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Mainstream, VOL LIX No 4, New Delhi, January 9, 2021

Letter to the Readers, Mainstream, Jan 9, 2021

Saturday 9 January 2021

Letter to the Readers

January 6, 2021, will go down as a black day in the history of American Democracy. On this day the elected representatives to the US Congress and Senate were to meet at the Capitol Hill in a joint session to certify the election of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States. Hours before the beginning of the session President Donald Trump — spoke at a rally "Save America March," of his supporters in Washington DC, where he made repeated claims of voter fraud in the 2020 US presidential election and incited the crowds to march down to the Capitol Hill supposedly to cheer the representatives of the Republican party. Far-right White Extremists had turned up in large numbers in support of Trump — these included the Proud Boys, militia members, neo-Confederates and supporters of the conspiracy cult QAnon. This mob of Trump supporters later stormed the house of representatives and indulged in violence and vandalism and derailing and interrupting the certification. More and more information is pouring out on the violent nature of the assault on the American parliament which left five people dead. Months ago, some observers had predicted that Trump may not allow a smooth transition of power if he were to lose the election and that there may be violence on the day of the certification of the results. At the instigation of President Donald Trump, there was a massive intrusion and assault on Capitol Hill by thousands of his supporters who had earlier been fed by propaganda and lies via right-wing TV networks and on the Social Media. The mob stayed on in Capital Hill for hours and finally was pushed away by the security forces, but many have remarked that Black Lives Matter protests of summer 2020 had faced iron hand policing, and would never have made it into the seat of power. Investigation and arrests of the intruders have begun. There are now calls for immediate removal from power and impeachment of Donald Trump for incitement of an insurrection against American democracy. The coming weeks & months will show if Trump will be punished for his role. There are fears for the times ahead with right-wing protests being stoked against the new administration of President-elect Joe Biden, just like the right-wing mobilisations during the Obama’s presidency via the Tea Party movement etc.

The right-wing Hindutva circuits that call the shots in India have a powerful presence in the US diaspora as well, they were very supportive of the presidency of Donald Trump. We should be asking lots of questions about the Howdy Modi event held in the US where Narendra Modi had intervened in the US election by campaigning for Donald Trump by raising the slogan "Ab ki Baar Trump Sarkar" (This Time Trump Government) and also the big public event for Donald Trump that India’s prime minister hosted with a crowd of 100,000 people at a stadium in Ahmedabad. These events were showcased as a demonstration of personal rapport between the two leaders. Such personalised events reflected very badly on the foreign policy moves of the Modi government. The statement issued by India’s Prime Minister expressing dismay at violence on Capitol Hill seems like a face-saving exercise vis a vis the coming new American presidential administration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harriss.

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The 6th round of talks between the Government of India and the peasant unions held on January 8 has led nowhere. A continuous attempt is underway to discredit the struggle of peasants against the three ’Farm Laws’ as having been taken over by the extremists and by the ’left’. The government-friendly propaganda networks are at work round the clock to attack the peasants parked on the border of Delhi. The government is carefully engaged in image management recruiting its own crafted Peasant organisations —often from the ranks to the RSS or the BJP — that claim to support the farm bills brought in by the government. The Sangh connected networks of influence in the US diaspora are also at work on this. The government remains rigid, adamant and arrogant not accepting the demand of the farmers for the repeal of the farm laws

The Editor, January 9, 2020

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