Dealing with right-wing surge

Nothing achieves communal polarization better than some action on ground: riots, at small scale – small skirmishes, conflicts which can sustain the polarization without attracting much of attention. What a lot of people commenting on UP elections are missing out (and what IMO is key to understand if we want to counter this process) is the success in such polarization *from below*.. rather than from top. Yes, hate speeches from top contributed, but the meticulously planned action on ground – communal riots, conflicts, at small scale – contributed even more.
Why did it succeed in UP and not in, say, Delhi or Bihar just a few months back? Because in Delhi or Bihar this strategy of polarization from below found resistance. In Delhi, for instance, after the Trilokpuri riots, there was some swift action which prevented a repeat of this in several places where a similar attempt was made. Similarly, in Bihar at several places attempts to create communal tensions were defused. In the end the strategy failed in both Delhi and Bihar because it found resistance from below. In UP, on the other hand, it had a free hand with little resistance. One of its main opponents actually believed it could gain from such a polarization. This is what differentiates UP from both Delhi and Bihar. Meanwhile, much of the attention was deflected away from UP to JNU/demonetization/Ramjas etc etc.
So, these attempts to suggest as if 2019 is already lost do not make sense. If anything, last couple of years’ experience shows a clear way to counter the right-wing consolidation. No, not by forming coalition of parties (from top) but by resisting the strategy *from below*. Delhi and Bihar shows that if this is done successfully and meticulously, everytime and at every place there is an attempt to flare up communal tension, then right-wing consolidation can be defeated.

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About Soumya

Assistant Professor in economics, researcher in economic theory & complex systems, with active interest in flamenco, blues & rock, Andalucia, anarchism, dada & punk, FOSS activist & foodie. Put off by uncritical acceptance and/or parroting of rhetoric and submission to establishment in any form.
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