Bankruptcy Of Leftism In Assam

The Silence of the Left

Sutputra Radheye

In the hands of the gimmicks of socialism, or communism, or whatever they want to call it, as they anyway are ignorant to its theoretical meaning, the left movement has been crucified in Assam. With stagnant leadership, and egoistic bombarding of revolutionary comparisons, the democratic fronts of the left have failed to stand for the rights of the oppressed - that is, the proletariat class. Falling prey to the fetishism of luxury, and fame delivered when one mimics a populist trend- the left organisations have made the theory and the praxis paradoxical. They speak in the same language as the 'ethno-nationalists' or 'ultra-regionalists' - often claiming their land, and language are in danger, and under serious attack from foreign culture, and people. Strangely, the advocates of abolishment of private property became supporters of it in due season. Though, the individually run xenophobic protests are rare in number, but their support to the regionalist protests is as much a proof, as organising one in the Citizenship Amendment Bill series. In the words of Marx, "The representation of private interests... abolishes all natural and spiritual distinctions by enthroning in their stead the immoral, irrational and soulless abstraction of a particular material object and a particular consciousness which is slavishly to subordinated to this object" (On the Thefts of Wood, in Rheinsche Zeitung, 1842)

The communist forces in Assam, who once had a good number in the legislative assembly are now forced to struggle for representation in the house. One of the main reasons of the sudden fallout was their reluctance, and pessimism towards the 'Assam Movement'. Their anti-populist stance resulted in their falling out of favour as it didn't appear to the majority as 'Pro-Assam'. Their cadres were nullified, intelligentsia was tormented with vigorous attacks, and the party was rejected. Now, when with CAA and NRC, there is another chance to come into power- they are imitating the steps of the populist-regionalist ideologies, thinking that the people will accept the left again if they pretend to be a friend of the regional aspirations of Assam.

To speak of the present case, the current situation of left in Assam is worrisome, and needs immediate introspection. There are significant disorders in the new generation of red believers. For most of them, anything against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) regime is serving the left purpose, or to defeat the hard right force, even if they collaborate with a soft right force, it will be for the cause is eroding the very existence of the movement. The celebration of Congress-Shiv Sena-NCP government among communists is rather comical considering their black and white stand against capitalistic governance. Also, in the case of National Register of Citizens (NRC) out of the nineteen lakh of excluded population, many are from the worker class, or what one considers marginal section. This is the very class the left have fought for, and tried to unite for an egalitarian world. But, what is it doing if not adding to the fuel that will burn them with repressed voices?

Some communist intellectuals have supported the registry of citizens, without asking proper questions about the life post-identification. Where will they go? What will happen to them? Is the government planning to put them in detention camp, all of them like in the case of Mohammed Sana Ullah, an army veteran? When the populist trend is to question pre-identification process, one must enquire about the post process for the synthesis to be complete. But, the problem is with the leadership, and members seeking media attention, and support of the populist mass on wrong terms, rather than sticking onto their roots of class struggle. According to an article on the exploitation of poor, and how it got transformed into immigration, in, "...From our point of view there can he no fundamental difference between refugees and migrants. Both groups are fleeing capitalism's imposed horrors in their countries of origin. Some might be pushed mainly by civil war and human rights abuses, others are fleeing hunger and deprivation brought on by imperialist exploitation. In most cases it is actually a combination of both: hunger and deprivation brought on by war, violation of basic human rights such as the right to a roof over one's head and a meal on one's table…"

This might have hurt many, but no-one leaves their production infrastructure, and people for an adventurous tour of suffering and inferiority. People are forced to do it. And, amidst the politics of power, there has to be voices who can represent their story, the stories that will remain unheard in between numbers, and facts. While some people are eager to put the marginal class in detention camps—people with logic must check the human right facilities, the liberal infrastructure, and the scope of life in there before throwing in real people there. When detention camps across the world are getting red flag from the United Nations, be it America or Australia, how can one trust the power to not misuse it for personal profit? How can one jump on the same pit which is famous for gulping bodies alive? How can one let that happen? They are real people, with real families, real aspirations, real dreams, and not effigies we burn on roads to protest living in chambers, uncertain of their future, few committing suicide, and others, hoping, waiting for people to listen to them, even if for once. May be, it is time for the left to ask about their rights to the right.

Moreover, mass support to the ethno-regionalist propaganda in the protests without putting Left's point of secularity, and non-communality straight will only weaken the state of popular struggle. If the left stays silent when their songs, slogans, and statement pierce and discriminate people on the basis of language, or culture, or promotes violence and hatred for another human being, somehow, the leftists too become the same kind that loves mob lynching. And, that's where the problem begins.

It is no new trend though of attempting to please the public. Some of the communists were also not immune to the 'ethnic' sentiments during the Assam Movement, as elaborated with an example by Golap Borbora, in a write up published in 'Mankind'—"The Communist MLA who wanted to invite the Chinese to drive away the Bengali was Shri Nilamoni Borthakur of Dibrugarh. The occasion was a public meeting on 6th July at Dibrugarh held to condemn the firing at Gauhati on 4th July. Shri Borthakur, who himself is a Brahmin, said, "The Assamese people have a close affinity with the Mongolians. If the Bengalis in Assam do not behave well, we shall drive them out of Assam even with the help of the Chinese". Borthakur was suspended for a year for his actions, and still is an example of the fall-out of left ideology in some minor comers for the appeasement of the masses.

This anecdote leaves there a choice- whether the left wants to imitate the ethno-nationalists, or does it want to stand in the road of humanity, and the people it was meant to defend. It is not as tiny a road as it seems, as this might change the entire course of the left river. On one side, there are the people for whose protection the ideology was formed with a high probability of agitating the mass, and on the other, there is the mass- mobilised through identity strategies, providing people with an opportunity to come back to political reality, though it might not support the pillars of Left ideology. The choice is tough, but it is the necessary evil in this case.

It is understandable, and respectable to see it from a romanticised perspective, how all the ideologies have come together for the purpose, and may be all should. But, by remaining silent when provocative slogans are raised, or silently being a part of it decomposes the entire composition of communism. There is also a thin chance of history calling the left a bunch of opportunists striving for capitalist attention.

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Vol. 52, No. 36, Mar 8 - 14, 2020