The decision of the SFI Delhi State Committee to dissolve the JNU unit of SFI was the correct one. The following is something that I sent day before yesterday at night to a group of SFI members and sympathisers, that is much before the unit was dissolved. This assumes that the readers have read the "SFI-JNU" pamphlets dated 7 July and 9 July, and have some basic knowledge of what has happened in JNU in the past few years. There is not enough time to explain each and everything as of now. But for the moment, chew on this:
(Sent on Tue, Jul 10, 2012 at 12:08 PM)
Comrades and friends,
I condemn in unequivocal terms the positions taken by the so-called "SFI-JNU" in their pamphlets during the previous two days. Those pamphlets are pompous, escapist, and lacking in any class bias or progressive partisanship.
They are also factually erroneous in claiming that inner-organisational discussions have concluded that the primary reasons for the defeat in the 2012 elections are political (that is, Singur-Nandigram and the general state of the Left movement in the country). Member after member, sympathiser after sympathiser, came to our election review meetings and said that the leadership is distant from the masses, that they are arrogant, that most students didn't even know the candidate for the top post, and about the stupid decisions that the leadership has taken unilaterally (such as walking out of the UGBM, the stand taken on the ban on the functioning of the Forum Against War on People etc). Members who attended the unit conference also said the same, pointing out that the margin of defeat in 2012 was far far bigger than the defeat in 2007, when Nandigram was the biggest issue in campus. They added that the organisational machinery was in shambles even during the elections, many common students complaining that they haven't even met the panel even once, while the AISA panel had met them many times.
The unit conference this year was held after a huge gap of two and a half years, despite repeated requests by several activists and members to hold it in time. So much for the tall talk on democracy in the pamphlets of "SFI-JNU". Look at the GBM itself, which was called during the vacation, and that too, at the fag end of it when many of those who remain in the campus would be busy with dissertations, theses and so on. In other words, they very well knew and took comfort in the fact that attendance would be thin. Those who make pompous exhortations should practise democracy first before preaching it to others.
The pamphlets betray a sheer lack of class bias towards the movement of the working people in this country. One good example is the cavalier manner in which the issues of M M Mani and the working class movement of Idukki have been dealt with in the pamphlet. M M Mani has played a crucial role in building up the working class movement in Idukki. His words were irresponsible, true. But remarks made in one speech do not define or obscure his contributions. The movement was built up in the face of ruthless repression from the ruling classes and the state machinery. The violence unleashed on the working class movement in the district during the late 70s and early 80s was so brutal that trade union leaders had to go underground. That was taken as an opportunity by the big capitalist farmers, their goons and the goons of the Congress to unleash violence on other activists, to molest women and so on in an attempt to get them to leave CITU and to force them to join INTUC. It was popular resistance from the movement that finally facilitated the return of the leaders and enabled the working class movement to stand on its own. That fight back involved taking the goons head on, physically, yes. You cannot preach theory to goons who are out to eliminate you. I unhesitatingly stand by the movement. I'm proud of the movement which played a key role in Kerala today having the highest wage rates in India. Those who hesitate to talk about the movement while issuing pious condemnations are running away from their responsibility to educate the masses regarding the working peoples' movements in this country. By displaying a total lack of partisanship towards the largest working peoples' movement in India, they reveal their petty-bourgeois mentality for all to see.
They keep asking, what is your stand on the Pranab Mukherjee issue? My reply is this:
Pranab Mukherjee is a neoliberal, a lackey of big corporates and imperialism and so on. But so is the whole Congress leadership. CPI(M) has supported Congress candidates in the past too. Shall we have somebody from the CPI(M) to contest the Presidential elections instead? Yes, paradoxically, if we are assured of his/her failure. If there is a chance of victory, the CPI(M) cannot let a communist endure the shame of having to sign under the laws made by the Congress or the BJP. The moot point is that unless and until the Left in India has sufficient independent strength for it to crucially influence policy decisions, the decisions in Presidential elections are most likely to be tactical. Most importantly, the Indian presidential election is not an issue that affects the lives of the toiling masses of this country in any fundamental manner today. Nobody has been able to prove otherwise. But for Prasenjit's resignation, this wouldn't be a big debate even in JNU. It is not a big issue of debate anywhere else. When the resignation happened, of course, AISA smelt blood and overnight, Prasenjit became their "comrade". He was their arch-enemy until the day before. "SFI-JNU", unable or unwilling to take independent initiatives on issues that actually affect students' lives, willingly walked into the trap. Its leaders think that all that they need to do to become popular or win elections or whatever, is to issue pious exhortations without trying to organise the masses on issues that actually affect their lives. That's typical infantile left-wing deviation, the manifestation of a petty-bourgeois degeneration.
Tactical decisions on issues such as this will not be to the liking of everybody in the movement, but that is no reason to condemn or break the unity of the movement as long as the decisions are arrived at democratically. It is no justification for indulging in blatantly unconstitutional activities. It is definitely not worth causing a major disunity in a students movement that has been assiduously built up by the sacrifices of generations of activists. In any case, it is non-sensical to talk about breaking left-unity when the actions of "SFI-JNU" have caused such a major disunity within our organisation. Besides, left unity has been broken earlier, for instance, when the CPI decided to join the United Front government while the CPI(M) decided against it.
The funny thing is, yesterday's pamphlet talks about the "violent tactics of the Maoists". They don't even know that "protracted people's war" is the strategy (long-term) of the Maoists, not tactics (short-term). Those who don't understand even this basic distinction cannot be expected to understand tactical decisions.
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