[Marxism] Wallerstein and Mumbai-Resistance

Jacob Levich jlevich at earthlink.net
Mon Feb 2 19:37:39 MST 2004

Some months ago I posted a link to the issue of Aspects of India's Economy
that became more or less the founding document of Mumbai Resistance 2004,
and caused so much embarrasment to the CPM that it had to repudiate (overt)
Ford Foundation funding, though the Ford money poured in anyhow through NGO

This is from our comrades at Research Unit for Political Economy, authors of
Behind the Invasion of Iraq (MR Press 2003).

It's a devastating critique of WSF and the NGOization of the Left, so I'll
post it again:



----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Philip Ferguson" <plf13 at student.canterbury.ac.nz>
To: <marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Sent: Monday, February 02, 2004 8:45 PM
Subject: [Marxism] Wallerstein and Mumbai-Resistance

> Immanuel Wallerstein wrote:
> > When the Forum moved from Brazil to India, the Indian organizing
> committee
> > dropped the provision about parties. Still, the proscription against
> > violence led to a split among the Indians. A small Maoist movement
> organized
> > a counter-Forum, called Mumbai Resistance-2004, on grounds across the
> road
> > from the WSF. And they denounced the WSF as a combination of
> Trotskyites,
> > Social-Democrats, reformist mass organizations, NGO's financed by
> > transnationals - in short, a stalking-horse for quietism and
> > counter-revolution. They specifically attacked the concept of the open
> forum
> > (merely a talk show, they said), the slogan (not "another world," but
> > socialism as the objective, they said), and the financing of the WSF
> (the
> > fact that some money came from the Ford Foundation).
> Well, three members of the Anti-Capitalist Alliance (NZ) went to
> Mumbai-Resistance 2004.  Two of these are members of the Workers Party
> (a pro-Mao but not Maoist) group and one is a member of revolution (a
> pro-Trotsky but not Trotskyist group).
> The Indian Maoist group who were the driving force behind MR-2004, are
> not some wee sectarian group.  Their armed detachments control territory
> in which 20 million people live, and operate over an area in which about
> 80 million people live.  They are also attempting to unite all the
> splintered sections of the old Naxalite movement who are still committed
> to revolution in India, as opposed to the CP and CP(M) who are both
> involved in helping run Indian capitalism at state level.
> They are highly critical of NGOs, because they see the role NGOs play on
> the ground in India - and it ain't revolutionary!
> One of the WP comrades who went to MR-2004 mentioned having an
> interesting discussion with a Palestinian activist who was staffing a
> Palestinian table expressed surprise that she'd been put in the arts and
> crafts section but then realised that the whole WSF event was really an
> arts and crafts festival.
> The three ACA comrades did not merely attend a big conference in Mumbai
> but also went on a fact-finding tour, witnessing first-hand the barbaric
> repression carried out by the Indian state at local level - widespread
> torture and assassination of peasants, especially peasant activists, and
> active workers.
> Below is an initial email by one of our comrades, Daphna, on the
> fact-finding tour, which had to be conducted in semi-secrecy due to the
> determination of the Indian state to prevent any kind of investigations
> into its repressive activities at local level:
> >From Daphna:
> We've just finished a 5-day fact finding tour into
> allegations of civil rights and democratic rights violations
> in  Andhra Pradesh. It had to be conducted semi-secretly as
> the state has never allowed foreign fact finding tours and
> have refused Amnesty and Human Rights Watch permission to do
> investigations in the region.
> What we found was pretty horrific. The state repression is intense with
> almost daily stories in the newspapers of fake encounters. People are
> picked up by the police, tortured, killed. The next day a story appears,
> it's always the same, the person fired on the police, they returned fire
> in self defence, person killed.
> The aim of the state is to terrorise the support base of the People's
> War Party (a Maoist organisation with a mass base in that area) and make
> it extremely difficult for them to operate in the region.
> As well as encounter killings there were other forms of repression.
> Teachers playing a leading role in a democratic organisation with 25,000
> members were picked up, tortured and given death threats to themselves
> and their families if they continued speaking out for the rights of
> teachers and students. Their demands were mostly around opposition to
> privatisation, the rights of the native language and the right to
> organise and speak out.
> Another civil rights worker we met had been run down by a
> car at high speed. He suffered severe injuries and had just been
> released after spending a month in hospital.
> A professor at Hyderabad university we spoke with had been taken into
> custody, tortured, told he was to be executed and left to wait 45
> minutes. He wasn't killed then and there, but promised he would be if he
> continued working for civil rights.
> We spoke to a woman whose husband had been killed one
> morning when he went to the shop. He was knifed in broad daylight. The
> police were on the scene in minutes, including the chief inspector of
> police. The man had been very vocal in opposing fake encounters, and had
> led a campaign to get the bodies returned to relatives. He had received
> death threats for months.
> I met a woman and her two grandchildren; her daughter had
> been cut up into 18 pieces, and the body parts scattered in different
> areas. The family were extremely traumatised. The attack happened a year
> ago and they were terrified of stepping outside their house. Her
> daughter had been a popular singer with sympathy for the communist
> movement.
> We met trade unionists who worked at a rayon factory which employed
> 3,000 workers. The factory is located near a forest (rayon is made from
> bamboo) where the People's War party has a guerrilla zone. Although some
> of the unionists had no direct contact with the party they were
> subjected to police terror as if they did. When PW guerrillas were
> killed workers would be taken by police to identify them. If they said
> who they were they would be implicated, if they wouldn't say they were
> accused of protecting PW.
> There were 10 people in the fact findng tour, and we divided into 2
> groups. Our group managed to avoid police attention but the other lot
> were contacted and spent a day in the police station being questioned.
> We had been told before doing the tour that we might be deported, but
> fortunately that didn't happen.
> A press conference was held and an interim report was
> released on the last day of the tour. We had to catch a
> train a few hours before the press conference, but I heard
> it went well and was covered in all the AP papers and on tv
> in that state. Interestingly, the press is very sympathetic
> in AP.
> In our time there we didn't hear a single word against the Maoists from
> any of the people we interviewed. There is a long history of struggle in
> Andhra Pradesh, going back to the 1940s, so the communist movement there
> is deeply entrenched.
> Despite the horrors the people were determined to stand up
> to the repression. One family was asked how do they maintain their
> courage. They answered, because they have the support of the people.
> The message people repeatedly asked us to convey is that
> India is not a democracy, that is all a sham. The system is fascistic to
> the core.
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