Oct. 3rd, 2011

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DWer [personal profile] deepad has given permission for linkage to some articles she has written about current political events and related thoughts in India.


It's Gandhi Jayanti, which means that its the International Day of Non-Violence. (NotWorld Ahimsa Day because that's on his death day.)

I think a lot about how to define violence in a philosophical way, especially when we then try to apply it to a socio-political system. And also how do you define the absence of violence?

If violence is the use of force, the resistance of any kind becomes a form of violence. Even a form of physical violence, when it is internalised. A hunger strike seems to be a facet of the same spiritual impulse that responds to an oppressive world with depression, or disassociation. Creative unhappiness, if you will.

I am interested in creative resistance, and in representations of it. There seem to be so few, in comparison with the glorification of violence. It makes for complicated stories, when people argue about how to stay moral and yet try to force a change on the dominant morality. Or, for that matter, are the dominant minority trying to govern and reform.

If we become our enemies when we adopt their methods, and we DO - hegemonic India is today governing its people with the same greedy and autocratic amorality as colonial Britain did - then perhaps we are also setting up replicating patterns of resistance when we make different choices.

Mee Anna Hazare Azun Nahi Aahe

In case anyone wanted to access the actual drafts of the various lokpal bills
the lokpal debate website here has a comprehensive collection of links.

Aruna Roy's letter regarding the NCPRI position is particularly informative:
The Lokpal discussion has had an interesting trajectory. It began as the stated logical end of a large middle class mobilization on corruption. The stated end of that campaign was the demand for the setting up of a Joint Drafting Committee for a Lokpal bill. In common usage and understanding of corruption, the term casually refers to a range of corrupt practices. The political/governance spectrum is indeed more culpable than others. For it is mandated to maintain integrity in public life, to keep the country on keel with constitutional and other guarantees. This includes preventing the arbitrary use of power and corrupt practices. The Lokpal was too simplistically ordained by the campaign as a solution to all varieties of corrupt practices in our lives.

However the assurance that all solutions to the entire gamut of corrupt practices could be worked out through a strong Lokpal has left us with a great sense of disquiet. Not only because it does not address the arbitrary use of power. But because it is an unrealistic promise to rising expectations that it is an alleviation of all ills through one bill. It is also a question of the contents of the Jan Lokpal draft itself.

Updates from Koodankulam

Jayalalitha coming to power on an anti-corruption platform after those lavish photo-spreads of that ridonkulous wedding she threw for her adopted son in 1995 with sarkari money means that we have no right to be surprised by how brazen and voluptuous her hypocracy is. Now madam is claiming the Koodankulam protesters are deluded, because everyone knows SCIENCE SAYS those plants are safe. Meanwhile, what sort of fasts is it ok to go on? Ones for communal harmony, if you're Narendra Modi.

This is the 8th day that 127 people have been fasting for.
Today mass prayer is going to be conducted across Tirunelveli and Thothukudi districts. In Kanyakumari today candle procession is to take place in many locations. Villages around Idinthakarai resorted to “Kanji Thotti” protest which involved just making some rice porridge and eating to highlight their plight because of no livelihood for the past 7days. On Sep 19th a solidarity fast will be observed in Kanyakumari. Protest is planned in many places for today and coming days. The villagers have been on night vigil since yesterday fearing the police will try and arrest the fasting people. For the seventh day in succession fishermen, farmers, manual laborers, merchants of the area did not go for their jobs while students continued to boycott schools and all shops remain closed for kilometers around Idinthakarai. The government and some of the media are trying to portray a picture that the fast and protest is carried out only by one community and are trying to create a split and give a communal color to the fast. People of Hindu, Muslims and Christian faiths and all major caste groups are involved in the hunger strike and the relay fasting by tens of thousands of people. No political party or NGO or INGO is involved either directly or indirectly in the protest.



Oct. 3rd, 2011 07:46 pm
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Supreme Court ruling opens doors to drug injection clinics across Canada Sit DOWN conservatives!!

The Supreme Court of Canada has opened the door to supervised drug injection clinics across the country in a landmark decision on Friday that ordered the federal government to stop interfering with Vancouver’s controversial Insite clinic.

The Court was persuaded by evidence that drug addicts are considerably safer administering their own injections under medical surveillance rather than obtaining and injecting hard drugs on the streets of the city’s troubled Downtown Eastside.

In its 9-0 decision, it said the federal government has the jurisdictional right to use criminal law to restrict illicit-drug use – but that the concerns it cited in an attempt to close Insite were “grossly disproportionate” to the benefits for drug users and the community.

“During its eight years of operation, Insite has been proven to save lives with no discernible negative impact on the public safety and health objectives of Canada,” the Court said. “The effect of denying the services of Insite to the population it serves and the correlative increase in the risk of death and disease to injection drug users is grossly disproportionate to any benefit that Canada might derive from presenting a uniform stance on the possession of narcotics.”

In ordering the Harper government to exempt the clinic from prosecution for its activities, the Court said that the government cannot simply close down clinics based on its own distaste for legally sanctioned drug injections.

It said that the consequences of interrupting the work of the clinic could have such “grave consequences” that only a direct court order can be assured that the spirit of the judgment would not be circumvented. MORE
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A Contrast in Discourses: Sicilia and the Peace Caravan in Oaxaca

The Annihilating Language of the Left Meets the Language of Humanity of Drug War Victims

This month’s journey by Javier Sicilia, family members of drug war victims and the Caravan of Peace provided a closer look at how different sectors of the Mexican left are receiving the emergence of the country’s first explicitly nonviolent movement on a national scale. The difference between Sicilia’s Gandhian strategy and discourse and those of more strident and militant traditions was especially magnified in the state of Oaxaca, where the caravan traveled September 11, 12 and 13, a majority-indigenous state which has its own deep history of struggle. ...

Oaxaca’s history of popular struggle is among the deepest in the hemisphere. We’ve learned a lot from it, particularly from the Zapotec communities of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, who in the 1980s launched the first resistance against the one-party rule of Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI, in its Spanish initials). Much of my own early formation in Mexico came learning from my late friend, the exceptional community organizer and labor lawyer Carlos Sanchez, assassinated in 2003 in Juchitán, at the age of 49, while returning from his daughter’s 15th birthday celebration.

It is not easy to work or live in Oaxaca with a social conscience and not become overwhelmed at times with grief over the sheer volume of political assassination, unjust imprisonment and violence inflicted on good people who have worked to right wrongs and injustices. One day your friend and neighbor are there, fighting the good fight. The next day he and she are gone, forever. Then you watch helplessly as their children are raised fatherless or motherless. You see and feel the gaping holes left in communities throughout the state’s seven regions, and the long term consequences of such political violence, compounded today by the economic violence of the prohibitionist drug policy and its escalating consequences on all of Mexico, including Oaxaca, a key south-to-north funnel in the routes of South American cocaine.



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