[Address delivered by Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya to the political convention against globalisation organised by seven Left parties in Hyderabad on January 5, 2003]


WE have assembled here to hold a political convention against globalisation. A little distance away from the venue of this convention, the first Asian Social Forum is being held on the Nizam College grounds. Does this corroborate the notion that social is social and political is political, and the twain shall never meet? For me, the answer is a big NO. I think more and more of us who are attending either this convention or the ASF or maybe both increasingly realise that the twain must meet. Political devoid of social is plain managerial -managing the crying contradictions of the society and the economy in a way that only reinforces the status quo. Similarly, social divorced from political is bound to remain rather ineffectual – for all its noble intentions sheer social activism can hardly scratch the surface of the existing reality.


The theme of our convention is “against globalization”. I need not waste any time here discussing what globalisation is and why it should be opposed. Each one of us present here can explain the process and dynamics of globalisation from a number of angles. Each one of us is aware of its disastrous consequences for people who are at the receiving end of this skewed process that reinforces the unevenness of development and accentuates all kinds of disparities. Each one of us can therefore list any number of valid reasons as to why globalisation should be questioned and opposed.

I’ll address myself to the question of how we can put up a more effective resistance to globalisation. Ten years ago, in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, when we began to understand globalisation against the backdrop of IMF-inspired Structural Adjustment Programmes, the view of globalisation that was discussed most widely the world over was primarily economic. Globalisation was analysed primarily in terms of the IMF and the World Bank, and the giants called MNCs. The Dunkel Draft and the transformation of GATT into WTO gave us a new target. The Mexican meltdown and the subsequent Asian currency turmoil acquainted us with the unprecedented volume and volatility of finance capital. In the midst of globalised economic crisis and transnational offensive of big capital many argued that globalisatbn is weakening and disciplining nation-states, including the most powerful of all states, the United States of America.

But post September 11, we are now more aware than ever before how the talks of globalisation weakening the US — the seat of the most concentrated might of imperialism — have been nothing but wishful thinking. The speculative offensive of finance capital and American mega corporations is fully underwritten by the growing military muscle of Washington. Globalisation means imperialism and imperialism means war. The anti-globalisation campaign must therefore also grow into a powerful anti-imperialist anti-war movement. And this is precisely what is happening in more and more parts of the world. The anti-globalisation forces in India must also strengthen their voice against imperialism and war.

Pitted against the enormous might of the US imperialism and the mega corporations and huge institutions like IMF, WB and WTO, it is natural that we should also look for a powerful global rebuff. It is indeed quite heartening to note the global growth of solidarity and shared resistance. But it will be a folly to believe that globalisation can only be confronted on a global level. No globalisation is conceivable without the active connivance of sundry ‘local’ agents. In fact, it is these local agents who promote and sell globalisation whether by painting it in rosy colours or by invoking the TINA (there is no alternative) factor. Have we not seen successive central governments in India, from the days of Narsimha Rao and Manmohan Singh to the present period of Vajpayee and Jaswant Singh, surpass one another in pushing through pro-globalisation policies? Various state governments are also playing a similar role as active agents of globalisation. Some governments, and the one in Andhra is leading the pack, are doing it quite brazenly; others are doing it in a guarded manner behind some veil or the other. If the World Bank is too discredited, they say they are borrowing from the Asian Development Bank; if the dictates of the WTO cause uproar they present them as the prescription of a ‘hired’ international consultancy firm.

To confront globalisation effectively, we have to take all these local vehicles of globalisation to task. Effective resistance has to be built up here and now. This is precisely what is happening in Latin America. In Andhra too, this has been the logic of struggle. It is issues like cotton growers’ suicides, the visit of Bill Clinton and steep hike in power tariff that ignited powerful mass protests and the Left unity developing in the state is a product of this struggle. We cannot go to Washington to challenge the policies of IMF and World Bank, but we can surely convey a clear message to all our governments that if these policies are not changed, then we will go ahead and change the governments themselves.

We cannot fail to notice the fact that in India predatory globalisation and aggressive communalism have been working and growing in tandem. Cyberabad and Ahmedabad are two sides of the same coin. In fact, Gujarat itself is one of the most advanced laboratories of globalisation in India and now we have incontrovertible evidence to show that the genocide in Gujarat has been hate-funded by MNCs, imperialist lending agencies and the VHP's own variety and network of globalisation.

Evidently, in India the opposition to globalisation must also go hand in hand with the opposition to the communal fascist offensive of the saffron brigade. But such a convergence is often lacking and we find a disjunction between the two lines of opposition. Globalisation is treated as an economic process and the task of opposing globalisation is often delegated to the trade unions. Comrade Yechuri has spoken about the duality displayed by the working people in opting for the red flag in economic struggles and choosing another flag in the arena of politics. This duality actually starts from above when opposition to aggressive communalism is taken as the sole defining principle of political mobilistaion and opposition to imperialist-globalisation is not stretched to its political conclusion. The result is an anti-communal alliance of various shades of pro-globalisation forces and the opposition to both communalism and globalisation gets diluted in the process. The answer lies in taking consistent opposition to both communalism and globalisation as the key-link in politics, as the irreducible basis of political mobilisation.

This is the basis on which we can have the broadest possible unity of the Left, a glimpse of which we are seeing in Andhra, on a nationwide scale. This is the basis on which we can redefine and strengthen the politics of a third front in the country and check the growing trend towards bipolarity. This is the lesson of our unity and struggle in Andhra.

Hyderabad today is one of the key laboratories of globalisation in India. The result of this globalisation can be best measured in terms of the growing phenomenon of peasants' suicides in the state. Yesterday, it was the cotton-growers of Warangal, today it is the turn of the groundnut-growers of Anantapur. Time was when Telangana used to vibrate with a different political culture, when the name of Telangana used to evoke the images of a powerful mass revolutionary upsurge. Today once again we need to resurrect that glorious spirit to halt imperialist globalisation in its tracks and give a fitting rebuff to the fascist offensive of the communal forces.

Red Salute to the Immortal Martyrs of Telangana!
Strengthen the Fighting Unity of the Indian Left!
Intensify Global Resistance to Imperialist Globalisation!