[240] conclusion
hegemonic position. How then might we conceptualize the demo cratic? My
own interest lies in thinking about the possibilities for a demo cratic politics
in the context of the operation of radically diff er ent stakes and across glar-
ing power differentials, which keeps open the possibility of structural trans-
formation through engagements— including strategically agonistic ones with
powerfully situated entities—in which the end game is not necessarily con-
sensus, but is rather the promise of justice.15 This could materialize in specific,
highly differentiated and situated articulations and investments of politics; but
it commits to an idea and ideal of politics that manages to hold together the
disparate scales and stakes of agonistic tactical and strategic engagement
with an imagination of the possibility of structural transformation. This nec-
essarily involves thinking politics in relation to the state.
Seizing the State
Given what I have just said, I suggest that the horizon of progressive politics
today must at some level involve seizing the state.16 Indeed, I believe that
the success of corporatized, financialized capital, especially in the American
context, has been achieved through such seizure that has rendered the state
more and more accountable to such interests even as it has asphyxiated those
functions of the state that could or should be held publicly accountable. In
this section, I briefly think through the possibilities, limits, and contradic-
tions involved in seizing the state in the two trajectories of politics I have
described that have attempted to resist and rescript hegemonic formations
of global phar maceutical capital, those of judicialization and the public
The higher courts in India have not just become a bulwark for ensuring ac-
cess to essential medicines or for pushing a broader public interest agenda;
their actions have opened up the possibility of pushing the state toward
enacting its constitutional responsibilities toward its citizens. Indeed, their
very conceptualization as citizens who are entitled to essential therapy at
affordable cost rather than simply as consumers who might under certain
circumstances be beneficiaries of ethical benevolence is significant. This
reflects a broader judicial turn in Indian politics through the mechanism
of public interest litigation.17 In spite of notable exceptions, the Indian ju-
diciary has tended since the late 1970s to pursue the goals of social justice
in an activist manner, which is certainly reflected in its stance on access to
medicines. This is animated not just by a spirit of public interest but often
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