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Why Right vehemently targets Left

July 14, 2020 19:29 IST
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The Right needs an apparently potent and dangerous foe to keep its followers in line.
If they lower their guard, the insidious enemy may creep in, argues Amulya Ganguli.
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh/


The unity of right-wing elements is admirable.

While Nigel Farage in Old Blighty damned 'cultural Marxism' for all the ills of the world, Donald J Trump in the New World warned against the rise of the 'new far left fascism' against America's Confederate heroes and other slave-owning stalwarts of the past.

Trump availed of the opportunity of addressing the nation on July 4, America's independence day, to rail against 'a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values and indoctrinate our children'.

Across the 'pond', as Britishers and Americans lovingly call the Atlantic, Farage, the nativist Brexiter, had also held forth agaist 'cultural Marxism' which, according to him, was a conspiracy hatched by 'unelected globalists shaping the public's lives based on secret recommentations from the big banks'.

As he said, the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the killing of an African-American by a white policeman in the US was an attempt by radical socialists to destroy nationalism, 'oftentimes funded by globalists'.

The ostensible link between 'globalists' on one hand and 'far left fascism/cultural Marxism' on the other could have been proletarian internationalism, a core Leftist concept.

But this connection is ruled out by the reference to the 'big banks', the treasuries of the rich and famous.

An allusion of this nature recalls the diatribes of the Nazis against Jewish financial clout.

Little wonder that Farage has been accused of anti-semiticism.

While the Jewish angle has a Western background, what is relevant in India is how the Left is still seen as the ogre threatening 'nationalism'.

Instead of 'far left fascism'; and 'cultural Marxism', the term that is used by the Indian Right is urban Naxalites.

But the idea is the same -- it is the seemingly considerable power of the Left to undermine nationalism.

Yet, in real life, the Left is a minuscule force, whether in America or in Europe or in India.

Instead, it is the Right which is on the ascendant.

Why then is the Left so vehemently targeted?

The reason is, first, that the Right needs an apparently potent and dangerous foe to keep its own followers in line.

If they lower their guard, the insidious enemy may creep in.

Secondly, the Right requires an ideological opponent which is its exact opposite to boost its hate quotient.

Moreover, the doctrinal approach obviates the need for constantly targeting a physical adversary in the shape of Muslims or black/brown immigrants.

Since a focus on the latter tends to encourage violent attacks on them, thereby giving the Right a bad name, as in the case of the lynching of Muslims in India, giving a ideological veneer to the Right's offensive can be a convenient and even an intellectually respectable way out while serving the same purpose of promoting ill-will against a targeted group.

Strangely, the Right's lambasting of the Left does not seem to help the latter to recover lost ground.

It's like beating a dead horse.

The Left has such a dismal history of evil deeds -- Stalin's gulags, Mao's killing of 50 million people in famines after his great leaps forward, the atrocities of Brothers No 1 and No 2 in Cambodia -- that the Communists can hardly present themselves as the great white hopes of the future.

They can only function creditably in a democratic system, as In Kerala, in order to retain a foothold in the political field.

But, in such cases, they are pale copies of their real Stalinist/Maoist selves.

It has to be the non-communists, therefore, who have to lead the charge against the Right.

But they, too, prefer to have a Leftist orientation in keeping with the general belief that the Left stands for the poor and the Right for the rich.

In India, it is the 135-year-old Congress which is playing this role.

But its age is showing.

The Right, therefore, faces no worthwhile challengers in India.

Even then, the Right's fear of 'globalists' is not unreal.

For instance, Trump's electoral discomfort in the US will dishearten the Right not only in the US, but all over the world.

In India, the non-Communists will hail Joe Biden's success.

The shrillness of Trump and Farage appears to suggest, therefore, a realisation that they are on the wrong side of history.

Amulya Ganguli is a writer on current affairs.

Feature Production: Aslam Hunani/

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