Daily archives: April 7, 2010

The Naxalite Rebellion

A while ago a friend asked me why the western media ignored the Naxalite rebellion. I confess I looked at them in some bemusement. They gave me a quick briefing and I went to read more.

Yesterday the Naxalites killed 74 Indian para-military forces in a huge gun battle in Chatisgarrh, bringing to over 200 the number of Indian security forces they have killed this year – before we get into the officials and landlords they have killed. A Muslim suicide bamber killing six Pakistani civilians makes broadcast media on every channel. The Naxalites are fighting a burgeoning civil war in the heart of India, yet totally ignored.

The Naxalites are a rebellion of impoverished castes against landowners, and of indigenous people whose environment is being ruined by mineral mining against the government and big business who make sure they don’t benefit. They characterise themselves as Maoist, and their leadership includes Indian university intellectuals with links to the cult of Bob Avakian in the USA and to the Maoist rebels of Nepal. The Naxalites have real control on the ground of a great deal more territory in India than Karzai and NATO control in Afghanistan.

This low level war has been rumbling on for decades, but has burst into real fire by a decision two years ago by the Indian government to switch policy. From trying to undermine the Naxalites by social policies assuaging the greivances of the poor in the region, they dramatically changed to a policy of wiping out the Naxalites militarily. The cause of the change was India’s economic growth and the urge to speed up multinational company access to mineral resources. So far, it looks like a very stupid decision.

How much of that did you know? I maintain that if the Naxalites were Muslim, they would be on the front page of every paper as a threat to India, and the Americans would be bombing them. But they aren’t, so you will find them hard to track in the mainstream media.

They are however just an extreme example of the fact that the losers in India’s economic miracle are not dependably complacent.

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General Election Blues

I really find it hard to avoid revulsion from the election. Bland inanities and staged photo-opportunities, minutely stage-managed encounters with real people in situations where their behaviour is strictly controlled, like their employment.

Yesterday it started so awfully I thought it could not get worse. Brown walked through St Pancras station, past groups of people we were supposed to believe were just the general public who chanced to be there, who remarkably kept bursting into “spontaneous” and enthusiastic applause of Gordon Brown and stepping up to shake his hand as he passed.

The chances of Brown being greeted by near unanimous applause among a genuine random sample of the population are nil – even in Kirkcaldy. I have never seen such obviously stage managed nonsense. There was one surprising glitch from the New Labour people planting machine, and I rewound the Sky box to make sure I was right. There were virtually no black people, or obvious Eastern Europeans. One nice oriental lady who seemed the only “real” person there, put her shoulder down and determinedly barged past Brown.

Now the chances of any group of a couple of hundred people at a public transport location in London being uniformly white and middle class are bugger all. Interesting New Labour thing, this – the bussed in enthusiastic “ordinary people” crowd waving union jacks that lined the street for Blair’s entrance to Downing St in 1997 were almost all white too. By comparison Cameron yesterday was pointedly with two black Tory candidates.

Anyway, I was in a TV studio this morning and Mandelson was on screen in the background the whole time, so haven’t been able to face turning on the TV today in case I throw something at it.

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