The defeat of the Left Front in
Did the Congress wave defeat the Left?
It is being said that the Left Front was defeated in
Withdrawal of support and the Indo-US Nuclear Deal
There is an even deeper problem, with the argument with regard to the question of withdrawal of support to the Congress Government on the Indo-US Nuclear Deal. It is being claimed under the rhetoric of pragmatism, that this issue was not important enough to withdraw support. This is a dangerous line of argument which has to be countered thoroughly.
It is a tribute to the Left movement of
“The Party exposed the adverse impact for
If this was the theoretical understanding of the party, then the praxis also had to be in accordance with this position. Therefore, the opposition to the Nuclear Deal is not because of any whims and fancies of any particular leader. Rather it is a necessary part of the political praxis of CPI(M) derived from its theoretical understanding of imperialism. If one is opposed to this opposition, then logically one should also question the political understanding on the Nuclear Deal.
A section of Left intellectuals in Bengal argue while accepting the basic theoretical formulations of the CPI(M) on the Nuclear Deal that why could not the CPI(M) support the Congress led Government while maintaining its opposition to the Nuclear Deal. This is an untenable proposition because of the following. The issue of anti-imperialism is an existential issue for any communist party. A communist party which endorses a Government going for such a strategic alliance with
“Support to the Congress-led government was withdrawn by the Party in July 2008 based on a unanimous decision by the central committee. Had we not withdrawn support it would have meant our acceptance of the Congress government’s surrender before
The suggestions being floated in this regard of being absent during the voting on the confidence motion or restrict the mobilizations against the Nuclear Deal to the streets is basically asking the party to act opportunistically on a core political ideological issue. The BJP and the Congress can survive such crass opportunism. Not the Left and the CPI(M).
The CPI(M)’s approach to Congress
According to me, the most disturbing aspect of this entire argument is with regard to the political line that Mr. Chatterjee and others want the CPI(M) to take. Both with regard to the withdrawal of support as well as on Com. Karat’s stand of no support to Congress led Government after elections, a section of intellectuals in Bengal are extremely critical. Reading these arguments one gets the feeling that the people of
The CPI(M) was formed after intense debate within the CPI in 1964, one of the main point of debate being what should be the party’s line vis-à-vis the Congress. The CPI(M) broke away from the CPI deciding that it will not support the Congress or the national bourgeoisie in
“ Even in the united party from the beginning we took the line of breaking the monopoly of power of the Congress. We had clearly stated that the Congress is the dominant party of the bourgeois-landlord classes, a position which it still continues to hold. When the Swatantra Party came into being in 1957, there was discussion within the united party to come to an understanding with the Congress to fight the Swatantra Party, we rejected the idea. This did not mean that we were ignoring the emergence of the Swatantra party and the necessity of an ideological fight against it, but the Swatantra Party was not that much a force to challenge the Congress. Similarly in 1962, in the united party, the question arose whether we should concentrate the main fire on the ruling Congress party as the principal opponent of the revolutionary movement or whether we have to concentrate the main fire on the extreme rightist forces, through collaboration with the ruling Congress. Those who were charging us with blind anti-Congressism rallied behind the right reactionary forces in the wake of the defeat of the Congress in the assembly elections to eight states in 1967. Whereas the CPI joined all the SVD government we refused to join any government except in
With the rise of the fascistic BJP to power, it was necessary for the Left to support the Congress led UPA Government in 2004. However, the 17th Party Congress of the CPI(M) clearly pointed out that,
“The Congress party stands for the same economic policies that it initiated in 1991. All its state governments are implementing the same discredited policies. It is with this outlook that the Congress supported the opening up of the insurance sector and amending the Patent Act in parliament. The compulsions of acting as a opposition party makes it adopt certain positions at times, but on basic economic policies it does not have any differences with the BJP. On secularism, the Congress cannot go along with the BJP, but it displays vacillations as before. As a party of the big bourgeoisie, the Congress is hostile to a federal set up and devolving more powers to the states. In Tripura, in order to fight the CPI(M) and the Left, the Congress has allied with the front of the banned extremist organisation, the NLFT. Given its class character, the CPI(M) cannot have an alliance or united front with the Congress party. In the present situation, where the BJP is the main target, the Party should adopt tactics which will enable all the secular and democratic forces to effectively thwart the gameplan of the BJP-RSS combine.” (Political Resolution of CPI(M) 17th Party Congress, para 2.69).
It must be remembered that even after maintaining this strong anti-Congress position on one hand, we also clearly said that we would be supporting the Congress, if required, to keep the BJP out of power. The people of
The real question is why should we support the Congress? Yes, one reason is secularism. However, in order to strengthen secularism in the country, it is also important to defeat the forces of globalization because such globalization actually gives rise to discontent within the people which the fascists mobilize. Therefore, even with regard to secularism it is important that the Left leads the struggle against Congress policies and provide alternative policy prescriptions for the betterment of the people. This is not possible if we continued supporting the Congress after it signed the Nuclear Deal and implemented all sorts of neo-liberal policies on the people. It is extremely important to come out of this false notion that supporting the Congress is important for the party and take the initiative to launch independent struggles both against the Congress and the BJP and their policies of neo-liberalism and communalism.
Pointing towards real reasons for the Left’s defeat in
It should be remembered that the vote share of CPI(M) in
“It is evident that such a combination which had its relevance in the concerned states was not a credible and viable alternative at the national level. Further, the electoral combinations, which were forged state-wise, precluded any national policy platform being projected.” (http://www.vote.cpim.org/node/2054)
This and any other national issue should be debated but, to remain in a denial mode on the problems of the Left in
“There should be a serious examination of the reasons for these reverses. Both national and state specific factors are responsible for the poor performance. A self-critical review will be conducted by the concerned state committees and the Central Committee which should form the basis for corrective steps. The Party will make all out efforts to regain the support and confidence of those sections of the people who have been alienated.”
The job of party intellectuals is to articulate the correct positions to the party, keeping in mind the objective conditions and the opinion of the people. In the name of partisanship, if the mistakes are willfully glossed over, then these intellectuals are doing a great disservice to the CPI(M). The proper approach would be to do an honest self-criticism based on objective facts. Patting each other’s back is not going to help the CPI(M).