Electoral circus of Indian politics – Sabyasachi Goswami
“The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them.” – Karl Marx
With the Lok Sabha election around the corner, the political atmosphere of the country is heating up. On the one hand, there are self-proclaimed “patriots” and on the other the “keepers of the constitution”.The I.T cells of the rulers of various shades along with the corporate media are trying to polarize the people into these two camps. Whether one should enlist themselves as a “patriot”, or they should pledge to “guard the holy constitution”, the public opinion is being divided on this question. While the arrogant bragging of 56 inches contains extremist nationalistic fervor, the opponents (the “great alliance”)are trying to implicate that not supporting them is equivalent to strengthening the Fascists and jeopardizing the “holy constitution”.
The parliament centric lefts and their loyal intellectuals, “eager to protect the holy constitution” are also shouting on top of their voices, ‘the system is in danger’. In reality, either you are in my camp otherwise you are an “anti-national” or a “fascist” -these are essentially the two different expressions of the Indian statist fascism, only the articulation is different. In this situation, it is important to take a conscious political stand. We need to carefully determine our programmes based on a holistic understanding of each of these political parties’ activities and a dialectical materialistic analysis of our past experiences with them.
Today our reality is overshadowed by the virtual space. The ‘false’ is being established as the ‘truth’, thanks to the joint effort made by the corporate media and the so-called internet world. As Sukumar Roy once said, “a cat materializes out of a handkerchief”. They have successfully projected the main architect of the Gujarat genocide as the “poster boy of development” through their publicity, Congress, the epitome of injustice becomes the flag bearer of “justice”. The corrupted and fallen lefts are being worshipped as the “communists” and TMC, the party with no ideology who came to power in Bengal only by using their politics of opposition is now being praised for its “principled politics”.
Although the different ruling parties have certain differences in their expressions and articulations, they are essentially similar in their activities, there is no materialistic basis to doubt this. Because firstly, all of them are corroborators of the development model that serves the interest of the corporates. Each of them actively takes part in accordance to their abilities in palming out the natural resources to the corporate sharks, displacing the people to gratify the corporate greed, inviting foreign investment in all sectors in the name of open economy, repressing the people’s agitation by using military powers, passing repressive laws, killing people in fake encounters and imprisoning thousands of people in fascist style. Their only aim is to protect the interest of the national compradors like Tata, Ambani, Adani, Jindal, Mittal and Vedant, and the multinational corporations and to ensure their profit. All of their hands are soaked in the blood of the protesting people. All of them are “Chowkidar” (gatekeeper) of the looters of the country.
Secondly, denying the fact that India is a country of diverse ethnicity, they promote an idea of “Indian nationalism”. This is nothing but a false claim. It is their ploy to impose the upper caste Hindi-Hindu dominance on the oppressed nationalities. All of them perceive the Kashmiris and North Eastern people’s desire for freedom as separatism and terrorism. In the same way, they try to brutally oppress the self-determination movements of Gorkha, Kamtapuri, and others. They are using military forces to tyrannize the tears, blood, and dreams of these oppressed identities in the name of “Akanda Bharat”, “Indian Nationality” etc. and none of them ever attempted to find a political solution to these issues. They are actually trying to ensure that the capital market of different national and multinational corporations doesn’t get divided.
Third, all of them always stood for Hindutwaand oppressed minorities. Hands of both the Congress and BJP are stained with the blood of minorities. We shouldn’t forget how the BJP and the Congress directly fueled the massacres of the minorities in Meerut, Maliayana, Bhagalpur, Bhiwandi, Neli, Gujarat, Kandhamal, Muzzafarnagar and in many other places. We need to take note that when the BJP is trying to push the nation towards a religious fanaticism, how all other parties are trying to prove their credibility asHindus instead of boldly promoting the idea of secularism. We have seen how these parties including Congress, CPM and TMC surrendered before the BJP’s call for war and nationalistic frenzy during the incident of Pulwama. Avoiding the main question, all of them were busy in shedding crocodile’s tear in the candlelight vigils. But all of them maintained complete silence when the security forces killed 10 innocent villagers at Abujhmar in Bastar when 42 Adivasi people who gathered for a marriage ceremony were brutally killed in Garchhidoli when thousands of Kashmiris were injured with a pellet gun and several others were disappeared forcefully. This is their patriotism. A country, to them, is merely the map, the market, and the investment.The people and their plights do not have any place in it.
Forth, whenever any of them came into power they advocated for a more concentrated form of ruling. Time and again, mass movements have raised the demand of a true federal structure of government, where the defense, communication, currency and foreign these four departments will remain under the control of the center and all other powers will be vested on the state governments. But these parties have never recognized this demand in their programs. Rather they promoted the idea of “Akhand Bharat” to safeguard the undivided market for the big capitals and imperialist multinational capitals. The leftists, rightists and the religious fanatics all are on the same boat.
Fifth, all of them are promoters of the Brahminical caste system, only they differ in their expressions. They are expert in dominating any attempt made by the Dalit people to reclaim their rights. There’s no doubt that physical attack on the Dalits has increased manifolds in this present Hindutwavadi era (according to the National Crime Bureau, since 2015 each day six Dalit women are being raped in this country, in 2003 the figure was three). But all of these ruling parties are desperate to protect the Brahminical ideology and socio-economic condition that has created this situation. None of them have initiated any mass movement against the decision of evicting almost 10 lakh Adivasi people from the forests. They are not ready to accept the provision of reservation for the Dalits and Adivasis. Even when all the higher positions in the society including in the education are monopolized by the upper castes, still they have passed the bill for 10% reservation for the upper caste in the name of poverty. In this way, they are trying to blur out the actual purpose of reservation. The purpose of reservation is to bring forward the Dalit representation according to their ratio in the overall population.Poverty alleviation was never the agenda of reservation.In this case, not only the Brahminical parties but most of the parties who claim to be the protectors of Dalit’s interest have also shamelessly supported this bill.
Sixth, all of them are corrupted to the core. They forget the people and the election promises as soon as they assume the power.In fact, these electoral parties do exactly the opposite of what they preach once they get the power. For example, in 2011 in their election manifesto (in the Bengali edition)TMC promised to release all the prisoners who are behind the bar due to a political conspiracy. After assuming the power TMC not only refused to do this but also, they revoked the political prisoner status of these activists. They also intensified their attack on the political prisoners by transferring them from one jail to another, killing them without providing proper medications and in so many other ways. Once a staunch opponent of TADA, Mamata Banerjee imprisoned several mass activists in Lalgarh, Nonadanga, and Bhangar and slapped the draconian UAPA on them. During the Congress regime, the BJP opposed everything right from the FDI in retail to Adhaar card, but the same party expediated all those processes once they came into power. They declared war on corruption, and we can see how the leaders of the BJP and their family members have become richer after the party assumed power. After the revelation of Rafael Scandal the oppositions are directly calling out “Chowkidar is the thief”. When in power the CPM is pro-investment, the lapdog of multinational corporations and busy in portraying the ‘human face’ of globalization and while they are in opposition seat, they become the “anti-imperialist revolutionaries”!
Congress is the most efficient in all these. In their election propaganda, they promised to repeal TADA. They did that too, but at the same time, they introduced the more oppressive UAPA. In this current election, they have promised to repeal the sedition act and AFSPA. It can be said quite responsibly that they must have some plans to implement certain severer laws. We shouldn’t forget that right after assuming the power in Chhattisgarh assembly, they killed 10 villagers in Bastar in a fake encounter. Although the “Urban Naxal” is a BJP coinage, we must remember that it was the Congress Home minister P. Chidambaram who tagged the human rights activists as Naxals and propagated the urban Maoists are even more dangerous than the Maoist armed squads. Mr. Buddhadeb Bhattacharya of CPM also labeled the well-known human rights organization APDR as “Maoist Outfit”. Mamata speaks in the same tone. While BJP uses Operation Samadhan to combat the Maoists, Congress used the Operation Green Hunt.
Seventh, all the bluffs of these electoral parties become crystal clear on the question of agrarian crisis. Farmers are killing themselves all over the country and these parties are trying to appease them with some superficial relieves without addressing the issue of basic land reform and other fundamental issues. The present Hindutwavadi rulers do not even care to note the statistics of farmers’ suicide. But not only the BJP and Congress, the former CPM government and present TMC government in Bengal are also expert in denying the incidents of farmer suicide. All of them are keeping mum about the open market economy, withdrawal of all debt schemes for the farmers and exploitation of them by the landlords-moneylenders and crops businessmen.
Eighth, all of them clearly stand against the interest of the working class.After the apparent downfall of communism when the worldwide working-class movement is comparatively weak, they have removed all their masks. They have snatched away all the rights, that were achieved by different national and international workers’ movements.Workers are being employed on a contract basis; permanent employment is becoming a thing of the past.None of these parties have ever taken any administrative steps against this. The companies are robbing the crores of Provident Fund’s money of the workers and we do not witness any effective police action. But the moment there is a workers’ agitation, the police bring down brutal oppression. These ruling class parties are trying to curb the workers right to unionize by amending the Labor law. There’s no job security for the contractual labors and labors working in the unorganized sectors. The right to work only 8 hours a week is also being disregarded everywhere. 12 hours working hour has become the norm. They are providing every support to the owners of the companies to sack the workers by establishing capital intensive industries and implementing automation. They are stripping away the workers’ power to bargain. The century-old Congress-BJP and the newly emerged TMC, all are exactly the same in this regard.
This is true, that the constitutional governmental system has been disrupted in the era of Narendra Modi. Modi has dismissed the Planning Commission right after assuming the power. He attempted to impose legislative control over the judiciary completely disregarding its autonomy. He has intervened in the autonomy of Reserve Bank and blatantly used the CBI. All the parties who have been in power in the center have done this to some extent. BJP, in an attempt to portray a clean image of themselves, are sending the CBI after the opposition leaders. They are completely ignoring all the norms of parliamentary politics. However, they have failed to maintain this mask of honesty, as we can see how the looters of public money are fleeing from the country with their full support and aid. We have also witnessed, how all the murderer sangh leaders have got clean chits from the courts. The BJP has tried to arrest the high-ranking police officials and Chief Minister’s secretary in order to exhibit their power and threaten the state governments. They have even arrested and jailed elected Chief Minister of a state as they failed to tame him in any other ways. As a result,we are witnessing the incidents like the unrest within the Reserve Bank, the conflict inside the CBI, the clash between the Lalbazar and CBI, and non-confidence of the judges. All of these are coming out rapidly. Further, the extremist Hindutwavadi organizations are killing people, raping the women, orchestrating riots in the name of Gau-Raksha, Ghar-wapsi, and Love-jihad. They are nurturing the issue of building up the temple in the Babri ground to disrupt the social fabric. These all are an indication of fascism, there’s no doubt about it. But the question is, when does fascism assume power? When the ruling class faces an extreme economic crisis; when the system is on the verge of collapsing; when there is an excellent revolutionary condition; but the subjective force of the revolutionaries is less, in such situations fascism is the only weapon of the ruling class to protect themselves.
What is a revolutionary situation? In the “ Collapse of the Second International”, Vladimir Ilych Lenin has described it as, “(1) when it is impossible for the ruling classes to maintain their rule without any change; when there is a crisis, in one form or another, among the “upper classes”, a crisis in the policy of the ruling class, leading to a fissure through which the discontent and indignation of the oppressed classes burst forth. For a revolution to take place, it is usually insufficient for “the lower classes not to want” to live in the old way; it is also necessary that “the upper classes should be unable” to live in the old way; (2) when the suffering and want of the oppressed classes have grown more acute than usual; (3) when, as a consequence of the above causes, there is a considerable increase in the activity of the masses, who uncomplainingly allow themselves to be robbed in “peace time”, but, in turbulent times, are drawn both by all the circumstances of the crisis and by the “upper classes” themselves into independent historical action.”
We need to remember, the open market economy which is being praised by world capitalism since the 1980s is not an indication of the strength of capitalism, rather this globalized liberal economy signifies its weaknesses. In this ever-growing economic crisis, they are failing to provide any aid to the citizens.The aids that were once provided by the so-called welfare nation-statesare being snatched away in the name of this globalized economy. As a result, we are witnessing a globalization of recession. Unemployment, starvation, and poverty are increasing rapidly.
Although the grievances among the workers and farmers are rising, the subjective force of the proletariat class has weakened due tothe downfall of the world socialist movement. So, the rise of fascism in different countries has become the norm of our time. The economic crisis of capitalism creates the objective ground for fascism and the weakness of communist movements helps it to grow. In this situation, the fascism emerges as the savior of the system to pacify the hearted of the mass towards the current system. They deceive the people with their ultra-nationalist slogans. It may appear from these slogans that they indeed want to bring a radical change to the system. Some people actually start believing them and fall prey to their falsely created image. Like during the demonetization, many middle-class people said, “we do not have a problem to suffer for a few days as long as it ensures the seizure of the black money!”. Their deep resentment against this corrupt system that gives birth to the black money hoarders and corrupt politicians, drove them towards Modi. They forgot that demonetization can no way touch the black money hoarders as the hoarders, of course, do not store the black money in their houses. In the name of seizing the black money, the demonetization actually aimed to destruct the unorganized sector and small retailers. It harmed the farmers. It was an attempt to ease out the process of implementing FDI in retails, however, Modi promoted it as a war on black money! So, a section of the ruling class (which is more frenetic and violent) put forward some slogans or takes certain steps to deceive a section of the mass. It exploits the anti-system emotions of the mass in order to become the savior of the corporate capital. They organize a section of the mass based on some wrong assumptions and instigate them to violently attack the other sections. They utilize violent religious of nationalistic fanaticism and thousands of lies in this process.
When they successfully bring down violent attacks on a large section of people (in our country this section is comprised of workers, farmers, small and medium business persons, and women, Dalits, Adivasis, religious minority and oppressed nationalities), another section of the ruling class emerges as the savior.This later section then deceives the mass by telling them that the system is in danger and it needs to be protected. A section of the people naturally falls for this trap just to get some relief. In this way, the system reproduces itself again and again.
We need to remember, it’s not only Modi, but all the ruling class parties of our country also have some fascist agenda, only the intensity varies. The parties which are being projected as the saviors of the system also have their hidden fascist agenda. The internal market of our country is weak, and the purchasing power of the people is low due to the backward production relation in the agricultural sector and the prevalence of the unorganized sector. It is inadequate to gratify the ever-increasing greed of the corporate capital for profit making.
So, breaking away from the general norm of business, capitalism is now directly snatching away the wealth from the people to accumulate profit and it is continuing from the last few decades. They are violently grabbing the land, forest, and minerals. Here the main victims are the Adivasis and Dalits. People are resisting these attempts; democratic patriotic people are taking an active part in these resistance movements. Sometimes the resistance is non-violent and sometimes it is violent. Threatened by these resistance movements, the ruling class has unleashed brutal military aggression. In an attempt to provide some permanency to this aggression, a fascist tendency of the state is being evident. Congress-CPM-TMC-BJP all are in the same position on this question. So, the parties who are now projecting themselves as the savior of the constitution and bringing forward the demand of “justice” and poverty alleviation, will have to maintain the fascist policy of state aggression once they assume the power. We shouldn’t forget that Indira Gandhi used this same slogan of “poverty alleviation (garibi hothao)” to establish the fascist regime during the 1970s emergency. Those who are falling prey to this call for protecting the constitution should be reminded that the fascist programs can efficiently be implemented by using this constitution and the constitutional institutions including the Supreme Court. We shouldn’t forget this very Supreme Court has passed the judgment against the interest of the Dalits; they have directed the eviction of the Adivasis and snatched away the workers’ right to strike. It is important to learn from history. Only a few years back when the large section of poor people including the farmers was suffering massively under the NDA government led by Vajpayee, many of us participated in raising slogans to defeat NDA. In effect, we saw the UPA-1 government expedited the process of selling out the forest, water, and land in the name of liberal economy, at the same time they implemented the “operation green hunt” to destroy all the resistance movements that were being organized against this policy. After the “change (paribortan)” in the regime in West Bengal, the Mamata-led government is following the footsteps of the former Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya in oppressing all the voices of oppositions. The “paribartan chai” slogan sounds so feeble nowadays. In fact, the Mamata-led government started its job right where Buddhadeb Bhattacharya left it. That means, whenever a ruling party came into the power by exploiting the people’s movements against the fascist rulers, they became even more tyrant and escalated the process of selling out the country. So, if we fail to restrain ourselves from doing the same mistake time and again, that’ll actually harm the anti-fascist movement. We need to remember the anti-fascist struggle is not some politics of parliamentary coalitions, it is not limited to a few conventions or publications. Rather the task is to organize the people at the grassroots level and to connect all the democratic movements that are being emerged all over the country. Building up the ground movement against fascism is more important than the electoral fight or the meetings and seminars. Initiatives to organize at the grassroots level is much more important.
If we want to have a truly democratic system where there is no inequality and exploitation, where people can live respectfully and are allowed to freely express their views, where corporates cannot loot the people, where there is no inequality based on the caste, religion, and gender, then the revolutionary change of the system is the only way out before us.
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