‘Revolution against Das Kapital’ and the ‘Lonely Hour of the Economy’

This is a modified version of the article that was published earlier in The Wire

(T)he economic dialectic is never active in the pure state; in History, these instances, the superstructures etc – are never seen to step respectfully aside when their work is done or, when the Time comes, as his pure phenomena, to scatter before His Majesty the Economy as he strides along the royal road of the Dialectic. From the first moment to the last, the lonely hour of the ‘last instance’ never comes. – Louis Althusser, For Marx, London: Verso 1979, p. 113

The event known to the world as the ‘October’ revolution in Russia – or simply as the ‘Russian revolution’ – took place on 7-8 November, a hundred years ago. But then why call it the October revolution? Thereby hangs a tale – the tale of modernity, myth-making and of a new imagination of Time.

The moment of revolution, image courtesy libcom.org
The moment of revolution, image courtesy libcom.org

As a matter of fact, the Revolution occurred on 25-26 October, according to the Julian calendar (so called because it had been promulgated by Julius Caesar), which Russia, along with a large part of the Western world, followed at that time. It was only in January 1918 that the Soviet government decreed the shift to the Gregorian calendar. The reason was that Russia should join ‘all cultured nations in counting time’, as a decree cited by historian Mark Steinberg put it. Accordingly, the first anniversary of the revolution was celebrated on 7 November 1918 throughout the Soviet Union.

What is interesting here is not so much the shift but the reason assigned for it – joining other ‘cultured nations’ of the world, which in the language of the early twentieth century meant only one thing – the modern West, which had long been setting the norm for everything desirable. Ways of ‘counting time’ too had to be aligned with Europe, lest one be considered insufficiently modern. Spatially, the Czarist Russian empire straddled both Europe and Asia, which had already, in the new reckoning of Time, been cast as ‘advanced’ and ‘backward’ respectively. The desire to become modern and join the ‘cultured nations’ was to run through the history of the revolution and its consolidation into the new Stalinist state. This desire was to be manifested in its deep distrust of the peasantry and rural life on the one hand, and in the frenetic drive to ‘catch up’ with Western Europe. As Stalin would say, he wanted to accomplish in a couple of decades what Europe had in a few centuries, compressing time, as it were, into one dizzying experience for entire society. The continuing ‘past’ had to be annihilated.

Continue reading “‘Revolution against Das Kapital’ and the ‘Lonely Hour of the Economy’”

The Gravity of Newton : Rituparna Sengupta

This is a guest post by RITUPARNA SENGUPTA

 

Amit V Masurkar’s recently-released film Newton explores facets of Indian democracy at its most vulnerable. For these times of ‘nationalist’ bravado, this is a courageous topic.  The film is so named because it adopts for the most part, the point of view of its protagonist, Newton (Nutan) Kumar (Rajkummar Rao, thank you once again!) who resists corruption and hypocrisy at home and work. Continue reading “The Gravity of Newton : Rituparna Sengupta”

Statement Against Genocide and Deportation of Rohingya Muslims

Violence is sweeping Myanmar and in a short span of two weeks lakhs of ethnic Rohingya refugees have fled to Bangladesh and thousands have lost their lives. Satellite data shows, large parts of the Rakhine state, home to most of the Burmese Rohingya population have been set on fire, and murders, rape, arson, loot and forced displacement of the Rohingya population is taking place on a scale, that should be alarming for all humanity. Even the UN secretary general has called out to Mayanmar to end violence against the Rohingya and Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu has urged Mayanmar state Councillor Aung San Suu Kyi to speak out against the persecution of the Rohingya. The tragedy facing the Rohingya is of an unprecedented scale and needs to be addressed with a sense of utmost urgency.

As Indian citizens, we need to break the silence on ethnic violence against the Rohingya and the unconstitutional proposed deportation of a wide and long-residing Rohingya community from India, to certain death that awaits them in Myanmar. The Rohingyas have been living as a peaceful refugee community in various parts of India since the 1970s, with no criminal records or history of crime. Let us not be a part of this genocide. Let us stand up for justice and humanity, and raise our voice against the killings, displacement and deportation of the Rohingya!

Continue reading “Statement Against Genocide and Deportation of Rohingya Muslims”

Losing the Soul’s Acid Tongue … Terrorist State, Unbowed Children at Kerala’s Puthvype

[The title is inspired by Balachandran Chullikkad’s searing poetry]

I have recently been asked about why I didn’t write anything about the anniversary of the CPM-led government of Kerala.  Have also been asked why I don’t write about politics in Kerala anymore. The answer to the first is easy and painless: governments are not organic things. You measure your kid’s height and weight and other things and think about how they have grown in their minds and hearts on their birthdays. There is nothing that proves that anniversaries are the best occasions to reflect on how governments have grown and thrived. The answer to the second question is more conflicted and excruciatingly painful: it is because we have no politics in Kerala, but plenty of anti-politics. therefore, what one needs to do is invest in the silent, unglamorous, unpopular,  long-haul intellectual and political labour that may preserve the possibilities of politics in the future, and that may even create internalities capable of courage and responsibility necessary for being political. Continue reading “Losing the Soul’s Acid Tongue … Terrorist State, Unbowed Children at Kerala’s Puthvype”

बहुजन राजनीति की नयी करवट की अलामत है भीम आर्मी : प्रवीण वर्मा

Guest post by PRAVEEN VERMA

यूँ तो अम्बेडकर जयंती हर साल आती हैं और दलित-पिछड़े समुदाय का एक बड़ा तबक़ा इसे बड़ी शिद्दत से मनाता आया है। लेकिन इस बार अम्बेडकर का 126वां जन्मदिन कुछ और ही नज़ारा ले कर आया। यू॰पी॰ का सहारनपुर ज़िला जहाँ अच्छी ख़ासी तादाद में दलित समुदाय के लोग रहते हैं और अन्य जिलों की बनिस्बत ज़्यादा संगठित हैं, वहाँ दो आयोजनों और उसकी अनुमति को लेकर दबंग जाति के लोगों ने जम कर उत्पात मचाया, जिसका दलित समुदाय के द्वारा ना केवल डट कर मुक़ाबला किया गया बल्कि एक वाजिब जवाब भी दिया गया। हालाँकि प्रशासनिक कार्यवाही हमेशा की तरह एकतरफ़ा रही जिसमें 40 दलित युवकों को जेल में ठूँस दिया गया और दबंगो को सस्ते में जाने दिया गया। शब्बीरपुर की ये घटना(एँ) कई दिनों तक चलती रही जिसमें दबंग जाति के लोगों के अहम को चोट तो लगी ही, साथ ही साथ एक और संदेश दे गयी : जिस तरह से दबंग जाति के लोगों ने हिंसा को अपनी बपौती समझ लिया था, अब वैसा नहीं हैं, लगभग देश के कुछ हिस्सों में तो। 

Continue reading “बहुजन राजनीति की नयी करवट की अलामत है भीम आर्मी : प्रवीण वर्मा”

Violence against Dalits in Saharanpur, UP : A Report by CPI-ML (Liberation) & AISA Team that Visited Saharanpur

Guest Post by Sucheta De

CPI-ML- AISA Team’s Visit to Saharanpur – A Report

“Sarkar Hamari Hai, Police-Prashashan Bhi Hamara Hai”- Yogi Government Boosts Up Morale of Casteist Feudal Goons Who Burnt Dalit Village in Shabbirpur!

Casteist Goons from Dominant Rajput Community Enjoy Complete Impunity while Bhim Army Activists Continue to Face Witch-Hunt!

CPI-ML-AISA Appeal Everyone to Join Hands with the Dalits of Saharanpur in their Struggle for Justice!

Saharanpur Carnage: Teaching a Lesson to Politically Assertive, Self-Reliant Dalits Who Refuse to be Foot Soldiers of Hindutva’s Hate Politics

When BJP gains electoral majority, Saharanpur happens.

For last several years the belt of western Uttar Pradesh has been made the laboratory of the RSS-BJP’s sinister design of communal polarization and violence against Muslims. The 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots was a planned design by the RSS-BJP to polarize the belt on communal lines and reap electoral benefits. And now, after that design had delivered ‘electoral success’ for the RSS and BJP, upper caste feudal forces have started celebration of their ‘victory’ by unleashing attack on Dalits.

Continue reading “Violence against Dalits in Saharanpur, UP : A Report by CPI-ML (Liberation) & AISA Team that Visited Saharanpur”

Linger Like Moisture Within – On Viren Dangwal’s Pitr-Paksh: Prasanta Chakravarty

Guest Post by Prasanta Chakravarty

Pitr-paksh/ पितृ-पक्ष (also pitru-paksh) is the 16 day lunar period in the Hindu diurnal calendar when believers pay homage to their ancestors, through specific food offerings. Most years, the autumnal equinox falls within this period, that is, the Sun transitions from the northern to the southern hemisphere during this time. In Northern and Eastern India and Nepal, among the cultures following the purnimanta or the solar calendar, this period usually corresponds with the waning fortnight of the month Ashwin. The souls of three preceding generations of one’s ancestor reside in Pitr-loka, a realm between heaven and earth. Continue reading “Linger Like Moisture Within – On Viren Dangwal’s Pitr-Paksh: Prasanta Chakravarty”