As I grappled with my privilege as a gay man in my post on Youth Ki Awaaz, another article was published on Scroll, seemingly voicing for the heterogeneity of political voices amidst gay men, in this case, an avowed support for the BJP government, at least in terms of their economic policies. As I read the post, I stumbled across a sphere of my thought I have never quite comprehended.
We, as queer people have always voiced our concerns about seeing heterogeneity among ourselves, but, somehow this difference has never extended to political thought. There are few, if any, LGBTQ icons who subscribe to rightist leanings, Milos Yiannopoulos and Caitlyn Jenner come to mind. This leads to a further, more nuanced question of whether this homogeneity in political thought has any ground except well-rooted philosophical alienation? The truth is a difficult one to ascertain.
For well-to-do individuals, the idea of freedom in the sense of economics comes as a worthy cause. Capitalism is lucrative to people who are enshrined in privilege and to the people who have been brought up on a culturally removed and elusive American Dream. Theoretically, a free market economy does provide a chance to advance. Thus, for many students from marginalised communities, the idea of learning English and going to work in the cities is an attractive option. This, however, does not address the fact that, it is not merely a class divide but a social divide that separates people.
The rural households still show a statistically significant divide in opportunities for land ownership and education on the basis of their castes. It does not address the fact that even in capitalist countries like the US, a huge proportion of the poor and homeless are LGBTQ people.
Neoliberal capitalism pushes this off as a matter of inconvenience and sells the idea of monetary success as an achievable dream. I despise liberalism partly because it ascends from the fact that “equality” as a term is very under-formed in their main political discourse.
The left’s grappling with identity politics and sexual liberation is not to be seen as a sort of meandering from the main point of class issues, but, as an acknowledgement of heterogeneity. Social orders, and the flow of power causes a stagnation in the economical front for a variety of people. Yet, for homosexual men, it is understandably difficult to understand the reasoning behind the need for the use of proper pronouns and other things as such. However, this again is because, in a way, the gay populace can intermix pretty well. As I mentioned in an earlier article, we can dress ourselves up in “proper” clothing and immediately be accepted. For trans youth, for non-binary youth, this idea is not so. What for us seems like an infatuation with the unimportant is their idea for identity, for recognition.
I agree with the author of the Scroll article in the case of Congress, but, I also need to declare that the Congress is mostly a centrist party. Their economical positions, going as far back as to 1992 has been firmly capitalist and entrenched in free market politics. However, the fact remains that Kerela, one of the most successful states in India, actually has had a left government,
Success and failure stories abound in both the arenas then. The BJP has shown a recent fall in GDP due to the demonetization fiasco too. This brings me to question, where does the difference lie? Why do people subscribe to the right’s way of thinking?
The unthinking hatred of the majority by the left, when brought up in a debate turns to several discourses. However, our understanding of ‘thinking’ needs to be questioned. Today, when we question Hindu festivals, do we not bring the idea that the majority has to be the main participant in reducing whatever ills affect our society? Or as a person who was born as Hindu, why would I not vouch for corrective measures in our own society rather than that on a larger scale?
This can be perceived as an ignorance to the Muslim minority, which has more or at least equal amounts of offences in their part. Yet, the egregious socio-economic differences between Hindus and Muslims cannot be ignored either.
I, personally, advocate for the complete removal of religion, for the idea of a God seems to be a faint and blank one. However, I also acknowledge the difference in education and other things that drive the Muslim populace to a side and holds them off from integration. This, however, does not mean there should not be a revisionist stance appearing in Muslim societies. What we need to understand is that this change needs to come from the inside, and not from the outside. State-funded oppression does not further the cause of a change in their stances, it only cements it by increasing the difference.
So, I still do not comprehend right-wing thought as a whole, but I understand the need for discourse around the idea. I also understand that the heterogeneity in political voices amidst any group is an inevitability. However, we as the left also need to understand and take a stance against the apparent ‘truth’ put forward by the other people. We also need to understand that the ‘other’ in right-wing discourse is often us, and this idea of ‘otherness’ in politics needs to be defeated summarily if we are to progress.
Again, I do not view the author of the said article as the ‘other’, he’s my brethren. However, in the system of equality that he falsely perceives as true, I also take the chance to take the discourse to him. In this case, the machine of equality he presupposes as existing in a capitalist economy is what creates a space for me to debate and counter his words. This is important too and I support him insofar as this is concerned, but it’s what comes after that creates the debate