Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Indian Political trends - Part III. Demographic shifts and emergence of an aspiring Indian middle class.

                                                                                                                   John Samuel
For a generation born after the 1980s, there is less patience for the ‘long-term’ promises or for that matter an ‘analytical’ paradigm that would bring ‘long-lasting’ changes.   The generation that emerged in the late eighties and nineties got a different set of expectations and many of them do not have the ‘nostalgia’ of the idealists and principled political leaders who emerged through the freedom struggles or grew up in the ‘nation-building’ phase of the ‘free’ India. The generation of the 1990s was less inclined to look at the past-struggles or the nostalgia of the ‘great Indian’ variety as they grew up in an era of new aspirations of the neo-liberal era. In the last twenty five years, globalisation of media, communication and information also raised the level of aspirations and young people wanted better paid jobs, and wanted to exploit the new opportunities like the latest technology, travelling and other consumption options that money offered.  It is during the last twenty five years, that the nature and character of education and campus politics too shifted. 

So a whole range of new aspirations and expectations emerged in different band-width ‘income’ groups. Those third or fourth generation graduates aspired to become well-paid professionals in the global market for high-skilled labour. However, the first generation graduated or semi-skilled workers have few opportunities to climb the income ladder, even though their level of aspirations has also increased due to the exposure to information, consumer market as well as consumer choice. Many of those in the relatively low-income segment (earning less than twenty five thousand in a month) also found that the new urban housing or high rise buildings are way beyond their economic capacity. For them, a decent housing, electricity, water, petrol price and a stable job mattered more than long term promises of ‘revolution’ or ‘egalitarian world. 

The aspiring lower-middle class has significantly increased during the neoliberal era. They have migrated from villages to small towns and small towns to big cities in search for better opportunities. The two decades of economic growth played in multiple ways. On the one hand it provided new opportunities for the middle-class to move in to the high income group and for the vulnerable poor better options for education and employment opportunities. However, the very same economic growth model also deprived the very same aspiring lower-middle class population of the chance to live out their aspirations as their there has been a disjunction between their aspirations, hopes and the real income.  As the economy growth slowed down and large corporations and stock-market driven economic paradigm began to dominate, many of the small and medium scale industries began to suffer, creating new insecurities and vulnerabilities within the aspiring lower middle class.  With more access to information (TV, Internet, Mobile), there is an increasing awareness about the increasing gap between rhetoric and reality; promises and performances of government

Most of the political leaders who grew up on the ideological framework of the nineteenth or twentieth century often could not understand or appreciate the anxieties, expectations and discontent of a significant majority of young people from middle class and aspiring middle class. Many of them saw politics as ‘dirty’, politicians as ‘thieves’ or politics as a career to amass wealth and power.  Political parties were seen as gangs of criminals that consisted of only the rich and the ‘babas and babies’ of the ‘political’ families. While the relatively younger class felt an aversion towards political party establishments and the ‘rich and powerful’ that controlled the political party establishments, they were aspiring for a new politics of assertion, aspirations and performance.  It is the political discontent as well as the political cynicism of the upper-middle class that the AAP tried to mobilise through anti-corruption initiatives, ‘clean’ politics and post-ideological politics. The traditional left completely failed to capture the mood of the younger generation that grew in the neoliberal era. While the left made fantastic ideological critiques and managed party establishments where they managed to retain the governmental power, the traditional left completely failed to engage and negotiate with a pan-Indian aspiring middle class and address policy and political initiatives.

The key issue has been that political party establishments paradoxically become too top-heavy with lots of baggage of power and paraphernalia to be flexible to the emerging generational shift and situation.  Most of the aspiring middle class or middle class professionals found it extremely difficult to deal with ‘closed-spaces’ and ‘insulated leadership’ of political party establishment. The top-heavy leadership of political parties ‘interacted’ with ordinary people only during elections and that too from the large podium or from a ‘comfortable’ and ‘safe’ distance. Those young political leaders in many political parties emerged due to their kinship or lineage rather than their quality or leadership competence.  There is hardly any space for the politically aware middle class people to join the political party establishments as they are still in the old mode driven by old structures.

It is in this space AAP as a new political party with fresh faces from the aspiring middle class emerged and the innovative ideas and political imagination helped them to outsmart the traditional modes of organising, campaigning and communicating used by the established political parties.  This was evident in the entirely different modes of campaign tactics and communications strategies between AAP and established political parties such as BJP and congress.   While AAP reclaimed the voluntary spaces of activism and contribution at the grassroots level, established political parties operated on top-down management of campaigns managed with funds largely raised from corporate business interests. The perceived dominance of crony capitalism, and the huge distance between rhetoric and reality as well as promises and performance created a set of new discontent among the electorate in Delhi.  However, it is the promise of a clean politics and responsive, inclusive and performing government devoid of corruption that captured the imagination a large number of people. Now the key challenge for the leadership of AAP is to transform the huge positive energy that it derived from an unprecedented electoral verdict into governance with integrity, imagination as well as performance to make a real difference in the lives of the poor and marginalised. The question is whether the second coming of the Aam Aadmi party  be able to herald a new era of politics of promises and hope and whether they will be able to keep the promise for change?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Indian Political Trends: Part II.Emergence of Civic Politics and Monitory democracy.

                                                                                                                    John Samuel
The last twenty five years have witnessed a paradigm shift in the political process. Till the early eighties, politics was to a large extent driven by a state-centric discourse, where the primary stakeholders were the political executive and an entrenched bureaucracy.  Media did play a watch dog, though the print media itself operated largely based on the available information or information supplied by the state.   

The emergency, during 1975-1977, for the first time demonstrated the perils of a state-centric politics and how the powerful bureaucratic -political cartel could subvert democracy and suspend fundamental rights. In a sense the emergency was a wake-up call to the citizens and civil society that Indian democracy could not be taken for granted.  Emergency was in many ways a shock-treatment to the Indian political process, unleashing new political forces and consequent emergence of number of political parties and actors. The period between 1977 and 1982 witnessed dramatic shifts in the Indian political process in a number of ways and one of the major shifts was the emergence of an active civil society process.  The emergence of PUCL, environmental and citizen activism of KSSP( Kerala Sasthra sahitya Parishat) and the publication of the first citizen’s report on environment etc were harbingers of a new civic politics in India. While the Congress party itself faced internal challenges, the Janatha experiment got reincarnated into number of new political parties and actors and the BJP too emerged during this phase in its third incarnation after Jansangh and Jantha party  phase.

The civic politics combined active social action through social mobilisation and public policy advocacy through knowledge, research and policy proposals. While Gandhian organisations organised civil society and civic spaces in the 1940s and 1950s for political and social actions, by the late 1950s most of the Gandhian organisations got sucked in to the periphery of the state and began to work as para-governmental organisations and networks.  However, the revitalised civic social and political spaces, in post-emergency era were informed by Gandhian ethics as well as left and left- of centre perspectives. While political scientists like Prof. Rajni Kothari recognised the relevance and the need for non-party political process, established political parties with strong left as well as right ideological inclinations questioned the emergence of social action groups and new social movements. While the proponents of the left political party establishment accused them of being ‘handmaids of imperialism’, the right-wing sangh parivar saw this as a ‘western conspiracy’ to covert India. Both the traditional right-wing and left-wing political party establishments were sceptical of any ‘politics’ beyond the ‘state-centric’ discourse. One of the major issues of contesting the political and social legitimacy of these formations was the role of ‘foreign funding’ – and it is due to the active protest against the emergency regime that the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act was introduced in 1976. In spite of political party establishments questioning the intentions, integrity and political legitimacy, there has been a resurgence of civic action and political process in different parts of India. 

These formations ranged from networked middle-class organisations such as the KSSP, to movements of adivasies, slum dwellers, environmental networks and the emergence of a number of new knowledge-research institutions. Their work included providing direct services and support to marginalised groups, social mobilisation, research and advocacy. A majority of these formations were inspired by Gandhian modes of social action, social democratic streams and politics of new social movements. In spite of vehement criticism and opposition, over the last twenty five years, an active civic political space emerged through social movements against displacement, environmentally disastrous projects and against bonded as well as child labour. A broader human rights movement for women’s rights, child rights and rights of the marginalised groups also emerged.  The right to education, the right to health and the rights of minorities etc got accentuated in the public sphere and political discourse through civic social and political action along with policy advocacy.

 The issues of environment, women’s rights, human rights, rights of adivasies and dalit communities etc. were brought into the centre of main-stream political discourse by a new generation of civic activists who were doing politics beyond the established political party framework and electoral politics.  The continuous and consistent work of civil society formations, civic activists and civic social movements also created a new culture of monitoring governance and public policy. 
The advocacy for most of the progressive legislations and public policy first began in the civic political and social space. Advocacy for the right to information, right to education , right to health, right to work and campaign to stop violence against women etc eventually created political demand for legislations, policies and programme.

With the emergence of Television, new media, social networking and a revolution in communication, knowledge-advocacy and monitoring of governance and governance institutions became more effective.  The right to information and information revolution through internet and social media created a new generation of civic politics and civic activists.  Unlike the traditional NGOs or highly institutionalised entities, the new network of citizens with more access to information and more technical competence and professional credentials began to engage in civic politics as active citizens. This new generation of civic activists and proponents of civic politics made significant change in the way politics operated in India. They began to be more and more vocal about corruption, the gap between rhetoric and reality and the gap between promises and performance. They have widely made use of the right to information and technology to reach out a large number of citizens. They have outgrown the traditional print and TV Media.

This generational shift in civic politics beyond the conventional political parties, NGOs or even new social movements influenced the Indian political and policy making process in number of ways.  The new proponents of civic politics have been professionals with income and drawn largely from the urban-middle class background.  Their global exposure and better access to information and technology gave them an edge over the previous generation of civil society organisation and civic activists.  Since main-stream politics have been dominated by political party establishment and the entry was restricted largely through traditional feeder mechanism or horizontal cooption through family or interest network, many of the new generation of politically aware young people chose to be active in civic politics by monitoring governance and actively questioning the legitimacy of established political elites. Campaign against corruption mobilised a large number of young people concerned about the subversion of electoral politics through the excessive use of money and muscle by the political party establishments.

The emergence of a new generation of civic politics in the last few years was partly a response to the crisis of the traditional political party establishment and partly due to the shift in the mode of information, mode of technology and thus the consequence was a mode of paradigm shift in communicative action. Political parties or even the government could no longer ‘control’ and ‘manage’ information- and the new generation of civic activists made strategic use of information, knowledge and technology to challenge the claims of government or to question the gap between the promises and performance of political class.

Due to the shift in access to information, shifts in modes of communication and more informed citizens,  politics is no longer about ‘selling dreams’ or  making promises or managing perception. Today a large majority of people in the urban settings or in small towns have access to mobile devices and far faster modes of accessing as well as analysing information. So with a generational shift in the demographic pattern the ‘old media’ mediations do not work; and people expect promises to be translated in to performance that has implications in their practical life and choices.

 The representative democracy is no longer enough to derive ‘legitimacy’ in a new era where there are more options and opportunities to get access to information to constantly monitor the performance of a government. Rhetoric no longer works beyond a few months as the information can no longer be controlled and people have learnt how to see through the bluff

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Indian Political Trends : Part I.The second coming of Aam Admi : The politics of despair and hope

                                                                                                          John Samuel
Politics plays out through multiple negotiations of power and perceptions.  Within the context of a nation-state, the politics of the state is in constant negotiation with the politics of the people, particularly in relation to the promises made, actual performance and people’s perceptions. The legitimacy of a government often depends on the organic link between the promises and performance and how perceptions are created or managed to derive the legitimacy required to survive in power. This social contract is based on the legitimacy of power, core principles of governance, and the performance of the government. However, the principle of the new social contract also includes accountability, transparency, responsiveness, inclusiveness and participation as an integral part of political legitimacy. When there is a disjuncture between the principles, promises, performance and general perception, there is a crisis of political legitimacy. This often plays out in multiple ways through the electoral process.
The recent election to the Delhi state assembly in many ways indicates multiple shifts in the Indian political and democratic process.  The electoral performance of a particular party or a candidate  is indicative of the general mood or perception of a particular electorate within a socio-political context. The nature and character of such verdicts also indicate the possible shifts in the perception and power dynamics within a given society at a particular point in time. In the last fifty years, Indian politics and its democratic process have witnessed different shifts in the way power and perception are negotiated through the electoral network and performances.

What does the landslide victory of AAP in the recent Delhi Assembly Election indicate? There have been hundreds of analytical articles and perspectives offered after the rather unprecedented electoral performance of a relatively new political party. The responses vary from jubilation, celebration, and cautioned optimism, critical appreciation to scepticism, grudging admiration and explicit dismissiveness.  While the traditional political parties and other fellow-travellers are seriously trying to understand the new challenger on the horizon, the outward posturing is that of bravado along with deep scepticism.   It is expected that when a ‘credible’ threat risks upsetting the core business of established political parties, there will certainly be opposition to the new actor with a new political agenda competing in the same market for power and perception. This is part of the reason that many of the established political parties and their die-hard believers look with a microscope to find fault with the AAP or anybody and its associates.  Some are concerned about the lack of ‘ideological’ clarity and purity of AAP, while others are simply being dismissive that such passing aberrations happened and disappeared in the past. Some are sure that the AAP is not going to perform and are certain that the party will slowly transform and become like any other traditional political party. A large group are convinced that the AAP is actually a B team of the BJP as a part of the Nagpur plan of RSS, while others are worried about the ‘upper-caste’ character of AAP and how it is not pro-women or pro-dalit etc.  All such responses follow the same old expected pattern, though those who predicted the decimation and eventual disappearance of AAP seem to be a bit concerned and worried about the potential and possibilities of a new challenger to demolish the vote share and ‘electoral’ market of the established actors.
Politics, particularly electoral politics, is a messy affair.  Clean slates of fresh values, ideals or rhetoric of lofty principles are attributes we expect of the people in a perfect world, although in the real world of imperfections, electoral politics reflects the tensions, compromises, aspirations, anxieties, prides and prejudices of society. The relevance or irrelevance of a political formation is within a given space and time. As such, its ability to negotiate with the diverse perceptions and its relative competence to validate them relative to that of other actors, remain in an ambivalent grey zone.
The rather unprecedented victory of the AAP indicates the politics of despair as well as politics of hope. The politics of despair arises from the wide-spread discontent against authoritarian tendencies, the increasing gap between promises and performance, the big difference between rhetoric and reality as well as a widely shared concern about the insecurities of minority communities. The politics of hope was largely due to the positive agenda of clean inclusive politics that promised more responsive governance, free of corruption.  Politics of hope is also due to the promises made to the poor and marginalised communities, particularly in relation to water, electricity, schools and health facilities.  While there are many sceptics and critics of the politics of AAP, the victory of AAP has rekindled the hope in Indian democracy amongst millions of ordinary people across India.
There are three underlying trends that indicate a shift in the Indian political process and the emergence of a new generation of political actors and leaders in the next ten years. These are:
a) Internal and external crisis of traditional political parties and a marketisation of electoral politics.
b) The emergence of a new civic politics and monitory democracy.
c) The emergence of an aspiring as well as vulnerable new middle class across India.
These trends need to be seen in the context of an increasingly entrenched nexus between corporate business elites and political elites on the one hand and the nexus between corporate driven media and political perceptions on the other. While the process of governance is taken over by a new nexus of bureaucratic –technocratic- policy elites, there is an increasing marginalisation of poor and marginalised communities, covered up in the rhetoric of ‘good governance’ and ‘development’. The emergence of new politics is a result of multiple discontents in the traditional Indian political and governance process.

1)   Crisis of political parties and marketisation of electoral politics

 Representative democracy largely operates through established multi-party political process. The health of a democracy and political process is to a large extent dependent upon the health of a political party system in a given country. In the first fifty years of Independence, the main-stream political parties such as the Indian National Congress, Left Parties, and regional parties and then the Jan-Sangh/BJP negotiated the representational democracy through the institutional structures and process of the political parties. However, when an established political party became the power-establishment, contestation between individual interests and the broader ideals of political parties became a primary issue. Those with the resources influence and power (inherited or acquired) began to dominate the political party process.  Most of the political parties began as membership based socio-political movements with mass participation.  However, now, with the emergence of a neoliberal era, we see ‘market forces’ dominating public policy, social choices, and the media, eventually dominating the perceptions of the people. We see that politics itself has been reduced to ‘selling’ a product/brand/ image in the market place for votes. Election campaigns began to be less and less membership driven and started looking more and more like a performance or an advertisement campaign designed to alter perceptions and thus rope in the votes.

This ‘marketisation’ of electoral politics that was used for manipulating perceptions and voter-choices began to undermine the traditional structures of political parties at the grassroots level. Those at the grassroots level became mere implementers of an “advertising” or “marketing” based campaign strategy designed by the experts for the top-leadership. In other words, the grassroots members of political parties were robbed off their “sense of agency” and eventually “sense of ownership”.
The marketisation of electoral politics and top-down management of political parties looked more ‘efficient’ and effective to keep the “electoral competitive edge” of established political parties. However, marketisation of any product or process or institutions requires funds and investments. And in the neoliberal era, the big-time corporate houses or business interests began to invest in elections, political parties, and leaders. The process that began in the late eighties emerged as a well-oiled nexus, in the last twenty five years, between the corporate and political elites.

While  elections have become a market exercise for influencing and capturing vote share, the media was reduced to a negotiating agent used by political managers and business investors, and political parties began to be dominated by ‘up-ward’ mobile career- politicians.  In this sense, market, media and management began to influence the political party establishments. Those with links in the market, media and management began to dominate the structures and decision making bodies of most of the political party establishments.  In the last twenty years, we see that the grassroots fund-raising or member-ship drives of most of the political parties declined and the total budgets and funds from the corporate lobby increased exponentially. Political parties themselves also found investors to launch media channels for the party propaganda, and entertainment. This also meant that those with the blessings of big businesses or major donors to political parties began to get seats and acquire political clout in different parties. Millionaires could easily buy themselves into seats in the parliament or even join a political party at the very top. As political parties have become new “investment vehicles” in the neoliberal era for “policy returns” and “tax-rebates”, politics itself has become a ‘dhanda’ – a business.  And ‘crony capitalism’ was  seen as a part of the entrenched nexus between few corporate elites and political elites. In the process electoral democracy was made a ‘means’ for elite capture of the state.  The intrinsic political ethics of democracy got replaced by the instrumentalist market approach of using ‘electoral politics’ as a means to amass power and wealth. This has cumilately undermined the  political and social legitimacy of the mainstream-political party establishment as well as the claims of ‘good governance’, ‘economic growth’ etc wherein pro-poor policies were seen more as ‘populist’ or ‘freebies’ to contain dissent or to get votes.

Corporatisation of Political Parties

As politics became a business establishment with the essential corporate components of revenue, expenditure, investment, incentives, media management, network management and branding, those with such skills and competence began to dominate the political parties. The emergence of technocratic retainers and managers in the 1990s is largely due to the shift in the business model of political parties.  Along with the corporatisation  of political parties and managerial dominance in the decision making,  most of the political parties ended up becoming closely held private companies;  either family owned private enterprises operating in the public sphere providing a certain political service or publicly held large enterprises controlled by a power-cartel or family-held managerial clique.  The ‘entrepreneurial’ approach of political parties with business strategies, product, process etc in a way de-politicised  main-stream political party establishments, as ‘ideology’ was either for profiling or branding and the interests of the stakeholders began to  take precedence over the the original ideals of the party. Slogans no longer emanated organically from the grassroots members, but were carefully crafted by PR agents in the bellies of a few advertising companies. Leaders began to hire PR agencies and consultants to ‘manage’ their ‘image’ and profile in the media so that they could maintain perceptions and thus maintain their vote bank. Political parties have become electoral networks where ‘politics’ itself began to get ‘out sourced’;   media was managed through  PR companies  or hired professionals; party events were managed by ‘event management’ companies; and election campaigns were managed by hired  staff. All these required immense monetary power
While in the seventies and early eighties, election expenditure was primarily raised from people and locally managed, from the 1990s, election funds came from the top and the campaign strategies and advertisement campaigns were centrally managed. So in the first thirty years of independence, being a political activist meant giving up many comforts and the key concern was ‘how can I or we contribute to the party or a cause’. But in the last twenty years, there has been a perceptible shift at the grassroots as those who got active began to ask the question: ‘what do I get from the party’. When election campaigns imitated corporate advertising campaigns, or a reality show on the TV studios, the grassroots workers of political parties refused to work without clear ‘incentives’ and in elections this incentive meant ‘money’. Those who contested elections to the Lok Sabha and Assembly began to pay for the workers ‘time and energy’ while also covering almost every other expense.  Volunteers and voluntarism diminished or simply disappeared. Thus elections have become very expensive; much beyond the reach of ordinary people or the aam- admi and aurats to contest. The success of political leaders began to be seen in proportion to the funds and money he/she controlled.  Bigger the party and bigger the leaders, the bigger were the need for financial resources and this also exponentially increased the rate of legitimate and illegitimate ‘rent-seeking’ behaviour or corruption in the political class. The predominance of corporate money, often circulated as unaccounted black money, subverted the quality of democratic politics and political party establishments. Often, the money collected through corruption was sent out of the country through ‘havala’ route and a significant number of politicians or their kith and kin became investors or highly paid senior staff of such companies. A part of such corrupt money got back to the country in the pet-name of ‘foreign direct investment’ through shell companies registered in Tax-Havens.

Macro-Governance and Local Governance as power-sharing arrangement

In the last twenty five years, there was a clear division between macro-politics and ‘local politics’. With the enactment of the 73rd and 74th amendments, there was an opportunity for a clear division of a power-sharing arrangement. Local party workers and leaders got the incentive of being elected in the local government institutions and local government institutions too offered some amount of power paraphernalia (vehicles, sitting fees, privileges etc.) and significant budgets to implement the government programmes. The macro-politics of the Lok Sabha and Legislative Assemblies were managed centrally and the decisions were made by a small group of people and the seat distribution began to depend on ‘winnability’ , ‘user value’ or ‘loyalty quotient’. This power management within the political parties reflected the new configuration and alignment between macro-power and micro power in consonance with macro-governance and local governance.  The policies were increasingly decided by a bureaucratic-technocratic elites, the political parties were managed by a nexus of political and business elites, and political party structures were filled with loyalists of one kind or the other where votes were managed through the caste/identity network While this division of power-arrangement between local government and state/central government looked like an effective system of managing power incentives within political parties, it also eventually killed the volunteer base or mass base committed to the ideology, programme and politics of a given party.

 While there was a political incentive for those local party leaders with loyalty to the top leadership, there was no political or material incentive for the ordinary people for their loyalty to a political party on the ground. And this loyalty at local level began to shift to identity –networks based caste, creed, new religious/denominational affiliations.. When the mass- volunteer base of many political parties declined, they began to be increasingly dependent  on the caste/identity networks or institutions to reach out to the ‘vote-banks’.

When the rhetoric of policy promises and promised economic growth failed to deliver on the ground and when the stories of corruption could not be controlled in the era of the internet and social networking, discontent on the ground among the ordinary people and masses has been increasing. Many of them felt they have no stake in politics. They became simply voters and unsatisfied ‘consumers’ of services provided by the government.

It is this discontent on the ground among the common people and the legitimacy deficit of the traditional parties that the new political formation the Aam Aadmi Party (‘common people’s party) tried to mobilize and began to project as a counter discourse in the method of party politics. They began to build the volunteer base many political parties lost in the last twenty years; they began to mobilize the ideas, expertise and imagination of a large number of young people. They began to enter in to the grey political and social spaces vacated by the Indian National Congress and BJP. Hence the victory of the AAP is also indicative of the crisis within the political parties and also the crisis of governance wherein a political policy and technical experts began to dominate.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Where is the Indian National Congress going ?

                                                                                                            John Samuel
At last the grand old party ,after its existence of 130 years, managed to discover the magic number of Zero , right under the nose of AICC, in Delhi. Is it the beginning of its end or end of its relevance? Or is it the beginning a new incarnation ? Will the zero performance make any difference or critical reflection among its top-heavy leaders and ever eroding grassroots workers ? Many younger leaders and grassroots workers began to question in public and private the reasons for the paralysis of the party that claim the legacy of the freedom struggle. Many seem to know the problem though not sure about the solutions .The perils of arrogance, elitism, root-less power cliques, cartels of groupism, interests and vanities of power are signs of a deeper crisis of ethics, value and the very purpose of a party that ruled India for most of the time ever since independence . Congress Party was supposed to strengthen the idea of democratic India; the idea of a diverse, peaceful, responsive and inclusive state, based on the letter and spirit of the Indian Constitution . Can congress reclaim its original ideals or revitalise or reinvent ?
Congress has to go back the original Gandhi, Ambedkar, Nehru, Azad, Patel, Subhash Chandra Bose and the core values of freedom struggle . Congress Party has to go back to the basic principles , values and struggle for freedom that ignited its life as a mass movement of 'aam admies/auraths' once upon a time in the distant past. Congress Party may send retirement notice to the palace politicians and chamchas in search of crumbs of governmental power and it's comforts. Congress party may send home the technocratic elites who believed country and governments are made for them to rule and enjoy. The Chidambarams, Allhuwalias, Nanden Nilakkanies, and other 'eminently' qualified elites ,more at home in the cocktail circuit of the rich and powerful ,are a huge liability than an assets. It is time for those root-less wonders and smooth talkers in the TV studios to home and enjoy their pension as Parliamentarians and ministers for several decades.
Congress party has to learn to serve people at the grassroots, listen to the voices poor and marginalised and get rid of the rootless self-serving careerists whose only purpose is to get power, paraphernalia and of course 'return on investment' through somehow getting a slice of governmental power; the leaders who are too used to the seduction and comforts of governmental power. A party can't be revitalised or rebuilt by the sedated leaders and their side-kicks and chamcha still in the hangover 'intoxicating ' power-trips and 'official' privileges that they are so used to.A party can't be built with politics of chamchagiri or charm or chances. Building or revitalising any institutions require a shared sense of purpose, passion, people, positive vision, politics and performance.
But can the party be able to get out of its present mode of being a network ,dominated in many states, by , of and for those who became 'leaders' through lineage, or patronage or 'favour' or through vested interests money or muscle ? The rise and fall of Jaythi Natarajan is indicative of the deeper crisis. Without winning any election, without working at the grassroots , she got in the parliament, ministerial chair via TV Studios and claiming the legitimacy of the family legacy. Will the congress be able to move beyond it's present predicament of decay within ? Does it have the collective leadership capacity , political imagination and humility to reinvent itself ? Can it stop being a party of everything to everyone and party of perpetual compromises and accommodating vested interests for the sake of winning elections at any 'cost'? Will it be able to restart from a clean slate of Zero seat or rise up from it ashes across different states of India ? Can it tolerate principled mass based grassroots leaders, beyond lineage, money, muscle or 'loyalty' ? Can it attract a million young people to go and work at the grassroots to serve the people, learn from them and make difference on the ground as volunteers ? Can it attracts fearless leaders with integrity, imagination and courage of conviction,commitment to the original ideals and above all emerging from the ground ? Can it declare a moratorium on 'parachuted' leaders? The future of congress depends on all these questions .
But the question is how many leaders will have the guts to stand up and challenge themselves and change themselves ? How many leaders have the courage of conviction to go beyond a politics careerism and chamchagiri? How many leaders are ready to get out of the consorts of capital cities and air conditioned life to the heat and sweat of real people at the grassroots? How many leaders are ready to retire and realise their own redundancies in the generational shift in the new politics? The questions still remain simply as questions. The longer it takes to ask questions, the quicker formations like AAP will fill in the political space.

 It is often interesting to see how many 'once up on a time' powerful political parties ended up as NGOs in many countries and how so many NGOs got politicised and filled the political vacuum for principled and civic leadership. Aravind Kejarival or AAP is not the cause of zero performance of the congress; they are the result of it. AAP has not taken away any vote from congress; Congress voters simply went after the AAP. Congress still have enough retainers to run its own NGO Rajiv Gandhi foundation in Delhi and Kejariwal no longer will have time to run Kabir or Parivarthan ( the NGOs he founded) as he will have to lead the government in Delhi and also lead a political party . So where is the Indian National Congress Going ? 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

'സ്നേഹ ചുംബനം' -ആശയ വിനിമയത്തിന്റെയും വീക്ഷണങ്ങളുടെയും രാഷ്ട്രീയം


'സ്നേഹ ചുംബനം' -ആശയ വിനിമയത്തിന്റെയും വീക്ഷണങ്ങളുടെയും രാഷ്ട്രീയം
 സ്നേഹചുംബനത്തിന്റെ രാഷ്ട്രീയം നവമാധ്യമങ്ങളിലൂടെ വേരുറയ്ക്കുന്ന പുതിയ ആശയവിനിമയത്തിന്റെയും വീക്ഷണത്തിന്റെയും രാഷ്ട്രീയമാണ്.
' സ്നേഹ ചുംബനം' പുതിയ സാധ്യതകളും കവിതയും തേടുന്ന രാഷ്ട്രീയമാണ്. അതോടൊപ്പം, .തികച്ചും പുതുമ അവകാശപ്പെടാവുന്ന ഈ പ്രതിഷേധ രീതി യാഥാസ്ഥിക രാഷ്ട്രീയം എത്തിപ്പെട്ടിരിക്കുന്ന പുതിയ പ്രതിസന്ധിയെ വെളിവാക്കുകയും ചെയ്യുന്നു. ഈയിടെ കേരളത്തിൽ യുവജനങ്ങൾ പൊതുസ്ഥലത്ത് സ്നേഹം പ്രകടിപ്പിക്കുകയും ആലിംഗനത്തിൽ ഏര്പ്പെടുകയും ചെയ്യുന്നതിനെതിരെ ഫാസിസ്റ്റ് ശക്തികൾ ഭീഷണിയുമായി രംഗത്തെത്തിയതിനെ ചോദ്യം ചെയ്തു ഫേസ് ബുക്കിൽ ഒരു കൂട്ടായ്മ രൂപം കൊള്ളുകയുണ്ടായി. എഫ് . ബിയിൽ ഫാസിസ്റ്റ് സദാചാര ഗുണ്ടകൾക്കെതിരെ പതിനാ യിരങ്ങളുടെ പിന്തുണ ലഭിച്ചുവെങ്കിലും കൊച്ചിയിലെ സമര സ്ഥലത്ത് നേരിട്ടെത്തി പങ്കെടുക്കാൻ തയ്യാറായത് വളരെ കുറച്ചു പേർ മാത്രമാണ് . അതേസമയം ആയിരക്കണക്കിന് സദാചാര ഗുണ്ടകളും സദാചാര പോലീസും സ്നേഹ ചുംബന' ഭീഷണി' നേരിടാൻ സ്ഥലത്തെത്തുകയും ചെയ്തു.! അങ്ങനെ യഥാർഥ ലോകത്ത് ചുംബന പ്രതിഷേധം പ്രതീകാത്മകമായി. പക്ഷെ സൈബർ ലോകത്ത് സമരം പ്രസ്താവ്യമായ വിജയം കൈവരിച്ചു. മുഖ്യ ധാര രാഷ്ട്രീയ പാർടികളുടെ കൂറ്റൻ റാലികളും സമരങ്ങളും പോലും കണ്ടില്ലെന്നു നടിക്കുന്ന ദേശീയ- സാർവദേശീയ മാധ്യമങ്ങൾ സംഭവം വാർത്ത യാക്കി. യഥാർത്ഥ ലോകത്തെ ഒരു ചെറിയ സംഭവം ലോക ശ്രദ്ധ പിടിച്ചു പറ്റിയ വാർത്തയായതിനു കാരണമായത്‌ സൈബർ മാധ്യമങ്ങളും സോഷ്യൽ നെറ്റ് വർകുകളും സംഭവത്തിന്‌ നല്കിയ പ്രാധാന്യവും , അത്തരമൊരു സമരം തുറന്നിടുന്ന പുതിയ സാധ്യതകളും ആണ്. സ്നേഹ ചുംബനം എന്ന ആശയത്തിന് വൻ പ്രചാരം ലഭിക്കുകയും രാജ്യത്തെ പല നഗരങ്ങളിലും യുവാക്കൾ പരസ്യ സ്നേഹപ്രകടനത്തിലൂടെ ഈ പുതിയ പ്രതിഷേധ രീതിക്ക് പിന്തുണ പ്രഖ്യാപിക്കുകയും ചെയ്തു .
സ്നേഹ ചുംബനവും രാഷ്ട്രീയവും തമ്മിലെന്ത്? അത് സ്നേഹത്തെയോ ചുംബനത്തെയോ സംബന്ധിച്ചുളളതല്ല. മറിച്ച് നവ മാധ്യമ രംഗത്തെ സമരാഹ്വാനങ്ങളെയും ,പ്രകടനങ്ങളെയും മുഖ്യധാരാ രാഷ്ട്രീയ പാര്ടികളുടെ പഴഞ്ചൻ സമരമുറകൾ കാലഹരണപ്പെട്ടതിനെയും സംബന്ധിച്ചുള്ളതാണ്. Occupy the Wall Streets പ്രക്ഷോഭം ഉള്പ്പെടെ ലോകത്തിന്റെ നാനാ ഭാഗത്തും അരങ്ങേറിയ ഇത്തരം സമരങ്ങൾ രാഷ്ട്രീയ വ്യവഹാരത്തിൽ പുതു തലമുറ കൈ വരിച്ചിരിക്കുന്ന പുതു മാനങ്ങളെയാണ് സൂചിപ്പിക്കുന്നത്. ഈ മാറ്റം എല്ലാ തലത്തിലുള്ള അധികാര ബന്ധങ്ങളിലും അധി കാരത്തിനോടുള്ള പ്രതികരണങ്ങളിലും ദൃശ്യമാണ്.
രണ്ടാം ലോക മഹായുദ്ധത്തിനു ശേഷം നിലവിൽ വന്ന രാഷ്ട്രീയ വിനിമയങ്ങളും സ്ഥാപനങ്ങളും പലരീതിയിലും പൂരിതാവസ്ഥയെ പ്രാപിച്ചി രിക്കുന്നു. കഴിഞ്ഞ 15 വര്ഷങ്ങളായി പണ്ഡിതരും ഗവേഷകരും ആഗോള വല്ക്കരണത്തിന്റെ സാമ്പത്തിക-സാങ്കേതിക- സാമൂഹ്യ സാഹചര്യങ്ങളുടെ ഫലമായുണ്ടായ ബഹുമുഖ ചലനങ്ങളെ സിദ്ധാന്തീകരിക്കാൻ ശ്രമിക്കുകയുണ്ടായി . ഇൻഫോസിസിന്റെ, ലോക നിലവാരത്തിൽ തിളങ്ങുന്ന ബാംഗ്ലൂർ  കാമ്പസ് കണ്ടു ലോകം പരന്നതാണെന്നു ജോണ്‍ ഫ്രീഡ്മാൻ നിരീക്ഷിക്കുകയുണ്ടായി . ഐ ടി കാമ്പസുകളിൽ നിന്ന് ഏതാനും കിലോ മീറ്ററുകൾക്കപ്പുറത്ത് ചേരികളിലും ലോകം പരന്നതാണെന്നു കണ്ടറിയുവാനുള്ള അവസരം ഫ്രീഡ് മാന് ലഭിച്ചിട്ടുണ്ടാവുകയില്ല. അതെന്തായാലും വീക്ഷണങ്ങളിൽ വന്ന മാറ്റത്തിന്റെ സൂചന ഫ്രീഡ് മാന്റെ വാക്കുകളിൽ പ്രകടമാണ് .
സാങ്കേതിക രീതികൾ മാറുമ്പോൾ ആശയ പ്രചാരണ രീതികൾ മാറുന്നു. ആശയവിനിമയ രീതികൾ മാറുമ്പോൾ വീക്ഷണങ്ങൾ മാറുന്നു; വീക്ഷണ രീതികൾ മാറുമ്പോൾ ചിന്താ രീതികൾ മാറുന്നു; ചിന്തയും പ്രവൃത്തിയും മാറുമ്പോൾ സംഘാടനത്തിന്റെയും സ്ഥാപനങ്ങളുടെയും രീതികൾ മാറുന്നു. ഇതെല്ലാം ചേർന്ന് സമൂഹത്തിലും രാജ്യത്തിനുള്ളിലും രാജ്യങ്ങൾ തമ്മിലും നിലനിന്ന അധികാര സൂത്രവാക്യങ്ങൾ മാറുന്നു.തൽഫലമായി ദേശീയ തലത്തിലും അന്താരാഷ്ട്ര തലത്തിലും രാഷ്ട്രീയത്തിന് മാറ്റം സംഭവിക്കുന്നു. ഏതായാലും അത്തരം ചലനങ്ങൾ അടിത്തട്ടിലും അനുരണനങ്ങൾ സൃഷ്ടിക്കുന്നുണ്ട്. അവ പ്രകടമാവാൻ ചിലപ്പോൾ ദശാബ്ദങ്ങൾ ആവശ്യമായെന്നിരിക്കും.
അച്ചുകൂടത്തിന്റെ കണ്ടു പിടുത്തവും ബൈബിളിന്റെ പ്രാദേശിക ഭാഷാന്തരവും 17 മുതൽ 20 ആം നൂറ്റാണ്ട് വരെയുള്ള നവ സാക്ഷരത പ്രസ്ഥാനവും ചേർന്ന് ലോക രാഷ്ട്രീയത്തിന്റെയും കവിതയുടെയും മുഖച്ഛായ മാറ്റി..കഴിഞ്ഞ 400 വര്ഷമായി ഇത് ലോകത്തെ സ്വാധീനിച്ചു .നവ സാങ്കേതികതയിലേക്കുള്ള കുതിച്ചു ചാട്ടം ഇരുപതാം നൂറ്റാണ്ടിന്റെ അന്ത്യത്തിൽ ആരംഭിച്ച് ഇരുപത്തൊന്നാം നൂറ്റാണ്ടിന്റെ രാഷ്ട്രീയത്തിലും സമ്പദ് വ്യവസ്ഥയിലും ബഹുമുഖ സ്വാധീനം ചെലുത്തി.അച്ചടിക്കപ്പെട്ട വാക്ക് പല വ്യാഖ്യാനങ്ങൾ സാദ്ധ്യമാക്കുകയും അതുവഴി കവിത, തത്വജ്ഞാനം, രാഷ്ട്രീയം, ഘടനാ വിന്യാസങ്ങൾ എന്നിവയ്ക്ക് ജന്മം നല്കുകയും ചെയ്തു. 17 -18 നൂറ്റാണ്ടുകളിലെ നവോത്ഥാനവും അവയെ തുടർന്നുണ്ടായ വിപ്ലവങ്ങളും കഴിഞ്ഞ 150 വര്ഷങ്ങളിലെ ദേശ രാഷ്ട്രങ്ങളുടെ ആവിർഭാവവും സംഭവിക്കുമ്പോൾ ഒപ്പം സാങ്കേതികതയിലും ആശയ വിനിമയത്തിലും രാഷ്ട്രീയ സാമ്പത്തിക ഘടനയിലും ചലനങ്ങൾ ഉണ്ടായിട്ടുണ്ട്.
കഴിഞ്ഞ 15 വർഷങ്ങൾക്കിടെ ഓടി മറയുന്ന വാക്കുകൾ അച്ചടി വാക്കുകൾക്കു മുകളിൽ മേൽ കോയ്മ നേടി. ദ്രുതചലനം ചെയ്യുന്ന ബിംബങ്ങൾ നിശ്ചല ഛയാ ഗ്രഹണത്തിന് മേൽ ആധിപത്യം സ്ഥാപിച്ചു. മിന്നി മറയുന്ന വാക്കുകളും പറക്കുന്ന ബിംബങ്ങളും അതിദ്രുത വിനിമയ മാധ്യമങ്ങളും ചേർന്ന് പ്രണയം, ജീവിതം, സ്ഥാപനങ്ങൾ, രാഷ്ട്രീയം എന്നിവയെയെല്ലാം മാറ്റിമറിച്ചു. ആശയ വിനിമയത്തിലും പ്രണയത്തിലും ജീവിത ശൈലിയിലും സംഭവിച്ച മാറ്റങ്ങൾ പുതിയ വ്യക്തി ത്വ സ്ഥാപനത്തിനും ബന്ധങ്ങൾക്കും വഴിവെച്ചു.സമൂഹത്തിലെ മൗലിക ഘടകമായ കുടുംബം കൂട്ടുകുടുംബത്തിൽ നിന്ന് അണു കുടുംബത്തിലേക്കും അണു-അനന്തര കുടുംബത്തിലേക്കും നീങ്ങി. അണുകുടുംബാനന്തര അവസ്ഥയിൽ കുടുംബാംഗങ്ങൾ ഒരു മേൽക്കൂരയ്ക്കു കീഴിലും ഒരു നിശ്ചിത രാഷ്ട്രീയ സാമ്പത്തിക സാഹചര്യത്തിലും ജീവിക്കുന്ന സമ്പ്രദായം ഇല്ലാതായി.ഇന്ന് ലോകത്തിന്റെ പല ഭാഗത്തും ഒരേ കുടുംബത്തിലെ അംഗങ്ങൾ വ്യത്യസ്ത സമയ സ്ഥലികളിൽ വേർതിരിഞ്ഞു വസിക്കുന്നത് സാധാരണമായിരിക്കുന്നു.ഇവരെ ബന്ധിപ്പിക്കുന്നത് സോഷ്യൽ നെറ്റ്‌വർക്കുകൾ ആണ്. ജന്മദിനങ്ങളും വിവാഹ വാര്ഷികവും ആഘോഷിക്കപ്പെടുന്നത് എഫ്. ബി. യിൽ .സ്നേഹ ചുംബനങ്ങൾ പകരുന്നത് 'വാട്സ് അപ്പി'ൽ .ഇൻറർനെറ്റിൽ പ്രണയങ്ങൾ മുളപൊട്ടുകയും വാടി കൊഴിയുകയും ചെയ്യുന്നു. അറിവിന്റെ പാതയോരങ്ങളിലും
പ്രണയവും കാമവും വാങ്ങിക്കാൻ കഴിയുമെന്നായി. മുഖപുസ്തകത്തിൽ മുഴുകുന്നവരുടെഎണ്ണം വര്ദ്ധിച്ചു വരുന്നു. Skype ൽ സമ്മേളനങ്ങളും പ്രാർഥനകളും സംഘടിപ്പിക്കപ്പെടുന്നു ദൈവങ്ങൾ പോലും സോഷ്യൽ നെറ്റ് വര്ക്കിലൂടെ ലോക സഞ്ചാരം നടത്തുന്നു. എഫ് ബി യിലൂടെ മാർപാപ്പയെ തൊടാം. ആളുകൾ സോഷ്യൽ നെറ്റ് വർക്കിൽ അനുഗൃഹീതരും തിരസ്ക്രുതരും ആവുന്നു. കോളനി വാഴ്ച ക്കാലത്തെ വിജ്ഞാന ശേഖരമായിരുന്ന എന്സൈക്ലോപീഡിയ ബ്രിട്ടാനികയുടെ പ്രൗഡിക്ക് മങ്ങലേൽപ്പിച്ചു കൊണ്ട് വിക്കിപീഡിയ കടന്നു വന്നു.അറിവും വിജ്ഞാനവും സ്പർശ ഗ്രാഹിയായ സ്ക്രീനിൽ വിരൽതുമ്പിലെത്തി. വായനശാലകൾ പതുക്കെ സൂക്ഷിപ്പ് ശാലകൾ ആവുകയാണ്. എഫ് ബിയിലും മൊബൈൽ ഫോണിലും കൂടുതൽ സമയം ചിലവഴിക്കുന്ന യുവാക്കൾക്ക് അയൽ വാസികളെക്കാളും അടുപ്പം നാനാ രാജ്യത്തുള്ളവരോടായി. മൊബൈൽ ഫോണിന്റെയും നെറ്റിന്റെയും അഭാവത്തിൽ അവർ അന്യവൽകരണത്താൽ അസ്വസ്ഥരാവുന്നു.
മാറുന്ന ആശയ വിനിമയ രീതികൾ ജീവിത ശൈലിയെയും കൂട്ടായ്മകളുടെ രൂപീകരണത്തെയും എല്ലാ തലത്തിലുള്ള രാഷ്ട്രീയ വ്യവഹാരങ്ങളെയും മാറ്റിമറിക്കുന്നു എന്ന് ചുരുക്കം. രാഷ്ട്രീയം കാതലായ മാറ്റത്തിന് വിധേയമായിക്കൊണ്ടിരിക്കുകയാണ്, ദേശീയ അന്തർദേശീയ തലങ്ങളിൽ.

തുരുമ്പെടുക്കുന്ന ഘടനയും ദുർബ്ബലമാവുന്ന വിശ്വാസ പ്രമാണങ്ങളും:

മുകളിൽ നിന്ന് താഴോട്ടു പ്രവര്ത്തിക്കുന്ന വ്യവസ്ഥാപിത സംഘടനകൾ താഴത്തുനിന്നു  നിന്ന് ദുര്ബ്ബലമാവുകയും ജീർണ്ണതയാർന്ന് നിലംപൊത്താറാവുകയും ചെയ്തിരിക്കുന്നു. പഴയ രീതിയിലുള്ള വിവര ശേഖരണത്തിനും അതിനെ അടിസ്ഥാനപ്പെടുത്തിയുള്ള ആശയ വിനിമയത്തിലൂടെ നടപ്പാക്കുന്ന അച്ചടക്കത്തിനും പുതിയ കാലത്ത് സ്ഥാനമില്ല. വ്യക്തികൾക്ക് അറിവിന്റെയും പരസ്പര വിനിമയത്തിന്റെയും അധികാരം ലഭിക്കുമ്പോൾ സ്ഥാപനങ്ങളുടെ അച്ചടക്കം അപ്രസക്തമാവുന്നു. പടിപടിയായുള്ള അധികാര ശ്രേണി കളായി സംഘടനകൾ കെട്ടിപ്പടുക്കുകയും മുകളിൽ നിന്ന് ഭരണം നടത്തുകയും ചെയ്യുന്ന പഴയ രീതി ഇനി ഫലപ്രദമാവുകയില്ല. ഇതിന്റെ ഫലമായി കേന്ദ്രീകൃത അധികാരവും കീഴ് ഘടകങ്ങളും എന്ന ഘടനയിൽ നില നിന്നിരുന്ന പല രാഷ്ട്രീയ പ്രസ്ഥാനങ്ങളും ഇന്ന് ഗുരുതരമായ ആന്തരിക പ്രതിസന്ധിയെ നേരിട്ടു കൊണ്ടിരിക്കുകയാണ്. ആശയ വിനിമയവും ബന്ധങ്ങളും വ്യക്തിത്വ നിര്മ്മിതിയും പുനര്നിർവചിക്കപ്പെടുന്ന ഇന്റർനെറ്റ്‌ യുഗത്തിൽ വിധേയരായ അണികൾ നിലനില്ക്കുകയില്ല. പൊതു താല്പര്യങ്ങളും ആദർശങ്ങളും തകർന്നു വീഴുന്നു; ആ സ്ഥാനത്ത് വിവിധ ആനൂകൂല്യങ്ങൾ ആണ് വ്യവസ്ഥാപിത സംഘടനകളിൽ തുടരുന്നതിന് അണികൾ ലക്ഷ്യമാക്കുന്നത്. വാർത്തകൾ പത്രങ്ങളുടെയും ടി. വി. യുടെയും ഏകപക്ഷീയമായ പ്രക്ഷേപണത്തിൽ നിന്ന് വിടുതൽ നേടി ബഹുമുഖ ചര്ച്ചകളിലേക്കും വാഗ്വാദങ്ങളി ലേക്കും ആൾക്കൂട്ടത്തിന്റെ ആവിഷ്കാരങ്ങളിലേക്കും കൂടു മാറി.ഇതിന്റെ ഫലമായി തൽക്ഷണ ആൾകൂട്ടങ്ങളും ക്ഷിപ്ര പ്രതികരണങ്ങളും ഭാവനാ പൂര്ണ്ണമായ ആവിഷ്കാര സാദ്ധ്യതകളും , നേതൃത്വമില്ലാത്ത സന്ഘാടനങ്ങളും രൂപപ്പെട്ടു. ഇത് വ്യക്തിക്ക്, സ്വന്തം നിലക്ക് ആശയം പ്രകടിപ്പിക്കുവാനും പ്രചരിപ്പിക്കുവാനും സാധിക്കുമെന്ന, ഇതുവരെയില്ലാത്ത ഒരു സ്വാതന്ത്ര്യ ബോധം നല്കി. യഥാർത്ഥ ലോകത്തെ അന്തര്മുഖൻ സൈബർ ലോകത്ത് വാചാലനാവാം. സൗമ്യശീലൻ പരാക്രമിയാവാം. പുരുഷാധിപത്യ കുടുംബത്തിലെ മാതൃകാകുടുംബിനി സ്ത്രീ വിമോചനത്തിന്റെ വക്താവാവാം. സോഷ്യൽ മാധ്യമങ്ങൾ മുന്നോട്ടു വെക്കുന്ന അനന്ത സാധ്യതകൾ ലോകത്ത് തികച്ചും വ്യത്യസ്തമായ അധികാര ബന്ധങ്ങൾ സൃഷ്ടിച്ചിരിക്കുന്നു. സമയ ദൂരങ്ങൾക്കതീതമായി സംഘടിക്കുവാനും സംഘടിപ്പിക്കുവാനും ഇന്ന് സാധിക്കുന്നു. ലോകത്തിന്റെ ഏതോ കോണിൽ ഒറ്റപ്പെട്ടിരിക്കുന്ന വ്യക്തിക്ക് ഇന്റർനെറ്റ്‌ കൂട്ടങ്ങളിലെ സജീവാംഗമാവാൻ കഴിയും. അതിന്റെ ഫലമായി ദേശീയാന്തർദേശീയ രാഷ്ട്രീയത്തിൽ പുതിയ പ്രതിസന്ധികൾ ഉടലെടുത്തിരിക്കുന്നു. അവയ്ക്ക് പല കോണിൽ നിന്നും വ്യത്യസ്തമായ പ്രതികരണങ്ങൾ ഉണ്ടായിക്കൊണ്ടിരിക്കുകയും ചെയ്യുന്നു
വ്യവസ്ഥാപിത അധികാര ഘടനയിലെ സംഘർഷങ്ങൾ പ്രതികരണ രാഷ്ട്രീയത്തിലേക്കും പ്രതിലോമ രാഷ്ട്രീയത്തിലേക്കും പുതിയ രാഷ്ട്രീയ വാഞ്ചയിലേക്കും നയിക്കുന്നു. ഈ തുടർചലനങ്ങൾ തുടർ പ്രതികരണങ്ങൾക്കും സംവേദനങ്ങൾക്കും വഴിവെക്കുന്നു. ജീവിത ശൈലിയിലും വിനിമയ രീതികളിലും ഞെട്ടിപ്പിക്കുന്ന ദ്രുതചലനങ്ങൾ  ഉണ്ടാവുമ്പോൾ ഏറ്റവും പ്രകടമാവുക പാരമ്പര്യ , യാഥാസ്ഥിക മൂല്യങ്ങൾ സംരക്ഷിക്കുവാനും ഉറപ്പിക്കുവാനും ഉള്ള വ്യഗ്രതയാണ്. ഇതോടെ പുതിയ ചലനങ്ങൾ പിന്നോട്ട് തള്ളപ്പെടുന്നു. ചരിത്രത്തിൽ അറിവിലും ജീവിതക്രമങ്ങളിലും ആശയ പ്രചാരണത്തിലും ബഹുമുഖ ചലനങ്ങൾ ഉണ്ടായപ്പോഴൊക്കെ അവയെ അടിച്ചമർത്താൻ പ്രതിലോമ ശക്തികൾ മുന്നിട്ടിറ ങ്ങിയിട്ടുണ്ട്. പക്ഷെ സാങ്കേതിക മുന്നേറ്റങ്ങളോട് ചേർന്ന് ഈ രംഗങ്ങളിൽ ഉണ്ടാവുന്ന നിർണ്ണായക മാറ്റങ്ങളെ  അധികകാലം തടയുവാൻ യാഥാസ്ഥിക ശക്തികൾക്ക് ആവുകയില്ല.
സ്വാഭാവികമായും പുരോഗമന പ്രവണതകൾക്ക് തടയിടാൻ പ്രതിലോമശക്തികളും  അവലംബിക്കുക നവ മാധ്യമ സങ്കേതങ്ങളെയാണ്തീവ്ര വാദികളും വിഘടന വാദികളും അവരുടെ പിന്തിരിപ്പൻ ആശയങ്ങൾ പ്രചരിപ്പിക്കുവാൻ ആധുനിക സാങ്കേതിക വിദ്യയാണ് ഉപയോഗിക്കുന്നത് നവീകരിക്കപ്പെട്ടു കൊണ്ടേയിരിക്കുന്ന മൊബൈൽ ഫോണുകളിലൂടെ ലോകത്തിന്റെ ഏ തു കോണിൽ നടക്കുന്ന അക്രമ സംഭവത്തെയും ഞൊടിയിടയിൽ ലോകം മുഴുവൻ പ്രദർശിപ്പിക്കുവാൻ സാധിക്കുന്നുനവ മാധ്യമങ്ങൾ പഴയ മാധ്യമങ്ങൾക്ക്‌ മങ്ങലേൽപിച്ചുപത്രങ്ങൾ ഈ നൂറ്റാണ്ടിൽ അപ്രത്യക്ഷമാവാനാണിടഅതിവേഗ മാധ്യമങ്ങൾ വേറെ പലതുണ്ടെന്നിരിക്കെ വാർത്തകളെ ന്യുനീകരിക്കുകയും പർവതീകരിക്കുകയും ചെയ്യുന്ന പത്ര രീതി അപ്രത്യക്ഷമാവും .വ്യക്തികൾക്കും കൂട്ടായ്മകൾക്കും അവർ ഉദ്ദേശിക്കുന്ന പ്രാധാന്യത്തോടെ വാർത്തകൾ ഉദ്ദേശിക്കുന്നവർക്കിടയിൽ വിക്ഷേപണം ചെയ്യുക ഇന്ന് സാധ്യമാണ്.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The World is in a flux: The shifting sands of multi-polar Politics

                                                                                                           John Samuel

The world is no longer the same.  Words and images have become fleeting sights. Multi-polar world and multi-polar perceptions create multiple fluxes in politics.  Perceptions are changing  So is politics.  So is poetry. Multiple shifts are on the way and may move in the uncharted pathways.

The way power is acquired, managed and exercised is changing.  Multiple shifts create multiple imaginations, interpretations and responses. Shifts in modes of communication, modes of living and modes of organisations create new predicaments, reactions and backlashes.  When such substantive shifts happen, those who are ‘used’ to the established way of managing power  cling to their ‘tradition’ and the world view they imbibed in the last century.  There is a new flux in sense and sensibilities. There is a generational shift happening, though the old generation of ideas and institutions still want to cling to the power-matrix that made meaning to their private and public sphere. And there is a flux in politics at the national and international levels. 

The ideas and institutions that emerged in the aftermath of the post-second world war  are in a flux. The old ideas and mode of organising is saturated, though yet to disappear. The new forms of politics and mobilisation are yet to find a clear shape. This ‘in-between’ phase of flux create a crisis of perception and politics. The’ Kiss of love’ or the ‘occupy the wall street’ or ‘protests’ in Cairo or Arab 'spring' are signifiers of new flux in the world and harbingers of emerging political possibilities.  

Following are some of the emerging trends in the international politics, indicating the possibilities of a deeper shift in the international order that emerged in the aftermath of the second world world war.

a) Nemesis of   the ‘Washington Consensus’

There is no longer any consensus in Washington.  This is not merely because of the shifting political equations wherein the republicans captured the Senate and the Congress, but also because the  American hegemony in the international world order is on the decline. The American dream is struggling to survive in a multi-polar world where the epicenters of knowledge, innovation and economy are shifting away from Washington. The unilateral policy, political and military might of the USA got over-extended over a period of the last  twenty-five years and as a result too saturated to make persistent influence through military and economic might alone. The ‘Washington’ consensus was symbolic of the hegemony of the policy and knowledge framework operated through the dominant knowledge and policy institutional networks. However, with increasing shifts in the political economy of international relations, trade, aid and debt, ‘Washington’ consensus is more of a history.

The International political matrix organised around two major power blocks, that emerged in the aftermath of the second war began with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the political dispersion of the USSR in 1989-90. With disappearance of the Soviet as well as ‘socialist’ power block, there has been substantive shifts in terms of international power order and the notions of ‘international  community’ as well as in the role of the United Nations. Such shifts happened at the level of ruling ideas and policy framework, international trade, new militarism and power-blocks and the predominance of multi-national companies as the drivers of economy and politics in many countries.

The fall of USSR and the economic liberalisation of China created a crisis of ‘socialist’ models in countries,, politics and policy framework. The erstwhile ‘socialist’ countries moved to authoritarian politics and ‘liberal economic’ policy and the dominant knowledge framework of ‘socialist’ discourse got retreated to academic discussions and debates in few universities of few countries.   Meanwhile, a new combination of neo-conservative politics and neo-liberal economic policy that emerged during the Reagan-Thatcher era in the American-British knowledge axis got a new unilateral assertion through the ‘Washington Consensus’ to liberalise the world economy and to force the post-colonial countries in Africa, Asia and other parts to open up their market and to embrace the neo-liberal policy framework marketed primarily through the World Bank , IMF and bilateral funding for ‘development’ of the ‘third world’.

While the ‘Washington Consensus’ was a sort of the new capitalist manifesto of the neo-liberal policy framework, the neo-conservatism of the George Bush senior opened up ‘military’ aggression in the ‘middle-eastern world’ of the dominant power-matrix. The international world order from 1989-2007 was primarily driven by the ruling ideas of neo-liberal economy framework and neo-conservative political framework at the national and international level. This hegemonic framework was primarily driven by the unilateral power-matrix controlled by the United States and its Anglo-European subsidiary network.  The corollary economic globalisation along with military aggression also created their nemesis and reaction in multiple ways.

 The economic crisis and the consequent political crisis in the USA in many ways exposed the dogma  of unbridled free-market ideology of neo-liberalism. The increasing shifts in the power-dynamics of the multi-lateral and bilateral donors, and the emergence of the powerful economies outside the Euro-American world made 'Washington' consensus fragile. The emergence of China, India and Brazil as donors for international development also meant that hegemonic role of the donor countries organised under the Development Assistance Commitee of OECD got reduced over a period of time. While there is a persistent recession in most of the countries of Europe, the relatively better economic growth of countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America also meant that the role of international development funding in influencing the policies of the global south got substantially reduced or got annulled in many of the emerging economies. These multiple factors and the economic crisis within the USA and recession in Europe resulted in the decline of the ruling ideas propounded by the rich countries, with the support of the multi-lateral and bi-lateral resources and influence. 

b) Multiple-discourses on Democracy and Development

The Anti-globalisation movements in many parts of the world found expression in terms of responsive politics as well as reactionary trends. The fall of the Soviet block on the one hand unleashed the third wave of democracy and many countries turned more democratic and opted for electoral democracy. Multiple streams of  resistance to economic globalisations, increasing inequality and poverty found expressions in a new phase of civic politics and resistance at the national and international level.  The new aspirations for democratic governance at the national and international induced the United Nations to play a mediating role in terms of managing dissent and resistance through a series of the United Nations Summits on Environment( Rio 1992), Human Rights( Vienna 1993), Women’s Rights( Beijing 1995) and Social Development ( Copenhagen 1996) and against Racism( Johannesburg  1999). While the human development approach as well as the new discourse on Environment, human rights, women’s rights and against racial discrimination gave a parallel discourse to manage dissent and resistance against the neo-liberal economic globalisation, it also gave rise to a new civic politics to challenge and change the unequal and unjust economic globalisation and its consequences to the poor and marginalised sections.

 There were three parallel ‘policy and political’ discourses in the international politics for around fifteen years after the fall of Berlin Wall. The dominant hegemonic discourse( of neo-liberal economic policy, neo-conservative politics and new military aggression) on politics, trade, and militarism was primarily driven by the US and Euro-Anglican allies, the second discourse to bring a ‘human factor’ to the power-relationship was led by the United Nations and international ‘development’ community driven by OECD and  the third discourse was a resistance discourse by the new civic politics trying to challenge and change the unequal and unjust power-matrix at the national and international level. While the third civil society dissent discourse drew out from the second ‘development’ discourse, the primary inspiration and premises of the civic resistance politics come from the history of non-conformist politics as well as politics of dissent at the national and international level. The discourse of human development and discourse of dissent against aggressive economic globalisation found expression in the world social forum and was an expression of the emerging civic politics in the age of information-technology and communication revolution.

c)  Politics of Militancy

 However, the fourth discourse was primary driven by ‘military aggression’ and counter ‘terrorist’ aggression’ and fuelled by political economy of oil and military-industries in the ‘developed world’. The most reactionary and militant  form of discourse against the bulldozing mode of  militant cultural globalisation was in the form of   violent Islamist politics that propounded a militant form of theocracy. The neo-conservative politics and its corollary of aggressive militarism of the US and its allies primarily in oil-rich Arab World also created huge back-lash from the reactionary Islamists politics accompanied by  new militancy that resorted terror attacks across the world and in the most dramatic the attack on 9/11  against the World Trade Centre and Pentagon.

The Islamist politics and Talibanisation promoted by the US and allies as an ‘anti-dote’ to communism and proxy war against the USSR get morphed in to a violent forms of  Islamist politics fuelled by ‘terror’ attack across the world. While in the short-run, the American Economy benefited from the neo-liberal economic globalisation and neo-conservative militarism, in the long run this exhausted the economy and politics of the United States.  This over-extension of unilateral power in the international politics and the war fatigue created an economic crises as well as political crisis in the USA. The ascent of Obama, who is ‘outsider’ to the established hegemonic power-matrix of the US, in many ways, signalled the shift in politics at the national and international level.

The post-colonial modes of state formation in Iraq, and other parts of middle-east are facing a crisis. The prolonged war in Iraq, and the military aggression in Libya and the various economic as well as political crises in Syria and other parts Arab World have unleashed new forces of destabilization in the region.  One of the reasons for the emergence of militant Islamist armed and aggressive networks in different names is the continuous military aggression that destroyed the traditional power-network of tribal social order and the ‘social contract’ of such tribal power-network with their respective nations state. So this creates both political as well as economic flux in the region.

d)  The Shifting equations of international politics

The economic ascent of China and the shift of economic growth in the Asian continent and Latin America undermined the unilateral hegemony of the USA. This year, China has emerged as the largest economy in the world, pushing the USA in to the second place. Among the top five global economy three are in Asia (China, India and Japan) and there is only one from Europe (Germany).The new groupings of emerging economies (India, Brazil, South Africa) and BRICS( Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) on the one hand indicate the emergence of a multi-polar world and on the other hand indicates the decline of the influence of the traditional OECD countries. The shift is not only in term of economic resources, but also increasing knowledge-networks and a regional level corporation.  European Economy is going through a prolonged mode of recession and the American Economy is struggling to keep up with the good old American Dream. 

The United Nations formed in the aftermath of the Second World War continue to be driven by the international power-matrix of the ‘winning’ side of the Second World War. In a multi-polar world, with a new power-configuration and new forms of assertions make the United Nations itself in a flux.  While there is a wide-spread call for ‘reforming’ the United Nations and to go beyond the ‘power control’ of the five permanent members in the security council, there is an increasing reluctance to change the organisational politics of United Nation.  As a  result there are increasing questions about the efficacy of the United Nations in terms of democracy, development and human rights.
While there is more rhetoric on democracy, the democratic as well as civic spaces across the world are shrinking.  While there are more conferences and discussions on human rights, there is an increasing violation of human rights across the world. The increasing violation of human rights, new forms of politics of exclusion and new forms of subtle and not-so-subtle discrimination in many countries   also unleash new forms of violence as well as armed networks of various forms against the state. With the ascent of China, with its authoritarian politics and market- economy, human rights discourse at the international level may further get .further marginalised.

e) Shifting discourse on democracy and development

 In most of the countries, political parties themselves have been reduced to electoral networks to capture the power of the state either through subversion or through propaganda machine. The social and political role of political parties got annulled as they have become traditional institutional establishments driven and populated by ‘professional’ career politicians in search of the power of the government. As a result most of the political parties are conformist establishments driven by ‘interest networks’ and ‘identity networks’ to manage and seek personal or institutional aggrandizement of the ‘governmental’ power for maintaining the socio-economic- political status-quo of the society.  The dominant political parties and discourse often tend to ‘silence’  the opposition through ‘co-option’, ‘consensus’ ‘collaboration’ or ‘coercion’.  Paradoxically the rhetoric of democracy is often used to kill democratic spaces or to ‘de-democratise’ society and politics through annulling opposition political spaces and parties and by annihilating the politics of dissent.

The unprecedented urbanisation and the multi-dimensional inequalities within societies and countries and among countries will have political consequences. The increasing economic inequality along with social inequality and identity politics can unleash new cycle of violence and criminalisation in the urban areas.   All these indicate a crisis of politics as the national and international level.

With the emergence of neo-conservative political forces in many of the OECD counties, the nature and character of the bilateral and multi-lateral funding would change. The international development framework that emerged in the aftermath of the Second World War and through the Marshall Plan and bilateral funding for ‘development’ in the erstwhile colonies of the European countries would change.  The prolonged economic recession in Europe and the resultant ascent of neo-conservative politics in various countries have already reduced the bi-lateral international funding for ‘over-seas development’. One of the outcomes of the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda framework will be cumulative reduction of the bilateral and multi-lateral funding for ‘development and poverty-eradication’. 

The international development framework , in many ways,  was the outcome of the post-second world-war economic and political order. The post-colonial development model, wherein the erstwhile colonial powers sought to patronise and influence the international politics and trade policies of their former colonies, are no longer valid. Many of the former colonies have now become middle income countries, regional power-blocks and with stronger economies and influence than the old colonial powers. 

The substantial reduction of bilateral funding for international development will adversely affect many of the  fund-dependent non-governmental development organisations and also many of the United Nations agencies. As a result many of the international development NGOs may have to merge together to survive or develop new ‘business model’ or to disappear in the history.  With reduction in funds from the traditional European donor countries, many of the United Nations agencies will be forced to merge and become leaner. Many of the UN Agencies with their headquarters in USA and Europe will be forced to shift their base to China and other countries due to the potential economic crisis in the future.

While there   is lot of ‘rhetoric’ against neo-liberal economic policies, the fact of the matter is that neo-liberal economic policy is on retreat and in many countries the policy framework is no longer valid. When there is a persistent crisis of economy or prolonged recession, there is an increasing chance for the rise of right –wing conservative politics accompanied by various forms of social fascism.

There is an emergence of neo-conservative politics in Europe, in different parts of Asia as well as in the Americas. There is also increasing social fascism and discrimination against religious and ethnic minorities in different in Europe, Asia, Africa and different parts of the world.  There is a new nexus of economic, politic and media elites in many countries and the elite capture of the state apparatus along with new forms of social fascism may unleash new forms of mobilisation, protests and eventually resistance.

The Ecological crisis, multi-dimensional inequality, the rise of new militant identity politics, new forms of social fascism, and the deeper flux in the international politics on the one hand indicate a deeper crisis in the national and international politics and on the other hand signal the emergence of a new political theory, perspective and consequent political action in the 21st century. In the time of flux and crisis, new imaginations emerge; new possibilities emerge; and new politics also emerge.  Hence, even in the times of crisis and despair, there is space for new political imagination and new politics of rights, justice, fairness and sustainable future for the human beings and environment.

Monday, December 8, 2014

The ‘Kiss of Love’: Politics of Communication and Perceptions.

                                                                                                              John Samuel

‘The Kiss of Love’ is politics in search of new possibilities and poetry. The ‘Kiss of Love’ signifies not only new modes of protest but also the emerging crisis in conventional politics.   Recently in the state of Kerala in India, there has been a mobilisation on face-book against the emerging fascism that begins to threaten young people from hugging or public display of affection. While on the face-book, tens of thousands supported the mode of protest against the fascist  moral musclemen on the street, in reality there were only few dozen young people turned up for the protest in Kochi and thousands of  ‘moral muscle-men’ along with ‘moral’ police landed up there to deal with the ‘threat’ of ‘kiss of love’.

So in real world  the ‘Kiss of love’ protest fizzled out. But in the virtual world the protest was phenomenally successful. The national and international media covered the event at a time when media often ignore big rallies and mass mobilisation of conventional political parties. A small event in the real world became global news, largely due to its big presence  in the virtual world, on the social network and  due to the new possibilities of such a protest. The idea of ‘Kiss of Love’ went viral and young people in many other cities of India demonstrated this new form of protest by public display of affection.

 What has ‘Kiss of love’ to do with  politics? It is neither about kiss nor about love.  However, the new forms of mobilisation on the ‘virtual spaces’ and it expressions signify  an exasperation of the conventional modes of politics,( largely driven by conventional political party institutions) and action. In many ways, such modes of mobilisation and protests in different parts of the world, including  the 'occupy the wall streets', indicate a generational shift in political discourse at all levels.  This shift is evident at all level of power-relationships and responses to power.

The political process and institutional forms that emerged in the post-second war era is getting saturated in multiple ways.  In the last fifteen years, many scholars and researchers tried to theorize the multiple shifts in the context of economic, technological and social modes of globalisation.  Thomas Friedman discovered that the ‘the world is flat’ on the swanky ‘world-class’ campus of an Indian IT company – Infosys- in Bangalore.  He might not have had an opportunity to see ‘flat’ world in the slums few kilometers away from the ‘world’ class IT Companies in India. However, Thomas Friedman was indicating a shift in the dominant modes of perceptions.

When the mode of technology changes, the modes of communication changes; when modes of communication changes, modes of perception changes; when modes of perception changes, modes of thinking changes; when the modes of thinking changes, modes of action changes; and when the modes of thinking and action changes, modes of organising and institutions changes. And all these change the modes of power relationships in the society and countries and between countries. This changes politics at the national and international level. However, such shifts often create its own ‘reaction’ on the ground and the real demonstration of such shifts often take few decades.

While the invention of Printing Press and the process of Bible Translation and the new literacy movement from the 17 to 20 the century changed the politics and poetry of the world and influenced the world in the last four hundred years in multiple ways, the paradigm shift in the technology and modes of communication that emerged towards the end of twentieth century will affect the politics, economy and society of the 21st century in multiple ways. The printed word gave rise to interpretative possibilities and rise of new poetry, philosophy, politics and organisational forms. The enlightenment in the 17-18nth century and the revolutions that followed and the formation of the nation-states in the last 150 years all would have been accompanied by shifts in technology, communications, modes of mobilisation and modes of organising politics and economy.

However, in the last fifteen years, the fleeting words have taken over the printed word; the fleeting images have taken over the ‘still photography’. The fleeting words, flying images and the options of fast-forward communication changes the modes of love, modes of living, modes of institutions and mode of politics.  Such shifts in mode of communication, modes of love and living create new forms of individuations and negotiations of relationships.  In terms of family, the primary mode of social organisation, there is a shift from join-family to nuclear family to the post-nuclear family. In a post-nuclear family setting, the idea of people living under the ‘same roof’ or under a defined political economy has changed.  Now, in many parts of the world, the members of the family are ‘dispersed’ in space and sometime even in time- but connected on the social network. Hence, birthdays and marriage anniversaries are celebrated on the face book. People express love and kiss on ‘whats up’. People fall in love on the net and break love also on the net.  ‘Love’ or ‘sex’ can also be bought  on the information highways- and people can get hooked on the face-book.   People conduct meetings and conference and prayers on Skype. Gods too are roaming around the world on social networks!!  The Pope is palpable on the face-book. People get blessed and biased on the social network.  Wikipedia’ displaced the old world charm of ‘Encyclopedia Britannica’ that emerged during the colonial modes of organising knowledge and power.  Information and knowledge are on the finger tips and on ‘touch’ screen.  Libraries are increasingly becoming ‘achieves’.  Young people spend more time on face-book or mobile phones and they are more connected with distant people, rather than those sitting next to them.  People ‘get lost’ without their mobile phones and feel ‘insecure’ without net-connectivity.

The point is that modes of communication influences modes of loving and living  and modes of living influences modes of organisations and changes in modes of organisations shifts the modes of politics at various levels.  Hence, politics – as we know today- is undergoing deeper shifts at all levels from the national to the international.

Corroding Structures and dissolving disciplines

The conventional modes of top-down structures began to dissolve from the bottom and organisations started corroding and collapsing from within. In the new age of communication, there is no space for conventional ‘discipline’ of information management or calibrated communication.  When individuals are empowered in terms of communication and networking, traditional modes of institutional disciplines get dissolved.  Hence, the earlier practice  of 'structured' organisation through cadre parties or top-down management of people and information no longer work. This has made many of those organisation that managed politics through centrally managed structured cadre institutions are facing an institutional and political crisis. In the network age of communication and relationships and individuation, the 'disciplined and 'obedient cadres cease to exist.'  Interests and ideals get collapsed and incentives become the motives that bind modes of mobilisation within the institutional structures of one or other kind. The politics of communication is fast moving from the one-sides 'broad-casting' mode by the conventional News Papers and TV to multi-lateral dialogues, conversations and crowd sourcing. And this results in to 'flash mobs' and 'instant' responses and 'imaginative possibilities' and 'leader-less' modes of mobilizations. This also gives individual a sense of new freedom to express, to connect and to communicate on his/her own terms. Such flexible options of communications, engagement and multiple-lives( an introvert person in real life may be an extrovert on the virtual world; an 'obedient' child in real world may be wild on the net; a conventional wife in a patriarchal family may be very 'unconventional in the virtual world). This multiple choices and options that new media, social networks and virtual world offer create its own different power dynamics in  the real world. People can mobilize on the net beyond the conventional constraints of time and space.'  A lonely person sitting in a lonely location anywhere in the world can be a part of an internet community, Google group or a social network that help him to communicate and influence. Hence, there is a crisis in politics at the local, national and international level. However, such a crisis often creates multiple responses from multiple actors.

  Crisis in power-relations and the established structures of power often give rise to ‘reactive politics’ and ‘reactionary politics’ as well as ‘search for new politics’.  The multiple shifts evoke multiple responses in terms of sensibility and politics. When there are radical shifts in communications and modes of living, the most evident reactive tendency will be the assertion of ‘tradition’ and ‘conservative values’. And the new shifts get pushed back by conservative values, and ‘traditional’ political process.  In the history, whenever there were instances of multiple shifts in communications, knowledge, living and modes of mobilisation, there were oppressive tendencies and the reactionary politics.  However, such conservative backlash may not be able to survive new forms of shifts fuelled by technology, communication, economy and modes of organizing.

Often the conservative and reactionary elements in politics also use the same kind of technology to fight the new values that accompany the shifts in the very same technology. Hence, the ultra-conservative sectarianism to all forms of extremism makes use of technology to communicate the reactionary values that they represent. And new modes of mobile phones help people to exhibit any acts of violence or terror anywhere in the world within seconds across the world.  The new media eclipsed the old media. News papers- as we know now may disappear in this century.  There are much faster ways to communicate and the notions of narrow casting and broad –casting in the news paper era is vanishing.  Individuals and virtual networks can broad cast or narrow cast or community –cast, as they like.