INSAF Bulletin [35]   March 1, 2005
Postal Address: Box 272, Westmount Stn., QC, Canada H3Z 2T2 (Tel. 514 346-9477)
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                   Editors : Daya Varma (Montreal) & Vinod Mubayi (New York)   Produced by : South Asia center - CERAS
    Editorial Board : Yumna Siddiqi (Middlebury)

INSAF Bulletin salutes the International Women’s Day!
Nepal: A king declares war against the people - Daya Varma
State Elections - Congress Sweeps Haryana, Outcome Indecisive in Bihar and Jharkhand - Vinod Mubayi
Protests Mount Against Narendra’s Modi’s Planned Visit to the U.S. - Vinod Mubayi
A Three Kings' January 6th 2005 Year of the Rooster Offering - Part 2 - Andre Gunder Frank
Hindu Code Bill: A case of collective amnesia - Anoop Kumar

News Briefs
Communist Party of India (CPI) calls for a left-democratic alternative
Murder of Karnataka Naxalites condemned
Anand Patwardhan wins National Award
Atrocities against Dalits on the rise in Punjab
Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) stands for the abolition of monarchy
Opposition to the coup in Nepal grows
RSS and VHP in solidarity with the Nepal king


Nepal: A king declares war against the people
Daya Varma

At 10 on the morning of February 1, 2005, Nepal's King Gyanendra, in a televised address, declared war upon the Nepalese people. He dissolved the government and suspended fundamental rights. Soon thereafter, the Royal Nepalese Army went on a spree arresting political leaders, journalists, human rights activists and students, many of whom were rightly suspected by the King, the army hardliners and a small coterie of the royal palace as supporters of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). Telephone lines were cut, and non-satellite internet connections were down by the end of the day. The Katmandu Valley was sealed off from the rest of Nepal and the outside world. The airport was closed. The country had reverted to the days of the Ranas, the erstwhile feudal lords of Nepal. The King declared that he could fight the Maoists better than the democratic political parties and he foolishly vowed to put an end to the revolution being led by the Maoists, Nepal will revert to a polity of absolutist monarchy and its subjects, just as it used to be in the good old days, the King promised.

In a way, this is a good development. Every event since February 1st indicates that Nepal will no longer be a country with a monarch and subjects but a country without a monarch.

A declaration of a state of emergency and a military coup is nothing new in South Asia. Pakistan has specialized in this art of government but Bangladesh and Sri Lanka too have had their share. Even in India, a state of emergency prevailed for a period during the Prime Ministership of Mrs. Indira Gandhi.

However, in all other “states of emergency” or military coups, the conflict was mostly among the ruling elites. One section of the elite wished to impose its will and would use any means, even blatantly undemocratic ones, to do so. But the situation is Nepal is qualitatively different. It is an arch reaction against the people. It is counterrevolution against revolution. Fortunately for democratic forces around the world, the forces of revolution in Nepal are neither weak nor asleep and unaware.

The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) has shown the utmost maturity in the wake of this royal coup. On the one hand, they have proven beyond doubt that they have the strength and the organization to take on this king, Gyanendra. On the other hand, they have justly given a call to all other political parties for a united front against the coup. They are succeeding in both.  They just lifted the successful blockade of Katmandu to ease the life of the people; they can impose another blockade again if needed. All political parties, many of whom were hostile to the Maoists in the past, are taking a new look at the political demands of the Maoists.  Some influential Nepalese parties believed in the past that the “King” holds a special place in the psyche of the Nepalese people and were convinced that democracy and monarchy can co-exist. They have been proven wrong; the Maoist demand to abolish the monarchy and institute a republic has proven to be justified. It is clear that in Nepal, monarchy and democracy cannot co-exist; it has to be one or the other.

So far India has condemned the action taken by the king and suspended all military aid to Nepal. It is a commendable move by the United Progressive Alliance government of Dr. Manmohan Singh who also canceled his visit to Dhaka to participate in the SAARC conference. Even if this gesture by India is only a partial one, it still carries a lot of weight. No foreign government has officially lent support to the king although the US and Britain do not seem to be as concerned about democracy in Nepal as they claim to be in Iraq.  If India is unwilling to come to the rescue of Nepalese king, it would be a bit hard for the imperialists to launch a major operation against the Maoists. It is possible that King Gyanendra has the blessings of China – that would be the major factor against the CPN (Maoist). However, as long as China adheres to its proclamation that this whole development is an internal matter of Nepal, the Maoists are in good shape.

Yet, it is incumbent upon all progressive groups and people to mount international opposition to the criminal feudal moves of the King of Nepal. One can look forward to emergence of Nepal solidarity committees and groups in all parts of the world, especially where a significant number of South Asians reside. One can hope that there will be members of the South Asian Diaspora who will realize that India is not the only country in South Asia and India-Pakistan conflict is not the only issue in the region.

Let Nepal be on the agenda of all those who believe in democracy. The demand of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) headed by Prachanda is for Nepal to become a Republic. The international press adds its own bit by repeatedly saying that the Nepalese Maoists want to build a communist Nepal. This rhetoric by the international press is to dissuade support for the struggle of the Nepalese people. Soon they might say that Prachanda is a new Pol Pot. This propaganda of the corporate media must be effectively countered.

A victory for the people in Nepal over their archaic feudal establishment will be a great beginning not only for Nepal but for all of South Asia.

India suspends military aid to Nepal: India, which has disbursed nearly Rs 360 crore (app 70 million US $) to Nepal since 2001 to enable the Nepalese army fight the Maoist, suspended any further military aid to Nepal for an indefinite period. This move coupled with Indian prime Minister’s decision not to attend the SAARC meeting and share a platform with King Gyanendra is considered to be a disapproval of the King coup by India.

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State Elections - Congress Sweeps Haryana, Outcome Indecisive in Bihar and Jharkhand
Vinod Mubayi

Results of the elections in three states were declared on February 27. Congress swept the polls in Haryana bagging 67 seats out of 90 and coming back to rule the state after 9 long years. In Bihar and Jharkhand, however, the results were indecisive.

Laloo Prasad’s RJD party emerged as the largest single party in the Bihar assembly but remained well short of a majority. The inability of the secular parties to unite and their division on the basis of the personalities of Laloo Prasad and Ram Vilas Paswan poses a threat to the secular agenda. However, the communal BJP and its coalition partner JD(U) are also well short of a majority. The prospect then is either for a hung assembly and Governor’s rule or political horsetrading that results in one of the coalitions gaining enough seats for a majority although the latter looks unlikely at present according to political commentators. One encouraging feature of the election is that the CPI (ML- Liberation) party won as many as 7 seats in the state assembly, up from the 5 seats it had previously. This party has not only practiced a non-communal and progressive brand of politics, it has also stood resolutely for rights of the poorest and most deprived sections of the population.

The results in Jharkhand also show the problems of the division of the votes of the secular parties. Before the elections, it was widely predicted that the ruling BJP would be essentially wiped out by the emerging front of the Congress, the JMM and the RJD. However, the failure of the Congress-JMM combine to come to terms with RJD meant that the secular vote was divided which has enabled the BJP to have another shot at forming the government. The CPI (M-L Liberation) whose lone representative in the previous state assembly was assassinated by a BJP thug (see Insaf Bulletin 34 of February 2005), retained its slain member’s seat.

Some observations on the last federal and provincial elections

1. It is the beginning of a decline of regional parties, their inability to provide to its electorate the economic benefits. While in AP and Haryana the national party, Congress has replaced the regional parties, in states like Bihar, UP and Punjab there will be coalitions as the regional parties slowly become marginalized.

2. The resurgence of the Congress will bring back the national party dominance as opposed to coalitions, at both provincial and federal level. It will be a bi-polar contest between the BJP and the Congress. Thus a united Left front becomes extremely necessary.

3. In a state like Bihar, the situation has become ripe for emergence of the Left in electoral politics. Through tactical alliances with the Left as well as the democratic parties, CPI(ML) Liberation can become a very important player in Bihar and eventually be in power. We have seen that through land reforms and corruption free politics the Left is able to gain a long term support from the electorate (WB). But Bihar will be a very important victory for the Left in India and might be the only place from where it can be taken elsewhere in India. As people say "What happens politically in Bihar, is followed by India". (Feroz Mehdi)

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Protests Mount Against Narendra’s Modi’s Planned Visit to the U.S.
Vinod Mubayi

Narendra Modi is one Chief Minister of a state in India, who has been reviled and denounced by every prestigious human rights group, ranging from India’s official National Human Rights Commission to international organizations like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, as a potential human rights criminal. Under his government, a virtual pogrom of the minority Muslim community in the state of Gujarat took place in March-April 2002. Over 2000 people were killed, hundreds of women were raped, pregnant women and their foetuses were killed in truly barbaric fashion, whole neighborhoods were burnt to the ground and over 200,000 people were rendered homeless and displaced from their jobs and livelihoods. These actions were carried out by fanatic Hindu fundamentalist groups who were aided and abetted in their violence by organs of the state machinery under the control of Modi.

In the last 3 years, not a single perpetrator of this violence has been successfully prosecuted by the police and judiciary in Gujarat that have been acting in virtual complicity with the criminals. Modi justified the violence on the grounds that it was a “reaction” to the fire in the railway carriage of the Sabarmati Express at Godhra station on February 27, 2002 that led to the death of 59 Hindu pilgrims. Notwithstanding the obscenity of this remark that killing thousands in cold blood was somehow “justified”, it has been further been shown recently that the fire in the train was accidental and had nothing to do with any terrorist act as alleged by the Modi regime that arrested 200 local Muslims who still languish in jail.

For their lack of action and diligence in carrying out their duties, Modi and his government were rebuked in no uncertain terms by the Supreme Court of India, the highest court in the land, who also transferred the prosecution of several key cases of arson and murder out of the state. Before the anti-Muslim pogrom, Modi’s government had been actively targeting the small Christian minority in Gujarat through a program of intimidation involving assaults on priests and nuns, destruction of church property, and harassment of lay members of the congregations. This intimidation and harassment of religious minorities continues in the state. It is not surprising that school textbooks prepared under the supervision of the Modi regime glorify Hitler and the Nazis for their treatment of the minorities in Germany.

Today, February 28 marks the third anniversary of the pogrom. We need to dedicate ourselves to ensuring that Modi and cohorts are brought to justice and handed punishments that fit the enormity of their crimes.

Now the news comes that Modi has been invited to the U.S. by an outfit called the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) to speak at its annual conference on March 24 in Fort Lauderdale, FL. It is unfortunate that some Modi supporters have managed to occupy high positions on AAHOA’s board. The Hindutva groups who support Modi have also invited him to address other functions and promote his hate filled agenda at other venues.

With all the opprobrium that has been heaped upon him, it is also intriguing why Modi is coming to the U.S. One reason is that a section of the Indian business class in North America, especially the U.S., has become a major financial supporter of right-wing Hindu fundamentalist politics in India guided by the shadowy RSS. The defeat of the BJP government last year in the national elections, despite the predictions of all the polls and the pundits, was a major shock to this group in the U.S. whose financial support to hate politics in India has been amply documented in recent years. Clearly, Modi’s visit is to energize this group and enthuse them to open their wallets and checkbooks again for the benefit of the fundamentalists in India.

Secular Indian groups whose members are comprised of all religious identities, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, and Sikhs, have mounted a spirited challenge to this visit. A coalition of these groups called the “Coalition Against Genocide” (CAG) is proposing a number of actions to oppose the visit. Information on these can be found on CAG’s website: The Institute on Religion and Public Policy, a Washington, D.C. based group has written to the U.S. State Department that Modi should be denied a visa based on his violation of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, a U.S. law that denies entry to the U.S. to public leaders who have grossly abused the rights of religious minorities in their countries. A letter to the AAHOA board signed by over 150 prominent academics in the U.S. has been sent requesting the board to disinvite Modi.

Insaf Bulletin supports these actions and calls on all people in North America to protest against this butcher of Gujarat’s minorities.

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A Three Kings' January 6th 2005 Year of the Rooster Offering - Part 2
Meet Uncle Sam - without clothes - parading around China and the world. Observed From the Top of the Great Wall through the Eyes of the Innocent Little Boy.
Andre Gunder Frank
[Part 1 of this article appeared in Feb '05 issue of INSAF Bulletin (#34).]


In addition, Uncle Sam also obliges the states in the Third World to act as collection agencies or even as Repo Goons, where goons are the ones sent out to repo-ssess the Godfather's property by any means. Only in this case, it is not even that; for he is just taking new possession, since the original debt has long since been paid off. The states raise taxes and fees from the population but lower social spending on education and health to at home to divert funds to pay the debt abroad. They also borrow in turn from private capital at home at high interest rates that the state pays to the rich lenders, but out of taxes collected from the poor. That way, income is ''recycled" from poor to rich at home as well as from these poor via the foreign debt to the even richer abroad. These literally forced savings of the poor are then sent to Uncle Sam in the form of ''service'' on the $ debt that is "owed" to him.

Privatization is the name of the game in the Third World as elsewhere, except for the debt! Only the debt was socialized after it had been incurred mostly by private business, but only the state had enough power to squeeze the greatest bulk of back payments out of the hides of its poor and middle-class people and transfer them as ''invisible service payments'' to Uncle Sam. When Mexicans were told to tighten their belt still further, they answered that we can't because we already ate it yesterday. Only Argentina and for a while Russia declared an effective moratorium on debt ''service'' and that only after political economic policies, imposed by Uncle Sam's advisers and his IMF strong arm, had destroyed their entire societies like never before in ''peace'' time. Uncle Sam's Treasury Secretary and his IMF hand-maiden blithely continue to strut around the world insisting that the Third - and ex-Second, now also Third - World of course continue to service their foreign debts, especially to him. No matter that with interest rates multiplied several times over by Uncle Sam himself after the Fed's Paul Volker's coup in October 1979, most have already paid off their original borrowings three to five times over. For to pay at those interest rates that Volker boosted to 20 percent, they had to borrow still more at higher rates until their outstanding foreign debt doubled and tripled. And so did their domestic debt from which part of the foreign payments were raised as particularly in Brazil. All that, while Uncle Sam himself is blithely defaulting on his own foreign debt, as he already had several times before in the 19th century.

Speaking of that, it may be well to recall at least two pieces of advice from that time: Lord Cromer, who administered Egypt for then dominant British imperial interests sad that his most important instrument for doing so was Egypt's debts to Britain. These had just multiplied when Egypt was obliged to sell its Suez Canal shares to Britain in order to pay of f earlier debts. British Prime Minister Disraeli explained and justified his purchase of the same on the grounds that it would strengthen British Imperial interests. Today, that is called ''debt-for-equity swaps," which is one of Uncle Sam's latter day favorite policies to use the debt to acquire profitable and/or strategically important real resources, as was the Canal as the short cut to the jewel of the British Empire in India.

Another piece of practical advice came from the premier military strategist Clausewitz: Make the lands you conquer pay for their own conquest and administration. That is of course exactly what Britain did in India through the infamous ''Home Charges" remitted to London in payment for Britain administering India. Even the British themselves recognized this as "tribute" that was responsible for much of "The Drain" from India to Britain. How much more efficient yet to let foreign countries' own states administer themselves [Britain called it "Indirect Rule], but by rules set and imposed by the Uncle Sam run IMF and then effect a drain of debt service anyway. So therein the British also set a 19th century precedent with ''independent'' states. It has since been called the "imperialism of free trade." As long as the rules work, fine. When they don't, a bit of gun-boat diplomacy can help, and Uncle Sam already learned to use that early in he 20th century. When even that was not enough, the next option is to invade, and if necessary to occupy - and then to rely on the Clausewitz rule to make the victims pay for their own occupation. We shall note several recent instances thereof below and pay special attention to the present one in Iraq.

Meantime as I write, but after I wrote the above, I received the following e-mail:

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man: How the U.S. Uses Globalization to Cheat Poor Countries Out of Trillions. We speak with John Perkins, a former respected member of the international banking community. In his book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man he describes how as a highly paid professional, he helped the U.S. cheat poor countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars by lending them more money than they could possibly repay and then take over their economies.

JOHN PERKINS: Basically what we were trained to do and what our job is to do is to build up the American empire. To bring -- to create situations where as many resources as possible flow into this country, to our corporations, and our government, and in fact we've been very successful. We've built the largest empire in the history of the world. primarily through economic manipulation, through cheating, through fraud, through seducing people into our way of life, through the economic hit men. I was very much a part of that.. I was initially recruited while I was in business school back in the late sixties by the National Security Agency, the nation's largest and least understood spy organization and then [it] send[s] us to work for private consulting companies, engineering firms, construction companies, so that if we were caught, there would be no connection with the government.

I became its chief economist. I ended up having fifty people working for me. But my real job was deal-making. It was giving loans to other countries, huge loans, much bigger than they could possibly repay. One of the conditions of the loan-let's say a $1 billion to a country like Indonesia or Ecuador-and this country would then have to give ninety percent of that loan back to a U.S. company, or U.S. companies . a Halliburton or a Bechtel.. A country today like Ecuador owes over fifty percent of its national budget just to pay down its debt. And it really can't do it. So, we literally have them over a barrel. So, when we want more oil, we go to Ecuador and say, "Look, you're not able to repay your debts, therefore give your oil companies your Amazon rain forest, which are filled with oil." And today we're going in and destroying Amazonian rain forests, forcing Ecuador to give them to us because they've accumulated all this debt . [We work] very, very closely with the World Bank. The World Bank provides most of the money that's used by economic hit men, it and the I.M.F.


Last but not least, oil producers also put their savings in Uncle Sam. With the ''shock" of oil that restored its real price after its dollar valuation had fallen in 1973, ever cleverer by half Henry Kissinger made a deal with the world's largest oil exporter in Saudi Arabia that it would continue to price oil in $, and these earnings would be deposited in Uncle Sam, partly compensated by military hardware in return. That deal de facto extended to all OPEC and still stands, except that before the War against Iraq it suddenly opted out by switching to pricing its oil in Euros, and Iran threatened do so as well. North Korea has no oil but trades entirely in Euros. That constitutes the triple "rogue states axis of evil." Today Venezuela is a major oil supplier to Uncle Sam and also supplies some at preferential rates as non-dollar trade swaps to other poor countries like Cuba. So Uncle Sam sponsored and financed military commandos from its Plan Columbia next door, promoted an illegal coup, and when that failed a legal referendum in his attempt at yet another "regime change" there as well; and now along with Brazil all three are being baptized as yet another ''axis of evil."

After writing this, I found that the good [hit] man Mr. Perkins was in Saudi Arabia too:

Yes, it was a fascinating time. I remember well . the Treasury Department hired me and a few other economic hit men. We went to Saudi Arabia.,.. And we worked out this deal whereby the Royal House of Saud agreed to send most of their petro-dollars back to the United States and invest them in U.S. government securities. The Treasury Department would use the interest from these securities to hire U.S. companies to build Saudi Arabia-new cities, new infrastructure-which we've done. And the House of Saud would agree to maintain the price of oil within acceptable limits to us, which they've done all of these years, and we would agree to keep the House of Saud in power as long as they did this, which we've done, which is one of the reasons we went to war with Iraq in the first place. And in Iraq we tried to implement the same policy that was so successful in Saudi Arabia, but Saddam Hussein didn't buy. When the economic hit men fail in this scenario, the next step is what we call the jackals. Jackals are C.I.A.-sanctioned people that come in and try to foment a coup or revolution. If that doesn't work, they perform assassinations. Or try to. In the case of Iraq, they weren't able to get through to Saddam Hussein. He had -- His bodyguards were too good. He had doubles. They couldn't get through to him. So the third line of defense, if the economic hit men and the jackals fail, the next line of defense is our young men and women, who are sent in to die and kill, which is what we've obviously done in Iraq.


To return to the main issue and call a spade a HUGE spade, all of the above are part and parcel of the world's biggest ever Ponzi scheme confidence racket. Like all other ones, its most essential characteristic is that it can only continue to pay off $ and be maintained at the top as long as it continues to receive new $ at the bottom, voluntarily through confidence if possible and by force if not. [Of course, the Clausewitz and Cromer formulaes result in the poorest paying the most, since they are also the most defenseless: so that the ones sitting on/above them, pass as much of the cost and pain down to them].

But what if and when confidence runs out, and $ no longer comes? Things are already getting shakier at the Uncle Sam house. The declining $ reduces the necessary $ inflows. Last month, they were only $ 48B against outflows of $ 55B. So the Uncle Sam Dr. Greenspan needs to raise interest rates to maintain some Uncle Sam attraction for the foreign $ he needs to fill the trade gap. As a quid pro quo for being reappointed by President Bush, he promised to do that only after the election. That time has now arrived, but doing so threatens to collapse the housing bubble that was built on low interest and mortgage - and re-mortgage- rates. But it is in their house values that most of Uncle Sam people have their savings if any. They and this imaginary wealth effect supported over-consumption and the nearly as high as NDP household debt. Volker's high interest rate successor at the Fed, Greenspan lowered interest rates almost to zero, which made borrowing and mortgages - that is debt - cheap and plentiful. That increased the demand for consumer goods and houses. The former are cheap from China, but the latter drives up the price and ''value'' of houses, which has encouraged upgrading to still more expensive ones, increased ''collateral," and still more borrowing, and still more consumption. So did capital flight from East Asia after its 1997 financial crisis. It fled to Uncle Sam's safe haven, both to Washington into Treasury Certificates and to New Work into Wall Street equities. At the same time, Uncle Sam benefited from the crisis by buying devalued East Asian currencies and using them to buy up East Asian real resources, and in Korea also banks, at bargain basement reduced prices. That is what generated the big bull market of rising stock prices and again apparent greater wealth, which also supported more consumption. Since then, he stock market has already crashed again.

When the housing market also crashes with Dr. Greenspan's present and future increase in interest rates, and therefore mortgage costs, a collapse of the housing price bubble would not only drastically undercut house prices. It would thereby have falling domino effects on the owners' enormous second and third re-mortgages, consumer credit card and other debt, their consumption, corporate debt and profit and investment. In fact, these factors would be enough to also plummet Uncle Sam into deep recession, if not depression, and another Big Bear deflation on stock and de facto on other prices, rendering debt service even more onerous. If $ declines, even domestic $ price inflation is de facto deflationary against other currencies, that Russians and Latin Americans discovered to their peril as we observe below. Still lower real Uncle Sam investment would reduce its industrial productivity and competitiveness even more - probably to a degree lower than can compensated by further devaluing $ and making its exports cheaper as is the confident hope of many, probably including the good Dr.

Until now, the apparent inflation of prices abroad in rubles and pesos and their consequent devaluations have been a de facto deflation in terms of the $ world currency. Uncle Sam then printed $ to buy up at fire sale bargain $ prices their natural resources in Russia [whose economy was then run on $100 bills], and companies and even banks, as in South Korea. True, now Dr. Greenspan and Uncle Sam are trying again to get other central banks also to raise their interest rates and plunge their own people into even deeper depression. But even if he can, thereby also canceling out the relative attractiveness of his own interest rate hike, how could that save Uncle Sam himself?

So far beyond Osama bin Laden, Al Queda and all terrorists put together, the greatest real world threat to Uncle Sam is that this $ does not keep coming in. For instance, foreign central banks and private investors [it is said that "overseas Chinese" have a tidy trillion $] could any day decide to place more of their money elsewhere than in the declining $ and abandon poor ol' Uncle Sam to his destiny. China could double its per capita income very quickly if it made real investments at home instead of financial ones with Uncle Sam. Indeed Henry G.K. Liu writes, albeit a bit unrealistically that "if the US$430 of Chinese exports were consumed domestically at their final market price, US$2.15 trillion would be added to China's 2003 GDP of $1 trillion, tripling it" [].


Central banks, European and others, can now put their reserves - in rising! - Euros or even soon to be revalued Chinese Yuan. Not so far down the road, there may be an East Asian currency, e.g. a basket first of ASEAN + 3 [China, Japan, Korea] - and then + 4 India. While India's total exports in the past five years rose by 73 percent, those to ASEAN rose double that rate and six-fold to China. India has become an ASEAN summit partner, its Prime Minister just declared that India wants ever closer relations with ASEAN, and its ambitions stretch still further to an AEC from India to Japan [EPW]. Not for nothing, in the 1997 East Asian currency and then full economic crisis, Uncle Sam strong-armed Japan not to start a proposed East Asian currency fund that would have prevented at least the worst of the economic crisis. But now, the indeed Uncle Sam friend in need China is already taking steps toward such an arrangement, only on a much grander financial and now also economic scale.

A day after writing the above, I read in the Economist [11-17 Dec. 2004:50] a report on the previous week's summit meeting of Asean+3 in Malaysia. Its Prime Minister announced that this summit should lay the groundwork for an East Asian Community ( EAC) that "should build a free-trade area, co-operate on finance, and sign a security pact . that would transform East Asia into a cohesive economic block.. In fact, some of these schemes are already in motion..China, as the region's pre-eminent economic and military power will doubtless dominate. and host the second East Asia Summit." The report goes on to recall that in 1990, Uncle Sam shot down a previous initiative for fear of losing influence in the region. Now the report is entitled "Yankee stay home."

Or what if already long before that comes to pass, exporters of oil simply cease to price it in ever devaluing $, and instead make a mint by switching to the rising Euro and/or a basket of East Asian currencies. For that would at one stroke, in order still to be able to buy oil, vastly diminish the world demand for and price of $ by obliging anyone who wants to buy oil to purchase and increase the demand price of the Euro or Yen/Yuan instead of $. That would crash $ and tumble Uncle Sam in one fell swoop, as foreign and even domestic owners of $ would also sell off as many of them as fast as they could and other countries' central banks would switch their reserves out of $ in the no longer safe haven Uncle Sam. That would drive the $ down even more, and of course halt any more $ inflow to Uncle Sam by the foreigners who have been financing the Uncle Sam consumption spree. Since selling oil for falling $ instead of rising Euro is evidently bad business, the world's largest exporters in Russia and OPEC have been considering actually doing just that. In the meantime, they have raised the $ price of oil so that in Euro terms it has remained about stable since 2000. So far, many oil exporters and others still place their increased amount of $ with Uncle Sam, even though he now offers an ever less attractive and less safe haven, but Russia is now buying more Euros with some of its $.

So, many countries' central banks have begun to put ever more of their reserves into the Euro and currencies other than Uncle Sam $. Now even the best friend indeed, the Central Bank of China, the greatest friend of Uncle Sam in need, has begun to buy some Euros. China itself has also begun to use some of its $ - as long as they are still accepted by them - to buy real goods from other Asians and thousands of tons of iron ore and steel from Brazil, etc. Its President recently took a huge business delegation to China, and the Chinese one just went to Argentina. They are going after African oil and South African minerals too.


All Ponzi schemes build a financial pyramid. Many who pay into them also live in a financial world themselves, but others need to derive their in-payment through earnings from production in the real world. In today's world of financial transactions that every day are one hundred fold more than all payments for real goods and services put together, the financial ones put the real ones into the shadow behind their brilliance. Moreover to over-simplify a very complex matter into more intelligible lay wo/man's language, options, derivatives, swaps and other recent financial instruments have been ever much further compounding already compounded interest on the real properties in which their stake and debts are based, which has contributed to the spectacular growth of this financial world. Nonetheless, the financial pyramid that we see in all its splendor and brilliance, especially in its center at Uncle Sam's home, still sits on top of a real world producer > merchant > consumer base, even if the financial one also provides credit for these real world transactions.

Now what if we look at the world as a doughnut, analogous to so many cities in Uncle Sam rust belt. The center is derelict and hollowed out as production and consumption has moved to the surrounding suburbs [in automobile Detroit, the windows of the principal department store Hudson's have been boarded up for years, even as Detroit has built an expensive "Renaissance Center" to re-gentrify it's city center, a process that has ''succeeded'' in some other cities]. Derelict General Motors Flint gives us Michael Moore, who features it from [GM CEO] "Roger and Me" to 'Fahrenheit 9-11." We might look at the entire world in doughnut terms, with the whole of Uncle Sam in the empty hole in the middle that produces almost nothing it can sell abroad. The main exceptions are agricultural goods and military hardware that are heavily subsidized by the Uncle Sam government from its tax-payers and $ paper printing press, and even so he runs a $ 600 +B budged deficit.

The BIG difference in this Uncle Sam doughnut is that both the budget and the $ 600+B trade deficit are financed by foreigners, as we have seen. Uncle Sam would exclude most of them as persons, but gladly receives the real goods they produce. As world consumer of last resort, as already suggested, Uncle Sam performs this important function in the present world political economic division of labor: everybody else produces and needs to export, and Uncle Sam consumes and needs to import.

The crash of $ would [will?] crumble this entire world-embracing and organizing political economic doughnut and throw hundreds of millions of people, not to mention zillions of $ and their owners, into turmoil with unforeseen and perhaps unforeseeable consequences. Many people, high and low on the world totem pole, have a BIG stake in avoiding that, even if it requires continuing to blow the empty Uncle Sam up like a balloon. Or to refer to a well know simile, to continue to pretend that the Emperor with no Clothes is dressed up and to send him some to boot. That still includes China, for which a financial show down with Uncle Sam would be a blessing in disguise: That would oblige China to change political economic course, and instead of giving its goods away for free to Uncle Sam, to turn production and consumption inward to its poor interior and to the near outward in East Asia, all of which it could and should be doing already; and the latter China has recently begun to do, but not yet the former.

So what will happen to the rich on top of the Uncle Sam Ponzi scheme, when the confidence of poorer central banks and oil exporters in the middle runs out, and the more destitute poorest around the world, confident or not, can no longer make their in - payments at the bottom? The Uncle Sam Ponzi Scheme Confidence Racket would - or will? - come crashing down, like all other such schemes before, only this time with a world-wide bang. It would cut the world's present Uncle Sam consumer demand of last resort down to real/istic world size and hurt many exporters and producers elsewhere in the world. In fact, it may involve a wholesale fundamental reorganization of the world political economy now run by Uncle Sam.

[To be continued.]

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Hindu Code Bill: A case of collective amnesia
Anoop Kumar, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

September 22, 1951 is a black day in Indian history. On this day, Jawaharlal Nehru, fearing a caste Hindu backlash, dropped the Hindu Code Bill. Thus was lost a golden opportunity to remove all the constraints imposed on Hindu women by the patriarchal Brahminical social order based on the dictates of Manu. As is commonly known, women in Hindu society have historically been denied political social and economic rights. Brahminical texts denied women education. Sati, child marriage, widow ostracization were cunningly used to deny women their rights to property.

As free India's first Law Minster, Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar recognized that it was his duty to free women from the clutches of Manu's laws. He drafted and introduced the Hindu Code Bill on 24 February 1949. Through this Bill, Dr.Ambedkar wanted to put an end to a variety of marriage systems prevailing in India and legalise only monogamous marriage. But most importantly, the Bill sought to confer on women the right to property. It also sought to give equality to men and women in all legal matters. But caste Hindu "leaders" and "intellectuals", not prepared to respect women as equals, opposed this Bill calling it an attack on their religion. So-called liberal Congress leaders such as Rajendra Prasad, Govind Vallabh Pant and Madan Mohan Malviya revealed their true commitments and joined hands with reactionary RSS leaders to oppose the Bill. Even Sarojini Naidu threatened to go on a hunger strike if the Bill was not dropped. Many of them abhorred the very idea of Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar, an "untouchable", drafting and piloting this Bill.

Dr. Ambedkar was heavily criticized for standing in favour of women's rights. He was dubbed a traitor to the country and an enemy of Hinduism, a "great" religion that kept two-thirds of its population in slavery. The orthodox elements together with "moderate" Congress leaders whipped up communal passion in the country by raising the cry of "Hinduism in Danger" in the hands of an "untouchable".

A spineless Nehru yielded to pressure and decided to drop the Bill. Dr.Ambedkar strongly backed the Bill and called on the liberal intelligentsia and the media to come forward in support of the Bill, but most failed to respond to his call unable to see beyond their caste prejudices.

Hurt by the lack of commitment to positive change and Nehru's spineless act, Dr.B.R.Ambedkar resigned from the Union Cabinet.

It has been 53 years. The mainstream media, including feminist writers are silent about the single-handed fight of Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar for women's rights. This incident has been erased from the collective memory of the nation deliberately in order to ghettoize Dr.Ambedkar as only a Dalit leader and not a nation builder who also fought for women, tribal and minority rights. Otherwise, the efforts of Dr.Ambedkar in promoting the Hindu Code Bill would have been remembered as a landmark in the making of a free India. (From Insight, a journal published monthly by the Ambedkar Study Circle, JNU. To subscribe, contact Anoop Kumar at:

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News Briefs

Communist Party of India (CPI) calls for a left-democratic alternative

On the eve of the 19th Party Congress of the CPI in Chandrigarh from March 19, the General secretary of the Party, A.B. Bardhan gave a call for left-democratic alternative and unity of the communist parties. He said that this is necessary to prevent Congress from going back on its promises to the people and to prevent Bhartiya Janata Party from coming back to power.

Murder of Karnataka Naxalites condemned

The Citizens' Initiative for Peace (CIP) and many other human rights and democratic organizations have strongly condemned the killing of two members of Communist Party of India (Maoist)[CPI (Maoist)] in an alleged "encounter" near Kalasa in Chikmagalur district of Karnataka. One of the persons killed was the state secretary of the party, Saket Rajan (aka Prem). It may be recalled that since the beginning of the Naxalbari movement in 1967, “killed in encounter” has consistently been the official version for panned murder of revolutionaries. Saket Rajan joined the Naxalite movement some 20 years ago. He was an accomplished scholar and authored two volumes on history of Karnataka titled 'Making History'. His study of the plight of the people in plantations and in the Kudremukh National Park nearly 100 villages has been a major factor in extending the Naxalite movement to Malnad area.

The CIP, which has been mediating a dialog between the government of Karnataka and CPI(Maoist) for a resolution of the conflict has demanded a judicial inquiry into the alleged encounter, immediate suspension of the police officials involved in the killing and an end to the combing operations in the Western Ghats. The Chief Minister is said to have agreed to an enquiry to be conducted by the Development Commissioner.

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Anand Patwardhan wins National Award

Anand Patwardhan won the national award for Best Non-Feature film “War and Peace”. In his acceptance speech on February 2, he said: “Two years ago our film "War and Peace" was refused a censor certificate. The Bombay High Court finally ruled that the film could be shown without cuts. Next we fought so that documentaries in the video format could become eligible for national awards. Our fight does not end here. The filmmaking community wants to ensure that censor certificates are no longer required for national awards and film festivals. "War and Peace" is a critique of nuclear weapons in India and abroad. The Honorable President who is giving this national award is one of the architects of India's nuclear policy! This may be a delicious irony but it is also a welcome signifier of democracy.” (

Atrocities against Dalits on the rise in Punjab

Colin Gonsalves, Executive Director of the Delhi-based NGO-- Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) said in Chandigarh on January 29, 2005 that atrocities on Dalits are on the rise in Punjab in the wake of the hostile attitude of the judiciary and the Punjab Government. He painted a sorry-state-of-affairs in Punjab, saying that between October and December last year the state reported 21 "documented" cases of Dalit atrocities; only about 2 per cent cases are registered by the police, he alleged. HRLN plans to open legal awareness centres in all 17 districts of Punjab by the end of this year. The Punjab Government had sought an amount of Rs 80 lakh (~150,000 US$) from the Central Government to pay compensation to the Dalit victims of atrocities, yet no Dalit had been paid compensation for the past over five years. Dalits in Punjab comprise about 29 per cent of the population but own only 2.5 per cent of total land holding. Over 70 per cent of the below poverty line (BPL) card holders are Dalits. (Source: Pradeep Sharma Tribune News Service)

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Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) stands for the abolition of monarchy

The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (CPN-M) rejected calls for peace talks with the new government installed by the King after the coup. They appealed on February 12 to political parties and citizens to launch a resistance movement against Gyanendra. Prachanda, the leader of CPN-M appealed to the international community to stop aid to Nepal. February 13 is the 9th anniversary of the armed struggle started by CPN-M.

Opposition to the coup in Nepal grows

Aside from condemnation or criticism of the coup staged by Nepal’s king Gyanendra on Feb 1 by India, the UN and many other governments, people both in South Asia and abroad are protesting the suppression of democracy in Nepal.

Exiled Nepalese political leaders in India vowed on February 19 to launch an agitation for restoring democracy in their country. A demonstration was held at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi. Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)-Liberation has been posting Nepal Update on a regular basis.

In Vancouver, more than 70 Nepalese and their friends held a demonstration on February 7 in Vancouver; this demonstration was covered by India Abroad. A meeting to protest the coup and plan future action was organized by South Asia Center (CERAS) in Montreal. South Asians in Toronto area are also planning similar protests. Abi Sharma of Vancouver has led the formation of a “Forum for the People's Democracy in Nepal” (FPDN) as an advocacy organization to act as a common forum for all Nepali expatriates and friends of Nepal in Canada who want to see Nepal as popular, representative, and republican people's democracy [Contact:]. “Red Flag”, a militant organization in Montreal distributed thousands of leaflets opposing the coup and supporting the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). Numerous articles condemning the coup have appeared on the internet, left journals and even mainstream media.

RSS and VHP in solidarity with the Nepal king

Not surprisingly, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), the two fascist Hindu organizations of India, who have adored Nepal for being the only Hindu government in the world, have extended their support for the coup executed by King Gyanendra of Nepal on February 1, 2005.

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