The Current Upsurge of Fascism Prabhat Patnaik

There is at present an upsurge of fascism all over the world, though it is often described as “nationalism” or “Right-wing populism”. Such terms however are misleading, and reflect a neo-liberal mindset. The pejorative use of the term “nationalism” serves implicitly to laud neo-liberal globalization as its contrast; it is also misleading because it does not distinguish between the “nationalism” of a Gandhi and the “nationalism” of a Hitler. Likewise, the term “populism” is used these days to characterize all redistributive or Welfare State measures, contrasting them unfavourably with neo-liberal measures of “development”; to apply it to the current fascist…

The Class Content of the Goods and Services Tax Prabhat Patnaik

The discussion on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) until now has focused almost exclusively on the distribution of its burden across commodities, on the difficulties of meeting its stringent bureaucratic demands, and on the delays in obtaining claims for refunds. Even the view that it is pushing the economy into a recession has attributed this looming recession merely to its stringent procedural demands which supposedly have tied most sellers in knots. In all this however the class content of this new tax regime has been missed. Indeed many would even ask: if one kind of indirect tax regime which…

Winner-take-all Political Funding Jayati Ghosh

It’s true: there’s a lot to be outraged about in India these days. The proliferation of heinous occurrences and very problematic policy choices is alarming, and the misinformation spread through official and unofficial media often makes things worse. All this can induce protest-fatigue and exhaustion from having to comprehend and then confront so many causes for concern and anguish on multiple fronts. This may be why there has (thus far at least) not been enough public outcry about something that will touch at the very core of our electoral democracy and erode it to the point where it could be…

The Epidemic of Vigilantism Prabhat Patnaik

My wife and I retired seven years ago after teaching in Jawaharlal Nehru University for nearly four decades, and neither of us gets a pension.The interest on our joint lifetime savings largely sustains us. This entire amount had to be invested in my name because she was not allowed to do so, as her name on her PAN card was grossly mis-spelt owing to a clerical error by the concerned authority issuing the card, an error which has not been rectified by it despite decades of effort on our part (though interestingly her tax payments have never been refused for…

America’s Turn Towards Fascism and Its Contradictions Prabhat Patnaik

The fact that fascist elements in the U.S. have started raising their sinister head and that Donald Trump has started showing his open sympathy for such elements is borne out by several recent incidents. On Saturday August 12, at a white supremacist and neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, peaceful anti-fascist protesters were attacked by the fascists; a man drove a truck into them killing civil rights activist Heather Heyer and injuring at least 19 others; and an African-American teacher DeAndre Harris was beaten mercilessly with a metal rod just a few yards from the Charlottesville police headquarters. Trump’s initial response…

A Dangerous Analogy Prabhat Patnaik

Narendra Modi’s attempt to imitate Jawaharlal Nehru by giving a mid-night speech on July 1 at the Central Hall of parliament, while inaugurating the Goods and Services Tax, could perhaps be passed off as a merely laughable idiosyncrasy. His equating, or even putting on a parallel footing, a mere tax-reform with the grand historic event of India’s attaining independence, could perhaps be shrugged off as just harmless self-promotion by one who prides himself as the author of the tax-reform. But the speech he gave on this occasion invoked an analogy that is extremely dangerous and that cannot go unchallenged, for…

150 years of ‘Das Kapital’: How relevant is Marx today? Jayati Ghosh

It is quite amazing that Karl Marx's Capital has survived and been continuously in print for the past century and a half. After all, this big, unwieldy book (more than 2000 pages of small print in three fat volumes) still has sections that are evidently incomplete. Even in the best translations, the writing is dense and difficult, constantly veering off into tangential points and pedantic debates with now unknown writers. The ideas are complex and cannot be understood quickly. In any case, the book aims to describe economic and social reality in 19th-century northwestern Europe - surely a context very…

“Fora Temer – Eleições Diretas Já!” Brazil’s Political Rupture and the Left’s Opportunity Alfredo Saad-Filho

The Brazilian Workers’ Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores, PT) won the country’s presidential elections four times in a row; first with Luís Inácio Lula da Silva (2003-06, 2007-10), then with his hand-picked successor, Dilma Rousseff (2011-14, 2015-16). During its 13 years in office, the PT changed Brazil in many ways; four are principally worth mentioning, as they would come to play key roles in the elite conspiracy to impeach Dilma Rousseff and destroy her party. First, the PT democratised the state. It implemented the social and civic rights included in the 1988 ‘Citizen’s Constitution’, and advanced Brazil’s emerging welfare state across…

Growing class Resistance Against “Globalization” Prabhat Patnaik

The term “globalization”, though much used, is extremely misleading, as is its presumed “other”, “nationalism”. This is because both terms are used as blanket terms without any reference to their class content, as if there can be only one kind of “globalization” and only one kind of “nationalism”. Using concepts detached from their class content is a favourite ploy of bourgeois ideology: what it amounts to is to confer universality on concepts that essentially belong only to the bourgeois discourse, as if this is the only universe of discourse possible and all choices are confined only to alternative trajectories within…

Brexit and the Economics of Political Change in Developed Countries Jayati Ghosh

The economic forces underlying Brexit—and the election of Donald Trump in the US—are similar, but also well advanced in many European countries, where much of the population faces similar material insecurity and stagnation. These frustrations can easily be channelled by right-wing xenophobic forces. To combat this, the EU needs to undo some of its design flaws and move from austerity to a more flexible union based on the solidarity of its people. Brexit (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally posted in the Taylor and Francis online on June 2, 2017)