शहीद भगत सिंह साम्राज्यवाद के खिलाफ भारतीय जनता के संघर्ष के सबसे उज्जवल नायकों में से एक रहे हैं. तेईस वर्ष की छोटी उम्र में शहीद होने वाले इस नौजवान को भारतीय जनता एक ऐसे उत्साही देशप्रेमी नौजवान के रूप में याद करती है जिसने ब्रिटिश साम्राज्यवाद से समझौताविहीन लड़ाई लड़ी और अंत में अपने ध्येय के लिए शहीद हुआ. लेकिन अपेक्षाकृत कम ही लोग भगत सिंह एवं उनके क्रांतिकारी साथियों के विचारों से सही मायनों में परिचित हैं. भगत सिंह एवं उनके साथियों के लेख एवं दस्तावेजों का व्यापक रूप से उपलब्ध न होना इसकी एक बड़ी वजह रहा है और हमारे आज के शासकों के लिए भी यही मुफीद है कि भगत सिंह के क्रांतिकारी विचारों को जनता के सामने न आने दिया जाये. क्योंकि भगत सिंह के लेख एवं दस्तावेज मनुष्य द्वारा मनुष्य के शोषण की व्यवस्था के बारें में सही और वैज्ञानिक समझ विकसित करते हैं और इसके खिलाफ जनता की लड़ाई को सही दिशा देते हैं. भगत सिंह उन विरले विचारकों में से थे जो उस समय ही यह बात जोर देकर कह रहे थे कि केवल अंग्रेजों के भारत से चले जाने से ही आम जनता की स्थिति में कोई बदलाव नहीं आएगा जब तक की इस शोषणकारी व्यवस्था को न बदला जाय. हम यहाँ भगत सिंह द्वारा लिखित लेखों एवं दस्तावेजों के लिंक पीडीएफ फॉर्मेट में प्रस्तुत कर रहे हैं. काफी कोशिशों के बाद भी ‘ड्रीमलैंड की भूमिका’ जैसे कुछ महत्वपूर्ण दस्तावेज छूट गये हैं. पाठकों से आग्रह है की यदि आपके पास यह लेख हो तो कृपया इसे कमेन्ट बॉक्स में प्रेषित कर दें.
by Susannah York
A World to Win News Service.
Madhusree Mukerjee’s book, Churchill fs Secret War: The British Empire and the Ravaging of India During World War II
(Basic Books, New York, 2010), is a deeply moving read. Her subject is the 1943 famine that ravaged India for over a year, snuffing out the lives of 3 million people. Mukerjee argues that the figure should be adjusted upwards to over 5 million. When thinking about the millions of dead resulting from World War II, many atrocities come to mind: the 6 million Jews killed in the concentration camps, half a million Roma, 20 million Soviet citizens, 8 million Chinese, to name only some examples. Not so well-known, especially to people from the imperialist citadels, are those who suffered and died from what Mukerjee calls the “man-made” famine in India, a human catastrophe that could have been easily prevented if Churchill had not refused to assign available ships from Australia to carry their surplus grain to the Bengal region. This famine gets rarely mentioned in British history.
A former writer/editor for Scientific American and a trained scientist in her own right, Mukerjee’s preoccupation with the question of hunger and famine led her to delve deeply and thoroughly into the archives of the British War Cabinet and the Ministries of War and Transport, the correspondence between the various major British players, and their memoirs during World War II. Much of this material was first made available in the mid-2000s. Among them are Britain’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Secretary of State to India Leopold Amery (who thought that the British Empire should be contiguous and stretch from Cape Town through Cairo, Baghdad and Calcutta to Sydney) and the successive viceroys to India, Lords Linlithgow and Wavell. In an interview, Mukerjee acknowledges that given where her investigation was leading, she knew that if she were not especially careful, she would be torn apart by those who hated her conclusions.
Mukerjee’s prologue provides background to how the British government subjugated India in 1757 and continued robbing it through steep taxation, theft of resources, unequal trade and the exploitation of its people for 200 years under colonial domination until its independence in 1947. Peasants were forced to pay the British East India Company rent for the land they farmed and to turn over a large percentage of the crop yield. The once prosperous exporters in the Bengal region of North-East India (including what is now Bangladesh) became impoverished as British-bound ships loaded with gold, silver, silks and other valuable commodities sailed off to London. Continue reading
A World to Win News Service.
The following book review is by Lindsay Wright. We welcome book and film reviews and other articles that express our readers’ opinions.
Living Dolls, by Natasha Walter, Virago, 2010
It can be easy for those of us who grew up in the 60s to believe that in the West much of the battle to win equality between the sexes has been won. Living in London in 2010, my gas engineer is a woman and the midwife a man; I can obtain as much free contraception and abortions as I require; most schools now provide childcare from 8 am to 6 pm, allowing mothers to work full-time; and the social controls attempting to prevent women having sex before marriage appear to have been lifted with young women appearing to be having sex whenever they want, with whom ever they want.
However, a deeper look at reality shows that the inequalities that women rebelled against in the 60s are alive and well, even if in some countries these inequalities are taking different forms. Living Dolls exposes extremely well the inequalities that exist between men and women in 21st century England and how these inequalities are (pseudo)”scientifically” explained away and justified by the current revival of biological determinism.
Most of us were brought up in the 50s and 60s grew up with societal norms that said that only bad girls had sex before marriage and that sex, when it did occur, was about ensuring the man’s pleasure. In Living Dolls Walter illustrates how young women today are exposed to just as heavy societal pressures and norms as we were then, except now they face extreme pressure to have sex whenever the men in their life want it. So, in the middle of the 20th century women were under extreme pressure to not have sex before marriage and then to stay with their husbands “until death thy do part”; now young women are under extreme pressure to have sex and are commodified as much as they ever were. Physical appearance and the ability to satisfy men still determine a woman’s value.
Walter argues very convincingly that women and girls, “are encouraged to see their sexual allure as their primary passport to success.” Today’s society equates women’s empowerment and liberation with sexual objectification, women are encouraged to look like Barbie dolls and to see their value by how well they meet the sexual needs of others. She quotes UK research from 2006 that found that half of the teenagers surveyed would consider becoming fashion models and half see Jordan (a glamour model famous for her huge breast implants) as a role model!
Walter exposes how the “marketplace” reinforces certain acceptable behaviours for women and makes it hard for women, particularly young women, to behave differently or to seek their empowerment in ways that are not about being sexually promiscuous. She states that, “Many young women seem to believe that sexual confidence is the only confidence worth having, and that sexual confidence can only be gained if a young woman is ready to conform to the soft-porn image of a tanned, waxed young girl with large breasts ready to strip and pole dance…the constant reinforcement of one type of role model is shrinking and warping the choices on offer to young women.”
Chapter 2 focuses on pole-dancing and prostitution, and Walter exposes the impact of these on both the individual women involved and on the community as a whole. For example, she quotes research from the Lilith Project in Camden Town in north London that found that in the three years after four lap-dancing clubs opened in Camden Town the “incidents of rape and sexual assault rose in the area”. She believes that lap-dancing clubs are responsible for changing cultural attitudes towards the greater objectification of women. She notes that in the 21st century prostitution, rather than being shameful, is now increasingly seen as an aspirational career choice for women, yet the misogyny expressed by the men who use prostitutes remains ugly and the stories told by the many prostitutes remain disturbing. She notes that the standardised mortality rates for sex workers in the UK are six times higher than the general population.
Chapter 3 focuses on young girls, in particular, how “the main journey for a young girl is expected to lie along her path to winning the admiration of others for her appearance.” So that it is becoming more and more prevalent for girls as young as eight or nine to become involved in ‘the body project’, i.e., being “expected to devote energy to dieting, grooming and shopping…The imperative is to better oneself not through any intellectual or emotional growth, but through physical remaking.” So from this viewpoint, one achieves empowerment only through physical perfection. One study, reported in 2005, found that most six year olds “would prefer to be thinner than they are”, and another in 2006 found that one in four girls were considering plastic surgery by the age of sixteen. Continue reading
by Ian Angus
(Ian Angus is editor of Climate and Capitalism and an associate editor of Socialist Voice. This article first appeared in Socialist Resistance on 3 February 2009, and it is reproduced here for educational purposes.)
In 1846, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote The German Ideology, the first mature statement of what became known as historical materialism. This passage was on the second page:
We know only a single science, the science of history. One can look at history from two sides and divide it into the history of nature and the history of men. The two sides are, however, inseparable; the history of nature and the history of men are dependent on each other so long as men exist. The history of nature, called natural science, does not concern us here. . . . .
At the last minute, they deleted that paragraph from the final draft, deciding not even to mention a subject they had no time to investigate and discuss properly.
What the founders of scientific socialism couldn’t have known was that a compelling materialist explanation of the history of nature had already been written by an English gentleman who had no sympathy for socialism. They couldn’t read that account, because the author, Charles Darwin, was so shocked by the implications of his own ideas that he kept them secret for twenty years.
Darwin’s views on evolution were fully developed by 1838, and he wrote, then hid away, a 50,000-word essay on the subject in 1844. But he didn’t publish what Marx was to call his “epoch-making work” until 1859.
Others had speculated about evolution before Charles Darwin, but the dominant view in scientific circles and society at large was that all the different types of plants and animals were created by God, and that the various species were forever fixed. The few who believed that species had changed over time couldn’t explain those changes without resort to the supernatural — that evolution was God’s long-term plan, or that some force (God by another name) caused nature to strive towards perfection.
What made Darwin’s work unique was not his assertion that evolution was a fact, but his entirely materialist explanation of how all of life’s wonderful variations and designs had come to be. He argued that the main factor in evolution is “natural selection,” a process that can be summarized simply.
* All organisms produce more offspring than can possibly survive.
* There are many differences between the individual members of any species.
* Variations that increase individuals’ chances of surviving to reproduce are likely to be passed on to the next generation.
* As a result, over long periods of time, such favorable characteristics will spread through the population, while harmful characteristics will decline, so the population as a whole will increasingly be better adapted to its environment.
* If part of the population finds itself in a different environment, it will change in different ways, and those diverging changes can eventually lead to the development of separate species.
This simple and elegant concept took the evidence most commonly used to defend creationism — the seemingly perfect design of plants and animals — and explained it by natural processes. In the words of twentieth century evolutionist Ernst Mayr, Darwin “replaced theological, or supernatural, science with secular science. . . . Darwin’s explanation that all things have a natural cause made the belief in a creatively superior mind quite unnecessary.” ………………… Continue reading