The media is also mostly staffed by the non-government servant middle class. So it is natural that it will take up the cause of the non-government servant middle class. Though why the upper class controllers of the media have gone along with this is something that requires deeper reflection. Possibly they see this cynically as a way to increase viewership and readership and so garner more advertisement revenues as they know that the movement has limited goals which will not really harm their interests. The middle classes do not want to give up their consumerist culture but at the same time want to be free of corruption. If you tell them that there has to be a radical reorganisation of the development process and the sacrifice of many comforts that we now enjoy, the consumerist culture in particular, then you will not get the same kind of support. In fact Anna Hazare does mouth such statements as "gram swaraj and decentralisation are the need of the hour" but this gets drowned out in the Lokpal Bill cacophony while at at the same time giving him a selfless Gandhian halo. It was this kind of halo that helped Gandhi also to become a messiah of the masses. It would be interesting to see whether Anna can succeed where Gandhi failed and overturn the modern industry based development model for an anarchist decentralised village based model of development. Though the chances are low given that like Gandhi, Anna too has a weak understanding of the logic of capitalist accumulation and especially of the kleptocratic dispensation that presently rules the world from Wall Street.
Thus, Anna Hazare, himself is not important, he just happened to be the man of the moment when he launched his movement in April at a time when possibly the non-government servant middle class, and especially those suffering from their home loan, vehicle loan, education loan and credit card repayment rates shooting skywards due to runaway inflation (caused not a little by corruption), had had enough. I am sure that Anna and his team were themselves surprised by the huge response they got and are getting. The movement is still of a spontaneous nature and it remains to be seen whether it does assume a more coordinated shape in future and what is the kind of political program and strategy it adopts beyond getting a good, strong Lokpal Act which now seems to be a certainty.
Anyway, what is important here is that the middle class have come out on to the streets. They are obviously more powerful than the peasants and the industrial proletariat currently and have more clout with the ruling class because of their greater articulation, intellectual formalism and purchasing power. Obviously the lokpal bill is a half measure and wont really do much, in the same way as the Right to Information Act has proved to be more or less a failure because the Information Commissions have not handed down the penalties they should have done to recalcitrant public information officers. So in all likelihood, like in the case of many other laws that are there to regulate corruption, the Lokpal Act too will be sabotaged after it is passed. but that is the next stage of the movement when the middle class will have to start thinking more deeply. For the present it is a positive development that what the left and fringe players like environmentalists and anarchis
The Congress has been trying to discredit the movement by saying that it is trying to usurp the power of parliament to make laws and it has been suggesting that the IAC should contest and win elections and then make laws of their choice. However, this criticism it appears has not held water with the mass of middle class supporters of the IAC. The level of corruption in elections is so well known that everyone knows that it is not possible to win them without money power. Thus, if elections have to be won, then corruption must go first! Actually elections are a different ball game altogether. They involve crores of people and the IAC at the moment can tot up only a few lakhs across the country and not enough to even save the deposit in any constituency. Therefore, one of the shrewdest moves of the IAC team is to declare that they are not interested in contesting elections but only in creating public pressure on the already elected lawmakers to do the right thing. The IAC leadership team consists of people who are well versed in the constitutional nitty gritties and the finer points of bourgeois liberal democracy. Their challenge is from within the liberal democratic fold and that is why it is so potent and has also got the media to support it as compared to the mobilisations of the left which have on occasions been much bigger.
All in all there is much to celebrate in these happenings as they are an indication of the vibrancy of people's politics in this country. Delhi has now become the stage for a real life Ramlila.