Indian Left’s Fall From Grace: Those Who Criticised Global Capitalism Are Now Taking Orders From Foreign Masters
The horrific violence in Delhi gutted many houses and swallowed many lives.
But the most long-lasting damage might have been caused by the biased coverage by the mainstream media, which tried to label the riots as “anti-Muslim pogrom”.
The same narrative was peddled by the international media.
United States senators Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez jumped to label the riots as anti-Muslim. UK’s Lord Nazir Ahmed shared a video mislabelling it as Muslims buried alive by fascists.
A analysis is in order to reveal the underlying structural-ideological foundations of this phenomena.
Ideological foundation - Left deals in the currency of power, not the truth
A society subsidises its intellectual class because it performs an extremely important social function - telling the truth.
Crudely, the politicians in a society deal in the currency of power; the entrepreneurs and businessmen in the currency of money; and the intellectuals, in the currency of truth.
People can vote a politician out of office, boycott a company out of business, but cannot do any significant damage to an intellectual - whose work as well as audience comprise of people like him - committed to the truth.
This is by design, so that the latter can do his job without fear or favour.
A scholar doesn’t directly work for the people, isn’t elected by people or answerable to them. She isn’t held accountable for the taxpayers’ money spent on him like the politicians, because the underlying contract between an intellectual and the people states that the former will speak the truth - irrespective of whether it is convenient, fashionable, or politically correct.
The Marxist ideology dilutes this social contract.
For Marxists, the ultimate goal is the communist utopia that arises from the ashes of the existing system.
Karl Marx is very clear that the existing society - in whole and parts - is entirely non-redeemable.
All history, for a leftist, is a history of oppression, and all existing social institutions a structure of oppression, to be fought and destroyed.
And this destruction is total, including both the economic substructure - the private property; and the superstructure - the government, institutions of family, society, community, religion etc.
The superstructure - and Marx pays special attention to intellectuals - is nothing but a manifestation of bourgeoisie ideas.
Marx parts ways with the traditional importance of debate, dissent, and solving problems by discussion. Left leaning scholars, therefore, find it very easy to dispense with the truth in the favour of propaganda.
According to them, there is no such thing as the truth, there is no such thing as the facts. There is only right and wrong - decided by the Marxist doctrine.
Any idea/phenomena that paves the path for destruction of existing structures is right, everything else is wrong.
The “anti-establishment” politics of the Left is nothing but a euphemism for the obsession with total destruction.
The thirst for violence and destruction, mindless outrage, moral shaming instead of rigorous debate and woke culture isn’t a perversion on the surface, but conceptually rooted in the Marxist thought.
The end-goal of an ideal world brought about by a violent destruction of the status-quo is what facilitates the “progressive” Left-wingers to ally with deeply regressive ideologies like Islamism.
Marx’s idea that ‘consciousness stems from life’ meant that Left doesn’t need to care about the truth. Once the Left captures the power - it can change the ‘truth’ to suit itself. The primary goal of the Left scholars has been to further this power-capture agenda.
Under Left’s hegemony - the intellectual is a politician who wields power without being elected.
This is why the fact that professors in the tax-payer funded Jawaharlal Nehru University carry communist party cards should trouble us.
Left in a developing country is different from Left in developed countries
In the developed world - the structures of what is called the right-wing - the capitalists, the imperialists, the church, the national governments, were already very powerful when the Left-wing appeared on the scene.
The developing countries at the time were under foreign rule, and struggling for national rejuvenation and independence.
For the colonies, it was not the misery of the workers in a capitalist system that sparked Marxist thought - there wasn’t much industrial development at the time.
What made Marxist thought attractive to the colonies was the fact that it came out of the West and the pen of a white man.
Most countries under imperial rule struggled to build a freedom movement based on the native wisdom and heritage in modern politics.
If the natives called for self determination in the name of the western ideas of nationalism and freedom, the colonialists took it as a proof of the superiority of the West and a justification of the civilising mission.
Mahatma Gandhi is an icon because he could revive the indigenous thought, techniques and aspirations of an ancient civilisation, and deploy them in the political domain.
From ‘Ram Rajya’ and ‘Swaraj’ to ‘Satya’ and ‘Ahimsa’, all Gandhian techniques were drawn from the Indian civilisational thought and sprouted from the groundwork prepared by thinkers like Vivekananda, Ghosh, Tagore etc.
Bipan Chandra, a Marxist scholar, himself states that the Swadeshi movement had “thrown up programmatically almost the entire gamut of Gandhian techniques”. Gandhi only converted these techniques into practical political practice with centralised, disciplined focus.
But this path was long and difficult, and susceptible to be quickly disposed off by the imperialists, at the slightest hint of imperfection, as a regressive assault of a barbaric civilisation against modernity.
Communism, in this context, emerged as a short-cut.
In a Eurocentric world, the violence committed in the name of communism may be as horrific but still more acceptable than the ‘oriental barbarism’.
In the case of China, the cloak of Communism shielded Mao from undue criticism of western scholars ever ready to justify the colonialism as a civilising mission. If not for the foreign ideology, Mao would have been an 'oriental despot' and Maoist violence would have been an evidence of barbarity of the uncivilised world.
The Gandhi and Nehru debate, at the time of the independence, is essentially a native vs western wisdom debate.
Indians often forget that the Congress party that Indians chose to lead the national movement wasn’t due to a socialist Nehru, but an Indic Gandhi.
It was only after the assassination of Gandhi, that Congress took a sharp Left turn, and the transactional equilibrium between Congress and Marxists came into being, whereby the former won the Parliament and political power, while latter settled for academia and intellectual power.
While Gandhi's surname was appropriated by the Nehru family at the helm of Congress - the populist Left, Gandhian politics was appropriated by the communists - the hard Left.
A politico-academic complex dominated by the Left-wing emerged, which practically killed the legacy of the Indian national movement.
The appeals by the Left wing intellectuals for people to be on “the right side of the history”, is nothing but an arrogant show-off of their power to manufacture the “truth”.
History shows that for the West, nationalism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. But for the developing world, communism is the first and last refuge of a scoundrel.
Structural foundation - the alliance of local left with the imperialists
The theoretical justification of greed for power, and the surgical cleansing of any intellectual challenge from within the academia meant that the Indian Left could freely engage in unscrupulous alliances.
Manu Joseph says that by its very nature, the “left wing" is global and the “right wing" is local.
“The “left" is a low-stakes human hive of hearts on auto-pilot that sees the world as a human hive of victims. The “right" is a high-stakes pre-occupation with what is locally relevant. The “left" is a monoculture of a European idea; the “right" is culture”.
The important thing to note about this “global” left is that it is not a neutral observer of happenings around the world, but one of the players in global politics dominated by the ex-colonising countries.
The distinction between the global left and right, in this context, is highly blurred for the third world.
Obama, Macron and Marx - the three champions of the liberals today - mentioned by Joseph in his article, themselves prove this.
Obama dropped 26,171 bombs in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Iraq during his tenure. There were ten times more air strikes during Obama’s presidency than under his predecessor, George W Bush.
Macron, when asked about Africa’s underdevelopment, called the issue “civilisational” justifying why investing money into the development of the African continent would be “useless because nothing would change”. Macron, of course, failed to mention the history of French colonialism in the Africa.
And while Marx had given an economic critique of the imperial rule, he himself held the same notions about the natives as the imperialists (some even blatantly racist), reflected in several of his comments.
“England has to fulfil a double mission in India: one destructive, the other regenerating the annihilation of old Asiatic society, and the laying the material foundations of Western society in Asia”.
“..the whole of her (India’s) past history, if it be anything, is the history of the successive conquests she has undergone. Indian society has no history at all, at least no known history. What we call its history, is but the history of the successive intruders who founded their empires on the passive basis of that unresisting and unchanging society”
In the same piece, he calls Arabs, Turks, Tartars, Moguls, who had successively overrun India, “barbarian conquerors” who were “conquered themselves by the superior civilisation of their subjects (Hindus)“
In a political system, even opposing forces tend to reach an equilibrium over time – a set of status-quoist common minimum agreements.
These are the basic requirements of engagement, even if the engagement is competitive. British and French colonial empires were fierce opponents who fought bitterly over colonies, both, however, invested in justifying colonialism in principle.
Christians and Muslims vehemently accuse each other of not being a true monotheist, all the while agreeing that monotheism is superior to polytheism.
Similarly, the debate between the left and the right in former imperial countries is also based on certain common minimum agreements. The left in the West is at a certain level of consensus with the imperialists when it comes to the issues of colonialism.
Therefore, the local left, in order to sustain its alliance with the global left, has to blunt its capacity to critique the ideas that historically propelled imperialism, colonialism and conquest.
In fact, the local left has emerged as a champion of the Christian and Islamic imperialism in India, not the least due to the financial and political clout both hold in the global arena.
Concerns have been raised about the foreign funds flowing into Indian intellectuals’ pockets for a long time now. Recently, there was a controversy over Left activist Harsh Mander receiving foreign funds and working for an organisation that is hands in gloves with the Italy’s secret service
It is tragic and funny that the left which started as the biggest critic of global capitalism, today, has become latter’s local outreach department.
Indian left is now ‘for the foreign elites, of the foreign elites, by the Indian elites”.
Left today calls every non-Left view ‘fascist’. The truth is, if it was 1935, Indian leftists would’ve been gladly receiving funds from Nazi Germany.
Like identity politics, foreign alliance was the left’s way out, after a thorough rejection by the Indian public in elections, the fall of Soviet Union, and discredited socialist economics - the main plank of Marxist thought.
If not for the alliance with imperialists, the left in India wouldn’t exist.
Less than 5 per cent of the peasants and workers, two groups that the Left has historically claimed to represent, voted for it in the recent general elections.
The bastion of Left-wing politics today is the university students - most of them subsidised by parents and too busy in building their own careers to hold Left leadership effectively accountable.
It is the promise of the foreign funding, foreign awards, a career in foreign-owned newspapers and media houses, the invites to foreign conferences in posh locations, that keep the incentive structure intact for the Indian Left.
These alliances are the reason that the left wields a disproportionate voice in India.
Left’s disproportionate voice came at a disproportionate cost
The downside is that the left failed to evolve and ground itself in realities of India. An intellectual ecosystem cleansed of dissent meant no real debates and stagnation.
A rot set in the Left-wing, whose ideologues today only compete in radical gestures, without realising that radicalism compromising common sense is a high-end brand that the poor can’t afford.
Most of these intellectuals who want to be known for radical outrage couldn’t be more smack-dab in the middle of the mainstream - they write the government history books, they are taught to students preparing to become government babus. They are the definition of the mainstream.
The purity tests within left have become excruciating. Detached from the ground reality, all objectivity is killed, and only egotistical competitions for moral superiority remain.
The advent of social media means left’s intellectual hegemony is no more secure.
This has set off panic attacks in the industry - “troll”, “fascist”, “Islamophobe” and other mass-produced labels are indiscriminately thrown at the slightest suspicion of disloyalty.
Left-wing intellectuals don’t realise that in mindlessly calling all those who disagree with them a “troll”, they are exposing themselves to be one, only with fancier English.
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