In a globalized world market the monopoly houses are growing in a manner that they could control the democratic state apparatus in the countries of their headquarters like never before. When the right wing parties come to power with the full support of monopoly houses there is a contract between monopoly houses and the party that their market reach must be allowed without any hindrance. Part of the contract is that the monopoly houses must finance the elections and in turn the monopoly houses must be allowed to expand their production centres and business networks without any interference by the state. The rightist regimes also promise tax cuts and delicense every deal.
This new mode of ‘Rightist Regime’ model was tried in America during the Trump time from 2016-2020 and it is underway during Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party regime from 2014. The Trump regime deviated from the normative Republican model, which has a long experience of running the democratic state with reasonable restrictions on monopoly companies. The rightist regimes borrow more ideas from religion to run the democratic regimes and economy than from democratic planning and institutional empirical studies and welfare investments.
They use religious nationalism to mobilize people to vote for them with a massive deployment of money power supplied by monopolies. But in India the BJP experiment is new. Which direction that takes is a million dollar question. The Indian rightist regime is being experimented to counteract the Muslim regimes around India, which are mostly theocratic banana republics. Unlike in America the rightist regime is destroying the opposition with the help of monopoly one dimensional support. This poses much bigger danger to democracy.
For quite some time most liberal democracies which used state controls on private economies are attacked as licence raj by the right ideologues. The rightist regimes go to the other end to allow monopolies to do everything on their own. In the process the state is likely to weaken in every sphere and the religious extremism and monopolies gain more power. In America such an expression was seen on January 6 insurrection on the democratic institutional headquarters–the Capitol Hill–itself.
In India also the way the Hindu right and monopolies are helping each other may lead to weakening the state. Once the state agencies including the police and military get spiritually motivated they also align with the right wing and monopolies and undermine the constitution. This is what exactly happened in America. The police allowed the rightist extremists into the Capitol Hill at will and monopolies which are in support of Trump, as himself was part of them, seem to have financed them. Since the American state is so huge and democracy is so deep it could overcome the danger. However, even now the problem is not over. In India if such insurrection takes place by the ruling right wing in collusion with the monopolies the present democracy will not be able to overcome it.
The way the Indian monopolies are gaining strength and financial autonomy from the controls of the state and colluding with the right wing political operations, not just religious operations, the danger is imminent. The Indian police and army is also getting more and more spiritually sentimental. Given the caste cultural character of the Hindu spiritual forces once legitimacy of such ideology entrenches both civil society and the market forces, which want to control everything, gain upper hand. Market forces use such legitimacy for complete control. That is a basic tendency of market forces, which are governed by profit and greed.
Generally monopoly houses do not align with left political forces. Though the left forces are opposed to democratic constitutions they have to choose a hard path to change those structures. The rightist forces do not have to choose such a hard path. Religion is an established structure that grants them legitimacy and provides space to operate without much struggle. Since the left ideology has got into serious setback in the world and also in India, they have to work with liberal institutions. That is what they are doing all over the world.
In China though the left is in power it also allowed monopolies to emerge. Recently it also faced the monopoly muscle stretch. The tension between Alibaba (Jack Ma) and the Chinese state is that. Since its state control is still strong it made Alibaba retreat into its nest.
India may face a real risk. The agriculture laws are an expression of that risk. The Indian monopoly houses want to acquire grip over the agrarian produce. They want to dismantle the traditional distribution structures at the village level.The traditional distribution centres of the village kind do meet the needs of the rich and poor. The monopolies do not care for the poor. They want only buyers. Naturally rich are real buyers and the poor are only accidental buyers. Historically the rightist regimes do not think much about the poor. There is no ingrained human rights ideology among the right. We can see such absence of human rights discourse in the Rastriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ideology. It deals with cultural nationalism of the rich. The monopoly houses are more comfortable with that kind of an organizational structure than the one that deals with civil and human rights of all, particularly the poor.
The rightist regimes that collude with huge monopoly houses gradually slip into hard theocratic systems because monopoly houses feel more safe in theocracy than in democracy. Once any democratic state reaches that stage that is the end of democracy. The constitution of India kind will also collapse in that pathway.
Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd is political theorist, social activist, his latest book is The Shudras–Vision For a New Path, co-edited with Karthik Raja Karuppusamy, Penguin