Team Paradigm Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Fascism in India and around the World

Fascism around the world is a reason of new worry for people and mainly to democratic nations. If fascism keeps on taking place then there will be very few individual rights and it will be a new threat to democracy.

Mob violence, often fatal and often incited and circulated via WhatsApp, has become a routine feature of Indian life. Modi’s fascist politics is also a toxic presence on the global stage.

Fascism is a far-right, authoritarian, ultranationalist type of government that is characterized by a one-party dictatorship. When a country is under the rule of a singular dictatorship, it entails that there is a centralized government led by one person.

A fascist nation is against the principles of a democracy. Instead, governments of this nature view the wealth and success of the nation as being far more important than the citizens of the country. As a result, there are very few individual rights, if any at all, under a fascist regime. Fascist regimes often have forcible suppression of opposition and regimentation of society and of the economy. Fascist nations and movements had significant differences from one another; however, they did share several characteristics. These included extreme militaristic nationalism and contempt for democracy, liberalism, and communism. Freedom of speech and the influence of the people’s voice are not respected in fascist nations, especially in opposition to their leader or country. Fascism emphasizes the importance of corporations, which creates an even deeper divide between the leaders and the people of a nation.

The translation of economic crisis into political crisis is evident in the rise of the right in countries such as Australia, Hungary, Israel, Brazil, Poland, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. In Bolivia, there were explicitly fascist elements in the coalition that seized power in the recent coup. In Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro is openly nostalgic for the dictatorship that ruled the country for more than 20 years. Bolsonaro has often been termed a fascist and is certainly a partisan of the extreme right. But it is in India that an undeniably and explicitly fascist force has won control of the state. Right-wing Hindu nationalism began its rise to power in 1992 after a frenzied mob of right-wing Hindu militants attacked and destroyed the 16th-century Babri Mosque in the city of Ayodhya, in Uttar Pradesh. Modi’s personal rise to power was also rooted in mob violence. In 2002, Modi, then the chief minister of the state of Gujarat, was widely implicated in an anti-Muslim pogrom during which at least 2,000 children, women and men were murdered, and a further 200,000 people displaced. As a result, the United Kingdom and the United States implemented a travel ban on Modi between 2005 and 2014. Since then, mob violence, often fatal and often incited and circulated via WhatsApp, has become a routine feature of Indian life. Fascism is always grounded in an alliance between the mob and the state, and the BJP is now actively bringing the logic of the mob into the state, and the law. On 11 December 2019 the Citizenship Amendment Act, which amended the Citizenship Act of 1955, was passed in parliament. It means that for the first time in post-colonial India the criteria for citizenship will effectively be based on religious affiliation. This effectively changes the status of India from a secular society to a Hindu state. The new act has been widely compared to Hitler’s Nuremberg laws, enacted in 1935, which sought to exclude Jewish, Romani and black people from German citizenship.

Across India, cities and universities have erupted in protest in response to the new laws. The state has responded with sustained brutality and shut down internet access. There have been a number of deaths and thousands of people are currently being detained by the police. The protests are the largest since Modi’s rise to power and have united disparate forces in an anti-fascist bloc. Modi’s government is now under significant popular pressure. Modi’s fascist politics is also a toxic presence on the global stage. He is strongly supportive of Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel, as well as Bolsonaro, Trump and Johnson. Together these men are building a right-wing international that ties chauvinism and authoritarianism to hyper-capitalism. This international right-wing alliance constrains political possibilities in less powerful countries such as South Africa, and was an important factor in enabling the recent coup in Bolivia. Across the planet, an increasingly rapacious form of capitalism is working to sustain popular support by mobilising forms of chauvinism to turn people against one another. In many countries, electorates are choosing right-wing demagogues over a politics of solidarity. But the situation in India, where the ruling party is a vehicle for an openly fascist project, is particularly disturbing. If this situation continues to grow like this it will be hard to tell what will be the future of countries across the world and also in India.