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AT a time when cases of atrocities against Dalits and Adivasis have increased despite low conviction rates (Latest National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data shows reported crimes against SCs increased by 5.5% in 2016 while crimes against STs has increased by 4.7%), the latest Supreme Court order would reverse many of these gains made after amending the Atrocities Act in 2015.

The Supreme Court order will not only delay justice but make victims more vulnerable to threats, which goes against the stated object of The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015, which seeks to protect the life and property of vulnerable groups.

Latest National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data shows reported crimes against SCs increased by 5.5 per cent in 2016 while crimes against STs has increased by 4.7 per cent. The highest number of cases recorded were against women, including cases of sexual assault and rape.

Merely 25 per cent of the total cases of atrocities against SCs and 20 per cent in case of STs ended in convictions in 2016 — a drop from the already low conviction rate of 27 per cent for both categories in 2015. “A majority of these crimes are serious and not something that can be misused. The high acquittal rate already points to the shoddy investigations in cases of atrocities,” said VA Ramesh Nathan of the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights. He said that despite the Atrocities Act, those accused in mass killings of Dalits — from the 1997 Laxmanpur Bathe massacre to the Khairlanji massacre — have all been convicted by the Sessions court only to be acquitted by the High Court due to the failure of investigations.

The two-judge bench of Justices UU Lalit and AK Goel have, in their order, aimed at preventing the “misuse of the law”, allowed for anticipatory bail for the accused in certain situations. It also mandated prior sanction to prosecute anyone under the Atrocities Act, and in case of public servants, with the approval of the appointing officer and for others, prior sanction from the Senior Superintendent of Police.

Nitish Nawsagaray, Professor at ILS Law College in Pune who is also part of Dalit Adivasi Adhikar Andolan, said that prior sanctions would further derail a system where arrests are not made even for heinous crimes. “This is disturbing for the Dalit movement. Denial of anticipatory bail in atrocities cases was upheld by Supreme Court in the State Of MP vs Ram Krishna Balothia order of 1995. It was meant to ensure that the perpetrators do not use their political clout to get away.” 
IN the name of ensuring security in Indian Ocean region, Modi government has signed agreements with the French imperialist president Macron. Earlier it has signed agreements with US imperialists for security of Asia Pacific Region. During the independence struggle all forces struggling for national independence had promised that once the colonial domination is ended, the newly liberated countries shall strive for their alliance to put an end to colonialism of all forms. But in line with RSS vision, which conspired against national liberation, of collaborating with imperialism, Modi is bringing back the neo-colonial masters with a vengeance, destroying the spirit of national liberation. Under this it has worsened relations with all countries in the neighborhood. Thus imperialist appeasement followed by Congress for many decades is intensified to imperialist servitude under Modi rule. 

UPHOLD RENAISSANCE VALUES TAUGHT BY PERIYAR

PERIYAR was a great leader of the oppressed classes and sections in the renaissance movement which try to create mass upsurge against patriarchy and Brahminical Manuvadi degeneration. He fought for caste annihilation and humanism, for an egalitarian society and self respect for all. Present situation demands upholding all these values, developing them according to present conditions to create a socialist world. If the BJP leaders distort and tweets against his teachings and attack his statues, it is because they are afraid of his great contributions to renaissance, to national liberation and for the creation of socialist future: a casteless, secular, democratic society. These attacks by the Sanghi fascists will only make him more precious to all democratic forces across the country
ATTACKING and demolishing statues of revolutionary teachers are part of the frantic moves of the RSS parivar to impose the corporate fascist raj. Every time the ultra rightist fascist forces advances they invariable do so. This is what the Brahminical forces led by Adi Sankara did to Budhist, Charvaka, Lokayat like renaissance ideas and institutions to re-impose Manuvadi concepts over the people. Today the RSS and its parivar is engaged in demolishing whatever anti-caste, secular democratic values and communist influence exist by organizing barbarous attacks on these values and on statues of renaissance and revolutionary leaders like Periyar and Lenin. These heinous acts should be condemned and defeated by all democratic forces, not by retaliating with attacks on the icons of these fascist forces, but by intensifying the study and practice of the teachings of these leaders more vigorously.

But unfortunately at some places the revisionists who have degenerated from the revolutionary path and those in the anarchist path or those influenced by them, try to overcome their setbacks like the setbacks suffered by Left Front of CPI(M) in Tripura by sentimentalizing the issue. Instead of making a self-introspection for the setbacks suffered first in Bengal and now in Tripura, they clutch on the opportunity provided by RSS parivar through their attacks on Lenin statue to divert attention from the real challenges faced by the communist movement today. Let us desist from these, and approach the question of the ‘whole culture’ of erecting statues or embalming the body of departed great leaders from a revolutionary perspective. Presently, along with developing the theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism according to present conditions, such introspections on such issues also shall provide a new fillip to transcend feudal, capitalist values and create socialist culture. An evaluation of hitherto history shows that the international communist movement suffered such severe setbacks as we witnessed today, not because of attacks by Hitler or RSS like fascist forces, but due to capitalist roaders emerging from within and usurping the leaderships of communist parties. Now, let us read the following quotation from the Preface to The State and Revolution by Lenin:

“What is now happening to Marx’s teaching has, in the course of history, happened repeatedly to the teachings of revolutionary thinkers and leaders of oppressed classes struggling for emancipation. During the lifetime of great revolutionaries, the oppressing classes constantly hounded them, received their teachings with the most savage malice, the most furious hatred and the most unscrupulous campaigns of lies and slander. After their death, attempts are made to convert them into harmless icons, to canonize them, so to say, and to surround their names with a certain halo for the “consolation” of the oppressed classes and with the object of duping the latter, while at the same time emasculating the essence of the revolutionary teaching, blunting its revolutionary edge and vulgarizing it. At the present time, the bourgeoisie and the opportunists within the working-class movement concur in this “doctoring” of Marxism. They omit, obliterate and distort the revolutionary side of this teaching, its revolutionary soul. They push to the foreground and extol what is or seems acceptable to the bourgeoisie. All the social-chauvinists are now “Marxists” (don’t laugh!). And more and more frequently, German bourgeois scholars, but yesterday specialists in the annihilation of Marxism, are speaking of the “national-German” Marx, who, they aver, educated the workers’ unions which are so splendidly organized for the purpose of conducting a predatory war!

“In such circumstances, in view of the unprecedently widespread distortion of Marxism, our prime task is to re-establish what Marx really taught on the subject of the state” and revolution. Instead of our attention getting diverted by the RSS attacks on statues of Lenin, let us study and develop Marxist studies, correctly evaluate present situation, and advance the revolutionary movement to throw out the corporate fascist raj and to advance towards socialist revolutions.

ATTACKS ON STATUES ARE FASCIST ACTS

DEMOLISHING the statues and democratic values/institutions, and unleashing massive terror to maim the opponents are heinous tactics adopted by forces of reaction like Taliban in Afghanistan and RSS parivar in Tripura. If the revolution aspiring forces as the Naxalabari movement or those who supported it did such things as the Murthi todo movement in early 1970s, they only caused damages to the people’s movement and alienate it from the masses. So the communists should respond to what happened in Tripura by intensifying the propagation of Marxism-Leninism and by trying to apply it according to concrete conditions here. Like the CPI(M) leadership who have acted against Marxist-Leninist theory and practice for last five decades, we cannot sentimentalize the response to attack on Lenin’s statue. On the contrary, Communists should not promote the practice of building of statues and statues’ worshipping; instead of it we should intensify the struggle to create revolutionary changes which are the real aspirations of the people.
AFTER hearing the news about the reign of terror unleashed by the Sangh Parivar against the cadres, offices and statues erected by the defeated CPI(M) led Left Front forces, I had posted in Facebook: “CPI(ML) Red Star severely condemns the reign of terror unleashed by the fascist Sangh Parivar forces after its election victory in Tripura. It is not only attacking the defeated CPI(M)’s cadres and offices, but even uprooting statues of Lenin. Still its leaders are not calling for an end to these heinous acts. The state machinery is by and large not taking action against the rampaging goons. These are fascist acts which all democratic forces should condemn and oppose.

“Modi and other leaders of RSS and Sangh Parivar are celebrating their victory over CPI(M) led Left Front in Tripura as a victory in the ideological struggle against communism and uprooting Lenin’s statues, knowing very well that the LF government they defeated was also pursuing the neo-liberal policies and it was far away from the Marxist-Leninist principles and practice. Still its defeat in the assembly elections is utilized to defame Marxism in most heinous forms. It is the same thing US imperialist lackey Yeltsin and his collaborators did in 1991 after the disintegration of Soviet Union. Lenin’s statues were attacked and they celebrated the disintegration of Soviet Union, which had degenerated to a social imperialist power following the usurpation of power by the revisionists, as the ‘end of history’ and ‘demise of communism’. The camp of reactionaries utilize every such situation to attack communism, and the imperialist media give extensive propaganda to it. We should oppose and severely condemn the attack on communism and on the toiling masses unleashed by Modi and company utilizing the defeat of the social democratic CPI(M) led government in Tripura. We declare firmly that such proxy wars cannot defeat us, and that imperialism and their lackeys like Modis means barbarism, and that socialism is the only alternative for the world people.

In other post the same day, I had stated:”Serious developments like defeat of CPI(M) led LF government in Tripura after 25 years’ continuous rule calls for serious evaluations and taking lessons, not just lamenting that BJP’s money and muzzle power defeated the LF. If it is so how could it win so far against the money and muzzle powers of Congress, BJP like forces and their alliances with tribal front? How could LF remain in power for 34 years in Bengal and then get so badly routed? If we want to overcome such reverses more serious soul searching is needed.

Internationally itself the communist movement has suffered severe setbacks when the revolutionary models in Soviet Union, China and elsewhere degenerated, and the communist parties in other countries like India, either surrendered to parliamentary cretinism, or left adventurism. The imperialist global system, in spite of continuous crises, is making rectifications and and adjustments repeatedly, and is still continuing as a hegemonic world system. But communists have failed to rectify the setbacks to their earlier models and to come forward with new models according to the new situation, challenging the ever intensifying imperialist onslaughts. Instead wherever they come to power as in Bengal, Tripura or Kerala, they implement the neoliberal policies, saying there is no alternative (TINA). So to overcome the present debacle, Marxist understanding should be developed according to new concrete realities, class struggle should be developed in all spheres including socio cultural spheres, and new revolutionary models should be experimented. This is the challenge to be taken up to create a new communist upsurge. 

WHY DO SO MANY PEOPLE MISS THE SOVIET UNION?

Read this report from the Washing Post between the lines, and we can see how even the new generation people after the demise of Soviet Union are yearning for its restoration. It shows compared to imperialist barbarism how people wishes a socialist future - Red Star

ON Dec. 26, 1991, the Soviet Union officially ceased to exist. Its flag, with its famous hammer and sickle, was lowered outside the Kremlin at 7:32 p.m. Within a half-hour, the red, white and blue Russian flag had been raised in its place. For almost 70 years, the totalitarian Soviet Union had curtailed the free speech and human rights of its citizens. By the late 1980s, it was painfully obvious that its economic policies had led to a dramatically lower quality of life than in the West. But even so, few celebrated its demise. “It was strange how little reaction there was,” Uli Klese, a Berlin photographer vacationing in Moscow as the flag fell, told The Washington Post at the time. “When the Berlin Wall came down, everybody was out on the streets. This was an event of the same kind of magnitude, but no one seemed to care.”

A quarter-century later, few in the former Soviet Union seem to remember its collapse fondly. In fact, many seem to bitterly regret it. The last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, recently gave interviews in which he criticized Western inaction over the collapse of the Soviet Union and lambasted the “treachery” of those who enabled it. Vladimir Putin, Russia’s leader in one form or another for more than 16 years, has called the fall of the Soviet Union the ”greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.”

Perhaps what’s more surprising, however, is that among the general public, who often suffered the most under the Soviet Union, there is perhaps a lingering nostalgia for it. Look at data from the independent polling firm Levada and you’ll see that the percentage of Russians who regretted the Soviet collapse has dropped below 50 percent only once since 1992: in 2012, when it hit 49 percent. In the most recent polling, about 56 percent of Russians say they regret its fall. It’s reasonable for anyone living in a democracy to wonder why anyone would regret the collapse of a totalitarian regime. Thankfully, Levada also asked those with regrets why they thought that way.

To most, the destruction of the union’s shared economic system was the main factor — in Levada’s most recent poll, 53 percent listed it. The reasoning is understandable: The planned economy of the vast Soviet Union offered financial stability. In the immediate aftermath of its 1991 crash, it quickly became apparent that Russia’s new market economy would offer a rocky ride.

Economic reforms quickly had a harsh effect on general living standards. The ruble became almost worthless. Corruption was rampant. A deeply flawed privatization program helped put much of the country’s economy in the hands of an entrenched and often shady oligarchy. Then, just as things began to look up, the 1998 financial crisis hit and wiped out much of the limited gains that had been made.

The economy did finally begin to stabilize when Putin came to power. The new Russian leader went out of his way to confront the oligarchs. Meanwhile, the benefits of Russia’s rich natural resources began to filter through into the day-to-day economy, with real disposable income going up 140 percent between 2000 and 2007. But many Russians still felt humiliated by the experience in the 1990s and blamed Western advisers for the turmoil. And as NATO expanded closer into Russia’s traditional sphere of influence, many in the country felt slighted, as if their interests were being ignored by the United States and Europe.

This may explain why Levada’s polling finds that the sense of belonging to a great power is one of the major reasons for people missing the Soviet Union: 43% in 2016. Other justifications for regret range from the mundanely practical (its harder to travel) to the emotional (a lost sense of home). Curiously, it seems this nostalgia may not be limited to Russia, the dominant country in the Soviet Union and whose empire formed its base. A recent survey by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the World Bank found that more than half of the respondents from former Soviet states thought a return to an authoritarian regime would be a positive development in some circumstances. The EBRD study also found that life satisfaction remained low in post-Soviet states, which led to a “happiness gap” with Western Europe. All this begs another obvious question: Could the Soviet Union come back? Here’s the evidence from Levada polling: While as many as 30% of Russians said in 2001 that they favored a return to the Soviet Union in its original form, that figure has dropped throughout the Putin years. It now sits at 12%.

But the most recent polling did find that a significant chunk of people (46 percent) supported either combining several former Soviet republics in a new union or integrating all the former Soviet republics in a new bloc akin to the European Union. Speaking recently with Tass, Gorbachev seemed to understand the desire to raise a new flag. ”The Soviet Union cannot be restored,” he told the Russian news agency. “But a new Union can be established.” 
ALTHOUGH theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking is not a soothsayer, he has in the past predicted the future of humanity. Hawking has warned us on countless occasions about how humans are actively pursuing Artificial Intelligence (AI) without caution; concerned it will spell the end of humanity in the future.

Mr Hawking believes the current AI race will eventually usher humans into a stage when machines will become more intelligent than humans. This is when the total annihilation of humans would begin, Hawking claims. Of course, the AI community prefers not to hear such a prominent and respected science proponent say such things. Hawking was heavily criticized within the AI community recently, facing accusations of being a pessimist, and should inculcate the spirit of positivism in the AI debate instead. But despite the criticisms, Hawking is still expressing his views as an independent thinker in the arena of public discourse. Apart from the AI apocalypse, Hawking has summarized vices in humans that he thinks will destroy any progress made since the Stone Age period to current times.

In an interview with Larry King on the Larry King Now talk show last year, the distinguished physicist said although he has talked about AI in the past as a tool that could spell doom for humans, he believes strongly that such inventions are inspired by human vices. Hawking stated that greediness and stupidity are the biggest threats to humanity. He said these two vices will eventually drive humans into extinction, and earlier than he previously expected. According to Hawking, humans are becoming increasingly stupid and greedy with each passing day. He noted that there has been a massive air pollution problem in the last six years, killing many around the world. Hawking said the situation will continue to worsen, bringing along more deaths and strange diseases in the near future.

“We certainly have not become less greedy or less stupid. The population has grown by half a billion since our last meeting, with no end in sight. At this rate, it will be eleven billion by 2100. Air pollution has increased over the past five years. More than 80% of inhabitants of urban areas are exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution,” he said.

Hawking added that he is only reminding us of the things we are doing that will end up devouring us. Hawking’s warning is just like the hunter who finds a baby monster in the forest and brings it home. After nurturing the baby monster for it to grow into a giant beast, the monster eats the hunter one day.

If you look at what is currently happening across the world, people are increasingly being exposed to automated things. Smartphones, robots working amid humans, and unmanned vehicles to name a few. These machines are increasingly becoming more intelligent. On the other hand, humans seem to be losing their senses. Due to proliferation of smartphones and other integrated cell-phones; some are literally dying or injuring themselves, just for a common selfie.

The United States Department of Transportation estimates that during 2014, in the so-called “year of the selfie,” 33,000 people were injured while driving and using a cell-phone in some fashion, which included talking, listening, and “manual button/control actuation” including taking, uploading, downloading, editing, or opening of selfies. Also, a 2015 survey by Erie Insurance Group found that 4% of all drivers admitted to taking selfies while driving.

Again, the Washington Post reported in January 2016 that about half of at least 27 selfie deaths in 2015 had occurred in India. No official data on the number of people who died taking selfies in India exists, but reports show from 2014 up to August 2016, there have been at least 54 deaths in India while taking selfies. This has encouraged the Indian Tourism Ministry to ask states to identify and barricade ‘selfie danger’ areas. The goal of the sign is to try and stop or reduce selfie-related deaths in the country.

So, you see, this is one of the exact stupidities Hawking is warning us about. Humans are becoming increasingly stupid while the machines they have created are becoming increasingly intelligent. The mockery of humanity has started. The machines seem to be controlling humans, not the other way around.

Amando Flavio 
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The Communist movement in India has a history of almost a century after the salvos of October Revolution in Russia brought Marxism-Leninism to the people of India who were engaged in the national liberation struggle against the British colonialists. It is a complex and chequered history.