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<nettime> Old Left etc
aditya on Sun, 28 Dec 2003 10:11:32 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Old Left etc

Apropos of Coco Fusco's response to my piece on the WSF and the Old Left
in India, a bit of factual clarification and some small comments are in
order. She talks of intergenerational 'wars of position' - conflating my
position with that of Sarai (I presume, because of my email ID) and seems
to suggest that the 'younger crowd' has taken to attacking the Old Left
because it has a vested interest in the "time and space of global
circuits", which it seeks to protect by eliminating others from the

First, the term 'Old Left' has nothing to do with generations and many of
those criticized in my piece are probably younger than I am.

Second, I belong to a generation that was politicized in the turbulent
1970s and have worked with the Communist Party of India (Marxist) for
close to two decades - not as a fellow traveller in the academy but the
hard way - as a full time activist at the grassroot levels. Many of us who
critique the Stalinism of the Old Left are therefore also at the same time
reflecting on our own past practices. I have only done politics inside
India and have virtually no connection with the 'global circuits' that
this response accuses me of trying to occupy. At the same time, unlike
Coco Fusco, I am not particularly saddened if the Old lefties are excluded
for a change; after all for decades the Old Left has captured and
monopolized all spaces of dissent and continues to do so, given the
smallest opportunity.

If the critic were to re-read my essay carefully - and not be completely
misled by the email ID - she would probably herself see how completely off
the mark her comments have been. My brief relationship and continuing
friendship with Sarai friends notwithstanding, we have vastly differing
positions on a number of political questions. That is of course a good
thing - for unlike the crusaders of the Old Left, we value difference, for
us it is not a problem to be ironed out.

Aditya Nigam

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