Europe for President (2008)

Excellent. I love films about presidential campaigns, <so am downloading this for sure>. Remember the one with Warren Beatty, yeah, then there was Travolta in one, wasn’t he like being Clintonesque – Bill not Hilary – and doing the whole Southern fried handshake from the elbow thing. <Only one hour of downloading to go before I can watch this, yaay>. Oh, and Josiah Edward Bartlett, the greatest US president ever, of course he was more European, but I watched the West Wing all though like twice, at least – <just 323 mb to go – exciting> – and then there was the one with Michael bloody Douglas. Ok, that was a bit like pulling teeth, but because I am mad for President films, I watched it all the way through. Hell, I even watched All the presidents Men, hoping that was a comedy too, like Primary Colours was. And Independence Day, that had a believable president. The very idea – hopefully addressed in your film Thomas? – of the entertainment of the Oval Office. I mean, I grew up with Nixion. <1 hr to go>. I am going to keep on writing about President films until its watchable – because you know, vimeo is slow unless its downloaded and I want my own copy to post and share, because we do need a Europea for prez. <God, vimeo has a 1000 character limit on comments so I am continuing here>. There was Nixon/Frost of course, and the Nixon film proper by Oliver Stone. One of the first things I can recall ever being played over the school announcement system, besides the British National Anthem, which was the Australian one then too, was Nixon’s I am not a crook speech. Formative. Then, the Kennedy Assassination, and the Kennedeys box set series and the Kennedy this and that. Oh, fuck it, once you get to that you are really scraping the barrel. Zapruder? Get a tripod, hold that camera still – it just cries out fake authenticity doesn’t it. Donald Duck cartoon president campaign, I should mention that. Maybe not. Might do a search as I think there was a Bugs Bunny one too, with Elmer Fudd as Dick Cheney – or did I make that up? Well it is an election year, or, no, its not, but it always seems like it. Fake democracy shovelled down our throats all the time, as if New Hampshire were the fount of all democracy – should try actual democracy for a change, it takes a lot more meetings I am sure. And time <more time than it takes to download this vid>. What is democratic about delegating decision making to an unrecallable cabal of high finance lobby-group selected preening puppets? Oh, you already got the puppetry metaphor going strong in this film. <Yep I’ve watched the first couple of minutes now, settling in for the long haul, just 58 minutes of downloading to go>. <a brief word from our sponsors while I post this on Trinketization> And I am back. <81MB downloaded>. I think its actually unloading, I had more downloaded before the break. What about the Lincoln film? I should talk about that, he was a prez, but his media savvy was way up on today’s candidates. I mean, even getting a letter written by Marx from the IWMA. Vote-winer that for sure – and really, I guess Marx’s tone is a bit mocking hyperbole. I bet he would have loved the golden era ot television we live in that brings us all these great presidential tv things. I mean, Geena Davis as the Commender in Chief we would want but will never get her and there is no way HC could be like that, and of course it was just a cash-in really, on Borgen. Now, you used to be Danish right, so you gonna give that a run for its money? <98mb> Oh, just remembered that Star Wars has-been Harrison Ford was president on a hijacked plane in one Presidential film frappery. Talk about your war on terror Air Force one spooky allegory/bad pun potential. I don’t think it was intended as a comedy that one, but it was. The problematic of movie stars as candidates was trialled of course in South India with MGR and NTR, never having the momentum to win national office of course, I don’t even know if they desired such, but they took their states with huge margins well before Arnie Governator paved the way for the rerun of Bush Wacker George – <wheeee 104 mb downloaded>. I am on this like a rash on an interns… No, lets not go there. I was trying to remember the Warren Beatty prez character, but it was just bad, didn’t he go a bit rogue? Not anywhere close to Josiah there. Jammy Foxx in White House Down – the less said about that one the better. <AND this is getting old… so, folks, download this film, it is gonna brighten up your day>. Four More Years Four More Years <I hope that is not how long it takes> Go TA.

Mapping (by) the Indian Express on Maoists in India

This Ashutosh Bhardwaj article from Indian Express is at least five months old (its a general page, so no date), but is maybe worth a look since a few people recently have mentioned the Maoist struggles of the 1960s and 1970s. The continuities between then and today are convoluted, but they exist.

Plus there is this map, somehow visualising what is going on today can better displace relegation of Maoist struggles to the past. Talk of a reaffirmation of the party and direction towards work in urban areas has been about of late too:

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Five Maoists were arrested in the southern peninsula this month, and Home Minister Rajnath Singh said last week that incidents of Maoist violence were on the decline. How relevant is that claim? ASHUTOSH BHARDWAJ answers key questions on the activities of the CPI (Maoist), both in its forest strongholds and clandestine urban bases, and gives a status report on its operations.

Is the CPI (Maoist) on the decline?

Compared to the 2006-2010 period, attacks have been fewer in the last two-three years. But they remain entrenched in the forest zone across central India, and dominate a far wider territory in Dandakaranya now than they did in 2004, when the MCC and CPI (Maoist) merged. In Chhattisgarh, over 50,000 CRPF, BSF, ITBP and state police personnel are fighting the Maoists, but politicians and officials still cannot enter many areas. 2014 is considered among the calmest years in a decade, but it was also the year in which the CRPF suffered its second biggest casualty in a calendar year in Chhattisgarh.

According to Home Ministry figures, from 2008-14, 992 LWE cadres were killed, 13,657 were arrested, 2,608 surrendered. But the data does not distinguish between CPI (Maoist) and other groups, several of which are active in Jharkhand.

What is the Maoists’ urban network?

Underground cadres who operate from cities, sympathizers and supporters. Maoist documents stress on building a strong base in cities, and mention three kinds of urban mass organisations: secret, open and semi-open, and legal, the last including cover organisations and affiliated activists. The forest-based rebellion survives mostly on what Maoist ideologue Varavara Rao calls the “movement in urban areas”. From the urban network come logistics, moral and intellectual support, and the ideological argument for violence. The network is in several cities, and sympathisers occupy prominent positions. Central Committee member Malla Raji Reddy’s daughter Snehlata and son-in-law C Kasim live on the Osmania University campus in Hyderabad. Kasim teaches Telugu, Snehlata edits a journal on revolutionary politics. “We support the Maoist movement, the only path available for the poor and oppressed. There have been setbacks but the movement will go on,” says Kasim.

How does the CPI (Maoist) operate?

A mammoth hierarchical structure operates on a ‘need to know’ basis. At the top is a 20-member Central Committee headed by Muppala Laxmana Rao or Ganapathy. Other CC members include Nambala Keshava Rao or Ganganna who heads the Central Military Commission, military expert and Giridih resident Misir Besara, and Dalit Maharashtrian Milind Teltumbde whose brother is married to the sister of Prakash Ambedkar, the grandson of B R Ambedkar.

Under the CC are four regional bureaus, the most significant and active of which, the Central Regional Bureau, is headed by Katakam Sudarshan alias Anand. The CRB has three units: Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee, North Telangana Special Zonal Committee and Andhra Orissa Border Special Zonal Committee. Slain leader Kishanji’s younger brother and CC member Mallojula Venugopal Rao or Bhupathi is in charge of the DKSZC, the headquarters of the CPI (Maoist), and home to some of the top leadership. CC member Akkiraju Haragopal, who led the talks with the YSR government in 2004, is in charge of AOBSZC. Its secretary is Modem Bala Krishna, also a CC member. CC member Pulluri Prasad Rao alias Chandanna heads the NTSZC. The North Regional Bureau comprises units in Delhi, Punjab, J&K, Himachal, Uttarakhand and UP, and is mostly defunct.

Zonal or state committees are divided into area committees, which form the Revolutionary People’s Council in villages. These have successfully replaced panchayats in many areas of Dandakaranya.

What is their military capacity?

Bastar has two major battalions, Jharkhand has a fledgling one. The South Bastar battalion, formed in 2009 and headed by Hidma, has the finest guerrillas and has carried out nearly all major attacks in recent years. The Abujhmaad battalion, headed by Ramdher, was formed in 2012 primarily to protect the top leadership soon after CRPF entered the area. Each battalion has formations of company, platoon and squad, but their numbers vary. Bombmaking capacity was hit after the head of the Technical Research Arms Manufacturing Unit Sadanala Ramkrishna was arrested in 2012. His aide Deepak Parghania, an award-winning technician from SAIL’s Bhilai plant, was arrested too. Units in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Jharkhand and Andhra manufacture artillery, rifle parts, pressure mines, rocket launchers.

Are there any fissures within?

Over the last decade, several senior cadres have questioned the preeminent focus on violence, to the exclusion of mass awakening, building bases in universities. Public executions in Jan Adalats have earned the wrath of tribals in many cases. “They are leading a necessary movement, but they need to review their violence,” surrendered CC member Lanka Papi Reddy has said. Former DKSZC spokesperson Gudsa Usendi alias Sukhdev has voiced reservations against highhandedness by cadres. Of late, the Maoists have issued several apologies for attacks.

Where has the state failed?

A democratic state functioning within the Constitution and law has a fundamental handicap in dealing with the challenge. There have been no killings in Andhra and Telangana of late, but teachers, writers and journalists in cities from Warangal to Guntur feed the movement many ways. Seminars in Hyderabad celebrated the 10th anniversary of the CPI (Maoist) last year. Spokesperson Azad lived in Delhi for years with his wife. There are enough disillusioned youth who are attracted to their ideology, and to the lure of the gun and romance of a forest life. In the end, the state must be able to demonstrate that the political system is not just for the moneyed, manipulative and powerful.

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