Thursday, November 30, 2017

Bolshevik Revolution and Socialism of the Future

Satyaki Roy

People having faith on eternity of capitalism consider seven decades of the grand experiment of human civilization of building socialism in Russia to be a dark tunnel  that ends  in the late 80's with fresh air of liberal democracy and hence revolution deserves a collective forgetting. Even if some bother to look back they seem to be busy in discovering demons and episodes of tyranny somehow nervous in facing the social process that created sparkles of alternative that caught the imagination of the working class and dispossessed people of the world. Non-existence of Soviet Union and the end of Cold War era makes its absence even more pronounced in the context of the current ascendancy of global capital.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Pursuit of Rankings: Decoding the Mirage

Rahul Sapkal and Swati Shanker

There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception. This very idea of perception i.e., ‘perception of improved economy and ease of doing business’ is implicit in World Bank Group’s Doing Business Report 2018 (“Report”) and India’s significant jump from 130th (in 2016) to 100th (in 2017).  As per the Report India has introduced substantive reforms on 8 out of 10 parameters namely, starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency. While the government is busy patting its own back and scoring brownie points for the same, the ground realties present a different narrative. The Report cannot be a true indicator of India’s positive performance as the methodology adopted therein is flawed on majorly two counts. Firstly, it considers only Delhi and Mumbai as the benchmark of developments and secondly, it does not take into account effects of some of the recent major economic reforms viz demonetization and GST reforms.

The Dengue Epidemic in West Bengal

Ushashi Paul 

Charles Frazier, an American novelist had once observed, "disease is nature's revenge for our destructiveness." 

Dengue, according to a standard dictionary is an acute febrile disease of the (sub)tropics caused by the Dengue virus, a flavivirus, transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, and characterized by high fever, rash, headache, and severe muscle and joint pain. It is a global hazard since 100 countries have come under its impact so far - worst in Asia. In West Bengal this is being escalated by West Bengal Government's lack of fighting spirits. Calcutta witnessed unplanned growth of urbanization without any drainage and road and a steady decline of civic service. The culture of cleanliness is being mocked by the state agencies. In the cesspool of political authoritarianism, meaningless bureaucracy and endless corruption, the disease has spiraled out of control.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Issues of Land under the Special Economic Zones in India

Santosh Verma

The rising demand for land with the purposes other than agricultural activity including the development of Special Economic Zones (SEZs), infrastructure development and urbanization, etc. are restructuring the rural transformation and its political economy. To fulfill these demands, land is being acquired from the farmers/individuals which have put the agrarian question (vis-à-vis land question) at the forefront in country’s political spectrum and as well as in the academia. The process, under which land is acquired for these various purposes, historically, goes with the Colonial Land Acquisition Act of 1894.  Though, the Act went through several amendments at different times, but its original nature remained intact (Verma, 2015). The original nature is sensed in such a way that the successive Central and State governments under the clause “eminent domain” acquired land and transferred them to fulfill demands from the public sector as well as the demands from private land seeking capitalist agent/agency/firm etc.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Hundred Years of the First Revolution to Annihilate Patriarchy, Oppression and Exploitation

Chirashree Das Gupta 

Hundred years since the Bolshevik Revolution, we live in a world in which patriarchy directly continues to constitute class. The patriarchal family remains the foundational unit of organization of both the class basis of property and propriety and is constituted by all other graded inequalities – be it caste, race or religion. The edifice of bourgeois constitutionalism and law stands on the sanctimony of private property defined by ‘family law’ – the ultimate sanctum-sanctorum of the ‘private’. And in the propagation of this uncontested domain of rarefied knowledge, there is erasure of memory and history of the significance of the Bolshevik Revolution in the chronicling of the myriad struggles against patriarchy, oppression and exploitation in and since the 20th century.

Monday, November 13, 2017

‘Fail Again, Fail Better’: Repeating October Revolution in 21st Century

Pavel Tomar

"As capitalism develops further, it is swallowing the same ground upon which it operates. Leninism in twenty first century would mean the creation of new commons, and of a language which would enable us to see and create them. Only this would be what Badiou calls as the ‘fidelity to Event’: the fidelity to the October Revolution means a revolutionary preparedness for turning inevitable historical change into a positive one. Repetition does not involve a re-enacting of the good old times of twentieth century socialism, it precisely means its opposite: repetition as difference. As Lenin himself reminded. ‘fail again, fail better’". 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Towards Revolution: Indian Muhajirs adrift in Central Asia (1915-1920)

Suchetana Chattopadhyay

(Prisoners in the Meerut Conspiracy Case. Shaukat Usmani (ex-Muhajir communist) fourth from left in the back row)

Before the emergence of a communist movement within India, there was the tendency. It emerged from the passage of the muhajirs, Muslims religious exiles from colonial India during the First World War and post-war turmoil. Following the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, they reached civil war torn formerly Czarist Central Asia through Afghanistan. From their ranks emerged an émigré communist party. Though the impact of their initiatives was limited by their external locations and repression by the colonial state, they represented the earliest left collective effort related to the Indian subcontinent. The article will explore the experiences and shifting contexts in the course of their journey through certain contiguous terrains of revolutionary dissent which made them abandon pan-Islamist anti-imperialism and turn to communism.