New Socialist Initiative’s Response to Radical Notes’ Publication of KYS Pamphlet

Comrades from Radical Notes,

In the light of your publishing of the KYS “critique” on UCD, where there is a substantial section making allegations at NSI as well as AISA and campaigns and cyber space activism, we are perturbed by the fact that you have published it without clarifying with the maligned groups. Do we understand this as your endorsement of KYS’s ‘critique’?. You are of course free to publish what you wish to, but isn’t there a political issue when you are publishing such a document which questions the credibility of organisations and campaigns without first having felt the need to clarify with the concerned groups. More so, because you happen to have very easy access to these people, groups and campaign. It was understandable if your post was a part of an already ongoing debate on the nature of campaigns or any organisation in the university.

We would have appreciated if a credible website like you should have brought us in a debate rather than forcing us into a response pre-set by the tone of the KYS ‘document’ which is largely malicious. In our understanding KYS’s mail is not intended towards any debate but is infested with mal-intent as far as its take on organisations like NSI or AISA or Safe University Campaign.

Since you yourself function with credibility as a left group and mainly also in cyber space, you might have felt the need to engage with the organisations/people/campaigns to gauge the credibility of the KYS ‘critique’. Such a method of functioning, unintended though, ends up privileging one organisation.

We would appreciate if you would publish this email with the NSI response to KYS pasted below along with two NSI documents (1 and 2) attached. And a comradely suggestion that you can contribute to the UCD campaign with your solidarity as well as first hand critique.

On Behalf of New Socialist Initiative
Amrapali Basumatary

Dear friends and comrades in UCD,

Below is our response to comrades in KYS who have taken the initiative to produce a lengthy critique of NSI while critiquing the UCD.

While NSI has till now not said anything, some individuals and organisations have falsely implicated NSI without having full and proper understanding of NSI and its politics and posited the debates as KYS vs NSI battle. This is the first mail that NSI is writing to the group. We have not been asserting our group’s identity vis-a-vis UCD because we have a clear understanding that UCD is a platform of various individuals and organisations who have come together for a basic minimum programme. While some members of KYS and NSI might be old acquaintances, there has been no history of political engagement within the university between them. It is politically callous to project the issue in this binary.

Dear comrades in KYS and its fraternal organisations,

In the wake of the accusations (critique?) of UCD that KYS has posted in the UCD email group, we feel bound to respond, while respecting KYS’s ideological position that emails (cyber space) are “bourgeois phenomenon”. As it is clear that in the critique you have maligned constituent organisations of the UCD, especially NSI and AISA and resorted to falsities and misrepresentations about NSI, while also maligning campus campaigns like the SAFE University campaign. NSI is not a sectional organisation which focuses merely on the students, teachers and the university. It is a political-ideological platform constituted of people coming from different progressive radical movements. So when you say that we have “no work amongst workers, i.e., no trade union to speak of, and basically do nothing to promote workers’ self-organisation… NSI has more presence in the NGO networks than in the existing workers’ movement”, that we instrumentalise workers’ issues to appear ‘radical/cool’, it is nothing short of lies.

Here is a short quotation from the introductory document of NSI –

“It is a platform in the making consisting of comrades from different streams of life and left politics. Some of us are engaged in trade unions for unorganized sector workers, some of us are active on women’s issues, with particular emphasis on bringing class in women politics, while many other among us are active in theatre and university level discussion cum agitational groups as well as struggles for dalit emancipation and anti-communal struggle.”

Following are some of our points in response to your accusations or critique as you wish to project it as.

Foremost, we wish to ask KYS if the accusations were made consciously or under the duress of a sheer lack of knowledge/analysis and information about NSI?

Firstly, NSI is a constituent of the UCD. So if you are writing a critique of the UCD, stick to that rather than using it to get to other left organisations like NSI which is part of it. NSI does not represent UCD politics. Of course ideas are brought up and people debate, discuss and thereafter accept or reject as per the larger consensus in UCD.

Secondly, the NSI which is part of the UCD is the North Campus Delhi University unit, like your Delhi State Unit. The focus of this unit is in the university. There are other NSI units who work in different areas and constituencies with different focuses in many parts of the country. The way we understand a formation like the UCD is that it is a composite group of left organisations, individuals, liberals, progressives and other who came in specifically because of university related concerns. NSI with its committed left politics, is a part of it because it thinks the issues taken up by the UCD is intrinsically connected to larger issues of capitalism, democracy and university space.

Thirdly, UCD group mailing list is not the platform for you to thrash out your angst/anxiety/anger/enmity against any organisation. There could be a healthier way of dealing with your problems and critiques, in a polemical manner rather than intsrumentalising the UCD space.

We appreciate that the KYS is committed to revolutionary working class politics like the NSI and we take this opportunity to tell members of the UCD to read and know more about NSI. For a short introduction of NSI in please visit http://nsi-delhi.blogspot.com/2010/05/for-those-who-would-like-to-know-little.html#more. Any further mails about NSI or to NSI should be sent to this email rather than using the UCD mailing list. Write to us at delhi.nsi@gmail.com and read our Manifesto (title – A WORLD FOR THE WORKERS! – A FUTURE FOR THE WORLD!). We invite comments and critiques on our manifesto. We take this opportunity to initiate a polemical exchange on left politics. And hereby we are attaching two documents – a) introduction of NSI and b) NSI’s draft manifesto.

To initiate and enhance productive left political debates, please share your literatures with us.

laal salam,

NORTH CAMPUS UNIT Delhi University, New Socialist Initiative (NSI)

Editorial Note: If publishing KYS’ polemical piece amounts to Radical Notes’ endorsement of the organisation’s position, then we would be guilty of endorsing many others, including that of NSI, as we have published at least one of its documents too. We publish these materials for the importance of the questions that they raise. Since this letter is in direct response to what has been published in Radical Notes, we are obliged to publish it as it is; however we would still expect a substantial engagement with KYS’ note, touching upon the issues that it poses. Comrades from NSI would grant that the “mal-intent” and malice that they find in the pamphlet might not be visible to others, who are more interested in wider issues concerning the discursive embedding of students/university politics in larger class processes and praxes.

Comments

  1. Vasundhara says:

    The reason I, as someone from UCD, refuses to engage with anything in the KYS note is precisely that it is based on lies, false narration of events and cheaply written, masking their lies under assumedly radical notes on the Revolution. Given that you have been made aware of a part of the lies, if not the whole (it might be worth your while to scan through the minutes to understand the outrage of UCD – we see the note as a petty attention-seeking attempt at pulling down activities taking place on campus which are fundamentally progressive, counter to their claims, not sectarian, which neither Radical Notes, nor KYS, nor CSW has fully contributed to constructively until now), how you expect UCD or its constituents members to engage with that same note astounds me. Why and how we or even you should separate the lies from what you call ‘substantive’ points fails all logic. Would you engage with those making baseless allegation against you while they raise questions about Revolution and the world? It is easy to speak a Marxist language, but the context of who speaks it, when, where and in what context is equally significant in determining the terms of that debate. Given the credibility of KYS as a left political progressive group is entirely at stake, I’d say damaged, what would prompt me to then take the KYS note with enough seriousness as to spark a serious political debate? The political debate in itself is not the problem, we welcome it, but not one whose basis is the KYS compilation of malice.
    The editorial rejoinder reflects an unfortunate expectation to engage in a debate based on a discreditable note.

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