Statement issued after workshop on India’s economy, 31 March–1 April 1995


1. We are frequently informed these days that we live in an era of ‘globalization’, that opposition to ‘globalization’ betrays archaic or reactionary thinking, and that embarking on a process of ‘globalization’ is the proper course for India. ‘Globalization’, however, is synonymous with the hegemony of the advanced capitalist world over the economic, political and cultural life of countries such as ours, and would stifle our development. Resistance to the ‘globalization’ which is being imposed upon the people of the third world is an essential condition for their progress towards freedom.

2. In the sphere of the economy, ‘globalization’ would unleash stagnation and retrogression, widen economic disparities in society, worsen the plight of the overwhelming majority of the population, and transfer control over the nation’s productive assets and natural resources to a handful of multinational corporations and banks, as has happened over large tracts of Africa and Latin America. In the political sphere, it would shift crucial decision-making powers, relating both to external and to internal matters, away from the nation-state and into the hands of the advanced capitalist countries. In the sphere of culture, it would destroy the vibrancy of the cultural traditions of the nation by imposing upon it mind-numbing products exported from the west, eliminate the diversity of cultural forms by establishing the monopoly of the homogenous western commodity, and use cultural imperialism as an instrument for buttressing overall imperialist dominance. Above all, it would seriously undermine the unity and viability of the nation by institutionalizing a social dualism within it, encouraging a ‘secession of the mind’ among the elite even as, as a reflex, religious and ethnic identities are strengthened, and creating the conditions for the growth of communal-fascist, secessionist and fundamentalist movements. In short, ‘globalization’, which is portrayed in the media, increasingly controlled from the advanced capitalist countries, as a step towards the fulfilment of the dreams of the national movement, represents in fact a betrayal of those dreams.

3. Why then, it may be asked, is the government leading the country into the vortex of ‘globalization’? There can be little doubt that, whatever the fate of the nation, the dominant social classes see for themselves a better future in a ‘globalized’ regime than otherwise. This however is not all. This very fact is related to another set of phenomena. There has been a strengthening of metropolitan capitalism, notwithstanding its current economic travails, which has been both a cause and a consequence of the collapse of socialism over Eastern Europe and


the erstwhile Soviet Union; the advanced capitalist world today displays a high degree of unity vis-a-vis the third world; and, together with the prising open of third-world markets for products from the advanced capitalist countries, there has been a significant increase in the international mobility of finance which has put pressure upon the third world for ‘rolling back’ the state. In short, government capitulation has occurred in an environment that has turned increasingly hostile.

4. This does not however mean that the project of emancipation of our people, the attempt to build our nation through our own efforts, cannot be nurtured and carried forward in the current environment. It requires, of course, an awareness of the difficulties. It requires above all an enormous assertion of will, which can come about only through a mobilization of the people, the victims of the ‘globalization’ project, around an alternative programme for their economic, social, political and cultural advance. The national revival depends upon the activation of the hitherto largely untapped potential of the Indian people.

5. Towards the achievement of this goal, each of us can contribute her/his mite by devising programmes of intervention which are designed to explain the perils faced by the nation to the people at large, to combat the invasion of metropolitan capitalism and its fall-out in our own respective spheres, and to fight the communal-fascist forces which objectively facilitate metropolitan hegemony.

Signed by:
C.T. Kurien, Mulk Raj Anand, Shabana Azmi, Kumar Shahani, Vivan Sundaram, Gulammohammed Sheikh, Romila Thapar, Amiya Bagchi, S. Gopal, N. Ram, Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman, Shubha Mudgal, Irfan Habib, Arun Ghosh, Ashok Mitra, Geeta Kapur, R.N.Basu, Subodh Some, Rajiv Dhavan, I.S. Gulati, Praful Bidwai, Saeed Mirza, Kadammanitta Ramakrishnan, O.N.V. Kurup, Madhvi Parekh, Manu Parekh, Rajni Kumar, P. Sainath, Prayag Shukla, S.P. Singh, Sushanta Ghosh, Haku Shah, Anil Biswas, Bharati Ray, Ram Rahman, Parthiv Shah, Virendra Saini, Utsa Patnaik, K. Nagaraj, Ashish Roy, Romi Khosla, Sumit Sarkar, Shamshad, Malini Bhattacharya, Nalini Malani, Mrinalini Mukherjee, Rummana Husain, Thomas Isaac, Ashish Rajyadhyaksha, Madan Gopal Singh, C.P. Chandrasekhar, Anjan Mukherjee, Roshan Shahani, Rajiv Bhargava, Achin Vanaik, Ruchira Gupta, Javeed Alam, Sukumar Muralidharan, Manglesh Dabral, Sadanand Menon, Kitty Menon,
P. Govinda Pillai, K. Ashok Rao, Jasodhara Bagchi, Suvira Jaiswal, Mihir Bhattacharya, K.M. Shrimali, P.N. Roy, M.G. Some, S.M. Chatterjee, Pavitra Sarkar, Deepak Nayyar, Anil Bhatti, G.P. Deshpande, M.K. Raina, K.N. Panikkar, Prabhat Patnaik