By Krishna Jha
For the first time we face the challenges against whatever we have held sacred till now. Our Constitutional values, our composite culture rooted deep in the society with all its beauty and love, our economy built democratically with a strong public sector, with rights to live, work and express ourselves freely and then finally the right to chose our government. Today, people’s elected representatives are not allowed to function. Bills in Parliament are passed without debate. Efforts are made to mute the Opposition.
Since Independence, when we had laid the foundation of a democratic state, for a socialist, sovereign, secular republic, we promised to ourselves to achieve justice, equality and liberty to all citizens and promote fraternity to maintain unity and integrity of the nation. For smooth functioning of democracy, pillars were identified to help. They were legislature, executive and judiciary. There was a fourth one also, and that was media. It was said that strength of democracy depends upon the strength of each pillar and on how they complement each other.
In seventy five years of freedom, we built our nation, a democratic one. Today we are again at a threshold, facing drastic basic changes. Capitalism has been in deep crisis. It was predicted in Communist Manifesto, by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, published in 1848. It was as early as hundred and seventy five years back, when feudalism was dying and capitalism was replacing it. It was also a period when the East India Company had taken hold of prime economic processes in India. Context for capitalism was prepared by the colonial forces.
We were entering a new historical epoch as industrialisation was forced on us with a new economic structure. There were the new emerging working class and the bourgeoisie. Colonial capitalism was ruling over the country. About this period and the phase of class struggle, Frederick Engels wrote in the preface of the German edition of Communist Manifesto in 1883, “…All history has been a history of class struggle, of struggles between exploited and exploiting, between dominated and the dominating classes at various stages of social development; that this struggle, however, has reached a stage where the exploited and oppressed classes (the proletariat) can no longer emancipate itself from the class which exploits and oppresses it (the bourgeoisie), without at the same time freeing the whole of society from exploitation, oppression, and class struggles—this basic thought belongs solely and exclusively to Marx.” He added in the end, “…Precisely now it is necessary that it also stand in front of the Manifesto itself.”
It was the moment when Marx had visualised the stage of democracy representing the whole of the society against the rulers of late capitalism. It was concretised by Lenin and he evolved the stage when he guided the proletariat towards revolution and accomplished it in October revolution, but before that in February itself, there was the toppling of Tzar, thus doing away with ruling royalty. Kerensky, a Menshevik leader, was given the power, who was later replaced by the Bolsheviks in a decisive victory, led by Lenin.
In Manifesto, it has been explained vividly. In hundred years that the bourgeoisie has evolved, there has been massive growth of productive forces that was the outcome of industrial revolution and beginning of modernity. Nature too was enslaved to serve its purposes. But then there were the contradictions also. The history of modern productive forces against the modern conditions of production on which the bourgeoisie prospers, is replete with the regular breaking out of the phases of over production. The reason being that the bourgeois society is too narrow to contain the products, the solution found has been destruction of the productive forces and a search for new markets.
But the irony of history has been marked by the great authors as the weapons that were used by the bourgeoisie to defeat the feudalism were now turned against their own self. These were the modern working class, the proletarians. And they were not alone in demanding democracy to serve their interests. There were the small and medium level producers, who also employed the workers, followed the system and evolved competitions with the ruling capitalist class. Result has been as capitalism saw its ultimate in finance capital, in alienation of MSME, and in hiring workers only sporadically, leaving huge masses without employment. It needed a state apparatus to promote its interest. To serve the finance Capital, a different system was evolved with surrender of banks and the industries it served, less kept for investments, more indulging in shares. It invited crisis, at world level. All the while, struggle of the oppressed against oppressor remained a reality.
Productive forces have kept evolving and the result is demand for democracy and democratic rights, adult franchise, co-operation with other parties on the basis of people’s interest, and finally the promotion of science that involves the entire society on the basis of new technology. Communist Manifesto, little less than two centuries back, had predicted these features, and then interpreted by Lenin, they became reality too. Now comes the turn of developments in science to unveil scientific technological progress, which hints at a basic transition with a strong need for basic interpretations. (IPA Service)