Approach towards Fascism in the Global and Indian Context - P J James
Fascism as a topic is conceptualized and debated today with respect to different ideological persuasions ranging from liberal bourgeois and reformist to Marxist positions. A striking characteristic ofthe fascist parties, movements and regimes today is their adaptation to contemporary conditions and unlike that of the inter-war European fascism, many of them are coexistingin varying degrees with outward manifestations of bourgeois parliamentary democracy, though in essence all of them stand for an outright negation of it. A de-facto fascist dictatorship can exist even with the façade of elections if it is possible to hold entire mechanisms of state power under its control so that no other party or coalition of parties except the fascist party comes to power. Common manifestations of fascism (also called ‘neo-fascism’ today to differentiate it from‘classical fascism’ that emerged in Europe of the inter-war period) such as terrorism, ethnic and racial cleansing, extermination and oppression of minorities, immigrants, refugees, women and other oppressed, climate catastrophe, super-exploitation and oppression of workers, elimination of hard-earned democratic rights, militarisation and above all unleashing the power of corporate capital on all aspects of socio-economic life are visible at a global level ranging from the Americas and Europe to Asia. However, irrespective of the manifestations of fascism, Marxism invariably situates it in the whole trajectory of transformation of imperialism and finance capital. At the same time, from a Marxist perspective, no social phenomenon can be a text-book copy from an erstwhile period, nor can bean alysed from a static perspective. Therefore, fascist regimes’ organic link with the logic of capital accumulation today may assume different characteristics according to varying historical, national, political, economic and cultural context.
Origin and Development of Fascism
From the very beginning of the outbreak of fascism in Europe, when liberal-bourgeois and reformist circles interpreted the phenomenon as ‘authoritarian capitalism’,it was Marxism that based on a comprehensive analysis of monopoly capitalism approached fascism as rooted in the very foundations of finance capital with its economic, political, and cultural manifestations. Accordingly, fascism has been the outcome of the extreme intensification of the internal contradictions of finance capital or imperialism. Fascism outbreaks when these contradictions sharpen and lead to a severe internal crisis which cannot be resolved through normal methods of surplus value extraction from both internal and external sources. For instance, unlike the other European powers who had their colonial empires and the US which could enforce its imperialist diktats over the entire Americas and the Pacific even “withoutcolonies”, both Germany and Italy had restrictions to pursue an imperialist policy abroad. On the other hand, these two countries though rivals in World War I, and having lost their colonies and hence weakened during the war, went through unprecedented domestic economic crises resulting in militant working class struggles leading to social disruption, especially in the context of the ideological-political challenges raised against the capitalist-imperialist system by Socialism in Soviet Union. However, in the absence of a communist leadership in these countries, as that led by Lenin in Russia capable of overcoming the crisis through a revolution, the situation was favourable for an interpenetration between monopoly finance capital and bourgeois political leadership giving rise to fascism.
Thus the social anarchy arising from all round economic crises and political turmoil provides a fertile breeding ground for fascism. Such a situation is an opportune moment for fascists to have their firm foothold by attracting the depoliticized petty-bourgeois sections through rhetorical and demagogic proposals, though they are mutually contradictory and ill-digested, and blaming the racial, religious, regional and national minorities and other marginalized for all the misfortunes of the society. Once fascism firmly establishes, as happened in Italy and Germany, along with the petty bourgeoisie, other sections of the population such as unorganized workers, unemployed youth, criminal and lumpen elements are also attracted to fascists. Gradually fascism makes further headway through elections by appeals to the disgruntled larger sections of the dissatisfied people. Both Mussolini and Hitler in their programs even included better wages and social security for workers, protection to petty traders, increased state-sector investment, more taxes on the rich and similar other demands pampering to the sentiments of common people. Together with this, blatantly false and malicious propaganda were systematically used to build up hatred among the common people against targeted sections of the society. For instance, in the fascist definition of ‘New Germany’, Jews, communists and trade unions were identified as enemies of the nation. After assuming power, while constitutional and parliamentary institutions and democratic values were demolished from above, armed fascist goons and storm troopers (black shirts, brown shirts, etc.) integrated with state’s repressive apparatus and effectively propped up and funded by monopolies are let loose on the people from below.
From the very beginning Marxists tried to have an in-depth understanding on the fascist transformation of the bourgeois state. In fact, Lenin had mentioned on Mussolini fascism though he had no direct knowledge of the working of the fascist party at that time. And, he had interpreted the Russian ‘Black Hundreds’ as a proto-type of fascism which in the hands of police chiefs under Tsardom was used as a para-military weapon against the revolutionary movement.However, it was only after the coming to power of Mussolini and Hitlerthat Comintern (Communist International)came to have a clear-cut understanding of fascism. Thus, it was based on an objective evaluation of the transformation of the bourgeois state into a dictatorial, terrorist and annexationist regime during the twenties and thirties that the Report drafted by Dimitrov and adopted by the 7th Congress of Comintern (1935) and endorsed by its 13th Extended Executive Meeting defined fascism thus: “Fascism is an open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, the most chauvinistic, the most imperialist elements of the finance capital… Fascism is the government of finance capital itself. It is an organized massacre of the working class and the revolutionary slice of peasantry and intelligentsia. Fascism in its foreign policy is the most brutal kind of chauvinism, which cultivates zoological hatred against otherpeoples.” Obviously, this definition of fascism is the most comprehensive one that unfolds the close integration of both the economic foundation and political superstructure of fascism with the domestic and overseas interests of finance capital. In those countries where the fascists took over power, the communists and trade unions were physically eliminated while bourgeois opposition was in total disarray. And, as elucidated in the above definition which provided a concrete understanding of fascism at that historical context when domestic resistance against fascism became virtually impossible, it was Comintern that under its initiative forged an anti-fascist front including a broad alliance with other bourgeois regimes to resist and defeat the fascist challenge.
The defeat of fascist powers Germany and Italy in World War II followed by the surging national liberation movements and advancement of socialism increased the prestige of communist movement and inspired world people in general. These were threatening factors for the perpetuation of the colonial system of imperialism. This prompted world imperialism led by USA, the supreme arbiter in the postwar order to bring about necessary changes regarding the form of finance capital’s continued expansion at a global level. Thus to hoodwink world people, the camouflage of decolonisation together with welfare state based on Keynesian state intervention was initiated even while laying down the foundations for a neocolonisation process for more intensified penetration of finance capital into erstwhile colonies. However, asgenerally acknowledged, the International Communist Movement(ICM) on account of ideological-political factors, failed to properly grasp the content and gravity of this epoch-making transition from colonialism to neocolonialism. The Khrushchevite revisionism that emerged in the mid-fifties even interpreted neocolonialism as a weakening of both imperialism and hegemony of finance capital. This was at a time when the US ascendancy as the postwar imperialist leader had been filled with loot, plunder, horror, genocide and even ‘holocausts’on defenceless people the world over.
Neocolonialism does not at all imply that it is less militaristic than old colonialism. As an inalienable component of Cold War initiated against Soviet Union and socialist bloc, the US also went on installing ‘fascist regimes’backed by military coups in many countries from Latin America, its backyard to Asia. As part of the Cold War offensive, several anti-communist, fascistic, terrorist and counterrevolutionary organisations were also planted within seemingly independent bourgeois regimes in many parts of the globe. Such terrorist outfits and right-wing forces often acted as effective tools in the hands of US imperialism to direct against the emerging national liberation and revolutionary movements in neocolonially dependent countries. In a number of countries from Latin America to Asia including Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Iran, Greece, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Indonesia, Philippines and so on, US succeeded in installing fascistic regimes through military coups. McCarthyism characterised by heightened anti-communism and political repression in the US that flourished in the 1940s and 1950s provided the required ideological basis for all these fascistic-counterrevolutionary US overseas moves often keeping US-trained fascist cadres at “civilian deep cover” in neocolonies and dependent countries ensuring the neocolonial rules of the game of as per the diktats of finance capital.
By the turn of the 1970s, the post-warimperialist ‘boom’ came to a close and on account of the irresolvable contradictions inherent in capitalist-imperialist system, persistent stagflation emerged as a relatively new, more prolonged and more complex phenomenon compared to the imperialist crisis of the 1920s and 1930s that gave rise to fascism. However, unlike the situation then, by the seventies the ideological-political setbacks of the ICM became so glaring that yielded the political condition for imperialism to abandon ‘welfare state’ altogether and resort to a change in the accumulation process through neoliberalism. In essence, it implies a reversal of the downturn in profit rate from stagnating productive sphere by developing new avenues of plunder from the ballooning financial sphere utilizing latest advancement in information and communication technologies. Obviously, the parasitism, decay and degeneration associated with this neoliberal accumulation has been complex, multi-dimensional and several-fold more pronounced than that exposed by Lenin a century back and the political reaction emanating from it shall therefore is bound to be horrific. On the eve of the altogether collapse of Soviet blocand emergence of post-Cold War neoliberal situation, US imperialism so cunningly and assiduously brought up the so called “Islamic terror” as its new enemy and a critical counterweight in its militarisation strategyleading to a more favourable condition for a bouncing back of fascism with intensified vigour. However, instead of openmilitary coups, required groundwork has already been underway byneoliberal centres and deep-seated reactionary forces that made it possible for fascist parties with their far-right socio-economic and political agenda to ascend to power through ballots even maintaining formal constitutional edifice or apparent features of bourgeois parliamentary democracy. As such, today’s fascism or neo-fascism cannot or need not be mere text copies or stereotyped versions of erstwhile classical fascism of the 1930s.
Fascism under Neoliberalism
From the Marxist-Leninist perspective, the neoliberal wave of fascism or contemporary fascism can be analysed only with respect to what is called globalisation or internationalisation of capital, i.e., limitless and uncontrollable cross-border movement of finance capital. On the one hand, by restructuring the erstwhile centralised and nation-centred basis of production and by super-imposing a new international division labour, internationalisation of capital has enabled imperialism tobring about an alteration in the process of surplus value extractionand unleash a world-wide super-exploitation of working class thereby temporarily overcoming the crisis associated with capital accumulation. On the other hand, while capital has increasingly become global and transnational, by utilising the heterogeneity among proletariat of different countries and through the effective use of postmodern identity politics, international finance capital also succeeded in creating division among anti-globalisation forces by disorganising and fragmenting resistance to capital. Together with this, being freed from all erstwhile controls, finance capital moved into the sphere of speculation at a maddening pace and for the first time in the history of capitalism the global speculative bubble started thriving on the stagnating productive economy. Consequently, the decadent and reactionary essence of finance capital pinpointed by Lenin almost century ago has become terribly destructive under neoliberalism. To be precise, unlike the period of ‘classical fascism’ which was specific to capitalist-imperialist countries, fascism under neoliberalism has become transnational on account of internationalisation of capital.
The ideological-political weakness of the International Left and on the part of organisations and movements leading the working class and the oppressed prevented them from taking up the required organisational tasks. For instance, when imperialismstarted unleashing the tyranny of finance capital on workers and oppressed beginning with Thatcherism and Reaganomics by resorting to a dismantling of the welfare state and replaced public sector and social democratic ideas of distribution with privatisation/corporatisation together with propping upof voluntary and NGO spending as an alternative to public spending,the Left failed to build up effective resistance against them due to lack of a coherent and clear grasping of neoliberalism. The emergence of postmodernism and post-Marxism as neoliberal ideologies espoused by ultra-reactionary imperialist think-tanks since the eighties and manifested in such prognoses as ‘identity politics’, ‘multiculturalism’ (that emphasises difference rather than commonality), etc. that negated both the importance of working class resistance against capital and united political struggles by the oppressed has led to an effective depoliticizing mission preparing the groundwork for the emergence of several neo-fascist trends. In the guise of fighting the ‘evils of capitalism’, postmodernism went on glorifying and romanticizing the orient, the past and all obscurantist and pre-modern identities and ‘subaltern cultures’. This brought forwardvarious religious fundamentalist, revivalist, chauvinistic, xenophobic, and autarkic reactionary ideologiesto the centre-stage of history to divert world people’s attention away from the global operations of corporate finance capital. Quite revealingly, the Left failed to put forward what is called a “counter narrative” or an alternative to this neoliberal offensive from a progressive-democratic perspective.
This all round depoliticising provided a fertile ground for the rapid emergence of many neo-fascist forces all over the world. Neo-fascists everywhere are quick to take advantage of the mass psychology of social and economic insecurity due to the loss of livelihood, employment, habitat and environment arising from corporate plunder as well as people’s loss of faith in mainstream traditional parties includingsocial democrats who have no alternative to neoliberal policies. Everywhere, fascists use more or less the same campaigns with populist, romantic, idealist and moral nuances often filled with hatred towards the ‘other’ based on hypotheses such as ‘clash of civilisations’ though with variations according to concrete local, national, historical and cultural contexts. Often, according to the specificities of each country, fascists could be seen conspicuously pursuingan exclusivist line allying with the ‘homogeneous’ part (often representing the majoritarian culture) of the population effectively pitting against the ‘heterogeneous’ sections generally composed of religious, ethnic/racial and linguistic minorities, migrants, refugees, dalits, tribals and other marginalized and oppressed sections. And a striking feature of all the far-right neo-fascist parties and forces is their apparently anti-establishmentarian and anti-globalisation (often right-wing populist) stance often sprinkled with seeminglyanti-ruling classrhetoric directed against the privileges of the superrich and the elite.Trends like ‘new history writing’ being sponsored by European neo-fascists today is also of particular relevance here. An example is the McCarthy-styleargumentation thatthe anti-fascist alliance of Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt was the wrong one; rather what required was Stalin’s defeat led by the Hitler-Chamberlain-Hoover coalition. In the latter case, Europe would not have to bear the burden of the ‘welfare state’ that led to the stagflation of the 1970s, it is argued. From this perspective, the neo-fascists in European parliament recently have even moved a Resolution equating communism with “fascism” with the aim of whitewashing the latter. In India, for instance, a ‘new history-writing’ is in the offing camouflaging all the misdeeds and ‘anti-national’ history associated with RSS. No doubt, whatever be their populist pretensions, once in power, the neo-fascists show no qualm for betraying those masses who enabled them to rise to power thereby wholeheartedly serving the interests of international finance capital and ruling classes -- a common feature of fascists of all hues, both old and new.
Fascist Transformation in India
The advent of fascism in India needs to be analysed in the broader global context briefly analysed above. BJP that rules India today is just a political outfit of RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) that came in to being in mid-1920s more or less at the same time when fascism appeared in Europe, and as per records, fanatical adulation or admiration of both Hitler and Mussolini was endemic to RSS leadership from the very beginning.For instance, Moonje, the mentor and political guru of Hedgewar, the founder of RSS, hadvisited the Italian fascist dictator Mussolini in 1931 and inspired by the Fascist Academy of Physical Education that trained paramilitary lumpen goons like Black Shirts, started the Bhonsala Military School in Nasik in 1937 for imparting paramilitary training to RSS cadres and Hindutva goons under the management of Central Hindu Military Education Society. In fact, Bhonsala School’s links with terroristic actions by Hindutva extremist groups including 2008 Malegaon blasts had beenknown to Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad led by Hemant Karkare. Now after the ascendance of Modi.2, the RSS initiative to start Army Schools on the model of Indian Military Schools to train children to become officers in Indian armed forces with effect from April, 2020 directed towards open saffronisation of the entire Indian military apparatus should be seen aspart of the qualitatively new trends linked with RSS directly taking India’s reins in its own hands.
Meanwhile, as a fascist organisation espousing Hitler’s Aryan racial puritanism and white supremacy together with genocidal hatred towards Muslims in a predominantly brown-skinned India and with extreme servility to British imperialism, from the very beginning, the RSS totally distanced itself from the independence movement, and hence remained outside the Indian political mainstream for a long period. As a brahmanical saffron supremacistorganisation upholding Hindutva (which is basically different from Hindu) as codified by Savarkar and later clarified by Golwalkar, the RSS vehemently opposed the adoption of Indian Constitution and suggested ‘Manu Smriti’ (the sacred book of chaturvarnya or varna system) in its place on the ground that a Republican Constitution would give equality to all castes. Being banned three times as a terrorist organisation, it was its ‘laudable action’ during Indira Gandhi’s Emergency that enabled its entry into the mainstream politics. Since then, leading the ‘Sangh Parivar’ composed of hundreds of secret and open, militant terrorist outfits and widening and deepening itselfacross space and time and with its far or ultra-right economic philosophy and unwavering allegiance to US imperialism that leads the imperialist camp, today RSS has grown into the biggest fascist organisation in the world with innumerable overseas saffron extensions and affiliates backed by immense corporate funding.
Revealingly, RSS’ sudden shoot-up from relative obscurity to the political lime-light in mid-1970s is coterminous with imperialism’s transition to neoliberalism in the context of its first biggest postwar crisis. And, as a manifestation of the mounting neo-colonial plunder and consequent increasing integration of India with imperialist capital, by 1970s, India was also in the grip of an unprecedented political-economic instability aggravating all the contradictions in the country and Indira Gandhi’s proclamation of Emergency in 1975 was comprador Indian state’s response to this crisis. In view of Indira Gandhi’s alliance with Soviet Union at that time, it was also convenient for the pro-American RSS to carry on its anti-Emergency campaign with US backing. Obviously, lifting of Emergency and Indira Gandhi’s return to power in 1980 was immediately followed by India’s abject surrender to US diktats through a huge Extended Fund Facility loan from IMF with stringent conditionalities. It was during this extremely crisis-ridden period of India that RSS designed its well-thought-out strategy ofeventually transforming Indiaas a Hindutva fasciststateby floating BJP as its political party. In the ensuing period, it was effectively taking advantage of the facilitating role of the soft-Hindutva Congress that RSS transformed BJP, its electoral machine into India’s biggest ruling class party within a relatively short span of time.
And, withthe entire trajectory of this long drawn-out process marked by such milestones as the beginning of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement after the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984, demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992, Vajpayee-led government in the late 1990s, Gujarat Pogrom in 2002, the ascendancy Modi regime in 2014 followed by its reiteration as Modi.2 in 2019, the fascistisationhas reached a qualitatively new stage in India.With Modi.2, in continuation of the saffronisation of all the constitutional, administrative and institutional structures required for a fascist transformation already underway, RSS is now moving towards its ultimate goal of establishing Hindu Rashtra, which is an intolerant theocratic state unequivocally defined by M S Golwalkar in 1939 in his magnum opus, ‘We, Our Nationhood Defined’. For instance, under its corporate-saffron raj of Modi.2 is blatantly unveiling itself as a typical fascist state acquiring all the requisite features of a majoritarian Hindu Rashtra firmly adhering to the process of forcible integration of Kashmir into Indian Union, superimposition of Hindu code under the euphemism of ‘uniform civil code’, construction of Ram Temple at the site of Babri Masjid and even making Muslims as second class citizens by amending the Citizenship Act itself.All other specificities of corporate saffron fascism such as anti-Muslimness, pan-Indian homogenizing drive subjugating the oppressed caste organisations aimed at integrating them intoHindutva, rejection of all values of modernity such as rational-scientific thinking, fostering the cult of tradition and obscurantism, treating dissent and disagreement as treason, worship of heroism and elitism, anti-communism and an uncompromising integration with corporate finance capital are to be analysed in the proper perspective.
And, in thiswhole course of transformation that propelled RSS to wielding Indian state power, a neoliberal process spanning almost a quarter century, the soft-Hindutva Congress had been faithfully playing second fiddle to the former without any let up. After her return to power in 1980,Indira Gandhi totally reversed her earlier approach towards Sangh Parivar. After her assassination, her son Rajiv Gandhi who ascended to power provided facilities to Hindutva forces for performing shilanyas at the disputed site where Babri Masjid was located. In the series of highly venomous and violent saffron offensives and communal riots that ensued since 1984 such as the ‘Liberation of Ayodhya’ campaign by Dharam Sansad, formation of Bajrang Dal and Durga Vahini as aggressive Hindutva militant organisations respectively for young men and women, etc., the Congress while remaining a mute spectator, also tried to cash in Hindu sentiments for electoral gains. It extended all facilities to VHP to collect Ram Shilas for the foundation of Ram Mandir at Ayodhya and even allowed it to lay foundation stone of Ram Mandir in 1989. The Congress government pursued the same soft Hindutva approach when the VHP organised a number of international conferences since mid-1980s for rallying Hindutva expatriates around the idea of saffron consolidation. In the background of the Mandal agitations, though Advani’s Rathyatra was stopped in Bihar, with the connivance of the Congress regime, including communal riots in many parts of India, immense damage had already been done as was manifested in BJP winning Assembly elections in Gujarat, Rajasthan, MP, Bihar and UP. Quite logically, the Rao-Manmohan government that demolished the Nehruvian model and embraced full-fledged neoliberalism in 1991 also extended security cover for the demolition of Babri Masjid by Hindutva goons in the next year. By that time RSS had succeeded in converting Ram into a political symbol for capturing state power. And the ten-year UPA regime in its relentless pursuit of soft-Hindutva did nothing to bring the perpetrators of Gujarat Pogrom before law even as US denied visa to Modi for ten years due to this. To be precise, while the soft Hindutva pursued by the Congress totally devastated it, the RSS-led BJP with its hard Hindutva became the ultimate victor.
This understanding on Indian fascism is also fully in accord with the specific historical factors and concrete political conditions of the country. It is a fundamental Marxist approach that any social phenomenon when develops further and transforms in a different social formation will inevitably adapt itself to the particularities and specificities of that context. Of course, fascism’s inseparable integration with the hegemony of corporate finance capital is its universal character. However, ascribing a universal pattern or form to the emergence of fascism for all situations is erroneous, and it will impede the building up of anti-fascist struggles too. For instance, in his concluding speech at the 7th Comintern Congress that defined fascism with its firm foundations in finance capital, its General Secretary Dimitrov had also underlined different course of development of fascism in colonial and semi-colonial countries,and in these countries, according to him, “there can be no question of the kind of fascism that we are accustomed to see in Germany, Italy and other capitalist countries”, and for such countries he suggested an analysis of their specific economic, political and historical conditions based on which fascism may assume different forms. As such, communists can formulate the methods of resisting and defeating fascism in India only through an evaluation of the country-specific or national peculiarities that provide the fertile basis for the development of Hindutva fascism integrating itself with corporatefinance capital today.
Viewed in this perspective, the specific feature of Indian fascism as embodied in the ideology of RSS is aggressive ‘Hindu nationalism’ or Hindutva aimed at the establishment of a Hindu theocratic state or Hindu Rashtra. But as is obvious, the content of this nationalism is at variance with classical fascism that waged aggressive wars for the protection of bourgeois national capitalist interests. In Afro-Asian-Latin American countries which have a long period of colonial and neo-colonial oppression, nationalism or patriotism must invariably be linked up with anti-colonial and anti-imperialist struggles and anti-imperialism is, therefore, an indispensable component of nationalism in these countries. On the other hand, neither in the colonial period nor in the postwar neo-colonial period, RSS has ever resorted to any genuine initiative for an independent national capitalist development. Rather, its entire history from the very inception has been that of betrayal of genuine nationalism. Even today its far-right economic orientation or affinity to neoliberal-corporatization is integrally linked up with its allegiance to US imperialism, leader of the neo-colonial global order. That is, its ‘cultural nationalism’ is only a camouflage for serving international finance capital. In this context, it would be in order, if we make a distinction between jingoistic and pseudo nationalism of RSS from that of the progressive and democratic national sentiment of the people which is directed against imperialism. While the former is chauvinistic, jingoistic, exclusivist, divisive and reactionary that inevitably leads to fascism, in the present historical context, the latter is anti-imperialist and hence progressive, secular, democraticand inclusive consisting of the struggling unity of workers, peasants, women, dalits, adivasis, minorities and all oppressed.
A striking feature of Indian fascism that makes it all the more venomous is its shamelessideological orientation towards Brahmanical Hindutva supremacy. According to this ideology, vast majority of Indian people composed of the lower and oppressed castes are subhuman who deserve no civic or democratic rights. As a result, under Modi.2, on the one hand, most heinous atrocities on dalits and other oppressed castes are strengthening without any let up. Such atrocities manifested in the form of lynching, mass rape and ‘honour killings’ have even permeated to institutions of higher learning and research in the form ‘institutional murders’.On the other, RSS is most opportunistically and cunningly utilising identity politics to carve out caste-based vote banks along with unleashing a process of forcible integration of the oppressed castes in to the Hindutva fold.That is, pursuing an aggressive policy of saffronisation and divide and rule, the manuvadi RSS has also succeeded in deconstructing the various caste-based parties so as to submerge them in to the majoritarian saffron agenda. Therefore, in the Indian context, along with sustained struggles against the foundations of corporate capital, building up effective resistance against the Brahmanical caste system through appropriate ideological and practical interventions such as caste annihilation movementis a major task of the anti-fascist movement that invariably encompasses economic, social and cultural dimensions.
In the 1930s when two imperialist regimes, Italy and Germany had embraced fascism, the Comintern and Soviet Union had been there giving ideological-political leadership to the anti-fascist struggle. On the other hand, today in Europe alone ten neo-fascist parties are in power, and backed by financial oligarchs they have also initiated steps for a pan-European fascist alliance against workers, migrants and refugees. Meanwhile, unlike the relatively nation-centred capital of the pre-war period when European fascism emerged, today finance capital has become internationalised. Consequently, in accordance with the complex dimensions of capital accumulation and the concomitant decay, parasitism and reaction associated with internationalisation of finance capital, 21st century fascism shall inevitably be several-fold oppressive and militaristic.On the other hand, on account of its ideological-political weakness, the communist movement todayis not capable enough to take up the task of objectively evaluating and effectively challenging this fascist threat. The situation in India is also the same, though the specificities of Indian corporate-saffron fascism are different. Of particular importance here is the need ofclarity on the constituents of an anti-fascist front or platform.
In this context, Dimitrov’s observations in his address to the 7th Congress of the Comintern is very relevant even today. For instance, he had been very sceptical of the involvement of the imperialist bourgeoisie as fascism was inherently connected with the bourgeois attempt to shore up plunder by changing the state-form of class domination. Another weakness pinpointed by him was the class collaborationist attitude of the social democrats. Later, Stalinhimself endorsed this position of Dimitrov by pinpointing the weakness arising from the alliance with bourgeois regimes in the anti-fascist front of the 1930s. According to Stalin, at that time itself, the unique nature of accumulation under the hegemony of finance capital had made it difficult for the imperialists to adhere to a regime of bourgeois democracy. He also characterised the reactionary character ofsocial democracy as ‘moderate wing of fascism’ having affinity to the policies of financial oligarchs. In fact, Stalin’s criticism was vindicated later when, in spite of the horrors of Hitler fascism, US imperialism under the camouflage of decolonisation and welfare state went on installing terrorist-fascistmilitaryregimes across many countries in accordance with the needs of neo-colonial expansion of finance capital in the immediate postwar period, an aspect already referred.
Today, the fascist offensive is taking place in the neoliberal context whencorporate capital as represented by both imperialist and comprador bourgeoisiealong with social democrats who are apologists of neoliberal policies has degenerated furthertogether with the concomitant ideological-cultural challenges at the superstructure. In this context, the communists have to pay much attention in differentiating the sustainable friends of the anti-fascist front from its foes and win over the former (including progressive sections of social democrats) to the side of the struggle against neoliberal fascism. The Indiansituation is such that along with the Congress which is in total disarray,other ruling class parties together with the social democratic leadership has already gone over to the side of neoliberal-corporatisation that forms the foundations of fascism today, even as the people are coming out against ruling regime in diverse forms. In this context, an anti-fascist offensive is to be initiated based on studying lessons from past experiences and concrete evaluation of the present with particular attention to the objective realities of India. For instance, though religion in itself is not fascistic, under neoliberalism majoritarian religion everywhere is amenable to be used by finance capital as an ideological basis of fascism (e.g. Evangelism in the Americas, Political Islam in West Asia, Hindutva in India, Buddhism in South-east Asia).As such, majoritarian fascist oppression on religious minorities is to be identified as an objective fact today. Hence, while isolating extremist groups and fundamentalist elements of all religions, it is the task of the anti-fascist democratic forces to declare solidarity with the oppressed religious minorities, especially the Muslims who are particularly targeted in the concrete Indian context.
Thus, in continuation of the Political Resolution as adopted in the 11th Congress of our Party and taking into account the qualitative changes associated with Modi.2, the Central Committee (CC) has stressed the central role of the revolutionary unity of struggling left forces in the fight against corporate-saffron fascism. The essential basis of such an initiative is the building up of mass movements and class struggle capable of imparting effective resistance against fascism in all its manifestations. To initiate this process, the CC has called for an open dialogue among the struggling left forces to explore the possibilities of developing mass political platformsbased on common minimum program at the national and state levels encompassing both parliamentary and non-parliamentary struggles according to concrete conditions. This initiative on the part of the Left with a people’s alternative shall form the core and the prelude for abroad anti-fascist united platform at the all India level. Such an effort uniting with all progressive-democratic forces on the one hand, shall effectively explore the possibility of tactical issue-based alliances with other sections based on people’s genuine needs and requirements according to the concrete conditions on the other. This approach, while ensuring our independent fighting space, is indispensable for winning over more and more forces with an anti-fascist orientation andfor utilising contradictions within the ruling classes and for isolating the most reactionary elements of who are allying with corporate-saffron fascism.This shallenable us to pursue for ourlong-term goal of achieving genuine democracy for all the people.
- Georgi Dimitrov, Selected Works (www. Marxists.org)
- Lenin, Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder
- James VGregor, Interpretations of Fascism, Transactions Publishers, New Jersey, 1997
- John Bellamy Foster, Monopoly Capital at the Turn of the Century (www. monthlyreview.org)
- Thomas Klikauer & Kathleen Webb Tunney “Rise of Saffron Power: Reflections on Indian Politics , Counter Currents, May 4, 2019
- Red Dawn (MLKP), Issue 18-Winter 2018/19
- P J James, Imperialism in the Neocolonial Phase, Second Edition, 2015
- “ “ , “imperialism Today”, Red Star, November, 2018, p 8-15