Year That Was

World capitalism as a whole has visibly been in serious crisis for quite a few years. Two consequences of this crisis are clearly marked. One is the renewed interest in socialism and investigation into its problems in a new manner in the light of the experiences of the earlier post-revolutionary societies such as the Soviet Union and China. The other is the resurgence and spread of various rightist, mainly racial and fascist, influences. Such influences are symptoms, not of strength but of weakness, of capitalism. In India the enthronement of the corporate-Hindutva alliance personified by Narendra Modi and the almost frantic attempts by this alliance to communalise all organs of the state, represent a resurgence of the latter type. Modi, despite the backing of the corporate-controlled media, has since lost much of his ground and his pre-election rhetoric has over time proved to be devoid of content and strictly speaking, pure bluff. The so-called ‘drive’ against black money through demonetisation of higher-dimension notes has caused immense suffering to the people who have no black money, and his apologists are concocting facts in order to downplay the harm done to the normal functioning of the economy, while the corporate lobby is immensely happy, because the decision to demonetise 500 and 1000 rupee notes was taken in its interest. The government has already shown( e.g. by the Aadhar card example) that it hardly cares for the opinion of the Supreme Court on policy matters, and hence challenging official policies at the Supreme Court may not improve matters for the people. But what is particularly noteworthy is that although many social organisations, mass organisations and voluntary organisations have been fighting the fascist onslaught of the Modi government, there is no sign of a viable challenge emerging. The past records of the Congress, which is now trying to exploit the mounting grievances of the people, are also infamous as far as corruption is concerned, and it also did not take any concrete step against the colossal loot of bank deposits or against the black money held in foreign banks. In this respect, the present government is only a follower of the predecessor regime. Mamata Banerjee is also trying to use the opportunity offered by demonetisation in order to elevate her political image but the increasingly corrupt image of her party is obviously a barrier; so also is the complete absence of any mention in her tub-thumping of the plunder of national wealth by the domestic and foreign corporate sector. In truth most regional parties are ineffective against Modi’s onslaught. They are mere passengers in this parliamentary train driven by Modi. And where is the Left? There is not much leftism left in the practice of the parliamentary Left, and they clearly lack enough bones and muscles to fight the neo-liberal regime. They are not even willing to make any self-criticism regarding Singur and Nandigram, let alone other things. And the far Left is deplorably fragmented, unable to build up a democratic and secular platform that inspires confidence. Among the far Left, the CPI (Maoist) has been troubling the state and corporate capital by engaging in a protracted war with them, but its sectarian approach regarding mass issues and its tendency to settle all issues by the force of guns have been doing much harm to the cause of popular unity. Narendra Modi was catapulted to power with the active support of the profit-hungry corporate tycoons that were unhappy about the alleged incapacity of Manmohan Singh and the Congress to serve them in the desired measure. Modi must satisfy them and in return promote his agenda of Hindutva by intensifying the attacks on Muslims, dalits and rationalists, and by all sorts of distortions of Indian history aimed at polluting the minds of the educated gentry. Although he is not going unchallenged, it is to live in a fool's paradise to think that his brigade will make a voluntary retreat. No, they won’t. This brigade, which has a formidable or-

ganisation spread all over the country, will use all means at their disposal- economic, strong among the Indian middle classes, to silence any voice of dissent. They are Modi’s storm-troopers. This is perhaps why these classes are still not willing to give much thought to the sentiments of the people of Kashmir, and almost uncritically support what the Government of India is doing. They don’t bother about what is happening in the North-East. So, the New Year opens with many tensions and possibilities. One cannot be certain where it will lead the country.

Vol. 49, No.26, Jan 1 - 7, 2017