14 March 2019

While putting forward the Communist Manifesto in 1848, Karl Marx and Frederick  Engels in the first sentence itself pointed out how “all the powers of Europe have entered in to a holy alliance to exorcise” the spectre of Communism. A similar situation is now emerging in those regions of the world where the neo-fascists and neo-conservatives have ascended to power.

It’s latest manifestation has now appeared in Brazil where Bolsonaro, the arch-reactionary, is  elected as the president. Immediately after coming to power, he has declared a war not only against Marxism, but also against all progressive thinking. To start with, he is reported to have given directions to the education ministry to totally revise the academic textbooks to eliminate Marxist, working class and feminist orientation in them. For instance, the education department has instructed all textbook publishers to avoid references to violence against women, leftist terminologies, etc. According to Bolsonaro, combating the ‘Marxist rubbish’ that has spread in educational institutions is essential for Brazil to achieve higher international rankings.

The irony is that Bolsonaro neither recognises the existence of Marxism, nor admits the threats from it. According to Brazil’s teachers’ unions, he is engaged in a shadow-boxing or fighting an enemy that for him not at all exists. However, the fact is that, like all other fascists, Bolsonaro is also afraid of Marxism. In spite of the political setbacks being suffered, Marxism is still capable of sending shivers through the spine of all right-wingers. All “end of history” and “end of ideology” prognoses have lost their steam and neo-liberalism is at crossroads.

It is Marxism with its materialist dialectics, the scientific method of cognition in science that is capable of envisaging the most dynamic, creative and revolutionary alternative to the irrational capitalist-imperialist order. It alone provides a programmatic orientation towards a new social order to the working class and the oppressed. Rather than an ideological discourse, Marxism continues as a philosophy and a guide to action for those who uphold the most advanced mode of thinking.

And this concrete reality is haunting all fascists ranging from Trump and Bolsonaro in the Americas, to Saffron fascists in India. Therefore, concerted efforts are in full swing everywhere to bring the entire educational and intellectual realms under ultra-rightist, neo-fascistic and obscurantist tutelage. Religious bigotry and obscurantism are superimposed on education, scientific research and culture. Marxist-dialectical, materialist thinking that constantly strives to seek truth from facts is the enemy of ruling classes and their cronies of all hues. The latest report from Brazil, the biggest country from Latin America on banning Marxism from campuses should be seen in this perspective.

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Kabeer Katlat

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.