Sunday, July 29, 2018

July 2018 Elections in Pakistan and the Role of State - Riaz Ahmed

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Note:  Dr.Riaz Ahmed is Assistant Professor in the department of Applied Chemistry of Karachi University Sindh of Pakistan. He is revolutionary Marxist by ideology. He has analysed the political tendencies prevailing in mainstream bourgeoisie politics in his current article , while dividing it into two main camps, one is camp of traditional bourgeoisie politicians and other is of populist  bourgeoisie politicians. He exposes both camps and Present revolutionary left point of view on the politics, which is missing in mainstream media and social media, even in writings and posts of those, who call themselves left of the Pakistan. There is section of left, which is blindly following the path adopted by liberal supporters of traditional bourgeoisie parties like liberal left intellectual activists mostly linked to Awami Workers Party. This section is doing noting except putting its all weight in the basket of traditional bourgeoisie political parties particularly in PML_n's.

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Very rare analysis,we see in social media also reflecting true siprit of revolutionary Marxism. Dr.Riaz Ahmed, Farooq Sulehria, Prof.Murtaza Shadab, Adam Paul are included in those small group of intellectuals, who are seeing things in the mirror of true Marxist ideology. Here we are reproducing the fresh analysis made by Dr,Riaz Ahmed on Pakistani Politics, appeared on his wall at Facebook.(A.H)

 July 2018 elections in Pakistan bear the stigma of manipulation by the state institutions led by military and followed by the judiciary and bureaucracy in general. Nearly all loosing parties have claimed rigging before and after the elections. 

Using the word establishment or alien agents they now do not disguise who they are blaming -- it’s the civil and military bureaucracy. But the question is why would the military in particular and state institutions in general play foul in elections? For the bourgeoisie democrats --read PMLN, PPP, MMA, MQM, ANP, BNP – it’s to promote PTI and other agent provocateurs such as TLP, PSP, BAP. 

The bourgeoisie argument is that the military can control the non-traditional, disruptive, populist politicians like Imran Khan as compared to Nawaz Sharif or Bilawal Bhutto etc. However this still does not explain what the military or bureaucracy wants to control? This despite the fact that these puppet capitalist/bourgeoisie politicians -- all brought and cared by the military and bureaucracy in their early days – are now claiming foul play while these same were cherishing the glory of democracy when they came to power. 

This article aims to explain what the state wants to control and why certain favorite politicians, and in future that includes Imran Khan, fall out of the favorites shelf.

Pakistan is facing multiple challenges. On the global scale it wants to ally to the east with China to seek massive capitalist investment denied to it by the western powers. While that takes shape the internal economy of the big capitalist is highly dependent on exports to these same western powers. China, in particular is a drain to Pakistani economy as the Pakistani capitalist exports a fraction to China. Pakistan imports $14 billion of goods from China and exports about $14 billion of goods to the West. The weak governments since 2008 have not been able to slash cuts on public spending as was desired by IMF/WB and the changing global economic balance provides opportunities in only one direction and that is China. The Pakistani economic reforms to suit capitalism cannot be made and the investing China is unable to replace the world institutions such as WB/IMF to help maintain the balance of payment. The Pakistani capitalist that export know that they cannot lose the western markets because the Chinese are not accessible. Hence the economic decline is now showing itself in populism of PTI. PTI blames corruption of the rich and powerful and puts itself across as an efficient manager of public sector institutions to claim power for the middle class. 

Politicians in traditional parties cannot resolve the economic crisis cannot cut on public sector spending, make exporters happy by devaluing rupee and as a consequence bear the public anger against inflation. The last PMLN government had to roll back the privatization program after massive resistance by airline and steel workers. The war in Afghanistan created a backlash inside Pakistan forcing both PPP govt and later the PMLN to launch massive military operations to crush militant Islam resulting in horrific human rights abuses that very recently produced a movement for recovery of missing persons in PTI ruled Pukhtoonkhwa which both PTI and PMLN failed to crush and instead appeared supporting the Pushtoon Tahfooz Movement. This particular movement energized the nearly dead missing persons movement in Sindh urban areas but its obvious that almost all sections of bourgeoisie is afraid enough to keep its distance. 

In contrast the PPP ruled Sindh province witnessed two successive military operations against separatist Sindhi nationalism that crushed the smaller nationalist parties in Sindh rural areas and cut-to-size MQM in Sindh urban areas both to the advantage of PPP and PTI and hence PPPs distance from the PMLN when it faced the wrath of civil and military bureaucracy to cleanse the system inside Punjab.

 The bourgeoisie aligning itself with the interests of state continues to get share in power while that failing to fulfill promises to the advantage of capitalist expansion get sidelined. In the bigger cities like Karachi former state-patronaged parties like MQM no longer held the sway since 2010 to control that frustration amongst working class and youth for the capitalists and hence faced the axe of military operation to cut them down to size. Hence parties like PTI, PSP, TLP, BAP all appear to help the state change the unable-to-reform status quo by using the iron fist of the military supported by the state bureaucracy.

 The past two years have seen this arousal in its embryonic form that creates terror amongst the critiques of this rising pseudo-fascism that uses behind the scene methods to like attacks on sections of bourgeoisie, targeting competing lower-middle-class formations and freedom of expression in general. It is this support of the state that is referred to as establishment, alien power, behind-the-scenes-military-intervention, ISI-control etc. The disenfranchised political parties were the ones that were pampered by the establishment but are now of little further use on the national scale. The only difference is that the new model of politics for the big capital now labels itself as an efficient manager of public sector and corruption free while the previous bourgeoisie parties in power labelled themselves as parties of development at the cost of corruption. 

The populism of PTI is not new to Pakistanis. The last ten years have seen Imran Khan explaining how corruption is checked in places like UK and Europe and how health and education is the responsibility of the state. That model does not include China anywhere in its explanations nor does it mention the horrific state of human rights Chinese intervention in Balochistan and Nato intervention in Afghanistan has mirrored itself across Pakistan in the form of thousands of disappearances in Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab and PTI governed Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa in the past five years. Behind the smile of populism lies the iron fist of the state but as the past ten years have proved the working class and the lower-middle class through agitations against exploitation, cuts and denial of freedoms have continued the resistance. The future brings more repression but also opportunities for the ordinary masses to agitate and demand more freedoms while the bourgeoisie parties stand divided.  

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