Anarcho-environmentalism allegorised

The name Anaarkali in the present context has many meanings - Anaar symbolises the anarchism of the Bhils and kali which means flower bud in Hindi stands for their traditional environmentalism. Anaar in Hindi can also mean the fruit pomegranate which is said to be a panacea for many ills as in the Hindi idiom - "Ek anar sou bimar - One pomegranate for a hundred ill people"! - which describes a situation in which there is only one remedy available for giving to a hundred ill people and so the problem is who to give it to. Thus this name indicates that anarcho-environmentalism is the only cure for the many diseases of modern development! Similarly kali can also imply a budding anarcho-environmentalist movement. Finally according to a legend that is considered to be apocryphal by historians Anarkali was the lover of Prince Salim who was later to become the Mughal emperor Jehangir. Emperor Akbar did not approve of this romance of his son and ordered Anarkali to be bricked in alive into a wall in Lahore in Pakistan but she escaped. Allegorically this means that anarcho-environmentalists can succeed in bringing about the escape of humankind from the self-destructive love of modern development that it is enamoured of at the moment and they will do this by simultaneously supporting women's struggles for their rights.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Property and Poverty

The French anarchist Pierre Joseph Proudhon famously said "property is theft". Property invariably is built up from a misappropriation of the labour of others and the resources of nature. This is the process that leads to the material poverty of a vast majority of people whose labour and natural resource bases get pilfered and the intellectual and spiritual poverty of the propertied few who do this pilfering. Thus as long as there is property and a state system to ensure that this property grows and is well protected there will always be mass poverty. The people who live closest to nature and by the dint of their labour - indigenous people like the Bhil adivasis - are the ones who suffer most from material poverty.

Thus to do away with poverty of all kinds it is necessary to do away with property of all kinds which in turn means the jettisoning of the state system and the adoption of communitarian lifestyles. Even though Karl Marx had criticised Proudhon for his anarchist economic and philosophical prescriptions it has now become clear that centralised states regardless of ideology and even if they are purportedly run by political parties of the working class, invariably end up accumulating property and spawning poverty of various kinds not least that of the environment. In fact Proudhon's prediction that, as long as there was property whether individual or social, there could not be liberty, equality and justice has been rudely vindicated even in the so-called socialist societies.

Even though capitalist societies have definitely created much more poverty worldwide and are still doing so at a horrendous rate, it has to be noted with sadness that the communists too have contributed their mite to this grisly process. Possibly the most heinous communist crackdown on anarchism and so the possibility of the abolition of poverty is the massacre of the brave sailors and their families in the port of Kronstadt near Leningrad in March 1921 by the Bolsheviks. These sailors had earlier played a crucial role in the victory of the Bolsheviks in the October revolution of 1917 but they were butchered because they dared to support the demand of the workers and peasants of the fledgling Soviet communist state for more autonomy in deciding production a basic requirement of liberty and equality. Read more about this obscure but significant bit of Russian history here. Below is an artist's sketch of this massacre.

This blog is dedicated to the espousing of the richness of Bhil adivasi culture and lifestyle and the baring of the poverty of modern civilisation. This year Blog Action Day promoted by Blogger for October 15th is to have poverty as its theme. Since this blog because of its commitment to Bhil renewal has as its main concern the removal of poverty of all kinds, it will have upto blog action day, posts related to this theme.


Anonymous said...

The amusing thing is that of all those that have opposed capitalism from an emancipatory point of view, only the Soviet communists built something of an alternative- anarchists and others have merely cried foul and remained paper tigers.

It is only those who do something that also make mistakes. Anarchists and others can pile up mountains of criticism but the fact remains that it was the Bolsheviks who carried out a successful assault on state power.

Rahul Banerjee said...

The anarchists consider centralised organisations to be anathema and so cannot posit a concerted challenge to the centralised state because a centralised party is required for this. That is why the Russian Anarchists aligned themselves with the Bolsheviks to challenge the Tsarist state. There is no intention here of belittling the achievements of the Bolsheviks. The point being made is that the promise of emancipation was not fulfilled and in the process the anarchist supporters of the revolution were ruthlessly sacrificed.
There has been enough criticism of the depredations of capitalism but there also has to be an internal critique of bolshevism if a challenge is to be mounted once again against capitalism.
Even though anarchists have not been able to mount such a concerted challenge against capitalism there isolated efforts both in the field and in theory do provide a valuable resource that can be drawn upon to augment a future challenge to capitalism.

Nila-kantha-chandra said...

Thanks for emphasising some basic truths! Thanks also for the information about Blog Action Day, with poverty as its theme.

Rahul Banerjee said...

one of the most difficult things to do is question our own beliefs and biases. nothing can be all rosy and without thorns. so it is important to be aware of the thorns too.

Nila-kantha-chandra said...

been silent for a while, come on...

Rahul Banerjee said...

I try to maintain quality in my posts. this requires a lot of research and thought before writing. Whenever I am busy with other writing work related to the various projects in which I am involved it becomes very difficult to post on the blog. especially as i intend to do a series of posts on poverty leading upto blog action day on october 15th. I will start posting again in a day or so and then things will begin moving again.