- Rajesh Tyagi/ 8.2.2013
Brutal gang-rape of the para-medic student in New Delhi on December 16, was yet another link in the chain of innumerable crimes, that have become central to the political life in all countries of the world, under rule of capitalists. Massive resistance that came in the aftermath of the gang-rape, was marked by huge protests against the bourgeois rule. These protests had given a jolt to the bourgeois elite, its parties and state, forcing them to wake up from slumber.Terrified at the strength of the protests, but having no real means at its disposal to put the monster of crime back in the bottle, the elite government first ordered a police crackdown through tear gas and lathi-charge upon the young protestors at India Gate, and then took to hypocrisy promising reforms. Immediately after suppressing the protests, the government constituted committees to suggest reforms in laws, police and courts.
Close on the heels of the republic day, and within a month of its constitution, the Committee under Justice J.S. Verma came out with its report, indicting authorities and suggesting reforms to cool down the nerves.Reformists of all hues, Stalinists and Maoists ahead of them all, hailed this report as a historic step ahead. They contended against each other in applauding the report of Verma Committee. Instead of exposing the farce of Verma Committee and its report as a hypocrite measure by the bourgeois establishment to dupe the people, to calm them down offering carrots after use of sticks, these reformists came out cheerleading for it and perpetuated illusions in the elite rule terming the report to be victory for people’s movement.
In an article in ‘People’s Democracy’, the official organ of the CPI (M), its Polit Bureau member and president of its women wing-AIDWA, Brinda Karat, claimed: “The Justice Verma Committee through its wide ranging and insightful report has provided an opportunity for the government to initiate a series of reforms in the legal, social and educational fields on the issues of sexual violence against women”.Echoing it, and taking even two steps ahead, leader of CPI (ML) (Liberation), AIPWA and AISA, Kavita Krishnan, claimed in facebook comment: “The Report submitted by the Justice Verma committee marks an important measure of victory for the ongoing people’s movement against sexual violence, as well as for the decades of the women’s movement and democratic movement in India. The Report, commendably prepared within a month, following a welcome process of serious engagement with activists and scholars in the field, does several things that are undoubtedly path-breaking. It firmly upholds the principle that violence on women should be understood from the perspective of women’s autonomy, bodily integrity and dignity, rather from patriarchal notions of honour and shame.....”
Since very inception of the protests, the reformist, Stalinist and Maoist, parties and groups have made endeavour to divert the focus of debate from essential origins of the crime rooted in capitalism to elsewhere. First, they diminished the criminalisation of capitalist society, to crimes against its womenfolk, then they attributed it to feudal patriarchy, obscuring its class nature and thus exonerated capitalism. Patriarchy, and not capitalism is the source of crime, shout the pseudo lefts. And this ‘patriarchy’ in turn is ingrained in the minds of men and not in the system of capitalism, they argue. So, the task, for them, lies in changing the patriarchal mindset of men, and not in overturning the criminal rule of capitalists.This was such a huge concession to capitalism, that the proponents of these ideas received full throttle support and appreciation in corporate media, for their ‘balanced’ views, for relieving capitalism of its essential and intolerable sins. The establishment of elites, hailed this idea of hitting at ‘patriarchy’ in abstraction and thereby bail out capitalism.
Contrary to propaganda of reformists, patriarchy does not exist independent of the structures of capitalism. Capitalism has subjected everything, including medieval patriarchy in backward countries, to itself, and has customised the same to its needs. As medievalism stands protected under the iron fist of capitalist power, one cannot fight against patriarchy without smashing the power of capitalists. This is what Stalinists and Maoists and reformists of all hues refuse to understand. For them, the target of struggle is not power of capitalists, but medievalism and patriarchy. On the pretext of fighting against medievalism and patriarchy, they virtually absolve capitalism.In reducing the issue of crime in general, to crime against women in particular, these reformists take to the issue of crime from perspective of bourgeois feminism. In that, they cleverly obscure so apparent class refraction: crime does not haunt women in general, but only those who hail from working and toiling sections of the society, while elite women, those who come from rich and powerful layers in society, are least affected by it.
Central to the debate, is thus, not the crime against women, but the crime in general. No doubt, women are softer targets and easy prey to all crimes, including the crimes more specific to them like rape, but this has to be looked upon as part of criminalisation of the capitalist society as a whole.Capitalist anarchy and loot are two legs upon which stands a whole body of corrupt and lumpen army of men, repository of all crimes. Crime is integral to capitalism. Crime and corruption are two lifelines of capitalism. This is the core aspect of whole discourse! The task is thus, not to introduce reforms to capitalism, but to overthrow it. The reformists, however, refute this agenda and instead of appealing to the workers, youth and toilers to overthrow capitalism, appeal to the bourgeois rulers to reform the laws, courts and policing. These sentinels of capitalism, would never turn their back upon it and will support a capitalist status-quo, what may come.
Marxist revolutionaries do not oppose reforms, but they focus upon revolutionary struggle against the rule of capitalists and look upon reforms, that are offered by the ruling classes to detest the masses from revolutionary struggle, as its necessary by-products. Instead of cheerleading for reforms, marxists caution people of them as booby traps placed by the ruling elites to arrest the revolutionary march of working people towards revolution. Reformists, while paying lip service to revolution, hail the reforms, rush for the crumbs thrown by ruling elites and mislead the workers and toilers away from revolutionary struggle. This is exactly the response that all major stalinist and maoist parties have given to the Verma Committe Report.
While reformists, tagged themselves to the Verma Committee report, the government has introduced an ‘ordinance’ further trimming the over-toned rhetoric in the report.Needless to say that the spate of crime, goes unabated, as before, and will be so, despite all reforms and rhetoric, till power remains in the hands of capitalists.