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Revolutionary Love Against Fascism – OpEd

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A fundamental feature of the contemporary Indian socio-political landscape is the presence of a masculine campaign to exercise control over women’s sexualities, lest they threaten patriarchy and caste endogamy by exercising choice in their relationships and marriages. This sexual politics has manifested itself in the cultivation of an aggressive Hindu male who enacts violent deeds to convert his libidinal energies into the cardinal virtues of fascistic attitudes and activities: duty, honor, and loyalty. In the Hindutva worldview, the discourse of love is set aside; what matter is women’s chastity and maternity. Himani Bannerji writes that acts of sexual violence “are projected as social/collective punishment for ‘erring’ women and overreaching religious minorities. Muslim, other minority and Dalit women are specially targeted because Hindu Brahmanical masculine virtue must undertake it as a duty to preserve social order. These punishing acts range from caste panchayat (council) fiats to honor killing to gang rapes, all under the rubric of preserving moral purity.”

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What explains the fascist opposition to love is the radical nature of this feeling. Love is a mode of recognition through which particular identities are constituted. These identities are only particular if and insofar as they are distinguished from one another. In other words, this act of distinguishing, this relation, constitutes them as particular. Their difference is derived from their relation or unity in which they are distinguished. They are not absolutely different, but distinct members of one unity, determined in the same way, as the not-other. In this stage of mutual recognition, identities lose their simply self-identity, the original I = I distinction without a difference, which had remained an abstract and formal tautology. Both particulars discover that they require an other to objectify themselves; the other is the condition of possibility of self-othering. 

As GWF Hegel says, “The other’s consciousness is the ground, the material, the space in which I realize myself.” Since the need to break out of immediate identity and achieve determinate existence drives self-consciousness beyond its subjective certainty in search of confirmation and legitimation in another’s recognition, an enlarged self-identity emerges, wherein being with other becomes an enhancement of freedom. Particular identities succeed in establishing their recognitive status only when they allow each other to freely develop their distinctive personalities, since only then can a genuine, uncoerced recognition be gained from a subject that is not simply an extension of the self. The other cannot be an inferior being or object, because the bond of love is predicated on the discovery of the self through relation with another. And that can happen only if the other is another independent, free self – only if I find myself in identity with the other.

Therefore, the universality of love is attained in a reciprocal, mediated union between two particular selves. In the words of Hegel: “freedom consists in the identity of myself with the other, I am truly free only when the other is free and I recognize that the other is free. This freedom of the one in and through the other unites human beings in an inner way. In contrast, need and necessity bring people together only in an external manner.” With the growth of an identity based upon the reciprocal releasement of differences (both persons remain separate in their identity, but also identical in that both are the loving and the beloved), the union of love is born in which the abstract formal independence of individual subjective freedom is enriched and re-appropriated in the substantive intersubjective freedom of relationship with another. 

As is evident, love – one that is unhindered by the avarice of private property – necessitates that the subject respect both the principles of equality and difference. Thus, it is an existential project that is oriented toward the art of coexistence. In the words of Alain Badiou: “Love isn’t simply about two people meeting and their inward-looking relationship: it is a construction, a life that is being made, no longer from the perspective of One but from the perspective of Two…love suggests a new experience of truth about what it is to be two and not one. That we can encounter and experience the world other than through a solitary consciousness: any love whatsoever gives us new evidence of this.” In this way, love is similar to politics. While the latter pertains to what people can do when they organize themselves in the form of a collective, the former is about the capacity of two people to creatively expand their individuality by accommodating a sovereign other. 

Since love, as Badiou says, teaches people “to construct a world from a decentred point of view other than that of my mere impulse to survive or re-affirm my own identity,” it weakens the exclusivist foundations of fascism. The recognitive pillars of equality and difference support freedom, spontaneous social friendship, and solidarity between classes, sexes, and nations. With free love, people realize that self-liberation lies not in enforced isolation from any cultural collectivity but in the renunciation of this self-aggrandizing ego in favor of the mutual recognition of the other’s independence and freedom. In India, we need to steadfastly struggle for this kind of revolutionary love so that the fascist Right’s agenda of dehumanization is effectively put to an end. 

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Yanis Iqbal

Yanis Iqbal is an independent researcher and freelance writer based in Aligarh, India and can be contacted at [email protected] His articles have been published by different magazines and websites such as Monthly Review Online, Tehran Times, Modern Diplomacy, ZNet, Canada Files, Anti-war, Midwestern Marx, Anticonquista, Anti-Capitalist Resistance, Challenge, Big News Network, CGTN, Quint, Federación Anarquista, Akademi, South Asia Journal, International Magz, Green Social Thought, New Age, Frontier Post, Green Left, Palestinian Media Center in Europe, Rebelion, Newsclick, Committee for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debt, Weekly Worker, Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières, News and Letters Weekly, Economic and Political Weekly, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, Counterfire, Journal of People, Peasants and Workers, The Greanville Post, Plateforme altermondialiste, Dandelion Salad, Scribe, Arena, Eurasia Review, Coventry University Press, Culture Matters, Press TV, Global Research, Independent Australia, Dissident Voice, Axis of Logic, Marxism-Leninism Today, Scoop, United National Antiwar Coalition, Gauri Lankesh News, Kashmir Times, Good Morning Kashmir, Countercurrents, Counterview, Syria 360, Revolutionary Strategic Studies, Socialist Project, Hampton Institute, Orinoco Tribune, Intrepid Report, Ecuador Today, People’s Review, Eleventh Column, Pressenza, Karvaan India, Clarion India, OpEd News, Janata Weekly, The Iraq File, Iraq Sun, Portside and the Institute of Latin American Studies.

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