Today in India the fascist BJP Government at the Centre announced that henceforth all District magistrates in all States of India have the power and are encouraged to track and investigate putative foreigners.
Despite the fightback by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee against the Muslim-hating Hindu Nazis who today are in power at the Centre and in most States, it appears that especially in West Bengal due to historical geographic reasons the BJP has taken an unnecessary opportunity to unleash sadistic fascism on millions of people, especially Muslims. Assam was the experimental theatre for their Supreme Court sanctioned assault on human rights. Now they are expanding their genocidal State sanctioned discrimination system to all of the States of the Republic of India.
Bangladeshis are being submerged by the sea due to man-made climate change but no country except for Argentina is willing to give a person a new start away from inundation. India, the unseverable common soil of Bangla Desh, has under the fascist BJP become Fortress India.
The new Home Minister Amit Shah calls Muslims termites. Mamata Banerjee would like to continue to welcome all, but empowered by the amended Foreigners Tribunals Order any fascist District magistrate in West Bengal let alone in any other State of India can start proceedings against anyone on the say so of another fascist who has decided to report a neighbour to the police.
Around at least 200 to 500 million people in India are internal refugees due to social, economic and environmental catastrophes of various overlapping man-made and natural kinds. 600 million people are suffering from officially declared drought and are landless and underemployed. But the only country a person can emigrate to without suffering State repression when they get there is Argentina, thousands of kilometres away.
In March 2018 a panel of judges from the Federal Administrative Contentious Chamber in Argentina declared an anti-migration decree which the executive attempted to pass the year before, as unconstitutional. Argentina’s Migration Law 2006 thus stands. It is an elaboration on the provision in the constitution of the Argentine nation that it formed a “national union, [to] guarantee justice, secure domestic peace, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves, to our posterity, and to all men of the world who wish to dwell on argentine soil: invoking the protection of God, source of all reason and justice.” Under the law, Argentina recognises that “the right of migration is essential and inalienable of the person and the Argentina Republic guarantees what is based on the principles of equality and universality.” The only trouble in Argentina is that the State is not willing to enforce equal treatment for all people on Argentine soil on its private sector actors. Private banks refuse to open bank accounts to people without an identification card. But the State itself is committed to equal treatment in its own dealings. Any man wishing to dwell on Argentine soil may do so without any restriction.
Contrast this with India’s Foreigner Act 1946. Under section 3 of this act the fascist BJP Government at the central and now State levels is facilitating public and private banks, private schools, universities and hospitals, as well as the State welfare institutions themselves to deprive people of services if they are not registered as either foreigners or Indians. The disaster that awaits anyone without an Unique Identification Number in India when they try and access Government services is well known by now. Added to this calamity we now have a situation in which a person without an Identity card of some kind may at any time be forced to appear in front of a foreigner tribunal in their District. If they are determined to be a foreigner, and want to stay for more than 180 days, they must register with the Foreigner Regional Registration Officer. If they move they must report to the police. If they misbehave they can be deported.
But to where? In the case of people from the subcontinent who are found to be sub-human according to the fascists, it is not at all clear where we are supposed to be, let alone where we are supposed to go. Narendra Modi assures Sheikh Hasina that no foreigner will be repatriated. Then what? Will we live forever in the concentration camp like conditions as in Assam today, determined to be subhuman, fit only for incarceration?
Whether born on Indian soil, living and working here for decades, or arrived from one part of India or the rest of South Asia yesterday, the majority of people are living as they have always lived outside the clutches of the State. As a result they do not get housing. In India you have to have a domicile status in a city to get a house, and most don’t have it. But most people have no expectations; freedom is a human need beyond what any State can offer. Sadly however as the commons in this world, the land, water, animals or vegetation, are encircled and enclosed and confined, and the biosphere is owned by the State and a minute number of private entities, the dependence of humans on the State perforce increases.
When fascists ask with a smirk why then did 40% of voters of West Bengal vote for the BJP if the people are against State oppression by fascists, they answer their own question by pointing to the benefits a State delivers. And it is true that the fascist BJP won a majority in Parliament on May 23rd 2019 thanks to a coalition of voters from Upper Caste Brahmins and members of many hundreds of excluded backward castes. This combo defeated the modernising great backward caste parties of the past including the Congress, the RJD, the BSP, the SP, the CPI(M) and CPI and others. The State appears to these voters perhaps be a saviour of sorts. But why does the BJP choose to be a fascist State? It impossible to know. But the result of their evil ideology is that the country ends up with a fascist Government that has no inclination to work imaginatively with other developing countries to forge alliances and policies across the world to create a global commons fit for all human beings and other living and non-living beings. Instead they copy everything that is worst about Republics of the West; out of sheer laziness and for all I know a deep need to impress the Western ideologues; who after all train most of Indian upper caste leaders in their selfish and inhumane ways.
The example of Switzerland shows how depraved politically a citizenry can become when the State becomes all powerful. Not only do foreigners have to register, as they do in India, but Swiss nationals too have to register with the local police as soon as they change their address, if not they are fined and deprived of State services and facilities. Foreigners are usually summarily deported often to countries where they also don’t have papers; in other words, citizenship is a mechanism to keep a person quiet about world, national, local and personal injustice. The State offers protection and some services in return for a citizen’s xenophobia.
These same Western States have driven the world into the Sixth Mass extinction; but instead of opening up and intermixing and creating new spaces through symbiosis and unilateral love, – the working principle of the biosphere, – their aim is to cow their populations into submission until no one wants to be free. Until no one complains. Until no one asks whether by not complaining beyond this or that perfunctory street march, billions are not being killed in various forms of intentional and unintended genocides.
This is the European model of standard-of-living-fascism. India should not have ended up following this model. But with five years of legal preparations this fascist Government has been elected for a second term, to implement this genocide of Muslims especially in Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and the North East where most migration across national borders in India occurs.
In 2016 I argued here https://countercurrents.org/2016/09/24-countries-must-share-their-surplus-farmland-with-2-billion-others that 24 countries have enough farmland to accommodate an extra 2 billion people from countries where there is not enough farmland or where temperatures have made human life impossible. By expelling or incarcerating suffering persons who do not have personal papers, the fascist Government of India is certainly not signalling to the rest of the world that it is in search of global solutions like these to global problems; rather it is contributing to chaos, oppression, misery and hopelessness. It is joining the Fascist Internationale, which is tightening its miserable encirclements, creating Fortress Europe, India Inc., United States of American Whites, England for Englanders and Turkey for Turks and Australia for Australians. There is only Argentina, with some qualifications, that embraces the good of all, open borders without restrictions, and total and absolute equal treatment of foreigners and nationals in its constitution.
Actually what we all really need and want are more State actors like Argentina, with a willingness to accommodate all human and non human beings and embrace life in all its forms. Where is there such a State actor anywhere today except in West Bengal under Mamata Banerjee?But as a sub-national State she is severely restricted in her freedom of action.
The lack of places to flee to, and to start anew in in this world, for those who have nothing where they were born, is the inhumane reality crated by more and more fascist States in this world. It is beyond all reason and beyond comprehension. The international system is murderous, and becoming more so as developing countries one by one also loose faith in humanity.
Only a just war of humanity against unjust States can stop a situation where the majority of human beings must run from pillar to post for official legitimacy just to be allowed to put their bodies somewhere, as the climate, economic and social crises unfold.
We must fight together with Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal against the BJP fascists in India. Secondly we must fight with Muslims everywhere for a right to be wherever they are; and thirdly we must fight for and with all of humanity for our individual rights to live and love in this world beyond State boundaries and beyond what States seem to brainwash us into believing is a mandatory paper requirement without which we cannot emerge from what they consider our sub-humanness.
Humans are born human. Only what is helpful to all is helpful at all. But Fascists just don’t get it.
Anandi Sharan is a social activist