India

In this first article Jamil Iqbal outlines Marx’s analysis of how British imperialism, by introducing capitalist methods, broke down the old Asiatic mode of production and with it the old type of social structures. The British capitalists did this simply to facilitate the exploitation of Indian resources and labour, but by so doing also prepared the ground for the modern struggle against British imperialism.

On March 14 up to 100 peasants in Nandigram, West Bengal, were brutally massacred by the police as they protested against land-grabbing operations. The leaders of the CPI-M in the local government have justified this action as part of their so-called “development model”. The contradictions between the leaders of the Indian communist movement and the millions of workers who support them are posed here sharply.

Aakar Books in New Delhi, India, have just published an Indian edition of Alan Woods’ book The Venezuelan Revolution – A Marxist Perspective. Here we provide the new introduction to the book by Lal Khan in Pakistan and details of the publishers for anyone who wishes to get a copy.

There is a lot of hype in the media about India’s booming economy. The truth is that this affects a small minority of the 1.2 billion population. Some 300 million Indians survive on less than $1 a day. In this situation there is revolutionary ferment taking place that will shake India to its foundation.

Four hundred thousand slum dwellers were rendered homeless within a period of two months just before the heavy rain season of this year in the city of Bombay alone. This is happening all over India, making millions homeless to open up land for speculative investment. We publish a contribution from someone who is active in fighting the demolitions.

A new Indian edition of Trotsky’s Revolution Betrayed has just come out, published by Aakar Books and will be available at the Delhi (January 27) and Kolkata (January 25) book fairs.

On February 24, an estimated 50 million people, including Government employees, answered the call for a nationwide general strike in India. They were demanding a review of the Supreme Court judgment on the right to strike and reversal of the VJP government's economic policies. The strike was total in the Left-ruled States, and it disrupted normal life in the whole of this vast country.

The elections in India are a turning point in the class struggle in India and around the world. The Indian proletariat has time and time again shown its capacity, capability, will, and determination to transform society. The record support for the Communist Parties is a refelction of this fact. Lal Khan analyses the elections in India and the reasons behind Sonia Gandhi's refusal to accept the priemiership.

Last week's elections in India saw Congress defeat the BJP in spite of all pre-electoral forcasts that said a BJP victory was a foregone conclusion. They miscalculated because they ignored the real living conditions of hundreds of millions of India's poor. Even more significant was the record vote of the Left Front, which indicates a radicalisation of the working class. India is on the move.

Due to the extremely busy agenda of the Marxist MPs elected to the Pakistani Parliament, we received this report on their intervention in the World Social Forum with a little delay. In spite of this, we believe the report gives an idea of how Marxist MPs – workers’ MPs – can have an impact far beyond the borders of their own countries, and build links with workers around the world.

Today one fifth of the human race inhabits the South Asian subcontinent. This region has one of the oldest civilisations and rich cultural traditions. They contributed immensely in the development of human knowledge in various fields of science and the arts. This region is one of the most fertile and rich places in the world, yet hunger, starvation and poverty is on the rise. Around 1.5 billion people will continue to suffer in this quagmire. Is this the destiny of this and future generations to come? This book very affectively answers this question.

It is not easy to be a saint, and least of all in the sinful world of the 21st century - or so one might think. But this opinion is definitely not shared by Pope John Paul II. In fact, he has already manufactured no fewer than 474 of them during his stint at the Vatican. So there can be no complaints about his level of productivity. He has become an enthusiastic market leader in the saint-manufacturing business.

One of the most spectacular episodes of the intense revolt against the British Raj was the uprising of the sailors of the British Indian Navy in 1946. On February 18 of that year the sailors and shipmen of the British Indian Navy battleship HMS "Talwaar" went on strike. They invited  the masses of Bombay to join in the struggle they had started. As a result, anti- British imperialist sentiments started to spread like wildfire throughout the region.

As the scorching summer heat begins to recede, the lengthening shadows and falling leaves announce the onset of another autumn. After blistering Asian summers the autumn monsoons tend to bring some relief. Yet this year there is no respite for the oppressed and the deprived of the region.

The Indian film industry is the second largest in the world producing about 300 movies a year. Not more than 5 or six movies hit the box office. One wonders why people keep on investing in an apparently money losing business.

On Wednesday, millions of workers in India went on a national strike protesting against government plans to privatise state-owned firms. The one-day stoppage heavily affected sectors such as banking, insurance, oil, power, coal mining, telecommunications, engineering and textiles.

The sudden peace overtures sent out by Vajpayee on April 18 have stirred the political landscape of the Indo-Pak subcontinent. Most sections of the intellectual and political elites of both India and Pakistan, and even far beyond, are astonished. Yet, if we take a quick look at the post partition history of the subcontinent it is not surprising at all.

The United Nations have never been able to solve any serious conflict. The present crisis over Iraq has exposed it as an empty talking shop. But there is another conflict that has been festering for more than 50 years, that between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir. Lal Khan pints out the shortcomings of the UN on this issue and indicates the class struggle as the only way of finally solving the problem.