Caste Question, Marxism and the Political Legacy of B. R. Ambedkar

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.

Advertisements

Lessons for the Saner Segments Who Wish to Inhabit the Margins Forever

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 Resistible Rise of Fascism and the Challenges of the Working Class Movement in India

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.

Whither Social Sciences?

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.

Whither Working Class Movement?

Abhinav Sinha Indian as well as the International working class movement is facing a grave crisis today. Now it is not a matter of contention that the power of capital has dominated the power of labour ever since the fall of the workers’ states that came into being in the first part of the 20th … Continue reading Whither Working Class Movement?

Problems of Indian Revolution: Prospects and Challenges

Abhinav Sinha After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the disintegration of the mighty Soviet Union in 1990, bourgeois think-tanks and academia of the West reveled in hysteric caterwaul. The death of Marxism and Socialism was proclaimed; the age of 'meta-narratives' was finally over; the last oppressiveness of the 'modern' was finally … Continue reading Problems of Indian Revolution: Prospects and Challenges

Historiography of Caste: Some Critical Observations and Some Methodological Interventions

● Abhinav Sinha In almost all the cases, the entire gamut of writings, research papers and various other kinds of essays on the caste-system, begin with some sentences or phrases that have been so overused as to be rendered into cliché, and since even after getting thoroughly worn out these clichés present the reality to … Continue reading Historiography of Caste: Some Critical Observations and Some Methodological Interventions