Jan Sanskriti Manch organized a symposium on ‘Marx and Our Times’ on 21 July 2018 at the Kaifi Azmi Auditorium in Lucknow. Addressing the symposium the main speaker, CPI(ML) General Secretary Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya said that the bicentenary of Marx offers an opportunity to know and understand his ideology. Some say that Marx is old but that is only a half-truth. The truth is that his time has not even begun yet. If we read the Communist Manifesto it seems as if it was written for our times. What is described in it is an apt description of our world today.

He said that Marx’s vision is the vision of the future, for a society that is still to come. We have yet to reach that society. How can it then be ‘old’? Moreover, those who talk of Marx as old, speak about imaginary things like plastic surgery on Ganesha and Sita being a test tube baby. Some also say that Marx is a foreigner. This is again a half-truth. The truth is that he was a foreigner for all the countries where revolutions took place.

Com. Dipankar said that it is a false concept to say that Marx did not know or understand India. In the context of the capital put into the railways by the British, Marx had said that the people of India can benefit by this only if they either throw off the shackles of slavery or if there is a revolution in England. He said this in 1853; in a way it was Marx who first conceptualized ‘swaraj’ in the context of India and called the 1857 struggle the first struggle for independence. It was Marx who brought out the truth that capitalistic development would lead to human destruction. He developed philosophy as a ruthless and incessant criticism. This does not stop with the building of a socialist state. The fall of the Soviet Union and the changing of China can also be understood through his philosophy.

Comrade Dipankar pointed out that Marx said that the ruling classes in society rule not only because of their control over resources and physical production but also because of their control over the state, its laws and its machinery of oppression, and their control over mental production and the world of thought production and thought control. If we look at India today, what is the ruling class ideology? Brahminism and Manuvaad are after all nothing but the ideology of the rulers. He added that there is a nexus between crony capitalism, communal polarization and Manuvaad. Lynching has become a regular phenomenon. The persons who do the lynching know that they have the protection of the powers who govern. What else is this but a fascist state? There is no ideology better than Marx’s ideology to fight against such a government or dictatorship. Our main responsibility today is to fight against and defeat fascism. Without it we cannot progress on the road to building a people’s India. The government may have won the trust vote inside Parliament but the people on the streets are continuously expressing their lack of trust in this government.

Comrade Dipankar’s address was followed by a question-and-answer session. The symposium had earlier begun with an address by ‘Samkaleen Janmat’ Chief Editor Ramji Rai who said that without Marx it is not possible to understand and change our times and visualize a new society. The symposium was presided over by social scientist Prof Hiranmay Dhar and conducted by Jan Sanskriti Manch State unit Working President Kaushal Kishore.