Archive for CPI (M)

Lahore: Tribute paid to Comrade Mansoor Saeed

Posted in Communist Movement, Pakistan, Poetry, Literature, Art with tags , , , on June 14, 2010 by Umer

(June 13th, 2010/ Sunday- Report: Ammar Aziz)

In Lahore, a large number of activists and workers gathered to pay tribute to the revolutionary struggle and contributions of Comrade Manssor Saeed, a senior communist leader and intellectual, who has recently passed away on May 24, 2010. He took an active part in the politics of the Left and cultural activism all his life. He joined the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in 1964, before moving to Pakistan in 1970 to marry his cousin who was a member of Communist Party of Pakistan (CPP). He then joined the CPP, later in 1975, and remained an active member of the party as the In-charge of International Department, In-charge of Ideological Section, and Member of Central Committee and Central Secretariat till his death.

The reference was organized by the CPP and Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party (CMKP) at the Dorab Patel Auditorium, HRCP which was filled with hundreds of people, holding red flags. It was presided by Comrade Imdad Qazi, leader CPP and Comrade Taimur Rahman, Secretary General CMKP. Special guests inluded IA Rahman, Jamil Umar, Muneeza Hashmi and Sania Saeed, who is the daughter of Comrade Mansoor Saeed (late) and is known as a progressive actoress.

The event started with a group of children singing the Communist Internationale. According to Sania Saeed, “these children reminded me of my revolutionary childhood and I feel honored that my father, Comrade Mansoor Saeed, educated me ideologically.”

Comrade Imdad Qazi said that small emerging leftist groups are the element of hope in Pakistan. If they follow people like Mansoor Saeed, they would play a significant role in the Socialist struggle.

Comrade Taimur Rahman highlighted Mansoor Saeed’s literary and theatrical contributions. He said, that, we shall follow the revolutionary path of Comrade Mansoor Saeed through art and culture, who initiated the progressive theater in Pakistan with his Theater Group Dastak. He said, that our party will start some study circles based on Mansoor’s writings. Comrade Taimur Rahman also performed with his band Laal and sang songs dedicated to the cause of working-class.

Other speakers emphasized their personal and ideological affiliation with Comrade Mansoor Saeed and said that he will be remembered with great respect in the history of class-struggle in Pakistan.

At the end, Laal Theater performed and workers performed a play ‘Machine’. It was highly appreciated by the audiences. The event was closed by the performance of Comrade Naseer, member CMKP Hashtnagar, who sang Faiz’s poetry and progressive Pashto song.

Comrade Tamiur Rahman said, in spite of the tragic loss of our beloved comrade Mansoor Saeed, we have celebrated today’s gathering with hope of struggle leading towards the Socialist revolution.

Maoism – A Critique From the Left

Posted in Books & Authors, Communist Movement, International Affairs, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2010 by Umer

Pragoti has had a number of contributors from the Left taking on the subject of Maoism and Maoist violence in India. Various articles such asthis or this have addressed the subject. One of the regular contributors to Pragoti, Prasenjit Bose, has now edited a volume of articles which critique the Maoists from the viewpoint of the organised Left in the country. The critique is organised on various lines – a theory/praxis critique by PMS Grewal and Nilotpal Basu and a comparative assessment of various extremist/Maoist movements across the world, particularly in Latin America by another Pragoti contributor Vijay Prashad. The book is rounded off with a telling ideological document that debated the viewpoints of the Naxalites before these left wing sectarians branched off from the CPI(M) in the late 1960s. The book is available for purchase here. With permission from Prasenjit Bose, we are carrying the introduction to the book (the first chapter) in this post.

Introduction — Prasenjit Bose

As the debate on leftwing extremist violence and the state’s offensive against it intensifies in India, opinion tends to get increasingly polarized. On the one side are those who consider the CPI (Maoist) as a destructive terrorist group, much like the Islamist Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) or the separatist United Liberation Force of Asom (ULFA), which has to be crushed through the military might of the state. On the other side are those who see the Maoists as a revolutionary force, fighting for the cause of the exploited and the marginalized, and justify their violent acts as a necessary evil in order to bring about radical social transformation. Little effort is made, however, from either end to delve deeper into the question of leftwing extremism, in India or elsewhere, in order to understand its current activities in terms of its ideological basis, social roots and historical origins. 

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Farewell to history

Posted in Communist Movement, International Affairs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 10, 2009 by Umer

by Sitaram Yechury

The victor, inevitably, scripts history. Historians’ labour unearths the virtues and valour of the vanquished describing the plight of ‘people’ caught in the crossfire. The victor, however, does not stop at authoring ‘official’ history of any one event alone but seeks to re-write all history to consolidate its current hegemony. Following the collapse of the USSR and in the present conjecture of the global capitalist recession, the West seeks to reinterpret World War II’s history by equating fascism with communism.

In 2004, to deflect rising global protests against the US military occupation of Iraq, on the 50th anniversary of the landing of the Allied troops at Normandy, all North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders assembled to project themselves as the champions of the victory over fascism liberating Western Europe. They deliberately concealed the fact that for every allied soldier who laid down his life, fighting fascism, there were 40 Soviet soldiers who laid down their lives. Over 20 million Soviet soldiers and people lost their lives. In 1,418 days of war, the Soviet Union lost nine lives every minute, 857 every hour and 14,000 lives a day.

On the 70th anniversary of fascist Germany’s attack on Poland (September 1, 1939, 4.40 am), which started the World War II, a similar attempt is being made to once again distort history. This is necessary for the advanced capitalist powers to seek to prevent the growth of socialist ideas and Left politics, as currently seen in various countries of Latin America, in the wake of the worst capitalist economic recession since the Great Depression. Today, the US has an unprecedented seven million people unemployed. The European Union is faring no better. Under these circumstances, it is imperative for them to decry the glorious role of the Soviet Union and, by implication any socialist alternative, in the defeat of fascism.

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In the name of honour

Posted in Communist Movement, Law, Marxism with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 18, 2009 by Umer

The Aug. 15-29, 2008 issue of the Frontline carried the theme of caste-based violence and killings in the name of honour. The urgent relevance of the topic emerged from the an instance in Dharana, near Haryana, where a local panchayat ordered the ouster of a family from a village on the grounds that a member of the family had married outside of caste in violation of the parampara (tradition).

The Red Diary has frequently raised the issue of caste system and emphasised the importance that caste plays in the socio-political make-up of the South Asian sub-continent. The Red Diary here presents the interview of Brinda Karat to Frontline regarding caste system and its impact women.

Interview with Brinda Karat, MP and CPI(M) Polit Bureau member.

ONE of the few parliamentarians with a record of raising women’s issues both in and outside Parliament, Brinda Karat feels that honour killings and honour-related harassment do not get the attention they deserve from the executive or the legislature. She says that it was time political parties came together on this issue. In an interview to Frontline, she explained the importance of recognising these crimes as a separate category and the need for special laws to deal with them as had been done in the case of sati. Excerpts:

In your view, how serious are honour killings and crimes related to honour? You raised this issue in the Rajya Sabha and it evoked a response from the Home Minister and several other members cutting across party lines

I had asked a question in Parliament on the number of killings relating to honour that had taken place so far and the reply I received from the government was that they do not recognise such a category and, therefore, there was no separate collection of such data.

According to a 2008 judgment of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, it was stated that there were thousands of cases of young couples who had been victimised because they crossed the lakshman rekha determined by their communities, castes or families.

It is a shame that even today there is no legal definition of the term honour killing or honour crime. As a result, the perpetrators of such crimes more often than not get away with murder, torture, assault, and violation of laws regarding atrocities committed on the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. And they continue to commit them with impunity.

The extent of the crime is underestimated, it is made invisible and young men and women just disappear without a trace as though they had never lived. Hence, it is essential for the government to not only define the crime but also start collecting separate data, for unless the existence of the crime itself is recognised, it is difficult to deal with it in any form.

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The Indian Elections: a Game Changer?

Posted in Communist Movement, International Affairs with tags , , , , , , , on May 20, 2009 by Umer

by Vijay Prashad

The Indian general election of 2009 is finally over. 445 million voters entered 828,000 polling booths to elect 543 candidates to the lower house of the parliament, the Lok Sabha. An immense state apparatus went into play to ensure that the voters’ will was not subverted by theft (2.1 million security guards were joined by 74,729 videographers to observe the polls). The entire process took just over a month. On Saturday, May 16, the Election Commission released news of the outcome. This is the first election in decades where there was no foreseeable victor; neither was there one singular issue. Four major coalitions vied for position, and the issues on the table appeared to be far more local than national. The result has belied this expectation. The Indian National Congress won decisively, over 200 seats, and for the first time since the 1960s, is able to form a government in Delhi without any major allies. This is a remarkable feat, given that the Congress ran an election promising more of the same, a certain tonic for defeat in anti-incumbency democratic politics. It projected the current Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as its leader, even as it had the various scions of the Nehru family as the central icons of the party and of its campaigning (Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi both won their seats this election). Little suggested that the Congress would do better than it did in 2004 (with 145 seats).

The Congress’ victory came at the expense of various regional parties, and the Left. Its gains were taken directly from the Left (in West Bengal and Kerala), and from two other regions where it had previously been shut-out (Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh). The Left suffered, in many ways, from the perils of governance in neo-liberal times: able to bring justice to the countryside, the Left faced a growing unemployment problem that it could not solve through a feasible alternative. Attempts to break the intractable bind of jobless industrial growth failed, not only because the Left had to operate within the confines of bourgeois law, but also because of the privations of governance in regions without the treasury of oil. The Left’s allies in places such as Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh had an overly expedient relationship to anti-capitalism; the voters saw right through them. The Left had engineered a Third Front, which, at one time, projected as its prime ministerial candidate the leader of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Mayawati. The BSP was originally the party of the most oppressed, Dalit, castes, but it has since crafted itself as a wily player, making alliances with Brahmins to fend off the dominant, rural castes who are not at either end of the hypothetical caste totem pole. Mayawati’s party maintained its 2004 position, making no gains.

The party of political Hinduism (the Bharatiya Janata Party, BJP) won 138 seats in 2004, but this time could only pull off 117. Confined to a few states, the BJP suffered from the gradual demise of its irascible politics: when one of its candidates, Varun Gandhi (another great-grandson of Jawaharlal Nehru, as it turns out), made anti-Muslim statements, it dented the BJP’s claim to being an inclusive party. Its leader, L. K. Advani, wanted desperately to be the next Prime Minister, but his close association with the politics of animus failed him. Concern for their economic well-being trumped any anxiety among the voters about national security, so that the BJP had little to run on. Both the Congress and the BJP have close ties to big money, and to economic “reform” (which is essentially the process to dismantle the public sector), but the Congress unlike the BJP also has some measure of commitment to social welfare. The siren of national security was so weak that the BJP was unable to make capital out of the Mumbai terror attacks of last year. The BJP’s alliance partners have also failed it, afraid for good reason that Hindu supremacy’s engine might be slowly winding down. Advani has resigned as leader of his party. In the wings stands Narendra Modi, the leader from Gujarat, who is known for his efficiency and his brutality, a combination that chills. The BJP is not down and out, only wounded. Its social base has not abandoned it, even as the party has left them down electorally.

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Communists of South Asia stand united

Posted in Communist Movement, International Affairs, Pakistan with tags , , , , , , on December 1, 2008 by Umer

While chauvinistic vitriolic campaigns have been launched from both sides of the Pakistan-India border in the aftermath of horrific Mumbai terrorist attacks, communists of India and Pakistan stand proudly committed to the peace between India and Pakistan and reject all forms of jingoist tirades initiated from both sides of the border.

In an act of international proletarian unity, the Communist Party of India – Marxists (CPI-M) has released the statement of their Polit Bureau on the Mumbai Attacks with the statement of the Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party (CMKP) of Pakistan on the same subject.

Due to the efforts of CPI-M, the statement of CMKP has received wide coverage in the Indian media.

CPI-M condemns Mumbai terror attacks, calls for security revamp

November 30th, 2008 – 8:24 pm ICT by IANS –

New Delhi, Nov 30 (IANS) The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Sunday condemned the terrorist attack in Mumbai and demanded the government take measures to revamp the intelligence and security network to prevent recurrence of such incidents. “The continuous and widespread terrorist attacks, which have occurred in the country, have shown up the weakness in our intelligence and security systems. The country expects the government to immediately take effective steps to revamp and strengthen the intelligence and security set up,” the party said in a statement released after its politburo meeting.

Also calling for “identifying and taking steps against the forces with external links who have perpetrated this crime”, the party urged all the Indian people and political parties to “rise above any sectarian interests and ensure that the unity and integrity of the country is safeguarded by curbing all forms of terrorism whatever their source”.

The CPI-M said the government should investigate the terror attacks and afterwards “when the evidence of the links in Pakistan of the persons who committed this terrorist outrage is established, the government should take up the matter with the United Nations Security Council.”

The party also released statement of its sister organisation in Pakistan — Communist Workers and Peasant’s Party (CMKP) condemning the attacks.

“CMKP strongly condemns the barbaric and heinous acts of planned murder and destruction carried out by terrorists in Mumbai, India. We express our sincerest condolence with all the people who fell victim to this savage crime,” the statement read.

It also hailed the role of the entire Indian Left, which it said was “doing its utmost to reign in reprisals by Hindu fundamentalist forces against the Muslims of India.”

Expressing concerns that the attack might hamper the ongoing peace process between the two countries, it called on the Left and the people of both countries not to let Mumbai terrorist attack undermine the Pakistani-India peace process.

“Such a development will provide the Pakistan Army with an excuse to continue a heavy deployment on the Pakistan-India border and play in the hands of religious extremists to carry on with their deadly vendetta against the people of both countries in the name of religion, race and caste,” the statement said.

The CMKP also stressed it was the role of the Left in Pakistan to “expose and organise against right-wing forces, both inside and outside the Pakistan military that harbour an agenda against harmonious relation between Pakistan and India”.

CMKP Salutes Harkishan Singh Surjeet

Posted in Communist Movement, International Affairs, Pakistan with tags , , , on August 4, 2008 by Umer

Comrade Prakash Karat,
General Secretary,
Communist Party of India (Marxist)

Dear Comrade,

The passing away of Comrade Harkishan Singh Surjeet, former CPI (M) General Secretary and member Polit Bureau (until his death) is not only a loss of your party but it has deprived actually the subcontinent of one of the veterans of national liberation movement, anti-feudal and anti-communal struggle as well as Indian communist movement, remaining aligned with the contemporary neo-colonial crusade and international communist movement.

Moreover, Comrade Surjeet was among the high stature of communist stalwarts of the subcontinent who longed and strived for friendly relations between India and Pakistan. His ardent desire to foster amicable environment in the subcontinent through good relations between India and Pakistan which have some common problems, hopes and aspirations. His gesture could be gauged from his historic visit to Pakistan two years ago despite his illness and old age. He along with CPI General Secretary Comrade A.B.Bardhan had come to Pakistan to remove suspicions and create better understanding between these two countries which were one prior to August 14-15, 1947. Rejecting military muscles, Comrade Surjeet underlined the need for peaceful negotiations.

Sharing the CPI (M)’s grief and sorrow over Comrade Surjeet’s physical departure from you comrades, I on behalf of my party and myself offer our heart-felt condolence to you. But at the same time, we are optimistic that his brilliant fighting spirit stemming from Marxism-Leninism will help strengthen you all to move forward with the task the CPI(M) has assigned itself at the present juncture, with an obvious ultimate goal —–the creation of society free from exploitation of man by man.

Comrade Surjeet’s long seven and a half decades of glorious struggle for national emancipation from the British yoke to the establishment of secular democratic order with non-alignment and independent foreign policy, including the final task of the classless society will illuminate the path set by the CPI (M)

We stand to salute this towering anti-imperialist fighter and revolutionary leader of our time.

In fraternity,

Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party