‘Unity & Struggle’

Not everything leftist is progressive, and much less revolutionary. In India’s murky parliamentary culture foes quite often turn friends without changing their political outlook as it is happening in Bihar and Bengal at the moment. The saffron surge seems to have made the mandalites of Bihar wise enough to bury old rivalry and try to get back what they have lost—credibility to the masses. Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) and Lalu Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal, both being the representatives of backward ideas, now find the real danger of further marginalisation beyond recognition in parliamentary politics. The point at issue is they want to project themselves as progressive by continually raising the bogey of secularism-communalism without taking trouble to explore the economic base that sustains communalism. But it is no longer selling in vote market. Sometimes their  progressive march ends in demanding more reservation in government jobs, they cannot demand jobs for all, decent life for all. Corruption is not the hallmark of Congress politics only; it is endemic in Indian parliamentary system. The Yadav brigade of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh has shown the world how they could corrupt every level of governance. ‘‘It is easy to run a government but difficult to govern the country’’.

Everybody knows the Modi government sponsored by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the centre cannot fulfil the party’s pre-election pledges. Nor can they repeat ‘Muzzafarnagar’ if they are so serious which they are, to remain in power, at last for a decade.

Communal polarisation is inevitable as vague notion of secularism propagated by the secularists like the Yadavs and Kumars cannot change the ground reality. People are more worried about vanishing jobs, rising inflation, price hike of all essential commodities, lack of education and health-care. BJP’s communalism cannot address the problem. Nor can secularists prescribe better measures to tackle market mayhem. The communal-secular discourse is no answer to the people’s needs at a time when the Modi government is hell bent on executing what they call ‘second generation reforms’ at a rapid pace because the corporate lobby, the real architect of Modi dispensation, is restless to get things—their pending projects—done as quickly as possible. Modi has no option but to launch the onslaught against the people before he is being dubbed another lame-dock prime minister continuing ‘policy paralysis’.

Meanwhile, the official left too is feeling the ‘communal heat’ and green aggression in some parts of the country. Faced with the real possibility of political irrelevance in two or three states where they were once powerful and in Delhi‘s corridors of power as well, CPM, like the Yadav-Kumar combine is trying to forge alliance with the ‘untouchables’.

Come September, they organise an anti-imperialist anti-war march to show that ‘imperialism’ is not a forgotten word in their vocabulary. They walk demanding peace every year while chanting life-less rhetoric against war and America’s war efforts. This year the September 1 march acquires special significance because of Israel’s relentless bombing of Gaza and killing of innocent Palestinians. What is happening in the Middle East is almost a re-run of Vietnam war but this time America’s proxy Israel is doing the dirty business well without being unequivocally attacked by the progressives across the world. And response from the Indian left is too feeble to be heard beyond some major cities.

Forced into desperation, CPM this year is trying to organise the September 1 rally jointly along with some naxalite factions, particularly CPI-ML (Liberation) and SUCI (Communist). As for the moderate naxalites who prefer parliamentary path to armed guerilla warfare, the task for the CPM is not that troublesome. But tough stance comes from the SUCI that was an ally of the ruling party of Bengal—Trinamul Congress—for a long period during the left rule and suffered enormously at the hands of the CPM goons. They ruled out any joint movement with the CPM because of the latter’s oppressive role during their rule—or misrule—in Bengal and Kerala. They demand public apology for its ‘misdeeds’, which seems too bitter a pill for the Marxists to swallow. For one thing SUCI was once in the left front, rather united front in the ’60s; it left it because of CPI-M’s highhandedness and big-brotherly bossing and had not aligned with the successive left fronts.

Arithmetic is simple. This anti-imperialist demonstration—incidentally not before American consulate—is an occasion, to unite all leftist groups to fight elections since CPM faces the prospects of becoming political refugees, locally and nationally.

Their anti-imperialist and anti-war ritual is so skin-deep that people don’t take their rhetoric seriously. It’s tokenism—plain and simple. Today imperialism cannot be fought without fighting multi-nationals and trans-nationals anywhere in the world. What is true of Venezuela or Sub-Saharan Africa is equally true for India. No, they have no plan to resist the plunder of multinationals, they are not really against the ‘development’ model scripted by the World Bank and its affiliates. They don’t want to make it a point of no return when it is the question of forcible eviction of tribal and non-tribal peasants as well from their land. They don’t know how to mobilise pleasant masses in the changed context. For all practical purposes people will have to wait for one more year to hear some anti-imperialist slogans.

The powerful military-industry complex in the US and other western countries need war, whether it is against Afghanistan or Iraq, or against Palestine at the same time. To do this the gigantic propaganda machine of the imperial powers spreads lies and hides the fact that CIA made agreements with al-Qaeda to organise attacks against Syria. It’s a complex world but the left’s anti-imperialism is so superficial and short-term that no broad-based front like anti-fascist front during World War-II will emerge from it. Despite having marxism in its name and programme the marxist party does not defend marxism in practice; it talks of war and peace, just to keep their ‘progressive’ image alive. September 1 comes, September 1 goes, without creating any popular urge for peace.

Vol. 47, No.7, Aug 24 - 30, 2014