Modi-Sharif Class Interests

By Saswat Pattanayak

Narendra Modi’s newfound love for Sharif only proves how Class triumphs over everything. Capitalists can forgo all their differences in coming together for common cause. Adani/Jindal commercial interests in Pakistan ruled by a feudal lord whose family has profiteering interests in collaborating with the new souled-out India show how even the worst form of jingoism from either side has no locus standi when it comes to safeguarding class interests. No matter the religion or caste (Sharif being a Sunni Muslim and Modi being an OBC Hindu) or nationality and gender, when it comes to class interests, there is no stopping in their consolidating efforts. Likewise, Reagan (Presbyterian) and Bush (Methodist) were buddies with Taliban and ran family businesses with Osama bin Laden (Wahhabi Muslim) in their common interest, putting aside nationalistic rhetorics employed domestically to retain their patriotically misguided fan bases.

While the corporate bosses collaborate with each other representing their own class interests, they make sure to let the working class folks fight with each other in the name of various distracting absurdities. The more the working poor continue to distrust and hate each other in the name of religious fixations, the easier it is to rule over the divided lot. “Workers of the world, unite!” is the only anathema to the ruling bourgeois elites. And to subvert the revolutionary potential, the ruling elites at times project themselves as humane and just. In the latest instance, Modi-Sharif may appear to be shockingly generous in their “neighbors-are-irreplaceable” offering, but in reality they are merely throwing lavish parties for each other to celebrate future corporate collaborations.

(Photo: NDTV)

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Looking for Jesus and Finding them

By Saswat Pattanayak

Perhaps the prevailing eurocentrism in the world makes more non-Christians celebrate this day with such fanfare, than they would observe an occasion from any other religious text. December 25 resonates in all, regardless of religious backgrounds, owing to our colonized subconsciousness. Amidst humanized samaritan renditions of a generous Santa rewarding submissive kids, most folks today set aside their intelligence while momentarily forgetting how Christianity has been the most gruesome and atrocious religion in the history of the world, single-handedly responsible for genocide of indigenous peoples all over the planet through its spread of terror and imperialism.

The only redeeming feature of this horrendously traumatic saga of lies and outright deceit is the possible salvaging of Jesus as a working class hero, albeit a nonviolent one. Like any other religious icon, Jesus too is imagined to be on the side of the oppressed and the dispossessed, on the side of truth and justice, on the side of the revolutionaries, the imprisoned and the conscientious, on the side of the internationalists, the communists and the labor organizers.

Malcolm X said, “they charged Jesus with sedition” because he went to the exploited and the downtrodden. Woody Guthrie said, Jesus was laid in his grave by the preachers, bankers, landlords, rich men and their soldiers. If every revolution needs a few myths to provide hope, every religious text provides to the believers some myths to cling unto. But for revolutions to succeed, humanization of icons is not adequate. It does not suffice to celebrate that alone which is dead, but also to embrace the best of what is living. What is needed is to recognize today’s revolutionaries as Jesus. Ideally, all religions should be declared extinct, as they historically have been tools for the ruling elites to exploit people of the world by dividing them up into various conflicting sub-groups. Unfortunately, majority of the world is still not ready to prioritize struggles for liberation from superstitions. As Lenin had said, “No number of pamphlets and no amount of preaching can enlighten the proletariat, if it is not enlightened by its own struggle against the dark forces of capitalism. Unity in this really revolutionary struggle of the oppressed class for the creation of a paradise on earth is more important to us than unity of proletarian opinion on paradise in heaven.” Until the time the working class is awakened to unite itself, we may find it empowering to wrest the gods from the tax-free temples and churches and mosques – and to find them in revolutionaries amidst ourselves instead.

And therefore, the trans woman Chelsea Manning who languishes in the jail past six Decembers for sharing powerful truths, is Jesus. Physically disabled GN Saibaba, the revolutionary from Delhi University who is suffering the brunt of a fascist Indian state for holding radical views, is Jesus. The Puerto Rican nationalist Oscar Lopez Rivera suffering from a sentence of 70 years in an American prison, charged with “seditious conspiracy”, is Jesus. Black Panther and political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal who remains the undying conscience of a world crying for freedom, is Jesus. Countless freedom fighters “hard-working and brave”, to quote Woody, across the globe resisting ruling class excesses and facing charges on behalf of us today, are all Jesus – today, and they are various other gods too, on other religious days. With due apologies to George Carlin, Gods don’t just need money to remain relevant; they also need great human beings, to survive their purpose.

Arvind Kejriwal Ko Gussa Kyun Aata Hai?

Arvind Kejriwal suddenly discovers in Modi a coward and psychopath, simply because he finally becomes a victim of fascist vendetta now. However, this outrage is a social media melodrama as it was Kejriwal himself who has contributed the most in the resulting chaos that prevail today. Modi/Shah and their BJP goons are professionally committed as communal politicians and xenophobes who have always practiced hate politics to perfection. Indian public had always rejected such right-wing fanatics throughout the country’s democratic history. It is Kejriwal who lent them a humane face through his creation of a hoopla over the corruption bogeyman, only with the sole aim to destabilize what he and his right-wing allies Shanti Bhushan, Kiran Bedi and Kumar Vishwas felt as “dynasty politics”.

Bhushan who funded the creation of AAP was also the same man who was one of the founders of BJP in 1980 – the only aim at that time was to oppose Indira Gandhi because she had dared to “misuse her power” by ensuring that India aims to become a “socialist” and “secular” country. When BJP failed to gain any momentum in India owing to their rabidly communal agendas, these reactionaries floated an outfit by the name of AAP to espouse the same anti-Congress politics, but on a more populist political plank: Corruption.

Prior to advancing the carefully orchestrated political party AAP, Kejriwal was at the forefront of the anti-socialist formation called “India Against Corruption” and an anti-secular formation called “Youth for Equality” – the sole aim of these so-called apolitical movements (ably supported by the likes of objective corporate media comprising Arnav Goswami/Rajat Sharma) was to excite the otherwise indifferent middle class students into getting wet dreams over the potential demise of Congress and the Left in India; to materialize the RSS reveries of a Congress-Mukt Bharat into reality.

Aam Aadmi Party – many of whose stalwarts subsequently have gone back to their BJP family – thereafter emerged as the New Right in India, the first outfit to succeed in legitimizing capitalistic meritocracy as an acceptable political proposition in a society whose collective progress depends on reservation policies, to allow for a political scope for rabidly communal elements of this society to gain a respectable electoral mandate that was virtually impossible to obtain prior to Kejriwal and his team arrived as the educated “we-are-not-political-we-are-you” actors, and to create for the first time in India’s history a Parliament without an empowered Opposition.

It is not Modi, but Kejriwal who created an imagination for a new India whose socio-economic policies could be drafted without the Congress and the Left. And when Kejriwal is not given that rightful due, and instead is treated like he were an outsider, it is only natural that he calls his former bosses names. But even then, Modi continues to heave a sigh of relief, because Kejriwal once again is letting him to be used as a tool to diminish the current debate just when Rahul Gandhi cries vendetta. Because educated Indian bourgeois class and its aspirants know quite well, that when vendetta too appears meritocratic, it is no longer to be treated as a misuse of power.

(Saswat Pattanayak – Written for Facebook)