Fascism, Fundamentalism and Patriarchy

[This article was written by Anuradha Gandhy in 2001 on the verge of the reactionary Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi becoming the chief minister of Gujarat, where in the Gujarat riots of 2002 fascist Hindu nationalists murdered thousands of Muslims in what became billed as “The Final Solution.”  Modi, now the newly-elected Prime Minister of India, is moving to consolidate even more repressive power on a national level, forge even stronger collaborative relations with imperialism and with Zionism, expand the military and arms-export industries, enforce an exclusive Hindu-language public usage in a country where 60% of the people speak non-Hindu languages, and further intensify patriarchal and caste-driven relations and attacks on adivasi peoples.  The following article, pathbreaking when it was written, provides significant analysis and background on relations which have only become more oppressive. — Frontlines ed.]

Anuradha Gandhy– [from Wikipedia: “Anuradha Ghandy (1954 – April 12, 2008) was an Indian communist, writer, and revolutionary leader. She was a member of the banned Communist Party of India-Maoist. She was mostly involved in propaganda, and in CPI(Maoist)’s insurgency into urban areas. Among the policy papers drafted by the Marxist movement, Anuradha had contributed significantly to the ones on castes and ‘Feminism and Marxism’. She made the guerillas realise the potential of worker cooperatives in areas like agricultural production, in Dhandakaranya. She was also critical on shifting patriarchal ideas that were then dominant in the party.”  —  Frontlines ed.]

 

Exactly one year after the carnage in Gujarat began; the country is still reeling from the horror of the events. Narendra Modi’s expected victory in the assembly elections has further strengthened the position of the Hindutva fascist forces not only in Gujarat but also in the country as a whole. Reviewing the strategy of Hindutva forces and the lessons from Gujarat become even more relevant now. Here we are concerned with the impact of the Hindutva fascist forces on women and on the women’s movement.

The agenda of the Hindu fascist forces is political. Their strategy is the maximum political mobilisation of the Hindu masses and their aim is the establishment of a Hindu Rashtra. It will be noticed that the present phase of Hindu fascist growth can trace its growth with the neo-liberal economic policies of the early 1980s. And the aggressive policies of economic reforms and globalisation of the 1990s is accompanied with the aggressive policies of Hindutva. The reasons for this is not far to seek: the policies of economic reform have led to the extreme impoverisation of, not only a large section of the masses, but even of sizable sections of the middle classes; so there was urgent need to divert peoples’ attention from their mass destitution through the whipping up a frenzy against Muslims and other minorities. Besides, mass anger against the blatant capitulation to the imperialists, particularly the US, is sought to be diverted through fake nationalism, like slogans of cultural nationalism and Hindu Rashtra.

The extreme and continued polarisation of Hindu society in Gujarat along religious lines, the sense of brazen confidence with which the attacking, looting and killing was carried out and the active participation of a section of the women from the upper castes, shows that the Hindu fascist forces have been successful in Gujarat in taking their agenda forward. They have penetrated and succeeded in converting a section of the Hindu masses to their ideology and imbue them with the goal of Hindu Rashtra. What horror this portends for the oppressed sections — the lower castes, women, especially women of minority communities and the poor —does not need mention.

Growing Fundamentalism Worldwide — What it means for Women

The rise of Hindu fascist forces is part of the world-wide rise of fundamentalism and fascism.. Imperialism faced with its worst ever crisis since the inter-war years is encouraging and promoting fundamentalist forces and fascist organisations and propaganda. “Imperialism strives for reaction everywhere” Lenin. As Hawley has argued, “fundamentalist perspectives on gender cast a uniquely revealing light on the nature of fundamentalism as a whole.” As it is, all religions have been patriarchal in the moral code they sanction and the social arrangements they uphold. And one of the central points of fundamentalist propaganda is a conservative ideology of gender — all fundamentalist forces, be they of the Christian denominations in the US, or Hindu, or the New Religions in Japan or Islamic forces — they proclaim the specific agenda of restoring the centrality of the family and home in the life of women and patriarchal control over her sexuality. Hence ideologues of the New Right even in the US are claiming that there is a moral crisis in American society and this is because of the fact that women are working outside the home. Though they have mobilised actively around opposition to abortion rights for women, they begin by arguing that welfare state expenditures have raised taxes and added to inflation, pulling the married woman into the labour force and thereby destroying the fabric of the patriarchal family and hence the moral order of society. According to Jerry Falwell of the Moral majority, “ children (in the US) should have the right to the love of the mother and a father who understand their different roles and fulfil their different responsibilities…to live in an economic system that makes it possible for husbands to support their wives as full time mothers in the home and enable the families to survive on one income instead of two.” Continue reading

Police Use Water Cannons On Women In India Protesting Rape

[The report of multiple rapes and hangings horrified millions, and throughout India angry protests by women were brutally suppressed by police.  The official response, dismissive of women’s rights, was clear; as The Daily Mail reported, “Three men have been arrested over the killings. Two policemen were held on suspicion of trying to cover up the crime…..Shortly after the incident, a lawmaker from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party described rape as a social crime, saying ‘sometimes it’s right, sometimes it’s wrong.’  The controversial remarks came as political leaders of Uttar Pradesh – the state where the two cousins aged 12 and 14 were raped and hanged – faced criticism for failing to visit the scene.  Another regional politician from Modi’s party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said the crime of rape could only be considered to have been committed if it is reported to police.”  –Frontlines ed.]

Shannon Greenwood, ThinkProgress.org, June 3, 2014

Women protesting the rape and murder of two teenage girls are sprayed with water cannons by police in Lucknow, India on Monday.

Women protesting the rape and murder of two teenage girls are sprayed with water cannons by police in Lucknow, India on Monday.

The brutal gang-rape and murder of two teenage cousins in India last week has sparked a new wave of protests across the country as sexual violence and the government’s response returns to the spotlight.

The two girls, who went missing last Tuesday night after leaving their home in search of a place to find a place to relieve themselves, were found raped and hung from a mango tree in their village the following morning.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 28, 2014 IMAGE TAKEN FROM VIDEO, BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE, INDIA OUT The father of one of the victims reported the girls missing to authorities, but said it took more than 12 hours for police to begin their effort to find them — by then it was too late. Four suspects have since been arrested, two of whom are police officers.

Continue reading

INDIA: Growing Solidarity with All-India General Strike, February 20-21

REVOLUTIONARY DEMOCRATIC FRONTOBSERVE ALL INDIA WORKER’S STRIKE ON 20 AND 21 FEB. 2013!

Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF) extends its solidarity with the workers who are going on a two-day All India general strike on 20 and 21 February. While all the major trade union centres affiliated to various ruling class parties of the country have come together for giving a call for this strike due to the pressure from the working masses, the revolutionary and militant trade unions and workers’ organisations too have given a strike call for these two days. This strike is an opportunity for the workers across different sectors of the economy and regions to come together to highlight the burning problems of their common concern, which require urgent redressal. All the progressive, democratic and pro-people organisations and individuals of the country as well as the peasantry, the students, teachers, intellectuals, government and private employees, need to stand in solidarity with the striking workers in the struggle for achieving their just and genuine demands.

The strike call comes at a time when the imperialist world economy is going through its worst crisis after the Great Depression of the 1930s. The inherent contradiction of the capitalist economy between socialised production and privatised profit came into full force, leading to large-scale overproduction, unprecedented destruction of productive forces, high levels of unemployment, runaway inflation and mass impoverishment. The collapse of the imperialist economy was averted when monopoly finance capital resorted to Fascism in Europe and through massive militarisation and spending in the World War II, which was the direct result of the crisis in capitalism. During this period, achievements which the international working-class movement had won in the form of labour rights through decades of life and death struggles were virtually wiped out. In the post-war period, a resurgence of struggles by the working masses and the spectre of communism and national liberation movements forced the governments in imperialist, bourgeois and semi-colonial countries to recognise the rights of the workers under the garb of ‘welfare economics’. Continue reading

Reactionaries try to disrupt Arundhati Roy’s trip to Orissa

From http://www.icawpi.org

Writer-activist Arundhati Roy is escorted by security personnel as ABVP activists stage a black flag protest against her remarks on Kashmir, during her visit to Bhubaneswar on Sunday.

Writer-activist Arundhati Roy is escorted by security personnel as ABVP activists stage a black flag protest against her remarks on Kashmir, during her visit to Bhubaneswar on Sunday.

BUBANESWAR: Writer Arundhati Roy was at the receiving end of her own tactic of dissent and protest here on Sunday when ABVP activists tried to stop her from attending a meeting on tribal rights for her controversial remark last month supporting ”azad Kashmir”.

The activists of  the youth wing of the BJP [the Hindu supremacist opposition party in the Indian government–ed], wearing black badges, shouted slogans like ”Gaddar (traitor) Arundhati hai, hai”, and, ”Arundhati go back” just as she got down from the car to reach the meeting venue, said an eyewitness, and added, ”They waved black flags and also chucked one of them at her.”

A scuffle between ABVP workers and Roy’s supporters, comprising representatives from anti-land acquisition lobby, followed. Her supporters cordoned off the venue at Swadheenta Sangram Manch to stop the ABVP activists from disrupting their meeting.

While some of Roy’s lathi-wielding supporters chased the ABVP men, said to be around 12 in number, the latter hurled shoes at them. At least two people were injured in the melee that went on for half-an-hour until the cops arrived and picked up eight ABVP men.

Talking to reporters, Roy said, ”They (ABVP) have a right to protest, I have a right to speak,” and added that she was sticking to her opinion on Kashmir. She had said, ”Kashmir was never an integral part of India.  It’s a historical fact.”

Times of India, November 22, 2010

India: Reactionary mob attacks Arundhati Roy’s house

Neha Alawadhi, The Hindu, Nov 1, 2010

NEW DELHI: A large group of BJP Mahila Morcha activists protesting Arundhati Roy’s recent remarks on Kashmir broke into the compound of the writer’s residence here on Sunday.

The mob assembled outside Ms. Roy’s house in the high-security diplomatic enclave of Chanakyapuri around 11 a.m. and shouted slogans against her for more than half an hour. “Curiously, three news channel vans were stationed outside our house even before the protest began…the mob was abusive and broke through the front gate of the house,” Ms. Roy’s husband, Pradip Krishen, said.

Ms. Roy was not in the house at the time of the attack. In a statement, she said the mob numbered as many as a hundred persons. The activists broke a few flower pots kept outside the house and dispersed before the arrival of the police. They were prevented from entering the house by the guard and servants.

Mr. Krishen later lodged a complaint at the Chanakyapuri police station, following which police personnel were deployed outside the residence. He said this was the second such attack at their Kautilya Marg residence since June 2010, when some men on motorbikes pelted stones and smashed some windows.

Though Mr. Krishen had no idea about the identity of the protesters, he suspects that they were supported by a section of the Sangh Parivar “who have already declared their intention to harm and harass Arundhati Roy.” Continue reading

Democratic Student Union: Condemn the detention and house arrest of Kashmiri leader SAS Geelani

Democratic Student Union, Jawaharlal Nehru University

October 25, 2010

Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the uncompromising and much respected pro-Azaadi leader of Kashmir had attended a historic convention in Delhi on the 22nd of October titled ‘Azadi: The only way’ that most evidently has thoroughly unsettled the ruling class and the Indian state machinery. In the convention Geelani most resolutely articulated his unequivocal call for Azaadi as the only solution acceptable to the struggling people of Kashmir. Geelani had shared the stage with representatives from the various other struggling nationalities as well as intellectuals, writers and activists from India.

On his return to Srinagar from New Delhi, SAS Geelani was detained yesterday at the airport and later was whisked away by the security forces as he was about to address the huge crowd that had gathered at the airport. He has thereafter been swiftly again put under house arrest by the threatened Indian state.

The home ministry, as Chidambaram had earlier indicated, has also given a go ahead to Delhi police to register a case against Geelani as well as against other participants for giving ‘seditious’ speeches in the meeting. These speakers had basically articulated their unanimous support to the Kashmiri people’s aspirations for self-determination and Azaadi.

The very next day of the meeting BJP leader Arun Jaitely had raised the matter in the Rajya Sabha asking for action to be taken against the speakers prompting the home ministry to act. The home ministry of course will never take any action against their own vigilante gangs of Roots in Kashmir, Panun Kashmir and ABVP who tried repeatedly, although in vain, to disrupt the meeting by vandalising the venue, abusing and attacking speakers with their vulgar jingoism.

Continue reading

BJP slams Centre for Geelani’s pro-Azadi speech

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New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday slammed the Centre for allowing Kashmiri separatists to make anti-India speeches in New Delhi. Senior BJP leader and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley castigated the Centre for the speech made by Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani saying freedom of speech too has constitutional limits.

“Yesterday (Thursday) the country was shocked when separatists met under the nose of Central Government. All reports indicate that all speakers who participated in the conference gave indications that India cannot be one and should be broken up. Can democracy co exist with right of sedition? Obviously it cannot. Free speech is constitutional right, with constitutionally prescribed procedures. Such exercises like those by Geelani yesterday comes under penal law,” said Jaitley.

At a seminar on Thursday evening in New Delhi, Geelani had called for Kashmir’s ‘azadi’. A group of Kashmiri pandits who were present at the seminar had created a ruckus, shouting slogans and even climbing on the stage to prevent Geelani from speaking.

The hardline Hurriyat Conference leader was the convenor at the seminar organised by the committee to campaign for release of political prisoners titled ‘Convention on Kashmir-Azadi: The only way’

Geelani, Kashmiri separatists as well as Naxal and Khalistan sympathisers came together under one platform to demand independence for Kashmir at the seminar.