"The SFI national leadership's move to dissolve the entire unit reeks of authoritarianism, a lack of appreciation of the political impulse of the students of JNU, and a violation of its own stated aims of mass organisation independence". A short blogpost on the events related to the SFI-JNU unit recently.
In a shocking move, the entire unit of the Students Federation of India (SFI) at the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has been dissolved by the all India leadership of the student organisation. The decision to do so - a majority one apparently - was done following the unit's opposition - expressed through a general body meeting of students in the campus - to the CPI(M)'s decision to endorse Pranab Mukherjee for the candidature of president of the country.
The JNU unit of the SFI has been a mainstay of the student movement in the country, responsible for struggles both within the campus - resulting in major achievements by the student community there - and for voicing and providing solidarity to various progressive and revolutionary movements outside it. It is undisputable that the progressive legacy of the campus - warts and all - has been possible through efforts of the student organisation over a course of four decades.
The sudden decision to dissolve the unit by its national leadership has been protested by it. The statement of protest is available here.
In an interesting response, the chief political opposition to the SFI in the campus - the ruling All India Students Association affiliated to the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist-Liberation) - had welcomed the resolution against supporting Mukherjee's candidature in its response to the SFI-JNU's resolution.
The SFI-JNU's response to AISA's position is a significant pamphlet that calls for non-sectarianism in the Left and details its endorsement of a path of left unity and struggle.
From the look of things, the campus' left groups have taken a principled stand on the candidature of Pranab Mukherjee and the Left parties' position on it. True to the campus' nature of politics - where the international, national and the local have all remained the arena of discourse, debate, discussions and praxis - the SFI JNU's position has emerged out of its understanding that flows from its left credentials.
The SFI national leadership's move to dissolve the entire unit reeks of authoritarianism, a lack of appreciation of the political impulse of the students of JNU, and a violation of its own stated aims of mass organisation independence. Has it shot itself in the foot ? This author's response is yes.