Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ten North East Students Attacked in Delhi


Two Serious Injured, One Admitted in ICU
No FIR Registered, No Action to Arrest the Culprits

New Delhi, February 27, 2013
Ten North East students attacked at Delhi, two seriously injured, and one admitted in ICU. Delhi Police delayed in registering FIR and no action taken to apprehend the culprits. The racial attack on North East India continues in the national capital. In active of Delhi police is the matter of concern.

According to the source reaching to the North East Helpline, ten North East boys from Manipur were attacked by a group of unknown people on 24 February night in Delhi University campus. While they were returning after dropping one of their friends in DU hostel, a group numbering 8 to 9 people came from behind attacked on them with sticks. When they raised their voice and tried to defend themselves, the culprits fled from the spot. Two of them suffer seriously and one still in Intensive Care Unit, while others suffered.

They received first AID from DU clinic, and then referred to Hindu Rao Hospital, where the admission was denied, then latter taken to St. Parmanant Hospital. The Doctors on Duty at St Parmanant Hospital informed Police and the police took the statement from the victims. A medical legal case is registered at the hospital.

A group of student from Manipur went to Maurice Nagar Police Station to register the complaint in written. The police official has taken the footage of CCTV installed at the place where the incident took place. The police have shown the footage to the students who went to registered the complaint. The police have given assurance to arrest the culprits.

NE Helpline has contacted the Maurice Police Station and found out that no FIR is registered until the filing of this report. Delay in registering the FIR and inactive of Delhi police is the matter of the concern for the North East communities living in Delhi and NCR, who have been constantly targeted for racial attack and sexual violence.
North East Helpline appeals to the Delhi police to register the case against the attackers as per the instruction given by Union Home Ministry in 2012 to book the racial attackers under the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe Prevention of Atrocity Act and appeals the Delhi Government to compensate to the victims.

North East Support Centre & Helpline (www.nehelpline.net) is combined initiative of various human rights activists, social workers, students, journalists, and lawyers seeking to prevent harassment and abuses meted out to women, North East People, and tribal communities of different states.

Meredith Tax: An Expedient Alliance? The Muslim Right and the Anglo-American Left


Ironically, the embrace by some leftists of Islamic fundamentalism mirrors distortions about Islam put about by anti-immigrant conservatives. The far Right talks as if all Muslims were potential terrorists, while the far Left talks as if Salafi-Jihadis represented all Muslims. Both ignore the fact that the vast majority of Muslims are like everybody else: they just want to survive and live their lives in peace.
I was recently in London to launch my book Double Bind: the Muslim Right, the Anglo-American Left, and Universal Human Rights, published by a new transnational think tank, the Centre for Secular Space. (The New York City launch is Friday, March 1.) The event took place in Tower Hamlets, once a center of Jewish immigration, now largely Muslim and a site of intense struggle between South Asian secularists and fundamentalists. According to Ansar Ahmedullah, a community organizer who spoke at the launch, his group had planned a demonstration in a park near the East London Mosque to express solidarity with the Shahbagh protest currently convulsing Bangladesh. When they arrived at the park, they found it full of Salafis who had come out of the nearby mosque to prevent the demonstration. A six-hour standoff ensued, with violent attacks on several protesters.
One of the fiercest struggles in world politics today is taking place between Muslim fundamentalists and secularists who want to separate religion and the state. In the United States, at least among academics and feminists, great efforts have been made to obscure this struggle and to delegitimize secularists as passé. I recently saw an email whose writer describes my book Double Bind—without having read it, since it has not yet been released—as the work of “a U.S. supporter of Zionism who has been pushing an Islamophobic line against the antiwar movement, using Muslims or ex-Muslims for a veneer of legitimacy.” To characterize any Muslim who dares to criticize other Muslims as a pawn of people like me is a ridiculous insult to Asian feminists. By delegitimizing the discussion, the writer embraces the framing of the Muslim Right and, in effect, sides with the Salafists in East London who tried to prevent the demonstration in the local park.
Double Bind is about this dynamic, and what happens when the Left takes up the language and framing of the Muslim Right. I define the Muslim Right as a range of transnational political movements that mobilize identity politics toward the goal of a theocratic state. It consists of those the media call “moderate Islamists,” who aim to reach this goal gradually by electoral and educational means; extremist Salafi parties and groups that run candidates for office but also try to enforce some version of Sharia law through street violence; and a much smaller militant wing of Salafi-Jihadis, whose propaganda endorses military means and who practice violence against civilians. The goal of all political Islamists, whatever means they may prefer, is a state founded upon some version of Sharia law that systematically discriminates against women along with sexual and religious minorities.
Historically, the Left has stood for very different values—at least in principle: separation between religion and the state; social equality; an end to discrimination against women and minorities; economic justice; opposition to imperialist and racist wars. In the last ten years, however, some groups on the far Left have allied with conservative Muslim organizations that stand for religious discrimination, advocate death for those they consider apostates, oppose gay rights, subordinate women, and seek to impose their views on others through violence. This support of the Muslim Right has undermined struggles for secular democracy in the Global South and has spread from the far Left to feminists, the human rights movement, and progressive donors... Read more:

The Taliban’s new, more terrifying cousin

Source: The Atlantic
Abdul Amir (as we’ll call him), a chemistry teacher in Quetta, Pakistan, was taking an afternoon nap on Feb. 16 when his house began to shake and the earth let out an almighty roar. His mother and sisters started screaming and ran out of the house, but by the time they gathered in the street, the noise had already stopped. He climbed to the roof to get a better view of what happened and saw a thick cloud of bright white smoke, a mile south, suspended above the market place where his students would be buying snacks after their weekend English classes. He rushed back down to the ground, started his motorcycle and took off toward ground zero, knowing all the while that this was foolish – during a bombing five weeks before, the people who came to help were killed by a second explosion.
Still he raced through the streets, swerving around people running away from the bomb, finally arriving at a scene even worse even than he’d feared. The blast had been so powerful that the market hadn’t been destroyed so much as it had been deleted, as had the people shopping there and those in buildings nearby. Everything within 100 meters was simply flattened, and all that remained were the metal skeletons of a few flaming vehicles and the chemical smell of synthetic materials burning. Abdul would find more than fifty of his students were injured. One of his favorite students would die from her wounds six days later.
In all, 17 students and two teachers in just one school would be killed, their bodies mostly unrecoverable. No secondary bomb went off that day, but it didn’t need to, because the message to first responders had been heard: So few ambulances showed up that people were relegated to ferrying their dead and dismembered in their own cars.
For the Hazaras, a group of Shia Muslims from Afghanistan with a large population in Pakistan, leaving the house has become a fraught enterprise. Schools have emptied, students stay home and parents try to explain to their children why people want them dead. They believe their government is at best uninterested in protecting them, and many are so traumatized they believe it’s complicit. The Feb. 16 bombing killed 85 people, almost all of them Hazaras, and the number is still rising as people succumb to their wounds. About a month prior, another attack had killed 96 people who were also almost all Hazaras. The victims are not bystanders; they are a people who are being exterminated.
The group doing the killing is called Lashkar e Jhangvi, “The Army of Jhangvi” or LEJ. They are Sunnis whose agenda is not much more nuanced than killing Shias. Though South Asia is a region rife with internecine conflict, with factions who have fought each other for all of recent history over land and religion, these attacks are unique. Even in a region violence visits far too often, what’s happening now is singular, and it’s getting worse.
First it was snipers picking off civilians, then LEJ members began stopping busses, shooting Shia passengers and leaving their bodies on the roadsides. Now, LEJ is using massive bombs in places frequented by Shia civilians: social clubs, computer cafes, markets and schools. About 1,300 people have been killed in these attacks since 1999, according to a website dedicated to raising awareness about them. More than 200 have been killed so far this year.
Hazaras are one kind of Shia for which LEJ has a particular fascination. Quetta sits just below the border with Afghanistan, and it’s the city where members of a Shia group from Afghanistan–the Hazaras–have sought refuge whenever they’ve felt their own country doesn’t want them. They’ve been coming to Quetta for over a hundred years, but while they’re coming in search of safety, they’re now being met with slaughter. Over Afghanistan’s long and tumultuous history, just about every group has suffered, but the Hazaras have the unique misfortune of being both Shia when most of the country is Sunni, and of looking different from other Afghans. Hazaras are Asiatic, having descended from Buddhist pilgrims or from Genghis Khan (or both). So if one is hell-bent on destroying Shias, Hazaras make really good targets: They can’t blend in. The LEJ can simply seek out Asian faces and kill them.
Hazaras are hysterical now, holding protests wherever there’s a sizable enough diaspora. In Quetta, where the killings are taking place, Hazaras decided not to bury their dead until the government took action because they are desperate for their suffering to be seen. They’re beginning to use the term “genocide,” and while it may be an exaggeration for what LEJ has accomplished thus far, it’s certainly not for what they aspire to do. “We are solely fighting this war in Allah’s name,” a spokesman for LEJ told local media, “which will end in making Balochistan a graveyard for the Shias.” In an open letter that began to circulate a year and a half ago, LEJ made plain their belief that “all Shi’ites are worthy of killing. We will rid Pakistan of unclean people. Pakistan means land of the pure and the Shi’ites have no right to live in this country.”
And as if to acknowledge that theirs is not merely a sectarian conflict but an ethnic one, they laid bare their desire to eliminate one group in particular: “We will make Pakistan the graveyard of the Shi’ite Hazaras and their houses will be destroyed by bombs and suicide bombers. Jihad against the Shi’ite Hazaras has now become our duty.”
If the Taliban is the schoolyard bully who keeps some semblance of order among the other children but then begins to abuse his power, LEJ is the hyperactive kid running around kicking shins, and who has free reign because the teachers are terrified of him, too. After a bombing last month, LEJ waited until rescue crews arrived at the scene, and then set off a bomb to kill them, as well. The message was clear: If you try to help Hazaras, you will end up like them.
Fear may explain why the government isn’t doing anything about the attacks. LEJ is not hard to find and their leadership lives openly, mostly in Punjab. They do not pursue their means discreetly. The bomb LEJ used in February weighed 2,200 pounds, twice the size of the one Ramzi Yousef used to try to topple the World Trade Center towers in 1993. They had to tow it to the bombsite behind a tractor. Read more:

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Imre Szeman: Combustible water and other late capitalist novelties

More and more, we are becoming reliant on unconventional forms of energy. Shale gas is one such form, and not only because of the unusual processes required to access it, but also because of the costs involved – costs above and beyond the mere dollar figures of setting up and manning a drill site. Fracking requires enormous amounts of water - between 5 and 11 million litres for each well drilled..

There is a reason why oil gets the lion’s share of attention when it comes to the global game of petrocarbon extraction. Through the multiple products into which oil is refined, most important of which are gasoline and diesel, oil is the blood that animates the body of capitalism. It is a substance necessary for economies to keep operating and profits accruing, which is why access to it fuels so many geopolitical struggles around the globe. The atrocities committed by major oil companies almost everywhere they have set foot – of which spills such as BP’s recent debacle in the Gulf of Mexico are but the tip of the iceberg – draw public attention to the consequences of living in oil societies, and so too to the full scale of our dependence on the substance. And whether or not we believe tales of peak oil, as oil gets harder to access and in shorter supply and so more expensive, the extent to which oil and capitalism are tied together cannot help but make us sit up and pay attention. 

Economist Jeff Rubin has recently argued that the unprecedentedly high price of oil over the past decade is the primary reason why economies around the world have found it difficult to recover from the 2008 crash.1 While the current price of around US$90 per barrel is well below its recent peak of $147 in July 2008, it is still exponentially higher than the average $2 per barrel at which oil was priced during capital’s massive expansionary phase from the 1920s to the 1970s – a virtually free form of energy with an extraordinarily high ratio of energy returned on energy invested.

If natural gas is also making the news today, it is due only in part to its expand­ing use in fleet vehicles (replacing petrol or diesel) or in the generation of electricity (replacing coal-fired or nuclear power plants). Despite the ever-expanding market for liquefied natural gas (LNG), ‘the world’s fastest growing energy source’, the price of natural gas remains too low to excite many investors.2 One of the reasons for the reduced cost of gas is the recent global expansion of natural gas supply, which is due almost entirely to the discovery of a new source: the decaying organic material that makes up the compressed rock of black shale. With this discovery, the world is now awash in shale gas. The US Energy Information Administration estimates that the USA has 2,632 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas, enough to address domestic demand for 100 years at current rates of use. In the UK, the discovery of a gas field in north-west England by Cuadrilla Resources promises enough gas to meet demand for 64 years.3 

Even if profits are not as high at present as producers might want, consumption of natural gas is expanding rapidly (29 per cent over the past decade) and the growing capacity for LNG means the possibility of servicing export markets such as China and Japan, which needs more of the fuel than ever in its current post-nuclear phase. As an easy allegory for the disaster of runaway consumption or the tendency of human beings to gleefully destroy the environments that support them, natural gas certainly cannot compete with oil. But as it begins to occupy an ever-greater segment of the overall market for energy, the race for shale gas is resulting in ecological and political problems that should cause all of us to pay as much attention to gas as we are starting to pay towards oil.

Poison
Shale gas can be found in pockets all over the world, including Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, Mexico and South Africa. The extraction of natural gas from shale has generated headlines in almost every one of these countries as a result of the process used to gain access to it: hydrological fracturing, which is more commonly referred to as ‘fracking’. A process developed in late 1940s but only used widely in the last decade, fracking involves the injection of a mix of water, sand and chemicals into the bore created to access the gas with enough force and pressure to split the shale rock, and so make the gas recoverable. The success of fracking as a means by which to access natural gas deposits that were formerly thought to be inaccessible is connected with the concurrent development of horizontal (as opposed to conventional, vertical) drilling, a process now carried out in the field with relative ease. Horizontal drilling aided by fracking opened up the natural gas fields of the Barnett Shale in northern Texas a decade ago. 

Since then, oil and gas companies, small and large, have raced to gain access to the gas trapped in the Bowland Basin in the UK and the Marcellus Shale in the north-eastern USA, as well as many other places around the globe. Besides the profits promised by control over all these new gas deposits, industry and government have been quick to champion the other benefits produced by shale gas and fracking. For countries such as the USA and the UK, there is the opportunity to reduce dependence on foreign sources of petrocarbons and potentially to compete again as a major energy exporter. Then there are also the supposed benefits to the environment of putting more natural gas into the energy mix: lower emissions of carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide than produced by either petrol or diesel. The fact that natural gas is cheaper than using either of these fuels can’t help but put smiles on everyone’s faces. Or so industry and government might want us to believe. But there are problems with fracking that belie the positive image of a new world of natural gas.. Read more:

Mark Neocleous: Resisting Resilience

When the only thing a sad, lonely and oppressed young woman thinks might help her turns out to be the very same thing being taught by the world’s largest military power, something interesting is going on, something that takes us from mundane tips about how to live well to the world of national security, emergency planning and capital accumulation.


‘Resilience’ has in the last decade become one of the key political categories of our time. It falls easily from the mouths of politicians, a variety of state departments are funding research into it, urban planners are now obliged to take it into consideration, and academics are falling over themselves to conduct research on it. Stemming from the idea of a system and originating in ecological thought, the term connotes the capacity of a system to return to a previous state, to recover from a shock, or to bounce back after a crisis or trauma. Thus, for example, a 2008 OECD document on state-building, styled ‘from fragility to resilience’, defines the latter as ‘the ability to cope with changes in capacity, effectiveness or legitimacy. These changes can be driven by shocks … or through long-term erosions (or increases) in capacity, effectiveness or legitimacy.’ As well as offering a succinct definition, this OECD document also reveals what is at stake and why the concept has become so appealing: rather than speak of fragility and its (negative) associations, we should be speaking of resilience and its (positive) connotations.

The first thing to note is the impact this is having on the concept of security. The National Security Strategy of the United States of America (2002), published as a major statement of US strategy following 9/11, mentions ‘resilience’ just once. In contrast, five years later the National Strategy for Homeland Security (2007) is almost obsessed with the idea of resilience. The document outlines the need for ‘structural and operational resilience of … critical infrastructure and key resources’, but resilience is also planned for ‘the system as a whole’ and even for ‘the American spirit’, with the overall aim to ‘disrupt the enemy’s plans and diminish the impact of future disasters through measures that enhance the resilience of our economy and critical infrastructure before an incident occurs’.

The UK’s National Security Strategy, published a year later, notes that ‘since 2001, the Government has mounted a sustained effort to improve the resilience of the United Kingdom.’ The document goes on to talk about the resilience of the armed forces, of police and of the British people, of ‘human and social resilience’ and of ‘community resilience’. Yet, more than anything, the document is focused on preparing for future attacks: ‘We will work with owners or operators to protect critical sites and essential services; with business to improve resilience.’ It outlines a ‘programme of work to improve resilience’ at national, regional and local level, and across ‘government, the emergency services, the private sector, and the third sector’. Such claims have created the rationale for state institutions and personnel to be reorganized and retrained: from the resilience training offered to armed forces (the USA is not alone with CSF2, as other states have similar programmes), to the creation of units such as ‘UK Resilience’ based in the Cabinet Office, right down to the fact that sniffer dogs now receive resilience training.

What both the USA and the UK strategy documents reveal is the extent to which resilience is subsuming and surpassing the logic of security. The demand of security and for security is somehow no longer enough. Thus whenever one hears the call ‘security’, one now also finds the demand of ‘resilience’. For example, much was made of the security measures enacted for the London Olympics of 2012, but the relevant body of the London Organizing Committee had not a ‘Security’ section but a ‘Security and Resilience’ section, working with a ‘London Resilience Team’ whose task it was to ‘deliver Olympic Resilience in London’. It is as though the state is fast becoming exhausted by its own logic of security and wants a newer concept, something better and bolder: enter ‘resilience’.

As well as being newer, better and bolder, resilience is also more imaginative. For resilience both engages and encourages a culture of preparedness. The state now assumes that one of its key tasks is to imagine the worst-case scenario, the coming catastrophe, the crisis-to-come, the looming attack.. Read more:

कुलदीप कुमार - भावनाएं भड़काने का खेल

जनसत्ता 10 फरवरी, 2013: 
चुनाव और राममंदिर का चोली-दामन का साथ है। इधर चुनाव नजदीक आए और उधर संघ परिवार को राममंदिर की याद आने लगी। क्योंकि भारतीय जनता पार्टी का चुनाव से सबसे अधिक संबंध है, इसलिए उसे राममंदिर की याद भी शिद्दत से आती है। लोग भूले नहीं कि 2004 के चुनाव के समय भी इसी तरह की कवायद की गई थी। कहावत है कि काठ की हांडी एक बार चढ़ती है, बार-बार नहीं। लेकिन लगता है, इस देश की मिट्टी की सुगंध से रची-बसी होने का दावा करने वाली भारतीय जनता पार्टी को इस कहावत पर यकीन नहीं। उसे लगता है कि वह काठ की हांडी को बार-बार चूल्हे पर चढ़ा सकती है। संयोगवश दुबारा पार्टी अध्यक्ष बनने के बाद राजनाथ सिंह को इलाहाबाद के कुंभ मेले में राममंदिर निर्माण के लिए भाजपा की प्रतिबद्धता याद आ गई। आशा के अनुरूप राजग के संयोजक और जनता दल (एकी) के अध्यक्ष शरद यादव का तुरंत बयान आ गया कि राजग के एजेंडे पर मंदिर नहीं है। 

लेकिन स्पष्ट है कि राजनाथ सिंह का बयान अचानक नहीं आया है। शायद संघ को लग रहा है कि नितिन गडकरी के सवाल पर संगठन के स्तर पर गच्चा खाने के बाद उसे भाजपा पर विचारधारा के स्तर पर दबाव डालना चाहिए और उसे स्पष्ट हिंदुत्ववादी एजेंडे पर वापस लाना चाहिए। उनके बयान के ठीक पहले विश्व हिंदू परिषद के उग्र नेता और अंतरराष्ट्रीय कार्यकारी अध्यक्ष प्रवीण तोगड़िया के मुसलिम-विरोधी बयान आए। तोगड़िया का कहना है कि अगर वे प्रधानमंत्री बने, तो मुसलमानों का मताधिकार छीन लेंगे और उन्हें किसी भी संवैधानिक पद पर नहीं रहने देंगे। वे विहिप की हितचिंतन सभा में बोल रहे थे। 
यहां यह बता दूं कि विहिप का गठन एक ट्रस्ट के तौर पर हुआ था। इसलिए इसमें सदस्यों की भर्ती नहीं की जा सकती। इसके कार्यकर्ता ‘हितचिंतक’ कहलाते हैं। तोगड़िया के बयान पर अधिकतर लोगों की प्रतिक्रिया यह है कि खुदा गंजे को नाखून नहीं देता। तोगड़िया के प्रधानमंत्री बनने की जब कोई संभावना ही नहीं है तो फिर ऐसे बयानों को गंभीरता से क्यों लिया जाए। उनकी तो आदत ही इस तरह के भड़काऊ बयान देने की है। 

प्रवीण तोगड़िया के मुसलिम-विरोधी बयान अचानक नहीं आए हैं। इनके पीछे संघ का डीएनए है। मुसलमानों को मताधिकार न देने का फैसला तो राष्ट्रीय स्वयंसेवक संघ के द्वितीय सरसंघचालक माधवराव सदाशिव गोलवलकर 1939 में ही कर चुके थे, जब उन्होंने अपनी पुस्तिका ‘वी आॅर अवर नेशनहुड डिफाइंड’ (हम या हमारी परिभाषित राष्ट्रीयता) में लिखा था कि भारत में रहने वाले गैर-हिंदुओं को हिंदू संस्कृति और भाषा अपनानी होगी, हिंदू धर्म का आदर-सम्मान करना होगा, इस देश के प्रति कृतघ्नता और असहिष्णुता छोड़ कर इसके प्रति प्रेम और भक्ति की सकारात्मक भावना विकसित करनी होगी। यानी ‘उन्हें विदेशी बने रहना छोड़ना होगा। वरना वे इस देश में रह तो सकेंगे, लेकिन हिंदू राष्ट्र के नीचे पूरी तरह से पराधीन होकर। उन्हें विशेषाधिकार तो क्या, नागरिक के अधिकार भी प्राप्त नहीं होंगे।’ 

इसी पुस्तक में हिटलर की भी तारीफ की गई है और कहा गया है कि जर्मनी ने दिखा दिया कि किस तरह वे भिन्न जातियां और नस्लें जिनके सांस्कृतिक अंतर मूलगामी हैं, एक राष्ट्र के बंधन में नहीं बंध सकतीं। गोलवलकर का कहना था कि हिटलर और उसके जर्मनी से भारत बहुत कुछ सीख सकता है। 

संघ और भाजपा ने कभी इस पुस्तक से अपने को अलगाया नहीं। केवल इसे छापना और प्रसारित करना बंद कर दिया, क्योंकि स्वतंत्र भारत में, खासकर अस्सी और नब्बे के दशकों में भाजपा के एक बड़ी पार्टी के रूप में उभरने के बाद, इसके निष्कर्षों को ज्यों का त्यों पेश करना राजनीतिक दृष्टि से जोखिम का काम था। अयोध्या आंदोलन के दौरान जो नारा सुनने में आया था और अब भी आ जाता है- ‘गर्व से कहो हम हिंदू हैं’- उसके बीज गोलवलकर के उस अंतिम भाषण में हैं जो उन्होंने 1972 में संघ के चिंतन शिविर में दिया था। 

जो लोग इस भ्रम में हैं कि अटल बिहारी वाजपेयी बहुत नरम और लालकृष्ण आडवाणी गरम विचारों के हैं, उन्हें 1970 के दशक के वाजपेयी के संसद में दिए भाषणों को पढ़ना चाहिए, खासकर उन भाषणों को जो उन्होंने सांप्रदायिक दंगों के बाद हुई बहसों के दौरान दिए। वाजपेयी और आडवाणी एक वैचारिक वृत्त के भीतर रहे हैं। एक कुशल राजनेता होने के कारण वाजपेयी में लचीलापन अधिक रहा है, राजनीति में सबको साथ लेकर चलने की जरूरत को वे औरों से अधिक अच्छी तरह समझते थे, और इसीलिए उनकी व्यापक स्वीकार्यता बनी। लेकिन संघ की  हिंदुत्ववादी विचारधारा के डीएनए से वे कभी मुक्त नहीं रहे। उनकी कविताओं में भी इसकी स्पष्ट छाप देखी जा सकती है। 

राजनीतिक मजबूरी के कारण अयोध्या आंदोलन के कंधों पर चढ़ कर सत्ता में आने के बावजूद भाजपा को सरकार बनाने और चलाने के लिए राममंदिर के मुद्दे को ठंडे बस्ते में डालना पड़ा और अटल बिहारी वाजपेयी प्रधानमंत्री बने, आडवाणी नहीं। संविधान से धारा 370 को हटवाने और सभी के लिए समान नागरिक संहिता लागू कराने के उसके मूल लक्ष्य भी पीछे चले गए। लेकिन यह सोचना हमारी भूल होगी कि भाजपा या संघ परिवार ने इन्हें भुला दिया है। 

शब्दों से खेलने और भाषा को अपने उद्देश्यों के लिए इस्तेमाल करने में संघ परिवार का कोई जवाब नहीं है। 1990 के दशक में धर्मनिरपेक्षता की अवधारणा को चुनौती देने वाली राष्ट्रव्यापी बहस छेड़ते हुए आडवाणी ने   भाजपा को सच्ची धर्मनिरपेक्ष पार्टी बताया और कहा था कि शेष ‘छद्म-धर्मनिरपेक्ष’ हैं। लेकिन इससे भाजपा धर्मनिरपेक्ष नहीं बन गई। उसके कुछ नेताओं का संघ के साथ टकराव वैचारिक नहीं, सांगठनिक कारणों से होता रहा है, क्योंकि उन्हें पार्टी के रोजमर्रा के कामकाज में संघ की दखलंदाजी पसंद नहीं। लेकिन जब भी संघ किसी बात पर अड़ा है, भाजपा नेताओं को उसके सामने झुकना पड़ा है। जिन्ना विवाद के चलते लालकृष्ण आडवाणी जैसे शीर्षस्थ नेता को जिस तरह के मुखर और तीखे विरोध का सामना करना पड़ा और अंतत: अध्यक्ष पद छोड़ना पड़ा, वह संघ के अड़ने के कारण ही था। 

गोलवलकर की खूबी थी कि वे अपने विचारों को स्पष्टता के साथ व्यक्त करते थे। उनके लेखों और भाषणों का एक संग्रह ‘विचार नवनीत’ है। इसमें एक अध्याय का शीर्षक है ‘आंतरिक संकट’। इसके तीन उप-अध्याय हैं- मुसलमान, ईसाई और कम्युनिस्ट। अब आप समझ सकते हैं कि संघ की दृष्टि में मुसलमान और ईसाई क्या हैं। गोलवलकर बार-बार यह भी कहते थे कि भारत कोई धर्मशाला नहीं है जिसमें कोई भी आकर रहने लगे। कुछ लोगों को लग सकता है कि संघ और भाजपा अब गोलवलकर के विचारों से कहीं आगे जा चुके हैं और इस समय उनके कहे और लिखे को याद करना इन संगठनों के प्रति अन्याय होगा। लेकिन हकीकत इससे भिन्न है। अल्पसंख्यकों की देशभक्ति के प्रति संघ परिवार के सदस्य संगठनों को अब भी संदेह है। कम्युनिस्टों की देशभक्ति तो उनकी निगाह में हमेशा से संदिग्ध रही है। 

भाजपा का अध्यक्ष बनने के बाद राजनाथ सिंह ने कहा कि उनकी पार्टी को मुसलिम-विरोधी न समझा जाए। उनकी इस अपील का मुसलिम समुदाय पर कोई असर होगा, इसकी कोई संभावना नहीं लगती। लोग शब्दों को नहीं, काम को देखते हैं। भाजपा कुछ भी कहे, लोग उसे उसकी करनी के आधार पर पहचानेंगे। एक तरफ राजनाथ सिंह मुसलमानों से अपील कर रहे हैं कि वे भाजपा को अपने खिलाफ न समझें, दूसरी ओर उन्हें नरेंद्र मोदी को प्रधानमंत्री पद के उम्मीदवार के रूप में पेश करने से भी गुरेज नहीं। ऐसे में मुसलिम समुदाय उनकी बात को गंभीरता से कैसे लेगा? क्या किसी ने प्रवीण तोगड़िया के बयानों की भर्त्सना की? महाराष्ट्र पुलिस तब जागी जब मीडिया में तोगड़िया के बयानों पर टीका-टिप्पणी हुई। लेकिन अकबरुद्दीन ओवैसी को तो गिरफ्तार किया गया, तोगड़िया को नहीं। ऐसे में मुसलिम समुदाय कैसे मान ले कि स्वाधीन और लोकतांत्रिक भारत में उसके साथ समानता का बर्ताव हो रहा है? ओवैसी और तोगड़िया के लिए दोहरे मानदंड क्यों? 

शिवसेना के प्रवक्ता संजय राऊत इसका जवाब यह कह कर देते हैं कि तोगड़िया के बयान ओवैसी की प्रतिक्रिया में आए हैं। इसलिए दोनों में फर्क करने की जरूरत है। यह वही तर्क है जो 2002 में गुजरात में दिया गया था- प्रतिक्रिया में किया गया अपराध कम संगीन होता है। लेकिन क्या हम इस तरह के तर्कों को मान सकते हैं? क्या देश का नागरिक समाज और राजसत्ता किसी भी समुदाय के खिलाफ विषवमन की इजाजत दे सकते हैं? इस प्रसंग में सबसे चिंताजनक बात यह है कि आंध्र प्रदेश और महाराष्ट्र की कांग्रेस सरकारों ने ओवैसी और तोगड़िया के खिलाफ रपट दर्ज करने में भी कई दिन लगा दिए। अगर सजग मीडिया ने इनके बयानों की तरफ ध्यान न खींचा होता, तो शायद रपट दर्ज ही न होती।
http://www.jansatta.com/index.php/component/content/article/38582-2013-02-10-07-16-54







Monday, February 25, 2013

It’s time Tibetan exiles became Indian citizens


Maura Moynihan: This month of Losar, the Tibetan New Year, saw a tragic milestone — more than 100 people in Tibet lit their bodies aflame protesting against Chinese atrocities and shouting for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Last week, a Tibetan monk who had recently escaped into Nepal, self-immolated in Kathmandu and later died in a local hospital. The searing images of the monk’s burning body exposed to the world the high cost of China’s reign of terror in Tibet, which has been well concealed for over 60 years.


At a time when people in Tibet are burning themselves alive, when China has installed a formidable military infrastructure across the Tibetan plateau that bears down upon South and Southeast Asia, when no UN peacekeeping forces will rescue the victims of China’s police state, it is time to be realistic about how to assist the Tibetan people at this perilous hour. For as long as the Dalai Lama lives in Himachal Pradesh,Tibetans in India have a measure of protection. But a structural crisis is unfolding in the exile world; the Tibetan settlements created in the early 1960s by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru were never meant to be permanent. The old settlements are disintegrating, filled with poor, often broken families who are frustrated withpolicies that consign them to isolation and exclusion by prolonging their unsettled legal status.


As China increases military pressure along the India-China border and accelerates conflict in the Himalayan belt, Tibetan refugees are more vulnerable, less welcome and politically radioactive. In an era where there is less room and tolerance for refugees in all of South Asia, approximately 150,000 Tibetans in exile cannot remain stateless refugees much longer. At 54 years, Tibet is second to the Palestinians as the world’s longest unresolved refugee crisis. At this late date, Tibetans in exile want and need citizenship. They look up to their leaders who have obtained citizenship abroad and have prospered. Lobsang Sangay, the titular head of the Tibetan exile administration, for years resided in the United States, obtained a US green card and eventually settled his family in a comfortable home near Boston. Yet he has repeatedly said that his struggling brethren must remain refugees for the cause.


Mr Sangay has not explained how it helps the cause to keep his people shackled to a decaying, isolated camp system where they cannot work, vote, buy a house or register a business in India — the country that has rescued and protected the Tibetan people, a country where many Tibetans are already well assimilated, where the Dalai Lama lives and where Tibetan culture is much more intact than anywhere in the West, a country that is the world’s largest democracy and a global power.
What is not widely understood is that under Indian law, Tibetans in India are not recognised as refugees. The Indian RC, the official document provided to Tibetans, is a registration card not a refugee card. Under the 
Foreigners Act 1946 and the Registration of Foreigners Act 1939, Tibetans are listed as foreigners. This is a broad legal definition that includes other refugee populations in India, of which there are many.


The Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) has never had any independently recognised international identity and with the retirement of the Dalai Lama, the original covenant with the Indian government is null. But the CTA still asserts de facto control over the exiles. A US consular officer told me that the CTA requested permission to grant final approval to all Tibetan visa applicants. I cannot confirm if the US embassy complied with this request but it raises the question about what legal entities have legitimate jurisdiction over the Tibetan population in India.


Tibetans are, in fact, subjects of the Republic of India and ultimately governed by its laws. In a highly publicised three-year court case, Namgyal Lhagyari of Dehra Dun attained Indian citizenship on the grounds that she was born in India and therefore qualified for citizenship according to the Indian Constitution. The verdict in Ms Lhagyari’s lawsuit encouraged Tibetans to apply for Indian citizenship. 

Yet, the CTA officials frequently state that Tibetans should remain refugees to keep their benefits, which bring far fewer benefits than those conferred by citizenship. Perpetuating the outdated prototype of the needy-but-cheerful Tibetan refugee distorts the realities and needs of exiles. It is especially harmful to young people who are culturally integrated with India, but are handicapped and stigmatised by foreigner status.
 Mr Sangay can well appreciate the value of citizenship. The Bank of America website confirms that he was able to pay off his mortgage in full one week prior to being sworn in as the new exile leader. With a US green card, he is able to travel internationally without restrictions while Tibetans with only an RC cannot obtain visas and will face difficulty in obtaining a US mortgage.


As citizens, Tibetans would join a constituency of India’s Buddhists and Himalayan peoples. As refugees, Tibetans are perceived as an obstacle to relations with a threatening China. I am certain that a great many Tibetans in India would gladly accept Indian citizenship and the attendant financial and political rights, which Tibetan refugees sorely need. India has done more for the Tibetan people than anyone else, so I am also certain that Tibetans would be productive and patriotic citizens of Gandhi’s homeland.


At this late date, Tibetans with citizenship can do more for the Tibetan cause than impoverished and powerless foreigners. If the structural crisis of statelessness is perpetuated and ignored, the exile base will be further weakened by a festering criminal underworld of human traffickers and Chinese agents. 
And if the exile base collapses, who will speak for Tibet? One winter afternoon, sharing tea and samosas in a Dharamsala garden, the poet and freedom fighter Lhasang Tsering stared into the golden light above the Kangra Valley and spoke, “We did not come into exile to become the world’s most successful refugees. We came to fight for our brothers and sisters in Tibet. We can never forget.” And that is what matters most.


Maura Moynihan is a New York author and journalist who has worked for many years with Tibetan refugees in India

Twenty-two questions to the Police Commissioner of Hyderabad


Dear Mr Police Commissioner:
I am told by “the Press” that Indian Mujahideen and Lashkar e Tayyaba / Toiba with several score "sleeper cells" are responsible for bomb blasts at Hyderabad recently. The same press also reports that the Commissioner of Police says it is not yet known who is responsible. The media however, quoting allegedly unidentified yet allegedly reliable police sources, seems to know a great deal more than even the police.
For, scanning news reports I see that over a week, EVERY name of an alleged suspect is a Muslim name. Even names of alleged organisations allegedly linked with the blasts, are Muslim names. The implications, the undercurrent of political, administrative and executive as well as media bias is striking. Once again, the Muslims are the target. To interpret these horrifying signals, not much of a brain is needed. However, in the India of today where the language of political discourse has fallen to abysmal levels, four notable absentees are: brain, shame, truth and justice.
Let me ask you, sir, a few questions:
1. Despite the innumerable Muslim accused having been found by due process of law to be innocent of terror involvement, and despite the confessional statements of right-wing Hindutva group cadre members with those confessional statements supported by independent corroborative evidence, how is it that ONLY Muslims are stated in the press as being investigated, interrogated, searched for ?
2. How is it that despite the confessional statements of right-wing Hindutva group cadre members with those confessional statements supported by independent corroborative evidence, NO non-Muslim name features in ANY of these reports including those citing mysterious sources giving out Muslim names as suspects?
3. Has the police undertaken a questioning of those media rags (sorry, newspapers) and ruts (sorry, channels) which have been promoting this lopsided image of a Muslim community as responsible for such events, to ascertain which “sources” they got these credible bits of information from ?
4. Has the police undertaken a questioning of those mysterious sources to ascertain what information they have and to know whether they are somehow involved, or wish to create red herrings to misdirect investigation?
5. Has the police undertaken a questioning of those who control or own these media rags (sorry, newspapers) and ruts (sorry, channels) which have been promoting this lopsided image of a Muslim community as responsible for such events, to ascertain whether they are carefully orchestrating a media blitz to ensure that the direction of investigation serves to deflect the focus from the right wing terror which stands established as a fact?
6. Has the police taken any steps to book cases against these media houses, press reporters and newspapers, for publishing material without reasonable basis, as causes dissensions within society and polarizes it, creating enmity between groups and sections of society along religious lines ?
7. Considering that a speech by an MLA has had charges of sedition and waging war against the State slapped against him, should the same charges not be framed against these media houses, press reporters and publishers and newspapers, for publishing such scandalizing material without reasonable basis, and thereby creating enmity between groups and sections of society along religious lines ? If they have had these bits of information planted by some “sources” should those sources not be identified and similarly prosecuted? Or are Muslim-baiters to be forever immune from prosecution?
8. Is this not indicative of interference with investigative processes and is it not actionable? Considering that, what action has the police taken as against these communalizing elements?
9. If any non-Muslim has even been questioned in these matters, why is it that the media is absolutely silent of that, or do “police sources” only reveal to the media the names of Muslim persons being investigated?
10. Is the police department not aware that the assertion that a named person is being investigated on such serious charges is by itself enough to cause massive trauma in his and his family’s life? Who is behind the publication and the media blitz to defame and demonize the Muslim community?
11. Why is the Police a silent spectator in the matter?
12. Why did the police not sanitize the areas after the events and instead permit VIP visitors with entourages, and were any measures taken to ensure that the entourage members did not interfere with the integrity of available evidence, or even perhaps plant “evidence” ?
13. If the police is yet to analyse the data from the camera that was making a CCTV record of the area/s in question, how is it that named suspects are being spoken of even before that exercise, and all of them happen to be ONLY Muslims ? Or is it a foregone conclusion that ONLY Muslims can be responsible and the police believe in advance that no one else need be suspected?'' Read more: http://twocircles.net/2013feb25/twentytwo_questions_police_commissioner_hyderabad.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Twocirclesnet-IndianMuslim+%28TwoCircles.net+-+Indian+Muslim+News%29


By Advocate Shafeeq Rehman Mahajir
Shafeeq Rehman Mahajir appeared before Justice Bhaskara Rao Commission inquiring into the police firing on unarmed Muslims in the wake of Mecca Masjid blast of 2007. Shafeeq Mahajir with painstaking research work was able to demonstrate the AP Police deliberately fired on civilians. Police claimed that they fired to stop the violent crowd from burning nearby petrol pump. Mahajir proved the police claim false and showed that police fired unprovoked and fired to kill.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Palestinians Shot In Kusra Clash With Israeli Settlers


JERUSALEM — Clashes erupted Saturday in the West Bank where Jewish settlers shot two Palestinian demonstrators in the northern village of Kusra, an Israeli military official and Palestinian residents said.
The clashes reflected mounting friction in the West Bank, where Palestinians have faced off against Israeli troops in recent weeks in a series of large demonstrations protesting Israel's control of the territory in general and in solidarity of four hunger-striking prisoners in Israeli jails. Also Saturday, a Palestinian prisoner died in an Israeli jail, an event that is likely to intensify tension in the area.
In the West Bank skirmish, Helmi Abdul-Aziz, 24, was shot in the stomach by Jewish settlers, Palestinian demonstrators said. They said Jewish settlers also shot 14-year-old Mustafa Hilal in the foot.  Israeli military official confirmed that two Palestinians were shot, but said the bullets appeared to have been fired by Jewish settlers because the Israeli forces were not using live ammunition. The official spoke on condition of anonymity, in line with military policy. A Palestinian hospital official said Abdul-Aziz was in serious condition. The medic requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
Villagers said the clashes began when a group of Jewish settlers encroached on their village lands and fired guns. They said Jewish settlers chased a Palestinian farmer and his family off land, prompting the farmer to call on residents to confront the settlers, and men on both sides hurled rocks at each other. The Israeli military official said about 200 Palestinians and 25 Jewish settlers took part in the clashes, and Israeli forces dispersed Palestinian protestors using "riot dispersal means."
Two Palestinian residents watching the clashes, Basem Nazal and Abdul-Azim Wadi, said Israeli forces fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets on demonstrators, and that a rubber bullet hit a 15-year-old Palestinian demonstrator in the eye. They also said the Israeli forces did not use live fire... Read more:

Lev Kamenev's Preface to Machiavelli (from New Left Review)

Chimen Abransky on Kamenev's Last Essay
(Courtesy Harrison Fluss)
http://newleftreview.org/I/15/lev-kamenev-preface-to-machiavelli

This is not the place for an examination of the purges which devastated the Soviet Union in the 1930's, and their impact on the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The aim of this introduction is very limited. It is to give a brief account of the last known public episode of Lev Kamenev, who together with Grigori Zinoviev was the principal actor in the first of the great and tragic trials of 1936–1938.

Stalin moved to destroy Zinoviev and Kamenev before settling his accounts with the other Old Bolsheviks, because these two stood closest to Lenin at many crucial periods in the history of the Bolshevik Party. One incident alone will serve to show how close Lenin felt to Kamenev. When the Kerensky Government launched its bitter attack on Lenin in July 1917, and the Central Committee of the party decided that Lenin must go into hiding, he went with Zinoviev. But before he left, preoccupied with the fate of his then unpublished book 'The State and the Revolution' (which he considered his most important theoretical contribution to Marxism) Lenin wrote the following note to Kamenev, appointing him in effect literary executor for the book—no mean honour.

'Entre nous: in case I am killed, I will ask you to publish my notebook: "Marxism on the State" (left behind in Stockholm). A blue cover, bound. All the quotations from Marx and Engels are in it, as well as from Kautsky against Pannekoek. There are a number of notes and remarks and some formulations. I think that it will only take a week to publish the book. I consider it important that not merely Plekhanov but also Kautsky confused matters. One condition: this absolutely entre nous!'

When Lenin was 50 in 1920 the Central Committee decided to publish the first collected editions of his works, and Kamenev was asked to edit them. He had established a major reputation before the Revolution as an authority on Alexander Herzen and as a bibliographer of social-democratic literature. In 1916 his book on 'Imperialism' expounded theses similar to Lenin's, independently of Lenin's work (Kamenev was in Russia at the time, and Lenin in Switzerland). Fittingly, his edition of Lenin's works met the highest standards of European scholarship.

Lenin had considered that the opposition of Zinoviev and Kamenev to the October Insurrection was not 'accidental', but in spite of this and their various disagreements in the past, he afterwards urged that their opposition of that time 'ought as little to be used against them personally as the non-Bolshevism of Trotsky'. It was he who had moved that both men should hold leading positions in the Soviet Party and Government after the Revolution, and it was he who nominated Zinoviev to be head of the Comintern, and Kamenev to be First Deputy Chairman of the People's Commissars, under himself.

After his death, Zinoviev and Kamenev were drawn into ephemeral alliance with Stalin, but by 1924 they had joined the ranks of the Opposition. And in 1925, at the 14th Party Congress, at the height of the controversy between Stalin and the Opposition, it was Kamenev who uttered the sharpest warning against the danger of what became known after the 20th Congress as the cult of personality.

'We are opposed to the theory of a leader; we are against the making of a leader. We are opposed to the secretariat's practice of combining both politics and organisation and placing itself above the political organs of the Party. We cannot consider it as normal, we think it harmful to the Party that a situation should continue in which the secretariat combines politics and organisation, and in fact decides policy in advance.' He concluded his warning with the following words:

'We are opposed to the theory of individual control, and we are opposed to the creation of a leader.' In reply, Kirov admitted that Kamenev's words had made 'the most powerful impression of all the speeches here from the Opposition.' After years of exile, in which he and Zinoviev were expelled from the CPSU no less than four times, Kamenev was for the last time re-admitted into the Party in 1933, and became the editor of the publishing house 'Academia'. He was even allowed to attend the 17th Party Congress in January, 1934, and to address it. To everyone's surprise, he received an ovation. Amid the blossoming of the cult of personality, Kamenev paid his tribute to Stalin.

The official report of the Congress was only published some months later, and despite a reference to it in Pravda at the time, there was no mention of Kamenev's speech in the report. However, an account of it is given in 'The Letter of an Old Bolshevik', a pamphlet originally attributed by Vyshinsky to Rykov but now ascribed by Boris Nikolaevsky to Bukharin, which is a major document on the first trial and the mood of the Soviet Party during 1934–6:

'In his speech Kamenev presented a "theoretical" justification of the need for a dictatorship, not just for a party or a class dictatorship, but for a personal dictatorship.' ' "Democracy", he argued, 'both inside a class and inside a party, was only practicable in periods of peaceful development, when there was sufficient time for discussion and for convincing others. But in time of crisis, the situation was different. At such times the country required a leader, a man who could take responsibility for decisions upon his own shoulders. Happy, indeed, were a party and a country possessing at such moments a leader gifted with that intuition which made it possible to overcome the most difficult situations, but woe to them if a man unfit for leadership stood at the helm, for then destruction was certain." '

The anonymous author continues: 'Kamenev's speech was so formulated and delivered that no doubt could remain in the minds of the audience that the speaker regarded Stalin as a leader of first rank. The Congress gave Kamenev an ovation, which turned into an ovation for Stalin. Not until much later was it observed that the speech was rather Machiavellian, and that, carefully read, it was likely to produce an impression opposite to the one apparently intended.' (Ibid p. 48–9).

We now come to the last episode of Kamenev's life. As has been said, when Kamenev was readmitted to the Party, he was appointed head of the publishing house 'Academia', which specialised in printing de luxe editions of the classics, edited by well-known scholars. In the middle of 1934 'Academia' announced the works of Machiavelli, and Kamenev wrote a preface, of seven pages, to the first volume. The book appeared in November, 1934.

One month later, on December 1st, Kirov was assassinated in Leningrad. Two weeks later Kamenev was arrested. In January 1935, he and Zinoviev, admitting 'moral and political responsibility' for the murder, were sentenced to five and ten years imprisonment respectively. The edition of Machiavelli which had appeared barely 30 days before his arrest, was confiscated in its entirety. Only a few copies survived.

A year after their imprisonment, Zinoviev and Kamenev were brought to Moscow and accused of actually ordering the assassination of Kirov, and of planning to assassinate Stalin and his closest colleagues. This was the first great trial staged by Vyshinsky, one of the most demonic men Stalin ever employed. In his debut as Stalin's Grand Inquisitor Vyshinsky, who had been for many years a Menshevik, devoted himself with all the zeal of a neophyte to the physical and spiritual destruction of the Old Guard of the Bolshevik Party. He decided to make capital gain from Kamenev's preface to Machiavelli. He began by quoting Machiavelli, who wrote:

'You must know that there are two ways of contending, by law and by force; the first is proper to men; the second to beasts. But because the first is often insufficient, recourse must be had to the second. A prince must possess the nature of both beast and man.'

Vyshinsky bore down on Kamenev with this quotation and asked him why he described Machiavelli as a 'master of political aphorism and a brilliant dialectician.' He continued with the utmost savagery: 'According to Kamenev, Machiavelli was a dialectician! This hardened schemer turns out to be a dialectician! "A master of political aphorism". A fine aphorism indeed!' Vyshinsky went on remorselessly: 'Machiavelli wrote: to fight by means of law is characteristic of men; to fight by means of force is characteristic of beasts; pursue this bestial policy, says Machiavelli, and you will achieve your goal. And this is the man the accused Kamenev calls a "master of political aphorism".'

Vyshinsky added with extreme unctuousness, in the authentic tone of Torquemada: 'Let us hear what more Kamenev has to say: ". . . A dialectician who from his observations had come to the firm conclusion that all concepts and all criteria of good and evil, of the permissible and the impermissible, of the lawful and the criminal were relative . . ." Evidently, for Kamenev, this is dialectics. Mixing up what is criminal with what is not criminal, what is lawful and what is not lawful, what is good with what is evil—this is the new "Marxian" interpretation of dialectics ?nbsp; la Machiavelli.'

Vyshinsky finished his peroration with one last quotation from Kamenev: 'This was far from being a sociology of power, but from his recommendations there emerges a magnificent picture of the zoological features of the struggle for power in a slave-society, in which a rich minority ruled, over a toiling majority.'

Kamenev was found guilty, condemned to death, and shot.

Kamenev's preface to Machiavelli stands in its own right as a Marxist text. It is a masterfully compact condensation and evaluation of Machiavelli's work. The writing is almost entirely free of Party jargon—at points, in fact, it controverts it. In defiance of official taboos against it, Kamenev uses the term 'sociology' throughout the preface. He speaks, moreover, of the 'sociology of power', a concept that was doubly suspect at the time, but accords well with his language as a whole. Kamenev's style is absolutely distinctive. It has neither the lumbering, liturgical monotony of Stalin's, nor the harsh, urgent violence of Lenin's, nor the rich, metaphorical eloquence of Trotsky's. It is taut, spare and crisp. Its elegance owes nothing to rhetoric. The terseness of the writing reflects the precision of the thought. The ideas are expressed so economically and lucidly that commentary on them here is rendered unnecessary: the text is self-explanatory. It need only be said that Kamenev's analysis is one of the very rare coherent— both comprehending and critical— judgments of Machiavelli in the literature of socialism.

'The secretary to the Florentine bankers, their ambassador to the Papal court . . .' Kamenev, too, had been ambassador in Rome—exiled there by Stalin in the middle twenties. Writing on Machiavelli in 1934, Kamenev was a defeated politician, pursuing secluded scholarly studies in the margin of public life—as Machiavelli himself had been in 1513, writing 'The Prince' in the village of San Casciano. Kamenev too had cause to meditate on 'the mechanism of the struggle for power within one narrow . . . group'. In a sense, Vyshinsky's virulent requisitory was not misplaced. There were similarities between the situations and intelligence of Machiavelli and his commentator. But they were not of a kind to vindicate Vyshinsky and condemn Kamenev. The State Prosecutor quoted Machiavelli, quoted Kamenev on Machiavelli, to show the ruthless amorality of the accused. The reply to his charges was written then, and for all time, in the preface itself, in words he could not quote: 'The cynicism is not in the words of Machiavelli, but in what they describe . . .' In the universe of distorting mirrors created at the trials, Stalin judged Kamenev for the very document which judged Stalin, indelibly. Kamenev had written: 'Popes, courtiers, statesmen, kings rushed to attack the secretary of the Florentine oligarchs. The nearer their actions came in practice to his observations, the more determined were their attempts to refute his maxims. The secretary of the Order of Jesuits called him the "devil's partner in crime", a "dishonest writer and an unbeliever". Apologists for absolute monarchy found his views too strong meat for them, and hastened to announce that "there never was a man so devoid of moral scruple as this Florentine." The unbridled despot, the Prussian king Frederick, called the Great, wrote a book whose title was "Anti-Machiavelli". Machiavelli's name came to be used as an epitome of political cynicism by those bent on concealing the real nature of power . . .' In Moscow in 1936 the Prince destroyed Machiavelli, but it is Machiavelli's verdict that survives.


Lev Kamenev's Preface to Machiavelli 
The inclusion of the works of Niccolo Machiavelli in the series of volumes published by 'Academia' needs no justification. The episodes which inspired Machiavelli's works, the works themselves (propagandist, historical, fictional), the bitter disputes which raged around his name for centuries afterwards—all these are major events in the cultural history of Europe. The Soviet reader who comes across, as he is bound to do, references to Machiavelli in historical studies, in current editorials in the press ('Machiavellism', 'Machiavellian politics' etc.), and in literary works, rightly wants an opportunity to read the actual, original texts of the secretary of the Florentine Republic in the sixteenth century. The 'Academia' edition is intended to meet this need.

In an excellent study specially written for this volume, A. K. Dzhivelegov outlines Machiavelli's life and the historical circumstances which influenced his work. The fate of Machiavelli's ideas and works after his death falls outside the scope of his study. In fact, their destiny was remarkable and revealing. A study of the attitudes displayed by different groups in European society towards Machiavelli over a period of four centuries (sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries), in the course of which his work was the object of constant attention on the part of politicians, propagandists and historians, would provide the richest and most varied material for a history of the ideological terms of the class struggle, from the overthrow of feudalism to the era of the proletarian revolution. We can only venture a few remarks in this connection here.

In spite of accepted terminology, the importance of Machiavelli does not lie in his 'theory' or 'political system'. He has in fact no 'theory' nor 'system', in the sense of a deeply considered and fully developed doctrine of society, or even of the state. He had no gift for profound philosophical enquiry, nor yet for broad sociological generalisations. His real talent is that of the political publicist, writing on urgent contemporary issues, or on past events as recorded by historians of the ancient world. In either case his aim is to have direct, immediate influence on the political events of his time. In either case his 'theoretical judgments' and his professional reports really amount to the same thing—a record of the first-hand observations of one whose position was close to the real centre of the struggle for power.

The social content of power, its social determinations, interested him very little. Whether power was in the hands of Alexander VI or Cesar Borgia, Cesar Borgia or Prince Orsini, Prince Orsini or the Duke of Urbino, in the final analysis its content remained virtually unchanged. Machiavelli's primary concern is with the actual process of the struggle for power. His most famous work, 'The Prince', is not a study of the changing social groups which have won power, and the conditions and significance of these changes: it is concerned with the mechanism of the struggle for power within one narrow social group, in the period of transition from feudalism to capitalism.

Of course, Machiavelli's work bears the impress of a major historical force: the drive to create a powerful, national and essentially bourgeois state in Italy, by the systematic destruction of the complex of independent feudal, semi-feudal and commercial communes, republics and dukedoms. But in Italy at the end of the fifteenth and the beginning of the sixteenth century this idea had to fight its way (and at the time it was unsuccessful) through the inextricable confusion of countless myriads of powerful and petty Italian rulers incessantly warring against each other. It is the political practice made up of these innumerable clashes which receives open formulation in Machiavelli's treatise.

He was a master of political aphorism and a dialectician of brilliance, who from his observations had come to the firm conclusion that all concepts and all criteria of good and evil, of the permissible and the impermissible, of the lawful and the criminal, were relative. Machiavelli made his book an astonishingly acute and expressive catalogue of the rules which a prince of that period had to follow in order to win power and to retain it victoriously in the face of all attempts to wrest it from him. This was far from being a sociology of power, but from his recommendations there emerges a magnificent picture of the zoological features of the struggle for power in a slave society, in which a rich minority ruled over a toiling majority. Thus by accident or design the secretary to the Florentine bankers, their ambassador at the Papal court, set off a shell of such tremendous explosive force that it disturbed the peace of mind of rulers for centuries afterwards.

In Machiavelli's work there is not the slightest mention of a religious or metaphysical 'essence' of the state, not a word about the 'divinely chosen' ruler—even of the Papal domain, not one reference to the 'will of the people', to the 'laws of history', to the 'interests of humanity'. This servant of the Florentine oligarchy was not afraid to look at the political reality of his time and to reveal behind the broad banners and paltry finery its true countenance: an oppressive class of masters struggling amongst themselves for power over the labouring masses. In one small book he put to scorn the most learned scholars, the authors of innumerable theological, moral and political treatises on the nature of political power, full of references to the philosophy of Aristotle, the tablets of Moses and the precepts of St. Paul.

This was magnificent in its naked truthfulness—and therefore frightening. Popes, courtiers, statesman, kings rushed to attack the secretary of the Florentine oligarchs. The nearer their actions came in practice to his observations, the more determined were their attempts to refute his maxims. The secretary of the Order of the Jesuits called him the 'devil's partner in crime', a 'dishonest writer and an unbeliever'. Apologists for absolute monarchy found his views too strong meat for them, and hastened to announce that 'there never was a man so devoid of moral scruple as this Florentine'. That typical example of unbridled despotism, the Prussian king Frederick, called the Great, wrote a book whose title was 'Anti-Machiavelli'. Machiavelli's name came to be used as an epitome of political cynicism by those bent on concealing the real nature of power in feudal and bourgeois society.

In fact, the cynicism is not in the words of Machiavelli, but in what they describe. Machiavelli's book is unprincipled, criminal and harsh only because he resolved, to use Lassalle's words, 'aussprechen was ist': to express what is. If Machiavelli's picture of the ruler's conduct in feudal and bourgeois society could not but provoke consternation and outrage among the rulers, it inevitably also attracted the attention of those who in some way or another shared his critical outlook. 'We should be grateful to Machiavelli and others like him who openly and without concealing anything described how people normally behaved, and not how they were supposed to behave' wrote Francis Bacon, the 'true originator of English materialism and in general of the experimental sciences of our time', as Marx described him. Hegel had the same opinion of the secretary to the Council of Ten: he categorically refused to render a moralising judgment on Machiavelli, and saw in his 'lack of principles' and 'anti-religious' propaganda only a transcription of the methods of political struggle which inevitably prevailed in that epoch of human history. 'Machiavelli' wrote Hegel, 'established the truly necessary basic principles for the formation of states, principles imposed by the conditions of that period.'

The young Marx wrote down aphorisms from the 'Examination of Titus Livius' in the notebooks in which he developed some of the ideas for the 'Communist Manifesto'; as a result he repeatedly reread the works of Machiavelli and pronounced at least some of them 'magisterial', 'genuine masterpieces'. Engels included this 'devil's partner in crime' in his gallery of the 'giants' of the Enlightenment, the great destroyers of feudal culture whom the founders of scientific socialism held in such great esteem, because in the fulfilment of their historical task, the creation of the new bourgeois state, they 'were not limited in a petty bourgeois way.' (Dialectics of Nature).

The acute perception of the authors of the 'Communist Manifesto' detected in the writings of the Florentine secretary the beginnings of the theory of the class struggle, and a lucid vision, free from all mysticism or idealism, of the nature of the state and the struggle for power. His was a superbly realistic portrait of the political reality of his day. In the works of Machiavelli emperors, popes, kings, lords, bankers and merchants walk without masks, and by their actions confirm the truth of the historical views of the founders of dialectical materialism. The writings of this publicist of the sixteenth century were an outstanding contribution to the work of discovering the real nature of power in class society, consummated in our own time in the writings of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin. For this Machiavelli has a right to the attention of the reader of today.

http://newleftreview.org/I/15/lev-kamenev-preface-to-machiavelli

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lev_Kamenev