The veracity of Indian democracy
From Gujarat to Nandigram
If you disagree with the state, you will be killed. If you are not a Hindu you will be killed. You are a human being and think like one. This can provide enough reasons for killing you. Didn’t you hear this during the honorable tour of Indian democracy? Our right to live will be decided by the thermometer of majority of the parliamentary politics of India. The honorable journey in the service of finance capital is moving ahead crushing the oppressed masses. Chief Minister of a state challenges all those who oppose the mass killings by saying that he is elected by the majority. Not only this he even challenged his opponents to contest the elections to find it (let elections decide whether he is right or wrong). If we follow Narendra Modi or other monks of Indian democracy, we get to the conclusion that the people of Gujarat have not only welcomed the killings organized by Narendra Modi but also provided him a license to continue.
Crisis of Indian Democracy and Fascism.
Discussions are hot on the reelection of Narendra Modi. At many places caste equations and equations of congress and BJP are being discussed. But there are much important questions which are left out.i.e. Is Modi the first person to be elected after organizing mass killings? Indira Gandhi was responsible for enforcing an emergency. Repression reached to heights, people got killed but she got re elected with majority in just three years time. The facts lay strong emphasis on the questions that are being raised on democracy in India. This democracy based on semi feudal and semi colonial relations becomes more regressive with the deepening of economic crisis. If we talk about the present structure of parliament we find that power has been centralized to the cabinet and more so in the pre determined standing committees which are found to be serving the finance capital. Even the roles of ministers are decided by this finance capital. More importantly fascism has been borne out of the Indian parliament itself. The decision to put an emergency can be undemocratic but in no way unlawful in the parliamentary framework. If in majority the government has a right to reject crores of masses on the basis of decision taken by the cabinet as the whip of cabinet is a compulsion to all members of the parliament. Today the Indian parliament is undergoing severe crisis despite using caste, religion and other regressive measures. There is a contradiction between democracy and feudalism. The growth of democracy means decline in role of feudal institutions (such as caste, creed, religion etc) in our social political life. But what we find here is that these institutions have made a strong hold. Indian parliamentary politics has made all these feudal relations more strong. Apart from this we can get a glimpse of the increasing crisis in the present structure of governance where there is multi party position and multiparty opposition. Still it is hard to complete five years tenure. And now they are talking of revising the constitution. It is harsh reality that the parliament can do nothing more than have a mock debate on economic and external affairs. Now ordinance have taken the place of bills in parliament. Emergency powers are becoming the common tools of governance. In this way Indian democracy is becoming more and more another weapon to repress the masses. Political crisis is increasing in the country. If we read the indicators in the country we find that the whole of ruling class is busy serving finance capital. The rights and struggles of working classes are being curbed. The judiciary is all set to follow the directions provided by finance capital. These indications are found in many anti-struggles and anti strike decisions given by the court. Arundhati Roy was punished for standing by the people who are displaced in the Narmada project. Whereas, Narendra Modi was spared, when he announced that, “enemies of humanity will be killed as Sohrabuddin”. May be this is not contempt of court. The rulers use a section of people to built private gangs to crush any mass struggle by the masses. In Gujarat we saw that Narendra Modi mobilized all the classes against the Muslims. Even the dalits and tribes were mobilized for the genocide. We can also see the glimpse of these regressive measures taken by that state in organizing anti struggle gangs amongst the people against struggling masses of Orissa and Nandigram. After 1990’s there has been increase in private gangs backed by the state in areas of nationalities and naxal struggle. State consciously creates an environment of terror to garner the support of masses for its repressive measures. Time and again the masses are being told that they are in constant danger. They are sitting on a heap of gunpowder which can be ignited from anywhere in Pakistan or Bangladesh. This terror is being used by the government to justify its huge expenditure on intelligence and army (legal as well as illegal) such as Salwa Judum in Chhattisgarh, grey hounds and cobra in Andhra Pradesh, NASUS in Jharkhand, SULFA in Assam, etc and black laws. In such a way it creates have inner contradictions amongst the masses.
The signs of fascism are quite clear. One thing the ruling classes have in common that they have all been using and organizing masses into reactionary forces. Fascism is deep rooted into the economic and political system. We also find that riots take place at those places were indigenous and handicraft industry have a strong hold. Such as Bhagalpur (silk mills), Aligarh (lock industry), Gujarat where there are a large number of small industries. Imperialism conflicts with indigenous techniques. It uses riots as means to destroy indigenous techniques. We find that not a single industrial organization protested when large numbers of small scale industries were destroyed during the riots.
Fascism in the country could be traced back to 1970s when the signs of world wide depression could be seen. Imperialism again plunged to a long term crisis from the 70s. This is the time when India faced the consequences of emergency. Indira Gandhi in her later years used Hindu chauvinism. The anti people decisions introduced fascism to the people of India in the times of growing economic and political crisis. By giving loans IMF started its structural adjustment programs in 1980s. Rajiv Gandhi’s reign saw many such anti people policies as well as concept of a strong Hindu nationalism.
The rise of Hindu fascist forces into a political force
The Hindu fascist ideology has been in existence for as long as seven and a half decades with the inauguration of the RSS in 1925 at Nagpur. But it did not play any significant role in state power. It has risen to power in the last 25 years and since then has become a strong political force. Initially its bases were upper caste people and Hindu merchant communities. In 1980s ruling classes decided to develop this fascist ideology. It has increased day by day and has made a place even amongst the dalits and backward castes. All the ruling classes have played a significant role in developing aiding and abetting the growth of fascist forces. The different fronts made with an intention of parliamentary alliances have legalized Hindu fascism. It has maintained a mask by making alliances with regional parties. BJP in its tenure associated with big commercial households and together with its organizations-CII, FICCI, and ASOCHEM-formed various committees with different ministries. It went so far as to make acquaintances with the PM office. We see that Hindu fascism is basically a result of a course of political events, which has been brought by the ruling class, which centers on imperialism and increasing political and economic crisis of national and foreign capitalists and ruling classes.
Does fascism have any definition?
According to the 13th meet of Communist International, “comrades, fascism in power was correctly described by the Thirteenth Plenum of the Executive Committee of the Communist International as the open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic and most imperialist elements of finance capital”.(1) Dimitrov warns also of development of fascist ideology by the rulers if there is economic and political crisis .i.e. the main question is of economic and political crisis and class character. A special character of fascism is that, it is supported by regressive forces and it uses these forces to legalize its works. The regressive mass movement aroused by fascism is used by the rulers to terrorize and repress the people’s struggles. According to Togliyati,
“Fascism should be used only when the attack start on working class & it is being carried out on depending any mass base as petty bourgeoisie. We get this specificity in Germany, Italy, France, England, & all those other places where fascism is in existence.”2 ( translation ours)
If we read the signs coming from different parts of the country, it becomes clear that state is becoming fascist. Its roots are well dug into the crisis of imperialism which is leading to rise in dangerous political crisis.
Dying Imperialism And Growing Fascism
Fascism is directly related to finance capital. This relation can be understood by reviewing the past. After 1930’s, imperialism again went into deep and long term crisis in 1970’s. Before this period, surplus capital searched ways to grow. IMF, IBRD and globalization brought a solution for this. In 1980 inoperative capital found a way in giving loans to the third world. After 1990 .i.e. with the introduction of globalization, the surplus capital tried to make a place in the world market and come out of the depression. This technique helped a little but the crisis had come to say. After the dot.com bubble brusted in 2002, the situation became worse. The American economy started shrinking. Then came the housing bubble started by the Federal Reserve (central bank of America). It also gave fruits for some time but on august 16, 2007, the tree collapsed, which was called sub-prime crisis. This crisis had far reaching effects. According to Rodigo Rato, “US will bear the burnt of the economic consequences of the crisis, with the bulk of the impact not being felt until next year… The potential consequences of the episode should not be underestimated and the adjustment process is likely to be protected. Credit condition may not normalize soon, developed in the structure … it has an real effect on the real economy which will be felt more in 2008, with greater intensity in US, less in other areas.”(3)
The impact of the crisis of the American economy on the world economy is evident. Signs of depression cannot be ignored as it would increase the economic crisis globally.
The crisis in American sub prime market, lead to instability in all the share markets of the world. The results were so drastic that many of the leading banks of the world were endangered. So to save them, the central banks had to pour in a lot of wealth. The European Central Bank invested $130 billion, Japanese Bank invested $1 trillion and American Federal Bank invested $43 billion. As imperialism has already used all techniques, it has no other alternative left than to loot the already poor countries. This it would attain through the medium of globalization. “ To give some idea of the importance of profits from investments abroad in the total US economy, these represented about 6% of the total business profits in 1960s, 11% in 1970s, 15-16% in the 1980s &, 1990s, & have averaged 18% for the five years period 2000-2004.(4)
There has also been an increase in purchase and sale of stocks. “If we see trend of last 30 years in 1975, 19 millions stock shares traded daily on the New York stock exchange, by 1985.the volume had reached 109 million & by 2000, 1,600 million shares with a value of over $ 60 billion. Even larger is the daily trading on the world currency markets, which has gone from $ 80 billion a day in 1977, to the current average of $ 1.8 trillion a day. That means that every 24 days the dollar volume of currency trading equals the entire worlds annual GDP. (5) we can easily draw conclusions that the finance capital will search more and more avenues for profits and economic instability would increase.
Apart from this concentration has grown many folds. According to a study published in 2005 we find that the top 10 companies controls almost 59% market share of the world’s leading 98 drug firms. The top 10 companies control almost half of the $29,566 million global pesticide market. Analysts predict that only three major companies will survive in the conventional pesticide business by 2015. In 2004, the 10 global food retailers accounted for combined sales of $ 84,000 million – 24% of the estimated $ 3.5 trillion global market. We can asses from these oligarchies how trance national companies are controlling & shaping our social-economical-political life. At the beginning of this decade it was predicted by many analyst that the period of corporate mergers as seen in 1990s was over but in 2004, the global value of corporate mergers & acquisitions climbed to $ 1.95 trillion- a 40% jump over the $ 1.38 trillion in 2003. Combined sales of world’s largest 200 largest corporations account for 29% of world’s economic activity in 2004. It was about $ 11,442,253 million. We can asses the concentration of wealth from this fact that the total wealth of 946 world’s billionaires grew 35% year to year while income levels for the lower 55% of the world’s population declined or stagnate.
According to James Petras, “Given the enormous class and income disparities in Russia, Latin America and China (20 Chinese billionaires have a net worth of 29.4 billion USD in less than ten years), it is more accurate to describe these countries as ‘surging billionaires’ rather than ‘emerging markets’. In backward countries globalization was produced as the solution of all their problems. Mainstream economists preach us that capital always seeks the highest returns & typically flows from rich countries to poor ones- but The Economist notes that emerging economies sent about $350 billion to rich countries in 2004.(6) These all facts of concentration show that the crisis in imperialism is deepening. We know that the fundamental reason of the crisis of the imperialism is the contradiction between social form of production & private form of ownership. These all process would intense the contradictions of imperialism to a large extent. We can say that if imperialism in the period of com. Lenin was moribund & parasite then it is thousand times more moribund & more parasite. To come out from this crisis imperialism would take more reactionary measures. As result the plunder of oppressed nation would rise at huge level. The expenditure on imperialist war would increase. The market of weapon would be promoted. In all countries racial & religious sentiments would be ignited. To keep the level of profit high many genocide & mass killings would be organized. It is the last tool in hands of imperialism.
The leaders of the Indian economy are showing the economy to be full proof, but they themselves are not sure about it. The sales of shares, by the FIIs were the largest in August after the sub prime crisis. The monthly sales reached to a record figure since they were allowed participation in the Indian markets in the early 1990s. This means that a single crisis in American market has the potentiality to shake the whole market. Big comprador houses of India are bound as never before to the imperialists. Most of the private banks in India have become more foreign than Indian. The reasons for the flow of funds by the FIIs are the serious sub-prime crisis and low interests rates rather than the strong position of Indian economy. The foreign control on Indian economy has reached to dangerous limits. The foreign investment in telecom sector is about 74%. The real estate boom in India is going the U.S way. The crisis in Indian agriculture is known to all. In the past 30 years there is a record decline in food grain production. India’s foreign debt has grown by massive 23% during 2006-07 and stood at $165 billion. It constitutes 16.4% of the GDP. From May 2007 onwards there are signs of slowdown in the economy. With such high level of dependence on foreign capital, it is inevitable that even small shocks in the international economy will badly impact India. Apart from this concentration has increased during the period of globalization. According to James Petras, in India which has the highest number of billionaires (36) in Asia with total wealth of $191 billion, Prime Minister Singh declared that the greatest single threat to India’s security are the Maoist led guerrilla and mass movements in the poorest parts of the country. In China, with 20 billionaires with $29.4 billion net worth, the new rulers, confronting nearly a hundred thousand reported riots and protests, have increased the number of armed special anti-riot militia a hundred fold.( 7)
Social democrats and fascism
Social democracy in India which has changed to social fascism has also contributed to the growth of fascism. It has consciously ignored the class character and relation with finance capital. This is because It belongs to the same class of rulers in places where it has been for along time and its hunger for finance capital is well known.
In neck deep parliamentarianism, these fake Marxists consciously engage the struggle against fascism in equation of parliamentarianism. It even left behind the rulling class parties in becoming an agent of finance capital. Not only it mobilized the masses in interest of finance capital but it also used them against the struggling masses who fought against finance capital. It propagated largely about land reforms, but the fact is that distribution of a large part of acquired land is still pending in the court. The social democrats were not so serious to take the land from land lords and distribute amongst the landless than to snatch it from the farmers and give to the imperialists. Coming of fascism into power and role of social democrats in it is very rightly explained by Dimitrov, “Comrades, fascism also attained power for the reason that the proletariat found itself isolated from its natural allies. Fascism attained power because it was able to win over large masses of the peasantry, owing to the fact that the Social-Democrats in the name of the working class pursued what was in fact an anti-peasant policy. The peasant saw in power a number of Social-Democratic governments, which in his eyes were an embodiment of the power of the working class; but not one of them put an end to peasant want; none of them gave land to the peasantry. In Germany, the Social-Democrats did not touch the landlords; they combated the strikes of the farm laborers, with the result that long before Hitler came to power the farm laborers of Germany were deserting the reformist trade unions and in the majority of cases were going over to the Stahlhelm and to the National Socialists”.(8) is not the statement very apt for the social democrats in India? They in india advised the working class not to strike in interest of development. They told that it is time for class collaboration and not class struggle.
The social democrats frequently form alliances with other sections of compradors bourgeoisie and feudal rulling classes who have ample reasons to grow as fascist forces. On this Dimitrov writes “Was not the German Social-Democratic Party in a coalition government? It was. Was not the Austrian Social-Democratic Party in office? Were not the Spanish Socialists in the same government as the bourgeoisie? They were. Did the participation of the Social-Democratic Parties in the bourgeois coalition governments in these countries prevent fascism from attacking the proletariat? It did not. Consequently it is as clear as daylight that participation of Social-Democratic ministers in bourgeois governments is not a barrier to fascism”. (9). Dimitrov’s words expose these social democrats.
From 2002 Buddhdev Bhattacharya started to speak against madarasas & in favour to implement a draconian law like POTA in West Bengal.
These signals unveil the character of the social democrats. A chief minister orders to kill the masses in interest of foreign capital and reacts by saying that they have been paid back in the same coin. The same CM apologises for the attack on fascists In case of attack in Tapan Sikdar case. Does it not clear things? These social democrats declared that the largest threat were the struggling forces in the rural areas. They advised the ruling classes to understand the threat of Maoists in Nandigram. In Dimitrov’s words “Only such monstrous philistines, such lackeys of the bourgeoisie, as the superannuated theoretician of the Second International, Karl Kautsky, are capable of casting reproaches at the workers, to the effect that they should not have taken up arms in Austria and Spain. What would the working class movement in Austria and Spain look like today if the working class of these countries were guided by the treacherous counsels of the Kautskys? The working class would be experiencing profound demoralization in its ranks”. (10)
Social democrats today tell us to forget the dream of socialism. We should forget that barbarous states have plunged the world into ocean of blood just to make profits. We should forget that our friends have up rooted czar and chiang kai seik and gave there lives to create a new social system. We are being told that the martyrdom of crores of daughters and sons of the working class went in vain and socialism was there mental mayhem. We should forget that Hiroshima and Nagasaki was destroyed for profits. We should forget that the hands of these profiteers are dripping with the blood of our sisters and brothers in Vietnam and Chillie and other countries. But they should know that masses can never forget the dream of socialism. Kautsky’s legacy is not peoples’ legacy. Peoples’ legacy is with the legacy of writers such as the great Christopher Coldwell, Lorca, ken saro viva and philosophers and those great soviet daughters and sons , who under the leadership of Stalin, cut the claws of Hitler who dreamt of changing the world map.
The facts reveal that the crisis of imperialism and entrance of foreign capital and the rise of hindutva as a fascist force occurred in the same period. As the rate of foreign capital increased in the economy, more and more riots and hatred and hatred and anti people tools came into play. The road show of Indian democracy from Gujarat to Nandigram is also related to this foreign capital. The ruling classes have no other alternative than fascism to come out of this political crisis. By exaggerating the force of fascism, the social democrats and other liberal forces ultimately fulfill the interest of fascism. It ignores the fact that to crush the mass struggles it takes the path of fascism. To be in power it uses all reactionary means and create contradictions among masses. But mass uprisings take place from within these.\ and organize itself for bigger struggles. Struggle is the prime aspect here. About this Lenin says “ The school of civil war --- does not leave the people unaffected. It is a harsh school, and its complete curriculum inevitably includes the victories of the counterrevolution, the debaucheries of enraged reactionaries, savage punishments meted out by the old governments to the rebels, etc. But only downright pedants and mentally decrepit mummies can grieve over the fact that nations are entering this painful school; this school teaches the oppressed classes how to conduct civil war; it teaches how to bring about a victorious revolution; it concentrates in the masses of present day slaves that hatred which is always harboured by the downtrodden, dull, ignorant slaves, and which leads those slaves who have become conscious of the shame of their slavery to the greatest historic exploits”.(11)
The ruling classes are again becoming fascists. Fascism is not invincible. It would lead the ruling class to downfall. On the other side the struggles of masses have also increased. To crush this the ruling class is becoming more and more fascist. Today again imperialism is suffering from crisis and depression. It is becoming more and more reactionary. But on the other hand in latin America and Asia more and more masses are joining hands in struggle. Today the responsibility to smash fascism falls on the hands of inheritors of warriors & daughters and sons of soviet who sacrificed their lives in fight against profiteers state & fascism. Victory of the working class is in inevitable because only & only masses are creators of history. State only and only represses.
1. United front against fascism – Dimitrov
2. Palmiro Togliatti on Fascism
3. The Independent, 25 September 2007.
4. Monthly Review, December 2006
6. The Economist, 24 September 2004
7. Global ruling class, James Petras
8. United front against fascism – Dimitrov
11. [V. I. Lenin, Collected Works 15:183]
(Sushmita is a researcher .Translated from Hindi by Lalima.)