[Reader-list] Reply to Shuddha from Jesse Knutson

Nandini Chandra nanhi_kali at yahoo.com
Wed Apr 30 19:47:10 IST 2008

Forwarding Jesse's reply:

Dear Shuddha,
First I think the piece had someone like you in mind
that's why it appealed to you.  It is a piece about
written for someone with an utterly depoliticized (you
even call it aestheticized or personalized)
This is not to insult you or your intelligence, simply
reflect on your consciousness as part of a larger
problem.  I say this because equating the foundations
Marxism-Leninism with those of a liberal ngo is no
longer the
gesture of a deconstructionist sleight of hand but
rather part
of a larger now dominant global cultural logic
(celebrated by
bourgeois intellectuals) in which left and right are
in an encompassing context of nihilistic
impossibility, and by
implication affirmation of the status quo.  What
disturbs me
is that anticommunism like this has become so casual. 
It used
to be something one had to argue for. 
I wont comment on your reading of the Buddha.  I had
to say about it.  You have something else to say about
But I disagree with your characterization of Maoism. 
are certain fringe Maoist groups whose ideas are like
what you
present below, but Maoism has from the very beginning
been an
utterly global phenomenon with significant movements
the U.S.A. itself, including the Weather Underground
and the
Black Panthers for example.  Maoism has always been
transforming the poor into historical agents, and not
maintaining them 'as poor.' 
I also disagree with your characterization of
Marxism-Leninism.  Yes it is about ultimately creating
classless society in which there is no longer a
I follow Lenin and Trotsky, however, in holding that
only the
proletariat and its allies can accomplish this
historic task
through a protracted class struggle and then through a
transition to socialism. I mean to say that the
experience of the poor as poor is and has always been
incredibly important for the undermining of capitalist
society.  While I agree with you that Charu Majumdar
things to an extreme which was ultimately not cogent
politically, and that one may disagree with some of
strategies of some Indian Maoists, overall the time is
for revolutionary insurgency in the backward Indian
countryside, or the unevenly 'developing' Indian city.
rage of those who have no stake in the
present order is to be celebrated as a productive
force.  But
I too pity us that we need such heroes.  
Jesse Knutson
Ph.D. Candidate
Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations,
University of

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