Leftist Politics: A Crisis?
Evolution of Revolution…
Is it possible for Art to predict the Reality… that too, well in advance?
Jean-Luc Godard – the French-Swiss Film Director, Screenwriter and Film Critic – went forward to create ‘La Chinoise‘ in 1967 on the basis of a fictional revolutionary exercise by the Maoist students. Surprisingly, a group of students in France organised themselves against the patriarchal leadership of President Charles de Gaulle in 1968 and got into a massive confrontation with the Police! This revolt was joined by the wider mass and most specifically the factory workers that eventually brought the government to a point of collapse… In 2018, France marked the 50th anniversary of the Students’ Revolt, with a recognition to it as a “social revolution rather than a political revolution”!
Perhaps, Godard was able to guess about some of the forthcoming crises of French society! He also tried to explain those crises through post-modern philosophy, too. ‘La Chinoise‘ became indebted to the post-modernism in order to meet the demand of time and that too consciously. Godard does not believe in gimmick. Moreover, it is difficult for us to predict (with the help of Classical Sociology) which of the political or social problems would grow up to be termed as crises…
Samuel Barclay Beckett – the Irish novelist, playwright, short story writer, theatre director, poet and literary translator who had lived in Paris for most of his life – wrote ‘Waiting for Godot’ after the Second World War. In the play, the two main characters –Vladimir and Estragon – were waiting for the arrival of someone, named Godot, who never arrived. And while waiting, Vladimir and Estragon engaged in a variety of discussions and encountered three other characters. Just like Vladimir and Estragon, each and every member of the modern society is waiting for a Godot, the rescuer.
The modern society consists (mainly) of two types of people: Middle Class and Marginal. The Middle Class people can be termed as usually happy, self-satisfied people who are highly influenced by the media and with a marked indifference towards the political and social problems to some extent! The Marginal people can be considered as remains of the development process… They are helpless, detached from the society, and a cursed and forgotten section of society! The Marginal people try to find a rescuer… but, the rescuer cannot reach them. Instead of getting a rescuer, the Marginal people usually get to meet a grotesque image or a caricature of the Reality! Godard and Beckett had tried to portray contradictions of the society through their works. They actually tried to understand the limitations of traditional politics through post-modern philosophy…
Samuel Barclay Beckett
The Classical Leftists have always reckoned post-modernism with suspicion! However, the post-modern thinkers have discussed a number of issues, like the problem of representation, very seriously. It is a fact that the Leftists, who represent the Marginal people in the Parliament, do not belong to that community! As a result, the Leftist politics face various contradictions in the contemporary world. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, a Professor at the Columbia University and the founding member of the establishment’s Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, discussed this particular issue in an article, titled ‘The Subaltern Cannot Speak’. French post-modern philosopher Paul-Michel Foucault, too, analysed the same issue in his ‘Theory of Panopticism’. Both Spivak and Foucault admitted that movies, plays, music and visual media play an important role in a post-modern society. Even French Sociologist Jean-François Lyotard explained the crisis in his ‘End of grand narrative of emancipation’ Theory.
The Leftists may not agree, but theatre directors – like Heiner Müller or Takeshi Kawamura – helped the world march ahead without following the traditional path. The Art changes its form to understand the changing Reality, and not to show the talents of Artists.
Today, the adherents to the Leftist Politics are trying hard to emerge as a rescuer of the Society, and that too – Globally! However, the happy and self-satisfied Middle Class people refuse to accept the Leftists as their Messiah… The Leftists may be considered as persons being solely responsible for this situation! They have always opposed the post-modern ideas, as they apparently failed to realise that the political and social diseases would become incurable one day!
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