ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Great Turmoil, Considerable Possibilities

Is the Torch Passing? Resistance and Revolution in China and India by Robert Weil (Kolkata: Setu Prakashani), 2013; pp 336, Rs 395.

The evocative title of the book, Is the Torch Passing? seems to suggest that a decisive historic breakthrough is in the making in China and India. The author, Robert Weil, is known in radical circles for his previous book Red Cat, White Cat: China and the Contradictions of Market Socialism (Monthly Review Press, New York, 1996; published in India by Cornerstone Publications, Kharagpur), which tells the story of how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping used the results of the earlier socialist period to successfully build capitalism. In his latest book, Is the Torch Passing? he throws light on the “great turmoil” in China and India, and optimistically, the great possibilities these upheavals are throwing up.

Part I has four chapters on China – the first, viewing the cultural revolution in historical perspective; the second, Chinese working class resistance; the third, the young, migrant workers of Shenzhen, especially those working for Foxconn, and the fourth, about the struggle for socialism, the lessons from the past and the prospects for the future. Part II has three chapters and an epilogue. The first, about the difference it makes when the old state and social order are overthrown, which is a preliminary contrast of India and China. The second, hoping for the coming together of the toiling people of China and India in the course of their respective struggles, covers a whole lot of worker struggles, as also the possibility of the Maoist movement in India extending into the plains areas. The third, about the Maoist movement in India, covers the Lalgarh uprising in some detail. The epilogue discusses the setback in Lalgarh while in the conclusion the author places his hopes in revolutionary unity, the toiling masses of China and India joining forces.

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