By P.R. Sarkar
Considering the collective interests of all living beings, it is essential that capitalism be eradicated. But, what should be the proper method to achieve this end?
It cannot be denied that violence gives rise to violence. Then again, nothing can ensure that the application of force without violence, with the intention of rectification, will necessarily bring good results. So what should be done under such circumstances?
Nothing would be better, if it were possible, than the eradication of capitalism by friendly persuasion and humanistic appeals. In that case the peace of the greater human family would not be much disturbed. But can it be guaranteed that everyone will respond to this approach? Some people may say that a day will come when, as a result of repeatedly listening to such appeals and gradually imbibing them over a long time, as well as through proper mental and spiritual education, good sense will prevail among the exploiters. This argument is very pleasant to hear. Such attempts are not reprehensible. But is it practicable to wait indefinitely for good sense to prevail among the exploiters? By then the exploited mass will have given up the ghost!
Though the humanistic approach works in some cases, in most instances it does not produce any result; and even where it does work, it takes a very long time. So, wherever necessary, capitalism must be forced to abandon its ferocious hunger by taking strong measures. But it cannot be assumed that even these measures will be completely successful, because those who appear to be under control due to fear of the law will adopt other ways to fulfil their desires. Black marketing, adulteration, etc., cannot be totally eradicated by threats or by arousing fear of the law.
Thus, stronger measures will have to be taken; that is, tremendous circumstantial pressure will have to be created. To create this sort of circumstantial pressure, the application of force is absolutely necessary. Those who believe that the non-application of force alone is non-violence (ahiḿsá) are bound to fail. No problem in this world can be solved by adopting this kind of non-violence.
I cannot support the attitude of those who denounce capitalism at every opportunity, because this allows capitalists to become alert and invent more scientific and devious ways to exploit the people. Those who lack a constructive ideology will never be capable of destroying capitalism, even if they speak sweet words, use threats, or create circumstantial pressure.
The ambition to become rich by exploiting others is a type of psychic disease. In fact, if the infinite longing of the human mind does not find the proper path leading to psychic and spiritual fulfilment, it becomes engaged in accumulating excessive physical wealth by depriving others. If any member of a joint family appropriates food from the family food store by using physical or intellectual force, he or she becomes the cause of misery to others.
Similarly, when capitalists declare, “We have amassed wealth by our talent and labour. If others have the capacity and diligence, let them also do the same; nobody prevents them,” they do not care to realize that the volume of commodities on the earth is limited, whereas the requirement is common to all. Excessive individual affluence, in most cases, deprives others of the minimum requirements of life.
The incapability to recognize the requirements of others because of insensitiveness is a psychic disease. Those afflicted with this disease are also members of the vast human family; they are also our brothers and sisters. So, either by making humanitarian appeals or by creating circumstantial pressure, arrangements will have to be made to cure them of their ailment. It would be a great sin even to think of their destruction.
Even if extreme steps, such as threats and circumstantial pressure, are taken, can it be said that the nature of those with vested interests is going to be reformed? Rather, they will always search for suitable opportunities to launch a counter-revolution.
To protect the common people from the clutches of exploitation, as an initial measure we will have to create circumstantial pressure, but to reform the character of these ailing people, long-term arrangements will also have to be made for their psychic and spiritual education. Human society is ready to wait indefinitely to reform their character by psychic and spiritual methods, because by then their fangs will have been broken, and by creating circumstantial pressure, their capacity for exploitation will have been snatched away.
From Problems of the Day (1958)
Copyright Ananda Marga Publications 2012