ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Globalisation: A Saga of Poor Understanding

The experience of the Bolsheviki in the Russian revolution has lessons to offer the Indian left, if only it would read history. Rising from its disarray, the left could make the demand for effective democratic panchayati raj institutions with full autonomy a rallying point for struggle against the current system and so raise mass consciousness.

To appreciate the saga, as has been told, and to improve upon it with additional facts and to ameliorate it analytically, it is essential to know that India is a part of the capitalist world. The innate characteristic of capitalism is tersely put as Accumulate, Accumulate! That is Mosses and Prophets which was approvingly quoted by Marx (1961:170). This manifests itself in two processes, a progressive one and the other, leading to extermination of itself. The progressive process paved the way for industrial revolution of Britain and led to the destruction of feudalism and the spread of bourgeois culture in Europe, Japan and other white settlement areas like North America, Canada, Australia, etc. This process as described by Marx [Marx and Engels 1968:36-38] is as follows: The discovery of America, the rounding of the cape, opened the fresh ground for rising bourgeoisie. The east Indian and Chinese markets, the colonisation of America, trade with colonies, the increase in means of exchange and in commodities generally, gave to commerce, to navigation, to industry, an impulse never known before, and thereby, to the revolutionary element in the tottering feudal society, a rapid development...The bourgeoisie, historically, has played a most revolutionary part. The bourgeoisie, wherever, it got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that found man to his natural superiors, and has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous cash payment. It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom Free Trade. In one word, for exploitation veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.

This phase of capitalism, termed by Marx as the revolutionary phase, witnessed the uprising of the Paris workers of June 23-26, 1848, which was the first great civil war between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. The other revolution, which was of significance because, for the first time, the revolutionary government of the working class was in power from March 28 till May 28, 1871, for two months, provided the first experience of dictatorship of proletariat. This, known as Paris Commune of 1871, was the outcome of the proletarian revolution of March 18, 1871 in Paris. But because these and similar others happened during this revolutionary phase in capitalism, it resulted in capitalism consolidating and strengthening itself in the world arena. This phase also witnessed the increase in consciousness of working class so much so that it saw the surfacing of the Marxism (scientific socialism) and the publication of Marx and Engelss Manifesto of the Communist Party.

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