Non-violent Socialism: Marx and Gandhi in Dialogue

  • Anjan ChakrabartiEmail author
  • Anup Dhar


What happens when a thinker and practitioner of transformative politics claim to be imagining and doing socialism from a perspective drawn from the resources in the East? We show how Gandhi seeks to shape an Indianized version of non-violent socialism consistent with what is claimed to be Marx’s basic principle of communism: “To each according to his need, from each according to his capacity.” His framework challenges any claim to violence as a necessary condition for the praxis of socialism. He seeks to end capitalism without putting an end to the ‘capitalist subject.’ This dialogue of Gandhi with Marx’s Capital on socialism gathers further steam when we unpack the former’s conceptual contour that underpins non-violent socialism—labor, capital, capitalist, capitalism, property, industrialization—in order to set up its encounter with the fundamental point of Marx’s critique of political economy foregrounded in his book Capital—modes of surplus labor appropriation and its specific form in (capitalist) exploitation. Our analysis reveals that, when made to confront surplus and exploitation, Gandhi’s insistence on a non-violent relationship with the ‘capitalist subject’ even as capitalism is supposed to be withering away is inconsistent in terms of his own framework. Likewise, any asserted Marxian claim of socialism as necessarily epitomizing material development and abundance and which is to be arrived at through class violence is rendered problematical by Gandhi. These insights then open up the possibility of further exchanges about post-capitalist futurities.


Alienation Non-possession Bread labor Trusteeship Class Exploitation 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Economics DepartmentUniversity of CalcuttaKolkataIndia
  2. 2.School of Liberal Studies and Centre for Development PracticeAmbedkar University DelhiDelhiIndia

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