“While the democratic petty bourgeois want to bring the revolution to an end as quickly as possible, achieving at most the aims already mentioned, it is our interest and our task to make the revolution permanent until all the more or less propertied classes have been driven from their ruling positions, until the proletariat has conquered state power and until the association of the proletarians has progressed sufficiently far – not only in one country but in all the leading countries of the world – that competition between the proletarians of these countries ceases and at least the decisive forces of production are concentrated in the hands of the workers. Our concern cannot simply be to modify private property, but to abolish it, not to hush up class antagonisms but to abolish classes, not to improve the existing society but to found a new one.” Karl Marx, ‘Address of the Central Committee to the Communist League’, London, 1850
Undeclared emergency and other dangers of post-fascist neoliberal dictatorship
We are late, perhaps terribly so. Yet, insofar as the revolution always lags behind itself, we ought to emphatically state that the time is upon us when a correct characterisation of the political regime we are witnessing now, in this benighted geo-political entity called the Indian nation-state, has acquired life-and-death stakes. Let us not be mistaken, this political regime is not Fascism. It is something much worse and far more intractable. This regime, as we have maintained for a while now, is characterised by a hitherto unprecedented level of generalisation of the state of exception. Much more than what was seen in Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, or Imperial Japan – to say nothing of Francoist Spain or Salazarian Portugal. This unprecedented level of generalisation, and thus normalisation, of the state of exception is on account of the neoliberal conjunctural specificity of post-Fordism-induced uncontrollable all-round precarity; and India’s historically unique location within it. That is exactly why we at Radical Notes will continue to characterise this political regime – which has now emerged as an agency of full-blown counter-revolution – as the dictatorship of neoliberal capital.
There is, however, no doubt that continual politico-ideological mass mobilisation is as crucial an aspect of this neoliberal dictatorship as it was of Fascist political regimes of yore. That is what distinguishes both from plain-vanilla authoritarianism – something this country experienced, for instance, during Indira Gandhi’s Emergency years. At the mass-mobilisational level, there is a striking resemblance of discursive forms, styles, techniques and tactics between the dictatorship of neoliberal capital and a classically Fascist political regime. Nevertheless, there is also a crucial distinction between the two on this count. And that difference is at the level of the modality of operation of those mass-mobilisational discursive forms, styles, techniques and tactics. As far as this political regime of dictatorship of neoliberal capital is concerned, its discursively fascist paraphernalia of mass mobilisation does not function by deploying and articulating the politico-ideological language of blood-and-soil nationalism to the complete exclusion of the liberal language of rights. The mass movement constitutive of it is, of course, characterised by a pronounced articulation and deployment of that idiom and form of blood-and-soil nationalism. But this language, in its mass-mobilisational deployment, does not seek to suspend the (nationalist)-liberal discourse of rights. Rather, the former in its deployment and articulation tends to derive its legitimacy from the latter precisely through its internally re-orientated mobilisation. It is this that distinguishes the modality of operation of fascist mass-mobilisational politics in the dictatorship of neoliberal capital from the modality of operation of similar forms of mass-mobilisational politics in Fascism as a political regime.
There is a telling symptom that indicates the current political dispensation in India is not classical Fascism but something far more insidious. Many people have correctly pointed out that we are in a state of undeclared emergency. But what does that mean and how does it symptomatise the fact that the current political regime here is not classical Fascism but something different and more dangerous? Fascist political regimes in the past have — in being constituted by Fascistic mass mobilisation and in further facilitating such mobilisation – invoked provisions of general Emergency given in liberal constitutionality to suspend both the latter, and the normalcy its functioning is meant to characterise and enable. What we, however, see now is the state of exception – which the current political regime and its constitutive Fascist mass mobilisation have been enabling – is being realised without the official declaration of such a general Emergency; and thus without invoking the exceptional constitutional provisions to suspend the Constitution in its normal-liberal functioning. That is so because normal constitutionality and liberals rights, in their everyday practice at all levels, are now objectively conditioned to inexorably activate and draw upon various draconian legal provisions of exception, and thus become registers of the latter’s normalised legitimation.
In such circumstances, it would perhaps not be entirely incorrect to characterise this political regime of dictatorship of neoliberal capital as “post-fascist” a la Hungarian philosopher G.M. Tamas. In an article titled, ‘On Post-Fascism’, which was published in Boston Review in 2000, Tamas characterises the phenomenon thus: “Post-fascism finds its niche easily in the new world of global capitalism without upsetting the dominant political forms of electoral democracy and representative government. It does what I consider to be central to all varieties of fascism, including the post-totalitarian version. Sans Führer, sans one-party rule, sans SA or SS, post-fascism reverses the Enlightenment tendency to assimilate citizenship to the human condition.”
Fascist mass mobilisation under the condition of unprecedented precarity
Now, the mass movement that institutes and animates Fascism as a political regime is, to speak a little simplistically, always in the register of disaffection wrought by subalternisation, and attendant experiences of marginalisation, even as the content that animates this register of its mass-movemental political form is actually all about some subalternised social locations and subject-positions seeking to overcome their subalternity by further oppressing other social locations and subject-positions that are even more subalternised in relation to them. That is precisely why such a political form of mass movementality renders the state an agency and active enabler of its oppressive manoeuvres (manifest in frequently violent eruptions of the lynch-mob), precisely in the process of emphatically envisaging itself in terms of opposition to the state, and especially its constitutionally-ordained liberal-institutional architecture.
Clearly, Fascism as a political regime is constitutive of the mobilisation of objective revolutionary possibilities, which inhere in increasing subalternisation of the masses, against the liberal form of the capitalist state precisely in order to reproduce that state by recomposing the political form of its embodiment. (The state, we would do well to realise here, is nothing but the institutionalised congealment of the value-relational grammar of social relations.) In this process, it cannibalises the earlier liberal-institutional form of the state. This unambiguously reveals why Fascism is a mystification of revolution and is, therefore, a counter-revolution.
Now all of this is equally true for the dictatorship of neoliberal capital – arguably the character of the current political regime in India. There is, however, one very important difference between it and a political regime that is classically Fascist. And the difference is this: both the (less) subalternised group of oppressors and the (more) subalternised group of the oppressed are, in this phase of the dictatorship of neoliberal capital, far less internally homogeneous and socially cohesive than they were in those moments of history when we had Fascism as a political regime. That is to say, the level and intensity of subalternisation of the masses as a whole is far greater now than in the conjuncture that gave us Fascism as a political regime. And this, as we have earlier observed, is on account of unprecedented increase in the level and intensity of overall precarity. Something that has been effected by a qualitative leap in productive forces, and which is conjuncturally characterised by the accelerating generalisation of Post-Fordism as the dispersal and fragmentation of the production process, intensified fragmentation of social labour, functional simplification of the labour process leading to a hitherto unprecedented increase in same-skilling, and direct productivisation of affective and emotional life.
What this has resulted in is not only a marked decline in the overall value of labour-power due to the diminishing of socially necessary labour time, but also a marked decline in the price of labour-power due to significant diminution of living labour employed directly in the creation of value. In simpler terms, what the latter amounts to is the following: increasing levels of automation (increase in organic composition of capital) has led to an unparalleled surge in supply in the labour market, thereby depressing the overall price of labour-power. This is reflected not only in wage-cuts – and/or decline in real wages – but also in the significant fall in various kinds of social wages as well. In fact, the systemic regimentation accomplished through increasing mutual competition among different segments and sections of productive and so-called unproductive social labour – something that is registered by the bloodthirsty politico-ideological forms of such competition – is nothing but an index of appropriation of social wages of some by others under the condition of overall decline in social wages.
That the level and intensity of subalternisation of the masses as a whole is far greater now than in the conjuncture that gave us Fascism as a political regime shows up as a significant difference between the two at the level of their respective political effects. While discussing the difference between Fascism and the dictatorship of neoliberal capital in terms of internal homogeneity and coherence of social groups of both the oppressor and the oppressed, the key word to be borne in mind is “less”. Only then can one clearly grasp the significant difference in political effects produced through the deployment of similar kinds of Fascist mass-mobilisational political forms and tactics in two conjuncturally distinct instances.
Anti-fascist united fronts: From instrumentalisation to oppression
Even in regimes that are classically Fascist, the (less) subalternised group of oppressors engaged in forging and articulating Fascist mass-mobilisational discursive forms and tactics, to further oppress the more subalternised oppressed, are by no means fully internally homogeneous and cohesive. There are way too many mutual contradictions among the various sections and segments supposedly constituting the Fascist social corporatist unity for them to actually be “fasces” (a bundle of sticks). In fact, the Fascist politico-ideological project is, in the first place, necessitated by the system– of course, in the absence of an effective and viable capital-unravelling politics – to preserve itself by regimenting and controlling the anarchy that it has itself produced. So, while Franco-Greek philosopher and militant Nicos Poulantzas showed us how Fascism is constitutive of a coherent articulation of different, and mutually contradictory, socio-historical locations; some Marxist and Functionalist historians of Nazi Germany have demonstrated the obverse of that phenomenon – how this united articulation is continually marred by the objective contradictions among its different constituents. The historiographic work done by Tim Mason is, in this regard, particularly important. In order to devise a strategy to effectively fight a counter-revolutionary, mass-mobilisational advance – whether it is articulated within a Fascist political regime or that of a post-Fascist neoliberal dictatorship – a dialectically inflected reading of both Poulantzas and the Functionalist-Marxist historians such as Mason is likely to be immensely helpful. In fact, such a dialectically articulated reading of Poulantzas and the Marxist-Functionalist historians is almost indispensable for those trying to devise an accurate line and an effective strategy to defeat and destroy the political regime of the dictatorship of neoliberal capital. The context provided by our concrete situation, it must be said once again at the risk of ad nauseam repetition, is one that is integral to just such a political regime.
Let us now focus on the struggles of the more subalternised oppressed against the Fascist mass-mobilisational forms and tactics of the relatively and relationally less subalternised oppressors. It turns out that such struggles, left to themselves, are prone to be instrumentalist. The internal differentiation of the oppressed social groups in Fascist political regimes often resulted in the dominant segments within those groups instrumentalising the particular concerns and discontent of the subordinate segments, by way of building a larger anti-Fascist unity, to envisage a politics that sought to merely accomplish the interests specific to the former. That, as we now know, turned out, in the final analysis, to be the bane of United Front/Popular Front anti-Fascism. Something that not only ensured that anti-Fascism did not become anti-capitalism, which would have destroyed both Fascism and its necessary condition of possibility at one go, but also led to incomplete de-fascisation of societies that had been under Fascist political rule.
The objective basis for such instrumentalist politics now stands further compounded due to conjunctural reasons of both intensified segmentation and heightened precarity of the segments thus produced. And such has been its accentuation that this instrumentalist politics has undergone a mutation to be transfigured into something qualitatively new. Whereas earlier movements based on the United Front/Popular Front principle of anti-Fascist unity led merely to instrumentalisation of subordinate segments by the dominant ones within that larger anti-Fascist unity of historical blocs, now such kinds of anti-Fascist unity ensure the movement itself ends up doing the work of not only ideological state apparatuses but of repressive state apparatuses as well.
Such anti-Fascist unity usually tends to articulate its struggle against Fascist mass-mobilisational politics, and the political regime that is its constitutive enabler, by internalising the discursive terms set by the reactionary politico-ideological project it is battling. As a result, such an anti-Fascist unity finds itself articulating and conducting its struggle in discursive-ideological terms generated by its political adversary. Now this has often been the case even with united-frontist anti-Fascist movements of the past. However, what makes this strategy even more troublesome now in this neoliberal conjuncture is that in articulating the politics of anti-Fascist unity in discursive-ideological terms set by Fascist forms and tactics of mass-mobilisational politics, it starts acting as a kind of extension of the repressive state apparatuses.
It is a situation, wherein a movement against reactionary-Fascist forms of mass-mobilisational politics not only polices its own ideological boundaries but, in the process, finds itself objectively (and eventually also subjectively) helping the state and its political regime to physically police certain sections and elements within itself even as it exists as an ongoing movement. Clearly, what we have here, as a consequence, is a manifold accentuation and intensification of the ‘kapo’ syndrome that is, thereby, rendered into something qualitatively new on account of it being much more pervasive and generalised than that kapo phenomenon originally was in Nazi Germany and elsewhere in Fascist Europe. So, while the trouble with movements based on such a conception of anti-Fascist unity, in the conjunctural phase of classical Fascism, was one of instrumentalism; in this conjunctural phase the problem with such united-frontist anti-Fascist movements is that their constitutive instrumentalism is now condemned to be almost immediately oppressive in its functioning. As a result, what was ethically undesirable and, in the final analysis, politically ineffective, about such anti-Fascist unity in the phase of classical Fascism, is now also rendered entirely unfeasible in this neoliberal phase. The resultant trust-deficit among diverse sections and segments, which are supposed to constitute such an anti-Fascist unity, tends to assume such gargantuan proportions that the actualisation of such unity either fails to take off, or, collapses after a very short and unhappy life. In fact, this kind of anti-Fascist unity, thanks to its current conjunctural situation, is not only condemned to be a form of subalternisation of some sections of the movement by other sections within it, but simultaneously also verges on the oppression of the former by the latter. In this, such anti-Fascist unity, as the movement-form it is, becomes an almost perfect mirror-image of the Fascist mass-mobilisational form of the reactionary political regime it is ostensibly up against. Not just that. This almost perfect mirroring of the Fascist mass-mobilisational form by the anti-Fascist movement-form renders the latter, just like the former, an extension of the political regime that is the conjuncturally-specific form articulating the epochal logic of the capitalist state. It is precisely on this count that the current political regime in India, which we have characterised as a post-Fascist neoliberal dictatorship, is fundamentally distinct from classically Fascist political regimes.
‘Progressive’ nationalism, the bad faith of JNU’s ‘anti-fascism’
The ongoing JNU movement is a perfect demonstration of such a united-frontist anti-Fascist strategy and its problems. It is, therefore, also a demonstration of the post-Fascist nature of both the current political regime of neoliberal dictatorship, and the discursively fascist forms of mass mobilisation such a regime is necessarily constitutive of. The JNU movement was evidently sparked off by state repression let loose on the left and left-liberal student community of the university after anti-India slogans were raised on campus by those aligned to the Kashmiri national-liberation struggle. And yet the movement began, right from the word go, by posing itself in defensive terms of ‘our’ progressive and democratic nationalism against ‘their’ reactionary and Fascist nationalism. That has, ever since the movement began, been the principal ideological basis of its larger, so-called anti-Fascist unity. That this ideological basis of JNU’s ‘anti-Fascist’ struggle has emerged from various kinds of ‘progressive’ nationalist positions that different Indian left organisations – of both the parliamentary and self-proclaimed radical kind – hold on to makes the situation even more despairing. It is this that has impelled the JNU movement to dispute the validity of the specific charges of anti-nationalism and sedition levelled by the current political dispensation (in tandem with its reactionary goon-squads) without, in any way, questioning the very validity of the draconian legal provisions on which those charges are based. In other words, the movement has consistently refused to adopt the tactics of directly challenging the democratic, and jurisprudential, validity of draconian laws of sedition.
Such tactics, had they been adopted and operationalised, would have revealed constitutionality for what it essentially is: a force-field of differentially inclusive social relations, and thus concomitantly a terrain constitutive of the determinate antagonism between the tendency of preservation/making of nationhood as an historical index of capitalist sociality, and the counter-tendency of its unraveling. This would have been accomplished because the adoption and operationalisation of those tactics would have served to disrupt the uneasy balance between constitutionality and draconian legality, which is its constitutive exception, by pitting them against one another.
What the JNU movement has done, instead, is insist that the levelling of charges of sedition and anti-nationalism at some members of its community of progressive students is baseless, and that the state should find the “miscreants” who really raised those anti-India (and Kashmiri national-liberationist) slogans and slap those charges on them. This it has done, as we have observed above, by strongly asserting the ‘progressive’ nationalism of the leftist and left-liberal students and teachers of the university against the reactionary and fascist nationalism of the current political regime and its mass-mobilised goon-squads. Apart from revealing that these leftists and left-liberals refuse to see how nationalism is the necessary ideological condition of possibility for Fascist mass-mobilisational politics, this ‘anti-Fascist’ movement has separated out both the Kashmiri and non-Kashmiri anti-nationalist sections of the university from its nationalist leftists and left-liberals.
The voice in which the movement continues to articulate this separation has, of course, not been homogeneous. There are various registers in this voice that range from despicable ambivalence on the question of the right to raise slogans in favour of national self-determination of Kashmir and other areas under Indian occupation to an unambiguous nationalist assertion that raising of such slogans is wrong, seditious and criminally anti-national. What, however, does bring all these registers — which ought to be ascribed to a wide variety of left and left-liberal positions – into the coherence of a single voice is the ineluctability of nationalism as the either the default, or the conscious, ideological position as far as all those groups and individuals are concerned. That their respective articulations of ‘progressive’ Indian nationalism varies from one another does not change the fact that there has been absolutely no practical questioning by any of them of the abstract idea of nation-state, which is basically a conception that in its concrete operation always amounts to one or the other form of social relations of differential subalternisation and oppression. As a consequence, these nationalist Leftists and Left-liberals have shown themselves to be incapable of interrogating each and every form of concrete politics, including their own, based on that idea. It is precisely this that has prevented all these sections of Indian Leftists, to say nothing of the individual Left-liberals, from adopting the tactics of directly questioning the democratic and jurisprudential validity of draconian and nationalistic legal provisions of sedition.
Not surprisingly, this ‘anti-Fascist’ movement has, as a result, clearly marked out the anti-nationalist radicals and/or “miscreants” from the nationalist ‘progressives’. By separating out the former from the latter, JNU’s glorious ‘anti-Fascism’ has ensured that it marks out and isolates the anti-nationalist radicals and/or “miscreants”– which includes in its ranks supporters of Kashmiri national self-determination among others – both ideologically and physically. By doing this it has clearly, and may we say, quite deliberately, served to legitimise, bolster, and even enable, the dogged pursuit of the anti-nationalist radicals by the repressive state apparatuses, and the Fascist lynch-mobs mobilised by the current political regime. That members of some of the self-proclaimed radical Left organisations – particularly, a rather media-savvy woman leader of one such ‘party’ – have at last begun talking about upholding the right to life and liberty of some of those anti-nationalist radicals is no cause for cheer.
Considering those so-called radical Leftists have come out with such declarations only after they have done their bit to conclusively forge the larger ‘anti-Fascist’ unity on a nationalist basis, it reveals the absolute bad faith that underpins those noble declarations. That they continue, as always, to hedge their bets on taking an unambiguously affirmative position on the question of Kashmiri national self-determination serves to further underscore this bad faith of theirs. Unfortunately, such declarations in favour of the anti-nationalist radicals by these so-called radical Leftists, given the timing and tenor of those declarations, amount to no more than cynically pragmatic manoeuvres to either further the cause of mechanical organisation-building or, worse; identity-management to bolster the student vote for the next JNSU elections.
In such circumstances, those declarations by some nationalist Leftists in favour of the anti-nationalist radicals would serve, at best, to objectively enable the disciplining of the latter by the former on behalf of the Indian nation-state. This would be exactly like the family, or civil-societal institutions, seeking to discipline their subversive members on behalf of the state while apparently protecting those members from the direct coercive disciplining by the repressive state apparatuses. At worst, and which is as likely as the best, it would result in those self-proclaimed radical Leftists facilitating the ‘surrender’ of those anti-nationalist radicals to the repressive state apparatuses without those apparatuses having to do much on that score. And not a thing stands changed by the fact that one of the prominent anti-nationalist radical students, who has returned to JNU after having remained ‘untraceable’ for almost a week, was apparently accorded a warm reception by the ‘#StandwithJNU’ movement, and was able to address the assembled university community from its platform.
Kashmir’s National Liberation and the Blindness of the Indian Left
The ‘progressively’ nationalist ‘anti-Fascism’ of the JNU movement demonstrates that its various nationalist Leftist and Left-liberal constituents have absolutely no understanding of how central the Kashmiri struggle against Indian occupation is to the revolutionary organisation of various working-class struggles in the Indian mainland. This also underscores their failure, actually unwillingness, to grasp how the movements of various nationalities against their occupation-induced integration into Indian nationhood is precisely what tends to integrate those movements with various mainland working-class struggles, which are also incipiently nation- and state-unravelling in their orientation.
It must be stated here that such a politico-theoretical understanding with regard to Kashmir, and other nationality struggles against Indian occupation, is lacking even among those ‘Maoism’-inspired anti-nationalist student-radicals of JNU, who, consistently and with immense courage, publicly assert Kashmir’s right to national self-determination, and secession from India. This is borne out by the fact that the courageous declarative vigour with which such anti-nationalist radicals have consistently upheld the cause of Kashmiri national liberation has not been matched by any practice on their part to organise working-class struggles in the mainland in a manner that would serve to concretely weaken the nationalist consensus here, thereby enabling the Kashmiri national-liberation struggle to significantly improve its position vis-à-vis the Indian occupation. In fact, it is the absence of such strategy and concrete practice on the part of ‘Maoism’-inspired anti-nationalist radicals in the Indian mainland that has rendered their courageous affirmation of Kashmiri national liberation vulnerable to coercive assaults by the current political regime of neoliberal dictatorship, and its Fascist mass mobilisation.
Not unlike the lilly-livered nationalist Indian Leftists and Left-liberals, these ‘Maoism’-inspired anti-nationalist radicals too do not clearly see how the Indian occupation of Kashmir (or for that matter its so-called Northeast) also functions in the Indian mainland as a racist ideology that serves to systemically regiment both various sections and segments of the Kashmiri (and the north-eastern) migrant-workers, and the non-Kashmiri working people by dividing them from one another along an axis of segmentation and mutual competition in terms of access to social wages such as rented accommodation and so on. Therefore, they have been unable to grasp, their unqualified support for nationality struggles against Indian occupation notwithstanding, that such occupation in functioning as a racist ideology in the mainland is constitutive of axes of segmented socio-economic relations among and within various sections of migrant-workers from the occupied territories, and the so-called local working populace. It is this that has prevented these ‘Maoism’-inspired anti-nationalist radicals from figuring out the concrete points of molecular convergence between the everyday concerns and anxieties of migrant-workers and the local working-people that surface precisely amid and through the concrete contradictions within and among them. And that has prevented these otherwise courageous anti-nationalist radicals from devising a strategy to forge an effective and concrete unity among those different, and mutually contradictory, segments of social labour by working through their mutual contradictions.
Such a strategy and concrete practice of organising the everyday concerns of various segments of social labour in the Indian mainland into a new revolutionary social subject would have, needless to say, rendered the virtuous anti-nationalism of our ‘Maoism’-inspired radicals into an effective and concrete form of nation-state-unravelling revolutionary-proletarian internationalism. (We would do well to observe here that most mainland radical Leftists, both nationalist and anti-nationalist, are faced with a similar kind of failure when it comes to grasping and practically articulating the strategic import of how reactionary and oppressive ideologies and cultures of Islamophobia and Brahminical casteism also similarly function as axes of hierarchical and mutually competitive economic relations both between and within Muslim and non-Muslim – and/or lower-caste and upper-caste – segments of social labour in their quotidian existence.)
This theoretical, and thus strategic, failure of the ‘Maoism’-inspired anti-nationalist radicals has, needless to say, enabled the ‘anti-Fascist’ unity of the nationalist Left and Left-liberals of JNU to be more effective than usual in articulating its constitutively vicious instrumentalism. In other words, this theoretical and strategic failure on part of the former, in spite of their admirable ethical courage, has made it extremely easy for the ‘anti-Fascist’ movement of the nationalist Indian Leftists and Left-liberals to act as an agency of subalternisation, and even oppression, with regard to Kashmiri national-liberationists and other non-Kashmiri anti-nationalist radicals. That, in turn, has obviously furthered the counter-revolutionary cause of the current regime of neoliberal dictatorship, and its Fascist mass mobilisation, by politico-ideologically yoking the ‘anti-Fascist’ unity of the nationalist Leftists and Left-liberals to its reactionary political project. It is the triumph of such “post-Fascism”, and the concomitant failure of united-frontist/popular-frontist anti-Fascist unity, that the nationalist ‘anti-Fascism’ of the ongoing JNU movement has thrown into sharp relief.
JNU’s Leftish ‘Anti-fascism’ and the Subalternisation of Dalit Radicalism
On a slightly different plane, the nationalist ‘anti-Fascism’ of the JNU movement has equally viciously instrumentalised and subalternised the radical Dalit movement, which had been sparked by Rohit Vemula’s revolutionary suicide at the Hyderabad Central University earlier this month. Impelled by the radical republican project of annihilation of caste, the movement for justice for Rohit Vemula seeks radical democratisation of universities and the system of higher education. In doing that, it tends to lay bare the cultural and economic hierarchies and culturally-articulated economic segmentations – both caste-based and otherwise – within universities. As a consequence, it also ends up problematising the segmented separation of universities from the world outside along the hierarchical axis of mental/intellectual labour over manual labour. Such radical republicanism, given its current conjunctural location, is objectively orientated to call into question the system of socio-technical division of labour – both caste-based and otherwise – and the value-relational logic of capital that this system of social division of labour now mediates and realises. As a result, such a movement objectively tends towards being a determinate affirmation of revolutionary-proletarian politics precisely by virtue of operationalising itself through its radical-republican ideological self-representation. We would do well to state here that revolutionary-proletarian politics is the ceaseless process of complete functionalisation of division of labour as the struggle that tends towards negating its hierarchised socio-technical division.
The nationalist ‘anti-Fascist’ unity of the JNU movement, on the other hand, has been all about saving JNU as a university-island of democracy and critical thinking from the assault of the current political regime and its Fascist mass-mobilisational politics. As a result, this movement has tended to close and paper over the concrete segmentations and contradictions internal to the university space. It has, in the same movement, served to reinforce the hierarchised separation of the university from the world outside. Clearly the two movements for university democracy – #JusticeforRohitVemula and #StandwithJNU – are entirely at odds with one another when it comes to defining such democracy. That the ‘anti-Fascist’ unity of the #StandwithJNU movement has been paying unending lip-service to Rohit Vemula’s politics – and has sought to mobilise the discontent unleashed by his death to strengthen itself as that ‘anti-Fascist unity – demonstrates its intrumentalising and subalternising orientation even more. Once again we are witness to how the ‘anti-Fascism’ of the JNU movement renders itself an extension of the state apparatuses in their current political articulation, and Fascist mass-movemental animation. Once again we see how such ‘anti-Fascist’ unity is programmed to be fully integrated with the ideological and repressive workings of a counter-revolutionary political regime like the one we are currently confronted with, and how such a regime is, therefore, not classically Fascist but a post-Fascist dictatorship of neoliberal capital.
Other subalterns of JNU’s ‘anti-fascist’ front
The instrumentalising, subalternising and oppressive functionality of nationalist-democratic ‘anti-Fascism’ of the JNU movement is, however, not limited to Kashmiri national-liberationists, the ‘Maoism’-inspired anti-nationalist radical students of the university, or Dalit radicals. Insofar as it has sought to separate the world outside from the university by emphasising the preservation of the latter’s ‘progressively’ nationalist democratic space, it has served to subalternise many other elements among the working people, who, on account of their social locations, are likely to be opposed to the current post-Fascist regime and its Fascist mass mobilisation. That the movement has sought to accomplish this by seeking to separate out anti-national “miscreants” and “outsiders” from the ‘progressively’ nationalist university community in order to protect the ‘progressive’ nationalist’s right to life and liberty from attacks on it by the current political regime and its mass-mobilised Fascist nationalists, clearly indicates that.
For instance, the national-democratic ‘anti-Fascism’ of the JNU movement has, thanks to its emphasis on saving the ‘progressively’ nationalist democratic space of the university, left many of its former students, now living as tenants in the surrounding villages of Munirka, Ber Sarai and Kishangarh, to the vagaries of coercive disciplining – and thus cut-backs in social wages – by rent-seeking landlords in those neighbourhoods. The latter have been integral to the Fascist mass mobilisation of the current regime. In view of the JNU incident, this mobilisation has been visibly stepped up to organise those rent-seeking reactionary landlords into lynch-mobs, which are quite likely to unleash their fatal fury on some former JNU students and other working-class elements suspected of being in solidarity or sympathy with the attacked students of JNU.
The ‘anti-Fascism’ of the JNU movement has virtually ensured that even within JNU various excesses of its nationalist-democratic institutional canonicity will be regimented and disciplined much more than earlier. And this will likely be ensured by its Leftist and Left-liberal students and teachers themselves. One can, for instance, safely assume that from now on there will inevitably be a marked piping-down of certain kinds of radical activism – not least, students’ activism in support of various struggles against Indian occupation – within the university. For, in seeking to preserve the ‘democratic’ space the university has purportedly been, the ‘anti-Fascist’ unity of the JNU movement has ensured that all kinds of hierarchical social relations – officially legitimate and otherwise – through which the university is constituted are preserved. This means the movement has, for now, accepted that the university will legitimately continue as an ideological apparatus of the Indian state, and has, thereby, implicitly agreed to heed the commands of the counter-revolutionary political regime that currently animates this state. The way the students participating in the JNU movement quietly agreed to call off the indefinite strike at the behest of their Leftist and Left-liberal teachers should be read as a foreboding of the long winter of normalised emergency that is descending on the university.
The Question of Correct Strategy and Marx’s “Revolution in Permanence”
The question now is, if the strategy of such popular-frontist anti-Fascist unity is unfeasible, and doubly undesirable, in the face of a post-Fascist dictatorship of neoliberal capital, what would an effective strategy look like? Our contention, in the light of recent developments, would be that an effective unity against this post-Fascist political regime of neoliberal dictatorship, and the Fascist mass mobilisation integral to it, ought to be envisaged in terms of a perpetual dynamic of the simultaneity of struggle in unity and unity in struggle. The unity posed against the current political regime through the strategic articulation of this perpetually processual dynamic will be far more politically effective because it will be extremely cohesive in its internationalist anti-statism and anti-systemicness. That will be so because the unity posed by the strategic articulation of the dynamic of struggle in unity and unity in struggle will be a unity that is forged through synchronisation of various determinate struggles against oppression and the segmentation of social labour such oppression secures.
It must be clarified here that such synchronisation of different determinate struggles against oppression and segmentation will not simply be an aggregation of struggles. The latter is precisely the salient feature of the constitutively instrumentalist strategy of anti-Fascist unity that we have here sought to criticise and reject. However, such an anti-systemic unity accomplished through synchronisation of different determinate struggles against segmentation and oppression is not supposed to be the actualisation of some kind of Deleuzian strategy of coordinated accelerationism of difference either. Rather, the unity posed by the strategic articulation of the dynamic of struggle in unity, unity in struggle is supposed to be a constellational unity, which is radically distinct from the simple aggregative unity of different struggles. This constellational unity of different determinate struggles against segmentation of social labour and oppression qualitatively transforms those determinate struggles in constellationally synchronising them with one another. What that amounts to is the following: each of those determinate struggles against segmentation seeks to generalise what it incipiently is by synchronising among themselves in a manner that each of them ceases to be the competitive struggle it is destined be in its isolated operation by being a mutually coordinated manoeuvre that strives to abolish segmentation of social labour at all levels by completely functionalising division of labour.
Clearly, the strategy we seek to affirm here is one that is constituted in, as and through the dialectically articulated simultaneity of political, social and cultural revolutions. In other words, the anti-systemic strategy that will arguably be most feasible and effective against the current political regime of post-fascist neoliberal dictatorship is one that does not envision itself in terms of a temporal lag between revolution and communism. For us the only effective way to fight this insidious political regime, and the barbaric moment of capital it secures is to envisage communism as “revolution in permanence” (Marx).