The Left in West Bengal and NSW

At elections finalized this weekend the ruling Left Front was soundly defeated in elections for the Indian state of West Bengal. I previously discussed Indian Communism here. The Left Front had governed the state since 1977. If NSW Labor won one election too many the Left Front probably won more than one. This interview with […]

End of a Communist era: Jyoti Basu

The death on Sunday of Jyoti Basu, Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM) leader and Chief Minister of West Bengal 1977-2000 marks the end of an era in the history of the left within the old British Empire and its former colonies. Basu as a student in London in the 1930s was inspired by the […]

Indian Left at a loss

Earlier this year I had a chapter in The Politics and Culture of Globalisation; India and Australia.  The chapter addressed Indian Communism. Since then the Indian Left has suffered a severe setback in the national elections. The alliance of the two Communist parties (the CPI(Marxist) and the CPI), the All India Forward Bloc and the […]

Marxism and governance

‘Late Marxism and Parliamentary Government: Indian Communism Today’ (apologies to Frederic Jameson for the title) has now been published in The Politics and Culture of Globalisation: India and Australia (shortly to be available from Berghan). It considers whether Marxism can offer any guidance for contemporary governments. Is there an alternative both to populist ‘anti-capitalism’ and […]

Coalition politics in India and Australia

The alliance between the Liberal and National parties is often seen as unique in its durability and closeness. At the upcoming Australasian Political Studies Association conference Brian Costar has a paper whose abstract argues that: The Australia variant may not closely resemble the coalitions of Europe and elsewhere, but it is, nevertheless, a coalition and […]

Parliamentary Stalinism and the Third Way

Have finally finished my paper on Indian Communism. Martha Nussbuam has an interesting article in Dissent on the controversies around the West Bengal government’s industrialisation program. Her judgement is harsh but accurate: we must distinguish between the government’s industrial strategy, which I, like Amartya Sen, believe to be generally correct and the means the government […]

Communists and parliamentary government

The apparent victory of the Maoists in the Nepali parliamentary election poses the questions of whether Marxism-Leninism offers any practical guide for parliamentary government. I address this issues in my chapter on Indian Communism and late Marxism (the title inspired by Jameson’s work) in a forthcoming book. West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee the Indian […]

Indira Gandhi and Zimbabwe

Reading Sen’s Development as Freedom. it contains his well known defense of democracy, that there has never been a famine under a functioning democracy however imperfect the performance of democratic governments may be in other aspects. Media coverage of the Zimbabwe election has tended to suggest (and here) that Mugabe is in trouble. But ZANU-PF […]

Robert Fogel & Charles Pearson

The great Australian book of the 19th century was Charles Pearson’s 1893 National Life and Character. Summarised by Pearson’s biographer as: Drawing on observations made in his travels, wide reading and knowledge of the Australasian colonies, he made two main predictions: first, that the so-called ‘higher races of men, or those which are held to […]

Indian Communism and the polls

Curious to see the Indian Communist parties make an appearance in the Australian press with a report that public opinion has turned against their rejection of the US-India nuclear deal. The somewhat hostile report suggests that many voters see the nuclear deal as vital to India’s economic development. Some light is shed by the Pew […]