[Marxism] India Lurching Towards Fascism?

Ruthless Critic of All that Exists ok.president+marxml at gmail.com
Sun Jul 27 15:25:12 MDT 2008


By Rakesh Saxena

As food and oil prices wreck havoc with the lives of the overwhelming
majority of Indians, the conditions for a shift to a fascist order are
consolidating at an alarming pace.

One benchmark to define fascism is the steady erosion of human rights,
resulting from the daily actions of state and non-state actors. The
other related and more enduring benchmark is the pressing need for
capital to retain its exploitative potential in the midst of a chaotic
scenario which is ripe for a mass revolution.

For one reason or another, Indian law enforcement authorities have
been unable to identify the culprits behind any of the serial blasts
which have caused panic in India's urban centres in recent months. But
the more alarming fact is that none of the alleged perpetrators have
ever been brought to trial, in an open court, in accordance with
commonly accepted human rights covenants. "The public is always left
with the lasting impression that one or other Muslim group is
responsible for the bombings, and that a few suspects are securely in
custody awaiting trial," a Bihar human rights activist complained
yesterday. "To make matters worse, Indian intelligence agencies
invariably claim that they are in possession of evidence proving the
involvement of entities in Pakistan or Bangladesh, but material
supporting those claims has never reached the public domain."

On the one hand, these serial blasts have already laid the foundations
for organized Hindu or Muslim gangs to take control of India's streets
at short notice. On the other hand, the prospect of chaos, over and
above despair and poverty, is driving an increasing number of members
of the lower middle class, the working poor and the unemployed, right
into the waiting arms of communal or caste-based parties who, various
seasoned observers in New Delhi concede, are expecting to make
phenomenal gains in the next general elections. "Capital, particularly
big capital, will now desert the so-called secular groups since its
objectives are better served by the dual reality of potential mass
unrest and a deterioration of individual rights," a spokeswoman for
the Communist Part of India (Maoist) wrote this weekend. "Like in the
case of pre-WWII Europe, the strategic and tactical failures of the
mainstream Left encourage the urban underclass to declare loyalty to
those who are, in economic terms, its biggest enemies. Iran is a more
recent example of the process through which Political Islam
established its hold in small market centres, district headquarters
and major cities by inciting hatred and fear."

It is extremely important to point out that India's lurch towards
fascism is not, by any measure, dictated by religious radicalism.
Contrary to what most historians have led people to believe, fascism
always was, and remains, a political imperative when traditional
capital flows are threatened, or disrupted, when a settled global
economic order is no longer sustainable without redrawing the economic
relationships between the rich and poor. Therefore, fascism, in one
form or another, is driven by vested interests; while in Germany,
Hitler could have made little headway without funds from German
businessmen, the Khomeini revolution in Iran was grounded in financial
and organizational support from the bazaris embodying the loose
alliance between traders, landlords, shopkeepers and mullahs.

For that matter, Jewish intellectuals have done the world a disservice
by focusing on the holocaust without delving into the full reasons for
the genocide, without highlighting the economic events which allowed
Hitler to assume control over the German State in the first place. For
the record, the Nazi Party's initial agenda, in the early 1920s, was
the elimination of German's communist and socialist fronts, and it is
true that many such fronts were led by working class Jews; but the
aggressive assault on the Jewish business infrastructure followed a
few years later and remained a consequence of the post-depression
impairment of the capital formation structures which had started to
changing the face of Europe in the first half of the nineteenth

Key voices in India will hope that this opinion piece represents a
mere false alarm. For instance, a senior Congress strategist takes
comfort from the theory that "the rural vote bank will act as a
bulwark against the domination of political parties espousing a
religious platform." A Naxalite commander in the restive state of
Chattisgarh was absolutely convinced that "fascism is essentially
urban in nature, since it relies on violence, or the dread of it, at
the street level." A Communist Part of India ideologue thinks that "an
anti-communal secular coalition can still be achieved in parliament,
albeit with the help of smaller regional parties rooted in caste."

However, the experience of Iran shows how those controlling
agricultural output, and commodity prices, can easily direct voting
under any seriously flawed electoral mechanism; the Jefforsonian
majority (50-plus-percent) in the developing world is based on money
and power, not on informed voting blocks. Moreover, as the secular and
leftist forces realized too late in Iran, the inherent nexus, despite
the tensions, between agrarian capital and industrial capital destroys
the argument that fascism cannot advance beyond city limits.

The solution? Implement all the protections provided for in
international human rights covenants with immediate effect, and
institute measures to punish violators in a speedy and efficient
manner. Disclose evidence of the "foreign hand" behind the recent bomb
blasts, if such evidence exists; otherwise, stop generating
unsubstantiated announcements. Launch a concerted attack on
"underground" money which, in some critical areas of the country, is
believed to form at least 50% of overall economic activity. Remove the
ability of the rich to buy subsidized oil or food. Then, of course,
there are the long-outstanding issues governing healthcare, jobs and
land reforms.

But day-dreaming will not stop the march of history. In key respects,
India, or significant parts of it, will qualify as yet another fascist
state by 2010. Not that the situation is better in other part of the
world. Big international capital is being forced to turn a blind eye
to, and align with, fascist states, dictatorships and corrupt
governments in this new and complex economic environment. Let us be


Rakesh Saxena July 27 2008

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