The leaflet for JNU’s meeting

Below is the text of the leaflet that was distributed for JNU’s meeting (05/04/2010):

To remain human one has to take sides. This declaration of partisanship is now an axiom. The full-fledged but undeclared war – ‘Operation Greenhunt’ – which has been unleashed by the powers-that-be on the toiling masses of central and eastern India, their heroic struggles to protect their livelihoods from the increasing depredations of capital, and the radical leadership of such struggles has ensured that. What we need to ask now is not what this axiom of partisanship amounts to, but how should it be construed.

The appearance of diverse levels of popular upsurge in Indian society can be saved only when we, their supporters outside the physical and socio-occupational geographic boundaries of those struggles, commit ourselves to go the whole hog in recognising the self-constituting essence that binds these struggles together (irrespective of their localised tenor), and in claiming and reclaiming it in our respective locations. Thus we bring ourselves within the purview of transformative politics.

That will, of course, imply we cease to be passive supporters of ‘those’ movements and become their active comrades-in-arms. What those rural-tribal struggles desperately need at this precarious juncture is our willingness and capacity to envisage ourselves – our ‘outsideness’ notwithstanding – as being internal to them in the sense of being actively engaged in the politics of social transformation. This politics cannot remain limited to fighting the ruling classes and their state by the way of just counter-propaganda – which has as its diesel nothing more than left-liberal humanitarian outrage. It must go beyond that to ground and articulate such counter-propagandistic manoeuvres, doubtless necessary but patently insufficient in themselves, in a countless multiplicity of struggles that concretely articulate the critique of the generalised political economy in the specificity of its respective physical geographic and socio-occupational locations.

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Marx and his comrades in the First International declared, “Since the various sections of workingmen in the same country, and the working classes in different countries, are placed under different circumstances and have attained to different degrees of development, it seems almost necessary that the theoretical notions which reflect the real movement should also diverge.” The test for the revolutionaries is to envisage “the community of action” among and through these divergences. What anti-capitalist movements require today, so that they can unfold into a self-constituting constellation of revolutions, is what Marx called “the spirit of generalisation”. As long as this spirit is missing, the working class will continue to be an infernal miasma of sectarian conflicts even as the representatives of its various radical sections, caught in the pragmatics of their respective experiences, are unable to see the generalised thread of political economy that not only links their locations and movements to each other but makes them constantly unfold into one another.

All of us who oppose Operation Greenhunt must, in the illuminating light of this spirit, begin to recognise in it a particularised manifestation of a generalised assault that capital in its late neo-liberal moment has unleashed on all sections of the working masses. Only then will we be able to truly share the struggle and the misery of the toiling masses in the agrarian-tribal zones by embracing their destiny on our own grounds.

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