Once the Brits came and imposed their capitalism in India the upper castes and the Brits took the common property resources and shared them out by privatising them. Everyone got to do what the hell they wanted and the poor lost everything. Now the end of capitalism is happening because the commons are getting wiped out. Now if anything is to be saved instead of capitalism we need communism. Communism is the ethos of the sharing the commons in order to preserve it.
The commons are the atmosphere, the air and its silences, the air and its scents, the soil and its trillions of organisms and plants, the animals in field and meadow and forest, the forests, the wetlands and the lakes and the oceans, and human society itself, in short, the biosphere as a whole, its glorious self generating, self sustaining and self remediating wholeness. When humans behave like any other lowly animal and plant member of their ecosystem, using a common resource for basic needs without destroying the system we depend on, we are what Karl Marx understood as communists. Communists do not privatise the commons but conserve the biosphere by loving all living beings and all other humans and all of nature as much as we love ourselves. We are willing to sacrifice ourselves for each other and for the commons. In death we live on in the memory of our loved ones and in the soils. Through our sacrifice we defend what is worth defending, the intactness of natural beauty.
In this context forget that the Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change in India has just proposed a new forest policy and is asking for comment. Or if you do comment, comment just one line: abolish the Union and the State Ministries of Forestry.
All of India is held in common, as is the world. All citizens should take their sense of self by the scruff of its neck and do our utmost to protect the last intact soils, the ecosystems, wetland, all living organisms, and the health of human beings, plants and animals. We should be, and by heritage and tradition are meant to be, living in common, conserving forests, wetlands, oceans, the soils, the atmosphere, and each other. This cannot be done if there is a State above the Gram Sabha or town ward telling us what to do. As the Adivasis of Jharkhand are saying: “We are the Bharat Sarkar (the Indian government). We do not recognise the Central or State governments or the President, Prime Minister or Governor. Our gram sabha is the real constitutional body. We will not allow anyone to enter our areas without our permission. We will not be exploited anymore,” they say in unison. The youth seem more agitated. “We are the real inhabitants of this country — jal, jungle, jameen (water, forest and land) is ours and no one can take them away from us,” they say. “And Pathalgadi (the stone plaques and signboards) are all about this.”
If there is no Forest Department, no Ministry of Forests, and no State, we will be able to defend our girls and boys from rapes better than we can protect them today. It is the State agents that are raping, they and their goons, raping and pillaging in the name of development of Hindu Rashtra. No multiparty democracy can remedy this situation. Only communism can.
Anandi Sharan was born in Switzerland, lives in Bangalore and last year worked in Araria District Bihar, India. She works on trying to find the best money system to help people adapt to climate change especially in India.