which looks pretty grim in hindsight of yesterday's election. India is a complicated case because the main communist party, the CPI(M), originates out of an anti-revisionist split with the eurocommunst-style CPI, making a direct relationship between the collapse of 20th century socialism and the rise of fascism more complicated (further complicated by the close relationship between the congress and the USSR, making liberalism arguably more of a victim of that collapse than communism). Obviously in relation to the CPI(Maoist) both the CPI and CPI(M) are revisionist but the collapse of left nationalism and the new form of neoliberal fascism has to be understood on its own terms. It obviously starts with the fundamental changes China is causing to the world economy:
Anyway, thought people might enjoy this article on Gramsci and Indian fascism as a good starting point for discussing fascism in the third world and what this phenomenon means for our understanding of "third world" and the future form of the left.
If you can't access that I've uploaded it here:
or just search for "Fascism and National Culture: Reading Gramsci in the Days of Hindutva." Some highlights (it was written in 1993 for context):
For the early nineteenth century, he emphasises two factors: the growing conservatism of all European bourgeoisies, including the Italian bourgeoisie, after the French Revolution, and the failure of Italian literary Romanticism to get linked with any popular movement for social change, of the type that Jacobinism signified in the case of French Romanticism. Here, his essential argument is that the radical alliance of the bourgeoisie and the peasantry, as represented by the Jacobins, had so inspired the French working class that their insurgent radicalism began to threaten the power of the bourgeoisie itself, and although the terror managed to contain the French working class, national bourgeoisies everywhere else learned the lesson that they could not afford to break with the landowning aristocracy entirely, lest they themselves be attacked in a revolution that runs out of their control; the national revolutions that came after the French Revolution took the form, in other words, of a bourgeois-aristocrat alliance in order to preempt the possibility of a combined worker-peasant insurgency in the dynamic of a 'permanent revolution'
As we know, those simultaneous developments-the exhaustion of the bourgeois- revolutionary dynamic and the speedy liquidation of the first rudimentary form of proletarian power in the form of the Paris Commune- were succeeded by almost fifty years of the most intense period of colonial conquest and capitalist hegemony. But we know also that it was precisely the issue of the colonial division of the world that led to World War I; that the capitalist world-hegemony was then challenged, in the middle of that war, by the first Proletarian Revolution; and that the October Revolution then contributed immeasurably to the emergence and eventual triumph of the anti-colonial movements as well.
the immense energies of the anti-colonial revolutions too have been contained in those alliances of the indigenous propertied classes which made common cause with modern imperialism for fear of their own worker and peasant masses. For, if the October Revolution inspired the colonial peoples into the praxeological belief in mass uprisings against colonial state apparatuses, that same revolution instilled in the propertied classes of our countries the fear that the anti-colonial revolution may indeed proceed uninterruptedly to an anti-capitalist one; the anti- colonial revolution was made and unmade in that same condensed moment for which Gramsci used the term 'revolution-restoration'-in our case, a revolution against foreign rulers but also an immeasurably powerful 'restoration' of the rule of the indigenous propertied classes as well.
Fascism, in other words, has two faces. On the one hand, it engages the whole nation in a massive social upheaval in the ideological- cultural domain out of which arises the machinery of terror; but simul- taneously, it also enacts a comprehensive program of economic re-struc- turing in order to serve those interests of the liberal bourgeoisie which that bourgeoisie has not been able to legislate through machineries of the liberal state. The precise combination of terror and legislation would of course vary from one country to another, but it is somewhat alarming that while the RSS parivar and Shiv Sena boldly utilise their legal and extra-legal machineries for fascist mobilisations and even for terrorising major cities, and while the Congress busies itself in tuming its anti-communal face one day and its communal face the next day, there appears to be a wide consensus on those agendas of the bour- geoisie that are quaintly called 'liberalisation' and which have doubtless inaugurated, with ample aid from the media, 'a period of expectation and hope' among 'the great mass of urban and rural petty bourgeois', many of whom are otherwise partisans of the RSS and the like. Supposing the Congress variety of 'liberalisation' does not suc- ceed, shall we then be ready for an authoritarian resolution? Shall, then, 'the mass of the urban and rural petty bourgeois' demand that the machinery of terror and the machinery of 'liberalisation' be one and the same?
Gramsci first calls for analysis and struggle at two levels simultaneously:
". . . in studying a structure, it is necessary to distinguish organic movements (relatively permanent) from movements which may be termed 'conjunctural' (and which appear as occasional, immediate, almost accidental). Conjunctural phenomena too depend on organic movements to be sure, but they give rise to political criticism of a minor, day-to-day character, which has as its subject top political leaders and personalties ... Organic phenomena on the other hand give rise to socio-historical criticism, whose subject is wider social groupings-beyond the public figures and beyond the top leaders."
The elaboration of BJP's mass politics since the rath yatra would be an instance of 'conjunctural' movements, and it is absolutely essential to understand the techniques of mobilisation, the power of specific slo- gans, the role of particular leaders, the differential strategic deployment of the various branches of the Sangh parivar, the patterns of recruitment among specific social strata, the differential tactics used in different parts of the country and abroad, BJP's dealings with other political parties, voting patterns, conduct of state governments, and so on, in order to comprehend this 'conjunctural' movement. A comprehension of this conjuncture is of fundamental importance, but to stop at this level is to become a prisoner of such epiphenomena as fluctuations in voting patterns, change-over of leaders, short-lived alliances and manoeuvres, the relative success or failure of particular mobilising tactics, the mediatic construction, etc. What is of crucial importance, then, is to link the understanding of the 'conjuncture' with a comprehension of the 'organic movement', which brings up such long-wave issues as the revivalist component in nineteenth century thought, the sanctification of certain religious emphases in nationalist mobilisations during the colonial period, the old and new imperatives of gender politics among the middle classes, the shifting kaleidoscope of caste confrontation and alliance, the modalities of our capitalist development and the miseries of the new petty bourgeoisies in both the urban and rural sectors, the culture of our textbooks, classrooms, films and videos, and so on. In any political analysis, the dialectic of conjuncture and organic movement has a status quite similar to that of the dialectic between structure and superstructure.
But this struggle to understand needs then to be combined with a positive project of intellectual and moral reform which addresses the most fundamental issues of the structure itself:
"Intellectual and moral reform has to be linked with a programme of economic reform-indeed the programme of economic reform is precisely the concrete form in which every intellectual and moral reform presents itself."
Structural transformation of a national-popular kind is thus at the heart of any anti-fascist struggle. An ideological struggle against Hindutva fascism must recoup, as a significant element, those traditions of humanism, ecumenism, agnosticism and anti-casteist world-view which we have inherited from our medieval anti-Brahminical movements and which have left such indelible imprint on the spiritual life of the peasantry and the artisanate throughout this land. Similarly, we have inherited powerful legacies from a national movement which brought twenty million peasant households into the anti- colonial struggle on the triple platform of representative democracy, secular polity, and agrarian reform; that the peasantry in India continues to define its political world in terms of these basic values is undoubtedly our rain resource against the fascist forces. But it would be illusory to imagine that the struggle can be won on the ideological plain alone, because in order to be credible enough for the popular classes to engage actively in the anti-fascist struggle, the ideologies of secularism and democracy must take the concrete shape of radical restructuring of systems of property and governance, so that the people generally have a real, tangible stake in the anti-fascist struggle. The forces that so readily undertake to restructure the national economy in accordance with the World Bank diktat and for the benefit of a small coterie of speculators and entrepreneurs, bringing untold miseries to the mass of population, can hardly formulate a popular-democratic nationalism to pose against the obscurantist nationalist claims of the Hindutva combine; but the striking feature of our current situation in this regard is that the organised Left, with its galaxy of dazzling economists, has offered no comprehensive plan for the national eco- nomy to counter the free-marketeers. Nor is it possible to truly mobilise the peasantry on a secular-nationalist platform without first offering a credible plan for returning the land to those who work it. A very large part of the question of the anti-fascist struggle in India is, like much else, simply an agrarian question; if the rest of the country could speedily implement a land reform even as moderate as the one in West Bengal, 'Ram and his rabble' would have to run for cover.
In 2015, a mob in Dadri (Uttar Pradesh) alleged that Mohammed Akhlaq slaughtered a cow, so they killed him. This crime was justified by the RSS-BJP. It was a sign of what was to come. The frequency of mob lynching has made the crime almost normal. You can be lynched for what you eat, for what you are, for what you say and for whom you want to marry. The RSS-BJP seem to suggest that some lynching is good, that those who participate in this kind of lynching are not criminals but heroes. BJP ministers go to events and garland the criminals who lynched our fellow citizens. This is a very dangerous shocking and reprehensible situation.
What do they say is a good lynching? If a mob kills a Muslim man who dares to marry a Hindu girl–what the BJP sensationally calls Love Jihad–that is seen as a good lynching. If a mob attacks Muslims for offering prayers in a public space, that is seen as a good lynching. If a mob attacks young couples for celebrating Valentine’s Day, that is seen as a good lynching. In each case, the mob is defended by the RSS-BJP.
It is equally disturbing that the police in many cases and sometimes also the judiciary have been protective towards these men. False charges are made against the families of those who are killed by the mob, and the courts have taken these charges seriously. Mohammad Akhlaq’s family has been threatened with arrest for cow slaughter–which never happened. It is a totally false case. Meanwhile, the killers of Mohammed Akhlaq walk the streets. Junaid Khan–killed on a local train in 2017–is unlikely to get justice. The First Information Report of the police suggests that Junaid Khan’s killers did so in self-defence. Once you accept that there is ‘good lynching’, there is no end to this nightmare.
from what i've heard just talking to indian communists online, this is all true and the right-wing parties use violence as like babby's introduction into politics if you're a young, right-wing thug looking for a promotion upwards through the party machinery. like you start out by knifing someone. one depressing thing i ran across was a youtube "prankster" who would dress his crew up with orange sashes and bamboo sticks and run into a park on valentine's day where couples were having romantic dates, basically "posing" as bajrang dal militants. instead of beating and/or lynching the couples on the spot, however, the pranksters would tell them (and the audience) that lynching is wrong but couples -- being effectively held as hostages in this situation -- still shouldn't be out in parks on valentine's day doing socially inappropriate things like kissing and holding hands or whatever. cue a few tens of thousands of comments like "what a nice message."