- Rajesh Tyagi/ 19.4.2015
The 21st Congress of the Stalinist Communist Party of India (Marxist), closes to its end with little fervor and apparent failure to implore any enthusiasm among its cadres. The 5 day Congress of the largest Stalinist left party in India, convened in coastal City of Vishakhapatnam, in South-East India, was a fiasco in terms of political manifestation.
The Congress, was marred with factional strife inside the CPI (M) for the run up to the top post of General Secretary and for entry and exit to the Central Committee of the Party. Factions led by Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechury were at loggerheads for control over the central organs and committees of the Party.
Far from dwelling into or debating the issues facing the working class and the socialist movement in India and over the globe, the two groups pondered over the common concern how to embrace the bourgeois left more closely.The Congress took place amidst acute crisis of the Stalinist left in India. Stalinists, the longtime allies of bourgeois political establishment, were wiped out not only at national level in Parliamentary elections of 2014, but also from their long held citadels in West Bengal and Kerala in 2011.
Unprecedented electoral defeats were suffered by the Stalinist left parties as a backlash to their political crimes, they had continued to commit for long, in a whole series of betrayals to the workers and toilers. The Stalinist left front, led by the CPM, not only helped the minority right wing governments led by Congress, the largest bourgeois party in India, and other casteist and regional parties, to keep in power, ever since 1989, but also adopted and implemented the very same neo-liberal and pro-investor economic policies, , that it itself criticizes, in the states where it had come to power. The pinnacle of its reactionary policy were the repressions of Singur and Nandigram in West Bengal under its rule, where it employed savage force to seize upon the peasant lands in favour of big business.
The left front of four parties- CPI, CPM, RSP and Forward Bloc, had also taken CPI ML (Liberation) and the SUCI (C) under its wings, since last year. The SUCI (C), alongside the CPI (Maoist) had openly supported the rabid right-wing TMC under Mamata Banerjee to capture power in West Bengal, while RSP is still a partner in Congress led United Democratic Front in Kerala. The six of them had recently supported the reformist Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in run up to Delhi Legislative Assembly.
All Stalinist parties have a checkered history of shameful alliances with bourgeois parties of all hues, through whom they keep the workers, toilers and the youth that follow them, shackled to the bourgeois political establishment.
However, despite their repeated all-out endeavour to rejoin forces with Congress and other regional bourgeois parties, in the recent past, their receded vote share has prevented such new alliances. Dangling on a limited, reformist program, the Stalinists had suffered a huge setback as the bourgeois reformist AAP succeeded to takeover this agenda from Stalinists.
Discarded and isolated, the Stalinist parties have started rubbing shoulders among themselves to forge a left-platform enabling themselves to go for collective bargain with prospective bourgeois opposition alliances.
The 21st Congress of CPM has debated the political strategy it has implemented for the last quarter century since dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1990-91. The Congress has ratified and approved the most shameful past of the Stalinist Party in last 25 years, where not only it had remained adhered to one or the other bourgeois camp, under the garb of promoting ‘left and democratic unity’ purportedly to counter communal forces, but has directly collaborated with bourgeois establishment to suppress the working class and toilers to facilitate its drive to make India a platform providing cheap labour and natural resources, to world capitalism. This pernicious adherence and collaboration has proved to be the chief source of political debacle that has isolated the left under Stalinists and brought extreme rightwing BJP to power. Stalinist left front has shrunk to one of the smallest state of Tripura in far flung north-eastern region in the country.
The ‘Draft Review Report on the Political and Tactical Line’, the document presented by the outgoing Polit Bureau under Prakash Karat, comprises the basis of strategic orientation that CPM has followed since 1990. Agreeing broadly with the same, the rival faction of Sitaram Yechury, however, disputes the stance of CPM in breaking away from the United Progressive Alliance in 2008, on the issue of ‘Indo-US Civil Nuclear Treaty’, as a ‘political blunder’. Arguing for restoring the proximity with Congress, the Sitaram faction has succeeded to garner some support from Kerala Committee also, alongside the West Bengal Committee where it already holds majority support.
The gist of deliberations and disputes inside the CPM, as they surfaced in the 21st Congress, is thus centered around the limited point as to whether the present policy of alliances with right-wing bourgeois parties, pursued for the last more than 25 years be continued or be substituted by even closer alliances with Congress and other bourgeois parties. While Karat faction favours the present policy, the faction under Yechury proposes a more right shift.
Reeling under a spiralling political-organisational crisis, especially since the fall of left front in West Bengal and Kerala in 2011, followed by total marginalization in Parliamentary elections of 2014, dissipating support among the working class and evaporating voter base, the perplexed Stalinist leaders seek a beating of retreat, back under the wings of broader alliances led by bourgeois parties.
The report by Prakash Karat has been accepted and adopted by the 21st Congress, with forty amendments to the same, that are of no real significance.
The draft report has ratified the policies of Stalinist Party, where it had continued to support the Congress led minority UPA government that had integrated itself into strategic political-military establishment under US imperialism and has faithfully carried out and implemented the economic policies promoted by the IMF and World Bank. Stalinists had continued this support when the neo-liberal economic regime was creating suffocating living conditions for the workers and poors in the cities and a whole agrarian crisis in the countryside resulting in rampant suicides by farmers. Stalinists supported the bourgeois governments as they brutally suppressed the opposition to these pro-rich policies.
The reiterated call by the Stalinist leaders for “left and Democratic Alternative” must be seen and understood in context of their past track-record. The Stalinist leaders have repeatedly used this slogan, never to mount a combined offensive of working class against the political regime of capitalists and landlords, but to forge electoral alliances with sections of bourgeois establishment, embracing therein the right-wing capitalist parties like Congress, SP, BSP, JD (U), JD (S), INLD, RJD, TDP, AIADMK, DMK, and so on.
Through this alliance in the name of 'left democracy', the Stalinist leaders, in fact, offer to close ranks with sections of bourgeois and constitute a left-wing of bourgeois democracy in association with them.
Failing to draw any lesson from their crushing defeats and their shameful past, the Stalinists have simply reiterated the strategic line adopted at 20th Congress. The proclamation taking an apparent turn away from the project of forging a ‘Third Front’ with bourgeois parties, is nothing but the desperate musing of these leaders as for the time being they stand completely isolated.
As their consistent and desperate efforts to forge a third front with regional bourgeois parties are rebuffed by these parties, the Stalinists take to volte-face in miserable claims like ‘present situation does not permit such fronts’. Instead, the Stalinist leaders are seeking a front among themselves, to enable them to pressurize the bourgeois parties to enter into collaboration with them.
Indicating that despite all demagogy, the doors would still remain open for alliances with bourgeois parties, the Congress resolution declares in no unclear terms, “Given the danger posed by the communal forces, we should strive for the broadest mobilization of secular and democratic forces. Joint platforms are necessary for a wider united movement against communalism.”
In face of crushing electoral defeats, the Stalinist leaders have started to fall back upon the old rhetoric of ‘mobilisation of masses’ to divert attention of their own cadres from these defeats. Through this ‘mobilisation’, the Stalinist leaders, however want to regain and reclaim their lost glory, their seat share in Parliament and assemblies, that puts the requisite political legitimacy and power at their disposal, to chain and hold back the workers and toilers, and to raise the bills to the ruling bourgeoisie for this ‘great service’.
Stalinists have played crucial role to keep the bourgeois regime intact in power. Deceiving the workers and toilers with the red flag and false rhetoric of revolution and socialism, these leaders are chiefly responsible for the whole chain of defeats after defeats of the working class in the last century.
As these leaders get exposed, they are marginalized and isolated, amidst the defeats of the working class, they had sown and nurtured. These leaders incapable to launch any offensive against the successive capitalist governments, against their pro-rich policies, price hike, food crisis, farmer suicides, rising unemployment and spiralling income gaps etc. had integrated themselves firmly into the regime under capitalists, as its left wing.
As the bureaucratic apparatus, under these Stalinist leaders, that rested upon the support of governments under them, gets shattered, their forces start to fritter away. While the honest cadres seize upon the opportunity to undertake a serious review of the politics of Stalinists and derive strategic conclusions from it, the opportunist rubble drifts to bourgeois parties like TMC or even BJP.
The program of Stalinists, based upon ‘bloc of four classes’ proposed by Stalin, falsely imparts a progressive and radical character to the capitalist class in backward countries like India and advocates for unity between workers and capitalists. This program is chiefly responsible for the defeats and debacles suffered by the working class in the last century. It is the collaboration with capitalist parties and leaders, into which Stalinists have forced the youth and workers, instead of fighting against them, that has harnessed the conditions in which the extreme right-wing BJP could ride to power.
While the Congress and other regional bourgeois parties themselves have closely collaborated with extreme right-wing BJP, with many of them being partners in the political alliance of NDA under BJP, the Stalinists subordinated the workers and youth to these parties and forged alliances with them, paving way for the rise of BJP to power.
Also see: http://workersocialist.blogspot.in/2012/04/20th-party-congress-of-stalinist-cpm.html