Sunday, June 2, 2013

“A Renewed Spring Thunder Over Dandakaranya” by Asit Das - A Reply to NAPMS statement on Bastar Incident

National Alliance of People’s Movement has come out with a statement on the recent ambush in Bastar. Here with point is not of violence or non-violence, but is of politics. Because the organization which did it has a politics, and that is the most crucial factor. In every democratic society and nation, every individual has the democratic choice of the political action and the kind of politics one can choose.

If NAPM has the democratic choice of selecting what it can do, likewise the organization which did the ambush has the same democratic right to choose its own politics, which includes the choice of political decision, and it can also be the decision to eliminate the enemies of the people.

 Like the above organizations, I as a citizen of this country, which proclaims to be the largest democracy, also have equal democratic right to express my political opinion on the NAPM statement. And this right is guaranteed by the several clauses of the fundamental rights in the Indian Constitution to which NAPM proclaims its adherence and loyalty. By the same logic, NAPM or anyone should have no problem if I hold a different opinion.

My biggest problem with NAPM’s statement is their opinion about the relationship with Adivasis and Maoists, as both of them are totally different extrapolated entities. Here lies the basic flaw, hence the reason to reject NAPM’s opinion lock, stock and barrel.

I am totally appalled and have severe objections to the NAPM’s rejection of the revolutionary agency and political subjectivity to the Adivasis. This is the biggest historical injustice to the Adivasis, hence taking the side of the Adivasis I strongly oppose NAPM’s position which refuses to look at Adivasis as a political subject. Its tone, tenor and political analysis make Adivasis some kind of museumized hardened cultural identities which have to be protected by benevolent civil society.

This is quite patronizing, hence objectionable. This is akin to the colonial notion of the white mans burden, hence reprehensible.

As a Marxist, I strongly believe as foretold by Marx that revolution is an act of self- emancipation of the working class, so the most important issue here is the agency of the exploited. Hence, only the underdog can beat its own chain. And here the poorest of the poor are engaged in a battle with the fascist Indian State to save their land, forest, livelihood and dignity. Here lies NAPM’s basic flaw and hence needs rejection.

The Maoists and Adivasis are not separate entities, as if Maoists are some extra planetary beings, who have descended on Bastar.  This is sheer ignorance, and total lack of knowledge of the objective realities. Therefore, the political opinion which flows from this flawed, metaphysical utopian premise is juvenile and needs to be rejected. NAPMs notion of peace is totally dubious, bogus, misleading and statusquoist. To achieve lasting peace, one has to remove the structural relations in the society that creates conflicts and wars. There cannot be peace in a class society. Asking for peace in exploitative system is asking for the peace in the grave yard. This is the politic of statusquoism which supports the structural violence of the ruling classes. 

Another big flaw in NAPM’s statement is that it is totally ahistorical, apolitical, moral and has totalitarian views about ‘violence’ – it stupidly clubs everything together – the violence and emancipatory countervailence.

Violence is abhorrent in human nature, hence undesirable, but can one deny the all pervading structural violence around us?

Violence cannot vanish by sheer moralizing or sermons from the mount. The objective conditions which give rise to violence have to be removed; for that cut off those hands that perpetrate structural violence on the wretched of the earth. A people’s war is necessary to counter imperialist war.

The basic question is how does one define and quantify violence?

And what about systemic violence like hunger, malnutrition, farmers’ suicides, draughts, forced migration, caste, patriarchy, the violence on oppressed nationalities, religious minorities, so on and so forth.

Which also includes stark indicators like body mass index.

What about the millions of female foetus who are killed every year. isn’t it violence?  We underdogs have been suffering the violence of the ruling classes since centuries; from the day one our surplus was systematically extracted, our women enslaved, and our children starving.

In India, the Dalit women have been suffering hard labour and sexual violence since the day one Indian caste feudalism got institutionalized.

It is common sense in the caste Hindu villages that the upper caste landlords not only ruthlessly exploit Dalit men and women, but their women are used as virtual sex slaves – is that not violence?

Every day hundreds of Dalit women are raped – is not that violence? Every third day a Dalit woman is paraded naked – is not that violence?

Every 40 minutes a bride is burnt for a colour TV or fridge – is not that violence?

Why are the Congress, BJP, NAPM, media, and intelligence police brass not outraged by this, what moral right they have to sermonize about violence?

Every 20 minutes a woman is raped; every now and then acid is thrown on her face; she is teased, molested and demeaned and traumatized in the public sphere - is not this violence?

So why are the moral guardians not outraged by this?

And what about the violence in the mean streets of your great system, where every Tom, Dick and Harry can violate us, demean us, brutalize us by just throwing some currency notes on our face – is not that violence?

The rulers have been perpetrating the worst forms of violence on us since millennia - ethnic cleansing, genocides, etc.

Continents were colonized, and their indigenous people decimated – is not that violence?

The native American decimated, the aborigines of Australia wiped out. The Maories of Newzealand ghettosied, millions were butchered by Spanish invaders in Latin America – is not this violence?

And what about the thousands of communists who were butchered in Indonesia, 5 million Iraqi children died of starvation by American economic blockade, and what about tens of millions of Iraqi and Afghani citizens who died due to American bombing and their women raped by the marauding American troops – is not that violence?

Tens of millions died in the imperialist World War and colonial conquests – is not that violence? And what about the shameless savage and inhuman carpet bombing of Vietnam and chilling tales of Agent Orange.

Is not that the most repulsive kind of violence?

And what about those thousands of fake encounters, custodial rapes and torture – is not that violence?

Why is not NAPM  and the media outraged by this?

The horrors of violence of the Indian state are quite shocking by the news of the mass graves in Kashmir; thousands of Kashmiri youths have vanished; thousands killed by fake encounters; their democratic aspirations denied – is not that violence? And what about the shameful incident of Kunnan Pushpora and Shopian – was not that violence?

Why is not NAPM or the media morally outraged by that? And what about the thousands of deaths in the communal riots? The blackest day of this so-called largest democracy was the gory horror of Gujarat riots. The conscience of the media or the rulers was not shaken when a Muslim woman’s womb was cut and the baby slain.

The so-called great Indian civilization descended into the lowest depths and the same media now lionizes the butcher of Gujarat ‘Narendra Modi’- how shameless!!

Given this saturated form of structural violence on the toiling Indian masses, where every democratic space is shrinking, where violence oozes in the air, where blood is dripping in the landscape, the underdog is left with no choice but to hit back, to save his own skin. I will explain  this – If someone slaps me, I will go one step backwards; one more slap – another step backwards; I go on getting hit and stepping backwards until my back hits the wall. It is here that I have no choice but to hit back. Other avenues of redressal are totally closed by then.

It is in this context that one has to understand what happened in Bastar. What happened in Bastar was the sound of the slaves breaking their chains.

This monster Mahendra Karma was the butcher who is responsible for killing thousands of Adivasis, burning more than 600 villages, driving tens of thousands of Adivasis out of their houses; he is responsible for the rapes of hundreds of Adivasi women.

Hence, he was the enemy of the people. Therefore, it was the historical mandate to eliminate him and I salute the revolutionary left for having taken this crucial historical decision. Mahendra Karma was the architect of Salwa Judum, so he had to pay for the horrors created by him.

It is in this context that one has to understand the difference between ruling class –  Violence and revolutionary violence, by conflating both, NAPM is playing in the hands of the ruling classes.

The basic difference between liberal politics and revolutionary politics is that – while liberal politics tries to manage and contain the contradiction, revolutionary politics tries for the resolutions of those antagonistic contractions.

When antagonistic contractions get resolved, blood flows, therefore, collateral damages are not accounted for in the onward march of history.

By taking a liberal stand under the garb of non-violence, NAPM has acted as the Trojan horse of the ruling classes to depoliticize and disarm the working people.

History has proved that the ruling classes do not yield anything without a fight. All those rights we are boasting of are products of centuries of unremitting struggles, and structural change towards a more just and emancipatory change in society. The subaltern masses have  to fight a knockout battle with the rulers.

A capitalist state cannot be reformed; it has to be smashed.

As the great  revolutionary poet Paash had said, ‘Marna hai, maarna hai, maut to khatam karna hai’ there are times when death is necessary to defeat death, for a new dawn.

This is necessary for the living corpses of ARJUN Sengupta’s 77% who subsist on Rs. 20 a day.

History mandates Red terror against the white terror and for terror to be abolished forever. A people’s war is necessary to wipe out the perpetual war on the people by the ruling classes.

Mao had explained it quite lucidly when he says, “We are the advocates for the abolition of war. But war can only be abolished through war. And in order to get rid of the gun, it is necessary to take up the gun.” 

There are no value neutral or class neutral wars. There are wars of the oppressor and the war of the oppressed. Which means that there is a revolutionary war of the slaves to break their chain forever; they have to take up that war because history teaches them that nothing to lose but their chains.

It is in this context that one has to understand revolutionary violence history has proved that from Spartacan rebellion via the mountains of Yenan. Revolutionary violence means the trajectory of history reaching the zebra crossing where it turns towards the lanes of liberation.

Where all traffic signals fail, and the Deafening thunder announces the arrival of a more progressive society.

Revolutionary violence is the trumpet which announces look a new dawn is inevitable. It is the menstruation in May when the rivers go red.

The waves of Volga turn crimson, the Niagra Falls gush out with colours of change.

Where Gulmohars in the lane of the beloved bloom with their most scintillating reddish glow.

Revolutionary violence is the dance of history knocking at the fortresses of the ruling classes.

It is the force which acts as a midwife for the new society to arrive.

When guns boom in the countryside, it indicates that the dance of history has arrived in the landscape.

Therefore, revolutionary violence is the synthesis of the dialectics between the Dance and the Dancer. A spring thunder is necessary for the melting of the glaciers and mountains to move.

These are most outlandish junctures of history, where Romance, Rationality, Libeation merge in a mutually lilberating rhythm. 

These gun-battles are necessary for all those promises to keep. For all those shattered lives, wilted dreams, smothered dewdrops, battered bodies, blotted chrysanthemums, trampled flowers, withered orchids, all those broken bangles and smeared bindis, skipped heart beats. -Those oceans of tears which have dried up through brutal exploitation.

These gun-battles are necessary to retrieve those “stolen moments” snatched away from us by the ruling classes.

When guns boom in the countryside, it indicates the festival of the masses, the carvinal of liberation. The agony and exhilaration of making history.  T

hese gun battles announce the arrival of the Monsoons to quench the thirst of the parched earth.

Revolutionary violence is that midwife which helps history to change its orbital and enter in the trajectory of emancipation.

History has proved it those momentous moment “the takeover of the bastile”, “the storming of the winterpalace”, “the shaking of the Mountains in Yenan”, “the blooming of wild flowers in Sierra Maestra”, “the festival of resistance in the jungles of Vietnam”, “the luminous path in the mountain of Peru”, “the flaming fields of Naxalbari” and “the roaring valleys of Nepal”.

 “Liberty does not descend on a people, a people raise themselves to liberty”.

Learning from the lessons of history, the revolutionary masses of Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Chattisgarh, Andhra and Maharashtra will wipe out those stinging “cobras”, “greyhounds” and “scorpions” let loose on them. The French Revolution has taught us that a people has to raise themselves to liberty. As the exemplary revolutionary and Marxist teacher Rose Luxembourg had taught us, “Unless we move, chains don’t break”. Therefore, battles are necessary to win the war, we may lose a small battle, but we will win the war. As Che Guevera had said, “Battles are fought and lost but nevertheless fought”.

I would like to quote a couplet from the French Revolution written an anonymous Parisian proletariat

“Our liberty has come to change, the odd head did roll, for there is nothing called a party without a broken glass”.

The booming guns in the countryside indicate the cantankerous sound between the class struggle and glass struggle. The ruling classes start trembling, the bells begin to toll.

It is the moment when the wrethched of the earth says “Enough is enough”.

The Valley of Flowers turns extastic.

The horizons become red.

Heavens are stormed, citadels of ruling class arrogamce are blasted. Reverbations are felt in the places and brings down the burgouis power structure.

 It is the mandate of history for us. We inherit the glorious tradition of  “The Spartacan Uprising”, “The Paris Communne”, “The Storming of the Bastile”, “The Takeover of the Winterpalace”, “The Long March”, “The Forests and Booming Villages of Vietnam, Cuba, Peru and Philippines” and we are proud of this tradition.

We salute the renewed spring thunder of Chattisgarh.

The NAPM Statement criticised above is here :

Politics of Violence and Counter Violence will only Maim Adivasis
NAPM Condemns the Ambush by Maoists in Bastar
Increased Militarisation in the Region would be no Solution
New Delhi : Once again in the ongoing politics of offensive and counter offensive between State and Maoists, adivasis have lost their lives. In an ambush on the convoy carrying Congress leaders, Maoists have reportedly killed 27 people and injured several others including senior Congress leader, V C Shukla. On the intervening night of May 17-18 too eight villagers, including three children, and a personnel of elite CRPF Cobra battalion were killed in a gun-battle near Edasmeta village in southern Chhattisgarh too. Adivasis caught in the armed conflict have been the worst victim of this war of control over resources, territory and sovereignty. That this happened during the Parivartan Yatra, a programme of the Congress Party to reach out to the people, is indeed unfortunate.
National Alliance of People's Movements condemns this ambush leading to loss of precious lives. Life of those in power and leadership are important and so are the lives of common adivasis who are being tortured, jailed and killed by Security forces and Maoists alike. In the ongoing conflict both claim to represent the interests and work for Adivasis but their stance and means has only alienated them and perpetrated injustice on them. Their rights have often been violated resulting in large number of adivasis in jail on false trumped up charges. In the same Durma valley where the attack by Maoists have killed Congress leaders, state administration violated all the existing laws and procedures to facilitate land grab for Tata Steel.
Salwa Judum, an armed Sena of the young and adolescents worsened the scenario. It has been termed as illegal and directed to be disbanded by Supreme Court, but State government responded by making them part of the regular police. Even, as Salwa Judum burnt houses, raped women, maimed and killed adivasis, the State supported it and failed to provide justice to adivasis and continued to brand them as Maoists and their supporters. A democratically elected government in Chattisgarh or at the Centre can't use the dictum of you are with us or against us. Its allegiance is to the rule of law and its duty is to protect the rights of its citizens.
Even while, politicians across the political spectrum are terming this as an attack on democracy, let us not forget that every time an adivasi is jailed, killed, their houses burnt, women raped and their schools occupied to facilitate resource grab or termed as collateral damage in the 'Operation Green Hunt', democracy is attacked and the faith of citizens in the State's ability to uphold justice and rule of law, shaken. Violence on both sides is condemnable and should be avoided forever.
We fear that this latest ambush will now be used by the state to justify further militarisation in the region and make lives of Adivasis more difficult. There is an urgent need for political intervention and dialogue. The guns of State or Maoists, will not solve the problem. Politics of violence and counter violence will only make lives of adivasis and others in the region more difficult, which will ultimately have an impact on the democratic norms and freedom of citizens elsewhere in the country, as seen in shrinking spaces for non-violent, democratic movements and arrest of activists. Soni Sori, Lingaram Kodopi and many others are braving brutality as a result of the war promoted by the state and Maoists, both. Mahendra Karma, openly supported Salwa Judum, a violent outfit and the same violence has killed him. This is tragic, yet a telling fact.
The swiftness with which the centre has promised all help in this regard and dispatched a large number of security forces, if the same urgency was shown for providing justice to the victims of Salwa Judum in all these years, Indian state would have won a bigger political battle by now. Awards, compensation and martyrdom will be bestowed on those killed by Maoists but Adivasis victims of this collateral damage and those languishing in jail need justice too. There is an urgent need to address that otherwise situation will only deteriorate. We demand that political dialogue in all sincerity be initiated to arrive at a political solution rather than increased militarisation.
Medha Patkar, Prafulla Samantara, Dr. Sunilam, Arundhati Dhuru, Gabriele Dietrich, Gautam Bandopadhyay, Ramakrishnan Raju, Sister Celia, Maj. Gen (Retd) Sudhir Vombatkere, Vimal Bhai, Krishnakant, Rajendra Ravi, Meera, Seela M, Madhuresh Kumar
National Alliance of People’s Movements

National Office : 6/6, Jangpura B, Mathura Road, New Delhi 110014
Phone : 011 26241167 / 24354737 Mobile : 09818905316
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