Finding a discarded statue of Marx and kissing it
21 Jan. 2008 When the Left gets it wrong by Derek Wall
We all the know the story. A government sets up a blandly named ‘Export Processing Zone’ within it trade union rights and other forms of worker protection are suspended. Workers often young women are paid a few cents an hour for trainers or clothes that retail for big dollars. Multinationals are tempted in by near zero labour costs and jobs sucked out from countries and regions that treat workers like human beings instead of little more than slaves.
Along with appalling working conditions and high levels of pollution, come land seizures, the world over peasants are turfed off their plots in corrupt land deals and pushed into destitution.
It makes you want, in a world where capitalism rules, to find a discarded statue of Karl Marx and kiss it. However in West Bengal the ruling Marxists in a post-Maoist guise, are selling out the peasants and welcoming in the multinationals. When the left act just like the right, the political choice becomes seemingly impossible. In Nandigram in West Bengal, the Communist Party(M), originally a pro Mao splinter, which has been in power for decades, has seized land from peasants to make way for an Indonesian chemical works. The peasants have resisted and have been attacked and even killed by ruling party militants.
‘This month, communist party cadres broke that resistance by forcing their way in and shooting at villagers, locals said. Opposition parties said innocent villagers who fought communist cadres had been killed and their bodies carried away.
This week in a further embarrassment for the communists, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee admitted that Nandigram had been a “political and administrative failure.” http://in.reuters.com/article/topNews/idINIndia-30852220071206
Leftist intellectuals like Noam Chomsky and Tariq Ali have supported the government, claiming that it is wrong given the dominance of Bush to divide a socialist party that oppose the Iraq War. Even the West Bengal feminists are divided despite allegations of rape at Nandigram, part of the process of softening up the peasants to push down protest. http://www.stuffedandstarved.org/drupal/node/259
It doesn’t stop with the violence at Nandigram. The Indian peoples car the Nano Tata, which have heard so much about, is also built in a factory in West Bengal, guess what local peasants say their land has been taken illegally to build it. So if you have been intrigued to see Indian protesters burning effigies of the Nano, you now know that they are not local members of West Bengal Greenpeace. The Times of India report that protesters in New Delhi had t-shirt with the slogan “The ($2,500) car has Singur people’s blood on it.”
When the left gets if wrong, it is vital that those of us on the left make our voices heard, politics involves difficult choices and the temptation is to remain silent in a world where the left is weak globally. But not to speak out is simply wrong, I support the peasants whose land has been seized and have even died for speaking out.