To whose benefit?
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An editorial in CPI(ML) weekly ML Update argues that the sustained nationwide movement for gender justice has evoked an angry, misogynist backlash. It says that while RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has taken the lead, an assortment of patriarchal forces have joined the bandwagon.
Referring to the statements made by Bhagwat, the VHP's Ashok Singhal, as also the BJP's Madhya Pradesh leaders Babulal Gaur and Kailash Vijayvargiya, it says, "considered together, such statements clearly reveal how the Sangh Parivar proposes to go about nation-building ó constructing the 'Hindu Rashtra' to be more precise ó on a medieval patriarchal foundation."
"Misogynist attitudes have always been a central theme of Hindutva... In normal circumstances, however, the protagonists take care to try and give somewhat sophisticated expressions to their obscurantist views. But this time around they lost their cool when the current movement, instead of dying down as they had expected, continued and went beyond the immediate demand of justice for the Delhi victim and punishment for the culprits ó when it developed into a broader one fighting for a thorough overhaul of gender relations in society and polity, when demands like 100 per cent conviction of rapists and suspension of all MLAs and MPs charged for offences like rape began to be raised. The whole political structure of patriarchy was shaken, and they could wait no more," it adds.
An editorial in the CPI journal New Age seeks to link the protests in Delhi over the gangrape to the economic policies of the UPA government. It says that 2013 has begun with gloom and anger the world over due to the deepening economic crisis. "There is no doubt that the brutality of the gangrape was the immediate cause of outbursts, though it is basically the pent-up frustration and anger due to ever compounding economic and social miseries heaped by the ruling classes... Growing unemployment, price-rise and economic disparities have increased the economic burden on households, including those of the middle classes and affluent sections, who were earlier the most ardent supporters of the misadventure of imposition of policies of globalisation, liberalisation and privatisation... They were there on the streets when Anna Hazare launched his campaign against corruption, another product of economic neoliberalism," it says. The editorial argues that despite protests against crime against women as well as neoliberalism, the government is not ready to draw lessons.