Afro-Asian solidarity and the “capital” question: looking beyond the last frontier
ABSTRACT The argument in this paper is a continuation of an argument that I have been making for some time, which questions the universal history of capital, crucial to which are assumptions regarding its historical necessity. Capital is not only understood to be a historically unavoidable condition but one that has already colonized the world such that there is no outside to it. In developing my argument regarding the “outside” to capital, where I find Kalyan Sanyal’s work very useful and significant, I claim that much of the problem with theorizing capital today has to do not with the beast itself but with the inherited paraphernalia of western theory and philosophy. After a survey of the passive revolution debate in India, which I read as a sign of the actual impossibility of “capitalist” development across different parts of the world, I move on to argue that both “capital/ism” and the “logic of capital” (accumulation) are misleading concepts concealing an essential “emptiness” which I work out through the idea of “dependent arising” taken from Buddhist philosophy.
Keywords: Capital, universal history, passive revolution, western theory, dependent arising.)
Notes on contributor
Aditya Nigam is a political theorist based at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi. His recent work is concerned with histories of “capital” from India and the non-West in general. He examines formations of the economic and the political, as twin aspects of the modern in the context of contemporary India by moving away from standard western theorizations. He is the author of The Insurrection of Little Selves: The Crisis of Secular Nationalism in India (2006), Power and Contestation: India Since 1989, with Nivedita Menon (2007), After Utopia: Modernity and Socialism and the Postcolony (2010), and Desire Named Development (2011).