A Non-Marxist’s Marx

MarxKarl Marx (1818-1883)

May 5 is Karl Marx’s Birthday.
In USA, practically nobody knows Marx, outside of the academia. In India, corporate powers have done their best to ridicule this great philosopher. And in this era of Post-Truth or Post-Rationalism, curiosity, let alone studied admiration, is a thing of the past.
Communists in power, through their inefficient, violent and corrupt administrations, have also contributed greatly to people’s misunderstanding. Joseph Stalin is an example. Stalin in Soviet Union had undone what the Bolshevik Revolution achieved, under the leadership of Lenin. The Gang of Four and Deng Xiaoping had undone what Mao achieved in China.
Even though I am not a Marxist, on many of his analyses, I feel as if he is speaking on my behalf. Media would not want us to know about them.
Marx Quote #1. — “You are horrified at our intending to do away with private property. But in your existing society, private property is already done away with for nine-tenths of the population; its existence for the few is solely due to its non-existence in the hands of those nine-tenths.” (From “The Communist Manifesto,” 1848).
Marx Quote #2. — “In every stock[market] swindle every one knows that some time or other the crash must come, but every one hopes that it may fall on the head of his neighbor, after he himself has caught the shower of gold and placed it in safety.” (From “Capital: Critique of Political Economy,” 1867).
Marx Quote #3. — “If the laborer consumes his disposable time for himself, he robs the capitalist.” (From “Capital”).
Marx Quote #4. — “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions…” (From the “Introduction to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right,” 1843).
Marx Quote #5. — “If anything is certain, it is that I myself am not a Marxist.” (Quoted by Friedrich Engels, in a letter to Eduard Bernstein, 1882).
VERY ENLIGHTENING.
Know this great man who revolutionized human history, on behalf of the have-nots. Labor unions, anti-war movements, feminist movements — all the progressive struggles can find their recent roots in the philosophies of Marx and Engels.
In the 19th century, in the era of European enlightenment, Marx, Darwin and Freud were perhaps the three most notable personalities. We owe so much to them.
Sincerely,
Partha Banerjee
Brooklyn, New York
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India Elections Going Egypt Way

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An important series of state elections is happening is India today, and people are rejecting a corrupt and tyrant, “liberal” Congress Party.

People are overwhelmingly voting for a conservative, right-wing BJP. In Delhi, the capital of India, an anti-corruption third party got a third of the seats.

The election results remind us of what we’ve seen in Egypt recently. The election results also remind us that just like they reacted in Egypt, U.S. government and corporations, IMF and other Western superpowers are not going to like the outcome.

I do not support BJP and their feudal-patriarchal doctrine. I have written a whole book about their politics of bigotry and hate (you can click here to know more). I have no illusion about them.

But I strongly believe that this is peoples’ verdict in India — against an extremely corrupt, violent, inefficient and fake-liberal Gandhi Dynasty and their Congress Party.

I have written before on this blog how this corrupt dynasty with their extreme zeal to remain in power has sold India out to Western powers, just the same way Mir Jafar and feudal, Muslim and Hindu rulers had sold India out to East Indian Company and British colonizing powers two centuries ago. I have shown how history is repeating itself in India.

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India is now going the Egypt way. We may not like it, but the so-called centrist-elite liberal one percent in both countries have destroyed their economies, sold out to Western economic and political powers and their domestic hatchet men, and in the name of democracy, have looted all the wealth, creating unthinkable inequality. They have permanently destabilized the social fabric of both countries in the name of progress and prosperity. They have undermined and ridiculed traditions and mores that the ordinary Indians and Egyptians believe in, and unprecedented social vices have spread across the countries like cancer. Most importantly, for the ordinary people, prices of essential items such as food, oil, education and health care have gone through the roofs, thanks to a rampant, out-of-control IMF privatization of the economy.

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The ordinary, working people — men, women and families — are reacting back with the only weapon they have: their vote. This is their 99 percent moment.

It is a revolution. We the educated, modern, progressive and liberal may not like the huge tilt back to the right. The left in both India and Egypt are angry. But this is really how it is shaping up.

U.S., IMF, World Bank and Western superpowers have quickly destroyed the historic, Tahrir Square revolution.

I have a feeling they’re going to play a similar game in India, in the next few months. National elections are probably going to be held in March. Between now and then, billions of dollars will play underground in Indian politics, to manipulate the so-called democracy. Politics will be like a mega casino, just like Indian cricket, and even bigger.

I am warning, in my small way, against such massive manipulations.

I may not support BJP. But I do support the Indian  99 percent who are now electing BJP.

They have no other way right now. This is how the ordinary men, women and families are coming together — against lies, corruption and violence.

This is their Second Circle moment.

Still Believing in Peoples’ Power,

Partha

Brooklyn, New York

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P.S. — Watch out for a rapidly-rising Aam Admi Party (AAP, or common peoples’ party). Is it a real phenomenon against corruption? Or, is it a platform financed by dubious sources?

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4 A.M., New York: Elections and 9/11

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I had a realization early this morning. A simple realization. And I wanted to share that with you.

I thought about the election here in New York City today, with the backdrop of 9/11. Are they connected? Are they not?

Let’s talk about the mayoral election first. Today is the primary election — to select one among the candidates each party put up. Basically, in New York City, Democratic candidate who wins today with 40% majority vote is the candidate to win the November final election. Today is that important.

There must be a real choice for ordinary, hardworking New Yorkers and their families and children this time, as opposed to media- and corporation-sponsored elections we’ve seen in the past twelve years. We need democracy that New York was known for, and not this fake democracy and plutocracy for the extreme rich and powerful.

I woke up at 4 A.M. this morning to help with election duty, even though I knew that perhaps 5 or 10% would vote in these primaries (as usual), and the other 90% would not. On one hand, I felt that was because people were disenchanted with the election system in the first place. On the other, I knew the 5 or 10 percent New Yorkers voting today would be in the leadership position — one way or the other — to help put this fake democracy back in the direction of the ordinary people.

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Stolen elections and bought off elections have cheated us New York’s working people, families, labor unions, immigrants, poor women, blacks and the vast underclass for twelve years. It is time we rose up and seized the political power. Time to drive the economy back and away from the 1 percent — to the 99 percent.

I went to help out on election duty this morning at 4 A.M. I saw obscure figures walking by in the darkness. No, they were not walking to their polling stations. They were already off to work — jumping over potholes, bypassing smelly sidewalks and riding dilapidated subway trains. This was not a different day for them.

Only if we could include and involve and inspire them in this democracy, one the rich and powerful stole away from us. If we could, there would be a completely nonviolent revolution. There would be democracy.

I’m still hoping.

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This is New York, today. End it.
This is New York, today. End it.

Now, what does it have to do with 9/11 and the terrorism and tragedies? Is there a connection?

Is there not? Think about it.

Let’s take the position of New York City mayor. This person can educate an entire generation about the ills of terror, the global history behind it, the obnoxious way New York City government and powerful people handled it, the way they silenced opposition and dissenting voices who were crying foul about the manufactured news surrounding the terrorism and the social, health and environment fallout, and much more.

The tragedies of 9/11 helped the rich and powerful of New York and the entire country of USA to steer away real debates on education, employment, immigration, labor, environment, health and society and economy in general. Corporate media helped the rich and powerful, and took advantage of a vulnerable nation, flouting all norms and ethics of democracy. Their purposefully misplaced priorities have made the rich richer, and poor poorer. They made the powerful even more powerful, flouting all decency and laws.

New York City and the rest of the country keep reeling with more unemployment, more imprisonment, more deportations, more hate crimes, more gun violence, more police brutality, more failing schools, more street potholes and more smelly subways. Prices have gone through the roof. The poor and middle class can’t afford to live in the city. Yet, at the same time, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, Wall Street and war and oil and food and real estate industries have become wealthiest in history. Stock markets have boomed in the past few years — when the rest of the country was suffocating with job losses, home losses, deaths and despair.

It is a strange, uncanny, ghost-like economic system. Things are happening without our knowledge, and the one percent is making decisions, using you and me as election pawns.

Further, as far as terrorism and tragedies, the rich and powerful here in New York and America have not learned any lessons from the tragedies of 9/11. There is no preparedness — political, economic or psychological for future catastrophe.

Other than the Kafkaesque phone and Internet and camera spying on citizens and residents, that is.

Observing with Care,

Partha

Brooklyn, New York

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P.S. — By the way, last night we got at least two dozen calls from candidates running for various NYC positions. We felt so happy that they finally remembered us, even though four years too late. Thank you, candidates. You do value democracy — at least on the night before elections.

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Gang Rape, India and Gun Rampage, USA — Connect the Dots

Shame for the Poor, Shameless for the Powerful.
Shame for the Poor. Shameless for the Powerful.

Among many other horrible acts of violence, two events stood out in December, 2012.

In Delhi, India, A 23-year-old woman was gang raped inside a moving bus. She and her male companion were also brutally beaten, and almost died.

[Update: Today, 29th December, the girl has died. A moment of silence and prayer for her.]

There is incredible outrage in Delhi and all across India — places where such brutality has now become commonplace. Street protests and candle light vigils have exploded. Now the people in power are using tear gas, water cannon, baton beating, closing down of public transportation and other such familiar acts to control the enormous public uprising — because according to them, the protests are “getting violent.” There is demand for death penalty, mob lynching and other such punishments for the criminals.

Here in the U.S., in a small suburb called Newtown in the state of Connecticut, a killer crashed through the windows of an elementary school one Friday morning, and using his guns and other assault weapons, mass murdered twenty children and six adults before committing suicide.

There is incredible outrage in Connecticut, nearby New York and all across USA — places where such gun terror has now become commonplace. Street protests and candle light vigils have exploded — although compared to India, they are much more subdued — we never see India-like crowds swarming the American streets. Or, if we remember Egypt and the Arab Spring, Times Square never becomes Tahrir Square.

Therefore, here in the U.S., the people in power are not using tear gas, water cannon, baton beating, closing down of public transportation and other such familiar acts to control the enormous public uprising — because there is no visible enormous public uprising.

Of course, there is always demand for death penalty for the criminals. In this tragic event, however, there is no demand for capital punishment for the gun terrorist, because the criminal did not survive.

We Weep for Them.
We Weep for Them.

Even though it may seem like the two events — however violent and tragic — are different in nature or degree, if we look carefully, we can find a lot of similarities across them. I’d like to think about how we can connect the dots. It would help us understand the underlying reasons behind such acts.

Both are terror acts, if you take my simple, working definition of terror as an act that intends to kill or hurt innocent civilians in a public place.

Both terror acts were committed by people who thought that (1) in India, gang raping an innocent girl is a way to show power over the powerless — and because you are powerful with your ability to torture, beat and rape an innocent, powerless girl, you are entitled to do it, and many others do it all the time and because most of them always remain above the law, you are above the law too; or (2) in the U.S., killing dozens of innocent people including small children inside their school is a way to show your power over the powerless — and because you are powerful with your ability to shoot and kill the vulnerable children and powerless adults, you are entitled to do it, and many others do it all the time, and you can go above the law by killing yourself.

Both acts are pre-planned acts of terror — unleashed on innocent people — however short-term or suicidal the plan is. Terrorists, as we know, often use such suicidal plans.

In Delhi, a group of violent men raped a young woman and almost killed her and her male friend — on a moving public transportation vehicle circling a city street at 9.30 P.M. The criminals could have killed them, but for some reason, didn’t. They threw their naked bodies off the bus, thinking that the victims would be dead, and that nobody could catch the crime. Very luckily, the surviving young man identified both the bus and the criminals.

In Newtown, Connecticut, the small first grade children and their teachers did not have such luck. The gunman, who got deadly, horrible weapons of assault and training on how to use them from his mother — a so-called “gun enthusiast” — took advantage of America’s pathetically primitive social permissiveness about guns and political leaders who are sold out to gun lobbies and National Rifle Association-type far right-wing, violent groups — and killed the helpless children and adults inside the school building, ten days before Christmas Eve.

Those "violent" protesters. Opportunists!
Those “violent” protesters. Opportunists!

Even though the exploding street protests in India and massive but silent protests in America against these two acts of extreme, barbaric violence seem to be about punishing the criminals in India and controlling the gun menace in the U.S., they are not just about that. The protests are actually ordinary peoples’ anger about and rejection of the elite people in power who failed to protect innocent lives and dignity and did not care about how the ordinary men, women and children lived their daily lives — always under anxiety, stress, fear and uncertainties. The protests are truly about venting ordinary peoples’ lifelong frustration with the power and the iron-walled status quo.

The enormous protests — expressed or silent in these two so-called big democracies — are actually about demanding to bring back safety, rights and dignity — pillars of democracy the elite, corrupt and arrogant people in power stole from them.

In both cases, most media is trying to take on the violence, punishment and control aspects of it — without ever discussing WHY the violence is happening. They are not interested to talk about the power and abuse of political, social and economic power aspects underlying the violence — both in the U.S. and India. In both countries, some elite people in the seat of power are shedding tears for the victims, without really having shown any plans of action to prevent such tragedies — before or after. These terrors have now become all too common. The ordinary, innocent people like you and me live under such threats of terror on a daily basis. There is no recourse. There is no respite.

There is no accountability in India: its elite one percent doesn’t care how the ordinary people live, how women are brutalized on a daily basis by street thugs and underworld mafia — often connected with the elite and powerful, how children are always under severe pressure and trauma, and how average Indians live in a constant state of anxiety, stress and fear. This is on top of the extreme economic uncertainties and horrible corruption. I also hold the pro-U.S. Indian media accountable for supporting and sustaining this brand of politics and economy. They have all failed India.

Similarly, there is no accountability in USA: I could repeat the same thing I said above — that its elite one percent doesn’t care how the ordinary people live, how women are taken advantage of, how especially poor children are always under-educated and with little opportunity for social mobility (numerous are in U.S. prison), and how average Americans live in a constant state of anxiety, stress and fear — gun violence or drug-related violence. This is on top of the extreme economic uncertainties and horrible corruption at the top. Big banks and financial institutions have ship-wrecked the U.S. economy. The U.S. media is a part of this devastating trickle-down system for supporting and sustaining this brand of politics and economy. They have all failed the common American people.

This is NOT violence. This is DEMOCRACY.
This is NOT violence. This is DEMOCRACY.

Of course, there must be protests against these particular episodes of violence.

In India, the gang rapists must be brought to justice and more such tragedies must be prevented. Women must be able to walk free of fear.

In the U.S., future gun terrors must be prevented, and gun laws must be changed. Innocent lives must be saved.

True. Yet, it is not just that. In fact, as I said before, the mass protests are well beyond that.

Gang rape or gun rampage, we the ordinary people who are victims of all forms of violence and hurt are not demanding stop-gap punishment (in India) or stop-gap control (in USA) only. We are asking for a system change. We have caught you the elite rulers cheating us. You can’t do it any more. Media must report that true story.

That is where the dots connect. That is where the discussion should be.

Anything else falls short. Anything else is Manufacturing Consent.

Sincerely Writing,

Partha

Brooklyn, New York

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