ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Commodity Aesthetics

Commodity Aesthetics Ajit Roy Critique of Commodity Aesthetics: Appearance, Sensualities and Advertising in Capitalist Society by W F Haug; Introduction by Stuart Hall; Polity Press, Cambridge (UK), 1986; pp vii + 185, price not stated.

Community Forestry

the story of state and police brutality that this volume so vividly relates. But Desai's stupendous efforts and dedication will be ultimately successful only if these volumes drive home the urgency to fashion a clearer understanding of state and politics. Theories INTEREST from the ecological point of view apart, the forest question has a few other claims as well on the attention of the social scientist. Since social production arises "from the identity of the subject, humanity and the object, nature", the relationship between the forest and the forest- dwellers, even of the most primitive type, being a direct manifestation of this identity, may reveal many unsuspected aspects of the social reality. It is quite symptomatic that, as recorded by Engels, "it was precisely through the law of thefts of wood" in Rheinland that Marx "was led from pure politics to economic relationship and so to socialism'' Since about 94 per cent of over 51 million of India's tribal population still live in forests and do so under increasing impingement by wider socio-political complexes, a close look at the forest sector may yield valuable insights into not only the condition of the numerous tribal masses but also the overall social processes.

Destabilisation, Soviet Signals and Indian Communists

an outdated model of Acorn microcomputers and BBC software The report in hand tells us that the hardware and software are now being "supplied indigenously through the Semi-Conductor Complex." So far, 65 persons have been trained in software development in the UK. Also, during the reported year, the NCERT organised an exhibition-cum- dernonstration of computer-assisted instruction in two important venues: the Parliament Annexe and the Asoka Hotd (in collaboration with the Computer Society of India).

Call for Mid-Term Poll and the Left

back into the Mala street; he even has the audacity to add that when they were chasing the Malas back, the Mala women pleaded with them to desist, and they obliged; and further that Manne Seshaiah pleaded with them not to attack him since he was not a party to the conflict and they magnanimously spared him; but just then 'somebody' assaulted Seshaiah from THE CPI(M) general secretary, EMS Namboodiripad's call for midterm polls, endorsed subsequently by the CP1 National Council and taken up by the CPI(M)'s West Bengal state committee for active public campaign, appears to have emerged as the central political slogan for mass mobilisation for the immediate future. While the slogan has all the trappings necessary for dramatic appeal as well as a plausible political justification, the overall correctness Of the call can be assessed only on the basis of a deeper and rigorous examination. For, in Marxist tactics, elections have to be viewed not merely, or even mainly, as a standard constitutional remedy for a critical development. Elections have to be viewed, says Lenin, "in connection with a definite political situation". In the particular context of the present Indian situation, this criterion concretely means a realistic evaluation of the prospect of, not only securing the defeat of Rajiv Gandhi and his Congress Party, but also the emergence of a really radical alternative as the winner, or even as a powerful opposition bloc in the newly elected House, based on an appropriate platform.

Siren Song for an Indian Marxism

Siren Song for an Indian Marxism Ajit Roy Marxism and Social Revolution in India and Other Essays by P C Joshi; Patriot Publishers, New Delhi, 1986; pp xiv + 227, Rs 140.


Royal Dutch/Shell is one of the biggest multinationals in the world and it has the capacity of a big monopolist in resisting these pressures. At the same time, Shell is uncomfortable with the current campaign and has already begun its counter offensive It does not rule out disinvestment, especially since there is the possibility of continuing to maintain control over the company in the kind of constructions adopted by IBM and General Motors. (They have sold to their South African managers, but retain their licensing agreements for the sale of their products and have even included repurchase clauses in their sale agreements.) But apparently, even to do that, for Shell the situation will have to become much worse. As John R Wilson, chairman of Shell South Africa said on October 19, 1986, "If the bottomline of Royal Dutch/Shell is adversely affected internationally, the shareholders will have to consider their position in South Africa, but it will have to get really bad before shareholders decide to pull out!' It is on this question of whether it would

WEST BENGAL-Weakening the Working Class

Reign of Terror by CISF Binayak Sen WHO is in charge of law and order in Dalli Rajhara? The CISF or the district administration? This question has arisen because of a peculiar series of events in Dalli Rajhara in which the CISF has let loose a reign of terror, and have defied all attempts by the collector and SDM to intervene.

THE CPI- End of an Affair

gestion to her that perhaps they had a good case in court was dismissed on the ground that it might antagonise the government. Sanjay Gandhi Nagar residents were really shocked when the local Congress(I) corporator, Kanti Dhulla, refused to come to stop the demolition feigning sickness. What is not realised is that even if Dhulla wanted to do something, he is helpless. For the elections are over and the political system is not in a compromising but in a vengeful mood. The Teen Dongri slum-dwellers abused the Congress(I) when I met them but also confided that since they were all Maharashtrians they had approached the Shiv Sena, who was sure to help them out. Bal Thackerey's well- known policy in favour of demolition does not deter them in the least.

WEST BENGAL-Helpless Bailiff of a Decadent Lord

WEST BENGAL Helpless Bailiff of a Decadent Lord Ajit Roy THE West Bengal budget for 1986-87 presented by Jyoti Basu is not particularly striking in any respect except perhaps for its contrivance to make an essentially deficit balance position appear as a substantially surpjus one. Jyoti Basu, however, cannot be personally faulted on that account. The sudden resignation of the previous Finance Minister, Ashok Mitra, just a few weeks before the budget session was due to begin did not leave much time to the chief minister who took over the charge of the finance department, presumably as a stop gap measure only, for serious thoughts to the budget-making. More fundamentally, of course, the national political-economic framework in general and the distribution of fiscal powers between the Centre and the states in particular offer very limited room to state finance ministers for any substantial improvisation or innovation, unless of course the state government is prepared to opt for an altogether different course of extra-constitutional mobilisation which the left Front government in West Bengal definitely is not. Within the logic of the prevailing scheme, the state budget, therefore, can scarcely escape following a much beaten track. Indeed, much of Jyoti Basil's budget speech is devoted to the usual lamentatioris over the existing fiscal constrictions and Central iniquities and their impacts on the state finances

Question of a Transitional Government in Marxist Terminology

of traders have both come out in favour of a partial moratorium on interest payments for one year (.some 12 billion dollars). This is an important change in the position of businessmen's organisations and a major move towards uniting the country to back some kind of moratorium, whatever name be used for the action.

WEST BENGAL-CPI(M)s Review of Lok Sabha Elections

division of the old Gaya district, are still subject to acute feudal exploitation. They cannot sit on the cot before the landlords and their henchmen, They have to pay respect not only to their landlord masters but to the latter's toughs as well. Growing a moustache and wearing washed clothes or shoes are considered crimes. Physical exploitation, humiliation and assault of Harijan women are routine affairs. Harijans constitute 30 per cent of the population of the district. Nearly 50 per cent of the people are landless, while 80 per cent of the land is owned by a mere 5 per cent. The remaining 20 per cent land is the primary source of livelihood for 45 per cent of the population. The present wage for a day's work is Rs 4 or 2 to 3 kg of grain, usually coarse grain. But landlords cheat the labourers in paying even these wages which are less than half the prescribed minimum wages. They do so through fake weighing. The poor remain in debt for long periods and some for generations. So they are forced to work for the landlords as bonded or attached labour.

Understanding Indian Bourgeoisie

Understanding Indian Bourgeoisie Ajit Roy India's Path of Development: A Marxist Approach by A R Desai; Popular Prakashan, Bombay, 1984; pp vi + 258, Rs 120.


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