Monday, August 29, 2011

Naysayers

1. A mass movement meets with so much resistance. Why? It has safely passed from the realm of theory to the realm of praxis. People are uncomfortable with praxis because they are compelled to take a definite stand. In the realm of theory, they can equivocate.

2. The idea that a movement is not a "grassroots" movement because it is characterized predominantly by the presence of the so-called "middle classes" is a specious idea. I think that Arundhati Roy deludes herself into believing that what is or is not a grassroots movement is determined by what she is convinced is the critical and decisive spectre of her presence. Random white guys/ expat "experts" who report to foreign agencies and for publications, like Patrick French, on the other hand, should just shut the fuck up.

3. No attempt at iconoclastic populism is perfect. Far from it. That does not, however, diminish the importance of an issue.

4. The idea that a movement can be discredited because it is supported by this or that political party is, at best, naive. Political dissent is fomented by many factors, none of which can claim to be more legitimate than the other.

5. Nationalism and emotional appeal are concomitants of any mass movement. Whether in excess or not, one cannot expect everyone to deliberately repress the spirit of collectivity that emerges in large gatherings.

6. It is opportunistic and incorrect to extol the supremacy of parliament in this case - any basic foundational course in democratic politics will teach you that a parliament is set up to fulfill a representative function. When those represented demand certain rights, parliament cannot claim to function like a dictatorship and exercise its whimsies.

7. Not all drama is bad. Some dramatic gestures drive home a point effectively.

8. To assume that all those who have come out in support of this movement are ignorant of the details of the two bills is, in turn, highly ignorant and presumptuous. In fact, I strongly believe that those who claim that others are not aware of the sophisticated details of the matter at hand are, in fact, completely unaware of the same themselves. If they were, they would know that excluding the lower rung of any bureaucratic framework, those who interact most directly with the people, from accountability is unacceptable.

9. People who comment on the inability of anti-graft bodies to handle corruption do not live in states with such bodies, and hence do not know of cases of improved citizens' charters. In addition to this, most people are ignorant of the presence of such bodies in their domiciles. For example, few people know that there is a Lokayukta in Assam, and that it has expedited the process of clearing pensions and other matters in many cases. All you have to do is lodge a complaint.

10. The government has run out of excuses.