ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Sumanta BanerjeeSubscribe to Sumanta Banerjee

Socialism's Reinventive Capacity

I should thank Deena Khatkhate (August 25) for taking note of my articles, and damning me with faint praise! For the sake of argument, let me agree for the moment that the efficient capitalists, more than the inept communists, have presently succeeded in living up to the predictions made by Marx in...

Thirty Years after the Emergency

The result of the 1977 parliamentary elections was seen as heralding a new democratic order, but on the 30th anniversary of the end of the Emergency we have the gloomy picture of the degeneration of the socialist movement into caste-based regional parties and the ambivalence of the left towards ethical governance and humane development. The right wing has thus expanded its appeal, aided by the Congress' soft Hindutva approach.

Moral Betrayal of a Leftist Dream

A sense of public anger in West Bengal over Singur and Nandigram has not added up yet to a statewide agitation against the Left Front. The electorate is wise enough to recognise that there is no viable alternative as yet. But if the CPI(M) continues to be obdurate, public outrage may take desperate forms. Reactionary forces like the Trinamool and BJP are waiting in the wings - the first such ominous signs were evident in Singur and Nandigram.

Sex Work

Rakesh Shukla’s views on trafficking and entry of minors in sex work (January 6, 2007) hark back to an old problem for which a possible solution has not yet been found in India. Early in 1872, the then colonial administration came up with a number of measures to prevent prostitutes from bringing up...

Peasant Hares and Capitalist Hounds of Singur

Singur is a test of sorts: For the Left Front government that is very ardently pursuing industrialisation as the only pathway to progress and also for its opponents, who are speaking up for the unregistered sharecroppers and landless labourers, who stand to gain little from the project. The wide nature of opposition also offers an opportunity to diverse groups to explore an alternative path to development.

Of Criminals, Martyrs and Innocents

Today one comes across legal experts, politicians and human rights activists who support the sentencing of one particular accused, but oppose a similar sentence on another who is accused of a crime of the same nature. Such inconsistencies reflect the basic conflict between an anachronistic legal system and newly emerging political interests and humanitarian concerns that are at odds with its fixed rules.

Hour of the Assassins

Terrorism rears its head whenever a society suffering from great inner political confusion and social disintegration reaches a cul-de-sac, where certain aggrieved sections of the people find that the democratic business of political change becomes an impossibility, and when the socialist and secular forces break faith with these disgruntled and desperate masses by failing to provide an alternative leadership. Tragically, governments have in turn put in place a state of permanent emergency through a slew of draconian laws, and created a monolithic monster that controls every activity of individuals - from street demonstrations to air travel.

Salvaging an Endangered Institution

One discerns a growing class and cultural gap between the Members of Parliament and members of the legislative assembly of the first three decades following independence and the "elected representatives" who have come to state legislatures and Parliament during the last two decades or so. There is a dire need to restore the moral credibility of Parliament, which has become an endangered institution today.

Beyond Naxalbari

The route of the Naxalite movement that was mapped in 1967 at the time of the Naxalbari uprising and adopted by the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) in 1970, that of organising peasant guerrilla movements as a means of capturing power, has been reiterated in the programme adopted by its successor, the CPI (Maoist) in 2004. But there is a need to combine guerrilla warfare with the building up of united fronts with other democratic forces in the political arena and civil society in order to supplement the protracted armed struggle.

Physician, Heal Thyself

The number of SCs, STs and OBCs in the medical profession is minuscule. Yet, the upper caste intolerance of provision of some space for these socially oppressed sections of the society in the medical profession explodes every time reservation is contemplated; this intolerance masquerades as concern for the future competence of the medical profession. Nevertheless, there are several misgivings about the ethics of Mandalisation under a depraved regime.

The 'Ides' of April

The popular jubilation at the first round of victory in April in Nepal is tempered with a realistic scepticism about the next moves to be made by the seven-party coalition as well as the king. Nevertheless, Nepal is on the threshold of a new dawn and the Maoists there may yet show the way for armed revolutionaries elsewhere.

Assembly Polls 2006: Elections, Jatra Style, in West Bengal

A total absence of a long-term strategy has marked not only the land reforms programme of the Left Front government of West Bengal, but also crucial spheres like education and health. However, the Bengali electorate has no option but to accept the Communist Party of India (Marxist) as something better than the others, leaving the Left Front's vote bank intact.

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