Why civil disobedience is the best way to destroy a corrupted political regime (The Indian case)

Posted on | juni 14, 2011 | No Comments

India used to call her selves as the “world’s largest democracy”. Theoretically, this is true. The election game empowering the people to elect their leaders through the representative system and, by this way, seems makes them the real holders of political power. But in the practical level, this pretending democracy revels themselves as a political regime where money is actually the main base of power. In political sciences, we call this kind of political regime: a plutocracy.

In such state, all reforms and progressives changes are paralyze by corruption. It is for this reason that corrupt practices are often linked with conservatism society, in which those possessing wealth become the only holders of the political power and are the only ones able to influence the political games. On the other hand, peoples who occupy official positions made confusion between private and public interests. It fallows from this that all this system is based on a cliental relation’s game, where officials works for themselves instead of serving interests of Indian people – as they are supposed to do.

For this reason, it is difficult to ask to peoples who take advantage of the system to reform it. Furthermore, many leaders will argues that India is a youth democracy and that it takes times to changes such practice because “the establishment of a true democracy requires a long apprenticeship”. But during the time that those leaders “learns by doing” and continue to invoke the time constraint, they benefit of this long “transition time” to full fit their pockets before retirement.

Actually, the main problem when corruption becomes the base of a political system: is that it works too well.
But simple solutions exist, even if many people often argue that it is a “complex problem”. In Hong-Kong for example, they have created an independent commission against corruption (ICAC) who was able to eradicate a wide part of such practice. This experiment – and others – clearly emphasizes that the end of a corrupt system first of all depends of the strength of the political will.

In India, many associations and organisations try to put a term on corrupt practices. But what can they do in front of a system so effective? As long as they’ll have enough money to feed this clientelism[i] network, it will be impossible to destroy it in order to establish a true democracy. Because clientalism relations are based on a “give to give” relation where money is exchange to obtain power and vice versa.

It is also interesting to note that the incomes of public money that which allows the system to persist mainly come from tax paid by citizens. Lots of political leaders are actually using public money to maintain their position in the system or increase their power, and many officials – in the police or administration – take directly money on the people’s wallet. So, in the both situation, it is always the citizen who pay the bill.
In a way, we can say that it is the honest Indian tax’s payer who feed this corrupted system witch paradoxically destitute him/her from his/her right to govern the country through the representative democratic system.

For this reason, it seems that the best way to avoid corruption in official offices is to refuse to pay tax anymore until government takes effective measure to ban such practices. What better way to destroy a system based on money that shut off the money tap to grind the wheels well-oiled of the system? Without incomes money, it’s all the machinery that will breaking out. It is for this reason that a civil disobedience movement lead by citizens who refuses to pay taxes anymore seems to be the faster way to destroy a plutocracy trough a democratic action.

But a civil disobedience movement is not a means of political pressure as another. Using that kind of method supposed to understand that it is an ultimate resource for the case where all the others attempts have failed. It requires also an education of the masses in order to avoid inappropriate behavior and remain a nonviolent practice. Gandhi-ji has well understood that when is launched his hartal in 1919. For him, it was important to start from an inner individual change before looking for external public result. It is for that reason that he asked for a national hunger strike days during the hartal.

Civil disobedience movement has also the advantage to involve directly the people on a political issue. Even on a representative system, it is indeed important to involve au maximum those who are supposed to have the power. There is an old saying that goes “if you do not go to politics, politics will come to you”. That means that peoples have the chose to act or just react, and if they don’t want to make their own choice other peoples will choices for them.

But people should also know that refuse to pay tax is dangerous and that the citizens who accept to be part of this struggle risk to face sever repression, especially for the lower caste. For all that, it is important that peoples who choice to be part of this process accept to keep respect the others laws and refuse to use violence. This is maybe the most important thinks because the aim of such movement is to establish a true democracy, which must necessarily be based on respect for the rule of law. It is therefore important to understand the scope of this choice and accept its consequences – as example prison sentences.

A true democracy should also be based on a secular state who allows freedom of worship and multi-confessionality. That means that religions, as a personal believe, should remain in the private sphere of people’s lives and there should be a strong separation between temporal and spiritual power. It is clear that it is not the case in India. For this reason, we don’t need religious political protest such the hunger strike launched by Baba Ramdev (who is a spiritual leaders and should not interact on political issues) or the launch of a satyagraha (nonviolent protest) by the Sangh Parivar, an Hindu ultra nationalist movement. This is the people of India, as citizen of this country and not as religious representing, which we need to improve the system.

Finally, it is important to finish this civil disobedience proposition by mentioning the fact that corruption is one of the biggest problems in India. Many others issues that face the country can’t be solving – or takes a lot of times to be solved – because of this hierarchical system of private interest. A Corrupted system supposed to be based on a rigid pyramidal organization of society in which each stage of power take its little part of the money cake by shifting the financial burden on the shoulders of citizens who are on the bottom of the social hierarchy. This is for this reason that everybody is concern by this issue and that the best way to establish a true democracy is a united public action who involving all the forces of the society. A collective and unitize action in the respect for all diversity.

[i] http://www.answers.com/topic/clientelism

AUTHOR: Guest: Ben Duboc via Dr Lenin Raghuvanshi
URL: http://www.pvchr.net/
E-MAIL: pvchr.india [at] gmail.com


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