Saturday, February 23, 2013

NSI – A Political-Ideological Platform – launched in its founding conference in New Delhi

"Ours is not an effort to create a new revolutionary party. The advent of such a party lies yet in the future. Ours is not an effort to replace the existing parties and organizations. Nor is our intention to work at counter purposes to any of the existing revolutionary organizations and processes. Ours is an effort to contribute towards meeting the historic challenge that confronts the entireRevolutionary Left. Ours is an effort to begin the process of forging a new language that will be the language of the entire Left, of designing a strategy that will be the strategy of the entire class of working people,of envisioning afresh a socialism that will be adopted as the future of humanity.It will be an epochal process and ours is an endeavour to be a worthy participant in it." - Pamphlet of the founding Conference 

NSI cultural team performing 'Messages from Revolutionaries"
The inaugural session of the founding conference of New Socialist Initiative, a political-ideological platform, took off today with a resounding rendition of the Communist anthem, The International. The session that was held at Hindi Bhavan in New Delhi began with a 'Welcome Address' by Amrapali Basumatary, followed by a performance by the cultural team of NSI. B. Manohar and Rajiv Prasanna, students of Delhi University, started the cultural programme with a melodious Classical Hindustani instrumental performance of the Mridanga and Flute. Following this was a performance, ‘Inquilabiyon ka Paigham’ (Message from Revolutionaries), a reading of letters and speeches of revolutionaries including Marx, Engels, Lenin, Paash, Che Guevara, Bhagat Singh, Mao, Rosa Luxemburg, Faiz, Safdar Hashmi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Salvador Allende and more. Subhash Gatade opened the inaugural Panel Discussion, ‘A Future for the Left’ remarking on the new conditions we are faced with today and the need to build a critical and reflexive renewed understanding of these new conditions. The floor was then opened for the panelists, Jairus Banaji, Marxist political theorist and historian, Saroop Dhruv, prominent Gujarati poet, playwright and cultural activist, and Ravi Sinha, Marxist political theorist, physicist and activist. 

A lively debate ensued in the inaugural address, which began with Comrade Saroop’s address. In her address she emphasized the role of a cultural transformation and modernity for the revolutionary process. While Left intellectuals are constantly preoccupied with an analysis of the pre-existing relations of caste and class, the real challenge for us, she pointed, lies in understanding the success of capitalism in building a nexus between cultural backwardness and politics in our society. There existed two ways ahead of us: the first, a bourgeois middle-class reformist path, where some try to reform the system from within, and the second, a cultural revolution which will involve much upheaval of society and may even lead to chaos. “Our choice is clear”, she said, and made a call to walk together on this path hand-in-hand, shoulder-to-shoulder. 

Jairus Banaji spoke of the broader role that the Left has within a revolutionary process. While distinguishing between a revolutionary party and the Left, he pointed to the importance for the Left of cultivating an ability to listen and learn, an ability few Left parties have any longer. The role of the Left is in fact in educating the working population of capitalist processes of labour, in analysing everyday life and not to itself form a vanguard party. This party must emerge from within working peoples and the role of the Left is limited to encouraging the emergence of this party. He pointed further, to the need to build strategies for a Left that today confronts a Fascist State. 

“Past revolutions do not teach you much about how to make a revolution against capitalism and against bourgeois democratic regimes, which is precisely on the agenda now”, said Ravi Sinha. He spoke of the need to recognise the novel location of the revolutionary Left today. For the first time in history, revolutions against capitalism are on agenda in societies with capitalist systems and bourgeois democracies. Past revolutions could never be repeated or imitated even within the previous era of feudalism and colonialism. They can be repeated or imitated even less in the new times and against a changed enemy. The revolutionary Left has to prepare for this altogether new condition and forge a suitable strategy and a new language that cannot be built on the model of twentieth century socialism. 

The session was attended by activists and political theorists of several organisations including All India Students’ Association, Association of Students for Equitable Access to Knowledge, Communist Party of India, Democratic Students’ Front, Left Collective, New Trade Union Initiative, People’s Union of Democratic Rights, Pragatisheel Yuva Sangathan,  Socialist Front, Stree Mukti Sangathan, as well as activists and intellectuals including Prabhu Mahapatra, Alan Spector, Chitra Joshi, Mukul Manglik, Shahana Bhattacharya, Suvrita Khatri, Aditya Sarkar, Rahul Roy,  Ashim Roy, Harsh Kapoor, Marieme Helie Lucas, Jaya Mehta and others. 

The panel discussion was followed by another performance by NSI’s cultural team of a play on hunger and poverty, ‘Bhaat de Harami’, directed by Bharatendu Kashyap. The evening ended on a hopeful and inspiring note with more revolutionary music. The inaugural session will be followed by a 2-day delegate session at Indian Social Institute where members of NSI from across the country along with other invitees will participate in the conference and begin a long and much-required process of contributing to developing a new language of the Left. 

We will very soon upload videos of the speeches and cultural performances along with transcripts.


Pritam said...

Excellent. Best wishes

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