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The Congress and the Left

The BJP has conducted nuclear tests and it is possible that the Congress may go the same way. The Indian left must play a leading role in the anti-nuclear movement. But does the left have a courageous, principled and determined perspective on this issue? The left must reassess its past understanding of the nuclear weapons issue.

Why India Should Sign CTBT-Returning to Our Own Agenda

Returning to Our Own Agenda Praful Bidwai Achin Vanaik AT the time of writing, it remains uncertain whether or not India will sign the CTBT, A significant section of those who have supported India going openly nuclear are now prepared to go along with the CTBT in return for a behind-the-scenes deal involving the effective lifting of sanctions and greater freedom for India to import dual-use technologies relevant for the continuation and upgradation of its nuclear and missile development programmer After all. accepting the CTBT does not prevent India from going ahead with its current plans to weaponise and deploy a nuclear delivery system or to set up the associated command, control, communications and intelligence networks. For this section of Indian pro-nuclearists. acceptance of the CTBT is the minimum price the Indian government will have to pay if it wants to end its current international political isolation and make some mark as a supposedly responsible de facto nuclear weapons power by involving itself in ongoing international arms restraint activities.

Crossing the Rubicon

Achin Vanaik ON May 11 , 1998, India crossed the nuclear Rubicon embarking on a journey that can only bring more insecurity, tension, maldevelopment even as it represents another crucial phase in the ongoing efforts of the Sangh combine to totally transform the character of Indian society and to impose its version of what constitutes the Indian nation and nationalism. What is at stake for them is not simply getting institutionalised their version of the cultural essence of India but of imposing their versions of what constitutes Indian greatness, national security, national interests, etc. Overnight, a ruthless political force of great evil and determination has, changed completely the parameters of debate and struggle on so vital an issue as nuclear security and insecurity, as well as on related concerns such as India's relationship to its neighbours and to the world, The horror and strategic stupidity, the political danger of allowing the Sangh to get away with what it has done will hopefully sink in amongst an ever widening public. For only then can we hope to successfully reverse the journey directions, internal and external, on which the country is now embarked.

Marxist-Thompsonian Social History

Achin Vanaik Writing Social History by Sumit Sarkar; Oxford University Press, Delhi, 1997; pp 390, hardback Rs 495, GIVEN Sumit Sarkar's stature as one of the best historians of modem India, a new book by him always carries the promise of being an event. The promise has not been belied. His latest hook, a collection of nine essays of which only two (in slightly different form) have been printed earlier, will reinforce the respect felt by his many admirers just as it will also anger others, especially those Strongly influenced by the application of post-modernist and deconstructionist fashions to history writing. Among the latter those most infuriated arc likely to be onetime marxists who have now become disillusioned with or indifferent (even hostile) to that tradition.

Defence of Multiculturalist Politics

Achin Vanaik Literary Theory and the Claims of History: Postmodernism, Objectivity, Multiculturalist Politics by Satya P Mohanty, OUP, 1998; hardback, Rs 395;

Three Misrepresentations

Three Misrepresentations Achin Vanaik India's nuclear elite and the members of its so-called strategic community carry on with the pretentious posturing that their negative and obstructive stand against such restraint measures as the CTBT and the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty are really sitnere courageous contributions to the struggle for greater nuclear sanity and against hegemony.

Moving beyond the CTBT

Moving beyond the CTBT Achin Vanaik India's responses in the CTBT debate reflects the emergence of a more cynical nuclear elite, both inside and outside government which has prompted a greater inclination to subordinate disarmament matters, even of a global kind to what it perceives as its security interests. The chances of bringing India into the global disarmament process by appealing to some sense of reasonableness in the South Block are receding.

An Open Letter to the Left

An Open Letter to the Left Praful Bidwai Achin Vanaik The mainstream left parties' position on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, either strongly and unreservedly supporting the conservative official stand of the government of India or acquiescing in it, is poorly differentiated from that of the right-wing, communal and militarist BJP. This is deeply distressing.

Nuclear CTBT Debate Japan and India

Nuclear/CTBT Debate: Japan and India Achin Vanaik In no country in the world is popular sentiment against nuclear weapons and weaponisation as deep and widespread as it is in Japan, Unfortunately, nowhere else, certainly not in India, amongst that part of the public who think about such matters is there a comparable sensitivity and awareness on nuclear weapons related issues. The debate on the CTBT in India has been very one-sided and extraordinarily ill-informed.

Beyond Model-Building

Achin Vanaik Analytical Marxism by T Mayer; Sage Publications, New Delhi, 1994; pp 371; hardback $ 48.
THIS is primarily an expository work by an admitted fan of what has been loosely called Analytical Marxism. About the only thing that is common to this school understood in the broadest sense of the term is a certain style of argument emphasising clarity and logical rigour. Otherwise not all who Mayer characterises as belonging to this camp would themsel ves accept this label, e g, Robert Brenner, Michio Morishima or (were he alive) Piero Sraffa. On the other side ttere is Jon Elster who is so critical and hostile to virtually every substantive proposition within the Marxist tradition that only his own idiosyncratic commitment to the label makes him a Marxist at all.

Through the Prism of Hegemony

democracies with equalising tax-transfer mechanisms. Cohen and Rogers argue for associative democracy. Organisations such as encompassing unions could raise cooperation and equality. Moene and Wallerstein point out the reasons why just such a consensus with centralised trade unions has broken down in the social democracies of Norway and Sweden, Dreze makes some suggestions for overcoming incentive problems in worker-managed firms. Workers are risk averse, and find it difficult to fund high capital intensities and to employ outsiders. The traditional theory of the labour managed firm needs to be expanded to take account of funding and employment risk in a world of uncertainty with incomplete insurance markets. A potential solution he outlines is: workers are paid a fixed wage and a fixed share of profits is used to make a contribution for theirsocial security. Worker managed firms tend to make wage reductions more easily, but they compensate for adverse shocks by working longer hours rather than expanding employment. The best way to attain the latter is still expansion of the number of firms.

Leninism, Socialist Democracy, Contemporary Problems

The historic impact of 1989 cannot be minimised. The very project of socialism is being questioned as never before. Disillusionment about the desirability and feasibility of a socialist alternative has never been greater. What is required today is not so much the forging of the instruments of revolution but the rehabilitation of the very idea, possibility and necessity of a socialist alternative itself AFTER 1989 there are few socialists who will doubt that any hopes for reviving the socialist project rest in large part on constructing a vision or model of socialist democracy that is both feasible and inspirational. It is a task made all the more difficult by the very nature of the revolutionary upheavals of 1980 and its aftermath in the former second world was the first such concatenation of upheavals that was not guided by a futuristic vision or by ideals yet to be institutionalised but by the ideals of the past. It was 1789 taking revenge on 1917 in 1989. The near universal sentiment of those who carried out or supported these upheavals was the establishment of a "'normal society" by which was meant capitalist prosperity and liberal democracy. Just as universal was the belief that their societies should be subjected to "no more experiments." Socialism, and the era inaugurated by 1917, was seen as just such an experiment, one on which history had now pronounced its final verdict of failure. For socialists the recovery of hopes for building a socialist future are indissociably linked to a recovery of our socialist past, even if a lot more than historical recovery is required. What are the goals, concepts, methods, practices and models that we must preserve? What are those we must reject? What are those we must borrow? What are those we must invent or reshape?


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