Fascism and Constitutional Autocracy - Alik Chakraborty

01 May 2021

In the course of evolving class divided society and state, different kinds of states have appeared in accordance with changes in the character of class contradictions. Going past the ages of monarchy and autocracy, parliamentary democracy has been established particularly in the era of capitalism. This is nothing but a form of dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and all the exploiting classes. Phrases like establishing rule of law, abiding by law, etc are conventional there. No king or dictator can rule at his/her whims, rule must be confined within a legal limit—such a stately attitude develops.

 

Parliamentary democracy has been established in the continuation of the struggle against feudalism. Generally it has been found that the struggle of the bourgeoisie and the working class against feudalism has taken placed together based on which parliamentary democracy has been established. Therefore in many cases, it was historically found that the bourgeoisie had left parliamentary democracy to revert to absolute monarchy. Because, as long as its rule was not established through parliamentary democracy, its founders could not use it finally as a form of state. The form we mention here had bureaucracy and army as its pillars. Parliamentary democracy has been established in the continuation of the struggle against feudalism. Generally it has been found that the struggle of the bourgeoisie and the working class against feudalism has taken place together based on which parliamentary democracy has been established. Therefore in many cases, it was historically found that the bourgeoisie had left parliamentary democracy to revert to absolute monarchy. Because, so long as its rule was not established through parliamentary democracy, its founders could not use it finally as a form of state. In the form we mention here, bureaucracy and army are called its pillars. The Leninist theory or Marxist-Leninist political theory, taking bureaucracy in parliamentary democracy into account, stated in the definition of Marxist state that the state that has essentially emerged from the impossibility of reconciliation of the irreconcilable contradictions of classes in a class divided society and sitting on its head has established itself as an apparatus isolated from the society.

 

Hence the separation of the state and the society –separation of the people—is but a natural phenomenon. However, from the above definition itself we can understand that an isolated apparatus can’t control and compatible with a society for long. Therefore it needs a system through which the state can forge institutions to make relations with the people. Parliamentary democracy is one such instrument to make the state acceptable to the people. This is a form of rule which apparently provides a place for people’s participation. But the bureaucracy, the judiciary and the army is connected inextricably with parliamentary democracy, none of which is an elected institution. The principle of Separation of Power of bourgeoisie system was established through French Revolution based on Montesquieu’s doctrine. That principle of Separation of Power is still continuing. Separation of Power means that the three pillars of state—the legislature, the judiciary and the administration—will remain independent of one another and no section can interfere in the business of other  institutions organically linked as mutually complementary. For the purpose of acceptability of the state, sometimes their differences are manifested. When activity of the people rises, the people can at times be able to some extent to make use of the space for apparent participation to occupy some ground to intervene in a country. This generally comes up from the contradictions or conflicts between the bourgeoisie and the working class, ruling class(es) and the ruled. Such a situation emerges in relation to the contradiction within the production system. Therefore the working class too can use the bourgeoisie democracy to some extent for organizing themselves, to upgrade their standard of life, to have some influence in making society stand up against the ruling class. But just this much. If we think that the whole system can be changed through the bourgeoisie democracy, that will be only farfetched. Many among us don’t think this way. 

 

 

Question arises as to how then fascism can arise within parliamentary democracy, or how individual governance comes up? This is our general knowledge that as much as democratic right is there for the people within parliamentary democracy, that right, the traditional bourgeois democratic right, must be destroyed for fascism to be established. The organs of the state do not necessarily perform according to laws because dictatorship essentially implies some coercion, legal or illegal. Hence the state must have always some fascistic character. The fact is not that some state machinery or a Govt. there under does never take fascist step. But there is difference between taking some fascist step and converting the whole state machinery into a fascist one. The difference is that the apparent space of participation of the people within the state machinery can be exploited by fascism. Fascism takes a section of the people into its own direction, influenced by its reactionary ideology assimilates into the whole state machinery. The existence of bourgeoisie democracy in the whole state machinery or the differences which exist between the different organs through separation of power are all obliterated. 

 

 In the course of evolving class divided society and state, different kinds of states have appeared in accordance with changes in the character of class contradictions. Going past the ages of monarchy and autocracy, parliamentary democracy has been established particularly in the era of capitalism. This is nothing but a form of dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and all the exploiting classes. Phrases like establishing rule of law, abiding by law, etc are conventional there. No king or dictator can rule at his/her whims, rule must be confined within a legal limit—such a stately attitude develops.

 

Parliamentary democracy has been established in the continuation of the struggle against feudalism. Generally it has been found that the struggle of the bourgeoisie and the working class against feudalism has taken placed together based on which parliamentary democracy has been established. Therefore in many cases, it was historically found that the bourgeoisie had left parliamentary democracy to revert to absolute monarchy. Because, as long as its rule was not established through parliamentary democracy, its founders could not use it finally as a form of state. The form we mention here had bureaucracy and army as its pillars. Parliamentary democracy has been established in the continuation of the struggle against feudalism. Generally it has been found that the struggle of the bourgeoisie and the working class against feudalism has  taken place together based on which parliamentary democracy has been established. Therefore in many cases, it was historically found that the bourgeoisie had left parliamentary democracy to revert to absolute monarchy. Because, so long as its rule was not established through parliamentary democracy, its founders could not use it finally as a form of state. In the form we mention here, bureaucracy and army are called its pillars. The Leninist theory or Marxist-Leninist political theory, taking bureaucracy in parliamentary democracy into account, stated in the definition of Marxist state that the state that has essentially emerged from the impossibility of reconciliation of the irreconcilable contradictions of classes in a class divided society has established itself on the head of and separated from the society.

 

Hence the separation of the state and the society –separation of the people—is but a natural phenomenon. However, from the above definition itself we can understand that an isolated apparatus can’t lead a society for long. Therefore it needs a system through which the state can forge institutions to make relations with the people. Parliamentary democracy is one such instrument to make the state acceptable to the people. This is a form of rule which apparently provides a place for people’s participation. But the bureaucracy, the judiciary and the army is connected inextricably with parliamentary democracy, none of which is an elected institution. The principle of Separation of Power of bourgeoisie system was established through French Revolution based on Montesquieu’s doctrine. That principle of Separation of Power is still continuing. Separation of Power means that the three pillars of state—the legislature, the judiciary and the administration—will remain independent of one another and no system can interfere in the business of other.  institutions organically linked as mutually complementary. For the purpose of acceptability of the state, sometimes their differences are manifested. When activity of the people rises, the people can at times be able to some extent to make use of the space for apparent participation to occupy some ground to intervene in a country. This generally comes up from the contradictions or conflicts between the bourgeoisie and the working class, ruling class(es) and the ruled. Such a situation emerges in relation to the contradiction within the production system. Therefore the working class too can use the bourgeoisie democracy to some extent for organizing themselves, to upgrade their standard of life, to have some influence in making society stand up against the ruling class. But just this much. If we think that the whole system can be changed through the bourgeoisie democracy, that will be only farfetched. Many among us don’t think this way. 

 

 

Question arises as to how then fascism can arise within parliamentary democracy, or how individual governance comes up? This is our general knowledge that as much as democratic right is there for the people within parliamentary democracy, that right, the traditional bourgeois democratic right, must be destroyed for fascism to be established. The organs of the state do not necessarily perform according to laws because dictatorship essentially implies some coercion, legal or illegal. Hence the state must have always some fascistic character. The fact is not that some state machinery or a Govt. there under does never take fascist step. But there is difference between taking some fascist step and converting the whole state machinery into a fascist one. The difference is that the apparent space of participation of the people within the state machinery can be exploited by fascism. Fascism takes a section of the people into its own direction, influenced by its reactionary ideology assimilates into the whole state machinery. The existence of bourgeoisie democracy in the whole state machinery or the differences which exist between the different organs through separation of power are all obliterated. 

 

Question arises that how then fascism can arise within parliamentary democracy, or how individual governance comes up? This is our general knowledge that as much as democratic right is there for the people within parliamentary democracy, that right, the traditional bourgeois democratic right, must be destroyed for fascism to be established. The organs of the state do not necessarily perform according to laws because dictatorship essentially implies some coercion, legal or illegal. Hence the state must have always some fascistic character. The fact is not that some state machinery or a Govt. there under does never take fascist step. But there is difference between taking some fascist step and converting the whole state machinery into a fascist one. The difference is that the apparent space of participation of the people within the state machinery can be exploited by fascism. Fascism takes a section of the people into its own direction, influenced by its reactionary ideology assimilates into the whole state machinery. The existence of bourgeoisie democracy in the whole state machinery or the differences which exist between the different organs through separation of power are all obliterated.

 

These are, in general, required to reconcile the internal contradictions among the bourgeoisie too in a bourgeoisie democracy. But fascism means establishment of a most reactionary rule by suppressing the internal contradictions even among the bourgeoisie. If we understand the difference at this point, we can comprehend the difference between parliamentary autocracy and fascism in a conventional democratic or constitutional set up. We will confine our discussion within the example of West Bengal. That the Trinamool Govt. in West Bengal is an autocratic Govt. bears no doubt among any of us. A new debate has surfaced again concerning the massive police attacks on the Nabanna expedition led by the student organizations of the left section on 11 February 2021. That is, what is the difference between this and what the BJP Govt. is doing in UP? There have many more attacks been launched in West Bengal from Bhangar to many other places. Keeping those attacks in mind one raises the question whether removing the TMC Govt. should be the principal task. When, today, BJP has possibility to snatch power in West Bengal, what is the answer? 

 

It should be mentioned first that removing not only these two forces, our target is to uproot the ruling class itself. In elections too, it is always desirable to defeat or corner all the ruling class forces. But it must be considered how much the victory or defeat of some force reinforce the state machinery or destroy the unity of the people under the given condition of the election.

 

Let us come to the present situation. It can be said at this situation that BJP is a fascist force and TMC an autocratic force. BJP is exploiting the constitutional system not only to guard the corporate interests but also strives to instate autocracy after crushing the whole system. That is the reason why it is bringing in its reactionary ideology forcefully among the people. As for example, Hindi Hindu Hindustan, one nation-one language-one state, etc. These all constitute their effort to destroy the present constitutional structure and build up a new one. This means substituting the present federal structure by a central power, all powers concentrated to the president in place of parliamentary democracy, destroying the autonomy of different nationalities and languages. This implies that it will not only rob the rights of the exploited classes, will also resolve the internal contradictions of the exploiting classes through forceful suppression. When democracy disappears from among the exploiting classes themselves, it needs no mention that the exploited classes will not have even the sprinkles of democracy.

 

On the other hand, imprint of autocracy is conspicuous when judged every sphere of functioning of the Govt. and the party of TMC of this state. But that it does through this conventional democracy. All the suppressive and autocratic measures it takes are all features of this conventional democracy. Many might argue that many of their actions are illegal. Actually, meaning of democracy is not limited within legal rights. It carries a much wider sense. Law is but its one aspect. As people say, as much laws, so much are its lacunas. This is bourgeoisie democracy. Rule of law is there, of course, but the laws are so framed that the coercion of the ruling classes becomes legally permissible. Say, for example, a worker is retrenched illegally. Proving this as illegal, the course the worker has to run through is impossible for him to follow alone. Therefore, only presence of a law is not enough, the process through which it is effected is also important.

 

Similar argument we can hold about the power of the police. Police can’t search a house without search warrant. Notwithstanding, if the police officers deem it necessary to search immediately, they can force to do that. The person can go to the court to decide for its legality. But the coercion is already done. And then comes when the court will judge, whether the police can manage to get the search warrant at a post-date, etc. The long time the judgment will take is everybody’s experience. But if the whole society agitates against this, the people gets into movements against the ruling system, the laws can in many cases be made use of by us. Thus in the existing system the democracy of the people means their right to protest. Its extent is the criteria to judge the ambience of democracy. But the matter of people’s participation in state functioning is solely apparent. From that point of view, Mamata’s rule is somewhat more or less democratic than that of the other governments. Modi’s rule too, till now, could not have negated the existing democracy, though advancing towards that. As much their strength grows, so much will that situation ripe.    

 

But many fail to comprehend this situation, particularly CPI(M), the new version of social democracy. All say the emergency, declared by Indira Gandhi, also as semi-fascist instead of fascist rule. But at the present situation, the Mamata Banerjee rule is made by them as a virtually fascist rule. For example, the Indian People’s Theatre has made a video clip on the assembly of the alliance (Left-Congress-Abbas) at the Brigade on 28 March. Everything there is targeted against Mamata, as if BJP has no existence. One can argue that it was made only against TMC. It can be agreed at this point for the sake of argument. But everything is said there referring to Mamata Banerjee as fascist. This is nothing but showing fascism watered down. Similarly, in the Press Conference of DYFI leader on Maidul’s death, police was referred to as the hands and legs of the Govt. which is the brain. But the A-B-C-D of Marxism teaches that bureaucracy and the armed force are the pillars of the state. No Govt. can function without them. Actually, the absolute ignorance about the Marxist concept of state or its intentional distortions has utterly jumbled the concepts of fascism and parliamentary democracy.

 

Dmitrov, the leader of the Comintern, while discussing about German fascism, said that the class pacifism of social democracy is one of the reasons of the rise of fascism. Here too we find how the attempt to conceal class hatred is running.

 

So, beware of the danger!

 

(This is the translated version of Bengali article published in the Bengali Organ ‘Sangrami Sangbad. Translated by Com Gautam Chaudhury-- Editor RS)

The Communist movement in India has a history of almost a century after the salvos of October Revolution in Russia brought Marxism-Leninism to the people of India who were engaged in the national liberation struggle against the British colonialists. It is a complex and chequered history.