Saturday, May 29, 2010

Panel Discussion "Atrocities on Dalits: Law, customs and Silence of Civil Society"

Panel Discussion: Atrocities on Dalits: Law, Customs and Silence of Civil Society

Speakers: Anand Teltumbde (Mumbai based Dalit Intellectual), Jagmati Sangwan (Haryana State President AIDWA)

Date & Venue: 27th May, 2010, Gandhi Peace Foundation, Deen Dayal Upadhaya Road, Delhi

Background Note: Question of atrocities on dalits - who constitute around a sixth of the nation's population - and the consequent denial of justice in majority of the cases is a fact which is rarely contested. Reports after reports by the National level commissions or Conferences held under the aegis of the government or review of judgements passed by different courts in the country keep underlining the pathetic situation of dalit human rights and the hiatus which exists between constitutional pronouncements to 'abolish untouchability in all its forms' and the actual practice on the ground. 

Signatories to the Petition "Against Atrocities on Dalits in Haryana"

Dear Comrades,
We submitted the petition "Against Atrocities on Dalits in Haryana" to the chief Minister of Haryana via the Resident Commissioner of Haryana (P.K Mahapatra) in the National Capital. The same was also submitted to the Chairperson SC/ST Commission.

Below is the list of signatories. Comradely thanks to everyone for signing the petition.

New Socialist Initiative (NSI-Delhi)

The Undersigned/-

1 Bonojit Hussain, New Socialist Initiative, Delhi
2 Devika Narayan, Delhi University, Delhi

Petition Against Atrocities on Dalits in Haryana

- New Socialist Initiative

The horrific incident which involved torching of houses of the Dalit community, including burning alive of a polio-stricken girl and her father, by a mob of organized Jats in Mirchpur Village in Hisar, Haryana on 21st April, 2010, is a living testimony to the fact that the people of Dalit communities are still being denied the right to exist in an atmosphere free of fear and oppression. The audacity of the members of the Jat community to willingly and openly organize following a collective deliberation in their Khaap Panchayat to attack and injure the Dalit community is a direct threat to the dignity, rights, safety and freedom of people of the latter community. It marks the failure of the law-keepers of the state and the society. That the criminal act was carried out in an organized and pre planned manner by members who are “superior” (Jats) against a vulnerable community in the presence of the law keepers/government officials is a frightening witness to the existing extra-judicial power politics which privilege the higher caste community and provide them with impunity against acts of violence and pre-meditated killings.

This is not the first time that the people from the Dalit community have been subjected to inhuman attroticities. The fact-finding reports by independent groups of the universities and civil society organisations in Delhi have found out that a Khaap Panchayat of the Jat community of Mirchpur conducted a meeting and planned the organized burning of the Dalit houses and destroy property as well as life of the Dalits. In recent times, the role of the Khaaps have come to the fore and proponents of that tradition have even challenged the law laid down by the Constitution of the land and continue propogation of anti-humanitarian methods of retaining caste, gender and social inequalities. 

Brief Summary of the Discussion during May Day Public Meeting 2010

The programme was conducted by Com. Naveen. Speakers were Dr Babu P Ramesh (IGNOU), Com. Ashim Ray (NTUI) and Com. Ravi Sinha (NSI). 

The programme started with singing of the 'International in Hindi', and another revolutionary song by Com. Mahender, Com. Subhash and Com. Naveen. 

In his opening remarks Com. Naveen gave a brief introduction to the New Socialist Initiative. He opened the discussion with questions like: How does capitalism operate today? Where and how does working class live? This becomes significant because there are segments of working class which do not wish to be identified as workers.

First speaker was Dr Ramesh. His talk was focused on condition of workers in new service sector, like information services, organized retail (shopping malls), insurance and banking. He underlined the fact that all these sectors have similar logic of work organization and governing structure. The driving force for this is globalization of capital. A race to cut costs under global production systems was the main effect. Outsourcing and off-shoring have emerged as major tools for organizing production systems, with information technologies allowing such systems to go beyond national boundaries. Core – periphery distinctions mean that most of the workers in the peripheral activities can be dispensed with little cost. There also is built in distancing of the actual employer from workers, behind layers of contractors. Along with these, new human resource management techniques have been developed. For instance, earlier close supervision, threat and scolding were commonly used. After eighties it was realized that for managing workers providing ‘emotional labour’ these are not productive. New styles are ‘caring’. However, the work regimen are tightly controlled. Workers have no control over working conditions. There are no natural movements, workers are trained for every form of behaviour. There is little time for socialization, management decides even how the ‘break time’ is used. Workers work under an atmosphere of structured socialization. Socially active workers are isolated. Such management methods are in a way old, reflecting adaptation of Taylorism to current needs. They are producing new insecurities and challenges for workers. From his research in IT sector he highlighted the fact that workers have a serious identity crisis. They do not consider themselves as workers. They see themselves as individuals. This is supported by better salaries, technologically sophisticated work place, and the fact that most of the employees are young. Workers appear to have integrated the corporate value system. They share a characteristic with workers in the lowest rung of unorganized sector in a scrap market in Delhi, in that they do not appear to have time to think about any other issue. Dr Ramesh ended by noting that Indian economy is growing very fast, but the gap between rich and poor has increased. The logic of exploitation is same as prevalent earlier. 

May Day 2010 Public Meeting: A World to Win!

Public Meeting

 A World to Win: Challenges & Prospects before Working Class

Speakers: Ashim Roy (New Trade Union Initiative, NTUI), Prof. Babu P. Ramesh (Labour Economist, IGNOU), Ravi Sinha (New Socialist Initiative)

Time and Venue: 29th april, 2010, Jawaharlal Nehru Youth Center, Deen Dayal Upadhaya Road, ITO, Delhi

May Day Statement: More than one hundred fifty years ago, the Communist Manifesto concluded with these ringing words: ‘The Proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Working Men of all countries, Unite!’. The call of the last sentence should be addressed to ‘working People’, rather than just to men, since the overwhelming proportion of workers in fact have always been women. 

Pamphlet: What is Wrong with European Study Center (in Dept of Sociology in Delhi University)?

Issued on 31st January, 2010

Inauguration of the European Study Center of the Department of Sociology, University of Delhi has generated much discussion in the University community. Indeed, implications of this center go much beyond our University as the process of its establishment and its nature are symptomatic of a number of harmful trends ailing Indian higher education.
Academic disciplines thrive on creating new research areas and paradigms, and it goes without saying that comparative and collaborative researches will only enrich a discipline like Indian Sociology.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Highlights of 'Select' Public Activities by NSI (Delhi Chapter) Since 2008

Public Meeting: Violence and Memory in the Andes: The Case of Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Peru

Speaker: Prof. Felix Reategui-Carrillo

Date & Venue: Room No 6, Ramjas College, Delhi University

About the Speaker: Prof. Felix Reategui-Carrillo is a professor of sociology at Pontifical Catholic University of Peru. He is also the coordinator of the Research Unit of the Institute for Democracy and Human Rights at the same University. He also worked in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Peru (2001 – 2003)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Draft Manifesto of New Socialist Initiative [Part - I]

History is always full of surprises. Rare, however, are the periods when its long course prepares to take a big turn. Such turns are dreaded by some and awaited by many. Those who dread them would like to imagine history as having arrived at an endless plateau where a big change in its course is no longer possible. There are no other roads to be taken. Those who have waited for the big change, on the other hand, have so passionately desired it and fought so hard to turn every twist into a big turn that, exhausted by the struggles and preoccupied with the strategies of yesterday, they often fail to recognize today’s tasks and tomorrow’s potentials. It is invariably under such conditions that future is freshly envisioned, strategies are redesigned and new forces appear to help history take the next big turn.

Draft Manifesto of New Socialist Initiative [Part - II]

Nature for Profit and Accumulation
Humanity is a part of Nature but it is crucially different from all the other parts. It is the only part that can consciously and deliberately intervene in Nature. Such interventions have been, from times immemorial, the primal basis for emergence and growth of human civilization. Human interventions in Nature are necessarily mediated through the social modes of production and reproduction. In producing the conditions of their life humans also ‘produce’ Nature. A part of the whole assumes agency for reconstituting the whole, at least on the planetary scale.

Draft Manifesto of New Socialist Initiative [Part - III]

Socialism of the 20th Century
Socialism is bound to carry some birthmarks. Its shape and trajectory are necessarily influenced by the conditions in which it is born. Conditions are largely a product of the reining system in the society, but they are also produced by the struggles against that system. How did the revolutionary agency, in past examples of successful revolutions, gauge the conditions in which it had to operate and how did its interventions shape those conditions are matters of great interest for revolutionaries today. The shape of future socialism would depend on the conditions created by contemporary capitalism, but it would also depend on how the revolutionary agency intervenes in those conditions. Such interventions, in turn, would also depend on what lessons revolutionaries have drawn from the experience of the twentieth century socialism. Re-envisioning socialism would, therefore, require a correct approach towards the vision and practice of socialism in the twentieth century.

For those who would like to know a little more about NSI: A brief introduction


The New Socialist Initiative (NSI) is a collective committed to regeneration of revolutionary socialist politics. It is a platform in the making consisting of comrades from different streams of life and left politics. Some of us are engaged in trade unions for unorganized sector workers, some of us are active on women’s issues, with particular emphasis on bringing class in women politics, while many other among us are active in theater and university level discussion cum agitational groups as well as struggles for dalit emancipation and anti-communal struggle. Our members are active, though not always under the name of New Socialist Initiative, in Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat and Karnataka. We engage in reading, discussing, understanding and formulating Marxist thought, visualizing socialist possibilities and figuring out new ways of looking at and understanding society. We work with different communities, groups, progressive political organisations, movements and people to pursue our revolutionary goals. Our central concern is with contemporary challenges to the vision and politics of the left, both globally and locally.