The moment of rediscovering Marxism and Revolution – (not for publication)

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 Arup Baisya

The Marxist and revolutionary praxis all over the world had lost its vigour post-collapse of the USSR. In front of the onslaught of neoliberal restructuring of production and labour process and the concomitant ideological influence due to the success stories at its initial phase led the working class to the receiving end and the revolutionary praxis to disarray. But the great things also happen in the epistemology of changing the world to change oneself at the time of retreat of a colourful and vibrant process of building a world beyond capitalism. The waning of revolutionary movements eo ipso shifted the limelight to the questioning of Marxism and its unilinear version. Hundreds of Marxism have emerged from the practicing Marxism and new insights have also surfaced in theoretical premise from the attempt to interpret the world from diverse dimensions. But the defeat begets defeat in theoretical and practicing renderings so long as the agency of changing of the world i.e. the working class remains within the confinement of the ideology of benevolent capitalism. The Marxist practice in India too visualized the working class as a victim of capitalism, not as the agent of change and as such hovered around the agenda of reformism. The real danger of Marxist practice lies in the linear interpretation of Marxism as a set of formulae and not as an evolving process and these have been adequately challenged by the Post-Marxist thinkers. But they inevitably failed to challenge the basic premise of Marxism “the philosophers have interpreted the world in various ways, the question is how to change it”. When the global and Indian polity is agog with the possibility of change and the working class and the masses have upped the ante to challenge the capitalist relation of production, Marxism is once again becoming the common meeting ground of all the forces aspiring to go beyond capital. In the history of capitalism, whenever the capitalist production system entered a crisis, Marxism showed the light to the oppressed and the exploited for liberty.

During the last few decades, it was a common understanding among the Indian revolutionaries that the democracy in Kashmir with the right to self-determination is a precondition for democracy in India. Kashmir has a checkered history of rebellion and subjugation, but Kashmir question has never relegated to such a marginal question in Indian political lifeline as it is today. This compels us to review the past prescient positioning and putative understanding of Kashmir question as Marx changed his strategy on Polish question from time to time.

In 1847, Marx’s view was that the victory of the English proletarians over the English bourgeoisie is decisive for the victory of all the oppressed over their oppressors. Hence Poland must be liberated not in Poland but in England. Since the revolt in Poland of 1794, 1830, and 1846 had been crushed by its powerful neighbours Russia, Prussia, and Austria, Marx’s view was that England would give the signal for the deliverance of Poland and that therefore Poland would be liberated only when the nations of Western Europe had won democracy. Marx, Engels and their colleagues viewed the labour struggle and democratic one as closely related. Again in 1863, when a full-scale uprising broke out in Poland, Marx viewed it as the harbinger of a wider European revolution. The Marxist revolutionaries in India tend to fall prey to the staticity of mindset and formulate the strategy once for all. In the backdrop of a fascist danger and the rising people’s movement to challenge this menace, the revolutionaries need to review its strategy and assert that the victory of democracy in the rest of India is the precondition for a victory ofh7 democracy in Kashmir.  

In the Indian landscape, the fascist movement and its concomitant fallout of on-going meticulously planned subversion of constitutional democracy for a fascist take-over of power is facing tough challenges from the people’s multifaceted movement for citizenship rights, rights of the workers and peasants, women’s rights, forest rights, people’s rights on natural resources, ecological rights, etc.

Though all these movements are fundamentally directed against the neo-liberal economy and masculine nationalism, these are revolving around a defensive and reformist agenda. The participation of the working class is still not as class-in-itself for transformation to class-for-itself but as a group of workers especially in cities and urban centers.

The people’s upsurge in cities and urban areas on citizenship question has already brought the question of democracy and state character into the focus of political discourse. This indicates that if all the people’s movements can be coordinated with a common revolutionary direction, it can lead to a revolutionary crisis in the next round of popular uprising under the leadership of working-class and workers-peasants alliance in the event of a global economic meltdown.

One should not miss the social dynamics of ongoing spontaneous people’s movement in India on the citizenship question. Firstly, the epicenters of this people’s upsurge are urban areas and cities. Secondly, though the Muslims, Dalits, and women are at the forefront, it should be kept in mind the workers in urban and city areas are mostly constitutive of people from these communities.

If imperialism is defined as the domination of capitalist forces over the pre-capitalist relation of production, then imperialism is inherent in capitalism from its birth. Lenin defined imperialism as the latest form of capitalism, not highest, based on the dependence of industrial capital on finance capital for the emergence of monopoly capital and the domination of backward countries by the centers of capitalist nation-states and the imperialist conflict thereon with a danger of war. The center-periphery and capitalist and pre-capitalist relation is prevalent throughout the global capitalist system, it does not matter whether the imperialist is in driving seat or not. It is naïve and mechanistic approach to divide the totality into two separate continuum of imperialist capitalist center and pre-capitalist periphery without delving into the changes within the pre-capitalist relation of production due to killing of space by time for global expansion of capital.

The diversity is not always progressive, sometimes it may also act as a regressive factor for revolutionary change. Today’s identity or Dalit Adivasi movement is not the same as the movement in the nineteen-eighties. The new emerging leaderships are representing the students-youths, women and working-class and they are fundamentally fighting for a new India with the question identity rights underlying within this grand narrative. Prakash Ambedkar is leading a long march on the citizenship question. The Bhim army and other newly formed or reorganized Dalit organisations are unconsciously leading and addressing the inherent issues related to the working class gradually making the old class leadership redundant and that’s why the leaders like Mayawati are muted.

The global capitalism is in deep crisis and due to the inherent contradictions within capitalism or due to any external triggering effect, this crisis may lead to another global meltdown. The Indian people’s movement this time has set the stage for another popular uprising in the event of a global meltdown when the working class will be at the forefront. The epicenter of such uprising will, likely, remain as the urban and city areas with rural areas as rear. It is worth mentioning here that post-1905, Russia was predominantly an agricultural country with industrial cities and urban areas having deep penetration of European capital and Russia did not even achieve the basic tenet of bourgeois democracy of universal suffrage.
This necessitates a formidable revolutionary subjective force who can play the role from the perspective of “from the masses, to the masses” to emerge and this underlines the urgency of the unity, albeit through stages, of all the Indian communist revolutionaries.

In the absence of revolutionary subjective force organically linked with the people’s movement, there is every possibility that the people’s movements which have mostly developed spontaneously and from their life-experience either may be coopted by a new version of liberal democracy with a soft Hindutva core or fascist state may be successful to suppress people’s assertions.

But there is no denying the fact that this moment of the here and now is the moment for broadest unity against the imminent danger of fascist takeover of the state.

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Creative Energy Unfloding

A Near-Uprising Situation?
Arup Baisya

Of late people have been witnessing a situation of near-uprising which is generated by two apparently segregated but intertwined large-scale mass-movements. The movement against NPR-NRC-CAA which is designed to launch a body blow to the Indian civilisation and democracy and the participation of about 25 crore workers primarily against the wage-code which curtailed the legal rights of the working class, had the mutual complementary effect to give rise to such near-uprising situation. This people's activity has released the creative energy with a long-term consequence. This creative energy not only gave birth to the innovative forms of movements, but also unleashed new dimensions of popular practising art and culture. This is a creative energy which was non-existent in the status-quo of mutually alienated diverse communities prior to uprising. The question arises how this became possible for new creative energy to surface and how the observers could identify it as something new which was non-existent earlier.

The way new qualities emerge due to the chemical reactions within the matters, the conflict which arises due to the accumulated vibrant social interactions gives rise to new creativity through the transformation of qualitative change of time. Such change of time is not unrelated to the space. One would have failed to identify this change if the space and time are mutually segregated. This new space-time which Indians at the moment are observing through the unleashing of creative energy is the real Indian society. But in reality it as near-uprising because of the fact that it is not elevated to such an orbital level that the arrow of time cannot be reversed towards the centre for a new status quo ante. The efforts to reverse the direction in ongoing in the political arena.

This people's movement tantamount to an uprising has been directed against the fascist form of the same state and social structure. This too has also reverberated in diverse qualitative and quantitative dimensions in consonance with the uneven development of Indian landscape. The rule of the state and the illusion of the commodity fetishism which stand as barriers in between the diverse communities as driving force to obscure the social relations has not yet become the target of people's consciousness.

The rhetorical political discourse based on conspiracy theory to delineate the good or bad character of the parties and the personalities in the anti-fascist camp hinders the people's activism to visualise their objective goal and thus unconsciously pursues them to land in inactivity once again in favour of status quo. The anti-fascist people's movement can advance themselves to a higher plank through mutual co-operation amongst class-caste-identity and cultural groups by meticulously building a critique of liberal democracy and through new debate and discussions on the new construction of co-operation beyond the law of value.

To achieve this, it is imperative that a country-wide popular front is emerged from within the anti-fascist people's movement which will not only be active to safeguard constitutional democracy, but also directed towards real federalism for shifting the state power at the door of the people, towards challenging the capitalist mode of production by incorporating the agenda of redefining the production and labour process through factory council, peasant association etc., by challenging the commodity production and law of value by ensuring free education, healthcare and other services necessary for livelihood and welfare, by giving birth to a new initiative on practicing culture against the hedonistic and feudal culture.

The self-regulated and quasi-autonomous people's initiative based on this socio-political outlook can compel the political parties to rise above their petty squabbles and to focus on their immediate task to electorally defeat the fascist forces and simultaneously adopting the agenda of state policy keeping an eye on the desire of the people's activism. Such people's movement may be able to create the popular pressure to dissuade the political parties from smear campaign and rhetorical verbosity and socially aimless mudslinging in the pretext of liberal democracy. Such emancipation can only show the dream of a new dawn to the Indian people. Otherwise, amidst a deep crisis of capitalism, there can be no relief from fascism or overwhelming destruction, the status quo ante will once again set in to keep people waiting for a menacing future.

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