Posts Tagged ‘India’

World Water Crisis: Focus On India.

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

Major Problems of the Twenty-First Century: Access to Clean Water

“Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.” – Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The image of women lined up to get access to relatively clean drinking water from delivery trucks, in the slums outside of Delhi, is a stark reminder of the realities faced by some millions of persons across the planet who do not have ready access to either clean drinking water or adequate sanitation. Michael Spencer writing about water issues in “The Last Drop” describes the growing problem accessing clean water around the world. The author focuses on India, making comparisons with water policies in the United States, surveying water issues and suggested solutions for the emerging potable water crisis. (Specter 2006).

The Word Heath Organization (WHO) states that some 2.5 billion people laced improved sanitation, 1 billion practice open defecation, 748 million lack access to improved drinking water and that 1.8 billion people use water that suffers from fecal contamination These figures, although better than the ones cited in the 2006 article by Specter who claimed approximately half of the world population have inadequate sanitation or water, demonstrate that there is still a huge problem. The WHO figures indicate a drop in cases of childhood death from diarrhea from 1.5 million in 1990 to 600 thousand in 2012, and with some 2.3 billion people gaining access to improved water supplies in the same period (WHO, UN Water 2014).
The article notes that there are solutions involving expensive engineering such as dam building and desalination plants, which demand a lot of infrastructure but are popular among politicians and policy makers, quoting Jawaharlal Nehru then Prime Minster of India said, speaking of a new dam project “Bhakra-Nangal Project is something tremendous, something stupendous, something which shakes you up when you see it. Bhakra, the new temple of resurgent India, is the symbol of India’s progress” (Spector 2006, np). They are expensive and often benefit or even induce the development of large agribusiness operations at the expense of small farmers as the example of the battle over the Narmada Dam project in Gujarat in which the activist author Arundhati Roy participated (Specter 2006, np). Another path is that of conservation, repair of infrastructure, charging agricultural interests at a rate that would encourage a switch to cost effective methods and the use of low tech solutions such as collecting rainwater. The example of Chennai is used to demonstrate a city without access to adequate water supplies dependent upon rainfall. Rather than go for an expensive water desalination system a local expert, one S. Janakarajan points would rebuild the traditional, pre-British occupation system of catching rainwater, change government policy to encourage local farmers to switch from water intensive rice, which is partially a legacy of the Green Revolution of the 1960’s and 1970’s, to other crops, and clean up and rebuild the areas ponds, lakes, and reservoirs, which he claims would end the recurrent water crisis in the region at a minimum of expense (Specter, 2006, np). Cotton is another area where India has been a traditional producer, with some 5000 years of a tradition of cotton growing by sustainable means, but is now facing a crisis as unregulated use of pipe well water has been draining the underground aquifers faster than the replenishment rate chasing the needs of the water hungry crop only exacerbated by the introduction of GMO modified high yield varieties (Gutierrez, et al, 2015). Los Angeles could benefit from a rainwater recovery program, something that should have begun with the California Proposition 1, Water Bond which was intended to relieve drought conditions in the state (California Proposition 1 2014).
The article points out that the water crisis is upon us and that mechanisms have to be devised to not only conserve but the develop water resources a manner that is equitable. The proposals to reduce water subsidies to farmers at the expense of retail consumers has become a major issue as more and more of the world’s population moves into the urban environment. Strain on water systems, already severe indicate the need for a major focus in the world on water sources. There are some problems, including not focusing on what is being done through the United Nations to alleviate the problem world-wide, and emphasis on what seems to be a Bush era focus on market based solutions in an otherwise important article bringing attention to an important issue.
While I don’t like the idea of privatizing water, as companies like Nestle buy up access to water resources with the intent of treating a vital common resource as a commodity, it is critical that civil society mobilize around the issue to insure that clean, water is available for all. Charging a usage fee via metered non-profit rates that allow for infrastructure repair and extension to meet future needs makes sense, forcing the poor to pay for privatized water while, sectors like agribusiness get government subsidies is inherently unfair and contributes to waste. Technologies to monitor water usage, as they come on line, especially if they can be delivered at low cost can be helpful in helping consumers make smart choices, but major changes in lifestyle will be much harder. India at least is ahead of the game in one respect, with a large vegetarian majority at least one aspect of the virtual cost of water use is less than it is in a country like the USA where water intensive beef has become a model of prosperity around the world that it is unlikely to be sustainable on a massively larger scale if water needs are to be met. Changing lifestyle, policy and approaches will be needed to meet the impending crisis in potable water. Working with the UN through the WHO and organizations like UNICIEF are paths that can immediately effect change around the world, but there needs to be changes in consumer usage and agricultural practice especially for more efficient water use and planning. A concerted international approach, with a focus on practical solutions on the ground, that do not strictly focus on hard tech dam and desalination approach advocated in the pages of trade publications such as International Water Power and Dam Construction, although certainly as Specter notes, places like India need to build infrastructure for water if they are to be able to move forward on a sustainable development trajectory. The question becomes, what is sustainable?
Works Cited
California Proposition 1, Water Bond (2014). Ballotpedia the Encyclopedia of American Politics. Accessed 30 September, 2015.,_Water_Bond_(2014).
Coleridge, Samuel Taylor. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. American Academy of Poets. Accessed 29 September 2015. ancient-mariner
Gutierrez, Andrew, Luigi Ponti, Hans Herren, Johann Baumgärtner, and Peter Kenmore. 2015. Deconstructing Indian Cotton: Weather, Yields, and Suicides. Environmental Sciences Europe. 27, no. 1: 1-17. Doi: 10.1186/s12302-015-0043-8. Accessed 30 September 2015.
International Water Power and Dam Construction. 2015. Global Trade Media. Accessed 30 September, 2015.
Spector, Michael. 2006. The Last Drop. The New Yorker. 23 October. Accessed 19 September 2015.
WHO World Health Organization, UN-Water. 2014. Investing in water and sanitation: increasing access, reducing inequalities. UN-water global analysis and assessment of sanitation and drinking-water (GLASS) Report 2014 - report. Eds. World Health Organization. WHO 2015. Accessed 29 September 2015.

Gandhi, Jinnah And British Responsibility For Indian Subcontinent Division

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

The following is a conversation between myself and Ken Surridge on the causes of the separation of the Indian subcontinent and the responsible parties, British, Muslim and Hindu, focusing on Gandhi and Jinnah as key players. This discussion took place on Facebook June 18 and 19, 2013. Link with pictures

Gary Crethers: Pakistan’s military has long supported fundamentalists and separatists in Kashmir, in a proxy war with India. Now the Baluchi independence movement is, as the cartoon shows, burning the military in the butt. My own contention is that the nation states of India and Pakistan were colonial creations, compromises made by the British as they headed out the door after WW2. I also think that the two state solution was like in Palestine a poison pill planted by the British in the hopes of keeping things unstable and pliable for British long term interests, with an eye to return, something that didn’t happen and now the consequences of such ill thought out actions are being lived by the people. It will be interesting to see if Pakistan in particular survives.

Ken Surridge: Gary. I think you underestimate the role that Ghandi played in the division of the country. I don’t doubt that my country wanted to keep influence in the country but I think they did that with the system of government with different states and Rajahs. Ghandi deserves huge credit for forcing the British to grant independence to the region but he was very divisive among his own people. I think Ghandi’s inflexibility was the prime cause of separation.

Ken Surridge: He is credited with his non-violence in achieving independence and in my opinion rightly so, but the conflict he caused that lead to the partition of the country into India and Pakistan brought about many, many deaths and I think his stance played a part if not the main part in bringing about the bloodshed that preceded partition. I would argue that hundreds of thousands died and were displaced as a direct result of the conflict Ghandi caused among the parties negotiating the future of the region with the British.

Gary Crethers: Gandhi was against the separation. He opposed Jinnah in that. But ultimately gave in to pressure from others in Congress. I would say it was more due to Jinnah’s insistence and British appeasement than Gandhi, also there was the war, the cooperation of Congress was dependent on some promise of Independence after the war. If Labor hadn’t won the 1945 parliamentary elections, the British might have stalled a lot longer. But Labor had a social agenda at home and the war debt was enormous, so the empire was a judicious sacrifice. My poison pill theory is more a proposition than anything else at this point without access to British policy files. That sort of thing would not be easily accessible even at this late date. “Jinnah’s inscrutability and stubborn support for his Pakistan demand frequently frustrated Mountbatten during the series of meetings which took place between them early in April 1947. After one marathon session during which Jinnah appeared not to have been listening to any of his arguments, Mountbatten wrote in exasperation that ‘Jinnah must be a psychopathic case’.”

Jinnah and the Making of Pakistan
The worldwide Islamic revival of the 1970s has overshadowed the attempts made by Muslims earlier in the century to unite religious and political authority. Muslims led the revolt against the colonial…(see link)

Ken Surridge: Ghandi was against separation. Jinnah was initially against separation too. Ghandi though wanted the independent country to be created on his terms and he was completely unwilling to compromise. Because of his public standing the British did not feel he could be pressurised into compromise which lead to a very frustrated Jinnah. Jinnah wanted formal assurances that the minority muslims of the country would be treated as equal citizens in the new country. Ghandi refused to agree to any such reassurances and insisted that the basis of the new country would be Hinduism. Ghandi was totally inflexible, trust broke down, and the British chose not to intervene. Jinnah felt the only way he could safeguard muslims in the region was to push for an independent Pakistan. I would hardly consider Mountbatten a credible judge of character - his admiration for cruel dictators is well-documented.

Gary Crethers: Interesting analysis of the separation of the subcontinent putting a lot more blame on British administrative practices.

» Partition of India Postcolonial Studies @ Emory
“A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.” - Jawarharal Nehru, “Tryst With Destiny” speech celebrating Indian independence…(see link)

Gary Crethers: this BBC version is very close to my own understanding. I know Gandhi was opposed to separation but I don’t think he was about to impose Hinduism. He was killed after all by Hindu Nationalists who thought he was an appeaser of Muslims.

BBC - History - British History in depth: The Hidden Story of Partition and its Legacies
by Dr Crispin Bates

Ken Surridge: I agree with most of the analysis but I think it ignores a few important points. Firstly, Jinnah was an ardent anglophile with no apparent religious convictions. Instead of praying, he would sit on his verandah drinking whiskey; he loved whisky. He dressed like an English gentleman of the day usually. He considered himself culturally muslim. I think he would turn in his grave if he saw what the company had become. Secondly, the region allocated for Pakistan included only a minority of the muslims in the region. In fact, there are more muslims in india today than there are in Pakistan. Thirdly, the analysis acknowledges the anti-muslim feeling in the country but underestimates the strength of it. Hindus talked openly on muslims getting their just desserts. Forth, the analysis acknowledges Ghandi’s vision of a Hindu india but it does not deal with his many pronouncements that it would a hindu country only. Lastly, it doesn’t deal with the conflicts that developed and the reasons for them between the parties negotiating the terms for independence.

Gary Crethers: True, Jinnah was not exactly a good Muslim, he was interested in power, and Islam was for him a tool, perhaps as a means of pressuring the British, perhaps as a way to counter the influence of the Hindu nationalists. As has been written Muslims supported the British war effort while Congress opposed and many went to prison. As a result Muslims gained influence during the war years and that added pressure on the British to grant a separate state. The Labor government also wanted out. due to the post war situation at home, remember Britain had rationing in place until the 1950’s and was in bad shape for years after the war.

Ken Surridge: I agree that Britain just wanted out and as a result made some very poor decisions. However, I think both the articles you have presented do not take into the following items into account - (1) Ghandi’s determination that India would be hindu and a refusal to provide assurances for muslim citizens, (2) the hostility in the country towards muslims and their genuine fear of reprisals after the British left, and (3) Jinnah’s initial commitment to a united country.

Ken Surridge: I would argue Gary that a close analysis of Ghandi reveals a very different person to the only that is publically bandied about. I think the image of Ghandi generally presented is very romanticised as is often the case with popular heroes.

Gary Crethers: This site is very critical of Gandhi but they are critical not because he insisted on Hindu nationalism but just the opposite for being a dreamer and idealist who believed in an ecumenical state. This is a site advocating nationalism and has little good to say about Gandhi. I just don’t see him as being intransigent in favor of Hinduism. Can you site some sources?

The Gandhi Myth
The lesson of Gandhi’s failure is clear: In interracial relations a group that defines itself by its tolerance will lose against a group that doggedly pursues its own self-interest. Shrewd ethnocentrism is more politically powerful than compromising tolerance.

Ken Surridge: Gary, that’s a fair question. You will need to give me some time to dig through my books. Some them may even be in storage but it will be a good test of my memory. I will update as I find relevant sources.

Gary Crethers: Thanks, I have researched enough to know that Gandhi was a pragmatist and his pacifism was more a tactical response also ultimately became part of his world view. For a critique of Gandhi from a pacifist viewpoint see

A Pacifist Critique of Gandhi | Peacework Magazine
Peacework Magazine, a peace and social justice webzine, investigates, uncovers, highlights, catalyzes, and mobilizes the nonviolent success stories of today — and tomorrow.

Gary Crethers: But all in all, despite his flaws, he was a great man and advanced the cause of human freedom, at least to the extent of being an inspiration for people like Martin Luther King, who went to India. “From the early days of the Montgomery bus boycott, Martin Luther King, Jr. referred to India’s Mahatma Gandhi as ‘‘the guiding light of our technique of nonviolent social change’’ (Papers 5:231). Following the success of the boycott in 1956, King contemplated traveling to India to deepen his understanding of Gandhian principles.”

India Trip (1959)
From the early days of the Montgomery bus boycott, Martin Luther King, Jr. referred to India’s Mahatma Gandhi as ‘‘the guiding light of our technique of nonviolent social change’’ (Papers 5:231). Following the success of the boycott in 1956, King contemplated traveling to India to deepen his understanding…(see link)

Gary Crethers: Now I am no pacifist, but I am a pragmatist and seeing people getting killed for political ends is not my idea of how to conduct a social revolution, but on the other hand there are times when as Maximilian Robespierre said in 1790 “On ne saurait faire une omelette sans casser des oeufs.” Translation: “One can’t expect to make an omelet without breaking eggs.”

Ken Surridge: A Hitchens article, although I have better sources and will find them.

The Real Mahatma Gandhi
Questioning the moral heroism of India’s most revered figure

Ken Surridge: If you read Gandhi’s letters and articles while living in South Africa, he comes across as deeply racist. He objects to the treatment of Indians but takes no issues with the treatment of kafirs and low caste Indians. The word ‘kafir’ is the South African equivalent of nigger. It is a deeply offensive and racist word. Read the original letters at

M.K.Gandhi, mahatma, Philosophy, non-violence, photographs of mahatma gandhi, Ghandi, Mahatma, Mohandas, peace, conflict resolution. Comprehensive site for Researchers Scholars Activists Students everyone. Includes a large collection of links on Gandhi, Non-Violence Peace and Conflict Resolution.

Ken Surridge: Note Gandhi’s support for ‘Purity of Race’ when he stressed racial separation and the leadership of whites with approval.

Gandhi wrote in his Indian Opinion of 24 September 1903:
“We believe as much in the purity of race as we think they do, only we believe that they [the white leadership of South Africa] would best serve these interests, which are as dear to us as to them, by advocating the purity of all races, and not one alone. We believe also that the white race of South Africa should be the predominating race.”

On 24 December 1903, Gandhi added this in his Indian Opinion newspaper:
“The petition dwells upon `the co-mingling of the colored and white races’. May we inform the members of the Conference that so far as British Indians are concerned, such a thing is particularly unknown. If there is one thing which the Indian cherishes more than any other, it is the purity of type.”

Ken Surridge: Jinnah was the architect of the Lucknow pact for which he earned the title of “the Ambassador of Hindu-Muslim Unity”. Jinnah was a member of both the Congress Party and the Muslim League when the Lucknow pact was created in 1916. He fought hard for a united India in which Muslims would be fairly represented. The main clauses of the Lucknow pact were presented to the British as a united front. Jinnah was the main driver for a united India until the collapse of the Lucknow pact when he concluded that the hindu majority would limit the rights of muslims.

Ken Surridge: This is brief article that draws some attention to Jinnah’s role but does not do it justice. It is useful in that it points out that Jinnah was committed to a united India in the beginning and he, not Gandhi, was the main force behind the unity of Muslims and Hindus.

The Lucknow Pact
When All India Muslim League came into existence, it was a moderate organization with its basic aim to establish friendly relations with the Crown. However, due to the decision of the British Government…(see link)

Ken Surridge: The text of the Lucknow pact can be seen on the following web-site.

Lucknow Pact between Congress and Muslim League 1916
Agreement between Congress and Muslim League in 1916.

Ken Surridge: The main clauses of the Lucknow Pact were:
•There shall be self-government in India.
•Muslims should be given one-third representation in the central government.
•There should be separate electorates for all the communities until a community demanded for joint electorates.
•System of weightage should be adopted.
•The number of the members of Central Legislative Council should be increased to 150.
•At the provincial level, four-fifth of the members of the Legislative Councils should be elected and one-fifth should be nominated.
•The strength of Provincial legislative should not be less than 125 in the major provinces and from 50 to 75 in the minor provinces.
•All members, except those nominated, were to be elected directly on the basis of adult franchise.
•No bill concerning a community should be passed if the bill is opposed by three-fourth of the members of that community in the Legislative Council.
•Term of the Legislative Council should be five years.
•Members of Legislative Council should themselves elect their president.
•Half of the members of Imperial Legislative Council should be Indians.
•Indian Council must be abolished.
•The salaries of the Secretary of State for Indian Affairs should be paid by the British Government and not from Indian funds.
•Out of two Under Secretaries, one should be Indian.
•The Executive should be separated from the Judiciary.

Ken Surridge: The Nehru report was produced in 1928. It was shaped by Nehru the protégé of Gandhi and rejected everything agreed in the Lucknow pact. Jinnah responded in 1929 with 14 points from the 1916 Lucknow pact for a united India from the 1916. The now Hindu Members of the Nehru committee rejected all the points outright. A meeting of all the Muslim parties subsequently rejected the Nehru report. If the Nehru Committee had shown some flexibility and willingness to incorporate some of the demands of the Muslim leadership, partition might have been avoided. The inability of Congress to concede any points was a major factor in the eventual partition of India.

Ken Surridge:[1928].html

Nehru Report

Ken Surridge: The above report is right on the facts even if its pro-Pakistan sympathy is rather obvious.

Ken Surridge: Was Nehru Report a Reversal of Lucknow Pact?
Yes. The Motilal Nehru Committee Report, published in 1928 recommended reservation of seats for Muslims only in provinces where they were in a minority. The report proposed to abolish separate electorates, to discard reservation of seats for Muslim majorities in the Punjab and Bengal and to rekect the principle of weightage for Muslim minorities. This was a reversal of the Lucknow Pact. The Nehru Report asked for a political status of India as a dominion, which should be the same as that of British dominions like Canada, South Africa. It asked for a similar reservation for Hindus in NWFP. The provinces of Sindh and Karnataka shall be separate any further reorganisation of proposed report was good but not practical. The joint and mixed concept was practically unacceptable for the Muslim league.

Nehru Report 1928
Moti Lal Nehru Report 1928 At the annual session of the Congress in Madras in December 1927, a resolution was passed which advocated the boycott of
Ken Surridge Sorry Gary, I realise that I am overwhelming your notifications so I will finish with some book recommendations. India 1900-47 by Rosemary Rees, and the Lancaster Pamphlets on British Politics of the time.

Gary Crethers: I would not say he was deeply racist, but typically racist at that time racism was fairly common. But it is certainly a blight on his early days. I have noted that above in the Peacework critique. Gandhi certainly was no saint, remember he also slept with his young nieces, not having sex with them, but still it was a kind of creepy thing and several of his fellows left his movement because of it. But it does not take away from the fact that he was an influential force for liberation of the Indian subcontinent from colonial rule and did his best to do it without violence. The violence that occurred after partition cannot be blamed on him, he did his best to stop it. I would say it was more a result of the withdrawal of British troops, the demobilization of Indian forces, the rush to independence, the lack of experience on the part of many Congress politicians and the agitation of Hindu and Islamic fundamentalists and nationalists who spread fear and panic, also the lack of adequate police forces, lack of clear border demarcation, and inadequate preparation of the population at large, besides the fact that it was a bad idea to start with as far as I am concerned.

Ken Surridge: The Lucknow pact was agreed before Gandhi took the leadership of the Congress party. The Nehru report was created when lead, in fact, ran the Congress party having reorganised and put in place only people deeply loyal to him and his views. Had he been willing to compromise the Muslim League may have accepted the Nehru report and partition could have been averted along with the killing. Jinnah certainly indicated support after the publication of the Nehru report for a united India.

Gary Crethers: This site has an interesting description of Gandhi supporting the British war effort, his rather idealistic position, that by being good Commonwealth citizens, the British would reward Indians with greater political freedoms was naive and put him out of favor with his more realistic brethren. Gandhi had withdrawn from independence agitation and focused on labor issues working for workers rights during the war. Although in 1918 he helped recruit soldiers for the war effort and earlier had organized an medical unit at the war’s outbreak. He felt betrayed by the British when at the wars end the British determined that Indian civil liberties were to be curbed.

Gary Crethers: the site

Mahatma Gandhi : Pictorial Biography
This is the first pictorial biography of Gandhi in which the narrative-concise, readable and incisive is illustrated with contemporary photographs and facsimiles of letters, newspaper reports and cartoons, adding up to a fascinating flash-back on the life of Mahatma Gandhi and the struggle for India…(see link)

Gary Crethers: As for the 1916 Lucknow Pact between Congress and the Muslim Brotherhood that was as you say largely the work of Jinnah, also as a result the radical Tilak faction and the moderate Gokhale factions in Congress were brought together. The ultimate goal was to gain access to concessions from the British for self government as well as to protect Muslim interests. They saw World War One as an opportunity to pressure the British. Gandhi was not involved in this process being opposed to using the war to pressure the British. Things began to change after the Chauri Chaura incident in 1922 during the non-cooperation campaign after the war. Gandhi and Congress decided to call off the campaign when enraged protestors burned down a police station killing some 21 officers trapped inside. Leaders of the Muslim Khilafat Movement became disenchanted with Congress for ending the campaign. Later in 1928 the Nehru report written as a response to British claims that Indians could not come up with a constitution, provided an outline of a path to Dominion status and Independence. Unfortunately it did not include provisions for separate Muslim elections or protections that were included in the Lucknow pact and caused members of the Muslim league and Khilafat movement to become more critical of Congress. This becoming a point that led to increased support for Sir Syed Ahmad Khan’s two state solution, as was proposed in 1930 by Allama Iqbal in a speech. The 1935 Government of India Act had adopted many of the concessions requested by the 1928 All-Party Muslim Conference which had demanded a 33% representation in a unified government. At that point a unitary state was still possible as the separate state movement could only garnish a small percentage of Muslim support, gaining only 5% of Muslim votes in a 1937 election. But under Jinnah’s leadership they pressed on and in the Lahore resolution of 1940 presented the two state solution. I don’t see Gandhi being the primary player in this process of separation between Muslim and Hindu interests, he certainly was a factor, but I don’t think he was as critical as you suggest. As to why Jinnah decided to give up on a unitary state and push for separation, there were many factors, Gandhi may have failed to understand Jinnah, and Nehru may have pushed him into a corner where he felt he had no option after the Nehru Report. Jinnah’s ambition may have led him to conclude that a separate power base using Islam as a means was the only way to have the impact he desired. He certainly was no devout Muslim and was a secularist. Ultimately the factors in the failure to form a unified country are complex and have their roots in history as well as in the personalities and forces of the times. Certainly the British divide and conquer methodology contributed to the current states.

Gary Crethers: I don’t agree with your analysis of the Congress Party at the time of the Nehru Report. Gandhi was not on the committee and he was not some omnipotent force in Congress.

Gary Crethers: On the other hand Gandhi was a very influential figure and his own rejection of a legislated approach to the communal problem in favor of an apocalyptic civil war as a sort of purifying experience for Indians was in my view both irresponsible, idealistic and ultimately led to his not taking Jinnah’s demands seriously enough. This is in marked contrast to his insistence on Non-violent struggle for independence. This is reported in “Gandhi: A Political and Spiritual Life”
by Kathryn Tidrick, on page 221. Although Gandhi did tell Jinnah that he personally would agree to the demands of Jinnah, he suggested that the Sikhs would withdraw their support. “Gandhi: The Man, His People, and the Empire” by Rajmohan Gandhi page 297. Gandhi was more concerned with the split between the elder and younger Nehru who disagreed over whether to accept Dominion status or complete separation. Gandhi brokered a compromise in which they would give the British a one year ultimatum for dominion. if it was not accepted then complete independence would be on the table. This is an interesting link to the British reaction and the various parties involved

Gandhi and British Public Opinion Part Two: Nehru Report to the Lahore Conference 1928-29
The Nehru report, published in 1928 began a sequence of dramatic events in which the Indian Independence Movement became central to British Politics for the following three years. These events would…(see link)

Gary Crethers: Ultimately I think you have some good points and Gandhi certainly is not the idol some people make of him. His Hinduism was both a strength and a hindrance to his success. Also his reading of history, particularly the way he interpreted the American Civil War suggested that he anticipated a violent future for India before a truly communal state would arise. Was he being prophetic or help create the conditions of the ultimate bloodbath of the separation is debatable. Certainly the worst of two worlds resulted, a war and a separation, rather than peace and unity. Although he certainly was a key player, I still don’t believe that his actions determined the ultimate course of history, but they did play an important part.

Ken Surridge: Gandhi was not party to the creation of the Lucknow pact or a supporter of its goals but he was behind the decision to ignore it and the concerns of Muslims in the creation of the Nehru report.

Gandhi became president of Congress in 1921, and immediately reformed the party. He restructured the hierarchy filling many positions with loyal followers. He reduced the membership fee, opened new party branches and campaigned aggressively. Party membership grew rapidly and Gandhi became the darling of the public. Gandhi became very powerful with his control of Congress and his public image.

Gandhi expressed regret for the Chauri Chaura incident in 1922. It is true that officially Gandhi and Congress decided to call off the campaign, however, the party was at this stage very much doing his bidding. Gandhi was indeed very powerful and it was not easy or wise to disagree with him. Along with some other members, the Khilafat Movement did become disenchanted with the campaign ending. Gandhi’s control of the party is underlined by the fact that while Gandhi’s was in prison internal factions formed within the Congress party which looked at one stage like it might split the party. On leaving prison Gandhi took control of the party and reunited it.

The 1928 Nehru report was the second attempt at a constitution for India. There were 2 Muslim representatives who were part of the committee that drafted it. They refused to sign it because it ignored Muslim concerns. It was rejected by the All Muslim league shortly afterwards. Jinnah’s 14 points were the only attempt made to see if any common ground could be found. Nehru as a loyal supporter of Gandhi made sure the report reflected his vision for India. The Congress party very much under Gandhi’s influence ignored Muslim concerns.

I see Gandhi’s influence and his beliefs as the main cause of the stance that the Congress party adopted towards the concerns of the Muslim league. I believe his speeches and actions show that as his influence grew so did his confidence to assert himself and his refusal to compromise. He is known in meetings to have simply refused to even respond to questions or discuss topics on which he had made up his mind. He left many British officials deeply frustrated because of his refusal to enter into negotiations. He drove Jinnah and his allies to conclude that the two-state solution touted by others was the only way to safeguard Muslims. It is true that once Jinnah believed this to be the case, he threw himself behind the idea and campaigned aggressively for it.

I agree that there were other factors at play, but I think you underestimate Gandhi’s influence. Even after he relinquished the leadership of the Congress party no decisions were taken without consulting him.

Gary Crethers: As much as I would like to continue this discussion I have other matters to attend at this point. I will say that the debates over the Nehru Report at the time indicate that many in Congress saw Jinnah as petulantly sticking to a position that insisted on a 33% Muslim stake as opposed to the 25% offered, a compromise of 27% was not accepted by Jinnah. Shuaaib Qureshi was the only one of the panel members who seems to have not signed it according to the Wikipedia article but that could be wrong. Gandhi certainly was influential, I guess what we disagree on is how much that influence impacted the ultimate results. A very interesting analysis indicates that it was due to the inept work of Jinnah’s aid M. C. Chagla. “In the summer 1928 when these negotiations went on and a draft of Nehru Report was being finalised Jinnah had gone to London and Paris – his wife Ruttie was on her deathbed in Paris at the time. Around the same time, the Nehru Report was finalised. Under pressure from the Hindu Mahasabha, the Nehru Report did not go far enough to meet the Delhi proposals. Instead of the 33% proposed reserved representation, the Hindu Mahasabha insisted on a lower number, agreeing ultimately at 25% i.e. 1/4th instead of 1/3rd. A meeting of the Nehru Report attended by M C Chaga on behalf of the League became the turning point. While Motilal Nehru was ready to even accept separate electorates as an interim measure to allay the minorities, M C Chagla forcefully advocated joint electorates on behalf of Jinnah’s faction and also went on to accept the Nehru Report on League’s behalf. When Jinnah returned, M C Chagla went to receive him at the harbor only to find his mentor furious. For Jinnah the Nehru Report was a counter proposal and with 1/4th instead of 1/3rd reserved representation was a non-starter. In this he was right. Muslims were giving up their separate electorates and the Hindu majority was expected to give something in return – an increase in reserved representation.”

Gary Crethers:
Gandhi according to this author is only mentioned in the context of having a positive opinion. “The package Jinnah gave for a settlement became famously known as the Delhi Muslim proposals. There is enough evidence to suggest that Motilal Nehru and Gandhi were thrilled by this proposal.” Thus all I can say is this subject is still being debated and as I am not an expert, I will have to leave it lie as it stands perhaps in the future I shall attempt a paper on the subject.

Jinnah, M C Chagla and the Nehru Report | Pak Tea House
The All India Reporter in its obituary on Jinnah wrote this very revealing line: “The change in his views and ideals leading to such cataclysmic developments in our national annals will remain one of the strangest things in history.”

Enough Fooling Around, World Politics Again

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Its 4 am, I can’t sleep. Got personal stuff on the brain. But I want to discuss politics, at least in this domain I am not totally ignorant.
I noticed the latest ad from Stratfor, they are pushing subscriptions for their analysis of world affairs as a way to be the smartest guy at the party. Quite a come down from their lofty policy analysis claims. I have read some of their reports, something any well read history, international affairs, or geography major could come up with. They are written for the average idiot who knows nothing of the world except what they see on CNN. I am not impressed.

Syria has become the new center of the cold war. China and Russia are realigning and forming an uneasy alliance to keep the smaller countries around them at bay. That is pretty obvious in the stand they have taken to hold the line in Syria, supporting secular power, and traditional allies, come hell or high water. The west, led by the US are now in an alliance with the Sunni Arab powers of the Arabian Peninsula, Turkey and Israel against Iran in particular but the forming alliance of Russia and China in general. The loss of Libya as a friendly country to the Russians, their aspirations to become the leaders of a new post Soviet Russian sphere of influence, and the rising economic and military might of China, which still needs to some extent the protective shield of the Russian nuclear might to pursue its policy of economic infiltration of the world. As the dominant economic powerhouse, the Chinese have spread to South America, and Africa in particular looking for resources and partners in markets where they can come to offer a serious alternative to the old western European and American hegemony that has existed for the last century or so.

India interestingly is leaning towards the US and Israel as their allies having mostly let go of their old alliance with the Russians. Something that was mostly done I think after independence as a snub to the British who had fought against Russian attempts to reach the Indian Ocean in the 19th century in that region of the world, the so called “Great Game”. Now India sees China as its greatest threat after Pakistan. But the potential if there was a Chinese, Russian and Indian alliance is to create the greatest powerhouse in the world with Russian resources, Chinese organization and Indian ingenuity. Certainly China and India are two of the worlds traditional centers of civilization and power which was usurped by the west in the 18th and 19th centuries. A drop in the historical bucket. It seems that a great realignment of power is about to occur, the USA is rightly focusing on Asia, although the absurd placement of a few troops in northern Australia is mere symbolism. The best they can hope for is to keep Singapore and Indonesia in line and give a little reassurance to the Australian elite who are fearful of the dominance of China as their main consumer of raw materials. Its more a racist reaction than a rational way to think. They are no more historically likely to remain a white island in a yellow sea, than they are of remaining true to the Commonwealth, a rapidly less and less relevant entity as Great Britain becomes little more that a shopping destination for wealthy Chinese and Saudi’s making the grand tour of the quaint world of the old European powers.

The USA in its relatively isolated position in North America has still the greatest physical land in the world with abundant agricultural land and energy resources in primarily coal, but also the great transportation system that the Missouri-Mississippi-Ohio rivers complex offers along with the Great Lakes as a means of moving bulk commodities from one part of the world to another at relatively cheap rates. American Corn is king. If climate change undercuts the ability for this breadbasket to continue to be a cornucopia then American dominance with wither on the vine. This is serious and is not discussed outside of circles of policy wonks. Having recently taken a course in physical geography where the emphasis was on the ongoing environmental transformation being brought on by the green house effect of industrial pollution, this is not something to be poo-pooed away as environmentalist hyperbole. The weather is something to be taken seriously as are earthquakes, tsunami’s and volcanic activity. One good eruption can lower the worlds temperature a couple of degrees for a year or more from the dust thrown up into the atmosphere, as an example.

With China and India developing as fast as they can, the earth will soon be stripped of raw metals and there will have to be an immense recycling industry to reclaim what has been combined into finished goods, or an intense extraction of the oceans floor starting with the continental shelves. China is well aware of the value of the South China Sea and wants to stake its claim to it as the surface minerals are rapidly depleted. At this rate how much longer can we expect current alliances to hold? In my mind what will happen is a further development of the tendencies I have described with places like India swinging back and forth. Poor little Syria will be ripped apart by these political tectonic plates and there is little to do about it but send in aid for the suffering civilians. This is not about democracy, it is about power realignments in the world system. We should not lose sight of that in the desire to mitigate the suffering of the people directly on the ground.

Resource Grab Threatens World Stability

Sunday, October 10th, 2010

India and China are growing world powers with China out in the lead at this time. China has rapidly expanded its access to world resources, taking advantage of the NATO military shield. Now that there is no cold war, there are many mini wars going on mostly over trade and access to resources. The world is not as dangerous as it may have been when the US and the Soviet Union were threatening to blow one another up. But the world keeps arming with the USA by far out in the lead.

We live in an age of almost instant communications. Yet there are secret agencies, and not so secret strategic policy planners in most countries determined to play out wars of conquest, now more than ever over the balance of trade and the access to resources, production facilities and markets. The USA has taken the key role of financial and military arbitrage. China has taken on the role of production facility for the world. India is becoming the High tech research back office, Japan and Germany are still the high tech producers.

But there is a major problem. The worlds resources are limited and it is questionable what standard of living will be achieved before oil in particular runs out. The USA and Europe are there so to speak and the rest of the world is clawing its way up the capitalist ladder to get to the material standards of a 1950’s Hollywood movie view of prosperity.

This is not the 1950’s and we are just about at peak oil. The big countries leaders are like a group of sharks swimming around the carcass of a dead milk cow that is now beginning to stink. Meanwhile the players continue to scheme and dream as if nothing is happening.

We the people of the world must demand an end to this dangerous military-economic game. It will not end as long as nation states are out there looking out for numero uno. We need a true United Nations and for that to word there has to be massive disarmament and some form of international socialism. We may be on the way there but the nation states are still playing hard and for keeps. Someone has to step up and stop the nonsense. The time has come to take care of the people of the world first and stop spending so much on plans to blow one another up.

This from Al Jazeera

China and Turkey eye trade boost
Two of the world’s fastest growing economies aim to triple bilateral trade to $50bn within five years.
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2010 16:02 GMT

China and Turkey intend to raise their trade to $50bn by 2015 from an expected $17bn this year [EPA]

Turkey was the last stop on Wen’s European tour, which took him to Greece, Belgium and Brussels.

Turkey’s ties with China have been strained at times, notably over Beijing’s approach to unrest in Xinjiang, home to China’s Muslim Turkish minority Uighurs.

The two leaders did not, however, address one of the few areas of tension in bilateral ties.

Wen’s tour of Europe was also overshadowed by a dispute with the European Union and the US over the level of the yuan.

In the Greek capital Athens, he pledged investment and support to debt-stricken Greece and announced the creation of a $5bn fund to help finance the purchase of Chinese ships by Greek shipping companies.

In Brussels, Wen fended off European pressure to raise the value of the yuan before sealing business deals worth $3.15bn in Rome.

One of the agreements would open the way for the joint construction of 4,500km of railway in Turkey, Erdogan said, adding that efforts would now focus on finding the necessary finance for the project.

Chinese companies are already involved in the construction of railroads for two high-speed train links, he added.

Turkey and China are also involved in projects to build oil pipelines from Iran.

Turkish newspapers reported last week that Chinese warplanes took part in a military training exercise at an airbase in central Turkey, in what appeared to be the first such drill involving Beijing and a Nato member country.

“To the best of our knowledge, US-made F-16s were not involved in the exercise,” Lieutenant Colonel Tamara Parker, a defence department spokeswoman, said on Friday.

For more

Indian concerns over China.

India Predicted Dominant Economy in 100 years.

Economists on India Vs. China

China in Australia, Going For World Resources
From Seeking Alpha

“China has no hidden agenda in its quest for natural resources. It recognizes that the world’s natural resources are finite, and it recognizes its own strengths and weaknesses. China also recognizes that the best use of the capital it accumulated and the technologies it got in exchange for exporting cheap labor is the acquiring control of as much of the world’s natural resources as possible.”

For more of this article

India tries to play catch up with China in World Resource scramble. Bloomberg

“March 17 (Bloomberg) — India, with $254 billion of foreign-exchange reserves, may create a sovereign wealth fund to help state companies compete for overseas energy assets with China, a government official said.
China, with $2.4 trillion of reserves and a $300 billion sovereign fund, has outpaced India in the global quest for resources to feed the world’s fastest-growing major economies. Chinese companies spent a record $32 billion last year buying oil, coal and metals assets abroad, while a $2.1 billion investment by ONGC was India’s sole energy acquisition.”

For more of this article

US Vs. China in Global resource scramble. From Combined Arms Center Blog.

“This past August Iraq and China signed a $3 billion contract to develop a large Iraqi oil field, the first major commercial oil contract Iraq has made with a foreign company since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. How ironic is that? The U.S. invades and occupies Iraq and then, after most of the blood has been mopped up, the Chinese arrive to partner with the Iraqis.

These two powerful nations are making their presence known over the entire globe but they are doing it in dramatically different ways. In the quest to acquire precious natural resources, primarily oil, the world watches as the Chinese appear before nations with contracts in hand while the U.S. appears before certain selected nations with bullets and bombs in hand. That is certainly a unique example of contrasting methods of persuasion.

This difference in strategies was stated in similar terms when, writing in The Nation 11/17/09, Robert Dreyfuss quotes a high Chinese official who said, “When America talks about strategy, it implies military, security, confrontation. In China, we have a much broader view of the idea of ’strategy.’ We mean something that is long-term and systematic.” He could not have portrayed the situation any better.”

For more of this article

Russia tries to strengthen its role in India Defense as counter to China.

US develops closer ties to India, China concerned.

Getting Real American Foreign Policy, Debt And Health Care

Monday, October 12th, 2009

Tonight I heard Chris Hedges on KPFK being interviewed about his new book ‘Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle’.

He was speaking about the lack of intellectual depth in America. He was speaking about the fact that we have become a celebrity worshiping consumer culture. Specifically he says that Americans are deluded by the illusions that they have been sold and that we have become divorced from reality.

He claims that Americans are the most delusional people in the world.

This is serious.

Advertising Age today has released a white paper that says the average American no longer exists. The 2010 census will reveal that the nuclear family of white middle class couples with 2.4 children and a dog with a house in suburbia is simply no longer true. We are a nation of niches. This is the article hyping the paper that is available at a price.

“LOS ANGELES ( — The 2010 Census is expected to find that 309 million people live in the United States. But one person will be missing: the average American.

“The concept of an ‘average American’ is gone, probably forever,” demographics expert Peter Francese writes in 2010 America, a new Ad Age white paper. “The average American has been replaced by a complex, multidimensional society that defies simplistic labeling.”

2010 America, a new 32-page white paper by Peter Francese, analyzes what the 2010 census will reveal about the changing face of consumers. The message to marketers is clear: No single demographic, or even handful of demographics, neatly defines the nation. There is no such thing as “the American consumer.”

The Census Bureau will begin releasing data in spring 2011. Mr. Francese, demographic trends analyst at WPP’s Ogilvy & Mather, New York, and founder of American Demographics magazine, now offers projections and insight on what the census will show.

Selected findings of 2010 America:

■U.S. households are growing ever more complex and varied.

“This census will show that no household type neatly describes even one-third of households,” Mr. Francese writes. “The iconic American family — married couple with children — will account for a mere 22% of households.”

The most prevalent type of U.S. household? Married couple with no kids, followed closely by single-person households, according to Mr. Francese’s projections.

The Census will give Americans 14 choices to define household relationships. Mr. Francese says this will “enable the Census Bureau to count not only traditional families but also the number and growth since 2000 of blended families, single-parent families and multigenerational families, as well as multiple families doubling up in one household.”

That presents boundless opportunities for marketers and media in how they target and segment households.

■Minorities are the new majority. “One fact says it all,” Mr. Francese writes. “In the two largest states (California and Texas), as well as New Mexico and Hawaii, the nation’s traditional majority group — white non-Hispanics — is in the minority.” And in the nation’s 10 largest cities, he says, “no racial or ethnic category describes a majority of the population.”

Mr. Francese notes how diversity varies greatly by age, “with the younger population substantially more diverse than the old.”

Consider these 2010 projections: 80% of people age 65-plus will be white non-Hispanics. But just 54% of children under age 18 will be white non-Hispanics. Mr. Francese observes: “White non-Hispanics will surely account for fewer than half of births by 2015.”

In 2010, Hispanics will be both the nation’s fastest-growing and largest minority (50 million people).

■The nation is moving. Over the past decade, Mr. Francese says, 85% of the nation’s population growth occurred in the South and West. “During the still-nameless decade from 2000 to 2010,” he writes, “a total of about 3 million people have moved out of the Northeast, and another 2 million have left the Midwest” for the South and West.”

What does this mean? Only that data mining will be more and more prevalent as advertisers work on specializing on the niche they want to reach. The largest group in the immediate future will be the aging baby boomers. This is pretty obvious just look at the prevalence of advertising for Viagra, pills in general, and various insurance plans. It is all about old people and their wealth and health.

But lets drop all this BS. Liz Cheney put it out there on Fox News, she said that the Nobel Committee wants to see the end of US Dominance in the world and that President Obama is a believer in ending US Dominance. She is a firm believer in the USA as the leader of the world. This is clear in statements she makes like “Norwegians sleep well at night because American soldiers protect them.” She was advocating giving the Nobel Peace prize to a mother of a dead veteran. I wonder if she would want Cindy Sheehan to get the Nobel Peace Prize? Cindy is certainly the mother of a Veteran and an advocate of peace.

Steve Clemons of the Washington is saying that Obama is attempting to revive America’s relevance tonight on MSNBC. This is the establishment position. He is here as the janitorial president to clean up the mess left by Bush Neo-liberalism. The Obama administration is traditional liberalism lite. Because as we all know there is no money left for real Johnson liberal reforms. The Chinese are worried about the USA letting the dollar decline in value. This means very simply that the Chinese are telling Obama that what we need is neo-liberal structural reform. This is the ultimate Irony. Why won’t Obama meet the Dali Lama, the Chinese won’t like it. Why do we care, because the Chinese hold all our debt and if they stopped buying American debt then we would have to pay for our debt from our own economy and guess what? We don’t have an economy, we out sourced it all.

World War Two was a time of greater national debt but it was bought domestically and so when we paid it back we were paying Americans. Now the debt is held by China, Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands and Great Britain mainly. That means we have to care about what they think. We no longer have a strong domestic manufacturing economy. What we do have is a financial sector that handles other peoples money for them. We have been a safe haven for other peoples money.

America is a big spacious empty country. It has lots of room for rich people from all over the world to stash their wealth. The poor are mostly isolated in the cities and the propaganda machine works better here than in most places. Our media has pushed the concept of believing that a positive attitude and a can do approach will always win out. This is not a bad approach but when it is combined with a pathological fear of being called a looser and a shame at reaching out to others in solidarity because of the dream of individual success, it has crippled all organs of labor unity because of this propaganda. It has turned every attempt to form a viable left in the United States into a joke.

So what do we do? We stop believing the hype. As Chris Hedges says we have to get real. We have to face the facts. We then have to prioritize. America cannot afford a real comprehensive health plan because we are spending too much money on the military and bailing out the banking industry. We need to prioritise do we want to be an oasis for the rich of the world with a little trickle down to the rest of us or do we want real economic democracy? If that is what we want then are we willing to do the work to make it happen? First we have to stop believing the get rich quick hype. We have to form unions and join progressive political groups. We need to boycott and and protest and blockade the business as usual. We need to stop cooperating with the rich and work for our collective benefit.

This does not mean we become jingoistic nationalists. It does mean that we restructure our economy and our laws to benefit the working people and not the multinational corporations. We need to separate the interests of people from that of corporations. They are not the same.

It starts with things like health care for all. And I mean all, including so called illegal immigrants. Poor people are people and deserve to be treated with respect no matter where they are from. The rich have tried to get us to believe that we are a poor nation and need to cut back on who we help. Look at this debate over health care. It has turned into a debate over what we can afford because the President has been convinced that we can not afford any more debt. This is the Chinese, and the other wealthy speaking. It is not the american manufacturers. We could use a weak dollar to export. No it is the investors from other countries who don’t want to see their investment in American debt lose value.

This is crucial for people to understand. American Health Care is being cut back due to the return on investment required by foreign investors. The second factor is that disposable income is going to the war effort. Why because America has made a deal with Israel and India to out flank China in South Asia. India needs oil and if we move out of Afghanistan then India does not have the leverage it needs in the middle east. It then will have to take a more aggressive position vs a vie China and Pakistan. But that forces Pakistan to fund the Taliban and Kashmir’s resistance fighters to counter act India. What Americans don’t realize is the extent to which India is invested in Afghanistan. Pakistan sees this as a pincer movement on the part of India to surround it. Bush made a deal with India, we would support their illegal nuclear program if India would give material support in Afghanistan. Pakistan saw this as an act of aggression and that is the reason why they attack the Indian Embassy in Kabul and attacked Mumbai.

That is why Afghanistan is a trap. We are damned if we do and damned if we don’t. The Afghanis know the USA is only a temporary visitor. We are not going to stay forever, but we also have to stay because we have made commitments to other powers that mean if we leave that we will have to change those commitments. If India cannot count on the USA then it might return to counting on Russia, or make a deal with China. All this is simply politics.

But it is done behind the backs of the people and we are simply left in the dark. We have to be aware of what our country does in our name and then decide if this is what we really want. India is a democracy. But so is Pakistan. Neither India or Pakistan have oil but they both have a lot of people. Afghanistan has almost nothing we need unless Opium is a vital resource. But it it weak and thus easy to dominate. This ease of entry is the trap because it also makes whomever is there a target. The United States and NATO is the new target. Like the Tar Baby it is seemingly an easy mark, punch it and you get no resistance, but your hand is stuck. Punch with another fist and that hand is stuck. Pretty soon you are totaly immersed in a seemingly non resistant body. How did we get here? The Russians found out. It almost destroyed their military machine. We had that happen once in Vietnam. Does the United States really want to go through that again in Afghanistan? We bribed our way out of Iraq by paying off the tribal leaders who then turned on Al Qaeda. We got lucky there. Why press our luck?

Be aware America. Be aware. The best policy is one of multilateralism. Working with the world. If we don’t then we will be in a subtle war that we cannot win. Just as the Japanese could not overwhelm the Unites States with our superior manufacturing capacity, we are soon running up against the same situation with China only in this case we are the Japanese and they are the Americans. Think about it.

Ruminations On Los Angeles Radical Community, Israel & Palestine

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

I am a member of the Green Party in Long Beach, CA. It is not exactly the most politically active group down here. I find the local anarchists to be more of a presence than the Green Party. Yesterday I went to a protest against the launching of a missile at Vandenberg Air Force Base. The protest was at the Missile procurement and research center the LA Air Force Base in El Segundo, CA a suburb of Los Angeles.
About 30 people attended. They were mostly from the War Resisters League, Catholic Workers and a representative from the Global Peace March. I was the only self identified anarchist/communist. One guy asked me if the wobblies were still around when he saw my IWW cap. I replied yep and that I didn’t know the War Resisters League was still around until I saw the guy with a war resistors cap.
This year I have made a point of going to events where there would be people I didn’t necessarily know or normally work with. I went to a couple of protests of the Israeli assaults on Gaza, most of the people attending were from the ANSWER coalition and the Party for Socialism and Liberation. I also met a member of Workers World Party there and a member of the News & Letters Group. I met quite a few Palestinians there who were supporters of Hamas with their green flags. It was interesting to see communists and islamic fundamentalists together. Again I was the only self identified anarchist communist. There might have been a thousand people at the event in January but only a few hundred at a rally in April. The RCP made a presence in January but I did not see them at the April event.
I also attended the Anarchist Conference at the People’s Library in South Central LA. This had perhaps a thousand people at last years book fair but only a few hundred at this years conference. It was still a decent turn out and there were representatives from the IWW, RAC, Insane Dialectical Posse and even a Turkish Member of the ICC. This was a crowd where I recognised some of those present. Some old time Food Not Bomb participants from the 90’s were still active but mostly they were new people I didn’t know.
What is my point? Well I am making an effort to survey the current state of the radical community in LA. What we have is a fragmented scene, much like the city. Where as a few years ago communists and anarchists and peace activists and Palestinian activists all went to one an other’s events. Now I find less of that happening. Anarchists seem to be doing their own thing, and are hooked up with struggles in the Latino community such as the immigrant workers rights struggles where some anarchists were among those attacked by the Police on May Day 2007, but in anti militarism events and in Palestinian events there was no Anarchist presence. It could be simply because most Anarchists are opposed to nationalism and many are not pacifist. Catholic Worker was once identified as anarchist back in the 1930’s but now they are more affiliated with the anti-nuke activists than with the current anarchist movement.
Back in the 1990’s and in the build up to the big march against the war in Iraq in 2003 I was involved in an effort to bring people from different groups together. I also had a band of people who came together just for that event. We made banners and marched together in a breakaway demonstration and then we dissolved. That is one kind of anarchist ideal. Temporary autonomous organization for the specific event. It is a structure that works in today’s instant communication email society. You are committed for the moment and when it passes your commitment passes. That may be ok for a demonstration, but is it the structure for a movement?
It may be the best we can expect in our current society. People are bombarded with stimulus. They choose a few sources of information, decide that is what they trust and go with it. It may be good for an event but it also leads to isolation of groups from one another with similar causes but because we have become so fragmented into such specific interests we are not even aware of what others are doing that we might have united with a few years before.
Lets take the example of the Gaza demonstrations. In January I went to the demonstration in Orange County at a mini mall. There were perhaps a thousand people. Many from the community. This area had a large population from the middle east. Members of Communist and Muslim independence groups spoke, from Palestine, and from the Philippines. The crowd included many families and teenagers.
I then drove up to the Federal Building in West LA where there was another demonstration. Here was a different crowd. Students from UCLA, professionals, few children or families. It was a smaller group also it had a much less militant outlook. The crowd in Orange County had many Hamas supporters. The crowd in West LA was more anti militarist and anti war and not as pro Palestinian. There were Jews for Peace here and it would be tough for this crowd to fly green Hamas flags as they did in Orange County. It was the difference between a national liberation crowd and an anti war crowd. What they had in common were communists in both groups.
In Orange County the slogan was “Drive Israel Out of Palestine”. In West LA the Slogan was “Peace Now”. These are quite different demands. There were no Anarchists besides myself to comment on the difference. The Communists seemed to not want to confront the contradiction. Perhaps they were unaware, I doubt it though. Members of the RCP were at both events.
Israel is a bone of contention that divides many in the left.
The differences between the Palestinians and the Israelis, or any other groups that is one where we have to start from the premise of being fair. When the British first took over the land from the Turks in World War One the Arabs and Jews got along. Jews migrated and bought land from the Arabs but in 1929 there was a riot over access to Jerusalem. The British simply mishandled the situation.
This was part of the Ottoman Empire for centuries. The Arabs helped the British kick the Turks out of the middle east and thought they were promised Palestine as part of the deal. Jews thought that they were promised the same land because of the Balfour Accords. The British let Jews move in but in the 1930’s began to restrict the number of Jews who could emigrate. This led to Jewish terrorist attacks on the British. Arabs felt betrayed because the British kept the land after World War One as part of their Protectorate. Finally after increased terror attacks after World War 2 including the bombing of the British Military headquarters the British and the new United Nations came up with a plan to divide the country into two an Arab and Jewish portion.
As soon as the British left war broke out between the new Jewish state of Israel and the Arabs who had thought this land was theirs.
Historically the Ottomans Empire invited the Jews from Spain when they were kicked out by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492. The Arabs freed the Jews and non conformists Christians in what was then part of Syria from the Rule of the Roman Church in the 600’s. The Jews were considered to be people of the book and treated like Christians with respect by the Muslims. Islam was considered to be the final revelation of gods word to mankind. To them Jews and Christians were their predecessors.
The problem with the way the situation was handled in the 1940’s was a matter of disrespect. The British were dumping an empire. They had just given up India, the jewel in the crown. They didn’t want to but they had promised. The Labor Party wanted to implement the National Health Service and they could not afford to fund that and a war to keep India part of the empire. Palestine was simply a way station on the road to India, without India there was no need for Palestine and it looked like a nice place to put the Jewish survivors from the Nazi death camps as well as being the Biblical homeland of the Jews.
But the Jews had been forcefully removed by the Babylonians 2500 years ago. They were returned by the Persian king when he conquered Babylon and set the Jews free. Later they were conquered by the Greeks who were in turn conquered by the Romans. The Romans at first let a Jewish King rule, Herod because he had helped the Romans fight the Parthians. Later they implemented direct Roman Rule, the Jews rebelled twice and were exiled from Jerusalem and the vicinity. This was almost 2000 years ago. Many Jews went to live in Babylon where they were protected by the Parthians and Persians.
After the Arabs conquered the region Jews, Christians and Muslims lived there in relative harmony for centuries. The Turks took over the area in the 1500’s and continued their relativly tolerant rule. It wasn’t until the British took over after World War One that things got screwed up. Now we have a royal mess there and in India. Both were situations where the British decided it was easier to simply divide the people Jews and Arabs in Palestine or Muslims and Hindus in India and let things fall where they may.
People let their beliefs in nations based on religious differences be the determining factor but there is no reason why this has to be a determining factor. It is almost simply an easy excuse to use for politicians looking for a way to stir up hatred between peoples. In India the Congress Party was made of Hindus and Muslims. It was only after the Caliphate in Istanbul was destroyed by the victorious allies in World War One that the Muslims in India united to form a movement to restore the Caliphate that evolved into a muslim separatist movement. In the middle east Arabs and Jews had gotten along for centuries it was only when European Jews decided that they needed their own country and that it should be in a land that had not been ruled by Jews for 2000 years that the troubles began with this modern Zionist movement. It was aided and abetted by Christians who had misplaced notions of apocalyptic visions that by giving the Jews back their state they could recreate the conditions for Jesus to return to the planet Earth. This arcane notion is one of the main reasons why there is tension in the middle east.
Really there is no reason why the Jews and Arabs can’t have a united state of Palestine that accepts all religions as equal. It is only the nationalists who stir up differences and then give certain people other people’s land and then protect them, thus creating a constituency and a justification for conflict, that we have these problems. The Middle East crisis could be solved in a couple of weeks with a just peace if there was simply the will. Just like Cypress worked out its differences, between Greeks and Turks, so can the Arabs and Jews in Palestine. There are rich people getting richer over the differences and there are politicians who have created constituencies out of creating an imbalance that will perpetuate conflict until balance is restored.
Capitalism is one of the big reasons behind this, capitalism and the wilful perpetuation of ignorance by elites to control the mass of people who really have better things to do than to become embroiled in politics. The problem is, if you leave it all up the the experts, and don’t pay attention they will steer you off a cliff. So pay attention people.
Not all these differences are simply because of manipulation. Some of them have a basis in historical issues that have to be resolved. Class, and hierarchy, patriarchy and elitism are at the root of most issues. Some are simply matters of misunderstanding but most have a basis in power and control over access to resources. The sooner we all learn to deal with these things in a straightforward not mystified manner and adopt rational methodologies of distribution, the sooner these issues will disappear into the primitive history of the past. We must achieve socialism or we will revert to some form of primitive barbarism.

Another Tale From India

Sunday, September 14th, 2008

Don’t get me wrong, I like India, I spend a few weeks there on the Krishna tour back in the early 90’s and was impressed with how much of the cultural integrity remained in the country. People who spoke English were genuinely concerned with the effect western materialism and violence would have on Indian culture. Movies in India are about singing and dancing. They are tales of love and romance. Violence is not the subject, even choreographed violence like in China.
India back in the long distant past on 1993 was the sort of place where you could hand out your walkman to a stranger and that stranger would pass it to another one, and then they would pass in down to the next car and so on until 3 hours later it came back to me, having been listened to unknown dozens of men and boys who had an interest in Hare Krishna tapes. Women and men were segregated at that time, on the trains, only interacting in the family class cars, where I usually rode because the seats flattened into beds. At $10 for a ticket from Calcutta to New Delhi it was a deal. Tourist class was $50 and air conditioned, but then I would not be able to travel with average Indians. I had not gone to India to be with other Americans, although at the Krishna temples I met plenty of westerners.
But I am not talking about India of 15 years ago. I am interested in India now. Back then there was trouble in Kashmir, but not in Orissa. I went to Puri, and there I saw the great Jagannath temple that westerners were not allowed to enter. But now there is a problem. It seems that Christian Missionaries have been up to their usual no good. They have been trying to convert the under classes, very similar to what they did in ancient Rome, going after the slaves and women, to convert the disaffected and those at the bottom of the pagan system. India is the last remnant of the world that the Romans knew. China was lost when the British destroyed the empire, and created a dependency on the west, ripe for revolution. Egypt had long ago been lost when Christianity came in. Mesopotamia went at about the same time, destroyed by the onslaught of Christianity. Rome and Greece went a little earlier, and the African pagans were destroyed by slavers from the west Christians and the east Moslems. Only India and a few tribal regions have survived intact to modern times As much as I do not like what has happened to India with its support of Bush and its repression of Moslems, they represent the last major home of the worlds original religion and to the extent that it is still true, it deserves to exist.
Here is a report about the Indians and Christians in Orissa province.

“BHUBANESWAR, India (AFP) — Security forces killed two Hindu rioters in eastern India where violence between Hindus and Christians claimed 18 lives last month, police said Sunday.

Tensions between the two communities in Orissa state have simmered for weeks over alleged forced conversions of Hindus by the minority Christian community.

Late Saturday, paramilitary troops in the troubled Kandhamal district — the focus of the recent religious violence — clashed with about 50 Hindus.

The Hindus, who were trying to attack a church and the nearby house of a Christian villager, fired on the troops, injuring one of them, police said.

Two rioters were killed and 11 injured when the troops retaliated, Orissa police chief Gopal Nanda said Sunday.

Hindu-Christian clashes erupt periodically in India, where 2.3 percent of the country’s population of more than 1.1 billion are Christians.

Hardline Hindus accuse missionaries of “bribing” poor tribals and low-caste Hindus, who often face strong discrimination, to convert to Christianity by offering free education and health care.

The latest clash comes in the wake of bloody riots after the murder of a revered Hindu priest and four followers on August 23.

Thousands of people, mainly Christians, are still living in government camps or in the surrounding jungles following the torching of their homes.

In southern Karnataka state, which is governed by the Hindu nationalists, 10 small churches and prayer halls were ransacked Sunday by Hindu activists, police said.

At least eight people including two pastors were injured, police said, adding that the attacks appeared to be in protest over the alleged forced conversions of Hindus.

In New Delhi, a spokesman for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he had “asked the state chief minister to ensure communal harmony at all costs.”

Not much of an article, but I am sure Christian Blogs are trying to rally the troops to help fight the battle for Christ and the Hindu fundamentalists are doing the same in India and among the Diaspora around the world.
India is now no longer a poor third world country, although it still has large numbers of poor it also has wealth and a middle class that is as large as the middle class in America. That is about 200 million there 1/5th of the population of India and perhaps 150 million here or about half the population. India has a lot more population and as its wealth grows so will its power and influence. Soon it will be the other super power, along with China, as the dominant economic powerhouse in the world.
The US, Russia and the other G8 countries are simply trying to hold back the tide of the future and sooner or later there will be no USA.
These religious fundamentalists understand that the future is in the numbers. The more they have in their churches the more they have what they want, which is control of the world. Each religion represents an elite who want to be the world leaders. Religious traditions aside, they want to win and the last religion standing is by default the winner, even if they only have a nuclear waste land and a few bunkers to claim for their god or gods. Makes you want to become an atheist doesn’t it?

Violence And Policy In India

Saturday, September 13th, 2008

India wants the US Government to give them a special waver with regards to its Nuclear Policy. There is legislation now before Congress to give India Special status as a nuclear proliferator who has thumbed its nose at the world and its non-proliferation treaties. But because India has been like Israel a vocal supporter of the US policy of stigmatizing the Moslems as the source of evil in the world, they are going to get a pass by the Bush Administration, if they can get this through Congress.
We cannot have it both ways, either we acknowledge that countries have the right to proliferate with their own nuclear plans, or we adamantly insist that we all disarm and destroy our nuclear weapons as endangering the human race. By granting India a pass for ignoring international law, we are granting more force to the belief that the United States is above international law and anyone allied to the United States can join an exclusive club, the “above the law club”. If we continue to reward countries we agree with to proliferate and punish those we don’t agree with, we are destroying the legitimacy of the disarmament process.
That said, what can we say about events in India at this time. They have their own war on terror, but in India there is a very large minority of Moslems, they are about 15% of the population and next door is Pakistan, giving aid to Moslem separatists. Think of it as being as if Mexico was giving material aid to a Mexican independence movement who wanted to return the southwest to Mexico. And Pakistan is an ally to the United States, with a war on terror in Afghanistan, and another one a war of freedom fighters in Kashmir attempting to liberate that province from India, and at the same time we are trying to give India a pass to build more nukes. Does this seem like rational policy?
Protests have been going on in Kashmir for a month over the allocation of some forest land for a Hindu Temple. Another group the Indian Mujahideen has been bombing cities in India over the last year. Most recently in New Delhi they have attacked.
First about the Bombers and then about the protestors. These are from a Qatar news service called The Peninsula.
Here an article from REUTERS.

“Indian Mujahideen claims hand in blast
Web posted at: 9/14/2008 5:36:14
Source ::: Agencies
Policemen stand guard at the bomb blast site in New Delhi yesterday. (REUTERS)
New Delhi • Terror outfit Indian Mujahideen has claimed responsibility for the serial bomb blasts in Delhi last evening which killed at least 18 people, though police said they were not sure about the identity of the perpetrators. “The Indian Mujahideen has claimed something but we are not very sure about it,” Delhi Police joint commissioner Karnail Singh told reporters.

“Whether its Indian Mujahideen or anyone else, we want to arrest those behind it. We had no intelligence input about the blasts,” Singh added.

He, however, maintained there was “no lapse in security”.

Indian Mujahideen that claimed responsibility for the July 26 serial bombings in Ahmedabad that claimed 56 lives.

Singh said terrorists generally try to attack during the “festival seasons” but this was a “lean season”. The terrorists targeted parking places and busy market places as “they get easy access”, he added.

Singh said police were collecting details of the dead and the injured from the hospitals. “We are not sure about the number of casualties at this point of time.”

Hours after the multiple terror bombings, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss steps to beef up security.

The meeting was attended by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and senior cabinet ministers.

Six explosions in crowded markets across different parts of city, including Greater Kailash, Connuaght Place and Gaffar Market, killed at least 18 people and left nearly 100 injured.

Home Minister Shivraj Patil appealed to the people maintain calm and to help the authorities in restoring peace in the city.

Delhi Police Commissioner Y S Dadwal said they had already formed a special team to probe the blasts.

The serial blasts yesterday that injured nearly 100 is the fourth terror act allegedly triggered by the Indian Mujahideen, the terror outfit that became increasingly more notorious since late last year.

The Indian Mujahideen claimed responsibility for the Delhi bombing in an e-mail to the media, though the police said they were unsure about the perpetrators. Earlier, the outfit had also owned the serial bombings in Ahmedabad — July 26, Jaipur — May 13 and in three towns of Uttar Pradesh last November.

The Indian Mujahideen, believed to be a front organisation of the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami (HuJI) outfits, had even sent out prior warnings on all the three occasions. yesterday, when Delhi’s market places were crowded with weekend shoppers, six blasts were triggered minutes from each other creating panic in the capital.

The latest email — “Message of Death” — sent to various media outlets five minutes before the first blast in Gaffar Market and attributed to the Indian Mujahideen says: “Indian Mujahideen strikes back once more within five minutes from now. Do whatever you want to stop us if you can.”

The Intelligence Bureau claims the Indian Mujahideen is a ploy by terror outfits to misguide probe agencies. Intelligence sources said the outfit is just a new name used by terror groups banned by the government in the last few years.

The heat was on the HuJI, which masterminded the Hyderabad blasts and in the Muslim shrine Ajmer Sharif in Rajasthan last year, the sources said, adding it became imperative for them to give their outfit a new name in India.

The Indian Mujahideen also has youngsters who were part of the SIMI. There are reports that several youngsters from the banned outfit had been recruited into various terror outfits including HuJI.

At least 20 synchronised bombs went off within less than two hours rocked the city of Ahmedabad in Gujarat July 26, killing 15 people and injuring over 70.

An email sent five minutes before the Ahmedabad blasts and attributed to the Indian Mujahideen had warned: “The Indian Mujahideen strike again! — Do whatever you can, within five minutes from now, feel the terror of death!” The modus operandi used in Ahmedabad was similar to the ghastly blasts in Jaipur claiming 68 lives and those in the Uttar Pradesh towns of Varanasi, Faizabad and capital city Lucknow.

The Indian Mujahideen had emailed video clips to two Delhi-based media organisations of a bicycle, which it said was packed with explosives and similar ones were set to go off at half a dozen sites in Jaipur, with an aim of disrupting the tourist industry. The claim was also sent to the Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), which rules Rajasthan.

The Indian Mujahideen claimed responsibility for the November 23, 2007, serial bomb blasts in Varanasi, Faizabad and Lucknow where at least 13 people were killed.

The e-mail from ID received by a private TV channel claimed the blasts were targeted against Uttar Pradesh lawyers as they had thrashed terrorists and refused to take their cases.

The e-mail was received by the channel just a few minutes before the blasts. It said that “Islamic raids” would be conducted against lawyers within a few minutes because the police apprehended “two innocent groups and framed them with fake charges”.

Here we have a group that is not well understood by the media. On the other hand the protesters in Kashmir are more
understandable and when they strike back with the first violent response to the ongoing police killing of protestors. Again from the Qatar site The Peninsula.

“Militants kill paramilitary trooper in Srinagar
Web posted at: 9/14/2008 5:34:1
Source ::: IANS

Srinagar • Separatist guerrillas yesterday opened fire from point blank range at a paramilitary trooper killing him on the spot in this summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, the police said.

The police said S N Matapatti of 161 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) battalion was gunned down when suspected militants fired pistol shots at him in the old city’s Sekidafar area in the afternoon.

“The trooper had gone to purchase fruits when militants fired at him from a very close range. He died on the spot,” a police spokesman said.

The paramilitary and police personnel cordoned off the area to look for the attackers but no one was arrested. None of the militant groups operating in the terror-torn valley claimed responsibility for the killing.

Violent pro-freedom protests for the last nearly three months have rocked the Muslim-majority valley after controversial government order of allotting 40 hectares of forest land to a Hindu temple board.

More than 50 people have been killed, mostly in police and paramilitary firing, during the stir over the bitter Amarnath land dispute.

This is the first case of militant initiated violence since the protests over the Amarnath land erupted. The guerrillas, who have been fighting in Kashmir since the two decade old Pakistan sponsored insurgency started in 1989, were silent during the nearly three months of unrest, which has renewed secessionist sentiments in the valley.

Also Saturday, the police clashed with pro-freedom protesters the Maisuma, Habba Kadal and Amira Kadal localities of Srinagar.

The violence led to closure of shops and business establishments in the city centre Lal Chowk.”

The problem in India is that most people are Hindu, so these Moslems are fighting against the grain of the majority of their society. But they are a majority in Kashmir and that has been a sore spot for the Indian Government since independence from Great Britain. This was the poison pill left by the British who had allowed a group of Moslem separatists to claim a piece of the colony for themselves. India was broken in two. Pakistan is formed on the western frontier and in a Moslem stronghold in the east at the mouth of the Ganges.
But this led to bitter communal violence as neighbors suddenly became aware of the difference in their religion. Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions are forced to flee from both sides of the new border and thousands die. Gandhi had been against this partition of the Indian subcontinent. He personally went out to stop the violence by going on a fast for peace. It helps, but does not end the separation and Hindu fundamentalists blame him for the loss of part of the country and assassinate him.
The British finally got rid of the thorn in their side but in the process lost the jewel in the crown of the Empire. But as they left they insured that with the division of the subcontinent into two countries, the people would be divided and religion would be a constant source of tension, just as they had done separating Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state.
The two most volatile frontiers in the world, that between India and Pakistan, and between Israel and Palestine, are both the creations of British policy, a form of scorched earth to ensure that they would be able to come back at some future date, and if not, that their successors would not have peace without them. Another fine example of British largese, like their plan to sell opium to the Chinese back in the 18th and 19th centuries, always thinking of the welfare of their fellow man. You have to love those guys.

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