Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Neo-Liberalism and Protest in West Bengal: An Analysis through the Media lens

Bandhyopadhyay, Tirthankar and Dinda, Soumyananda (2013): Neo-Liberalism and Protest in West Bengal: An Analysis through the Media lens. Published in: Asian Journal of Research in Social Sciences & Humanities , Vol. 3, No. 7 (6. July 2013): pp. 32-59.

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Abstract

Neo-liberalism is revival of liberalism that is radically dismantling the state and sifting power to the private sector. People favour welfare state and oppose any move against it. This paper attempts to gauge the protest in West Bengal against neo-liberalism. The recent protest in West Bengal that led to the electoral defeat of the Left Front is not only about land acquisition and loss of livelihood. Instead, it goes to the core of over three decades of left rule and raises serious questions about the policies adopted by the Left Front governments. This paper demonstrates that land reform and decentralisation of rural power, through institutions of local government, consolidated the authority of the CPI-M in the state but were detrimental to capital formation, necessary for industrialisation. Lack of adequate capital forced the left leadership to lure private investors to cope with the instability caused by increased aspiration in a globalised set up coupled with technological innovation. This being paradoxical to the political doctrine of the left resulted in a tension in the midst of an already unstable situation caused by economic stagnation and lack of adequate job creation in the state. The actions of the government to ward off the protests raise moral questions as to whether the CPI-M has the authority to claim to be representing the poor.

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