Thursday, 16 April 2015

Why Marxists Must Oppose Ambedkar and Ambedkarism?

- Workers’ Socialist Party/ 16.4.2015


Ambedkarites, from Mayawati to Paswan, and Dhasal to Jeetan Ram, have got themselves exposed to the hilt as compliant agencies of capitalists and their political regime. Their treacherous role lies in subordinating the poor and toiling sections of lower caste masses to the regime of rich and elite, despite their demagogy for poor and downtrodden. 

Hereunder we set out the core issues that comprise the essence of disputes between Amebdkarites on one hand and we Marxists on the other:

1.  Our first and foremost critique of Amebdkarites is based upon our opposition to their limited and narrow nationalist orientation and their false perspective that caste apartheid can be effectively countered and challenged within national frontiers of India. The question of caste injustice and oppression in India is integral to rampant social inequality in South Asia as a whole, and is essentially bound up not only with anti-apartheid struggle of blacks from South Africa to US, but is intensely linked with the struggle of workers against capitalist offensive and for socialism, in Europe, US and elsewhere on the globe. To revolutionary Marxists, the question of caste oppression in India, cannot be hermetically sealed off and viewed in isolation from struggles of workers and toilers all over the world. The destiny of struggle against caste apartheid in India and South Asia is inseparably linked up with and depends directly upon success and failures in worldwide struggle of the workers and toilers against capitalists and landlords.

2.  Other major arena of our dispute with Ambedkarites, comprises of their orientation to bourgeois democracy and their false notion and misunderstanding of the role and capability of capitalism in backward countries of the world, including India. Like Stalinists, Ambedkarites also impart a radical role to capitalism in India and South Asia. According to them, the development of capitalism would result in elimination of caste oppression, at least to a limited extent, if not in absolute terms.

3.  Ambedkarites entertain false notion that development of capitalism and maturity of the democracy under it would result in eradication of caste oppression. The history has revealed and that beyond doubt, the organic incapacity of the capitalist regime to resolve any democratic issue, including the issue of caste. The same can be eradicated only under socialism, i.e. the political regime under the working class.

4.  Ambedkarites are ardent supporters of capitalism and cheerleaders of its regime. They reject the idea of dictatorship of the working class, through a government of workers and toilers, as ‘anti-dalit’ proposition of Marxists, while alongside rendering unqualified support to and perpetuating the illusions in the bourgeois democracy, which in essence is nothing else than naked class dictatorship of the capitalists and landlords.

5.  Ambedkarites are bourgeois-reformists, who seek to fight caste oppression through legal and constitutional means, applied from above and strictly within the regime of capitalists and based upon their state and power. They oppose any and all revolutionary means employed from below that threaten the existence of the power of capitalists and landlords. They support the bourgeois order and oppose any attempt of damaging or disturbing it through protests or otherwise, from below.

6.  Ambedkarites create illusion that the question of caste oppression can be invoked and resolved within framework of capitalist democracy. They pay lip service to the cause of equality and socialism, but postpone it to infinite future arguing that first the question of caste would be resolved. Marxists are convinced that the question of caste cannot be resolved within capitalist regime and the necessary pre-condition for its resolution is the overthrow of this regime through establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Only the political victory of the proletariat, over capitalists and landlords would set out those necessary social conditions that would trigger a social revolution, giving a decisive blow to all oppression, including that based upon caste.

7.  Ambedkarites propose and hail the affirmative action of ‘reservation’ in jobs and admissions as panacea for setting aside the historic injustice and social inequality to which millions of toilers in lower castes have been subjected to and deprived of all achievements of humanity. Marxists, look at the ‘reservation’ as bourgeois reform, and warn that the same is no path to liberation from caste oppression. Firstly, the sweep of ‘reservation’ is consumed by thin creamy layers of lower castes and secondly this inclusion of upper crust into citadels of capitalist market and power, has failed to pave the way to betterment of the vast lower rungs of toiling millions in dalit castes or raise their living standards.

8.  Ambedkarites are arch enemies of revolutionary Marxism, the only viable path to liberation of the multi-million toiling mass of dalits, oppressed and untouchables, and oppose it tooth and nail. Their leaders more than often start their speeches by cursing and accusing Marxists of committing the eternal sin of ‘instigating the lower castes for political and social revolution’.

9.   Ambedkarites represent and are inseparably bound up with sections of the big business, investors and rentiers, both in village and the city. Their own parties are dominated by elite leaders having close proximities to big investors, traders, bureaucrats, government officials and proprietors.

10.  Ambedkarites stand in close proximity with other capitalist parties and bourgeois leaders and frequently enter in alliances with all of them, from left to right, to give stability to the political regime of capitalist democracy.

11.  Ambedkarites are proponents of identity politics based on caste and varna and look at it as the contradiction capable of driving the history forward. The fact however goes that the caste structures are already subjected to itself by capitalism, long back in history, and are preserved and modified to its convenience. Capitalism adapted to itself the old structures of society and consequently its archaic forms of labour and its division on caste basis, instead of destroying them. Instead of overthrow of the old structures, it made inroads through them.

12.  Ambedkarites refuse to understand that the caste in South Asia has grown out of the archaic division of labor on which the asiatic mode of production was based. Long before, the foreign Capitalism approached Indian society reeling under Asiatic despotism, whose changing regimes but preserved the old modes of production and the social division of labour.

13.  Ambedkarites fail to understand that the existence of caste has been instrumental in providing a compliant and cheap reserve of manual and degraded labour, to all exploiting classes in history, capitalists included.  Village, presents very sharp canvas of caste based division of labour and proprietary rights in lands. Large landowners invariably belong to the upper castes, the cultivators to the middle castes, while the agricultural workers are largely dalits and tribals.

14.  Ambedkarites turn a blind eye to the fact that the question of caste oppression cannot even be posed seriously, without addressing the issue of class oppression, as with penetration of capitalism, the two have intertwined together, inseparably.

15.  Thus, the start of a social revolution to destroy caste oppression and injustice, first and foremost demands, the taking away of the political state and power by the proletariat from the hands of the capitalists and landlords.  

16.  This implies that though Marxists must fight against each and all expressions of caste oppression, but the caste oppression, social injustice and human degradation like untouchability, cannot be eliminated except through a working class led revolution supported by millions of toilers.

17.  Ambedkarites deny that the fight for elimination of caste oppression is part of agrarian revolution, as the most poor and deprived of lower castes, still habitate the villages and are dependent upon it. Without smashing the power of landlords inside the village, caste injustice cannot be wiped out. This power can be destroyed only through forced nationalization of lands. This is possible only under a workers’ and peasants’ government.

18.  Ambedkarites fail to understand that the capitalism and its democracy have exhausted their economic and political steam long back in history. We are living in a very advanced age of its decline under imperialism. Capitalism has become nulliparous long before and cannot deliver anything on democratic tasks like elimination of caste.

19.  Contrary to hopes and belief of Ambedkarites, penetration of capitalism and subordination of India by Imperialism to itself, has not helped eliminate the caste oppression, but has taken the oppression to its zenith, by introducing and adding the new forms of oppression to the old ones.

20.  Ambedkarites pose a direct challenge to the struggle for multi-caste and multi-national unity of the proletariat and render it unable to rise in revolution against landlords and capitalists. They instead seek to achieve cross-class unity among lower deprived castes and thereby bind the working and toiling mass of lower castes with elite layers of these castes. Through subversion of the class unity, Ambedkarites serve the interests of the ruling elites, by making any effective struggle against oppression impossible. Ambedkarites are sworn enemies of proletarian internationalism and of the program of permanent revolution, upon which the October revolution was based.

21.  Marxists seek to unite all workers across caste lines in common struggle against their class enemies. This entails an ideological struggle within the workers' movement, not only against the caste-chauvinism and caste-based bigotry, but against all attempts of those who in the name of fighting against caste oppression, attempt to segregate the workers and toilers in lower castes, from their class brethren in other castes and attempt class reconciliation between the rich and poor based on caste identity. 

22.  The claim of pseudo-left, that despite their opposition to Marxism and the united struggle of the working class, Ambedkarites constitute a democratic force, if not a socialist one, is false to the core. There can be no democratic force in opposition to socialists, besides the fact that the only democratic force are the urban and rural toilers, that follow the lead of the working class and its Marxist party.

23.  Ambedkarites are conservative and reactionary in their world-view. Incapable to have gone beyond the narrow limits of not only religion in general but Hinduism in particular, Ambedkar ended up binding his followers back to Buddhism. As history has shown to us, both Buddhism and Hinduism, have miserably failed to deliver anything to the working class even in the states where they acquired status of official state religion, rather have played most reactionary role in entire South Asia. Sri Lanka, a Buddhist country and Nepal a Hindu state, are home to most degraded and abominable living conditions for workers and toilers.

24.  Marxists are convinced that no real and effective struggle can be launched against social injustice, from the backward and conservative platform of Ambedkarism that in turn rests upon religious worldview. Only a program based upon scientific world outlook and proletarian internationalism, can unite the working class and millions of toilers behind it, in the fight against social injustice. Only such a program can serve as the basis for a social revolution to liberate mankind from all forms of exploitation and oppression, including caste apartheid, by forcible overthrow of the power of landlords and capitalists.

25.  Ambedkar and his followers have played a shameful role in anti-colonial struggle in south-asia. They openly supported the colonial regime under British capitalists eulogizing it as radical and democratic. After 47 they took a turn to Indian capitalist rule under Nehru and served it faithfully till they were kicked out of it, becoming redundant by then.

26.  Opportunists as they are, history of Ambedkarites is a long trajectory of their repeated alliances with elite and powerful sections of ruling classes, the capitalists and landlords and of deceits and betrayals to the cause and interests of downtrodden mass of poor and dalits. 

27.  Ambedkarites, bound up with thin elite layers among lower castes, are enemies of workers and toilers among these castes and in no way represent their objective interests. They only apply demagogy to fool the working and toiling masses, to impress upon them on false basis of caste identity and ultimately subordinate them to the regime of capitalists and landlords, the rich and elite.


28.  Rather than fight to unite the working class across caste and communal lines in common struggle for socialism and in opposition to pro-market, neoliberal agenda, promoted by big-bourgeoisie, Ambedkarites exhort the workers to divide along caste lines, and instead fight among themselves for the “equitable” caste division of the misery generated by capitalism.

29. The fight against Ambedkarism, is thus, the vital part of our overall struggle for socialism, inside the camp of workers, poor and toilers. No political alliances can be made with Ambedkarites, who cling to tails of the sections of capitalists.
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To dwell more systematically into the realm of development of his ideas, a brief biography of Ambedkar, would not be out of place, as a postscript to the above: 

Born in 1891, as fourteenth child to a Subedar in service of British Army under East India Company, Ambedkar was brought up and promoted by Gaekwads of Baroda Estate, the upper caste feudal lords of Maharashtra. For his whole life, Ambedkar depended upon their mercy and support. He served as Military Secretary to Baroda Estate, but was discharged soon for his incapacity. So fond of Brahmanism, the surname ‘Ambedkar’ was borrowed by him from his Brahmin teacher Mahadev Ambedkar. Immediately after death of his wife, Ambedkar ailing from diabetes and neurological problems, re-married a brahmin Sharda Kabir to immediately convert her name to Savita Ambedkar. A failed economist (investment consultant) and an unsuccessful lawyer, Ambedkar, could get his academic degrees from Columbia University in US and London School of Economics, on mercy scholarships from Gaekwads of Baroda.  Martyr Udham Singh, who also hailed from dalit community, met Ambedkar twice in London before he shot dead General O' Dwayer to avenge the 21 year old mayhem of Jalianwala in Punjab. Amebedkar, a lifetime fan of British Empire, liberal capitalism and bourgeois democracy in England, advised Udham Singh against his revolutionary activities and rather to focus upon his personal career. Ambedkar, who opposed the anti-colonial struggle and the very idea of freedom of India from colonial yoke, was appointed to Bombay Presidency Committee to assist Simon Commission. In 1935, Ambedkar was appointed by British Government as Principal to Govt. Law College, Mumbai. Due to his proven loyalty, the British Government appointed Ambedkar in Defence Advisory Committee and then in Viceroy’s Executive Council as Labour Member on July 7, 1942, which post he continued to hold till 1946. The Independent Labour Party, that Ambedkar founded, got some initial success in 1936 in Bombay, but was soon exposed and marginalized in 1937 elections. Ambedkar failed to win in any election in independent India. He lost in 1952, first general election, then in 1954 byepolls. He could get into Rajya Sabha as a nominated member, only through opportunist maneuvers between Congress and the Muslim League. It needs to be underscored, that Ambedkar an ardent supporter of bourgeois liberalism was an avowed anti-Marxist. A reliable stooge of British Colonialists, Ambedkar was picked by them as a delegate to all three Round Table Conferences held in London between 1930-32. Attending second round table conference in London, he, alongside Gandhi, had refused to press for clemency for Bhagat Singh and his comrades. Ambedkar, openly and shamelessly supported and justified the British Plan for communal partition of India. In his 1946 work, "Who were Shudras" Ambedkar took an apparent right-turn through an attempt at Nazi venture. Mutilating the history, Ambedkar argued that Shudras were the martial Aryan Suryavanshi race of local Indian origin that deserves a resurgence. As this fascist project met with no real success, Ambedkar, the core opportunist, turned back to get a berth in the newly formed Ministry. Inside the bourgeois-landlord cabinet led by Nehru, Ambedkar was appointed Law Minister in 1947 and then the Chairman of the drafting Committee of the Constitution. The Indian bourgeois used Ambedkar to bind the millions of dalits, oppressed, to its new regime. Remaining in right-wing of the ministry, Ambedkar supported hindu-chauvinists on Kashmir issue. Later, covertly bargaining for labour ministry for himself, Ambedkar was coerced to resign at loggerheads with defiant Nehru, on the issue. A coward at heart, first converted to Sikhism, Ambedkar re-converted to Buddhism in last year of his life, and never could dare to break with Hinduism or religion itself. The famous legend of his struggle for the poor and downtrodden, is falsified by the fact that neither before or after 47 Ambedkar was ever booked or jailed for any of such struggle. Several books, he wrote, failed to make any dent in the field. In 1990, Ambedkar, the servant of capital, was awarded by the bourgeois government of Congress, posthumously with Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award in India. 


Also see: 

http://workersocialist.blogspot.in/2014/11/the-caste-question-in-india-ambedkarism.html

http://workersocialist.blogspot.in/2008/11/ambedkarism-and-aborted-slogan-of-dalit.html

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