The confusing standpoint of Liberation regarding its view about SEZ and agricultural situation stems from its petty-bourgeois outlook towards Indian situation as well as present world order. The party, in its dogmatic Naxalite tradition, terms Indian state as of semi-feudal semi-colonial character, thus being unable to recognize the growing capitalistic character of Indian bourgeoisie. [Though, that does not stop it to admit the independence of Indian ruling class, a ridiculous ideologue of discovering independence in a semi-colony]. This same theorization extends to its identification of Indian agrarian character as mainly feudal, thus underestimating the important factor of capitalist invasion in agriculture. This outlook can’t explain the growing problems of the capitalist invasion in agrarian sector as indicated by the party-program of CPIM: “The proletarianisation of large sections of the rural working masses and a huge increase in the number of agricultural workers as a proportion of the rural population; the accelerated differentiation of the peasantry; production for the market; the large scale eviction of tenants holding traditional leases; and increased levels of re-investment of capital in agriculture and agriculture related activity by the rural rich, particularly landlords, laying the basis for reproduction of capital on a scale that did not hitherto exist.”
But the draft of the resolution of agrarian crisis in the 8th party congress itself contradicts Liberation’s identification of agricultural relation as mainly feudal, or, semi-feudal. The agrarian crises as listed by Liberation in the draft consist of the characteristics below:
• High growth in non-agricultural sector, handsome growth in non-agricultural incomes but decline in the demand for agricultural products and stagnation or sharp decline in agricultural output prices.
• Stagnant agricultural production, slower growth in agricultural input use and declining input demand but very sharp increases in input prices.
• Higher the agricultural growth, say in Punjab, greater the number of suicides. Higher the yield, more severe the crisis. Higher the input use, lesser the profit margins. Higher the investment, lesser the returns. Higher the income, greater the indebtedness and greater the number of suicides.
• The Indian government signed Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) under WTO under the pretext of a sharp increase in agricultural exports but it has developed import dependence for food supply and it is ready to pay more prices to Australian and American agri-business multinationals than what it is willing to pay its own farmers.
• Agriculture presents a bleak scenario. Rural incomes scenario is dismal. But there is a clamor among industrialists about the “Growing Rural Markets in India’; about dormant rural market segments for luxury cars and FMCGs. Multinationals and big corporate are vying with each other to get into corporate farming and contract farming as well as retail and wholesale trade in agricultural inputs and outputs.
Do not all these characteristics speak of a capitalistic relation hugely invading in agriculture? High growth of non-agricultural sector itself tells a story of an economic growth in its classical sense. The stagnation or sharp decline in demand and in output prices mainly stems from overproduction, a typical capitalistic crisis. Remember the problem of potato-farming in West Bengal. All these features are very much apparent here due to the same problem: overproduction and lack of storage system.
The second point is just a repetition of the first one because overproduction naturally leads to stagnation in the input demand. The paradoxical feature of declining demand and increasing price of inputs can be explained by the use of developed technology in agriculture, another sharp feature of capitalist treatment.
The third point acknowledges the economic growth in Punjab but avoids the reason. The green revolution introduced a new kind of capitalistic relation in the agrarian situation of Punjab which Liberation, from its dogmatic point of view, is determined to turn its eye from. The related features, “The higher the input use, lesser the profit margins, the higher the investment, lesser the returns, the higher the income, greater the indebtedness and greater the number of suicides” just pave the way of the problems cited in CPIM program as mentioned above-“The proletarianisation of large sections of the rural working masses and a huge increase in the number of agricultural workers as a proportion of the rural population; the accelerated differentiation of the peasantry; production for the market; the large scale eviction of tenants holding traditional leases.”
The last two points again point out towards a rising tendency of corporate farming and big capital’s invasion in retail sector.
This is true that this capitalist invasion did not come by the abolition of feudal and semi feudal relations; rather there is a peculiar coexistence of all these forms in Indian agriculture. But the dominant mode is capitalist in nature, and that is why all those above-mentioned problems are becoming more and more prominent. Even Liberation admits that agriculture becomes non-profitable because of those facts, but still it is unable to see the necessity of industrialization to go towards further development. It still thinks that the main struggle is against remnants of feudalism, and so it is the holy duty to break the vicious semi feudal circle. The tragedy is that it wants to break something which is already broken, and new problems have come in the picture which they are blind of- the problem of over-production, problem of huge increase in agricultural workers often giving rise to disguised unemployment, problem due to technological invention in agriculture that, due to the low income elasticity in an agrarian economic base, can’t increase the output price too much [the main change being in quality of consumption, not in quantity]. Remember that the farmers committed suicide not because of drought, but mainly because of overproduction, because of which the farmers could not sell the products and entangled themselves in credit-trap.
In a feudal agrarian relation the main target remains in the demand side and then Liberation’s arguments are valid. There we have to boost the demand by some external shock therapy. But Indian agrarian relation mainly suffers from the supply side problems - a typical characteristic of capitalist nature. Given that elasticity of agrarian products are very low, if that external boost creates an income that can’t generate a demand to cover up the excess supply, tomorrow again the problem of overproduction will rise up. The only solution is to direct the economy towards higher value addition, i.e. transforming the economy from agrarian to industrial base.
We are again emphasizing the fact that Naxalite parties like Liberation want to break a vicious circle that is already on the verge of breaking up. They are oblivious of the massive flow of capital and reinvestment of capital in agriculture that are creating problems not of starvation due to lack of food, but starvation in spite of overproduction and because of credit-trap. Higher value addition, what is being done in West Bengal, can solve the problem but unfortunately they are not ready to recognize this fact.
This mistake, again, stems from the party’s fallacious identification of the Indian state and stage of revolution. Indian state can never be semi-colonial as identified by Liberation. Rather, Indian big bourgeoisie goes with a dual relationship with imperialism, i.e. cooperation and conflict at the same time. Indian bourgeoisie joined hands with imperialism based on their strength, not on their weakness. The huge industrial capital in possession of monopoly bourgeoisie [assets of Ambani, Hinduja or Ajim Premji] indicates a definite material base and interests of its own which does not go with the typical characteristic of comprador bourgeoisie. Indian bourgeoisie definitely collaborates with foreign finance capital, but that in turns leads to the capitalist development by dint of their own industrial capital. That is a typical characteristic of the bourgeoisie of third world countries. Does Liberation then imply that all of them are compradors?
In its draft of general program of the 8th Congress Liberation mentions about the bureaucrat-monopoly bourgeoisie [ a rather confusing term itself] that “It has developed close economic relations with many non-imperialist countries and a considerable capacity to bargain with different foreign powers, but all this operates within a framework of essential dependence on imperialism that expresses itself as various technological, financial and marketing tie-ups at the micro level and more importantly at the macro level as wholesale adoption of the economic philosophy of neoliberalism and a state policy of subservience to imperialist designs. This enables the imperialist- dominated multilateral agencies and big foreign powers to interfere blatantly in our domestic affairs and policy matters, taking a heavy toll of the nation's political independence, and there always remains the real threat of still bigger erosion in our sovereignty reducing the country to a client state mired in neo-colonial dependency.”
This is nothing but some meaningless jugglery of words. If wholesale adoption of neoliberalism and financial tie-ups with imperialist forces themselves can determine the nature of the state as neo-colonial, then what about present day China? Is it neo-colonial, too? What about the state character of present day Vietnam? One guiding factor that Liberation forgets is whether this tie up is based on the strength or weakness of ruling bourgeoisie. Indian bourgeoisie itself achieved a separate identity allover the world not by its dependence on imperialism but by its [though somewhat partial] strength of capital investment and policy making. The growing market of IT sector and Indian bourgeoisie’s achievement [India and China are the two biggest markets, even larger than North America] in that field remain underestimated by these Naxalite parties’ analysis. India is termed as a minor empire in IT industry, and the most striking fact is that most of these industries are established by national bourgeoisie, and that, too, without the dependence on Uncle Sam [ but if Liberation thinks that mutual collusion with US IT sector is dependence, that is a different issue!]. Obviously the tendency is collaborationist due to the root based in landlordism, dependence on latest technology and for want of capital accumulation from the colonies. But taking eye from the dual nature and only emphasizing the issue of dependence on imperialism might perhaps be defined as a childish blindness!
Some more quotes from the general program: “In the continuous endeavour to expand its social base, the comprador big bourgeoisie finds ready recruits from the higher echelons of the so-called Great Indian Middle Class. And it makes full use of the proliferating corporate media to promote the new pro-US, pro-globalization policy regime. This, coupled with finance capital's deep penetration in our society and its wide-ranging economic, political and social links, not only obstructs India’s independent economic development but also reinforces a colonial mindset and a craze for anything and everything Western, posing a big blockade to any real national awakening. The Party, therefore, characterizes the Indian society not only as semi-feudal but also as semi-colonial.”
What kind of logic is this? Pro-US pro-globalization policy is being taken by hundred other countries, from Japan to Australia. Finance capital’s deep penetration is also a common factor everywhere. Does Liberation want to say that India is semi-colonial for these reasons? Then India was never semi-colonial in the pre-globalization era, and more, importantly, in the 60’s. Pro-US policies were not there, nor the penetration of finance capital. Did India become semi-colonial after 1991? We don’t understand why Liberation does not go to a thorough class analysis of Indian ruling bourgeoisie and instead is talking nonsense? What does it say about the definition of comprador bourgeoisie as stated in the 6th congress of the International? "The comprador bourgeoisie in a colonial, dependent or a backward country is a servitor of foreign imperialism concerned mainly with trade operations connected with the export of indigenous raw materials and import of manufactured goods from imperialist countries." Does Indian bourgeoisie fully go with that definition? It has its own material base and the monopoly bourgeoisie has grown to a massive scale in last sixty years which helps the class to have a big control over service sector. This in no way goes with the analysis of the 6th congress.
And there is the path breaking discovery of Liberation about colonial mindset! A craze for anything and everything Western, posing a big blockade to any real national awakening equals to colonial mindset and semi-colony! By that definition each third world country where foreign capital penetrates is bearing a colonial mindset! And about the schoolboy logic, or lament, on national awakening, only one observation is enough! USA might be the largest semi-colony in the world according to Liberation’s analysis!
And then comes the peak of comedy! Liberation states the tasks of a working class leadership and peoples’ democratic front in its party program of the 8th congress. Some of them are:
(a) Unite itself by paying special attention to its biggest contingent in the countryside and emerge as an independent political force;
(b) Organize revolutionary peasant struggles and build power¬ful strongholds in the countryside;
(c) Support and lead democratic and anti-imperialist struggles of the Indian masses;
(d) Support and unite with the movement for women’s liberation;
(e) support and unite with the struggles of oppressed nationalities for the right of self-determination, of religious minorities for religious and cultural freedom, and of tribal communities and other indigenous people and oppressed castes, particularly dalits, for dignity, equality and justice.
About the Peoples’ Democratic Front, it states that
“The main force of the democratic revolution led by the working class is the peasantry. The Party fully relies on the poor peasants and rural proletariat, resolutely unites with the middle peasantry and even wins over a section of rich peasants while trying to neutralize the rest so that the majority may be prevented from joining the enemies of the revolution. Sections of urban and rural middle classes constitute an important ally of the democratic revolution while small and medium capi¬talists and bourgeois intellectuals remain vacillating and unstable allies.
In order to carry the people's democratic revolution through to an end, it is necessary that a people's democratic front be forged comprising all these classes, with the worker-peasant alliance as its basis, under the leadership of the working class.”
Everything is fantastic, except the fact that these are all the tasks of a peoples’ democratic stage of revolution where the state frees itself from the bondage of colonialism and the bourgeoisie is not comprador in nature. Then and only then can the “small and medium capi¬talists and bourgeois intellectuals remain vacillating and unstable allies” as mentioned in their program. A comprador bourgeoisie can’t be an ally. Point C of the above mentioned tasks, i.e. supporting the democratic struggles is a much later task, before that comes the question of liberation of the country from semi-colonial bondage, if it is truly semi-colonial, as stated by Liberation. If the struggle of national Liberation is not carried on, comprador bourgeoisie can’t break its chain of dependence on imperialism and then, how can PDR be achieved? PDR is much later form. If the state is semi-colonial and bourgeoisie is comprador by nature, how can Liberation carry its task of PDR without liberating the country? To state more directly, why does Liberation talk of PDR and not of national liberation whether the latter would have been the most apt in a semi-colonial country?
Not only that, the opportunist character is also prominent in that section of the program: “The people of India have time and again risen against the ruthless exploitation and oppression of the ruling classes. Their awakening assumes a variety of forms and is often led by various types of party and non-party forces, including at times the opposition parties of ruling classes. The Party supports all such movements and always strives to orient them towards the goal of people's democratic revolution.”[Emphasis by the author of this article]
So, does Liberation support the LTTE movement or movement of rightist organizations like Anandamargis? If the opposition party also consists of the ruling class, does Liberation support this movement? What about the Islam fundamentalists like Jamat or Lashkar-e-Taiba? There are also some significant mass supports for their movements. It is true that this consolidation as an opposition to the Indian sate became possible for the oppressive nature of Indian ruling class. But according to the program, what Liberation supports is not this mass feeling, rather all such movements. This logic, not only opportunist but absolutely deterministic, too, because it sees every movement as a logical consequence of mass reaction and does not analyze the class characteristics, can effectively make the party to join hands with any group that appears to oppose the ruling class [even mockingly]: like TMC in West Bengal or LTTE in Tamil Nadu!
The wrong formulation of Indian state character leads Liberation towards its fallacious stand in case of Nandigram or Singur. The party does not correctly analyze global capital. Global capital now plays in two different forms, finance capital and productive capital. CPIM does never accept finance capital, but in the tight situation of neo-liberal arena, the tactical line is to accept productive capital with criticism. Otherwise sate government can’t promote industrialization itself on the verge of being bankrupt due to skewed neo-liberal policies taken by the center. Apart from that, the huge industrial capital forming the material base for the national bourgeoisie would have to be utilized. Liberation does not agree because in its eyes Indian bourgeoisie is nothing but comprador, and so it must not be utilized. It does not recognize the gigantic flow of industrial capital that would do away with the last remnants of feudal chains with agriculture and industry. Obviously the accompanying vices of capitalist investment will be there, and it is the task of the communist party to go for a prolonged struggle against capitalistic oppression and related vices. That is why the term ‘accept with criticism’ with regard to productive capital. The dual tactics of helping capitalist investment in order to destroying the semi-feudal structure and having prolonged struggle against capitalist aggression under the leadership of workers-peasant unity is perhaps the most important task of a communist party remaining in power in only three states of a country, semi-feudal semi-capitalistic in nature, that adopts neo-liberal policies as its directive.
There is an interesting example of the double-standard of Liberation expressed in its pol-org report of the congress. The article on party organization mentions the following:
“Today, once again we can see the rise of a liquidationist tendency within the Party, though articulated by only a few comrades. This time round, the advocacy is not for an outright dissolution of the Party, but for relegating the Party to the background while handing over the immediate political role of the Party to a national political platform to be sponsored by the Party. The proponents of such a platform are predictably vague about the prospective concrete forces that are expected to join such a platform; but we are reminded that there has been a decisive shift in political discourse since the 1970s. The focus in the 70s was on radical social transformation whereas the contemporary focus is on competitive participation within the system! The hint is quite clear – we should accordingly shift our emphasis and adjust our orientation and slogans. The idea of the platform is premised on the assumption that the Party’s acceptability is very limited so much so that the Party has become politically irrelevant. The only way the Party can gain greater legitimacy is by operating through a platform in collaboration with a whole range of liberal-democratic social forces. Ironically, the advocates of this approach also talk about the platform being led by the Party. How the Party can exercise leadership on forces that are not prepared to accept it is anybody’s guess”
So, Liberation does not want to go to a broad left platform for fear of losing significance [what an identity crisis!]. But at the same time the party at the convention calls for a left insurgence and an alternative Left Front. In the wake of CPI (M)’s exposure and isolation in the wake of the capitulation over the Nuke Deal, as well as Singur and Nandigram, the draft resolution on national situation stressed the urgent need for CPI (ML) to emerge as a rallying point for a powerful Left resurgence. “…In spite of our consistent ideological-political demarcation with other Left forces we have absolutely no hesitation in joining hands with them in issue-based joint activities and with conditions maturing for a united front based on a common programme.” So tells the resolution. So, what is the truth? Is that call for new left unity eyewash only? Or is it so that the pol-org report is erroneous? What is its honest stand about the left platform? If it is so afraid of liquidation, then why the farce of talking about an alternative left-front? Or is our fear justified that the party joins hands with others only at the time of opposing CPI(M)? Does the party actually play the role of a safeguard of the ruling class by playing the double agent of avoiding to create a nation-based broad left platform as well as weakening CPI(M) by the formation of a front of ‘genuine lefts’ which have only one agenda, attacking CPI(M)?
We don’t know when such Naxalite parties would really be cured of their opportunism and realize that left movement in India can never be strengthened by weakening CPI(M).
One interesting fact was that in the convention report not a single word is mentioned about the role of TMC-led BUPC and its terror in Nandigram! The one and only one target was CPI(M). This can explain a lot of things-the real truth about the character of Liberation and which class interest does the party serve.
Mikhail Bakhtin, the great Russian philosopher, who developed the idea of carnival, once mentioned that “Carnival is not a spectacle seen by the people; they live in it, and everyone participates because its very idea embraces all the people. While carnival lasts, there is no other life outside it. During carnival time life is subject only to its laws, that is, the laws of its own freedom". Bakhtin went on saying that carnival is not simply an invitation to individual freedom. Rather, it is an invitation to become a part of a complex unity, a bodily collectivity: "In this whole the individual body ceases to a certain extent to be itself…”. At carnival time, the unique sense of time and space causes individuals to feel they are a part of the collectivity, at which point they cease to be themselves.
The 8th party congress of Liberation may be very aptly called a carnival, the sense of unity being the common tendency of blind hatred towards CPI(M), the law of freedom being the freedom of weakening the left movement in India. The very idea of destroying CPI(M) embraces the ‘genuine lefts’ of all colors, starting from FB to SUCI via CPI [ML] of the n-th power, and surely the carnival lasted with no other life outside it. No other issues of Congress, BJP, revolution or dictatorship of the proletariat. The bodily collectivity only comes down to vent hatred against the largest communist party of India. A carnival indeed!
Only one small thing. Bakhtin illustrated the carnival theory at length, but perhaps forgot to mention that some carnivals remain incomplete without the presence of clowns!
Fortunately this holy convention has bridged this gap with abundant supply!