Last year, we saw massive protests against CAA-NRC (the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens, respectively) in India. Muslim women spent nights on the road to fight for their rights. Students, even the ones who used to stay away from politics, all over the country felt the need to raise their voices. One characteristic feature of these protests, that we noticed was the symbolic use of the national flag. People also called for saving the constitution of India against fascist attacks on it. Lines from the preamble gained significance. Words like secularism, democracy, equality, justice and liberty, were heard along with the slogans of: inquilab zindabad! (long live revolution).
We also found the message of “peace” being conveyed through these peaceful protests against the fascist forces, who parade with guns on their shoulders facing no intervention from the state and the militia of the state itself.
A music video went viral among the “left” and the liberals prior to the Bengal elections (against the Bharatiya Janata Party) this year. In the beginning, we saw a copy of the Indian constitution being brought. They sang: “আমি অন্য কোথাও যাবো না, এই দেশেতেই থাকবো (I won’t go anywhere else, but stay in this very country)“, and that was the title of the video. Most probably, the phrase wanted to address the sense of insecurity people felt due to the implementation of acts like CAA-NRC.
Yes, these laws have Islamophobic aspects, but it will affect and it is affecting the working class, irrespective of religion. In all the “secular, constitutional democracies” of the global north, detention camps for refugees play an important role.
I think it’s the modern-day equivalent of slavery. It’s free labour for the capitalists!
Similar camps are being arranged for in India (even in the federated states with a parliamentary majority of the social democrats) for the detainees, whose citizenship will be snatched away. When these laws were first proposed during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee regime, the opposition including the Congress, and social democrat parties i.e., the CPI and CPI(M), stood in favour of them. Their excuse was “national security”, a joke that the constitution of India uses to curb all kinds of rights and freedom, that our text book writers are so proud of!
Quoting Tarapada Lahiri, the renowned Marxist revolutionary, scholar and lawyer, a leader of the Revolutionary Socialist Party, in its early years: “Today, capitalism is itself in decay. All over the world, the pillars of democracy are shaking. Any attempt of shouting in praise, ‘democratic constitution’, and hailing democracy is rather ridiculous… ‘Democracy’ is not a shelter for the working class, not a tool to liberate them. Bourgeois democracy is an exploitative machinery used to squeeze the blood out of the people. So, we should not be fascinated by the fabrication of the word ‘democracy’.” Lahiri said this in his essay ‘the classist nature of the Indian constitution’ written some 50 years ago. Over the years, capitalism and the bourgeois democracy have aged well. But, they have reached the limits of their progression now.
Signs of this can be found in the rising rate of unemployment, monopoly, privatisation, falling economy, farmers’ uprising, the environmental crisis, the Covid-19 crisis, and the rise of fascists. The narrative the “left” revisionists have been trying to portray is that first, we need to dethrone the fascists with the help of the “anti-fascist”, liberal constitution and its “progressive” bourgeois protectors. They are comparatively the lesser of two evils. Then we can think about how to fight liberalism. It’s your turn to decide if it’s possible to do so, though historical materialism has already proved it to be unattainable.
We must remember what fascism is. It’s not only about anti-Muslim communalism or anti-democracy dictatorship, but these are mere tools used by the bourgeoisie in plenty, even in their liberal forms.
But when the same bourgeoisie, to fight the inconveniences among the working class, as a result of the crisis of capitalism, turns to far more aggressive and open violence, their agents don’t need to wear the reassuring mask of the constitution anymore.
Should we make them wear the mask and let the US president, Joe Biden, destroy the world in the same manner its ex-president, Donald Trump, did?