June 4th, 2017 marked the 28th anniversary of Tiananmen Square protests, a student protest in China because of the country’s degenerative economic reforms, nepotism in government, and lack in career prospects among other reasons. This protest stood out because of two reasons: it was a peeping hole into the country’s iron curtain policy; and two, the protests turned out to be gruesome when the military fired openly on civilians and ran them over with tanks, in an attempt to quell the demonstrations at the Tiananmen Square killing about a thousand people.
China became a staunch follower of the communist way in the times of Mao Zedong, known as the founding father of People’s Republic of China and the Chairman of the Communist Party of China. He launched the Great Leap Forward and Great Proletarian Cultural revolution to slowly turn China into an industrial economy from an agrarian economy, thus facilitating communism. Over time, the enforcement of communism ideals developed such loopholes that they damaged the economy to a large extent. The administrative class, which should have been free of corruption became even more so. Famines and droughts hit the country side, causing deaths in millions. The communism that was embraced by the country in an attempt to boost its economy resulted in a number of problems and the students, who saw the dark future their country was heading into, marched down the streets, presenting the government with their demands. And the government imposed a martial law.
This was the story of China, we come to India now. Most of the reasons why communism cannot survive in India may also be applicable to other modern democracies. The number one reason that communism cannot survive in India is because of the small working class. The way that our economic reforms took place, our country is making its way from an agrarian economy to a service sector dependent economy directly, without the much necessary industrial revolution. Socialism, which was supposed to bring about an industrial revolution, failed in our country, causing a number of our industrial units to turn into sick ones. Thus the working class always remained less in number to cause the revolution of the proletariat. Our government, as part of a welfare state has also ensured that the working class remains content and expressive of its demands through peace and not violence, basically, keeping them not at loggerheads with the bourgeois, through schemes and laws.
In a democracy, a classless society cannot exist. Even Mao observed this in China; new elite class arising after the old elite had been done away with, despite China not being a democracy. In a country like ours, communism can be achieved through governmental means only, which will lead to the State taking care of possession and distribution of resources. The government will thus become the elite, a small class owning the majority of resources, that communism had sought to replace. The government will thus get richer and lead to more equalities, corruption and nepotism. Furthermore due to colonialism and poor economic reforms, the country could not accumulate sufficient wealth. To become communist, first the country has to be sufficiently capitalist. Due to the economic reforms of the Nehruvian era, the capitalist class could not thrive. This coupled with the small working class, cold not create the dire conditions that could lead to overthrow of the bourgeois and revolution of the Proletariat.
To exist in a democracy, communism can take form of a party, which is what happened in India, but the two sole communist parties failed to maintain popularity throughout India. Most of the political parties in India thrive by building upon the cultural or religious differences, the Left mostly stayed out of the mess like an ideal political party. They focused entirely on economic factors for development and ignored social factors like caste, religion, etc. Communism goes hand in hand with an iron hand policy, which means curbing certain (read most) fundamental rights the most controversial one is the right to freedom of speech and expression which already is a bone of contention in India and was one of the causes of Tiananmen protests. This is a mechanism to maintain the communist system and prevent mutiny as well as revolution of the ex-bourgeois. Due to the development of the current media and its ever growing reach, it is impossible for India to maintain a communist regime.
The general reasons are the same, when the profit motive goes away, so does productivity and the government has to give incentive again (which leads to one gaining a benefit over the other: alert, capitalism) to rejuvenate the moribund economy. It creates a cozy club or elites (small class controlling most resources: capitalism, again) through corruption and nepotism. Communism, the ideal one at least, basically, cannot be achieved in any modern democratic or intellectual society. Thus, it is no wonders that India failed to espouse communism just as communism failed to espouse the changing needs of India.
The author, Shivani Karnik, is a student of Law at HNLU, Raipur.