Thursday, December 12, 2013

AAP, apolitical politics, and middle class desires

The recent victory of the Aam Admi Party in New Delhi has been received with much jubilation among the middle class in India.

The newspapers are inundated with celebratory stories of the everyman who has stepped into politics. Celebratory Facebook posts and twitter feeds speak about the arrival of the every man. The victory is celebrated as a historical victory, as a harbinger for the appearance of the aam admi, the everyday man on the political stage.

This narrative strikes me as appealing to the middle class in India precisely because of the apolitical politics of the Aam Admi party.

There is no specific ideology to root the politics in.

There are no macro stories for the party other than the story that the party represents a fight against corruption in the political structures in the country. That the political structures need to be fought is indeed a relevant and much-needed political conversation.

And yet, the aam admi's political participation stops at looking at corruption in the political class.

The fight against corruption does not interrogate the economic structures that constitute the fabric of corruption. The fight remains conveniently oblivious of the corruption in the economic rationality of neoliberal India.

The fight of the Aam Admi does not examine the logics of corruption within capitalism that form the basis of an unethical system.

In fact, many of the participants and supporters of the party are your everyday middle class corporate citizens drawing their salaries from large corporate houses.

To what extent do these middle class citizens closely examine the corrupt practices of the very corporate houses they get paid by?

To what extent do these middle class everyday people question the fundamental corruption of the economic logics that sustain them financially?

To what extent is the Aam Admi party an entry point to interrogating the corruption in the logics of liberalization that constitute mainstream India?

These are the sorts of questions I hope we will continue to ask as we examine the everyday claims of the Aam admi party in the backdrop of the Delhi elections.


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