WHEN the second term of Congress-led UPA government has completed three years in power under the IMF-World Bank nominated, economist prime minister, Manmohan Singh, the rupee’s value in relation to dollar has gone down to an all time low (almost Rs. 55 to a dollar on 21st May) and the prices of all essential commodities have reached an all time high. With another dose of hike in petrol-diesel-cooking gas prices, the inflation is going to rise further. The daily repeated talks about the GDP growth reaching two-digits is no longer heard. On the other hand, it has gone down to 7% or lower levels. Thus the economy is caught in a web of stagflation, threatening turmoil, more serious than ever. Neither the political leaderships who still glorify the imposition of the globalization-privatization-liberalization regime and consequent neo-liberal policies or the corporate media refuse to comment whether the situation has made any marked improvement in the life of the vast masses of the people compared to what it was on the eve of these policies in early 1990s.
Today even according to the reports of commissions appointed by the central government, the per capita, per day income of 8o% of Indians is around Rs. 20, while the accumulation of wealth by the top 5% 2hich include some of the richest in the world has made fantastic growth. Even after all these, all of them backed by the IMF-World Bank experts and corporate houses are calling for more liberalization- commercialization and further opening of the country for finance capital-corporate loot. The finance minister, planning commission or other economic-commercial departments and the bureaucrats who were advocating liberalization as the panacea are silent on the present plight of the economy which is in dire straights.
The two decades of neo-liberal raj along with the pauperization of the masses have taken corruption to unheard of levels. Hundreds of billions of rupees are stalked away in Swiss banks or other tax havens. Even after so much talks about in the country the government has not taken any measures to book even one of these traitors or to get these amounts back. Meanwhile, even compared to the Bofors’ days, the corruption in the defense department which is supposed to protect the security of the country has reached unprecedented levels. The much talked about Lok Pal bill is also going to have the same fate as the women’s reservation bill. The government and the parliamentarians, whose accumulated declared wealth is more than Rs. 50,000 crores, as a whole are afraid of bringing in to existence even a toothless Lok Pal at center and in the states. Meanwhile, as the CBI is used merely as an instrument to put pressure on the opposition politicians to behave as those in power desires, one after another all ministers, bureaucrats, corporate and politicians charged with 2G Spectrum like billions worth loots are going scot-free after all the dramas enacted to hoodwink the masses. India ranks in the top five most corrupt countries.
The public distribution system (PDS) is practically demolished through the numerous experiments to sabotage it. Though the full FDI entry in to retail sector has not yet become legal, the Mal culture with corporate houses taking control of retail sector has become the rule of the day. Higher education and healthcare are commercialized and made accessible to the elites only. While migration to the urban areas is intensifying day by day, tens of millions are forces to live in slums, and they are driven out from there also for real estate, mafia forces. Infrastructure and real estate fields have become areas for accumulating fabulous wealth. Meanwhile in the name of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and bailing out subsidies billions of rupees are granted to corporate houses, in the name of allowing market forces free play all government controls are removed allowing the elites to loot the masses at will. MNCs’ and corporates’ loot of natural resources are on the one side making them fabulously wealthy, and on the other side is devastating the nature, destroying the ecological balance, creating global warming like effects.
On the whole, in the economic field and in the life of common people the neo-liberal policies have created havoc. Along with these, in the name of strengthening strategic relationship with US imperialism, the neo-colonial subservience to it is intensified in every field. To appease it, the nuclear energy agreement is signed for importing out-dated nuclear plants to India when all the imperialist countries are de-commissioning them and trying to develop renewable energy sources. In the name of strategic defense agreement the Indian armed forces are made subservient to US forces, as a part of its global hegemonic plans. In pursuit of this policy of a junior partner of the US led imperialist forces its relation with all the neighbor countries have worsened. The eight years’ rule of UPA has pauperized the masses, devastated nature and made fabulously rich destroying all progressive values it had achieved during the anti-imperialist struggles. The contradiction between imperialism and the comprador bureaucratic bourgeois state apparatus serving imperialist interests on the one hand and the masses of people on the other has intensified to unprecedented levels as a result. The UPA government has proved itself the worst ever government the country had after the transfer of power in 1947.
POLITICAL PARTIES IN CRISIS
The consequences of ever intensifying imposition of neo-liberal policies and the resulting cascading effects of mounting stagflation during the eight years of its UPA rule at centre along with the anti-people track record of its state governments are increasingly alienating the Congress from the people as manifested in the recently held election to the five states including the most populous UP. During last year the election results looked better for Congress and allies in Bengal and Kerala more as a vote against the CPI(M) –led Left Front and LDF, who got alienated from the people for trying to imitate the Congress policies and reduced themselves in the bargain in to a corrupt bureaucratic outfit. That the Congress is increasingly getting alienated from the people and its organization is facing internal squabbles in most places is clear if one makes an over view of its affairs in different states. It is bound to face setbacks even in its strongholds like AP and Maharashtra. Being the number one party of the comprador ruling classes, it is getting more alienated from the masses as, in spite of the failure of the neo-liberal policies internationally, it is trying to impose it more vigorously, leading to ever mounting price hike, corruption, under employment and displacement of millions of families from their agricultural land. Its leaders are getting increasingly alienated due to indulging in wanton corruption, style of life and bureaucratic methods. The Congress is a divided house and in spite of projecting Rahul Gandhi as an alternative to Manmohan Singh, is bound to face more setbacks in coming elections to the state assemblies and in the next Lok Sabha elections whenever it is held. Though it may get some advantages in the elections to the BJP-ruled states in the absence of any other alternatives there, the tally of Lok Sabha seats it is presently having is bound to go down in next elections. There are no possibilities for any change in the scenario as the economic plight of the masses is bound to become worse as a result of the policies the divided UPA is pursuing with mad haste.
Though the BJP had started claiming itself as a ‘party with a difference’, except for its mad pursuit of the Hindutua card, which is communalizing the country more than ever, it has proved a poor second to Congress wherever it came to power. In pursuing the imperialist dictated neo-liberal policies, in causing price rise, in opening the country to MNCs and native corporate forces and land mafias, in its subservience to US led imperialists and in corruption it was trying to compete with Congress during the six years of NDA rule or in states where it is in power. As a result, it is getting alienated from the masses in the states it is in power and is more divided internally than the Congress. In spite of presenting Narendra Modi as a vikas purush, the memory of the 2002 genocide and the extent of communalization created under his rule in Gujarat are haunting BJP. Its foray in the south by coming to power in Karnataka has only damaged even whatever image it had tried to project among the masses. As Congress, the only possible alternative party in the states where BJP is ruling at present, is proving itself incapable of playing that role, the BJP may get some benefit through default of the opposition. But, the possibility in next elections to Lok Sabha looks like what happened in Greece where the two former ruling parties together could get only 30% of the votes polled. Though the absence of representative voting system may benefit both Congress and BJP as the biggest parties, there are possibilities for its present tally of Lok Sabha seats also going down like that of Congress in the coming elections.
What about the third alternative, the CPI(M) and its LF partners were talking about during last two decades? CPI(M) has become comparatively so weak even in states like Bengal, Kerala and Tripura, and more so in other states that it had omitted mentioning about this aspiration from the Political Resolution adopted by its recently concluded 20th Congress! In spite of it, as reflected in the documents adopted by the 20th Congress of CPI(M) and 21st Congress of the CPI, both are not ready to take a stand of fighting the neo-liberal policies and working for an alternative development policy even in the states where they come to power. As a result, the possibilities for any considerable increase in their tally in Lok Sabha seats and their LF playing any significant role in national politics is diminishing day by day.
It is in this situation, utilizing the president election to be held by July as a trial, the regional parties are trying to flex their muzzles in the national politics. Already the constituents of UPA like TMC and lately DMK has started taking apparently independent positions even though they are fully in agreement with the neo=liberal policies and other political positions of Congress. Similarly, NDA constituents like JD(U), Shiv Sena and Akali Dal are distancing from BJP even though they have no disagreements with either BJP or even Congress on major policy matters. In the first trial of strength, even though all these regional parties along with BJP are in total agreement with intensifying state terror and imposing new black laws, they succeeded in shooting down the proposed National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) move by the UPA government for asserting more powers to the states. The move is on to elect a president who is acceptable to these regional parties. As all of them represent the interests of the comprador ri=uling classes and are in close terms with the MNCs, native corporate forces an d various imperialist agencies, as reflected in the initiatives taken by the AIADMK government in TN and TMC during Hillary Clinton’s visit to Kolkata, they are for direct economic and political contacts with US and other imperialist powers and MNCs. It is not the federal interests which inspire them for these. In that case they should have asked for withdrawing AFSPA and military from J&K and Northeast and for political discussions to settle the problems there. Even DMK which recently revived the Tamil Elam Support Committee and called for independent Elam in Sri Lanka or AIADMK and most other parties taking almost similar stand on it are not ready for demanding a political solution to the six decades long problems in J&K and Northeast in India. Even when chauvinist positions are taken to help their vote banks like JD (U) government in Bihar is inciting Bihari pride, when they share power at center or other times none of them have stood for the unity of the country based on the right of self determination of the people and a real devolution of power to the people. They are nothing but extension of Congress and BJP with regional bases, competing with each other in their loyalty to the neo-liberal policies. As proved in the states under their rule, even a combination of them coming to power at center is not going to make any basic shift in the compador policies presently imposed over the people.
NEED FOR A REVOLUTIONARY ALTERNATIVE
Under this scenario, if any of these parties come to power in the states or in any form their combinations like UPA or NDA or any other one, coming to power at center following next Lok Sabha elections, no basic changes are going to take place in the policies of these governments. On the contrary, in the context of all these parties becoming increasingly corrupt and affected by groupism and dissentions and in the international context of intensifying crises faced by the imperialist system under the hegemony of the international finance capital which is becoming increasingly speculative and parasitic, as is happening in the European countries, Japan, China and in the belly of the beast, in US, the attacks on the people, their pauperization, devastation of the nature and wanton corruption are only going to intensify. The monopolization of the natural and human resources making the top 5% amassing most of the wealth and de-humanizing the society in more brutal forms to perpetuate their hegemony while the vast majority are plundered, pauperized and oppressed are bound to intensify. In this situation, in every country people are searching for an alternative as reflected in the voting out of eleven governments in Europe alone in recent elections or through the Arab Spring where such electoral options do not exist, or a little earlier in Latin American countries where as a result the US imperialist influence has considerably reduced. The barbarous imperialist system is facing the worst ever challenge in each and every country in the world. Even the US led imperialists’ military adventures starting from dismembering Yugoslavia and in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere during last two decades with the call of an American century have not served the US intentions to impose its unquestioned hegemony. Once again it is proved that imperialism is a nemesis for the world people, and socialism is the only alternative before them.
At home, as the consequences of the imperialist dictate neo-liberal policies are pauperizing them, displacing them even from their agricultural land, or forcing them to migrate in ever larger numbers to the urban centers where they end up in the miserable life of the slums and devastating the nature creating more miseries, and forcing hundreds of thousands to commit suicide to escape from debt traps, more and more people are coming out in numerous struggles all over the country against these anti-people policies. Against price rise, corruption, displacement, SEZs, commercialization of education, healthcare, housing etc, big dams, nuclear power plants, or cultivation of Jatropha for extracting petrol etc whenever they get a leadership or even spontaneously people are coming out in ever larger numbers. As the recent elections also point out they are utilizing their votes also by and large to vote out those in power. There is growing consciousness among the masses against the globalization-privatization-liberalization policies.
As the people are becoming increasingly aware of the ever intensifying attacks on them under the neo-liberal policies which are imposing neo-colonial slavery, afraid of the fate glaring at them the imperialists and their lackeys are utilizing each every possibility for intensifying the onslaughts against the socialist ideas, the only alternative to rule of imperialists and their lackeys. They try to frighten the people by repeating about the severe setbacks suffered by the socialist camp. Sighting what is happening in China, Vietnam like countries under the signboard of socialism, the imperialist media are pointing out that these countries are also pursuing the neo-liberal policies under bureaucratic dictatorship and they have no alternative to imperialist path of development. More than these international developments, the ruling class and regional parties, vested interests and the comprador media are utilizing the degeneration of the CPI(M) led LF or LDF governments in Bengal, Tripura and Kerala, which bereft of any alternative policies to the neo-liberal raj had proved themselves as corrupt and anti-people as the ruling class parties or regional parties, when they were/are in power. Nandigram, Singur and Lalgarh are repeatedly mentioned to prove this.
Along with this right opportunist degeneration of CPI(M) led parties, on the other side, the anarchist policies of Maoists whose activities are reduced to extortion and kidnappings are highlighted to show that these are the only two versions of the left alternatives and both are bankrupt. Numerous other so-called groups who have only microscopic presence in few localities are adding to the confusion among the masses, who are in search of an alternative to UPA, NDA or other regional parties in power at center and in the states. Sighting these, the forces of reaction, numerous NGOs, Self Help Groups, various brands of reformists and the media propagate that there is no alternative to present policies and one has to seek solace within these.
It is a challenging situation before the revolutionary left. It has to take up multiple tasks in this critical juncture. Firstly, fighting against the right opportunist line of CPI (M) led parties who have degenerated to social democratic positions and the anarchist line of Maoists, it has to mobilize all genuine left forces to continuous ly build the party in to a mighty organization with countrywide influence. Secondly, it has to build and make active all class and mass organizations for mobilizing them in day to day struggles and preparing them for political movements. Thirdly, it has to build up different mass movements like the Anti-Caste Movement, Secular Movement, Anti- Nuclear and Ecological Movement, Movement of the Slum and Houseless People, various movements against SEZs, displacements, big dams etc uniting all those who can be united based on common slogans. Fourthly, it has to build united forums at all India and state level based on a programmatic approach. Taking up these multiple tasks linked to the Path of Revolution, mass movements have to be developed, ongoing mass struggles have to be linked together and strengthened and condition for a countrywide mass upsurge against the reactionary ruling system has to be developed.
As part of these, the all India and state base democratic platforms should utilize the parliamentary forms of struggle based on election manifestos putting forward all the popular demands. These are the tasks put forward by the 9th Congress of the CPI(ML) held at Bhubaneswar in November 2011 as part of its Path of Revolution document. Take up these tasks concretely and strive hard to build the revolutionary alternative at all India and state level, utilizing all forms of struggle.