Millennium Post

Left still in political limbo

Left still in political limbo
The nature of our revolution in the present stage of its development is essentially anti-feudal, anti-imperialist, anti-monopoly and democratic. The stage of our revolution also determines the role of the different classes in the struggle to achieve it. In the present era, the proletariat will have to lead the democratic revolution as a necessary step in its forward march to the achievement of socialism. It is not the old type of bourgeois democratic revolution, but a new type of people’s democratic revolution organised and led by the working class.’

For those who are uninitiated, this quote above is an extract from the CPI (M)’s party programme that is considered an inviolable guide book in communist party traditions; though amendable to stay in line with the times.

So, if that were the case – and if we take West Bengal as the test case – it should be the proletariat (working class) who should lead the ‘democratic revolution’ that could lead to the ‘achievement of socialism.’ Now, Anil Biswas was state secretary of the West Bengal state committee of the CPI (M) had once said that ‘Elections are a part of the class struggle.’ Now, Anil Biswas was the secretary of the party when the party was allowing its roots and branches to spread. So if we were to take his statement as a gospel, then we need to examine the candidates’ list of the CPI (M) for the general elections of 2014.

What do we see in that? Well, CPI (M) was contesting 32 of the 42 total seats in West Bengal, leaving the ten seats to the other Left Front partners. Of the 32 candidates, we notice a peculiar phenomenon – that it is a struggle for the proletariat to get into that list.

Let’s talk numbers here. Of the 32 that are listed in the party’s website – with their profiles helpfully attached – only six have been distinctly described as being from poverty-ridden backgrounds. Only two are from the peasant’s front of the party; and only three from the labour front. There is a profusion of teachers and medical doctors, clearly the elite in a rural setting.

So these were the people the West Bengal state committee chose for extending ‘democratic revolution as a necessary step in its forward march to the achievement of socialism.’ The party programme is replete with references to the working class, but at one instance it also talks of the ‘working people,’ obviously to raise engagement with the ‘mass base’ But isn’t it the case of standing on two stools – cadre and mass? And isn’t this election a manifestation of falling between the two? We shall have to wait till next year – 2015 – for an answer to these questions. For, as the outgoing general secretary, Prakash Karat, has stated, the 21st Congress of the party will examine the organisational-political situation of the party, and decide about its ‘political line’ of the CPI (M).
One may recall that during the last, 20th Congress of the party – held in early 2012 – an ideological document was approved and adopted. It said for example, about China: ‘In China today, what is being sought is to be attained is the conformity between the levels of productive forces and the relations of production under socialism. The advanced socialist production relations cannot be sustainable at lower levels of productive forces. A prolonged period of low levels of productive forces would give rise to a major contradiction between the daily expanding material and cultural needs of the people under socialism and backward productive forces. The Chinese Communist Party (CPC) has concluded that if this contradiction remains unresolved, the socialism itself in China would be under threat.’

Clearly, the CPI (M) too feels rushed. It realises that if it cannot reinvent the party to create a relationship of emerging ‘superior productive processes’ and production relations under socialism, it will get obliterated in the present Indian.

The unfortunate part of the story is that the party is not geared for moving towards a situation where these experiments can be conducted, since the party and the front it leads does not enjoy primacy in no major parts of the country, any more. So one option will be to run the municipalities and panchayats where the party is in power in that dialectic mentioned above; the leadership will need to adopt the desired attitude and run them in those lines.

Of course, before that the party will need a makeover where the real working class – not the working people – and the peasantry see itself growing to positions of authority within the party.
More importantly, ‘The updated Party Programme elaborately deals with the formation of the people’s democratic front that will lead the people’s democratic revolution under the leadership of the working class and also the programme of the people’s democratic front. Crucial in achieving this is the strengthening of the ‘subjective factor’ which, in turn, amongst others, depends on the effective use of parliamentary and extra parliamentary means of struggle and the building of the worker-peasant alliance. The necessary tactics are worked out from time to time which dovetail our strategic objective of changing the correlation of forces amongst the Indian people towards strengthening the class struggles for the people’s democratic revolution. (Author’s emphasis) There is also a need for broad left unity platform for launching any parliamentary and extra-parliamentary programme.    
 
The author is a senior journalist
Pinaki Bhattacharya

Pinaki Bhattacharya

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