Friday, March 28, 2008

Body found in Tata Motors' Singur site

Kolkata March 28, 2008 4:45:13 PM IST
The body of a youth employed with the Tata Motors' small car factory project in West Bengal's Singur was recovered Friday from the site, triggering fresh tension in the area that has witnessed unrest over land acquisition since June 2006.
"The body of Rajkumar Biswakarma was recovered from the Tata Motors factory site. He was a driver involved in the project," West Bengal Inspector General (Law and Order) Raj Kanojia told IANS.
The body has been sent for a post-mortem examination.
"It cannot be ascertained if it was murder. But the head injury suggests it could be a murder," Kanojia said. "We have already filed a case in the Singur police station."
In December 2006, the charred body of teenager Tapasi Malik was found in the fenced-off area of the site during a protest movement against land acquisition for the plant.
Malik, who was allegedly raped and then burnt to death, was at the forefront of the farmers' protest against land acquisition.
Tata Motors unveiled its people's car Nano in New Delhi on Jan 10. (IANS)

Former Naxal’s noble gesture.

Rajulapudi Srinivas
RAJAHMUNDRY: Velusuri Srinivas alias Chinna Vijay, commander of the CPI (Maoist) Andhra Orissa Border (AOB) Zonal Committee east division action team, who joined the mainstream yesterday, said he would spend the Rs 1 lakh reward on his head on development of tribal villages. Speaking to ‘Express’, Vijay, a native of Paderu in Visakhapatnam district, said the Maoist dalams working in agency areas got people’s support. Due to lack of basic amenities and employment in agency areas, more and more tribal youths are joining the extremist movement. Most of dalam members in AOB Zonal Committee are women. However, recruitment in the Maoist dalams came down in recent months, he said. ‘‘I have no idea about Naxalite ideology. But after joining the Naxal movement, I came to know the sufferings of the tribals due to exploitation. I came out of the movement due to ill-health,’’ he said. The former Naxal alleged that the political parties, including Communist parties, were not really concerned about the welfare of tribals. The innocent tribals were being used mere vote banks by the political parties. The people’s representatives were ignoring the welfare of tribals soon after their election, he said. When asked about the reason for blasting Donkarayi power house, a public utility, the surrendered Naxalite said they did it for supplying electricity to neighbouring States ignoring the needs of tribals in the agency areas of East Godavari and Visakhapatnam districts. OSD (Operations) PHD Ramakrishna said Vijay worked for seven years in the dalam and was involved in nine attacks, including killing of police constables at Malkangiri and landmine blasts at Gudlawada and Donkarayi. ‘‘We recommended a Rs 2 lakh reward for him,’’ he said. ‘‘I am an orphan and I will use the amount to be given for my rehabilitation for the development of tribal villages in Paderu division,’’ Vijay added. A police official on condition of anonymity said Vijay provided them good information about the Maoist operations in AOB.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Contradicting videos of fight for free tibet.

I have recieved some mails which contradict the earlier videos and articles and they say that tibet was a part of china from long back. Since we ,who are outside from the TIbet - to know the truth we should know the both faces of a movement :-
here are videos which contradict the earlier videos and blame western media for their undue importance to China's internal matter:-
1] Tibet was ,is and always be a part of china.
2]Riot in Tibet: True face of western media .

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

ಚಿರಸ್ಮರಣೆ - ಕಯ್ಯೂರಿನ ತಾಯಿ.


Clash that 'sparked' Tibet's violent protests


Fight for a free Tibet.

Though i thought to write an article about Tibet i just had the feeling that it is the internal matter of China; we the Indians don't agree with a third nation's interference in the Jammu and Kashmir issue ,then how can we comment on Tibet - this was my confusion. One of the friend has rised this question of why the pro - naxal or naxals are not commenting about this tibet issue?
First we should know the history:- Read the below lines from history . After reading if any person or a nation supports china then they are either blind folded maoists without humanity or are gaining lots and lots of benefit in the form of trade from China. This blog from now on will continuosly track the FREE TIBET MOVEMENT. THERE IS ONE THING WHICH IS OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE THAN - MAOISM,GANDHISM,MARXISM,LENINISM, SOCIALISM , CAPITALISM - - HUMANITY .

Despite forty years of Chinese occupation and various policies designed to assimilate or sinify Tibetans and to destroy their separate national, cultural and religious identity, the Tibetan people's determination to preserve their heritage and regain their freedom is as strong as ever. The situation has led to confrontation inside Tibet and to large scale Chinese propaganda efforts internationally.
1949-51 The Chinese Invasion
China's newly established communist government sent troops to invade Tibet in 1949-50. A treaty was imposed on the Tibetan government in May of that year, acknowledging sovereignty over Tibet but recognizing the Tibetan government's autonomy with respect to Tibet's internal affairs. As the Chinese consolidated their control, they repeatedly violated the treaty and open resistance to their rule grew, leading to the National Uprising in 1959 and the flight into India of Tibet's head of state and spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.
The international community reacted with shock at the events in Tibet. The question of Tibet was discussed on numerous occasions by the U N. General Assembly between 1959 and 1965. Three resolutions were passed by the General Assembly condemning China's violations of human rights in Tibet and calling upon China to respect those rights, including Tibet's right to self-determination

After 1959: Destruction

The destruction of Tibet's culture and oppression of its people was brutal during the twenty years following the uprising. 1.2 million Tibetans, one-fifth of the country's population, died as a result of China's policies; many more languished in prisons and labor camps; and more than 6000 monasteries, temples and other cultural and historic buildings were destroyed and their contents pillaged. In 1980 Hu Yao Bang, General Secretary of the Communist Party, visited Tibet - the first senior official to do so since the invasion. Alarmed by the extent of the destruction he saw there, he called for a series of drastic reforms and for a policy of "recuperation". His forced resignation in 1987 was said partially to result m his views on Tibet. In 1981, Alexander Solzhenytsin still described the Chinese regime in Tibet as "more brutal and inhumane than any other communist regime in the world." Relaxation of China's policies in Tibet came very slowly afer 1979n and remains severely limited.
Attempted Tibet-China Dialogue

Two delegations were sent by the Dalai Lama to hold high-level exploratory talks with the Chinese government and party leaders in Beijing between 1979 and 1984. The talks were unsuccessful because the Chinese were, at that time, not prepared to discuss anything of substance except the return of the Dalai Lama from exile. The Dalai Lama has always insisted that his return is not the issue; instead, the question that needs to be addressed is the future of the six million Tibetans inside Tibet. It is the Dalai Lama' s opinion that his own return will depend entirely upon resolving the question of the status and rights of Tibet and its people.

Alarming Chinese Influx

In recent years the situation in Tibet has once again deteriorated, leading in 1987 to open demonstrations against Chinese rule in Lhasa and other parts of the country. One of the principle factors leading to this deterioration has been the large influx of Chinese into Tibet, particularly into its major towns. The exact number of Chinese is difficult to assess, because the vast majority have moved without obtaining official residence permits to do so. Thus, Chinese statistics are entirely misleading, counting as they do only the small numbers of registered immigrants. In Tibet's cities and fertile valleys, particularly in eastern Tibet, Chinese out number Tibetans by two and sometimes three to one. In certain rural areas, particularly in western Tibet, there are very few Chinese. Regardless of the figures, the overall impact of the influx is devastating because the Chinese not only control the political and military power in Tibet, but also the economic life and even cultural and religious life of the people.
The Chinese military as well as the civilian build up in Tibet has been a source of great concern to India, as it impacts directly on India's security. Tibet acted for centuries as a vital buffer between China and India. It is only when Chinese troops faced Indian troops on the Indo-Tibetan border that tensions, and even war, developed between the world ` s most populous powers. The more Tibet is converted into a Chinese province, populated by Chinese, the stronger China's strategic position along the Himalayas will be. China's growing military reach has now become a source of concern to many Asian nations as well as to India.
The Dalai Lama's Proposals
In 1987 the Dalai Lama proposed a Five-Point Peace Plan for the restoration of peace and human rights in Tibet The plan called for:

1. Transformation of the whole of Tibet into a zone of Ahimsa, a demilitarized zone of peace and non violence.

2. Abandonment of China's population transfer policy, which threatened the very existence of the Tibetans as a people.
3. Respect for the Tibetan people's fundamental human rights and democratic freedoms;
4. Restoration of and protection of Tibet's natural environment and abandonment of China's use of Tibet for the production of nuclear weapons and dumping of nuclear waste;
5. Commencement of earnest negotiations on the future status of Tibet and of relations between the Tibetan and Chinese people.

Birth Centenary of Comrade Amulya Sen.

recived via mail

This year is the birth centenary of Comrade Amulya Sen, the great communist revolutionary of India. Comrade Sen, popularly known as Mastermashyay (means, respected teacher) was one of the leaders within the communist movement of India who initiated the two line inner-party struggle inspired from the international two-line struggle under the leadershp of Comrade Mao. In the due course, he started publication of an underground literature, named "Chinta" within the revisionist Communist Party of India (Marxist). After getting a momentum in the two line struggle, Comrade Sen along with Comrade Kanai Chatterjee and Comrade Chandrasekhar Das started publication of an open magazine named "Dakshindesh" . This "Dakshindesh Group" later took the shape of Maoist Communist Centre, one of major communist revolutionary group of India.

Comrade Sen passed away at the age of 74years on 23rd March of 1981.

It is the duty of the revolutionary masses to celebrate the birth centenary of this great communist revolutionary who was one of the founder of Maoist Communist Centre.

I humbly request to circulate the writings of Comrade Amulya Sen among the revolutionary camp amd celebrate his birth centenary.

With struggling greetings,

Monday, March 24, 2008

Uprooted, Abondoned.

The ruthless economics of development ensures that displacement is defined in the narrowest terms possible, says GLADSON DUNGDUNG

Satish Kishku at a public rally

Everything has changed in the last 60 years of independence in India but the unending pain of "displacement" has become as part and partial of the life of 50 years old Satish Kishku of Takkipur village, situated near Canada Dam widely known as Mayurakshi Dam of Dumka district in Jharkhand. Kishku's family was displaced for the first time when he was merely 10 years old. The family had more than enough land for sustaining their generation for years. But their land was acquired for the Dam and the family was given merely 2 acres of land with little money in the name of rehabilitation. The remaining amount of compensation is still hanging in the government office. Now Satish Kishku lives in a small hut with 10 members of his family including his grandchildren and earns livelihood from daily wages.

Satish Kishku had lost his mental balance in February last year when the government officials had gone to conduct survey in his village as the state government of Jharkhand has proposed a Steel Plant in the areas, where 12 villages including Satish Kishku's village Takipur, Kulvanti, Ektala, Sukhjoda and Naraungi village of Raneswar block will face the agony of displacement once again. All these 12 villages were rehabilitated out of 144 villages, which submerged in the Mayurakshi Dam in 1967. The irony is that the Dam was constructed for the irrigation purposes but water does not reach to the rehabilitated villages because water supply has been stopped since1993 but at the same time, the water has regularly been supplied to the state of West Bengal. The electricity, health and sanitation facilities are not available in these villages.

Most of the displaced families across the country have more or less the same pathetic story as Satish Kishku has. Those who surrendered their land, forest, water, culture and identity for the Dam, Industry, Mining and development projects are struggling for survival today. Their children are with bare back, empty stomach, malnourished, illiterate and without shelter today. And those who resisted against it were coined as the "Anti National" or "Naxalites" so that the ruling elites can get a license to kill them and nobody can question about their cruel and inhuman acts. In both the cases tribals, Dalits and Poor are the losers. But does it mean that these people will stop claiming their ownership rights over land, forest and water which their ancestors have protected for them?

The 60 years of independence has taught many lessons to the displaced people about the politics of development, displacement and rehabilitation therefore this time they are determined not to surrender their livelihood resources at any cost for the sake of development though the governments promise them for a rehabilitation package. According to Shatish Kishku, the "rehabilitation package" is the most dangerous weapon to betray the poor. He questions that how can trees, culture and identity be rehabilitated from place one to another? Now he is putting hard work to mobilized people under the banner of "Krishi Bhumi Raksha Samity" and fighting against the displacement proposed by the state government of Jharkhand at Raneswar.
He was one among those 10 thousand displaced people of Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal, Bihar and Manipur, gathered at Rourkela on 9 March, 2008 to raise their voices, share the agony of displacement and chock out their strategy for the struggle against displacement, SEZ Policy and communal fascism. Their core slogans are "Stop displacement in the name of development", "Jindal, Mittal, Tata and Bata go back", "Withdraw the unjust SEZ policy", "We will neither give our life nor land" and "Don’t kill people in the name of religion". These people have taken pledge not to give even one inch of land for Industry, Dam, Mining, Power Plant and any other development project. The three leading alliances Crej Jan Mukti Andolan, Voice for Child Rights and Nafre Jan Andolan are facilitating the whole processes to unite villagers, People's Organizations and people's movements in a platform to challenge the unjust policies of the state and central governments. The Convener of Crej Jan Mukti Andolan K.C. Mardi who played a crucial role in throwing out Jindal Steel, Bhushan Steel and Essar Steel from the Kolhan areas of Jharkhand last year says that the 60 years of Independence has only given tears to the tribals and local inhabitants. They are betrayed in the name of development therefore we have taken pledge for not giving even an inch of land for Industry, Dam and Mining. The member of Nafre Jan Andolam Lakhi Das says, "We oppose the corporate development model and SEZ policy, which induce displacement, destroy the livelihood resources, culture and identity of tribal and poor therefore now we are determined not to lose our remaining livelihood resources for the sake of development".
But the fundamental questions are that why people do not want to give their land for the Industries, Dam and development projects? Why they are throwing out Jindal, Bhushan and Essar Steels from their land, who can provide them job? And why people are raising their voices everywhere against displacement and SEZ policy in the country? One must have to go back to the history of displacement to understand that why these people are against of development projects today. One would be shocked to see the data which suggests that after the independence, approximately 3 crore people were displaced for setting up the Power Plants, Irrigation Projects, Mining Companies, Steel Industries and many more development projects in the country. Among them, 40 percent displaced people are tribals and 20 percent are Dalits, which means the 60 percent displaced people are from the marginalized communities, who sacrificed everything for the sake of the "development" but they are still untouched of the development.
The data of Jharkhand shows that 24,15,698 acres of land were acquired in the name of development, where 17,10,787 people were displaced. In every project approximately 80 to 90 percent tribals and local people were displaced. Merely 25 percent people were halfway rehabilitated but there are also in the miserable conditions and no one has any idea about the rest of 75 percent displaced people. The benefits of all these development projects were only enjoyed by the Landlords, Project Officers, Engineers, Contractors, Beaurocrats, Politicians and outsiders.
Another thing is that there are numerous laws made for protection of the rights of underprivileged people but these were never enacted honestly. The Chota Nagpur Tenancy Act 1908 and Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act prohibit the sale and transfer of tribal land to non tribals but the land were snatched from tribals in the name of development. The constitutional rights, provisions for the sixth scheduled Areas and the Extension of Panchayat Act 1996 were never been implemented with the true spirit in the tribal regions. The ruling elites always misused these laws for their benefits.
The government of India is unable to make the rehabilitation policy even after the 60 years of independence but SEZ policy was introduced. Similarly, when the Jharkhand state was created the first chief minister Babula Marandi brought the Industrial Policy and his successor Arjun Munda even went two steps forward and created history in signing MoU but at the same time, the same state is not able to make a rehabilitation policy even after 7 years. This is why the intention of the state was always questioned and the people are resisting against displacement eveywhere. The people were displaced from one place to another in the name of development but they were not rehabilitated. Hence they feel that they are betrayed in the welfare state in the name of "development". The marginalized people of this country have lost their faith on the governance that is the major shift, where they are firmly decided not to allow laying down the foundation of the corporate development model over their graves.
The displacement is not just shifting people from one place to another but it is destruction of their livelihood resources, culture and identity which they develop by nourishing for the ages. The resources are sold at market rate and production power of the poor has been changed into service providers. Those who were engaged in producing grains now work as domestic workers, care takers of bigwigs and daily wage labourers therefore it is indeed need of the hour to rethink on the present development model because the "state" is duty bound to create atmosphere where people can enjoy their rights and privilege guaranteed by the constitution of India.
Gladson Dungdung is a Human Rights Activist associated with "Child Rights and You"

Anti-SEZ activists hold awareness camp


MANGALORE: Leaders of the successful SEZ Virodhi Manch of Goa interacted with farmers and residents of eight villages that have been notified for the 4,000-acre Mangalore SEZ.
At an awareness camp organised by the Nagarika Seva Trust Guruvayanakere and the Krishi Bhoomi Samrakshana Samiti here on Wednesday, the Goan entourage launched a scathing attack on the concept of SEZs.
Speaking to The Hindu, on the sidelines of the event, Praveen Sasmi termed SEZs “anti-constitutional” and “anti-democratic”.
His counterpart Simon Fernandez added, “It is also an anti-people and anti-national land-grabbing exercise.”
Expounding on the Goa movement, Mr. Sasmi said that the moral high ground for the movement was achieved when the common people realised that it was a completely apolitical struggle.
“Once people realised that we had no affiliations the rest just fell into place,” he said.
Frankie Monteiro was the one who unearthed a the frauds in the Goan SEZ projects.
He said that the foundation for a strong people’s movement was information.
Hailing the Right to Information Act, he said, “Once we had gathered all the proof of the swindling that had occurred, there was no looking back. The truth helped us convince people.” Mr. Monteiro talked at length to the residents about the use of the RTI Act.
Charles Fernandez, another member of the group, said that it was disappointing that only people who were going to be directly affected by the project were agitating against it.
“Everyone in this region will be affected. Everything will change and the message must be spread.”
He said the reason that the Goa movement was successful was because the common people jumped into the fray. “None of us in this group are land losers,” he said.
Peter Gama said that the Mangalore case was slightly complicated because some people whose lands were notified in the first phase had already accepted the compensation package.
“However, that should not alter the movement much,” he added.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Ban Salwa Judum - Moily.

The Centre has asked for a ban on Salwa Judum – an initiative of arming villagers to fight Naxals in Chhattisgarh.
Virtually conceding that the Salwa Judum of Chhattisgarh is a state-sponsored movement to counter Naxalism, a government committee has for the first time said that the anti-Naxal movement has no place in the state.
“Salwa Judum has been recommended to be disbanded,'' said Moily.
Till date both the Centre and state governments have been denying their role in propping up the movement. The Moily Commission, however, has said Naxalism cannot be defeated by counter-insurgency movements such as this.
“Salwa Judum will amount to being an extra-constitutional power which you cannot have,” Moily stated.
“If there is a constitutional government, it is the duty of that constitutional government to function, not delegate this power.
“State Government cannot delegate its powers to an extra-constitutional authority. Law and order is the responsibility of the State,” he explained.
Chhattisgarh is the worst affected state in the country with over 12,000 km of Indian territory outside the control of the government. Over 50, 000 tribals have been forced to take refuge in State-protected camps.
The Salva Judum is largely a creation of divisive state politics, particularly the opposition Congress and the UPA-backed Moily Commission's recommendations are sure to come as a slap on the face not just for the Opposition but the ruling BJP as well.

Twelve Maoists killed in Khammam

Hyderabad (PTI): Twelve Maoists were killed in an encounter with police in the thick forest area of Khammam district in Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday.
The exchange of fire took place when the special police party of Greyhounds, an anti-naxal elite force, was on a combing operation between Cherla and Pamedu police station limits in the forest, according to preliminary reports reaching the police headquarters here.
The slain naxals are yet to be identified and it is suspected that two of them were top Maoists leaders, police sources said.
So far 10 bodies have been recovered and two AK-47 and four SLR have been found from the spot, they added.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Talking revolution

On the back of his left hand, Misir Besra has a large burn mark. He has had it since childhood, when a coin was placed in a cloth and set on fire to scald him in a centuries-old Santhal tribal ceremony. “It represents a vow to fight the enemy,” said the soft-spoken Besra, 47, the highest-ranked Naxalite leader in custody in India who looked after the armed wing.
It is a vow he has kept since his days in college, leaping into the Naxal movement 23 years ago as a curious villager looking for justice, then slowly inching his way up the ranks to join the Politburo, the core Naxalite decision-making body. He was arrested one evening last September from a tea shop in a Jharkhand village.
You could say that story began with a huge jackfruit tree.
The tree stood at the centre of his Bhagnadih village in Jharkhand, then part of Bihar. It was the early 1980s. One day, Besra came back from college to find that the tree had been hacked, its thick trunk lying like a dead animal, its branches already sheared and taken away by the landlord’s men.
“I was very disturbed. I said zamindari was over — and we decided that we would not let them take the trunk away,” said Besra, short and lean, wearing a light blue T-shirt and brown trousers, a stubble on his face. “We did not let them ... That was the first time I led villagers against injustice.”
That day was preceded by years of suppressed rage. Tribals were humiliated in their everyday dealings with moneylenders, landlords and many non-tribals. They had to learn Hindi at schools, even though they wanted to study in the Santhali language. When they went to sell flowers, fruits and seeds of the mahua tree, their main source of income, they were often not paid. Moneylenders mortgaged villagers’ land on criminal terms and forcibly took it away.
“I still remember all the humiliation,” Besra said. Groups of people were showing up in the area those days — from the Naxalbari movement of communist militants, named after the place in West Bengal where it was born. In October 1985, Besra attended a cultural event of the Naxalites. He began to meet new people.
Around that time, he got to hold a gun for the first time. It was electric.

Talking revolution

On the back of his left hand, Misir Besra has a large burn mark. He has had it since childhood, when a coin was placed in a cloth and set on fire to scald him in a centuries-old Santhal tribal ceremony. “It represents a vow to fight the enemy,” said the soft-spoken Besra, 47, the highest-ranked Naxalite leader in custody in India who looked after the armed wing.
It is a vow he has kept since his days in college, leaping into the Naxal movement 23 years ago as a curious villager looking for justice, then slowly inching his way up the ranks to join the Politburo, the core Naxalite decision-making body. He was arrested one evening last September from a tea shop in a Jharkhand village.
You could say that story began with a huge jackfruit tree.
The tree stood at the centre of his Bhagnadih village in Jharkhand, then part of Bihar. It was the early 1980s. One day, Besra came back from college to find that the tree had been hacked, its thick trunk lying like a dead animal, its branches already sheared and taken away by the landlord’s men.
“I was very disturbed. I said zamindari was over — and we decided that we would not let them take the trunk away,” said Besra, short and lean, wearing a light blue T-shirt and brown trousers, a stubble on his face. “We did not let them ... That was the first time I led villagers against injustice.”
That day was preceded by years of suppressed rage. Tribals were humiliated in their everyday dealings with moneylenders, landlords and many non-tribals. They had to learn Hindi at schools, even though they wanted to study in the Santhali language. When they went to sell flowers, fruits and seeds of the mahua tree, their main source of income, they were often not paid. Moneylenders mortgaged villagers’ land on criminal terms and forcibly took it away.
“I still remember all the humiliation,” Besra said. Groups of people were showing up in the area those days — from the Naxalbari movement of communist militants, named after the place in West Bengal where it was born. In October 1985, Besra attended a cultural event of the Naxalites. He began to meet new people.
Around that time, he got to hold a gun for the first time. It was electric.


we speak about inspirations we speak about gandhi, bhagath, subash, lal bahadur shastry, nehru , rajguru , cheguvara , mao, marx, lenin - but the problem with our generation is we have not seen a single person above - we just hear their stories some true , some exxagerated and some completely wrong. Here is a person who lived and still is living with us and a great humanitarian - Fidel Castro, The living legend. Below is one of the fantastic articles about him and his ruling published in frontline- never skip a line

President Fidel Castro delivers a speech at Havana's Plaza de la Revolucion on International Labour Day on May 1, 2005.

He has the nearly mystical conviction that the greatest achievement of the human being is the proper formation of conscience and that moral incentives, rather than material ones, are capable of changing the world and moving history forward. I believe he is one of the greatest idealists of our time . . .
– Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Marti taught us that ‘all the world’s glory fits in a kernel of corn’. Many times have I said and repeated this phrase, which carries in eleven words a veritable school of ethics.
– From Fidel Castro’s National Assembly address, December 31, 2007.
For those of us on the Marxist left whose lives have been marked profoundly by the fact that Fidel Castro lived in our own time, politics is always conceived as a branch of practical ethics and even communist governments are judged in the light of those ethics. More than any other communist in our time, Fidel reminds us incessantly that what we call “scientific socialism” would be nothing if it were not also what he calls “a veritable school of ethics”. This is the side of him which makes Garcia Marquez, Fidel’s friend for 40 years, call him “one of the greatest idealists”.
Why must Cuba, a little island within firing range of the United States’ armed forces and 84 times smaller than its adversary – a poor little island off the coast of Florida, perennially threatened by the most powerful empire in human history – resist U.S. imperialism? Why must Cuban doctors be dispatched to Pakistan when a terrible earthquake devastates its northern regions, even though Cuba, the beleaguered little country, has no geopolitical stakes in that country – or anywhere else? Why must numerous Cubans give their lives in Angola to secure the freedom of that Portuguese colony against invasion by the Apartheid regime of the South Africa of that time? Why should Cuban health personnel be active in 18 different countries even today, saving numerous lives, without seeking property or even payment, in those countries? Why must the Cuban government do its utmost to ensure, even in the most difficult decade of its revolutionary life – the 1990s – that every child goes to school and every single household receives enough calories and protein intake to meet what the World Health Organisation deems necessary as a minimally healthy diet? And ensure, also, that the nation’s handicapped children have access to education, in special schools – and in homes and hospital rooms if necessary? And why must Cuba offer over a thousand of its doctors and tonnes of its medicines to the U.S. when a hurricane devastates the city of New Orleans, notwithstanding the hundreds of billions of dollars Cuba itself has lost owing to the U.S. embargo?
One of the many things that make Fidel so unique in the history of statecraft is that he constantly connects these practical questions with the moral. A nation that does not send all its children to school (including children born with deficiencies such as autism), does not ensure basic nutritional values for all of its citizenry, or does not eradicate malnutrition and preventable diseases, is in his vision not only a society deeply divided by class or race but also, simply, an immoral nation. The moral resides in the material, and, in his own “school of ethics”, derived equally from Marti and Marx – the nationalist and the socialist – “all the world’s glory fits into a kernel of corn” only when each child is nourished and educated, in city and village alike, and when a nation shares its bounty with other nations, as a gift and to the extent possible.
Fidel is proud of the fact that Cubans no longer die of the many diseases that beset other countries of the Third World but only of causes that prevail in the advanced countries: mainly heart disease, cancer and unforeseeable accidents. But why must Cuba, so poor a country, send thousands of its doctors to the farthest corners of the earth to save lives, for nothing in return? Well, Fidel is fond of quoting Jose Marti, the founding father of Cuban nationalism and anti-imperialism, whose 28 volumes he seems to know by heart: “Humanity is the Homeland.” A nationalism which always had, at its very core, a profound sense of obligation to humanity in general: a “proletarian internationalism” in the very finest sense of that term.
In his original political formation as a very young man, during the 1950s, Fidel was a nationalist (opposed to U.S. exploitation of his island-country) and a bourgeois democrat (son of a rich landowner, lawyer by training, opposed to the Batista dictatorship but also anti-communist). While Fidel was in his youth a member of the left wing of a perfectly bourgeois political party, it was his younger brother Raul (expected now to succeed him to the post of President) who was attracted to communist ideas during student days and who is said to have introduced him, somewhat later, to Che Guevara. Fidel moved further to the left not just in the company of Raul or Che but also in the very course of working among the poorest of the poor peasants during the legendary revolutionary warfare that he led from the mountainous regions of Sierra Maestra, before marching into Havana at the head of the Rebel Army in the first week of 1959. Even the name of the army was indicative: they were “rebels” against the U.S.-sponsored Batista dictatorship. Even at that stage, he was cut out to be a left-wing populist.

A Victorious Fidel Castro, along with Camilo Cienfuegos (left), Huber Matos (right) and other members of his 26th of July Movement, entering Havana on January 8, 1959.

It was the utter hostility of the U.S. toward his anti-imperialist nationalism which taught Fidel that nationalism itself had to choose its class content: one could not adhere to capitalism as such and yet defy imperialist domination; to be anti-imperialist, one also had to be a socialist and communist. He began speaking of socialism in October 1960, some 18 months after taking power. However, the open and decisive turn came only in his famous speech of April 16, 1961, just a day before the surprise Bay of Pigs invasion, in sonorous cadences: “The imperialists cannot forgive us because we exist . . . Comrade workers and peasants, this is a socialist and democratic revolution of the humble, with the humble, and for the humble . . . Long live our homeland’s martyrs! May the heroes of the nation live forever! Long live the socialist revolution! Long live free Cuba! Homeland or Death!”
That cry – Homeland or Death (patria o muerte) – was to reverberate across the globe for many years to come. What is most striking – and of great historical significance – is the fact that commitment to socialism had itself emerged as the only possible logical materialisation of anti-imperialist nationalism: socialism arising as something of an ethical imperative from inside the requirements of nationalism itself. This theme was to be made most explicit in one of the historic documents of the Cuban Revolution: Fidel’s speech of December 2, 1961 – usually given the title ‘From Marti to Marx’ – a magnificent oration which said, among other things that “there is no middle way between capitalism and socialism. Those who persist in seeking third ways fall into a quite false and utopian position. This would be like fooling oneself; this would mean complicity with imperialism.” Only after this political and ideological transition did the preparation began for the formation, as late as 1965, of the Communist Party of Cuba as we know it today.
Fidel has never deviated from this position in his own leadership of the Cuban revolution. Yet, thanks to this equal emphasis on socialism and anti-imperialist nationalism, Cuban foreign policy was devoted not only to forming a global revolutionary front of peoples across the globe but also a broad anti-imperialist front of states in as many forums and on as many issues as possible. Thus, even though any chatter about a “third way” between capitalism and socialism was said to be “false and utopian” as well as a “complicity with imperialism”, the actual, material form of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) was seen as a significant way for building a broad front of states against the most aggressive forms of U.S. imperialism. And, from Angola to Haiti to Pakistan to Venezuela, Cuban doctors were dispatched to cope with emergencies in diverse countries, regardless of their social systems. Woven into all this has always been the idea that Cuba must inspire the peoples of the world – and even the states of the world – through its own example and its devotion to the idea, enunciated by its national hero, that “Humanity is the Homeland.” Historic transformation
Serving its own people and teaching the world not through domination but simply by example includes the fact that Cuba is the only Latin American country where there is no malnutrition but virtually hundred per cent education; where infant mortality rates are comparable to those of Canada or Sweden; where there is, as a norm, one teacher per every 20 pupils in elementary and lower secondary schools; which produce more doctors, per capita, than any other country in the world; where women are the majority of the nation’s technical and scientific personnel; where agricultural production per hectare has risen while chemical inputs have declined and ecologically sustainable natural inputs have increased; and which has tens of thousands of its medical personnel saving lives elsewhere in the world while also training doctors from all over the hemisphere, including the U.S. All this, despite all the pressures and sabotage activities of the U.S., whose extra-territorial embargo against Cuba has cost the island-state hundreds of billions of dollars.
Fidel has had the grand satisfaction of supervising these historic transformations in his country, and especially of defending the socialist state during the decade of the 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union which resulted in such chaos in the Cuban economy that some sectors of it regressed to pre-revolutionary levels. Substantial recovery from all that has been one of the miracles of Cuban economy, even though at the expense of certain systemic distortions. Fidel also has the satisfaction of seeing some of his heirs come to power elsewhere in Latin America, notably in Venezuela and Bolivia. Hugo Chavez was a nationalist, populist and quasi-leftist military officer, as Fidel himself had been in his youth, but grew to be an audacious revolutionary under Fidel’s tutelage; the great sadness in Fidel’s falling prey to ill-health now is that Chavez may soon have to carry on without instruction from the Grand Old Man of the Latin American Revolution. Evo Morales went for such instructions soon after winning the presidency in Bolivia, and Fidel’s role has been central in working out not only some of the lines of action for Morales inside his country but also for sorting out relationships between Bolivia and Venezuela on the one hand, and Bolivia and Brazil on the other. And, it is always a pleasure to see the heads of states of Argentina and Brazil, the giants in Latin American economy, pay homage to Fidel, again and again in recent years, when even a nodding acquaintance with him is enough to bring down the wrath of the mighty in Washington.
Fidel now withdraws from some of his duties at the very zenith of his moral authority in a Latin America that honours him today as one of its greatest heroes. There was Simon Bolivar, and then there was Jose Marti. Who else, to compare with Fidel’s historical stature?

The global media is abuzz: Fidel Castro – the great revolutionary for most of humanity; the great monster for U.S. imperialism – has resigned. The strongest refutation of such an idea comes from none other than Hugo Chavez, Fidel’s true heir on the Latin American scale. Figures like Fidel “never retire,” he says, “Fidel will always be in the lead.” Truth lies somewhere between these assertions, well summed up in the phrasing of the news agency Prensa Latina: “Fidel Castro’s decision not to be included among the candidates to government leadership opens a road which has been worked with the care and precision of a goldsmith.”
That is just about right. Fidel is undoubtedly the most visionary and audacious among revolutionaries of our age but also a hard-boiled realist, devoted to detail and precision, much like a ‘goldsmith’ working on the most precious but also the most difficult of metals. Some of that difficult metal is of course within one’s own self. In the most recent of his addresses to the National Assembly, at the end of 2007, he remarks: “Deep down, every citizen wages an individual battle against humanity’s innate tendency to stick to its survival instincts . . . We are all born marked by that instinct . . . Coming face to face with this instinct is rewarding because it leads us to a dialectical process and to a constant and altruistic struggle, bringing us closer to Marti and making us true communists.” Some reflection on this passage should give us pause, for it tells us something basic about his philosophical understanding of Marxism, his way of coping with his own mortality, and the kind of political transition he has prepared for Cuba in the face of his own mortality.
Philosophically, human existence is understood here as a passage from the sheer individualism of the survival instinct, rooted in the brute biological need, to what Fidel calls “a constant and altruistic struggle”, rooted in morals and politics, which brings us “closer to anti-imperialism (Marti) and Communism (Marx). In other words, transcendence of self-interest for the greater good. But that same biology that gives us the survival instinct also brings us the fact of our own mortality: how long must even the greatest of leaders cling to office, and how to prepare for one’s own death? Preparation for this transition began not now but during the party congress of 1997, ten years ago, when, referring to Raul Castro, his younger brother and closest comrade since they jointly led the famous assault on the Moncada Barracks in 1953 (before either of them met Che Guevara), Fidel said, “Raul is younger than I, more energetic than I. He can count on much more time.” More generally, referring to a younger set of leaders who had arisen in the party, Fidel said in that same speech of 1997: “Behind me are others more radical than I.”
In the very document that is being interpreted today as his “resignation”, he refers to his “provisional resignation, on 31 July 2006” when he was about to go in for a possibly fatal surgery and therefore withdrew from the practical requirements of high office, transferring his authority to a collective leadership of seven close comrades led by Raul Castro who has been the head of the armed forces since the onset of the revolution in 1959 and serves now not just as First Vice President but also as Vice-Secretary of the Polit Bureau and the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba. The collective leadership that was put in place included old comrades (such as Ramiro Valdes, now 75, who participated in the assault on the Moncada Barracks alongside the Castro brothers) as well the younger ones (such as Carlos Lage, 56 years old, who rose to prominence during the 1990s when he played a key role in formulating sweeping new economic policies to cope with the crisis caused by the collapse of the Soviet Union). Thus, for a year and a half, Cuba has already witnessed a carefully crafted transition because, as Fidel puts it in that document, “my first duty was to prepare our people both politically and psychologically for my absence after so many years of struggle.”
Why this document now? The simple reason is that Cuban society has been undergoing an intense parliamentary electoral process since September 2007, which culminated in some 96 per cent of the eligible voters (voting age:16) casting secret ballots and 92 per cent of them choosing the united slate put together by unions as well as other popular organisations — of women, youth, small farmers, and the like. On February 24, 2008, Cuba’s National Assembly was scheduled to meet to elect by secret ballot 31 new members of the Council of State and those members would elect the President. Fidel’s document is addressed directly to this crucial meeting of the National Assembly and begins, “The moment has come to nominate and elect the State Council, its President, its Vice Presidents and Secretary.” He then surveys briefly several aspects of the current situation in Cuba and expresses satisfaction that leading cadres of the party are now drawn from three successive generations, ranging from those who initiated the revolutionary process some 60 years ago to those born after the revolution. In the process, Fidel makes four key, cryptic statements: 1. “I will neither aspire to nor accept the positions of the President of the State Council and Commander-in-Chief”; 2. “My elementary duty is not to cling to positions, much less to stand in the way of younger persons”; 3. “It would be a betrayal of my conscience to accept a responsibility requiring more mobility and dedication than I am physically able to offer”; and 4. “This is not my farewell to you. My only wish is to fight as a soldier in the battle of ideas.” Significantly, Fidel says nothing here about his position in the party itself. Now, battle of ideas
His role “as a soldier in the battle of ideas” takes the overt form now of virtually daily columns in national newspapers, in which he reflects upon his own life, the revolutionary process in Cuba, imperialist strategies, problems faced by other countries of Latin America as well as the most general problems faced by the whole of humanity. For example, Fidel was undoubtedly the first head of state in the world who said, as early as 1992, that future of the human species itself is now at stake owing to the ecological disaster that has been caused by profit-based industrial production and the culture of consumerism which such production and accumulation entails; this has become a great preoccupation for him in his twilight years and the problem surfaces, in one way or another, in most things that he now publishes, including the most recent documents addressed to Cuba’s own National Assembly.
This, however, is by no means his only role as “a soldier in the battle of ideas”. The collective leadership that has been functioning for the past 18 months has said time and again that Fidel contributes critical advice and judgement in formulation of every policy, while he also sustains practical engagements with other Latin American leaders, such as Chavez of Venezuela, Morales of Bolivia, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil, and others. Chavez is thus substantially correct in asserting that Fidel has not retired and continues to “lead”, even though the torch is surely being passed and he himself is supervising a very smooth transition of leadership on the national as well as continental scale. If Raul is likely to be nominated as the next President within Cuba, Chavez is already seen across Latin America as Fidel’s heir and successor in the Hemisphere. Within the nation, though, the process of transition shall continue for some more years, until the veterans of 1959 hand over the torch, finally, to a new generation of leaders who are not the makers of the original revolution but its products.

Thousands of Cuban doctors who have served selflessly in 18 countries are the finest example of what the much-abused phrase "humanitarian intervention" can mean if translated into a socialist version of transnational obligation. Here, a Cuban doctor on a routine home visit on the outskirts of Barcelona, in Los Potocos, Venezuela. A June 2005 picture.

Each revolution must invent its own originality. The Chinese revolution was not a replica of the Bolshevik revolution, nor was the Vietnamese revolution a replica of the Chinese. Even so, the revolution that Fidel initiated was more original than most, with perhaps the single exception of the Bolshevik revolution. The men who created the guerilla bases in the remote mountain fastnesses of the Sierra Maestra were knit together by a revolutionary solidarity not in a party organisation, even though Fidel was seen from the beginning as first among equals. They survived in those remote zones of sparse and wretched agriculture, fighting off Batista’s armed forces and expanding their bases, thanks to the trust they inspired among the poorest of peasants, but they were themselves mostly urban middle class men and self-taught soldiers in a Rebel Army that included, as its second most illustrious and dominant figure after Fidel, an Argentine national, Che Guevara. Their Rebel Army consisted mainly of cadres, not of peasant masses, as in China or Vietnam.
Fidel had become a legendary figure after his defiant, great courtroom oration in 1953, printed under the title History Will Absolve Me and circulated in tens of thousands of copies. The legend kept getting larger and larger as news of guerilla warfare in the mountains reached the cities, which responded by funnelling much material support through clandestine channels and then arose in a massive general strike when the Rebel Army marched into Havana, on January 8. By then, Batista the dictator had fled the country and guerillas who had fought their way to Havana took over without firing any further shots. Even so, they were at no stage linked to any of the political parties of the cities and could begin their own organisation of state and politics with a clean slate, owing allegiance to none other than themselves.
The Cuban revolution has been perhaps the most thoroughgoing of the communist revolutions but the leaders who led Cuba on a socialist path were not communists or even theoretical Marxists when they actually made the revolution. Their communist party was founded not before the revolution but six years after the seizure of state power. They carried out swift and far-reaching nationalisations in industry as well as agriculture, but for the two key leaders of the revolution, Fidel and Che, communism was less about developing the “forces of production” through some sort of primitive socialist accumulation based on peasant tribute – that is, Stalin’s model during the period of collectivisation – and much more about transforming the social relations of production and creating a new kind of conscience – that is, the creation of what Che used to call “the New Socialist Man”.
Fidel was, since the very early days of his youth, a radical, insurrectionary nationalist but, in the grand tradition of Bolivar and Marti, this nationalism was fused seamlessly, in all the days of his adult life, with what one may call a collective, transnational Latin American patriotism. In 1947, when he was barely 18 and still a student, Fidel volunteered for an armed insurrection against the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic which did not materialise. His next political act was to travel through Colombia, Panama and Venezuela to help organise Latin American anti-imperialist student congress in response to the first conference of the U.S.-sponsored Organisation of American States (OAS). While in Colombia he participated in the April 1948 uprising in the capital city of Bogota. The next few years were spent inside Cuba organising various kinds of opposition to the Batista dictatorship when it arose in 1952. It is significant, though, that when he launched his effort to organise what later became the Rebel Army he retreated for the preparatory period not to the Cuban hinterland but to Mexico.
Che, for his part, was born in the Argentine upper class, had travelled all through Latin America on his own before meeting the Castro brothers, flung himself wholeheartedly into the Cuban revolution, fought for revolutions in Africa, and died, much too soon, while trying to organise a revolution in Bolivia. When Evo Morales won the recent presidential election in Bolivia and went to pay his respects to Fidel even before taking office, he said, memorably, that he and his comrades had taken up the tasks initiated by Che Guevara. For Fidel and Che, the Cuban revolution was always the first step in a comprehensive Latin American revolution. But not only Latin America.
Very soon after taking power, Fidel was to start stressing that Cuba was not only a Caribbean or a Latin American nation but had ties of blood and obligation with Africa as well, thanks to the slave trade which had brought numerous Africans in chains to work on the white man’s plantations. When Cuba despatched its soldiers to fight wars of liberation in Angola, Ethiopia and the Congo, Fidel was to say that the willingness to let Cuban blood be shed for the liberation of Africa was a small part of repayment that Cuba owed to the Continent for having once been the country that exploited black African slave labour.
Even beyond Latin America and Black Africa, there was the larger idea articulated by Marti and taken up by Fidel: “Humanity is the Homeland.” One of the earliest acts of solidarity with a former colony was the despatch of troops to fight in Algeria, risking the displeasure of France, and then to defend Algerian territory against Moroccan encroachment. And, few people know that a Cuban brigade was stationed on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights during the 1973 war with Israel. The famous slogan that Che coined – “Two, three, Many Vietnams” – was no empty rhetoric. He seriously believed that the best way to show solidarity with Indochinese people in their resistance against American invasion was to open other military fronts elsewhere in the world, and it was in keeping with this conviction that he went to open just such a front in Bolivia.
No country in the world demonstrates as well as does Fidel’s Cuba – a besieged and beleaguered little island struggling with its own development while embargoed by the U.S. and ignored by international financial institutions – the simple truth that any genuine anti-imperialist nationalism must be, of necessity, a thoroughgoing internationalism. Cuba’s practice of that internationalism is of course framed by socialist principles. Yet, this socialist internationalism also has unique Cuban characteristics, quite different from the various Internationals – the Second, the Third, and the Fourth.Internationalism and “Humanitarian Intervention”
CRISTOBAL HERRERA/AP Fidel said: "Raul is younger than I, more energetic than I. He can count on much more time." Here, at an extraordinary session of the National Assembly in Havana in June 2002, Castro votes to amend the Constitution with his brother and Defence Minister Raul Castro seated beside him.
Thousands of Cuban doctors who have served selflessly in 18 countries, out of a sense of internationalist solidarity, are the finest example of what the much abused phrase “humanitarian intervention” can mean if translated into a socialist version of transnational human obligation. Even that pales in comparison with what is now afoot under Fidel’s visionary guidance. A sense of all that can be had from just a couple of passages from a speech that he delivered in 2005, addressing the new medical graduates of that year. He begins:
The number of Latin American and Caribbean students from countries in South, Central and North America graduating from the Latin American School of Medicine, together with the young Cubans who graduate here today, amounts to 3,515 new doctors who will be at the service of our peoples and the world.
This figure will increase until 10,000 doctors are graduated every year, to meet our commitment of training 100,000 doctors from Latin America and the Caribbean in Cuba in ten years, under the principles of ALBA [Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America and the Caribbean], signed between Cuba and Venezuela, which will contribute an equal number, in an unwavering attempt to integrate our peoples.
This is followed by a factual summary of the tremendous strides Cuba has made in the field of health care since the revolution (fully attested by WHO) and then refers to his ongoing dialogue with Chavez on Cuba-Venezuela cooperation:
Both of us, in the name of the peoples of Venezuela and Cuba, are deeply committed to supporting health care, literacy, education, Mission Miracles, PETROCARIBE, ELECTROCARIBE, the struggle against HIV and other important social and economic programmes with a strong humane and integration component in our region.
The enormous task of preserving and restoring the sight to no less than six million people from Latin America and the Caribbean [through Mission Miracles], and of training 200,000 healthcare professionals in 10 years, is completely unprecedented.
However, I am convinced that these programmes will be bettered. On June 30, it was suggested that Mission Miracle be extended to other countries in the Caribbean. Today, 81 days later, I can say here that the number of people from the Caribbean who have undergone eye surgery is now 4,212 and the number of Venezuelan brothers and sisters who have been operated on so far this year is 79,450, which combine for a total 83,662 patients.
The great progress made in this field by our country will reach other sister nations in our region by way of the young professionals who are beginning to graduate from the Latin American School of Medicine.
Fidel then discusses the earlier formation of the International Contingent of Doctors Specialised in Disaster Situations and Serious Epidemics, consisting of over 1,500 medical personnel, which drew from the experience of Cuban doctors from countries as diverse as Haiti and Pakistan, and which was now to be renamed as “The Henry Reeve Contingent” to honour an American who died fighting for the Cuban revolution. He then specifies the expansion plans:
This brigade will be primarily composed of members of the current force bearing this name. Successive members will be 200 volunteers from the current graduation of doctors, 200 from the previous graduation of 2003-04, 600 students in their sixth year of Medicine from the 2005-06 course, and 800 in their fifth year from this same course. Later, others will follow. Nobody should feel left out. The tens of thousands of specialists in Comprehensive General Medicine, as well as Cuban Nursing graduates and health care professionals who are presently on missions abroad, or who have completed them, represent an infinite reserve for the Henry Reeve Contingent.
No country in the world puts such a large part of its own resources for the good of humanity beyond its borders. The conception itself puts to shame the concept of “humanitarian intervention”, which is so widely discussed among the geopolitical strategists and moral philosophers of the capitalist West but always in terms of the justifiability of military intervention, in regions as far apart as the Balkans and the Horn of Africa, not to speak of Iraq or Afghanistan.Facing the Wrath of Empire
JAVIER GALEANO/AP The Grand Old Man of the Latin American Revolution has the satisfaction of seeing some of his heirs come to power elsewhere in Latin America, notably in Venezuela and Bolivia. Here, he is flanked by Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Bolivia's Evo Morales at a meeting in Havana on April 29, 2006. The leaders formed of a bloc that rejected U.S.-backed free trade and promised to promote regional commerce and cooperation.
Limitations of space does not allow us to discuss myriad other achievements in Fidel’s Cuba, in such diverse areas as food sovereignty, mass education, gender and racial equality, the development of sustainable alternative technologies, especially in agriculture, the great recovery from the crash of the 1990s.
Suffice it to say that the magnitude of these achievements and Cuba’s inspiring role in the life of nations is such that we tend to forget that Fidel is the national leader of a small little island and think of him, almost instinctively, as the iconic world leader, on a scale no one would wish to confer on the leader of the day in India, Brazil or South Africa. In Latin America at least he is revered almost universally, and few are the Latin American leaders who do not seek his advice.
Yet, no real measure of the achievement is possible without taking into account the sheer animosity and constant aggression that Cuba has faced from its imperial neighbour, which imposed a partial embargo against it in 1960 and full trade embargo in 1962, which is estimated to have cost the Cuban economy more than $89,000 million; in 2006 alone, Cuba lost nearly $4,000 million as a direct consequence of this policy. The genocidal intent of these policies has been clear from the outset, as outlined by Lester D. Mallory, Deputy Under-Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, on April 6, 1960, in a memorandum to Roy R. Rubottom Jr., then Under-Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs:
Most Cubans support Castro. There’s no effective political opposition (...) the only foreseeable means to alienate internal support is by creating disillusionment and discouragement based on lack of satisfaction and economical difficulties (...) We should immediately use any possible measure to (...) cause hunger, desperation and the overthrow of the Government.
Causing hunger in another nation is a genocidal act and is expressly forbidden in the international protocols. “Regime change” has become a fashionable phrase during the Bush presidency but it has been a determined U.S. policy for very many decades, and the intent has been pursued most ferociously with respect to Cuba. More than 20 CIA plots to kill Fidel have been documented; none succeeded, luckily. In the process, Miami has acquired scores of the world’s best-trained and best–equipped assassins. Strangulation of Cuba has included invasion as well sabotage of all imaginable kinds.
The U.S. State Department even has a senior post of Cuba Transition Director, whose sole responsibility is to plan the overthrow of the Cuban government.
The U.S. Congress has recently allocated $89 million for this task alone, and some of these funds are distributed openly to fund anti-Fidel groups inside Cuba.
Indeed, as the Cold War ended and the Cuban economy went into a full crisis in consequence of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the U.S. tightened its embargo and speeded up internal sabotage, sensing a great opportunity.
The 1996 Helms-Burton Bill, which greatly extended all the draconian practices, was signed into law by Bill Clinton.
In 2005, just as Fidel was giving his inspiring speech on Cuba’s role in securing health and sight for the Latin American masses, the National Intelligence Council of the CIA added Cuba to the secret list of countries where the U.S. may have to intervene militarily in the near future.
The list goes on and on, and one could write volumes on the subject. It is in the eye of this imperial storm that Fidel has stood, head high and the moral imagination unwavering, for close to 50 years. In the process, he has survived 10 U.S. Presidents and 23 U.S. Congresses, not to speak of countless heads of the CIA.
Within Latin America, meanwhile, numerous governments and leaders, from Allende to Aristide, from the Sandinistas to Hugo Chavez, from Morales to Kirchner and Lula — from countries small and large — stand in awe of him, as the Grand Old Man of the Latin American Revolution, even though quite a few of them simply lack the guts to follow in his footsteps.

Guerrilla days over, Naxals ready for new wars

The highest ranking Naxal leader in custody has rubbished many claims made by security agencies about the rebels, but acknowledged new challenges – a money crunch, tackling corruption among cadres, adapting to technology and reaching out to the middle class.
Misir Besra, 47, a member of the decision-making Politburo of the Naxalite organisation, made new revelations in an interview with the Hindustan Times as he awaited his court hearing in Ranchi.
He said the Naxal organisation had spread to at least 15 states – though armed fighters were present in fewer states. He declined to give precise details but said there would be between 15,000 and 20,000 armed guerrillas in the Naxalite movement – with up to 40 per cent of them women.
The Naxal movement is now described by the government as India’s largest security threat. It is the strongest force among all insurgent groups in India, who together have influence in one-third of the country.
Besra said the Naxalites are now embarking on its biggest-ever transformation – ending the days of guerrilla ambushes to begin attacking in much larger armed formations. “In guerrilla warfare, the aim is to attack suddenly in small groups, then withdraw and vanish. We will have to take it from company formation to battalion formation … guerrilla warfare to regular warfare,” said Besra, who has received combat training like most other Naxalites.
“So far we do not have RDX (explosive)… We are not using paper bombs yet… There are no suicide squads, and no plans immediately to set them up,” Besra said, referring to claims about Naxal operations and strategy by security officials in different states.
It is not possible to establish the authenticity of those statements. Hours before the Besra interview, a top police official told HT that RDX linked to Naxalites had been found in two places in Ranchi last year.
But elsewhere, Indian security officials have in the past made unverified claims that created a spectre of militants’ larger-that-life strength – like Kashmir rebels gaining access to chemical weapons, several anti-aircraft guns and even a dozen Stinger missiles, or purported links between Kashmir rebels and Nepal’s Maoist or Sri Lanka’s LTTE militants.
Besra, soft-spoken and wearing a blue T-shirt and trousers, said other challenges were emerging, meanwhile. “I cannot tell you about our funds. But yes, we are beginning to feel a financial crunch,” said Besra, who earlier had organisation-building responsibilities. “We are trying to step up fund collection in keeping with the growth of the movement.
“As the struggle and war evolve, we also cannot succeed without the internet or technological advancement,” he said. “We are short of computer engineers.” Besra said children are part of the army but claimed that they are not in the fighting force.
“They carry arms but they do not fight. A boy of 12 can keep a gun but not fight,” Besra said, asserting that it was for self-defence. “He can go into the battlefield only when he is 16 or 17.”
Norms remain tough: In the villages, rapists are asked to marry their victims. Among Naxalites, marriages are allowed within the ranks but no illicit relationships – a rule sometimes broken. Thieves are beaten and made to return what they stole. Those found guilty of causing the death of fighters or damage to bunkers are summarily killed. Police spies are given up to three warnings, then killed, Besra said.
But several Naxal splinter groups have been created. Besra said it was mainly related to the stealing by some people of “levy” money – a tax charged by the rebels from government contractors, officials and companies.
“There are instances,” he said. “But whenever they take place, there is an investigation and a self-purification campaign.”

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Everybody Loves A Naxal .

As the word Naxal changes meaning, Sudeep Chakravarti's book is essential reading, says ADITYA NIGAM

NAXALISM, OR ITS current variant, Maoism, is back in the news with a bang. On its first coming, forty years ago, it expressed a radical utopian impulse that rapidly captured the imagination of a generation of the most brilliant students across the country. It started as a peasant revolt in 1967 in a small area of northern West Bengal but while the initial revolt was rapidly crushed by the governments of the day, the metaphor called Naxalbari and its anglicised derivative "Naxalite" took the political world by storm. Naxalism was a radical critique of the existing state of affairs — the corruption of the parliamentary democratic system, the political parties; the rot in the educational system; rampant joblessness, famines and food shortages and other contemporary issues of the late 1960s.

Naxalism became what contemporary social theorists would call a "floating signifier" — a wide range of meanings could be put into that term. That Naxalbari was a trigger for a radical cultural-political critique of the stranglehold of landlordism and caste power in rural India is also evident from the wide range of films, theatre and literary products that emerged in the decade immediately following. This first round of Naxalism was therefore widely studied and written about by scholars of different persuasions and we have a fairly rich documentation of that history. The subsequent two phases of the movement have hardly been studied. The second phase, that of silent regrouping and reorganisation, was long drawn out and unspectacular, compared to its first phase. But that is where the foundations of the present movement were laid. The present phase, where the term "Naxalism" has been replaced by the more specific "Maoism" (referring to only one powerful strand of the movement) has been the least studied and understood. Sudeep Chakravarti's book is a timely and fascinating account of Maoism in the last decade or so. Written in the form of a journalistic travelogue, it gives a fascinating picture of the various elements that go into the making of this phenomenon.

Chakravarti's specific focus is on the current flashpoint, namely Chhattisgarh, where he traveled and met a range of different people. Chhattisgarh is also important because it is currently the site of the most vicious and violent counter-insurgency operation unleashed by the state — the Salwa Judum which pits one section of tribals into a civil war with others.

Sudeep Chakravarti

Penguin Viking352 pp;

Rs 495

Chakravarti's account provides readers an opportunity to form their own judgement as we are brought face to face with officials directly handling the insurgency on the one hand, and others who are involved in developmental activity (including Gandhians, now branded as crypto-Naxals by the administration) to give a glimpse of life in this embattled land. Chhattisgarh today is only a notch below (or maybe not) the directly Army-ruled states (thanks to the Armed Forces Special Powers Act) of the North-East and Kashmir, for example. With its own draconian Chhattisgarh Public Security Act, it is run today as a police state and Chakravarti's account brings out the situation there quite vividly.

However, despite its specific focus on Chhattisgarh, the author does not restrict himself to it and provides us with a fairly well-informed account of the larger picture of the movement, its current state, its different major tendencies and its general spread in different parts of the country. And he does it with interviews with a range of participants — including the legendary Kanu Sanyal — as well as with observers in the corporate sector or the media. These accounts are garnished with snippets of the Maoist movement in neighbouring Nepal, providing an excellent introduction for the lay reader.Chakravarti's account should also serve as an eye-opener to the powers-that-be, for their myopic responses to Naxalism betray an utter lack of understanding of the challenges posed by it. It is time to recognise that Naxalism is a response, however perverse, to years of looting of public resources and dispossession of peoplefrom their lands by state and corporate elites. This is a curious omission from the Chhattisgarh story in the book. It is, after all, clear by now that the state-sponsored Salwa Judum and anti-Naxal operations are but the smokescreen behind which large-scale corporate robbery of tribal lands is carried out. This is a story that remains to be told.

From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 5, Issue 6, Dated Feb 16, 2008

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Naxals call for bandh on march 14

HYDERABAD: Two naxal organisations, CPI (Maoist) and CPI-ML (Janasakthi), have jointly given a call to the people of Telangana to observe a bandh in protest against the Congress’ anti-Telangana stand on March 14, the day when Sonia Gandhi is scheduled to visit Hyderabad. Criticising the Congress for what they called its attempt to renew its power in the state, the naxal parties accused Sonia of betraying the same people who were responsible for her party winning the 2004 elections. "The Congress government in the state has not completed any project in the state except the international airport at Shamshabad. No irrigation project has been completed, not an acre has been brought under cultivation," the parties said in a statement issued here on Monday. Sonia will inaugurate the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport on March 14 and participate in the inauguration of an irrigation project in Telangana. The two-page statement, singed by Maoist party North Telangana Special Zonal Committee secretary Chandranna and Janasakhthi party’s regional secretary Bharat, asked the people of the region not to vote for the Congress in the next elections. "The state government is handing over 60 per cent of the land in Nalgonda, Medak, Ranga Reddy and Mahabubnagar districts to the landlords of the Coastal Andhra region. These acts of the government along with construction of Potireddy Padu and Pulichintala projects are bound to destroy the Telangana region," the leaders of the two naxalite groups said in the statement. The statement was also critical of the Telangana Rashtra Samiti for portraying the resignations of its MPs, MLAs and MLCs as acts of sacrifice. "The party which has given the struggle a go by for four years now wants to win the elections by showing the resignations as sacrifice," the statement said urging the party to wage a real struggle in association with progressive elements and people of the region. Earlier, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has also given a call for bandh on the same day with the similar cause. The Congress president already cancelled a public meeting in Hyderabad on March 14 as that may force her to speak on the Telangana issue.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Eight held near Udupi for helping naxalites

Arms and ammunition recovered during raids
Police first nabbed one of the eight during their rounds
The accused allegedly supplied food to naxalites
Udupi: The Anti-Naxalite Force (ANF) and the police in a joint operation on Friday arrested eight persons allegedly involved in helping naxalites at Kudlu coming under the Hebri police station limits in Udupi district.
Inspector-General of Police (Western Range) A.M. Prasad told The Hindu over telephone from Hebri that the ANF had arrested eight persons at Kudlu. They had recovered a single barrel muscle loader (SBML) gun, 30 detonators, two gelatin sticks, naxalite literature and flags, and a motorcycle, from them.
The eight accused were interrogated at Hebri. During the interrogation, the eight persons had confessed to helping the naxalites by supplying them food and detonators and giving them logistic support. They also allowed the naxalites to use their motorcycle, Mr. Prasad said.
Explaining the events leading to the arrest of the naxalites, he said the ANF and the police were doing their routine combing operations at Kadlu on Friday, when they nabbed one of the naxalite accomplices.
On his information, the other seven accomplices were caught and their hideout raided. The arms and ammunition were recovered from the hideout. There was a possibility of more cache of arms and ammunition being found, Mr. Prasad said. Identity
The police in Karkala gave the names of the eight accused as Dayananda Gowda, Sudhakara Shetty, Kempe Gowda, Krishnappa Gowda, Kariya Gowda, Ananda Gowda, Satish Shetty, and Suresh Gowda. The gun was recovered from Dayananda Gowda’s house.
The other items such as 30 detonators, gelatin sticks, 20 pamphlets containing naxalite literature, naxalite flags and a motorcycle were recovered from the other naxalite accomplices. The eight accused would be produced before the court by Saturday evening, the sources said.

4 naxals held?

MALKANGIRI, March 7: Police claimed to have achieved a major success with the arrest of four hardcore Naxals during a combing operation at Tonkelguda forest under Motu police station limits today.Police sources said the arrested Naxals were Desa Madhi, Dula Madhi, Lacha MAdhi and Kanta Madhi. Police also seized some Naxal literature from them. Police sources said that after 15 February Nayagarh mayhem, combing operations had been intensified in this Maoist-infected district. n sn

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Naxal's chilling threat.

A naxal alert has been sounded in Madhya Pradesh, after the Maharashtra police warned their MP counterparts about a possible Naxal attack on Senior Police officers. This warning was issued after a slain Naxal Commander's husband reportedly vowed to kill top police officials to avenge his wife's killing.
The alleged threat was blatantly published in a pamphlet that was faxed to the Nagpur police. The pamphlet claimed that Rajesh Markam -- the newly appointed Commander of Dade Kasa Dalam -- or the District Commander has threatned to kill all those from Madhya Pradesh police. He claimed to kill those officials who were involved in the operation to kill his wife -- Naxal Commander Sunanda Bai -- in the encounter at Dhiri Village in Balaghat of Madhya Pradesh.
The Madhya Pradesh police have beefed up its security measurers, especially at the State Police Headquarter. Special Intelligence security arrangements have been made in Naxalite infested -- Balaghat district -- where Sunanda Bai was gunned down. This extra measures have been taken fearing a possible retaliation from Naxal's tribals of Dhiri village -- the place of encounter -- to abandon the area.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Press Statement of CPG (m-l).

recieved via mail
Murderers of the People out of the Balkans!

The Communist Party of Greece (marxist-leninist) condemns the creation of the American-NATO protectorate of Kosovo. We believe that this act is the continuation of the attempt to conquer the Balkans by the American and European imperialists. It is an expression of the assault of imperialist capital in order to re-conquer and re-colonize the world. This was realized by the hacking into pieces of Yugoslavia, the bombardment with uranium bombs, and the bloodshed of its people.
It has the objective of the formation of a political-military base for the American and European domination in the Balkans. The creation of yet another military base, yet another foothold of American imperialism in European ground.
At the same time this act exacerbates the contradictions between American, European and Russian imperialists.
Against these grindstones of the imperialist contradictions, that threaten to squash them, the people of the Balkans have one and only choice:
To seek those things that can unite them.
To organize a unified front of struggle against their common enemies, the imperialists and their local puppets.
To be the masters of their own lives and future.

Athens, February 2007.

Thousand small mutinies .

What about these helpless, hapless hungry souls On 16th of Feb, a horde of Naxilite militants attacked Nayagarh, in Orissa, and killed fifteen policemen and a civilian. In a well-coordinated operation, Naxilites, numbering about four hundred, simultaneously attacked, police station, police training school, and the district armory and decamped with large number of weapons. Orissa’s Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in the state assembly said that the “security personnel were overwhelmed by the numerical strength of the armed naxals”. Huge contingent of CRPF personnel with two Indian Air Force helicopters was deployed to track down the fleeing militants. Deployment of Air Force in an internal conflict amply indicates the magnitude of the problem.

39-year-old Naxal leader, Sabyasachi Panda, “who gave up a career in politics, to realise the dream of revolution” is believed to be responsible for the violent act. For some people who are privy to the antics of Naxal leader, “Last week’s Nayagarh attack is just one stride in what he believes is a march for a communist social order”. Sabyasachi Panda, the most wanted Naxal leader in Orissa, has many admirers in the State, However most astonishing is the statement of the deputy leader of opposition in Orissa, Mr. Narsingha Mishra, “His voice is the voice of 57 per cent people in Orissa who have only Rs 12 to spend per day. It’s this injustice against poor, which made him a Naxal. I admire his ideas but disapprove of his violence.”

In Orissa, forty-four percent (according to some 57%) of the population is staggering below poverty line (BPL) “an average rural family in western Orissa survives on an annual income of less than Rs5000”. Few years ago there was uproar allover for starvation deaths in Kalahandi, a western district of Orissa where eighty-seven percent of the population reels under BPL.

‘Naxalite movement’, extends to thirteen out of thirty districts of Orissa. Incidentally these areas also happen to be the most backward and impoverished in the state. This only lead’s one to the conclusion that the growing Naxilite violence in India reflects the deep cleavages in rural Indian – it is a class war, a conflict between ‘haves and have-nots. When deputy leader of opposition in Orissa, Mr. Narsingha Mishra refers to Sabyasachi Panda’s popularity, “His voice is the voice of 57 per cent people in Orissa”, in very tactful way he concedes the very reality of a ‘class war’.

When BBC’s Jill McGivering, (who spent three days traveling with Maoist fighters in the jungles of Chhattisgarh) asked Maoist commander, Gopanna Markam, a veteran of 25 years with the guerrilla force, how he would describe what he was fighting for. “We are fighting for a new democratic revolution in this country,” he said. “People are hungry, there’s nothing to eat. They have no clothes. They have no jobs. We want development for the people. That’s why people are coming to this fight”.

India is a vast country having a massive resource base but equally faced with enormous problems. Spread of the Naxalism and lawlessness in the length and breadth of the country seems to be getting worse and worse with each passing year. (“Naxalism, a euphemism for the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist revolutionary movement in India, drawing the nomenclature from an unheard of village, Naxalbari in West Bengal that became the epicenter of tribal-peasant revolt in the spring of 1967.”) Out of total 604 revenue Districts, 160 Districts spread over thirteen states across India, are effected with the Naxilite violence, even though with a varied degree of effect.

In recent years, Maoists have successfully broadened their base in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. “Security analysts now a day talk about a great swathe of Maoist militancy which stretches all the way from the border with Nepal, south through India to the sea”. Though government of India is more and more inclined to identify Naxaal violence as terrorism and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has even stated some time back that growing Naxal violence is greatest threat to Indian security. Evidently, menace of Naxalite violence poses a grave threat to the public order; nonetheless, it is purely born out of poverty and asymmetrical distribution of the resources. It is only after (not the opposite) when violence and lawlessness gets firmly ingrained in impoverished society then only divisive ideologies and politicking carves way in. National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector, headed by noted economist Arjun Sengupta, recently published a report ‘Conditions of Work and Promotion of Livelihood in the Unorganised Sector.’ The report brings to fore a startling fact that in India “70% of the population has to live on less than Rs20 a day”. Rs20 a day, 600 a month, seems to be ludicrous, particularly in a situation where, a mound of rice or wheat cost around four hundred (through PDS), a sack of potatoes not less then Rs200, a kg of chickpeas more then Rs50. And forget items like oil, tomatoes onions, and milk. Will there still be anything left for these ‘luxurious items’? Rupees Six hundred for a month are barely enough to save one, literally from starvation. Food with proper nutritional value and requisite calorie intake is completely out of reach of over-whelming majority of the population in India. That is the reason why in India, more than 500 women die per 100,000 out of live deliveries due to anemia, and deficiencies of iron and other vitamins, while, as the ratio in America is 7 per 100,000. Perhaps, Arjun Sengupta, rightly peruse the current state of affairs, ‘‘we welcome the around 9 per cent growth rate, but unfortunately it has not touched, infact bypassed, 77 per cent of the population”. The phenomenon of ‘Thousand small mutinies’ in nook and corner of India although perturbing but is not inexplicable. India has been spending over the years tens of billion dollars to acquire new weapon systems and weapon of mass destruction, but at the same time, neglecting its rural areas that is the reason why the rural economy is in complete shambles. Agriculture sector stands totally neglected; thousands of farmers are committing suicide and millions missing a meal a day. The trend in India today is to invest in national security apparatuses, rather then in the social sector. This echoes the macho mentality of ruling, urban middle class. The middle class discourse has pushed away the social issues of paramount importance from the public arena. However, a simple rule of thumb is overlooked at a risk; if great majority of people stand alienated with the system, any strength of security will prove to be inadequate in the end. It is very difficult to describe India of today? India’s case study bewilders an average scholar of economics. Whereas there is buzz around the world Capitals about India’s up-and-coming super power status and still, in India, seventy percent of its population lives on mere Rs20 a day. What is authentic, a trillion dollar economy, a nuclear power with million strong army and 10 billion dollars defense procurement budget for next few years? And with more than “100 Indian companies now with the market capitalization of over a billion dollars.” Or according to United Nations human development report, 2005, where India ranks 127, “just two rungs above Myanmar and more than 70 below Cuba and Mexico”. India’s $728 per capita gross domestic product is just slightly higher than that of sub-Saharan Africa. And last but not the least, to whom free and modern India belongs? Tatas, Birlas Ambanis, Mittals, Murthys and Premjis, or 320 million hungry and poor, unable to buy food “despite food stocks piling up to unmanageable levels.”


Related Posts with Thumbnails