At a time when people have been dying of hunger, the government has increased the amount of grain it is hoarding in its godowns. Instead of using its grain stocks to feed the poor and hungry during the coronavirus-lockdown crisis, Modi government was letting this food rot in its godowns. The government does not have proper storage facilities for stocking such a large amount of excess grain. Since much of this grain has been stored in sub-optimal conditions for long, a significant part of it has been damaged.
In just four months, between January 1 and May 1, the stock of rice and wheat that was not “readily issuable”, which included partially spoilt as well as damaged grain, increased from 7.2 lakh tonnes to 71.8 lakh tonnes. This is more than sufficient to provide 45 kgs of food grains as free ration for all families from March bringing different jojanas under one umbrella as CPI(ML) Red Star is demanding from the beginning. From khariff crop already 37 lakh tones of fresh stock has also arrived. In the absence of safe storage facilities large amount of food grains will get damaged during Monsoon months. In this context we should intensify the campaign for 45 kgsof foodgrains as free monthly ration for all families.
Evaluation of Present Situation; And Proposal for Revolutionary Left Unity
1. The Covid-19 pandemic has paralyzed the human society at global level. This has led to further worsening of the already permanently crisis-ridden world capitalist economy. Still, treating this as business s usual, the imperialists and their junior partners everywhere are trying to intensify their neoliberal plunder of the working class and nature, and at the same time to throw the whole burden of the crisis on to the backs of the working class and the oppressed people. It is true for the whole world including India.
2. Major capitalist crises are major, just because they bring a great deal of uncertainty and require abnormal responses from the ruling classes as well as from the revolutionary forces. While the fascist ruling classes are showing their own in the way they are known for, by resorting to more pernicious measures whether in pursuing neo-liberal policies or in introducing fascist onslaught, revolutionary forces are yet to show any such initiative of their own and come out with a well defined plan to counter them. The most necessary
Plan as for today on the part of the revolutionary forces is certainly to get united in the first place, as without this it is now even more difficult to challenge the fascist multipronged response with respect to and in the name of dealing with this Covid-19 health and economic crises.
If a major crisis turns permanent, like the one that erupted in 2008, it makes even abnormal responses far more difficult for the ruling classes. Since then, this is our experience that it has not been easy for capitalism to move on from there. Covid-19 has hit world capitalism just at such a time. The present juncture of crisis as induced by Covid-19 is such that it is giving rise to permanent and successive moments of turmoil with bold openings for new political developments. Good or bad depends upon how working class forces and oppressed people rise to the occasion and act to lead the oppressed humanity in such a grave situation. But one thing is sure, if we don't act boldly to seize the opportunity thrown to us in the given circumstances such as these, the reactionary fascist forces will surely utilize this situation to crush even whatever democracy is left.
Today's crisis of world capitalism, as it stands more accentuated and aggravated by Covid-19 pandemic, has little chance to get stymied by any government or bank measures. In no way is it poised to be overcome or stemmed by fiscal or financial measures. Its edifice is crumbling and falling non-stop. If we don't seize this moment, the fascists surely will, and where the fascists are already in power they will get further strengthened. If not overthrown by a revolution, crisis will further worsen and help fascists to fix humanity even more perniciously. In this lies a great opportunity, though it may seem impossible to many, for the working class and oppressed people and humanity to strike at the roots of the crisis and come out with a better world. Let us all show our revolutionary will, exemplary courage and come up with such a dream with a well planned offensive, in the situation when we see fascists tightening their grip.
Insofar as Covid-19 has seemingly forced a shift in narrative on public health and a change in discourse on the future of neo-liberalism and globalization as being evident among bourgeois economic experts, it bears not much substance and is like a temporary fit stemming from internal convulsions caused by the sudden and severe attack of Covid-19 pandemic. Nothing much sans a few cosmetic changes and a temporary ostentatious makeover is going to occur. Even that may evaporate once normalcy resumes. Neither is neo-liberalism going to be put in back gear, nor is there any possibility of globalization getting reversed. There is, however, an avalanche of such views pouring in from all directions that seek to paint a picture of their reprocessing, if not reversing. This is a newly born utopia of the petty bourgeoisie class being expressed and echoed by the bourgeois economists/experts with a sinister plan to divert the public attention away from realizing the need of rebuilding a new society on the ruins of capitalism. Such a narrative is a veiled attempt to further help the completely rotten and inefficient capitalist system get some lease of life that stands threatened due to increasing mass unrest in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic attack. Long supply chains collapsed and hard borders are back and international travel has been severely constrained, yet this is not going to be a permanent takeaway of today's situation. The revolutionary sections of the working class must not fall victim to it and grasp that its reversal lies in completely dismantling and overthrowing it. Given the gigantic growth of monopolies and level of centralization, growing merger of the monopolies giants with the state and thus taking over by them of all its organs, no switch over from private control to state control is possible, either. There will be no let up in growth of barbarism all its way if the present situation is not overturned by the revolutionary forces of the working class.
The outbreak of SARS virus in 2003 and MERS in 2012 were sufficient warnings on the danger of emergence of such viruses and other severe calamities as a result of continuing ecological devastation. As became evident in 2019 Madrid conference on climate, following US administration under Trump, many imperialist forces and neo-colonially dependent countries also went even against Kyoto Protocol like treaties in practice. So, carbon gas emission, deforestation etc intensified further. In this situation, it was already warned by many scientific studies that old viruses may get mutated and appear again in more dangerous forms, or new viruses shall appear as many of them dormant for many millennia have come out as glaziers in both poles are melting and breaking as a result of global warming. So, it will not be incorrect to point out that the capitalist imperialist system in its most voracious and devastating neoliberal/corporate phase is responsible for the outbreak of novel corona virus or Covid19
Capitalism as a system of production runs on the objective logic surplus value or profit and this is manifested primarily as the contradiction between capital and labour and, secondly, also as competition among the class of capitalists for market that eventually leads to development of science and technology that increases efficiency of labour and thus become a productive force. It is here that the source of an immense and never-ending development in scientific knowledge and technology ushers in human history. However, as knowledge and technology are not just the fruits of capitalist mode of production based on profit and they existed even in prior societies, yet it is capitalism that created enormous potential, hitherto completely unknown, for humans to explore into the natural sources of knowledge rendering its laws and having got the power of the methods to reckon with them. Thus, it has also created a great potential to intervene into the Natural world external to human species. The problem is that the extent and nature of the realization of the scientific potential that capitalism produced or engendered in a positive manner is undermined by the objective logic of profit. The whole development of capital is contradictory and this is now most reflected in the destruction of Nature in the worst way. Thus, only by way of exploiting the contradiction between labour and capital has capitalism attained the capacity to destroy the nature. Capitalism created capacities that now remain idle as a result of loss of areas and options of further investment of capital and hence it has now gone on a destruction spree. It has led to unprecedented destruction of productive forces, too, in the absence of the requisite profit incentive. Marx had already said that capital is the real barrier of capitalist production and the means of capitalist development i.e. the unconditional development of the productive forces of society comes continually into conflict with the limited purpose, the self-expansion of the existing capital that hence the laws of development of capital that feeds and grows on exploitation of labour finally leads to destruction of capital, Nature and the whole society through wars, hunger, malnutrition, diseases, inviting natural calamities and all possible means and measures.
Coming to the present crisis, when Covid-19 invaded, once again the warnings coming from scientists were neglected for many weeks by almost all the leaders of the main capitalist world. As China is most globalized economy, Covid19 spread very fast through international passengers. Then there were lockdowns and other abrupt reactions, without making any prior preparations in the medical field or in preparing the government machinery and the masses for it. As a result, the number of affected and dead went up phenomenally, and the masses of workers as in India were subjected to avoidable human tragedy, seeing which it can be said that more will die due to hunger and other diseases than due to pandemic.
The pandemic has almost stopped all manufacturing activities and paralyzed the whole service sector, the economy is severely affected. So, in spite of the fact that the number of people affected and dead have reached almost 3.5 million and more than 3 lakhs globally, and these numbers are still increasing, most of the governments have decided to go for some form of phasing out of the lockdown, while developing vaccines and medicines to contain Covid-19 may take many months or even more. So, clearly covid-19 is going to stalk the planet for a longer time to come. It is also a fact that covid-19 can even switch over to back gear and show its resurgence in places where it was controlled and contained. Also, it may attack in waves like manner while the present phase is just its first wave. Whether world capitalism which is based on only profit motive will efficiently and effectively be able to manage this before it becomes even a greater catastrophe in future is the major question before the whole humanity. Crisis-ridden as the world capitalism already was before covid-19 struck, it is highly expected that world capitalism may seek to project and resort to some very irrational or even false steps in the name of curbing it resulting in its most dangerous flaring up. Even in Africas and Americas, its spread has shown some very disturbing and troubling upward trend. The poor countries are in very precarious situation in facing this pandemic.
Like in most other countries, In India too, it was much after WHO's declaration of a pandemic and health emergency that the Modi government decided to act, that also through an abrupt announcement of lockdown only after Trump's announcement of it in the US. And the lockdown was announced by Modi, without making any preparations for many weeks for facing the pandemic at national level, without planning the action with the state governments who have to do the actual field work, without providing financial assistance to them, without taking into consideration what will be the plight of the 40 to 50 crores of casual/contract workers, most of whom are migrant workers who will lose jobs and shelter. Still, after 55 days of lock downs, no sufficient arrangements for testing, treatment of patients, for isolation and quarantine, for medicines, equipments or safety gear has been made. As a result, though the phasing out is started from 4th May, the Covid19 graph shows no sign of flattening in India and both infection rate and death rate remain high.
The first glaring fact before us is that, similar to what happened in earlier occasions like 2003 and 2012, though the Ecological Catastrophe is coming nearer intensifying climate change and global warming, giving rise to possibilities for Covind19 pandemic like crises more frequently, threatening even the extinction of the human species from the earth, once again the global capitalist-imperialist system and its junior partners like Modi are still showing no serious concern to this grave issue. So, the chasm between capital and humanity based on the basic contradiction of labour vs. capital, as reflected in the ongoing unfettered capitalist destruction of Nature is intensifying very fast. Therefore we should make all efforts to take it up internationally through all possible platforms, and within the country by developing our studies and discussions with like-minded forces. We should launch a powerful movement focusing on this question, educating the whole humanity of the need of replacing this capitalist world with a new world based not on profit, but on the overall well being of the whole humanity. We should fight the capitalist-imperialist system and its junior partners with the strategic concept of overthrowing their rule.
The world economy is facing the biggest plunge since the Great Depression of the 1930s-- economic contraction as of now is estimated at an absolute shrinkage of around 9 trillion dollars, equal to the combined GDP of Germany and Japan--not happened even during WW II, as at that time the war-oriented production was flourishing. The consequences including unemployment, poverty, destitution, etc. are going to be unimaginable. These developments have considerably weakened the US position as world's largest economy for more than a century. With around 800 military bases all over the world and military spending of around three times that of China, in spite of its most destructive military machine, in the long-run it will be difficult for it to sustain its present hegemonic positions. NATO is going to weaken further. US economy is slowing down. It is also losing its grip over UN system as is manifested in the recent of WHO’s stand leaning to the side of China, which is already the biggest commodity exporter and trading partner and is trying for establishing its supremacy in the capital export, too through OBOR initiative, etc. There are possibilities for the new vigor and avenues opened for Digitisation and Digital currency before and during the pandemic and global lockdown may reduce the role of US dollar's international role as medium of exchange and store of value. This may have its impact in US led imperialist institutions, IMF, World Bank, WTO and their subsidiaries. The inter-imperialist contradictions and trade war shall assume new dimensions, and Post-COVID international relations also may change accordingly.
The total disruption in production, supply chains, transportation, trade, travel, etc. in the post-pandemic situation is not going to revert to the earlier position but to a new situation with far-reaching consequences for the working class, especially for the 'informal working class', the women, migrants, refugees and all oppressed. With the latest developments in data processing, production and processing technologies, capital will try to bring about an alteration in the accumulation process and for avoiding possible disruptions in future. As at present, as there is no immediate possibility for an intervention by the revolutionary forces, the new international division of labour that is going to emerge will put heaviest burdens on the back of the working people and oppressed. Along with possible alterations in energy use, pattern of employment including more emphasis on home-based work, and lengthening of working time, emphasis on video conferencing instead of travel and physical meeting, adaptation to electronic mode and e-services, change in education system and research, etc. will have far-reaching consequences for the working class. Though no immediate intervention looks possible, primarily due to absence of a strong revolutionary working class party, yet there are such indications coming from the whole world that throws possibilities of widespread unorganized and spontaneous working class eruptions of protests and revolts and this gives a very strong ground that can be utilized to move on from here and get prepared to give a befitting challenge to the ruling classes. No doubt, this needs an all India party having roots in the working class and the toiling masses. So, we find there is still a silver lining even where there are dark clouds all around.
What is going to happen in the Indian situation should be analyzed in this global context. The increasing economic contraction and social crisis in India, with its own specificities, can become more gruesome, under one of the most reactionary regimes in the world. Among other things, the un-organized and informal workers, whose number according to ILO is 400 milllions, comprising 95 percent of Indian working class, including inter-state migrants question is unique to India. This issue has become glaring in the pandemic context. The case of another 6.5 million Indian migrant workers in Gulf countries, majority of whom are in labour camps, is another serious issue that needs attention of the revolutionary forces. They have to give specific attention to such areas and work out programs for organizing them. As the Modi regime is utilising COVID19 pandemic as an opportunity for speeding up implementation of the RSS agenda of Hindu Rashtra, revolutionary forces likewise should strive for a counter-offensive appropriately intervening in this situation.
It will be factually, analytically and historically wrong to think that the imperialist system and all those who follow its neoliberal path shall change because of the Covid19 pandemic. From what the ruling classes are doing even while the pandemic continues, it is clear that they take this as business as usual even though the bourgeois experts are saying things that seem to suggest otherwise i.e. a change or shift in narrative, in a direction opposite to the one that goes with neo-liberalism. But, in actual life, as said above, there is nothing to suggest such a change. Once preventive vaccine and medicines are developed, they will feel free to continue destroying nature in pursuit of capitalist greed, which is going to never end. At the same time, they are utilizing the present opportunity to take away more rights of the working class and the oppressed people and to make the system more fascistic.
Though Covid19 affected all, all the burden of the crisis was thrown to the back of the masses. They are in colossal misery, with practically no end to it in sight. It is possible that more people may die due to starvation or commit suicide due to agony than the ones who will die due to Covid-19. The way Modi government is communalizing the issue spreading Islamophobia, pushing forward RSS agenda, arresting more Muslim students and youth falsely alleging involvement in anti-CAA movement or Delhi pogrom, using police force to suppress people under all pretexts, refusing to provide shelter, food and medical care for the millions dumped in concentration camps like places, not procuring adequate medical equipments, safety kits, testing kits, medicines etc, it is dead sure that this natural calamity will remain no more natural and will turn into a capitalist and imperialist driven man-made perpetration of the biggest ever human tragedy, while ruling classes are stipulating siphoning of whatever social wealth created by human labour is left with the society and the government. This is increasingly alienating the masses and forcing them to revolt. The revolutionaries must take this into account while assessing the overall situation. There are still signs of hope.
Like the whole capitalist world, India too was facing serious recession, leading to galloping unemployment when the Covid crisis broke out. During the last two months, if the Covid-19 crisis has led the world economic scene to an acute crisis; in India, the condition is going to become worse. What is going to happen? In 1970s when serious crisis broke out, the world capitalist-imperialist system adopted neoliberal policies of globalization, liberalization and privatization, threw the entire burden of the crisis to the backs of the working class and oppressed peoples, while making more accumulation of wealth in the hands of elite and ruling classes. Again, when the 2008 crisis happened, they further intensified plunder of labour and nature and got more enriched, accumulating most of the world’s wealth in fewer hands. Though the neoliberal model advocated by IMF, World Bank and WTO has failed, instead of accepting it, in the post-Covid19 phase they will be further called for taking plunder of human labour and nature to unprecedented and newer levels to continue their barbarous practice. Irrespective of whatever may be the consequences of the sharpening trade war between US and China, whoever may come to dominance, similar to what happened repeatedly in the past, this time also the working class and the oppressed people shall be the losers, if the present hegemony of the global imperialist system and its junior partners is allowed to continue. So, appropriate action should be taken to continue ongoing efforts more vigorously, while intensifying the ideological struggle focusing on how capitalist imperialist system is intensifying its attacks on labour and nature, from a revolutionary perspective.
Coming to state of India's economy in brief, let us be more specific to the point. After 55 days of lockdown, while the workers and toiling masses are clueless about the ways and means of their survival in the face of mounting unemployment and hunger like situations that may not subside even after lock down is over
At the same time, Modi government is providing all forms of incentives, writing off of bank loans, cut in taxes, delayed payment of taxes, packages to ensure their profit to the corporate houses. The main content of the ‘Rs.’20 lakh crores’ package announced by Modi is basically for helping the entrepreneurs of all levels. Besides, the chief ministers, especially of the BJP ruled states are coming forward with the cut down of all labour rights, reducing them to bonded labour, to please these blood suckers.
Actually, while the actual preparations for opening up is started from 4th May, the Modi government has accepted all demands of the Indian big and medium bourgeois have been demanding for the last few weeks their desire that government should take over the existing bad loans and also provide some kind of future guarantee to take over such bad loans if they go bad in the event of failure of economic recovery. So clearly the crisis has sent things to their extreme limit. That means, transferring not only today's, but also future capitalists’ private losses to the public finances. It only means that the worst of neo-liberalism is yet to come. Worst form of austerity and extortionist methods such as extracting higher taxes and levies from public shall be clamped upon the masses. This also shows that, notwithstanding pessimistic claims that there is no light at the end of the tunnel, it's time for the revolutionary forces to brace up for something more than being confined and shackled to 'spontaneity', even if it is resorted to in the name of immediate demands of working class. The key task here is to combine the most immediate demands with appropriately well defined intermediary political demands and then to finally come up with the slogans of proletarian led revolutionary interventions in due course of time.
It is already clear how the burden of the pandemic is going to be thrown to the backs of the migrant workers, to the urban and rural poor to the masses of the people in general. Already, there are calls for moratorium on trade unions for a year. Another call is, to help economic recovery the workers should work in 12 hour shifts with same pay. All labour laws have been suspended. Some are calling for cutting the wages to Rs 200 per day like that of MNREGS workers. Though the government asked the managements to pay the wages for lockdown period to workers, following a writ petition, the Supreme Court has in effect invalidated it.
So, in the post- lockdown phase, firstly, an all round intensification of plunder of the working class, natural resources and the agricultural sector by the corporate forces can be expected, making life more miserable for them and intensifying the agrarian crisis, too. Secondly, while intensifying Islamophobia, more genocides as happened in Northeast Delhi may be resorted to, intensifying police raj and all out attack on Muslims, dalits, Adivasis and other backward sections and women. There will be a powerful move again to launch the NPR along with Census to prepare the NRC based on CAA. Along with these. Modi government may go for more militarization and closer relation with US imperialism, whipping up anti- China campaign further and attempts at a possible military skirmish with Pakistan. And we must make no mistake, using such planks and these and many other grounds, an anti-communist law may also be brought through as an ordinance.
It means we are going to face a very testing time both internationally and within the country. We have to get prepared to fight on all these fronts and also against the continuing impact of Covid19 among the urban and rural poor. It is better to start discussion on these questions, to unite the revolutionary left forces and to make the whole movement politically and organizationally prepared to take up these challenges.
This evaluation and proposals are being sent for discussion to all revolutionary organizations with an appeal to unite so that the fascist offensives in such a condition of a serious health and economic crisis could be countered and the regressive situations may be overturned.
Comrades, let us take up immediate tasks, and combine them with intermediary political demands as emanating from the immediate tasks, and finally come up with revolutionary slogans of proletarian led intervention in due course of time. The preparation of such tasks can be taken up once a possibility of a broad unity seems to be arriving and surfacing. If the revolutionary left forces agree, in the main, with this analysis and proposals, or are prepared to sit together for discussion with others based on it, we can advance to drafting the Common Program for coordination, if immediate unity is not possible, and united actions based on it. Our appeal is, comrades, at this critical juncture, let us take up this challenge.
KN Ramachandran, GS, CPI (ML) Red Star,
Ajay Sinha, GS, CPI (ML) PRC.
Dated 17th May, 2020
Today, 22nd April, 2020, marks the 150th birth anniversary of V.I. Lenin, the great leader of the proletariat and oppressed peoples of the world. Lenin had come to the leadership of the Bolsheviks in the RSDLP, when the capitalist system had transformed in to monopoly capitalism, imperialism, when the imperialist countries had divided the world among themselves, and the inter-imperialist feud for re-division of the world was threatening the outbreak of a World War. By that time, the imperialists had already corrupted the working class leaderships of number of countries to labour aristocracy. They were putting forward many arguments like capitalism has changed, and there are possibilities for working with them. These social democratic leaders were dominant in the Second International. So, in the Basle Conference of the SI, 1913, when Lenin moved the resolution in case the War breaks out “the working class should not support the war efforts of the bourgeoisie of their countries, but strive to transform the imperialist world in to a civil war for capture of political power”, he had to fight bitterly to get it approved with a slender majority. But, when the First World War really broke out in 1914, the social democrats of most of the imperialist countries, rejecting this stand called on the working class to join the war efforts of the ruling class of their countries. This meant the liquidation of the SI, and evaluating this Lenin declared that with this the real meaning of social democracy has become renegacy, class betrayal.
It is in this context, Lenin studied what is imperialism and came out with his great contribution to the development of Marxist theory, Imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism. It showed imperialism is barbarism, it has shifted the centre of revolution from the capitalist imperialist countries to the weak links of imperialism like Tsarist Russia, and to the large number of countries under colonization, the colonial, semi-colonial, dependent countries. Based on this, he fought against the social democrats in the RSDLP, the Mensheviks, and the anarchist Narodniks, strengthened the Bolshevik party as the vanguard of the revolutionary proletariat, built the Soviets of the workers, peasants and the soldiers who were coming back from the war front after the defeat of Tsarist forces in the war. While the Mensheviks were for allowing the Kerensky government which had come to power following the overthrow of the Tsars in the 1917 February Revolution, through his brilliant April Thesis showed why should the Bolsheviks go for capture of political power, united the Bolsheviks around him, led the October Revolution to victory, formed the Soviet Union, and launched socialist transformation, breaking the chain of global imperialism.
Lenin explained Soviet Union as the base area of world revolution. Uniting the communists who upheld October Revolution, in 1919 he led the formation of the Third, or Communist Inernational, calling for completing the socialist revolution in the imperialist countries and the People’s Democratic Revolution in the countries under colonization for completing the World proletarian Socialist Revolution. These great strides forward led by Lenin at a time when the social democracy was spreading frustration and renegacy, inspired the working class and all oppressed classes and sections to move forward challenging imperialism and its lackeys of all shades. The process of building communist parties around the world was taken up enthusiastically.
This great victory was possible as Lenin could develop Marxism according to the new situation when capitalism had transformed to imperialism, study the concrete conditions of Tsarist Russia through many contributions including the “Development of Capitalism in Russia”, built the Bolshevik Party surrounded by class/mass organizations, politically preparing the working class from a “class in itself to a class for itself”, building the Soviets as the centres people’s power, and taking the tactical moves according to fast changing situation. He was prepared to listen to others and was always ready develop his revolutionary perspective. As a result, he could give great contribution in every field always putting forward propletarian internationalism in the forefront.
It was the victory of the great October Revolution in the background of First World War, which instead of solving the question of re-division of the world, led to more antagonistic inter-imperialist contradictions, and in the background of intense economic crisis which later led to the great Depression, enabled Lenin to take lessons from them and to lead Soviet Union to launch socialist transformation making it capable to advance without affected by it actually broke out in 1930. In spite of the severe setbacks suffered by the socialist forces in the post Second World War period, Lenin’s teachings inspire us to surmount all difficulties and to march forward once again advancing the World proletarian Socialist Revolution. As Lenin taught us, in this ‘era of imperialism and proletarian revolution’, in spite of imperialism succeeds to shift all the burden of its repeated crisis, taking lessons from these, the working class and the oppressed people shall once again rise up in a mighty wave of revolutions, overthrowing imperialism and advancing socialism as the only alternative before the people.
CPI(ML) Red Star
22nd April 2020
The sweeping victory of AAP in the closely contested, and the most communalized and divisive elections in the country so far, with RSS/BJP trying with their all might to establish the hegemony of its majoritatian Hindutva in Indian politics is significant. But, based on this victory if it is analyzed that, in spite of the thumping victory of BJP led forces in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the consecutive setbacks it has suffered in the elections to the state assemblies after that, for example in Haryana where it lost its majority, in Maharashtra where it failed to continue the coalition ministry under its leadership, in Jharkhand where it lost power and now in Delhi getting trounced where it had won all Lok Sabha seats with big majority in May last year, it will be wrong.
It is in this context one should see the statement of RSS chief Mohan Bhagvat in last September: “even if BJP is losing elections, the RSS will be growing”. Why he could make such a confident statement? Since, during the last 4-5 decades, especially after the mid 1970s, the socio-political and economic atmosphere in the country was becoming increasingly conducive for the very fast growth of the RSS and its parivar. A glance through developments during this period is sufficient to substantiate this.
Though Congress under the leadership of Indira Gandhi had won a thumping victory in the 1971 LS elections, India also was impacted by the severe crisis confronting the imperialist powers during this period, which compelled them to adopt the neo-liberal policies. Coupled with the authoritarianism of Indira Gandhi and growing corruption, by the middle of 1970s Congress rule was in crisis following the Navnirman movement in Gujarat, followed by the Jay Prakash Narayan led massive revolt in Bihar against Congress governments there. Faced by them and the court verdict unseating her, Indira Gandhi declared internal emergency curtailing all democratic rights. The right of centre or rightist Congress was weakening. Who will benefit from this, who will occupy the space lost by it, the left or the ultra right became a crucial question.
As far as the left was concerned, internationally itself the socialist camp was disintegrating, with Soviet Union and the East European socialist countries degenerating to capitalist path, and by 1976 in China also the capitalist roaders usurping power. These developments were ideologically, politically and organizationally weakening the communist movement and splintering it. The CPI leadership which was openly following the Soviet revisionist line became camp follower of Congress and supported the emergency, in the name of Indira’s regime’s close relations with Soviet Union. The CPI(M) which was following a centrist line, in spite of the opposition of its then General Secretary Sunderayya, leading even to his resignation from the post, and even after the arrest of many of its activists, decided not to openly oppose the emergency.
As far as the Communist Revolutionary forces who were in CPI(ML) or in other local formations following the Naxalbari uprising, had splintered by that time. Though some of these groups, especially in Bihar tried to utilize the anti-Indira movement, since they had no vision of mobilizing the masses for resisting the emergency, or strength to do this, though all of these groups opposed the emergency, they came under severe suppression and could not do much. On the whole, the the broad spectrum of ‘left’ forces could not use the opportunity to strengthen themselves using the opportunity when Congress was weakening and people were seeking an alternative. As far as the socialist stream was concerned, they had already splintered, and because of their opposition to the communist movement had started compromising with the ultra right trend getting strengthened under the umbrella of JP.
By this time, the ultra right forces led by RSS and its then political front, Jan Sangh, had already emerged as a sizable parliamentary force in the 1967 general elections in the Hindi belt, had formed united front governments with some of the opposition parties including even CPI, and was trying to end its isolation from the masses following its assassination of Gandhi in 1948. It entered the Gujarat and Bihar movements against Congress rule, joined the JP movement with all its might. As a result, it could become one of the main ruling class forces opposing the emergency. Though the undivided CPI had dissolved all its secret fractions within the armed forces in 1952 at the beginning of its right deviation itself, from the very beginning RSS was effectively pursuing the policy of penetrating every sphere, including major political parties like the Congress, spreading its Brahmanical, Hindu Rashtra concept and creating organizational hold. It penetrated the JP movement effectively.
After withdrawal of emergency, when Janata party was formed, which defeated Congress in 1977 elections and came to power, Jan Sangh had become part of it and became a powerful component of it. When the Janata Party splitted in 1979, the BJP was formed in the place of Jan Sangh. Since it had got acceptability among the ruling class parties by this time, and the RSS parivar had strengthened and spread to more areas, participating in joint mass struggles, the fact that BJP is the political front of RSS which works for transforming India to Hindu Rashtra, diametrically opposed to the concepts of Indian Constitution was, in effect, neglected.
As the CPI which aligned with Jan Sangh in 1967 to form united front governments in some of the Hindi speaking states, and it along with CPI(M) had aligned with Muslim League like forces in Kerala and West Bengal to form United Front governments in the same year, they had no political position against giving recognition to BJP. In effect, nobody in the parliamentary political stream, had recognized the danger posed by the fascist RSS and its parivar, though occasionally RSS was criticized for its role in the assassination of Gabdhiji. By this time the whole spectrum of parliamentary was using communal and caste appeasement as part of vote bank politics. With this acceptability, BJP and behind it RSS started growing very fast in all the states, spreading its Hindu Rashtra concept along with its sakhas.
Though RSS/BJP always try to distance themselves from the massacre of Sikhs in 1984 following the assassination of Indira Gandhi, RSS had an active role in this along with Congress. In the elections to LS same year, RSS openly supported Congress. While Congress won with record majority in the history of the LS, BJP’s strength sharply fell to just 2. By this time, Congress had already shifted from its affinity to SU, and was taking pro-US positions at international level. In some fields, Rajiv government started neo-liberal approach also, following a huge IMF loan. Under RSS pressure, Jagmohan, an RSS cadre, was made governor of J&K. He created havoc paving the way for communal srife, leading to the exodus of Kashmiri Pundits and worsening the situation there.
Following the compromising line taken in the Shahbano case, under RSS pressure, Rajiv govt opened the Babri Masjid closed down in 1949, for Shilanyas, allowing the Hindutva forces to start worshipping at the place where the Ram idols were stealthily kept in 1949. By 1989 election time, RSS and BJP had grown manifold. When VP Singh splitted from Congress and formed Janata Dal, he formed an alliance with BJP on the one hand and adjustment with CPI(M) led Left Front on the other to fight Congress. In the election BJP’s strength leaped from 2 to 84! While VP Singh led JD government was formed, spreading manipulated falsehoods about Babri Masjid, putting forward the demand for replacing it with Ram temple, RSS and its parivar with top leaders of BJP in the forefront, launched the rath yatra from Somnath temple in Gujarat with this demand, provoking communal along its path, till it was stopped in Bihar.
To combat this Kamandal march, VP Singh government published Mandal Commission Report and based on it, reservation to OBCs also was announced. BJP led the violent anti-reservation struggle and withdrew support to his govt. In 1991 elections BJP contested mainly putting forward Ram temple issue violating all secular principles and election rules based on it, increasing its strength to 90 plus. While, the minority Narasimha Rao led Congress government adopted neo-liberal policies of Liberalization-Globalization- Privatization under IMF-World Bank advice, it resorted to double talk, claiming to oppose it outside, but never voting against it inside parliament.
At the same time, RSS and its parivar intensified the temple movement with all their might, demolishing the Babri Masjid in December, 1992, with the help of Congress government at centre which did not to protect it, though assurances were given to protect it to the Supreme Court. RSS parivar unleashed communal riots at many places. Both Congress and BJP were happy that the attention was diverted from the growing people’s movements against the neo-liberal policies to temple issue. While Congress led government followed by the two United Front governments got alienated due to the consequences of the neo-liberal policies they were pursuing, BJP along with RSS went on strengthening. RSS became increasingly strident starting to Hindutva Radicalization provocatively in its strongholds like Gujarat. After 1998 elections briefly, followed by 1999 elections, when BJP led NDA government came to power with Vajpayee as prime minister, on the one hand it speeded up implementation of the neo-liberal/corporate policies. At the same time, it intensified efforts to speed up the radicalization process as much as possible. Though BJP was slow in it at centre as it had not majority of its own in the Lok Sabha and as it was very much a minority in the Rajya Sabha. But, RSS experimented its Hindutva radicalization in Gujarat under Modi in 2002, resorting to the pogrom in which more than 2000 Muslims were killed, women were raped, houses were burnt, rendering tens of thousands of families homeless. It was the beginning of the fascist offensive by the RSS parivar.
It was during the Vajpayee government’s time, especially following the Gujarat pogrom, the fascist discourse started in the country. Still, when the Congress led UPA came to power defeating the BJP rule in 2004, it soon forgot the gravity of the situation. While the Manmohan Singh government merrily went ahead implementing the neo-liberal policies, it did not bother to take up the Gujarat pogrom cases with the importance they called for. Though the cases involving Muslim culprits were soon processed and culprits punished, Malegaon like cases in which Pragya Thakur (present MP) is the main accused went on indefinitely. UPA government did not make an evaluation of the Hindutva projects implemented by the Vajpayee government including the 2013 amendments to the 1955 Citizenship Act introducing the NPR and construction of Detention Camps, and reject what is harmful to the existing secular concepts.
On the contrary it went ahead with its soft Hindutva policies to strengthen the vote bank. As corruption became rampant, it used constitutional institutions and enforcement directorates to make the opposition leaders who had corruption charges against them, to fall in line. The Left Front government in W. Bengal in its bid to speed up neoliberal policies fell in 2011 and the whole LF got a setback. In this situation, RSS and its parivar could continue to strengthen its Hindutva offensive without any serious challenge from the UPA government, or from the CPI(M) like parties. So, by the time of 2014 elections, not only Congress and the UPA parties and except BJP led NDA, all other opposition parties were under allegations of corruption or nepotism, seriously alienated from the people. Allegations of corruption were coming forward against many ministers. It was in this atmosphere of all-round corruption charges, Anna Hazare, an old Gandhiyan, launched an anti-corruption movement, with massive mobilization at Ram Lila Grounds, Delhi, demanding the appointment of the Lokpal immediately. It was evident that BJP was very much behind it. In mobilizing support RSS played an important role. Many voluntary organizations as well as large number of bourgeois and petti-bourgeois individuals and groups also got involved in it actively. This included Aravind Kejriwal, present Delhi chief minister, and many of his AAP activists also. The UPA was pushed to more defensive positions.
Using this strong anti-incumbency, anti-UPA atmosphere, and by putting forward a very populist manifesto, the NDA could get comfortable majority with BJP’s position further strengthened. It was like the Congress and other opposition parties who refused to recognize the fascist danger posed by the RSS through BJP rule, and who had no alternative to provide, giving something like a easy walk over for BJP led NDA to come to power under Modi’s leadership.
Very soon RSS plans were clear. It started coming to the forefront more frequently to lead the Hindutva radicalization and under it, in order to intensify the fascistization plans were made for saffronizing the state machinery, as well as all constitutional institutions. What Ambedkar warned was happening. After coming to power through the constitutional process, Modi government started undermining the Constitution and whatever secular, democratic values existed. But, still many of the parties, not only Congress and other ruling class parties, but also CPI(M) led parties refused to recognize the fascistization taking place in front of them; Many of them theorized fascism cannot come to countries like India. Meanwhile, spreading islamophobia, calling everyone opposed to Modi rule anti-national, terrorist had started. So also, the mob lynching, attacks on dalits and women increased. Modi -1 was merrily advancing along the path of intensifying corporate fascist policies. As the opposition parties could not understand the real threat in front of them, they continued to remain arrogant and sectarian; they failed to give a united fight to Modi in the 2019 elections. By that time, the economy was in doldrums and the people were getting devastated through loss of job, unemployment and price rise.
But, by side lining all these issues, spreading muscular nationalism using Pulwama followed by Balakot, BJP got a thumping victory, getting of its own majority in the LS. The rest is very recent history. From Lok Sabha to panchayat, under RSS guidance, BJP is fighting the elections imposing majoritarian Hindutva campaign, terrorizing the opponents, dubbing them Pak agents and traitors. Hindutva radicalization is taken to its zenith, creating atmosphere of extreme hatred and divisiveness; an explosive situation when anything can happen any time. So, even if BJP loses, the RSS fascist steam roller shall push forward, smashing everything before it. This is Hindutva radicalization led by RSS pushing forward fascistization has taken the country to!
The students, youth and women who are spearheading the present upsurge have not made any theorization; they did not wait for classical fascism to come; but when the saffronized Delhi police savagely attacked the Jamia students on 15th December night, they could understand what we saw in Gujarat in 2002 in microform has broken out at all India level, using the banner of AA, NPR, NRC. They had only one option before them, either perish, or resist and advance. They have taken the second path; Shaheen Bagh, and the hundreds of Shaheen Baghs coming up literally all over the country practically everyday reflect this situation. The saffronized Supreme Court is becoming impatient; the Brahminical lords sitting there have started asking: how long this will continue, you have to come under rules and regulations! But the people are retorting by saying, we shall continue till you take back your draconian acts, or till you are thrown out. This is the positive side of the present situation.
But the negative side is that Hindutva radicalization continuing for decades have made the fascist challenge really big. To challenge and demolish it, on the one hand, the ongoing movement has to be carried forward and continuously expanded; at the same time, the struggling people have to be politicized and mobilized for a protracted movement. Are we prepared to take up this challenge, putting forward a people’s alternative before the struggling masses and lead them forward?
The above over view shows how the political degeneration of the parliamentary parties from Congress to social democrats provided the opening for the fascists to reach this stage. Still how many of them are really concerned? How the revolutionary left forces, however small they may be, can we united, speeding forward the party building? Let us take up these cardinal issues on an emergency basis. It is the cardinal question before all those opposed to this fascist reality!
On 24th February when Trump and Modi were displaying bonhomie, and Trumps was spewing Islamophobia boasting about how US administration has put down Islamic terrorists making the largely RSS mobilization at Ahmedabad stadium happy, and the mainstream media was eulogizing these neo-fascists power, Modi’s own RSS men, the Hindutva terrorists, led by BJP leaders indulging in hate speeches had started surrounding the Muslim areas of Northeast Delhi and indulging in large scale arson, looting and killing. As happened in Gujarat in 2002, the police was not visible for two days, or if present, were helping the RSS men on 24th and 25th February, resulting in large scale arson of Muslim shops, workplaces and houses, killing of 23 and bullet injuries to hundreds. By the time Amit Shah opened his mouth giving ‘shoot at sight’ orders to the saffronized Delhi police, and Modi appealed for peace on 26th February, what the RSS wanted was started and realized in a big way, terrorizing the Muslims, in their latest bid to show that the Muslims are entirely responsible to the Anti-CAA, NPR, NRC movement. It was surprising that when a defeated Assembly candidate of BJP, Kapil Misra, could lead the attacks by the RSS men, none of the elected AAP MLAs or leaders of the mainstream opposition parties were also not visible in the streets to support the victims of this aggression by Hindutva forces. Reports from this area on 26th also shows that, in spite of putting the whole area under prohibitory orders and police making flag marches, RSS men are still on the streets and they are still burning down if any shops, factories or houses of Muslims are still remaining in this area. As a result, hundreds of Muslim families are fleeing from their houses to more safe areas in Delhi. Instead of addressing this state of affairs and to arrest the RSS muscle men indulging in these crimes, BJP is justifying their actions by comparing what Congress did in 1984! It is an outright criminal approach! As far as the masses are concerned they unequivocally condemn all criminal acts of pogroms in 1984, 2002 as well as what is happening in Delhi now in order to communalize and suppress the Anti-CAA, NPR, NRC movement.
Modi government cannot justify what the RSS men are doing in the streets of Delhi, indulging in large scale arson and killings by their muscular forces providing state support. A whole section of the population, the Muslims, are subjected to barbarous attacks in order to communalize and brutally suppress a peaceful movement by masses of people, not only Muslims, but also the Dalits, Adivasis and other most backward sections spear headed by the students and women on a large scale. What the Modi government is doing is illegal, unconstitutional and cannot be justified at all. So we demand his government should resign taking responsibility for what is happening in the country to impose the CAA, and to go ahead with the NPR from 1st April, to be followed by the NRC process after 30th September, the entire process aimed at making tens of millions of people stateless, as was done under NRC/Assam in that state, rendering 19 lakhs of residents stateless.
We appeal to the Masses of Muslims undaunted by the criminal attacks by the Modi government, the Dalits, the Adivasis and other most backward sections of people, along with all secular democratic forces who are part of the present Anti-CAA, NPR, NRC movement, to intensify the movement to its highest levels so that the Modi government can be prevented from launching the NPR anywhere in the country. Along with this, let us intensify the campaign demanding the banning of RSS which is the largest, uniformed, trained and armed terrorist organization in the world, as well as the resignation of Modi government which has subverted all its constitutional responsibilities, resorting to criminal acts to impose the majoritarian, Hindutva agenda of fascist RSS.
K N Ramachandran
CPI (ML) Red Star
26th February 2020
As Joe Athilay correctly wrote in the write up published in the Scroll.in, the mighty upsurge sweeping the country has shattered many myths and shaken the society. Very recently I had gone to Kerala, After many decades many big mass mobilizations are taking place up to village level there. In TN, when 4 women on one day used the traditional kolam done in front of their home every day to write No to CAA, No to NRC at Chennai, police arrested them. But thousands of women not only marched to police station and got them released, next day lakhs of household saw the same kolam. The police had to come out saying such kolams are not illegal. Not only mighty mobilization of people, especially students and youth, but such innovative forms of resistance are also becoming wide spread. Such developments are taking place in every state and at Delhi, shaking up the whole country. As Joe has written many myths are getting shattered.
It was in early August, when Amit Shah was dishing out amendments to RTI, UAPA…, scrapping Constitutional provisions like Article 370 etc as in a fast food corner, we came across an article in one portal about the proposed reintroduction of CAB in the Winter Session of parliament and about the Home Ministry’s Circular dated 31st July on starting the NPR from 10th April to 30th September to prepare a NRC at all India level similar to the Assam NRC to be published by 31st August. Recognizing the danger, we held discussions with some of the leading comrades, and based on some material already published in the Red Star monthly, a note on the dangers of this process going to be taken up by the Modi-Shah team, including a counter process to be started by the struggling left and democratic forces. It was sent to our Central Committee comrades, and to a fairly good number of the left and democratic friends. We intensified this process after the Assam NRC was published on 31st August declaring 19,06657 people stateless. Meetings of a dozen or more organizations was convened at Delhi and an Anti-NRC, Anti-Fascist Front was formed. Through Red Star, online RS weekly, and through FB and WhattsApp groups like Anti NRC, a continuous campaign was launched, leading to organizing a rally of 5-6 hundred comrades and mainly people from the basties, from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar by the Front on 14th October, with the slogans: Reject Assam NRC, Withdraw CAB, No to NPR/NRC. Though some of constituents did not agree with the slogans and left, new forces joined. Though mainstream media did not bother, good campaign through social media took place before and after the rally.
The CPI(ML) Red Star had adopted a Path of Revolution in 2011, which asserted the possibility of coordinating the numerous people’s movements and upsurges taking place all over the country and capture of political power through a countrywide mass uprising. The two year long Bhangar movement in W Bengal had proved its possibility, though at micro level. As far as the RSS/BJP is concerned, it is trying through Modi-Shah team, a repetition of what it did in Gujarat, organizing Godhra and the horrific pogrom as its follow up to impose the majoritarian Hindutva hegemony in the state, after its big victory in last Lok Sabha elections. For the arrogant head of RSS, Bhagavat, it is another experiment; even if BJP loses again, the RSS will grow, he states. After parliament adopted the CAB on 11th December, when we called for burning the CAB on 12th, the response was great. Many more forces had started rallying in the anti-CAB movement by this time. And the attack on the Jamia students on 15th followed by attacks on the AMU students, and the resistance during the night by students and others before the police headquarters demanding release of arrested students till early morning started changing the narrative enormously as a catalyst.
But, not only Bhagavat and the mainstream opposition parties, even many among the broad left spectrum refuse to understand the tumultuous changes taking place around the world after the imposing of the neoliberal LPG and corporatization from 1970s taking the exploitation of human labour and nature to most heinous levels, especially after the 2008 imperialist crisis. As the ruling system, not only in the imperialist countries, but in the neo-colonially dependent countries also are taking increasingly ultra right, neo-fascist forms, and the traditional opposition including the social democrats have no alternate stand, mighty uprisings and people’s movements are taking place with millions of people coming out in the streets from the days of Arab Spring starting with Tunisia in 2009. As the very concept of India emerged through renaissance movements and the independence struggle is being challenged by the muscular nationalist, Brahmanical Hindurashtra of RSS, and as the vast masse of people, especially the students and youth are getting severely affected by the unprecedented recession, threatening their jobs, livelihood and basic rights, conditions were being created for the resistance and uprisings by them. What Modi-2 started doing arrogantly within days was alienating and antagonizing them. However hard Modi tried to conceal his aims through a pack of lies, the horrific situation in Kashmir valley and Northeast, in the Detention Camps, coupled with the arrogance of linking citizenship to religion, angered them. So, the over confidence of the RSS/BJP as well as the myths spread by the traditional media and political establishment are shattered. The youth and students, especially the young women are now in th streets throwing up new forms of resistance, challenging the ruling neo-fascist forces.
It is just a beginning. It is not led by any particular force/ forces. It is led mainly by the students and youth who are fed up with the ruling system. Join it with all your might, but do not try to impose your leadership with your half baked ideas, with sectarian, puritan concepts. Understand class struggle is not a tea party or embroidery work. It is the beginning of the festival of the masses. Join it, move along with it, try to understand it, try hard to make it protracted, before theorizing it or judging the very many forces who are part of this torrent, like the variety of forces becoming part of the mighty flow in the Ganges during the floods. Let us be happy that what is happening all over the country from the cities to the villages are exposing the old myths about India, people’s uprisings and that it has shaken the RSS/BJP forces exposing that Modi is not invincible!.
It is in this context, we found the following write up from a young social activist, published in the portel, Scroll.in, very interesting and valuable. Let hundred flowers blossom, let hundreds thought content, so that conditions are created for correct ideas capable of creating social change to emerge. Seeking truth from facts, let us try to approach this upsurge to deepen and develop our understanding, so that it can help to create a new society, a new world.
- TIMO: Modi-Shah are unassailable
There Is Modi Only or TIMO, as one author puts it, was the resounding message of 2019 elections. It took only six months for that notion to get frayed. The combine of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah – once hailed as “forward thinking” politicians who have their finger on the voters’ pulse” more sensitively than anyone else – has been exposed for their sinister designs and divisive agenda. Modi’s fallacious claim that his government had never discussed an NRC was never discussed is a sign that the protests have started weakening the bubble he meticulously created around himself.
- Protests need a central leadership
Protests are generally perceived to need a central leadership, with a single message and directions given from a “control room”. The current protests have proved this wrong. Nobody knows the number of protests happening all around the country. They are happening in big cities, small towns, villages, and even residential colonies in some cities. They are happening during wedding receptions, graduation ceremonies, Christmas carol services and on other unusual occasions.
- Political protests are boring
When ordinary people think about political protests, they imagine long speeches, rhetorical sloganeering and protests in designated places. These protests have broken the template. From using humour and sarcasm, artistic expressions to political sloganeering, from short videos to parodies of popular movie clips, the demonstrations have seen an unique mix of innovative strategies and creative political messaging.
- The Indian middle class fully supports Modi
It’s a cliche that the Indian middle class is apathetic to politics and concerned only about their material wellbeing. They are believed to be Modi devotees. These protests have proved that it’s not the same anymore. Middle-class Indians are finally running out of patience, not just with Citizens Amendment Act and the planned National Register of Citizens but with the country’s crashing economic indicators. They are visible in large numbers at nearly all the protests.
- Youth are only interested in their future careers
Despite many examples to the contrary (including the Independence struggle, the JP movement and the Naxalbari movement), many insist that India’s youth are focussed only on their careers and are indifferent to politics. This isn’t true. Not only are young people participating in protests, they in fact are leading them.
- No one can beat the Hindutva social media strategy
While the Bharatiya Janata Party’s thousands of paid social media workers are unmatched for their numbers and money power, these protests have shown how the same social media, when used carefully, be a potent weapon to mobilise and coordinate protests, despite the state trying to partly shut down internet in some cities and completely in some other.
- Party manifestos don’t need to be taken seriously
Party manifestos, at best, have been an intellectual exercise for most of the political parties, not taken seriously. Except for isolated attempts, there have been no political or civil society initiatives to hold parties to account for what is written or missing in manifestos before or after the elections. Not anymore. With Amit Shah justifying the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution which gave Kashmir special status and moving the Citizenship Amendment Act by noting that this had been promised in the BJP manifesto, it would serve voters well to scrutinise manifestos closely hereafter.
- Indian society is so polarised, we won’t stand up for each other
The concerted effort by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and its political wing, the BJP, over the years have been successful in creating significant rifts between India’s communities, especially Hindus and Muslims. While it is too early to say that communal harmony is restored, there are signs that many Indians have seen through the divisive tactics of these Hindutva groups. Among the signs that the climate is changing: stories of Hindu friends standing guard for Muslims while they are offering namaz during protests and in the curfew-hit Uttar Pradesh, Hindus forming a safety ring around a Muslim wedding procession, or a church choir reacting to Modi’s barb about being able to identify protestors “by the clothes they wear” by wearing Muslim attire.
- The age of street protests is over. Now it’s about managing public opinion through better public relations
After the 2014 elections, mainstream politics seemed to have become a public relations exercise, with event management and marketing companies being engaged by parties to run their campaigns. They framed slogans like Chai pe charcha, Abki baar Modi Sarkar and Lage raho Kerjiwal. These were choreographed for different audience and mediums of communications, making politics more of a spectacle. Street protests becoming a dirty word. That explains why parties and party leaders express their dissent on Twitter, but are rarely seen on streets. The protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens have reclaimed that lost space. No longer are protests confined to enclosed areas designated by the police, which have to be wound up by 6.30 pm. Whether prohibitions against the public gatherings are in force or not, protestors are reestablishing their voices across India.