Thursday, November 22, 2007

नों चोम्स्की ऎंड नंदीग्राम ..

A statement has come out from Noam Chomsky and other intellectuals expressing their solidarity with the people of West Bengal and the government there.

Chomsky and other intellectuals have committed a critical and basic mistake in their judgement of what exactly is happening in West Bengal, whether it is a fight by the dispossessed people for their rights ( which have got a political hue with time) or a tactic for survival of the political establishment there. The statements had very glaring disparities ( whatever their leanings be..). Citing the excuse of being far away from the place of happening, they have conveniently preferred to close their eyes to trying to understand the ground reality of the dispossession of agricultural land of the poor farmer that has taken place at Nandigram and have supported the ruling elite ( though not directly, but the words say it all..)

They have expressed limited, conditional solidarity (for name sake) with the dispossesed peasants but have come out strongly with the ruling establishment by way of expressing total support for their land reforms and local self government policy. And in the name of continuing these never ending above two policies, the intellectuals seem to conveniently forget the games these politicians play to clamour and stick to power, at whatever costs.

Kolkata is burning and the ruling party is going all out to forcibly quell the democratic expression of dissidence and unrest, earlier with the help of their unruly cadres and thugs( who brought more of disrepute than anything else) and now with the Police and army.

Democratic expression of dissidence which was (forcibly and organisedly) suppressed in West Bengal for more than three decades is now surfacing openly in the WB society and this will be an interesting social and political experiment to watch out for India and the rest of the Communist / Marxist followers the world over in the coming days. The push and pull this will have on the Indian electoral scene is also going to be interesting to watch.

It is very sad that the so called intellectuals ( with clear and pronounced leanings) have fallen in the trap laid by the politicians of West Bengal.

George Easaw

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To Our Friends in Bengal.

News travels to us that events in West Bengal have overtaken the optimism that some of us have experienced during trips to the state. We are concerned about the rancour that has divided the public space, created what appear to be unbridgeable gaps between people who share similar values. It is this that distresses us. We hear from people on both sides of this chasm, and we are trying to make some sense of the events and the dynamics. Obviously, our distance prevents us from saying anything definitive.

We continue to trust that the people of Bengal will not allow their differences on some issues to tear apart the important experiments undertaken in the State (land reforms, local self-government).

We send our fullest solidarity to the peasants who have been forcibly dispossessed. We understand that the government has promised not to build a chemical hub in the area around Nandigram. We understand that those who had been dispossessed by the violence are now being allowed back to their homes, without recrimination. We understand that there is now talk of reconciliation. This is what we favour.

The balance of forces in the world is such that it would be impetuous to split the Left. We are faced with a world power that has demolished one state (Iraq) and is now threatening another (Iran). This is not the time for division when the basis of division no longer appears to exist.

Noam Chomsky, author, Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy; Tariq Ali, author, Pirates of the Caribbean: Axis of Hope and editor, New Left Review; Howard Zinn, author, A Power Governments Cannot Suppress; Susan George, author, Another World is Possible if, and Fellow, Transnational Institute; Victoria Brittain, co-author, EnemyCombatant: A British Muslim’s Journey to Guantanamo and Back, former editor, Guardian; Walden Bello, author, Dilemmas of Domination: The Unmaking of the American Empire, and Chair, Akbayan, the fastest growing party in the Philippines; Mahmood Mamdani, author, Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, The Cold War and the Roots of Terror; Akeel Bilgrami, author, Politics and the Moral Psychology of Identity; Richard Falk, author, The Costs of War: International Law, the UN and World Order After Iraq; Jean Bricmont, author, Humanitarian Imperialism: Using Human Rights to Sell War; Michael Albert, author, Parecon: Life After Capitalism, and editor, ZNET; Stephen Shalom, author, Imperial Alibis: Rationalizing US Intervention After the Cold War; Charles Derber, author, People Before Profit: The New Globalization in an Age of Terror, Big Money and Economic Crisis; Vijay Prashad, author, The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World.

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