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

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The Problematics of a Second Freedom Struggle

Who should facilitate the call for a second freedom struggle?

The call for a second freedom struggle has been a continuous concern of different embattled social sections of Indian society. One could hear the echo of such a call in the protest movements of displaced people, later the JP movement, and more recently, in the spectacle created by Anna Hazare. Interestingly, the Congress Working Committee’s (CWC) recent meeting at Wardha passed a resolution calling for a second freedom struggle against the current government. However, such invocations have remained rhetorical flourishes. This poses a moral problem for the Congress since it has to ensure that its invocation does not become rhetorical. The initial scepticism regarding the Congress’s invocation is warranted because it lacks programmatic content and organisational direction. In the context of the characteristically vague formulation of the CWC resolution, we, however, do have intellectual resources to think about oppositional politics. Certain liberal intellectuals have argued for a new charter of freedom that revolves around individual liberties and institutional well-being. In addition to this, Marxist intellectuals have called for a project of common citizenship around fundamental economic rights. These proposals correspond to two primary sources of discontent with the present regime, namely, authoritarianism and worsening conditions of living. 

The task of oppositional politics, however, is to translate such proposals into a popular programme for which it must resonate with common people’s everyday existential concerns having a bearing on the quality of life. A majority of people who are caught in these existential questions have increasingly become disenchanted with the pragmatic equation of mainstream political parties on the one hand and the present government’s evasive promises on the other. The policies of the present government are evasive because they are not able to contain the acute agrarian distress, unemployment, displacement, and deepening sense of social insecurity. More particularly, the present government has achieved diabolical distinction in targeting vulnerable communities; particularly Muslims and Dalits on the one hand, and dissenting intellectuals on the other. On top of these problems, skyrocketing prices making the lives of ordinary people more expensive is a result of the overall economic mismanagement by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.

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Updated On : 15th Oct, 2018
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