Com Prakash Karat's description of the CPI(M) task ahead as long and arduous is apt and wise .The CPI(M) should not rush into any hasty revision of its ideological , programmatic and tactical line or go in for wholesale change of leadership simply on the basis of the undoubtedly debilitating electoral defeat in West Bengal. The temptation would be high among sections of the party's well meaning middle class cadres and armchair academics to advocate a certain kind of ' leftism' as the answer to a certain kind of ' partyism' that according to me has played a role in organizational and political stagnation of the CPI(M) as a mass revolutionary party not just in West Bengal but elsewhere in the country. As the Chinese comrades are never tired of pointing out we should try to learn from facts . And learn as we go forward , trying not to make the same mistakes. We should theorize our own specific revolutionary experience both in the parliamentary and extra parliamentary struggles rather than try to fit our reality into some theory of revolution that seemingly offers solution to every problem that we face. A few practical suggestions on the critical review that Com Prakash has promised . 1) Let the friends of the party and the left democratic movement also contribute to the review in structured fashion that does not disrupt the organizational unity or help the class enemies to confuse and demoralize the party rank and file. 2)Insist on inner party self criticism by the leaders and leading cadres who have made mistakes and inform the larger democratic community of the thrust and tenor of their self criticism so that they have confidence in the party's capacity for rectification. Again, without sowing confusion among the party's supporters. I know this is armchair advice. But I am sure the party has the quality and the capability of turning this setback into an opportunity. N. Madhavan Kutty
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