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Why, it’s not dialectics Arindam, it’s stupidity, dumb ass!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation reports on the 19th All India Congress for the Communist Party of India (Marxist), one the largest and most successful “communist” parties in the world with good size representation in India’s parliament (including a CPM member being speaker of parliament) and control over West Bengal. CPI (ML) writes:

“Why, it’s not double standards, comrades, it’s dialectics!”
– Arindam Sen

How do we explain opposing Tata in Kalinganagar and welcoming him in Singur? How do we oppose globalisation and imperialist capital in other areas of the country while endorsing both in West Bengal? It was in response to many such doubts aired by some delegates to the 19th all India congress of CPI(M) that the above remark was made by one of the most visible and articulate leaders of the party. To what extent this ingenious application of Marxist philosophy enthralled his audience is anybody’s guess. Very interestingly, in a post-congress exclusive interview, a pro-party magazine like Frontline questioned the re-elected general secretary about the opinion that the “policy framework being given to the party-led State governments would be at variance with the national policy perspectives of the CPI(M) congress with regard to liberalisation”. This did indicate something, and Karat was further asked, “Would not this lead to a kind of confusion among the CPI(M) cadre?”

At the top of confusions and debates, however, it was West Bengal which really stole the show at the 19th congress…top leaders including General Secretaries have offered all assistance and guidance to the process of continual rightward drift in the Left Front Government’s economic policies. Joint ventures, or what we would call PPPs today, proved to be a transitional step towards privatisation and then the neoliberal industrial policy document of 1994. Through all such steps right up to the West Bengal SEZ Act of 2003 and the current craze of corporate industrialisation, the central leaders stood solidly behind the Bengal leadership, providing theoretical justification to whatsoever the latter did, or wished to do. In 2005, for instance, the 18th Congress opened up the gates to foreign investment. By and by it became clear to all that there was actually no such thing as Kolkata line versus Delhi line. The Bengal line was and is the central line. To be more accurate, the Bengal practice has always been the motive force in the evolution of the all India political perspective. (In this congress too, the party adopted a policy document that further liberalised the economic policies of state governments run by it.) Politburo member Sitaram Yechury made this amply clear in Coimbatore when he said, “What is happening in Bengal is not anti-liberalisation. We are open to foreign capital. Whatever we are doing in Bengal, we are asking Manmohan Singh to do for India”.

Focusing the spotlight on Bengal and its Chief Minister was a carefully considered political decision. BB is obviously the brightest poster boy of the new-look CPI(M). It is he who best represents the aggressive version of social democracy which works directly and violently for big capital and against peasants and workers while still carrying the red flag. Highlighting him is the party’s way to project its own brand of neoliberal developmentalism as the best selling point to improve the stakes in the corridors of power at the central as well as state levels…

But is everything going well in the party’s Bengal bastion? Not exactly, according to reports placed in the party congress. The proportion of Muslim members in the party is decreasing in Bengal and elsewhere, says the organisational report. What it does not say is that the alienation is a very normal outcome of the Advani-like steps and statements (on madarsas, or the treatment meted out to Rizwanur, for example) on the part of BB and his government. In recent times the latter have taken many a measure like appeasing Muslim fundamentalism on the Taslima Nasreen issue and announcing sops for the Muslim masses just ahead of the panchayat polls. But results are yet to show up.

In view of all this the 19th Congress has issued the call of yet another campaign to rectify mistakes at lower levels throughout the country. Once again this is only a ritual, an exercise in self-deception. With fundamental ideological problems originating at the top and flowing downwards, such an endeavour is bound to prove as futile as on earlier occasions. When the Gangotri remains heavily contaminated, what is the use of trying to clean up the Ganga at the lower reaches?

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