Arundhati Roy: India in Crisis

The law locks up the hapless felon
who steals the goose from off the common,
but lets the greater felon loose
who steals the common from the goose.
– Anonymous, England, 1821

In the early morning hours of the 2nd of July 2010, in the remote forests of Adilabad, the Andhra Pradesh State Police fired a bullet into the chest of a man called Cherukuri Rajkumar, known to his comrades as Azad. Azad was a member of the Polit Bureau of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist), and had been nominated by his party as its chief negotiator for the proposed peace talks with the Government of India. Why did the police fire at point-blank range and leave those telltale burn marks, when they could so easily have covered their tracks? Was it a mistake or was it a message?

They killed a second person that morning — Hem Chandra Pandey, a young journalist who was traveling with Azad when he was apprehended. Why did they kill him? Was it to make sure no eyewitness remained alive to tell the tale? Or was it just whimsy?

In the course of a war, if , in the preliminary stages of a peace negotiation, one side executes the envoy of the other side, it’s reasonable to assume that the side that did the killing does not want peace. It looks very much as though Azad was killed because someone decided that the stakes were too high to allow him to remain alive. That decision could turn out to be a serious error of judgment. Not just because of who he was, but because of the political climate in India today. Continue reading “Arundhati Roy: India in Crisis”

ILPS Condemns Rise of Fascist Current in the US & Urges the American People to Fight Back

By Prof. Jose Maria Sison

Chairperson, International League of Peoples’ Struggle

October 5, 2010 Press Statement

At the center of the world capitalist system, the current of fascism is running high.  It  is whipping up the  terrorism scare, racism, xenophobia, anti-migrant prejudices and religious bigotry.  The Republican and Democratic parties keep moving towards the Right, egged on by ultra-Rightist groups and sections of the corporate mass media.

The finance oligarchy and the military-industrial complex are deliberately generating the fascist current and its various ingredients in order to conceal the root cause of the financial and economic crisis, to cover up their criminal culpability, to shift the burden of crisis to the proletariat and the people and to scapegoat the anti-imperialist and peace activists, the immigrants, the people of color, the Arabs and Muslims.

The fascist current took a new ugly turn when on Friday, September 24, 2010 the FBI raided at least six houses in Chicago and Minneapolis and began a US-wide intimidation campaign of activists who work with organizations such as the Palestine Solidarity Group, Students for a Democratic Society, the Twin-Cities Anti-War Committee, the Colombia Action Network, the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, and the National Committee to Free Ricardo Palmera (a Colombian political prisoner).

As revealed by the warrants and line of questioning by the FBI agents, the activists are being targeted and pilloried for their solidarity work with the people’s struggles for national self-determination abroad as well as for their work within the US to build a movement to oppose US imperialism, crisis and war.  The intimidation campaign has included FBI raids, visits and Grand Jury subpoenas.  It is obviously inspired by the reactionary ruling of the US Supreme Court in Holder vs. Humanitarian Law Project on June 22, 2010.

The said Supreme Court ruling has made it a crime to provide support, including humanitarian aid, literature distribution, legal advice, and political advocacy to any entity that the government has designated as a foreign terrorist organization, even when such support is intended solely to promote the lawful and non-violent activities of a designated organization.

Civil rights advocates and a section of the mainstream media have condemned the Supreme Court ruling and have denounced the decision as violative of the US constitution by criminalizing free speech and imposing guilt by association.  On July 26, the Washington Post began publishing an investigative series critical of the extensive counterterrorism and intelligence network put up by the US government in reaction to the 9/11/2001 attacks.

In an interview on Democracy Now, the Washington Post reporters discussed how the top-secret world of US intelligence agencies has become “so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work”.   Among the findings:  about 854,000 people hold top-secret security clearances; and  more than 1,200 government organizations and nearly 2,000 private companies work on programs related to counter-terrorism, homeland security and intelligence in 10,000 locations.  The US has practically become the biggest police state in the world.

Continue reading “ILPS Condemns Rise of Fascist Current in the US & Urges the American People to Fight Back”

Ten reasons not to talk – or listen – to CSIS

By People’s Commission Network.  Posted on rabble.ca

Over past months, reports have multiplied of Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) visits to the homes and even workplaces of people working for social justice. In addition to its longstanding and ongoing harassment and intimidation of indigenous peoples, immigrant communities, and others, the spy agency has become much more visible in its surveillance of movements for social justice.

The People’s Commission is aware of dozens of such visits in the Montreal area alone. People visited range from writers and artists to staff at advocacy organizations and anarchists living in collective houses. Unannounced, in the morning, the middle of the day or the evening, CSIS agents knock at the door of private homes. Their interest is far ranging: from the tar sands, to the G8, to indigenous organizing, Palestine solidarity, Afghanistan; who you know and what you think. Their very presence is disruptive, their tone can be intimidating, and their questions intrusive, manipulative and inappropriate. They guarantee confidentiality — “just like in security certificate cases” — and invariably ask people to keep quiet about the visit.

The People’s Commission Network advocates total non-collaboration with CSIS. That means refusing to answer questions from CSIS agents, refusing to listen to whatever CSIS may want to tell you, and breaking the silence by speaking out whenever CSIS comes knocking.

If you are in immigration proceedings, or in a vulnerable situation, we strongly advise you to insist that any interview with CSIS be conducted in the presence of a lawyer of your own choosing.

Here are 10 good reasons not to talk — or listen — to CSIS: Continue reading “Ten reasons not to talk – or listen – to CSIS”

Killing Azad: Silencing the Voice of Revolution

by N Venugopal.  From Monthly Review zine, July 29.
Cherukuri ("Azad") Rajkumar, CPI (Maoist) spokesperson

To suppress the most articulate voice of the Indian revolutionary movement, the state indulged in the brutal assassination of Cherukuri Rajkumar, popularly known as Azad, spokesperson of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), along with freelance journalist Hemchandra Pandey, on July 2.  Azad was supposed to meet a courier at Sitabardi in Nagpur, Maharashtra at 11 am on July 1, to go to the Dandakaranya forest from there.  The bodies of Azad and Pandey were displayed on a hillock in the forest between the Jogapur and Sarkepalli villages in the Adilabad district of Andhra Pradesh, about 250 kms from Nagpur.

Around 9 in the morning on July 2, the television channels in Andhra Pradesh started flashing that there was an “encounter” in which two Maoists were killed.  Within the next few hours it was speculated that the deceased were Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad and Pulluri Prasada Rao alias Chandranna, secretary of the North Telangana Special Zonal Committee.  By afternoon Gudsa Usendi, spokesperson of the Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee, came on air and told the channels that the second person might be Sahadev, an adivasi courier sent to fetch Azad.  Then, Usendi came on air again and told that Sahadev returned safely after not finding Azad at the rendezvous.  Meanwhile, friends of Hemchandra Pandey recognized the picture of his dead body that appeared in the New Delhi edition of the Telugu daily Eenadu, and Pandey’s wife Babita announced that at a press conference in Delhi.  For the first few days, Pandey was passed off as a Maoist; once he was identified, police started denying that he was a journalist.

The official version of the incident goes like this: On the night of July 1, police got information that there was some movement of Maoists in the Maharashtra-Andhra Pradesh border forests and a combing party consisting of police from both the states went in search of them.  Around 10:30 the police party identified the Maoists and asked them to surrender, but the intransigent Maoists, numbering around 20, started firing at them.  In order to defend themselves the police returned fire and the exchange of fire continued till 2:30 in the morning.  The police party could not search the area due to pitch darkness and came back next morning to find two unidentified dead bodies, along with an AK-47, a 9 mm pistol, two kit bags, and revolutionary literature.

However, newspaper readers in Andhra Pradesh are sceptical: they have been reading the same story over and over again for the last forty years with changes in proper names alone.  That nobody believed the official story was a commentary on the credibility of state machinery. Continue reading “Killing Azad: Silencing the Voice of Revolution”