Friday, 25 November 2011

India's Growing Maoist Rebellion


In India’s rural forests, mining corporations and state militias have launched a violent assault on the Maoist guerillas and landless tribal communities.

Activist and author Arundhati Roy spent weeks with the Maoist fighters in the conflict zone and her time there is the subject of a new book called Walking with the Comrades.

It’s a first-hand account of the hidden side of the global economy and an analysis of a long-running and often misunderstood armed movement. She joins us from New York.

The above interview is about a conflict that is as important as it is ignored by the mainstream media, the Naxalite (Maoist) rebellion in India. The lack of interest in this story confuses me, its not a new story there has been a Naxalite movement in some form since 1967 with a Peasants Revolt in the village of Naxalbari (where they get there name). It also can't be that India is one of those far off and strange nations we know nothing about, India was the Crown Jewel of the British Empire until 1947 and has been a very prominent member of the Commonwealth ever since. And even if they weren't India is a fast growing economy and soon to overtake China as the most populated nation on the planet. Maybe is because the internal conflicts of India are blacked out? again no we see news reports from Kashmir and the Pakistan border with India all the time when violence flares up. Then there was the tragic Mumbai attacks which opened the door to reporting on India's religiously motivated violence a legacy not restricted to its Muslim population.

But when was the last time you saw a Maoist or any kind of "Red" news story? I can remember a couple about Nepal when they successfully entered Kathmandu and forced the government to flee but that is it. And while I don't wish to insult Nepal not all nations are equals and India is in a bigger league then Nepal so I don't see why they broke the blackout.

Maybe its because the Nepalese Maoists are a serious threat while the Indian Naxals aren't? well no because again the Naxalite movement represent a very serious threat to the Indian State just look at the below map of there strengths

Looks pretty serious to me, I wouldn't want to see that if I was in charge of India.

I think the answer is cultural. Since the end of the Cold War all those on the side of Liberal Capitalism were quite jubilant they saw not only the end of the Eastern bloc and the USSR but also all forms of organisation differing from the Western norm. They had some evidence for this, Cuba was on the verge of collapse due to losing all its main trading partners, China was of course advancing "Socialism with Chinese Characteristics"* North Korea was suffering a similar collapse to Cuba only with the added bonus of a famine. Vietnam adopted Market Socialism or "Socialism with Vietnamese characteristics" with neighbouring and oft forgotten Laos following suit. And all those nasty third world Guerilla armies where facing severe equipment shortages without there big friends support or attention, is it any wonder that Francis Fukuyama chose this period to release his most famous work "The End of History and The Last Man"?

What I'm trying to say is that after all that reassurance that Communism was dying any evidence to the contrary like a large and resilient Guerilla movement in one of the richest and most developed third world nation seems embarrassing. A News outlet is only as good as its reputation after all. I can remember watching a Channel Four news report about some developments in Zimbabwe with the on location reporter telling Mr Snow that they were awaiting Mugabe's Politburo meeting to end, Mr Snow said words to the effect of " A Politburo hey? Not to many of them around these days is there" and then they both chuckled a little. This is the same reason Communist parties in the former USSR and Eastern Bloc are constantly referred to as Pensioner social groups because those currently in power even in Russia want there past to remain in the past while they build there own new national projects.

Still I find that highly illogical, even if your some right wing Cold Warrior nut you should be very interested in the Naxalite conflict, if only to lament those damn bleeding heart Democrats in the White House.

If you do want to know more about the Naxalites and this secretive war in India I can add my personal recommendation to Arundhati Roy's Walking With the Comrades, and the Blog Naxal Revolution ran by Indian Maoists and has many updates on the struggle as well as reviews and analysis of the other books and research done on the Naxalite Movement.

* Though its a little strange that that policy involves greater market liberalisation, since modern capitalism was forced on China by European powers hoping to increase exploitation of its resources.

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