Beyond Elections

Futility of ‘INDIA’

Harsh Thakor

Aparliamentary united front like Indian National Development Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) under the leadership of the Congress will not check the wave of fascism, because most of the parties harbour fascist inclinations and show electoral opportunism. The history of fascism manifested that it takes a violent mass movement stirred by the direct influence of the ruling class. The working-class people rallied behind the Nazi forces not because they cherished the working conditions or facilities provided by Hitler, but due to the weakness of the progressive leadership to act on time.

The history of Congress and other ruling parties in India is more or less the same. The Congress never eradicated or even restricted the flow of foreign finance penetration from imperialists. Under the regime of Congress, the first idol of Ram-Sita was installed inside Babri Masjid, and entry was restricted. Congress stormed into Nagaland to suppress their demand for nationhood. It paid no heed to the Sacchar Committee report in the interest of minorities; Congress introduced draconian laws like AFSPA, NSA, UAPA etc. It sold Indian agriculture to the WTO. This very Congress opened the gates of Babri Masjid in 1986 to sponsor Rath Yatra and brick worship. This very party opened the gates to globalization and liberalization, which sold out India to corporates. It was Congress, which gradually dismantled the industrial sectors. It never effectively combated RSS-like organizations and morally and craftily tried to support the idea of Hindutva Nationality. Its half-hearted approach to abrogation of Article 370 was too clever by half. In truth many Congress leaders silently supported Modi’s move to curtail Kashmir’s autonomy The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has merely sharpened the path that Congress was treading in the past. It has also been a common phenomenon for opposition parties like Aam Aadmi Party or Janata Dal to pamper Hindu politics and indirectly support the program of Hindutva and corporations. They actually react to the agenda set by the BJP. As for the official left, the less said the better. Tailism is the hallmark of their political strategy. As a result, they do hardly matter in shaping electoral outcomes.

 Then there are also deviationist trends amongst Communist Revolutionaries.

 CPI (Maoist)’s call for an election boycott, without establishing alternative or parallel organs of democratic power or required revolutionary democratic consciousness makes little sense. Today revolutionary movement is not on the ascendancy, political slogans are inviting no powerful response from the masses and the parliamentary system has still not been rendered futile by broad masses. Despite great sacrifices and strides the people often become hapless spectators and give support to ruling class candidates even in areas where Maoists have some influence.

Subjective factors are lacking for the boycott tactics with the masses even in Maoist bases in Chattisgarh are unable to comprehend the sheer futility or bankruptcy of the parliamentary system and still repose faith in candidates of parliamentary parties.

No doubt the Maoist cadres function with ultimate sincerity to liberate the people, but still the armed squads stop people from voting, not from political consciousness but out of fear of extinguishing in crossfire. Even if disillusioned and propaganda of the state was misleading about voter turnouts, however disillusioned, the people’s consciousness has not been escalated to exercise an active boycott with no effective agrarian revolutionary movement. Often such premature calls wean genuine democratic cadres away from mass movements.

The Maoist work is also confined to the plain areas; so in non-functioning regions, the slogan of boycott would not be rendered effectively. The call has hardly any effect in urban areas or impact on workers in factories.

This writer recounts instances in Jharkhand and Orissa where Maoists after the boycott slogan supported ruling class parties and how in Punjab in successive years from 1999, the boycott slogan was completely ineffective. Boycottists forget what even Lenin warned about the imperative task of stirring revolutionary consciousness.

However well-intentioned or exhibiting a spirit of self-sacrifice to its limits the Maoists’ boycott campaign does not sharpen revolutionary democratic struggle, with no proper campaign to genuinely educate the toilers.

On the other hand CPI(ML) factions like ‘Red Star’, ‘Massline ‘, or ‘Class Struggle’ are supporting the parliamentary process by backing the INDIA, without properly securing re-organized vanguard party, with the Communist party being in scattered bits. This is capitulationist. Even if refraining from participating in elections, they are not projecting a genuine revolutionary alternative. Relatively the CPI (ML) New Democracy has projected a balanced perspective on mass movement but still reposed faith in INDIA.

The only correct approach is undertaking an active political campaign, calling for building a democratic alternative, utilizing contradictions of ruling class parties.

[Harsh Thakor is a freelance journalist]

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Vol 56, No. 48, May 26 - Jun 1, 2024