India

India: "Deeper than farm laws"

On 30 March Momentum Internationalists held a meeting in solidarity with the Indian farmers’ struggle with London region Fire Brigades Union black and ethnic minority officer Amit Malde, and Pritam Singh, a left-wing academic and economist specialising in the economy of Indian Punjab and an ally of farmers’ leaders. Amit’s statement of solidarity, which drew out parallels with anti-privatisation and climate struggles here, was followed by a comprehensive and informative presentation from Pritam, and many questions. MI will put up videos soon. Nottingham East MP Nadia Whittome, who was due to...

Haffkine and Saklatvala: epidemics, vaccines and revolutionaries

Workers' Liberty recently published a pamphlet about Indian socialist and anti-imperialist, and 1920s UK MP, Shapurji Saklatvala. (You can buy it here.) The pamphlet explains: His youngest daughter and biographer Sehri speculated that the seeds of revolutionary politics were planted in Saklatvala's mind when he volunteered to help Ukrainian Jewish bacteriologist Waldemar Haffkine combat the plague which killed hundreds of Bombay's people every week for years at the turn of the century. Haffkine was a former populist-socialist and political refugee from Czarism. As Saklatvala would later...

Free Indian trade unionist Shiv Kumar!

Nodeep Kaur (pictured above), the jailed Indian trade unionist and farmer solidarity activist whose case we have covered in recent issues of Solidarity, has finally been released on bail. So has climate activist Disha Ravi. But Kaur’s comrade Shiv Kumar, one of the founders of her union Mazdoor Adhikar Sangathan (Association for the Empowerment of Labourers), is still in jail and has been tortured. A medical examination conducted after the regional high court ordered it found “right foot swelling and tenderness of left foot nail, beds of right second and third toe are broken and underlying...

Why we wrote about Saklatvala

Our new pamphlet on 1920s revolutionary socialist MP Shapurji Saklatvala is out now and can be bought here (profits from the first print run go to the Sage care workers’ strike fund). Its author Sacha Ismail explains why he started reading about Saklatvala and we decided to produce the pamphlet. When I first joined Workers’ Liberty, twenty years ago, I read an article about the history of the Labour Party. Written in 1996 by Sean Matgamna, it cited Saklatvala as an important figure, quoting Communist and Trotskyist veteran Harry Wicks – active in the Battersea labour movement at the same time...

Free Nodeep Kaur

Women have been at the forefront of resistance to India’s Hindu nationalist regime and women activists have been targeted for repression. In its most recent phase, Indian farmers’ protest movement against the Modi government’s neoliberal agricultural reforms has involved women in large numbers. Two high profile cases of repression against young women in the movement have dramatised the harsh repression against it. The Western media has given quite a bit of attention to Disha Ravi, a 21 year-old climate activist arrested on 13 February in connection with Greta Thunberg’s tweeting in support of...

Court case opens space for Indian women

A former Indian minister has lost a defamation case against a journalist, in a ruling with huge implications for the country’s #MeToo movement. Indian journalist Priya Ramani had faced up to two years in jail for criminal defamation over an article she had written accusing Mobashar Jawed Akbar of sexual assault. Akbar is a newspaper editor, government minister 2016-18, MP for the ruling BJP, and formerly an MP for the Congress party. After Ramani named Akbar, over 20 other women came forward with allegations against Akbar, ranging from rape and assault to systematically using his senior...

India: building new solidarities

Despite aggressive propaganda against them, harsh repression and an uphill struggle, India’s farmers’ protests are not fading away. They seem to be gaining momentum and taking on characteristics of a deep-going challenge to the Modi regime. In September the Hindu-nationalist-dominated Indian Parliament passed three laws deregulating the prices, sale and storage of agricultural produce. These laws push towards eliminating the system of minimum prices for farmers and of state-regulated marketplaces (mandis), further empowering corporations and placing the already highly precarious livelihoods of...

Release Nodeep Kaur and Shiv Kumar!

The Modi government’s repression against Indian farmers’ protests (Solidarity 581) could signal the Hindu-nationalist regime’s panic-stricken weakening and decline, or the onset of an even more consolidated authoritarianism. The repression is harsh and escalating. About two hundred farmers have died as a result of protracted living in protest camps over the winter, and about twenty have committed suicide. A smaller number have been directly killed, including a 27-year-old who lost control of his tractor after it was hit by a bullet when troops attacked the peaceful mass protest in Delhi on...

India: farmers' movement grows

The far-right Hindu nationalist government of India is also a radical neo-liberal government. Not long ago buffeted by a wave of protests against its anti-Muslim changes to citizenship laws, it is now being rocked by mass demonstrations against its neo-liberal policies — by India’s farmers. There have been five national general strikes against the Modi regime’s privatisations and weakening of labour laws, including two in 2020, mobilising tens and maybe hundreds of millions of workers. Although they slowed the assault on workers’ rights, these mobilisations were over quickly. The 2020 strikes...

Wadsworth on Saklatvala

Sacha Ismail reviews Marc Wadsworth’s biography of Shapurji Saklatvala, Comrade Sak: A Political Biography (Peepal Tree Press, 2020) There are four biographies of 1920s revolutionary socialist MP Shapurji Saklatvala. Marc Wadsworth’s is the most recent, originally published in 1998 and republished in an updated version in September this year. It’s very good – mostly (when I started writing the recent series of articles on Saklatvala in Solidarity, I tried but failed to get hold of the original edition of Wadsworth’s book; the new version didn’t arrive until five out of six articles were...

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