Steer Clear from Jargon, Look at the Ground Reality: CPI(M) Today

Written by Y Venugopal Reddy | Published on: February 10, 2018
A lot of informed or uninformed discussions are out in different platforms in the wake of Central Committee deliberations and outcome at its meeting in Kolkata. Most of them are aimed at vitiating the discussion rather than constructively contributing to a better informed debate. Some of these columnists are fuming at the Party and hurling abuses on a section of Party leadership sans facts of the discussions in question. By now it is well known that the Party Central Committee met at Kolkata in third week of January and adopted a Draft Political Resolution by majority vote.

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A lot is under circulation about the contents of the resolution moved by the Party General Secretary. This is not the place to reveal the contents in full but one point needs to be noted here. The draft defeated at the CC, we are given to understand, argues that the continuation of BJP government at center would be a major dampener in efforts to realise the anti-imperialist, anti-monopoly, anti-landlord tasks set out by the 21st Congress held in 2015. It only urged the forthcoming Party Congress to look for the ways and means of ensuring the adherence of the task set out by 21st Congress. It also argued further that while adhering to the oranisational and political tasks set out by 21st Congress, and in view of the critical objective of defeating of the BJP-RSS combine, precautions should be taken not to enter into any kind of electoral front or alliance with bourgeoisie-landlord parties. The General Secretary note has not batted for a pre-poll alliance with the Congress, as alleged by a section of media. The columnists understanding of recent political developments also came into question when he concludes about the so called pre-poll alliance with the Congress.

It is a matter of historical record that, throughout the country, there was no such an explicit understanding with the Congress in the 2004 general elections except in Andhra Pradesh. That too, the Andhra Pradesh state committee adopted a synchronised understanding through which it ensured that the Congress did not put up candidates where the CPI(M) was contesting seats. This yielded better results for the Party in 2004 general elections. Another significant point of note, albeit in retrospect: Only in 2004, where a grand understanding was arrived between the secular democratic forces, did the Party get its highest representation in the Lok Sabha, from Kerala as well.

In 2004, there was an explicit pre-poll alliance between Congress and the CPI(M) AP committee where as an understanding was arrived with the Congress and CPIM in Maharashtra , Madhya Pradesh and Orissa. These were the deliberations took place between Harikishan Singh Surjeet and Pranab Mukherjee on one hand and YS Rajasekhar Reddy and BV Raghavulu on the other, the then chiefs of both AP Congress and AP unit of CPIM, respectively. Late Koratala Satyanarayana and P Shiva Shankar were also part of these track two deliberations. It is in the background of these discussions , that BV Raghavulu even agreed to relinquish the Miryalaguda parliamentary constituency, which is a traditionally party stronghold to the Congress, so that S Jaipal Reddy could contest and win. Now is it not surprising that the same BV Raghavulu, who once piloted this explicit pre-poll alliance with the arch class enemy , Congress, is now putting forth an argument that it is because of such alliances the Party has been reduced to its present state ? By putting forth this argument, the hardliners in the CPI-M want to delink the arbitrary withdrawal of support to UPA 1 and what this has meant for the far reduced prospects of the Left in India.

Another fallacious argument advanced by this columnist  was around the Common Minimum Program. The question of Common Minimum Program arose only after the then Congress President Sonia Gandhi personally visited Harikishan Surjeet, the then Party General secretary amidst media glare. Arguing  that the Party stitched the CMP well before elections is a reversal of facts as they transpired. Those who claim that the CPI(M)'s current plight in West Bengal --reduced from its popularity peak -- are forgetting one crucial thing. This process started with the Purulia’s arm drop incident to the propping up of underground naxal forces intertwined with political resistance under the leadership of Trinamool Congress. The , consistent efforts by the ruling classes dominated by the interests and allegiance towards international finance capital are today barely concealed from the public eye. Yes. Certain orgnanisational aspects contributed to the overlooking of the class enemies’ and concerted organised political violence in the guise of political protest. This is the understanding arrived by the Party Central Committee at its meeting in June 2011.

For the benefit of readers I am reproducing the relevant portion from the Review Report of Assembly Elections, 2011 (West Bengal) here. “The Assembly elections were held in a situation marked by the concerted efforts of the ruling classes and imperialism to weaken the CPI(M) and the Left. These efforts began due to the role played by the Left during the UPA-I government in opposing the neo-liberal policies and the strategic alliance with the United States. They got intensified after the withdrawal of support to the government in July 2008. The ruling classes and imperialist agencies worked to assemble a range of forces to attack the Left in West Bengal, the strongest base of the Left in the country.”

Similarly the Central Committee review of 2016 Assembly elections states, “The elections were held in a very difficult condition faced by our Party.  During the course of last five years, the terror unleashed by the Trinamool Congress had even before the campaign began consumed the lives of 176 of our comrades apart from internally displacing over 60,000 families of Party members and sympathizers, the ransacking and looting of Party and mass organization offices, the specific targeting of women comrades etc.” Those who today allege that the 2011 assembly outcome  was only because of some drastic shift within the West Bengal Party, are either politically naïve or are ignoring the wider canvass against which these developments took place. Or intentionally don’t want to see them.
Keeping these developments in view, linking the CPI(M)'s current position in West Bengal with the recently defeated minority resolution is a calculated misinformation campaign. Here is the assessment arrived by the Party in the wake of Assembly elections in 2016 in conclusion, “The BJP’s aggressiveness post these elections is taking different forms in different states. Apart from the standard RSS scheme of sharpening communal polarisation to consolidate the Hindutva communal vote bank, the BJP is undertaking specific exercises in social engineering in various states. In the southern states particularly various caste combinations are being created and a caste based coalitions are sought to be built by the BJP in addition to its hardcore communal agenda. In a situation where in different states the Congress party is in a state of disarray for various reasons, the BJP is taking full advantage by undertaking both these tasks. The Party must be conscious of these efforts by the communal forces and strengthen our intervention among the people against these.”(emphasis is mine).

Confirming this assessment by the Party, like West Bengal prior to 2011, Kerala has now become the target for class enemies. The developments taking place in Kerala at the behest of the ruling BJP not only reaffirms the Party’s understanding but also highlights the impending danger. In Kerala, through concerted efforts, the BJP has mobilised large number of its followers from other states in a show of strength and to boost the morale of their local cadre which will have serious consequences. The RSS chief has made it a point to stoke controversies in their efforts to de-popularise the CPI(M) in Kerala and the government under its leadership. It is in this context, the Party rightly decided to defend the Kerala government. The LDF government in Kerala represents various movements against the Congress’ monopoly in the state’s socio-economic life, which is facing unending attacks from the BJP/RSS off late. Which is why, a considerable number of Central Committee members strongly felt that the urgency to ward off the impending threat both for Kerala’s Left Democratic Front and also to the larger secular democratic fabric of the nation,  can only mean defeating the BJP in forthcoming general elections. To ensure that this happen, the adopted draft political resolution (yet to be released formally) argued for a tie up with the anti-BJP regional forces in all the states even though they are in political and electoral tie up with the Congress.  This is the alleged difference between the two drafts.

The review of the political tactical line, which was aimed at  helping the Party to arrive at a correct tactical line in pursuant of the goals set out by the Party Program and successive Party Congress. It is Para no. 6 which is the point of reckoning, arguably self contradictory in style, akin to the stance of Communists, in the country.

In essence the resolution adopted at 21st Congress clearly affirms the fact, “The successive tactical lines in this period also gave guidance to fight separatism, regional chauvinism and imperialist penetration.” Despite this fact, if the Party is unable expand its strengths, it should be looking inward and evaluating subjective factors rather than trying to change the objective factors which are clearly beyond their control. The deliberations of the CC at Kolkata clearly seem to see things happening the other way round. The operational part of the draft political resolution adopted at Kolkata seems to consist of a section indicating that the Party won’t mind having an electoral alliance with dominant regional parties even if they allied with Congress. The majority decision goes against the spirit of the political and organisational line adopted at the 21st Congress of the Party. To formulate so, it is pertinent to look at the actual political scenario as on date. Any tactical line cannot be formulated based on assumptions. The draft resolution, if what is revealed through media is correct, clearly tries to formulate its position based on some futuristic assumptions rather than the prevailing factual situation.

The 21st Congress resolution on PTL clearly concludes, “ Under the impact of globalization and in the neo-liberal policies phase, sections of the regional bourgeoisie are joining the ranks of the big bourgeoisie. Further, the contradiction between the non-big bourgeoisie and the big bourgeoisie has become muted. As a result we have seen how the neo-liberal policies have been embraced by the regional bourgeois parties. In the recent years we have seen that these parties are not willing to come to any joint platform against the economic policies.”

When this is the given fact of dominant regional parties, most of whom are in power, how can the Party think of allying with them when they are closely knitted with the class enemy of international finance capital wedded with the monopoly capita of the nation, is the what should be pondered over. The draft resolution, if it cannot steer clear from this confusion, is going to be nothing but semantic jargon rather than a clear guiding light for the Party in the days to come. 

(The author is an advocate in the High Court)