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07/29/08
Mayawati calls meet, aware BSP leaders from Cong, BJP- Be ready for coalitions, Mayawati tells BSP-Permanent Revolution -Another 3rd Front, they say, is in the making….ETHICS
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 5:34 am

Mayawati calls meet, aware BSP leaders from Cong, BJP

Lucknow: Bahujan
Samaj Party (BSP) supremo and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati
today called on party MPs, legislators and ministers to prepare
themselves for a bigger challenge ahead from the Congress, the BJP and
other parties who would make all effort to stall the progress of the
BSP.

Addressing
a meeting of the party MPs, ministers and legislators here, Ms Mayawati
said as the party was strengthening its base on the formula of
‘’Sarvajan Hitaya, Sarvajan Sukhaya’ and yet to face more challenges in
the future.

‘’Now
all the parties, including the Congress and the BJP have united to
hinder the growth of the BSP, which led to the survival of the UPA
government at the Centre on the July 22 trust vote,'’ she claimed.

The
CM said on August 9, the party would announce the future political
strategy of the party during the BSP national convention to be held at
Ramabai Ambedkar Maidan.

She
also asked all the BSP leaders to bring only those active members from
the respective areas in the national convention, who have the capacity
to aware the people about the party directions.

Ms
Mayawati had yesterday held a similar meeting with the co-ordinators
and other office bearers of the party to discuss over the preparation
for the national convention.

It was decided
that 15 buses with dedicated party workers from each of the 403
assembly constituencies would be brought for the convention. Thousands
of delegates from other states were also expected to participate in the
convention.

Be ready for coalitions, Mayawati tells BSP

Mayawati said the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) should be ready to
accept a pre-poll alliance taking into account the fast changing
scenario in national politics, the sources added.

The chief minister also called upon party activists to convince Muslims about the correctness of BSP’s stand over the India-US nuclear deal.

“We need to inform Muslims that by opposing the nuclear deal, we
supported them and protected their rights,” a party leader said.

Mayawati also directed district coordinators of BSP to bring active
members of their respective regions to the party’s national convention
to be organised here Aug 9.

The BSP played a key role in the opposition’s attempts to vote out
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Congress-led government in a trust vote
over the nuclear deal. The government won the motion.


Permanent Revolution


Monday, July 28, 2008


Another 3rd Front, they say, is in the making….

Another third front is in the making. The nucleus this time is
Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party. The end game of this combination is to
install Ms. Mayawati as India’s Prime Minister. The foundation for this
formation were laid in the context of the confidence vote consequent to
the decision by the Left parties to withdraw support to the Manmohan
Singh-led UPA Government. We found all this written in the print media
and discussed on private news channels during the couple of days before
and after the confidence vote in the Lok Sabha On July 22, 2008. The
Bangalore blasts and thereafter the blasts in Ahmedabad have led to a
premature end to this discussion.


The mainstream media also
talked about how Prakash Karat’s ego as well as that of Mayawati’s
ambitions came together to bring about this front. And those of us who
are used to watch what goes in the name of news in the 24 by 7 channels
were sufficiently entertained by the reporters and the experts there
when they went about thrusting the microphones into the mouth of every
opposition leader of insignificance wanting to know if they supported
Mayawati as Prime Minister. Chandrababu Naidu, Chandrasekara Rao and
H.D.Deve Gowda were those leaders who were held significant by these
journalists and their opinions about Mayawati as Prime Ministers made
news stories! And so were Om Prakash Chautala and Ajit Singh!



Well. All these were important leaders who had impacted national
politics at some point in the past. And it is possible that they may
re-emerge as leaders with clout in the future too. There is no way one
can write off any political party or leader given the dynamics of our
political discourse. But then, there was abundant absurdity in the
manner in which this third front was discussed by the media during the
week when the confidence vote was taken by the Lok Sabha. The Left and
the BSP add up to only 77 MPs in this House; and the others who
gathered around them such as the TDP, TRS, JD(S), RLD and INLD can at
best add only less than a dozen MPs to the front. In other words, all
these parties put together were adding up to less than 100 MPs in a
House of 541 and the media began constructing tales of a front in the
making and anointed Mayawati as Prime Minister.


That was absurd
to say the least. And it was baffling and even strange that any one of
the leaders, including Mayawati, did not find it prudent to call the
media professionals what they were in doing what they did. Well. The
media professionals simply went about displaying their lack of common
sense and at some level a kind of idiocy emerging out of a false sense
of arrogance. There was a vulgar design behind this too. The media
managed to construct the spectre of a Dalit as India’s Prime Minister
in the process and provoke a reaction, from among the middle classess,
against this. All this was done by deliberately pushing, some of the
real basis to the realignment of forces, under the carpet.


Take
for instance the fact that barring the Left parties, none of the others
in this combination were definite about their attitude to the Indo-US
civilian nuclear deal. The TRS, for instance, had declared its
intention to vote against the Government only because the Congress
party and the UPA Government it led was not prepared to commit to the
formation of a separate Telengana. It was also a fact that neither the
Left nor the TDP was willing to do that but then the TRS decided to
teach the Congress a lesson and that was all. Similarly, the TDP, with
only 5 MPs (and it turned out that two of them voted with the
Government side) was consistently anti-Congress and had shown its
willingness to sup with the BJP in the past and has not shown any
determination to desist from that in the future too.


The BSP,
similarly, joined the Left-led moves only because its adversary in
Uttar Pradesh – the Samajwadi Party – had jumped on to the Congress-led
fold and had begun pushing the Union Government to abuse the CBI and
other central investigation agencies to push Mayawati around and drag
her into facing criminal charges. It was common knowledge to anyone
with even a remote understanding of the political discourse of Uttar
Pradesh to conclude that the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj
Party can never be seen on the same side of the political spectrum.
This, we know, has determined the political alignment in Tamil Nadu for
long ensuring that the DMK and the AIADMK are necessarily seen on
wither sides of the political divide between the Congress and the BJP
since the past decade.


As for the INLD, no one including its
leader Om Prakash Chautala, would know whether the party is committed
to secularism of communalism at any given point of time. And the same
holds good for Deve Gowda and his Janata Dal (secular), though
M.P.Veerendra Kumar, one of the party’s three MPs is a “natural’’ ally
of the Left simply because his political stakes are intrinsically and
intimately tied up with the CPI(M) in Kerala. The RLD, led by Ajit
Singh has shown, in the past, its willingness to strike deals and
bargain between the Congress, the BJP and any political party in Uttar
Pradesh as long as it helps Ajit Singh become a Minister or at least
make him richer. And the AGP too is no different from any of these
formations and ideologically it is closer to the BJP than the Left or
any other democratic platform in Assam.


All this is to say that
there was no way that the hotch-potch that came up in the limited
context of the confidence vote could have evolved into a third front
both in the context of this Lok Sabha as well as in the medium term
involving elections to the next Lok Sabha. In a sense, this was
essentially a creation of the media as well as the desire of the self
preserving class of leaders who constitute these parties to bask under
the prospect of emerging leaders of significance at the national level.
It is true that Mayawati was seen as believing that she is now the
pivot of a national political formation and must have imagined herself
as India’s Prime Minister. She must have, otherwise, dismissed all such
talks in real earnest and clarified that the unity was for the limited
purpose of showing that Manmohan Singh and his cabinet lacked the
majority support in the Lok Sabha. And for obvious reasons, the Left
parties too did not consider it imperative for them to clarify this
much.


Having stated this much, it is important to clarify that
all this is not to dismiss the possibility and the necessity for a
non-Congress-non-BJP political formation at the national level. In
other words, such a front, call it by any name, is necessary as well as
possible. And this will necessarily have to hinge around the Left
parties rather than being forged around one or another avatar of the
socialist platform as it had been happening in the past.


It
will be appropriate, in this context, to briefly recount the trajectory
of this process in our past. The process of opposition unity began in
the mid-sixties when the Congress began losing its position as the
natural choice of the Indian voter. The initiative and the framework
for that unity came from Ram Manohar Lohia and it yielded fruits in the
general elections in 1967 when the Congress party was voted out in 9
states and was reduced to a mere 283 seats in a 520 strong Lok Sabha.
The opposition, then, consisted of the Socialist Party, the Bharathiya
Jan Sangh, the Swatantra Party and the Left. This process continued to
unfold during the decade after it came up and evolved into the Janata
Party in 1977. If the force behind the change in 1967 was the overall
administrative failure of the regime and the weaknesses inherent to the
Nehruvian socialist agenda, the catalyst for 1977 came in the form of
Indira Gandhi’s emergency.


But then, between 1967 and 1977, the
Left had learnt substantive lessons from the experience and matured
into maintaining a distance from the formation. The collapse of the
Janata in 1978-79 and the fact that the Left had stayed clear of
promoting and preserving the formation in its original self was indeed
based on a clear understanding that an alternative to the existing
regime will have to be one that is strategic and not merely a tactical
formation. And this understanding was behind the manner in which the
Left treated the V.P.Singh experiment and the Janata Dal in 1989.
E.M.S.Namboodiripad, then led the CPI(M), and the other Left parties by
extension, to set the terms for their support to the regime rather than
being seen running around to forge just another alternative to the
Congress.


All this, however, was given up and the task of
forging an alternative was redefined from the framework of
politics-as-the-art-of-the-possible in May 1996 by Harkishen Singh
Surjeet. The United Front, in that sense, was anything but an
alternative to the Congress. Nor was it a political formation that was
committed to keep the BJP at bay and this was proved when such parties
as the TDP, the DMK (or such smaller outfots from Tamil Nadu as the PMK
and the MDMK) jumped over to join the BJP-led NDA just when that became
the ruling alliance at the Centre. And we also noticed that most
significant elements from the socialist fold of the Janata Party had
settled down with the BJP by 1998-99 because that made it possible for
the leaders of those outfits to become ministers. And in due course,
the others who had practical difficulties about joining the BJP-led
combine agreed to team up with the Congress (read Lalu Prasad Yadav)
for the same reason as a Sharad Yadav and a Nitish Kumar teamed up with
the BJP.


We have also found such players like Ram Vilas Paswan
(a product of the churning in 1967) and Ajit Singh (whose father Charan
Singh split up the Janata Party objecting to the presence of the Jan
Sangh members in that) having no problems in teaming up with both the
BJP and the Congress at various times. All this were reduced to
insignificant developments by Deve Gowda through his political games in
Karnataka in the past few years. And now we have Mulayam Singh Yadav,
another key player in the political discourse during the decade between
1989 and 1999 turning into the strategic planner in the game to
preserve the Manmohan Singh regime.


There is something common
between all these. These formations, in the name of being alternatives
to the status quo, have only emerged as promoters of the political
economy that has landed the nation into where we are and are eager to
push the same model further as a solution or a way out of the crisis.
That the nation is in the grip of a crisis that encompasses the
political, economic and social realms is a fact that all these parties
agree to. And it is also a fact that all of them have been active
players in the making of the policies that led into this crisis. While
it was a settled issue that the Congress party was responsible, through
its policies, for this crisis, the fact is that the BJP and its
policies are not too different from that of the Congress. This was
evident in July 1991 when the BJP and the Congress agreed to pass the
New Economic Policy resolution in the Lok Sabha. And the record of the
BJP-led Government between April 1998 and May 2004 was in no way a
departure from the policy that Manmohan Singh enumciated in July 1991.
The United Fronts between May 1996 and March 1998 too (of Gowda and
I.K.Gujral) were no different.


And that is where the quest for a
third front is imperative as well as possible. It is imperative because
the nation cannot remain one and a peaceful place to live with mounting
unemployment, under-employment and the increasing attacks on
agriculture on the one hand and the pronounced neglect by the state on
such critical welfare areas as the Public Distribution System, the
health-care network and the abject neglect of education as we see
across the country. The fallout of this is the spread of political
groups that consider violent reprisals as the means to liberation into
new regions. This is a cause for concern simply because whatever be the
end game of these groups – call them the Maoists or by any other name –
the consequence of their acts simply legitimize the use of more and
brutal force by the state against the ordinary people in the villages.
The ultimate result of all this could be anything but strengthening
democracy.


And at another level, we do see the resistance to
such bad policies and the measures such as land grabbing, in the name
of economic development, in Kalinga Nagar, Nandigram and Dadri (to name
a few such struggles) or the struggle for democratic rights around the
detention of Dr. Binayak Sen in Chattisgarh under draconian laws that
are illegitimate to say the least, building up across the country. The
people in the Narmada basin and in the forests across Madhya Pradesh
have been resisting the Indian state and its brutal force for several
years now. The basis for a third must be located in these struggles and
the Left can lend them a political direction if only its leaders show
the courage and honesty to revisit some of their positions that were
considered settled in the past. One of it is that technology as the
driving force of positive change and thus the tendency to celebrate any
development based on technological superiority.


Nandigram and
Singur are the fallout of that mindset. And this is a legacy that they
internalized in their thoughts from the experience of the Soviet Union
in its hey days. That baggage will have to be discarded by the Left
parties if their quest for a third front is to be realized in any
meaningful manner. In other words, the Left parties must agree to
define the Socialist alternative as one where the rights of the human
being in the political, cultural, social and economic sense of the term
is internalized as non-negotiable. In other words, the idea that
socialism is not just about a change in the men at the helm of affairs
and is instead a brand new alternate vision to capitalism will have to
constitute the very basis of their existence as a political party. For
the Left’s claims to forge an alternative, in today’s conditions, to
make sense, it will have to locate that process and that project in
these various struggles against the
liberalization-privatisation-globalisation agenda as well as the
undemocratic options that the existing regimes are resorting to against
the people and their organisations.


Let me conclude this case
recalling what Frederich Engels had to say in his own times about the
communist project. Referring to the experience of the Paris Commune,
where the working class for the first time held political power for two
whole months, Engels wrote another Preface to the Communist Manifesto
in 1888. And in that, Marx’s intimate friend and collaborator said: One
thing especially was proved by the Commune, viz., that the working
class cannot simply lay hold of the ready made state machinery, and
wield it for its own purposes.’’ Well, a third front or anything else
that the communists attempt will have to have the revolutionary
transformation of the lives of the toiling people as its strategic end
and that cannot be served by mere tinkering of the set up that we now
have.

posted by V. Krishna Ananth at 1:11 AM

Ethics Image

Plan to Change Washington

“I
am in this race to tell the corporate lobbyists that their days of
setting the agenda in Washington are over. I have done more than any
other candidate in this race to take on lobbyists — and won. They have
not funded my campaign, they will not run my White House, and they will
not drown out the voices of the American people when I am president.”

— Barack Obama, Speech in Des Moines, IA, November 10, 2007

The Problem

Lobbyists Write National Policies:
For example, Vice President Dick Cheney’s Energy Task Force of oil and
gas lobbyists met secretly to develop national energy policy.

Secrecy Dominates Government Actions:
The Bush administration has ignored public disclosure rules and has
invoked a legal tool known as the “state secrets” privilege more than
any other previous administration to get cases thrown out of civil
court.

Wasteful Spending is Out of Control:
The current administration has abused its power by handing out
contracts without competition to its politically connected friends and
supporters. These abuses cost taxpayers billions of dollars each year.

Barack Obama’s Plan

Shine the Light on Washington Lobbying