DO NOT FORGET THE PAST - ALIK CHAKRABORTY
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14 March 2019

People struggles to transform the present into a beautiful future, so it becomes very important to know how the past was. It is famously said that – those who forget their past, forget their heritage and can never create a beautiful future.

On the 3rd February 2019, Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya, General Secretary, CPI (M-L) Liberation, presented his speech as an invited speaker at the Brigade Parade Ground in Kolkata organised by Left Front.  In West Bengal, although Liberation is not a part of the Left Front, it is a part of the 17-Party alliance. In this meeting he delivered a dynamic speech. He spoke of Karanda or Naxalbari in the meeting and some of the people felt proud about it. With this he added another point which was not questioned by anyone. He said, “There’s no need to remember the past.” According to him, in the present situation there is no governance, but destruction which is taking place at the centre; and in the state “Deedi” has become “Foofi” (Paternal Sister), so the need of the time is to make a broad alliance against both these forces. At the time when he was speaking and commenting that leftists had also committed mistakes and they will have to forget the past and look forward to the future, there were people sitting behind him on the stage who had ruled the state for 34 long years.

The tragedy is that, from their dais on which he was invited to speak, Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya asked them to forget their past, when it is a fact that these ‘leftists’ had committed many mistakes and had done lots of injustice. They, whose dais was, were neither forgetting the past, nor talking about forgetting it. Instead of that, they were talking in full praise of the successes achieved during the 34 year long rule of the Left Front, and claimed that the development of the state would have reached higher levels if Tata had been allowed to put up its industry at Singur. They were also declaring that they would take up such issues if voted back to power, and with this claim they are contesting the forthcoming general elections. Thus, Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya’s talk about forgetting the past remained a mere rhetoric. One would like to forget the past only if it is a bad dream; but why should one forget the past, when according to him it is a beautiful dream? However, if one has to anyhow forget the past, then he will have to decide whether his role in the past was beautiful or repulsive.

If people have to form an opinion about the Left Front or Leftists, they will consider the activities of it in the past in respect to the differences at the present. This is not just about the Leftists, it is a general truth too. There’re no two opinions about the fact that, today the force in power at centre is destroying everything and it is necessary to uproot it. But, did this destruction start occurring only today? Will this destruction stop, if the present government is replaced by a new one from among the ruling class parties? Has it happened for the first time that only in this government’s rule the monopoly capitalists are enjoying tax benefits, and the public is bearing the tax burden? It can be said that under the present government’s rule all such things have increased. But is it our duty to replace this government with another one, which would reduce all such problems to a little extent? For this all past and future will have to be forgotten?

 Today if the slogans is raised only to remove BJP or to remove Trinamool Congress (TMC) in West Bengal, will mean that the last many decades of Congress rule was good for India. Then why was it required to fight against it? And if they were so, why were they replaced? And did the Left Front play an ideal role during its 34 year rule in West Bengal? If they did, then why did the people struggle against them? Standing on the dais Comrade Dipankar raised the issue of Karanda. This is an example. How can he forget that the same CPI(M) and the Left Front’s hands are soaked in the blood of innumerable communist revolutionaries (Naxalites)? How can they hide the fact that in interest of the Tata, they forcefully acquired lands of the peasants using brute police force in Singur? How can they forget the condition of Tapasi Malik or Rajkumar Bhul? How can anyone forget the forceful displacement of the Talinalla slum dwellers, the operation sunshine, the severe oppression of the jute mill labourers by the mill owners and their agents? People remember hundreds of examples like these. He spoke about Amlasol. Did the Left Front accept and take responsibility of the deaths caused by hunger? Has the Left Front ever accepted the suicides of the potato growing farmers? They have never made a self-criticism, they have never accepted their mistake, as a result, the Trinamool Congress is in power.

 Today the Left Front is in power in only one state. Is its condition very different from the other states? Has the Left Front kept its promise of not implementing any black laws and not using police force to crush people’s movements? Has there not been murders of students, or mass murders? Have they never used the UAPA act? Still people like Chhatradhar Mahato are imprisoned under the laws implemented by them. Will all such things have to be forgotten? Can all such things be forgotten? The example set by the CPI (M), by indulging in activities like taking the hands of Advani and BJP in the name of opposing corruption of the Congress in 1989 and providing the BJP a place in the national politics, cannot be forgotten.

Why the memories of Left have faded, that remind of a special culture of people’s struggle, self-sacrifice and martyrdom? Without finding an answer to this question; without winning back the lost respect of people for the left; how can be the destruction stopped? Today people find it difficult to see any basic difference between the BJP, the Congress, the Trinamool and the Left Front. Is it the people’s fault, or the difference has become so faded, that it can’t be understood clearly?

So, it is a request to comrades that they should not try to forget the past. If they have courage to rectify their mistakes, they should declare it with boldness. By resolving the mistakes and injustice, they should join hands to revitalize the Left.

We, CPI (M-L) Red Star have also appealed to defeat the BJP, but this is not all. We have also called to form a people’s alternative. The BJP can really lose if a militant people’s alternative fights against it. Without it, the desire of defeating BJP through the Congress will actually ensure BJP’s win. To keep BJP away from power, under Prakash Karat’s leadership CPI (M) had supported the Congress led first UPA government, and by imposing the policies of UPA, had forced Singur and Nandigram on Bengal. Consequently they lost Bengal in 2011, and Narendra Modi whose hands are soaked in the blood of mass-massacres of 2002 in Gujarat, came to power with clear majority at the center. Similarly, the anti-people policies and ill-governance of the Congress or the so called leftists nourished and is still nourishing the BJP and the Trinamool. Without examining it, fascism cannot be stopped.

Not only this, to run into the other camp of the ruling class parties to stop the first camp of BJP, will only destroy one’s own character of struggle. Therefore, by keeping the duty of stopping the BJP in the forefront, people’s struggle will have to be organised against it. Thinking of any shortcut method other than involving people’s power will only intensify the attacks on the people. Comrades, please think and contemplate. You are requested not to forget the past. Do not forget the class struggle. n

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Kabeer Katlat

The Communist movement in India has a history of almost a century after the salvos of October Revolution in Russia brought Marxism-Leninism to the people of India who were engaged in the national liberation struggle against the British colonialists. It is a complex and chequered history.