Implications of Fascism in India

September 8, 2014

By Hiren Gohain

[The author responds to an article by Prabhat Patnaik, published recently in the Economic and Political Weekly. – Eds]

There’s growing concern at consolidation of centralising and intolerant tendencies all around us, apparently under the guise of legality.There are also outbreaks of chauvinist and communal violence, though within limits so far. It is only fair that the Left which had idly speculated on the possibility before, is sounding the alarm. But it is so far at a theoretical level, often one-sidedly.

Prof. Prabhat Patnaik, eminent leftist economist, has authored an article in EPW (July 19,2014) trying to make sense of the phenomenon in a global context. He seems to think the national ramifications do not matter any more. It is by and large “aggressive pursuit of the neo-libreral agenda”. That seems to us incomplete and unpractical. Hence I propose the following modifications.

Since under globalisation the nation-state is on the retreat and the national capital is integrated with global finance capital, the manifestation of fascism in third-world countries will be in “aggressive pursuit of policies that promote neo-liberalism” according to him.

But this appears a too sweeping a statement. The worship of the nation-state under classical fascism was designed to obliterate all inconvenient differences and contradictions, including class-struggle by working-classes. In order to consolidate that an alien “Other” like the Jews (=Communists) was conjured up and viciously targeted.

The nation-state in the third world countries is worshipped in the abstract. Hate-campaigns target certain communities, countries and people. Working-classes are disempowered.

There is a devaluation and dilution of reason and myths are promoted energetically. A massive propaganda machine is put in place to drug the masses, especially the petit-bourgeosie.

Hence the economist oversimplifies the phenomenon. Certain trends continue from classical into contemporary fascism, even in the third world.

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