Bengali protestor (@Sanhati)
I am here sharing Saroj Giri’s reflections on the recent electoral victory of the BJP and Modi in India, as written for Sanhati.
“The Modi victory is not a shock since it only reminds and brings to the fore the dominant system in all its social, lived and economic determinations. Why? Since with the Modi victory this dominant social system and these determinations are no longer in the background: they are in power now, hegemonising the political domain. It is as though, to use Ambedkar’s terms, public morality now directly asserts itself in the political domain, hegemonises it. Public morality now colonises constitutional morality […].
Take the BJP election ad ‘Kissey chunenge, Gau Raksha ya Gay Raksha‘ (What will you choose: cow protection or gay protection?). Here gay rights are no longer about gay people and their rights or about a democratic society and its ethos, but about society being internally weakened, about a larger conspiracy against which we must all rise up to defend our core values (defined as ‘gau raksha’)!
This makes the Modi victory a total victory – the prevailing socio-economic domination is now truly reflected in the political hegemony. It is a deep victory. The fractious order is here resolved into the One – everything has come together into one seamless network of power, a kind of a continuum of social-political-economic domination. A continuum of neoliberalism and communalism. We can call it growth-friendly communalism […].
But there is a double reminding at work here. Reminding us of the social determinations that then claim the political domain but also a second reminding: that the political domain, the liberal democratic electoral process itself is inherently skewed towards the dominant interests, towards big capital, towards gau raksha rather than gay raksha. The Modi victory is therefore a moment of clarity […].
You cannot make any real transformation or change through the vote – no matter who wins. It is still relevant to talk about Bhagat Singh’s insight that India needs a social and economic revolution and not just a secular outcome in the next elections!
As we can see, the vote is good enough for the right wing or fascists to come and capture power or to eliminate the social and political gap. The vote works for the right, not for the left. This, if you like, was a key insight of the Naxalbari movement and that is why they called for boycotting elections. Thanks to this, perhaps the Maoist movement is the single large left movement in the country today. Given its extra-parliamentary nature, it is like the reserve army of left revolutionaries, beyond the contingency of electoral defeat or victory, beyond the long arm of a Modi!
Hence we cannot simply fight to get a Congress or the left or seculars back in government. Let us also not harangue with the big media and big corporates and complain about their pro-Modi stance. Let us accept that the present democratic order is inherently skewed against any possibility [of] real social transformation – or else one only indulges in an untruth. Let us reject both Modi and Nehru and revise ‘the idea of India’ from a left-wing perspective instead of defending this status quo.”
Meanwhile, the international ruling-class Economist hails Modi’s accession as helmsman of India. This raises the important theoretical work done by Herbert Marcuse and many other critical intellectuals to show up the links between liberalism and fascism–as Giri does well for Sanhati in the above.