Babri Masjid, with 20 years of hindsight

To be sure, one is not talking of a re-enactment of 1930s Germany. Fascist tendencies must be distinguished from the formation of a fascist state. The existence or even the growth of such tendencies does not necessarily lead to the eventual denouement of a fascist state. Besides, that kind of outcome is not even conceivable in today's world, precisely because of the change in conjuncture that has taken place. When the Seventh Congress of the Communist International had defined fascism as the "open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary and revanchist sections of finance capital", the finance capital it had referred to was necessarily nation-based: the Nazis had called themselves "National Socialist". Classical fascism, therefore, was located within the context of acute inter-imperialist rivalry and the fascist state came into being through the capture by the fascists of the nation-state. Today we live in a world of globalised capital as the dominant entity: it is a world of muted inter-imperialist rivalry. The idea of a nation-state being captured by fascists who combine a terrorist dictatorship on behalf of "national" finance capital with external aggression to promote its own specific imperialism, is out of sync with today's context.

But a denouement where there is an effective strangling of democracy despite the formal existence of democratic structures, because the state acts to promote the interests of international finance capital against those of the people; where this strangling is made possible by the pervasive practice of "identity politics" that sustains fascist tendencies; and where the actions of this state, apart from the impoverishment they bring to the people and the oppression of progressive forces, also roll back the social and political gains made by hitherto excluded groups like Dalits and women, and reduce minorities to a subservient status; such a denouement would clearly be in keeping with the tenor of current globalisation. And it is not farfetched to imagine our country moving in this direction.

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