Wednesday, 29 August 2012

SFI Pamphlet dated 29 August 2012

Over the past three days, we have been witness to the AISA – the student outfit of an insignificant sectarian left force in the country – making tall claims regarding the “achievements” of the Students’ Union they have been leading. The biggest of these claims is that the issue of discrimination against students from deprived sections and backward regions in the viva voce for entrance examinations has been addressed “for the first time in JNU’s history”. They claim that in the past forty years, unions led by SFI-AISF have not addressed this issue at all. This is nothing but a blatant falsification of history.

The legacy of SFI-AISF-led unions in the fight for a socially just, inclusive admission policy

Way back in 1972-73, the JNUSU advocated a new admission policy which would enable students from poorer backgrounds and backward regions to enter JNU. It was the first major struggle led by the JNUSU, and it resulted in a path-breaking admission policy being adopted by the university, according to which weightages were given for students from deprived socio-economic backgrounds and those hailing from backward regions. Student-faculty committees (SFCs) were also set up with elected students in each centre.  During the term of the 1973-74 union, the admission procedure was regularised with the students having a say through the SFCs, which would scrutinise the entrance tests and finalise the results. Members from the SFCs used to be present when the viva voce was held to ensure that discrimination or harassment did not occur. A very important upshot of this admission policy was that the representation of students from the deprived sections was more than the proportions mandated by the Constitution later on. We believe that any genuine effort to prevent social discrimination in the viva voce must entail not only the reduction of the weightage given to viva voce, but also bringing back the role of the SFCs in sitting through the viva voce.
It was the alarm of the ruling classes in the increased empowerment of the deprived sections that led to the scrapping of the Old Admission Policy in 1983, when there was a brutal police crackdown on student activists in an attempt to break the back of student militancy, and the university was closed down sine die.
And yet the AISA, which was born in the crucible of the notorious anti-Mandal agitation, shamelessly claims that in the forty years of its activism in the campus, SFI has been oblivious to the concerns of SC/ST/OBC/PH students in this campus. In fact the AISA’s failure in ensuring the timely and correct implementation of OBC reservations in JNU is consistent with their positions over the years. Vinod Mishra, the then General Secretary of the CPI-ML Liberation (AISA’s parent party) had written in 1990: “Just as we do not approve of those politicians who want to take revenge on the present-day progeny of Babar, we also reject those theoreticians who would punish the present-day offsprings of Manu for the crimes of their ancestors.” (CPI(ML) Liberation Central Committee’s Message to the IPF Rally held on 8 October 1990, Liberation, November 1990, He continued in a similar vein: “Students and youth, particularly in and around Delhi, felt badly betrayed by a man (VP Singh) on whom they had reposed great faith... Instead, they found in him a scheming politician who was robbing them of whatever little job opportunities that were there.” ("The Fall of VP Singh and After", Liberation, January 1991, This is exactly the logic that the casteist Youth For (In)Equality had given while opposing OBC reservations – that reservations mean robbing the youth of their opportunities in education and employment. Kavita Krishnan, then the National President of AISA, had said after her organisation’s victory in the JNUSU elections in 2007, “AISA did not press for a pro or anti stand on quota” (interview given to the Times of India, September 7, 2007).
We appeal to the student community to remain vigilant against the devious politics of the AISA and to unite in the continuing fight for a socially just and equitable admission policy.
Subin Dennis, Viswanathan V, Rajeev Raushan (For the SFI Unit Organising Committee, JNU)

Public Meeting on "The Current Political Situation"

Monday, 27 August 2012

"SFI-JNU" - Its Origin and Future

“SFI-JNU” is a month-old offshoot of a divisive, petty-bourgeois tendency within the former unit of SFI in our campus. Its birth was necessitated after a section of the erstwhile leadership of SFI in the campus pushed for a wrong and divisive political line enthused by the resignation of Prasenjit Bose, who was their in-charge from the CPI(M), over the CPI(M)'s support to Pranab Mukherjee in the Indian Presidential elections. In the course of events that unfolded subsequently, a resolution criticising the CPI(M)'s decision was adopted at a thinly attended GBM on 5 July amidst opposition from a sizable section of the members present against the adoption of such a course of action and cautioning against playing into the hands of the bourgeois right wing media. In the GBM the erstwhile leadership even attributed the electoral defeat of the SFI since 2007 in the campus to the SFI’s organic link with the larger left and democratic movement in the country.

The so-called ultra/fashionable left AISA immediately termed it as “SFI-JNU's distancing from the right wing positions of the CPI(M)” (AISA pamphlet dated 10.07.2012) and expectedly appealed to “SFI-JNU” to join the struggles led by the AISA. “SFI-JNU’s” claim that “the developments since 2007 have made the SFI vulnerable to attacks of “double speak” by the ultra Left” (“SFI-JNU” pamphlet dated 7.07.2012) was welcomed by the AISA in the campus, as “SFI-JNU’s” position was essentially one that tails the AISA line of attacking the organised Left – a position gleefully promoted by the ruling classes. As a matter of fact, there was open criticism in the form of pamphlets from members within SFI as well against the erstwhile leadership’s erroneous line (pamphlets titled “Where the Leaders of “SFI-JNU” Erred – Part I & II).

The intervention of the SFI higher leadership put an end to the whole disorder, after which a handful among the erstwhile leadership floated the organisation named “SFI-JNU”. As its name signifies and as overtly explained in their membership leaflet, it has a twin short-term agenda of free riding and building on the political legacy of the SFI in the campus and to remain subservient to the ruling class agenda of attacking the organised Left as their future course in the campus. This double-edged tactics was clearly visible even in their membership campaign (where they deviously gave out memberships to the non-existent “Students’ Federation of India – Jawaharlal Nehru University unit” so as to take along a few who were misinformed about the organisational affiliation of the outfit) as well as in their mobilisations since 10 July, which had an evidently anti-organised Left (CPI(M) & CPI) content. Questions from many students regarding the political identity of “”SFI-JNU” were addressed with its leaders suggesting a mythical course of action towards organisational affiliation at a date suited to their electoralist opportunism. The days to come would see the operation of this tactic of confusing genuine SFI sympathisers combined with efforts to corner a share in the pie of the anti-SFI, anti-organised Left polarisation (which includes the right-wing) of which the AISA has been a virtual beneficiary all through. The “SFI-JNU” resolution of 4 August also clearly establishes the idea of openly floating a new outfit by November.

Going by the ideological positions of the leaders of “SFI-JNU” regarding 21st Century Socialism and their anathema towards the Leninist organisational principles which have been the bedrock of all socialist experiments till date, the political character of this divisive tendency comes out loud and clear. The basic raisons d’etre behind the principle of democratic centralism – that no revolution is allowed to advance democratically and peacefully, that every revolution has to face attacks by imperialism and the class enemies, that the party has to face the power of the centralised bourgeois state apparatus – have been conveniently forgotten. It needs to be remembered that those parties which abandoned democratic centralism either ceased to be Communist parties or disintegrated, the classic example being the Italian Communist Party, the biggest Communist party outside the socialist countries till the early eighties. Much before the collapse of the Soviet Union, it began the journey to liquidation by first giving up democratic centralism and culminating in giving up Marxism. In the Soviet Union itself, in the last days of the Communist Party of Soviet Union under the Gorbachevian leadership, factions were permitted and this contributed to hastening the disintegration of the Soviet party. While it is important to learn proper lessons from the democratic transformation going on in Latin America, posing it against the erstwhile socialist experiments reeks of the petty-bourgeois mentality that Lenin had rightly warned against. Given SFI-JNU’s predilection with these trends and their single point agenda of attacking the organized left in the country to gain brownie points inside the campus, it can be stated without any shadow of doubt that this SFI-JNU is the exact opposite of the non-sectarian, broad-based and progressive student movement that they proclaim themselves to be.

Kopal, Arnab Roy, Siddik Rabiyath, Viswanathan V (For the SFI Unit Organising Committee, JNU)

Talk by Inés M. Pousadela

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Rally in Solidarity with the People from the North-East! Unite to Maintain Amity and Peace!!

The last few days have witnessed an unprecedented exodus of people from the North-Eastern states residing in different parts of India in the wake of insecurity, incidents of intimidation and an atmosphere of fear purportedly generated by rumours spread through SMS and the social media.  Karnataka has witnessed the maximum number of people fleeing due to the acts of intimidation by a few miscreants and also due to the spread of rumours. There have also been a few incidents of assaults on people from the North-East in Pune and Bangalore.

The Congress-led UPA government as well as the BJP-led state government in Karnataka have displayed utter insensitivity to the problems of the students, workers and professionals from the North-East and allowed the crisis to worsen. No effective steps were taken to build confidence and to instill a sense of security among the people from the North-East. Criminal negligence and absolute inaction have been the hallmarks of the response of the ruling classes as far as this issue is concerned.

It is necessary to maintain vigil in the wake of efforts by the RSS and other outfits of the Sangh Giroh to stoke communal passions and to use it to attack the Muslim Community. People from the North-east living elsewhere in the country have faced systematic discrimination and stereotyping for a long time. Sexual assaults, harassment and racist attacks have worsened the feeling of insecurity from time to time. These pre-existing concrete conditions have enabled the communal right-wing forces to fish in muddied waters when the recent flare-up began. While cases of intimidation and assaults have been reported, the arrests made so far in Bangalore also point to a larger conspiracy by vested interests to spread a hate campaign in order to reap political benefits. Meanwhile, leaders from the Muslim community and Imams have played a proactive role in assuring the people from the North-East that no hate campaign will be allowed. An Iftar for the people from the North-East organised by a local Mosque in Bangalore was a significant confidence-building measure aimed at ensuring harmony in the State.

SFI, jointly with the CPI(M), DYFI, AIDWA,  Dalit Sangharsh Samiti, Praja Vimochana Chaluvali, Tipu Sultan United Front and other progressive sections, came out in the streets on 18 August in support of the people from the North-East who have been fleeing Bangalore in the wake of the atmosphere of fear that is reigning in the city. A mass Harmony March along with progressive organisations was organised from the Mahatma Gandhi Statue to the Raj Bhavan in Bangalore in which hundreds of people took part. The peaceful march was stopped by the police and more than 200 protesters were detained and kept at the Cubbon Park police station as they tried to force their way to meet the Governor and submit a memorandum. A Solidarity Committee has also been formed in Bangalore involving broad sections of society to ensure that the students and workers from the North-Eastern states who have stayed back in Bangalore feel secure. SFI is in the forefront of forming such Solidarity Committees in other cities affected by such rumours and acts of intimidation.

In keeping with their disgraceful traditions, the ABVP in JNU has come out with releases that seek to incite communal rage, hoping to divide the student community and the people at large. SFI condemns this vile propaganda and appeals to the JNU community to remain united in maintaining peace and amity. At the centre-stage of the whole issue are sections of society who have been historically marginalized in our country, and the devious machinations of the communal right-wing forces in pitting them against each other need to be fought and defeated. The need of the hour is to resist all divisive trends while building the broadest solidarity for peace and harmony.

Kopal, Siddik Rabiyath, Samuel Philip Mathew, Rityusha Tiwary, Subin Dennis
(For the SFI Unit Organising Committee, JNU)

SFI appeals to the student community to join the 
tonight (21 August 2012) at 9.30 from Ganga Dhaba.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

SFI Pamphlet Dated 7 August 2012

SFI congratulates its members and activists for resolutely ensuring admission assistance and other day-to-day activities in an uninterrupted manner, despite the presence of a handful of perpetrators of a disruptive tendency using the camouflage of SFI’s name in front of new students (many of whom questioned them on their political identity).

The 5 July GBM and After

It is now becoming increasingly evident to the student community that the larger political agenda behind the 5 July GBM in which a handful of the erstwhile leadership of SFI pushed for a divisive line over a non-issue was to line up with an individual who had chosen to resign over the same issue. The explanations given in the GBM for putting forward such a resolution revealed the continuing failure of a small but influential section of the erstwhile leadership of SFI in JNU to perceive and counter the ruling class political line adopted by the AISA since 2004, which was to relentlessly attack the organised Left. The same lacunae manifested themselves in their analysis of the post-2007 situation in the campus, according to which SFI was “vulnerable to attacks of ‘double-speak’ by the ultra Left” (“SFI-JNU” pamphlet, 07.07.2012). The adoption of the resolution insulating the organisation from the larger left-democratic movement was a logical outcome of this flawed analysis. The over-enthusiasm of the CPI (ML) Liberation to precipitate a “July Crisis” brought in an element of opportunist consensus between the AISA and “SFI-JNU” on analysing various issues since 2007 (AISA release dated 26.08.2012, AISA pamphlet dated 10.07.2012).

Looking back, it becomes clear that such a strategy was borne out of the desperation of the very same handful leaders of “SFI-JNU” to wash their hands off their central role in the unacceptable organisational tendencies prevailing since 2004, and their inability and unwillingness to “fix proper responsibility” and to “conduct rectification thereon” on various matters which shook the campus, such as the Nestle issue and the response to the Singur-Nandigram debates. Such right-wing deviations of a section of the leadership helped to consolidate the “fashionable”, so-called “ultra-Left” within the campus. Read along with these earlier tendencies, the current bout of left-wing childishness (which was encouraged by the resignation of an individual) brings the story to a full circle, as the same section of the leadership underwent both right-wing and left-wing deviations over this period.

Why continue with the name “SFI-JNU”?

With the intervention of the higher leadership of the SFI against the erroneous political line mentioned above, a handful among the erstwhile leadership of SFI in JNU is pursuing a losing battle to mislead the student community through their series of resolutions promising to “abide by” the Programme and Constitution of SFI. Such short-term electoral gimmicks aimed at “free-riding” on the political legacy of SFI and handing over its political space to AISA would be thoroughly exposed by the students of this campus. The larger questions of political identity and pursuance of a wrong line of dissociating the members and sympathisers of the organisation from the larger democratic movement in the country has been answered by “SFI-JNU” by suggesting a mythical course towards organisational affiliation at a date which would suit its above mentioned electoralist opportunism (resolution dated 04.08.2012). Going by their overlord’s recent ideological vacillations of terming “the programmatic debates of the 1960-70s by and large outdated for contemporary Left praxis” and the prescription of turning the communist party into a “radical” social democratic party, it can be safely inferred that the decadent mutation of “SFI-JNU” has only begun.

The revival of the Left student movement in the campus

The ascendance of a sectarian force like the AISA in the JNUSU has already eroded the cherished ideals of the JNU students movement, such as instituting an equitable admissions policy, furthering the struggles towards gender equality, advancing a research agenda rooted in the social reality of our country and most of all, to exist as a catalyst in our country's path towards a democratic revolution. AISA’s supreme failure in defending the JNUSU from attacks on its very existence during the four years since 2008 adds up to its inglorious contributions to the JNU students’ movement. Our responses to the profound changes going on around us at a time when the advanced capitalist world is undergoing a deep and cataclysmic crisis should not get mired in such sectarian tendencies assiduously promoted by the ruling classes.


Manu M R, Siddik Rabiyath
Coordinators, SFI Unit Organising Committee, JNU.