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Second Statement from Chomsky, Tariq Ali et al

December 4, 2007

[We have received this second statement by Noam Chomsky, Tariq Ali and other signatories of the earlier letter on Nandigram. As will be evident, in this letter the authors have made some clarifications in response to the reactions they received from a range of people in India.

However, in the meantime, there has been a misrepresentation of what we thought was a private response from Prof Chomsky to the signatories of the statement issued by some of us (See the post Response to Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn et al on Nandigram). For instance, see the comment by Hindol Bhattacharya on the above post. Regarding that comment, we must clarify one point here: Prof Chomsky's letter to us explained the situation in which he had felt compelled to issue the first statement, his explanation being that an earlier private email correspondence with some individual supporter of the 'opposition' had extracted one part of that correspondence and it was 'used as a slogan in demos'. The person concerned could probably better clarify this situation, which is indeed unfortunate. We refrained from publicizing Prof Chomsky's response to us, given this previous misuse by somebody of his private correspondence.

However, Mr Bhattacharya has now produced an extract from another mail (private? public? we do not know) supposedly from Prof Chomsky which runs thus:

"The statement that you saw has been grossly misinterpreted by segments of the Indian left. As those who responded know, but didn’t say, the statement was issued after members of the opposition took a phrase from a letter of mine expressing concern but saying that I did not know enough to support them, and manipulating it into a statement of support. The statement that I and others signed was in part a reaction to this misrepresentation."

This is truly astonishing, for he wrote to us AFTER we sent him our response - as a response to our response. The charge therefore of "our knowing but not saying" is entirely unfounded. There are several different voices raising questions about the CPM - it is simply convenient to conflate all of them as "the opposition".

The new statement by Chomsky et al is published below:]

We are taken aback by a widespread reaction to a statement we made with the best of intentions, imploring a restoration of unity among the left forces in India –a reaction that seems to assume that such an appeal to overcome divisions among the left could only amount to supporting a very specific section of the CPM in West Bengal. Our statement did not lend support to the CPM’s actions in Nandigram or its recent economic policies in West Bengal, nor was that our intention. On the contrary, we asserted, in solidarity with its Left critics both inside and outside the party, that we found them tragically wrong. Our hope was that Left critics would view their task as one of putting pressure on the CPM in West Bengal to correct and improve its policies and its habits of governance, rather than dismiss it wholesale as an unredeemable party. We felt that we could hope for such a thing, of such a return to the laudable traditions of a party that once brought extensive land reforms to the state of West Bengal and that had kept communal tensions in abeyance for decades in that state. This, rather than any exculpation of its various recent policies and actions, is what we intended by our hopes for ‘unity’ among the left forces.

We realize now that it is perhaps not possible to expect the Left critics of the CPM to overcome the deep disappointment, indeed hostility, they have come to feel towards it, unless the CPM itself takes some initiative against that sense of disappointment. We hope that the CPM in West Bengal will show the largeness of mind to take such an initiative by restoring the morale as well as the welfare of the dispossessed people of Nandigram through the humane governance of their region, so that the left forces can then unite and focus on the more fundamental issues that confront the Left as a whole, in particular focus on the task of providing with just and imaginative measures an alternative to neo-liberal capitalism that has caused so much suffering to the poor and working people in India.

Signed

Michael Albert, Tariq Ali, Akeel Bilgrami, Victoria Brittain, Noam Chomsky, Charles Derber, Stephen Shalom

24 Comments leave one →
  1. Ajit permalink
    December 5, 2007 12:53 PM

    It is tragic Chomsky is still misled about the nature of CPIM. It is his stubborn pride that makes him not to do what Susan George did. My respect for him is not diminished. But I find it truly astonishing that this legendary anarchist was somehow ignorant about CPIM and allowed him to be misused.
    It is entirely inconsistent of his character to make pronouncements on subjects he hasn’t carefully studied.As far as I know (And I know him pretty well, I have lived with his books, his videos, his interviews for the last 8 years.) He never ever makes such mistakes in other fields.

  2. December 5, 2007 10:03 PM

    What is sad is that he appeals to the “largeness of mind” of the CPIM. Shockingly naive from a man like Chomsky. Politics does not work on the basis of “largeness of mind” or vague things like that…at least not for a party in power for thirty years.

    More than anything else, this statement is a piece of hilarity.

    These people seem to have made up a nice bed-time story: the CPIM exists within something over-arching called the “left” in India, and that it has misbehaved, had its ears boxed, so now let’s all get together again and fight big daddy U.S.

  3. Ajit permalink
    December 5, 2007 10:11 PM

    I read the mail Chomsky sent to Hindol Bhattacharjee.It is quite possibly a private mail. Chomsky intensely dislikes his private correspondence made public without his consent. I bet he will throw a tantrum. I read him once rebuking Hitchens for doing that. “I won’t sink to the level of Hitchens by quoting private correspondence” I remember him saying.

  4. December 5, 2007 10:32 PM

    It is my fault for publishing the private mail to public. however, those persons who are not believing me, for them, i would like to request them to mail me at hindolbhattacharjee@gmail.com so that i can send all the letters he had sent me.

  5. Ajit permalink
    December 6, 2007 11:28 AM

    The most amusing comment in this whole tragic saga of Nandigram comes from Infosys Liberal Ramachandra Guha.

    He is quoted in Guardian as follows,


    “”Words like neoliberalism sound like pointless abuse to me,” said Ramachandra Guha, a historian and writer. “I am not an economist but many intellectuals do not really understand economics. Yet in India they are happy to argue endlessly over it. The real issue is that the thinking left nurses a deep sense of betrayal over events in Nandigram.”

    By this standard you had to be an expert in Nuclear Weapons to talk about and decry Hiroshima and Nagasaki. You have to be an expert of American Military Industrial Complex to criticize US crimes in Iraq now rapidly approaching Genocide levels.

    You have got to admire Guha. Unlike the pesky Leftists, this Infosys Liberal clearly understands Economics. He knows who is going to butter his bread. He knows who is the John with the Coin.

  6. December 12, 2007 2:25 AM

    the letter i got from Jayoti Ghosh to whom i have sent those reply. How ridiculous hthese persons are.

  7. B. Chakrabarti permalink
    December 12, 2007 5:28 AM

    Did Mr. Bhattacharjee at all understand what Mr. Patnaik is trying to say? Disagreement with one another is absolutely fine, but why is Mr. Bhattacharjee so abusive, almost to the point of being infantile? After Chomsky fiasco, won’t it be prudent for Mr. Bhattacharjee to rest awhile?

  8. December 14, 2007 10:58 PM

    Patnaik has seen a ‘desperation’ behind the ‘recapture’ of Nandigram by the ‘organised left’. Interestingly, the ‘desperation’ was of such intensity that the rapes committed by the troopers were as like plucking flowers in a garden and unarmed villagers killed like that of destroying harmful flies on the crops. It is no more a secret that the entire plan was well-calculated, the blue-print of which was clearly asserted in Benoy Konar’s (a Central Committee member) words ‘of making the life of Nandigram a hell by sorrounding it from all sides’. That was indeed a statement put 11 months back and which has come true of late!
    2. It is also not true that suddenly the intellectuals have turned away from the ‘organised left’ or the threat of communal fascism subsiding over time has engineered this drifting apart. On the contrary, the communal card nowadays seems to be played mostly by the ‘organised left’ in the an ashamed manner as was evident in Taslima’s case and the ‘engineered violence’ in Kolkata on 21 November 2007. The point is, however, the rise of fascism in the garb of the ‘organised left’ in West Bengal. That is an elaborate phenomenon which has been discussed widely here in West Bengal and the consequences of raising the voice of dissent against it.
    3. Patnaik has rightly pointed out that the cogglomeration of anti-’organised left’ consists of different shades of ideological opinions, from the ‘free thinkers’ to the ‘naxalites’ and others. But it is never anti-politics. A few of them may be averse to traditional political parties, but never to politics. The organised intimidation by the ‘organised left’ is assembling all shades of people into a common fora, as did happen during the emergency era against the Indira regime. Better, this politics of violence and intimidation of the ‘organised left’ need to be understood unless which we are unable to read into the politics of the victims.
    4. Patnaik has also talked of a ‘messianic morality’ as evolving against the ‘organised left’. It may appear like that to him but the essence is surely that of a new experiment against the rhetorics of the ‘organised left’ which is ofcourse an uncharted path of politics and future. May be, the underlying dynamics is evolving a new political discourse. This is to be clearly understood that the present struggle in Nandigram or Singur, in Haripur or tea gardens, or the assertions of the civil society is directed principally against the policy of SEZ and the acquisition of fertile lands, pauperising the farmers, eviction from livelihood on which the ‘organised left’ are vocal in other states but cunningly implementing the same trashes in West Bengal.
    5. And this may also be noted that not only the ‘intellectuals’ but the parties within the LF have also raised their voices against the fascism of a single party (the ‘organised left’). The RSP and FB are eager even to severe ties with the so-called ‘organised left’. The question is, is there any fracture within the ‘organised left’ or, the ‘organised left’ left implies a single party (CPIM) for which Patnaik is worried enough.

    I believe that an alternative left front will be the reply

  9. December 14, 2007 11:02 PM

    acschorjo lage Chomskybabu prabhatpatnayek ke kibhabe bolen fascist na!!!!

  10. December 21, 2007 10:24 PM

    RATRIR BISHADSINDHU

    Hindol Bhattacharjee

    Mrityu

    Ekhane raastao apekhya korche. Theme jao. Je jaanena se nijei kondik, tar kache prashna kora britha. Atokhyon je bormotuku pore chile, khule rakho. Bormero ovyesh klanto hoy.

    Thik ei muhurtoguloy janmo, mrityu akakar hoe jay. Bhor, aro prashanto hote bole. Atodin rastai rasta kore dieche tomar, akhon rastake nie jaoar daityo tumi aswikar korte paarona.

    Poth kakhono pothik hoy, pothik kakhono poth. Tarpor tomari bhitor die chole jay mailtrain, porjotok, tirthojatri, bhanr, byabsaiee, matal beshya ar samasto smashan. Barshakalo ase. Ase shit. Kuasha goray.

    Kebol akkone pore thake barmo, tomar somadhi. Take ghire gore othe sahor, mohona, kono hotel, mondir. Okhanei theme thake rastar purono smriti;

    Ar tumi, dekhi, ak unchu kono rasta, barmohin. Janmomrityu hin, je pothe kebol bhor jay.

    Sadhona

    Thanda alpinmatro hote parto samanyo tomar
    Anchor, shikar—sudhu eitukui banyajole bhese
    Ki shanto nirmom chor khele tumi somudrer kache!
    Akhon jetuku baki ta kebol nijer aange katha;
    Bataser dhkka kheye pathoro bhashkorjo hoe othe.
    Jakhon santona lekho, takhono to bhashar moyur
    Jege othe, mele day saptorshimondol.
    Kono raktopat hoyni samudre, nonay
    Jao, bhaso, kata ghaye, prolep diona.
    Sanket brithao jodi hoy, tobu pradip nibhleo
    Alo jay doshdikei, nijei shikar
    Hole jana jay shikariro chilo khide o trishnar
    Nijoswo hingsar gan, raktopat, jara swavabik.
    Thanda alpinmatro hote paarte bonyajole vese
    Akhon thitie jaoa bali khonro, megher chayay
    Chatok pakhir trishna akashei bhije muhurter
    Kache pran tene nay, nao tumi, raktopat hok,–
    Jetuku duratyo, muche jak, thanda alpiner doga
    Hok bhasha, shikarir, shikarer, chokhe chokh rekhe.

    Maya

    Chayabot sore jay, jolobot ghire dhore deho, chitar samoy
    Kromosho uttap tumi,–ghono ghono bidyut mathay
    Ese danriechi aj…shunyo ghat, dhyose pora bagan
    Kardamakto, palolik, ami tar bhasha suni, poschim janlay
    Asi, kampoman gach, bhanga rasta pichon firey ache…

    Santan

    Kotha bolte giye chup kore jaoa kothar gaye gaye
    Sada khanri, ami tar modhye dube achi
    Bajo banshi, akdub santar
    Chuteche horin tar chetonar pashapashi
    Kerani brittir pashe
    Chuthte giye pichle jaache dom, matrinam
    Mombati jalao pashe, ekti akhyor jano janmo dite pari…

    Se, jol tolpar kore uthe asey, mathabhorti bhrun…

    Rajniti

    Thaako janla dorja bandho, shukno mukh, hantuk samoy
    Poschime jakhonmegh mukhora grihini hoe jay
    Takhon bishade ghamo, khero khata bhorti kore lekho
    Tritio biswer galpo, thanda ghore, puruk dupur.
    Kebol brishtir jole bishader nona hingsra gham
    Jhore pore jachche, eso khali paye rastar upor.
    Dakho bhijche dokanpat, majhemajhe baj porche dure…
    Khali taxi, hotobak windscreen, driver udhao,…
    Smashan, kaborkhana, ponchobhut, shoano konkal
    Jol paache, e sandhyay train bondho, tumio monthor
    Kebol aktana brishti, chuti jano, kukurkundoli
    Ghumie poreche ei kanagolisahure atmay
    Chute jao brishti pithekishorer kalponar kandhe
    Ghurir karnik mere gontta khao megher sorire…
    Thako janla dorja bandho, ami jabo, chuti nebo aj

    Ja lekha thakbe sudhui

    Nijeke somadhi karo, borofshitol snau nie..

    Churir upore rakho alto hat
    Jalao deshlai
    Snau purte purte chinre jak ghum, dhushor mathay
    Jato math sue ache
    Pichle jak sekhane bhorer
    Notun alor rong, pichle jak katakuti lekha;

    Purono engine dakho, probadprotim shayola gaye
    Sangsari buror sesh muhurter nirob passport

    Lekho nam….likhe muche dao

  11. December 24, 2007 3:02 AM

    Nandigram is nothing in comparison with Kronstad
    Lenin to Budhya a right sequel of Communism

    Feel pity for Karl Marx

    Hindol Bhattacharjee

    I have read some of the books regarding the state terrorism practiced by Communists. I am confused and after thinking a lot, to me Marxism has been misused by the power hunger of dictators about whom still i am respectful. But now i am a bit confused.

    You know well that after the revolution in Russia, Lenin tried to make a parliamentary election and it was termed as Constituent assembly. But after getting only 150 seats out of 700, he broke the parliament and declared the dictatorship. Some people tried to assassinate him but in stead of that he formed the Red army whose activity was only to kill and demolish all the against parties of Lenin and Communist party. Between 1918 and 1921, in the civil war, the red army killed a lot. Besides there was scarcity of food and in this way when there was people’s uprising against the mundane communism, 7.5 Million people were killed. Lenin termed this as “ war Communism’. Lenin, to fight against all the opponent, created Cheka whose activity was centralized in political murders of those opponents and torture over the farmers. During that period, all the trade unions and strikes were banned. Lenin has declared that to gain communism, Russa should be civilized. But what was the form of that Civilization? Due to war communism, and people’s uprising, in Kronstad, thousands of people were killed. The sailors who directly participated in the revolution( 1905, October, February, 1917) had become opponent of Lenin. They created another coupd’eta against lenin and the sustaining communist terrorism. At the same time the people’s uprising movements, especially by farmers and workers were taking place.

    The sailors of Kronstad made a resolution after 26 February of 1921 and their demands were most democratic. They needed election for a new Soviet by hidden ballot, they needed equal distribution of ration, and the freedom of speech along with the freedom of participating in Trade Union and farmers Union. But Lenin termed it as a conspiracy done by the white force against the red army. ( Like our Binoy Kongar declared the mass movement was a conspiracy by the Maoists at nandigram). Kujmin declared that war would be the solution ( like our Biman Bose gave public statements against the farmers who are fighting against the land acquisition for SEZ), and Trotsky sent 60000 soldiers of red army to kronstad to kill the organised farmers ( like lakhman Seth at nandigram)

    It is a truth that in this battle the number of deaths of sailors was 527. Injured was 4127. More than 500 leaders of the uprising mass movement were sent to Siberia.

    Kronstad is well known for a victory of Lenin over the mass movement and it is still now a landmark of Communist movement. From this perspective, how can we say Budhyadeb Bhattacharjee, Biman Bose, Binoy Kongar are not communists. They are not marxists as lenin was not a marxist, too.

    If we go through the recent economic condition of China after globalization, it is really shivering. During 1995-2002, 15% of the number of labours was decreased. The decrease is from 980 lakh to 830 lakh. They are getting smaller revenue, working more than 12 hours per day and working 7 days per week. Due to the rapid conversion of agricultural land to industrial sector, the farmers of Guangshi area is now gradually worsen. Due to the land acquisition, 26.7 square kilometre land has become desert. It is 29.7% of the total agricultural land. After globalisation, the per apita income of 90% of the population of China is now 1.4% of the total income of the country whereas 10% middle class people are now getting more than 45% income if GNI.

    The left front has decided to accept the globalise economy and in the process of manifestation of SEZ. According to history, Budhya, prabhat, prakash karat are obviously communists and nandigram is nothing if it is compared with kronstad. And now they are going to become a part of processing the globalise economy in bengal and helping Indian central government to help multinationals.

    Is it Communism? Or, perhaps yes it is!

  12. Hindol Bhattacharjee permalink
    July 9, 2008 5:33 PM

    An appeal to the Civil Society

    Hindol Bhattacharjee

    In the political turmoil and in the manipulative condition of Indian political scenario, it is again an obvious situation that excluding the issue around which people raised their voice against the power structure in 2007, i.e., the voice against imperialist economy, namely SEZ, is going to disappear. Though, the manifestation of this economic policy is still going on in different places of India. Not being a political person, I am not at all interested about who is going to rule West Bengal; I just want to ask everybody who is our enemy? If we go on thinking and following the statistics of India, BJP has manifested and taken proper steps to manifest SEZ and Chemical Hub in different corners of Gujarat and they are not at all against the SEZ. As per the central is concerned, the ruling administration of India, captained by Manmohon Singh and Congress leadership, is not at all against the imperialist invasion of economy over India and they have accepted the globalise economy. The movement, steered actually by the farmers of Nandigram and Khammam, is their struggles for survival, to keep their lands for agriculture and they have not at all lost their battle but created some fundamental question which incorporates the thought that whether we have our democracy or not and what is the real development. It is to be noted that development is defined not only by CPM but also by the central and Indian political hierarchy, not giving any importance to some alternative thoughts and not giving any importance to the people’s struggle and their consents whether they need this type of development or not. It is not only the hierarchical and urbanised culture to nullify the consents of more than 70% of people living by agriculture , possessing lands but also being practised by each and every political party in India.

    CPM is not the enemy and it is equally true to congress or TMC or BJP. They all are puppets of the world wide power structure and they have no such power or intention to stand against this economy. This is also true that after the massacre happened twice at Nandigram and the administrative corruption led by the cadres of CPM in different districts of West Bengal have reached its pinnacle from where we should take our democratic weapon to defeat them here. But this is not the solution of the vast economic invasion over the people of India and the third world countries because we are not at all thinking about a different economic model by which we can fight against this invasion without any banner of so called parliamentarian political parties and system. Congress, BJP and TMC are not at all the solution against CPM and if an alliance is organised among the opponent parties, then it would be just a different driver whose characteristic is the same as CPM as throughout India we have a lot of instances where these parties have done and doing the same thing.

    The Civil Society should think about this matter to spread a vast struggle against that economy irrespective of the narrow political changes and alliances, elections etc. It is to be noted that now the problem regarding the SEZ is not a focussing point, whereas the focussing point has been shifted towards the game of political dominance and capture over the steering role of the power through election. Nobody is thinking about the probable hazards that are coming. If this system goes on operating the environment is going to be more polluted, the global warming is aggravating. India is going to face the scarce of lands for agriculture like China, we are going to face food crisis. The inflation along with the treaties concerning Gatt and Dunkle will be the cause of rise in values of medicines etc. No change of existing political system will do anything to change the situation. We all have reacted against the brutality of the massacres, against the autocracy of CPM and it is really a right situation to uphold an alternative economic theory and concept of politics. Economists and environmentalists, scientists and artists—everybody should encourage and participate to build up this otherwise we will be unable to change anything. The democracy for which we are fighting is linked directly with this fight, conceptually and without any political banner. I think in this perspective, Noam Chomsky. Michel Foucault and early Marx can show us the way. But it is only my interpretation. I need your opinion, too.

    Hindol Bhattacharjee

    9830751535

  13. saravanan permalink
    July 11, 2008 10:53 PM

    I can’t understand ,what Mr.Hindol Bhattacharjee playing for capitalisam or want to act like middle in between capitalisam and marxisam, whatever its you proved you are the capitalist.

    saravanan

  14. Hindol Bhattacharjee permalink
    January 9, 2010 9:46 PM

    Maobadider mokabilay shalbonite 141 acre jomi tule deoa hoeche CRPF Er hate. Sekhane cobra er prashikhyan shibir gore tola hobe. Poschimbonger buke shalbonir mato anunnata jaygay jekhane manush avuktoi thake sekhane 141 acre jomi shilpo ba unnyan khate na die deoa holo CRPF er hate. Ete unnyaner kichu hobe na ja hobe ta holo rashtrio santras ke aro majbut kara. Unnyan na, swastho sikhya porikathamor unnyan na oi 141 acre jomi sob sangsadia rajnaitik doler sammatite deoa holo rashtrio shaktir hate. Amra er age dekhechi er fole seisamasta jaygar manushder upar senabahinir nirjatan kon porjaye jay. Akhan trinamul, cpm keui ei jomi adhigrahan kore senabahinir prashikhyan shibir gore tolar bipokhye katha bolbena. Ei rashtria santraser nairajyer birudhye sakole pratibad janan. Ei aabedan rakhlam.

    Matra 1 takay ei jomi hostantorita kora hoechhe. akhon TMC chup. Kano? er protibad korle rashtra shoktir kache bratyo hobar bhoy?

    Mamata bandopadhyay sarasori Maobadider birudhye judhyer katha bollen aj. Akta press conference e Maobadider sange janaganer duratya tairir katha bollen. Samarthan korlen ei sena bahinir agrasanke.
    Eta notun kichu na. Mamata je biplobi non ta janai chilo. Tini kono Khyomotakathamor prakashbhongir poribortoner katha bolchen na. Tini rashtrer khyamotakathamoro birudhye non. Nandigram-Singur e Janaganer loraike punji kore Trinomul akhon khyamata dakhaler dike.

    Samasta biplobi sanghotongulir akhon aikyobodhyo hoar samoy. Asha kori Mamata aar Trinomul ki se bishoye sakoler chokh khule gache. Tini je bohujatik arthaniti atr sez esober birudhyeo noy tao spashta.

    Majhe mara jachhe amader ganatantrik choritra ar manusher protibadi kantha.

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