Archive for April, 2007

Internet Security

April 30, 2007


If you have visited this website in the last one year or
corresponded with us through email in the last one
year then it is possible that your
internet connection
(if you surfed from home) and your email id is being
monitored illegally by criminal elements.

And all the the data you might have transmitted
through the net like email ids,phone numbers
been intercepted,tapped and are being monitored.

Reactionary governments/organisations have shown themselves willing to attack and intimidate people who aren’t even radicals and who are just researching social and political movements. They are also willing to repress or monitor people for other reasons. Repression is a real threat in some circumstances, and Naxalrevolution takes this seriously for the sake of the people who visit this site and other sites for different reasons.

Maintaining anonymity and practicing secure behaiviour makes it more difficult for agents and officials, often violating civil rights and breaking laws, to identify people interested in revolutionary knowledge.

It also makes things harder for right-wing activists, vigilantes and other groups to ruin the lives of people interested in revolutionary education.

As a part of Internet Security week the below posts will guide you on how to adopt some of the best internet security practices and how to secure your means of communication

For any doubts or clarifications please leave a request in the comments section.

Credits: I would like to thank irtr from whom I first heard about these security practices and riseup for the detailed information and good work that they are doing.

After reading the below posts.Naxalrevolution strongly recommends that you sign up for a new email account at either

and use it to communicate with us.

Please see to it that you adhere to their terms and conditions.

Full list of important articles and
email providers is given in the below posts.
Please read them all !

1. Why Security matters

2. Simple measures for email security

3. Security resources for activists

4. Install an anti-virus and keep it updated

5. Use a firewall for your personal computer

6.How to browse the Internet anonymously from
home,office or any other place

7. Browse the web using TOR

Blog Resources

1. How to backup your blog and get around any future bans

2. How to blog via email

3. How to restrict access to your blog


40th Anniversary of the Naxalbari Movement

April 30, 2007

23 rd May 2007 will be the fortieth anniversary of the Naxalbari Uprising.

A friend recently reminded me of the importance of this year

This year is a commemorative year as 30 years ago,in 1977 was a landmark year for the C.P.I(M.L)Groups that followed Charu Mazumdar,particularly in Bihar.For the first time mass movements were deployed.(refer to Bela Bhatia’s article on Bihar)

It is also 25 years since the C.P.I.(M.L)Party Unity group was formed which merged into the C.P.I.M.L(Peoples War) in 1998,and which later merged with MCC
to become C.P.I(Maoist).It is also 25 years since the U.C.C.R.I.M.L led by
H.B.S held it’s special conference upholding the rectified international

It is also 20 years since the Dalechauk Baghera attack launched by MCC.
and 20 years since the historic anti-Khalistani rally in Moga in Punjab.(July
10th)later this year will be the 30th anniversary yaer of the formation of
Central Team Group also.

It will also be the 40thanniversary year of the Naxalbari movement on May
23rd this year.

Naxalrevolution has decided to conduct if possible a few interviews with people associated with Mass organisations and leaders of the various parliamentary naxalite factions who were inspired by naxalbari and own their origin directly or indirectly to the Naxalbari uprising.

In view of the enormous task and our limited reach
Naxalrevolution invites its readers to send in articles
written by them and of any interviews that they are
able to conduct.

You can email them to us in text format or mp3 format.

If the file you are sending to us as an attachment is large.
then please send it to us at
naxalrevolution(at the rate)gmail(dot)com

We will publish any material we receive.

We also invite suggestions from readers as to how we can commemorate
this occasion and take the message far and wide.

The History of May Day

April 30, 2007

The Origins of May First : Haymarket 1886 and the “Troublesome Element”

During 1885 a circular passed hand to hand through the ranks of the proletariat in the United States. With the following words it called for class-wide action on May 1, 1886:

“One day of revolt – not rest! A day not ordained by the bragging spokesmen of institutions holding the world of labor in bondage. A day on which labor makes its own laws and has the power to execute them! All without the consent or approval of those who oppress and rule. A day on which in tremendous force the unity of the army of toilers is arrayed against the powers that today hold sway over the destinies of the people of all nations. A day of protest against oppression and tyranny, against ignorance and war of any kind. A day on which to begin to enjoy ‘eight hours for work, eight hours for rest, eight hours for what we will.'”

* * * * *

A century ago, on May 1, 1886, a general strike broke across the United States. Within days it would culminate in the events forever associated with the name Haymarket. In 1889 the founding congress of a new, second, Marxist International named that day, May Day, for worldwide actions of the proletariat.

Through all the twists and explosions of these past hundred years, the tradition of May Day has developed and spread: as a day when class-conscious proletarians of all countries take stock of their situation, make their plans for the year ahead, celebrate proletrian internationalism, and declare their determination to carry their struggle through to the final goal of communism throughout the world.

In many countries, battles rage to proclaim May Day as a day of revolutionary struggle after years where it has been suppressed or gutted by revisionists.

in 1984 the newly formed Revolutionary Internationalist Movement issued its Declaration on May First and since then has called for celebrations and struggle on May First in countries across the planet under unified revolutionary slogans. Today, just as throughout the past century, May Day concentrates in embryo the leaps and prospects of the world revolution.

In light of this May Day tradition, we offer a look at the Haymarket events on their centennial.

Early Sparks of a Revolutionary Epoch

Consider the world a century ago.

Communism was no longer merely the “specter” Marx and Engels had described in 1848. It had emerged as flesh and blood, and shook the crowns of Europe.

1871: the Paris Commune. With warring bourgeois armies at opposing end of their city, the Parisian proletariat stormed heaven! They dared seize power for the first time in the name of the propertyless. And they dared set out to transform all society in a radically new direction: toward the abolition of all classes and all oppression.

But the brilliant year 1871 came and went. The ruling classes of Europe were brutal and thorough. In France, the Commune died before firing squads. In Germany, the Prussian state responded with 1878’s severe Anti-Socialist laws, driving the revolutionary party into illegality. In Britain, yet a third form of reaction ruled: Wealth from new colonies so corrupted whole strata of British workers that the labor movement sank into a stupor.

For a few dark moments the red flame ignited in Paris seemed extinguished.

Suddenly, new sounds of class warfare broke the stillness – from a totally unexpected corner! From the very edge of the North American prairie, Chicago, a crude boom town that hardly seemed part of the “civilized world.” Not for the last time, the world revolution had leapt to a totally new continent.

This fresh outbreak of proletarian life became May 1, 1886.

The Truly “Modern” City

In 1886 one writer from abroad sought to capture Chicago in a sentence: “An overwhelming pall of smoke, streets filled with busy, quick-moving people; a vast aggregation of railways, vessels and traffic of all kinds; a paramount devotion to the Almighty Dollar.”

Some claim today that because of the Haymarket events May Day must somehow be considered an American invention. This is laughable for many reasons. Among them is the obvious fact that Chicago may have risen from North American soil, but this was a city of “foreigners,” dragged by the workings of a world system to the very edge of industrial society.

Engels wrote at that time about the “exceptional” and “aristocratic” position occupied by the native-born (white Anglo) workers in the country. However, the vast bulk of the proletariat, especially in such cities as Chicago, were from Germany, Ireland, Bohemia, France, Poland, and Russia. Waves of immigrants were hurled against each other – pressed into ghetto-like slums, unleashed into ethnic warfare, used to drive one another further down.

Many were illiterate peasants, cast into an alien battle for survival. But there were others already tempered by class warfare. Especially among the proletarians from Germany there was an infectious consciousness: learned, shaped by complex experience, deeply hostile to the dominant world order. And these radicals were hated, feared and defamed in return.

One proletarian described himself: “‘Barbarians, savages, illiterate ignorant Anarchists from Central Europe, men who cannot comprehend the spirit of our free American institution’ – of these I am one.”

One year after the Paris Commune, the winter of 1872: thousands left homeless and starving by the Great Chicago Fire demonstrated for relief. Many carried the banner “Bread or Blood.” Blood they got. Driven into the tunnel beneath the Chicago river, they were shot and beaten.

1877: a great strike wave spread along the rail lines, exploding into general strikes at major railheads, including Chicago. A new radical leadership emerged, especially among German immigrants connected with the first International of Marx and Engels. Alongside them stood a native-born activist, Albert Parsons. Political experience was concentrated here from two continents, from the turmoils of Europe and the anti-slavery movement of the United States. Parsons, for example, had been a Radical Republican in the tumultuous period of slave emancipation, and he had defied genteel Texan society by marrying a freed slave of mixed blood, Lucy Parsons, who would become an inspiring political figure in her own right.

The massive strike rallies of 1877 in Chicago were broken up by police gunfire.

Wrathful Tinder Was Drying

Previously the conditions of life in America, even for impoverished immigrants, were better than in countries they had left behind. With the explosive growth of industry, and the systematic conquest of the continent from Mexicans and Native peoples, there had long been a steady shortage of labor, which had meant little unemployment and relatively high wages. In addition, that special resource of the United states – free (i.e. stolen) land – gave whole sections of the laboring classes at least hope of obtaining property. A sense of opportunity and even speculative mania penetrated deeply among workers.

However, by the 1880s sweeping changes cut away at the material basis for such “American Dreams.”

The capitalist class had defeated the Southern slave owners only decades before and through the 1870s had reassimilated those exploiters of black skins into a more “modern” order. Newly freed slaves were disarmed, stripped of all political rights, and bound into the semifeudal system of sharecropping. The entire country felt the political winds shift from Radical Reconstruction to new gusts of triumphant reaction.

At about the same time the last of the “Indian Wars” ended. 1886 was the year of Geronimo’s final surrender. Within a couple of years, Sitting Bull would be assassinated by government agents during the Ghost Dance revolt. For many workers this final conquest of the Indians meant that the frontier was closed. There was no more “free land” to steal, no “safety valve” for surplus labor. Coupled with this, a devastating “Great Depression” came in 1873 and lasted for two decades.

Unemployment erupted. The mechanization of previously skilled jobs forced historic changes in the structure of the working class. Poverty and all its ugliest sores took unprecedented forms.

Having broken the Indians, ripped off Mexico, defeated the slaveowners, and then betrayed the slaves, American capitalism turned to gorge itself on the imported labor in its factories. However, while the ruling class consolidated this glittering system – amid squalor, there were men and women who started to dream new dreams, proletarian dreams. In a babel of languages, these dreams found expression – as politics.

The Gathering Storm

After 1877 both classes understood well that conflict would soon break out again. The bourgeoisie saw an “American Commune” on the horizon and prepared the bloody means to suppress it: armories were build as fortresses in every major city; the national guard was transformed into a modern army and equipped with modern weaponry; and in every industrial region, the capitalists hired large private armies of informers, thugs and Pinkertons.

The workers too prepared, both politically and militarily. Secret societies, trade unions and working class parties formed and within them debate raged over how the oppressed should respond to their worsening conditions. Today when the very words “American labor movement” evoke images of chauvinism and reaction, it may be hard to imagine the radical glow that once emanated from unions in general.

Unions then were semi-legal (or wholly illegal) networks within the factories. The police routinely broke up meetings of workers as a matter of course, beating and jailing organizers. Frederick Engels writes: “They are constantly in full process of development and revolution; a heaving, fermenting mass of plastic material seeking the shape and form appropriate to its inherent nature.”

To strike then often meant to enter into warfare with all the powers of society. The recruitment of scab crews from among the starving slum dwellers was routine. Work stoppages, even those that focused on clearly economic issues, quickly assumed the character of desperate revolts and spread like contagions to the class as a whole.

Chicago gave birth to a particularly radical scene. There revolutionaries were at the core of the Central Labor Union, the largest of the competing union networks. Within this framework, revolutionaries circulated a truly incendiary press: Albert Parsons’ biweekly paper, the Alarm, had an English-speaking readership of 2,000-3,000. August Spies (pronounced SHPEEZ) edited the daily Germany Arbeiter Zeitung with a circulation of 5,000. Several other revolutionary organs appeared at various times. Lively polemics and agitation raged among the workers in three or four languages.

A resolution passed by the Chicago Central Labor Union in 1885 captures the mood: “We urgently call upon the wage-earning class to arm itself in order to be able to put forth against their exploiters such an argument which alone can be effective: violence.”

Such calls were hardly abstract. In Chicago a core of workers, overwhelmingly from Germany, formed armed militias called Lehr und Wehr Vereins (Study and Resistance Associations) to answer the violence of the employers’ private armies in kind. With them were the English Club (for English-speaking workers), the Bohemian Sharpshooters (for Czechs), and a French group. Ten companies were recorded, many led by the veterans of European and American wars. Not surprisingly, the bourgeoisie responded in 1879 by simply banning these worker militias, and a protracted lesson in American democracy unfolded. While the bourgeois armies were being visibly strengthened at every hand, the workers took the issue all the way to the Supreme Court and were coldly denied their “constitutional right to keep and bear arms.” In an America where the gunslinging frontier traditions still lived, such a ruling was a shocking precedent indeed. Some “gun clubs” dissolved; others went underground.

Meanwhile, the growing strength of radical working-class forces paralleled a clearcut failure of electoral activities. Working class aspirations were suppressed at the polls through the crudest means: ballot stuffing, bribery and police attack.

As a result, in the brutal collisions of 1877 and the complex aftermath a significant section of the proletariat, especially centered in Chicago, came to deeply distrust the American constitutional system as a vehicle for emancipation. They were called “the troublesome element”; one bourgeois account fumed that they “consisted largely of the ignorant lower classes of Bavarians, Bohemians, Hungarians, Germans, Austrians and others who held secret meetings in organized groups armed and equipped like the nihilists of Russia and the communists of France. They called themselves socialists. Their emblem was red.”

Unfortunately the main organized socialist party at that time, the Socialist Labor Party, came under the control of reformists who worshipped the electoral arena and rejected armed struggle. Although these early revisionists sometimes claimed to be followers of Karl Marx, they were precisely those types of whom Marx wrote: “I have sown dragon’s teeth and harvested fleas.” The SLP expelled the forces of the Lehr und Wehr, claiming that armed workers were bad for their party image.

The socialist ideology that prevailed among the most revolutionary-minded workers was anarchism, in a particular syndicalist form dubbed “the Chicago Idea.”

The Revolutionary Thrust of the “Chicago Idea”

This “Chicago Idea” was expressed in an anarchist manifesto written at the Pittsburgh Congress of the “International Working People’s Association” (IWPA) in October 1883. It proclaimed:

“This system is unjust, insane and murderous. It is, therefore, necessary to totally destroy it with and by all means, and with the greatest energy on the part of everyone who suffers by it, and who does not want to be made culpable for its continued existence by his inactivity.

“Agitation for the purpose of organization; organization for the purpose of rebellion. In these few words the ways are marked which workers must take if they want to be rid of their chains…

“If there ever could have been any question on this point it should long ago have been dispelled by the brutalities which the bourgeois of all countries – in America as well as in Europe – constantly commits, as often as the proletariat anywhere energetically move to better their conditions. It becomes, therefore, self-evident that the struggle of the proletariat with the bourgeois will be of a violent, revolutionary character.”

The “Chicago Idea” specifically fought the notion that individual terror and assassination could destroy the oppressor. They envisioned building a mass movement of their class which would disdain the struggle for crumbs. For the revolutionaries, and for the bourgeoisie, the Paris Commune had given a model of what might come.

Among revisionist and some other historians writing about the first May Day, this belief in revolutionary violence is treated as something to be either hidden or denounced. However, what true revolutionary today can find here ground for criticism?

The real weakness of this “Chicago Idea” and its movement lay in its worship of spontaneity. There was a dogmatic belief that loose union structures alone could serve as sufficient vehicles for revolutionary victory. This flowed from the anarchist tenets that the shell of the old society need only be broken by the determined general strike of the workers and that then a new world would automatically emerge form the self-organization of the oppressed. A mystical “natural order,” not a new reovlutionary state, was their goal. They planned to break up state power, but not to wield it.

The Marshalling of Forces

After the proletariat recovered from the events of 1877, its movement spread like a wild fire, especially once it had found a focus: the demand for the eight-hour day.

In 1884 one of the several national union networks, the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions, called for a national day of action. On May 1, 1886, they proposed, the workers should simply seize the eight-hour day and shut the gates on any factory that did not comply. Eight hours was to be transformed from an economic demand between workers and their immediate employers to a political demand of one whole class against another.

Tremendous enthusiasm greeted the plan. One historian writes, “It was little more than a gesture which, because of the changed conditions of 1886, became a revolutionary threat.” A vast churning took place among workers nationally. The Knights of Labor, for example, swelled from 100,000 in the summer of 1885 to 700,000 one year later.

It hardly seems necessary to explain why the “eight hour movement” was taken up so fervently. Eighteen-hour workdays were typical. Workers were literally worked to death; their lives proscribed by labor, brief sleep, and hunger. Before the workers as a class could raise their heads toward distant horizons, they craved free moments for thought and self-education.

In the streets workers sang:
We mean to make things over
We’re tired of toil for naught
But bare enough to live on;
Never an hour for thought.

1886 became a “mad year.” Even before spring, a strike wave started nationally. Two months before May Day, one historian writes, “disturbances occurred repeatedly [in Chicago], and it was a common sight to see patrol wagons filled with armed policemen dashing through the city.” The publisher of the Chicago Daily News wrote that “a repetition of the Paris Communal riots was freely predicted.”

Among the workers’ ranks this gathering storm provoked intense debate. The different political trends had sharp doubts about the movement – for diametrically opposed reasons. The highly conservative leadership of the Knights of Labor issued a secret circular describing their position. This gospel of “slow and patient educational work” is all too recognizable today:

“No assembly of the Knights of Labor must strike for the eight-hour system on May first under the impression that they are obeying orders from headquarters, for such an order was not, and will not, be given. Neither the employer or employee are educated to the needs and necessities of the short hour plan. If one branch of trade or one assembly is in such a condition, remember that there are many who are in total ignorance of the movement. Out of the sixty millions of people in the United States and Canada, our order has possibly three hundred thousand. Can we mold the sentiment of millions in favor of the short-hour plan before May first? It is nonsense to think of it. Let us learn why our hours of labor should be reduced, and then teach others.”

The fact that the author, Terence Powderly, really feared the consciousness (not the ignorance) of the workers is proven in another section of the circular where he wrote:

“Men who own capital are not our enemies. If that theory held good, the workmen of today would be the enemy of his fellow toiler on the morrow, for after all, it is how to acquire capital and how to use it properly that we are endeavoring to learn.”

By contrast, the anarchists questioned the “eight-hour plan” because, as a demand, they thought it left the system unchallenged. Along with Marx, whom several leaders had studied, they believed that “Instead of the conservative motto, ‘A fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work!’ [the working class] ought to inscribe on their banner the revolutionary watchword, ‘Abolition of the wages system!'”

However, unlike Marx, the anarchists had difficulty anticipating the role a class-wide political movement could play in forging the proletariat into a self-conscious force. Albert Parsons himself had long been active within the Eight Hour Leagues, yet as late as December 1885 his newspaper, the Alarm, wrote: “We of the Internationale [meaning the anarchist IWPA] are frequently asked why we do not give our active support to the eight-hour movement. Let us take what we can get, say our eight-hour friends, else by asking too much we may get nothing. We answer: Because we will not compromise. Either our position that capitalists have no means to the exclusive ownership of the means of life is a true one or it is not. If we are correct, then it concede the point that capitalists have the right to eight hours of our labor, is more than a compromise; it is a virtual concession that the wage system is right.” The anarchist press argued that: “even though the eight-hour system should be established at this late day, the wage worker…would still remain the slaves of their masters.”

Such a view ignored the actual development of the class struggle at that point: Up until that decade the bourgeoisie had played a commanding role within the revolutionary movement, based on its leadership of the struggle against the slavocracy. In this context the “eight-hour” demand was playing a crucial role in demarcating emerging proletarian currents from those of other classes.

A battleline between classes was objectively being drawn by the workers – and regardless of subsequent historians’ distortions, this is how the “eight-hour movement” came to be viewed by all sides. Naturally, there were workers who rushed to join with no loftier purpose than winning a shorter workday for themselves or their immediate shop. It is the nature of all great movements that they draw in formerly passive and unconscious strata of the proletariat. However, to portray this sentiment as the essence of 1886, as the revisionists do, is more than a lie. It is an attempt to deny the proletariat any aspirations higher than some leisure and comfort within this system.

Unlike Powderly, Chicago’s anarcho-socialists were simply unwilling to stand against such an historic movement once they got a sense of its objective impact. They put their previous prejudices aside and entered a largely spontaneous movement to infuse it with revolutionary content.

Parsons wrote that his forces joined “first, because it was a class movement against domination, therefore historical and evolutionary and necessary; and secondly we did not choose to stand aloof to be misunderstood by our fellow workers.”

On March 19, 1886 the Arbeiter Zeitung wrote: “If we do not soon bestir ourselves for a bloody revolution, we can not leave anything to our children but poverty and slavery. Therefore prepare yourselves, in all quietness, for the revolution.” The Lehr und Wehr Verein grew, with a membership of over a thousand as the spring approached. Similar defense militia were reported in Cincinnati, Detroit, St. Louis, Omaha, Newark, New York, San Francisco, Denver and other cities.

As the fateful day approached, weekly marches streamed through Chicago with banners reading: “The Social Revolution,” “Down with Throne, Altar and Moneybags,” and “Workingmen, Arm Yourselves.” Torches lit workers’ faces during nighttime marches as they sang:

Toiling millions are now waking
see them marching on
All the tyrants now are shaking
ere their power’s gone.

On the very eve of May Day the Arbeiter Zeitung contained the following passages, which capture the raw edge that had developed:

“Bravely forward! The conflict has begun. An army of wage-laborers are idle. Capitalism conceals its tiger claws behind the ramparts of order. Workmen, let your watchword be: No compromise! Cowards to the rear! Men to the front!

“The die is cast. The first of May has come. For twenty years the working epople have been begging extortioners to introduce the eight-hour day system, but have been put off with promises. Two years ago they resolved that the eight-hour system should be introduced in the United States on the first day of May 1886. The reasonableness of this demand was conceded on all hands. Everybody, apparently, was in favor or shortening the hours; but as the time approached, a change became apparent. That which was in theory modest and reasonable became insolent and unreasonable. It became apparent at last that the eight-hour hymn had only been struck up to keep the labor dunces from Socialism.

“That the laborers might energetically insist upon the eight-hour movement, never occurred to the employer…. It is a question whether the workmen will submit, or will impart to their would-be murderers an appreciation of modern views. We hope the latter.”

This issue of the newspaper contained a prominent warning: “It is said that on the person of one of the arrested comrades in New York, a list of membership has been found, and that all the comrades compromised have been arrested. Therefore, away with all rolls of membership and minute-books, where such are kept. Clean your guns, complete your ammunition. The hired murderers of the capitalists, the police and the militia are ready to murder. No working man should leave his house these days with empty pockets.”

The ruling class too made its preparations, with particular focus on the workers’ leadership. The Chicago Mail ran an ominous editorial: “There are two dangerous ruffians at large in this city; two skulking cowards who are trying to create trouble. One of them is named Parsons; the other is named Spies….Mark them for today. Keep them in view. Hold them personally responsible for any trouble that occurs. Make an example of them if trouble does occur.”

May Day!

May First, 1886: one Chicago newspaper reported that “no smoke curled up from the tall chimneys of the factories and mills; and things had assumed a Sabbath-like appearance.” The Philadelphia Tribune wrote: “‘The labor element’ has been bitten by a kind of universal tarantula – it has gone ‘dancing mad.'”

In Detroit 11,000 workers marched in an eight-hour parade. In New York, a torchlight march of 25,000 flooded up Broadway into Union Square, while 40,000 struck.

In Cincinnati one worker described the kick-off rally: “only red flags were carried…. the only song we sang was the ‘Arbeiters Marseillaise’ … a workers’ battalion of 400 Springfield rifles headed the procession. It was the Lehr und Wehr Verein, the educational and protective society of embattled toil… All of us expected violence, I suppose.”

In Louisville, Kentucky more than 6,000 workers, both Blacks and whites, marched through National Park deliberately breaking that park’s Jim Crow ban on non-whites.

In Chicago, the stronghold of the rebellion, at least 30,000 were out. Every railroad stopped running, the stockyards closed down, the docks were jammed with unloaded barge. Conservative leaders were forced to the margins of events. Michigan Avenue filled with a huge outpouring of proletarians and their families, marching in their Sunday best.

But the “Sabbath-like” calm was deceptive and temporary. Hidden in the alleys, sprawled on strategic rooftops, the armed police were ready for open warfare. In the state armories a thousand National Guardsmen mobilized and were specially equppped with Gatling machine guns.

The “Citizens’ Committee” of Chicago’s ruling class decided that incidents had to be created to decapitate and crush the movement. The police started assaulting workers wherever they gathered in the city. One furious police account charged that on May 2 a “large force” collected” and dared to reverse the American flag, “carrying it top side down, symbolic of the revolution they intended to work in American institutions.”

The Massacre at McCormick’s

The breaking point came at the McCormick Reaper works. A lockout had been ongoing there since mid-winter, with herds of scabs led in daily by police. On May 2, an exhausted Spies appeared there to deliver one of his countless speeches to workers gathered on the prairie. As a crowd of 6,000 or 7,000 workers listened to his talk, a few hundred left to confront McCormick’s scabs then leaving work.

From the Arbeiter Zeitung of May 4: “Suddenly shots were heard near McCormick’s factory, and about seventy-five, well-fed, large and strong murderers, under command of a fat police lieutenant, marched by, followed by three more patrol wagons full of law and order beasts.”

In a battle of workers’ stones against police gunfire, the workers suddenly broke and fled. Bullets exploded into their backs. At least two workers fell dead. Many were wounded, among them children.

Within hours a leaflet, penned by the enraged Spies, was passing through the working class slums. “WORKING MEN, TO ARMS!!!” it proclaimed. “The masters sent out their bloodhounds — the police; they killed six of your brothers at McCormick’s this afternoon. They killed the poor wretches because they, like you, had the courage to disobey the supreme will of your bosses… rise in your might, Hercules, and destroy the hideous monster that seeks to destroy you. To arms we call you, to arms!”

By the next day, May 3, the spread of the strike was “alarming.” Nationally, some 340,000 workers were drawn in, 190,000 of them by striking. In Chicago, 80,000 were out. When several hundred sewing women took to the streets to join the demonstrations, the Chicago Tribune raged: “Shouting Amazons!”

In this heated moment, the Arbeiter Zeitung called for armed struggle, as it always had — except now the call assumed a distinct air of immediacy:

“Blood has flown. It happened as it had to. The militia have not been drilling in vain. It is historical that private property had its origin in violence. The war of classes had to come… In the poor shanty, miserably clad women and children are weeping for husband and father. In the palace, they clink glasses filled with costly wine and drink to the happiness of the blood bandits of law and order. Dry your tears, ye poor and wretched: take heart, ye slaves; arise in your might and overthrow the system of robbery.”

In proletarian meeting halls intense debate raged — “the capitalist tiger” had indeed struck, and thousands grappled for a way to respond. Significant factions apparently wanted to seek an insurrection. A mass meeting was called for the Haymarket Square for the evening of May 4. Worried about ambush, the organizers had chosen a large open place with many possible escape routes. After sharp disagreement, Spies later claimed, he convinced Haymarket’s organizers to withdraw their call for an armed rally and instead to seek the broadest participation possible.

The Haymarket Incident

The morning of May 4, the police attacked a column of 3,000 strikers. Gatherings formed throughout the city. By evening the Haymarket emerged as one of many protest meetings, with an attendance of 3,000.

Speeches followed on another from the back of a wagon. As rain started to fall, the meeting disbanded. Suddenly, when only a few hundred remained, a detachment of 180 heavily-armed policemen appeared, and a police officer demanded that the workers disperse. They received the answer that it was a peaceful and legal meeting. As the police captain turned to give orders to his men, a bomb suddenly exploded in their ranks. The police turned the Haymarket into a free-fire zone, pumping volley after volley into the crowd, killing several and wounding two hundred. The neighborhood was thrown into terror. Drug stores were crowded with the wounded.

Seven policemen eventually died, most from bullets of police guns.

This incident became the pretext for the ruling class to unleash its planned offensive: in the streets, in the courts, and in their press. The newspapers, not only in Chicago but throughout the United States, went mad. They demanded the instant execution of all subversives. Their headlines raged: “Bloody Brutes,” “Red Ruffians,” “Red Flagsters,” “Dynamarchists.” The Chicago Tribune, May 6: “These serpents have been warmed and nourished in the sunshine of toleration until at last they have been emboldened to strike at society, law, order and government.” The Chicago Herald, May 6: “The rabble whom Spies and Fielden stimulated to murder are not Americans. They are offscourings of Europe who have sought these shores to abuse the hospitality and defy the authority of the country.”

In Milwaukee, the state militia responded with a bloody massacre of rallying workers on May 5; eight Polish laborers and one German were shot down for violating martial law.

In Chicago a sweeping dragnet crammed the jails with thousands of revolutionaries and strikers. Historians have used the word “torture” to describe the interrogations. Subscription lists were used to guide the raiding parties. Meeting halls and homes were broken into, the workers’ presses were smashed. The entire printing crew of the Arbeiter Zeitung was arrested. The police put on display all the “evidence” they had made sure they would find: ammunition, rifles, swords, clubs, literature, red flags, incendiary banners, bulk lead, bullet molds, dynamite, bombs, instructions in bomb making, underground rifle ranges. Each find was paraded through the press. Faced with this assault, the general strike crumbled. The leadership of the revolutionary-minded workers was in the clutches of the bourgeoisie.

The Haymarket Trial

The ruling class convened its Chicago grand jury in the middle of May 1886. The charge was murder of a policeman who died at Haymarket. The accused were all prominent in the movement: August Spies, Michael Schwab, Samuel Fielden, Albert R. Parsons, Adolf Fischer, George Engel, Louis Lingg, and Oscar Neebe.

No one doubts that the following trial was anything other than a legal lynching. For one thing, all the defendants were forced to stand trial together, although they were a highly diverse group, with differently shaded politics, who had played quite different roles in the events of May.

Second, the jury was blatantly packed. The usual procedure of selecting jurors by lot was simply jettisoned — in its place a special bailiff was appointed. This man bragged: “I am managing this case, and know what I am about. These fellows are going to be hanged as certain as death.”

Finally, and most significant, the whole trial was conducted without any proof that any of these men had been involved in the bomb-throwing. Only two of the eight accused were even present at the rally when the bomb was thrown.

The issue of who actually threw the bomb has been debated but never settled. It seems like that a certain Rudolf Schnaubelt did the deed and that the bomb may have been made by Louis Lingg (who was certainly quite vocal in his defense of dynamite.) The real questions seems to be whether Schnaubelt was an anarchist streetfighter determined to strike the murdering police, or whether he was a police agent provocateur. The evidence is contradictory. It is proven however that Schnaubelt was twice in police custody after Haymarket and was twice released. This suggests at the very least that the police were consciously disinterested in having the actual bomb-thrower on trial — their real target was the leadership of the rebellion, not some incidental perpetrator and certainly not a police agent. Schnaubelt disappeared from Chicago.

For months the trial dragged on. Numerous workers were threatened and bribed into giving ridiculous testimony about conspiracies of all kinds. Lurid tales poured from the courtroom to inflame the country. The issue was plain — the words of the prosecuting State’s Attorney Grinnell speak for themselves:

“Law is upon trial. Anarchy is on trial. These men have been selected, picked out by the grand jury and indicted because they were leaders. They are no more guilty than the thousand who follow them. Gentlemen of the jury; convict these men, make examples of them, hang them and save our institutions, our society.”

The judge added that it was sufficient for the State to prove that “these several defendants have advocated the use of deadly missiles against the police on occasions which they anticipated might arise in the future.”

In short, the American bourgeoisie was already then perfecting its method of disguising political trials as criminal cases; using “conspiracy laws” to mask the suppression of revolutionary ideas and organizations. These men were on trial for the crime of leading the oppressed — nothing more or less.

The convicted men were called upon to speak before their sentence was pronounced. One reporter wrote: “They have neither penitence or remorse, and to their twisted minds it is society which is on trial and not themselves.”

Summarizing his revolutionary beliefs before the court, Spies concluded with these words: “Now, these are my ideas… If you think that you can crush out these ideas that are gaining ground more and more every day, if you think you can crush them by sending us to the gallows — if you would once more have people to suffer the penalty of death because they have dared to tell the truth — and I defy you to show us where we have told a lie — I say, if death is the penalty for proclaiming the truth, then I will proudly and defiantly pay the costly price! Call your hangman.”

The twenty-one year old Lingg spat out his defiance: “I repeat that I am the enemy of the ‘order’ of today, and I repeat that, with all my powers, so long as breath remains in me, I shall combat it… I despise you. I despise your order; your laws, your force-propped authority. Hang me for it.”

Seven were sentenced to death.

A great movement stirred in their defense. Meetings were held across the globe: in France, Holland, Russia, Italy and Spain and throughout the United States. In Germany, Bismarck became so concerned over worker reactions to Haymarket that he banned all public meetings.

As the execution day approached, two formerly condemned men were given life imprisonment. Louis Lingg was found dead in his cell, his head exploded by a dynamite cap. It is unknown whether this was a final act of defiance. However, rumors had been circulating that Lingg might receive a stay of execution, so it is likely that his death was an assassination.

November 11, 1886, later dubbed “Black Friday,” was chosen for the execution. Chicago newspapers rattled with rumors about civil war breaking out in the streets. The fact that half a million people joined in the funeral march testifies that there was certainly cause for bourgeois nervousness. And there do seem to have been plans proposed for an assault on the prison. However, the condemned men made their friends pledge not to carry out such “rash acts.”

At noon, four men — Spies, Engel, Parsons and Fisher — faced the gallows dressed in white robes. Spies spoke, as they pulled the hood over his head: “There will come a time when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you strangle today.” Parsons cried out, “Let me speak, Sheriff Matson! Let the voice of the people be heard…” He was cut off as the trap door opened.

This article originally appeared in RW#351, April 14 1986
This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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Cops death roll in Maoist attack rises to five

April 30, 2007

Cops death roll in Maoist attack rises to five
Raipur, April 27: One more policeman in Chhattisgarh succumbed to his injuries Friday, a day after four police personnel were killed in the state in a landmine blast triggered by Maoist militants.

The incident took place in Michgaon village in Kanker district, about 175 km south of Raipur late Thursday evening. As many as 18 policemen were injured in the blast.

“The blast destroyed the front portion of the bus, four policemen were killed on the spot while seven of the 18 injured cops were in a serious condition,” Kanker district police chief B.K. Choubey told IANS over phone.

In 2006, about 750 people were killed in Maoist violence across India and Chhattisgarh alone accounted 48 percent of the casualties.


Nandigram: Fact And CPI(M)’s Fiction

April 30, 2007

Nandigram: Fact And CPI(M)’s Fiction

By Kavita Krishnan

25 April, 2007

[Kavita Krishnan from Liberation takes a look at facts about the Nandigram massacre and Communist Party of India (Marxist) -CPI(M)-sponsored fiction. Quotations from CPI(M) leaders are from Brinda Karat’s ‘Behind the Events at Nandigram’ ( The Hindu, March 30, 2007), ‘Some Issues on Nandigram’ also by Brinda Karat, People’s Democracy, Vol. XXXI, No. 13, April 01, 2007, ‘Defeat the politics of Terror’ (PD editorial of March 18), CPI(M) Politburo statement of March 14, ‘Singur: Just the Facts Please’, Brinda Karat, ( The Hindu, December 13, 2006)].

‘Behind the events at Nandigram’, says Brinda Karat, is no peasant resistance against corporate land grab. It’s not ‘bhumi ucched’ (eviction from land) but ‘CPI(M) ucched’ (evict CPI(M)) that’s up, she says. In a series of articles and statements by the CPI(M) top brass in media as well as the CPI(M) party organ PD, there is a concerted attempt to serve up CPI(M)’s version of Nandigram episode. Despite mandatory noises of ‘regret’ at the loss of lives in police firing, and a promise to ‘introspect about mistakes, ‘if any’, the arguments being put forth are old, familiar ones. The firing it is said is regrettable, but it’s the gang-up of Trinamool-Naxalites-Jamaat that really has to take the blame for the killings, because they attacked the police who were forced to fire to disperse the crowd. As a result, “in the crossfire that ensued, as always, innocent people became victims”. It’s the CPI(M) supporters who’re the victims of a cleansing operation – contrary to the reports of all independent fact-finding teams. And ‘foreign-funded’, US-backed enemies of communists are spreading canards about large-scale participation of CPI(M) cadre in the March 14 operation, and about sexual assaults on women.

Let us examine the main arguments of Brinda Karat and Co., one by one.

“Once the CM Had Assured No Land Acquisition Without Consent, Why Was the Movement Called Off?”

Brinda Karat argues that there was no raison d’etre for the continuance of the resistance in Nandigram since January 9, since the CM had assured that there would be no land acquisition if the people of Nandigram did not wish it. She adds, “Indeed he is the only chief minister in the country who has made such a categorical statement that a condition for land acquisition must be farmer consent.”

After such a principled declaration by Buddha, why indeed need the movement have continued?

Well, in the first place, let’s ask what price CPI(M)’s ‘facts’ and ‘assurances’? May we draw Brinda Karat’s attention to an article titled ‘Singur: Just the Facts Please’ published in her name in The Hindu after the first bout of police-cadre violence in Singur. In that article she had asserted as ‘fact’ that “Of the 997 acres required, the Government has received consent letters from landowners for 952 acres.” Similar declarations had also been made in an article by no less than the CPI(M) General Secretary in a PD editorial titled ‘Singur: Myth and Reality’.

But an affidavit filed in response to an order of the Kolkata HC by the WB Government on March 27 records a different reality. In this affidavit, the Bengal government admitted that land was acquired in Singur under a section of the Land Acquisition Act 1894 that does not entertain disputes.

It further says that owners of just 287.5 acres accepted the 10 per cent bonus offered by the government for agreeing to not move the court. This translates to a little over 30 per cent of the total 997 acres acquired for the Tata small car plant and ancillary units.

It says compensation cheques have been collected for just 650 acres till date. And this compensation does not in any way imply consent, since it is being accepted as a last resort after the fait-accompli of acquisition. And even this figure amounts to around 67 per cent, which is still lower than the 96 per cent claimed by the CPI(M).

All too clearly the lack of consent presented no hurdle for the CPI(M) to go ahead and deliver the land into Tata hands. And neither Brinda nor Prakash Karat felt any qualms about peddling a deliberate falsehood about ‘consent’ subsequently disproved by the WB Government’s own affidavit! Were the people of Nandigram wrong then, to continue with their visible and determined dissent that could not under any circumstances be construed as ‘consent’? Had they not done so, would they have succeeded in preventing the SEZ from coming up on their lands?

We have repeatedly pointed out how the much-touted ‘compensation package’ at Singur inverts the principles of Operation Barga (which allotted 75% of the agricultural produce to the sharecropper and only 25% to the absentee landlord), giving just 25% compensation for sharecroppers. Neither Brinda Karat nor PD have ever bothered to explain the logic for this reversal.

However, Brinda Karat and Co. may be right that the motive behind March 14 may not be land grab – it was instead a cold-blooded act of retribution on the very people who had been staunch members of the CPI(M) till the other day. It was an act of collective punishment, in keeping with the promise Benoy Konar made in January: “We’ll surround them and make their life hell.” Tanika Sarkar, in her moving and disturbing narration of her visit to Nandigram after the carnage, recounts how villager after villager repeats the threats they receive: “Cross over and join the CPI(M) camp, or else we’ll cut you to pieces”.

But the victims of March 14 were left in no doubt of the nature of the ‘crime’ which had brought such punishment onto their heads. According to Tanika Sarkar, women who show the marks of sexual assault and beatings all over their bodies said that their attackers in police uniform (referred to interchangeably by the villagers as prashasan, cadre and police) accompanied the violence with abuse – “Saali, jomi debi na? Jomi rakhbi? ” (Bitch, won’t hand over your land? You’ll keep your land will you?”

“Nandigram Struggle: Not Peaceful, not Democratic”

The CPI(M) PB statement states clearly: “It is regrettable that lives have been lost in police firing. But the organised elements who utilised bombs and pipe guns on the police have to take the blame.” So the CPI(M)’s ‘introspection’ about ‘mistakes’ leads it to the same ‘blame the outsider’ conclusion! Brinda Karat and other party leaders have referred to the Nandigram struggle as an a bid to ‘cleanse’ Nandigram of CPI(M) supporters. It is claimed that 2500-3000 such supporters have been driven out, turned into refugees and subjected to terror. What about their human rights, she asks? She adds that “shockingly and sickeningly”, reports by Left intellectuals have not referred to this crime against hapless CPI(M) people, who are also poor peasants just like the victims of police firing. Surely the police had a responsibility to curb the “lawlessness and anarchy”, restore order and ensure these refugees could return?

No fact-finding report, even the one by Medha Patkar, has referred to the Nandigram struggle as a ‘peaceful’ one. The Nandigram mass was an organised and experienced Left mass, which had witnessed the Singur developments and learnt from them. In Singur, they had seen police and CPI(M) cadres employ terror and succeed in grabbing land. So at the very first sign of land grab (the HDA notification) they lost no time in ensuring that Singur could not be repeated. They quite openly cut roads to prevent police entry, chased out CPI(M) cadres who were terrorising the movement locally, and organised night-watch and crude arms to keep at bay the regular assaults and bombings from the CPI(M) camp in Khejuri.

The question to be asked is: do such tactics amount to “lawlessness and anarchy”, or do they fall under the rubric of a democratic movement?

Eminent Leftist historians have vouched for the fact that the tactics used by the Nandigram peasants are all classic strategies used during the Tebhaga movement and the freedom struggle of which Nandigram was a major centre. History records that Nandigram and Tamluk subdivisions had formed the Tamralipta Jatiya Sarkar, or Tamralipta National Government in 1942, with people evicting the British from the area digging trenches to keep police out, and ‘liberating’ the area for months. If the movement of the peasants of Nandigram against forcible land acquisition is ‘anarchy and lawlessness’, so too must CPI(M) term the Quit India Movement, Tebhaga movement and the Telengana movement to be ‘anarchy and lawlessness’!

CPI(M) has been fond of throwing out the accusation that Nandigram was being turned into a ‘Liberated Zone’ by the anti-SEZ protestors. Well, comrades, can you tell us what is an SEZ – if not a Liberated Zone where corporates are free to loot, levy taxes, enjoy massive subsidies, take over the functions of a municipality, and enjoy impunity from many laws of the land?! If people conduct a ‘Quit India’ struggle against such a Liberated Zone where they lose all their freedoms, how can any Communist, or any democratic individual, blame them?

Further, according to the values and standards of the Left, can there be any equivalence between the might of the State’s repressive arm and the cadres of a privileged and dominant ruling party working in close co-ordination with the State machinery, and the ‘violence’ incurred in the course of the resistance of poor and desperate peasantry?

What of the people in the CPI(M) refugee camps? By all accounts, these camps continue to function as base camps for the CPI(M)’s war against the anti-land-grab forces. Villagers told Tanika Sarkar that the terror is far from over; every night there is a rain of bombs from the CPI(M) base at Khejuri. But it is true that the CPI(M) base, whatever remains of it, are in fact poor peasants too. Brinda Karat asks, “Who gains from this division of the poor, from their feelings of insecurity, loss of livelihood?” Well, comrade, isn’t the answer staring in our faces? The corporates stand to gain land, and the CPI(M), their lost dominance, by pitting one section of the poor against another.

“Nandigram’s Poor: Innocent Villagers ‘Instigated’ by Anti-CPI(M) Gang-up through False Fears of Land Grab”

We would like to remind Brinda Karat that on March 14, and before too, she and other leaders had claimed that “outsiders” were responsible for the violence, while Nandigram’s own people were all for the SEZ and for the CPI(M). Yechury even on March 14, had declared in a press conference that “Outsiders, frustrated by the lack of support from local peasantry in their bid to whip up false fear of land grab, had attacked the police, necessitating firing.”

Subsequently, however, the CPI(M) has had to admit that CPI(M) supporters had in fact deserted the party and joined the struggle fearing land grab.

Brinda Karat will have to answer: is it really credible that this mass of people, who had voted CPI(M) or CPI to power in election after election, had more faith in discredited Mamata and the organisationally weak Naxalites who had no local base, rather than in the assurances of their own MP, MLA, and local CPI(M) leaders? How come they turned against their own party and chased them out, on the ‘instigation’ of those whom they had never before given the time of day? Does the CPI(M) version sound remotely plausible – that this CPI(M) stronghold was tamely led astray and agreed to view the CPI(M) as an enemy, on some false and baseless fears whipped up by a tremendously weak Opposition?

The answer is self-evident: they were forced to lose faith in the CPI(M) because its cadres and leaders, instead of asking their opinion and respecting it, had declared the decision to ride rough-shod over their refusal to give up land. Overnight, CPI(M) forces had turned into a menacing and organized army, agents of corporates who threatened them to give up land or face eviction by force. “Consent…or else” was the message – but the Left training of the mass kicked in, and they chose the tools of resistance that generations of struggle had taught them.

“False Claims of Sexual Violence; Police Fired Due to Provocation “

In other words, was March 14 a mistake or a massacre?

Brinda Karat has taken issue with several fact-finding reports including that of the CPI(ML) team; and has advised that concocting tales of sexual assault will harm the credibility of the women’s movement demand that women’s own statements be accepted as evidence in the absence of any other evidence.

Brinda Karat must be asked a question in return. She is a Rajya Sabha MP, and has been the leader of a highly respected women’s organisation.

The CPI(ML) report relies very little on hearsay – and more on the clear evidence of those who lay injured in hospitals, whose injuries have been recorded medically, and who can definitely be taken to have been on the spot on March 14. In that report, it is mentioned that one woman in Tamluk Hospital who has indeed filed a complaint of rape, has one breast lacerated with a sharp weapon. In SSKM Hospital, too, there is yet another woman whose buttocks are hanging, having been nearly severed by a chopper.

Why does Brinda Karat remain silent on these injuries – clear evidence that the attack on March 14 was not merely somewhat excessive ‘firing’ by a provoked police? Why has she not bothered to go and see for herself if these reports of chopper injuries on private parts of women is indeed true or not, and whether these women could be helped to file complaints and pursue the case?

Again, the clear medical evidence recorded by a large team of doctors from Kolkata is that 70% to 80% of the patients in four camps they set up two weeks after the massacre, have had serious eye problems since March 14 – caused by some substance in the tear gas. Eye irritation caused by ordinary tear gas does not last so long – and certainly cannot cause loss of eyesight. Whereas several people in Nandigram have lost much of their vision due to exposure to the tear gas. Again, this is something Brinda Karat is silent on, and certainly has not bothered to go herself and verify.

If there is any iota of truth in the CPI(M) accusations that their supporter was raped – it is highly condemnable, abhorrent and indefensible, and must be punished. But it cannot be used as a reason to deny the clear evidence of a planned state-sponsored carnage on March 14, or of large-scale sexual violence on women of the anti-land grab movement.

Brinda Karat expresses pious outrage at the ‘cynical’ way in which women and children were placed in the front row. Did these women suffer chopper injuries on breast and buttocks because they happened to be in placed in the front row, comrade? How come Comrade Brinda never says a word of condemnation for the fact that the police were not deterred by the presence of women and children, and police and her party’s cadre indulged in sexual assaults accompanied by abuse?

Were children torn apart and killed? Describing one woman who lies in hospital, crying inconsolably because she says a child was torn from her arms and killed before her eyes, Tanika Sarkar said “One can only hope that such heart-rending accounts of children being beaten to death, drowned or chopped up are some sort of collective hallucination, and the children are actually safe. But one fears these accounts are true.”

The statement by pro-CPI(M) intellectuals had said the West Bengal Government would pay compensation to those affected by the Nandigram attacks. One wonders how come not a single one of Brinda’s articles on Nandigram mentions a word about compensation for those who’ve lost their loved ones, their eyesight, their organs? These are agrarian labourers and marginal farmers, how can they afford blindness; how are their families surviving while earning men and women are forced to do long hospital stints?

On the evidence of the use of a huge number of bullets not usually used by police, of firing above waist level (to kill rather than to rather than to disperse), of the arrests of ten CPI(M) men in a brick kiln with police uniforms and a stockpile of ammunition – both Brinda Karat and PD offer no explanation except to promise that a proper probe, preferably by the judiciary rather than by CBI, will reveal the truth. Meanwhile, inexplicably, the CBI findings have been suppressed and the hearing on it delayed by the High Court.

“Those who oppose SEZs and support the struggles of Singur and Nandigram are ‘anti-industry'”

A whole section of Left economists and intellectuals who have been very close to the CPI(M) have raised serious questions about the WB Government’s commitment to industrialisation and employment generation.

Would Brinda and the PD care to answer or explain:

They speak of ‘facts’, why are they silent on the details of the Tata deal at Singur – details that the WB Government tried to suppress as a ‘trade secret’ until forced to reveal them in court?

Has Brinda Karat happened to read an article in (‘Santa Claus Visit the Tatas’, Telegraph, 30 March 2007 ) by Ashok Mitra, former Finance Minister of West Bengal in CPI(M)’s own LF Government? We quote from the article:

“…The Tatas are, of course, rolling in money. Only a couple of months ago, they invested a sum roughly the equivalent of Rs 50,000 crore to take command of a giant international steel complex. To persuade this fabulously rich group to start a modest-sized car factory here, the state government has already spent something around Rs 150 crore to acquire close to 1,000 acres of land. …the Tatas have been handed over this entire tract of land on a ninety-year lease without any down payment at all. … the government is, really and truly, making a free gift to the Tatas of the land in Singur.

…The state government is, in addition, offering the Tata group a gift coupon in the way of a loan worth Rs 200 crore carrying a nominal interest of only 1 per cent (as against the rate currently charged by the banks of at least 10 per cent); …the entire proceeds for the first ten years of the value-added tax on the sale of this precious car in West Bengal are proposed to be handed back to the Tatas, again at a nominal interest of only 1 per cent. …

All told, therefore, the Tatas are being offered the allure of around Rs 850 crore by the state government…”

Finally, Mitra asks: “Does it not appear obscene that a state government, carrying a burden of debt of more than Rs 150,000 crore and with a countless number of problems, would offer a freebie of Rs 850 crore to an industrial group which has made an outlay of over Rs 50,000 crore only the other day to satisfy their expansionary ego overseas?”

Does Brinda Karat or the PD have an answer? Has Ashok Mitra also turned ‘anti-industry’ according to them?

We also quote from an article by Prof. Tanika Sarkar in Hardnews:

“…industries (in West Bengal ) were allowed to die away, leaving about 50, 000 dead factories and the virtual collapse of the jute industry. …While factories remained closed, half the annual funds under the NREGA (Rural Employment Guarantee scheme) were sent back untouched. We may say that the history (of the LF Government) shows no concern for promoting real industrialisation, or for public concerns, nor for employment generation. What flourished with tender government nurture had been upper middle class luxuries and corporate profits…”

Prof. Tanika’s article goes on to say how in the mid-90s, huge tracts of highly cultivated land were taken over by the Jyoti Basu Government at New Rajarhat near Kolkata. No industry was set up on this land – instead what came up were ‘Vedic Villages’ for the super rich, set up by corporate groups. Various observers report that in these complexes, each house boasts of a swimming pool, and there are massive water sports complexes!

Why was this land from not used for productive industry? Why were the poor evicted from fertile land in vain? Wouldn’t a fraction of the Tata freebie of 850 crores have been enough free locked industrial land for fresh industries?

“US Anti-Communist Conspiracy and Maoist Plot”

Finally, Brinda Karat tries to make for the lack of answers to glaring questions, by falling back on the good old standby of alleging sinister conspiracies and a ‘foreign’ hand. She claims that the “sea route through the Bay of Bengal is being used by the Maoists to come into Nandigram”. Once they land, will they use the Imperius Curse to hex the CPI(M)’s supporters into turning into Naxalites, comrade? Better allow fantasy to remain in the pages of Harry Potter rather than insulting people’s intelligence with tall tales!

Brinda Karat also alleges a US conspiracy angle, saying a US official met with “a leader of the minority community”. This may sound like stuff and nonsense, but the attempt to demonise the minority community by suggesting it is ‘anti-national’ is dangerous.

And if meeting a US official makes one anti-communist and anti-CPI(M), what do we make of Buddhadeb Bhattacharya? On March 7 Buddha was praised by no less than the US Consul General in Kolkata, Henry V. Jardine, for embracing the doctrine that capital has no colour. And is it coincidence that on April 14, exactly a month after the Nandigram massacre, the Bush administration has invited Buddha to pay an official visit to the US? Issuing the public invitation, United States Trade Representative Susan Schwab said “We would like to hear about the political and development aspects of his success”. Surely Bush is not interested in CPI(M)’s success in revolutionary struggles and expanding communism – it’s Buddha’s success in wooing capital and putting down protest that he wants to hear about!


4 killed, 16 hurt in fresh Nandigram clashes

April 30, 2007

4 killed, 16 hurt in fresh Nandigram clashes
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, April 29
Nandigram flared up yet again today after a gun battle broke out between workers of the CPM and the Trinamool Congress-led Krishi Bachaoo Committee. At least four persons were killed and over 16 others injured in the incident.

Of them, the condition of eight injured, admitted to different hospitals, was stated to be critical.

Official reports said the two groups were suddenly involved in a pitched battle, which started around 6 am and lasted over five hours, following attempts by CPM workers to enter Nandigram block 2 and “freeing the area from the control of the Krishi Bachaoo Committee”.

During the clashes, houses were ransacked and burnt down, womenfolk and children tortured and beaten up.

Today clashes were on the pattern of the March-14 incident in which 14 persons were gunned down. There was no visible presence of policemen in the vicinity, who virtually stood as silent spectators from a distance.

According to reports reaching the city from Midnapore district headquarters, the trouble started when a group of CPM cadres, carrying firearms and other weapons from the adjoining Khejuri, in east Midnapore, attacked Nandigram block 2 with intent to capture it. Local people retaliated with firearms.

In the gun battle, two local people, Dilip Mondal and Mahitosh Koran, were killed and several others received gunshot injuries.

Later in the hospitals, two others, including Pintu Burman, succumbed to their injuries.

In a separate clash between CPM and SUCI workers at Kultuli in south 24 parganas today, three persons, including two of the CPM, were killed.

At Kultuli, too, trouble began over the control of the area, where both parties had been staking their respective claims.

Both TMC leader Mamata Banerjee and Congress leader Somen Mitra held the CPM leadership responsible for disturbing the peace and normalcy in Nandigram.

Mitra accused Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee of initiating peace talks on the one hand and engaging his cadres to attack poor farmers, after neutralising the police and the local administration from taking any action, on the other.

The WBPCC will lead a deputation to Delhi to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and AICC president Sonia Gandhi to seek Centre’s intervention for protection of poor people at Nandigram and other places. The delegation will also meet President A.P.J Kalam, Mitra said.

CPM leadership on the other hand alleged that the incident occurred when criminals holding Nandigram block 2 attacked the evicted CPM supporters with firearms, bombs, swords and other lethal weapons as they were returning home.

Krishi Bachaoo Committee workers also attacked their supporters, now encamping in the nearby Khejuri area, alleged CPM district secretary Chittadas Thakur.

Mamata Banerjee said agitations would be held all over the state tomorrow demanding the Centre’s intervention into the CPM misrule in the state.

The Tribune

Kanu barb for Mamata

April 30, 2007

Kanu barb for Mamata

Statesman News Service

KOLKATA, April 25: Three decades ago he was called an enemy of the state and the parties in power. Today, he still finds no difference between the Left and the Right.
Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) general secretary Mr Kanu Sanyal today alleged that the Trinamul Congress has resorted to coercion to grab land at Nandigram for political gains. Although he supported the people’s resistance to acquisition of land, the notorious Naxalite leader of the 70s strongly criticised the Trinamul.
“Miss Mamata Banerjee is more keen to emerge as a political figure. She is not working for the interest of farmers. Earlier we have seen how she hijacked the farmers’ movement from Singur to Kolkata, allowing the government to set up walls around the project site. As minister in the NDA government she supported the Centre’s Special Economic Zone policy. She never said a word after the violence at Kalinganagar in Orissa. Even now she is silent on SEZs. That’s why we never joined her movement.”

The CPI (M-L) had sent a team to Nandigram on 21 April two days later met the governor Mr Gopalkrishna Gandhi to submit a report on its observations. Interestingly, most of the report criticises the Trinamul.

“During our visit, Mr Nishikanta Mondal, a Trinamul leader from Sonachura, and his goons severely assaulted Mr Ramkrishna Maity a villager who is still recovering from bullet injury he sustained on 14 March. His only crime was that he helped us organise a meeting at Sonachura Bazar. The same Trinamul goons attacked some other people and ransacked their houses. When we went to hold the meeting we found they had put up Trinamul flags and posters. They said the meeting would be held under Trinamul banner, which we refused to accept. I lodged a complaint with Trinamul legislator Mr Subhendu Adhikary,” Mr Sanyal said.

“The Left Front government is responsible for the crisis in Nandigram. But after 14 March, the Trinamul Congress is using the same methods it had used to establish control over the area. Nandigram has become a farce”.

The CPI(M-L) will organise people’s movement across the state against the state government’s industrial policy, said Mr Sanyal. In its memorandum to the Governor the party complained about the state government’s failure to solve the crisis in the tea gardens in north Bengal.

Callous about Maoist terror

April 30, 2007

Callous about Maoist terror
Hyena Gill

There is much focus now on the Maoist threat in India and, despite entirely inconsistent assessments by various Government agencies, an increasing consensus around the view that this is the greatest internal security challenge confronting the country. At the same time – and particularly in the aftermath of the major incidents that are all-too-frequently engineered by the Maoists – there is rising concern at the ‘police failure’ or ‘security forces failure’ to contain this rising menace.

It needs to be recognised at the outset that a professional and motivated police force, with a sufficient numerical strength and adequate material and technological resources, and with a clear political mandate, can defeat any insurgency in India, including this latest bogey – the Maoist ‘protracted war’. If there is a failure to contain and defeat the Maoists, it is because the necessary capacities and mandate are deliberately kept in abeyance; indeed, the limited and entirely deficient capacities that do currently exist are systematically undermined by a cabal of corrupt political, administrative and police leaderships that have developed a deep vested interest in the persistence of the Maoist insurgency. Unless the dynamics of the implicit or explicit nexus between this leadership group and Maoist violence is understood and neutralised, an effective strategy to defeat the Naxalites can neither be framed, nor implemented.

The reality of the situation on the ground – irrespective of the theoretical and supposedly ideological constructs that are given currency in the mock discourse among the ‘intelligentsia’ – is that this is a fight between two corrupt entities that find mutual benefit and enrichment in fake engagements which can be sustained in perpetuity. A few hapless members of the constabulary and subordinate ranks in the security forces, and equally luckless cadres of the so-called revolutionaries are, of course, killed off from time to time. But no one is really concerned about the occasional massacre – despite the brouhaha that is raised in the media after each major incident.

Fatality figures, in fact, can be used to support whatever thesis is calculated to augment the flow of funds to personal or party coffers. A close scrutiny of the operational situation and the conditions under which the forces are working will demonstrate unambiguously that, in most States and areas, nothing really changes on the ground in the wake of major incidents.

This is the reason why almost no State – and some have been at it for 40 years and more – has been able to entirely and permanently eradicate Left-wing extremism. The Maoist movement, over the past decades, has steadily augmented to attain the status of a massive trans-State exercise in organised extortion and protection racketeering. And everywhere, opportunistic alliances between the Maoists and ‘overground’ political parties and entities are in place, most visibly around each electoral exercise, but in a constant intercourse at all times.

Almost all political parties have become mirror images of each other in India today, but in this regard they are even more so, with a multiplicity of corrupt parties and organisations woven together in a complex tapestry of duplicity and fraud that entrenches the ruling elite – an elite that grows increasingly more dynastic in all parties over time. Small cabals of violently criminal adventurers manage to break into the charmed circle of political privilege, from time to time, by their sheer ferocity and lack of restraint. The Maoist leadership and the many criminals in the State and national legislatures fall, naturally, into the latter category.

Drumming up a sense of crisis has become an integral part of the efforts at ‘resource mobilisation’ in this broad enterprise, and that is why the ‘developmental solution’ to Naxalism finds such strong advocacy among political leaders and state bureaucracies everywhere. Long years ago, Rajiv Gandhi noted that barely 15 paisa in each rupee of developmental funding actually reached its intended beneficiaries; the rest was swallowed up by the black hole of ‘power brokers’. In insurgency affected areas, the proportion of developmental funds that is actually utilised for intended purposes would be even smaller – virtually the entire sums, totalling thousands of crores, find their way into the pockets of corrupt politicians, bureaucrats and their hangers on, and through their symbiotic relationship with the ‘insurgents’ into the pockets of the Maoists as well.

Among the multiplicity of reasons for the military debacle in the Indo-China war of 1962, it was found that the Border Roads Organisation had ‘constructed’ many roads that existed only on maps, but of which there was no evidence on the ground. Forty-five years later, the same formula is now being applied in Naxalite areas, and it is difficult even to imagine how much of the exchequer’s money has been spent on roads that were never constructed, but for which payments have been made and distributed among the local ‘stakeholders’, with the Naxalites cornering a considerable share to bolster up their ‘revolution’.

The Centre now underwrites virtually all security related expenditure in Maoist afflicted States, providing support for police modernisation and force augmentation. Yet, States fail to create the necessary capacities to counter the Maoist threat. Even where significant disbursal of such funds occurs, their utilisation remains inefficient, and diversion to other, often unauthorised uses, is endemic.

The tragedy of existing or newly created capacities is as great. The State police leaderships are raising new battalions of armed forces, but recruitment is marred by widespread bribery. You cannot expect a man who secures his position in a police force through bribery to actually risk his life fighting the Naxalites. So the next stage is inevitable: Policemen pay bribes to the police leadership to secure postings outside the Naxalite affected ‘conflict’ areas, and in ‘soft’ areas and duties. The amounts collected through these and other ‘administrative’ channels – including the continuous business of transfers and postings – total in the hundreds of crores, and are naturally shared with the political leadership that enables corrupt officers to retain ‘lucrative’ positions, where they can continue with this despicable commerce. That is why, even in State’s where there has been a visible augmentation of forces over the past years, deployment in the ‘conflict’ areas remains disproportionately deficient.

These are ‘snapshots’ of the objective situation on the ground. How are we to extricate the nation from this predicament? The cabals that are currently exploiting the situation to the hilt will have to be broken. The right individuals – from constables to the highest force commanders – will have to be identified and correctly located. Political leaders will have to look beyond party coffers and the next election, to a future in which people can live without fear. If this does not happen, the corrupt state will continue to fight the corrupt ‘revolutionary’, with mounting casualties in widening theatres, till the collapse of governance reaches a point where the venality of the national elite threatens its own existence.


More firepower in kitty to fight rebels

April 30, 2007

More firepower in kitty to fight rebels

Bhubaneswar/Ranchi, April 26: The Centre today asked Naxalite-hit states to gear up their machinery to tackle the menace, which is posing a major threat to internal security.

Orissa would get a third India Reserve Battalion (IRB) to combat the growing Naxalite menace while Jharkhand was pulled up for not following proper procedures in combating the Naxalite menace at a day-long meeting of the Coordination Centre on Naxalism in Delhi today.

Union home secretary Madhukar Gupta, chairing the meeting, told the chief secretaries and directors-general of police of the Naxalite-affected states to keep a constant vigil on the movement of Naxalite groups, training camps, weapons, hideouts and sources of funds. Major Naxalite-hit states like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and Bihar made detailed presentations of their action plans to tackle the menace.

Orissa DGP Amarananda Pattnaik told The Telegraph the third battalion of IRB would be raised soon. It might be set up either at Keonjhar or Raygada district.

Orissa’s first IRB is located at Sunabeda in Orissa’s southern Koraput. The state government has decided to set up a similar battalion in western Orissa, for which Central nod has been received and recruitment started.

During the meeting, two glaring examples were cited wherein security personnel of Jharkhand failed to comply with procedures that led to deaths of civilians and jawans following attacks from rebels.

The Jharkhand representatives were told that when rebels attacked the slain JMM MP Sunil Mahto, the security guards were not organised in counter-attacking the rebels, the Coordination Centre on Naxalism. Similarly, the police failed to act although there were intelligence inputs that the CISF post at Bermo in Bokaro was on the rebels’ target.

“Centre wants the Jharkhand government to ensure that proper procedures are adhered to when it comes to take on the rebels. The state must see to it that all inputs are taken seriously and the security personnel work in a proper manner to repel rebel attacks,” sources said.

Some of the states, including Jharkhand, requested the ministry to allow states to take help of army in evacuating police personnel from venue of incidents, if the need arises.

“Sometimes, the choppers develop snags and cannot be used for rescue operations. In such situations, the state governments should be allowed to get in touch with army directly so that army personnel could be rushed immediately. The Centre has agreed to this proposal and assured to hold a dialogue with Union ministry of defence to work out the modalities,” sources said.

The Telegraph

One CRPF man and a Maoist killed in Orissa district

April 30, 2007
One CRPF man and a Maoist killed in Orissa district

By Ratnakar Dash
Malkangiri (Orissa): At least one Central Police Reserve Force man and a Maoist were killed and five injured when the extremists attacked security personnel in MV-79 area of this tribal-dominated district on Sunday afternoon.

The injured were four CRPF jawans and a member of the public. A woman naxalite was arrested and a hand grenade was recovered from her possession, police said.

The incident took place around 2-40 pm, when the Maoists suddenly opened fire at the CRPF men at the weekly bazaar in MV-79 locality, 70 km away from the district headquarters town of Malkangiri.

According to the police, the extremists who surrounded the bazaar from all sides attacked the CRPF men when they had gone for their usual duty of maintaining law and order.

The people and shopkeepers ran for cover when the security men retaliated promptly. The exchange of fire between the two sides continued for nearly one hour with the extremists contining their attack from inside the nearby jungle.

One of the extremist, who took away an AK-47 rifle from the CRPF jawan who was killed on the spot, was shot dead by the security personnel. The rifle was recovered.

The remaining extremists went inside the forests when additional forces were rushed to the spot immediately.

Senior police officials have reached the spot to take stock of the situation.

The injured persons were being brought to the government hospital at Malkangiri town.

It is for the first time that the Maoists attacked the security personnel in broad daylight in Malkangiri. The district has been witnessing frequent naxalite attacks in the recent months.

Security was beefed up in the area soon after the incident. Combing operation had started to nab the naxalites, police said.