Posts Tagged ‘Sanhati’

Sanhati’s “Moment of Clarity” about BJP and Modi

May 27, 2014

protesting

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.

Economist luvs Modi

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Sanhati Collective’s Statement “On Upcoming General Elections” in India

May 7, 2014

 police_attack

Last month, the radical Bengali collective Sanhati published a profound reflection on the current election cycle in India, which threatens to bring fundamentalist Gujarati Chief Minister Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to power as the country’s new Prime Minister.  Modi is a proud member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a notorious right-wing paramilitary organization.  Sanhati argues that, were the BJP to come to replace the dominant Congress Party at the national level this year, such a change in the Indian State would signal the beginning of a marked intensification of the brutal liberalization policies initiated by Congress during Rajiv Gandhi’s administration (1985-1991).  As the collective observes,

“RSS-BJP and Modi have been making huge sound and fury about “nationalism”. Their proven brand of “nationalism” means workers would work silently for fifteen hours a day at low wages so that big corporates would make super profit and the “nation’s” wealth would go up; their brand of “nationalism” means that the poor peasants and tribals would be evicted from their homes so that big dams can provide water to the industrial plants of Tata, Suzuki etc.; their brand of “nationalism” means that the frequent massacres of the people of Kashmir by the Indian army should be clapped at and cheered as “patriotic heroism” of the soldiers. These features are recognized as classic indicators of Fascism.”

Sanhati notes that, for the masses of India, no hope can be found in elections: “the parliamentary political parties have become a vehicle of corporate/mafia/landed elites’ interest.”  These elections, in Sanhati’s analysis, serve merely as adornment for the effective hegemony exercised by the national and transnational oligarchy over the peoples of India.  In particular, they distract greatly from the fact that

“a substantial part of India today is under military occupation [and that,] in fact, state machineries are heavily clamping down on all forms of dissent. Apart from the continuing Indian military occupation of Kashmir and many North-Eastern states for decades, armed forces have been let loose in large parts of central India to crush peoples’ struggle against national and multinational corporations. Killing, fake encounters, rape by the police and armed forces have become daily occurrence in these areas. Thousands of people are languishing in jail under false cases. Not only armed resistance, even completely unarmed struggles are being crushed by the state. Anti land-acquisition movements, anti-nuclear movements, resistance against slum eviction, trade union activities, movements for environment protection, movements for women’s rights, anti-caste atrocities movements –all kinds of possible democratic challenge to the current state power have met the same fate.”

Despite this discouraging context faced by the oppressed of India, Sanhati still holds out the possibility that “a real change is still achievable. Only a united struggle of all the working people across caste, religion and gender can pull India out of this terrible situation. It is not sufficient to vent our anger by voting against the incumbent in the next election – it will change nothing – let us get united in a struggle for a real change of the system.”