Dr Saulat Nagi
Religious fascism akin to its twin, political fascism, is a cross-class phenomenon
“Tis a vile thing to die, my gracious lord,” says Shakespeare, “when men are unprepared and look not for it.” Even on the day of his lynching and innovation, the wage-slave in Sialkot would have gone to his work like any other day, with a promise of coming back home in the evening to bring food and hope for his family and friends (if he had any) with no inkling that the necrophilic society had set the crematorium for him. When he threw pieces of a small paper in the dustbin, he unconsciously threw the fragmented pieces of his flesh into the receptacle of history, and the history of a necrophiliac society is a historic mortuary where cadavers are thrown and forgotten without remorse or regret.
Once again, the state and its handpicked puppets will harp a tune of calling for law and order, but not for life and change of order. They will promise an exemplary punishment for the perpetrators of a hideous crime, for Eric Fromm, another expression of their powerful attraction to necrophilia, malignant aggression and sadism inherent in the power structure that has become part of their psyche. Marx has rightly stated that the ideology/culture of the ruling class becomes the ideology/culture of the ruled and the culture in a society ruled by the logic of peripheral capitalism is the culture of intolerance and unfreedom- an outright stylized barbarity.
It is a culture of hate, of destroying everything that is alive, turning into ”dead, decaying and purely mechanical” to adjust to their dismal state of living. The Falangist slogan of ”long live death” has long become the law of the society of pure. Despite not being advanced in technology, they have become part of a machine once called the guillotine. The slogan of unity, faith, and discipline is vividly demonstrated on the streets of the land of pure when it comes to lynching and torching a living human being for something abstract and ahistorical, the dream of the founding father has come true.
The behaviour of the crowd that unleashed its grisly catharsis on a vulnerable human being depicts the psyche of a people, blinded with aggression, deprived of subjectivity, jumped upon a person of their own class, only to seek revenge of their drab existence, which over seventy years of economic bludgeoning have subjected them to. These are the people who hunger for slavery for they are shoved in an economic system that condemns men, Marx says, ”to a degradation so devastating and bitter, that by comparison savagery seems like a kingly condition.”
Marx left the chapter on alienation incomplete, still, it was as big an exposition as Darwin’s theory of evolution was. The exchange society thrives on alienation. The nature of the job makes the worker alienated. Not those who are working as security guards, janitors, and hawkers find their jobs least interesting but even those sitting at higher positions suffer the same affliction. A person operating a drone, is privy to the disgusting fact of killing hundreds of people, by pushing a lever, he performs his job not in indifference but complete alienation, how else can he sleep at night after committing an impersonal murder in the name of duty.
In the post-colonial societies, post-colonial in name only for everyone finds IMF/NATO/ World Bank holding its pistol on their temple, the family structure, to a certain extent is still alive, albeit people have gone more alienated. A large army of unemployed, a necessity of capitalism, remains united in a family structure but alienated at the same time, eager to trample the employed worker to take his/her job. The failed state has nothing to offer them, not even underpaid jobs as once promised in millions by the charismatic man of destiny who in a volte-face has chewed his words. The state is not an employment exchange; the typical neo-liberal mantra is repeated while the defence budget continues to sky-rocket. He insists on making Pakistan the state of Medina as if a state of this name ever existed in the annual of history. ”The making or unmaking of such religious and cultural identities are politically motivated, historically contingent, and ideologically fictive,”(Aijaz Ahmed) and can help divert the attention of the masses from the concrete problems.
Disillusioned by false promises, the frustrated people live on a religious diet though not for long. People must know that no messiah in Pakistan can solve their problems unless they take on the job in their own hands. The Praetorian guards did not save Rome. It was always saved by the peasant fighters and once the objective conditions changed and they lost the lands they cultivated upon, the empire was eclipsed into thin air. Alienation and hate have so far served well for capitalism. It has masqueraded the domination of those who control the means of production, but things with time are becoming vividly clear. Those who call the social functions are the rulers and everyone knows who calls the shots in Pakistan.
The brutal killing of the wretched of the earth by the members of his class indicates that after the demise of the Soviet Union how successfully capitalism has distorted the class struggle. Instead of joining hands and venting their aggression against the social [dis]order, they have lynched one of their own co-workers. For Gramsci, the proletariat without class consciousness is nothing more than a puppet over a string. Religious fascism akin to its twin, political fascism, is a cross-class phenomenon, and it raises its head only when the working class has lost its battle against the bourgeoisie and the metropolitan capital.
The present cold-blooded murder has another dimension as well. Despite our nihilism, we are inherently racists. Our hatred for our skin colour is evident from our attitude to dark complexion. The advertisement industry has projected this bias even further. Freud once said, ” if you do not like a person, it’s because he reminds you of something that you do not like about yourself.” The parameter of beauty is to be a white-skinned person, especially for a woman. The rot of imperialism has left such deep scars on our psyche that despite attaining so-called freedom we kneel before the colour of our foreign masters endorsing their cultural hegemony. Had a white man been working at the place of the deceased, one wonders even in the state of paranoia, people would be scared of touching him.
Raymond Davis, a private contractor on the CIA’s payroll, killed three coloured people in a public display of arrogance and aided by the Praetorian guards, shielded behind a clause of sharia law, he was sent back to the US unscathed. Here, more than colour, the class mattered. The blood money was shoved down the throats of the families that lost their loved ones without a trial. Justitia is blind, the Romans knew it better than us.
The authenticity of class theory has always proven itself on the anvil of history. For political economy, human beings, even when they act, “as a mass obey economic necessity and not their emotions.” The history of people can only be explained by the interplay of material causes that keep changing and are renewed constantly. Capitalism has no free social passions; nothing is more organized than the movements of collective hatred. One needs to recall the holocaust of Jews and the carnage of Palestinians by the Jews. Those thrown out of the productive process lose their utility for capital and capital determines their fate as it determines the fate of any commodity. The crisis of Pakistani society must be seen in this light.