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Why Should We Support Anna Hazare

From: "Gagan Deva"
Subject: Why Should We Support Anna Hazare
Date: Fri, 02 Sep 2011 07:17:25 -0000



As Ananda Margiis, we must have a clear and pointed understanding - that cuts through all the hoopla - about the Anna Hazare movement.

Nowadays, noted scholars, journalists and social thinkers associate Anna Hazare and his followers with the extreme right-wing Tea Party movement in the US. In both cases, these new capitalists do not want any government interference. Rather they want free-reign to exploit the masses directly without any government oversight or regulations that would hinder or inhibit their movements.

The sound file below gives an objective review of this critical issue.

As we know in our Prout system, we do not support the platform that capitalists should be free to flex their economic muscles and exploit the common mass. The American Tea Party movement wants to get rid of government, but Prout does not support this ultra-right wing agenda. Prout's stand is that government has a distinct role to play in regulating economic policy and protecting the people. We should not give way to the unbridled ways of capitalism. At the same time, any government must be honest and free of corruption.



Here following is a link to an interesting discussion with Anand Giridharadas and Santosh Desai about the efficacy and ways of the Anna Hazare movement in India. You may download the sound file and listen at your convenience:

Anand Giridharadas, writes the “Currents” Column for the New York Times and is former Mumbai bureau chief for the paper. Santosh Desai, author of Mother’s Pious Lady: Making Sense of Everyday India.


The Hazare movement rails against politics,

when it should try to change it.


Is the Anna Hazare movement a triumph of Indian democracy? To judge by the self-congratulatory air on Indian television, in the press and on social media, the answer would have to be yes. Where else would tens of thousands of peaceful protesters, led by the moral suasion of a 74-year-old hunger striker, force an arrogant government to promise to act on their demand for a tough new anticorruption body?

But step back from this dominant narrative and the Hazare movement looks less like an example of what's right with Indian democracy. In a smoothly functioning polity, the movement's leaders—mostly educated middle-class professionals—would participate in conventional politics or else back politicians who share their convictions. But those comprising "Team Anna," as the leaders are called, actually rail against political parties and elections.

On the face of it, India's democracy looks remarkably similar to other parliamentary systems. The country holds regular elections and power changes hands peacefully. But while these are significant achievements—especially rare among postcolonial states—there's also a glass-half-empty aspect.

To begin with, India's urban middle classes have long opted out of electoral politics. About 70% of India's voters live in villages, and even in the cities the middle class tends to be outnumbered by the poor and semi-literate. Many working professionals—the backbone of democracy in advanced societies—believe they aren't a large enough constituency to influence policy and don't even bother to vote.

The consequences of this dysfunctional political culture become clear if you compare the Hazare protests with the tea party movement in the United States. In both cases, a large chunk of the middle class has decided that politics as usual is not delivering the right policies. But while the Hazare movement holds itself above politics, the tea party has quickly turned itself into a force in the Republican Party and thrown up a clutch of prominent politicians including Michele Bachmann, Rand Paul and Nikki Haley.

If the tea party had simply mocked politics as Mr. Hazare's followers do, its members would have contented themselves with only dressing up in revolutionary era costume and threatening to re-enact George Washington's famous crossing of the Delaware River unless Congress voted to lower taxes and balance the federal budget. No prizes for guessing which movement is more sustainable or likely to have a deeper long-term impact on policy.
... (From the Wall Street Journal)

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