Financial Bankruptcies Rock the US, Bombs and Communal Violence Rock India

Seven years after 9/11, fear of a different kind seems to have gripped the US. Riding on a spate of mega bankruptcies, a huge dark shadow has resurfaced in the US, reminding the whole world of the Great Depression of the late 1920s and early 1930s. When flagship American financial giants tumble like ninepins and the state has to bail out companies that claimed to ‘insure’ people against risks of every kind, it is not difficult to see why the fear of 1929 should once again spread like a contagion.

If the fear that pervades the American system appears familiar, no less so are the ways the system tries to overcome the fear and ‘reassure’ itself. Mega bankruptcies have triggered massive bailout packages, forcing the state to shelve its ‘free market’ doctrine and nationalise the huge losses left in its wake by the deflating financial bubble. The bankruptcies have exposed the bluff daily dished out by the proponents of privatisation who equate privatisation with efficiency, and the bailout packages have once again made it clear how capitalism cannot survive without heavy periodic doses of state intervention. Globalisation has made no difference to the classic capitalist principle of privatisation of profit and nationalisation of loss.

We must also remember the other classic fact about US imperialism. Every time the vulnerability of the American system gets exposed, the system responds with its tested and trusted policy of systematic economic and military aggression to export its crisis to other parts of the world. The excuses have ranged from ‘free trade’ and ‘development’ to ‘democracy’ and a ‘terror-free world’; but the pattern has been the same – a combination of war, hot and cold, and relentless economic expansion. Even as financial chaos spreads like wildfire in the US market, Venezuela and Bolivia are having to cope with renewed US-inspired coup attempts, the ‘war on terror’ has spilled over from Afghanistan into Pakistan and in Georgia the US is seeking a new base to encircle Russia and target Iran.

Any crisis faced by the US these days has a louder resonance in India too, for the Indian ruling classes have pushed the country into a tight strategic embrace with the crisis-ridden superpower. Every time Wall Street sneezes, Dalal Street in ‘aamchi Mumbai’ promptly catches the contagious cold. The Sensex takes a nosedive, wiping out billions of rupees in a few seconds even as prices of almost all essential commodities soar through the roof. The powers that be ask us to celebrate the crisis imported straight from America and promise redemption through an ever more comprehensive strategic partnership between New Delhi and Washington. And even as the US continually twists our arms over the nuclear deal, bombs explode at regular intervals all over urban India to warn us that we are fast turning into a typical outpost of the US ‘empire of terror’.

If the neo-liberal economic policies exposed the entire Indian economy to systematic American penetration, the nuclear deal and the ‘war on terror’ now threaten to invite increasing American ‘involvement’ in India’s domestic affairs. Meanwhile, in the wake of the recent blasts in Delhi, the BJP has renewed its clamour for re-enactment of POTA and the Congress, while ruling out the return of POTA, has promised tougher anti-terror laws. Beyond the domain of legislation, the competitive anti-terrorist rhetoric of the Congress and the BJP continues to fuel anti-Muslim prejudices across the country. The Sangh brigade is using this environment to the hilt to refuel its communal fascist agenda and anti-minority campaign. The Sangh’s campaign of anti-Chirstian violence has already spread from Orissa to Chhattisgarh and Karnataka, and in UP, Sangh outfits are working overtime to whip up anti-Muslim communal frenzy. They are even physically preventing lawyers in UP from taking up cases of Muslims who have been charged with perpetrating or abetting any terrorist activity.

In the name of tackling terrorism, the US has imposed a global war on the world. Similarly, in India, the Sangh brigade has been using anti-terrorist rhetoric to intensify its campaign of communal fascist violence. Nothing could pose a bigger threat to India than a combination or convergence of these two ominous trends under the patronage of the state and the ruling classes.

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