COMMENT: The rot deepens — Lal Khan
Elections and democracy on a capitalist basis can in no way guarantee ending of repression or extinguish the rise of neo-fascist tendencies
The brutal firing and gruesome killings at a rally in Karachi is yet another episode that epitomises the downward spiral into which society and the state is unravelling disastrously. Under the deafening din of democracy, reconciliation, rule of law and independent judiciary, the economic meltdown is taking its toll on the beleaguered masses in the form of escalating violence, crime and bloodshed. This is adding insult to injury for people who are suffering ferocious price hikes, torturous load shedding, crippling poverty, agonising unemployment, pathetic healthcare, unaffordable education and unprecedented deprivation. The viciousness of the assault on the rally in Karachi on May 22, killing even women and children, exhibited a harrowing mindset and a rampant lumpenisation. While society is beset with such misery and tragedy, repression of the state and its agencies upon the bereaved masses has become even more intrusive and tyrannical.
The abductions, torture, killings and mutilations of political activists have intensified. This also signifies internecine conflicts of various stakeholders within the beleaguered state apparatus of class oppression. The arrogance of these agencies in the hearings of the missing persons’ case in Balochistan depicts their rogue nature and breakdown of the military’s British-built chain of command. It has resulted in shattering of the confidence of the military top brass; their indecisiveness has never been so blatant. As the atrocities in Balochistan and Sindh go on unabated, there is a pathetic indifference amongst the political and military elite. The judiciary’s incapacity is reflected in its impotent rage. But if the state institutions have been eroded by intrusion of black capital, the elite of monetary politics that dominates society is also drenched in the informal economy that constitutes two thirds of Pakistan’s total economy. This black capital that originates from extortion, ransom, robberies, corruption, the drug trade and other criminal activities helps those very mafia bosses to infiltrate into the political superstructure. Hence, the ideological positions of an evil nexus of generals, bureaucrats, landlords and bourgeois politicians are restricted within the confines of the interests of this rogue capital. It is bound to direct and determine their policies. This black economy has grown as a tumour in this capitalist economy and has metastasised far too deep for this system to recover. Pakistani capitalism is in a condition of terminal decay but it would not abdicate on its own. Unless it is overthrown by a revolutionary insurrection, its semi-dead corpse will be a burden on society, choking the lives of the teeming millions.
Elections and democracy on a capitalist basis can in no way guarantee ending of repression or extinguish the rise of neo-fascist tendencies. Let us not forget, Hitler was an elected chancellor of Germany in 1933. After the defeat of three revolutions in Germany during the preceding decade, the failure to build a united front between the German Communist Party (KPD) and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the excruciating economic crisis led to the rise of fascism. There is hardly any difference in the economic programmes of all mainstream parties in Pakistan today. Hence, violence inevitably becomes an intrinsic part of their political methodology. The intensifying economic crisis aggravates mutual conflicts of drug barons and gangsters masquerading as political leaders. They use ethnicity, national chauvinism, religious bigotry, racism and other prejudices of the past to fight out these wars of attrition. The neo-fascist overtones in the mayhem in Karachi were palpable.
With further economic devastation, this crass bloodletting and socioeconomic distress will escalate. Along with the other tasks of a national democratic revolution, the Pakistani bourgeoisie has despicably failed to solve the national question. In a period of social and economic stagnation, this has become more acute and gangrenous. In Balochistan and Sindh, where national oppression has been chronic, the crises of the state and economy have made it even more callous. The US, China, India, Saudi Arabia and Iran amongst others use these nationalist conflicts in their proxy wars, being fought for their lust of mineral resources, wealth and strategic interests in these tragic lands. Imperialism has used national deprivation to further its hegemony throughout history. A new great game is now ravaging Afghanistan and Pakistan. The demand for a mohajir province itself exposed the failure of Pakistan to become a modern unified nation state. It is the agony of a festering wound inflicted by partition that cleaved the subcontinent through religious frenzy, with millions drowned in blood. It is clear that the national question cannot be resolved in this crisis-riddled capitalism. The ruling elite instead of resolving it is using it as a ploy to distract the impending class struggle. Such tinkering exacerbates hatreds and more bloodshed and conflagration erupts. New provinces in a sinking economy would not solve any of the burning problems of the toiling classes of the oppressed nationalities. If military rule is a curse for the people, this democratic facade has brought vexing misery and destitution. The Pakistan People’s Party became a sign of the working classes during the upheaval of 1968 due to its socialist programme. The reversion of the present leadership into policies of neoliberal capitalism have pulverised society. With a relative lull in society, after the defeat of the movement around Benazir Bhutto in 2007, the masses were in despair. Their hopes were decimated by a democracy of the rich, by the rich and for the rich. What they got is there for everyone to see. It is a fallacy and delusional to expect any amelioration from the rich and the powerful. Karl Marx wrote long ago, “Social reforms are never carried out by the weakness of the strong, but always by the strength of the weak.” The rot that has set in will continue to deteriorate as long as this system remains imposed. No one else will deliver fundamental rights of the proletariat for them; they will have to unite, fight and win their own class war. Nothing less than a social revolution can end this eternal misery and emancipate society.
The writer is the editor of Asian Marxist Review and International Secretary of Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign. He can be reached at email@example.com