Matter & Consciousness: Revisiting Lokayata

Lokayata did not deny the consciousness so much as it complicated it. Instead of acceding to an assumption that consciousness could be a peculiarity of the spirit, it depicted consciousness as an attribute of the body. This occurred, according to them, because whereas the material elements comprise the living body, consciousness is produced in it.

Fashion Dialectics

  By Saswat Pattanayak “Fashion determines, in each case, the acceptable limit of empathy.” – Walter Benjamin. Benjamin belonged to the interwar period that witnessed rise of fascism, actively aided by European intellectuals who were hostile to the masses. The bourgeois was disdainful of the “mass society”, and the ways in which new electronic media were displaying potentials for mass liberations. Its high-brow standards were being threatened by the low-brow tastes of American consumer capitalism. Its exclusive access to the sophisticated art forms was being undermined by the new medium of photography. “Socialist realism” was connecting the masses to what was historically being denied to…

Lesson from Snowden: Myth of the Free Press

By Saswat Pattanayak   The recent rise in whistleblowers in America maybe new, but the governmental scrutiny and penalization process is hardly so. Apart from the widening scope of social/virtual media’s sphere of influence, there is hardly anything unique about the circumstances unraveled by Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning. Political radicalism, underground media activism and alleged unpatriotic nature among conscientious citizens in the United States are what has indeed uniquely created this country. It has always been the case of the powerful ruling class elites duly supported by the judiciary, military and corporate media constantly engaged in wars against progressive…

i-Solation

By Saswat Pattanayak The association of loneliness with personal is based on a lingering myth. Far from being an individual symptom, loneliness is an inevitable outcome of an individualistic society. It is a state of being that prevents a person from exercising class prerogative and realizing revolutionary potential. And to that extent, loneliness is in fact a politically disempowered experience. Normalization of loneliness therefore typifies capitalism without reference to its deliberate construction. Instead of recognizing it as a contradiction within the irrational class society, it is glamorized, iconized and in many instances mourned as an aberration, as individual failing. From…

Socialist Realism

Communism is pure evil, It offers no freedom. On the other hand – Capitalism, is all about Choice and option.   And in our free world, We have inalienable rights. To choose life’s recourses – Between rotting public schools And swanky private elites.   We may pick universal healthcare, Or join the elite insurance systems. In pursuit of happyness –    We may select manual menial jobs Over executive positions.   Foods with pesticides, Or those organic produces. We eat or live how we like – The choice to dwell in slums Or to reside in ancestral palaces.    Between career…

The Market

  By Saswat Pattanayak Real man Farhan Akhtar prevents violence against women on behalf of the Delhi Police, Al Gore makes millions to save the planet from temperature gain, Amnesty International recruits Peter Gabriel to be their conscience, Aishwarya Rai counters Polio and HIV/AIDS, Unicef heralds Aamir Khan as the expert on child rights, and Narendra Modi hires Amitabh Bachchan to spread ‘Khushbu Gujarat Ki’. And we lesser mortals, legends in our own minds, emulate our stars and wait for our moment to go viral on Facebook and Youtube, while these corporations churn out billions in our name via offering…

Sleeping Child

How do I tell her who is a terrorist… Don’t the terrorists profit from those Gap Kids clothes she is wearing today? When the buildings collapsed And terrorized eight hundred Underpaid workers in that sweatshop Didn’t the terrorists make merry Looking the other way – The way of uninterrupted greed, As the Walton families scoop Another couple of billion dollars Didn’t I buy her cereal off their shelves? The comic characters she watches Spun by the deceit of the hate funders From the Nazi Germany days till today; Or isn’t the terrorizing force the books She reads which make no…

Radical Roots of International Women’s Day!

“Ardent greetings to working women and women toilers throughout the world who are uniting in one common family of labour around the socialist proletariat. I wish them every success: 1) in strengthening the international ties of the workers of all countries and achieving the victory of the proletarian revolution; 2) in emancipating the backward sections of women toilers from intellectual and economic bondage to the bourgeoisie; 3) in uniting the peasant women around the proletariat—the leader of the revolution and of socialist construction; 4) in making the two sections of the oppressed masses, which are still unequal in status, a…

Radical Roots of Gangnam Style: Psy, Kim Jong-Un and Challenges for the Fascist Standards of Sexy

By Saswat Pattanayak Psy has surpassed every artist in history by attaining one billion views, but that alone is not instructive. The measure of greatness in Park Jae-sang remains in his consciousness-raising about capitalistic contradictions and imperialistic warmongering in undiluted terms. In a Eurocentric world dominated by the disturbingly unifying English language, where American narratives grip past and the present times, it is easy to wonder why a Korean wields such an influence. The answer is as easy: why not. After all, Korea is like no other. It indeed is the center of the universe – the site for contestation…