In this essay, we will first evaluate the concrete conditions which led to the victory of Modi-led NDA in the sixteenth Lok Sabha elections. Subsequently, we will analyse the particular characteristics of fascist rise in the Twenty-first century and its difference from its early-Twentieth century avatar, on the basis of the concrete example of Modi's second victory. Finally, we would like to argue that it is not the time to lose heart and sink into the oblivion of desperation and rather prepare for the new phase of struggles with an effective anti-fascist political program that suits to the present times and is able to defeat fascism.
There has long been a controversy on the characterization of the Indian social formation and the stage of Indian Revolution. There is a considerable section of Marxist-Leninist parties/organizations/group that hold that India is still a semi-feudal semi-colonial or neo-colonial country. Others contend that India is no more a semi-feudal semi-colonial country; it is a relatively backward capitalist country. The aim of this paper is to make an intervention in this ongoing debate by going to the fundamental theoretical issues and testing the present Indian political situation as well as the socio-economic conditions against the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist theoretical fundamentals regarding what a semi-feudal semi-colonial social formation is. The issues at stake here are principally the determination of production relations in Indian agriculture, the nature of Indian bourgeoisie and the extent of capitalist industrial and financial development in India.
The question of identity has remained a debatable issue among Marxists-Leninists since at least four decades. The question, in effect, pertains to a Marxist understanding of social oppression based on identity. The Identity Politics theorists claim that Marxism ignores or plays down the role of various forms of social oppression and reduces everything to class. Even some Marxists-Leninists had a moment of epiphany following such claims by Identity Politics theorists, Privilege Theorists, and in general by Postmodernists and Post-Marxists in the 1970s and 1980s and accepted that Marxism in its current form is class reductionist and economistic and lacks the ability to understand the question of social oppression.
This ‘Introduction’ named ‘Bridging the Unholy Rift’ is not only full of factual and logical mistakes but also shows that Teltumbde understands the least about Marxism. He distorts facts about Ambedkar’s attitude towards communist philosophy, his attitude towards Indian communists (howsoever ideologically weak they were!) and makes a shame-faced attempt to make Ambedkar a sympathizer of Marxist philosophy. Anyone who has read Ambedkar knows that such a claim would be nothing less than a travesty of facts, a mockery of history. This attempt leads Teltumbde, first, to make a liberal appropriation of Marx, Engels and the entire Marxist philosophy and then show the vicinity of pragmatist liberalism of Ambedkar to Marxism as a science of revolution. Such wilful distortion of Marxism was not expected from Teltumbde. Also, he has revealed his “understanding” of Marx’s Capital as well as his stand towards the use of parliament and establishment of socialism, not to speak of Lenin’s theory of Imperialism and the strategy and general tactics proposed by Lenin in the imperialist stage. In the present essay I will attempt to show these serious shortcomings of this ‘Introduction’ written by Anand Teltumbde, mostly in chronological order.
Since all the theories of imperialism that emerged after the Second World War claim to be Marxist or at least heavily influenced by Marxism and build upon the writings of Marx and Lenin, it would be imperative to recapitulate the basic tenets of the Classical Marxist theories of imperialism. Such an endeavor, of course, can only start with Marx's fragmentary observations about expansion of capitalism on global scale, causes of this expansion, its influence on the advanced capitalist countries as well as on the backward countries that became colonies.
some people question the validity of the analysis offered in Capital from an infantile and deductive perspective: if Capital is valid, why did not revolutions take place? Well, Marx never believed in the ‘inevitability of socialism’; he believed that recurrent crises will keep occuring as long as capitalism survives because crises are immanent to capital and these crises will become deeper and more serious in the long term; every crisis will create the dual potential, the progressive one and the reactionary one. Whether the progressive potential is realized or not, is not a question that can be decided automatically. Revolutions are conscious political acts of the working class under the institutionalized leadership of the vanguard. Marx understood this fact clearly and that is why, while being optimistic about the prospects of revolution and the revolutionary organization of proletariat (‘optimist of will’), clearly reminded that revolutions are not inevitable and the crises of capitalism and resultant class struggle can lead to a destruction of the warring classes, or to a state of barbarism (‘pessimist of intellect’). Rosa Luxemburg put it eloquently: “either transition to socialism or regression into barbarism.” Her prognosis proved correct when failures of revolutions in Europe led to the rise of Fascism and Nazism, that showed glimpse of barbarism to the world watching in horror; the punishment for letting the moment of Socialism pass, to quote Daniel Guerin.
Irrespective of the fact that the communist movement in India could not understand caste in its historicity and contemporaneity, despite empirically fighting against it, we cannot deduce that Marxist analytical method is insufficient to undersand the caste question and provide a workable solution for it. In my opinion, it is only the Marxist approach that can and does provide a scientific understanding and solution of the caste question. The problem is that the communist movement in India has remained unable to work out this solution and as a result has fallen prey to opportunistic ideological surrender before the identitarian and pragamtist politics. Some honest revolutionary communists are in the mode of Christian confession and penitence and arguing that Marxism is not sufficient for understanding caste; Marxism is for class struggle and economic exploitation and Ambedkarite thought is for annihilation of caste and social discrimination. Such aggregative logic only shows that these people neither understand economic exploitation nor social discrimination. The question of any revolutionary change in society is primarily a question of understanding the laws of social dynamics, not sentiments.
First of all, the article constructs the ‘margins’ as quite an alluring place to be in. Consequently, those who still are not on the margins and therefore, can anytime move towards the political mainland, or else those who are not on the margins of their own will or choice or possibly are not conscious of their position on the margins; for all such people this article paints the ‘margins’ as a desirable place. Secondly, in the process of constructing the ‘margins’ as something alluring, this article makes a travesty of both history and ideology. The understanding of history and ideology of Fascism which has been put forth in this ‘wise men’s reading’, can be called, with utmost liberality, poor and infantile. Therefore, in order to have a clarity of vision on some key issues pertaining to the questions of ideology and history too, we consider it crucial to present a thorough critique of this article.
The phenomenal victory of Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance on May 16, 2014 and the consequent attacks on civil and democratic rights, students movement, women's movement and most importantly the working class movement and workers' rights haveraised several questions, regarding the character of the Modi regime, the conditions that led to the rise of communal Fascists to power, the failure of the revolutionary Left, the role of the parliamentary Left and the Social-Democrats as well as the peculiarities of Indian Fascism and the challenges of the revolutionary Communist and working class movement. Needless to say, the present unprecedented rise of Hindutva Fascism to power must be located in the overall rise of Far Right (often Fascist) forces around the world following the beginning of economic crisis in 2007. From 'Golden Dawn' in Greece to 'Pegida' in Germany and Britain and 'National Front' in France, 'Svoboda' in Ukraine or 'Reclaim Australia' in Australia, the Fascist and Far Right forces have received fillip from the over-all atmosphere of insecurity and uncertainty. The recent crisis is even snatching away the long-held rights of the white-collared workers and the middle classesin the advanced capitalist countries too asthese have become economically unsustainable for the neoliberal states in the advanced world also. The rise of Modi in India or the military rule in Thailand must be situated in the global rise of reactionary bourgeois regimes, including Fascist regimes.
As social scientists (researcher or teachers of social sciences), perhaps all of us are aware of a sense of unease, a kind of foreboding and a feeling of impending catastrophe prevalent in the corridors of departments of social sciences in the universities and colleges. It would be unrealistic to argue that this feeling of a hovering crisis is misplaced or unfounded. Social scientists across the country have been experiencing this anxiety since the mid-1990s itself for a variety of reasons. One of the most discernible reasons is the economic, namely, the increasing fund-cuts for universities and most alarmingly in the budget allocated for social science education, including research and teaching. Another cause is the state's increasing political intervention in the institutions of higher education in general and institutions of social sciences in particular. This has been particularly evident from the attempts on the part of the present government to curb the autonomy of these institutions as well as attack the intellectual freedom of practitioners of what we call 'liberal arts', social sciences and humanities. I would start with a recent event of attack on the social scientists who raised their voice against rising intolerance (though this binary of tolerance and intolerance itself is an incorrigibly liberal one and highly problematic as it performs a liberal displacement of the fundamental political and ideological debate/struggle; in the words of Gilles Deleuze, it is a 'dysjunctive synthesis') in the country since the rise of Modi-led NDA to power.