Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Only Marxism Holds the Key to Caste Question in India

-Rajesh Tyagi/5.4.2016

‘Marxists have no answer to caste question’, claims the Ambedkarite. ‘Let Marx and Ambedkar get together then’, succumbs the Stalinist, forthwith. 

Both Stalinists and Ambedkarites distort the real issue and fail to pose the question in correct perspective, what to say of venturing upon its resolution!

Caste question in India emerges from peculiarity of its social development, that in turn was founded upon crude division of social labour among four varnas- Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaisya and Sudra. The hierarchy of castes has developed gradually in the distant past, within this tightly caged system of four varnas. Through this system, the burden of all social toil, was shifted essentially to the shoulders of ‘Sudras’ pushed to lowest pedestal of this social ladder. Varna was strictly identified with one’s birth and in no case could be acquired or altered by choice later.

Capitalism, came to India, in the form of colonialism. However, colonialism itself was the irrefutable proof of the fact that capitalism was already suffocating in the countries of its origin in the West and was decadent. The role of capitalism in India was not to liberate the forces of production from medieval shackles, but to simply subjugate them to itself. Colonialists had no interest in breaking up the old social structures in India, but to make inroads into them superimposing new social relations wherever they were needed.

Social canvas of the old society, knit through which is the hierarchy of castes, thus faced no challenge from the new. On the contrary, there occurred a gradual mutual adaptation between the old and the new.

Caste based social hierarchy thus found a new lease of life in advent of capitalism in India. Needless to say that it was opposite to early development in the West, where rising capitalism smashed medievalism and wiped out its remnants.

Indian bourgeoisie, that put its feet into the shoes of its colonial masters, while taking to power in 1947, was totally lifeless and weakling. It never seriously set up any mission to abolish the relics of the past, but accommodated them.

Thus, neither foreign nor indigenous capitalists were destined in history to carry out the great liberating mission in India to end up the outmode and decaying social system based on hierarchy of caste. Enmeshed into this hierarchy of caste structure, a hangover from its peasant past, India was simply summoned and dragged to whirlpool of world markets.

Caste thus remains an unresolved task, a task that constitutes the chief basis of our democratic revolution, more particularly the agrarian revolution.

As the leaders and parties related to Third International under Stalin, applied their bogus theory of ‘two stage revolution’ i.e. ‘democracy today, socialism tomorrow’ to India, like elsewhere, they missed the point and failed to understand the dynamics and interrelationship of caste and capitalism in India.

Stalinists fantasized that development of capitalism in India would result in corresponding strengthening of democracy and consequent decline of medievalism. In this, Stalinists misled themselves with the fiction that capitalists, or at least sections of them, were to play a radical and progressive role to smash medievalism in India, alike in the West.

Stalinists thus advocated a front between workers and their imaginary progressive bourgeoisie, to oppose what they termed ‘feudalism’. As the society and social consciousness was trapped into ‘caste’ thus, Stalinists argued, the need was to liberate the society first of ‘feudalism’ through protracted reinforcement of democracy and consequent completion of democratic revolution.

Stalinists refused to see the totally reactionary role of the bourgeoisie and its democracy in the present world and its organic inability to resolve the tasks of democratic revolution.

This ahistoric understanding of Stalinists, finds its instant echo in Ambedkar and his most shallow ideas, who also believes, like Stalinists, that reinforcement of bourgeois democracy in India, would undermine medievalism and its social expression, the caste.

As the world outside stood inverted to bogus understanding and illusions of Stalinists, that they traded as Marxism, they were soon led to innocuous conclusion that ‘Marxism has no answer to caste question’.

The lost Stalinists, instantly succumbed to the claim of Ambedkar that bourgeois democracy would ripple through medieval structures, including caste.  Stalinists proposed to mingle Marx and Ambedkar on the premise that Marx would address class and Ambedkar, caste. The Stalinist cocktail, thus recognized Ambedkar as representative of multi-million toilers that were related by birth to dalit castes.

Stalinists, thus surrendered the leadership of billions of toilers to Ambedkarites, the avowed servants of capitalism and enemies of Marxism, even without a contest and turned themselves into a tutelage of them.

Thus, both Stalinists and Ambedkarites, shared a common view that the development and strengthening of capitalism and bourgeois democracy is the panacea to the ills of the past.

Both of them were blind to the live course of history that beyond all pale of doubt had been showing in all countries of the world that the bourgeoisie and the regimes under it had already been converted to their opposite, they have gone over to reaction and outright counter-revolution by then and they cannot resolve the democratic tasks.

The development of capitalism and the bourgeois democracy as its political regime in India, thus, was not to undermine the caste hierarchy, but to reinforce and strengthen it.

The fallacy is that while pre-capitalist society and social relations are already subjected to itself by capitalism, and they remain completely enmeshed into each other, both Stalinists and Amebdkarites want to fight ‘feudalism’ and ‘caste’ not only in segregation from capitalism, but within its regime and in conjunction with sections of the bourgeoisie, its leaders and parties. Both bind the workers and toilers to the regime of capitalists, that protects caste based society and against whom workers and toilers must rise in unison for a decisive struggle.

The twins, Stalinists and Ambedkarites, both victims of historic myopia, remain trapped in the old experiments of bourgeois democracies in the West of bygone century, where bourgeoisie had played a radical role in the break-up of the old structures. They refuse to recognize that the task of breaking up the old society has been assigned by historic development, long back, to a new class, the class of proletariat.

Trotsky, the co-leader of the October revolution, alongside Lenin, showed how, in our times, the leftover democratic tasks, have been shifted to the share of the revolutionary proletariat and it is not the bourgeoisie but the proletariat under whose dictatorship these tasks would be accomplished. Trotsky also showed how the two stages of the revolution have merged into one uninterrupted revolution under proletarian dictatorship.

The caste oppression thus could not be fought against, except as part of the struggle of the proletariat followed by millions of toilers, against power of capitalists and landlords.
To destroy the material basis of caste hierarchy that is rooted chiefly in rural society, the land relations are to be altered essentially. This could be done only through abolishing private ownership in land. But no bourgeois democracy in the world can do this. As October revolution proved, only the dictatorship of the proletariat can do this.

Thus for destruction of the old society and the system of castes upon which it is based, again the dictatorship of the proletariat is necessary. This dictatorship is the first condition to start a social revolution that would undermine the caste.

Both Stalinists and Ambedkarites deny this. Both deny the need of the proletarian dictatorship as pre-condition to start a social revolution that would wipe out the scourge of apartheid, social injustice and discrimination based on caste. Both propose to abolish the old society within the regime of the bourgeoisie, i.e. bourgeois democracy. None of them bring to the fore the task of usurpation of private ownership of all lands, that is essential condition for destruction of old society.

Failure of bourgeois democracy in obliterating the caste equations, despite its seven decades old existence in India, is evident proof of its inability to resolve the task of social oppression and injustice based on caste.

The answer to caste based oppression thus lies, not in reinforcement of bourgeois democracy, as both Amebdkarites and Stalinists argue, but in the political victory of the proletariat, supported by toiling masses, over this bourgeois democracy.

No victory but can be achieved unless and until the toiling masses are won over to program of revolutionary Marxism. The task is thus not to make amalgam of Marx and Ambedkar, but to fight against Ambedkar for leadership of toiling mass, to win them over to the program of Marxism, the only program that shows the way out of age-old social oppression based on caste.

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

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