Some more signatures collected after a function organized by Indian School of Social Science (ISSS)
Others have been uploaded directly on change.org
Sashi Kumar Chairman-ACJ, journalist, TV anchor and filmmaker
K.Swaminathan General Secretary (South Zone Insurance Employees Federation)
Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) Member of Parliament , Rajya Sabha
Arun Kumar Sfi
Please upload names (non-online signatories)
Prabhat Patnaik , Retd. Professor, JNU
CP Chandreshekar, Professor, JNU
A R Venkatachalapathy, Professor, MIDS
Chitra K P, Research Scholar, Tata Institute of Social Sciences
Sir, The essay is written very nicely making good analysis of why we there is a need to revive socialism in the 21st century. In answering the question of why there is a need to redefine socialism today the essay makes very insightful comments. The author argues that one should move from the dictatorship of the proletariat to the so called proletarian democracy. The author goes on to discuss the question of How this proletarian democracy should appear or function but I feel that the question of How the transformation would take place has not been elaborated much, in fact there is hardly any discussion on how this transformation would take place apart from people should be radical, participation of the masses etc. I feel that the Transformation or what we call Transition is the key to any discussion on the socialist mode of thought and this has been neglected in the essay.
It is very much appreciative that the author talks about Radical democracy, participation. the essay as is very evident is written keeping in mind the present global scenario but is it also not possible that the so called proletarian democracy the author talks about can also be the victim of the very global scenario? Who are these proletarians are we talking about? What if they themselves stand in the very tranformation for which they radically fought and stood for? Taking the example of our own Country, There are so many people from the prolaterian, marginalized, oppressed, suppressed etc backgrounds who get very much corrupted with the already corrupted (Bourgeosie) looking after their own self interest? community interest? is it not that diverse society would fail exactly for the reason that it is a diverse society? These are some of the questions that came to my mind when I was reading the essay. I would be much more interested if the author had answered all these through the question of How?
This brief article has a lot of clarity of perspective. Congratulations to the author for such a brilliant piece. Looking forward to what is looming behind the curtains in the article - more on coalition building, changing character and fragmentation of the basic classes, and democracy?
Sorry .This reads like poor man's Prabhat Patnaik or a pale pastiche of strands of western academic Marxism. Setting out to improve upon Lenin's theory of Imperialism, Mr PB only succeeds in sending packing through the front door the Marxist imperative of a party of the working class to lead any Socialist Revolution. Also, he quietly shies away from identifying the prime world social contradiction to arrive at revolutionary strategy, unless one were to assume from the essay that it is the one between marauding global finance capital and the peasants and petty producers of the world. Practically ,what his 21st century vision of socialism offers the Indian Left is an honorable place in a Nandigram / Chengara / Kudamkulam style rainbow coalition of social activists and far left groups and hopefully, some future role in planning and building modern medium and small workers and producers cooperative enterprises in West Bengal , Kerala and Tripura with Latin American technology. I am afraid that despite all its past mistakes and present shortcomings, the Indian Communist movement , our very own , deserves more honest counsel.
Thanks and Good Bye , Pragoti for your kind consideration for the last couple of years .
you seem to be more interested in contradicting the author in as many ways as possible for the sake of it, rather than than countering the arguments made in the essay:
(i) the essay has emphasised the link between the emergence of international finance capital and the muting of inter-imperialist rivalry. for instance the European Union - an international finance driven project - came into being only after the collapse of the USSR and not after the second world war. the expansion of NATO's composition and military interventions also occurred in the post-USSR world. you are failing to see the obvious changes in international relations brought in by globalisation and the collapse of the USSR, in terms of galvanizing the unity of the traditional imperialist powers. please do not gloss over these facts.
(ii) you seem to be agreeing with an important argument made in the essay on china - questioning the direction of the "transition" that is underway there - which according to you is "capitalism without democracy".
(iii) the "what if" questions on the USSR are mere reiterations of what have been and continue to be asked by many. the essay makes a simple point vis-a-vis these questions. that none of them were resolved through the democratic involvement of the people but through a process which was top-down, marred by intrigues and persecutions and hence, problematic and unsustainable. you seem to have missed the point.
(iv) if you want a society where there is no commodity production, no market and no surplus value appropriation, there has to be a road map from present day capitalism to that society. that is why revolutionary marxist/communist projects have bothered about the "transition" question over the past 100 years. socialism was envisaged as that stage of transition - from capitalism to communism. the experience of socialist construction in the USSR has shown that bringing all private property under monopoly state ownership as a means to achieve that transition creates several problems: bureacratic over-centralisation leading to inefficiency, stifling of innovations and creativity, stagnation in several sectors etc. most importantly, blanket nationalisation of all private property - irrespective of whether that is big monopoly capital, small capital or petty property like that of the peasants - far from expanding the social support for the communist project, alienates more and more people from it. the essay argues that under socialism "other forms of social ownership like workers’ or collective ownerships and small private ownership should also be allowed to exist and compete with the public sector". this is certainly not chinese style "socialist market economy", where big monopoly capital is allowed to play an ever-increasing role, which reverses the process of socialisation. what was attempted in yugoslavia or hungary was a limited departure from the USSR model based on competition between co-operative enterprises. it is a matter of debate whether it was that experiment which "failed" or the basic model of the USSR itself, because all these systems collapsed eventually. please make up your mind on what you want: communism at one go and nothing short is acceptable as a transitory stage; or back to USSR-style socialism through across the board nationalisation and forced collectivisation; or chinese style "socialist market economy"? the essay seeks to explore options other than these. are you saying that it is impermissible?
(v) the essay has critiqued "proletarian dictatorships" on the basis of the experience of USSR and present day China. the same proletarian dictatorship of USSR produced stalin as well as khruschev. in China, the "democratic dictatorship" has made a great leap from the cultural revolution to "three represents". these are facts and cannot be written off as "vilification". author has linked these with the lack of democracy under socialist regimes - in terms of the absence of peoples' freedom to debate, discuss, participate and choose on matters which concerns their lives and livelihoods. are you against bourgeois democracy because it is "democracy" or because it is "bourgeois"? it is your wild imagination and not the "logical result" of any thinking whatsoever that is equating "proletarian democracy" with perfection of bourgeois structures. the essay is talking about moving beyond formal democracy under capitalism to radical participatory democracy under socialism.
(vi) either you do not know the meaning of the term "tautology" or you are presuming that all "anti-imperialist forces" are ipso facto "socialists". and you are very unclear on who according to you is a socialist or a marxist and who is not? also, before venturing into a theoretical debate, try to learn the difference between logically making/countering an argument and passing value judgements/indulging in name calling. at a time when we all need to forge larger unity in the fight against imperialism and capitalism, what is better avoided is an "i am more marxist than thou" approach.
despite your convoluted thoughts, your attempt to engage with the issues raised by the essay shows your interest in the important questions related to marxism and socialism. that is perhaps an importance purpose already being served. keep thinking...
I endorse the statement.
List of signatories so far from ACJ, Chennai till 1 p.m., 6 November 2012
Amrithasri Arunra Asian College of Journalism, Chennai
Apoorva Puranik Asian College of Journalism, Chennai
Aslesha Asian College of Journalism, Chennai
Blassy Bobin Asian College of Journalism, Chennai
Deepshikha Hooda Asian College of Journalism
Udita Jain Asian College of Journalism
Harikumar J.S Asian College of Journalism
Gaurav Bhatt Asian College of Journalism
Sunil Iyer Asian College of Journalism
Dhrubho Jyoti Asian College of Journalism
Jyotsna Raman Asian College of Journalism
Kavya Ram Mohan Asian College of Journalism
M. Ravikumar Asian College of Journalism
V.K. Raghunathan Asian College of Journalism
Poorvaja Sundar Asian College of Journalism
Nidheesh M.K Asian College of Journalism
M.Ramakrishnan Asian College of Journalism
Lakshmi R Asian College of Journalism
Nikita Mehta Asian College of Journalism
Vikram Mukka Asian College of Journalism
Mythili Sankara Asian College of Journalism
Sreekumar Menon Asian College of Journalism
Srabasti Dey Asian College of Journalism
Suchitra Mallick Asian College of Journalism
Shubhranka Mondal Asian College of Journalism
Sriranjini Datta Asian College of Journalism
Divya Aslesha Asian College of Journalism
Udit Roy Asian College of Journalism
Priya Rajasekhar Asian College of Journalism
Mohd. Yasir Asian College of Journalism
Osama Salman Asian College of Journalism
Natalie Grover Asian College of Journalism
Priya Singh Asian College of Journalism
Manoj Venkataraman Asian College of Journalism
Prateek Singh Asian College of Journalism
Nikunj Joshi Asian College of Journalism
Mehreen Shaikh Asian College of Journalism
Monira Shormin Asian College of Journalism
Riti Sinha Asian College of Journalism
Rohit Ranjan Asian College of Journalism
Vibi Yokha Asian College of Journalism
Dawa Gyelmo Asian College of Journalism
D.K.Rituraj Asian College of Journalism
Umang Asian College of Journalism
Wriddhaayan Asian College of Journalism
Vishwadha Chander Asian College of Journalism
Venkat Sandeep Bandla Asian College of Journalism
Yashee Asian College of Journalism
Vatsalya Balasubramaniam Asian College of Journalism
Vikram Kapur Asian College of Journalism
Shreya Ramnath Asian College of Journalism
Subin Paul Asian College of Journalism
Venkata Krishnan Asian College of Journalism
Bindu Bhaskar Asian College of Journalism
Jackson Jose Asian College of Journalism
Magesh Kumar D. Asian College of Journalism
M. Rajkumar Asian College of Journalism
A.K. Sheriff Asian College of Journalism
Abdullah Nurullah Asian College of Journalism
It is a high time , India gets out of this inhuman practice....
By doing so we will reach the height of real civilization.
Prof.V.Sayee Kumar, D.G Vaishnav College, Chennai
At the level of facts itself, Mr. Bose is not correct. Military conflicts amongst the developed countries of the West did not become “unimaginable” after 1991, but they became so due to hegemonization of anti-Soviet activities by USA after 1945 itself. Similarly, it’s not that China is in a period of “transition” [‘transition from WHERE to become WHAT?’ –this question is left unanswered], and does not seem like going towards socialism. What China’s case demonstrates is not the “reversal” of “development of productive force” (maybe Mr. Bose was concerned about “socialization” alone here, without its dialectical counterpart), but precisely the revolutionisation of productive forces within the capitalist set up- a case of capitalism without democracy. Further, at the level of “what if…” histories that he imagines in Russia, it was not that the NEP could have been continued after Lenin’s death. If one were to advocate NEP after 1922-23 as a permanent economic set up, it would not only prevent any “development of productive force” [“electrification”] but also reveal a liberal endorsement of today’s historiography- that War Communism was the product of a Bolshevik madness, which had to be abandoned in the wake of harsh realities. Both War Communism and NEP were not “tactical measures” to put Russia (and the remaining of Czar’s empire) on an irreversible path towards communism, but desperate measures to re-introduce some sense of civilization into that brutally attacked country. It was Stalin who normalized the situation in an ideological discourse while stealing his opponents’ programme in 1928. To ask questions like 'what if Khrushchev had not denounced Stalin's legacy' seems like, for a leftist in 1952, masking all those lies which one knew, and for one in 2012 to rhetorically ASK NOTHING.
Second, at the level of strategy and programme, Mr. Bose’s policy is to have a cup of de-caffeinated coffee, or to put in Robespierre’s immortal words, to have a revolution without a revolution. Phrases like “the market structure under socialism should be different from the capitalist markets…” reveal not only an unethical refusal to assume full responsibility for one’s vision and efforts (of collective action), they also reveal a subjective defeat by the Master’s demands (‘you must have political democracy’). The question is why should there be markets under ‘socialism’. Why not simply recall the distinction that Prof. Prabhat Patnaik makes in his Economics and Egalitarianism- markets as social institutions and markets as abstract allocation tables? Arguing for an emancipatory order based upon the full realization of individual talent and development is one thing, but to ask for “ownerships besides social ones” to compete against the latter is also to “forget” the bread and butter of what is really so admirable in Marxism: total refusal to submit to the private appropriation of surplus value. Indeed this has happened and failed in Yugoslavia with all its “market socialism”.
It may seem like knocking on an open door, but the logical culmination of this mode of thinking is to degrade and vilify the old Leninist (and in no case, Stalinist) notion of “dictatorship of the proletariat”, and endorse democracy totally. What Lenin and other Bolsheviks meant by this notion was not the simple Marxisant game of pitting form against content, of saying how “bourgeois” democracy did not allow “true” democracy to flourish, but that democracy itself is a MODE of class dictatorship. And are not all “21st century socialists” silent about perhaps the only true achievements of Chavez and Morales: that they have politicized slum residents in a significant way? Is not this the “dictatorship of proletariat” in the guise of a parliamentary majority? Lenin’s idea was not a PERFECTION of the bourgeois structures of state and governance but to dismantle them, to reconstruct TOTALLY new modes of self-governance, not to FILL IN existing structures with a new class logic, but precisely to break those mechanisms (State and Revolution) So, while it is true that many leftists today almost religiously regard Lenin’s old concepts, the task before us is to repeat the gesture of Lenin: to make an opening where one sees no hope. Pseudo-analyses like “emergence of a multi-polar world” are not to be counted as sites for the launching of left politics. One cannot wait for “objective” analysis to tell where to begin, one has to prepare conditions which can only then be analyzed.
And to turn the tables on, is it not a logical result of your own thinking that while bowing before the form (democracy), you are also bowing before the content too? Are not arguments like the opening of a “multi-polar world” a demand for multiplicities of FORMS OF CAPITAL (nation-state, region, even class)? Such things are hardly new. As Terry Eagleton says, capitalism has been from the very beginning a colourful journey, an array of multiplicities around its basic working logic, it’s sole religious mantra- private property.
Not surprisingly, there are quite a lot tautological references in the essay (“The basic problem confronting the anti-imperialist forces today is the weakening of the socialist forces at the global level”). This essay seems like an exercise in radical self-contradiction. This whole essay is like unmindful notes made from Prof. Patnaik’s many writings. Indeed, my first reminiscences on reading Mr. Bose’s latest article was that of the brutally true criticism of P. J. Proudhon by Karl Marx, as being “made up of on-the-one-hand and on-the-other-hand” attitude. It seems further, as Marx notes in the same letter about Proudhon, [http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1865/letters/65_01_24.htm], that he has now accommodated himself with the hegemonic ideas of his times. Today’s ideology says that make all transgressions, make way for perfection of all democracy, think in the most myriad manners BUT do not change the capitalist logic, do not question the democratic framework in which you articulate “protest”. Was not it Proudhon’s idea of “market socialism” (of workers’ councils competing amongst themselves) which Mr. Bose is arguing?
Jawaharlal Nehru University
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Agree. Everyone knows, if you want to do profits for yourself, Congress is a better option, or DMK, or BJP.
Assistant Professor, St. Stephen's College, Delhi
Faculty, Institute of Development Studies Kolkata
Nandan doesn't seem to convey the whole contours of leninism to the working class or the peasants of india that he is talking about. I challenge him if any one of the millions of indian working class or peasants understand the contours of Leninism. Then to whom he wants to convey about leninism or Marxism. Tell me a one concept that has no roots in india. Tell me one dharma that has no roots in india. Tell me one ideology that has no roots in india. All the ideologists of the west, far east, middle east, china, russia have visited india at different times & wondered india of the past & taken a leaf out of it to develop as their own ideology. I request Nandan maniratnam to do research on indian cultural roots and sanadana dharma and write in a way the so called indian working class understand what he has written.
I know it's kind of late to be replying on this page..but... Has Antony's obsessive adherence to the party line given him such a blinkered vision that he can't see the answers in Rohit's post? He just explained the structures in the Latin American parties and how various documents are proposed and presented before one is finally chosen through a vote. Is Antony so used to taking orders from the CC and the PB that he wil be able to read that only when someone from the much hallowed PB points it out to him?
this is an excellent presentation. very comprehensive. makes a compelling case for why the nuclear option is not a viable energy option for india.
here is the link to know what DD Kosambi said on Atomic energy
There is a clear difference between the anti-nuclear position and the party position. The article does not mention it. This should be debated. CPI(M)'s position and action is otherwise consistent on the issue. I am not in favor of nuclear power plants in the first place.