Left Unity Not For Liquidating the Communist Resurgence, But For Bringing Revolution Back to Agenda: KN Ramachandran

04 July 2015
ON THE OCCASION of the 48th anniversary of the Naxalbari Martyrs’ Day on 25th May, the party organized many programmes wherever it is active with the slogan: Advance along the path of agrarian revolution, bring revolution back to the agenda. What is the significance of these slogans and how will a struggling left and democratic front be built with the orientation of helping the communist resurgence through the realization of these strategic slogans according to the present critical situation – are questions that should be correctly understood.

The ascendance to power of the ultra-right Modi regime has intensified manifold the imposition of neo-liberal policies, saffronization of all spheres and autocratization of the ruling system. Pointing this out the Political Resolutions adopted by the CPI(M) and CPI in their recent party congresses have called for strengthening unity of all left forces to fight back this ultra-rightist offensive by the ruling classes and the ruling system. In pursuit of this policy they have expanded their Left Front at the all India level, including CPI(ML) Liberation and SUCI(C) in it. As reported in the CPI(M) documents, they have formed a 17-constituent strong left and democratic front in West Bengal, an 11-constituent strong front in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, a four-constituent strong front in Punjab etc. Formation of such broad fronts has been promised in other states also. Alarmed by the ascendance of Modi to power, a large number of left leaning intellectuals are also repeating these calls for left unity day in and day out.

All on a sudden the CPI(M) leadership has become the champion of left unity, amending its Political Tactical Line, becoming silent about the violent criticisms and even physical attacks it had made against the communist revolutionaries till recently. It is also going to convene a Plenum this year to find ways to overcome its organizational weaknesses. But it is silent about its strategic line, which has led it to its present right opportunist positions, almost making the line of difference with the ruling class policies more diluted than ever. If CPI and CPI(M) are serious about advancing towards the strategy of completing the People’s Democratic Revolution as stated in their Party Programmes, and if they genuinely desire to achieve the unity of the left forces to defeat the ultra-rightist forces, they will have to seriously discuss changing the strategic line followed during the last four decades, leading to the serious setbacks suffered by them. Similarly, if organizations like CPI(ML) Liberation who still claim to uphold the heritage of the ideological struggle waged by the communist revolutionaries against the revisionist line of these parties and of the Naxalbari Uprising are serious about the criticisms so far raised by them against these parties and of political lines they claim to follow, they will have to rethink whether joining the CPI(M)-led LF is going to serve the people’s cause.

On Communist Unity and Left Unity

The advocates of the urgent need for left unity are stressing that the question of communist unity and left unity should not be mixed up, and the emphasis should be on the latter in the present situation. No doubt the strategic goal of uniting the communists in a single party should not be confused with the tactical question of building left unity to defeat the increasing ultra-rightist danger. But, while this question of left unity is being taken up, its advocates are stressing that past questions including the past theoretical debates, the way the LF governments in W. Bengal and LDF governments in Kerala utilized the opportunity, the way the CPI(M) led LF parties made opportunist alliances or seat adjustments with even ruling class parties including Congress in different states, the result of the support extended to the UPA government by the Left Front parties from 2004,the directly anti-people role of the Left Front governments in Kerala and West Bengal, etc. should be forgotten or kept aside. They insist – let us forget the past and unite for the present urgent need of fighting against the Modi government.

In this context, some important aspects call for serious attention. First, what shall be the evaluation of the hitherto practice of the Left Front or Left Democratic Front governments in Bengal, Kerala and Tripura, including the 34-year-long continuous rule in Bengal? In all these states these governments were in essence following the neo-liberal policies and justifying it. In Bengal it led to Singur and Nandigram, and to the severe setbacks suffered by CPI-CPI(M) in the following elections. These governments did not try to make any attempt to put forward an alternate development perspective against the neo-liberal development paradigm, including any serious efforts for radical land reforms making the tillers the owners of the agricultural land. Instead of trying to democratize the socio-political system, they became part of the autocratization taking place in the country, with the CPI(M) turning into a bureaucratic organization, providing worst examples of election rigging in Bengal. To a great extent, like the ruling class and regional parties, they also pursued vote bank politics, in the course of which they pursued the policy of communal appeasement. Still most of them do not recognize the importance of launching a caste annihilation movement as part of the class struggle. Are the CPI(M) and its Left Front partners ready to make a self-criticism and put forward a minimum people oriented programme for implementation in the states where it comes to be in power, reversing the retrogressive policies pursued so far?

Secondly, since the CPI(M) and its Left Front partners have actually implemented neo-liberal policies whenever in power, and resorted to violence and state terror to do so, how can a Left Front led by CPI(M) call for a rejection of those very neo-liberal policies? Thirdly, what will be the approach to Congress and other ruling class parties and regional parties who are in power in different states and implement the neo-liberal policies without any remorse? In the name of keeping BJP away from power, like in 2004, will this front support the Congress led alliance, instead of pursuing a policy of independent left assertion? Will this front try to form alliance with or make seat adjustments with Congress and other ruling class/regional parties in opportunist manner as in the past? And, fourthly, with all these serious issues, how can a common minimum programme capable of reversing the ruling class policies and attracting the toiling and oppressed masses be charted?

But what is really happening is stranger than fiction. SUCI (C), which had teamed up with the Trinamool Congress in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections and 2011 assembly elections in W Bengal, stating CPI(M) as its main enemy, and Liberation, which had criticized CPI(M) during the last four decades for its right opportunist positions, have joined the Left Front led by CPI(M) without arriving at a common minimum programme so far. If their present postures are taken into consideration, it is going to be an election-oriented alliance only. The state level Left Fronts formed in Bengal, AP, Telangana, Punjab etc. shall be only issue based fronts, not a CMP based one. As elections to state assemblies approach, as in the past, the CPI(M) and CPI will strive hard and form alliances or seat adjustments for a few seats with ruling class/regional parties. As none of these two parties has so far announced that such opportunist policies shall not be pursued in coming days, a better deal cannot be expected from them. The organizations who have joined hands with CPI(M) shall soon experience that irrespective of all present declarations, CPI or CPI(M) has not their changed their approach to important questions basically. Present postures are only to hoodwink their ranks and the left masses.

Left Unity Not for Liquidating the Communist Resurgence

Contrary to the situation in the last decades of the last century, in spite of the severe setbacks suffered by the communist movement, presently the people’s struggles are developing and even people’s upsurges are taking place in many countries. In the Latin American countries like Venezuela, Bolivia etc. anti-US popular forces advocating Bolivarian socialist views have come to power utilizing the opportunities provided by parliamentary democracy. In Europe, against the economic policies of European Union, in Greece Syriza-like coalitions have come to power. Though people’s upsurges took place in a number of North African and West Asian countries, they were aborted and rightist forces re-captured power only in the absence of powerful communist parties capable of leading the movements to socialist orientation. This is the situation almost everywhere, even in India. It is not the absence of intensification of the class struggle in various forms, it is the absence of communist parties capable of leading them forward that is the main obstacle today. So, all our efforts in India should be with the orientation of contributing towards a new communist resurgence, not for the liquidation of the communist movement.

What is the contribution of the CPI and CPI(M) towards communist resurgence in the country? The CPI leadership mechanically following the Soviet revisionist positions, tried to liquidate the communist movement in the country by adopting the line of National Democratic Revolution and tailing behind the Congress party, analyzing it as a predominantly national bourgeois party. Though CPI(M) was formed struggling against this line of CPI, soon it also degenerated to class collaborationist positions, to parliamentary cretinism. Even in their latest party congresses they have not rejected these alien political lines. On the contrary, their Political Resolutions are basically a repetition of the earlier ones. So joining with them and forging a left alliance shall speed up the liquidation of the left movement as a whole instead of helping the communist resurgence. That is why CPI(ML) Red Star is calling for continuing the ideological political struggle against the liquidationist line of these parties, and to strive for independent left assertion by building a struggling left and democratic front with a CMP which shall help the intensification of the class struggle.

Build Struggling Left and Democratic Front

It is in this situation that the Political Resolution adopted by the Tenth Congress of the CPI(ML) Red Star has called for a two-pronged policy of uniting the communist revolutionaries and carrying forward the task of building the party at all India level, and building a struggling left and democratic front based on a CMP including rejection of neo-liberal policies, development of a people oriented, sustainable development programme ensuring food, housing, healthcare, education and employment for all and advancing towards a casteless, secular, democratic society. Building such a front as part of the tactical line shall serve the strategic line of advancing towards the democratic revolution. It will not go against, but shall become complementary to the slogan of bringing revolution back to the agenda of the people.

Such a principled approach does not weaken the struggle against the ultra-rightist BJP government. Instead it shall help to join hands with all progressive forces for the broadest possible unity for issue based struggles. At the same time it shall strengthen the possibilities of building the revolutionary people’s alternative to the reactionary ruling system. As the Path of Revolution adopted by the Tenth Congress points out, all possible issue-based broad movements should be developed to directly or indirectly serve the tactical line, and the tactical line should be developed so as to serve the strategic line of completing the tasks of the democratic revolution. On the contrary, the present opportunist efforts made to somehow or other forge a left front with CPI(M) led LF as its core shall only take the toiling masses away from agrarian revolution and work against bringing revolution back to the people’s agenda. It shall strengthen the liquidationist tendencies further. Such opportunist efforts should be struggled against and the steps towards building a CMP based struggling left and democratic front have to be speeded up.
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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.