the Chinese governing class will gain more power and which will be suppressed?
In responding to this question, first we’d like to address some common assumptions often associated with this type of discussion. (Not that you necessarily share these assumptions, but many readers may.)

Friday, June 9, 2017

Naxalbari: its relevance for today… and for tomorrow

by Vernon Gonzalves

The stormy period of the nineteen sixties gave birth in several countries to uprisings, movements and organisations that continue to have a lasting impact to this day. One of the most significant was the May 1967 uprising at Naxalbari in West Bengal. It symbolised the decisive ideological rupture with the revisionism of the leadership of the CPI and CPM and the firm establishment of a line of armed struggle for Indian revolution. The countrywide upheaval that it spawned and the revolutionary Naxalite movement and organisations that followed in its wake have continued, through ebbs and flows down the years, to inspire and impel progressive politics of this land. They yet offer the best hope for the revolutionary transformation of Indian society.
The upcoming fiftieth anniversary of the uprising ­is an appropriate moment to look back and look forward. Look back at the experiences of five decades in order to draw appropriate lessons for the movements of today; look forward in order to best leverage the present gains in order to achieve the yet unfinished tasks set by the revolutionaries of yesteryear. But before undertaking such an exercise, let us briefly look at the major points of change and continuity from the decade of the nineteen sixties to the second decade of the 21st century.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Who Transforms Whom?

First published in Honqi No 2, 1970 and then printed again in Peking Review No 10.

A very interesting criticism on the revisionist- capitalist way of thinking on education issues during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China. The Chinese communists criticize Kairov and his work (Pedagogika) to be pro capitalist and trying to bring back the capitalist way in education and culture. Mao and the red guards criticize the forces that try to bring capitalism back and state that the main issue is the contradiction of the working class with the bourgeois. This article is defending the proletariat way of thinking in education and the superstructure . On July of 1968 Mao gives the directive of the 21st of July, which sets the example of the Shanghai Machine Tools Plant in training technicians from amongst the workers and the issue of the separation of practice from theory with a vanguard way of thinking.

A comment on Kairov’s  “Pedagogy” by the Shanghai Revolutionary Mass Criticism Writing Group

Drawn up under Chairman Mao’s personal guidance, the Decision of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party Concerning the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution pointed out: “In the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution a most important task is to transform the old educational system and the old principles and methods of teaching.” At present, we must press ahead with redoubled efforts to accomplish what Chairman Mao pointed out as “a most important task.”

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Greece (m-l)

The emergence of Donald Trump and his team in the lead of US imperialism highly determines the international political and economic developments.
This was a particularly aggressive decision which aimed in preserving and reproducing the ability of the US superpower to rule and dominate the global capitalist-imperialist system.
To rule and dominate the world has always been the goal of the US superpower, either under Reagan or Clinton or Obama administration and will continue to be so under Trump.
At this stage, however, the pursuit of this goal encounters new difficulties and has produced additional contradictions. The result is that the mismatch between the means available to the US superpower and the objectives it has set has further widened.
The dominant position that US imperialism has established, with multiple crimes against peoples and countries in recent decades, mandates that it serves multiple conflicting priorities-necessities and that it intervenes in new fronts that it has to open, but without first closing any older ones.
Therefore, peoples are concerned of the growing threats of new imperialist interventions, local wars, redrawing of borders and zones of influence, new harsh measures that will aggrandize the exploitation of the working class, robbing of peoples and countries, impoverishment of millions of people, more refugees and migrants.
They are concerned because as long as the US goals are not met, a generalized war will be approaching, either as an «accident» or as a «last resort» solution of the unscrupulous killers and opportunists that lead US imperialism.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Merthyr Rising 1831

The story of the 1831 uprising of workers in Merthyr Tydfil in Wales. The struggle that (for some) used the the Red Flag for the first time in the history of the working class movement.

In 1829 depression set in in the iron industry
which was to last for three years. As a result Merthyr Tydfil Ironmasters made many workers redundant and cut the wages of those in work. Against a background of rising prices this caused severe hardship for many of the working people of the area and, in order to survive, many people were forced into debt. Often they were unable to pay off their debts and their creditirs would then turn to the Court of Requests which had been set up in 1809 to allow the bailiffs to seize the property of debtors. As a result the Court was hated by many people who saw it as the reason for their losing their property.
Against this background the Radicals of Merthyr, as part of the National movement for political reform, organised themselves into a Political Union in 1830 to lead the local campaign for reform. In November 1830 they called for demonstrations in Merthyr to protest against the Truck System and the Corn Laws. The campaign was actually supported by some local Ironmasters. William Crawshay of Cyfarthfa Ironworks and Josiah John Guest of Dowlais Ironworks, for example, both supported the campaign. By the end of the year 1830 the campaign had broadened to embrace the Reform of Parliament, and the election of a Liberal Government in Great Britain led to a bill being brought before Parliament to reform the House of Commons. The Bill was welcomed by the Merthyr Radicals as a step in the right direction, although it did not give Merthyr a Parliamentary Constituency and only extended the right to vote to the Middle Classes rather than the workers. In April 1831, however, the Bill was defeated in a House of Commons vote, the Government resigned and a new General Election was called to fight on the issue of Parliamentary Reform.