Com. Subhanil's piece is timely in the wake of electoral debacle of the Left. This electoral debacle can be possibly explained as a larger ideological crisis of the CPI(M), which it might resolve in its forthcoming party congress. Surely, the current crisis of political-electoral mobilisation of the Left is fundamentally linked with its inability to provide a counter-hegemonic politics of ‘alternative’ to neoliberal capitalism. In fact, neoliberal hegemony has partly influenced the policies and political thinking of the Left, which is presently facing a crisis of what can be called as an alternative vision of development in a world marked by neoliberal consensus. In certain cases, it increasingly got identified with neoliberal discourses of the ruling classes, while rightwing populism of Trinamul was able to construct a political discourse, where certain policies of the last Left Front government in Bengal increasingly got identified as antagonistic to the people. This was contrary to the Left Front government being the 'platform of struggle’ or ‘friends of the people’, which the earlier political discourses of the Left could successfully articulate in the phase of its dominance during 1977-2006. Perhaps, the forthcoming party congress of India's largest communist party would resolve such fundamental issues like whether the Left would come back to its basic strategy of 'class struggle'. And this 'class struggle' has to be in real terms in everyday political practice of the Left. It cannot be just polemical and rhetorical or cannot just exist in the slogans. The alternative might arise from the dialectics of what the Left leadership thinks and also what the people thinks, a dialectics between the thinking of the leadership and the thinking of the people. In this respect, the Left has to continuously take lessons from the people. In order to take lessons from the people, the Left has to continuously keep in touch and engage with the people. It cannot lose contact with the people, which happened in the last few years. Secondly, the alternative might arise from the collective struggles of the people led by the Left. Those collective struggles might be on varied issues of collective rights of the people. It is a collective task of the Left to identify the basic issues of collective rights and concrete political demands of the people in a neoliberal policy regime. The common and ordinary supporters of the Left (very inclusively meant) are eagerly looking forward to the outcome of CPI(M) party congress debates, which might resolve certain basic ideological issues so that the Left becomes relevant as a political force in India and so that the Left can provide a credible alternative to the people. Hopefully, the CPI(M) party congress would match up to the aspirations of millions of common people and ordinary party activists, cadres and supporters.
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