Sunday, 16 April 2017

Capitalism and anarchisim and villages and dharmam

Rajesh Pandey What is the practical alternative to capitalism ?
Aparna Krishnan gram swaraj 
Aparna Krishnan a sensitive realtime mix of village industries, and state enterprises amd private setups need to be worked out.
Rajesh Pandey It is an alternative surely, but impractical one.
Aparna Krishnan sustainability, livlihoods, justice need to be the bottom lime, and realtime options evaluated. 
Aparna Krishnan And when we talk of 'alternatives to capitalism', was capitalism ever any answer at all. it has laid waste the earth in its greed for profits. It has created disparities that have killed all our concsiences. We migh as well talk of 'alternatives to the holocaust' !
Rahul Banerjee there is no practical alternative to capitalism simply because it has blocked the development of such alternatives!!
Aparna Krishnan The sands are running out for capitalism and industrilization. Nature will bring us to our knees, and the other ways will have to emerge on that day. But I suspect that so much more injustice and violence will be unleashed before that day - that current times will seem like a pleasent walk in the park.
Aparna Krishnan That the poorest who have done the least harm will pay the first and the heaviest price is what the heart rebels against.
Rahul Banerjee the capitalists are cynically crooked. They feel that when nature strikes back it will be the billions of poor that will die as the rich will be able to safeguard themselves. If billions die then the resource and pollution crunch will automatically be alleviated!!!
Aparna Krishnan Is that technically possible. That the poor die away, and the few rich make merry.
Aparna Krishnan at just a 'resource level'.
Rahul Banerjee well that is the logic of these people. one does not know whether it will hold or not.
Aparna Krishnan rather frightening. had never heard of this line of thinking. and i can now see it as a deep and unstated and possibly unfaced wish of many privileged who are beneficiaries of the system and unwilling to give up the perks they have got used to.
Rajesh Pandey Exactly Rahul Banerjee. Hence, I doubt whether there is any practical alternative to capitalism. The beneficiaries of capitalism don't want to change their consumption based lifestyles and they have the decisive voice. In fact, more and more people are aspiring for those lifestyles.
Rahul Banerjee However, Rajesh Pandey, that does not mean that one stops fighting against capitalism and trying to develop an alternative!!
Rajesh Pandey Agreed Rahul Banerjee, one must fight against the wrongs of capitalism. But, one should also look for viable alternatives, as the biggest crooks and most clever persons benefit most during the chaos between the breakdown of old system and the establishment of the new one.
Rahul Banerjee A study of recent history shows that there is no way in which capitalism can be overthrown and therefore it is futile to waste one's time trying to do so. What one can do is to work out small alternatives on the fringes and that is what most people who are fighting capitalism in a decentralised manner are doing.
Aparna Krishnan If that is the reality that capitalism is unquestionable, and if one has the ability to stomach it, then one will veer away from looking for sustainable and just alternatives, and work on relief efforts. Which, i suppose, is what one has actually got cornered into doing in reality.
Aparna Krishnan Or back to 'The Lost Horizon', and to creating Shangri Las, for the day of Apocalypse . Rather difficult when one sees people getting finished before one's own eyes, and one is answerable to them. And then its relief work again. Its like intellectuals advising on documenting the disappearing medical practices of people. When the people are themselves destroyed, I see no reason why we need to save or claim their 'medical practices'. I would rather we lost that also.
Madhukar Shukla Capitalism is not just a politico-economic system; more importantly, it is a world-view, a paradigm - a set of beliefs that this is how the world works. It survives because even people who are not 'capitalists'/ rich etc., find that this is the only way they can make sense of how the society works. 
There is no way one can overthrow a paradigm; that will only further strengthen the beliefs; One can only work to show that what Rahul mentioned as "small alternatives on the fringe" are perhaps a better (and in the present context, more widespread, but not documented/ highlighted) alternative paradigms available.
[If one goes by Thomas Kuhn's work on scientific paradigms, it shows that scientific "revolutions" happened not by proving that an existing paradigm was wrong (e.g., Newton's mechanistic model) but that it was inadequate to explain a larger reality. In the new paradigm the existing world view got subsumed as a 'special case'...]
Aparna Krishnan But the fact is that modernity and industrilization (i think the word capitalism has got too limited, and this world view includes every industrilized system of every political hue) has got so overarching that fringe alternatives are becoming a farce. When we moved into the village we had swadeshi as our broad agenda/dream. And over twenty years things have only become more and more non-local. Rita gave way to shampoo satches. Community chats on the doorsteps gave way to each hut having a TV and people watching mesmerising serials selling consumeristic dreams in sackfuls. Children got schooled into modern dreams, and into disdain for things local. And after taking a strong initial line against English dominence we have been teaching children English rather assiduously to 'enable' them (into the lowest rungs of the corporate capitalsit industrilized world).
Aparna Krishnan I do not know of Kuhn. But I do know that minds get colonized, and world views get sold so seductively that the buyer assumes it is free choice, while there is really no choice left anymore. And once the communities have started desiring modernity, one's fringe efforts against modernity are akin to a step forwards, while the whole reality has got swept 100 steps backward. But yes, there are those single steps, that one hopes will be a small lamp somewhere, thats all.
Madhukar Shukla well, that is my point. There is nothing wrong with industry (Gandhi also talked about industrialisation, though not in the same way as it is done now) or English ... only if these realities (they are real!) are subsumed/ integrated into the alternative models of development, a new paradigm/ world-view can emerge.
Aparna Krishnan When the dominant paradigm (or language) attains such pre-eminence that it rejects or negates the value of other paradigms (and languages) one needs to very fundamentally examine and reject or accept. The village self respect (and language) has got lost as it pays tribute to modernity (and English), and one cannot really be non categorical any more. In clarity of thought. In reality as one is part of a living society, many desires and aspirations jostle and one has to take a 'practical' position.
Srividhya Jayakumar There is no good alternative proven for capitalism. Communism is an even more failure.
Aparna Krishnan Srividhya Jayakumar Both are centralized models, and hence failures.
Rahul Banerjee All centralised industrial systems have been capitalist in nature with the difference being the extent of direct control of the state. The major actually existing "socialist" states were all state capitalist oligarchies. Presently we have a globalised capitalism that is dominant through its control of the minds of people by virtue of its hegemony over academia and media and its ability to crush protests. There is no possibility of its being subsumed under a new paradigm because it is the most advanced form of centralised governance and development. The only alternative to it is decentralised communitarian governance and development which is completely antithetical to it. Kuhn's theory doesn't apply because this is not the sphere of natural science but of political economy. Anarchism by definition can't fight the organised power of capitalism. All great anarchists have either remained on the fringe like tolstoy, kropotkin and bakunin or the have compromised their principles by hobnobbing with capitalists like Gandhi.
Madhukar Shukla Aparna, the point I am trying to make is that there are existing alternatives on ground, which have been able to combine "modernity" with traditional knowledge and life-style on a sustainable basis. 
They may be on the fringe, but they are there...
in any case, capitalism and communism are term which have outlived their value in terms of explaining and creating choices for a better way of living.
Aparna Krishnan Yes. but many times the 'alternatives' have got co-opted, as the people one works with are part of the society that has bought the dreams of modernity. And which modernity has already laid waste the resource base so devastatingly, that in so many senses one is handicapped.
Madhukar Shukla in this thread, I am handicapped since I am just an observer and not someone who works on the ground...
but Rahul, the anarchism has to be create new definitions and showing the proofs - which do exist
Rahul Banerjee Please read about the anarchists of the time of the spanish civil war. They were able to organise agriculture and industry in an equitable and sustainable manner but they were crushed. We in the 1980s tried to establish an anarchist model in alirajpur but we too were crushed. Capitalism is managed by very intelligent crooks and they are past masters at snuffing out any challenge to their hegemony.
Madhukar Shukla Rahul, I agree and know.... my point is that the change will come when one addresses the prevailing world-view - not just the system. Capitalism gets support not just by the intelligent crooks, but by people who think/ believe that this is the only way the world works. And these people are not "capitalists" by any definition...
Aparna Krishnan By when schooling is complete, that modern world view is bought totally and minds are altered irrevocably. I know my village children. Between schooling and TV, minds have been altered totally - into modernity.
Rahul Banerjee They believe so because that is what they are taught in school and college and bombarded with day in and day out by the media. A civilisation that wastes its time watching soaps and sports peppered with ads during breaks is unlikely to bring about any paradigm change.
Rahul Banerjee How many people today read bakunin, kafka or marx and critically relate what they have written with the current centralisrd systems and more importantly fight them? Very few!!
Aparna Krishnan And why is Dharampal not even mentioned in the list of to-reads ?! And this may not be a trivial question.
Aparna Krishnan It is when we locate our roots and our civilizational anchors that we may be able to fashion a response that is deeply anchored. Those of us who have passed thro' modern education are handicapped and distanced from the deepest identities of people in...See more
Rahul Banerjee Yes gandhi, dharampal and kumarappa have also been swept aside by the inane tsunami of soaps, sports and ads. Is this what we humans have striven for? If so then we have sold our souls to greed and that is why capitalism thrives.
Aparna Krishnan In the villages I see a paradigm of ethic that is defined in terms of dharmam, anchored thro' stories from mahabharata in my part of the world, and elsewhere differently maybe - and owned up to a greater or less great extent. Modernity has rejected religion, and offered no other framework of ethic either. And amorality reigns. To bring back morality - asteya, aparigraham, satya - thro' secular or religious underpinnings may be one essential angle. I have no clue on how it will happen, and when, and if
Aparna Krishnan Are all our efforts towards building up an alternative possibilty only working towards claiming some niches in the existing reality for ourselves. Dreams of local production and consumption has got co-opted into 'marketing pickles and bags', as the people want to 'buy shampoos and plastic school bags', and money for the same. Their own choices have been structured by the TV and schools.

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