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THE NEOLIBERAL IMPERIALISTS OF INDIA AND THE KASHMIRI TEHREEK:

BEYOND NATIONAL SELF-DETERMINATION


In a manner of speaking, Kashmir was, until the other day, India's West Bank -- occupation through force, and a mite of
consent (read collaboration). However, it has been caught in the process of being irrevocably transformed into Gaza for a
while now. The abrogation of Article 370, which has been preceded by an ever-increasing deployment of brute military force
against an almost entirely insurgent civilian population of the Valley --something that became evident with the rise of the
everyman (and everywoman) stone-pelter since 2010, and which has peaked with the ever-intensifying mass resistance
unleashed for the first time by BurhanWani's assassination in July 2016 -- is a kind of denouement for this process. It shows
that the occupation now has not even a shred of legitimacy as far as the denizens of the Valley are concerned.
Amit Shah's 'historic' parliamentary (and administrative) maneuvers, undergirded by procedural chicanery and amateurish
political dissembling, symptomatize an occupation that is desperate, not one that is in control and confident. This is contrary
to what the liberal, the left-liberal and even the left-wing nationalists, to say nothing of the rabid nationalists of the right,
would have us believe. The fig leaf, or whatever was left of it, is finally off. Appearances cannot be saved any longer. But why
do the left parties and the independent left-liberals of India -- stuck as they are on the question of human rights violations in
Kashmir and seeking restoration of status quo ante -- not see that?
The Indian left -- including even the so-called left of left, which aligns itself with Kashmir in terms of national self-
determination, and not merely civil liberties and/or democratic rights -- is unable to envision its politics beyond the horizon
of the national (the Indian nationhood and nation-state). And that makes it -- even if one were not to suspect its subjective
orientation of bad faith, and believe that it has the best of intentions -- reactive (re)producer of, and participant in, the
politics of the spectacle. Precisely the politics through which Narendra Modi's post-Fascist neoliberal dictatorship has been
governing India for over five years now.
At a larger strategic level, this has to do with the Indian left, in all its apparent diversity, inevitably conflating imperialism
with its earlier moments of colonialism and neo-colonialism. As a result, all sections of the Indian left see it as one of their
key political tasks to defend India from the machinations of western imperialist powers, particularly the US. This obviously
prevents them from acknowledging how India is itself an imperialist power, certainly at least in South Asia. This, therefore,
also blinds them to the fact that India is not a subordinated client of imperialist powers such as the US but is their equal
partner in the imperialist crime. Such blindness naturally makes them see Indian imperialist depredations in Kashmir -- or,
for that matter, in Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka etc. -- as nothing more than big-brotherly interference that can be corrected
by changing (one doesn't see how) the course of the Indian nation-state by merely changing the nature of its political regime.
This blindness also has to do with their ideological clinging to the hoary Leninist dogma- a fixed and overgeneralized
understanding of imperialism and its characterization of a particular historical conjuncture for all times. To understand the
structural-functionality of nation-states in general and Indian nation-state in particular, it is the need of the hour to re-
articulate imperialism for our own conjuncture- characterized by the internationalization (or globalization) of all moments
of the circuit of capital (M-C...P...C'-M').
Imperialism, in the era of embedded liberalism, was understood in terms of domination through Finance Capital - Bank +
Industrial capital. So those who control the maximum share of finance capital control the world. The imperialist war-
hot/cold war among nation-states and between power blocs to control more- was a way to control class-war taking place
inside in the form of civil war.
But, in the neoliberal era- where the interweaving of globalized finance capital with industrial production has become looser
than before -the era in which the whole of society/globe and life is industrialized through the centralized command of
money-capital(M-M’)—the role of imperialist nation-state is reversed. It is no more a domination/control over ‘other’
nation-states by controlling more share in the finance capital- but it is the opposite- the more you control/regulate the
working population of a given geo-political location– the more share of global finance capital you will be able to attract- the
more you will be able to speculate and the more you will be able to financialize the society.
So, in the era of dictatorship of neoliberal capital- imperialist war came in its naked form- what it really was- intensification
of civil war in its highly mystified form- as the war between hyper-competitive identities-- as opposed to class-war. And the
current war of words between different nation-states presents only the semblance of old imperialist war- a
cultural/ideological form through which they can regulate/command the working population inside- by propagation of the
nationalist consensus.
So, today, the source of the power of imperialist nation-state is not the Monopoly form of finance capital, as Lenin defined it
once in his own historical conjuncture, but it is the process of the concentration and centralization of capital precisely
through the dispersal of hyper-individuation and hyper-mediation. In the dispersed Fordist condition of capital
accumulation it is our hyper-competitive self-activity and its constitutive ideology of entrepreneurship which is providing
the material ground for the financialization of society. It is the barefaced operation of imperialism- domination and control
through continuous production of ‘outside’ within the very inside to regulate the masses-a controlling mechanism of
surplus-population which provides the ground for speculation.
The slogan of the imperialists of the past centuries was “..if you want to avoid civil war, you must become imperialists.”
The slogan of imperialists of our times is “if you have to avoid class-war, mystify and regulate the actual civil war itself”- by
transforming it into the barbaric war of identities.
And against these imperialists our slogan is “Turn molecular civil war into class war!”
The molecular civil war between competing identities- competition between different levels and layers of nationalities and
its ideological form- nationalism- from hyper to progressive nationalism- any form of nationalism and/or radical
republicanism- will only feed into the imperialist content of the nation-state- that is the continuous (re)organization of
socio-technical division of labour for continuous (re)production of world-system of capital- perpetuating through crisis and
more crisis- barbarism and more barbarism.
So it is necessary to recognize that the intensification of civil war in its actuality is the deepening of the crisis of imperialism,
but because of the process of its own mystification or its transformation into the barbaric war between identities, its power-
to negate the system is being abstracted in terms of the power of the imperialist nation-states. Once we recognize this
specific nature of the problem, which is integrally bound up with the existence of the Indian nation-state and its attendant
imperialist machinations, then only we will be able to see that the problem can only be resolved through the unraveling of
the Indian nation-state itself.
The change in the regime of occupation in Kashmir by abrogation of article 370 is one of the indications of the crisis of
Indian imperialist hegemony, where it’s becoming more and more difficult for Indian nation-state to manage the process of
surplusing of the population not only in Kashmir but also in Indian mainland. In this situation, the multitudenous character
of Kashmiri movement is posing a real threat to the Indian sovereignty, even as it tends to transform the segmented
Kashmiri society itself. Multitudnality is a moment of crisis of sovereignty. But, precisely through this crisis, it is trying to
reproduce itself- by posing multitudnality on one side against the lapse of multitudnality- mob violence or barbaric war of identities
on the other. It is this crisis that desperately necessitates the Indian nation-state to continue the occupation, which is nothing else,
but a tool to bolster nationalist consensus in the mainland so that it can regulate the overall increase in precarity and mobility of the
working population in the subcontinent.
Until now, the process of de-development, which was compelling the sections of the occupied population- both cognitarians and
non-cognitarians working population- to migrate to the Indian mainland, was seen by the Indian executives of capital as an
opportunity to integrate this section of the occupied population, and through them produce and strengthen consensus in its favor in
the occupied territory. But this project failed to achieve anything of significance. In fact, the presence of Kashmiris in the Indian
mainland has only served to worsen the occupation’s crisis of legitimacy in the Valley. So, now, this new project of ‘re-
development’, which appears as the project of integration of the so-called outside, is actually the project of the forced re-shuffling of
the masses or the forced re-organization of social labour, so that the multitudnality of the Kashmiri movement can be negated
and increased precarity of the mainland working population can supposedly be regulated more effectively, which is a
necessary condition for Indian nation-state to maintain its hegemony in South Asia.
In that case, the question Kashmiri movement is posing, materially, is not of national self-determination or political self-
determination, although its ideological form appears to be so, but the question of social self-determination- that is the post-national
proletarian revolution.
For this reason, mainland Indians committed to forging an effective politics of solidarity with the Kashmiri national
liberation struggle must necessarily double up as militants of proletarian-revolutionary politics. They need to intervene in
the various everyday struggles of different segments of social labour – including their own – to demonstrate through
militant inquiry and self-inquiry how those struggles are actually system-unraveling, and are rendered juridical only on
account of being counted and placed by the system. Only through such interventionist demonstrations can those everyday
struggles be impelled to generalize what they ontologically are: basic units of a movement that will negate the Indian nation-
state as a historically indexed regime of capital.
Such a movement in the mainland will significantly undermine the hegemony of the Indian nation-state. That will, in turn,
enable the Kashmiri national liberation struggle to advance further. What we shall have, in such circumstances, is the
dialectical unfolding of the Kashmiri resistance enabling the everyday struggles of the working masses in the Indian
mainland, even as the latter enable the former’s advance by being the generalization of their own revolutionary
ontology. Kashmir is a crack in the system, let’s create more cracks- here and now!

CITY NOTES COLLECTIVE


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