February 21st is celebrated as "Red Book Day" by leftist publications around the world to commemorate the first publishing of the Communist Manifesto on 21st February 1848.
The left publishers and in social media a week long ‘Read Red Books campaign’ is being organized since 14th February to culminate the campaign on 21st February. It is not just a reading of the Communist Manifesto, but also observed as an expression of solidarity with the victims of the onslaught of right-wing forces around the world.
Observing Red Books Day on 21st February, on the occasion of 173rd anniversary of the publication of the Communist Movement is used as an occasion to go through the experience of the communist movement during this period. If the origin of the Communist Manifesto was in the midst of significant ideological struggle against utopian socialist concepts and anarchist tendencies, its publication and the ongoing workers’ movements led to the whole camp of reaction coming together to suppress the revolutionary dawn it called for. As we have seen during the Paris Commune, all forces of reaction across Europe including the Pope joined hands to suppress it. Still its message reached the workers and oppressed people, and they led momentous struggles to become strong enough by the 1960s to challenge the imperialist system and make themselves heard everywhere.
But, the communist movement globally started facing a setback with the usurpation of power by the revisionists led by the Krushchovites who succeeded to weaken the ICM. The setback in China also intensified weakening of the communist movement. Though the struggle against growing imperialist trend around the world is increasing and many historic people’s movements and mass upsurges are sweeping around the world, the communist parties or organizations are so weak that they are incapable to come to the leadership of this movement.
But the situation is changing fast. Objective conditions are becoming right for revolutionary changes in many countries. And our country itself is in the middle of a historic farmers’ movement against corporatization of agriculture. This will give rise to the growth of all anti-fascist forces and they are joining hands with the struggling forces to create new wave of revolutions.
At this juncture the re-publication of the Communist Manifesto has significance. Let us take initiative to bring out more Marxist classics in different languages. Let us also become part of this initiative.
Red Star Publications
Delhi police under central HM Amit Shah has a notorious of protecting the RSS goons who have openly called for butchering Muslims and political opponents during the anti-CAA movement, Delhi assembly elections, before Northeast Delhi riots and after the farmers denied permission to enter Delhi and present their demands to government started siege of the capital from 27th November. As a cover up for the sabotage planed by Amit Shah with top cops of Delhi and RSS goons to infiltrate and create violence including a raising of a religious flag at Red Fort, keeping its doors open and removing the military guards protecting it for a day, creating all the disturbances that happened by diverting a small fraction of the rally to this area by erecting barricades at strategic points, these criminals in Khaki, top bosses of Delhi cops have come out with a cock and bull story that it is a team of environmentalists in India, Disha Ravi, Nikita Jacob and Shantanu sharing a tool kit from Greta Thunberg who lead an environmental movement internationally, had conspired with Khalistanis to create disturbances and vandalize Delhi and its Red Fort on the rally day!
After creating all the disturbances that happened on 26th January killing a truck driver in police firing also using the RSS goons till afternoon, and then attacking the rallyists in its name, the Delhi police, which has the record of the horrific attacks on the Jamia and JNU students last year, and has not filed any FIR against anyone still, which had alleged the whole farmers movement as Khalistani led, and filed FIRs against all farm leaders for instigating all the criminal incidents on rally day, has now come out with this story and abducted Disha from her home and now searching for the other two who have sought bail from Mumbai High Court, to escape from Modi-Amit Shah teams’ fascistized police.
History teaches that, those who follow Hitler and Mussolini will definitely face the fate decided by the people. As it is the people who create history as they are already on the move in our vast country, no force on earth can save the fascists and their mercenaries from the fate going to be drafted by the great people of this country. Fascists always commit blunders which dig their own graves. Turning against the students and youth who are fighting for a new world, defeating the efforts of these fascists who are leading the earth to an ecological catastrophe, they have challenged all the students and youth of this country. Along with the struggling farmers and the working class who are also going to join the farmers soon, the new generation shall dig the graves for these enemies of humanity. We appeal to all compatriots to come out to oppose this fascist reign of terror; let us demand our voice against the witch hunt against the environmentalists; Let us demand immediate release of Disha Rawi!
CPI(ML) Red star
15th February 2021
Justice P B Savant who was always taking uncompromising stand against the Manuvadi Hindutva forces serving corporate interests and trying to transform India into a Hindurashtra and who stood firmly with secular democratic forces passed away today. He was 91. He found time always to stand with those who are fighting for ecological protection and for an alternative development path. He has addressed some of the most important conventions on democratic rights and anti nuclear movements in which we were involved.
With his departure the people's movement loses a consistent spokesperson. CPI (ML) Red Star extend heartfelt condolences to his family members and to his large number of associates and friends.
CPI (ML) Red Star
15th February 2021
If disengagement claimed by Modi Rule is factual, follow it with highest level talks and full-scale border agreement!
Withdraw military to camps; leave border security to BSF!
When the border dispute between India and China flared up leading to the death of twenty Indian military men, we had called for an end to WAR MONGERING; we demanded that these disputes are left-overs from the colonial period, and settled through bi-lateral discussions! We don’t want another border war; People primarily want bread, housing, healthcare, education, employment and peace, not jingoism using border disputes!
We had then pointed out how even boundary demarcations were used by British colonialists as part of their ‘divide and rule’ policy.
Contrary to the stand taken during independence struggle, Congress governments had failed to settle the border disputes. During the last seven years under Modi rule, the relations with all neighbouring countries have further worsened on the one hand due to its Islamophobia, and on the other because of its increasing role in the Asia-Pacific axis strengthened by US to serve its inter-imperialist contradictions with China.
We had also appealed to the Chinese people that as both the governments of India and China are worsening the border conflict which both of us do not want, in order to evade their responsibility of fulfilling the basic needs of the people and work for peace, both are whipping up war jingoism. We appealed to both peoples who have the heritage of long standing fraternal relations between our two great peoples, to the Nepalese people and people of all other neighbouring countries to not allow the reactionary ruling classes of our countries to divide us in the name of border disputes, a leftover from the colonial days, Islamophobia and racism; let us work together to refrain our governments from dragging us to border wars which will lead to the loss of lives of many more of our jawans in the army in all our countries as cannon fodder to serve the interests of imperialists and their junior partners, and make life more miserable to us, the vast majority of the toiling common people.
In spite of this appeal, and the desire of the people, and the campaign based on it, the border conflict went on escalating leading to deployment of huge military and air force by both sides, and taking up of hasty infrastructure development further degrading the ecology of fragile Himalayan region. It also led to frantic purchase of weapons and equipment costing billions of rupees as well as forcing tens of thousands of jawans on both sides to stay in su-zero temperatures during this winter.
From all available reports and facts, it is clear that Modi government could not gain anything through this seven month old conflict, as it was continuing to claim. Instead it has only aggravated its relations with China, making conditions more difficult to carry forward this agreement on LAC to complete settlement of the entire India-China border. Using these evident weaknesses, Congress is trying to project itself as more militant in order to score a point over Modi. Such approaches will only aggravate the situation. What is needed is that all opposition parties and progressive forces should put pressure on Modi government to go beyond the present disengagement to settlement of the entire border disputes to make all border areas an area of friendship and peace. It will promote the interests of the people, and weaken the US led imperialists’ efforts to stir up border conflicts to promote their war industry. The same approach should be followed for settling the still pending border disputes with Nepal and other countries also.
But it is too much to expect from the corporate fascist Modi government. For intensifying its strangle-hold over power, and to advance its junior partner relation with the US, Modi government will not hesitate to throw away the agreement on LAC in the western sector, to start another anti-China tirade to please the US imperialism. Only the revolutionary left forces can resist and defeat such chauvinist policies of Modi and resolve the border disputed also as part of the Anti-fascist agenda of the people’s movement against fascism.
CPI(ML) Red Star
15th February 2021
Sunita Narain, Down to Earth (CSE)
As Indians break into 2021 with the fervent hope that it will be different from last year’s devastating pandemic, we have angry faces staring us down. Farmers — many thousands — have gathered peacefully at the doorsteps of the nation’s capital, demanding that the government repeal the recently formulated agriculture-related laws. There is a lot of noise on who is right and who is wrong. But this protest should challenge us to think — not as researchers or academics or even policy wonks, but as consumers of food that farmers grow.
The question we need to ask is why does the food that we consume need to be subsidised? Why are farmers, not just the ones camping in the bitter cold at the capital’s borders, but also the voiceless silent majority, demanding price support? Are they unproductive and lazy?
The fact is that across the world — even, and especially, in the rich world — agriculture is heavily funded by governments. Paris-based inter-governmental think-tank Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) estimates support to this sector through what it calls producer support, as a percentage of gross farming receipts.
It finds that in rich countries like Japan, South Korea, Norway and Iceland, producer support ranged between 40 and 60 per cent of the gross farming receipt in 2019. In the United States it is roughly 12 per cent and in the European Union (EU) it is 20 per cent.
But in India, the producer support — what the government pays as a percentage of the farming receipt — is actually negative (-5 per cent). In other words, the farming sector, owned and managed by some of the poorest people in the world, subsidises what we eat.
But that’s not all. Rich countries are also innovating fast to support their farming sector in the time of growing climate change risks — the payment is not paid directly for production, but is conditional to the farming sector adopting practices that are more sustainable.
The EU’s Common Agricultural Policy will now be directed towards ecosystem services payment to farmers. So, more subsidy, but with new names. In this way, almost all large food-producing countries include subsidies as part of their social and environmental welfare measures.
The subsidy may be given through direct payments to farmers or through support pricing for certain crops, or through investment into key agricultural inputs like water, fertilisers and seeds.
It is in this world that farmers of the poorer world — including those from India’s rich states of Punjab and Haryana — have to compete.
First, they are disadvantaged because they do not get the financial support needed to make farming lucrative. Second, when their crops become costly due to either extreme weather or other reasons of scarcity, the government steps in to import cheaper food. Our farmers suffer at both ends.
It is for this reason that farmers are demanding a minimum support price (MSP) as an insurance against price volatility. At present, there is no doubt that the system is broken. While MSP is fixed for 22 crops, in reality, it is used only for a few crops — wheat and paddy, where the government has a procurement system.
It is this reason that the farmers of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh are up in arms, fearing that the system will be disbanded. They grow wheat and rice that is mostly procured by the government.
But for the remaining crops, MSP is an empty promise. As my colleague Richard Mahapatra has analysed in his recent article on the farm support, the market does not end up paying the price that is required to the farmers.
According to the government’s own data, almost 70 per cent of the market transactions for 10 select crops in 600 wholesale markets were at prices lower than MSP.
The key issue is what should be the price of food? The fact is that the cost of inputs is increasing — from seeds and water to labour. Then there is the fact that the risks are increasing because of extreme weather due to climate change. In this way, farmers need to be paid both for the increased cost of growing food and for the increased risk of loss of crops.
Indian farmers invest huge amounts of private capital into building infrastructure for their operations, unlike any private company or industry. They pay to build irrigation facilities — more than half of the irrigated land uses groundwater. Some 19 million wells and tube wells have been built with private capital.
Nobody pays for this — in fact, the computation of MSP is rigged against the farmer because the government needs to ensure that the cost of food is cheap for its procurement system and stays affordable. The worst fear of any government is food inflation, as consumers then fret and fume.
This is when government imports food to drive down prices — food from rich countries, where food growing is subsidised and against whom our farmers cannot compete. It is time we talked about the real cost of our food, about how to benefit farmers who grow our food. This is not a business we can afford to lose.
This is what the farmers at our doorstep want us to discuss. Let’s not let them down.