“Many developing countries are struggling with unsustainable debt, while trying to ensure food and energy security for their people. They are also the ones most affected by global warming caused by richer countries. This is why India’s G20 Presidency has tried to give a voice to the Global South. No group can claim global leadership without listening to those most affected by its decisions.”– Narendra Modi
The Prime Minister of India, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Narendra Modi, and currently the Chairman of the international alliance Group of 20 (G20), opened the foreign ministers’ meeting of the G20 with the claim that he is to essentially be the voice of voiceless of the world in a forum comprised of countries collectively accounting for nearly 80% of the world’s GDP, 75% of the global trade and accounting for nearly 60% of humanity on earth. The countries participating in this range from the Group of 7 countries (G7; USA, UK, Japan, Italy, Germany, Canada, France), Russia (part of the erstwhile G8), and others comprising of Argentina, China, India, Brazil, Australia, Turkey, Mexico, European Union, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and South Africa. It should be clear to most observers that the G7 comprise of the US-imperialist dominant bloc of imperialism while the larger G20 brings in countries which this bloc sees as competition in its pursuit of monopoly (Russia and China) along with others it wants greater co-operation from. The G20 therefore, is a forum for imperialists to devise their strategies and assert their exploitative measures upon large sections of peoples across the world.
The G20 serves as part of other imperialist institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank which have asserted rampant neoliberalization across the world for the benefit and preservation of imperialism, in a time when capitalism’s onslaught on the lives of people has seen drastic rise in inflation, poverty, unemployment, food shortage and country debts. It is also during this period of liberalization-privatization-globalization that simultaneously saw the growth and consolidation of the base of Brahmanical Hindutva fascism in India, which has unleashed unprecedented violence for the sake of valorization of foreign finance capital and resource loot through rampant neoliberalization. This fascist regime attempting to provide a “voice” to other colonial and semi-colonial nations oppressed and exploited under imperialism is not only a mockery of the masses within these countries but is also a hint to all progressive forces: imperialism perpetuates and strengthens fascism led by the domestic comprador bureaucratic bourgeoisie, its principal agents, for its objectives of accumulation of surplus value. For those within India, the G20’s current theme of Vasudeva Kutumbhakam (“the world is one family”), the Indian ruling classes have found one more excuse to unleash greater violence against the working class along with seeking legitimacy for its oppressive and exploitative projects. Ironically, India’s oppressed and exploited find no voice in the imperialist circus called G20.
Vishwaguru: An Election Gimmick
India has been highly strategic in its hosting of the G20 circus. It allotted nearly 1000 crore rupees from its budget to its G20 presidency, putting this money to use by way of large-scale promotional advertisements. Brahmanical Hindutva fascism, which functions on a bloated sense of self when it comes to the role of India on a world scale, aspiring to establish India as a ‘superpower’, has utilized this as an opportunity to market its success in accomplishing this task to the Indian petty bourgeoisie. Aspirations of India becoming a “Vishwaguru” (global teacher) have been fostered by brahmanical Hindutva fascists since the beginning of Modi’s ascent to power and the G20 presidency serves as indication of the fulfilment of this supposed fantasy. Ironically, India’s ruling class is highly reliant on foreign finance capital for its functioning and under the entrapments of imperialism has no means of ever asserting itself over the imperialist countries, even if this is the fantasy that is sold. These fantasies mask the high foreign debt of India’s economy, the high debt of compradors like Adanis and India’s foreign liabilities (domestic resources owned by foreign entities) reaching the highs of 40%!
Fascism has also been able to utilize the instruments of democracy, particularly elections and the Parliament, to legitimize their violent class rule and all this pageantry is merely in pursuance of consolidating another electoral victory in the Lok Sabha elections of 2024. Beyond posturing, this G20 presidency is being sold to various sections of the petty bourgeoisie through various forms of propaganda, one such example being the Centre for G20 Studies at the privately-owned O.P. Jindal Global University. A university owned by the comprador bureaucratic bourgeois Jindal family, this centre actively funds research work from the intelligentsia within this university which strengthens the narratives of G20’s imperialist policies and India’s fascist role in it. Students are encouraged to participate in this research, therefore creating new forms of academic legitimacy for this G20 charade. India also strategically postponed its presidency by a year, switching its year with Italy to time its tenure, from September 2022 to December 2023, right before the elections. It should then also not come as a surprise that the G20 logo also incorporates a lotus in it, which coincidentally also happens to be BJP’s electoral symbol. For the sake of this project, India has also utilized the international events as a means of furthering its neoliberal project.
Cleaning House for the Visiting Masters
Whenever the imperialist masters of India’s subservient ruling class come visiting, they have a tendency of hiding the vast oppressed and exploited sections living in destitution from the eyes of said masters. When Prince Edward of Wales, representing the British imperial crown visited Bombay in 1921, one local newspaper wrote, “it does not speak well… that there should be banquets and balls in one part of Bombay in honour of the Prince [while]… there were murders and arson in the other.” Edward arrived at a time when inter-imperialist conflict, the so-called first World War, had created grave economic crisis for the colonies, food shortage and grave destitution for the masses. Similarly, when former US President Donald Trump arrived in India nearly a century after Edward’s visit, Indian ruling classes invoked brutal forms of violence to curb the on-going anti-CAA-NRC protests which were occurring parallelly while the fascists serenaded Trump. This violence culminated in the week long Delhi pogrom where BJP members and fascist militia of the RSS attacked working class and activist Muslims in Delhi. When Edward had arrived, protestors in Bombay were attacked and fascist militia was armed by the British Raj police leading to deaths of 53 people and another 400 being wounded. Ironically, the exact same number of people died during the Delhi pogrom a hundred years later, with 300+ being wounded. Fascism’s curbing of nominal democratic rights while upholding the charade of democracy is therefore a project that imperialism wholeheartedly backs as it happens right under its nose.
Along with this this violence, walls were erected in Gujarat to hide impoverished slum-dwelling population which would fall in Trump’s route. Similar trends have emerged during this G20 charade but have manifested in much violent manners. Working class, Muslim and Dalit localities in Delhi are being demolished and people are being evacuated in droves for the sake of ‘beautification’ of Delhi. “In Mehrauli, 700 eviction notices were served, while 25 houses were demolished. However, in Tughlakabad, around 1,500 notices were served and around 3,000 houses were demolished as the residents were relatively more vulnerable.” Even shelters for the homeless have not been spared, with night shelters like those in Sarai Kale Khan area being demolished. Until now, 70+ demolition drives have been carried out in Delhi, for the sake of the purported Delhi Master Plan 2041 that aims to transform these areas as hubs for valorization of foreign finance capital while also pushing the Muslim, Dalit and working class population to the margins of the city. Simultaneously the Supreme Court, which fashions itself as a bastion of democracy, has refused to stop these demolition drives. Armed forces have been deployed against the people here, with 4000+ CRPF and RAF personnel deployed to attack and forcefully evict the people. In the name of development, fascism carries out its Hindutva frenzy against Muslims, Dalits and the working class, pushing them into homelessness, destitution and crippling their capacities of resistance against rampant imperialism. In fact, the bulldozers used for demolishing houses have become a proud symbol of Brahmanical Hindutva fascism, first used in Uttar Pradesh by Yogi Adityanath to demolish homes of activists, journalists and progressive Muslims who they deemed to be ‘criminals.’ Gender oppression has also intensified during this process, as transgender persons begging at traffic lights were arrested and attacked, with some of them being told to not “be visible till G20 is on.” The contradictions among classes have sharpened to the point that Delhi is rapidly being transformed into a warzone between the imperialist assertion of the comprador bureaucratic bourgeoisie and the working class, particularly the proletariat, semi-proletariat and lumpenproletariat.
Imperialist Sanction to Indian Expansionism
As India continues to utilize the G20 events as a means of manufacturing both a domestic and international brand for itself, Kashmir has become a keen interest for the ruling class. As one of our previous writings, Manipur is Burning: Possibilities and Solutions explains, Indian ruling class maintains India as a prison-house of nations at the service of imperialism, and occupies many of the nations with advanced national liberation struggles through military occupation. In terms of political economy, the Indian comprador bureaucratic bourgeoisie creates local agents at its service while directly controlling large areas of these resource rich regions for their purposes. Kashmir has been waging a national liberation struggle, first against the British Raj and now against the Indian ruling class for nearly 200 hundred years. The Indian expansionist project in Kashmir has cleverly used the G20 summit to legitimize its occupation of Kashmir and the subjugation of its people under the brutal thumb of its military by holding the G20 Tourism Working Group’s meet in Srinagar. India has a history of utilizing such measures to push its agenda globally, with the Nikita Khrushchev visit to Kashmir in 1955 leading to the Soviet social-imperialists supporting the Indian occupation publicly. For the sake of this meeting, Indian government has also engaged labourers in rapid day and night work to ‘beautify’ the city and the tourism route where the G20 participants would be taken.
Tourism has always been a tool of the Indian state to cast a veil of normalcy over the violence perpetuated against Kashmiris for the sake of India’s occupation. Since the abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, India has pumped record number of tourists into Kashmir, with the number of tourists in 2022 reaching nearly 2 crore people. India has engaged in an extensive campaign promoting the Indian petty bourgeoisie to visit Kashmir. Simultaneously, Indian ruling class has entrapped the economy of Kashmir into underdevelopment, with Kashmir seeing barely any industrial development beyond those owned by the Indian state (most of them financially and technologically backed by monopoly capitalists in the imperialist countries). India therefore also forces large section of Kashmiris to work in the lower rungs of this industry and ensure its success. The fascist project has pushed Hindu population to move to Kashmir and has even armed Kashmiri Hindus already living there to create fascist militia for itself, exploiting the religious contradictions within Kashmir for its purpose of creating a fascist massbase to counter national liberation. While the Indian state wants to globally project a state of normalcy within Kashmir, the reality is far from true, as we specified in our article Indian State and Unending Lies on Kashmir which highlighted the growing number of people joining armed struggle against India from within the local Kashmiri population. It is therefore an act of heinous irony that the meeting of the G20 Tourism Working Group, of all working groups, is holding its meet in Kashmir with only the likes of Saudi Arabia and China (which itself occupies a chunk of Kashmiri territory) boycotting this event.
The G20 has served as a means of the G7 and its war council NATO to promote their interests, particularly those of neoliberalism, among key strategic countries for them. The second imperialist block of Russia-China are facing a growing offensive by the US-imperialist camp of global encirclement. For its purpose, the dominant imperialist block perpetuates fascism among semi-colonial countries, with the neo-Nazi Zelensky-led comprador bourgeoisie Maidan government in Ukraine being one such agent, directly waging a proxy war for the interests of the US-imperialists in their conflict with Russia. In times of growing inter-imperialist conflict, the comprador bureaucratic bourgeoisie of India has too played a key role, particularly, buying ten times more Russian crude oil which it resells to Europe and USA, both of whom have put trade sanctions on Russia as part of their proxy war. While the US-NATO imperialists perpetuate their war effort through propaganda, India aids in the task of circumnavigating their fictitious sanctions, a folly that has become public and is now seeing backlash. The comprador bureaucratic bourgeoisie of semi-colonies therefore are essential actors within inter-imperialist conflict and beneficiaries of the rampant exploitation perpetuated by imperialism. But with heightening contradictions within imperialism and the current crisis of capitalism, organizations like the G20 which claim to be finding ways out of this situation are living oxymorons, since the crisis is a cause of their relentless pursuit of surplus value. The ironies are not lost on imperialists, with the G7 recently holding its meet in Hiroshima of all places, to discuss the on-going inter-imperialist conflict. The most nuclear-capable countries discussing war in one of the only two cities where nuclear warheads have been dropped is a clear indication of the direction imperialism will eventually take the world towards.
At this moment, resistance against imperialism and its war machine are becoming prominent. In Japan, the G7 meet saw widespread demonstrations from anti-war protestors. More than 20, 000 Russians have been detained within Russia for anti-war protests. In India, fascism’s violence has been met with organized resistance in Delhi by the people whose houses are being demolished. In Kashmir, anti-G20 protests are on-going against the event in Srinagar. In Punjab, the peasantry waged massive demonstrations openly calling out G20 as a promoter of imperialism and particularly the interests of G7 US-imperialists, opposing the G20 event being held in Amritsar. Yet, Indian state has particularly gone on the offensive several times recently, often with measures such as imprisonment UA(P)A, NSA or the curbing of protests through emergency measures such as the Indian Penal Code’s Section 144.
The worst manifestation of fascism’s violence being the Operation SAMADHAN-Prahar and its large scale militarization against anti-imperialist anti-fascist Adivasi resistance towards resource loot, land grab and fascism’s open class war. But disparate resistance to imperialism will not reap adequate results. In semi-colonies, the only means of correctly combating imperialism is to struggle against its agents, the ruling comprador bureaucratic bourgeoisie. Unity against imperialism and its domestic agents must be sought in the fact that whether it be in the cold of Srinagar, the heat of Delhi or in the rain of Bastar, fascism’s violence against the oppressed and exploited shares various commonalities. Fascism’s militarization has seen people all over the country come into conflict with the formal Indians units like CRPF or with fascist militia like the Salwa Judum, Vikas Sangharsh Samiti, Bajrang Dal etc. One route that some forces have attempted to utilize in this is that of legal struggle and reform, a method which has led the masses into a cul-de-sac. One need not go far than look at the work of Human Rights Law Network which celebrated its act of managing to get a stay order from the court against demolition in Kasturba Nagar which was later overturned, with HRLN having no other recourse to offer to the people. Similarly, parties like Communist Party of India (Marxist) have offered meek resistance to the G20 agenda by complaining about the lack of plurality in the Vasudeva Kutumbha slogan’s interpretation! The CPM urges the Indian government to preserve Constitutional values. All of this has derailed peoples’ struggles from transforming into a mass movement where legal aspects are merely integrated as just one method in a larger movement against the ruling class. The peoples’ enemy, the ruling class and their war dogs engage in a unified, centralized, concerted and planned assault on the people. Therefore, at this juncture, all anti-imperialist forces must come into organized unity against the circus that is G20 and against the Indian comprador bureaucratic bourgeoisie and they must reject those who propagate legal reform as the sole method of struggle. Without first smashing their class rule, there is no end to imperialism.
by Shri Rishi, student of law, Jindal Global Law School
Featured image by Sudipta Basu
Download PDF of this article here.
 2020 External Sector Report: Global Imbalances and the COVID-19 Crisis (Washington DC: International Monetary Fund, 2020).
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