The magnificent victory of the CPI(M)-led Left Front in Tripura - winning 50 out of the 60 seats – and the success of the LF candidate in the Nalhati by-election in West Bengal has been interpreted as a “re-emergence” of the Left parties by a senior CPI(M) leader. This does not seem to be a rigorous assessment.
"What we need in India today is a popular counter-offensive against the neoliberal establishment, which has now decided to attack the working people to buttress its rule. This obviously requires the unity of left, democratic and progressive forces."
This is a slightly edited reproduction of a conversation between Ashok Mitra, well known economist and former finance minister of West Bengal (1977-1987) and Prasenjit Bose, leftwing activist and Pragoti editorial member, which has been recently published in the India Today. Ashok Mitra and Prasenjit Bose, who represent two generations of the Indian Left, discuss contemporary politics and the Left in a session moderated by India Today Senior Correspondent Tithi Sarkar at Mitra's home in Alipore, Kolkata.
The anti-people character of the neoliberal regime and the bankruptcy of its free market ideology are getting thoroughly exposed with the deepening economic crisis and the irrational, vested-interest-driven actions of the bourgeois governments. With the weakening hegemony of neoliberal ideas, debates over alternatives to globalised capitalism are emerging, along with a revival of interest in Marxism and socialist ideas across the world. Attempts are also underway to better understand and analyze the contemporary world from a Marxist standpoint.
What the barrage of criticisms of the central government from across the political spectrum - over the mega corruption scandals and relentless price rise - could not achieve in the past couple of years, was accomplished by a couple of adverse reports in the western media. Time magazine’s description of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as the “underachiever” who was "unwilling to stick his neck out on reforms” made him sit up and show that he was after all not “asleep at the wheel”.
Prasenjit Bose writes: Many issues have been raised in the debate surrounding my resignation from the CPI (M) on 22 nd June protesting against the decision to support the Congress led UPA’s nominee in the Presidential elections. This article is an attempt to provide further clarifications on the context in which the decision was taken and explain its political objective.
Prasenjit Bose writes a rejoinder to the CPI(M)'s official position on the Presidential Elections.
Editors: This article has been published in the context of the ongoing debate on the Presidential elections. This is not necessarily endorsed by the Pragoti Editorial Team.
The candidature of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee of the Congress for the post of President has split the Left Front with two parties - the CPI and RSP deciding to abstain in the Presidential vote, while the CPI(M) and the Forward Bloc decided to support him. Protesting the decision, the former Convenor of the Research Unit of the CPI(M) and long time Pragoti contributor, Prasenjit Bose has sent his resignation letter to his Party. The letter is published below.
Dipankarda will be sorely missed by his comrades in the trade union movement and the broader Left democratic movement, as an untiring champion of the working class and a firm defender of India’s economic self-reliance. For those who had the opportunity to know him personally, he will leave a large void.
The fare hike and the cacophony surrounding it in the mainstream media is nothing but political skullduggery, meant to draw attention away from the larger issues concerning the Indian Railways. It is important to bring the focus back on the core issue at stake: resisting privatization and preserving the Indian Railways as a viable and modern public sector organization. Whether the railway minister is “rolled back” along with the passenger fare hikes, is a matter of much lesser importance.