A group of people gathered outside the indian embassy yesterday. There were songs played, a speech held and slogans shouted. Embassy staff came to the entrance to complain. We asked the staff to open the door to talk but they refused. Instead a hostile man came out as people were leaving and he took a photo. Comrades stopped him from taking more photos calling him a “hindu fascist”. The embassy staff called the police and four cars came in high speed trying to find participants, but they couldn´t.
The follow speech was held outside the embassy:
“We are here today under the slogan Stop India’s War on the People. Why do we use this quite broad slogan? Because we want to gather as many people as possible against the Indian ruling classes and its government.
We want to be a part of a resistance against their furious attacks on the people. Conducting massacres has a political cost, but it is quite low if no one knows. Today, the dominant image of India is still “the world’s largest democracy”.
India is ruled by a Hindu fascist government that sells the country and creates ever-increasing poverty.
-They propel fascist lynch mobs who murder, burn people alive with the rationale that they have damaged cows that are sacred to them.
-They have passed a law saying that Muslim refugees cannot become citizens of India.
-They are waging a war against the people of Kashmir and against the minorities in north-east India and against the adivasis in central India.
The war agianst the Naxalites is now being fought with 600,000 thousand troops.
-These troops shoot at crowds
-Shooting with artillery against villages
-Rape and murder women
The Indian state imprisons those who openly criticize them and defend the people. They have imprisoned many intellectuals and even music artists.
One of those they have imprisoned is Saibaba who played an important role in spreading international solidarity for the people’s struggle in India. He was here in Sweden where we met him a few years ago.
Although he was wheelchair-bound, he traveled around different countries to talk about the struggle of the people. Saibaba is an incredibly knowledgeable and inspirational person and well known among anti-imperialist intellectuals in various parts of the world.
On May 9, 2014, he was arrested and is still being held under severe conditions and despite being severely ill.
Saibaba is a symbol of international solidarity.
Saibabai must be released!
What then do the Naxalites say about this situation?
They say there is a lot of aggression from the ruling classes but that it expresses that the enemy is desperate.
They write, among other things, like this in a document from last year:
-Let us successfully fulfill our role in speeding up the mobilization and united struggles of proletarian revolutionary forces, oppressed nationalities and oppressed people in order to wipe out the imperialists and reactionaries all over the world!
-Let us mobilize lakhs and crores of oppressed people into the
Protracted People’s War going on in the leadership of our Party and
expand the People’s War all over the country!
How, then, do we relate to this strongest revolutionary struggle in the world?
The international support for the people’s struggle in India today is rather weak. If we had 3-4 comrades who put their soul into the support work, we would certainly have a support work that very well would serve important political goals.
We should do it. Why?
-Because their fight is a torch of hope that lights new fires.
-Because their struggle is ours, because we are part of the same great anti-imperialist struggle.
-For the international solidarity is strengthening the movement in India and giving hope to the comrades who are fighting huge enemy.
Support the struggle of the people in India!
The highest incidence of Covid deaths are seen in developed countries, thought to have better treatment facilities. Though one can think of many reasons, the main culprit is the neo-liberal policies that have curtailed public health services. Lack of timely treatment is one of the leading causes of deaths in the United States and Italy. Many received no treatment at all. For the vast majority of the poor who do not have health insurance in the United States (the majority of African-Americans and Spanish speaking Hispanics), even primary care is impossible.
The same is true of the unemployed middle class. Therefore, they would not have gone to a doctor as soon as they felt ill. By the time they are forced to go, the disease would have gone out of control. Lack of adequate equipment or staff made matters worse. Trump and other imperialist rulers exhibited the heights of selfish irresponsibility at the outset. Rather than caring for the health of the people, their concern was to maintain routine, profit-seeking economic activities. This too contributed to the galloping death rate seen over there. Such a huge loss has been caused by a disease that has a death rate of barely two per cent. This sharply brings out the sheer incompetence and anti-people character of neo-liberalism and its progenitor, capitalism.
The role of these criminals doesn’t end there. There are those who argue that the advent of such pathogens is incidental, none can stop it. Then there are those who think that shortcomings can, at the most, be identified in the measures taken to deal with it. There are those who describe it as a punishment delivered by nature and those who oppose this. Nature certainly hasn’t come as some sort of a transcendental power to punish us. Neither will it do that in future. Yet, something of that sort has surely taken place, in the sense of Engels’ words.
Engels wrote that though man may boast that he has conquered nature, he will, in the end, be given a heavy blow by nature, reminding him who the true master really is. What he meant was the consequences of human actions. These words, which exposed the hollowness of capitalist claims, also hinted at the danger of its destructive development approach.
That is well seen in the origins and spread of today’s Corona pandemic. Some have reduced the matter to genetic causes alone. Thereby they hide the role played by imperialist relations that bind the world. That role is scientifically analysed and argued out in the upcoming lead article of the Monthly Review’s May issue (jointly written by Rob Wallace, Alex Liebman, Louis Fernando Shaw, and Roderick Wallace).
They too start from the wet meat market in Wuhan. But they don’t get bogged down in the food habits of the Chinese, seen as strange in the orientalist gaze of the imperialist world. Rather, their essay enters into the social and economic relations that are revealed by this market. “How did the exotic food sector arrive at a standing where it could sell its wares alongside more traditional livestock in the largest market in Wuhan?” – this is where they begin from.
They point out, “Well beyond fisheries, worldwide wild food is an increasingly formalised sector, evermore capitalised by the same sources backing industrial production.” A chain extends back from the Wuhan market to the hinterlands where exotic and traditional foods are raised by operations bordering the edge of a contracting wilderness. And then a number of trading/transportation chains link up such centers to different countries and big cities. The corona virus arrived, traveling over it, much like SARS that came before it.
Some multinational corporations, such as Johnson & Johnson, have prepared a feasibility map marking where new germ cells may appear in the future. The geographic view that they adopted points to Third world countries,. The Monthly Review essay criticises this approach. It points out, “Focusing on outbreak zones ignores the relations shared by global economic actors that shape epidemiologies.” When these relations are taken into consideration, not Third world countries, but the main sources of global capital — New York, London, and Hong Kong — turn out to be the worst hotspots. These new viruses harmful to humans spread from wild life. Much of that is happening today at the boundaries of capitalism. That is, in the remaining forest areas. Deforestation destroys the habitats of disease-carrying wildlife, thus creating conditions for its spreading out. Within a few days, the new pathogens that began their journey from sparsely populated forests, spread out across the globe, sheltered by a globalisation straddling time and space.
The crux of this essay may be summarised thus: Viruses that had been largely contained through the complexities of the tropical forests have entered the mainstream through the deforestation caused by capital, and deficits in public health and environmental sanitation.
In short, the changes in livelihood conditions and environmental conditions of the vast majority, caused by globalisation and neo-liberal policies, lie at the root of the present tragedy. Its primary solution is the destruction of the imperialist system and the success of the Communist project. That is the only path to realise a humaneness that values human life and redeems nature, of which those lives too are a part.
In fact, both Cuba and Vietnam point to that possibility. They are not socialist countries today. They are countries that have been re-entangled by imperialist relations in one or the other manner, by the restoration of capitalism. When China increased its wages, global monopolies moved to Vietnam. However, some remnants of the socialist era still persist.
The health sector is still largely in the public sector. There are organisations that can contribute voluntary service on a large scale. These countries have been aided by such factors in fighting the pandemic. One can see how the achievements of the old socialist era have benefited China too, now an imperialist country. Keralam, where the public health sector has been largely defended through mass struggles, has been able to combat Corona in a better manner compared to other Indian states. Meanwhile, big private sector hospitals inhumanly turn away people who approach them with a cold or fever.
It remains to be seen how long this will last. The impact that Corona has created is sure to bring about a resurgence in public health care. However, its subordination to the dynamics of capital will impose barriers. The memory of capital is rather weak. There is a good chance that the demands of profit will once again force the public sector to yield to privatisation. Even if the public health system is retained, it could be used as a great source of data that serves capital. That is what was seen in the Springler deal*, which allowed data collection hardly bothering about individual privacy.
Data collected in the guise of serving the public health service could become raw material for pharmaceuticals, insurance companies and others. This is a new, more dangerous, level of privatisation. Capital will be able to profit while hiding behind the structures of the public sector; absolutely indirectly. The same holds for the health app Modi is promoting.
It’s not enough to have a public sector. It must be one that truly serves the people. That will be possible only when it becomes part of a transition towards a society that eliminates the divide between the private and public in the economy and infrastructure. If this is to be revived in any country in the world, not as a shadow of socialism but as a transition to communism, as a continuing revolution, it must be guided by the current heights of communist theory.
11th April 2020
Over the last six years, the health of Dr. G. N. Saibaba, incarcerated in Nagpur Central Jail, has deteriorated alarmingly. Prof. Saibaba is a teacher of English at the University of Delhi and is a human rights activist. Due to post-polio residual paralysis of his lower limbs, he is over ninety percent physically disabled and wheelchair bound. Since incarceration, he has developed severe additional ailments that have resulted in irreparable loss to his health. On May 9th 2014, he was abducted from Delhi by the Maharashtra Police and charged under several sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). None of the electronic documents supposedly seized from G.N. Saibaba’s house were displayed in the court or tested through any witness or made part of the course of evidence. These electronic documents were directly brought only as part of 313 statement, and not the main course of evidence. The judge rejected all Supreme Court judgments regarding bringing these documents which were not part of the course of evidence as part of 313. These documents used were not a part of the trial. Gadchiroli Sessions court gave life imprisonment on March 7th 2017 to Dr. GN Saibaba along with five others. Excluding a brief reprieve in 2016, he has been kept in the solitary anda cell of Nagpur Central Jail since arrest. With Indian jails filled beyond capacity and lacking in basic medical facilities, and with the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping across the country particularly affecting the aged and those with serious pre-existing medical conditions, Dr. G. N. Saibaba’s future looks exceedingly bleak.
Throughout his political life, Dr. G. N. Saibaba has been a vocal advocate for the rights of Adivasis, Dalits, Muslims and other oppressed communities. He has spoken against the state sponsored attack on people in Central India under Operation Green Hunt. He stood by his students and advocated for democratic principles and social justice within the university. He has never shied away from speaking his mind and has worked tirelessly to uphold the spirit of democracy. While hospitals in Nagpur and jail authorities have stated that they lack of facilities needed to care for a person with such severe disabilities and ailments, he remains incarcerated, untreated and denied bail. Nonetheless, he retains the spirit of struggle, even when dehumanised by the lack of medical facilities and denied the basic fundamental right of a life with dignity.
Dr. G. N. Saibaba suffers severe physical pain caused by the degeneration of muscles in his hands. He is plagued by pancreatitis, high blood pressure, Cardiomyopathy, chronic back pain, immobility and sleeplessness. The weather conditions of Nagpur, magnified by the windowless solitary anda cell have even strained the functioning of his heart. Consequently, his physical ailments intensified while the lack of pain relief and neglect due to inadequate medical facilities further debilitate his already fragile health. Despite interventions made by the National Human Rights Commission and authorities of international human rights organizations, the Courts have repeatedly denied him bail.
The Supreme Court of India has upheld the right to life and reflected on prisoners observing that “the treatment of a human being which offends human dignity, imposes avoidable torture and reduces the man to the level of a beast would certainly be arbitrary and can be questioned under Article 14”. India is also a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which recognises the inherent dignity of human beings and the ideal of free human beings enjoying civil and political freedom. Furthermore, India has ratified the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) on October 1st 2007. India has even adopted the United Nations Resolution 70/175 on Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (also known as the Nelson Mandela Rules). These covenants, conventions and resolutions ensure life and dignity to all persons, prisoners and persons with disabilities and layout the essential parameters necessary for its implementation. When the National Crime Records Bureau states that prisons across the country prison are filled at 117% with Maharashtra exceeding the average at 149%, the impact of the spread of the COVID-19 virus in such a space is likely to be a death sentence for Dr. Saibaba.
The Committee for the Defense and Release of Dr. GN Saibaba fears for his life and appeals to the Government of India and the Government of Maharashtra for the immediate release of Dr. G. N. Saibaba, in light of the impending threat to his life from the COVID-19 virus. The committee urges all democratic organizations and individuals to appeal for the release of all political prisoners.