Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Why the workers are angry?

Satyaki Roy 

For the past three decades the working people of our country had suffered the most in terms of their share in high growth that India experienced barring recent episodes of slowing down due to demonetization or hasty tax reforms introduced by the current government. It is now becoming a cause of concern primarily because such declining share of the vast majority of the working population ultimately leads to rising inequality and therefore even international agencies such as World Bank and IMF, those had been otherwise great votaries of liberalization recognize the simple fact of demand constraint setting in,ultimately creating barriers to profitability and growth. The worker is also a buyer and working people’s share of consumption expenditure in additional unit of income is generally greater than that of the rich, so relative decline of the workers’ buying capacity has its impact on the market, it dampens expectation of profit for private investors and hence investment and growth. In the advanced capitalist countries ‘technology unemployment’ is on the rise, use of artificial intelligence, internet of things and robots are going to replace repetitive jobs which has hardly hit particularly middle level jobs and the low skilled workers are at a disadvantageous position worldwide. Various studies suggest that in the next two decades 47 per cent of jobs in the US and 57 per cent in the OECD are at the risk of automation. There is also the effect of cheapening of finance which leads to higher capital intensity and lower requirement of labour employment in production.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

War’s End? November 1918 and the Politics of Remembrance

Suchetana Chattopadhyay

The leading states affiliated with the military alliance known as North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) held commemorations earlier this month to remember those who died in the First World War. The official framing of the mourning observations was accompanied by impish smiles of the leaders as they looked forward to further increasing the bloated military budgets.  This brings us to certain elementary questions which persist. They simply refuse to go away.  Why was the war started? Who paid for the war with their lives, labour and resources? What was the immediate impact of the war? How is the war being remembered now?

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Disheartening condition of teaching profession in West Bengal

A Teacher

West Bengal witnessed a violent Panchayat election this year. Among the several cases of casualty includes the unnatural death of Rajkumar Roy, an Assistant Teacher, who was serving as a Presiding Officer in a polling booth in the Balurghat region. After a long time, West Bengal witnessed a huge participation of teachers, protesting against the alleged murder of Rajkumar Roy. Interestingly, this time, quite a few apparently apolitical teachers’ forum took the lead. Moreover, social networking also played a significant part in giving vent to several issues relating to their profession, and also voiced against the lack of security that they have to witness during every election. Thus, it would be wrong to suppose that the incident of teachers’ protest relates only to this seemingly killing of an Assistant Teacher, during the poll time. Rather, this movement should be viewed as an integral part of the discontentment among teachers, which had been developing for the last few years. To address this issue, a detailed study of the working condition of teachers serving in schools of West Bengal, is needed.   

Friday, October 12, 2018

Shabarimala Protests: A disgustingly Patriarchal and Casteist Movement!

Balu S. 

The desire to create counter hegemonic ideas is something which emanates throughout Gramsci’s writing. A concept which he develops in the process of this mammoth political project is ‘Common Sense’. According to Gramsci, common sense is everyday thinking which helps us in making sense of the things around us. It has a past, tradition and is a product of the history which includes various political discourses. It is also constituted of contradictory components. Common sense is constituted by notions which are formed by dominant interests as well as those which are counter-hegemonic. For example, the desire for a more equal world could be found within the common sense of an otherwise xenophobic and reactionary white working class individual. The Malayali-Hindu common sense also has such contradictory notions. On the one hand, there is a progressive sense constituted by the renaissance movements, exemplified by lower caste movements and later Communist movements against land-lordism. On the other hand, there is continued presence of reactionary components forged by practice of brahmanical rituals and patriarchy. Of course, the presence of reactionary elements varies with one’s caste and class position. It is this reactionary common sense which the current Shabarimala movement is blatantly attempting to strengthen. Not only is this movement communal, casteist and goes against constitutional morality, its historical basis is also extremely flimsy.

Friday, October 5, 2018

The Fantasies of Francis Fukuyama

Rahul Vaidya 
The name ‘Francis Fukuyama’ is knotted closely to 90s triumphant neo-liberalism and its fancies and fantasies about itself. Fukuyama was one of the most astute theorists around to articulate this triumphalism and capturing of popular imagination with collapse of Berlin Wall and end of Cold war.  His arguments could be summed up as The collapse of communism in USSR and East Europe is defeat of the last serious ideological challenge to the march of ‘capitalism, free trade and liberal democracy. Furthermore, other communist countries like China have started adopting the road of market and globalization. Fascism was already defeated in Second World War. So end of cold war is ‘End of History’ of ideological battles’. No wonder he was lapped up by Western capitalist media circuits and championed around as an ideological force/ justification to fall in line for whatever resistance of Left remained and follow the ‘march of history’. Many Social Democratic parties worldwide had adopted this line of argument since the days of Euro-communism to varying degrees anyway; so it was no wonder that New Labor and Clintonite Democrats on both sides of Atlantic happily joined this euphoria.