Murzban Jal’s Article


Farooque Chowdhury

Financialisation is not an easy process; neither does it happen in all economies all the time, and in simple way. However, there's a growing trend of using the term—financialisation—in an easy, actually cheap and erroneous, way. Even, a Bangladesh economist once referred micro credit as financialisation of Bangladesh economy.

The article, "The Maoist movement in India", in Frontier (vol. 53, no. 36, March 7-13, 2021, Kolkata) by Murzban Jal makes an observation concerning financialisation, which raises serious questions.

The article said:
"The financialisation of the economy and the criminalisation of politics in India which has led to the rise of the Indian neoconservatives to power led by the Bharaitya Janata Party (BJP) have created a splintered secular democratic opposition and a declining parliamentary left."

So, the following questions:

Question#1: Has India's economy financialised? Do related data support the claim—"The financialisation of the economy"? To make such a claim, the article has to look at all relevant data, and prove it.

There're economies, fully and for long, financialised, which has not yet experienced dominance of the neocons/ulta-right/sectarianism; and there're economies having no trace of financialisation, which are reeling and groaning under the boots of neocons/ultra-right/sectarianism. A look around will give many evidences.

Question#2: Is not the bourgeois politics criminalised as a whole, irrespective of country / economy / land, and in essence, and in actual practices? Has all lands dominated by the bourgeois politics with its criminalized character fully blown seen rise of neo-cons?

The term criminalisation has to be defined correctly. Criminalisation is not only an explicit use of muscle power—engaging hoodlums with everyday political activities by ruling classes, employing hooligans to threaten and coerce electorate, hiring ruffians to organise meetings, etc. as show of "public" mobilisation, nominating goons for elections, etc. Very regularly, criminalisation is perceived in this narrow and crude sense—engaging hoodlums, employing hooligans, etc. But criminalisation of politics is not limited within this narrow precinct. Along with these practices, the bourgeois politics resort to criminalisation in many other deep and powerful ways. One of these ways is use of money, money-play, in bourgeois legitimacy and beyond bourgeois legitimacy. Another way is use of its media, media-play, which is marketing is lies, confusion, and reactionary ideas, spread of hatred and sectarianism—a pure criminal act, a role that hundreds of hoodlums can't play. There're other ways, more powerful, more decisive, more criminalised.

In many economies in continents, the dominating interests, essentially exploitative, resort to such approach to dominate politics, and essentially, to restrain people from engaging with their, people's, politics. And, in many bourgeois democracies, in many advanced bourgeois democracies, this criminalisation is conducted in different forms, with a different appearance, not by explicitly engaging hoodlums. A careful scrutiny of those bourgeois democracies will give a keen observer that experience. Reports on this aspect of the bourgeois politics regularly come out in the mainstream media. Are all those bourgeois democracies having the rise of the party like the party the article has mentioned? There's always the possibility of rise of another political party or alliance in India other than the party mentioned in the article. What shall the article say then, if that other party or alliance rises—no criminalisation and non-financiali-sation? Does non-financialisation happens in that way?

The question#3: The article mentions, although with a confusing statement and sentence, ("The financialisation… and the criminalisation… has led to the rise of the Indian neoconservatives to power led by the Bharaitya Janata Party (BJP) have created a splintered secular democratic opposition and a declining parliamentary left." italicised.) the "splintered secular democratic opposition and a declining parliamentary left". The sentence, in real terms, carries no meaning simply because the way it has been formed. So, it's difficult to make comment on it as it claims "x" ("financialisation of the economy and the criminalisation of politics") has led to "y" ("to the rise of the Indian neoconservatives to power led by the Bharaitya Janata Party (BJP)") has created "z" ("splintered secular democratic opposition and a declining parliamentary left")". Which one has created which? Which one has led to what?

Has "splintered secular democratic opposition" been led by that process the article claims "financialisation" and "criminalisation"? Has that happened in all bourgeois democracies that "achieved" "financialisation" and "criminalisation"? Has all the bourgeois democracies that have not "attained" "financialisation" don't find rise of the parties like the one mentioned in the article?

What does the "secular democratic opposition" mean? If it comprises of the bourgeois political parties seemingly secular, and the progressive, anti-imperialist secular democratic parties / groups / organisations, then, the said splinter has one meaning; and if it means only the later group—the progressive, anti-imperialist secular democratic parties / groups / organisations—that splinter carries another meaning. The said splinter, whatever group is meant, has no connection with the said financialisation. The state of splinter signifies a different state of situation in a socio-economy; and splintered condition in the camp of ruling classes signifies one condition in one area while splintered condition in the politics of people, to put it broadly, signifies another condition in another area. A real-life example: In pre-October Revolution-Russia, and during the October Revolution, there're many groups, subgroups, groups within groups, factions; and many of these groups shifted political positions swiftly, a few were virtually listless. Was there financialisation in Russia at that time? If someone likes to ignore lessons from the October Revolution, the person may look at recent examples in a number of economies with different types—in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe, and in the US. In Brazil, the person will find another real example—so many political parties and splinter within splinter. There're many examples like Brazil. So, the article's "x led to y led to z", again a bad and wrong formulation in case of India, claim or statement or analysis or premise, whatever it's, is wrong. At first glance, this seems nice; but a careful eye will find nothing other than a cheap presentation of a meaningless statement—hollow.

The article said: "The old ideologies of secularism, socialism and non-alignment (the three pillars of the ruling ideology of India till 1991) are now forgotten for an aggressive hyper-capitalist and ethno-nationalist ideology."

So, no alternative other than raising Question#4: When was socialism one of the pillars of India? To substantiate the claim, the article has to formulate a new definition of socialism like "socialism with Nehruvian or Indiraite characteristics". Alternatively, the article has to cancel whatever Marx and his comrades have defined as socialism. It'll not only be clumsy job, but impossible also to substantiate the new definition—"socialism with Nehruvian or Indiraite characteristics". Actually, the article confuses with itself. With such understanding of socialism and "socialism one of the pillars of India till 1991", discussion on other issues discussed in the article is not needed.

It should be mentioned that there's a growing trend among a group of scholars in some countries eager to confirm accreditations to self as Marxist scholar by indiscriminately using a few terms, which include class, class struggle, class alliance, financialisation, corporate capital, hybrid war. No problem with that effort if that doesn't create confusion in the ranks of people, especially within people's struggle; let them happily use those words; it's someone "liberty". Let them do that to show scholarship. However, society, economy, politics are part of science. In case of science, there's no scope of using wrong terms to state a certain condition. Shall any physicist write milliliter where the scientist was to mention millimeter, cosec instead of cos, vertex instead of vortex? No scientist shall ever play with words in any way. The entire "experiment"—plays with words or careless use of term—will have a journey named jeopardy. In case of these scholars appearing to have a grasp over Marxism, the same argument applies. ooo

[Farooque Chowdhury writes from Dhaka, Bangladesh]

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Vol. 53, No. 44, May 2 - 8, 2021