All the socio-political events can be viewed from the perspective of the ruled and the ruler. Beyond these two diametrically opposite perspectives, there may be a lot many observational interpretations which are the mix of these two in different proportion. The outburst of the professional intellectuals and the middle class people’s pent up anger in the event of Anna Hazare’s hunger fast and the subsequent turn of the situation towards building up a sustained movement is also not an exceptional event that cannot be viewed from divergent angle. The type of ‘civil society’ which develops within the womb of capitalism and acts beyond the institution of state as a buffer for the workers to take relief, cannot be expected in a country like India with a semi-colonial status. The subtle and complex dimension of colonial hegemony amounts to reorganization of civil society of the colonized through a diffusion of cultural-ideological construction and moral regulation. The ‘civil society’ here has an intimate relationship and private aspects of life as patriarchy, skewed views on motherhood, sex and sexuality and inherits colonial property laws and regulations etc. The people or the class of people who appears to constitute the civil society are in anyway the integral part of the state, though they are losing faith on the efficacy of the existing state due to its messy, disorderly and rapidly discrediting nature. So the terminology of ‘civil society’ is misconstrued here. It can not also be explained in the Gramscian or Hegelian sense of the term. Rather we can say that a conglomeration of people who came out to the street in large number belong to the middle class, professional intellectuals, students-youth and section of the elites. Even a section of the corporate leaders honchos who are scared of the falling legitimacy of the existing institutions of the state that may lead to a collapse, are also not averse to an anti-graft act for the limited reform of the system, citing Narendra Modi’s Gujrat and Nitish Kumar’s Bihar as the role-model. The “fourth estate” which has its origin in a revolutionary context jumped into the fray to spread venom against the crass political class not withstanding their desire to increase TRP-rating and not to jeopardize their booming paid-news income. All these were done from a sense of dejection and self-delusion about the efficacy of the neo-liberal market and state system and their shattered dream of residing in a neo-liberal haven. The inequality and the expropriation of the vast masses of people are not treated as the root cause to sustain a system that holds corruption in its womb. The symbols of all kinds of obscurantism, feudal values were emanating from the rostrum where Anna Hazare and his core group members were on hunger fast. So in the wake of loosing legitimacy of all the institutions of the state, and taking the cultural-ideological moorings of the leaders centering whom the masses were coming out to the streets, one may conclude that this phenomenon may favour the ruling class to maintain status-quo of the system eradicating the threat of radical change for popular control of the state structure.
This is one side of the story that makes some left critics apprehensive and bemuses them when RSS bandwagon opposes the move to nominate Bhusan duo for advocating Binayak Sen’s cause (allegedly the Maoist’s case) and other cases of public interest. This ambivalence is going to happen when somebody dwells on only ideological symbols and beat about the bush instead of concentrating on the class content and class ramifications. These people want to highlight the indicators of history before the advent of the history itself. These critics jumped into the fray raising unimportant issues for adding grist to the enemy’s mill during the recent translation of people’s angst into street demonstration perhaps in million in the event of Anna Hazare’s iconic fast against corruption. The culmination of this popular outburst is ripened with many possibilities ranging from best to the worst. The ruling class dimension is crystal clear when a section of corporate giants came out in support of the Anna’s cause.
But there is a different dimension of the story from working class perspective. All of us know that these corruption and malpractices within our system is not a new phenomenon. But during the last two decades, after the neo-liberal regime took the reign, the corrupt-practices are rising leaps and bounds and spreading its tentacles in all spheres of Indian human life in keeping with the pace of tightening grip of those neo-liberal policy-makers at the helm of affairs. The revelation of Radia Tapes unearthed the unholy alliance of Corporate giants-bureaucrats and political class in power. The more this triumvirate of governance gets condensed, the more the people lose the power to maneuver to make people-friendly policy and ipso facto the corruption becomes more rampant. Now we know the pile stashed away into the foreign Banks. The black money generated not only at the cost of cutting people’s lifeline but also dehumanizing the people making them sterile and bereft of any initiatives. The Lokpal Bill for which all are clamoring after and the almost similar state authority like Lok Ayukta, made ineffective in states like Assam & Gujrat, will add a teeth in our system of accountability to bite the corrupt power-that-be and their hangers on. But the teeth, however sharp, is not going to cleanse our system permanently, unless people’s rights and power are established and the alliance of trinity with Corporate Giant projecting itself as holy spirit to squeeze Indian masses for super-profit, are combated head on.
But when the people’s initiative is released, it sets on a series of debate that acts on the thought process to enable the people to view the phenomenon from larger perspective. During the last few decades
has passed through the events of social-churning with immense socio-political ramification. The emancipation of oppressed castes through Dalit-OBC movement, the marginalization of working class through neo-liberal policy has set the ground for working class increased homogenization, awakening and subsequent assertion by taking advantage of the situation of middle class disenchantment of the efficacy of neo-liberal regime. The revolution is a continuation of evolution itself. But one will have to surmise when and how this is going to happen from an historical perspective. There is a tension between determinism and voluntarism within the left camp. In the name of reality, the main trend of practicing left is evolutionary incrementalism, but at the time of any popular upsurge the people’s own practice is overlooked in the name voluntarism of bourgeois liberalism. India
There is another interesting aspect of the episode of Anna Hazare’s hunger fast. When the messages and symbols appeared to be of depoliticisation of the polity, the content of the struggle revolves around the question of state power. Raising the question of reforming the state to contain corruption, placing the people squarely related with the institution of state in the higher echelons of policy-making body, raising the issue of people’s power through right to call their political representative back and grass-root democracy are of political nature. The socio-economic base has already changed to such an extent that the ilk of leaders like Narendra Modi has to harp on his skewed development core to hoodwink the people with an illusion of equitable development instead of his obscurantist gesture and also to keep his corporate masters at his elbow. So the obscurantist symbols transmitting from the center of this struggle reveals the false consciousness of the middle class. But question is how this false consciousness will be transformed into real consciousness. The answer might be when the working class will emancipate to take the lead of the movement for radical change to address the question of inequality and expropriation and vie for setting the rule for the expropriation of the expropriator. This situation which a left radical aspire to achieve will be mostly determined by the history, history that is anticipated by the left radicals organically linked with the working class and accelerated by their action. It is necessary to consider the wider societal context and the longer historical timeframe to evaluate the success or failure of social movements both within and against the system. Anna’s movement may turn out to be ephemeral, but its long term effect for emancipation of popular & working class movement cannot be ruled out. If one opposes the people coming out to the street, however directionless, in the name of one’s opposition to regressive symbols and the apparent appeasement with the obscurantist forces, it means throwing the baby out with the bath water. We must understand that, after the demise of the “really existing socialism” and the turn of “really existing global capitalism” to rely on market beyond the rule of the state, the Gramscian organic intellectuals produced by the working class has been obliterated beyond the horizon. These organic intellectuals who act as vanguard for revolutionary change are not going to re-appear without a new surge of social practice. During colonial era, the social movement predominantly revolved around the ethnic and national question. The Gandhian movement in
was of this nature and the working class vis-à-vis Indian left movement was developed within this overarching phenomenon. Today, due to the all out onslaught and devastation of the capital, myriads of new social movement are being spearheaded on the question of ecology, women’s right, social justice etc which have the potential to rise from their reformist agenda to the radical plank at any opportune moment, as the system has become too inelastic to concede these partial demands, and the new organic intellectuals of popular and working class of developing country like India are in most likelihood going to emerge from these practices. As such it is also not easy for the Indian state to concede the apparently innocent demand like Lokpal Bill. The vested interests having a close-knit relationship with the different institutions of the state will try to motivate the policy-makers to procrastinate to see the movement die own and the leaders of the movement keep waiting for the Godot. India
While dissecting the movement set forth by Anna Hazare’s hunger fast, one must take stock of the situation and the turn of event during JP’s and VP’s movement. Both of them started from the premise of corruption, but one turned out to be a successful movement against Indira fascism and another for social justice. JP’s movement was followed by Navnirman Andolan in Gujrat of 1974 succeeded in ousting chief minister Chimanbhai Patel who was perceived to have been extremely corrupt. The Sangh Parival could swallow the bigger pie of the cake made by the heat of popular upsurge. Why the left failed, that’s a different story to be judged meticulously. But who on earth except the congress hierarchy can argue that JP’s movement was not a democratic movement that deserved the support of left-democratic forces. It is now a fait accompli that VP’s tirade against 'Bofor's deal' that ultimately settled down to ‘Mandal movemeent’ could save the country from the onslaught of RSS ‘Komondol’. But in both the cases, the system survived and co-opted the movement to maintain the status quo ante and averted the radical break. Why this could not usher in revolutionary change must be judged from socio-political, economic as well as from the subjective effort of the left on misconstrued reality. From objective point of view, the situation is riper for a radical break than at the time of earlier such events.
This time the global capitalism is in deep structural crisis and geographically overstretched to take the extreme global form. The national and global interest of the metropolitan capitalistic oligopolies are so intertwined that the capitalism is neither in a easy position to go for an all out war to establish hegemony, nor in a position to make any concession to the working class for a capital-labour compromise. The threat of all encompassing nuclear war also act as an impediment to settle the score with the capitalist competitor through the application force. Under this circumstances, the rebellion of the disgruntled middle class in
through a narrowly defined issue may turn out to be a revolutionary event, when working class wakes up from slumber to take the advantage of the situation in their favour. The similar signals have started transmitting from the streets of India where working classes are not satisfied with the change of Mubarak regime with Military Junta. Cairo