Politics in Post-Pandemic India and the World

Arup Kumar Sen

The principal contradiction in the post-pandemic world is between the State and the People. The rightwing governments all over the world have miserably failed to protect the lives and livelihoods of the people. The dismantling of public health systems over the years under neoliberal regimes has increased the disease-related vulnerability of the people in the post-pandemic world. Moreover, a vast mass of people have been expropriated from their jobs and other sources of livelihood after the spread of the coronavirus in the different countries.

The public health crisis and the economic crisis being witnessed in the world are organically connected with the rule of Capital on a world scale. The main victims of this dual crisis are the ‘subaltern’ people.

The BJP government at the Centre has not only failed to address the novel health crisis of the people of India, but its national lockdown policy and pro-Capital moves in different states have aggravated the economic crisis and plight of the subaltern people.

It is difficult to predict the trajectory of politics in India in the post-pandemic situation. But, it is quite evident that the return of vast mass of migrant workers from the cities to their villages in different states, with no immediate possibility of getting back their urban livelihoods, will aggravate the economic crisis in rural India. Whether the post-pandemic crisis in India will give birth to any radical popular politics is an open question.

Antonio Gramsci’s notes and ideas are very much relevant in imagining popular politics in post-pandemic India and the world. Let us state the questions connected with Gramsci’s notion of popular politics in the words of Riccardo Ciavolella:
“These questions refer to two different types of translation which Gramsci thought about: how to translate popular forms of rebellion – traditionally expressed in cultural manifestations, religious heterodoxy, folklore, or purely ‘defensive’ actions – into a popular movement of emancipation; and how to translate the disaggregated subjectivities of subaltern and popular groups…into a common and organised political subject, a collective will.” (See Riccardo Ciavolella, “The Changing Meanings of People’s Politics: Gramsci and Anthropology from Subaltern Classes to Contemporary Struggles” in Revisiting Gramsci’s Notebooks, Brill, 2020)

Gramsci’s discourse on politics of emancipation provides valuable insights for doing and understanding people’s politics in our topsy-turvy times.

Back to Home Page

Jul 14, 2020

Arup Kumar Sen

Your Comment if any