http://news.yahoo.comAs many as 1.76 million young illegal immigrants could qualify for temporary legal status under President Obama's
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Pakistani model-actress Veena Malik is back as the host of the special show prepared for the holy month of Ramzan.
BY:Dr Saulat Nagi
Daily TimesThe state, being a representative of the capitalist class, develops the means to protect the dominance of capital by maintaining its hegemony over the means of production The tide is turning and history is unfolding and redefining itself for those who just two decades ago euphorically interred it forever. The rule of capitalism, the grand finale of the cold war, after causing lethal blows to humankind, has come full circle only to be condemned as a system based on greed and expropriation. Despite a lack of familiarity with its dynamics, humanity has come to realise the anarchy and brazen appropriation inherent in it. Hence, unrelenting protests are unleashing everywhere. Its apologists are unconvincingly advocating the introduction of accountability. For a system based on greed to embrace accountability as one of its tenets is nothing but an expression of marked naivety. While all of this is happening, in Pakistan the prevalent mode of production remains a subject of controversy. However, this ambiguity is not Pakistan-specific. In fact, it plagues most of the Third World. In the post-colonial era, the emerging nation-states inherited a strong state structure from their colonial rulers, but socio-economic development remained uneven largely due to longstanding oppression. This paved the way for co-prevalence of different modes of production within the same state. In Pakistan too, multiple modes of production exist in simultaneity. Balochistan is groaning under tribal ties. The conditions are hardly congenial for cultivation, albeit the land has the capacity to feed at least its people provided the means are available. Mining, a very primitive though still an extremely lucrative industry, is in the doldrums due to insurgency for which the high-handedness and villainy of the state are equally to blame. In the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit Baltistan and FATA, besides other pre-capitalist modes of production, trade in the form of smuggling continues to dominate. Sindh and southern Punjab, the centres of power, have large landholdings, whereas in the central and northern parts of Punjab, the land has undergone multiple divisions. By 1999, 88 percent of cultivated land in Pakistan was in farm size below 12.5 acres with just over half the total farms less than five acres in size. But the question remains: who holds how much land? The answer is that only 2.5 percent of the households own 48 percent of the land, whereas only 37 percent of the rural households own any land. The two land reforms conducted by the ruling elite of Pakistan were as farcical as their conviction to empower the people. Around 4.5 percent of the cultivable land was resumed by Ayub Khan and an even smaller amount was distributed. Bhutto’s reforms actually increased the holdings of his own class, hence it was a very conscious decision that sent a clarion call of reunion to his annoyed class. While Ayub had fixed the landholding ceiling at 36,000 units per family, Bhutto changed it to 15,000 units per person, i.e. 150 acres. This way, even a small family of, say, three people could hold up to 45,000 units of land. It was an exercise in deceit, reinforcing the power of the feudal elite and its iron-fisted control on the execution of social functions, which they continue to exercise with impunity. According to Engels, “It is the execution of social functions which is the basis of political supremacy.” Feudalism apart from being an economic relationship is a structure of power too, given that feudal landholding is not only a source of income, but also a symbol of power. In Pakistan, even the weak bourgeoisie imitating the feudal manifests its hegemony not through the machine, but through land. The bulk of our agricultural sector is still subjected to feudal sway. The salient features of this mode include bonded labour; the miserable condition of the hari (land worker); the coercive behaviour of the feudal; the political rule of the Junker class; a subsistence economy and the continued process of its simple reproduction. Pakistan is certainly an integral part of the global capitalist economy. To be a part of that is one thing, to have a capitalist mode of production is another. Bhutan, or for that matter, Nauru (a tiny country in the Australian continent that has neither an official capital nor a currency of its own), is also a part of the same globalised economy. After all, there is a consumer class in these countries as well and they relish Coca Cola just as much. Can the economies of such states be categorised as capitalist? Prior to the British Raj, the subcontinent had a despotic Asiatic mode of production named jagirdari (estate ownership). India was fettered by feudalism after the peasant war of 1857 when the British Empire decided to create its hegemony by allotting land to its loyalists on permanent basis. However, an agrarian social structure that existed in medieval France, or the particular feudal formation that existed in Western Europe during the 15th century — forms considered to be ideal feudalism — never developed in the Indian subcontinent. This does not mean that the peasants in Pakistan are not subjected to pre-capitalist exploitation and the domination of the landholding class; nor does it follow that the relation between a hari and a landlord is bourgeois just because Pakistan is a part of the world capitalist market and relations here are predominantly financial. The thesis on the development of the capitalist mode of production in Pakistan is bleary. If we accept the premise that in Pakistan a change in the means of production has already taken place, then it leaves a quandary unresolved: why such a change has not been followed by alteration in the relations of production (a necessary change in the workers’ relations with the conditions of production)? Technology may have taken over, but without ameliorating the condition of peasants. Any change in relations would have heralded the end of primitive accumulation and guaranteed an expropriated but free worker. The old bonded relations and the private jails would have become a story of the past. The state, being a representative of the capitalist class, develops the means to protect the dominance of capital by maintaining its hegemony over the means of production. Had the modes of production been predominantly capitalist, at least the Pakistani state would had ensured a permanent supply of electricity and gas to the industrial class even at the cost of the ordinary folk. However, in this case both the classes are sailing in the same boat. Due to an anaemic bourgeoisie, the working class is frail. That is why religion — a passive residue of social formations eclipsed by history — remains a dominant force. Pakistan is a capitalist socio-economic formation of the periphery. Its ruling class is composed of pre-capitalist landowners. Their political and economic power has the backing of the army and clergy. One wonders, despite the insistence of the IMF, which otherwise has the last laugh in our affairs, not to mention the dismal economic squalor that we wallow in, land-tax has never been imposed on this parasitic class. Unlike India, we do not even have any class-conscious peasantry that can challenge this aristocratic hierarchy. The Maoist phenomenon may be a diversion from classical Marxism, but it still carries a shimmer of hope. In India, at least, they do not end up elevating pirs as premiers. If this ruling class alongside the dominant mode of production is not feudal, then what species does it deserve to be named after?
The writer is based in Australia and has authored books on socialism and history. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org