Another Alternative Model: Maoists and Naxalites in India

DJ Skoal – “Good Naxalite” 5min12sec

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While the number of fronts that exist to oppose globalization in the neo-liberal context only grows with the amount of areas that neo-liberal globalization attempts to impose itself, arguably the most advanced regional battle against this imposition is on-going in India, one of the very countries that proponents of neo-liberalization look to be depending on to take the “free market” world out of its economic crisis. 

Just as the economic crisis itself is a product of the inherent failings of globalization to provide equitably the necessities for the world’s majority who are left with no alternative but to rise against it, the re-birth of the Naxalites in India and the emergence of the Maoists are a direct results of the failings of the Indian government in Delhi to equitably provide for its own rural citizens according to its own constitution which declares India to be a socialist state. Furthermore, the lack of the Indian government to create and provide a tangible infrastructure of roads, lines of communications and development for its rural population is precisely why the Indian government is unable to contain these growing movements. Through their failings they have not provided themselves with the access necessary to reach, accommodate or answer these movements.

For the past 25 years, independent local struggles have found common interest and united under the banner of Maoism, which can be seen as a re-naissance of the Naxalite movement that the Indian government thought it had wiped out in the early 70s.

The Maoists today are much more then just a guerrilla movement. They have become a parallel government representing the rural population that has provided Indian citizens with alternative methods of agriculture, land reform, shifted the levels of education and health care, all the while seeing their existence strengthened and re-inforced by the Indian government’s inability to create a flow of trickle down that reaches the citizens of India who need it the most. This is the very reason that the role and influence of the Maoists has been necessary and growing. The immediate situation today in India, a country with 900 million cell phones, is that the success of the Maoists in providing and implementing positive reforms for the rural Indian population has not only made them heroes throughout the countryside. Their popularity has reached a point where urban populations in a country with a 50% illiteracy rate are seeing, despite media attempts to distort, the benefits provided by the united front struggle, and the great fear currently for the Indian government is that the Maoists’ sphere of influence will soon extend into the cities if it hasn’t already.

The Maoists do maintain a guerrilla army numbering roughly 20 thousand. The formation of their forces in and of itself speaks to one of the reasons for their popularity. It is comprised of 40% women. The step away from traditional male prejudices in actual practice and not only theory is one of a long list of improvements that Indian citizens want to see and the Maoists can be seen as representing improvement in action, especially when compared to official governmental provisions.

To counter the growing popularity of the Maoist movement the Indian government has launched counter-offensives on several fronts. The public relations battle is being fought through a media that has been effectively censored and denied the right to report on anything that would portray the Maoists in a positive way. This censorship extends to citizens as well. Recently ten well-known Indian artists, poets and writers provided a collective statement of recognition and support for the Maoist cause and movement. The response of the Indian government was to have these ten representatives of Indian culture arrested.

In addition, the failings of the Indian government make it very difficult to effectively curtail the awareness of the Maoist movement through strict media censorship. The illiteracy rate in India is an unacceptable 50% which means that half its citizens do not rely on the media for their news and information. The failure of the Indian government to properly regulate and integrate its own technological advancement means that the 900 million cell phones within the country have become a more valuable source of information then the media itself. This is how India communicates, and the popular opinion on the side of the Maoists is growing. 

On the physical front the Indian government has launched Operation Green Hunt, a 70 thousand troop-strong reaction to the Maoists. These elite Indian soldiers known as the  “Cobra Force” are themselves bound and limited by the failings of their government. The lack of basic infrastructure means there are not even roads for them to reach the heavily junglfied areas from where the Maoists manoeuvre and operate. What is most ironic is that because the Maoists operate from the edges of where three provinces, including Bengal, meet, the “Cobra Force” often falls victim to its own squabbling over jurisdiction, another failing of governmental organization.  

The most important reason why the Indian front in the on-going battle to oppose neo-liberal globalization is among the most important is because what the Maoists and Naxalites have been doing for the past 25 years is not simply fighting against the imposition of “free market” values in their traditional lands, they have been silently and diligently working on an alternate model of organization, sharing and resource distribution for all the people.

Neo-liberals, for all their talk and PR marketing have absolutely no problem with peoples using force, weaponry and even terrorism against them. These actions simply give the neo-liberal elites an excuse to justify their own continued dependences on the weapons industry and arms manufacturing as one of the core basis for their economies and societal organization. What they are truly afraid of are the concrete examples of alternative methods of societal organization which, when given the unhindered chance to develop, prove to be far superior at providing equitability for its citizens, especially in terms of distribution. This is the reason for the boycott and blockade of Cuba, this is the reason for the manipulation of the Middle East into the war zone it has been since the end of World War II, and this is the reason why the actions of the Maoists and Naxalites are so threatening to the neo-liberal establishment. Even with the continued conscious “dumbing down” of Western citizens by its elites through the perpetuation of addiction to drugs, television and, worst of all, the manipulation of the education and university systems, Western citizens will be clearly able to see the obvious advantages of the societal organization of the Maoists and Naxalites compared to their own living conditions in places like Detroit or New Orleans.

The Maoist and Naxalite model is not going away anytime soon because even if the Indian government causes a repeat of its actions from 1965-1975 and massacres every last Indian Naxalite, their alternative model will live on as will the Bolivarian model in and throughout Latin America.

-30-

tj

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Filed under Community Rights, Human Rights, International Politics, Media Coverage

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