Anj — Response from Chomsky et al…..

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