March 25, 2008

23 March: Remembering the Martyrs of the Revolution

“Let us declare that the state of war does exist and shall exist so long as the Indian toiling masses and the natural resources are being exploited by a handful of parasites… the days of capitalist and imperialist are numbered. The war neither began with us nor is it going to end with our lives… It shall be waged ever with new vigour, greater audacity and unflinching determination till the Socialist Republic is established and the present social order is completely replaced by a new social order, based on social prosperity and thus every sort of exploitation is put an end to, and the humanity is ushered into the era of genuine and permanent peace…” -Shaheed Bhagat Singh (From his Last Petition, 20 March 1931)

At a time when revisionism has become one of the predominant characters of the Indian Communist Movement, thereby becoming one of the major enemies of the freedom aspiring revolutionary masses of the country, it is worth remembering and reminding ourselves of the struggles and sacrifices of Shaheed Bhagat Singh and his comrades. They gave up their lives fighting an uncompromising struggle for a revolutionary transformation of society, and exposed the comprador nature of the revisionist left as well as the Congress led by Gandhi.

Today when we observe that from the communal fascist forces such as ABVP to the revisionist AISA putting up the portraits of Bhagat Singh and his fellow compatriots in our campus, we need to understand and revive the revolutionary core of Bhagat Singh’s politics. We need to remember that following the footsteps of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Rajguru and Azad, thousands have laid down their lives for the cause of the Indian Revolution. Among them are comrades Naveen Babu, Saketh Rajan and Sunil, who had gone on from JNU, IIMC and DU to take part in the revolutionary struggle. Today thousands of political prisoners are being put in jail by the Indian State for upholding through their struggles the revolutionary legacy of Bhagat Singh. But as Sushil Roy, the Indian Revolutionary leader recently said in an open letter to Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, the CM of West Bengal, “Revolutionaries can be killed. Confined in a jail. But revolution cannot be killed, cannot be confined in a jail.” And this way Bhagat Singh and his spirit will continue to live on among the revolutionaries.

Fight Communal Fascism!


10.30am, 24 March ’08, SL Lawns

23 March 2008

Even after a strong demand from the student community of JNU to punish the ABVP criminals who assaulted and injured a BA First Year student, apart from harassing women students in the organizing committee and beating up the Group 4 guard on duty on 16th March at the Chandrabhaga Night the Administration is yet to take any concrete action against them. The out-of-bounds orders against Saurabh Dubey and Anup is nothing but a mockery in the name of justice. It is amply clear that as usual the administration is shielding these repeated offenders, which allows to go on perpetrating their criminal acts with impunity. And as usual, it will require a large and continued mobilization of the students led by the JNUSU to compel the administration for punishing the culprits from the sangh giroh.

The leadership of AISA-led JNUSU, however, has been trying its best not to take up the issue at hand seriously. This is in accordance with AISA’s politics of avoiding a confrontation with the Administration or the communal fascist elements of the campus. It took JNUSU three days to even come up with a position on this latest act of hooliganism by ABVP activists. Only after being cornered, the AISA-led JNUSU called at a very short notice for a Protest Demonstration at the ad-block, where hundreds of students turned up. There the President of JNUSU declared that the administration will be paralysed unless exemplary punishment is given to Saurabh Dubey, Santosh Pathak, Gopal Krishnan, Manoj Kumar and other culprits. The JNUSU could not even ensure a meeting with the VC in this regard. Now it is celebrating the ‘punishment’ of Saurabh Dubey, which is nothing but a smokescreen to hoodwink the student community. The arbitrary out-of-bounds order against Anup must be revoked immediately.

This attitude from the AISA-led JNUSU does not come to us as a surprise, as they have of late chosen NGO-type programmes over building up and leading an assertive, militant and vibrant students’ movement. This is a logical culmination of the politics of opportunism and status-quo that AISA has been following, in a bid to outsmart SFI in its own game. The call for a ‘Human Chain’ (!) to combat Communal Politics and to preserve the democratic culture of the campus is a clear reflection of this. In fact when a Human Chain would have been effective, such as the Presidential Debate when the same ABVP lumpens attacked the dias, both AISA and SFI conveniently stayed away. We would like to remind AISA and the JNUSU leadership that it is through consistent and uncompromising struggle that communalism can be confronted and defeated, nor by the tokenism of ‘Human Chains’ at the SL Lawns, when the need is to take on the Administration by mobilizing at the Ad-Block and forcing it to take appropriate action against the communal lumpens. And it is with this critical spirit we call upon the student community to join JNUSU’s Human Chain on 24 March, SL Lawns at 10.30am.

The Silence that Breeds Criminals is also A Crime

21 March 2008
May be they don’t understand the importance of fighting the right wing hooligans, may be they don’t want to, may be there are reasons beyond the comprehension of common students of unspoken understandings...
One thing is clear: the role of the current JNUSU leadership in combating the right wing assertion is not even the bare minimum.

JNUSU leadership took a public position on the recent Chandrabhaga incident after three days and only after it was pressurized from different quarters. AISA however is yet to take a public position on the issue! Shockingly none of their cadres even spoke in the protest demonstration called by JNUSU to make their organizational position clear.

The JNUSU leadership gave no clarifications for the delay in their action and response! Even the protest demonstration turned out to be yet another token show! The demo scheduled at 2.30 pm was brought into the notice of the students only in the morning, thereby leaving no scope for larger mobilization and participation of the students. After the demo the administration gave an assurance to hold a meeting with JNUSU, where some immediate action pending enquiry against these lumpens would be taken. The administration like always had backed off and far from any action even the meeting did not take place! And we are yet to hear from JNUSU!

The student who was attacked in this incident is still being intimidated by the ABVP. At the protest demo he stated clearly that he has received threats to withdraw his complaint, but yet he will fight provided there is support from the students. The JNUSU leadership’s inaction is therefore all the more disturbing. Without immediate action against the ABVP goons, this student will be consistently harassed and the JNUSU leadership seems to be playing more than its part in prolonging this.

So where is JNU heading towards? The right wing violence is one of the deepest malice in our society right now. It is not a coincidence that this violent assertion is repeating itself across the country. Organizations like CPM and SFI have their own interests in keeping the right wing spectre alive because it is electorally beneficial for them. So they will never actually fight such politics on the ground. On another note, why would they when their own politics (as we see in West Bengal and Kerala) is the same sort of lumpen violence. A real assertion against such politics whether in the “left” or the right can come only through a strong collective assertion of the people.

The RSS-Bajrang Dal had attempted to replicate their Gujarat model in Orissa too, but it was the collective and militant retaliation of the people of Orissa which ensured that they ultimately failed.
In our campus too a strong collective assertion by the students can show the ABVP that there is no place in JNU for lumpen politics.

DU as a campus is an ABVP stronghold and the politics is much more lumpenized. And yet, after the ABVP vandalized the DU history department and physically attacked the HoD, common students collectively came out in an assertive march the very next day, along with sections of the DU faculty. Though this has not radically changed the nature of politics in DU, the issue is now seemingly under control and a large section of the students have pro-actively opposed and challenged the right wing hostility.

However, in JNU which is known to be a more ‘progressive campus’, where lumpen politics apparently ‘does not happen’, the ABVP indulged in similar violence on a number of instances, especially in since the last semester. Yet there has been no such challenge or assertion by the students, even under a Students’ Union leadership which claims to be “revolutionary left”!

What happened in JNU during the presidential election is equally bad if not worse than the DU vandalism by ABVP. It was not just an incident of rampant violence but a far deeper attack on our entire legacy of movementally earned democracy within the campus! It’s been five months since the election. Yet the current JNUSU leadership had failed to enforce the administration sufficiently to ensure any punitive action on the identified hooligans. Neither could they isolate these hooligans on ground. And when these smug, self confident lumpens continue with their acts of violence targeting individual student SILENCE and INACTION is what the JNUSU has to offer so far!

It is now left on us, the students of the campus to decide where we take JNU to. Will it be like any other campus where a handful of identified right wing hooligans who are inherently malicious, casteist, communal and sexual harassers move scot-free even after indulging in hooliganism of all types repeatedly? Or a shall we ensure a campus where these lumpens are collectively combated, defeated not just electorally, but are isolated on the ground as well?

March 20, 2008

Same tale of violence... and inaction too.

The ABVP has indulged in yet another act of violence against a student on campus. Two days back, during the Chandrabhaga hostel night, drunken ABVP activists beat up a B.A second semester student, Chandrashekhar. The beating was completely unprovoked, the student sustained serious injuries and had to be hospitalized. The G4 guard who tried to intervene was also attacked and injured. Initially the same goons also harassed some girls and hostel committee members during the dinner party.

This is not a stray issue or just a clash between some students in a hostel night. Given the repetition of these kinds of incidents in the last few months and the perpetrators being the same group of ABVP lumpens, it is indicative of a much deeper malice. We all know by now the inherently violent nature of right wing lumpen politics. Time and again in JNU & other places we've seen its dangerous manifestations. What concerns us is that even in this self-proclaimed 'secular and democratic' campus, such acts are repeated confidently and with impunity by right wing lumpens, who are emboldened by the protection they get from the administration. And inaction of the JNUSU, like in the present case of violence in Chandrabhaga, or silence about the presidential debate violence only encourages them further.

Saurabh Dubey, Gopal Krishna, Manoj Kumar, Santosh kr. Pathak…these names are familiar to the campus now as the obvious perpetrators of violence, as communal and casteist goons, as sexual harassers. In any incident of right wing violence, be it the communal and hoologanistic 'celebration' of India's victory in the 20-20 tournament, the case of caste abuse in chandrabhaga, the violence in Lohit and Narmada hostel, or the blatant, extensive and orchestrated violence perpetrated during the Presidential Debate'07, these are the leaders. Yet they move scot-free and dare to create even more nuisance and violence. We can not expect the right wing to ever give up their hooliganism. The right wing politics is one of mindless violence and entrenched hatred. Gujarat, Orissa, Maharashtra were all different 'models' of attack and assault; the experiments of fascism. The sham of parliamentary democracy and its hollow attempts to 'control' right wing violence has in fact strengthened these forces & allowed them to replicate it in different parts of the country. The audacity with which the ABVP attacked DU history department in the recent past and proclaimed with pride that they intend to do the same in JNU too, shows their confidence in the model.

If this silence on the part of JNUSU leadership continues right wing violence will soon move out of all controls. The JNU administration, being representative of ruling class politics, can not be trusted to punish these ABVP lumpens on its own. The administration in most cases will not do anything at all! In some cases they form enquiry committees without any further concrete action, it had even taken back ABVP lumpens who had been declared out-of-bounds for life! Or it treats equally the perpetrators and the victims of violence, as in the case of violent caste abuse of two Dalit students in chandrabhaga. So to make such an administration delve out exemplary punishment to the goons one needs to create more and more pressure from below. And the JNUSU leadership has so far failed to mobilize the student community to create this pressure successfully. Its action against the right wing has been reduced to simple pamphleteering and token protests, rather than leading a broad based students' movement which is continuous, consistent and militant which alone can isolate the right wing lumpens. So we demand that the JNUSU take actions that are more concrete than simple condemnations ( in this case, even that has not come), ensuring the removal of these repeat offenders from the campus. We also demand that a meeting of all organizations and concerned individuals to discuss and take forward the students' struggle against this politics, as also to chalk out a plan to pressurize the administration on the much-delayed enquiry and punishment in the presidential debate rightwing violence.

Be it in JNU or elsewhere, the victory of real left politics is in defeating and isolating the communal fascist goons not just electorally but on the ground. Pro-actively challenging and fighting this right wing lumpen politics is the test for our claims of a 'democratic progressive' campus.