By Dr B K Kango
With the beginning of new phase of globalization prompted by new technology and lack of opportunity for investment with profit in developed nations and emergence of finance capital, policy of LPG (Liberalisation, Privatisation and Globalisation) was un- leashed with the help of IMF and World Bank under the influence of transnational corporates.
The policy was op- posed by the Left and democratic forces in different countries, only China was an exception. In most countries, democratic left tried to bring back ‘Welfare State’.
Under the pretext of controlling deficit to make the country more attractive to foreign capital, the role of government to finance welfare scheme was curtailed. Minimum government with maximum governance was the favoured policy but in practice this meant, reduction of people’s welfare schemes, curtailing public sector and increase of privatization along with increasing re- pressive machinery of the state.
This process was also promoted as existing socialist countries including Soviet Union collapsed. This was the reason that the concept of ‘TINA’ was often repeated.
However, the retreat of welfare schemes, public sector and emphasis on export led growth and foreign capital created many problems like in- come disparity, rise in unemployment, regional imbalances, environ- mental crisis and repression of ‘Dissent’ and these were accompanied and also precipitated by Asian crisis of 1998, software industry crisis of 2002 and finally housing bubble burst of 2008 which affected the economies of all countries.
These crisis and col- lapse of economy led to many mass agitations of workers, peasants, students and even of sections of middle classes realized that their living standard was coming down. However, it is also interesting to note that during the same period issues of identity and terrorism emerged. Feeling of insecurity and uncertain future fueled fear and hatred of ‘The Other’.
The vested interest and the media under their control fueled these issues creating animosity along with fear and suspicion amongst various ethnic and religious groups. Thus religion, race, colour, caste, language or any other existing difference amongst people were used to create division.
The migrants were blamed for unemployment and terrorism. ‘Clash of Cultures’ re- placed the ‘Clash of Classes’ which was prevalent during the emergence of welfare state.
Rise of Donald Trump in USA, Bolsonaro in Bra- zil, Erdogan in Turkey, Modi in India, Duterte in Philippines and similar governments in Hungary and Poland are examples of governments which were elected with majoritarian appeasement by creating hatred, fear amongst people and anti-globalisation rhetoric claiming to be in national interest to justify the oppressive and anti- people policies.
The capital and transnational corporates which controlled it were trying to protect their own interest.
Even old style of ‘Cold War’ is now sought to be reintroduced by targeting rise of China.
This is nothing new if we go back to general crisis of capitalism of 1930-32. The emergence of fascist state of Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, etc. which led to Second World War is known to everybody. Nationalism was used by these forces to suppress People.
The issue before us is complicated as reemergence of nation state has impacted the present face of globalization with re- emergence of protectionism. Progressive forces must understand and they do about the fascist trends of present nationalism and try to put forward the real people-oriented nationalism of welfare state which emphasized on real issues of the people like unemployment, security of future and protection of environment, gender equality, etc.
Economic crisis is at the centre of the present system and hence, emphasis must be on going to the people with eco- nomic facts and reality which is always fudged by the fascists. However, this does not mean that we should neglect the cultural conflict un- leashed by the neo-liberal forces and fascists. Tolerance, democracy, secularism, human rights and scientific thinking are all needed for the health of a vibrant nation. A united campaign of democratic and socialist forces is needed to com- bat the threat. But over-emphasis on it at the cost of economic realities must be avoided.
The ten months long Kisan movement for abolition of three pro- corporate Kisan laws passed by the present government is an example as all communities have come together to combat anti- fascist government.’
In fact, in today’s India when we are celebrating 75th year of our independence, the two ideas are conflicting with each other. One of them is the idea of India articulated during the freedom struggle which emphasized on a clear vision of a secular, democratic, socialist state with stress on welfare of the people, world peace and tolerance. The other idea of India belonged to RSS, the organisation behind the present BJP government, which kept away from freedom struggle as it did not agree with the concepts of freedom struggle. They have al- ways been for a ‘Bharat’, a nation with a strong military, state and cultural hegemony of Hindu majority and economy dominated by big corporates which ac- cording to them would dominate the world and for this vision workers, peasants and tolling masses should work silently without assertion of their rights, demands and have trust on the rulers to give them jus- tice.
These two visions, one which equates interest of people with nation and nationalism and other vision which expects people to work and sacrifice for the privileged few in the interest of so- called strong nation, are clashing.
The emergence of nation state at such a juncture of conflict with fascist trends is thus a big challenge before the Left and democratic forces. (IPA Service)