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Long live Marx, Netaji zindabad!

Last updated on: March 19, 2012 10:02 IST
A memorandum opposing Aadhaar and other anti-people policies was submitted to the Indian National Congress-led government along with a big truck load of signatures numbering 3.57 crore to mark the 129th death anniversary of Karl Marx, one of most influential socialist thinkers post industrial revolution amidst a huge People's March to Parliament comprising about one lakh citizens on Mach 14 in the national capital.

The meeting concluding the People's March underlined the need for internationalism and remembered Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, one of foremost anti-imperialist heroes of the world in glowing terms. His death remains unconfirmed since August 18, 1945. 

Marx died in London at the age of 64, two years prior to the formation of Indian National Congress and Communist parties in India, but they claimed that his ideas influenced them. Under the Indian Constitution every political party in the country is registered as a socialist party. If they will profess any other ideology, they will not even be registered. All the national and regional parties take oath to be a socialist party but in a classic case of double speak and hypocrisy they practice against the principles of socialism. 

The meeting of the People's March remembered that during the freedom movement, the leaders of the Indian National Congress backstabbed the revolutionary trend in the interest of capitalism-imperialism by forcing Netaji to resign from the post of the president of the Congress and finally expelling him.

In his presidential address at the Haripura Congress in 1938 he asserted: If after the capture of political power, national reconstruction takes place on socialistic lines -- as I have no doubt it will -- it is the "have-nots" who will benefit at the expense of the "haves" and the Indian masses have to be classified among the "have-nots".

Bose was of the view that 'the struggle for Independence has as its aim the removal of the triple bondage of political, economic and social oppression' resonates with views of Marx. 

When world financial crisis struck in 2008, which is still far from over, mainstream media reported 'Booklovers turn to Karl Marx as financial crisis bites in Germany' (15 October 2008, The Guardian) and 'Marx popular amid credit crunch' (20 October 2008, BBC). The question is will the popular perception be accepted that "the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles"?

In the post World War II era, it is not evident that economical laws determine the course of history, as Marx contended.

Marx along with Friedrich Engels his co-author viewed this law of 'economic determinism' as the creative force in human progress. Engels stated, "The final causes of all social changes and political revolution are to be sought, not in men's brains, not in man's insight into internal truth and justice... but in the economies of each epoch."

Hasn't the time come to admit, "Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions," as Marx argued?

Both free trade barbarism and wars take birth in the mental landscape. In fact they are conceptual constructs. When war begins in mind, peace must be built there reads motto of UNESCO created in the aftermath of application of nuclear weapons on Japanese cities of Hiroshima, Nagasaki by USA government to kill people and contaminate ecosystem in August 1945.

In a pithy article titled 'Occupy the Mind: Red Ink For Our Walls!' Slavoj Zizek, a political philosopher and a senior researcher at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia aptly calls for occupation of mind perhaps as a next step to the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Bitter with the experience of how the ideology of Marx has been applied in practice, Zizek, in his book First as Tragedy, Then as Farce argues that "critical leftists have hitherto only succeeded in soiling those in power, whereas the real point is to castrate them . . ." 

One European poet of English origin had long back committed an epistemic sin of having equated war with love by saying "all is fair in love and war". Had he been alive today and taken note of trade wars of last 400 years, he would surely have inferred that 'all is fair in trade' as well. When war is trade-in information, food, water, medicines, natural resources-ecological catastrophe and extinction of plant and animal species is deemed merely collateral damage or 'natural' like market forces. There is something deeply cannibalistic in the protestant ethics of capitalism that creates an illusion that there is anything ethical about unlimited profit at any cost fundamentalism. Following the same an emerging technology regime is attempting to create a convergence economy, People's March alone can give a befitting reply to such sinister efforts underway.   

It is now for the fellow citizens and comrades among movements to devise the next plan of radical action to arrest further collapse in the face of companies with militarised mind that believe in acting might fully rather than rightfully irrespective human suffering. Destruction of ecological space during war and during peace time development both merit urgent attention, the impact appears to be the same. Is development, a war machine in conceptual cloak?   

Emergence of a surveillance state using identification technologies is an expression of a militarised mind of the state, which still carries the residues of imperial propensities, which were opposed by Marx and Bose. It has been opposed even by a parliamentary committee and rejected by the electorate in Uttar Pradesh. 

People's March on the death anniversary of Marx reveals the truthfulness of British writer John Berger's contention "the multitudes have answers to questions which have not yet been posed. The questions are not yet asked because to do so requires words and concepts which ring true, and those currently being used to name events have been rendered meaningless: Democracy, Liberty, Productivity, etc. With new concepts the questions will soon be posed, for history involves precisely such a process of questioning." 

"In applying any theory to practice, you can never rule out geography or history. If you attempt it, you are bound to fail," said Bose. In the aftermath of the demise of socialist governments in USSR and China and in the imminent post capitalist world order, People's March alone holds the key to sane world economy instead of blind Europeanisation or Americanisation. Marx and Bose would not have disagreed.     

Gopal Krishna