Left’s Volte-Face Will Stoke Public Wrath

Linked with Harsh Dobhal – India.

Published on Countercurrents.org, by Harsh Dobhal, 12 August, 2007.

Seldom before has blood been spilled so callously for the sake of mighty corporations backed by willing and supportive governments and their agencies as during the past few months. From Nandigram to Khammam, the poor are being made to pay for neo-liberal thrust in policies.

Work on Tata’s Singur car project is merrily on, as farmers are being made to pay through not only their land and livelihoods, but also their lives. This led them to gather before a People’s Tribunal held in the last week of May to account for Nandigram incidents. Its final report released on Thursday has termed the violence of March 14, 2007 a “pre-planned, state-sponsored massacre’, carried out ‘to teach a lesson’ to people opposing the Special Economic Zone project on their land” …

… Going by the way the Left is behaving, it seems that they have forgotten that the onslaught of neo-liberal globalization policies everywhere translates into a systematic demolition of the welfare state, cutting down on welfare schemes, undermining health, education and social security. And all the while, these policies only appease the financial markets and go about increasing armament and armed interventions. This has often led to a sense of hopelessness – individual and collective – creating a breeding ground for fundamentalism and other vices.

It is unfortunate that in six decades since Independence, India finds itself in a situation where globalization has robbed people of their livelihoods. It is strange that while riots and communal carnage are on the rise, the state is vigorously playing the role of the protective shell for corporate houses and multinationals. Sadly, even the Left, with its stated commitment to the welfare state and fight against capitalism, has succumbed before the deadly offensive of predatory neo-liberal policies. Nothing signifies this more starkly than Singur and Nandigram: two villages in West Bengal that perhaps mark a new low in the history of the communist movement in India.

(The writer, Managing Editor of Combat Law, a journal on human rights and law, can be reached by E-mail).

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