Dear Com. Maran,
The student organisation came to being after the JNU unit was dissolved by the national SFI (presumably under orders from the CPI(M)).
The DSF's views on the CPI(M) are not unwarranted as you make out to be. They are valid criticisms. Making valid criticisms of the CPI(M) is not to attack it rampantly for the sake of it as other left organisations (like the ML-Lib have unfortunately done), but are political criticisms from a non-sectarian point of view. The views accurately reflect on the mistakes and deviations made by the CPI(M) over the years and which has resulted in disenchantment with some of its own adherents, sympathisers and activists, who have now decided to strike it on their own after their unfortunate "dissolution". This does not mean that DSF & other organisations are not cognisant of the achievements of the CPI(M) and those involved and are part of it. They are acknowledeged and the DSF provides its solidarity with them (and I am not speaking for them but reiterating what they have been saying - archived at http://dsfweb.wordpress.com).
I request you to have an open mind and take an impartial view of the Left's mistakes over the years, which include an undue reliance on degenerated regional parties only to be rebuffed and made a fool of every time; right wing deviation and anti-people stances & policies in West Bengal and authoritarian anti-democratic attitudes in places like Kerala - even as being supportive and endorsing of the humongous achievements of the mainstream Left in a degenerate polity like ours. I sincerely believe that without taking a critical and objective stance, the ills that the Left faces today will neither be cured and will only push the Left further into isolation rather than into the popular mainstream with its core intact - despite its achievements elsewhere.
The article by srinir exhibits petty-bourgeoise attitude, ignoring the complex ground realities in a vast country like India.
The emergence of various regional parties in many states is a ground reality. A Communist party like the CPI(M) can’t ignore them totally. There are certain contradictions between the regional parties as a whole and the two main big bourgeoise political representatives like the Congress and the BJP, again contradictions among regional parties themselves and contradictions between the Congress and the BJP themselves. These are not simple issues to be ignored .
The authors sweeping remarks against the CPI(M) are exactly in same nature like what the anti-Communist vested interests, parties and the media have been making against the CPI(M) for a long time. Their objective has always been to belittle the CPI(M) on every issue and in the process, to promote parties that suit their political preferences. Earlier, the Right wingers were attacking .Now the Left wingers are competing with the right wingers to attack the CPI(M) from petty bourgeoise sectarian angle.
The author makes an over-simplified remark like , “Unfortunately, the Left Parties under the leadership of the CPI (M) is unable to provide this alternative. That is because they continue to rely on opportunistic forces like the SP, BSP and other regional parties, which do not share any alternative policy vision”, in support of which he cites their recent voting on FDI in parliament .
The CPI(M) has no illusions about the class character of the various regional parties like the SP,BSP, TDP, DMK,AIADMK etc .The CPI(M) always relies on and gives emphasis to the independent mobilization of the masses on various issues that affect the people . The vacillations of various regional parties on class issues is well –known to the Left, especially the CPI(M) which has been pointing out this fact from time to time .
The very fact that the Left parties jointly and the CPI(M) independently have been conducting numerous movements at all india level and at state level as well shows that they don’t rely on parties like SP and BSP , as the author would want us to believe. But at the same time, it does not mean that the CPI(M) should not go for joint action whenever the possibilities arise on various issues? If the regional parties make volte face on various issues, it is they who get exposed and it is they who stand isolated from the masses. Why blame the CPI(M) ?
For your information, the CPIM in Tamil Nadu has been exposing the DMK for its double talk on fuel price hike and FDI in retail. The CPI(M) leadership in the state led by State Secretary, Com G Ramakrishnan has been posing numerous questions to the DMK .Its octogenarian leader , Karunanidhi has been busy these days to write in his party mouth piece ,responding to the CPI(M)’s criticism of his party’s stand. Why does the DMK Chief take the CPI(M)’s criticism seriously, though the latter is not a ruling party in TN? It is simply because the CPI(M) and its mass organisations like SFI, DYFI, KISAN SABHA, AIDWA , Untouchability Eradication Front have been conducting numerous movements independently and also jointly with other Left parties and organisations. The DMK is apprehensive of its impact on the people both in short and long run. Hence the DMK and other regional parties resort to identity politics , just to blunt the Left’s political mobilization of the masses by diverting the peoples attention from real issues. The Left parties have to live with this reality and work hard more to overcome the difficulties in its struggle against the policies of the ruling class, which is not their making.
It is simple dialectics that the regional parties will come to join hands with the Lerft more reliably, only when the Left can emerge more strong ,more particularly in its strongholds and can play its interventionist role in national politics . That is why the Imperialism and the ruling class has been very particular to weaken the Left, particularly the CPI(M) in its strongholds. Because, it fears the organized Left more which is capable of unleashing mass movement against neo-liberal policies of the ruling class.
But then , who plays into the hands of the ruling class by giving a call for “new left” now , by gathering various individuals being hostile to the CPI(M)? The ruling class is always gleeful,whenever splinter CPI(M) groups are active. Their media goes overboard to give more coverage to whatever they utter against the CPI(M). They lionize such splinter groups disproportionately. We have seen this more particularly in Kerala , west Bengal and Tripura in the past and at present as well.
The author mentions about the CPI(ML) "whose sole motivation is to attack the CPI (M)". I agree with this comment. But what about the author himself? I am afraid that he is doing exactly the same , attacking the CPI(M) blindly . The January 13th meeting itself was by those who have been to hostile to the CPI(M)!!!!
please take a look at the recent activities of your "disciplined" communist party in the recent times: trying to establish an SEZ by taking over farmlands and firing on peasants in nandigram, cutting deals with the Congress to pass the nuclear deal while opposing it in public, killing left leaders like TP Chandrashekaran in Kerala, supporting Congressman Pranab Mukherjee in the presidential elections, trying to fight FDI in retail joining hands with Mulayam Singh and getting fooled in the process and now openly batting for SEZ status to Infosys and Wipro in West Bengal...
"Democratic Centralism" ensures that such activities and the leaders who promote them continues to hold their positions and stall any attempt at rectification. Got the Point?
Stop the blah blah blah..about Prabhat Patnaik, Prakash Karat, V.I Lenin etc. etc..
Is the CPI(M) really trying to build a left and democratic alternative? where...? how...?
why aren't more forces joining the efforts of the CPI(M)? if the author of this article is sectarian, are all others in the country being sectarian too?
please introspect. that is the least that is expected of the CPI(M). the lack of self-criticism and the continuing self-righteousness of the CPI(M) is really appalling.
Here come replies from the most open minded, self-critical, non status quoists, genuine revolutionaries bashing and using some fancy and sarcastic words (whose meanings could be found in urban dictionaries only if people like me searches for their meanings) people who dare to disagree with their political and organisational line.
Anyway, the whole point is about the intentions. A group of current and former activists have suddenly started seeing every anti Left Front, mainly CPI (M) person or organisation as genuine revolutionaries after its decision to support Pranab Mukherjee for presidential candidate. If at all this group of individuals is honest in achieving what they have endorsed in their appeal released on Pragoti after their meeting on 13 January and claim to work for social transformation and presenting political alternative at the national level would they care to reply how are they going to achieve these and other objectives mentioned in their appeal? If their answer is that they are going to do it by building mass struggles at grass root levels and forming a broad left and progressive platform then how is it different from what CPI(M) and other left parties are trying to do? Which are these forces and organisations (other than who attended this meeting) with whom these genuine revolutionaries will co-operate in future to strengthen unity of progressive and left forces? Will the organisers of this meeting tell masses from where they have excavated these real and genuine leftists who shared the dais that day and about their political credentials?
Did the organisers forget to invite their revolutionary counterparts such as AISA and AISF or these organisations didn't show any interest as most of the students of that campus in this new left formation?
The points mentioned in that Pragoti post quoting Aniket Alam, Prabhat Patnaik etc. has been given proper reply by Party GS in the following article - http://www.cpim.org/marxist/201001-Democratic-Centralism-Prakash.pdf
There was no logical arguments in pragoti to any of these explainations by Party GS.
It is like some people saying because errors occured in Socialisonstruction, Socialism itself is a failure, because there are problems in implementing DC, the concept itself is a failure.
Second, the word "new initiative" itself seems to be sectarian, because if the cause is really genuine, the so called initiative should have been to broaden the existing Left & Democratic Front. CPI(M) also mentions in its party congress PR, not any hegemony for party but for broader Left & Democratic Fronts. The thrust is to unify all people's struggles (those of workers, peasants and other marginalized sections) against the imperialists, landlords, big bougeosie.
And we want broader fronts for broader goals.. but fopr specific goals of PDR or SR, we need a disciplined "Communist Party" with DC. Apart from that its an absurd assumption that those who are criticising your arguments are being hostile - thats intolerance towards criticisms which looks like undemocratic...I feel and all people who wants a change in system wants all like minded people to be together not separate.
The CPI(M) GS's views on democratic centralism are unconvincing, the CPI(M)'s praxis has not reached a stage, where one can say they have made progress (at a pretty opportune moment). It is the innovative Left forces from elsewhere who have shown the path for left and progressive forces' unity, capturing public imagination and rallying around the basic classes in the fight against exploitation, neoliberalism, imperialism and for social justice. The CPI(M) has managed, through its historical trajectory, bring millions of adherents to its praxis and its call for a people's democratic revolution, but at the same time, committed such monumental blunders and has repeated them that it has lost the confidence of many an adherent as well has precluded those who have to be their base from supporting and adhering to them wholeheartedly.
All this is plain evident to those who have eyes and ears and are willing to be self-critical, except the same old naysayers and pooh-poohers who are happy with the status quo. The earlier linked article by a commenter, comprehensively shows up as to how the practice of "Democratic Centralism" has degenerated organisationally and has subverted genuine democratic norms. That does not mean that any organisation that professes democratic centralism cannot be part of a revolutionary praxis, which can and must be brought out by joint praxis and engagement in joint struggle led by various left and progressive forces.
It is also sad that any new initiative from any section of the Left that is not exclusive led by the CPI(M) is seen as hostile by some of the status quoists. I would urge them to have a more open mind.
The same link was more of rhetoric. On Democratic Centralism - CPI(M) GS had written a piece on Marxists arguing against all the quotations mentioned there, there was no answer which means, there was no new or thought proviking thing, there is no logical explaination still why DC is irrelevant today (and the relevance was stressed by the GS). The possibilities thrown by the so called structural changes was nothing but copy from the Ideological Resolution of CPI(M) and few rhetoric....
The commenter above has not followed the debates that have happened in this very site - pragoti.in , where the same kind of arguments peddled by status quoists against critics of the current politics of the left have been well answered and responded to. The response is reposted here -
All the arguments vis-a-vis the problems and misguided principles in the Left today; the need for unity of genuine democratic, progressive and leftist forces; the lessons learnt from successes of the left forces elsewhere in the world - and dialectically, from the failures/ stagnancy of the "orthodox socialist forces" of the past century are all explained and detailed in the above article.
The need for left unity despite significant programmatic differences through a platform approach that is democratic and based on joint struggles and united praxis is also touched upon - and that is precisely what the new initiative launched in the JNU has started and envisaged - an effort that must be appreciated and engaged with. "Vanguardism" and "my party is the best"- attitude will lead one nowhere.
Pragoti has been trying to show ever since Prasenjith Bose has submitted resignation of a new Political model (supposed to be of Latin America or Syriza model) and also condemnation of Democratic Centralism. Its highly appreciable that broad left & democratic front forging is being told, but then what is new here? What is new from what CPI(M) has been trying to build the Left & Democratic Alternative and a longer term People's Democratic Front which would spearhead the PDR? Apart from pure rhetoric there is neither nothing new (as they are supposed to be showing) nor anything substantiative apart from words like more federalism, restructuring of constitutional democracy... CPI(M) has submitted their opinions of proprotional representtaive democracy and how a people's democratic state would be, also on the federalism. So what is new here?
But a Communist Party supposed to be the vanguard of working class - there is no valid or logical point how democratic centralism has become invalid or failed! what all had been mentioned had been the problems, there was no dialectic approach to investigate whether because of these problems this cocnept itself is absurd or how those problems can be addresses. Not a mention abt the external conditions, the string and wide control of Imperialism on every aspect of society including the minds of even teh rural people. Broad front is required for broader goals, but for specific goals of class struggle, to guide till sopcialist revolution, Democratic Centralism is the base without which enemy wille asily disunite and sp[read chaos among people!
And there is no suprise because of the broad goals - this article doesnt use the terms "land lords", "big -bourgeosie", "imperialists". And even no mention about working class, poor & middle peasantry, agricultural worklers and other marginalized sections.
if really this initiative want to broaden the left & democratic front, why cant join the existing and make it more broader!!
I find a big sectarian approach here, my request if your intentions are genuine & honest, pls dont take sectarian stands, join and strengthen the existing Left & Democratic Front led by CPI(M), CPI, RSP, FB
sane advise...but one has to be careful not to become too suspicious about others.
As you have said that you are willing to widen the political objectives in future on the basis of consultations and discussions and also have made an appeal to those who support the said political objectives ,even to an individual, to join hands in the struggle towards realisation of the same, first you have to guarantee and/or to keep a close watch to prevent the persons who are not of transparent images from leading the struggle under the banner of the said common platform , otherwise the trust-worthiness of the said struggle will be at stake,even if there be the honest intention behind the said movement.
In continuation to several remarks and caution given by Gramsci with the polemic over the intransigent Emedio Bordiga and Tusca, Gramsci reminds us of the Bureaucratic Centralism existing as a contingent proclivity adhered by the bourgeois parties and their henchmen. The warnings of Lenin to the Bolseviks attending the Duma of Kerenisky, apropos parliamentary cretinism. This has reference to the classic work------------------------ Left Wing Communism, Infantile disorder.
dear comrade kinjal ghose,
thanks for raising a set of interesting questions. any political party, especially one which seeks to make a revolution against the bourgeois order, has to have certain norms of discipline. the problem arises when discipline is equated with blind adherence, obedience, sucking up or outright sycophancy. rather than debating in abstract, if one focuses on the Left in west bengal, the issues becomes clearer. you'd certainly agree that the questions confronting the movement there go much beyond digging tubewells. it is clear that the people are not happy with the present state of the Left. that is why they lost the elections. the issue is whether the CPIM and the Left as a whole is in a position to change itself politically and organizationally in keeping with the wishes of the people. from the developments so far, it appears that something is preventing the CPIM from bringing changes. it is in this context that questions regarding the organisational structure is being raised. do you seriously believe that the rank and file of the Left are allowed to debate and discuss issues freely even within party fora? do you think that the party leaders at all levels are elected in a democratic manner? our experience is that it is not so any more.
as far as the apolitical nature of the social movements is concerned, everyone cannot be tainted with the same brush. there are NGOs and NGOs. some are busy racketeering. others are doing serious work among people. what is the harm in working together with those organisations who are fighting on genuine issues? they may be against the politics practised by bourgeois parties but if the Left takes up issues and struggles for them, many others may join. the question is, why are people rallying behind Anna Hazare and india against corruption today and not the Left?
and as for vanguardism, leadership in a movement has to be earned and not imposed. please note what AM has said in the interview regarding Fidel Castro and the cuban revolution. Fidel was not a communist when he made the revolution. the communist party of cuba existed but could not make the revolution. fidel succeeded despite formally not being a communist. so shall waste time in debating whether fidel castro was a "leninist" or rather draw the lesson that a revolution can be made by political parties irrespective of their organisational principles, given they have the correct revolutionary perspective?
A very mature interview. The need for committed political workers who will dedicate their time and resources to the task of social transformation is definitely one of the main challenges amidst NGO activism, consumerism and decline of ideology. The evolution of a transformative non-sectarian agenda for the 21st century can open up new grounds for the movement. A move in the correct direction.
1. Is the notion of DC anithetic to 'opening up'? Even in the past i had seen that on several issues of widespread social ramification (be it even at the local level), there has been efforts at calling for 'conventions' which could be attended by anybody. i particularly remember one such convention being called in my locality to decide the locations as to where the tube-wells were to be dug in by the then Left-led South Suburban Municipality in Kolkata. Or is it being proposed to have a similar model for the decision-making on a plitico-organisational matter of the Party and within the Party too? i understand that the strict structures of discipline and regimentation were formulated at a time when there was a direct/physical threat from imperialism and its cohorts (especially in Tsarist Russia). But is it still not the case albeit in changed forms?
2. Isn’t that area of a somewhat greater “openness” already extant within the organizational framework and functioning of the mass-organizations of the Left?
3. Behind the so called ‘social movements’ that we are seeing today in this nation (the ones which are getting covered by the media), isn’t there an attempt at “depoliticisation” (often in the garb of NGO activism) of the system- from base to super structure? How to engage ourselves with these forms of politics and to keep ourselves ideologically rooted without strict discipline, of which DC may be said to be an inherent part?
4. The ‘vanguardism’ of a communist party perhaps originates from the philosophy that the Party is the most crucial of the subjective factors for a revolution as it cannot succeed merely upon the existence of the objective factors (my understanding could be absolutely wrong). My abjuring the role of the vanguard, are we trying to redefine Leninism?
you're right...age is your real problem. not physical age though, but mental. you seem to be have got tired. take rest.
you seem to be reacting on the basis of your own prejudices against the interviewee rather than commenting on the content of the interview. there are many important points that have been made in this brief interview which deserves serious engagement, rather than the callous attitude you are displaying.
there are many contradictions in this interview not only in comparison with program distributed from AWP in their meeting but there r many contradictions in this interview too. regarding national question, asim has same old views and did not learn from past experience. from NAP till today we have idealistic views regarding national question. is there any country where u can find one nationality base province? neither in Europe nor Africa nor Asia. Pakistan must be reconstituted as a multi-national state: what it means? and he further reproduce old rhetoric i-e cannot be convinced that Pakistan is theirs until incumbent structures are dismantled and the historical domination of Punjabi and URdu-speaking ethnic groups is redressed. this is a usual rhetoric. if u really want to unite working people of all nationalities then leave ur OLD prejudices first. even in the program, there r worst things. it is fully loaded with old Cold war terminologies. His analysis regarding political workers and NGOs seems more pathetic and looks like a usual sermon of an old guard i-e we live in an era where the committed political worker who dedicates time and resources voluntarily to the party is becoming a rarity. The NGO phenomenon has a lot to do with this, as does the glitter of consumerism and the decline of ideology. if left political workers r not with left small groups than there is a reason behind it. people like u donot want to understand it. if u want to understand it u should come down from high pedestal. no need to criticize NGOs , as in reality Pakistani left had lost its credibility in 1970s while NGO phenomenon start attracting workers in late 1980s. for ur kind information, percentage of left workers is not very high yet as our friends r in it so we have such impressions. in AWP program, there were many people (both men and many women) who r with NGO or Donner community but u neither objected there entry. i knew why but if u answer it , its better. there r many left workers who r working in media, in many other sectors so they r working in NGOs too. so be rational when u comments, now u r a leader chacha ji.
How many years did AKG spend in prison totally?
Yes, despite the clamor for instant justice in this case, the continuing discontent among students and youth shows that they want systemic changes. The government is responding only to the 'instant justice' crowd, and completely failing to strike a chord with large number of students and youth with wider concerns. It is about time that the government showed the political will to confront patriarchy and create a more gender-just society for the young citizens of India.
The article omits quite a few things.
Hetero-normativity, systematic gender-related brainwashing and patriarchy in combination with deranged religions and caste systems are the main cause of such incidents.
Social reform also needs to
1. aim for universal sex education and develop a reasonable language for expression in all languages
2. destroy gender normativity. It is important to use expletives against patriarchal talk.
3. aim for remedial sex education of different population groups.