An Appeal to Common Sense

Those in glass houses should not throw stones. After winning elections the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seems to have learnt the underlying meaning of the dictum very quickly while denying their secular critics, including communists, an all-season political enemy. Now they are waiting for good days—the left of all hues. They are jobless. No election, no job. For decades they have been nursing their cadres only to think in terms of winning elections or losing them. When they were not in power—in the fifties and early sixties—they used to fight against the administration and its police forces to build up their organisation and spread influence among masses. But after coming to power they became basically dependent on the police to expand their organisation only to witness the disaster in the aftermath of losing the electoral battle. The men in uniform always oblige the ruling establishment, not the opposition. Police became their ‘comrade’ and they are bound to harvest the bitter fruit for years to come. With their changed life-styles and world outlook as well they feel helpless in carrying out day to day political activity in the absence of police assistance.

Left parties are now-a-days typically election-oriented parties. As they are rich parties with unbelievable immovable assets and bank balances, like the Congress, they could afford not to appeal to masses to support them financially. Gone are the days of small collections and cadres are no longer burdened with the hazards of street collection and door to door campaign.

Their theorisation of forming government as a higher form of mass mobilisation, if not class struggle, to take winds out of the sails of the far left, has just back-fired. In essence it means no hard political work and yet they could offer relief to the economically and socially disadvantaged, with the sole objective of blunting the edge of class struggle even of their kind. When they first succeeded in forming governments in Kerala and West Bengal by dislodging the Congress, they projected the new phenomenon as extra weapons in the heads of the toilers. But the reverse was true. The toilers soon realised how extra weapons were utilised against them. Then they brought in the theory of coalition government at the centre as a permanent strategy, thanks to the late Namboodiripads and Basavpunniahs, which was, however, shattered by the march of the saffron brigade in the recently held 16th Lok Sabha Poll. At least for the time being the days of coalition are over and the junior partners who are allowed to share the company of the big brother in the national democratic alliance, have lost their bargaining power, rather black-mailing power completely and the BJP can now translate their economic agenda without much trouble.

In the changed political scenario the communist left cannot attack the BJP much because the saffron party is not in a hurry to implement its own agenda of ‘religious nationalism’. Instead it looks pragmatic enough in continuing with the previous government’s austerity measures and ‘reforms’ policies, albeit it in a calculated manner.

With the BJP no longer playing the hindutva card in overt way, they find it difficult to grill their eternal communal enemy, they behave in such a fashion, even today, after their humiliating defeat in elections, as if there is no issue other than communalism Indians should bother about. Even corruption didn’t figure much in their public discourse in the yester years though Congress has lost the 16th general election largely due to corruption.

Now the problem of unemployment is just explosive. And Modi has no magic wand to address the job crisis in its entirety. In truth the problem is basically severe with the educated youth—they have no future in the neo-liberal regime headed by Modi or someone else.

But rural areas, of late, are witnessing labour shortage, presenting a kind of paradox of sorts. It’s a peculiar development that merits urgent attention but the left refuses to get rid of its old scheme of things. For all practical purposes during sowing season agricultural wage labourers are charging rates much above the officially recognised minimum wages for the simple reason that wage labour in villages is in short supply, as most village youth, unskilled or semi-skilled have taken the route of migration to informal sectors offering better wages and urban luxuries. Family labour has been the major source of maintaining sustainable small farming in many areas but even this family labour now seems too inadequate to cope with the situation. All things considered family-based small farming which is still the chief source of food production in major parts of India, is becoming uneconomic by any standards. In other words conditions are maturing very fast in favour of contact farming paving the way for the agri-business to enter agriculture in a big way. But the left has no agenda to confront the coming danger from transnationals—they are happily roaming in their world of secularism and communalism.

If today the communist left in India looks pathetically rudderless it is because of demise of Soviet socialism and reversal in Chinese communism. Indian communists never stood on their own legs. Even in their hey days they used to rely on Moscow sermons to carry on their ‘revolutionary programme’ and later a section became fanatically addicted to anything Chinese while ignoring the ground reality in India. Indians cannot analyse the Indian situation properly and formulate a strategy of action thereof. They always looked forward to Moscow or Beijing for guidance and today’s policy-paralysis coupled with revisionist degenerations has its roots in their ideological slavery. New generation communists are paying for it. Ironically enough, today both Moscow and Beijing are too eager to make deals with the communal BJP.

Vol. 47, No. 5, Aug 10 - 16, 2014