Internationalism and the revolution of the masses in India: an interview with GN Saibaba

[On 14th of April 2012, the  “Jan Myrdal great award, the Lenin award” was presented in a theatre in Varberg, Sweden. Individuals from different countries and from different parts of of Sweden came for the celebration. Many of participants stayed at Hotell Gästis in central Varberg, where Indiensolidaritet interviewed the secretary of the Revolutionary Democratic Front of India, G.N.Saibaba.]

Indiensolidaritet, Sweden, August 28, 2012

GN Saibaba

Interview with G.N.Saibaba in Varberg Sweden, 14-15th April 2012

Indiensolidaritet: Can you say something about the political work you do in India?

Saibaba: I work for an organization called Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF). It is a federation of revolutionary mass organizations working among different oppressed classes and sections of Indian society.  Revolutionary students and youth organisations, revolutionary peasants’ organisations, revolutionary workers’ organisations, revolutionary cultural organisations as well revolutionary womens’ organisations from different regions across India are constituents of RDF. Thus RDF is a large network of revolutionary organisations reaching out to all sections and strata of the society.

From the year 2009 onwards Operation Green Hunt began, the Indian state’s genocidal war on the poorest of the poor in India. All of us in our organization RDF work with other parties, groups, democratic organisations and individuals to raise our voice collectively and unitedly against the present military onslaught on the people and the extermination campaign against the people of India. We see this massive military operation as a continuation and the latest addition in the war waged by India’s ruling classes against the people of the subcontinent for last many decades be it in Kashmir, North East, Punjab, and now in central and eastern India. So we are at one level involved in the basic struggles of the people and at another we are working along with a large network of political forces and carrying out a countrywide campaign against Indian state’s anti-people policies, particularly Operation Green Hunt.

Indiensolidaritet: The way we see it, there are two lines regarding solidarity work in Europe. One line is trying to unite people on an anti-imperialist and anti-feudal basis and another one focuses more on Maoism. What do you think about this?

Saibaba: Yes, there is this perception and understanding of how to develop the solidarity movement for the peoples‚ struggles and the particularly the military attack on the people that is going on in India. So what I can see is that there are large sections who think that the large sections of the people of India and the larger confrontation is more important to focus on, to tell the world outside India. There is another section of organizations which hold that the present campaign by the Indian state is targeting the revolutionaries in India and therefore the revolutionaries should be supported directly. What is important today is that the people of India, the poorest of the poor 80 percent of the country who live an extremely perilous existence, are looking forward to a basic change in their lives. The poorest section of humanity in the world therefore is waging a defiant struggle in India under the leadership of the revolutionary Maoists who are from among their own. So if you take the larger picture of what is happening in India, you can see that this is a great resistance against the loot of the land and minerals by the corporate sector. Monopoly capital in its desperation to dominate the world’s resources would like to overcome its crisis by exploiting the cheap raw materials in India and other oppressed countries. It’s an attempt by the imperialists, by monopoly capital on the world scale, to transport their burden of the economic crisis upon the shoulders of the poorest of the poor in India.

Removing the people from their homes and hearths has become pertinent for the corporations backed by the government to capture the valuable mineral resources which are estimated to a value of several trillions of dollars.  So the resistance movement is built up by the indigenous people, the poorest of the poor, the millions and millions of the wretched of the earth. To crush this movement and to silence all the people the Indian government has sent more than 250,000 armed personnel to these regions backed by its air force and navy. You therefore can see the importance of the struggle. Of course the revolutionary forces are involved. They work in these areas and organise the people, but the question is much larger. It is an anti-imperialist struggle of the people, led by the revolutionary Maoists. This is a larger question because this resistance exists not only in the central and eastern parts of India where the Maoist movement has a strong presence, but extends to every part of India even where the Maoists are absent.  Continue reading

India: Punjab – a report on Jan Myrdal’s talk in Ludhiana

February 12, 2012

“The Political organization has the Central Role in Raising the Consciousness of People”

by Buta Singh, Sanhati

In America, and especially in Europe, the class consciousness of people has taken a downturn and this is the cause for domination of bourgeois ideology and in organizing public opinion for unjust imperialist wars. That is why there is no strong opposition to these wars and aggressions among the people of imperialist countries.”

This was stated by Jan Myrdal, a famous Marxist thinker and literary figure, in a heavily attended program in Punjabi Bhavan in Ludhiana which was held under the chairmanship of Prof. AK Maleri, Prof. Jagmohan Singh, Satnam, Prof. Ajmer Aulakh and Gautam Navlakha. He was introduced by Prof. Jagmohan Singh to the audience as an anti-imperialist activist and literary authority known throughout the world. In his key-note address Myrdal said that the imperialist wars have assumed an important role in the world due to weakened working class movement. He stressed that the people do not gain political consciousness spontaneously rather it is imparted by the political organization of the working class. He said that the Nazis had achieved success in elections by corrupting the consciousness of their people promising them gains in the loot of Europe. The genocides being carried out by the imperialist USA is not a new thing and one should remember that it is built on the mass scale extermination of the Red Indians. It attacks other countries to control them but is careful to not destroy their oil resources and installations and instead destroys their cultural heritages, history and civilizations. Quoting Mao Zedong he said that though the US imperialism is a paper tiger but it has a great capability of inflicting heavy casualties and destruction to maintain its imperialist grip on the people of the world. In spite of great changes in the world system the plunder of wage labour still holds the key to imperialist exploitation though the mental labour has assumed huge proportions. The developing of the war machine has always been an important aspect of imperialism. The struggles like “occupy Wall Street” are important but the they lack the required political perspective and direction as the political organization which can lead the people to victory is not present. He said that the imperialists have succeeded in splitting up the people of Syria, Iraq and other Arab countries on religious and sectarian lines thus sidetracking the struggles of the people and pitching them one against the other. While answering the questions of the audience he stressed that it is duty of the movements in various countries to enact change in the system in accordance with the objective situation prevailing in respective countries and no single center can lead the movements in various countries. While briefing on his meetings with Mao Zedong he said that he was a genius who could creatively apply Marxist theory according to the social conditions and history of China. Gautam Navlakha translated his speech and his answers to the questions raised by the listeners. Continue reading

Some Notes On The Working Class And The Imperialist Wars, by Jan Myrdal

Jan Myrdal, author from Sweden

[The First Comrade Naveen Babu Memorial Lecture,  Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi,  10 February 2012.]

First it is necessary to make a statement on whom I speak for. I am a communist but since close on sixty years a non-party communist. The reasons for that I have written about in several books. Thus I am not the spokesperson for any specific organization that can be made responsible for what I say.

I have just published a book mainly based on my visit to the guerrilla zone in Dandakaranya on the invitation of the CPI (Maoist): Red Star Over India: As the Wretched of the Earth are Rising. There I describe how, when we after a long march through the jungle came to the camp in Dandakaranya at night and had got our cup of tea, a group came walking out of the jungle. After some time I understood that it was the general secretary of the CPI (Maoist), Ganapathy and his comrades.

In the discussion with them that followed I tried to say something about our experience – positive and negative – of political work against war and imperialism during more than a century in a small imperialist country like Sweden.

As we at the end of our visit after sixteen days took a formal goodbye of our hosts I was also asked about the working class and the present situation in Europe. Continue reading

“Let’s Stand Against the Indian State’s War on People” by Jan Myrdal

[A speech by Jan Myrdal, (internationally well-known writer for his support for the people’s movements world-wide), at a public meeting sponsored by the Forum Against War on People, New Delhi,  6 February 2012.]

Stella Rossa Sull India (Red star over India: When the wretched of the earth rise up), by Jan Myrdal (book in Swedish and Italian)

Dear friends,

I want to say something on the international solidarity movement with the peoples of India.

We are here because there is an ongoing war against the peoples of India by the Indian state itself or – to put it more charitably – by dominant sections of the Indian state machinery. You as Indian citizens want to stop this war. I and other friends of India abroad are trying to organise an international solidarity movement with the people of India against the horrors of this war.

To try to do that is not interference in the internal affairs of India. We do not tell you in India how to conduct your affairs. That is for you to decide. No foreigner can prescribe for you. Even if many from the imperial camp – governments, media, NGO’s – always try do so.

This respect is a matter of principle. You – not we – are in your actions responsible to the peoples of India. As we said during the solidarity movement with the peoples of South East Asia in their struggle against US imperialism: “Support the peoples of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam on their own terms.”

But there is a truth that was formulated in 1624 by John Donne and has been quoted and used by those of us in different countries that have taken a stand against oppression and social cruelty – as during the Franco war against the people of Spain. A truth that is the base of international solidarity:

No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main /…/ any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

There is nothing secret about the present cruel war against the peoples of India. I could myself witness and hear about the war against dalits and adivasis when I was in Andhra Pradesh in 1980 (see India Waits, Sangam books, Hyderabad) and now 2010 in Chhattisgarh (see Red Star over India, Setu Prakashani, Kolkata).

In this war armed gangs and groups from ruling elites and land grabbers are attempting to drive people from their homes their lands and forests. Villages are being burned. Women are raped. Not as an expression of male sexual lust but as a cold conscious attempt thus to destroy the dignity and self-respect of the people. Those who defend themselves are branded as terrorists. Continue reading

Indian State’s war on the people, Stage Two: Army deployed for combat against Indian People

Announcement of Public Meeting in Delhi by Forum Against War on People

“Let’s Intensify our Opposition to the Indian State’s War on the People”

Speakers:

JAN MYRDAL the internationally acclaimed author will talk on the War on People in India

SUJATO BHADRA will speak on atrocities by Joint Forces in Jangalmahal in West Bengal

The Indian government’s war on people in central and eastern regions has entered its second phase with the deployment of the Indian army. The surreptitiously declared war on the people of this country codenamed Operation Green Hunt (OGH) which was launched in September 2009 by the Indian government is continuing unabated till today. In fact in the recent months, the ruling coalition at the Centre in connivance with political parties of all hues in power in the Central and Eastern states have intensified their brutal war on the poorest, most maginalized and oppressed people of the subcontinent. Contrary to the rhetoric of not deploying the Indian Army in direct combat, the Government of India has increased the number of troops in the region with the intent of crushing the growing people’s resistance against its policies. It is well known that the first batch of 2000 Army personnel were sent by the government to the forests of Narayanpur District in the Bastar on 3 June 2011 with a plan to occupy an area of 600 square kilometres, albeit in the name of Jungle Warfare Training. Just six months later, another 2500 personnel descended on the forests of Bastar on 4 November 2011. Though the Central and Chhattisgarh governments maintain that they have set up this so-called Jungle Warfare Training Centre in Bastar merely to put pressure on the Maoists and to dominate the region militarily, the real purpose is to hand over the vast swathes of mineral-rich forested lands to the Multinational Companies and to evict the people who have stood up to defend their jal-jangal-zameen, their very existence. Continue reading

UK: June 12–Public Meeting on the War against Tribal People in India

International Campaign Against War on the People in India

Please join us for a public meeting and an audience with celebrated authors who will discuss their recent experiences in India with a special focus on the raging war against the poorest of the poor, the tribal people living in the heartland of India.

Arundhati Roy:  From India and the author of recently published books
Walking with the Comrades” and “Broken Republic”

Jan Myrdal:  From Sweden and the author of
“Red Star Over India”

Basanta Indra Mohan:  From Nepal and the author of
“Imperialism and Proletarian Revolution 21st Century”

Program includes:  Presentations by the speakers,
film and Q&A session

Sunday, June 12, 2011, 1:30 pm till 5:00 pm

Place:  Friends House,  Main Hall,
173 Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ

Hosted by:   International Campaign Against War on People of India (ICAWPI)   www.icawpi.org       info@icawpi.org
c/o Gorki House, 70 Stoke Newington High Street, London N16 7PA   Tel: +44(0)20 7193 1605

Co-organised by: IWA (GB), UNF Europe, ACDA, AFPRISA, TKM, GIKDER, 100FCC, WPRM-Britain, UFSO, CCRC,… (To be updated)  For further information and contact with the organizers, please mail:  june12-London@icawpi.org

RED STAR OVER INDIA

http://icawpi.org/en/analysis/opinion/664-red-star-over-india (Originally from Frontier Magazine, Vol.43 No.12-15, October 3-30, 2010)

Impressions, discussions and documentation as the Wretched of the Earth are Rising

by JAN MYRDAL

“If an indigenous government took the place of the foreign government and kept all the vested
interests intact, this would not even be the shadow of freedom…”
—Jawaharlal Nehru, “Whither India?”, 1933

Officially independent India is engaged in a war against poverty. The phrase in itself is doubtful as it was coined by Lyndon B Johnson in 1964 to gain popular support among the underprivileged in the United States as he was stepping up his war of aggression in Vietnam. But the phrase still sounds good as when Simon Denyer reported for Reuters 2009 :

“India marks 60th anniversary urging war on poverty. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, speaking on the 60th anniversary of independence from British rule, said the country needed to work harder to fight poverty, ignorance and disease despite fast economic growth.

India cannot become a nation with islands of high growth and vast areas untouched by development, where the benefits of growth accrue only to a few, he said on Wednesday from the ramparts of New Delhi’s historic Red Fort behind a bullet-proof glass screen.

….

Sharpshooters were stationed on nearby buildings as Singh spoke, while troops and armed police guarded roads and key buildings around the country on a day traditionally marked by violent attacks by separatist militants or Maoist rebels.”

….

“The problem of malnutrition is a national shame,” he added. “I appeal to the nation to resolve and work hard to eradicate malnutrition within five years.”

Manmohan Singh was not the first prime minister of India talking about waging this war. Continue reading