Eminent political economist and public intellectual, Prof Prabhat Patnaik, delivered the 7th Democracy Dialogues Series lecture on ‘From Neo-Liberalism to Neo-Fascism’ organised by the New Socialist Initiative on January 24, 2021, 6 PM IST
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FROM NEO-LIBERALISM TO NEO-FASCISM
There has of late been a sudden and rapid growth of neo-fascism all over the world. The neo-fascists are not yet in a position to capture power in many countries; and even where they do, they are not yet in a position to make the transition to a fascist State. But they contribute everywhere towards a fascification of the society and the polity. This emergence of neo-fascism is the culmination of the global pursuit of the neo-liberal trajectory, which greatly widened income and wealth inequalities in every country and led even to an absolute immiserization of vast masses of the working people in third world countries like India. For a while the hope was entertained that the people would become better off in due course as rapid growth continued. But with the onset of the global economic crisis, itself a result of the widened economic inequalities, such hopes have been belied. The corporate-financial oligarchy therefore has to find a new prop for itself and forms an alliance with neo-fascist elements to shift the discourse away from conditions of material life towards vilifying the “other”, typically a hapless religious and ethnic minority.
This is a guest post by SANJAY KUMAR
(This is an expanded version of the article that has appeared in Stree Mukti, January, 2014)
There is a reason crime fiction is one of the most popular genres in bourgeois societies. Nowhere else, except in the equally fictitious assumptions of the Neo-Classical economic theory, is a human being made to appear an isolated individual in her motives and abilities, as completely as in crime fiction. Borrowing from a famous Ibsen play, in crime fiction, ‘a criminal stands most alone at the moment of crime’. Only her/his motives and acts determine the crime. Bourgeois law also assumes the same about criminal guilt, though punishment is often given under the light of ‘mitigating circumstances’, which mostly is a back door for all kinds of class and social prejudices. Among the ideologies that inhabit a society’s discursive world there often is a dominant ideology which mainly reflects imperatives of the prevailing economic and political order. The feudal ideological world is dominated by notions of loyalty, honour, and community, all of which are the essential ideological glue, as well the felt reality of the hierarchical web of a feudal society. Bourgeois society is founded upon private property. Even though their consciousness is socially formed, its members see themselves as formed and ready prior to their social engagements. Their attributes appear to them as their own, inherent qualities. This gives a moral boost to the enjoyment of fruits of private property; that is the charm of bourgeois consciousness. In crime fiction, criminals as sole proprietors of their motives and abilities thrust themselves against social prohibitions in diabolically creative ways. That is its (hidden) charm.
Continue reading Bourgeois Imagination and Freedom from Gender Crimes – Limits of a Social Category: Sanjay Kumar
Guest Post by M AKHIL: Listen to the flourish. The stage is set, the side-kicks are in place and the sycophants are scampering tirelessly to welcome their emperor. Narendra Modi has started his journey to the high seat of Indraprastha.
Curiously enough, his current ride is being celebrated as a victory lap by his ardent supporters. A bit too quick, don’t you think? Especially for a man who was only a few years ago, in terrible danger of being convicted for one of the most gruesome state-sponsored genocides in the history of independent India. Of course, he hasn’t been convicted yet, but many of his ministers and close aides have been. Babu Bajrangi’s confessions on record must be more than enough proof for Modi’s culpability. 1 Alas! Facts get twisted in the most unimaginable ways as they threaten to blow away an edifice carefully built by a dominant plutocracy with immense help from the ‘State-Temple-Corporate Complex’. 2 Here, I shall attempt to bust the Modi bubble which is being ridiculously pumped up by the holy nexus, even as you are reading this. After all, the BJP is possibly the party with the highest following among Indian netizens and the online publicity team of the current supremo is meticulous. An alternative view will be stark, but hopefully it will serve as food for thought for those among us getting nauseated by the dominant narrative. Continue reading Lies, Damn Lies and NaMo – Why I do not support Modi and why you shouldn’t either: M Akhil
Workers’ Violence and Corporate Violations of Law
It has been a long time in the making. The violence at Maruti-Suzuki’s Manesar plant on 19 July 2012, that led to the ghastly killing of the general manager, Awanish Kumar Dev was waiting to happen. While the killing was gruesome, I believe this is merely a ‘freeze shot’ of a larger film that has been playing for a very long time now. While it is the media’s wont to focus only on these moments of spectacular violence and then dish out reports from handouts provided by managements and the police, sometimes, such moments of conflagration do illuminate what has been in the dark for so long.
What follows below is an attempt to think through some of the issues that seem to me to lie at the bottom of the violent event. The ‘violent event’ here is not simply what took place in Maruti-Suzuki’s Manesar plant now; it is rather a shorthand for the whole series of such conflagrations that have been taking place over the past few years in the National Capital Region (NCR) – starting with Honda Motors and Scooters 2005, Graziano Trasmissioni 2008, and many others since – Rico Auto Industries, Pricol Ltd and so on. The struggle in Honda Motors that had been brewing for a long time had eventually spilled over into a series of public protests with severe police violence in the full glare of the media. Things have never been the same in the entire belt since. Rico Auto Industries incident in September-October 2009 subsequently became an important milestone – galvanizing as it did a number of other workers’ strikes. There it had started when the workers struck work after 17 of their colleagues had been dismissed ‘on disciplinary grounds’. Actually, the workers rightly felt that this was to quash their attempt to form a union. And while the workers were protesting at the gate, a group of hired goons attacked them, killing one of the workers and injuring many others. In the Graziano Trasmissioni the issue of contention was the reinstatement of 136 dismissed workers which led to a massive unrest in the unit in Greater NOIDA, leading eventually to an incident not very different from the present one. Continue reading Some Reflections on Capital and the Workers’ Movement After Manesar
Guest post by ISHWAR DOST
ममता की संघर्ष गाथा जीत का जश्न बन कर कोलकाता की जिस राइटर्स बिल्डिंग में प्रवेश कर रही है, उसके गलियारों में कुछ वक्त के लिए ही सही, सन्नाटा-सा तैर गया होगा। यादें उभर आई होंगी। चौंतीस साल का साथ पत्थरों तक के लिए कम नहीं होता। वे मूक दीवारें एक इतिहास की गवाह हैं। एक अपराजेय-से लगते लंबे दौर की; जिसने चुनावों के सात समंदर पार किए; अभेद्य लाल दुर्ग के तिलिस्म को खड़ा किया। अब लोकतंत्र में सबसे लंबे शासन का एक अंतर्राष्ट्रीय कीर्तिमान विदा हो गया। विदाई इतनी करुण और क्रूर कि पिछले मुख्यमंत्री विधानसभा की ड्योढ़ी तक नहीं पहुंच पाए। तैंतीस में से पच्चीस मंत्री विधानसभा से बेदखल हो गए। माकपा बंगाल विधानसभा में कांग्रेस से भी छोटी पार्टी हो गई।
2008 से एक के बाद एक पंचायत, संसद, नगरपालिका चुनाव हारने के कारण इस नतीजे में आश्चर्य की कोई बात नहीं बची थी। सड़क चलते राहगीर तक को पता था क्या होने वाला है। मगर व्यापक वाम से जुड़े बुद्धिजीवियों और पार्टी के भीतर के ही बौद्धिकों तक के आलोचनात्मक विश्लेषण माकपा की आंखें नहीं खोल सके। वाम मोर्चे को बंगाल में अपनी अपरिहार्यता के तर्क पर इतना यकीन था कि उसने अपने लिए आश्चर्य और धक्के का सृजन कर लिया। उसके लिए यह ‘अभूतपूर्व उलटफेर’ हो गया। आलोचकों को मुंहतोड़ जवाब देने की फितरत माकपा को आखिरकार जिस आश्चर्यलोक और रंजो-गम के गढ़हे में ले गई, उससे सावधान रहने की चेतावनी देते हजारों लेख अखबारों, पत्रिकाओं, ब्लॉगों में कदम-कदम पर बिछे थे।
Continue reading वाम मोर्चे की करुण विदाई: ईश्वर दोस्त
With the debate on Maoist violence and Operation Green Hunt hotting up, things are taking a disturbing turn. The danger really is that all spaces of radical political movements and indeed the entire space of the Left, part of it gradually vacated by the parliamentary ‘Left’ in recent decades and finally completely abandoned in the last few years, will now be virtually erased. In its place will be installed the phantom of an ‘armed struggle’ that threatens to completely swallow up the spaces once occupied by different shades of the CPI(ML) and the Naxalite movement and other Continue reading Mass Politics, Violence and the Radical Intellectual