Thursday, 27 December 2012

The Lessons of December Uprising and Our Tasks

- Rajesh Tyagi/ 27 December 2012

The burning flames of the great December Uprising in New Delhi, have been put down by the iron hand of police repression, leaving dozens injured and one dead. The uprising has however left its imprint upon the young men and women in the country, which elite rulers will never be able to wipe off their memory.

Till this November, every one of us was used to hear the popular myth that India is not made for revolution, or nothing can ever happen in India, or it would go like this only in the country and that it would never change. The mass upsurge of December has shattered this misbelief, completely and forever.

Our generation, which never saw a revolution with its own eyes, witnessed it, could touch and feel a real revolution at the very doors of Raisina Hills, the abode of President of India. Till the government could even come to its senses, the birth pangs of a real revolution had already started at India Gate.
For the whole week, there was real democracy on the streets of the city. Youth and workers captured the India Gate- the centre of capital; huge contingents of heavily armed riot police lodged inside the President’s house looking at the protest in surprise, Police hunting for criminals on roads and criminals bolted inside their homes and the crime graph in the city of rapists and criminals dipping to unbelievable low.
Police barricades separated the old from the new. On one side of the barricades, stood the armed machine of the old state with all its might, defending the capitalist democracy in danger; on the other, stood the unarmed youth, representing a new India, shouting slogans against the old power, cursing and teasing it. While the old, frightened and conspiring to suppress the 'rising', and trembling at the idea of its overthrow, hid itself behind the cordons of riot police, the young men and women, mostly in their teens, stood adamant on the other side of the barricades, unfurling the banner of rebellion, with all courage and vigour of their youth.

As happens in all revolutionary upheavels, a single incident, appearing at the climax of a whole chain, which from the scale of bygone peace times may appear totally insignificant and routine affair in old settings, triggers the process of abrupt crystallisation. Masses of people, tempered and fuming by innumerable such incidents in the past, beaten and tortured again and again at the hands of old powers, fed-up with the old system, rise in rebellion like a storm against the conditions of their life. All sins of the old system then connect themselves as a running film in the consciousness of the mass, and the protest against the individual ill soon turns into a protest against the system as a whole. The more the movement gathers its strength, the more sharply it turns against the old society and its outmode state.  The conscious endeavour of the old powers, however, remains to prevent the rebellious mass from arming itself with political consciousness. In that, the old powers resist tooth and nail all attempts at generalisation of the protest, insisting that the movement be confined to the single, isolated issue at hand. Through this, the old power hopes and attempts to diffuse the revolutionary situation and prevent it from taking on its target, the old power itself.

The great upheaval, triggered by a brutal gang-rape of a 23 year old para-medic girl in moving bus in Delhi, proved to be such breaking point in the consciousness of the mass, which had remained suffering for long under the misrule and anarchy of the pro-rich regime. The resentment, buried in the ostensible passivity of the mass, however remained building up, like the latent heat builds up itself in stillness of the water, before it touches the boiling point. That point was touched by mass anger at India Gate against rising crime graph in the capital, like elsewhere.
Crime, so integral to capitalism, has become normal routine and part of life, in all capitalist countries of the world. Capitalism, has generated crime by fostering a whole army of lumpens. Needless to say that women and children, poor and weak, are the natural and worst victim of this ever growing criminalisation, where rapes upon women remain most dreadful of all crimes.
Contrary to the perception of bourgeois feminists, who think of rape and crime against women in general, as figurative symbol of patriarchy, they are in fact the offshoots of capitalism and are integral to it. This excludes the possibility of elimination of these crimes within the framework of capitalism. The insistence of feminists upon the ‘patriarchal’ nature of crime against women, in fact, assists the elite regime by imposing all blame upon the so called ‘patriarchal thought’ embedded in the minds of men, instead sheltered under the bayonets of bourgeois regime. So instead of opening an offensive against the morality of a political state and the society in its clutches, the feminists trivialise the whole matter to morality of a gender. This is exactly the abstraction, which the elite rulers happily agree to. Joining the chorus with feminists, thus, the Prime Minister says that the society needs to change its mentality and be sensitised towards women.
The fight against patriarchy is part of a broader cultural revolution. The biggest impediment in the path of this fight is the capitalist state, and not individual man. As the crushing of democratic movement at India Gate under police boots has clearly shown, the capitalist state would continue to block all efforts at putting up any fight against the forces of the old society and would prevent achievement of a democratic regime. Till the state machine lies in the hands of capitalists who are the chief protectors of patriarchy, there can be no real fight against patriarchy. Thus, the first and foremost task of any serious fight against patriarchy, cannot be anything but smashing of this impediment.
In their argument, feminists ignore the obvious fact that crime does not affect the women in general, but has definite class refraction. Crime is not an issue for elite women like Sonia Gandhi or Sheila Dixit, as they remain protected under the iron arm of elite rule. The monstrous crime, above all rape, is the sword that hangs upon the head of the women hailing from working and toiling mass. Any approach to the issue from feminist perspective would thus miss the core aspect.
The sexual violence against women, however, is part of class violence which the workers and toilers bear everyday at the hands of elites, the police under them and lumpens nurtured by them, and cannot be segregated from it.
Similarly, to accuse lawlessness as the root cause of crimes, is sheer formalism and obscures the reality in the same way. There is no lawlessness when it comes to security and protection of the elite women. The fact remains that working and toiling mass remains on the margins of civilisation, while the protection of laws, courts and police remains a prerogative of the rich and elites.
The class nature of the system of elites is the real crux of the matter which neither the elite rulers, nor their adherent feminists and formalists even wish to discuss.
The legalists and reformists like Anna Hazare, Kejriwal, Ramdev, Arundhati, Vrinda Karat & Co. and thousands of like them, do not have anything to offer except their phony demand for tougher laws and improved policing. Forwarding these claims, these defenders of capitalism, create illusions as if the whole issue is of nothing more than that of plain and simple ‘intentions’.  We ask them: aren’t elites protected by this very system, these very laws, these very police and courts? Through such bogus demands, the agents of elite rule, cleverly misdirect the genuine mass anger that ensues from the anarchy and lawlessness under this rule, away from this class rule and towards reinforcing the apparatus of the bourgeois state, more and more. By shifting the praxis of political debate and consequently the aims and program of the protest movement, the bourgeois reformists, petty bourgeois radicals, Stalinists and Maoists, obscure the fact that to achieve a decent and secure life, the workers and toilers will have to wrest the political power from the hands of capitalist elites.
No improvements in laws or policing will help the working people to shield themselves against the rising crime. The more the elite state perfects itself, the more it would weigh upon the backs of working people. The more police and courts, the more taxes to pay, the and more false implications of poor and weak.
The fight against the crime in general, and specially the crime against women, in essence, is the fight to overthrow the class state of the elites and establish the state of workers and toilers in its place.
None of the leaders or parties have attempted to approach the issue form this class angle.  All debate they have made is in abstraction, against patriarchy or for perfection of law, police and courts.
Stalinists and Maoist groups have played reprehensible role in the movement. While failing to approach and address the issue from the standpoint of working class and building a program for the movement on that basis, they simply joined chorus with various petty bourgeois groups and echoed their programs in a parrot like rhetoric. They expressed their agreements with petty bourgeois elements like Arundhati Roy, who criticised the great upheaval, accusing it to be an urban middle class movement and pitted a list of crimes against women in tribal and rural India against it. This accusation demonstrated the bankruptcy of these intellectuals who failed to understand that the movement in Delhi was not incidental in nature but was the concentrated expression of the ‘capital’ against the whole heap of crimes of the elite regime, compiling over decades. The city was in fact fighting for the country. Oblivious to this apparent reality and engaged in cursing the movement, they missed the point that the protest was already turning to a broad anti-government offensive, leaving behind the shell of its incidental origins. These arm-chair intellectuals instead of supporting the upsurge continued to criticise it from the leisure of their drawing rooms.
While most of the Stalinist Maoist groups remained inert, few of these intervened through bureaucratic attempts to thrust their banners upon the vibrant movement of the youth and students, but were repelled. Their attempts remained focussed upon hijacking the movement under their bureaucratic organisations, instead of revolutionising the consciousness of its participants. They organised their separate petty dharnas, marches and meetings, but without any mark. They fatally failed to impart the movement with any revolutionary consciousness as they lacked the same themselves.
One would be surprised to look at the political wisdom of these young pioneers of the revolution, who blatantly told that they would not permit their movement to be hijacked by the false leaders like Ramdev or Kejriwal and did not permit them to speak as they attempted to address through the rostrum of protest. Protestors distanced themselves from the right-wing formations like ABVP.
The protest was brutally crushed by the police on Sunday 23 December, as huge contingents of lathi wielding police suddenly attacked the protestors around 6 pm and beat them up without discrimination. Visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was described as the pretext for the evacuation of protestors from India Gate. After that protests became feeble and nested themselves at Jantar Mantar.
WSP remained throughout inside the movement with its red banner, leaflets and slogans, like: ‘down with the rotten democracy of capitalists’, ‘down with the criminal regime of Mallyas and Kandas’, ‘down with the tricolor regime of rich and elites’. These slogans were hailed by the youth who chanted it with WSP comrades. Gathering of 25 December at Jantar Mantar was addressed by WSP speakers. Through its leaflets, speeches and talks with protestors, WSP proposed the program of disbanding the corrupt and brute police and organisation of youth militias, which drew immense support from the youth and students. The intervention of the WSP, with revolutionary banner and slogans, was the revolutionary proletarian current inside the movement of the mass.
As we turn to draw lessons from the December uprising, our attention is drawn to its real mass character, overwhelming majority of which were young students, workers and unemployed youth. These young fighters took it upon themselves to bring the whole elite government to its knees and they really succeeded in that. Consciousness of these young warriors had surpassed the consciousness of all leaders and parties, who were taken by surprise by this mighty upsurge at India Gate. The magnitude of the movement left most of them stunned and inert. The impact it left upon the whole political life of the country, made it clear that cities are sizzling like a volcano before eruption at any time, under the misrule of the profiteers. It completely smashed the maoist myth that villages and not cities will be the epicentre of revolution.
The upheaval was so intense and gigantic that no party or organisation could withstand its magnitude. Worshippers of the ‘mass-line’ realised how wrong they were in their idea about the mass, its psyche and its mechanics. The ‘mass organisations’ they had nurtured for decades appeared like midgets in face of the overnight mobilisation of the real and huge mass. Thus was proved the theorem that the mass is not mobilised by revolutionists for struggle; on the contrary revolutionists appear at the head of the mass as it rebels against the conditions imposed by its class enemies. The core task of the revolutionists is thus not to organise the mass into fake bureaucratic apparatus of mass-organisations, but to arm themselves and the advanced layers of workers and youth behind them, with a revolutionary program and thus build a revolutionary party of the proletariat.
Technology played a great role in the protest. It virtually removed the ground from under the feet of elite government and made the corporate media almost redundant. Thousands of pictures and videos of protest and the police brutality upon it, circulated within minutes all over the globe, played an important role in publicising the facts and falsifying the cooked up stories of the police. While the corporate media was doing all disservice to the protest by distorting the news and facts, suited to the interests of the government, the social sites were serving as platform of supporters of the protest. Facebook was turned into a virtual weapon in the hands of supporters of the protest. Handful of those who opposed the protest were deleted and thrown out of the facebooks of protestors. The protests revolutionised and polarised the opinions in the country. Everybody was to learn a lot from the movement and it taught a lot.
Another important feature of the movement was that the protestors- the youth and workers had broken themselves free from the shackles of old, inert, bureaucratic mass organisations and trade unions, and persistently refused to be subdued by their bogus leaders, be it reformists or Stalinists. This was significant factor, for which the movement could achieve unparalleled gigantic proportions in no time.
These parties and leaders, who were trained in routine politics of peace-time, failed to rise up to the historic occasion of the rebellion. However, as the real protest movement dies down under the iron hand of the elite state, these false heroes, the divisive elements, would re-appear to dance on its carcass, with flags and banners of all hues in their hands.
Though the protest failed to withstand the brute repression by the police, yet it has signalled the start of a revolution, that would come back anytime with formidable strength.
WSP congratulates the youth and workers for their militant intervention onto the political scene of the country and assures them that it will continue to work to carry forward the program of the movement, which at the outset demands the overturn of the power of the rich-elites and its substitution by a state of workers and toilers.

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