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[In this installment of his exploration of India’s role in geopolitics, the author provides extraordinary historical background into India’s political landscape and the interfacing of gender and neoliberalism in the pressures India faces to become a “masculine” player on in a globalist world. It should also be noted that Stan Goff is the author of Sex And War1, a powerful analysis of the role of gender in world conflict—CB]


Stan Goff
FTW Military/Veterans Affairs Editor


© Copyright 2006, From The Wilderness Publications,  All Rights Reserved. This story may NOT be posted on any Internet web site without express written permission. Contact May be circulated, distributed or transmitted for non-profit purposes only.

The Rise of the Indian Right

August 14th 2006, 2:21 pm [PST] - While David Harvey2 has emphasized motive in neoliberalism, the “restoration of ruling class power” and “accumulation through dispossession,” Peter Gowan3 has emphasized method.  In The Global Gamble, he explains that the attack on Keynesian economics  was not simply an attack on metropolitan working class gains and the imposition of debt peonage on the under-developed South.  It also entailed the abolition of Keynesian repression on the financial pole of global capital -- faulted by Keynesians, accurately to a large extent, for the speculative swelter that catalyzed the Great Depression.

The “liberation” of finance capital, in conjunction with “globalization,” changed the character of both “finance capital” and “imperialism” as defined by Hilferding4 and Lenin.  They were not national, but international.  They were not a Darwinian struggle between metropolitan capitals, but a collaborative venture between them to exploit the South.  And they were not the merger of banks with industrial capital, but an international, technologically-networked lava flow of “hot money” that is, purely speculative investment.

This gave neoliberalism its grotesquely parasitic character.  It also established the system’s general immunity to political intervention by any except the one dominant state, hence “global hot money”, notes Indian economist, Prabhat Patnaik…

…restricts the scope for demand management by the nation-state, undermining Keynesianism directly. Financial interests within any country, as Keynes and Kalecki argued, tend to be hostile to demand management; when finance is international, this hostility acquires a spontaneous effectiveness. Any effort by the state to expand economic activity makes speculators apprehensive about inflation, exchange rate depreciation and, more generally, of political radicalism and finance flows out of the country; this precipitates actual depreciation and inflation, forcing the state to curtail activity so that speculators feel comfortable. State intervention presupposes a "control area" of the state, over which its writ can run; globalization of finance tends to undermine this control area.

If, from Mitterrand to Schröder, a host of left-wing governments in the advanced capitalist countries (elected on the promise that they would increase employment) have failed to do so, the reason lies in this objective constraint on state intervention rather than, necessarily, in bad faith or betrayal. It also explains the decline of all ideologies of social change, from social democracy to Keynesianism to third world nationalism, even to old communism (which lost its immunity to capital flights): since all of them see the nation-state as the agency of intervention, globalization of finance, by restricting the state's capacity to intervene, has undermined their coherence.

What Harvey does emphasize in his description of modern imperialism is that the non-dominant states are subordinate to finance capital, but that finance capital is still secured by the state, and specifically by military power.  Accumulation by dispossession is not possible without it.

“Capitalist imperialism,” note Panitch and Ginden (Global Capitalism and American Empire), “needs to be understood through an extension of the theory of the capitalist state, rather than derived directly from the theory of economic stages or crises.”  Finance capital is not independent any more than a cheap loan shark is.  It requires muscle.  Hot money has become a weapon of American statecraft.  Dollar hegemony gives the ability to wield hot money as a political weapon to one state.

Lenin’s claim that his imperialism was the highest stage of capitalism was standpoint exceptionalism.  “Far from being the highest stage of capitalism, what these theorists were observing was (as is now obvious) a relatively early phase of capitalism.”  (Panitch & Ginden)

The (mostly) indirect rule of 21st Century American imperialism, using its creditor status against peripheral nations and its debtor status against the metropoles, is a unique phenomenon in history.  It can only be grasped in its complexity.  Metropolitan states are exploited through the Treasury standard for loans the US will never pay back to finance American military profligacy—for the same reason Willie Sutton said he robbed banks:  “That’s where the money is.”  Peripheral and semi-peripheral nations are subordinated through structural adjustment programs (SAPs), in part to drain value from them, but not wholly for that reason.  Imperialism has an economic dimension, but it also has its political dimension, the dimension of power characterizing the whole relationship between actors.

The task for SAPs is to establish the economic conditions in which such a society can become self-functioning [self policing in the international order].  There must be just enough local accumulation to permit the South to maintain some non-statist institutions or social forces which can enable it to manage its own poverty… it might be possible to address the problem of ‘governance’ by recognizing and ‘validating’ the coping strategies which people have developed to resist social degradation, and then by calling the organizations behind these strategies ‘NGOs’ [non-governmental organizations] and constituents of ‘civil society’, and using them to run society in a low-cost way without the risks of post-neo-colonial direct rule.  (Biel, p. 245)

This gives us good reason to examine the role of NGOs not as service agencies, but as co-optation strategies, particularly any NGO with the sanction in any country of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), whose actions are closely coordinated through the US Embassy with its Economics Sections and its CIA station chief.  This is a dimension within the local political scene in the periphery that belies the notion of sovereignty on close examination, while superficially giving US intervention a benevolent face.

In the peripheral or semi-peripheral states, such as India, political struggle operates along multiple axes.  Its interstate dimension is in every case a struggle about how to relate to American power, a question of dependence or autarky.  Its two national dimensions are the struggle between elites for control of the state apparatus and the struggle between official and grassroots power -- which unites even opposition elites, who are threatened by grassroots power.  And there is a cultural-ideological dimension, one that is most marked in large, culturally diverse states, in which “difference” can be constructed as hierarchy or conflict by demagogues, particularly in times of deep insecurity or outright crisis.  The latter is reinforced by actual structural relations within a nation-state, often called “inequality,” but characterized by a far less abstract relationship of parasitic domination like “national” oppression (the modifier here used in the historical-community and not the state sense) or caste.

Metropolitan political operatives have learned the “cultural logic” very well, and they have learned to employ destabilization -- as opposed to outright coups -- as a way to create conditions that inflame difference into conflict using external economic pressure… Yugoslavia being a prime example.  It was no surprise, then, that the US allied itself with Franjo Tudjman, a Croatian fascist, as part of its plan to dismantle the Yugolsav state that heroically resisted fascism during World War II under the leadership of fellow Croatian, Josep Broz Tito.  Fascism flourishes during times of deep insecurity.

Many people have tried to describe, or even define, fascism.  The problem has been that the term was invented by one kind of fascist, then applied by a couple more.  So we look at Mussolini fascism, and try to determine how that is the same or different from Hitler fascism or Franco fascism.  This is a very controversial topic.  It seems to have class dimensions and racial dimensions.  These have been studied quite a lot, and in fact have become grist for thousands of academic papers.

Here are a few observations of my own, not terribly rigorous.  It always seems to be a phenomenon of a “middle class” that has been destabilized by economic downturns.  It always seems to be characterized by demagogic appeals to racial, ethnic, or national superiority.  It always seems to be carried forward outside the legitimated political process by an element of vigilantism.  It always co-opts the most inflammatory language of the left as a kind of populist appeal, even though once in power it always secures the fortunes of the already-ruling class.  It comes to power politically (after it comes to prominence socially) during periods when the existing political establishment loses the confidence of the people.  Last, but certainly not least, it always makes powerful appeals to a kind of martial masculinity.

The so-called middle class in India is in fact somewhere between 150-200 million people out of more than a billion, around 15% of the population.  They are a composite of professionals, technocrats, managers, businesspeople who run franchises for the multinationals, and the recipients of political patronage.  Politically, they serve as a buffer between the super-rich and the impoverished Indian masses.

This stratum has certain expectations, manufactured in the Great Nation promotions of various Indian leaderships who have felt compelled to court them.  Western cultural hegemony has carried with it not just neoliberal ideology, but consumerism.  This intermediate class has a very high demand for consumer goods as an outward expression of its status, both national and personal.  The problem is that to satisfy this demand, the Indian government has allowed India -- which does not have an industrial consumer-goods production base adequate to this need -- to run up a trade deficit.  The inevitable result of this, devaluation of the national currency, has been staved off for a time by the Indian government’s decision not to allow full convertability for the Rupee… until now.

The refusal to expose the Rupee is what has, up until now, prevented a replay of Argentina in India, though growth rates, even after “liberalization” in the early 90s, have remained unchanged since the 80s.  The fortunes of the “middle class” and the rich have been improved not by expansion of productive capacity, but by creaming the plunder of structural adjustment -- privatization, abandonment of government-supported social services, and fire-sale sell-offs of public assets.

It has been apparent from the beginning, albeit in the outward ways presented by the market, that the fortunes of this class were tentative, especially at the bottom of this stratum.  Job expansion rates, especially well-paying jobs, has actually decreased.

This has only heightened the sense of insecurity among the lower “middle class,” and rendered them susceptible -- in the absence of an interpretive framework for understanding their situation -- to demagogy from the right.  This stratum is closest to the lower classes, and is in direct contact with the agitations and deformations of poverty—it looks them most directly in the face, as it were.  This condition breeds a kind of political panic and is easily directed at scapegoats.

In 1925, even before the independence struggle, Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar organized Rashtriya Swayemsevak Sangh (RSS, National Volunteer Union) as a formation to fight for a Hindu Nation. It is a highly hierarchical organization that combines Hinduism, paramilitary practices in the form of “physical exercise,” and a network of local chapters (shakhas) where education involves intense, lifelong indoctrination in the organization’s principles.  It is always and absolutely led by one male leader, who appoints his successor.  It would be easy to dismiss the RSS as an obscurantist sect, except that it has well over a million active members.  Since the post-independence partition, the RSS has inflamed anti-Hindu xenophobia, and expresses a violent Islamophobia.

Nathuram Godse, the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi, was alleged by his own brother to have been a member of the RSS in a 1994 interview, a charge bitterly denied by the RSS now.  Godse was, however, beyond any doubt, a Hindutva true believer , and his public criticisms of the RSS were always that they were not aggressive enough.

Since 1980, the political expression of the RSS has been the Bharatiya Janata Party (Indian People’s Party, BJP), having been earlier organized (as the Indian People’s Union) but suffering collapse during the government of Indira Gandhi.  With the insecurities that struck the lower-middle class with the introduction of neoliberalism, however, in the early 90s, the BJP went from being a marginal party to a major political force.  The elite “middle class” had hitched its fortunes to the Washington Consensus, accepting their role as the comprador proxy for the US, and when this surrender of Indian sovereignty had its first destructive impacts on the comprador confusion, a huge faux-populist xenophobia came to the fore as an explanatory force.  The rhetoric of the RSS and BJP was designed to inflame this and direct it against Muslims.  (RSS ideology is also strongly anti-Christian and anti-communist, the latter betraying the reactionary character hiding under its populist rhetoric.)

The Babri Masjid was a great , ancient mosque built in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, home to 13 million Indian Muslims.  Hindutva propaganda held that the mosque was built in the 16th Century (true) on top of an ancient Hindu pilgrimage location, and birthplace of Samrat Shri Ramachandra, an ostensible Hindu king and demi-god (Rama). (Not true. Records actually show no special Hindu significance attached to the site until the 18th Century). Babri Masjid was an architectural marvel, and held immense interest for historians around the world.

On December 6, 1992, incited by RSS and BJP operatives with loudspeakers, around 100,000 Hindutva fanatics converged on Babri Masjid and destroyed it, attacking Muslim residents nearby and engaging in widespread looting and vandalism.  This ignited riots between Hindu and Muslim across India, including the capitol. 

I noted earlier that vigilantism is a consistent aspect of fascism.  At Babri Masjid, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP, World Hindu Council) orchestrated much of the actual violence, and coordinated the leadership for this particular instance of vigilante violence.

In response to these attacks, American neo-con propagandist Daniel Pipes, well-known himself for his extreme Islamophobia, wrote, “Ayodhya prompts several thoughts relating to the Temple Mount. It shows that the Temple Mount dispute is far from unique. Moslems have habitually asserted the supremacy of Islam through architecture, building on top of the monuments of other faiths (as in Jerusalem and Ayodhya) or appropriating them (e.g. the Ka'ba in Mecca and the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople).”

This not only connected RSS ideology with Zionism in their respective ideologies, it presaged the “natural” connection that would emerge between a future BJP government and an approving Bush II administration.

Exploiting the generalized insecurity amplified by neoliberal predation and disunity in the bureaucratically moribund Congress Party, the BJP came to national power in India in 1998, and the position of Prime Minister, where most executive authority is vested, was handed to the 50-year Parliamentary veteran Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Vajpayee was immediately embraced by the Clinton Administration, and almost as quickly put Clinton on the spot with a series of five unannounced nuclear weapons tests that broke a decades-long moratorium (since a single such test in 1974).  Pakistan replied two weeks later with its own test, ratcheting up tension around the world, and in 1999, the civilian government of Pakistan fell, once again, to an army-orchestrated coup d’etat, and General Pervez Musharraf installed himself as Pakistan’s new leader.

After a “decent interval,” Clinton graced Vajpayee with the legitimation of a ballyhooed presidential visit in 2000.  After all, good neoliberal allies in countries of over a billion people are not easy to come by, and China was cynically lining up with Pakistan for strategic reasons.  The Clinton Administration was then overseeing a general anti-Chinese hysteria, emblematic of which was the bizarre frame-up of Wen Ho Lee -- a Taiwanese American scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Bush was appointed by judicial fiat in 2000 and took office the next January.  September 11th happened, and on December 13 -- two months later -- with US troops now occupying Afghanistan, and Taliban fighters dispersed through eastern Pakistan, the Indian Parliament was attacked by Pakistani paramilitaries (killing several security guards, before themselves being killed by Indian security).  Pakistan denied complicity, but this issue has not been resolved to this day.  This may have been a response to India’s October surprise artillery assault launched against Pakistani positions along the Kashmir line of control.  At any rate, there was now extreme tension around the world with regard to this nascent confrontation between two nuclear-armed nations.

The Bush Administration had thrown in its lot with Pakistan out of tactical necessity for its invasion of Afghanistan, and for now sat on the sidelines with regard to India and the BJP leadership there.  There was a neoliberally-committed BJP government already in place, and Bush could ill afford to do more than remain quiet as his mandarins directed the latest campaign in the Energy War.

Neoliberalism, Hindutva fascism, and the Energy War had now decisively converged.

Perry Anderson in a 2003 interview at Berkeley noted that neoliberalism is now the most thoroughly global ideology in human history, that one can finds its adherents in think tanks and governments in any capitol in the world.  He further noted that there were two contradictions carried within neoliberalism that will ultimately undermine it:  ecological constraints and social polarization.  I believe that is true.  However, the general reaction on the Left when polarization is mentioned is to equate that solely with the contradictions contained within economic class.  It is my belief that (1) neoliberalism will exacerbate these polarities and thereby strengthen the right as the guarantor of order, and (2) that the general rightward shift that lies in waiting as the logical outcome of neoliberalism’s destructive trajectory brings into bold relief another social polarity that is simultaneously imbricated with class but separate from it in its character and bases -- gender.

R. W. Connell, writing in his superlative book, Masculinities  (University of California Press, 1995), remarked that “fascism promote[s] new images of masculinity [during crises of the same], glorifying irrationality (‘the triumph of the will’, thinking with ‘the blood’) and the unrestrained violence of the frontline soldier.” (p. 193)

Vinay Lal, writing about the nuclear tests under the BJP government “The Cultural Politics of Indian Nuclearism”) noted:

The history of India's nuclear tests extends back, in a manner of speaking, to the early days of India under colonial rule. The British were apt to describe Indians as an “effeminate” people, leading lives of indolence and womanly softness; following the rebellion of 1857-58, the entire country was divided between “martial” and “non-martial” races. One response was to embrace a certain kind of hyper-masculinity, which would enable Indians to be construed as a people just as “manly” as the British. Indians have never been able to live down the taunt of “effeminacy”, and those who know of the cultural nuances of South Asian history are aware that some Indians imagine Pakistani Muslims as a meat-eating, virile, robust, and militaristic people. It is a telling fact that the first comment of Balasaheb K. Thackeray, the chauvinist leader of the militantly Hindu Shiv Sena party who is an open admirer of Hitler, upon hearing of the tests was, “We have to prove that we are not eunuchs.”

In other words, prove they are not like women.  The way George W. Bush does when he dressed up like a cowboy or a fighter pilot.

The reason that fascism is still seen, even on the left, as a principally politico-economic phenomenon, with its gendered aspects a kind of barely-relevant curiosity reserved for psychoanalysts, is not that gender is -- “objectively” -- somehow secondary as a causative agent.  The reason is that men on the right and left remain reluctant to acknowledge the centrality of gender as a system of material, ideological, and psychological power is because that acknowledgment puts their own entitlements and their own pretensions and insecurities under the bright light of criticism.

India’s Women

Many on the left actually saw the original national modernization process as one of emancipation from older “semi-feudal” structures… as “progress.”  In practice, however, the systems of caste and gender hierarchy that pre-existed the march to industrialization and the Green Revolution freed the upper castes and men from their paternal obligations under the old system and lowered the status of women and lower castes from subordinate to disposable.

The “emancipation” of newly-emerging “middle class” women was what Maria Mies described as housewife-ization, and came to be identified with consumption in the public sphere and competitive sexual objectivity in the private.  The number of beggars and prostitutes in the cities -- no longer able to eke out a living on the land -- exploded into the tens of millions.

Men went in search of jobs in the cities, where the non-monetized subsidization of their survival by women’s work in the reproductive (familial) economy helped keep wages extremely low.  It was estimated by Mies, who did field work there with K. Lalitha and Krishna Kumari in 1983, that 80% of the work being done in the fields was then being done by women, who were still also performing all household tasks.

This non-monetized “cost of social reproduction,” that kept wages low and ensured foreign and comprador profit margins sweated out of the displaced male working class (though certain industries prefer exclusively female work forces made up of women who have been economically pressed into the cities), suffered its own crisis as the women who underwrote it with their rural labor were undermined by the enclosures of mono-cropping agribusiness.  Many NGOs on the payroll of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), as well as the World Bank, recognized this explicitly, and they began using micro-credit loans to women, ostensibly to “lift them out of poverty.”  The program was, in fact, designed to ensure their marginal survival at a level that insured against social upheaval, while maintaining the relatively low cost of social reproduction for which women’s efforts formed the foundation.  Moreover, these programs ultimately failed women because their lower social status as women left them vulnerable to newly-creative mechanisms of exploitation by men -- including husbands and landlords—and now through the neoliberal relationship between metropole and periphery.

A striking example of the latter is the Indian “womb” industry.  Infertile western couples, reports Bangalore journalist Sudha Ramachandran (“India's new outsourcing business - wombs”, Asia Times, June 16, 2006), who are seeking surrogate mothers, but would have to pay $45,000 in the US or Western Europe, can go to India to find agencies who will make a woman’s womb available for a mere $2,500.  This is now referred to in India as “reproductive tourism.”

With the breakup of traditional structures in India, women were not—as predicted by many on the left—freed from “backwardness,” but victimized by men whose traditional masculine identities had been thrown into severe crisis by changes in the public sector, and who sought to preserve the sole domain within which they held power, in the “private” realm.

Since the push to modernization as part of the nation-building project, the further instabilities and insecurities of neoliberalism, and finally the reactionary “communalism” of hyper-masculine Hindutva with its political expression through the BJP, violence against women has exploded in India.  The incidence of battery, rape, prostitution, sexual slavery, widow burning, dowry murders, honor killing, and female infanticide (associated with the burden of dowry costs) has gone up across the board.

The exacerbation of ethnic rivalry, fanned by the Hindutva movement, has reignited the widespread use of rape as a weapon of ethnic warfare, which only serves to increase women’s sense of dependence on their co-ethnic males in the perennial gender paradigm of obedience-for-protection.

“Development” as a meme has concealed the terrifying reality of sexual exploitation for Indian women and children.  Louis Proyect writes:

When a city like Bombay is touted in the business press as a high technology beacon, they are apt to neglect mentioning that it is also home to at least 20,000 child prostitutes. Many are displayed row after row in zoo-like cages. When one new victim refused to have sex, her head was banged against the floor until she lost consciousness. After she awoke, a rattan cane smeared with pureed red chili peppers was shoved into her vagina. If it is any consolation, such jobs are unlikely to be outsourced to India from the USA.

The worsening condition of women in India has not gone unanswered, however.  The very conditions that have shattered the foundations of traditional life and forced large numbers of women into the informal sectors with fewer traditional guarantees of paternal care (from husbands or upper-classes) have created the conditions for an increasingly powerful women’s resistance that will carry with it profound political consequences.

Ninety-four percent of India’s women labor in the “unorganized sector,” that is, in work that has no state protections associated with it, even under contract law.  This sector’s women are becoming highly self-organized, most interestingly in a movement called the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA).

Begun three decades ago by Elaben Bhatt -- a dynamic 73-year-old veteran of the Indian Independence Movement and ex-labor lawyer -- SEWA is now seen by women activists in the global South as a standard-bearer for women’s leadership in the struggle against both patriarchy and neoliberalism.  With almost 700,000 members in five Indian states, SEWA and its emulators are becoming a political force.  Perhaps the most interesting thing about SEWA is that its politics are hardly restricted to electoralism—a lesson activists in the West might learn.  Much of its activity is responding to the specific needs of its members and the sectors they work in by creating issue campaigns and alternative institutions designed to reduce dependence on the existing system… to move, so to speak, off the grid.  These include issue campaigns like the Home-based Workers’ Campaign, the Vendors Campaign, the Forest Workers’ Campaign, the Construction Workers’ Campaign, the Water Campaign (!), the Food Security Campaign, the Campaign for our Right to Child Care, the Campaign for Recognition of Midwives, etc.  Cooperatives have been established for credit, health care, child care, insurance, legal aid, capacity building and communication services.  They have also taken such initiatives as creation of “fodder banks” to ensure the survival of livestock during drought.  SEWA is now expanding into Yemen and Turkey.

Politically, SEWA and other grassroots organizations form blocs with the left during elections, but not without asserting demands in exchange for their support.

From a regional perspective, dozens of major women-led organizations have shown the most willingness to build lines of communication between India and Pakistan, where women are suffering under similar structural and cultural pressures.

This will have profound social and political implications for the future, given the grotesque illusions that have been propagated about “development” by India’s neoliberal masters in Washington and Wall Street, and echoed by the male intelligentsia of India’s eager compradors.  “Development,” after all, has never simply stood as the linguistic marker for social evolution, but for capitalist “growth” and “progress” predicated on the masculinist narrative of Man conquering (a female, ergo “chaotic”) Nature.

Louis Proyect notes (Swans, March 2004), on development”:

Not only did [a] World Bank economist… find that the ratio of per capita income between the richest and poorest nations grow by a factor of 9 to 50 between 1870 and 1960, he also projected that it would take India 377 years to erase this gap at current growth rates. If this is true for a supposedly dynamic country that is a pole of attraction for outsourced high technology, what hopes could possibly exist for the average African nation?

Even if India had the patience to wait nearly 4 centuries to catch up to the United States, the reality here and in other developed countries falls far short of the image created by its paid propagandists.

Carolyn Merchant, in a June 2002 interview explained to Russell Schoch of the California Monthly:

Since the scientific revolution of the 17th century, the mainstream story of western culture is that humanity can recover the Garden of Eden through science, technology, and capitalism by remaking the whole earth into a garden.  By cutting down forests and making the desert blossom as the rose, and by creating farms on the land—and  ultimately agribusiness and then shopping malls and gated communities.  All of this is part of a "progressive" narrative that technology can be used to interact with and to dominate and control nature…

The clearest expression of it comes from Francis Bacon, who says that we can “recover” that “right” over nature which was lost to humanity. [Bacon actually used a rape metaphor.] …

And then we lost it, in the Fall from Eden, caused by Eve. Eve is the one who exhibited the first curiosity—one might say she’s the first “scientist” -- and who then tempted a reluctant Adam, bringing about the Fall from Eden.  So, to recover what was lost, Eve now represents fallen nature, and Adam represents the labor that must be used to refurbish the earth, through agriculture and ultimately industrial capitalism. Science, technology, and capitalism come together in the 17th century to allow a secular version of the reinvention of Eden on earth.

The situation for women in the real world created behind this narrative has been a mixed result, depending on whether the women were in the overdeveloped metropoles or the underdeveloped periphery and semi-periphery.  As the ecologic and energetic limits to this “growth” continue to assert themselves as crises, however, even crises that will inevitably encroach on the metropoles themselves with more force, the social position of women will be determined by monumental social struggles.

Reactionaries, attempting to re-consolidate and strengthen male social power over women, will continue to masculinze their own political narratives to catalyze male solidarity across class lines.  Women themselves, however, will be uniquely positioned to develop the off-the-grid alternative economies that appear in the interstices of a system that is outrunning its own material basis.  Their marginalization now may translate, with strong leadership from other women, into a basis for future political power.  Women predominate the work and therefore the skills that hold together the non-monetized and local economies in most of the world.  If women establish networks of strong, conscious political solidarity to get the male boot off their necks within these spheres, they will be positioned as a collective vanguard for whatever the next phase is in social development.

Figures like Elaben Bhatt and Vandana Shiva now bear immense historic responsibility.  It is our responsibility to pay very close attention.

This applies to India, but in some ways, to the whole world.  The reason it is important is that the geopolitical machinations afoot now are charged with more perilous implications -- in many ways -- than any conjuncture in human history.


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