On Tangible Pacifism

May 25th, 2020

“Whether the State is called monarchy or republic, crime will always be necessary to maintain and assure its triumph. This crime will no doubt change its direction and object, but its nature will remain the same. It will always be the forced and abiding violation of justice and of honesty – for the good of the State”. – Mikhail Bakunin

This piece was prompted by reading Eric Laursens’ The Duty to Stand Aside, a study of the dialogue that took place during WW2 between George Orwell and anarchist-pacifist Alex Comfort. Orwell argued that after a point the only way of defeating Nazism was supporting the Allies in the effort and that pacifism at this point practically meant taking a pro-Nazi stance. Comfort on the other hand thought the task of the intellectuals, even at that time was to bring to light the crimes that the Allies (“our side”) were committing and to oppose this militarization of society and fighting the spread of Nazi’s by supporting the local militias and not through formal soldiers engaging in battles. The debate continued till Orwell’s death, years after the war had formally ended. And answering the agonizing questions of the role of intellectuals, peace activists and the society of the nation engaged in organized violence are still as urgent as they were 60 years ago.

I consider myself to be a pacifist with a “p” and not a “P”. I think pacifism is derived from a genuine moral value and a value that all anarchists share, that conflicts should not be resolved through violent means. That all forms of violence in an unequal society serves the interests of the powerful and that a believe that conflicts can be resolved through means of force will ultimately lead to new forms of despotism or strengthen the old. But, i realize that this is one of the many moral values that anarchists and all humans share and in the reality values are often at conflict. And if by standing firmly for one value we forsake other (a position with capital “P”)  – say, the value of human life, which might in a particular circumstance be only protected through some violent means  then, it is nothing more than a selfish act that makes us feel good.

These, then, are some of my thoughts on a rational and pacifist position on question of violence:

1. Structural Pacifism:  Violence, more often then not, is a means of maintaining violence. The power system establishing, maintaining and expanding itself by means of force (and “engineering of consent”.)  Lets take states, they are by definition organization and concentration of violence in a society. They is justified and legitimized by images of a chaotic stateless society, where people cannot organize production, distribute services and goods and maintain welfare for all. So, a Leviathan is needed. This state then, through institution of violence and its threat creates a straitjacket for maintenance of its power and power of private capital. Through this imagined fear of chaos a very real violence of poverty and control is established that further creates alienation and aggression. Any serious pacifist cannot ignore these facts. The long term goal and vision of all pacifists must be a creation of society which is not based on inequalities, violence as a means of social regulation and conflict resolution. That means a society without the state, the caste system, capitalism, military and other structural forms of violence.

2. Particular instances of  necessary criminality:  Outside philosophy conference rooms and in a world of real consequences for real human beings there is no question of “should we oppose violence”? There is only the following questions:

a. In the particular context are the purported reasons for using violent means correct and justified? Driven by what (vulgarized) value?
b. Is some form of violence the only possible means through which the justified end result is sought?
c. Is the current form of violence the only possible form that can attain the results?

There are also questions like, what structural conditions have led us to a situation where we need some form of force to achieve this goal?

Even the most radical anarchist or pacifist regularly participate in the institutions of structural violence, for example, reporting robbery of your motorbike to a cop or purchasing an mobile phone. The value of being able to communicate with friends and colleagues in this particular case outweighs the value of not engaging in capitalist violence. The same principles applies in many other conflicts.

Within the current society, we have to survive, try to achieve a good life and struggle to build a new society by creating alternative structure of self management.  And in order to survive, struggle and organize we might at time use these very institutions, at time critically justify them for particular cases and at times defy them when they are in absolute contradiction to humanity, our wellbeing and survival – we have a duty to resist unjust laws and “just laws” being used unjustly.

In last few years, USA has withdrawn its support for Kurdish fighters who defeated ISIS in northern Syria. (Kurdish militias picking up arms was itself a largely justified act in face of barbarism of Daesh.) People like Noam Chomsky have argued that non-combatant USA troops should stay in the region and help the Kurdish forces. This is seen as a support for NATO and American imperialism by many commentators on the left.

Kurds beings dependent on US military for technical and air support is sign of a structural problem. But within this structural problem this particularly less lethal form of military assistance was essential for the Kurds who were threatened by being crushed by the Turkish forces.

This being said, it is important to note that such conditions where violence from powerful institutions like state can be a means for a peaceful end are extremely rare. In almost all cases, the seizing of state violence and opening up channels of dialogue would considerably eliminate violence on the planet – and the threat of nuclear annihilation. 

In Kashmir, it is very clear that the ongoing counter-insurgency operations will not end violence of pro-independence groups, or bring peace and prosperity to the valley. It is a tactic of brutally crushing the people of Kashmir. The Doval doctrine, which was described in 2010 by the current NSA to be:

“Don’t overreact, don’t give in, don’t follow appeasement, it [2010 protests] will pass off. It looks big in the midst of it, they cannot sustain it beyond a point and even if they do there is a price that they have to pay.” “In the game of power the ultimate justice lies with the one who is strong”.

The ethos of the State.

The violence in Kashmir is not a military issue, it is a political issue and a matter of grievances and political alienation of the betrayed and tortured people of the land. Like the Kurdish militants and any violent Independence struggle there is some justification for armed rebellion in Kashmir, this time against the barbarism of Indian state. And it will easily loose its traction and popular support if the Indian occupation ends. (And if not, there is a threat of further militarization of the Kashmiri society like the Adivasis in parts of active Naxal insurgency.) There will be many questions to resolve in the process, only possible through resolving the political problem and holding a plebiscite. There will also be the questions of “Pakistani aggression” in the region that can be solved with trilateral dialogues and confidence building and economic collaborations. But this much is clear, there is no justification either for the ends or the means that India seeks in Kashmir.

Coming back to the Orwell-Comfort dialogue, I believe Orwell was right in that after a point in the events of WW2 it was necessary for Allies to engage militarily. But Comfort was also right in that the duty of intellectuals and activists still lies on exposing the lies and fabrications of their own states to examine whether the purported threats are real, and are the means uses are proportionate and if there are nonviolent and more democratic alternatives available and at the same time recording the crimes of our side in hope for some justice or for same uncertain reason that Winston Smith started writing his diary.

To a large extent, these questions will remain intangible if there is no peace and disarmament movement tied with other popular struggles to make any pacifism and anti-militarism a reality. 

Of Petals and Pellets: Perception Management of Violence

May 3rd, 2020

The institution that in rest of the world is known for pelleting hospitals and civilians in Kashmir today dropped petals over hospital in India. Militarism’s direct and indirect toll on health on people in parts of North East and Red Corridor but most significantly in Kashmir is massive. From instances of attacking hospital ambulances to torturing and maiming civilians. The regular curfews but, more sharply since the August last year combined with the internet shutdown create an unprecedented health crisis in the valley.

Today’s military operation is part of a long history of military propaganda campaigns. This one being particularly milder and weaker. The goal of these operations is to project the military as a strong and powerful force that not only crushes the “enemies” but also supports the civilian population in time of calamities.  As explained below, well planned propaganda operations rely on hiding facts and even fabrications and lies to consciously shape the population’s perception and behavior. What is achieved is war mongering society that  sees war crimes and occupation as necessary and forgets their own economic concerns in fight against “the enemies.”

During the second world war when the so-called “Japanese inspired fifth column” of Indian soldiers, who became part of nationalist military groups and were fighting the Allies, the British Indian Army formed “Josh Groups”. In the meetings of the Josh Groups stories were circulated within the British Indian troops of Japanese atrocities on Prisoners of War and the occupied countries, as well as associate the INA troops to these atrocities.

“Josh is the strongest and most effective counter-propaganda method yet involved to combat the Japanese Intelligence offensive… it is the morale counter-offensive weapon against these dangerous activities”
(Indian National Army and Free Burma Army, Vol. 1.)

It is helpful to quote in full what the General Headquarters said it entails:

“Josh Groups are intended to:
(a) build in every Indian soldier the knowledge and firm faith that the Japanese and everyone who represents the Japanese are his own personal enemies;
(b) introduce stories of our victories against the Japanese and so turn the conversation around to the topic of why the Japanese are India’s enemies and why and how they will be defeated;
(c) introduce stories of the bravery of Indian soldiers in action and his comradeship-in-arms with his Allies;
(d) utilize entertainment, radios, dramas, information rooms, picture layouts etc., to bring home to the sepoy, through every medium that strikes his imagination, the existence of his chief enemy – the Japanese;
(e) inoculate the Indian soldier with a sound factual basis of true knowledge so that false rumours and brazen lies spread by Japanese, Jifs and Japanese agents can be easily shown as such.”

The INA is now celebrated for its heroism in the struggle against the British. So, it isn’t as much about the moral content of who is being demonized but whether it is in our interest to do so? And the lessons of containing these “dangerous activities” (i.e. questioning if our killing of thousands makes any sense or, are we actually the good guys after all) have always stayed in the Indian armed forces. But after the transfer of power, when the offensive that needed combating was no longer from the Japanese but from its own population, which might get involved in these “dangerous activities” of questioning the defense budget, the arms buildup, war mongering to sideline economic issues. So, we became a Josh Nation.

And its effectiveness can be tested by asking a simple question: whether people of this country have a “firm faith that the Pakistan and everyone who represents the Pakistanis are their own personal enemies”?

It’s not just the responsibility of the armed forces, any more, to maintain the Josh Nation but the mass media and political discourse in general is a means of maintaining it.

But within the armed forces it takes the formal form of Joint Doctrine for Perception Management and Psychological Operations of the Headquarters of Integrated Defense Staff. It starts with noting that “conflict is a struggle of wills, which takes place in peoples’ minds.” It says, “it is necessary to understand the motivation of… populations in order to shape their perceptions, affect their will to continue the conflict.” It also concedes that “the ingredients that are untrue are brought out in a manner so as to nullify element of doubt that has been knowingly / unknowingly crept into the information” – in other words, lies and fabrications. (All quotes are from 2010 Doctrine.)

Military Psychological Operations in India need a more detailed study but returning to today’s operation the Doctrine note that “image of Armed Forces for the internal audience is required to be subtly projected as a tough, focused force, offering swift and firm action not only to the enemies of the nation but also for care and protection of our countrymen when no other system can provide succour.”

Today’s “morale counter-offensive” of Josh Nation is in line with building support for state policies at large and image management for the armed forces. The whole activity is more ironic and saddening because it is precisely because of the MiGs and Sukhois that are showering petals over the hospitals the nurses and doctors inside these hospitals do not have protective gears and ventilators. Because a Josh Nation spends 4 times higher on military than it does on health. And because a similar exercise happened in USA few days ago the bastion of Indian liberal media tells the PM  that “a little originality would be appreciated.”

Caravan Magazine’s report on Indian armed forces’ silencing of journalists in Kashmir

May 2nd, 2020


कोरोना और क्रांतिकारी स्पेन की सीख

March 29th, 2020

1936 में स्पेन में जंग शुरू हुई, और जब मालिक और नेता अपने घर और फ़ैक्टरिया छोड़ भाग खड़े हुए तो मजदूरों ने उनपे कब्ज़ा करा और उन्हें चलाया. आधा स्पेन एक साल पूरी तरह मजदूरों के हाथ में था. फैक्ट्री, ट्रैन, खेत, यहाँ तक की बाल काटने वालो की दुकान सब मजदूरों के हाथ में थे. स्वास्थ व्यवस्था भी।

जादातर मजदुर वर्ग के लिए ये सेवाएं पहली बार खुली थी. बड़े शहरों में और हर गॉव में और यहाँ तक कि ऐसे इलाके जहा पर सिर्फ 2 या 3 घर थे वहां भी क्लीनिक खोले गए और स्वास्थ कर्मचारियों ने अपनी यूनियन के ज़रिये इन्हें संचालित करा. स्वास्थ एक निजी व्यवसाय से बदल के सामाजिक संगठन में तब्दील हो गया था।

लगभग हर इलाज मुफ्त था. जो कुछ ऑपरेशन्स का पैसा लिया जाता था वो यूनियन के पास जाता था. इस पैसे का क्या करना है इसका फैसला वर्कर्स खुद लेते थे. कुछ ही महीनो में बार्सिलोना शहर में 6 नए अस्पताल खोले गए.

इसके अलावा और भी आयामों में बदलाव आया. एक स्वास्थ्य कर्मचारी ने बाद में लिखा था की,

“वो बड़े डॉक्टर जो हफ्ते में एक बार अस्पताल में आया करते थे, उन्हें तख़्त से गिरा दिया है. वो नामी सफ़ेद सूट वाले हॉस्पिटल की गलियों में जिनके आगे पीछे 3-4 लोग गर्दन नीचे करके, उनके लिए सामान पकड़ कर चलते है, वो उच्च-नीच अब यहाँ इतिहास हो गई है. अब यहाँ सब साथी है और बराबर है”

वायरस: कोरोना और पूंजी

March 22nd, 2020

कोरोना वायरस से भारत में अब तक 4 लोगों की जान जा चुकी है – उनमे से 2 लोगों की जान इसलिये गई क्यंकि उन्हें प्राइवेट अस्पतालों ने भर्ती करने से मना कर दिया और वो भटक भटक कर हार गए. 17 मार्च को सरकारी मंत्रालयों ने प्राइवेट अस्पतालों से मुफ्त में कोरोना के जाँच करने का अनुरोध करा और प्राइवेट अस्पतालों के मालिकों ने मना कर दिया. प्राइवेट हस्पतालों में Rs. 5000 में जाँच हो रही है. भारत में स्वास्थ्य प्रणाली के नाम पर जादातर लोगों के लिए प्राइवेट बीमा ही उपलब्ध है. प्राइवेट बीमा कम्पनियों ने कहा है की अगर बीमा के कॉन्ट्रैक्ट में “महामारी” का ज़िक्र नहीं है तो कोरोना जाँच और इलाज के लिए पैसा नहीं मिलेगा. लेकिन उनका कहना है कि अगर कोई जीवन बीमा लेने के बाद कोरोना से मर जाए तो उसे हम पैसे ज़रूर देंगे.

लोगों की जान का ज़िम्मेदार, और लोगों की लड़ाई आज सिर्फ एक वायरस से नहीं है बल्कि जानलेवा पूंजीवाद से है. और पूंजीवाद के सिर्फ उस पक्ष से नहीं जिसके कारण एक स्वस्थ जीवन हमारा संवैधानिक और एक मौलिक मानव अधिकार भी हमें नहीं मिलता बल्कि, पूंजीवाद की जड़ से है जिसके कारण कोरोना आपदा से बड़ी आपदा इस देश और दुनिया में हमेशा बनी रहती है. ये आपदा आज नहीं आई है. ये हमारी आँखों के सामने शुरू से रही है और आगे भी लोगों की जान लेती रहेगी अगर हम मानव इतिहास के इस पल में भी न्यूनतम मानवता जगाने में असफल होते है तो.

लगभग 2 महीनो में कोरोना वायरस से भारत में 4 लोगों की जान गई. 2018 में 2080 लोगों की भारत में जलवायु आपदा के असर से जान जाने की रिपोर्ट है – हर महीने 175 मौत. कोरोना के कारण दुनिया भर में 3 महीनो में लगभग 10,000 लोगों की मौत हुई है. 2040 तक जलवायु आपदा के कारण कम से कम 4,50,000 की जान जाना तय है अगर जल्द ही ग्लोबल वार्मिंग को थामा नहीं गया तो. लेकिन इसको कैसे और क्यों रोका जाए जब 70% ग्लोबल वार्मिंग के लिए 100 बड़ी कंपनिया ज़िमेदार है? बिसनेस को नुक्सान ना हो इसलिए जनता का कर्फ्यू तक तो रविवार को रखा गया है – – ये 100 कंपनियों को नुकसान कैसे होने दें? मरते है 4 लाख लोग तो मरें.

जलवायु परिवर्तन जैसे संकट को पैदा करने के अलावा और भी रोज़मर्रा की आपदा पैदा करता है पूंजीवाद. भारत में हर साल लगभग 48,000 लोग काम पे मारे जाते है. ज़ादातक फैक्टरियों में और बिल्डिंग वगेरा बनाते समय मारे जाते है क्योंकि मजदूरों की सुरक्षा पे खर्चा अगर बढ़ेगा तो विदेशी कम्पनियाँ यहाँ पैसा नहीं लगाएगी. तो मरते है हर घंटे 6 मजदूर तो मरने दो – ये आपदा कोरोना जैसे अमीरो को नहीं लग सकती तो इसका टीवी पे क्यों ज़िक्र करें?

और कोरोना से ज्यादा घातक तो भारत में भारत की पुलिस है. हर साल पुलिस कस्टडी में 2000 लोग मारे जाते है – हर दिन 5! कोरोना को कुछ टिप्स दे सकती है भारत की पुलिस. और हर साल 100 से ज़ादा लोग भारत की फ़ौज की पाकिस्तान के गावों में शेल्लिंग से मारे जाते है – पाकिस्तान की शेल्लिंग से भारत में भी मारे जाते है, बेशक. लेकिन वो बेकसूर गाँव वालों ने ना पाकिस्तान को बोला था ना हिंदुस्तान को कि उनके आंगन में अपनी सरहद लेके आओ.

कोरोना पर वापस लौटते है. सरकार और हमारे देश की प्रणाली की क्या तैयारी है और कोरोना आपदा को रोकने में अब तक ये कितनी सफल रहे हैं? इस का फैसला करने के लिए पहले यह देखना होगा की ये किस प्रकार की आपदा है और ऐसी आपदा के लिए “अच्छी तैयारी” किसे माना जा सकता है.

क्या ये सिर्फ एक चिकित्सा सेवा का सवाल है – यानि की सिर्फ अलग अलग लोगों को एक बीमारी से कैसे बचाया जाए, मलेरिया या सर्दी खांसी के समान या फिर ये एक सार्वजनिक स्वास्थ्य का सवाल है? सार्वजनिक स्वास्थ्य से मेरा मतलब है राजय द्वारा पूरी आबादी के लिए स्वास्थ्य संबंधित सभी चीज़ों पर निगरानी और ज़रूरी पाबंदियों की व्यवस्था. मेरे ख्याल से शायद ही कोई हो जो इस बात से इंकार करे की ये एक सार्वजनिक स्वास्थ्य का सवाल है. इस हिसाब से हमारे देश की कैसी तैयारी है?

अस्पतालों में हर 1000 लोगों के लिए 1 से भी कम बिस्तर – क्यूबा में 5 से ऊपर और दुनिया का औसत 3. हर 1000 लोगों के लिए भारत में 0.8 डॉक्टर्स, क्यूबा में 8.2. हर 1000 लोगों के लिए भारत में 2.1 नर्स, क्यूबा 7.7. किस तरीके की नियंत्रण प्रणाली है हमारे देश में? सरकार निजी अस्पतालों में आपदा के वक़्त कुछ दिनों के लिए मुफ्त में जाँच भी ना करा सकी जबकि स्पेन ने कोरोना के चलते अपने सभी निजी हस्पतालों का राष्ट्रीयकरण कर दिया ताकि सबको मुफ्त और आसानी से इलाज मिल सके.

18 तारिक को कोटक महिंद्रा बैंक के मालिक ने दूसरे अरबपतियो से मीटिंग में कहा की बाजार में पैसे की कमी होने से नुक्सान होगा और 19 तारिक को आरबीआई ने Rs 10,000 करोड़ बाजार में डाल दिए. कौन किसको नियंत्रित करता है इस देश में ये शयद साफ़ है.

2018-2019 बजट में इंडिया ने स्वास्थ्य और परिवार कल्याण मंत्रालय पर Rs 54,600 करोड़ खर्च करे और “सुरक्षा” – यानि सैन्यकरण पर Rs. 4,04,365 करोड़. शयद 3-4 नए लड़ाकू विमान से कोरोना को रोका जा सकता था?

सैन्यकरण को “सुरक्षा” बोला जाता है. जो 175 लोग जलवायु आपदा से हर महीने; हर घंटे काम पर 6 और पुलिस की बर्बरता से हर दिन 5 लोग मारे जाते हैं क्या ये उनकी सुरक्षा के लिए है? क्या इस देश के भूखे लोगों के लिए सुरक्षा परमाणु हतियार है या पेट में रोटी? जो राज्य देश में लोगों को डॉक्टर और बिस्तर ना मुहैया करा सके क्या उसको हतियारो पर करोड़ो रुपया बर्बाद करने का हक़ होना चाहिए?

परमाणु हत्यार से बड़ी सार्वजनिक स्वास्थ्य आपदा शायद ही मानव इतिहास में कभी पैदा हुई हो. कोरोना वायरस से जूझने के लिए एक कमज़ोर प्रणाली ही सही, कुछ तो है हमारे पास. लेकिन एक परमाणु विस्फोट का नतीजा होगा एक शहर के एक बार में 150 हस्पताल 2मिनट में धूल हो जाना. महीनो के लिए बिजली गायब हो जाना – जिसके बिना जो हस्पताल चल सकते है उनमें भी काम ठप हो जाना. खाना और पानी जहर हो जाना, सड़को पे बिल्डिंग के मलबे से यातायात ठप हो जाना. कोरोना के लक्षण तो खांसी और सर्दी के है – जो गिने चुने लोगों को परमाणु विस्फोट के बाद हस्पताल लाया जा सकेगा उनके लक्षण होंगे उनके शरीर का गलना, और आसपास की हर चीज़ को रेडिएशन से जहरीला बना देना.

और ये तो उस समय की बात है जब बड़ी जंग नहीं होगी और कुछ ही परमाणु हतियारो का इस्तेमाल होगा. अगर भारी मात्रा में यह इस्तेमाल हुए तो वो मानव सभ्यता का अंत होगा. और यह कोई काल्पनिक बात नहीं है. आज भारत के पास 140 परमाडू हतियार है और 120 पाकिस्तान के पास. और नए और आसानी से इस्तेमाल किये जाने वाले हतियार और लॉन्चेर्स दोनों देश बना चुके है और कई बार तैनात भी कर चुके हैं. एक और तनाव की इस्थिति और एक और हिसाब में गलती की कीमत करोड़ों जान होगी.

ये है आज के भारत की सार्वजनिक स्वास्थ्य का हिसाब. कंपनियों के मुनाफा खोरी के कारन मुफ़्त में ईलाज नहीं हो सकता और ऐसे कानून नहीं बनाए जा सकते जिससे मजदूर काम पे सुरक्षित काम कर सकें और सब खुली हवा में सांस ले सकें. राज्य अपनी हुकूमत बनाए रखने के लिए मानव सभ्यता को रोज़ दाव पर लगा रहा है. लेकिन गलती कुछ हद तक हमारी है. अकेले घर में बैठ कर कोरोना से बचने के लिए हम सब राज़ी है लेकिन एकजुट होके सार्वजनिक स्वास्थ्य के लिए लड़ने को नहीं. लेकिन इसको बदला जा सकता है. हम अपनी सुविधा और डर के चलते जीवन को विलुप्त होने देंगे या फिर कोरोना के अनुभव से सीख कर असली सुरक्षा की लड़ाई में शामिल होंगे. विकल्प हमारे पास है – पर ज़ादा समय के लिए नहीं.

Resistance in Anchar, Kashmir

January 27th, 2020

TONS #4 – आतंकवादी कौन है?

January 12th, 2020

पूर्व नसऐ, शिवशंकर मेनन से आज मेने ये सवाल पूछा कि क्या मोदी शाशन में भारत द्वारा बॉर्डर पार कर मिलिट्री घुसपैठ और हमले में बढ़ोत्तरी हुई है?

उनके जवाब ने साफ़ कर दिया की भारतीय राज्य का हर हिस्सा राजय द्वारा किये जाने वाले आतंकवाद के पुरे समर्थन में है. मेनन का मानना है की बढ़ोत्तरी नहीं हुई है – हम पहले भी बालकोट जेसे हमले दूसरे देशों में करते रहे है.

“1950 से आजतक ऐसी एक भी बॉर्डर नहीं है जो हमने पार न की हो, अपनी हुकूमत बनाए रखने के लिए”

बस मोदी शाशन में में ये अंतर आया है कि ये अपनी पार्टी की राजनीती के चलते खुलासे करने लगी है – जिसका ये नतीजा है की सामने वाले देश को अपना नाम बचानेे के लिए लौट कर हमला करना पड़ता है, जिससे सुरक्षा और बात-चित पे बुरा असर पड़ता है.

हम्मे बीच बीच में इस तरह हमें जो लोग हमारे दुश्मन लगते है, उन्हें गोपनीय तरीके से मारते रहना चाहिए. कोई सबूत किसी कोर्ट में पेश करने की ज़रूरत नहीं, सामने वाले का पक्ष सुनने की ज़रूरत नहीं. हम कानून से ऊपर है.

राजनैतिक या धार्मिक गैर कानूनी हिंसा को ही शयद आतंकवाद बोला जाता है? वो ही हर राज्य की नीति होती है.

कुछ राजनेता इसे गोपनीय रखना चाहते है और बात-चीत को थोड़ा महत्व देते है. और आज की सरकार बस आतंकवाद इलेक्शन जीतने के लिए उजागर करती है.

राज्य क्या है?

December 28th, 2019

राज्य के लिए हमेशा उसका सबसे बड़ा दुश्मन उसके देश के लोग होते है. राज्य चाहता हे ज्यादा से ज्यादा नियंत्रण समाज और इनसान के हर अंग पर, और लोगों को अमूमन ये हरकतें पसंद नहीं आती.

इसका हल अच्छी शिक्षा और मीडिया में मिला – ये लोगों को सिखा देते हे कि क्यो समाज मे गैर-बराबरी के बारे मे हम कुछ नहीं कर सकते और केसे राज्य लगों का गुलाम नहीं लोगों को राज्य की हर जरूरत पूरी करनी हे. राज्य जब बोले लाइन मे लगों, राज्य जब बोले बुके मरो और राज्य जब चाहे आपने घर और जमीन खाली करो.

और जब ये व्यवहार नियंत्रण के औजार काम ना आये तो राज्य अपना असल रूप दिखाने से नहीं झिझकता: वहशी जोर और हिंसा. नियंत्रण का सबसे साफ रूप.

आज पुलिस की हिंसा और उसको वाजिब करार देने वाले राष्ट्रीय झूठ को कई लोग पहचान रहे है.

कई लोग समझ रहे है की सरकार अपनी ताकत बनाए रखने के लिए डर पैदा कर हिंसा इस्तमाल करती है.

सवाल ये भी है की फिर जिस डर के आधार पे ये सरकार अरबो-खरबो रुप्पे फौजिकरण पे लगा रही है क्या वो भी ऐसे ही सरकारी झूठ के कारण है?

क्या पाकिस्तान असल में एक “दानव” हैं जिससे बात-चीत के माध्यम से कुछ हल नहीं निकाला जा सकता?

और अगर धर्म जाती के आधार पे लोगो को बांटना गलत है तो एक लकीर के किस पार पैदा हुए उसपे बाटना कितना सही हो सकता है?

बांग्लादेश में फिर फैक्ट्री में मजदूर मारे गए, पाकिस्तान में भी और दिल्ली में भी. सब देशों के मालिक वर्ग ने साथ में बेठ के वर्क-कंडिशंस पे नियम बनवाए है – IMF-WTO के साथ.

अगर सरकार मीडिया की मदद से लोगों के आँखों के सामने क्या हो रहा है उसको झुठला सकती है तो ये बंद कमरों में और दूर बॉर्डर पे या बस्तर और कश्मीर की सच्चाई और हिंसा पर कितना विश्वास किया जाना चाहिए?

“Kashmir crisis in sharp focus”: Crisis Group

December 27th, 2019

After years of being off radar of international conflict monitoring groups, Kashmir is ranked 8th in Crisis Group’s “10 Conflicts to Watch in 2020”; above Ukraine and just below US-North Korea conflict.

“After falling off the international radar for years, a flare-up between India and Pakistan in 2019 over the disputed region of Kashmir brought the crisis back into sharp focus. Both countries lay claim to the Himalayan territory, split by an informal boundary, known as the Line of Control, since the first Indian-Pakistani war of 1947-48.

First came a February suicide attack by Islamist militants against Indian paramilitaries in Kashmir. India retaliated by bombing an alleged militant camp in Pakistan, prompting a Pakistani strike in Indian-controlled Kashmir. Tensions spiked again in August when India revoked the state of Jammu and Kashmir’s semi-autonomous status, which had served as the foundation for its joining India 72 years ago, and brought it under New Delhi’s direct rule.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, emboldened by its May re-election, made the change in India’s only Muslim-majority state without any local consultation. Not only that: before announcing its decision, it brought in tens of thousands of extra troops, imposed a communications blackout, and arrested thousands of Kashmiris, including the entire political class, many of whom were not hostile to India.

These moves have exacerbated an already profound sentiment of alienation among Kashmiris that will likely further fuel a long-running separatist insurgency. Separately, the Indian government’s new citizenship law, widely regarded as anti-Muslim, has sparked protests and violent police responses in many parts of India. Together with the actions in Kashmir, these developments appear to confirm Modi’s intention to implement a Hindu nationalist agenda.

New Delhi’s claims that the situation is back to normal are misleading. Internet access remains cut off, soldiers deployed in August are still there, and all Kashmiri leaders remain in detention. Modi’s government seems to have no roadmap for what comes next.

Pakistan has tried to rally international support against what it calls India’s illegal decision on Kashmir’s status. But its cause is hardly helped by its long record of backing anti-India jihadis. Moreover, most Western powers see New Delhi as an important partner. They are unlikely to rock the boat over Kashmir, unless violence spirals.

The gravest danger is the risk that a militant attack sets off an escalation. In Kashmir, insurgents are lying low but still active. Indeed, India’s heavy-handed military operations in Kashmir over the past few years have inspired a new homegrown generation, whose ranks are likely to swell further after the latest repression. A strike on Indian forces almost certainly would precipitate Indian retaliation against Pakistan, regardless of whether Islamabad is complicit in the plan. In a worst-case scenario, the two nuclear-armed neighbours could stumble into war.

External actors should push for rapprochement before it is too late. That won’t be easy. Both sides are playing to domestic constituencies in no mood for compromise. Resuming bilateral dialogue, on hold since 2016, is essential and will necessitate concerted pressure, particularly from Western capitals. Any progress requires Pakistan taking credible action against jihadis operating from its soil, a non-negotiable precondition for India to even consider engaging. For its part, India should lift the communication blackout, release political prisoners, and urgently re-engage with Kashmiri leaders. Both sides should resume cross-border trade and travel for Kashmiris.

If a new crisis emerges, foreign powers will have to throw their full weight behind preserving peace on the disputed border”.

Anarchism, Pure and Simple

December 26th, 2019

Sixty four years ago a small periodical from Allahabad wrote:

“Now that India has obtained independence, the old combatant for liberty has given up his last gasp in the most complete poverty.”

Writing about the same “old combatant for liberty” Hem Day later recalled that ” he is not well known to all, even to our own people, for he has neither the fame of Gandhi, nor the fame of Nehru, nor the popularity of Vinoba, nor the notoriety of Kumarapa, nor the dignity of Tagore. He is Acharya, a revolutionary, an agitator, a writer.”

M.P.T. Acharya was born on 15th April 1887 in Chennai into a Bhramin family. From early years he was involved in the nationalist struggle. He edited a nationalist magazine for his uncle. When the periodical was suppressed by the colonial authorities Acharya had to escape to French controlled Pondicherry. Sensing he was not safe there he left India and landed in France. He soon moved to London and joined the Indian House with V.D Savarkar, Madan Lal Dhingra and other Indian nationalists. When in 1909 Dhingra assassinated Sir William Hutt Curzon Wyllie the Indian House soon disintegrated.

In next few years he visited Berlin, Munich and in November 1911 was in Constantinople to gain Muslim support against the British. In 1912 he moved to New York and in 1914 to San Fransisco, where he edited the Tamil edition of Gadar Party’s periodical. Gadar Party was set up a year ago, with help of his friend and IWW member Har Dayal. Har Dayal had spent time with Emma Goldman and when in 1914 Dayal was deported for being “an anarchist” Emma protested and wrote about it in Mother Earth.

It was during this time Acharya saw the real face of Western Democracies and stood against the notion of nation states. “Is it to make large cities with miserable people, barely eking their existence that we want to have ‘Swaraj’?” He asked.

”I consoled myself by answering that the misery was due to foreign Government, but under Indian Government, it would all vanish, because our countrymen will be friends of the poor when they come to rule. Late on, however, when i went to Europe and saw misery there, my illusions about “National” rule were shattered.”

Acharya spent the World War period in Middle East and in 1917, with Virendranath “Chatto” Chattopadhyaya, attended a socialist peace conference in Stockholm. Where he met prominent Bolshevik leaders and in 1919 met Lenin. In 1920 Acharya helped form and became Chairman of the Communist Party in exile, with M.N.Roy as Secratary. Acharya was kicked out in 1921 for his criticism of the direction CPI was taking under the Comintern and Roy’s autocratic behavior.

In 1922, with Rudolf Rocker, Augustin Souchy, Alexander Schapiro, Acharya was present at the founding meeting of the IWMA. Where he set up an Indian committee with an aim to send anarchist literature in India. Acharya’s involvement in international anarchist movement was set-off by his disillusionment with the USSR and the whole edifice of Marxist priesthood. He wrote:

“We are Anarchists, because we do not want authoritarianism outside or inside, because to us anti-Marxists, life and society must be, immanently – one indivisible whole impossible of mechanical separation – as the Marxists inorganically think and believe.” “Communism can come only through and beyond Anarchism not before and behind it, as Lenin predicted and died broken-hearted and mad.”

From 1923 onward, Acharya was in communication with Emma Goldman, Alexander Berkman, Taiji Yamaga, Lu Jianbo, Rudolf Rocker and many other anarchist, but most prominantly with Albert Meltzer – whom he met only twice but maintained a regular correspondence till his death. Acharya wrote for American, Russian, French, German, Spanish, British anarchist journals and newspapers on the topic of economics, India, anarchism among others.

When he returned to India in 1935, he also started writing for Indian publications, including Gandhi’s Harijan. About Gandhi, he wrote that “Gandhi is more opposed to the violence of the mass liberation than the violence of governments.” He admired Gandhi as a tactician and also independently formed his own “logical pacifism.” Acharya set up the Libertarian Socialist Institute and published many anarchist classics and new material in Bombay.

Acharya contrasting himself with the Indian communists wrote that “[w]hat is needed for the Indian proletariat is new workers’ organizations, of a revolutionary syndicalist character, which alone can tear it out of the misery in which it grows. Only federalist organizations, given their complete independence, can create a solid foundation for class struggle in India.”

Commenting on Acharya and Indian Left, Meltzer wrote that “it was impossible to comprehend the difficulty in standing out against the tide so completely as was necessary in a country like India. It was easy for former ‘nationalist revolutionaries’ to assert their claims to the positions left vacant by the old ‘imperialist oppressors.’ This Acharya would not do. He remained an uncompromising rebel, and when age prevented him from speaking, he continued writing right up to the time of his death.”

Acharya warned as early as 1945 that Nehru and Patel “goes around like emperor, and speak like emperor.” And that “[w]ithout an anarchist movement this country will go Fascist and go to the dogs.”

Penniless, sick and alone, this old combatant for liberty died in 1954. Albert Meltzer in Acharya’s obituary wrote:

“Despite all of his efforts Acharya remained an isolated Anarchist in India and failed to create a movement. Whilst nationalists like Har Dayal and Bhagat Singh had a knowledge of anarchist texts, they merely incorporated what they felt to be useful to the struggle against British rule into their thought. Nationalist, and to a lesser extent Communist Party orthodoxy, had too much of a grip on the Indian masses, and unlike elsewhere in Asia, an anarchist movement did not develop, much to the chagrin of Acharya”

“With a growing interest in anarchism among Indian students, a Bombay publishing house reprinted many classical Anarchist works, but Acharya did not succeed in building a movement before his death, nor do I think one exists yet.”

‘What is Anarchism?’ first appeared in Withering India edited by Iqbal Singh and Raja Rao in 1948. Most of the texts in the volume were written exclusively for it and other author included Nehru, Jinha, J.P. Narayan. ‘How Long Can Capitalism Survive?’ was published in The World Scene From Libertarian Point Of View by the Free Society Group of Chicago in 1951. In 2018, it is sad to note that all the aspect of capitalism that Acharya pointed to while predicting its’ end, in this essay, have given it the strength by which it today stands: financialization, international trade deficits, and institutions. In fact in this essay, which was written just three years before his death and when he was very ill, Acharya made many errors which he had criticized Marxists of in earlier writing and it is not a consistent libertarian text. For example, attempting to find almost a form of wage-centric-determinism in capitalism and calling anarchist economics “scientific” are not very appropriate from Acharya’s own earlier views. Claims such as “outside economic freedom there can be no freedom” are very anti-libertarian, if meant literally.

Some words that might cause confusion have been updated to current usage, while others that are still understandable are kept as they were. Writing in 1940s Acharya was using non-gender-neutral terms while talking about the species as a whole. Comments in square brackets are by me.

I would like to thank Ole Birk Laursen and other scholars who have helped dig up and bring back to light MPT Acharya’s life and ideas. A collection of Acharya’s works will be published by AK Press in 2019, thanks to Mr. Laursen.