Sunday, November 25, 2007

My political awakening?

It's shameful if you ask me. Such a big sin. I had till the 25th year of my existence not attached too much importance to politics and it's influence in my life. Ever the utopian I have believed that any government for the people which does not endorse anarchy is ok with me. That me and you, in our overtly genteel society, can actually sit back and contemplate on the stark realities of somebody else's life is a real paradox.

Maybe my father's political experiences as a youth in the red state of Kerala coupled with my admiration for all that he has achieved as an individual and this throbbing need to uphold his beliefs (be a good at least in this way) has always led me to believe that even I was a communist. What does the word mean? Why should I bother, it runs in the blood bro.

What communism meant to me those days?

I have been brought up in a communist bastion (West Bengal) by parents who uphold the same beliefs. I have also seen the amount of strikes and agitations that used to be and still continue to be rampant. These agitations I have always believed were for the betterment of the working class. Not an extremely progressive tactic but certainly very appealing to any impressioable young mind. I hadnt done too much reading on communist ideologies (not that I am an authority on them now, neither have I read the Communist Manifesto but atleast I am better informed.) but I knew that the communists were a force who worked for the upliftment of the poor. People who sought equality.

What led me to revisit this?

Communists are people who support the poor working class and work towards bringing up their standard of living. True, you would say but then what happened at Nandigram. Weren't the poor and their rights suppressed there? This is what led me to actually look up what communism actually meant and what are the basic concepts and ideologies of communism.

Wikipedia (don't laugh at it, a man can only look in so many places) offers this defenition 'Communism is an ideology that seeks to establish a classless, stateless social organization based on common ownership of the means of production.'

Also, bumped into a short write-up on the communist manifesto and it's ten planks which are as follows:

1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes. (no rent :))

2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax..... hmmmm

3. Abolition of all right of inheritance..... no more baap ka maal

4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels..... no more NRI qouta???

5. Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.

6. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.

7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.

8. Equal liability of all to labour. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.

9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equable distribution of the population over the country.

10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children's factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production.

Reading all this actually made me realise that communism apart from being revolutionary also put a large number of restrictions which sometimes could conflict with the fabric of being a middle-class Indian. We are so very used to passing down possesions from generation to generation as are most other cultures. Not really the proliterat, a member of the lower middle class starts breaking away from communism, when he/she desires to own a piece of land or to emigrate to another country.

Where do I find myself now?

A bit confused at first. Am i really a communist? Am I hard core right-wing? Am I a fascist? Do I hate and crush opposition?

Hmmm... I might be able to identify with some of the theories of communism but I dont think I am a hardcore communist. I think I am more of a liberal. Someone who believes that individual liberty and equality of opportunity are things that needs to be valued most over anything else. Sometimes at work though there have been cases when a little bit of iron handed rule had to be applied but all that is to combat incompetency in general.

Liberalism and it's various forms support a number of basic principles, including extensive freedom of thought and speech, limitations on the power of governments, the rule of law, the free exchange of ideas, a market or mixed economy, and a transparent system of government. This looks like something which I can identify with more.

There, that is a beginning I guess. At least I am awake. But a lot more material to read and a lot more thoughts that need to run through my mind before I can finally RIP (politically speaking).

Adios ppl or should I say Salute commrade!!!


Sameera said...

im sowwie

totally apolitical and couldnt get myself to read this :(

wanderlust said...

All I know about communism is that, wherever in the world it has taken over, there has been widespread state-sponsored human-rights violations or widespread poverty. Cases in question: tiananmen square, USSR, and the worst of them all, the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot in Cambodia.