As it has been stated repeatedly over the course of our articles the issues or personalities of centenary or some jubilee are very important. In this context this article is important from both ethics and the history part. As this year is the prelude to 150 years of the birth of Gandhi, 200 years of birth of Karl Marx and 100 years of the birth of Nelson Mandela.
200 years of Karl Marx and 100 years of Nelson Mandela
- Role of Nelson Mandela in Anti-apartheid movement
- Influence of Gandhi on Mandela.
- Marx and his Scientific Socialism.
- Differences between Gandhian socialism and Scientific socialism.
- Ethics of Marxism.
|The Issue||Marxian View||Gandhian View|
|Philosophical basis||Materialism, Scientific Socialism||Spiritualism; Moral individualism|
|Attitude toward Religion||Negative, an ideological instrument for the protection of private property and declared it to be “opium of the people“||Positive; a moralizing force; equal respect for all religions|
|Attitude toward Technology||Positive; necessary for full development of the forces of production||Negative; use of heavy machines stunts moral growth and creates vast unemployment|
|Basis of Classes||Division of society into owners and non-owners of means of social production
asserts that an individual’s position within a class hierarchy is determined by his or her role in the production process
|Mental outlook based on appreciation for physical labour. And the conception of bread labour. The basis of the class is the varying capabilities of individuals.|
|Recommended relation between Classes||Class conflict||Class cooperation|
|Way to achieve classless Society||Overthrow of capitalism; social ownership of means of social production; Compulsory labour||Doctrine of trusteeship: moral persuasion of capitals to regard themselves as ‘trustee’ of public property; restore dignity of labour: universal bread labour requiring everybody to do physical labour|
|Nature of State||An instrument of class domination involving oppression and exploitation of the dependent class||An instrument of coercion of individuals; a soulless machine for enforcing rules and regulations without human sensitivity and a sense of moral responsibility|
|Way to achieve Stateless Society||After full development of the forces of production in a classless society, the state will wither away||When everybody follows the principle of non-violence (ahimsa) and becomes self-disciplined and self-regulated, the state will become redundant|
|Image of Future Society
|A self-regulated society ruled by the principle: ‘from each according to his ability, to each according to his need’||A self-regulated society comprised of self disciplined individuals having minimum needs, with a sense of moral responsibility toward social needs|
- Mandela was a practical politician, rather than an intellectual scholar or political theorist.
- For Mandela, politics has always been primarily about morally exemplary conduct, and only secondarily about ideological vision, more about means rather than ends.
- Mandela identified as both an African nationalist, an ideological position he held since joining the ANC (African national congress),and as a socialist.
- Mandela took political ideas from other thinkers—among them Indian independence leaders like Gandhi and Nehru, African-American civil rights activists like Martin Luther king jr, and African nationalists like Nkrumah(of Ghana) —and applied them to the South African situation.
- At the same time he rejected the ideas such as the anti-white sentiment of many African nationalists.
- In doing so he synthesized both counter-cultural and hegemonic views, for instance by drawing upon ideas from the then-dominant Afrikaner nationalism in promoting his anti-apartheid vision.
- He held a conviction that “inclusivity, accountability and freedom of speech” were the fundamentals of democracy, and was driven by a belief in natural and human rights. His vision for south Africa is thoroughly democratic.
- He also spoke of an influential African ethical tenet, Ubuntu, which was a Ngnuni term meaning “I am because you are.” Which emphasized on the essential unity of mankind.
- A mix of the western democratic institutions derived from European influence and the ideas of democracy and inclusivity which were part of the African tradition.
- Mandela advocated the ultimate establishment of a classless society, openly opposed to capitalism, private land-ownership and the power of big money. Mandela was influenced by Marxism, and during the revolution he advocated scientific socialism.
- But after his jail stint his leanings towards communism has reduced and he aimed for establishment of a social democracy in South Africa. But that this was not feasible as a result of the international political and economic situation during the early 1990s.
- He was a diehard follower of Gandhis principles Truth and Nonviolence. He was honored with the Bharat Ratna soon after his release from imprisonment in the year 1990.
- Mandela once said that he could never achieve the height of humanity, the greatness of truth and the value of simplicity that the Mahatma had set through practical examples in his life.
- Mandela was inspired by the Satyagraha campaign led by Gandhi. It was a compelling act of passive protest against oppression. This would later inspire the formation of the African National Congress and strengthen Mandela’s belief in shared humanity.
- And Mandela learned from Gandhi the essential virtues of forgiveness and compassion, values that served him very well on his assumption of power as he clearly declared that he was not just against black racism but is also against white racism too.
- This forgiveness and compassion are the things which won him over the trust of the white minority in South Africa. This forgiveness and inclusivity are the values which made South Africa into a rainbow nation.
Mould your thoughts: Test yourself
Gandhism is born in India matured under western influence and nurtured in South Africa but became an inspiration to a generation of non-violent leaders both in and outside India. Elucidate. (15 marker)