On August 13, two days before Indian Independence Day, some 30-40 protestors gathered outside the Indian Consulate in New York City to protest against the Indian government’s ongoing Operation Green Hunt, which is aimed at beating back any and all resistance to their neoliberal policies.
The protesters also expressed solidarity with the struggle for self-determination in Kashmir, linking the struggles of the adivasis in central and eastern India to that of the Kashmiris to the north.
The protest, organized by Sanhati, was endorsed by several South Asian groups as well as organizations of the U.S. left. It is a welcome sign that desis in the U.S. are beginning to break from the ideological commitment to the establishment Left (read: CPI, CPM), which has been complicit in the silence, not only over the neoliberal land-grabs, but on the issue of Kashmiri self-determination as well. Nevertheless, the low turnout is an indication of just how large the gap is between what needs to be done, on the one hand, and the ability/willingness of the organized left to build such solidarity actions on the other.
Sanhati’s official report about the protest can be found here.
FULL TEXT OF SANHATI’S PETITION
AGAINST OPERATION GREEN HUNT
Consulate General of India
3 East 64th Street
New York, NY 10065
(Subject: Petition against Operation Green Hunt in India)
We, the undersigned, would like to register our strong protest against the Operation Green Hunt, the Government of India’s (GOI) deliberate move to escalate military intervention against the indigenous people in the forested regions of East-Central India. Such a military campaign already will endanger the lives and livelihoods of millions of the poorest people living in those areas, resulting in massive displacement, destitution and human rights violation of ordinary citizens, especially the indigenous people.
We are acutely aware of the fact that the geographical terrain where the GOI’s military offensive is taking place, is very rich in natural resources like minerals, forest wealth and water, and has been the target of large scale appropriation by several Indian and foreign corporations. The desperate resistance of the local indigenous people against their displacement and dispossession has in many cases prevented the government-backed corporations from making inroads into these areas and has thankfully impeded the setting-up of ecologically disastrous industries. We fear that the government’s on-going military offensive is an attempt to crush such popular resistances in order to facilitate the entry and operation of these corporations and to pave the way for unbridled exploitation of the natural resources and the people of these regions.
We feel that it would deliver a crippling blow to Indian democracy if the government tries to subjugate its own people militarily without addressing their grievances. As has been witnessed in the case of numerous peoples’ struggle around the world, such military campaigns end up in enormous misery for the common people.
Therefore, we demand -
1) An immediate end to the Operation Green Hunt and withdrawal of all armed forces from these regions
2) The GOI should engage with the civil society mediated initiatives for negotiations with representatives of peoples’ movements in order to address the grievances of the common people.
3) All Memoranda of Understanding (MoU-s) signed with different corporations, for the extraction of natural resources from the vast areas of East-Central India, must be revealed and immediately cancelled.
4) All draconian laws like Unlawful Activity (Prevention) Act, Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, Armed Forces Special Powers Act should be immediately repealed. Ban on political organizations should be withdrawn and all political prisoners should be released.
5) All state-assisted vigilante groups like the Salwa Judum in Chhattisgarh and Harmad Bahini in West Bengal should be immediately disbanded and the concerned criminals associated with these organizations, including government officials, should be brought to book.
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via New Red Indian
Hello everyone. It’s been a long time since my last post. Nine months, in fact.
No, I haven’t been pregnant.
Well, hello at least to those of you who still bother to subscribe to this much-dormant RSS feed, for there’s no reason why this url would make its way into your browser otherwise!
Some of my readers know me well enough to know that these have been an interesting nine months, to say the least. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, well, I’m not saying much more on this question. Suffice it to say that I am back in the blogosphere for a few good reasons, although I’m not sure for just how long before I get sucked back into my other life!
So why the prolonged silence? Pre-tenure anxieties, followed by my struggle for tenure, stretched well into mid-summer, and ever since I won that fight, I’ve had percious little time to write a single post, let alone blog regularly. From the October 11 National Equality March in Washington D.C., to the rally for marriage equality in New Jersey, this has been a busy semester indeed. It has had its moments of relaxation too, so I’m not complaining.
It’s nearly the end of the year (the decade!), and I needed to do some political writing. There’s been more activism this semester than I’ve seen in some of my busiest years of organizing, and it’s been in turns exhilarating and frustrating, but mostly exhilarating. Case in point:
I THINK IT’S becoming clear to more and more people these days that our world is being flushed down the toilet in a hundred and one different ways. In the world’s richest country, which also claims to be the great champion of the world’s poor, millions of people cannot affort to get sick. And if the government has its way, they will now have to pay a penalty if they don’t purchase expensive health insurance from private insurers. So while the public are desparate for change, healthcare reform is being has been scuttled by the likes of “senatorial prostitute” Joe Lieberman, as MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann put it.
Of course, the Democrats showed no spine, no heart, no principles, no nothing, except their clear, and in fact clearly articulated (Obama is indeed a good speaker!) ambition to restore the United States’ position of power in the world. Or rather, to repair its image abroad, while holding fast to its military gains in these two disastrous wars, while simultaneously shoring up the profitability of its banks, its insurance giants, and its corporate robber-barrons.
And then, of course, we’ve had the nearly absurdist irony of watching a warmongering President not only receive the Nobel Peace Prize (“Peace Prize or War Prize?” asks Howard Zinn), but also use the occasion to lecture the world on the justness of his wars, in a speech that would have made his predecessor, Henry Kissinger, proud.
Nowhere in the mainstream American media did we see how Obama’s surge was being viewed by anyone other than the talking heads and the pundits.
It is indeed Obama’s turn in the great game, and I wonder what mental gymnastics liberals will now ask us to play to keep supporting this bankrupt party.
And let’s not forget the equal-parts disaster and farce that is the Copenhagen Climate Summit (the summit that was designed to fail).
AND THE TURMOIL is not only at the top of society, but at the bottom as well. I’m thinking here not only of the 200,000 that marched in Washington, D.C. to demand full equality for LGBTI people “in all matters of civil law in all fifty states.” I’m also thinking of the University of California students, workers, and faculty who have decided to fight back against the cuts in education funding and against layoffs and union givebacks.
The left has produced some spectacular displays of solidarity, that in sheer numbers outnumbered even the Fox-News-inflated figures of the teabaggers, the birthers, the truthers and the like. But the growth of the far right in the U.S. can no longer be taken lightly. As the Democrats have betrayed the hopes of those who put them in office, the far right have mobilized their base, built on some of the most virulently racist, xenophobic, and reactionary ideas propagated by right-wing windbags like Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.
SO IT’S BEEN a busy semester, a busy year, alright. And the spring promises to be even more hectic, with the struggle against budget cuts, and for LGBTI rights, more likely than not to escalate. Might we see rallies around healthcare? Who knows, we might even have mass, intercontinental mobilizations at the various “climate summits” to be held in Mexico and elsewhere throughout 2010. Hell, we might even see the re-emergence of an antiwar movement in the U.S. (I’ll have mine with a labor upsurge on the side, please.)
But now that the semester has ended, and I’m getting ready for my trip to India, I figured it would be a good time to dash off a blogpost or two.
THIS IS SUPPOSED to be a blog with a “desi focus,” but increasingly, it’s becoming impossible (if it ever were possible) to extricate South Asian politics from what’s happening in the rest of the world. And I don’t think you’ll disagree when I say that that world is being flushed down the toilet in a zillion different ways by the people who are supposed to be “in charge,” by the “captains of industry,” and the great “leaders of the world.”
Thank goodness that at least one among them spares no rhetoric in his condemnation of this “band of warring brothers” (as Marx called the ruling classes of the various nations of the world).