Revolution in South Asia

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Archive for January 6th, 2011

Interview on Capitalism, NGOs & Popular Movements in Bangladesh

Posted by Mike E on January 6, 2011

December 28, 2010 — Anu Muhammad is a Marxist academician from Bangladesh. He is currently serving as professor in the Department of Economics in Jahangirnagar University, Savar, Dhaka. He is also general secretary of National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources Power and Ports and has been involved in various people’s movements in Bangladesh. He, along with the committee, played an instrumental role in the success of the Phulbari Movement against Open Pit Mining in Phulbari, Bangladesh. He writes extensively on globalisation, social transformation, gender issues, NGOs and energy issues, and has authored more than 20 books.

In this interview, which first appeared at Radical Notes and is posted with permission at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, Anu Muhammad speaks to Manoranjan Pegu about the politico-economic trajectory of Bangladesh in the context of capitalist globalisation, geopolitical changes in South Asia and the role of India, and assesses the significance of recent popular movements in the country.

Sharing this interview here on RSA does not imply agreement with its analysis.

Manoranjan Pegu: How do you characterise the overall nature of the Bangladeshi economy, and its location in global capitalism?

Anu Muhammad: Within the global capitalist system, Bangladesh can be considered a peripheral capitalist economy. We are experiencing a phenomenon where the situation in peripheral countries such as Bangladesh is unfolding in a way very different from the standard definition. Here the state has been very effective in creating a repressive mechanism, but it has not been able to work towards formulating its own policies. Practically, it operates under a “bigger state”, which is the larger framework of the global capitalist power structure. The policies the government tries to implement are mostly formulated outside the national parliament and even outside people’s knowledge. The policies are formulated under different projects supported by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the British Department for International Development (DFID), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and UN organisations. We find the presence of consultants from these agencies in every policy process and project, which needless to say are favourable to corporate interests.

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