[Marxism] CPI-ML(Liberation) View on 123.

dave.walters at comcast.net dave.walters at comcast.net
Mon Aug 27 13:37:32 MDT 2007

[Since we've had a lot of postings from the Indian capitalist media and NGOs of late, I thought I'd 
post this from the Communist Party(ML) Liberation, the largest of the groups to the left of the CPI 
and CPI(M). They are but one of the many voices on the left opposed to the 1-2-3 deal based on 
their belief that the agreement underminds the national independence of India as opposed to 
opposition based on non-proliferation and anti-nuclear power sentiment. --David Walters]

Stop the Anti-India Nuclear Deal!

Combat Anti-Communist Hysteria!

Intensify the Indian People's Struggle

against US Imperialism!

Unable to answer the specific objections to the Indo-US nuclear deal voiced primarily by the Left, 
the Indian ruling classes and the corporate media are trying to tackle the debate by whipping up 
a veritable anti-communist hysteria. Even as George Bush is described as India's best friend, and 
the nuclear deal with the US as the greatest victory till date for Indian diplomacy and the 
ultimate recognition for India's 'emerging power' status, communists are once again being dubbed 
pro-China and pro-Pakistan! The desperation of the ruling classes is not difficult to understand - 
they have been caught red-handed mortgaging the country's strategic autonomy. 

Manmohan Singh would like us to accept him as the greatest defender of India's independence 
and believe that the deal is a wonderful bargain which will spawn enormous economic benefits for 
the country without in any way compromising his government's 'independent foreign policy'. In the year 
of Bhagat Singh's birth centenary we do not need to learn about 'independence' from Manmohan 
Singh. A man who still cannot open his mouth in England without expressing his gratitude to his 
former colonial masters and who wants us to accept George Bush as India's best friend has no 
business lecturing us about independence. And as Prime Minister of India, he cannot be allowed 
to mortgage the country's strategic autonomy to his 'best friend'!

We are being told that the new 123 Agreement with the US will go a long way in meeting India's 
growing energy demand by significantly increasing the quantum of nuclear energy generation. But 
should we not take a close look before taking this 'leap', especially when we have our own 
bitter experience of a previous 123 Agreement on nuclear cooperation with the US? 

Yes, in 1963 in the wake of the border war with China, 'non-aligned' India was seduced and arm-
twisted by the US to sign a nuclear cooperation agreement. The terms of the 1963 treaty look far 
more benign today compared to the stringent conditions that are written into the present agreement. 
There was no question of India granting eternal supervision rights on all her civilian nuclear facilities. 
Nor was there any India-specific law like the Hyde Act to govern the operation of that agreement. 
Yet following India's 1971 friendship pact with the Soviet Union and the 1974 nuclear test, the 
US terminated fuel supplies for the Tarapur plant and unilaterally suspended the operation of the 
treaty which eventually lapsed in 1993. 

We can forget and ignore this experience only at our own peril. Today governed by the Hyde Act 
(true, the 123 Agreement does not mention the Hyde Act but it does not hide the fact that as far as 
the US is concerned domestic US laws will prevail and that includes the Hyde Act in particular), 
the terms of the 123 treaty are loaded unmistakably heavily in favour of the US and the geo-
political situation of the world too are likely to permit it to further manipulate the operation of the 
already unequal treaty and blackmail India's weak rulers to wrest high economic and political prices. 
In the narrow context of energy security and sufficiency, India will thus fall prey to US-controlled 
energy-dependency relying increasingly on imported nuclear reactors and imported nuclear fuel. And
 in the wider and deeper context of the future of India and her international role, the country will 
become increasingly vulnerable to imperialist manipulation and intervention on virtually every question 
of strategic significance. 

Those who claim that the US has gone out of its way to accommodate Indian concerns in the current 
deal are either naive or are telling a plain lie. The 'accommodation' of Indian interests and concerns 
is limited to certain linguistic expressions, like the catchword 'consultation', an empty euphemism 
for American unilateralism. 

We can never be a party to such deceptive wordplay when it comes to defending the vital interests of 
the people and the country in the face of mounting imperialist offensive. The opposition of the 
patriotic Indian people and all revolutionary communists and democrats to the deal and to India's 
growing strategic subservience to US imperialism is firm, consistent and total. The CPI(M)'s talk 
of pressing only the 'pause' button till its concerns are addressed (the passage of the deal so far and 
the rapid development of the underlying context of India's strategic partnership with the US is 
enough indication as to how such concerns have been addressed and accommodated by the 
UPA) smacks, on the contrary, of its characteristic centrist vacillation and parliamentary 
opportunism which has historically prevented the party from offering any decisive opposition at 
every major juncture.

The cumulative impact of the ideological illusion sown all these years by the CPI(M) and the 
CPI regarding the 'independent' nature of the Indian big bourgeoisie and political concessions granted 
to the oldest and biggest party of the Indian ruling classes at various junctures, can now be seen and 
felt so clearly. We have all along been accused by these two parties of underestimating the so-called 
anti-imperialist potential of the Indian big bourgeoisie as we still characterise India as a semi-
colonial society and the Indian big bourgeoisie as comprador, collaborationist or dependent. 
Our insistence on giving primacy to anti-feudal, anti-imperialist struggles and our consistent emphasis 
on communist ideological independence and the independent political assertion of the working 
people have all along been ridiculed by them as a line of adventurism and isolationism. The 
principled ideological-political identity of the communist movement has been allowed to get blurred 
and compromised all too often by them in the name of secular unity with bourgeois parties. The result 
is now evident for all of us - when the CPI(M) and CPI leadership finally draw the line at the 
nuclear deal, they find themselves ridiculed and disowned by the very sections of the liberal opinion 
that have all along applauded their pragmatism! 

The corporate media is an important mechanism through which the ruling classes manufacture and 
impose (articulate and sell, if you will) their ideas - the ruling ideas, as the Communist Manifesto put 
it. We should not therefore be surprised to see the terms of the dominant discourse on the deal in 
the 'mainstream media' in India - they only reflect the basic class nature of our society and polity. 
But recent times have often shown how the discourse of the ruling classes has been challenged and rejected by the people through their own struggles. We know what happened to the "India 
Shining" campaign of the BJP or how the people of this country are responding to the SEZ Act 
passed unanimously by Parliament. Let the BJP shed its pseudo-nationalist pretension and expose 
along with the Congress its shared subservience to imperialism. Genuine communists, democrats 
and patriots must close ranks and intensify the battle against imperialism and its desi collaborators in 
the face of all odds. The people of India will never forgive the imperialist collaborators who 
are mortgaging the country to obtain certificates of good conduct from American Presidents. 

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