More of the Same

The decline of communist Left seems irreversible. The permanent settlement in parliamentary politics initially paid them dividends and they enjoyed privileges otherwise reserved for the ruling elites. Having failed to challenge the status quo they now find it increasingly difficult to regain what they have lost completely--pro-poor image. The mass base they once created through arduous anti-establishment struggles and sacrifices is gone. People are rebelling here and there somewhat spontaneously but they are just on-lookers. For one thing spontaneous popular outburst despite its severity and militancy cannot be translated into lasting action against the persons in authority; it is bound to fizzle out after some time. How they failed to motivate the historic peasant upsurge illustrates among other things that they are in no position to organise masses in their millions because toilers have no faith in them. These days the oppressed are more interested in independent political initiatives, not partisan movements. Then they lack appropriate slogans and action- programme to influence masses in the changed context. They don’t practise what they preach in their official documents. Theory and practice need each other. ’Without theory, practice is blind and without practice theory is impotent’.

That communist parties throughout the world are facing survival crisis is a hard fact. The way they are reacting to the on-going Russia-Ukraine war speaks volumes about ideological bankruptcy they have been in for long. Even in India communists have no specific stand on the Russia-Ukraine war. Indian communist parties used to derive comfort from being called pro-Soviet or pro-Chinese in the yester years and they were totally dependent on Moscow or Beijing for ideological guidance. Soviet Russia is dead. Today’s Russia is a capitalist enterprise with geo-strategic expansionist outlook towards its neighbours while China is happily building capitalism with ‘Chinese characteristics’ competing with America and Europe. As a result they have nowhere else to go for solace; they are ideological orphans. Communist parties in India irrespective of their degree of shades never really asserted themselves independently. The Chinese party at one stage engineered split after split in the international communist movement, dubbing the Soviet party revisionist or social-imperialist, creating ML factions in a number of countries only to abandon them at the time of severe crisis theorising and defending their withdrawal strategy in an opportunistic way. Even today when China looks more like America in terms of market grabbing and capital export, a section of far left, better known as maoist continues to draw heavily from pre-liberation China and Chinese Party’s experience in highlighting their revolutionary project. They think India is in a stage of what China was in the 1920s. The Chinese party once used to describe former Soviet Union as social-imperialist but they are now a right candidate to get that tag, particularly after the Sri Lankan fiasco. Sri Lankans are in a debt trap, thanks to Chinese benevolence. The same thing may happen to Pakistan as the recent reports suggest. China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) scheme is actually aimed at capturing global market. It is sheer expansionism under the garb of ‘win-win’ situation. The so-called pro-Chinese communists have nothing to say about it.

They are still in a dilemma as to how to evaluate the Ukrainian situation when the war, after more than six months shows no sign of ending in the immediate future. They are not in a position to take side in the war because they cannot categorise the dominant capitalist morality as the ‘Aggressor’ and the other as the ‘Aggressed’ or vice versa. The working class doesn’t show neutrality towards any of its exploiters who confront each other in the re-distribution of their market shares, but on the contrary, it expresses its deep solidarity with all the sectors that are undergoing the multiple assaults of one or the other of its historical enemies. Ukrainian toilers are facing Russian aggression but they are equally oppressed by Ukrainian oligarchs who are earning huge profits through their trade deals with America, more precisely with the American military-industrial complex with a view to prolonging the war though ordinary Ukrainians are dying daily. The war is impacting the global economy badly and equally badly India’s home market as well. With every passing day the situation is drifting towards chaos sending shivers down the spines of the wage earners, mainly in third world countries. The point at issue is how to push the revolutionary dynamic to its ultimate consequences, how to expropriate the possessing class and re-appropriate means of existence. Communists in India have no answer. They are going the Euro-communist way to commit suicide in the end.


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Vol. 55, No. 14-17, Oct 2 - 29, 2022