Social Scientist. v 17, no. 194-95 (July-Aug 1989) p. 3.


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ASHOK MITRA"

Building Block by Building Block:

A Tribute to Muzaffar Ahmad

Does not romanticism constitute at least one-half of what passes for communist faith? A communist is a revolutionary, pledged to the demolition of the existing social structure. He, in the beginning, as good as builds castles in the air. It is perhaps still the regime of feudalism;

the intrusion of foreign capital and domestic primary accumulation both are of a perfunct6ry nature and the masses are stuck to the mores and levels of consciousness of the Middle Ages. Alternately, it is really the heyday of the transnational corporations: they call the tune, at each stage, in the running of the polity, formal independence does not me^n a thing, merchant capital from overseas determines who the country's nominal rulers are going to be/the army and the police are heavily infiltrated, the terms of trade are permanently tilted against the country's exports, the stratagem of transfer pricing makes a mockery of so-called free market transactions in the international sphere, most of the populace live a claustrophobic existence, they take it for granted that, along with laws of nature, they have to take for granted the laws of exploitation of man by man too, they are to be imposed upon for ever, for generations together, and that is all history is about. Literacy is denied to the masses, along with the basic needs of health, nutrition and sanitation. Occasional famines and boats of pestilence kill off thousands of the citizenry, if you could call them that, for most often the right of suffrage and other such fundamental human rights remain beyond their pale. Even if they have the vote, they, for dear life, can exercise it only in terms of guidelines laid down by the gentry. Irrespective of whether the imperialists continue to rule directly, or compradors of this or that description are nominally in charge, the setting is without question that of medieval tyranny.

Only a romantic of an extraordinary genre, belonging to a far out sect of day-dreamers, can look forward to a communist future in this ambience, or hypothesise with any seriousness about a fundamental restructuring of production relations and, along with it, of other human relations. Such people will be a handful. They will have to operate stealthily, and lead a clandestine existence. They will suffer. Some of

* Advisory Editor, Social Scientist.



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