Ask Prof Wolff: Gandhi, Ambedkar, and India's Freedom Movement

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Patron of Democracy at Work asks: "Hello, I would like to make a comment in reference to Prof. Wolff’s Economic Update on colonialism, where he mentioned India's freedom from the British via the passive movement of ‘Mahatma’ Gandhi. In reality, it was a combination of resistance against the empire that led to the overthrow of the Brits from India. These resistances included infamous communist/socialists like Bhagat Singh, Subhas Chandra Bose, Mahatma Ayyankali and many more. The most critical of them all was the father of the current Indian Constitution, B.R. Ambedkar, the most highly educated Indian at the time. Mr. Gandhi followed much of B.R. Ambedkar's revolutionary struggles and nonviolent resistance before Gandhi started his movement against the British. He was a lawyer as well who not only fought against the British but also against the Indian ruling classes/elites and beholders of the racist caste system of India, which Mr. Gandhi was an avid supporter of, along with his upper caste followers. Indians still continue to suffer from the very same caste system Mr. Gandhi advocated for and wrote strongly for its preservation, even during the British overthrow. The reason Gandhi is prevalent in the mainstream is because of Nehru’s Indian Congress party and his daughter Indira Gandhi's government pushing propaganda and marketing, such as the famous movie funded by her government called ‘Gandhi,’ that put this racist individual on a pedestal. He was a documented pro-segregationist during his days as a lawyer in South Africa as well. The noticeable commonality between Mr. Gandhi and other resistance fighters during the early 1900s to mid-century like B.R. Ambedkar was that they were all anti-imperialist. However, there are many differences between these two leaders as is well documented in Arundhati Roy's book, ‘The Doctor and the Saint.’"

This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.

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