Monday, 22 July 2019

German Ambassador's RSS visit

In 1982, the Home Minister, Zail Singh, made a speech in Parliament praising Hitler and Mussolini. Indira Gandhi promoted him to President of the Republic two months later. At the time, people thought this showed Indira's 'authoritarian tendencies'. However, the fact is, Indira- though hating the Nazis, she herself being related by marriage to a Hungarian Jewess- understood that most Indians have a soft spot for Hitler. He was the enemy of India's enemy- the British Empire. Nevertheless, because of the international outcry at Zail Singh's speech, it was expunged from the Parliamentary record.

During the Second World War, A.C.N Nambiar collaborated with the Nazis and persuaded Indian P.O.Ws in Europe to fight for Hitler as part of the Waffen SS- which was judged, at the Nuremberg trials, to be a criminal organization directly involved in crimes against humanity. The French had a particular hatred for this 'Indian Legion' because of the crimes it had committed. They massacred every single one of them they could lay their hands on. Nazi collaborators were not popular in the Fifties. This did not prevent Nehru from appointing Nambiar Ambassador to West Germany in 1955.

It seems Indo-German diplomatic ties have certain esoteric nuances and peculiarities. Nambiar was well received in Bonn. He was believed to be close to the Soviets and this gave him additional value. However, his mission was mainly economic in nature. The Rourkela Steel Plant was one tangible fruit of this sort of diplomacy.

Just recently, the German ambassador to India has visited the RSS headquarters. This has prompted Siddharta Bhatia, a Founding Editor of The Wire, to write-
Imagine Donald Trump’s ambassador meeting neo-Nazis in Germany and stating that this bunch of white supremacist thugs hold “some unconventional views”, or describing skinheads in Britain — where a large population of South Asian origin lives — as people who “occasionally express themselves with great force.”
This seems strange. FDR's Ambassador to Germany met actual Nazis. In 1937, the State Department forced him to attend the Nuremberg Rally.  The Nazis decided this humiliation was not enough and forced Roosevelt to sack him. The fact is, diplomats have to get along with the ruling party in the host country. The British Ambassador to the US has been forced to resign after some unflattering comments of his on Trump were leaked to the Press.

Trump himself might easily tweet support for Tommy Robinson or offer him asylum- if he thinks this will play well with his voters.

Audrey Trushke, the illiterate historian, has joined the Twitter war set off by the German ambassador's visit.

"There is something especially disturbing about the German ambassador, of all people, helping to cover-up the RSS's extreme bigotry (which was partly inspired by the Nazis),” she wrote.
The RSS was set up in 1925. The motivation was the 1923 Nagpur riot. Its gaining wider salience had to do with its performance in the 1927 Nagpur riot. But such riots were happening all over India. What made the RSS different from a purely local self-defense body for Hindus was that it was as Nationalist as the Congress Seva Dal which had been set up by a Doctor in 1924.
Jawaharlal Nehru was closely involved in this organisation as can be seen from the picture shown above. The RSS, also set up by a Doctor, was the Hindu Mahasabha's Seva Dal but it was less militant and fearsome than the Congress outfit. On the other hand, it did more in the way of social work- in particular it helped break down caste barriers- and thus gained a good reputation. By contrast the Congress Seva Dal degenerated. Its head was the infamous Jagdish Tytler whose role in the anti-Sikh pogroms is well known.

Audrey, fool that she is, thinks that the RSS was inspired by the Nazis. How is this possible? In 1925, Hitler was unknown outside Germany. No doubt, by 1938, he was considered a man of destiny. That is why Gobind Vallabh Pant, presiding over a Congress meeting, described Mahatma Gandhi as the Il Duce and Fuhrer of India. The Mahatma himself had little sympathy for the German Jews and condemned Zionism out of hand despite the fact that some of his earliest helpers in South Africa were Jewish.  The fact is, Indians believed that the German Jews were all Capitalists who were controlling the Economy to the detriment of the local people. During the Second World War, as Niradh Chaudhri recounts, Hitler was considered a great hero by the vast majority of Indian people. However, it was Mussolini, not Hitler, who first enthused young Indians.

The picture below shows Subhas Chandra Bose in military costume at the 1928 Congress session in Calcutta

During the Second World War, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, escaped from India and met with Hitler. This greatly increased his standing in India. Bose's ideology could be rightly called Fascist. The RSS has no similar ideology because its roots are in the provincial petty bourgeoisie- traders in particular. Its political ascent dates to the Nav Nirman agitation in Gujarat and then to its opposition to Indira Gandhi's Emergency. Thus its respectability derives from its opposition to One Party rule and to the excessive concentration of power in the Organs of the State. No doubt, it benefited from the upsurge in jihadi violence and Islamic terrorism because of its origins as a Hindu self-defense organisation. However, it is the fact that its cadres are not corrupt which has made it so greatly respected. Furthermore, unlike the Communist parties, it has not degenerated into a goon squad employing hoodlums. By contrast, Congress used goons to fight Communists in West Bengal. That is where Mamta got her start and her Trinamool Congress has shown its superiority in beating people- with the result that ex-Commies are now voting BJP.

Congress became dependent on the Communist parties to form a Government in 2004. This was a false 'Red Dawn' during which Leftist 'intellectuals' gained salience. However, their virulent anti-Hinduism created a backlash from which Modi benefited. It was absurd to pretend that Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul were angels while Menaka Gandhi and her son Varun were devils. If Modi, as C.M of Gujarat was satanic because of his RSS antecedents, how was Congress's candidate for C.M- Shankarsinh Vaghela- a saintly figure? He too was an RSS man.

Fascism, historically, was about beating up Communists in the streets while the Army and the bourgeoisie looks on approvingly. Congress was good at beating Communists. The RSS never did any such thing. Its cadres were ambivalent about Communism. On the one hand, they admired the achievements of Soviet Russia and Communist China. The indigenous small trader could scarcely hope to create big steel plants and high tech defense industries. Moreover, the RSS was patriotic. If the Soviet Union was kind enough to extend its nuclear umbrella to India at a time when Pakistan had twisted Nixon around its little finger, then the RSS supported the Indo-Soviet Defense pact wholeheartedly. Atal Behari Vajpayee was routinely castigated as a 'CIA agent' but his first act as External Affairs Minister was to rush over to the Kremlin and gulp down Vodka with the Comrades till their suspicions were dispelled.

The RSS started off as an imitator of the Congress Seva Dal. Unlike the latter, it remained free of corruption and gangsterism. However, till recently, it was seen as Provincial and vernacular in its outlook. The change in its status has to do with Indians coming to terms with the fact that growth and socio-economic progress can't be achieved in a top-down fashion. Western style ideologies are irrelevant. There can only be bottom-up development which directly tackles India's biggest handicap- viz. the caste system's hostility to meritocracy and socio-economic mobility. It is a great pity that a concern with ideological purity caused the politburos of the Communist parties to refuse to step up to the plate by taking office at the Center. They preferred to lord it over their regional bastions. But, in doing so, they grew complacent and corrupt. Their own goons would switch sides if they felt there was a danger of a popular revolt at the ballot box. Currently, the Left is at its lowest ebb since 1950. Babbling nonsense about Hitler or Mussolini won't help it. Few Indians know or care about either. One may as well talk of the Spanish Inquisition.

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Ahimsa is its own Parasuram

I grieve not for my Love's Dis or fall from Grace
Nor my, cuckold, much cackled, loss of face
But for our son's shikha by which we'd seized
 Fortuna's forelock, till I no longer pleased. 

To be a Brahmin's wife seems a little thing
So paltry the wage for which udgatrs sing
Fucking the enemy can do what harm?
Ahimsa is its own Parasuram.


Midons! Geriatric your new modelling career
Orphaned of every anchor held you dear.

Monday, 15 July 2019

Parthasarthy's Ghalib

Is this the worst translation of Ghalib in the English language?

What flows in the guts? Diarrhea. If blood is flowing in your guts you are in even worse trouble. Under such such circumstances, the pleasures of the world may well appear less compelling and the grave might seem a blessed release. Clearly, 'Twilight in Delhi' had to do with 'Delhi-Belly'. Ghalib, in Parthasarthy's translation, is explaining why Delhi's 'mihr-e-nimroz'- Noontide blaze of Glory and Enlightenment- so soon turned to twilight with everybody scuttling about on their haunches squirting shit all over the place.

Huma- the bird of Fortune, the touch of whose shadow confers Empery- had once hovered over Delhi. But, because of endemic diarrhoea, those days were long gone. Parthasarthys and other such Credentialized cretins now ruled the roost in Delhi. Thus, even so sinewy and tightly knit an oeuvre as Ghalib's Urdu ghazals  would be homogenized and squirted out as oxymoronic shite.

The fact is, wings which have turned to dust aren't wings. They no longer exist. If they had been turned to stone, they might be a spent force for the purpose of flight. But if they have turned to dust they can't be blown away because they are indistinguishable from other dust upon which everybody is copiously shitting.

The next couplet conveys little info save the poet likes a handsome guy coming towards him. But, as the following couplet shows, a woman has been 'unkind' to himself. Thus the fellow ruefully concludes he should have 'been kind to himself' by having a wank, probably in public while watching the handsome dude.

Walls and doors- no matter how much wine or vomit have been spattered on them- can't make anyone drunk. Maybe the thought of Spring can cause a momentary exaltation but the walls and doors, even of a distillery, have no such virtue. Thus the poet, even if he wanks while watching the handsome dude coming towards him, will get little joy if he starts licking the doors and walls of the Tavern rather than buying himself a pint like a normal bloke.

Parthasarthy thinks Ghalib was a cretin who couldn't write poetry- probably because he kept wanking in the twilight all over Delhi- thus causing many of its buildings to fall into ruin. This was sad for Ghalib coz he wanted to be a builder and was disappointed to find that his constant jizzing over his environs had a deleterious effect on masonry

Still, the guy kept up this idle pastime of his while 'flaunting his talents' at handsome dudes coming his way.

Parthasarthy, as a fellow Tambram, was- as I am- perfectly justified in writing in the most cretinous manner possible, because only thus will we gain not just Educationally Backward but Mentally Fucking Retarded status and thus reap the benefits of affirmative action. However, Parthasarthy was wrong to dump on Ghalib. As a Hindu, he was only obliged to shit on devout Hindus. Ghalib was not a Hindu. He was a sincere Muslim who wrote some very moving religious poetry. Also, he was smart. For all I know, Parthasarthy may have started off smart. But he studied a shite subject at University and so his brains turned to shit. Still, thanks to the globalised market for crap Credentials, at least the fellow made some money out of whatever 'flowed through his guts'.

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Pankaj Mishra, Gyan Prakash & the Emergency era

Gyan Prakash leveraged an MA in JNU to escape from India long ago. He has written a silly book about the Emergency. Pankaj Mishra wrote a couple of silly books about how awful it was to be a backward bhaiyya from the cow belt,  and, on that basis, managed to escape India less long ago. Now the younger expat has written a silly article in the NYRB about Prakash's book.


Some silly people compare Modi to Indira and pretend that there is a second Emergency in operation in India which nobody except these stupid expats has noticed.

Why did Indira declare Emergency? She should simply have put Jagjivan Ram in charge, dissolved Parliament and stormed back to power. The answer is she didn't trust any of her Cabinet colleagues. Furthermore, her younger son and daughter-in-law were corrupt and could have been prosecuted. Anyway, if the people wanted 'sampoorna kranti'- Total Revolution- she could deliver it better than the cretinous JP.  Indira knew that Revolution means beating the shite out of people and jailing everybody who might wag their tail. The problem with Revolutions is that the original leader tends to die mysteriously to be replaced by a more vicious sociopath. In this case, the sociopath in waiting was her own younger son. Thus, she called elections and spent a couple of years in the wilderness before her Opponents' cobbled together coalition imploded. Then she took back power with her younger son's help. His thugishness had mellowed into Machiavellian corruption and, it is believed, she sincerely mourned his death in a glider accident.

The reason Modi, or, more generally, the BJP, doesn't want or need to impose an Emergency, is because Cabinets are well disciplined and efficient. There is no atmosphere of intrigue nor widespread corruption. Democracy and the Rule of Law are good for the Party to flourish and the Prime Minister to work effectively.

Dynasts turn into despots when they fear intrigue. Genuine political parties, which reward merit, have no such proclivity.

Mishra admits that this is the conventional view.

He writes-
Prakash is skeptical of conventional accounts of the Emergency, which focus on Indira Gandhi and her son Sanjay—her paranoia and megalomania, and his arrogance and recklessness—and which also blame her political opponents for intoxicating the masses with fantasies of an unachievable revolution.
Revolutions are achievable but they tend to be utterly shite. Indira gently reminded North Indian people of this fact by posing a clear and present danger to their testicles- this was the 'forced sterilization' campaign which so quieted opposition to her that she thought she'd win- and the upshot was that Indians stopped thinking kranti was cool.

Gyan Prakash, however, was doing a PhD in, that well known redoubt of Revolutionary praxis, the University of Pennsylvania. As a brown man, he gained intellectual affirmative action and posed as a spokesman for Ind's revolting masses.

Mishra, with unconscious humor, writes-
Prakash offers a more disquieting analysis, linking the Emergency to both India’s supposedly pathbreaking constitution and its present state of moral and political debility.
How was India's constitution 'path-breaking'? Ambedkar rightly dismissed his contribution to it as 'hackwork'.  The fact is, if the Communists had played up, the Constitution could have been easily amended to make the country a One Party State.

What 'moral and political debility' does India now exhibit? The Left has been decimated- but it was always shite.  Rahul has taken a beating- but his incompetence and stupidity have long been apparent and it is time someone else stepped up to head the Opposition. No doubt, there is an 'anti-appeasement' sentiment targeting Muslims- but that is true of Europe and America. India has done nothing as extreme as ban the burqa, like France, or 're-educate' Muslims as Communist China has done.

Gyan Prakash, cretin that he is, thinks the Constitution was important. This was not the case because the 24th amendment had nullified the Golaknath judgment. The  Kesavananda Bharati case was narrowly decided in 1973 but the 'basic structure' ratio only became effective after- and partly as a reaction to- the Emergency. Thus, there was no 'careful cloaking' of anything in 'constitutional dress'. The existing MISA law was used and then beefed up more as a signal of intent than as an instrument. Like the Press, the Judiciary too, 'crawled when they had only been asked to bend.'
Fascinated by the fact that the Emergency was carefully “cloaked in a constitutional dress,” he goes back to examine the making of the constitution, and the fear of “anarchy” that made its Hindu, largely upper-caste authors—Ambedkar was an exception—vest the state with coercive authority over society.
This is very foolish. Pakistan is Muslim, Sri Lanka is majority Buddhist. Yet their original Constitutions were similar to India's- except Ceylon's had stronger minority protection which is why they got universal suffrage in 1931. Pakistan did not have a democratic trajectory for one simple reason. Its more populous and cohesive East Wing was politically more developed but lagged behind in terms of participation in the Military. Once proper elections were held, the country broke in two after a bloody genocide in the East carried out by soldiers from the West.  It is true that, unlike Sri Lanka or Pakistan, India hasn't abrogated its first Constitution. But this is because India is a largely Hindu country which has faced no major insurrection or widespread separatist movement. It is Democratic because Hindus want Hindus to compete for their votes. This does mean that some minorities- Muslims in particular- have gotten short shrift. In the Sixties many better off Muslims faced harassment by the 'Custodian of Enemy Property'- and people like Salman Rushdie's father were forced to emigrate. Those who remained worked hard and, where competition was on the basis of genuine merit, did make a prominent place for themselves. However, the idiocy of Al Qaeeda has caused trouble for Indian Muslims in the same way that it has caused trouble for Muslims in many other parts of the world. Thankfully, India can always shift blame to the lunatics in the Pakistani ISI whose latest own-goal is to have gotten Modi re-elected with a bigger majority. I suppose, it could be argued, that the ISI wanted to keep Indian P.Ms from getting chummy with their Pakistani counterparts. However, so long as Imran Khan is in office, no Indian P.M in his right mind will go near the fellow. Why? The Indian will look dowdy and provincial by contrast.
He describes how the constitution of free India preserved provisions of British-ruled India that had previously incited the freedom movement, such as preventive detention (which, as a United Nations report documented last year, is now used even against children in Indian-ruled Kashmir). Furthermore, as Prakash points out, the Indian constitution allowed the prime minister as sovereign authority to legally impose a state of emergency.
Thus, the Constitution did not matter at all. India needed to be administered in the only way it could provably be administered- i.e. on the basis of its history of administration. The British had ruled India based on how it was ruled before- as had the Mughals and so forth.

Incidentally, kids should be detained if they are a danger to themselves or others. It is not the case that India is targeting kids for 're-education' like China.
At the same time, it deprived the courts of their authority to check the prime minister’s power. In Prakash’s resonant judgment, the Emergency was a “lawful suspension of the law.”
No. It was an unlawful suspension of certain provisions of the law. Indira was lying when she claimed that there was any real possibility of the Army or Policy mutinying just because JP- that senile dotard- had babbled some nonsense in a speech.

Prakash, like Mishra, is a cretin. It is no accident that the Left supported Indira save when it was opposing that portion of the Left which supported Indira. However, that portion of the Left later supported Sonia till it screwed the pooch so royally that Manmohan could rule without it. Now many of their erstwhile goons are voting for Modi because they are tired of Mamta's goons beating the crap out of them.
Mrs. Gandhi’s power-grab was validated by the parliament, which barred “judicial review of the emergency proclamations and ordinances suspending fundamental rights.”
Why was it validated? It's because Indira had struck terror into the hearts of the intriguers. The very people who would have deserted her- and subsequently did so- had to turn into her most servile sycophants. But this is the problem of dynastic parties. They turn to despotism because of the 'internal' enemy of intrigue. Proper political parties don't do any such thing.
Many of Mrs. Gandhi’s arbitrarily detained victims had filed habeas corpus petitions under Article 226 of the constitution, claiming their fundamental rights, and nine high courts across the country had ruled in their favor. But the Supreme Court notoriously upheld the government’s position by a vote of 4–1.
The lone dissenting judge, who was in line to become chief justice but was later vengefully denied that position by Mrs. Gandhi, quoted from Wolfgang Friedmann’s Law in a Changing Society(1959): “In a purely formal sense, any system of norms based on a hierarchy of orders, even the organised mass murders of Nazi regime, qualify as law.” In other words, the Emergency, however abominable, was not illegal. Nor was it seen as such by the craven Indian media, which, as one politician imprisoned by Mrs. Gandhi famously charged, “was asked to bend…and…chose to crawl.”
Mishra does not mention that the dissenting judge was H.R Khanna. He paid the price by being superseded. It is noteworthy that Chief Justice A.N Ray had been promoted out of turn and his attitude to Indira was adulatory.

However, the fact remains, the Left- which was intellectually in the ascendant back then- considered the Judiciary to be 'reactionary' and Constitutions to be merely wastepaper. Amartya Sen's 'Idea of Justice' is in this tradition which dismisses 'Due process of Law' as 'Niti', when what truly matters is 'Nyaya'- arbitrary actions of a supposedly re-distributive type.

Mishra writes-
Prakash goes on to establish that other much-denounced features of the Emergency were not aberrations.

This is blatantly false. Prakash can't establish anything because he is a cretin. Forced sterilization was not possible before or after the Emergency. It represents an aberration made possible by the Emergency. Extra-judicial killing, by contrast, is always possible. It's just interfering with people's testicles which is aberrant.
For instance, the compulsory sterilization drive of the mid-1970s, the signature program of Sanjay Gandhi, had its origins in a program of population control aggressively promoted in the 1960s by the Ford Foundation, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund; the Ford Foundation gave grants to the Indian government, provided consultants, and prescribed policies.
The Ford Foundation did not prescribe the forcible sterilization of all and sundry- including elderly people and kids. Why? Coz it wasn't utterly stupid.
The Indian government’s coercive modernization schemes were on display well before they were sped up during the Emergency, when more than six million men were sterilized in India in a year.
Where was the coercion prior to, or subsequent to, the Emergency? India was not Sweden where eugenic forcible sterilization, promoted by people like Nobel laureate Alva Myrdal, only ended in 1975.
As Mara Hvistendahl documented in Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men (2011), “Widespread sterilization was an idea that had been introduced to India by Western advisers, but Sanjay Gandhi ratcheted it up to an unprecedented scale.” His demands were so extreme that “local officials could meet them only by dragging men to the operating room—typically a makeshift camp that had sprung up practically overnight.” Hundreds of men died as a result of botched operations.
The reason the Ford Foundation, World Bank and so forth did not advocate forced sterilization was because it was bound to lead to a backlash- at least in what the Myrdals' called 'soft states' like India.
Visiting a terrorized India in 1976, the World Bank’s president, Robert McNamara, hailed the Gandhis’ “disciplined, realistic approach” to family planning and the general junking of “socialist ideologies.”
McNamara was a Kennedy appointee who shat the bed on Vietnam and went to the World Bank as a form of penance. He was himself considered a socialist by Dubya's neocon henchmen.
Prakash demonstrates that the demolition of slums, another exercise of arbitrary power blamed on Indira and Sanjay Gandhi, was also an aspect of “the state’s modernization project from above.”
It was a corrupt land grab. If Indira and Sanjay wanted 'modernization' they'd have liberalized the economy.  Slum clearance only occurred where the underlying real estate was valuable. It did not occur where the slum-lord provided money or goons for the Congress party. Only cretins like Prakash and Mishra think that the World Bank and the Bilderbergers and the Elders of Zion are all conspiring to 'modernize' shithole countries and seeking to chop off our goolies so as to bathe in our semen.
In escalating that project “with wanton force, Indira, with Sanjay and his coterie, sought to accomplish what they could not achieve ‘normally.’”
Why was the project escalated? It was to strike terror into the hearts of people and disrupt the conventional politics of intrigue and hypocritical protest. That strategy worked a little too well. North India appeared entirely docile. Kao, Indira's Intelligence Chief, was widely believed to have given the all clear for elections to be called. The fact is most people in Lutyen's Delhi believed Indira would squeak through with the support of regional parties and the CPI.

Mishra & Prakash think the Emergency was some cunning Capitalist scheme to raise Indian living standards. They are utter fools subscribing to the very same Socialist ideology which Indira used to justify her reign of terror.
Similar improvisations by a panicky ruling class were underway in many postcolonial countries. In neighboring Pakistan, Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto moved from promoting a populist variant of socialism to appeasing Islamic fundamentalists, inadvertently setting the stage for the military despot who executed him and inaugurated breakneck Islamization.
Bhutto used the excuse of Socialism to destroy the political influence of the Industrialists (he himself was a feudal landlord). He did not appease Islamic fundamentalism. He targeted the Ahmediyas because they were middle class Punjabi speakers. In any case, after the oil shock, everybody was sucking up to the Saudis. Bhutto's mistake was to rig the elections. This destroyed his legitimacy. He compounded this error by abusing the Generals who hanged him rather than wait for him to get back in power to take his revenge.

It is ludicrous to paint Bhutto or Bandarnaike or Indira or Idi Amin as 'Socialists' who started appeasing either Capitalism or Islam or anything else. These were shitheads leading shithole countries who, however, had their sycophants amongst the Socialist 'intelligentsia'.
Indira Gandhi herself followed this trajectory of the failed third-world modernizer when, after her triumphant return to power in 1980, she began to stoke Hindu nationalism, enabling Modi’s Hindu-supremacist party to move from the fringes of Indian political life to the center.
Rubbish! Congress was a Hindu dominated party which established Hindu hegemony, banned cow slaughter in many states,  and completely marginalized Muslims while coopting the more docile type of Dalit. Compared to the Congress Seva Dal, the RSS were pussycats. Jagdish Tytler was a former head of the Dal. What he and his chums did in Delhi to the Sikhs in '84 explains why Congress, not the Mahasabha, was considered the muscular wing of Hinduism.

Atal Behari Vajpayee did well as External Affairs Minister in the post- Emergency Janata coalition. His party showed cohesiveness while the other constituents of Janata were dynastic personality cults. Thus it was his 'Bharatiya Janata Party' which became the legitimate successor of  the Janata Morcha. However, this was not obvious back in the early Eighties.

Indira did not move to the Right because of Atal- a meat eating, wine bibbing Liberal- but because she herself was deeply religious and had a more intense personal spiritual dimension than any previous or subsequent Indian leader. In this she was Kamala, nor Jawaharlal's, daughter. Sanjay had no time for Socialist shitheads while Rajiv was most at home with Dosco boxwallahs.  There was lip-service to Socialism but it was about as convincing as Rahul's claim to be fighting for 'workers and peasants'. Sonia, it seems, genuinely respected Leftist intellectuals. But Manmohan didn't. It is now apparent that his administration was more, not less, 'neoliberal' than Modi's.

Cretins like Mishra believe that 'political legitimacy' involves the sort of shite they view with paranoid suspicion because they never outgrew an adolescent type of Left infantilism.

They babble nonsense about 'crises of governance' which arise from the paranoid fantasies of antisemitic shitheads like Marx and Hobson.
Modi also derives political legitimacy from his oft-proclaimed mission of national modernization but seeks, more explicitly than his predecessors, Prakash writes, “to resolve the crisis of governance by building a Hindu nation with a ressentiment-driven majoritarian politics that reduces the minorities to second-class citizens.”
Minorities became second-class citizen at Partition. Millions were ethnically cleansed. Muslims were still being forced out of India in the Sixties. Socialism failed almost immediately. After that there was a hypocritical vote bank politics by dynasts on the one side and, on the other, the growth of a genuine political party with a meritocratic element. Rahul wanted to make the Congress party a similar outfit. He has failed. But, sooner or later, some other outfit will succeed in the task. Some hoped it would be the Aam Aadmi Party. Perhaps some similar 'Morcha' might be sparked by some future scandal. However, the 'Muslim appeasement' charge has little mileage left. Attacks on Hinduism by Hindu Leftists are declining, or failing to get publicity. Thus, Hindu resentment is disappearing.
The afterlife of the Emergency has turned out to be long and rich. There have been nine non–Congress Party governments in Delhi in the forty-two years since the Emergency ended. Yet antiquated laws on sedition and preventive detention are still on the books and are frequently deployed. A prime minister can still easily impose “a state of exception” through the “sovereign” exercise of “extraordinary constitutional powers.”
These laws aren't antiquated in the least. They permit organs of the State to make contingency plans and maintain a type of executive capacity which, by itself, has a countervailing power. However, in the mid Eighties and Nineties, as in the late Sixties in connection with Naxalbari, there was widespread extra-judicial killing to which everybody turned a blind eye. This severely undermined 'Command Responsibility' and the justiciability of essentially political wrongs.
Prakash could have argued his case about the unexceptional nature of the Emergency with more detailed examples of how representative democracy in India always enjoyed an apparatus of perfectly legal oppression.
As has every representative democracy in history. This proves that there is a giant conspiracy which stretches from the caves underneath the Vatican where Chtulhu is worshiped,  to the garden shed behind my bedroom from whose rooftop the neighbor's cat keeps me under illegal surveillance.
For instance, politicians in power in New Delhi frequently—forty times by 1977—were equipped by the constitution to get rid of state governments they did not like.
But they only did so if the dismissed administration could not get re-elected or else if it was seditious.
In 1959 Indira Gandhi, then freshly appointed to the presidency of the Congress Party, stoked protests against the progressive reforms of the Communist government in the state of Kerala—the first elected Communist government anywhere in the world—and persuaded Nehru, her father and then prime minister, to dismiss the Communists and impose central rule.
The Communists lost the subsequent election and learned their lesson- don't fuck with the Church. Do something useful for the people and you will get reelected. The Communists could have become a National Party like Congress or the BJP. However, the stupidity of their various gerontocratic politburos prevented this outcome. What great ideological crime would have been committed if Jyoti Basu had been allowed to become P.M? I suppose, the answer is that Basu would have been flattered and cajoled into following the Chinese path. Indians would have been better off. Mishra and Prakash would have felt anally violated. Their privilege as 'native informants' regarding a shithole country would have been undermined.

In common with other viable states, India kills or otherwise neutralizes people who try to destroy its territorial integrity. Mishra thinks this is very naughty. But he has moved to a country which has done the same thing far more effectively for hundreds of years.
Nehru had some practice in this regard in Kashmir, where he first abandoned his 1947 promise to organize a referendum to decide the contested region’s political status and then, in 1953, deposed a popular Kashmiri politician and imprisoned him.
Actually it was Rafi Ahmed Kidwai who ran with that particular ball. Kidwai realized that if the Kashmir valley seceded then there would be large scale ethnic cleansing of Muslims in India on the Pakistani pattern. Sheikh Abdullah, like his son and grandson, remained emotionally close to Nehru and his dynastic successors.
The valley erupted in a militant insurgency in 1989, which the Indian government met with a ferocious counterinsurgency, flooding the region with more than half a million soldiers. Nearly 80,000 people have died in a place that remains the most dangerous on earth, an eternal flashpoint, as events of late February reminded us, for a war between two nuclear-armed nations.
Rajiv Gandhi rigged an election in Kashmir in favor of fellow dynast, Farooq Abdullah. Thus he was able to rival his mother's cretinism in creating a terrible insurgency in Punjab. The fact that these insurgencies had an anti-Hindu ethnic cleansing aspect was supposed to bolster the Dynasty. Perhaps it would have done but for Rajiv's assassination because of his stupid meddling in Sri Lanka. Of course, it must be said, there was plenty of stupidity amongst high officials and 'darbari intellectuals' in New Delhi.
At the same time, India’s military occupation of Kashmir has also profoundly corrupted Indian institutions—the legal system as well as the security forces, the media, and the larger public sphere.
Nonsense. It has had zero impact outside the State just as actions in Nagaland had zero impact on the rest of India. Similarly, British operations in Northern Ireland had no impact on English institutions. That is why Mishra moved to Britain.
In 2013, the year before Modi came to power, the Supreme Court dispatched a Kashmiri to the gallows on flimsy circumstantial evidence, arguing that the terrorist attack in 2001 on the Indian parliament that he had allegedly been involved with had shaken the entire nation and that he had to be hanged in order to satisfy the “collective conscience of its society.”
And Obama had Osama killed. There is a define pattern here- a big Conspiracy which stretches all the way from the Vatican catacombs to the roof of the garden shed upon which my neighbor's cat lies basking in the Sun and ILLEGALLY SURVEILLING ME. Why? Because of NEO-LIBERAL CAPITALISM!  I have proof. My Dyson vacuum cleaner malfunctioned while under warranty. Dyson is a billionaire. Neighbor's cat observed my doing something to the hose of that vacuum cleaner which WAS NOT EROTIC IN ANY WAY! But, clearly, many people would have believed its TOTALLY FALSE TESTIMONY that I was using the Dyson to pleasure myself thus invalidating the warranty. This is just a small example of the way in which the military occupation of Aldershot has totally corrupted and subverted every institution in the country- including that of the supposed neutrality of neighbors' cats in commercial disputes with Vacuum cleaner companies.
If the situation in India seems bleaker today than it was during the Emergency, it is because,
the Left has been utterly routed. Thus Mishra and Prakash look foolish.
as Prakash points out, “the social and political crises that it unsuccessfully sought to resolve with shadow laws and authority” have intensified.
Unfortunately, the Marxist notion of crisis has faded out of current Indian politics. There is zero 'Revolutionary potential'. Mishra and Prakash are as foolish as Niradh Chaudhri who, in 'Autobiography of an unknown Indian' expressed the hope that the White man would come back to rule India.
India’s rapid but highly uneven economic growth in recent decades always seemed politically as well as environmentally unsustainable. It was predictable that disappointed business leaders, together with frustrated masses, would abandon the Congress Party’s corrupt and inefficient ancien régime and lift Hindu nationalists to power.1
Prakash is alert to the social and historical setting in which democracy lives—or grows infirm, and quietly dies:
But Prakash lives in America. How 'alert' can he be? India has a young demography. It has no choice but to be democratic. Its democratic and legal institutions have grown more robust. The only senility and brain death in evidence is that of expat, armchair, Leftists like Prakash and Mishra.
In today’s India,
as opposed to what? yesterday's India? the day before's India?
as in many other places, power and money define the context. Those who enjoy social and economic privileges, and can summon powerful political influence, play by different rules. Vast quantities of unregulated capital let loose by the neoliberal economy
slosh around to twist the machinery of laws and administration. An army of fixers and middlemen operate at every level to distort and corrupt the everyday experience of democracy, turning it into “a feast of vultures.”
Modi promised a clean and impartial administration, but under him the “influence-peddlers” first introduced into Indian politics by Sanjay Gandhi
Such peddlers were always there.
have burrowed deep into the country’s major institutions, including the Supreme Court. In an unprecedented move last year, four senior judges held a press conference to warn that democracy in general as well as the integrity of the country’s highest court was in peril.
They were being silly. They gambled that Modi would lose. Instead he won. The current CJI was one of the 4 judges protesting against the CJI's preeminence and his privileges as Master of the Rolls. Gogoi has not reduced these privileges once he himself got the top job. Two of the four Judges have turned on Gogoi for the manner in which a sexual harassment charge against him was handled.  What was the upshot of all these shenanigans? Indians no longer believe that Judges aren't a bunch of bitchy 'mean girls' constantly turning on each other biting and scratching. The complaint of the original 4 had to do with the Loya case- one which only needed to be investigated if Judges are in the habit of murdering each other simply so as to eliminate non-corrupt comrades.

This is not to say that Democracy is not in danger. The neighbor's cat is like totally imperilling democracy. So is the person wot steals my lunch from the fridge replacing it something which appears identical but doesn't taste as nice.
Modi commands a committed ideological cadre of Hindu nationalists
like whom? Nirmila Sitharaman? Subhramanyam Jaishankar? Both have been promoted on merit. What about Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi or Syed Shahnawaz Hussain? They are Nationalists, certainly, but are they Hindu?
that is rapidly taking over the military and the bureaucracy, the universities, and the media
and taking orders from my neighbor's cat.
And Modi himself looms as large in India as Indira did.
How shameful! A Prime Minister should try to be faceless and anonymous.
“His photographs, slogans, and programs appear everywhere as hers once did,” Prakash writes. “He does not hold press conferences and subject himself to questioning; he prefers to speak directly to the people with his weekly radio address and, like Donald Trump, frequent tweets.”
Lal Bahadur Shastri did not hold press conferences. So what? A number of other P.Ms followed his example. So what?
The expectations generated by consumer capitalism among a predominantly young population have raced far ahead of any actual material progress achieved by India.
Prakash and Mishra's expectations, generated by consumer capitalism, caused them to emigrate from India. They can earn a little money writing this type of tripe. Good luck to them. They have found a niche- albeit of a repugnant sort- in the globalized market for stupidity. But this has nothing to do with politics or, indeed, India.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Verse 100 of Bhratrhari's Niti Shataka

The Being by whom Brahma, serpentining the stars, yet is Becoming's yolk of the egg of its own cosmically thrown pot
& Beloving's decimal avatars are, Vishnu, a comically n-tangled dance of thought in the bight of its own unknot
& Believing's doom of self-chrism sticks Rudra with progenition's skull as posterity's joke bong or begging bowl
 Surya salutes tippling volition off Karma's triple nippled trull- Sky, thy Azure, my Abysm of Soul

Midons! Having assayed all extolation's epithets & essaying one higher
I dub thee, not Uterine font, but Toilet of Desire.

Note- see by the quite extraordinary Colin John Holcombe- a true polymath and poet who has translated Meghaduta.

Sanjukta Paul's Marxist legal historiography

Sanjukta Paul writes 
the law of agency imposes upon employees various duties, notably the duties of loyalty and obedience, which are automatically read into any employment contract or relationship.
The law of agency also applies to non-employees who owe primary duties to the principal as a result of a fiduciary relationship. This agency may be express, implied, or apparent. Such agents are liable to indemnify a principal for loss or damage resulting from violations of these duties. In general, employees are not liable for damages caused by negligence whereas non-employees may be held to a stricter standard. Employers are expected to either dismiss or otherwise make proper provision against damages resulting from the conduct of a disobedient, not diligent, or otherwise negligent employee.

Since employees stand in a fiduciary relationship to employers, it follows that they have primary duties to the principal. There is nothing sinister in such duties being 'read into' their employment contract or relationship. However, in practice, their liability is likely to be less not more than if they were non-employees with a similar fiduciary relationship to the principal.
An employee may not compete against her employer;
False. There is only a requirement to disclose any possible conflict of interest, such as work for a competitor or a relationship that could compromise the employer.
and even absent direct economic competition, she generally may not act counter to the interests of her employer even outside work-time.
Again false for the same reason.
Violating these duties are in theory and occasionally in practice torts, not just terminable offenses. For example, one court held that the tort of disloyalty lies when employees publicly report unsafe food handling practices by their employer.
This is utterly false. It is never illegal to report illegal actions though the manner of so doing may be restricted for reasons of State or in the Public interest. An affirmative defense is available against an action in tort in this regard.

Moreover, a 'whistle-blower' employee of a large corporation with publicly traded shares now enjoys a higher degree of protection than ever before.

As a recent Forbes article states-
Section 806 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (“SOX”) prohibits publicly-traded companies from retaliating against employees who report various acts of wrongdoing to their employers. Employers have consistently attempted to narrow the protections afforded employees under this section, arguing that SOX covers only reports of conduct amounting to a fraud on the company’s shareholders. Now, a recent Tenth Circuit opinion, Lockheed Martin Corp. v. Admin. Review Bd., U.S. Dep’t of Labor, 11-9524, 2013 WL 2398691 (10th Cir. June 4, 2013), has held that the employers’ narrow reading is wrong and that Section 806 is significantly broader, essentially finding that a report identifying any fraud or violation of an SEC regulation, even if it does not impact shareholders, triggers SOX’s protections. Although attorneys representing management have suggested that this opinion will not change the way employers deal with whistleblowers, it should.

In Lockheed, Andrea Brown, a Director of Communications for Lockheed, brought an action for retaliation under Section 806, claiming that she had been constructively discharged after complaining to the company about the conduct of its Vice President of Communications, Wendy Owen. Brown notified Lockheed’s Human Resource Department that Owen had engaged in sexual relations and other inappropriate conduct with various soldiers who participated in Lockheed’s pen pal program, including using company funds to purchase a laptop for one of the soldiers and paying for hotel rooms and limousines. Brown also complained that Owen had been less available to discuss work issues during the time that she was involved with these soldiers. After speaking to Brown, Lockheed conducted an investigation and apparently withheld Owen’s bonus based on the complaint. Brown told Owen she was the source of the complaint; thereafter, Brown was subject to various acts of retaliation, eventually culminating in her constructive discharge.
Brown filed a complaint for retaliation under SOX Section 806 with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Brown’s complaint was upheld after a hearing and then on administrative review. On appeal to the Tenth Circuit, Lockheed sought to overturn the administrative findings based on the argument that the conduct about which Brown had complained was not “protected activity” under Section 806 because Brown did not allege shareholder fraud as required by SOX. The Circuit rejected Lockheed’s argument. As the Tenth Circuit explained, Section 806 provides that no publicly traded company or its officers or employees may retaliate against an employee for providing:
information … or otherwise asssit[ing] in an investigation regarding conduct which the employee reasonably believes constitutes a violation of … [18 U.S.C. §§] 1341, 1343, 1344, or 1348, any rule or regulation of the Securities and Exchange Commission, or any provision of Federal law relating to fraud against shareholders ….
Since few public companies tell their shareholders they are going to permit sexual harassment or other actions which violate Federal law, it follows that employees of such companies have a very high level of protection against the sack, let alone being dragged into Court for the 'tort of disloyalty'.

Why is Paul suggesting otherwise? Let us look at the case she links to. It was about a very big, Dutch owned, supermarket chain which was violating the Federal Meat Inspection Act of 1906. Clearly, no whistle-blower could be fired for reporting violations of this Federal law. Indeed, in the Nineties, the company paid large fines for various Labor law violations and gave an undertaking not to retaliate against any employees who had testified against them or taken any other similar action.

Given this background, how can Paul claim that 'the tort of disloyalty lies when employees publicly report unsafe food handling practices by their employer?' The answer is that Paul is misrepresenting the case she refers to. It was about two employees of a TV company who fraudulently gained employment with the Food Company for the primary purpose of exposing their malpractice. This is tortious.

As the Federal Court observed
What Dale and Barnett did verges on the kind of employee activity that has already been determined to be tortious. The interests of the employer (ABC) to whom Dale and Barnett gave complete loyalty were adverse to the interests of Food Lion, the employer to whom they were unfaithful. ABC and Food Lion were not business competitors but they were adverse in a fundamental way. ABC's interest was to expose Food Lion to the public as a food chain that engaged in unsanitary and deceptive practices. Dale and Barnett served ABC's interest, at the expense of Food Lion, by engaging in the taping for ABC while they were on Food Lion's payroll. In doing this, Dale and Barnett did not serve Food Lion faithfully, and their interest (which was the same as ABC's) was diametrically opposed to Food Lion's. In these circumstances, we believe that the highest courts of North and South Carolina would hold that the reporters-in promoting the interests of one master, ABC, to the detriment of a second, Food Lion -committed the tort of disloyalty against Food Lion.
Paul says
An employee may not compete against her employer; and even absent direct economic competition, she generally may not act counter to the interests of her employer even outside work-time
This is false. An employee may not take a job for the specific purpose of stealing clients. She may do the same kind of work that she does for the company in her spare time but no tort arises. She may also act counter to the interests of her employer outside work-time unless she only took the job so as to cause harm to it. For the tort of disloyalty to arise there must be a strong and overriding intent to act against the employer. In the ABC/Food Lion case, the tort of disloyalty meant that trespass, too, had occurred. However, the Court found, there was no 'Unfair Trade Practice' because ABC and Food Lion weren't competing.

Paul is seriously misrepresenting American Law. A person who works full time for Company A, may also work for its competitor, Company B, in their spare time. An employee is not bound to do nothing against the interests of her company outside work-time. True, she may be peremptorily dismissed in an employment 'at will' state unless she is in a 'protected' class. But she need fear no further action in tort.

What was the outcome of the case brought by Food Lion? The two journalists were convicted of disloyalty and trespass and were forced to pay the extortionate sum of.... 2 dollars. This huge sum caused them immense financial distress- I don't think. But Paul does. She quotes this judgment as proof that the Law favors the Big Corporation over the humble employee. If you wreck their business by blowing the whistle you may have to shell out...2 bucks.

Paul's next target is 'non-compete' clauses.
As another example of the reach of the duty of loyalty, covenants not to compete that extend past the term of employment are, in most jurisdictions, either presumptively permissible within a “reasonable” temporal or geographic scope, or at least more likely to be permissible when they are incident to an employment contract than when they are free-standing or incident to some other sort of contract. Notably, such restraints typically include a prohibition on employees’ going into business for themselves in competition with the employer—a restraint on horizontal competition that is otherwise viewed with supreme suspicion by antitrust law. The law thus effectively extends employees’ duty of loyalty past the end of the employment relationship itself. This is “special” treatment of the labor relationship—in the direction of suppressing the market competition that the pre-analytic vision of 1L contracts generally favors—and it also echoes the historical origins of the modern duty of loyalty, wherein it was not always so easy for employees to end employment relationships in the first place.
California prohibits non-compete clauses for all but equity stakeholders. Most States, like Paul's native Michigan, restrict duration to one year and never more than three. Furthermore, the employer has to show that the clause is reasonable in terms of protecting their business interests against an unfair type of competition. The recent Huron Technology vs Sparling (2014) decision shows that a lot of non compete clauses are not fit for purpose.

The type of employee who could be subject to a non compete clause is very different from the average wage earner. We are speaking of people with a highly specialized skill, acquired on the job, or with contacts cultivated on the company dime. This is not the class of people Labor laws are intended to protect. Paul has conjured out of thin air a monstrous Legal machinery which punishes workers for disloyalty to the Company even in their few precious hours of rest. Even after such workers are discharged- or thrown on the scrapheap- they remain chained to the Company by a non-compete clause. We see before our mind's eye, a Law Professor who fears to explain the law to a member of the public in her leisure hours lest her University sue her for illegally undermining their business model. She trembles lest she cheer for the wrong team when her College's football team plays against a rival. Finally, she goes mad and is thrown on the scrapheap. Can she pick herself up and go back to expounding the intricacies of the Law- not perhaps at a University- but at a truck-stop or homeless shelter? No! She is shackled by her non compete clause!

Paul quotes Prof. Christopher Tomlins- whose current research concerns 'what opportunities exist for renewing the attempt to create a Marxist legal historiography, and what responsibilities attend that effort.' - as follows
the essential characteristic of the relationship created by the employment contract was that it was assumed to reproduce the magisterial authority of the master in the person of the employer … the relation of master and servant was less a discrete instance of the more general phenomenon of contract than itself a particular species of legal relation with its own particular incidents, in this case incidents geared to the representation of the authority of the master as a matter of law.[1]
Thus, “[r]epresenting employment relations in the voluntarist language of contract…mystified the existence and exercise of power in the employment relationship.”[2]
This is still true. “Freedom of contract” is still sometimes invoked by judges to undermine or read narrowly statutory employee rights, and against the democratic coordination of markets.
The case Paul is referring to was a 1998 case regarding 'on call' emergency medical technicians who argued that they should be paid the full rate even if they were at home watching TV. Paul, no doubt, thinks 'statutory employee rights' include being paid regardless of whether you come in to work or not. She thinks Judges are being very mean. However, in this case, the Judges say that, according to the Department of Labour's implementing regulations, an employee who is not required to remain on the employer's premises but is merely required to leave word at home or with company officials where he or she may be reached is not working while on call. Time spent at home on call may or may not be compensable depending on whether the restrictions placed on the employee preclude using the time for personal pursuits. Where, for example, a firefighter has returned home after the shift, with the understanding that he or she is expected to return to work in the event of an emergency in the night, such time spent at home is normally not compensable. On the other hand, where the conditions placed on the employee's activities are so restrictive that the employee cannot use the time effectively for personal pursuits, such time spent on call is compensable.

Contra Paul, the Judges did not deny employees their statutory rights. It was the Department of Labor. What of 'democratic coordination of markets'? The Judges noted that the two EMTs who brought the case had asked to be put on call. The Employer had not commanded it. Rather, the employees initiated this coordination. 

Paul may believe that she is developing a Marxist legal historiography, or jurisprudence, which is what Christopher Tomlins wants, but is she doing it responsibly? Is telling stupid lies a methodology which responsible legal scholars should adopt?
But meanwhile, the basically anti-contractarian nature of the duty of loyalty and the duty of obedience are still present and indeed have invaded other areas of commercial law.
A non-contractarian duty is one which arises in the absence of consideration. If duty and loyalty are judged essentially 'anti-contractarian', it is not the case that nobody will be loyal or dutiful but rather that they will not be able to do it for a consideration and upon such terms as a Judge might find unreasonable or unconscionable or which could be regulated by Legislation and supervised by an Organ of the State. The result would indeed be the disappearance of Capitalism. But its replacement would be feudalism. You swear fealty to your liege and work for him for no fixed reward. Of his generosity he may reward you but is not obliged to do so.  No doubt, your liege lord may call himself a Commissar and refer to you as 'Comrade' but your life would be as much at his mercy as if you were a serf and he your legal owner.

Still, under such a regime, at least Corporations would disappear. But what would replace the type of legal personality which such entities have such that they survive the death of one or all of its original owners? Hereditary right is one possibility. Your liege lord is generous. He lets you have some food and permits you to marry. Then he dies. His heir is cruel. He rapes your wife and whips you into the fields till you drop dead of exhaustion. Another possibility is that your employer is the Communist Party which establishes 'the dictatorship of the proletariat' by exercising control over the entire productive resources of the country. It may be that the Beloved Leader is kindly and of a pacific disposition. Then he dies or is purged. The new Leader gulags your sorry ass. Suddenly, Marxist jurisprudence doesn't look so appealing anymore.

Of course, the above strictures only apply where there is inequality to begin with. But to maintain Equality one must not let in people with lower productivity or coercive power. One must also try to keep people with higher productivity and coercive power out. However, this may involve being defeated in battle and enslaved. Thus Equality can only be maintained if one's people are the most productive and powerful in the world and rigorously deter immigrants. But, without contract law, one's economy will fall behind. Thus Equality will inevitably be extinguished by military defeat and conquest.

Paul is of Indian origin. Her parents or grandparents must have known that they would be relatively poorer and less powerful, at least initially, in America compared to their social standing in India. Yet they emigrated and rose up by their own hard work. I imagine they must initially have been employees though, it may be, they set up their own businesses and became employers. Had they emigrated to the Soviet Union or Communist China, they'd have received short shrift.

Actually, that isn't quite true. There was an Indian origin chemist who worked for Dow chemicals. He was sent to the Soviet Union to work on a joint-venture there. The Soviets appreciated his talents and kept him on. He was well paid and married a charming Soviet lady and raised a family. Since his work was vital to the Five year Plan, the Security services pandered to his every need. Meanwhile, a genuine Indian Marxist, 'Chatto'- Sarojini Naidu's brother- either starved to death or was purged by Stalin. Incidentally, Stalin honored his contracts with Dow Chemicals and Ford and GE and so forth. It was only actual Marxists who emigrated to the Worker's Paradise who ended up with a bullet to the head.

Rules may seem tyrannical to those obliged to follow them so as to earn a little money to keep body and soul together. However, the absence of rules is even more fatal to those with lower endowments with regard to productivity or coercive or other similar power.

The law of contract envisages a mutual setting of rules. It is not necessary that contracts be justiciable or enforceable for them to exist. They may arise in accordance with the folk theorem of repeated games.

Where one party has greater power than the other, a justiciable contract can be examined for fairness, reasonableness, and subjected to tests arising from public policy. If employees are, in general, weaker than employers, and if the Justice system is efficient, and Public Policy is sound, then applying the Law of Contract to Employees is a salutary measure because it allows a decentralized, purely voluntary, coordination process to be very economically regulated by Legislation and Organs of the State. In Economic theory, we would speak of superior public signals making possible better correlated equilibria.

Paul considers Economic theory of the sort taught at Harvard or MIT or the LSE to be mischievous. She refers to it as 'pre-analytic vision' and says
Contracts is more than an area of law; it is a key piece of the vision we lawyers bring to many other areas of law. The 1L Contracts course supplies a foundation-stone of the “pre-analytic vision” with which lawyers will eventually think about many other things, including labor relationships.
Paul is wrong. Only by studying Economic theory- which is mathematical and has a game-theoretic representation- can one acquire the 'pre-analytic vision' she complains of. Taking a Contracts course won't cut it. Nor will taking advanced courses in Labor law. You actually have to know pretty high level mathematical economics to be able to speak of what a Marxist Labor jurisprudence might look like- this would involve building on Kantorovich or Morishima's work- or what a Libertarian jurisprudence would specify or else what a Social Democratic jurisprudence might involve.
Labor regulation as such is addressed only in the optional upper-level curriculum, and it is relatively marginalized even there. As a result, many lawyers, notably in the commercial and business sphere, will bring to their dealings with labor issues the contracts “vision.”
So much the worse for those who rely upon them! Lion Foods must have spent a pretty penny on its lawyers. It ended up receiving the princely sum of 2 dollars in return for all that effort!

That vision ultimately tends to erase the law’s deep involvement in constituting labor relationships.
The law only 'constitutes labor relationships' when it is directly responsible for employing people.  Otherwise it has an enforcement or regulatory role.
It thus tends to furnish apparent justification for the exercise of power by the already-powerful, in pursuit of private ends rather than the public interest, on the stage created and sustained by law.
Anyone can go to law on the basis of 'apparent justification'. Paul needs to show at least one case where American Judges have helped the already powerful and hurt the little guy being trampled down. This she has signally failed to do. She is a poor advocate for 'Marxist legal historiography' because every case she has mentioned turned out not to support her argument in the slightest. This raises the question, is she genuinely stupid or is she being paid to act stupid so as to discredit her supposed cause?

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Sanjay Subhramaniyam's Political Scatology

Sanjay Subhramainiyam, in a paper titled 'Politics of Eschatology' argues that-
the particularity of the ‘eschatological moment’ that emerges from the latter half of the fifeenth century is that it is conjunctural and very widely connected, embracing a number of different and quite dispersed polities and societies.
Since all historical events are 'conjunctural'- i.e. arise out of 'a combination, as of events or circumstances'- no 'particularity' can arise for anything whatsoever. Furthermore there was not one single post Fifteenth Century 'eschatological moment' which was more 'widely connected' than what went before. Thus stuff which happened at the time of the Prophet Muhammad and his Companions had far wider connections than stuff that happened a thousand years later at the time of Sayyid Muhammad Jaunpuri whom few Indians have heard of, let alone Persians or Turks or Arabs. 

Sanju believes otherwise. Yet, when he turns on the TV, he will hear about various warring Islamic sects whose origin is in the seventh century but nothing about the sect founded by some Indian dude in the fifteenth century.

He writes
In this respect, (the sixteenth century) differs both from far earlier episodic eschatological events that have been carefully enumerated and described by other historians, and from the phenomena that Adas and others have studied for the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Further, I will argue that in respect of this earlier moment, it is not in the least necessary to present eschatology as antinomian in character, or representing some form of ‘popular resistance’ to the dominant, and progressist, rationality of a modernizing state.
There were no such states at that period.  The fact is, the stuff Sanju thinks important, wasn't important at all.  It was some random shit, is all. The fact that the same sort of random shit happens wherever you look for it only means you like looking for random shit. It doesn't mean that random shit aint random and not shit.
On the contrary, the very social location of the most powerful eschatological currents was itself a source of deep struggle and continued controversy.Indeed, looking to the latter half of the fifeenth century, the historian has an embarrassment of points of departure, especially from the perspective of politics. One of these is 1494–95 CE, the beginning of the tenth century of the lunar Hegiran calendar observed by most Muslims. Amongst a host of important figures who were seized by the importance of this moment was the northern Indian personage of  Sayyid Muhammad Jaunpuri (1443–1505), 
Why is Sanju pretending that the sect founded by this guy had any historical significance, or that it had 'widespread' ramifications? The one famous Mahdi- in Nineteenth Century Sudan- was from a different Sufi order. The answer is Sanju is ignorant of Islam. He simply has a bee in his bonnet of a secular sort and, because he is writing for non-Muslims- indeed for ignorant Occidentals- he feels he can get away with writing any nonsense he likes.

Since Sanju is a South Indian Hindu, if he really believed there was an eschatological moment 'from the banks of the Tagus to the Ganges', he'd have to give a Hindu example. A non-Hindu could pretend that Guru Nanak or Sadasiva Nayaka or some other such figure was actually doing 'eschatological politics'. But if a Hindu did that he would be laughed at. His granny would tell him to stop being so silly.

I suppose it could be argued that Sanju is a closet Hindutvadi and that he is writing this shite to revenge himself on stupid White peeps wot rite shite about us. If this is the case, however, he is severely remiss in not mentioning Saussure at least once in every couple of paragraphs. As Rajiv Malhotra has shown, Hindutva intellectuals must observe this practice, because Saussure sound like soo-soo which is like totally hilarious.

It would appear therefore that political eschatology took a powerful and significant form in the Islamic world in the sixteenth century, transcending the divide between Sunnis (like the Mughals) and Shi’as (like the Safavids), and also drawing on support across both elite and popular sections of society.
This is silly. Muslims wanted to be good Muslims because they genuinely adored the Prophet and his Message of Salvation. In the same way that some Protestant Monarchs were attracted to Catholicism- some, like James II even converting- and vice versa- so too in the Islamic world, some Sunnis were (and are) 'tafzili' simply because they are attracted to the Divine Personality and teachings of Hazrat Ali. Most Shias fully reject 'ghullat' antinomianism and discourage abuse of leading Sahiban. No doubt, there was a 'political' aspect to Sectarian strife. Some hoped to gain materially but there were also sincere people who wished to live according to their Faith. It may be that they were taken advantage of by charlatans- but this does not alter the fact that Religion offers something which nothing else can replace for a lot of ordinary people.

Wars are costly. Revolutions involve risks and rewards. Only if the economic conditions are suitable will 'ideology' be able to pay for itself by attaching itself, parasite fashion, to one or the other. As for people who spend their time gassing on about 'ideology'- they can only earn a living as pedagogues.

Of course, it is perfectly possible that a monarch, or a dictator, goes quietly crazy and fucks up big time. But the same result is achieved by incompetence, complacency or stupidity. This is mere noise which cancels itself out or which crashes a system which would have crashed anyway.

It seems Sanju has a peculiar definition of eschatology such that most of us unthinkingly subscribe to it in moments of frustration or grief.

That Philip took his eschatology rather seriously can be gauged from numerous examples in his private correspondence. In late 1574, on receiving news of serious military reverses, he wrote to his secretary: ‘If this is not the end of the world, I think we must be very close to it; and, please God, let it be the end of the whole world, and not just the end of Christendom.’
The problem here is that quite ordinary people say doomsday is at hand when they lose money or suddenly can't get an erection or their piles play up.  This does not mean the participate in any 'millenarian conjucture' willy-nilly or, in the case of the fair sex, wholly without a willy.

Philip thus participated  fully, if willy-nilly, in the ‘millenarian conjuncture’ of thesixteenth century which I have suggested elsewhere ran at the very least from the banks of the Tagus to those of the Ganges.
Phillip also participated fully in the non-millenarian conjecture which ran from the banks of the Thames to the banks of Wall Street. This is because he didn't really believe the end of days was at hand. Instead, when not writing shite to his secretary, he acted as though the world would last for many more generations. That's why he didn't halt work on the El Escorial- or suggest that cheaper materials be used because the thing would not remain standing very long.
In turn, this construction has proven a hard pill to swallow for nationalist Iberian historians of even the late twentieth century, whor emain determined to prove that the empires that the Portuguese and Spaniards created were not a form of  démesure, or outrageous excess, as Serge Gruzinski has recently posited,
Those Empires made money. Outrageous excess wastes money. Thus Gruzinski dude is a moron.
but rather ‘strictly organized, without eschatological agitation, and in the context of the recruitment of soldiers and missionaries controlled by military and ecclesiastical authorities’.
This is the correct view. That's why large swathes of the Globe still speaks Spanish or Portuguese. Had the Spanish conquistadors run around like headless chickens screeching 'The End is open us!' and shitting themselves copiously, they may have increased their eligibility for Chairs in History at UCLA but they would have had no impact on History.

For such authors, eschatology inevitably leads to ‘panic movements’, and thus to ‘irrationality’, itself incompatible for them with the very notion of the political ideology of a state.
Talk of eschatology- outside a Religious context- leads to silliness. These guys are right. States have to mobilize resources in a more or less incentive compatible manner. Neither 'Ideology' nor 'Eschatology' nor 'Socioproctology'  help it to do so. In the short term, a nutter may rise to the top and screw up royally, but in the medium to long term his lunatic antics cause only a small and temporary hysteresis effect.
There is more than a fair part of anachronism,and even ‘state-worship’ here.
As opposed to the stupidity and 'eschatology worship' in Sanju's screed.
But as a careful examination of the history of sixteenth-century Iberia shows abundantly, the behaviour of rulers and states was such that Dom Sebastião’s foolhardy (and ultimately suicidal) plan to invade the Maghreb in the1570s seems only somewhat odd, rather than a great deviation from some overall pattern of Machiavellian calculation.
There was a 'discovery' process. Few knew Dom Sebastiao's project was doomed. It was quite possible that the deposed Sultan retained the loyalty of the majority of his people and that his usurping Uncle had only been propped up by the Ottomans as a bargaining chip.  The Battle of Alcader was by no means a walkover. The Portuguese were unlucky and their young Prince, it is true, had more valour than cunning. But, he was not motivated by 'eschatology'. An Ottoman client state in Morocco was a clear and present danger to Portugal. The invitation to invade, given by the deposed Prince, was a never to be repeated opportunity. The thing was a gamble and it failed, but it did not represent millenarian lunacy.

Sanju mentions the case of David Reuveni, a Jew whose Messianic claims have nothing to do with 'Eschatological Politics' being simply the scream of pain of a persecuted Religion, though, no doubt, some charlatanry may have been involved. What cannot be gainsaid is that Jewish Messianism has had great spiritual fruits and that the persecution the Jews suffered is now repented by the heirs and descendants of their tormentors.

Sanju thinks
The example of Reuveni once more shows the close ties between different eschatological movements in the Mediterranean in the sixteenth century, and how they could in effect seed off one another.
This is nonsense. The Jewish religion features a Messiah who will reverse the diaspora and rebuild Solomon's Temple. Christianity has no such figure. There is no cross-pollination or 'seeding' here at all. Islam has a notion of a Mahdi but it also has a notion of a Caliph. Neither Christianity nor Judaism have anything similar. What the history of sixteenth, or any other century, shows is that Religions have strong defenses against incorporating foreign 'genetic' material.
This notion, of a sort of ‘Mediterranean apocalypse’ of the sixteenth century, was first developed by the Ottomanist Cornell Fleischer, and it helps distinguish this extended moment to an extent from what came both before and after.
Fleischer is about as reliable a guide to the Turkish Civilization as Wendy Doniger is to Hindu Civilization. This 'Meditteranean apocalypse' is  as much a thing as--- the 'Da Vinci Code'.  The fact is, for purely geopolitical reasons, there was bound to be rivalry between the Holy Roman Empire and one based in Byzantium for the title of Universal Emperor. This meant military and political competition of a wholly pragmatic sort. No doubt, some charlatans and mystagogues might gain some marginal currency in courtly circles but that has always been the case. The reason nobody previously noticed any of the shite Fleischer fastens on, is because the fashion for 'inter-disciplinarity' between shite Departments is relatively recent but has already proved wholly worthless.

The fact is, the people who understood the history of a period best were the guys who gained wealth and power during that period, or- at the least- their advisers or executives.

Nobody in the sixteenth century was saying 'eschatology matters'. They were saying money matters, ships matter, soldiers matter. There may be brief episodes of stupidity or lunacy but that is noise, not signal.

Sanju says-
Theorists of politics in relation to cultural phenomena remain rather divided as to the correct portrayal of the long- term trajectory  of political eschatology.
What he doesn't say is that theorists of politics are cretins. Political eschatology has no long term trajectory. It is fundamentally foolish and quickly disappears.

An extreme view which must be addressed briefly is that of historians who – while usually standing on the sidelines of the discussion
because they don't fancy hurling their feces at each other
– insist that the existing historiography on the subject can simply be dismissed because
it is shite which makes
 ‘indiscriminate and baseless use of the concepts that have circulated – ideology, idea, project, messianism, millenarianism, empire/imperialism – without defining their nature and historical contours’.

 It would thus seem illegitimate to these writers, as a matter of principle, to treat the movements of  Sayyid Muhammad Jaunpuri,
which had zero effect
Shah Isma‘il,
which had a big effect coz he was the hereditary head of a large, militarily very accomplished, essentially tribal confederation. It would have succeeded even if had little Religious content. What was important about it, is that it represented a 'have not' Turkoman rebellion which could appeal to Iranian people and consolidate their separate identity on a Religious basis which had been foreshadowed very much earlier.

There is no similarity between Jaunpuri and the Shah. Nor is there any resemblance between Shabbatai Zevi and Sebastianism. The former is either the Jewish Messiah or a charlatan. The latter is a romantic, Nationalist, movement.
Shabbatai Zvi and Sebastianism together even if concrete connections (and not merely family resemblances) between them can be established.
Concrete connections? Then Osama bin Laden is 'concretely connected' to Barrack Obama. There is more than a 'family resemblance' between them. They are different sides of the same 'eschatological coin'. It is no coincidence that Obama lost the leadership of the Free World within 5 years of his killing Osama. If you count the number of Nicaraguan Public Holidays between Osama's death and Obama's ejection from the White House you will find the number of the beast if you are a shithead whose head is really full of shit and you think Sanju's Political Scatology represents utile scholarship.