It is their ‘April Thesis’. The draft political resolution adopted
on the penultimate day of CPM’s 21st Congress held in Vishakhapatnam in
the middle of April was too shallow and business as usual exercise to get rid of paralysis the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has been in for the last few decades. All their desire for social change is channelled towards formation of government. That people’s democratic aspirations and the rule of corporates are incompatible is a fundamental lesson of the modern world. But they think it is not really the basic issue their party should address. While the world is marching towards unravelling the ‘mysterious dynamics’ of global capital CPM ideologues continue to march in the direction of an undefined political void in an attempt to cancel revolution, cognition and struggling heritage of non-partisan toilers. It is the absence of humane and humanising content, the absence of a vision of a better world to live in for the majority of the population, a more equitable and just society, that makes CPM, a social democratic parliamentary party that it is. Their red tag is just a tag. And their red brigade shys away from a total transformation of this society. Party Congress or no congress, their world of marxism continues to revolve around communalism as practised by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress Party’s deviation from the Nehruvian path of ‘socialistic pattern of society’. A party congress, more specifically a communist party congress, spent too much time and energy to produce a manifesto, if it can be so called, that deals less with marxism but more with secularism and hindutva danger. Their idea of fighting the Narendra Modi government’s communal agenda while keeping safe distance from the Congress was too clever by half. Their anti-communal chorus is basically aimed at creating an atmosphere for an all encompassing grand alliance of the so-called secular forces, including the casteist outfits, and preparing ground for future support to the Congress. These marxists interpret every event in India in terms of secularism and communalism. And their oft-repeated cliche highlighting permanent capitalist crisis, is itself so crisis-ridden, that their own cadres, not to speak of working community—their trade-makr constituency—do not take ‘crisis jargons’ seriously.
As the fight aganist communalsim cannot be conducted in isolation, they hope to integrate their ‘secular struggle’ against the neo-liberal policies of the Centre. How they ‘opposed’ neo-liberal onslaught against the people’s livelihood in Singur and Nandigram is now history. Neo-liberal policies are not bad if they are in power. And when they are not in power, they make some noises about neo-liberalism and its ill effects without really committing themselves to the fight to the finish in the field. Documents emanating from party congress are mere documents to be preserved in shelves for gathering dust. In the yester years the party congresses used to adopt specific resolutions on peasants. But these days they think the question of peasant mobilisation has lost relevance in the changed socio-economic context. Modi’s land ordinance is not the only issue that affects vast majority of peasant population. Even Rahul Gandhi is opposing the saffron offensive against small and middle land-holders. But that doesn’t mean they are against forcible acquisition of land for industry and mining.
Environment never features in their political discourse. Nor does violation of human rights by state actors even though India’s ever growing prison population shows how state terror is on the rise. Unless they re-evalute the peasant question against the backdrop of momentous changes taking place across the country social change as prescribed by their party congress will remain empty rhetoric. Ultimately true revolutionary change is impossible through parliamentary combination and permutation. It will be the masses in revolt liquidating the oppressive system in its entirety that will carry the revolution, even of their kind, as scripted in their party programme—concerned people have forgotten about it—to the victory. Their united front strategy is how to unite some minor leftist parties and groups on the issue of secularism, not revolutionary change. So the class question doesn’t arise. But they have so far failed to project themselves as the true defenders of secularism, particularly at the time of communal flare-ups. Their all-important Vishakhapatnam congress was more about immediate task—how to make them relevant and acceptable in elections. They are more concerned about present, not future.
Communist Movement in the yester years grew both horizontally and vertically, because of their principled position on peasants. But these days, popular peasant struggles are led by non-governmental organisations. World Bank funded projects that are ruining India’s traditional village life and village communities as well are not their concerns, as if there is nothing to do against neo-liberal policies other than issuing harmless press statements from time to time.
Strangely enough, it was a communist party congress and yet ‘anti-imperialist’ stance didn’t figure prominently. In today’s condition fight against imperialism means fight against imperial multi-nationals. This is simply not on their agenda. They vaguely theorise on war and peace that hardly minimises the danger of imperialist intervention and proxy-war. The leap to revolution comes from necessity. But marxists are yet to recognise this necessity. In light of the crises of the nuclear-armed world, climate change, and failed revolutions, it becomes imperative not only to reject what is, but to further work out the revolutionary potentials inherent in the present.
Vol. 47, No. 43, May 3 - 9, 2015