Economic Liberation

The following was authored by Shrii Sarkar in 1959 as part of the two-part Human Society series. For clarification on the various psycho-social classes mentioned in the article, please see Shrii Sarkar's discourse on the dynamics of the social cycle and related material on this site.

By Shrii Prabhat Rainjan Sarkar

The subservient intellectuals employ all their intellectual power to increase the wealth of the capitalists in exchange for the basic necessities they need to fill their bellies. Millionaire capitalists employ intellectuals at low wages in order to increase their wealth; with the help of these intellectuals they build up networks of adulteration, black marketeering and smuggling.

After the capitalists secure the allegiance of the intellectuals, they enlist them to help them consolidate the capitalistic social structure and philosophy. The contemporary Bhúdán movement* is an example of this type of philosophy; it is supported by the capitalists and propagated by the intellectuals under their control. As a result of this kind of movement, efforts to fight the exploitation of the capitalists decline because people think, “Why fight against rich people when they voluntarily distribute their land and wealth to the poor?” This aversion to fighting will somewhat lengthen the capitalist era; because as the capitalists know full well, most of their donations are not genuine, but exist on paper only – and whenever they make genuine donations, they realize double the amount as profits in some other way.

In the capitalist era this type of rotten philosophy gets widely trumpeted in the newspapers. Attempts are also made to mislead students by including such harmful philosophies in textbooks. The agents of the capitalists attempt to awaken respect and devotion for capitalists in children’s minds by depicting them in textbooks as symbols of peace, love and humanity.

To accomplish this objective a new type of nationalism based on economics is created which is totally different from both the nationalism of the warrior era, based on personal force and family glory, and that of the intellectual era, based on learning. The nationalism of the capitalist era leads to a form of imperialism which is extremely dangerous for the unity of the human race.

Although the intellectuals grovelling at the feet of the capitalists wield great authority at various levels of society as the servants of capitalistic imperialism, the capitalists never entrust them with the responsibility of leading society or structuring the economy. Only in this way can one easily understand whether a country or state is in the capitalist era. It is not always the case that a state controlled by the capitalists is democratic. One indication that is clear is that the capitalists always keep the collection and distribution of finance and the corresponding ministerial posts in the hands of orthodox capitalists. They never delegate these responsibilities to a learned and experienced Intellectual economist, because it is their own systems of collection and distribution of finance that provide them the opportunity to establish themselves. Thus, in the capitalist social system, Intellectual scholars are nothing but paid planners and intellectual servants appointed to materialize those plans.

Whenever, after popular acceptance of the capitalist-created social system, it became apparent that intellectuals were trying to free themselves from the rule and exploitation of the capitalists, the capitalists would buy the support of the masses, rub the noses of the rebellious intellectuals in the dirt, and then replace them with a group of sycophantic intellectuals.

The capitalists have repressed unrest and discontent among agricultural and industrial labourers, as well as political revolution, with the help not only of their Intellectual hirelings, but of Warriors and labourers as well. In fact, of all the classes, the capitalists have made the most extensive use of the policy of divide and rule. For example, when a group of intellectuals vociferously demanded an investigation into the mysterious death of Shyamaprasad Mukherjee, another group of intellectuals immediately diverted their steam by increasing the tram fares in Calcutta and at the same time starting a movement to oppose the increase. Because of this, those typical capitalists who were directly or indirectly responsible for Shyamaprasad’s death escaped punishment.**

The discriminatory measures adopted by employers or states ruled by capitalists to suppress labour agitations are generally known to every educated person. To disrupt the plans and intellectual movements of one group of intellectuals, a second group of intellectuals are appointed as spies or informers. Such spies or informers do not work out of ideological inspiration but in order to fill their stomachs. They are merely paid servants of the capitalists.
The efforts of intelligent intellectuals or brave warriors to escape from the influence of the capitalists can be called the counter-evolution (vikránti) or the counter-revolution (prativiplava) of the intellectuals or warriors.

Some people consider what happened in Hungary [1956] as counter-revolution, but actually it was not. It was an intellectual revolution against warrior rule. It failed because factors relating to time, place and person could not be prepared properly. Those in power called it counter-revolution in order to belittle it.
In India at present the capitalist era is in full swing. But because there is not sufficient consciousness among the exploited intellectuals, warriors and labourers – and because the clever capitalists of India, having learned from the experiences of other countries and having become cautious, often employ some psychology and exploit people indirectly rather than directly – the revolution to end the capitalist era has not yet taken place.
What to speak of revolution, even the need for revolution has not yet been felt properly among intellectuals. At present they are in a hesitant frame of mind. They are waiting for the auspicious day when the capitalist era will end naturally through evolution (kránti), without any struggle.

This mentality is reflected in the support which a group of intellectuals extend to the Sarvodaya movement*** and Gandhism. They deliberately ignore the fact that the Sarvodaya movement and Gandhism will only increase the period of their suffering.

There is also a group of leaders who have genuine sympathy for the masses and who do not in their hearts support the Sarvodaya movement or Gandhism; they nevertheless believe that the capitalists will be removed from power without a struggle through their plans for a welfare state. I am not suggesting that their ideas are totally irrational, because they do have an example before them. Great Britain is moving towards socialism by accepting the ideals of a welfare state. If it is possible there, why shouldn’t it be possible here? It is natural to ask this question, because in the rotation of the social cycle it is not imperative for revolution to occur. A change from one age to another can also occur through evolution. However, although it is theoretically possible to establish a welfare state or genuine economic freedom through evolution, in practice it will not work. It is true that in Great Britain some of the minimum requirements of life are being provided to the people, but how great the difference is between rich and poor! Clearly their social system is capitalistic. The exploited and disgruntled people are given a small amount of sympathy to appease them. They are given a small taste of the dainties and delicacies, but their stomachs are never full.
The masses in India face greater privations than the masses in Britain. Due to a lack of political and economic consciousness and the confusion created by the misleading propaganda of the Sarvodaya movement and Gandhism, the people of India may continue to be complacent for some time more, misguided by the false promises of the agents of capitalism. However, this situation will not continue for long.

Because rich people have the opportunity to purchase votes, it is not easy for leaders who are genuinely concerned about the people to become members of parliament. It is therefore not possible to eradicate the sufferings of the people of India by enacting laws befitting a genuine welfare state. It is not possible to bring about the economic liberation of India through the present democratic structure.

Divisive isms

The predominance of dishonest people over honest is far greater in the capitalist era even than it was in the Intellectual Age. The capitalists use most of their capital and privileged status to deprive others of the wealth they earn through their hard labour. (Here “labour” certainly includes intellectual labour.) Just as the intellectuals use their intellects to stupefy and manipulate the warriors’ vitality, the capitalists still more ruthlessly turn the intellectuals, as well as everybody else, into beasts of burden. When the capitalist era begins after the intellectual era, and the intellectuals and warriors helplessly sell themselves to the capitalists, the intellectuals and warriors clearly understand that they are sold. They are like chickens that have just been sold to the hungry chicken-fancier.

Only the labourers fail to realize that they are sold. Although the intellectuals and warriors know what is happening, they nevertheless accept the dominance of the capitalists due to selfishness, infighting and a lack of economic knowledge. The capitalists are fully aware of the disunity and other weaknesses of the intellectuals and warriors, and they use this knowledge to perpetuate their hold on power; they use their financial power to incite one group against another. The warriors, out of obligation to the capitalists, lose their lives in needless battles and fracases of different kinds; while the intellectuals, similarly fed and sheltered by the capitalists, keep such factional conflicts permanently alive by creating various types of sentiment such as casteism, communalism, provincialism and nationalism, and by composing the necessary scriptures to accomplish this.

It should be clearly understood that the capitalists encourage all isms that divide people. Casteism, communalism, provincialism and nationalism are supported mainly by the money of the capitalists. They finance such isms to keep people divided so that they cannot unite and protest against their exploitation.
The funny thing is that the capitalists purchase the vital energy of the warriors and the intellectual skills of the intellectuals with money and use that energy and those skills to perpetuate their hold on power and turn the warriors and intellectuals into long-term slaves. The capitalists’ financial power carries more weight than the power of speech and intellectual power of the intellectuals, not to mention the physical power of the warriors. Therefore, the capitalists have no trouble buying the intellectuals’ brains and the warriors’ brawn with their money.

Among those who possess knowledge, intellect, great courage or physical strength, there is hardly anyone who has the courage, or sometimes even the intelligence, needed to take the financial risks necessary to earn money. The capitalists understand this weakness of the intellectuals and the warriors. They lull their discrimination to sleep by praising the warriors’ valour and the intellectuals’ intellect. Then afterwards they can easily buy them off. In a capitalist state, poets, scientists, and great heroes are awarded prizes, medals and titles for this very reason. By participating in all this, the intellectuals and the warriors surrender all their endowments at the feet of the capitalists for a little money or some name and fame; and at the same time feel they are fortunate. They fail to realize that they are digging their own graves.

Notes by translators

* In the Bhúdán movement launched by Vinoba Bhave, an attempt was made to convince landlords to donate land to poor, landless people. (Bhú means “land” and dán means “donate”.)

** Shyamaprasad Mukherjee, who was originally from Bengal and had a large following there, was the opposition leader in the Indian parliament and the founder of the Hindu Mahasabha movement. A group of Bengali politicians who supported an opposing political party were instructed by their national leadership to instigate the agitation in Calcutta.

*** In the Sarvodaya movement started by Jayprakash Narayan (as in the Bhúdán movement), an attempt was made to convince landlords to donate land to poor, landless people. (Sarva means “all” and udaya means “rise”.)

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