Wednesday, June 3, 2015

India: Sum and substance of a real Opposition a Critique by Asit Das of Shiv Visvanathan

                                              Shiv Visvanathan

Anti Communist Liberalism, funded by the think tanks of imperialism, has spawned its bootlicking comprador intellectuals in the third world.
One such intellectual is Shiv Vishwanathan, who is so blind in his anti marxism, and so arrogant by the equally servile followers who pamper his ego, that he even doesn’t have the secondary school knowledge of what is left/right/secular/communal.
His knowledge of history is so poor that he doesn’t really understand pre and post cold war political theories. 
It is amusing to know that, how a well known social scientist has such a poor knowledge of history. It is really shocking to know that Shiv Viswanathan reduces the concept of left and right to cold war, that is between 1945 to 1991, is it a sleight of hand or sheer ignorance. As far as I know the term “Left” and “Right” emerged in the after math of storming the Bastille in Paris in the Year 1789.
He is so star struck by ruling class politics, that when Aam Aadmi Party swept the Delhi assembly polls in February. In an edit page Article in Hindu, he declared that the AAP to be the New left of India.
That was absolutely stupid political observation. In  fact AAP is another corporate sponsored stooge of the Indian Ruling Classes. He really doesnt know the difference between the social democrats and the left.
Or he wouldnt have called absolutely copted outfits like CPI and CPM as left

Being a pawn of imperialist cold war propaganda against the left, he is so mentally retarded that, even after the collapse of the Berlin wall. When there is no apparent threat to world imperialism, anti communism has got so deeply ingrained into his blood and thought process, that he still carries on anti left propaganda on behalf of his imperialist masters.
Amidst growing poverty, destitution and ravages of wars. These comprador intellectual imposters conveniently, perched in private universities, using access to the Media. Distort the realities about social movements.
In the attached edit page article in hindu Date June 1, 2015. Shiv Vishwanathan paints an abjectly distorted and false picture about the lefts role in various social movements.
In the article “Sum and substance of a real opposition”, Shiv Vishwanathan just utters a white lie about the left vis a vis social movements. In the above mentioned article, this anti left American plant Shiv Vishwanathan has written that the left had no role in social movements like Narmada, Baliapal etc, which is not only a white lie, but also extremely scandalising.
Lets start with Baliapal a heroic resistance movement against the proposed, National missile testing range at Baliapal area of Balasore district in Odisha. Com Gananath Patra, Dr Naryan etc who were  politically,ideologicaly, and organisationally trained by the then united cpiml, and they played a stellar role in Baliapal resistance movement.Baliapal was a logical stop of naxalbari

Bailapal was the late confluence of the hailstorm emanating from the foot hills of Darjeeling and the revolutionary breeze from Srikakulam, when the subalterns of India declared the liberation war against Indian Ruling classes inspired by the peasant uprising of Naxalbari.
 The left had a formidable presence in Singur, Nandigram, Kalinganagar, Anti Posco struggle in Jagatsinghpur,Niyamgiri anti bauxite struggle,Raigad anti SEZ struggle, and Gopalpur anti Tata steel antidisplacement plant displace struggles, infact it led most of the struggle. Again con. Gananath patro was instrumental in the initial mobilization of anti posco struggle. Abhay Sahoo and CPI joined much later.
Com Gananath Patro is also one of the moving spirit behind the new spartacan uprising of  the underdogs Narayanpatna in Odisha, where the wretched of the earth have thrown away the chains of  bondage and servitude against the money lenders and liquor traders, who had usurped the Adivasi lands through unfair means Narayanpatna is a glorius struggle of the Adivasis to reclaim their land and also it was an important struggle for dignity and equality. Koel karo was a long and dogged fight, it was a section of the radical left one splinter group of the then united CPIML did core mobilising at  Koel karo.
There was police firing in koel karo where more than five adivasis were killed, the project was abandoned, and the credit goes to the left.
Narmada Bachao Andolan calls itself a red green movement which means both Marxists and the green crowd are part of the organisation, which includes Gandhians, Feminists , Lohiyaites, Marxist and anarchists.
The most well know face of Narmada Bacheo Andolan Medha Patkar has stated the above facts many tines categorically.
By Asit Das
Sum and substance of a real Opposition
  • Shiv Visvanathan, the hindu,1june 2015 op ed artcle
 I love airports because they are full of surprises. I meet friends and classmates who I have not met in years in an ecstasy of joy which spreads over a coffee. Then, we move on in our own peripatetic ways. But the meeting and the conversation trigger ideas, possibilities; some that are partly nostalgic while others seed new and innovative ideas.
Most of the people I meet are 50 plus, have had full lives and yet are desperately trying to make sense of the world. They are outstanding teachers, activists and professionals who feel that for all their proactiveness the world has moved beyond them. Many articulate personal disquiet and doubt in political terms, trying to invent a different way of doing, even smelling things.
One of them told me, “For many of us, the political or the idea of the political was a way of fine-tuning our lives, of making sense of how private dreams linked to public good. We were bumbling, naive, stupid and believed that dreams could easily translate into realities. We were fools but glorious fools, and in our folly, there was a wisdom.”
There was a certain commonality — though I would not say consensus — to these conversations. Few wanted a resurgence or a revival of that way of politics. There have been too many casualties. Broken lives do not allow time for any form of sentimentality. However, they all added that they wanted to see a world beyond Narendra Modi. Mr. Modi depressed them, they said. He was too puritanical, dismal, and his notion of power had little sense of laughter or even a reciprocity of give and take.
A war of categories
This generation too had been caught in a Cold War of categories — of ‘right-left’, ‘secular-communal’, and ‘official-informal’. By making a fetish of these categories, we have destroyed ourselves. I remember a sensitive member of the Communist Party of India (CPI) telling me that they had become commissars of the mind. Still worse, they had policed themselves into mouthing Shibboleths. He added,“Think of Stalin. He seems outdated and slapstick today but Stalin policed our lives. Stalin was the litmus test of truth, a cybernetic exercise which kept history on the right path. I wish we had read Czesław Milosz’s The Captive Mind , Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon or George Orwell’s 1984 , less as murky stories, and instead had treated them as everyday fables, warning against the totalitarian of everyday. As a result, the Left in its dogma became puppets unconsciously pulled by their own strings.”
My friends also realised something. Those who had fought for years treating factions as fetishist truths, now had more in common, i.e., they all felt passionately about the world. There was a poignancy to the conversation. I remember the scientist, Dinesh Mohan, telling me that “the Nehruvian world was the aspiring world”. Education opened up a new world. People from first generation families loved education. It was not about exams, but the dream of a book and the magic of ideas. But he cautioned that “aspiring meant exploring, discovering ideas and ideas beyond this world. It was not just skill development and mobility.”
An impoverished politics
Another told me, “you met people from little towns whose ideas flared up your imagination, who spun worlds which were unbelievable. Everyone I knew had a roster of such names — of painters, scientists, storytellers, designers who just faded away.” It was a romantic world and it made mistakes. Today, one has to list out these mistakes. Our ideologies blinded us into intolerance. We treated Lenin, Stalin, Marx as gods but unfortunately as monotheistic, monolithic gods. Our political beliefs should have been syncretic like our religions. Our one-sided beliefs created one-sided histories. Fifty years later, our political parties, especially the CPI and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) started to become relics.
They were forms of political autism but they swallowed and destroyed so many of the best. Today, these parties need a mourning wall for the casualties they created. Ironically, in a dream of freedom expressed at the time of Independence, we seem to have ended up destroying dissent, eccentricity and marginality. In objectifying a slice of history, we have only ended up with an impoverished state of politics. In trying to be stupidly scientific, we have failed to realise that truth is spoken in a variety of dialects. We have treated the terms ‘plan’, ‘design’, ‘project’ and ‘nation building’ as official projects when we should have seen them as being naive experiments.
One among more eccentric friends explained Mr. Modi to be a Giffen good — a consumer item having the paradoxical quality of being in greater demand when its price rises, and lower in demand when the price falls. He attracts the mediocre who in turn create a unreal world of history. In our generation, our mistakes were more obvious, but in this generation, the mistakes will be more lethal. In terms of its impracticality, our generation was the farce, while in its sense of pragmatism, this generation will end up being more of a tragedy. In ours, problems were like demons, but in theirs, they are like monsters.
The seeds of an alternative
While the older generation was intolerant, even naive, it created the possibility of a new kind of problem-solving. In fact, it is out of a sense of recognising our mistakes that our generation creates this possibility. Our proposal has been triggered by two events. First, Sitaram Yechury’s election as the new General Secretary of the CPI(M) and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s constitutional battle with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Today, while the advent of Mr. Modi is accepted and will become a part of history, it is the events that surround his politics that will sow the seeds of an alternative historical possibility. Our modest proposal arises out of a hundred conversations with civil society and activists in the Left parties which must now lead to the formation of a creative, critical and constructive opposition force to the BJP regime. It has to be an Opposition with creative possibilities; an Opposition which avoids demologies. The last point is crucial. Let me explain this. I remember one of the moving moments during the Emergency happened when political leaders across ideologies found themselves in jail. It was when the Left and the Right discovered that courage and resistance belonged to no one ideology.
I am sure somewhere that Mr. Yechury and many others in the Left must have thought of bringing all the strands of the left together — Naxalite, Left Liberal, Gandhian, Lohiate, Feminist, Trade Union, CPI(M), CPI, the liberation theology and the Dalit Left. One has to do this before the Left fades into irrelevance. As the old joke goes, the October Revolution faded into the Octogenarian Revolution in India. The party is dying of Stalinist senility.
Speaking for all
For decades, the Left parties worked with the official trade unions. Issues raised by the fishermen’s struggle, the Narmada Bachao Andolan, Chipko, Baliapal and Koel Karo occurred outside the Left party focus. In fact, a lot of politics dealing with issues of marginality and the survival of subsistence groups took place outside Left party limits. The distinction between environment and class, or the red and green movements blinded people from realising that nature is not an object of use, but a way of life and livelihood in India. While the Left triggered the subaltern imagination, which went beyond the nationalist and Marxist imaginations, it failed to initiate a dialogue with the alternative movements, especially those of science. The movement of alternatives also talked about the rights of the future which the Left needed to develop into an imagination and a constituency. The danger of pre-emptive futures is one of the great threats to democracy. In short, a pluralism of the Left has to lead to a germ plasm of dissent, eccentricity, alternatives, margins and minorities. We have to create a democracy that speaks through them and for them. More than this, it has to result in a vision of caring for the defeated, the broken, the forgotten and the discarded.
A Kejriwal and movements like his have a lot to add to the Left. They have added to the language of empowerment by showing that one needs a space beyond representation and participation. One needs an alternative politics that reworks issues of everyday life. One needs justice in both a macro and micro way. One needs the ideals of nationalist idealism and asceticism to rework ideas of citizenship. Mr. Kejriwal’s politics is not an isolated fragment but has to be seen as being a part of the great civil society movements. The Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) and the Right to Information Act (RTI), the Anna Hazare battle against corruption, the anti-nuclear struggles across India, the battle against arbitrary demolition, the effort to remember the Narmada survivors that were all fought not only in ideological but non-ideological terms are all a part of our legacy.
When we combine the Left and the Kejriwal-like struggles, we get a great jigsaw; a compost heap of ideas of a vision of India, speaking many dialects, providing for translation and articulating new visions of government and technology which bring nature back into the social contract and which link body and body politic in more dignified ways.
Such a pulsating vision of India is both local and planetary. It creates an alternative churning which can challenge the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) to a debate which replaces moral policing with justice. Such a formation has to call for a debate and keep the issues that we face open. Such a vision that is open to doubt but at ease with itself can rework the functioning of a majoritarian democracy into a pluralistic world. This is a vision which has seen the pain and the joy of the last few decades. Now, it offers itself as a re-examined experiment to stop the Modi juggernaut and recreate an India that can dream the music of different worlds. It may be a quilt patch but it will be holistic, mature and evolving in terms of its struggle. It might also get us beyond the mediocrity of our current obsessions.
(Shiv Visvanathan is a professor at Jindal School of Government and Public Policy.)
Such a vision that is open to doubt but at ease with itself can rework the functioning of a majoritarian democracy into a pluralistic world. This is a vision which has seen the pain and the joy of the last few decades.
Civil society and activists in the Left parties must be at the forefront of a formation of
a creative, critical and constructive opposition force to the BJP regime. It has to be an Opposition with creative possibilities


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think that anti revisionist Marxism-Leninism is of the utmost important. I don't think Maoism is a higher stage, and Enver Hoxha's legacy and championing of Stalin is of the utmost importance. In India, there are also strong ML pro Albania parties, as there are in Greece (KKE). It seems to me that the Indian Maoists are not a proletarian movement, and their Maoist based tactics and strategy won't win. There is a massive working class in India, and it is they who must lead the revolution. I am also not sure that the Shining Path of Peru or the Nepalese Maoists were proletarian revolutionaries, but a mix of petit bourgeois leadership with peasant support.

Hoxha also criticized the bourgeois deviations and anti marxist nature of the three worlds theory.

long live Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, Enver Hoxha, the fifth architect of Marxism-Leninism.