Whither the Communist Left?

David Arditi

The decline in vote share of left parties in the Karnataka assembly election is a disturbing outcome. The political disunity among left parties is a clear example of missed opportunities in working-class politics and the promotion of radical political consciousness. Once again, the left parties have failed to effectively address the challenges posed by the corporate onslaught led by Hindutva fascism in India.

The communist parties have failed to come to an understanding for a united left front based on popular issues of people. It sends a wrong signal to the masses that left parties lack basic understanding of their everyday problems and challenges in life. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) had its tactical alliance with the Janata Dal (Secular) and the Republican Party of India (Prakash Ambedkar faction) (RPI-K). The JD(S) has provided outside support to the alliance candidates in three seats only while RPI-K contested for ten seats and the CPI (M) contested four seats. The Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist) [SUCI(C)] has fought in fourteen constituencies in ten districts. The Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) and Liberation (CPI-ML) have contested in two seats. The CPI and CPI(M) candidates have fought against each other in the KGF seat whereas the CPI-ML and CPI(M) have fought against each other in KR Puram (Bengaluru Urban district). The CPI(M) and SUCI(C) have contested against each other in the Gulbarga rural seat. The left parties have fought against each other and lost in several seats without forming any form of political understanding. Such a political trend in left politics only empowers reactionary political forces in the long run.

Left politics is the moral compass and political anchor of the working people to uphold the economic interests of the masses for a progressive and democratic society. Left unity is central to the working-class political project in India. The political collaboration and cooperation among left wing political parties, groups and movements based on common objectives and shared values are crucial to achieve collective political progress and deepening of working-class politics. The significance of left unity in fostering social change, addressing common challenges, and promoting a more equitable and just society depends on the collective struggles of the left parties. The mass movements can overcome the ideological fragmentation by acknowledging the inherent strength in diversity.

The left unity challenges existing power structures and promotes dialogue, understanding, and the exchange of ideas. It encourages activists, organisations, and political parties to unite their efforts, pooling their resources, skills, and networks to create a more powerful force for change. By building bridges rather than walls, left unity amplifies the collective voice of the left, making it more effective in challenging existing ruling establishments and advocating for progressive policies. The left parties and their unity can only mobilise people against all forms of inequality and exploitation in the society by appealing to the wider society. This broader collaboration enables the left to create coalitions that span various social, economic, and cultural divides. The united left can achieve greater influence and electoral success, translating its ideals into tangible policy changes for societal transformation.

Ultimately, the future of left-wing politics in India depends on the actions and strategies adopted by the parties involved, the ability to connect with the aspirations and concerns of the people, and the capacity to effectively navigate the changing political landscape.


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Vol 55, No. 49, Jun 4 - 10, 2023