|From:||Richard S. <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
|Sent time:||Friday, October 21, 2011 8:08:21 PM|
|Subject:||[september17discuss] Re: Changing the Culture Vs. Direct Political Action: A Lesson From India|
You're welcome. And thanks for passing along the rumor - yes, that
would be cool, indeed.
On Oct 21, 9:38 pm, Martin Kaminer <martin.kami...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Thanks for that. BTW someone said she would be addressing the NYCGA. Don't
> know how credible that is but it would sure be cool.
> On Fri, Oct 21, 2011 at 9:35 PM, Richard S. <chardsin...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> > Note, I'm just commenting in answer specifically to Martin Kaminer's
> > post about the "lesson from India," not to much of the other stuff
> > that followed...
> > This Anna Hazare movement has been brought up on this list before, and
> > I'll do the same thing now that I did before - post some of Arundhati
> > Roy's comments about it - not very positive, to say the least,
> > focusing mostly on the huge corporate contributions to this movement
> > and the approval of the World Bank.
> > Arundhati asserts that this movement was pursuing a World Bank
> > agenda. Also, apparently, it pushed through a bill that was very
> > problematical.
> > I also really appreciated her comments that began with the statement:
> > "What do you mean by corruption? Is it just financial irregularity or
> > is it the currency of transaction in a very unequal society?" And
> > note the comment, "You can talk about the rule of law when all your
> > laws are designed to perpetuate the inequality that exists in Indian
> > society. If you're not going to question that...I'm really not
> > someone who's that interested in the debate, then."
> > Do you think that to some extent, we can substitute "American" for
> > Indian in that comment?
> > Richard
> > On Oct 21, 11:22 am, Martin Kaminer <martin.kami...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > > If you're not familiar with Anna Hazare, he's been a phenomenally
> > successful
> > > crusader against government corruption overcoming full-strength
> > > government harassment. Looking at the tensions emerging in his movement
> > > might be a harbinger of things to come, or perhaps already here . ..
> > > [image: India Ink - Notes on the World's Largest
> > > Democracy]<http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/>
> > > OCTOBER 21, 2011, 7:41 AMStress Fractures For Team Anna
> > > [image: Prashant Bhushan (L) and Arvind Kejriwal (R) with Anna Hazare
> > during
> > > his hunger strike at the Ramlila Ground, Delhi on Aug. 20, 2011.]Kevin
> > > Frayer/Associated PressPrashant Bhushan (L) and Arvind Kejriwal (R) with
> > > Anna Hazare during his hunger strike at the Ramlila Ground, Delhi on Aug.
> > > 20, 2011.
> > > By LYDIA POLGREEN <http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/author/lydia-polgreen/
> > > and HARI KUMAR <http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/author/hari-kumar/>
> > > Kevin Frayer/Associated PressPrashant Bhushan (L) and Arvind Kejriwal (R)
> > > with Anna Hazare during his hunger strike at the Ramlila Ground, Delhi on
> > > Aug. 20, 2011.
> > > Is Anna Hazare’s grand coalition of good-government activists cracking
> > up?
> > > Some serious stress fractures
> > > appeared<
> > > this
> > > week when two prominent social activists on the 25-member core committee
> > of
> > > India Against Corruption left the coalition. They were displeased that
> > Mr.
> > > Hazare and his close ally, Arvind Kejriwal, had chosen to wade directly
> > into
> > > politics by campaigning against the governing Congress party in a
> > > by-election in Hisar in Haryana.
> > > On one level, the Hazare team’s experiment in politicking in Hisar was a
> > > resounding success<
> > > The Congress candidate won so few votes that he lost his deposit. But the
> > > departure of two highly respected members, from what has been billed as a
> > > big-tent organization aimed at transforming the national culture, could
> > dim
> > > the movement’s luster.
> > > “The decision to go to Hisar and U.P. was a big setback to the
> > > anti-corruption movement,” Rajendra Singh, a veteran environmental
> > activist
> > > from Rajasthan who withdrew from the Hazare coalition this week, said in
> > an
> > > interview. “To support a political party and oppose another was like
> > acting
> > > as power brokers. They have defeated the whole credibility of the
> > > anti-corruption movement.”
> > > The Gandhian activist P. V. Rajagopal also withdrew, saying he had not
> > been
> > > consulted about the decision to get involved in the Hisar campaign.
> > > “I do not know when the decision to go to Hisar and U.P. was taken,” he
> > said
> > > in an interview. “I learned it through the media. I was not consulted
> > even
> > > on the phone.”
> > > He was surprised, he said, because this was a major change in focus for
> > what
> > > had previously been an avowedly nonpartisan campaign.
> > > “To oppose or support a political party, it was a huge jump,” he said. “A
> > > lot of people felt uncomfortable. You can not shift from one position to
> > the
> > > other so quickly. It is very unfortunate.”
> > > Mr. Singh accused the movement of operating with the same secrecy that so
> > > loudly decried in government.
> > > “You talk about democratic values and transparency,” he fumed. “Where are
> > > those values and where is that transparency? We decided to work through a
> > > core team and such decisions are not even informed.”
> > > This summer’s vast anti-corruption movement, stirred up by Mr. Hazare’s
> > epic
> > > hunger strike, seemed poised to transform Indian public life. The
> > normally
> > > indifferent-to-politics middle class rose collectively to its feet,
> > donning
> > > topis and declaring, “I am Anna.” A torpid political class was jostled
> > into
> > > action, pledging to create the anti-corruption ombudsman, or Lokpal, that
> > > Mr. Hazare was demanding.
> > > In the flush of this victory, Mr. Hazare and his allies cast about for
> > the
> > > next mission: giving voters the power to recall misbehaving members of
> > > Parliament, for example. But signs of discord in the diverse coalition
> > > quickly surfaced.
> > > When Prashant Bhushan was mauled by right-wing Hindu
> > > activists<
> > > for
> > > his comments in support of a plebiscite to allow Kashmiris to determine
> > > whether to remain part of India, Mr. Hazare and others distanced
> > themselves
> > > from his remarks<
> > > and
> > > offered only tepid criticism of his attackers. Since then he has scarcely
> > > been seen<
> > > among
> > > Mr. Hazare’s coterie.
> > > The paper reported that she bought discounted
> > > tickets<
> > > but
> > > billed organizations that paid for her tickets as if she had paid full
> > fare,
> > > then used the difference to fund her charity. Responding to a barrage of
> > > questions from people on Twitter, Ms. Bedi did not deny doing this, but
> > > argued that she had in fact saved these organizations money by not flying
> > > business class and had used the proceeds for a good cause.Another top
> > member
> > > of Team Anna has also been embroiled in controversy recently. Kiran Bedi,
> > > the former police official turned clean-government crusader, was the
> > subject
> > > of two investigative articles in the *Indian Express* this week. As the
> > > winner of a police bravery medal, she is entitled to a 75 percent
> > discount
> > > on tickets for India’s national airline, Air India.
> > > “What wrong? What offense. Is saving an offense? And then putting the
> > saving
> > > to a good cause a crime?,” she Tweeted.
> > > Responding to questions via text message from a noisy public meeting in
> > > Meerut, Ms. Bedi said she had done nothing improper.
> > > “I have done what any person who has total commitment to causes will do,”
> > > she wrote. “I generate and save all the time for education of under
> > > privileged children.”
> > > She said she used the money she saved by not traveling business class to
> > pay
> > > for charity.
> > > “Many corporates are aware of my saving. And they were of course obliged
> > > that I gave them my day.”
> > > Mr. Rajagopal said he was unconvinced by this argument.
> > > “How can people respect you if you are not ethical?” he said. “Ethics are
> > > something not to be preached but to be practiced. This disintegration is
> > a
> > > loss for the country.”
> > > An editorial in the *Indian
> > > Express*<http://www.indianexpress.com/news/these-other-bills/863011/>
> > > argued
> > > that the episode is a useful lesson.
> > > “Team Anna should square with itself and then start identifying what
> > > constitutes corruption, deception, and what is simply human
> > resourcefulness,
> > > or finding a way to live with rigid and unrealistic rules. What, for
> > > instance, are the clear lines between ‘I used it for my NGO’ and ‘I used
> > it
> > > for my political party’? ”
> > > Mr. Kejriwal did not return a telephone call or text message seeking
> > > comment. But other members of Team Anna played down the divisions within
> > the
> > > coalition, and said that the Hisar political experiment was less a
> > full-bore
> > > entry into politics than a warning shot to a complacent political class.
> > > “The idea was to give a mild warning to Congress,” said Medha Patkar, a
> > > prominent activist who is also part of the committee. The decision to
> > become
> > > involved in the Hisar race, she said, was taken by a smaller working
> > group
> > > in Delhi, not the whole committee.
> > > “The issue of electoral politics and movement needs to be discussed at
> > > deeper level,” she said. “There is no big disintegration of the movement
> > > but, yes, there is a difference of opinion.”
> > > Ms. Bedi said the Hisar vote was merely an effort to show voters they can
> > > elect representatives who support the Lokpal bill.
> > > “We are on voter awareness to ensure the parliament gets MPs who vote for
> > > the Jan Lok Pal bill,” she wrote.
> > > She said it was normal
> read more »
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