Millennium Post

CPI(M)’s marxist commitment at bay

Eruption of feud in Kerala CPI (M) between 88-year old Velikkakathu Sankaran Achuthanandan, erstwhile chief minister of Kerala and party state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan over the mysterious murder of T P Chandrasekharan shortly after he had thrown off his CPI (M) party card shows that the malaise in India’s largest official Marxist party cannot be treated bureaucratically from above. Immensely popular in Kerala unlike any leader of not only CPI (M) but the entire Left Democratic Front VSA is justified in indicting Vijayan for dubbing Marxist rebels, such as Chandrasekharan as 'betrayers and renegades'.

But the AKG Bhawan biggies' shoes pinch elsewhere: its pretentious theoretical pose. When on 8 April VSA had left the Tagore Centenary Hall at Kozhikode in a huff – christened for five days 4-9 April as Harkishan Singh Surjeet – Jyoti Basu Nagaras the venue of CPI(M)’s 20th Congress, the message wasn’t clear to most of 727 delegates and 74 observers, that the people’s leader’s gesture might be more than a silent protest against his re-induction in the polit bureau. The re-elected general secretary Prakash Karat and next to him in hierarchical order, S Ramachandra Pillai and SitaramYechury, consciously forgot that among the central committee members, VSA is the last living member of the last national council of undivided CPI, elected at the 6th Congress (Vijaywada, 1961).

On the contrary, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee who joined the communist stream much later than the CPI’s sixth congress, could jolly well skip all polit bureau and CC meetings after the debacle in the Lok Sabha polls (2009) – not always on health grounds (excepting the meetings that took place in Kolkata) –  was retained both in the PB and CC. That he was mauled at the state assembly poll in 2011 by over 16,000 votes was no important for partyocrats at the AK Gopalan Bhavan, national headquarters of CPI(M) in New Delhi. The reason for keeping Bhattacharjee and blocking VSA’s re-entry is explained with an innuendo by Appukkuttan Vallikkunnu, expelled from the CPI(M) in Kerala that Bengal comrades wanted to retain Buddhadeb in the politburo and the party in Kerala wanted Achuthanandan out of the politburo. Karat danced to different tunes as he had to survive. Bhattacharjee is unlikely to attend any meeting of PB or CC outside Bengal for health reasons –  mainly chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Another PB member, Nirupam Sen, was defeated from a constituency which was a citadel even during the LS poll in Bardhaman district by over 35,000 votes. On the contrary, VSA with a popular image crossing party lines basically for his personal integrity and dedication found no place in the PB. M A Baby could make it to the PB through an anti-Marxist labyrinth. Baby is a Latin Catholic and Latin Catholics comprise a powerful vote bank. 'It is a new strategy to win minorities to the party fold,' thinks Kerala-based political analyst Jayashankar. This apart, behind the fire-brand revolutionary posture, Karat keeps the powerful West Bengal mandarins in good humour by accommodating Bhattacharjee who possesses an elite Leftist image, attuned typically to showbiz drawing room communism.

All this is natural for a party where the process of embourgeoisment is apace. Even semblance of getting this virus debugged is absent. The credential report of delegates at the Kozhikode Congress reflects this decimation of a party that vows to move towards a state of people’s democracy with the pivotal role of working class-peasantry alliance under the leadership of working class. (Peasantry here means the landless agricultural labour and share-croppers, not the rich or middle peasants). Of the delegates at the Congress, 101 were from the working class, 31 agricultural labourers and 118 poor peasants in contrast to 154 middle peasants, 35 rich peasants, 12 landlords, 18 capitalists 233 from middle class and 25 petty bourgeois representatives. So there were more rich peasants than agricultural labourers, more middle class comrades than poor peasants. It’s a sheer hypocrisy of the biggies at the A K G Bhavan, or regional honchos at Muzaffar Ahmed Bhavan in Kolkata and AKG Centre in Thiruvananthapuram to talk of working class leadership.

On the contrary, as we saw in West Bengal, the party was structurally a refuge of what Marx and Engels described in a cautionary tone –  'The ‘dangerous class’, [lumpenproletariat] the social scum, that passively rotting mass thrown off by the lowest layers of the old society, may, here and there, be swept into the movement by a proletarian revolution; its conditions of life, however, prepare it far more for the part of a bribed tool of reactionary intrigue.'

Parties like CPI(M) and CPI and their split-away entities with Marxist-Leninist or Maoist in parenthesis talk of ideology and prop up ideologues, never caring to note that Marx and Engels had contempt to ideology or ideologues. Engels in a letter to Franz Mehring wrote in 1893, 'Ideology is a process accomplished by the so-called thinker consciously, indeed, but with a false consciousness. However, there is no gain in teaching a new word to parrots that are at the helm of AKG Bhavan or M A Bhavan (jibe from George Orwell five years after the death of J V Stalin.'
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