Violent Action as Participation

Julia M. Eckert

in The Charisma of Direct Action

Published in print March 2003 | ISBN: 9780195660449
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199082001 | DOI:
Violent Action as Participation

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In this concluding chapter, the author states that the emergence of anti-democratic movements has often been interpreted as lying in their potential to confer a sense of identity, both collective and personal. Direct action brings about opportunities to wield power. A theoretical understanding of anti-democratic politics of action within democracies, and their concentration on generating and regenerating the space for such action is discussed. The politics of violent action relies on the direct, immediate, and unmediated participation of its members. By turning every issue into an existential conflict, the Sena uses ‘conflict readiness’ to generate fear in the environment. The addition of the Hindutva ideology to support its beliefs has led the Shiv Sena to move from regionalism to Hindu nationalism as well as to articulate the ideology of Majoritarianism to replace pluralist definitions of the Indian state. The author also discusses how the ideology of the Shiv Sena leaves no scope for negotiation: the ‘foe’ must either accept subjugation or be subjected to violence. In this way, there is scope to draw repeated boundaries between friend and foe, thus creating new opportunities for participation in violent action. In conclusion, the author shows how the party has successfully included independent institutions of the state in its efforts to legitimately convert violence into political power. In being strictly ‘anti-pluralist,’ movements such as the Shiv Sena are more concerned with people’s participation rather than with democracy.

Keywords: direct action; conflict readiness; friend and foe; majoritarianism; Hindutva; regionalism; anti-democratic politics; anti-pluralist; democracy; people’s particiaption; Shiv Sena; political power

Chapter.  6742 words. 

Subjects: Indian Politics

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