Critical Reflections on Economy and Politics in India

A Class Theory Perspective


In this book, Das presents a class-based perspective on the economic and political situation in contemporary India in a globalizing world. It deals with the specificities of India’s capitalism and neoliberalism, as well as poverty/inequality, geographically uneven development, technological change, and export-oriented, nature-dependent production. The book also deals with Left-led struggles in the form of the Naxalite/Maoist movement and trade-union strikes, and presents a non-sectarian Left critique of the Left. It also discusses the politics of the Right expressed as fascistic tendencies, and the question of what is to be done.

The book applies abstract theoretical ideas to the concrete situation in India, which, in turn, inspires rethinking of theory. Das unabashedly shows the relevance of class theory that takes seriously the matter of oppression/domination of religious minorities and lower castes.

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Biographical Note
Raju J. Das holds a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University, Columbus, and is currently a Professor at York University, Toronto. He is the author of Marxist class theory for a sceptical world (Brill, 2017).
Table of contents
Table of Contents

List of Figures, Tables, Maps and Photos


Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Class in India
2.1 Existing criticisms against class analysis of India
2.2 Approaches to class in India
2.3 A critique of existing approaches to class in India
2.4 Constructing a class-based framework
2.5 Conclusion

Chapter 3: The Capitalist Character of Class Society in Post-colonial India
3.1 The development of capitalist relations, and the barriers to this
3.2 A critique of some influential ideas in the Indian mode of production debate
3.3 Capitalism in India in the light of Marx’s distinction between formal and real subsumptions of labor
3.4 Class struggle and the (slow and uneven) transition to real subsumption of labour
3.5 Class struggle and the ‘blocked’ transition to real subsumption of labour
3.6 Possibilities of, and limits to, real subsumption of labour
3.7 Jairus Banaji’s (and others’) mistaken subsumption of labour perspective
3.8 Conclusion

Chapter 4: Capitalism in its Neoliberal Form In India
4.1 Neoliberalism: General traits
4.2 Neoliberalism in India: The context
4.3 Neoliberalism with Indian Characteristics: Eight Theses
4.4 Conclusion

Chapter 5: Capitalism and Technological Change: Examining the Technology-Poverty Relation
5.1 The literature on the Green Revolution and poverty: the thesis and the anti-thesis
5.2 The literature on the Green Revolution and poverty: a critique of neo-Malthusianism
5.3 Technology, population and poverty: a contingent relation
5.4 The Green Revolution and poverty in India: an empirical analysis
5.5 Conclusion

Chapter 6: Low-wage Neoliberal Capitalism, Social-cultural Difference, and Nature-Dependent Production
6.1 Shrimp aquaculture and the missing labourer
6.2 A labour-based approach to nature-dependent commodity production
6.3 The local, national and global contexts
6.4 Working for less and in poor conditions: ‘Capital’ negated
6.5 Making sense of low-wage capitalism: from the general to the locally specific
6.6 Conclusion

Chapter 7: Class relations, Class struggle, and the State in India
7.1 Existing views on the Indian state: A critical review
7.2 The Indian state and its class base
7.3 A coalition/alliance of proprietary classes
7.4 The Indian state, lower classes, and lower-class struggle
7.5 State form, state policy, and class struggle
7.6 The Indian state and the class contradictions of economic development
7.7 Conclusion

Chapter 8: Class Dynamics of Poverty, State Failure, and Class Struggle
8.1 Class dynamics, state failure and poverty in rural India
8.2 The Naxalite Movement as a form of lower-class-struggle
8.3 A Marxist class-theoretic critique of the Naxalite movement
8.4 Conclusion

Chapter 9: Class Struggle and State Repression in India
9.1 State response to ‘social’ movement: a conceptual discussion
9.2 The Indian state’s response to the Naxalite movement
9.3 Why does the state repress the Naxalite movement?
9.4 Conclusion

Chapter 10: Capitalist Development and Liberal-Democracy under a Right-wing Regime
10.1 BJP government’s record on economic development at the national level
10.2 The winners under the BJP regime: The capitalist class (and the richer elite)
10.3 The losers under the BJP regime: The toiling masses
10.4 BJP government’s record on protection of democratic rights
10.5 People’s response to false promises
10.6 BJP government’s right-wing character

Chapter 11: Towards a Political Economy of Fascistic Tendencies
11.1 Fascism and fascistic tendencies: Some conceptual issues
11.2 A short introduction to the fascistic movement in India
11.3 Political economy of fascistic tendencies, globally and in India
11.4 Conclusion

Chapter 12: Bourgeois-Political Dynamics of Fascistic Tendencies
12.1 The failure of ‘reformist democracy’ to weaken fascistic tendencies
12.2 The BJP, the Fascistic Movement, and (neoliberal-peripheral) capitalism
12.3 Political techniques of the Fascistic Movement
12.4 The contradictory character of the BJP
12.5 Conclusion

Chapter 13: Forward March of the Right and the Relative Weakness of the Left: What is to be Done?
13.1 A general theory of Left Politics in an age of fascistic threats/tendencies
13.2 Left forces in India: Their strength and weakness
13.2 The Indian Left and the two forms of the fight against fascist tendencies
13.4 Such a big compromise?: Return to Vladimir Lenin
13.5 Conclusion

Chapter 14: Conclusions and Reflections


University teachers and students interested in political economy and politics of India and South Asia will find the book useful. Those interested in concrete applications of class theory will also find value in it.
Index Card