People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 02

January 10, 2003

“Market And Religious  Fundamentalisms Are Complementary”

An interview with Samir Amin

Samir Amin is one of the best-known political-economists in the world, especially in terms of developments theory. He has been a consistent advocate of the conscious self reliance of the countries of the Global South. Born in Egypt and educated in Paris, some of his major works include Accumulation on World Scale (1970), Delinking (1985) and Eurocentrism (1988).

Samir Amin was in Hyderabad to attend the Asian Social Forum (ASF) meetings. Following are the excerpts of his interview given to Prajasakti:

Q: What is the objective of ASF and WSF in the present-day context of globalisation?

Amin: Neo-liberal globalisation is based on deregulation with competitive advantage. Neither it has economic rationality nor social rationality except the rationality which benefits the MNCs’ dominant capital. It is not even useful to indigenous or national capitalists. Today, national bourgeoisie is compromising with international capital. The myth of market regulating itself is being shattered in recent period. The history of capitalism shows that market self-regulation only leads to social-economic inequality. In the new era of globalisation, the state, which has been till now the backbone of the national bourgeoisie, is compromising with imperialist capital. It is nowhere to be seen to articulate effective alternatives either in G-77, NAM or any other third world cooperation forums.  The ASF meeting in India will contribute a lot to strengthen the movement against globalisation.

Q: After the failure of socialist bloc, market fundamentalism and religious fundamentalism are emerging in a big way. How do you locate them?

Amin: Market fundamentalism and religious fundamentalism are not negating factors but complementing each other. They are not conflicting agents. These two will lead to change the class identity into community identity, which is baseless in a class-ridden society. The so-called religious movements, either Muslim or Hindu, are neither religious nor movements. These are only used for political mobilisation. So, these are only pseudo-religious, pseudo-ethnic movements.

Q: Some of the G-7 countries are opposing war against Iraq. Is it a reflection of contradictions emerging in imperialist camp?

Amin:  Basically, there is a contradiction in this camp. Neo-liberal economy is not a sustainable one. It is always crisis-ridden. Imperialist capital wants to come out of this sluggishness by gaining military control of planet.  All the wars fought by US benefit super imperialist capital, with US getting more benefit than others. This is the contradiction in capitalist appropriation.

Q: What is the role of democracy in the era of neo-liberal globalisation?

Amin: Democracy is antagonistic to neo-liberal globalisation. They are propagating de-politicisation of people and development, thereby degrading the democratic values. Now, in so many third world countries, democracy is being defeated. The relevance of the legislature is in question today. Even though some States had free electors, while making the policy, the legislatures are becoming increasingly incompetent.

Q: What is your message to ASF, the Left movement in India and especially to the CPI(M)?

Amin: The articulation of alternative is the need of the hour. There are different kinds of resistance going on all over the world. But the market fundamentalists are not arguing about the alternatives and are bent on projecting market as sole option.  So, it is for us to consolidate the base of alternative. Particularly, India has to play a useful role in formulating the alternative. So there are many struggles continuing in India in a fragmented way. Especially, Left parties have to learn lessons from their past experiences in order to articulate an effective alternative. I hope the CPI(M), having a long history of leading the struggles and formulating policies, will take a leading role in articulating the interests of the common masses and formulate an alternative to neo-liberal agenda.