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

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Vernacular Communism

Satyabhakta’s engagements with communist politics, the Hindi print public sphere, and workers’ movements in the Gangetic heartland often intermeshed caste, gender, and nationalism, with an indigenous communism. Signifying a strand of the Hindi literary project, he represents some of the suppressed traditions of left dissent, and takes us back to debates between internationalism and nationalism, materialism and spiritualism, class and caste. Even if his ideas were, at times, amateur, they provide us with the everyday lived realities of communist lives, and utopian dreams of equality, which need to be taken into account and historicised seriously.

Agrarian Transformation and Quality of Life in Highlands of Tripura

Socio-economic Surveys of Three Villages in Tripura: A Study of Agrarian Relations edited by Madhura Swaminathan and Ranjini Basu, Delhi: Tulika Books in association with Foundation for Agrarian Studies, 2019; pp xxiv+376, ` 600.

Pioneer of Marxist Social History

Eric Hobsbawm: A Life in History by Richard J Evans, London: Little Brown, 2019; pp xiii + 785, ₹ 954 (hardcover).

Marx at 200

As we mark Karl Marx’s 200th birth anniversary, it is clear that the emancipation of labour from capitalist alienation and exploitation is a task that still confronts us. Marx’s concept of the worker is not limited to European white males, but includes Irish and Black super-exploited and therefore doubly revolutionary workers, as well as women of all races and nations. But, his research and his concept of revolution go further, incorporating a wide range of agrarian non-capitalist societies of his time, from India to Russia and from Algeria to the Indigenous peoples of the Americas, often emphasising their gender relations. In his last, still partially unpublished writings, he turns his gaze Eastward and Southward. In these regions outside Western Europe, he finds important revolutionary possibilities among peasants and their ancient communistic social structures, even as these are being undermined by their formal subsumption under the rule of capital. In his last published text, he envisions an alliance between these non-working-class strata and the Western European working class.

Fidel and the Cuban Revolutionary Cultural Project

Contrary to popular belief, the Cuban revolution actively engaged with the role of the intellectual and questions of culture, art and aesthetics. Fidel Castro would engage in these debates, which were self-reflexive and constantly avoiding dogmatism. Right from the early years of the revolution, conscious efforts were made to build institutions that would encourage people to engage with music, theatre, ballet, cinema and literature.

M M Thomas

Remembering M M Thomas, a man who believed that every revolutionary situation was created by the relation between power as political expression towards justice, the opposition of the counter-revolutionary force of the established order and the misdirection and corruption of it leading to the betrayal of the end of justice by the revolutionary forces.

Elucidating Gandhi's Thinking

Gandhi in Political Theory: Truth, Law and Experiment by Anuradha Veeravalli, Ashgate (Farnham, Surrey (United Kingdom) and Burlington, Vermont (United States), 2014; pp 154, ₹7,664.17.

Recalling Bhagat Singh

Bhagat Singh had a number of political choices before him but the fact that he consciously abjured them in favour of a fiery independence, atheism and internationalism is worthy of introspection, if not emulation.

Correcting Popular Misconceptions of Marx

Why Marx Was Right by Terry Eagleton (New Haven and London: Yale University Press), 2011; pp ix+258.

Understanding Capitalism through Lohia

Extending Lohia to our times, we can infer an important truth about capitalism. Capitalist development cannot take place without colonial or neocolonial exploitation. In the absence of external colonies or neocolonies, capitalism tries to create internal colonies, but they are not enough for full-fledged modern industrial development, which requires both exploitation of labour and the plunder and destruction of natural resources on a global scale. If internal colonial exploitation is fundamental to capitalism and unequal exchange in various forms is one of its important mechanisms, the Third World can be liberated only when it breaks away from the present system of international trade, exchange and finance and looks at ways of building an alternative society in all senses.

Unfulfilled Dreams

Marxism and Social Revolution in India and Other Essays by P C Joshi; Manak Publications, New Delhi, 2002; pp 414, Rs 775.

Economic History and Postmodern Theory

Postmodernism questions the possibility of narratives of 'progress' in the sphere of culture, a position that disagrees with economists' faith in economic progress in which cultural change plays a large role. This fundamental incompatibility has made economic history uncomfortable for historians, and led to a breach between economics and history. Can this rift be repaired?

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