During Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward in 1958, Chinese citizens were encouraged to bang on pots and pans to drive the country’s sparrows to death. Mao’s thinking was that the tiny birds, along with rats, flies, and mosquitoes, were pests that ate grain seeds, which the people needed for food.

The sound of banging drove the birds from their nests to fly around until they dropped dead of exhaustion.

Colin Chinnery wants to record that sound. He also hopes to recreate—with the help of actors and sound technicians—the voices of the Red Guards shouting Maoist slogans during the Cultural Revolution, the wind whistling through the imported Canadian poplars that were planted in Beijing in the 1950s, and even the screech of the brakes on modern Beijing buses.

Chinnery’s Beijing Sound History Project seeks to preserve history in a city that is rapidly destroying its own heritage every day. “There’s a goldmine of information and stories” that come from seeking out the sounds of Beijing, from its pre-revolutionary days to today, Chinnery says.

-Saving the Clangs, Songs, and Shouts of Old Beijing

6

Meet The Red Brigade: formed in November 2011 to fight back against a growing number of sexual attacks on women in the city of Lucknow, India

The male tormentor of the young women of the Madiyav slum did not spot the danger until it was too late. One moment he was taunting them with sexual suggestions and provocations; the next they had hold of his arms and legs and had hoisted him into the air.

Then the beating began. Some of the young women lightly used their fists, others took off their shoes and hit him with those. When it was over, they let him limp away to nurse his wounds, certain that he had learned an important lesson: don’t push your luck with the Red Brigade.

Named for their bright red outfits, the Red Brigade was formed in November 2011 as a self-defense group for young women suffering sexual abuse in the northern Indian city of Lucknow, 300 miles south-east of Delhi. Galvanised by the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old medical student in Delhi last December and the nationwide protests that followed against a rising tide of rapes, they are now gaining in confidence.

From a core membership of 15, ranging in age from 11 to 25, they now have more than 100 members with a simple message for the men who have made their lives a misery: they will no longer tolerate being groped, gawped at and worse. Their activities are a lesson in empowerment.

Men who fall foul of the Red Brigade can first expect a visit and a warning. Sometimes the Red Brigade will ask the police to get involved, but if all else fails they take matters into their own hands. Their leader, 25-year-old teacher Usha Vishwakarma, has her own experience of the daily danger faced by many young women in the country. She was just 18 when a fellow teacher tried to rape her. “He grabbed me and put his hands round me and tried to open my belt and trousers,” says Usha, sitting in the bare-brick front room of her small house. “But I was saved by my jeans because they were too tight for him to open, and that gave me a chance to fight, so I kicked him in the sensitive place and pushed him down and ran out of the door.”

No one at the school took her accusations seriously, telling her to forget it and stop causing trouble. The experience left her traumatized and for two years she did nothing. But little by little her confidence came back. In 2009 she set up her own small school for local girls in an outbuilding next to her family home. Yet all around her, she says, she saw more and more young women suffering the same abuse she had faced. And it was threatening to wreck the chances of her young female students.

"Parents were telling girls to stay in their homes so there would be no incidents. They said, ‘if you go to school, boys will be troubling you, so stay home and there will be no sexual violence’," says Vishwakarma. "But we said no, and we decided to form a group to fight for ourselves. We decided we would not just complain; we would take a lead and fight for ourselves." They bought red kameez (shirts) and black salwar (trousers) and began to plan the fightback. “We chose red because it means danger and black for protest,” says Vishwakarma.

There is much to fight back against. “It is in the minds of men that girls are objects and it has been like that always,” says Vishwakarma. “Religion shows women as very powerless and that whoever is strong can do anything.”

They have started martial arts training so that the men do not have a physical advantage over them. Pooja, Vishwakarma’s 18-year-old sister, laughs as she recalls the reaction of the boy they grabbed in the street when his taunts became too much. “We all stopped and turned round and we surrounded him and grabbed his arms and legs and he thought it was a joke, but we were not kidding and four of us lifted him in the air and the others started to hit him with their shoes and fists,” she says.

The rough justice the Red Brigade metes out might seem extreme to western sensibilities, but many Indian women are making it clear that they are no longer prepared to put up with endemic abuse. That much is clear from the crime figures: reports of molestation in Delhi are up 590% year on year and rape reports by 147%. The rape cases have hit tourist numbers, which were down 25% in the first three months of the year – 35% fewer women are travelling to India. The Red Brigade say sexual abuse is a part of daily life for young women like them. They all have stories of abuse, attempted rapes and daily harassment. “This is what happens in India,” says 16-year-old Laxmi, one of Vishwakarma’s lieutenants. “These things happen all the time. All of us know this, so don’t let anyone say otherwise. This is why we have formed the Red Brigade.”

Seventeen-year-old Preeti Verma nods in agreement. Her family are too poor to have a toilet in the house, so she has to go out into the fields, she says. Every time she went out, the man in the neighbouring house threw stones at her to try to scare her into jumping up. “He wanted to see my body,” she says. “I told him: ‘What are you doing? You are shameless, don’t you have a mother and sister in your house?’ But he replied that his mother is for his father, his sister is for her husband and that I was for him.” She told Vishwakarma, and the man received a visit from the Red Brigade and another from the police. She has had no trouble from him since.

"We’ve caught a lot of men recently," says 17-year-old Sufia Hashmi. "I joined up because men always used to pass comments on me and touch my body, but now we beat them the men cannot do anything and they run away. You feel powerful and you feel good."

On the way back to the slum, the rickshaws pass a public park and for a moment these tough young women show themselves for what they really are – children forced to grow up fast. They beg and plead to stop. “Please, please,” they say, their eyes gleaming in excitement. Shrieking gleefully, they race off towards the swings, slides and roundabouts. Later they stroll back through the market, eating ice-creams, heading for their homes. The sun is low in the sky, the shadows long. The men watch sullenly as they pass. No one risks a word.

Source

Saw this on Al Jazeera this morning. I’m sure it’s gone around Tumblr in some form before.

"…this revolutionary women’s movement has not emerged overnight, nor has it emerged spontaneously merely from propaganda. The women’s movement has grown alongside the growth of armed struggle. Contrary to general opinion, the launching of armed struggle in the early 1980s by the communist revolutionary forces in various parts of the country, the militant struggle against feudal oppression, gave the confidence to peasant women to participate in struggles in large numbers and then to stand up and fight for their rights. Women who constitute the most oppressed among the oppressed, poor peasant and landless peasant women who have lacked not only an identity and voice but also a name, have become activists for the women’s organizations in their villages and guerrilla fighters. Thus, with the spread and growth of the armed struggle, the women’s mobilization and their organization have also grown, leading to the emergence of this revolutionary women’s movement, one of the strongest and most powerful in the country today. Yet it is unrecognized and ignored, a ploy of the ruling classes that will try to suppress any news and acknowledgement as long as it can."

-Anuradha Ghandy, The Revolutionary Women’s Movement in India

3

In Focus: The Last Maoist Village in China

In Nanjie Village, locals still wake to loudspeakers blaring “The East Is Red,” the classic anthem of People’s Republic of China during the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s. Nanjie, with more than 3,100 residents, is touted as one of the last models of communist China, where the principles of the late Chairman Mao still strictly guide the people’s daily lives. In the 1980s, when the rest of China was introducing market reforms, Nanjie went the other direction, collectivizing its farms and industries. Aside from free housing, healthcare, food rations and education, locals working in the village’s factories receive an average salary of 2,500 yuan (about $400 USD). Reuters photographer Jason Lee recently traveled to Nanjie, coming back with the photographs below.

See more. [Images: Reuters/Jason Lee]

We're still here

What ex-Maoists guerrillas taught me one recent afternoon.

image

The first thing that struck me about the ex-Maoists was how ordinary they looked. What was I expecting? Pirates, probably. Or somebody grizzled and battle-hardened. The Indian Clint Eastwood. But these five guys looked a lot like the small-framed men you see in every Indian town, who smoke beedis by newsstands and possibly drive autorickshaws for a living. Then again, I guess, this is the whole point of a People’s War.

Of course their actual lives were anything but ordinary, even by India’s impossible standards. Not long ago, before officially surrendering to the Indian government, these men were guerrilla warriors for the world’s longest-running revolution. They hid in the forests and had actually killed other (sometimes unarmed) human beings, and now they politely formed a semi-circle around me with their broken bodies.

They met me in the two-room office of a separatist newspaper in a dusty little town a few hours away from Hyderabad. Out of the five men, Sambasha Panjagutta1 was the biggest in size, held the highest rebel rank, had the largest reward on his head,2 and did most of the talking. When he surrendered in 2004, he had been a Maoist3 for 14 years and rose to the rank of District Committee Member, which I think is the guerrilla equivalent to a Major in the U.S. Army.

—But then I developed ulcers in my mouth, he said. We couldn’t get good food anymore. And there was my family, too. The cops terrorized my family, and they ransacked my family home.4

This was more or less the case with the other guys as well, they said.

Panjagutta and the rest may have abandoned their guns and their party memberships, but they held on to the same worldview that first inspired them to join the revolution. We spent hours discussing the perpetual exploitation of India’s poor, how yesterday’s landlords were today’s politicians and business leaders, the impossibility of God and the revolutionary history of India. This last part was a rambling, fascinating diatribe by Kotipalle Bolarum, a lean, high-talking and affectionately friendly guy who said he surrendered in 2004, after the cops jailed his brother and father for six months and he developed “bone issues.”

—They say in the old days, the devathas [gods] were good and the rakshashas [demons] were evil, but who were those rakshashas who were always downtrodden? asked Bolarum. Were they really evil, or were they just the losers? They call us revolutionaries rakshashastoo, but we’re the ones who fight for the oppressed. Think about Spartacus. Think about Jhansi Lakshmi, who as a woman single-handedly made the British shake with fear. Think about Shivaji’s fight against the Mughals. We are carrying on that guerrilla tradition.

Yes, he was speaking in the present tense.

Then I asked, in the most awkward way possible, if they ever killed another person:

—Were you ever involved in incidents that led to somebody’s death?

image

They had. I was so mesmerized by Panjagutta’s response that I barely took any notes. He is intelligent and articulate, and it isn’t hard to imagine how he could command a force of several hundred rebel fighters. I don’t have the actual interview anymore because I lost my voice recorder, which is a shame because the way he spoke was so memorable. I clearly remember the ambling, casual way he eased into his admission: making careful use of the conditional, not once saying “I” and rationalizing every act, eventually describing how his troops killed not just ‘class enemies’ like the landlords, but also Adivasis – the very oppressed tribal people that Maoists claim to be fighting for.

—We would enter a village and demand the landlord leave with his family, and give his land to the people under his oppression. If he didn’t listen, we would threaten his family. If he still didn’t listen, then he had enough chances. We would wake him up in the middle of the night and kill him. If his family was still around, we’d kill them too. Usually a few security guards would be killed too, and we would bad because they were one of the people, but they had to die.

He paused.

—I never understood why some of the common people were such stooges of the landlord and his money. These were usually the ones that worked for him, his clerks and his goons. We would sit them down and say, ‘Look brother, it’s time for the revolution so join us.’ But they wouldn’t listen. So we killed them, too.

—How did you kill them?

—It varied. Sometimes we hanged them, other times we would behead them.

We were all quiet for a bit, and Panjagutta looked down at his feet and sort of smiled. Then he said something like:

—We hated killing the adivasis (tribals), but sometimes we had to do it. Most adivasis support us, but some of them were anti-social and would report our movements to the police. When we heard that someone was a police informant, we would first warn them never to do it again. Everybody can make mistakes, we understand that, and we are ready to forgive anybody once. But sometimes these brothers lack common sense; they don’t understand that we are fighting for their sake. So we had to kill them. But we would only do it in front of a people’s court, so the village itself chooses justice.

—But how did you know for sure they were voluntarily giving the police information?

—No, we always knew, said a new voice from the back. It was the first time Sitaram Manikonda, an older man who actually did drive an autorickshaw for a living, said anything besides his name.

Maoist strongholds all over the country are notorious for vague, “people’s court” executions of suspected police informants. Usually, the ‘warnings’ involve the removal of a few limbs. Most villagers, moreover, are powerless to deny the police’s demands for information; even I could walk into a village and find out who’s been around, if I was persistent enough. As I listened, I had to struggle to keep my face from betraying any emotion. I kept clearing my throat so that my voice wouldn’t sound so shaky. I tried to smile — I smile easily — but I couldn’t. Panjagutta obviously noticed, because he laid his huge hand on his chest and said:

—We always feel bad for the killing. The ache of taking away a human life will always be there. But sometimes the people’s war demands painful sacrifices to end the greater violence of oppression. Make sure you write that down.

image

Throughout this discussion, Bolarum, the most amiable one of the bunch, held his head in his hands and said nothing. I imagine the things he did for the revolution must haunt him – and everybody else, but especially affectionate Bolarum – in his uncomely life as an ostracized ex-guerrilla. I wondered if everything these men had said about the righteousness of the Maoist cause was directed, at least in part, towards the speakers themselves, who can at least find solace in the conviction that, if they have lost everything in life, then it was lost for justice.

These five men, and many more like them, had sacrificed everything for the sake of the people, they repeatedly told me, and now were treated like street dogs. Employers won’t hire them, and the police routinely brutalize them for information whenever Maoists strike in the area. They described how, for a long time after they surrendered, the police tortured them for information: beatings, electric shocks, beatings, shackling arms and legs to a well followed by more beatings. They get medals for that work, someone bitterly said. Suddenly they didn’t seem so much like violent revolutionaries anymore; they seemed more like old, weary souls who only crave the respect of the community to which they devoted a lifetime.

—Who’s greater, us or the police? Who gives up their family life for the people’s sake?

—Only as Maoists will brothers and sisters so willingly spend years apart, because only Maoists have given their lives to as pure a cause as the common man’s struggle.

—We left our homes, our families, our every comfort to go live in the jungle, fighting for what the government should have provided all along. We fight for justice for the people and freedom from oppression, we see our friends die and our families suffer, we go hungry, and we don’t even get our five acres!

—But we get beaten by the police for free.

As everyone unloaded their grievances, with genuine frustration, Bolarum said something strikingly revealing about the psychology of the young, poor Indian who signs up as a guerrilla for the people’s revolution:

—Do you think I ever wanted to pick up a gun? We just want the government to work for the sake of people, but how else can we remind it that we exist?

I had been skeptical about the motives of people who joined the Maoist cadres, but found it hard to stay that way, for these guys at least. Say what you will about the misguided Communist revolutionary in the age of globalization – maybe these guys also thought things wouldn’t end this way – but these ones were honest about why they fought.  From where I was sitting, Maoism – India’s single gravest threat, according to the Prime Minister – didn’t seem so grave anymore.

image

Our discussion was over, but I let the men ask me anything (which is probably strictly discouraged by every journalism textbook ever). By now the cleft in the security with which we regarded our respective lives became abundantly transparent, but as long as we were in the same room, I figured it would be interesting to hear what questions Panjagutta, Bolarum and the rest had about me.

It shouldn’t have surprised me when Panjagutta immediately flashed a menacing smile, leaned forward and started to aggressively interrogate me about my own family, our estates, and the reason I came here. His questions were rapid and direct, delivered with thug-like intonation. I was suddenly, awkwardly aware of how vulnerable I was in that shack of a newspaper office, surrounded by ex-…well, you could call them ex-murderers and criminals.  My family is Brahmin and I’m American, which sort of makes me like an Indian version of the white, land-owning male of the 1800s American South who also ran the slave trade and cheated Native Americans out of their land and ran a baby bear fighting ring for good measure. (I mean, this is how I imagine a Maoist would perceive me.) But I didn’t tell them that. I said we don’t really have much land, and most of our folks were teachers anyways, which isn’t untrue. I said that I didn’t care about money or a fancy job in New York, but I did need to hear the stories of the land I came from.

—Plus I love this country, I added for good measure.

All of this was true, but you have to understand that I was not only nervous but also nervous that my nervousness would make it seem like I was lying. But Panjagutta seemed pleased, because his expression relaxed, and he sat back, looked at me and grinned. I felt the other guys in the room relax, too.

—I can tell you’re not somebody who gives into money or fear. I like that, mitra.

‘Mitra’ is a Hindi word that I think can either mean ‘friend’ or ‘comrade.’ The former, fearsome guerrilla commander was testing me, and I’ll never forget what he said. There’s a twisted satisfaction in winning the approval of someone who lived life in the extremes – Maoist, revolutionary, or otherwise.

1. I changed all the names in this post because…just in case.

2. There’s a reward for every guerrilla, obtainable either by turning another rebel fighter in or, if you’re one too, by turning in yourself.

3. a.k.a. Naxalite, a.k.a. People’s War member, depending on what year you’re talking about. 

4. Maoists cadres often stop for food in the villages in their area of control. This statement probably implies a decline in popular support among these villages for the revolution/Maoists.

Weird banner unfurled by The Cove at Sydney FC’s match against Melbourne Victory on Saturday night. 

It looks sooo much like Maoist imagery to me. It’s like something out of the Cultural Revolution or something! Except…the background is like the Rising Sun - the symbol of Japanese nationalism & militarism (except it’s blue, lol). Just thought it was a really weird juxtaposition of two (supposedly) opposing ideologies…in an Australian football banner. Haha. 

Or, I could be completely mad and am seeing things. If anyone actually sees what I’m seeing here, please tell me, so I feel less crazy =P

Also can someone get me a Maoist Melbourne Victory banner please? Thanks.

Just Like Marriage
  • marls: y brain is stupid
  • marls: my*
  • CSII: it's okay
  • CSII: you're terrified of maoist rebels
  • marls: noo i am not
  • CSII: these aren't bears you're fighting, marls
  • CSII: you can't just act bigger than them
  • marls: i'm just nervous cause it'll be really different and i'll be doing stuff I've never done before and have no real way to prepare for
  • marls: lol
  • CSII: like marriage
  • marls: i hate you
  • CSII: :-)
  • marls: i guess so, lol
  • CSII: how long wil lyou be in Nepal?

The Communist Party of the Philippines has recognized the right of persons “to choose one’s gender”, just as it aims to help deal with misconceptions against LGBT people because, as the party states, the acceptance, recognition and defense of LGBT rights are dependent on the level of political consciousness of the revolutionary forces and the people.

Watch on ibnlive.tumblr.com

Kishenji’s funeral held in Andhra Pradesh

Mamata Banerjee said the forces had to fire back at Kishenji, else 500 villagers would have lost their lives. 

Text
Photo
Quote
Link
Chat
Audio
Video