Category Archives: Controversial topics

India in Communism

In this essay, I am looking to analyze on what India would look like under a communist government and why certain aspects of communism might help India and its people.

 

Communism is a political idea where the government owns most of the property and extensively controls the industrial sector so that all classes of labor are paid to their needs and abilities and control the means of production equally. This idea was originally formulated by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. People have always branded communism as bad and unhealthy to the world. This is evident when Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union an ‘evil empire’. This is because communism is always taken in the same context as totalitarianism or anarchism. People always take the example of Mao Zedong, Nikita Khrushchev and how they created more of an authoritarian government which resulted in the loss of lives of thousands of innocent civilians. Similarly, people take the example of Nicaragua, North Korea, Vietnam etc., as instances where communism has been a bad influence on the rest of the world. People argue that communism more often than not results in bad and evil governance which fails to achieve the very purpose it was constructed for. However, before we completely disregard communism as negative it is important to understand that communism merely advocates equity among social hierarchies and a greater government role in regulating economics. Just because a dictator or a bad leader chooses to employ communist policies, he does not become the epitome of communism. Before we progress through this essay it is important to get that misconception out of our heads for a broader analysis.

 

There is a communist party of India (CPI) which split into two factions in 1964. The head of the Marxist faction is Sitaram Yechury and the non-Marxist is Sudhakar Reddy. at the present. While BJP and the Indian National Congress from the governments in India every election it is easy to forget the CPI. So, what are the goals and proposed policies of the CPI? It’s party constitution clearly states that – “Revolutionary vanguard of the working class of India. Its aim is socialism and communism through the establishment of the state of dictatorship of the proletariat. In all its activities the Party is guided by the philosophy and principles of Marxism–Leninism which shows to the toiling masses the correct way to the ending of exploitation of man by man, their complete emancipation. The Party keeps high the banner of proletarian internationalism”. It also states that – “The Communist Party of India (Marxist) shall bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established and to the principles of socialism, secularism and democracy and would uphold the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India.” It is important to note the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ which means dictatorship by the common people. Their political programme certainly does not involve authoritarian, fascist propaganda as falsely interpreted by the advocates of capitalist.

 

It is estimated that the top 10% of income earners in India own 55% of the income in India. Economists still back capitalism because they feel under capitalism even the poor people are generally richer than the middle classes in other countries. For example, a poor person in America would fall into the middle class category in India. Unfortunately, the situation in India is not as great as some of the other capitalist countries. The per capita GDP in India is roughly $1900 which means that with the current levels of income inequality the majority of people are living well under $1000 of income. People who live under $1.50 per day are considered extremely poor and by this standard 22% of India’s population are extremely poor. But why is poverty in India so high? India has a population of about 1.2 billion people and still increasing. The capitalist system existing in India isn’t fixing the poverty problem in India but in turn is increasing it because big firms in India enjoy the possession of a large volume of resources which aren’t efficiently employed due to a lack of regulation and corruption resulting in a loss of jobs. Furthermore, it is estimated that India loses about a trillion dollars due to corruption annually which is nearly half the size of the GDP of India. This drainage of money from the hands of the government merely increases the disparity between the rich and the poor. For a country as big as India, a capitalist system creates an increase in inefficiencies within the economy and the lack of regulation leads to mismanagement  within the government resulting in illiteracy, unemployment and ultimately poverty. It is impossible for a government to find out who’s corrupt and who’s not inside such a vast legislative body in India.

 

This is why communism may be the solution to India’s ongoing problems. The equal distribution of resources among the people provides everyone with equal economic power. India can still retain its democratic aspects such as elections but once a party is elected, communist power can be given to the elected government which could help introduce a system where the responsibility of economic management is taken off the shoulders of the government and given to the people. The opportunity cost to communism is economic growth but yet again an important question which needs to be asked is – Is it okay to forgo economic growth if all sections of society are assured economic equality and poverty is eliminated? For communist policies to work, there has to be democratic ideals such as election to prevent fascist tendencies, high level of education for people to efficiently manage resources given to them and a judicial body which is independent of the legislature.

 

Communism as an economic ideal requires democratic ideals backing it up to create a better working political system. Communism can be seen as a political experiment with odds backing its failure rather than success. However, if used right it could be an answer to several of India’s problems such as population management, corruption, and poverty.

Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki – scourge or blessing?

As we analyze whether the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was indeed a good thing as many historians argue, it is important to have some context about one of the tensest periods arguably in world history.

 

Historical Context:

 

May 7, 1945 witnessed the surrender of Germany and marked a major victory in world war 2 for the allied powers which included the three big countries – USA, Britain and The Soviet Union. However, this did not end the world war 2 as Japan hadn’t surrendered yet and the United States hadn’t forgotten about the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Japan had occupied pretty much all of east Asia including the territories of Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, Korea, Manchuria etc. The Potsdam Conference was held from July 17, 1945 to August 2, 1945 where the big three (USA, Britain and The Soviet Union) met to discuss the political climate of Germany, war reparations, controversy surrounding the Soviets and Poland. This was the second meeting of the leaders first one being at Yalta a few months earlier just before the surrender of Germany. It is a no-brainer that Stalin was unhappy with the outcomes of the Potsdam conference and this was a major reason for the eruption of a cold war between US and The Soviet Union. Just after the conference, the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945 respectively. It is estimated that there were close to 230,000 deaths with many more to follow as a result of the aftermath.

 

What proponents of the bombings say:

 

There are several historians who believe that Truman’s decision to bomb the two cities were completely justified and in fact was a good thing for both countries in the long run. The US had deployed B-29 aircrafts to fight the war against Japan. The US navy had created a blockade around Japan to cut off food supplies in order to force Japan to surrender. These B-29’s had caused a considerable amount of damage to Japan who were enraged by this. Historians claim that at this point Japan had begun to recruit their citizens into the army in order to create a large-standing army against the US. They had a philosophy of Ketsu-Go or decisive battle which by no means meant surrender. As Japan began to mobilize it is also important to note that as agreed at the Yalta conference The Soviet Union did not back the US with troops. As Korechika Anami, the war minister was unwilling to back down and he began to pursue even more aggressive tactics against the United States. This is where it gets interesting: historians believe that the atomic bombs on the military and industrial bases of Hiroshima and Nagasaki forced the Japanese emperor Hirohito to surrender and this also ended up saving way more lives than if there had been land battles. Historians say that Truman chose the “least worst of all the options”. They claim that land battles would have taken the death toll to over a million, but the bombs limited the number of death to under 250,000 people. Six days after the bombs were dropped Japan finally surrendered unconditionally which was accepted by US general Douglas MacArthur on September 2, 1945 formally marking the end of the devastating second world war.

 

My argument:

When it comes to deciding whether the atomic bombings were good or bad it is hard to accept the fact that this decision saved many more lives, yet it is also hard to refute it. Japan had a standing army of over 2 million with an intention of driving away the United States and defending the home islands. This clearly meant way more deaths for both Japan and America and an eventual surrender for Japan. However, when we examine the more intricate implications of the atomic bombings we can see that this decision was not all that good either. Merely saving more lives and ending the war does not mean it was a good decision. One important piece to this story is the Soviet Union. Let us pause and ask ourselves the important question – If I was Joseph Stalin and I am upset over the conclusions of the Potsdam Conference with Britain and the US, what will I feel if US drops atomic bombs in Japan and end the world war 2. Until this point the concept of ‘nuclear warfare’ was almost non-existent. Even though through the Manhattan project, US had already begun to develop nuclear weapons, nearly all other countries were pretty unfamiliar with nuclear warfare. When historians pass a judgement that the atomic bombs were a blessing in disguise, they do not consider the unintended consequences just like Truman failed to consider them. Although tensions were brewing between US and the Soviet Union already it can be said that the dropping of the bombs was a catalyst for the cold-war and this began the arms race. Even the Soviet Union began to nuclearize and soon many countries followed. Since then there have been several potential threats of a nuclear war which if happens could mean the wiping out of most of the world’s population. Examples include the Cuban Missile Crisis, Iran and DPRK’s nuclear proliferation etc. If not for the bombs, the cold war might have been stopped even before its inception and potentially the Korean war, Vietnam war etc., could have all been stopped. With about 2 million Japanese people plus less than a million US soldiers the casualties are still substantially less than about 7 million casualties as a result of US actions during the cold war and their efforts against communism.

 

The droppings of the bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a great short-term fix for the world war 2, but the long-term effects of these bombs continue to threaten, worry, and continue to be propaganda for fascist policies in democratic countries.