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. 

Saturday, September 22, 2018

On Weakening of Rupee vis-à-vis US Dollar

Surajit Das

To buy one US dollar, we have to now pay more than Rs.72 in India, which was less than Rs.64 even in mid-February this year. It is synonymous to say that Indian rupee has been weakened vis-à-vis the US dollar. The value of dollar in terms of domestic currency increases when the supply of dollar falls short relative to the demand for it at aggregate level. The supply of dollar comes from exporting commodities and services and through foreign capital inflow from abroad. The demand for dollar accrues from the import demand and for capital outflow outside the country. However, apart from current and capital accounts of balance of payment mentioned above, there is another channel that can influence the aggregate demand and supply of foreign currency in the domestic market. If the central bank wishes to hold more foreign currency than the current stock or if it depletes the foreign currency reserves, for some reason, then also the foreign exchange market would be affected. If the RBI (Reserve Bank of India) decides to sell some dollars in the Indian market in exchange of domestic currency (Rupee), the aggregate supply of dollar would increase relative to the demand and the price of dollar would come down. In other words, the Rupee would become stronger. On the other hand, if it buys some dollar from the domestic market in order to increase the stock of foreign currency, ceteris paribus, the Rupee would be weakened. And, given any stock of foreign currency reserve of the central bank, in case of a trade deficit or capital account deficit, the Rupee would be weaker and vice-versa.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Discipline, Dissent and ‘Urban Naxals’

Satyaki Roy
One of the major features of the current regime is that it insinuates a concerted process of criminalization, assassination and intimidation as an evolving architecture of punishment not being backed by any judicial probe. Gauri Lankesh, MM Kalburgi, Govind Pansare died not because they were sentenced to death in the court of law, rather murdered by terrorists who are affiliated to the rightwing outfit Sanatan Sanstha. Since 2015 seventy-seven people mostly belonging to the minority Muslims were lynched to death either by cow vigilantes or by mob who take pride in killing human beings in the name of defending India’s tradition, culture and what not and can easily get away since the current regime believes in promoting a particular ‘way of life’, hence, see nothing wrong in executing faith through extra-judicial power. 

Thursday, August 23, 2018

The Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018: An Efficacious Legislation or a Toothless Political Gimmick?

Mohit Gupta 
The Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018 (hereafter referred to as FEO Bill, 2018) was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 12th March 2018. It was passed by the Lok Sabha on 19th July 2018 and by the Rajya Sabha on 25th July 2018 (PRS Legislative Brief, 2018).  It has also received assent from the President on 5th August 2018 and is now a law in force in the territory of India (Press Trust of India, 2018). The law replaces the Fugitive Economic Offenders ordinance that was promulgated on 21st April 2018. The objective of the FEO Bill, 2018 is to deal with offenders that have fled the Indian jurisdiction and became fugitive after committing fraud, money laundering, tax evasion etc. In this regard a list of around 30 people was identified that were involved in financial irregularities that have either fled the jurisdiction, living abroad or are expected to have turned fugitive (Lok Sabha, 2018). The said ordinance and the FEO Bill, 2018 that replaces the ordinance were put in place to deal with these people. The media reports that followed, after the FEO Bill, 2018 receiving a nod from both the houses of parliament, portrayed it as some sort of a panacea to deal with fugitives or a credible threat, to say the least, for all fugitive economic offenders (Unnikrishnan, 2018; Nair, 2018 etc.). However, before accepting such propositions, there is a need to closely assess the provisions of this bill to find out whether it is effective in dealing with the problem of fugitives.