Days and nights in the forest: 23 days with the Maoists in Chhattisgharh

Given rare access, Indian Express reporter Ashutosh Bhardwaj spent 23 days with the Maoists in Chhattisgharh, living in their camps, sharing their food, watching films on a laptop and debating Mao.

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Pierre Bourdieu On the State: Lectures at the Collège De France, 1989-1992 (Book Review)

Piere Bordieu
This valuable collection of lectures represents Pierre Bourdieu’s thoughts on the state as expressed in lectures given at the Collège de France from 1989 to 1992. The book is 433 pages in length and contains two helpful appendixes: (1) “Course summaries as published in the Annuaire of the Collège de France 1989-1990, 1990-1991, 1991-1992”; (2) “Position of the lectures on the state in Pierre Bourdieu’s work”. The lectures themselves are a veritable treasure trove of insights, reflections, and emendations of theories that Bourdieu finds useful. It contains trenchant critiques of theories he finds lacking. The reader will also find discussions of the rich body of empirical work that Bourdieu and his research associates conducted, including references to Kabyle peasant life in Algeria, where he conducted his early fieldwork.

In the lectures delivered between 1989 and 1990, Bourdieu emphasized the state’s ability to create and monopolize symbolic capital. In “Politics as a Vocation”, Max Weber famously defined the state as a human community that (successfully) claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory.” Establishing and reproducing the state requires constant attention to legitimating the use of force. Bourdieu took this as his point of departure, modifying Weber’s definition of the state as an organization that successfully claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical and symbolic violence over a definite territory and over the totality of the corresponding population.” (This definition is found in a number of Bourdieu’s works).

Bourdieu inquired into the many ways that the state ensures the reproduction of its most fundamental self-representations and political categories by framing the categories of public perception, experience, thought, and speech. For example, he explains how the state creates logical conformism through encouraging adherence to the basic categories of thought. This logical conformism must continually be reproduced because it is the condition for moral conformism and social solidarity.

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print : M.N.Roy’s First Meeting With Lenin (1920)

Below is the account of first meeting of Roy with Lenin as described by Roy in his own words which the readers will find interesting. N.D.Pancholi THE entrance to the office of the President of the Council of People’s Commissars was guarded by an army of secretaries headed by an oldish woman.

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Why Marxism is on the rise again

Class conflict once seemed so straightforward. Marx and Engels wrote in the second best-selling book of all time, The Communist Manifesto: “What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable.

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Anarchism and Other Essays (Emma Goldman, The Anarchist Library)

anarchismPropagandism is not, as some suppose, a “trade,”

because nobody will follow a “trade” at which you
may work with the industry of a slave and die with
the reputation of a mendicant. The motives of any
persons to pursue such a profession must be
different from those of trade, deeper than pride,
and stronger than interest.

George Jacob Holyoake

Among the men and women prominent in the public life of America there are but few whose names are mentioned as often as that of Emma Goldman. Yet the real Emma Goldman is almost quite unknown. The sensational press has surrounded her name with so much misrepresentation and slander, it would seem almost a miracle that, in spite of this web of calumny, the truth breaks through and a better appreciation of this much maligned idealist begins to manifest itself. There is but little consolation in the fact that almost every representative of a new idea has had to struggle and suffer under similar difficulties. Is it of any avail that a former president of a republic pays homage at Osawatomie to the memory of John Brown? Or that the president of another republic participates in the unveiling of a statue in honor of Pierre Proudhon, and holds up his life to the French nation as a model worthy of enthusiastic emulation? Of what avail is all this when, at the same time, the living John Browns and Proudhons are being crucified? The honor and glory of a Mary Wollstonecraft or of a Louise Michel are not enhanced by the City Fathers of London or Paris naming a street after them — the living generation should be concerned with doing justice to the living Mary Wollstonecrafts and Louise Michels. Posterity assigns to men like Wendel Phillips and Lloyd Garrison the proper niche of honor in the temple of human emancipation; but it is the duty of their contemporaries to bring them due recognition and appreciation while they live.

The path of the propagandist of social justice is strewn with thorns. The powers of darkness and injustice exert all their might lest a ray of sunshine enter his cheerless life. Nay, even his comrades in the struggle — indeed, too often his most intimate friends — show but little understanding for the personality of the pioneer. Envy, sometimes growing to hatred, vanity and jealousy, obstruct his way and fill his heart with sadness. It requires an inflexible will and tremendous enthusiasm not to lose, under such conditions, all faith in the Cause. The representative of a revolutionizing idea stands between two fires: on the one hand, the persecution of the existing powers which hold him responsible for all acts resulting from social conditions; and, on the other, the lack of understanding on the part of his own followers who often judge all his activity from a narrow standpoint. Thus it happens that the agitator stands quite alone in the midst of the multitude surrounding him. Even his most intimate friends rarely understand how solitary and deserted he feels. That is the tragedy of the person prominent in the public eye.

The mist in which the name of Emma Goldman has so long been enveloped is gradually beginning to dissipate. Her energy in the furtherance of such an unpopular idea as Anarchism, her deep earnestness, her courage and abilities, find growing understanding and admiration.

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Why Marx Still Matters: The Ideological Drivers of Chinese Politics (Rogier Creemers, China Files, December 16, 2014)

In days of greater political brouhaha, “to go and see Marx” used to be a slang expression among Chinese Communists, to refer to death. More recently, a considerable number of commentators have pronounced the expiry of Marxism itself. China’s reform path, they claim, is the result of political pragmatism and the rejection of doctrinaire ideology. Continued references to socialism are often explained as the combination of a quaint holdover of past discourse and the necessity to refer in code to authoritarianism—without using that word.

There is some merit to that argument. It certainly is no longer the case that any government measure or proposal has to be justified by citing Marx, Engels, or Mao. Classical socialist discourse on class struggle has disappeared, while the presence of Rollses and Rolexes on the streets of Beijing seems to belie a serious commitment to class struggle. Indeed, it might even be argued that—to a certain extent—the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was never as seriously attached to Marxism as its Soviet counterpart was. In its formative period, it was an underground organization operating in the countryside and, after the Long March, in the bleak mountains around Yan’an. Material conditions were harsh, to the extent that the Party’s radio station had to cease broadcasting after a valve in the transmitter failed and spares were not available. Few of Marx’s original works were available in translation there, and it seems that many of the leadership’s insights at that time were derived from Soviet-produced training materials, including the infamous Short Course, Stalin’s authoritative textbook on Communist Party rule.

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