Defending the Indefensible

Where is the left front? Strictly speaking, it has long outlived itself in terms of popular mobilisation against social injustice and galloping economic inequality in the society. Much of today’s left disregards, excuses, or explains away their contradictions, as they grasp at one straw after another looking for models. Isolaton from basic masses is so complete that they cannot even think of organising a sit-in without a Congress body-guard. Faced with the immediate prospects of total extinction from political map ‘junior partners’ of CPM-led Left Front, are now talking in multiple voices, many a time at cross purposes while criticising the CPM—the big boss—for their irrational and undemocratic behaviour, in forcing them to accept the fait accompli—an unethical alliance with Congress—the party of money bags. It’s somewhat encouraging to see these ‘junior partners’—RSP, CPI and Forward Bloc—have finally summoned courage to criticise CPM. But ‘junior partners’ are in reality minority stakeholders in a joint stock limited company, controlled by CPM. The ground reality is that CPM is now a party of the rich, not the poor. Assets, including the immovable real estates it has acquired during its 34 years of rule in Bengal—or misrule—is simply colosus. They cannot jeopardise their fabulous wealth, rather ill-gotten wealth by distancing themselves from the people who matter in Delhi’s corridors of power. Pragmatism that permeates the unideological Left parties, who consider any unity of anti-government forces to be above an underlying philosophy of coercion and suppression, cannot for long shut out concern for local as well as broader ramifications of the prevailing situation. They have many things to lose if they show aggressiveness in challenging the establishment on their own. Keeping the company of Congress is a tactical ploy to save their skin while keeping the public in good humour in the name of people’s desire for an unprincipled alliance.

Of junior partners, Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) looks too vocal to put CPM in the dock on the idea of continuing alliance with the Congress. CPI and Forward Bloc seem to have decided to register their voice of dissent against the high-handedness of big brother and saying ‘no’ to alliance. It’s unlikely that they would make it a point of break on this issue and launch new initiatives against both Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In the end they would fall in line by accepting CPM’s hegemonic behaviour. But they have options—they could easily float a new platform of their own by aligning with other Left outfits like SUCI(I) and CPI(ML) Liberation.

The outcome of the CPM’s Bengal State Committee meeting on the relevance of alliance with Congress was a foregone conclusion. Those who know the style of functioning of this regimented party, know well how nothing extra-ordinary can emerge from such crucial meetings. A pre-determined and settled resolution got passed as unanimous and it so happened in case of the state unit meet where Party General Secretary Yechury came strongly in defence of his ‘alliance’ brigade, justifying the controversial decision even in the face of widespread adverse criticism. What they call ‘people’s alliance’ or ‘people’s resistance’ is anything but ludicrous. Where are the people? People are with the right-wingers, not the ‘leftists’. Resistance can develop through people’s movement. It so happened in a number of Latin American countries. It didn’t happen here. How social movements, independent of party influence enabled left governments to take office in one country after another, like those of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, Evo Morales in Bolivia and the Workers Party in Brazil, is now history. All these left governments have gone because of their total isolation from masses. Buoyed by Yechury’s defence of CPM-Congress tie-up in Bengal the state secretary, once bitten twice shy, has now begun to defend more vigorously than before, the indefensible—alliance with Congress—which he thinks would have produced better results, had it been executed much earlier.

For the CPM, the importance of being called leftist now solely depends on Congress, otherwise a notoriously anti-people party. For all practical purposes, Congress being haunted by the spectre of defeat everywhere, is now enjoying the Bengal moment.

Now the CPM’s Visakhapatnam Party Congress resolution in effect stands cancelled, they are free to make alliance with any political outfit under the specious plea of ‘People’s Unity’. In reality two sets of leaders united to grab parliamentary privileges that are hugely lucrative by any standards. As the Visakhapatnam mandate is dead, there lies no compulsion to maintain equal distance from Congress and BJP! Technically they are maintaining distance from BJP, hopefully to fight communalism. But most victims of communal violence—Muslims—don’t believe in their secular rhetoric. Nor do they think communists are sincere enough in championing welfarism of the minority community. They see no valid reason to vote for the Left, alliance with Congress or no alliance.

Surprisingly, despite the catastrophe, CPM, much in tradition of their orthodox and arrogant approach, is now trying to expand what they call broader Left-Congress alliance by extending fresh appeal to SUCI(I) and CPI(ML) Liberation to join their ranks in their mission to capture power. But this one point agenda before the poll didn’t give them much leverage to sharply polarise public opinion against incumbency. And again this one point agenda in the post-poll atmosphere is not going to help them win mass support in their millions though they are deriving comfort from the fact that they polled 2.15 crore vote and yet lost.

The ‘Alliance with Congress’ model is the crudest joke of the year! At the time of writing junior partners—RSP-CPI and Froward—heaved a sigh of relief as the CPM controlled committee censored the Bengal State Committee on the alliance issue and asked them to rectify their party line in accordance with party resolution adoptted at the 21st Congress. oo

Vol. 48, No. 51, Jun 26 - Jul 2, 2016