Ironies and Contrasts
Ironies and Contrasts
There is an obvious irony in the shifting of the 4th World Social Forum (held between January 16 and 21, 2004) from Porto Alegre, the city of the participatory budget fully geared to welcome the WSF, to an indifferent Mumbai, the city most starkly symbolizing the impact of neoliberalism in India. Mumbai is a rapidly de-industrialising, financial-commercial-services centre with an expanding informal sector of self-employed and unorganized labour. It has heavy vehicular and small factory pollution with over 40 percent of its 17 million population living in slums. The choice of the WSF venue – a dusty, environment-unfriendly, long disused industrial site – completed the symbolism. But the restricted area of the venue contrasted sharply with the sprawling geography of Porto Alegre’s WSF, forcing an extraordinary physical mingling of over a 100,000 participants with more than 15,000 from outside India.
Asia from West, South and East was well represented as also Western Europe; the rest of the world less so. This concentration when coupled with the unmatchable social and cultural diversity of India, fully represented at this WSF, created a general atmosphere of collective political solidarity and vitality that has clearly set a new standard for future WSFs.(1) By contrast, the social composition of participants at the 3rd WSF was far more middle class and youthful. If the youth camp in Porto Alegre was a considerable success, in Mumbai it was organizationally and politically a disappointment. The ironies and contrasts do not end here. Lula, unwanted at, and uninvited to, the WSF was the honoured guest of the Indian government at this year’s official Republic Day celebrations on January 26, 2004.
There was a legitimate worry that shifting the WSF from South America, the continent of greatest resistance to neoliberalism, to the Indian subcontinent where the government’s neoliberal trajectory is still only weakly challenged, could be a mistake. It is in South America that, indisputably, mass politicization is deepest and widest. At Mumbai the flip side of the WSF’s wonderful diversity, of the delightful displays of music, dance and street theatre, of the strong presence of Dalits, tribals, women’s groups and trade unions, was the fact that political awareness was more limited and sectoral in character. Neither leaders nor ordinary members of so many of the large movements and groups gathered there showed much interest or involvement in the conferences, seminars and workshops lying outside their specific areas of concern. Low literacy levels and breakdowns in the technical facilities provided for translations did not fully explain this weakness whose basic roots are political.(2)
The Social Forum project that first emerged in South America reflected a new historical conjuncture – not just the two-decades assault of neoliberalism on that continent but also the effective disintegration of the old left and its replacement by a more inchoate, plural and diverse set of progressive actors in civil society. Their growing radicalization in the late nineties found its organizational expression in the WSF and its associated ‘politics of the open space’. India, however, is where the old left (still largely unrepentant about its Stalinist and Maoist legacies and traditions) survives as a substantial force replete with ‘their’ mass fronts of trade unions, women, peasant and student wings. Since out of a total labour force of some 340 million, only 9 million or less than 3 percent are unionized, it is hardly surprising that there also exists a breathtaking array of social movements, single issue groups, and a spectrum of NGOs from the most progressive and radical to those whose principal function is to be the new ‘privatised’ service-providers offsetting the impact of the neoliberal state’s abandonment of its multiple social responsibilities in health, education, social security, basic needs, etc.
All these contradictions were clearly present in Mumbai. Where else would you find, for the first time, an alternative world social forum called Mumbai Resistance (MR) being organized across the road from the official one, by a variety of Maoist groups and fronts whose principal ballasts were the Peoples War Group of India and the Communist Party of the Philippines. Much smaller, with an overall attendance in the few thousands, MR’s main purpose was to call attention to itself. Its inaugural function spent nearly as much time criticising the WSF as it did attacking neoliberalism or US imperialism.(3) But even outside the entrances of the main WSF, inconsistent certainly with the prevailing spirit of the Social Forum project, the CPI and the CPM had strategically placed (hitting visitor eyes well before the WSF signs themselves) huge billboards declaring that their idea of another world at least was the ‘Communist future’. A strongly instrumentalist attitude towards the Social Forum project still prevails amongst these left parties.
Nonetheless, after allowing for all reservations and qualifications, the end result justified the decision to hold the 4th WSF in India. Asian presence and involvement in the Social Forum project, hitherto marked by a strong Latin American and European ‘face’, has taken a leap forward. Africa and North America remain laggards. Porto Alegre last year brought together for the first time the two great global streams – the movement against neoliberalism and that against US imperialism. This confluence has been sustained and further consolidated in Mumbai. The introduction of newer themes and a stronger emphasis on some older ones also took place enhancing the awareness-raising aspect of the WSF. The Indian organizers gave some shape to the otherwise amorphous character of the ‘politics of the open space’ by holding a series of WSF-sponsored events focusing on five broad themes – imperialist globalisation; patriarchy, gender and sexuality; militarism and peace; casteism and racism, work and descent-based exclusions and discriminations; religious fanaticism, sectarian violence – themselves subdivided to include issues of ecologically sustainable development; matters of food, land and water sovereignty; media culture and knowledge; labour and the world of work; health, education and social security.
In addition, a conscious effort was made (with uneven success) to promote more thorough reflection on the relationship between political parties and social movements, on discussing alternatives to neoliberal globalization, and on the role of the nation-state and nationalism in an era when many are calling for new structures of global governance. The extent to which various activist groups were able to utilize Mumbai WSF to enhance international coordination, networking and planning for common actions clearly varied, and the results of their endeavours will only become evident in the future. What hopes and lessons for India and globally does WSF 2004 carry? Before addressing this crucial question, there is another shorter term question that needs a direct answer. What has been, or is likely to be, the political impact of Mumbai WSF on the current Indian political scene?
II - The National Scene
Frankly, the answer must be little or none. Mega-event though it might have been, the mainstream national (i.e. English language) media treated it as a one-off, self-indulgent jamboree of the politically marginalized. Reportage was limited and inadequate. Commentary, with few exceptions, ranged from the contemptuous to the patronizing. Control of Mumbai municipality rests with the Shiv Sena, the most rightwing and Hindu chauvinist of the regional party allies of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Both the Shiv Sena and the BJP-led Central government decided it was more infructuous politically to disrupt the WSF than to ignore it. The Maharashtra state government currently run by an alliance of the Congress and an earlier breakaway from it, similarly paid little heed. Not surprising this, given that the Congress leadership is as committed to the post-1991 neoliberal reforms as the BJP (indeed, sees it as its own offspring) and believes that there is no alternative for itself but to pursue a ‘soft Hindutva’ domestically and befriend the US externally, albeit less effusively. The WSF was too radical for its liking though the odd Congress political bigwig did register his presence only to go largely unnoticed.
There remains a significant disjunction between the political realities on the ground and the kind of political context in which the holding of a WSF could be expected to have an immediate and meaningful impact. Since the beginning of 2002 the fulcrum of Indian politics has moved further to the right.
The Indian economy continues to move along the neoliberal path at a steady if controlled pace. Worries about a slowing down of average annual growth rates after 1997 have been temporarily assuaged by the spectacularly good monsoons in 2003 that have dramatically raised agricultural growth rates and now promise a GDP growth rate in 2003-04 of around 8 percent. Thus the average annual growth rate for the last five years will reach the 5.7 to 5.8 percent level that has sustained itself over the last two decades. True, average annual growth in manufacturing over the last five years is an unimpressive 5.3 percent. Agriculture will undoubtedly revert to its normal pattern of low and slackening growth. Annual software exports have now reached the $16 billion mark and there are brighter prospects for export of auto parts but the trade imbalance continues. Remittances by Indians abroad (mainly from the Gulf and US) at 3 percent of GDP are still more than double annual FDI flows which since 1997 have not crossed the peak that year of $4 billion. Though the $100 billion reserves position has a disturbingly large component of more volatile portfolio investments and Non-Resident Indian (NRI) short term bank deposits as well as a high proportion of commercial borrowings by the government, it is large enough to be cited as evidence of a now "Shining India" and of a "feel good factor" that are the new slogans being internalized by the Indian ‘middle class’, courtesy of incessant media repetition.(4)
The Central government is clearly determined to push through privatization of valuable public properties. Since few would wish to buy up loss-making or sick industries unless they have high-value assets worth stripping, or can easily be made highly profitable, New Delhi has tried to follow a dual strategy. This is to sell off some of the big profit makers (oil companies like Hindustan Petroleum and Chemicals Limited and Bharat Petroleum and Chemicals Limited) and to starve potential profit-makers of necessary modernisation-investment funds. The latter tactic is being applied to Air India and Indian Airlines whose most profitable air routes are being opened up to competitors. Failing balance sheets and profit and loss accounts can then be used to justify equity divestment and privatization. HPCL and BPCL were nationalized by Acts of Parliament, and a Court ruling that this status can only be changed by a similar political process has stalled matters; while resistance to efforts at privatization of the Indian banking system is still strong.(5) In the beginning of the nineties, public sector assets were around 15 percent of GDP. Today, they are around 12 percent of GDP.
After the 1997 East Asian financial crisis, the Indian government congratulated itself on not prematurely moving towards full capital convertibility. It is still some way from this but the intent is clear. In the new millennium New Delhi eased restrictions to allow Indian companies to invest up to 25 percent of their net worth abroad, no questions asked. Today, free capital investment abroad is allowed up to 100 percent of a company’s net worth. Apart from stubbornly high fiscal deficits, stagnant savings rates, persistent poverty, growing social and regional inequalities, the major area of unease for the government is the relatively jobless character of current growth patterns compared to even the eighties. The number of unemployed reached a staggering 34.85 million in 2002 and is expected to reach 40.47 million in 2007. The employment elasticity of output has fallen from 0.52 between 1983-94 to 0.16 between 1993-2000. It is here that the political weak spot of Indian neoliberalism resides – in the not too distant prospect of a substantially greater proportion of youth mostly educated in provincial colleges and belonging to the middle and lower echelons of the ‘middle class’ becoming disillusioned with the heady promises of neoliberal project that currently still retains its appeal.(6)
But if the economy since 2002 has chugged along expected paths the polity has witnessed significant new turbulences. The two crucial markers here have been the terrible pogrom against Muslims organized by the state government of Gujarat (headed by Narendra Modi) in March-April 2002, and the depressing outcome of the provincial assembly elections in December 2003 in the key Hindi heartland states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Delhi.
On February 27, 2002, a brutal communal assault by an angry Muslim mob in the town of Godhra. Gujarat, served as the awaited trigger for a carefully pre-planned, state organized ‘retaliatory’ pogrom in which according to official figures (actual figures were much higher) over 2000 Muslims were butchered and around 150,000 driven out of their homes. There was looting, property destruction, sadistic beatings, injuries and rape on a massive scale. This was not only the worst case of sustained communal violence since Partition but the first time that a state government had been so deeply involved in preparing and carrying out such a massacre.(7) What marked it as a decisive turning point was not so much that the direct perpetrators got away with their criminal behaviour – this has happened often enough before – but that the Sangh/BJP got away politically! During the pogrom and its aftermath, strong recriminatory pressure had been built up not only by the Opposition parties but also existed amongst the BJP’s allies in the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA). Massive extra-parliamentary mobilisation by the Opposition at the national and regional levels, inside and outside Gujarat, could have broken the ruling coalition government. This never happened. The Congress, which should have led such a campaign, had neither the courage, the confidence nor the anti-communal commitment to take such action.
In its absence, Prime Minister Vajpayee at the BJP party conclave in Goa at the end of May 2002 made the speech that in retrospect can be seen as marking the point at which the Indian polity took another qualitative lurch rightwards. In his decisive agenda-setting speech Vajpayee openly rationalized the pogrom as an unavoidable reaction to the Godhra incident. He categorically rejected the demand from his NDA allies to remove Narendra Modi as chief minister of Gujarat, effectively challenging them to make their choice – either to pull down his government and precipitate early elections or to fall quietly into line. He also made a pitch internationally to the US ideological right by declaring Islamic fundamentalism/terrorism as the world’s principal danger.
The rest is history. The NDA remained intact with the BJP’s authority within it greatly strengthened. Gujarat under Modi called early polls in December 2002 campaigning on an openly communal platform of not just justification but celebration of the pogrom, a tactic the Congress was scared to directly oppose, instead highlighting the Modi government’s ‘general performance’ failure. The BJP obtained for the first time ever a two-thirds majority in the Gujarat assembly because of a massive gain in votes and seats in Central Gujarat where most of the communal violence had been concentrated. The result only further deadened the already enfeebled anti-communal reflexes of the Congress.
The December 2003 elections were a further boost to the BJP. Here Hindutva was not the major factor behind the Congress debacle but it did contribute to the BJP success. In a single day the BJP gained absolute majorities in the three states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh where the Congress had been in power and was expected to do reasonably well retaining at least two if not all three states. It ended up retaining power only in Delhi. Suddenly, the most sober and downbeat assessments of the coming general elections, now advanced to sometime in April 2004, is that the BJP-led NDA coalition has easily the best chances of coming back to power. To be sure, the parties comprising the NDA, including the BJP would seem to have reached their electoral peak in terms of seats secured during the last 1999 general elections.(9) So how do they sustain their performance let alone expand their reach? In the last two general elections the BJP tally has plateaued at around 180 seats. It too peaked everywhere in 1999 and can only hope to considerably improve this time in Uttar Pradesh. But after the elections, if the NDA seems the most likely candidate for Central rule, then its ranks could well expand through the wholesale defection of some of the pre-poll Congress allies.
The coming elections can prove to be a turning point not because the BJP makes a qualitative leap forward in its individual tally but because the Congress may collapse as a national party. Programmatically, it is in all key respects a softer version of the BJP but without its powerful cadre base (courtesy of the RSS), or its aggressive policy of transforming (through major personnel changes) all governing institutions and structures it can lay its hands on whether in civil society or in the state apparatuses at Central and provincial levels, or its determination to eventually bring about a Hindu Rashtra. Socially, the Congress, as evidenced by the recent assembly elections, is losing its last, hitherto stable base – the tribals in central India – to the BJP. For a full five decades after independence, every single breakaway from the Congress, even when led by leaders whose national stature had been forged in the great freedom struggle before 1947, quickly faded into total oblivion. Since 1997, two such breakaways, the Trinamul Congress of West Bengal and then the National Congress Party of Maharashtra, have stabilized as major regional parties not in the least afraid to hobnob with the BJP.
What holds the Congress together today is not ideology nor organizational solidity but the promise of governance at the Centre. If this time around it fails to achieve such power as the hub of an alternative ruling coalition (supported from the outside by the CPI and CPM), it will very likely suffer defections from its ranks to the BJP/NDA as well as further splits into one or more regional parties in the northern states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh. The Congress today is prepared to make the kind of concessions to forge a coalition that it never contemplated before – leaving a 150 to 200 seats for its allies to contest; assuring sought for allies that prime ministership in case of victory will be decided collectively and will not automatically devolve on Sonia Gandhi as leader of the largest single party in the bloc. As a measure of Congress desperation, Rahul the son and Priyanka the daughter of Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi, who do not suffer from the ‘foreign’ tag, are likely to be thrown into the campaign fray as electable candidates. This is to counter the BJP effort to promote the ‘Vajpayee charisma’ as its way of extending its tally well beyond the 180 mark.
Should the Congress collapse, the BJP will become the only national party and will have institutionalised its status as the ‘normal’ fulcrum of bourgeois political rule, a deeply disturbing development with momentous implications and ramifications.
III - The WSF: Hopes and Lessons
One of the central purposes of the Indian organizers of the WSF was that it should stimulate the further development of an ‘anti-fascist front’ nationally against the Sangh/BJP. The intent here is not an electoral bloc but the formation of a long term alliance of left parties and their mass fronts with the big social movements and a range of progressive NGOs to collectively mobilise in civil society. Has the Asian Social Forum at Hyderabad in December 2002 and WSF 2004 helped bring these forces together? Mutual suspicions and tensions remain within the social movements and parties as well as between them. There has been the constant jockeying for public representation in the ‘star system’ that is a seemingly unavoidable aspect of the Social Forum process. There are the inevitable fears about manipulation and doubts about ulterior motives. One of the important issues thrown up by the WSFs is whether it might not be better for parties to participate openly as such instead of informally exercising behind-the-scenes their substantial influence as they now do whether it is the PT in Brazil or the CPM and CPI in India.
This could result in a more honest dialogue between party spokespersons and others. The former could no longer dodge direct critiques of their record of behaviour in and out of office. Surely this would encourage a less manipulative relationship whereby genuine adjustments and greater mutual respect could be forged? The fear in India certainly is that Social Forums would become arenas in which the pressures of electoral/political competition would then trump efforts at accommodation still more possible if mass fronts but not parties themselves were present. Besides, it might lead to interminable arguments as to which parties to allow in or keep out. If the CPM which has made major concessions to neoliberal pressures in West Bengal is to allowed in, then why not the Congress?
Overall, it would be fair to say that the mass fronts of the left parties, substantial sections within the parties including many major leaders, have moved closer to the social movements and progressive NGOs, and vice versa. This movement towards closer collaboration is still hesitant, wary and uneasy. There remains a lack of that kind of general perspective that could help systematize forms of collaboration going beyond occasional common actions. But the movement forward is real. Internationally, the Indian left has nowhere to turn except towards a global radical milieu that is naturally anti-Stalinist and much more developed in its attitudes on matters concerning sexual choice, female oppression and ecological sustainability. Domestically, greater coordination amongst radical forces is required to confront the neoliberal project as well. In this respect, public opposition in India is likely to grow. In South America what tipped the balance towards successful mass resistance was the antagonism of whole swathes of the middle class whose savings were destroyed by the combination of unstable currencies, recession and unemployment. This has not yet happened in India. The neoliberal reforms have a shorter history and a more cautious approach to capital convertibility has provided a measure of protection. But the problem of educated unemployment is rising to serious proportions. Youth belonging to the lower echelons of the ‘middle class’ are finding neither secure nor well-paid jobs. A growing crisis of expectations is emerging. In retrospect Mumbai 2004 might well be identified as the first major collective warning of the shape of things to come.
At the international level there are parallel concerns. Greater collaboration between the main radical actors – parties, unions, movements, the best NGOs – is urgently required. The crucial task remains what it has always been – how best to combine the politics of the universal and the politics of the particular. The first is most powerful and effective precisely when it encompasses and respects the latter. Historically, the classical, indeed only, organizational form which has shown itself capable of embodying this combination has been the party. One need not assume that this must remain the case. But the principal challenge facing the Social Forum project is whether it will be able to contribute to the creation of those new organisational forms equipped with the general vision and capacity to simultaneously and systematically pursue the politics of the universal and the particular. Insofar as the state remains a crucial nodal point of concentrated bourgeois power no radical strategy can afford to merely ignore or sidestep it.
Rather than maintain the hectic pace of a WSF every year which drains the time and energy of too many activists away from their basic areas of implantation and concern, it would be much better after the 5th WSF in Porto Alegre next year to schedule WSFs for every second or even third year. This would allow for holding more forums at intermediate (city, provincial, national and regional) levels. The time has surely also come to take a breather and synthesise the experiences and lessons of the major local, national, continental and global forums that have so far been held.(10) The one great lacuna in the Social Forum project is the failure to extend it to North America, particularly the US. Even at the WSFs, American participation has always been disproportionately much smaller than the size and importance of the progressive sectors of American society has warranted. This insularity must be broken.
It can with some legitimacy be claimed that without the Social Forum project, neither the global anti-war mobilization of February 15, 2003 nor the mobilization at Cancún against the WTO in September 2003 would have been anywhere near as successful as they were. By that measure March 20, 2004 will be a major test. It need not reach the level of Feb.15. Calling for an end to the US occupation is unlikely to have the same appeal as the call not to start an avoidable war. But if a few millions can be mobilised worldwide it will give an undoubted boost to progressive forces everywhere. More than the Social Forum project is at stake.Notes 1. The remarkable diversity of Indian participation was ensured by the involvement of 190 organisations in the Indian General Council, the ultimate decision-making authority for the 4th WSF. Last year’s Brazilian General Council comprised 8 organisations. The IGC nominated the main executive body, the Indian Organising Committee which in turn selected the Mumbai Organising Committee. In the IOC the two mainstream left parties, the Communist Party of India (CPI), the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPM, certain NGOs, and a number of big Dalit organisations from southern India played major roles. 2. Inadequate infrastructure obviously hampered proper discussion and mass participation especially in the big conferences. This failing was linked to the otherwise laudable determination of the organisers to limit foreign funding sources and to keep overall costs low. An approximate total estimate for holding the event (excluding all other costs) would be around $2.4million or a third of what it was at Porto Alegre. 3. Though many of their criticisms are valid – pointing out the political limitations of the WSF as currently constituted, the continuing legitimacy in at least certain situations of violent self-defence, the dangers of NGOization, the ulterior motives and purposes of certain funding sources - none of this precluded their participation in the WSF even while retaining and expressing these criticisms. Respect for the role played by some of the major groups in MR in defending the poorest sections of society in their countries (this is certainly the case in India) should not prevent one from recognising their time-warp politics nor their unfortunate sectarianism. 4. A fuller treatment of the Indian economy’s basic character is to be found in my "India’s New Right", May/June 2001 issue of the New Left Review. A booming stock market provides further reassurances to an Indian elite that includes the misnamed ‘middle class’, which far from being a median category comprises the top 10 to 15 percent of Indian society. Of the Rs.100,000 crores that went into the secondary market in 2003, only Rs. 2000 crores was new investment in new ventures. 5. In 2000 the government introduced the Banking Companies and Financial Institution Laws (Amendment) Bill in Parliament which seeks to reduce the minimum share holding by government to 33 percent. Resistance from bank unions forced the government to refer the Bill to the Standing Committee on Finance where it currently remains. 6. There were 740,000 applicants for 20,000 posts in the lowest ‘group D’ category in Indian railways. Among the applicants for railway gangmen jobs were MBAs, graduates and post-graduates and engineers. 7. Godhra,a town of roughly equal proportions of Hindus and Muslims has a long history of communal tensions and violence usually triggered by some ‘provocation’ or the other. Tensions had been building up over the week as a result of a Sangh Parivar (the Hindutva family of organisations of which the main components are the cadre-based Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the BJP and the lumpen storm-troopers of the Bajrang Dal) ‘March on Ayodhya’. Sangh activists and their families as well as ordinary passengers were returning by train to Gujarat when a molestation of a Muslim girl on the platform of Godhra station provided the spark igniting an already simmering situation, leading to the burning of one railway bogey suspected of harbouring the molesters.58 people including women and children were burnt to death. The same afternoon the Gujarat government deliberately decided to inflame the situation by calling for a state-wide ‘bandh’ or closure of all public activities on Feb. 28th when orchestrated violence on Muslim neighbourhoods began, spread throughout Gujarat into the villages and lasted for over a month. Enormous documentation of the atrocities now exists and is easily available. For a detailed account of Godhra and its immediate aftermath including the extent to which the police and bureaucracy of Gujarat (up to its highest officer levels) was suborned, see "Gujarat Carnage 2002: A Report to the Nation", April 2002, prepared by an Independent Fact Finding Mission comprising Prof. Kamal Chenoy (Jawaharlal Nehru University), S.P. Shukla (former Finance Secretary in the Central government and former member of the Planning Commission of India), K. S. Subramanian (retired as Director-General of Police in Tripura state) and Achin Vanaik. 8. While the official tally of deaths in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots after the assassination of Mrs Gandhi was around 3000 and local Congress party leaders had been behind this, it pales in comparison to what happened in Gujarat. The communal character, context and history surrounding the two cases were very different. Anti-Sikh sentiment was the result of a specific conjuncture marked by the rise of the Khalistan separatist movement. Anti-Muslim sentiment has a much longer history, wider roots and, above all, the existence of a powerful grassroots organisation whose raison d’etre is the cultivation for political purposes of an enduring hatred for Muslims. Anti-Sikh communalism has withered as the Khalistan movement withered. While the leaders most responsible for the 1984 violence have not been punished, the Congress has publicly apologized for what happened and for the role played by its local leaders. The levels of brutality and sadism reached, the scale, geographic extent and duration of communal violence was much greater in the case of Gujarat. The degree and extent of complicity on the part of the apparatuses of the state was also far greater while the negative political implications of Gujarat 2002 were much more profound. 9. In 1999, the NDA won all the 23 seats of Haryana, Delhi, Himachal and Goa put together; 20 out of 26 in Gujarat, 36 out of 42 in Andhra Pradesh, 16 out of 25 in Rajasthan, 26 out of 39 in Tamil Nadu, 28 out of 48 in Maharashtra, 41 out of 54 in Bihar, 19 out of 21 in Orissa, 29 out of 40 in Madhya Pradesh-Chattisgarh. 10. A start has been made through the publication of Challenging Empires: An Anthology of Essays on the Theory and Practice of the WSF edited by Jai Sen, Anita Anand, Arturo Escobar and Peter Waterman and carrying a thoughtful foreword by Hilary Wainwright; published by Viveka foundation and released at the WSF 2004.