By Anirban Sen
(Edited by Sumitra Padmanabhan)
That Prabir Ghosh is the pioneer of the rationalist movement and General Secretary of the Science & Rationalists’ Association of India is a known fact.
The reality which is steadily surfacing to his readers is that his ideas of rationalism, on its long course from explaining “paranormals” to various facets of sociology, politics and psychology, is now sketching a realistic model of a social arrangement of commonness and equality. “Neo-Socialism” a brain child of Prabir Ghosh, has established its strong foothold in countries like Nepal, Venezuela and Bolivia. In concurrence with the design of his thoughts, self-reliant villages with the aid of communes, co-operatives, joint farming etc had been set up in more than a third of the six hundred districts in India.
It was from the year 2001 that he floated the concept of communes, co-operatives, collective farming and self sufficient rural belts. The theory further mentioned that in the present context, restraining of arms (and not surrendering) is the necessity.
This theory began to receive endorsement of the various Naxalite groups from 2004. And implementation began spreading rapidly which at present grips around 257 districts out of 600 in India, besides other nations like Nepal and Venezuela.
This Neo-Socialist movement has intensified manifold and keeps on doing so. The advancement of this movement across the globe has sent shivers down the spine of the political, cultural and financial tyrants, who are now hell-bent to crush the progress of such silent revolution by applying their machinery of brutal force, torture and terror.
The Outlines of ‘Neo-Socialism’ of the 21st century: Prabir Ghosh
Neo-socialism: The genuine face of democracy
Let’s now get into the details of this system or arrangement where self-contained rural communities form the basics.
In this form of democracy, the citizens of the nation can choose by ballot their representatives. In case, the performance of the elected envoys is found to be poor, the voters will have the liberty to call off their appointment.
All inhabitants of the nation will enjoy equal economic, political and cultural rights. There won’t be any religious, racial or gender bias in the system. Disgraceful and inhuman practices like prostitution would be eradicated.
The body of representatives would be elected to establish the rule of law and equality in villages, blocks, districts and thus the whole nation. They would look after and supervise subjects and issues involving joint farming, self-sufficient villages, cooperatives, communes, inter-citizen financial parity, social justice, education, healthcare, housing, food supplies, distribution policy of essential commodities, labor policy, sports, industry and others.
They will steadily put an end to the idea of personal savings as every resident/ citizen would be looked after by the state. There will be no importance or need for personal savings if the state truthfully and sincerely owns the entire liability of issues like child education, health-care and old age distress.
In fact, there will be zero-requirement of finances in the society except in areas like foreign trade. Eventually, when all state boundaries would wither away, the whole world will become a “global-village”. So, where will we need finance in that arrangement? That’s what can be called “cash-less society”.
The question is whether the formation of this pattern of democracy of supreme equality is possible in reality? The answer is yes and we can vividly hear its vibrant footsteps in parts of India, Nepal, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Chile and Bolivia. This new order of democratic system or set-up is based on communes, collective farming and co-operatives.
Neo-Socialism is a social policy of equal opportunity,
Application of Neo-Socialism with a close look at history
It’s time we realize that Marxism won’t lose its inevitability and significance as long as there are discrimination and exploitation. However, we need to remember that unlike a conventional religion, Marxism is not a stolid and irrevocable idea. Instead, to ensure its effective and dynamic application, one needs to modify and transform it depending on a region’s socio-economic and geographical facets. This is how an appropriate strategy to effectively execute Marxism in a province can be worked out. Vladimir Lenin, Mao-Tse-Tung and Ho-Chi-Minh did this productively in the erstwhile Soviet Russia, China and Vietnam respectively.
If we go into world history we will find that the above world-shattering revolutionaries stepped aside the periphery set by Karl Marx, and still were successful in implementing his thoughts.
Let’s for an instance take up the idea of capturing state power through an armed revolution by the proletariat and examine how far this is practicable and workable at present. At the moment, such a plan will surely fall apart as the world we live in today is like a global village. Thus, any state facing an armed upsurge as was dreamt by Karl Marx would be backed up by technologically advanced nations like the USA and other advanced and aggressive countries who are extremely competent and proficient in all up-to-the-minute warfare know-how. In such asymmetrical battle, the victory of revolutionaries would be an extremely far-off possibility. If we turn a few pages of history, we have seen this happening in Colombia, Bolivia and even parts of India in late 60s.
Then what is the alternative route which can take us in building up a social system free from any exploitation, corruption and disparity?
As a case study, let’s consider our own nation. In India, 70% of its population lives in rural areas. Thus, to do any improvement in the livelihood of this majority camp, we need to upgrade the fiscal form of our rural community. To accomplish this target, we need to construct and establish self-contained villages. In other words, we need to strengthen and reinforce co-operative movement. For instance, we can consider 8 to 10 villages in a co-operative. The village dwellers will elect the office-bearers of that co-operative society, who must necessarily be inhabitants of those villages instead of outsiders. The co-operative will take the help of the government to get hold of its vested land lying barren & unproductive. Subsequently, the co-operative will supervise and carry out arrangements of joint-farming and irrigation, rural electrification through government assistance and building up of public roads. The body will also oversee purchase of essential items like tractors, improved fertilizers for quality production of crops. To do this, the co-operative may avail bank or government credit.
The produce will be proportionately distributed among all the families of the villages by the co-operative. The surplus crop will be sold in the market and the sale proceeds will be utilized in areas like supplying other essential articles to the villagers, paying off bank loans, constructing schools and health-centers, creating a range of self-help groups run by women etc. In every step, the co-operative will avail assistance from the government in the form of loans or otherwise. The logic behind is, the primary source of revenue earned by the government is through direct and indirect taxation it imposes on its citizens. Thus, the villagers as a part of this nation have every right to get financial assistance from the government.
The villagers will extend their active help to the co-operative through vigorous participation in all developmental work. This will be the basic methodology of building up self-sufficient villages or communes. These communes will gradually amplify in numbers and comprehensively bring about a radical change in the livelihood of people of a large region. Such progress of the mass in the most democratic manner is what we can term as a real uprising or an authentic people’s revolution.
Now, let’s find out whether the all devouring corruption as we see in India, can creep into this system? This is a set-up where the villagers will actively participate and contribute in the running of communes in every assemblage of self-sufficient villages. So, they will not tolerate any malpractice and dishonesty into the produce of their own labor. Any person trying anything profane will be effortlessly spotted and expelled.
There are many places in the Indian rural belts, where there is no existence of barren land under government control. In those regions, the entire land area belongs to private land owners or landlords who exploit agricultural laborers beyond all limits in cultivation of their land. In such situation, the co-operative will get hold of the land belonging to private landlords on the basis of an agreement or contract. In due compliance of such contract farming, the co-operative, at the end of year will pay back the landlord in the form of cash or crops. It’ll be unlikely for a landlord to snub this pact as they will get back their dues without being accountable for anything. In case, one does, then all agricultural labors living in that area will abstain from working in the land belonging to such landlords. Thus, the rest of the land area will develop other than those non-complying landlords. Under such pressure they would finally give up and surrender their land to the village co-operative. Once the movement of such commune based self-sufficient village gathers momentum, the co-operatives may have to acquire the land owned by unwilling landlords, if any. There is however another aspect which we need to consider in order to execute the plan. These landlords have their own private armed forces, which could foil this movement of creating self-reliant rural belts. This is what will be obvious when a section will be in favor of maintaining the status-quo of social inequality and disparity. Therefore, in this situation, the very possibility of confrontation or collision might arise.
The Indian constitution acknowledges the right to resist violence, and even kill for the sake of self-defense. Here, we must recall Mahesh and Sarita who were successful in building up self-sufficient zones some years back in Shabd Gaon area located in the Gaya district of Bihar. Eventually, both were murdered by the local mafias. Ajit Sarkar, an MLA of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), was also killed by gangsters for his attempt to build up a land related movement. Thus, there must be adequate and ample mental preparation, training, groundwork and homework to get into such conflict and battle. The very thought of “getting eliminated if we attack” would create a fear phobia into the psyche of land mafias. However, it’s very important to keep in mind that confrontation should not become the only program of the radicals. They ought to remain prepared for such battle only when it becomes unavoidable and necessary to oust the mafia terror in order to keep their construction of self-contained villages going without any disruption. This kind of creation and conflict will be a significant feature of such peoples’ revolution. We however, need to bear in mind another imperative and crucial aspect – the Cultural Movement.
There is no alternative to cultural movement before, during and after a revolution. The cadres of the movement will campaign extensively amongst the residents of the villages that belief in absurdities like fate, god, religion, spirits, holiness, sins, super-natural power, destiny, astrology, consequences of one’s actions of previous life etc are major tools of exploitation that help in maintaining social inequality and discrimination. The cadres will make every attempt to steer the people’s mind onto the path of progress and reforms but desist from imposing or using any force. They will make use of folk culture — ethnicity like songs, skits, literature, street-plays etc to inject such fresh thoughts of progressiveness and open-mindedness. They will establish rationalism and humanism in place of ‘theism’ and faith in predestination. They also need to commemorate and celebrate chains of secular festivals and events with more and more fervor in those localities. The path shown by Rabindranath Thakur, the legendary poet, lyricist, thinker and humanist can become one of our major guiding forces. It’s very important to keep in mind that this whole of cultural movement is a nonstop ongoing process and any show of negligence or slackness would give way to vices like corruption and nepotism.
This idea was discussed extensively with various political groups, leaders and parties who always dreamt to establish communism through armed revolution. As fallout of this continuous effort, we now see this fresh, effective and practical design of creating self-reliant villages based on communes and co-operatives in many parts of India. Right now the figure is very close to half of the total number of Indian districts and the number is on the rise. This movement has also spread to countries like Nepal and Venezuela. In Nepal, for instance, the rule of monarchy has been overthrown and about 80% of the area has come under the fold of such commune. In Venezuela, the battle is on under the able stewardship of Hugo Chavez against the policy of repression by the army and other fascist forces. The people of Venezuela has snubbed the global guidelines imposed by the World Bank and IMF and are working to form their own economic system based on self-reliant groups and co-operatives. The nation is expanding its democratic arrangement from the grassroots level through optimum utilization of their oil reserve and self-contained counties. The movement in Venezuela has caught up with adjoining nations like Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia etc. The people of those countries are also determined to free themselves from American imperialism. We can see the people there raising their heads in revolt and a mass upsurge is clearly in the offing.
This is what we call “Neo-Socialism” of the 21st Century. This social policy based on communes is called Maoism in Nepal and Bolivarianism in Venezuela. It won’t be irrelevant to mention that this new order is nothing but contemporary rationalism.
The fall of Soviet Russia and many other East-European nations two decades ago, disappointed and disillusioned scores of communists and other like-minded clans. We now find that this new social policy is fast becoming a very effective tool to counter the ruthless onslaught of capitalism without denying the basics of the theory propagated by Karl Marx.
The final goal
In such an ideal social order of absolute parity, everyone will get all essential commodities — whether tangible or intangible (like knowledge) according to their requirement. In such a situation, the entire concept and perception of monetary transaction and dealings will become irrelevant and meaningless.
In future, to form a cashless society based on resource based economy, we need to nurture a social model narrated above.
This is no unrealistic or absurd thought. This contemplation firmly standing on the roots of reality will usher in the final winds of change to completely revolutionize the social model. This idea is already making rounds in the minds of many socio-political thinkers all around the globe.
In a society of equality and parity, the need for cash will come to naught. This will be the ultimate corollary.