Indian fascism on shaky ground
A revolutionary perspective

Arup Kumar Baisya

The primary task of a revolutionary party, Lenin opined, is to continuously ascertain whether there exists revolutionary situation and to assess its every phase, and to tell the people about the possibility of a revolutionary change, and to develop itself to be capable of leading the masses for a revolution.

Lenin delineates, “To the Marxist it is indispensable that a revolution is impossible without a revolutionary situation; furthermore, it is not every revolutionary situation that leads to revolution. What, generally speaking, are the symptoms of a revolutionary situation? We shall certainly not be mistaken if we indicate the following three major symptoms: (1) when it is impossible for the ruling classes to maintain their rule without any change, when there is a crisis, in one form or another, among the “upper classes”, a crisis in the policy of the ruling class, leading to a fissure through which the discontent and indignation of the oppressed classes burst forth. For a revolution to take place, it is usually insufficient for “the lower classes not to want” to live in the old way, it is also necessary that “the upper classes should be unable” to live in the old way; (2) when the suffering and want of the oppressed classes have grown more acute than usual; (3) when, as a consequence of the above causes, who uncomplainingly allow themselves to be robbed in “peace time”, but, in turbulent times, are drawn both by all the circumstances of the crisis and by the “upper classes” themselves into independent historical action.”  (Collected Works, V I Lenin, Volume 21, P. 213-214).

During the long phase of neoliberal restructuring since 1980s, the expansion and penetration of global capital has occurred in almost every nook and corner of pre-capitalist territories. The movement of capital occurred through financial market and service sector establishing a global value chain and thus Leninist prediction of imperialist rivalry and conflict has been somewhat subdued under the overarching umbrella of global finance and globally connected service sector. This apparent shift from Leninist formulations misled many Marxist observers to conclude that Leninist era of imperialism is over. But could capitalism mitigate the crisis through this neoliberal restructuring? The answer is a decisive no. Marx analysed in the Capital that the essence of capitalism is the production and labour process in department I and department II i.e. industry of means of production and commodity goods. The circulating capital i.e. capital in service sector and the finance are ingrained in it. Lenin extended this argument to show that in the phase of monopoly capitalism or imperialism, the finance capital that transforms into industrial production establishes domination over production.

The competition and its concomitant rise of organic composition of capital give birth to fall of rate of profit and overproduction, and result in the movement of capital from the territory of higher organic composition of capital to the territory of lower organic composition of capital. Leninist imperialism is fundamentally the latest ramification of this movement of capital in his time. The capitalists, the capital personified, found out an escape route in generating a new independent market of finance capital and in service sector for capital investment and amassing profit. A handful of capitalists accumulated trillion dollars of profit into their coffers, but subsequently entered into deeper crisis as capitalist law of value cannot sustain without industrial production of machines and commodities and without the engagement of living labour with dead labour. Both the law of falling rate of profit and overproduction due to demand crunch remain operative in both the department I and department II. The neoliberal restructuring which had been achieved by dismantling organized labour and welfare states now needs another restructuring to create profitable destinations for the capital accumulated from finance market and service sector in industrial and manufacturing sectors. The Pandemic and lockdown has broken the global value chain, displaced the labour from production and thereby raising unemployment rate, increased systemic inequality to unsustainable level and thus deepened the crisis, but created opportunity for the capitalists to restructure at the same time.

What is now happening in imperialist rivalry? The US is no longer a global hegemonic imperialist super-power. The US loses its position as a pivot of global economy due to declining economy and also its military position to act as a defense protector of NATO members. The attempt to revive its domestic economy through quantitative easing and debt market also failed. The prospect of a European project has been reduced through Brexit, but it has still kept its hope alive through a Brexit with a deal. On the other-hand, China is a rising power both economically and militarily through its OBOR project and expanding its influence in global trade routes. China is following a new form of colonial domination with the countries which are participating in OBOR project through its apparently mutually beneficial thrust. On the one hand, the acceptance of Renminbi is increasing and at the same time, China already introduced Crypto-currency which will give China an edge over other players in global trade. The China-Russia axis power has already placed a massive challenge before the US in its military domination over the trade routes. The GDP of all the countries have taken a nosedive due to the disruptions caused by Pandemic and Lockdown, but China could manage this shock more efficiently than other countries and maintain the highest position on GDP count. 

In the backdrop of the above development, the domestic rise of Hindutva fascist politics stands in a shaky ground. Modi government has initially shown its inclination to align with the US as a strategic partner. But due to the change of balance of force in imperialist division of labour, the fascist project is missing an important prop. Without the hegemonic support of an imperialist power, the fascist project is destined to face massive, though not insurmountable resistance. Due to the capitalist objective of restructuring for profitable destination of industrial and manufacturing investment, the old guards of Indian Bourgeoisie like Tata – Birla – Bajaj will once again come to the focus challenging the dominant position of the new guards like Adanis and Ambanis and this will intensify the conflict within the ruling class. Already this intense competition and conflict are visible in the production of vaccine and health appliances. This will usher in a massive disruption and dismantling of service sector workers who constitute the major chunk of the present workforce and thus resuscitate them for resistance against this transition. The introduction of contract farming like indigo in 1777 during British colonial period ruined the small and marginal farmers, and introduction of permanent settlement in land in 1793 arrested the indigenous development of capitalism in India. Similarly, the farm law, 2020 is designed to achieve similar objectives for the corporate capital to link agro-produces to the vicissitude of Walmart-prices in the pretext of alleviating market competition in this present stage of neo-colonialism. The restructuring in agricultural sector for corporate plunder already roused the peasantry including the rich and capitalist peasants and landlords to rebel against. But the capitalism cannot survive without another restructuring, and the restructuring is not always smooth because it generates intense passion within the oppressed classes for resistance.

The deep capitalist crisis has rejuvenated the fascist forces in all the major countries in the world because the ruling class is not capable to rule in old way, and fascism as termed by Gramsci as Passive revolution becomes dominant philosophy of the ruling class. But Pandemic and Lockdown have changed the trajectory, and the section of industrial capitalists are advocating a new path of recovery of the economy through restructuring of capital to come out of the Kondratiev cycle of capitalist crisis for a new long phase of capitalism.

This new contradiction is leading the ruling gentry into policy crisis. The recent OXFAM reports unveiled the extreme inequality and further massive concentration of wealth in the hands of the super-rich during covid lockdown period. Any move for restructuring initially brings forth an adverse impact on already marginalized section of people and this gives birth to intense class struggle.

India is going to witness the intensification of class struggle. The class struggle which is emerged from within the relation of production is not determined by some amount of class content and some amount of other categories like language, culture or identity segregated in space-time. It is neither simultaneity nor displacement; it is determined by Gramscian notion of contingency. The working class, the universal agency of change, will dominate the space-time over the territorially confined narrow world of other cultural categories. The static category of class transforms into dynamic conception of class in its struggle as envisaged by Mrax who said, “The emancipation of working class is conquered by working class themselves.”

In this context, two major changes happened in Indian revolutionary landscape: (1) the epicenter of revolution has shifted from backward region to developed areas and urban centres with backward areas as rear for revolution. (2) The extreme form of inequality and down-sliding of socio-economic status of the large section of populace are turning the hitherto submissive and docile classes into revolutionary classes like small-businesses along with the mental and manual workers. But the class-struggle cannot be directed towards revolution in absence of a revolutionary party which can lead the struggle against neo-colonial corporate hegemony and domination. This revolutionary party can only be built on the foundation of a unity process of all communist revolutionaries. This transitory phase of conflict between corporate capitalist and the rest of the masses will not remain for a long period to come. Either it will settle for a revival of capitalism through restructuring for its sustenance for another long period or for a common destruction of all through climate change or for systemic change through revolutionary upheaval. So the unity of communist revolutionaries is of utmost importance.     

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Feb 6, 2021

Arup Kumar Baisya

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