Whereas questions such as how a politics of this kind got attention in a place like Kerala, how a soil that helps nurture it got formed, how the people there allowed for an island like this to take root in the Malayalam soil etc are not to be understood by a cynical outlook about democracy. And nobody is going to offer its long-term irrelevance in a platter.
Democracy has never been in any period, a canoe that was tied to a buoy. Its very formation came through a few abstract vaguenesses. In the middle ages, monarchy ruled almost all over the world, as a concept that the human race had evolved over the centuries.
Monarchy with regional variations came into being almost everywhere except for the section of people who didn't abandon the tribal social organization. Not that there weren't any other experiments. However, the ultimate logic of social life being hung under one person and of the authority being passed down to dynastic successors, was a universal phenomenon to a great extent.
Although the Graeco-Roman system and other government forms did exist with a modicum of representative character in a different period of time, they were all just exceptions. Shakespeare's Brutus had claimed that Julius Caesar was assassinated for destroying democracy by wielding excess power. The power structure that lasted longest and was known in world history is the monarchy. In other words, world history today has begun to be read in a way that includes the history of kings. Popular history is a very recent concept.
However, it was capitalism that made the transition from this monarchy to another system inevitable. That kind of change was not easy. European feudalism itself was full of diversity. Its political geography was deeply institutionalised, either intertwined with religion or otherwise.
But capitalism as a new economic power was a reformer at the political level. During the second half of the 18th century, when capitalism was packaging modernity, a big question had arisen on what power can replace feudalism based on monarchy.
From the answers it first received in the United States and later in France and from the native revolutions, democracy got accepted as a multi-party representation system where the one in power is changed without following any particular order.
With much risks and more than that uncertainties, representative democracy came to be accepted as multi-party democracy where rulers change without dynastic succession. It went on further after facing subsequent denials, reconsiderations, surviving test and trials and going through challenges like fascism, dictatorship, theocracy and military rule. It is a system that has still not reached its perfection today.
Even though Soviet democracy became a totalitarian state, it was a different democratic concept. It was a concept in which government treated everyone as equal as long as private property did not become an instrument for surplus value and which envisioned that basic representative government was possible even within one-party government. But that suffered severe mishaps. Despite limitations, there are some basic ethics that multi-party representative democracy inherited. It is a historical fact that it gives more importance to the interests of capitalism.
Just like monarchy in feudalism guards the feudal system, representative democracy has to similarly guard global capitalism and its national forms.
Since the right to vote is universal in all respects, such governing structures are forced to at least pretend that they satisfy all sections of people. But that's not the crux of the matter. This democracy functions in different countries according to some rules and conventions.
From ordinary citizens to political parties and the capitalist powers who bring them to power, every component is bound to abide by those rules.
Among them, the most important one is that the relationship between the governing structure and capital is not a matter of individuals but a matter of class.
Liberal capitalism has two roles which are to help capital from profit drain and rescue it from the constant crisis it faces. Everything else including the welfare state is just a compromise for its survival. On the contrary, when this relationship becomes personal, what happens is crony capitalism.Today, there is a strong concern that in India it is growing under BJP patronage. Another aspect is that political parties are to give promises and benefits in accordance with the principles of the constitution, and not by capitalists entering the scene, dispersing allurements and disbursing benefits.
Working outside these boundaries and against these principles is equal to challenging democracy within and destroying its aura and energy. It's not just an issue of morality when a private capitalist uses the democratic systems at the local level in Kerala to make financial gains by creating a political party, attracting people to it and offering material incentives outside the statutory structure. Rather, it is a challenge to the basic rules of the system. Political parties in their basic level activities sometimes try to influence people by distributing free aid. Decades ago, it was Shiv Sena who surprised everyone by offering free ambulance service in Thiruvananthapuram. There is a situation where many people openly say that such services by youth organizations are influencing them.
However, even then it was part of their political work. It's a part of the effort to make their ideological campaign to be popular among everyone.
The most important among the criticisms about 20/20 politics is that it was formed to protect their private interests - to validate the illegal activities of a private company - and therefore they have allocated an amount from their profit for offering benefits to people and influencing them.
It should be understood that in a country that bars private corporates from illegally influencing political parties, it is an electoral corruption to directly influence the electorates and protect the personal interests in the name of election by ignoring the stringent electoral laws.
In that sense, those who collude with it are on the opposite side of the constitution and the democratic system existing in India. We may have all sorts of criticisms that the manifestoes are not sincere, they do not implement them, they fall deep into corruption and often fend for the private capitalists. These are all the small shortfalls of the system that is not free from faults and is geared for development. We can defeat them.
However, it's a shocking fact that this system is being hijacked in Kerala by promising and distributing material incentives that cannot even be mentioned in a manifesto. We are not talking here about the proverbial rabbit that died with the fall of the jack fruit. We are talking about the private forces sitting on the branches bearing the jack fruit and about the rabbits on the ground waiting to be killed. There is a world filled with corporate deceptions, endless greed and accursed profit-motive. What is needed in Kizhakkambalam today is the basic historical awareness that people haven't fought for two centuries for them to fall into these material temptations.