September 08, 2006

Auroville and the Communist model

Tuesday, September 05, 2006 Aurovile and Communism
Anyone have thoughts about communism? Are you left wing or right wing? And for what reasons? This is a project I wrote while in college. It's a bit streched out, but bear with it.
An experiment is underway 10 km north of Pondicherry in the state of Tamil Nadu on the Coromandel Coast of India. On February 28th 1968, the Mother, a spiritual leader and disciple of Sri Aurobindo, founded ‘The City of the Future’ in a grand inauguration ceremony attended by representatives of 124 countries from across the world. Soil from 23 Indian states and all 124 countries represented was placed in a marble urn, and the Mother read out Auroville’s charter. In the Mother’s words, Auroville was to be “a universal township where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities.” According to the Mother, “the purpose of Auroville is to realise human unity.”
It is my contention that, knowingly or unknowingly, what the Mother established closely fits the communist model envisaged by the Marxist tradition. During the course of this project, I shall look briefly at the essential features of communism and observe how Auroville fits into - or was intended to fit into - the broad framework of communism, following which I shall undertake an analysis of the overall impact of Auroville. I shall then speculate as to the future prospects of communism in general and Auroville in particular...
During the course of this project, I tried to establish the basic characteristics of communism as elimination of economic classes, collective ownership of assets, work according to capacity, receipt according to one’s needs, a high level of education, a high level of productivity, perfect knowledge, elimination of money and elimination of the state. I observed that Auroville fits largely into the communist model, though some deviations are evident. I tried to argue that from the point of view of Aurovillians and India as a whole, the experiment has lead to a net gain. However, for the world as a whole, the effect is ambiguous.
I then postulated that the future of Aurovill depended on the continuation of grants and aid in order to facilitate circumnavigation of certain inherent problems of establishing a society based on communism in the present context. With regard to the future of communism in general, I proposed that there definitely is a future, but that future must not be imposed and definitely not through socialism. The way forward is through natural, and not forced, tendencies to change.
This project is an original piece of work. I have used Marx’s theory of Historical Materialism and its analysis of the evolution of social formations, but I have not referred to any text while doing so. All the information about Auroville is based on a personal visit and the Auroville website, posted by Saattvic at 5:25 PM

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