Saturday, 3 March 2018

Continued Decimation of the Left in Tripura Polls after West Bengal, Creates the Political Void and the Challenge to Fill It

- Rajesh Tyagi/ 3.3.2018

Stalinist Communist Party of India (Marxist), CPM, that could keep itself in power for 25 years in a row, stands routed in recent polls to Legislative Assembly of Tripura. Stalinists suffered a shameful defeat at the hands of the rightwing hindu supremacist BJP and its local ally Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura, IPFT.

While CPM was decimated to 16 seats, BJP alone secured 35 while its local ally IPFT begged 8, total seat tally going to 43. BJP also secured a vote share slightly ahead of the CPM at 43% as compared to 42.6 percent of the CPM.Congress, the biggest party of Indian bourgeoisie failed to secure even a single seat in Tripura Assembly and its vote share was drastically marginalized to 2% from 25% in 2013.

Manik Sarkar was fortunate to save his own seat from Dhanpur where his next rival was from BJP.

BJP had been participating in the Assembly elections since 1993, but failed to muster even a single seat. In 1993, 1998, 2003, 2008 and 2013 elections, most of its candidates failed to save even their security deposits.

A sudden surge in BJP’s vote and seat share, however is not unexpected. Many pre-poll predictions have indicated it in advance.

The rightwing leaders and media were quick in bragging that the victory of the BJP in Tripura is the end product of a well orchestrated plan chalked out by its master strategists.

Nothing can be farther from the truth. The outcome of the polls in Tripura, far from being the result of any master strategy of the BJP, as is boasted by the rightwing media, is the direct fallout of the bogus and pro-business policies of the Stalinists themselves. These policies were in place for decades and already had their cascading effect in West Bengal where their 32 years old government had suffered the same fate. 

The Stalinist leaders however failed to derive any lessons from their defeat in West Bengal and paid again for it in Tripura. Even after the defeat in Tripura, Stalinists instead of undertaking a serious review of their politics, program and their past, have started cursing and dismissing the people for not voting for their 'good governance'. Needless to say that it is the bogus politics of Stalinists themselves that has disoriented their followers and voters and left them in the lurch to lean upon the right.

Stalinists were left speechless by the defeat, except murmuring that they would review the defeat. Having no explanation to offer to the crushing failure, predicted in advance, the shamefaced Stalinist leaders of the CPM, accused the BJP of using money and muscle power alongside the EVM manipulations. This however explains nothing as on their part Stalinists have not left any stone unturned to bend the poll results in their favour.

Stalinists had failed to counter the BJP with any concrete program or even a roadmap of governance that could make any difference to the masses of workers and toilers. Like other bourgeois parties, they had indulged in poll gimmickry offering sops that did not go beyond the idea of a welfare state. In this, they obviously couldn’t have come even near to BJP.
Among 35 lakh population of Tripura, about one third are the followers of Nath religious sect. Yogi Adityanath, the leader of Nath sect and Chief Minister of UP had appealed on religious basis to this population to vote for BJP and succeeded in manipulating this mass base to the advantage of BJP.

While BJP used its aura as the ruling party at the centre and derived all material support from it alongside exploiting the image of its leader Narendra Modi as pioneer to the farcical dreams of ‘new India’, the Stalinists having nothing to their credit, solely relied upon the projection of the image of their leader Manik Sarkar, boasting of his personality as an honest and simple leader.

For long the Stalinists have turned their backs upon the working class and have tailored their politics to the empiricist and the sectarian, nationally driven politics, that suits to the conscience of their petty bourgeois followers.
The nationally oriented perspective of Stalinists had been notoriously close to that of the saffron fascists. They never supported the cause of immigrant workers, be it Bangladeshi or Rohingyas, for the fear of losing their petty-bourgeois nationalist base in middle class ‘bhadralok’. Rather, they threw outright support to the criminal misdeeds of the saffron state like the cross border ‘surgical strikes’. Top Stalinist leader Sitaram Yechury, was quick to go to the office of Home Minister Rajnath Singh to congratulate him after the strikes.

While their support base among the working class and toilers had continued to recede at fast pace, in the last decade, the Stalinists have consoled themselves that they still retained a voter base among the middle class to keep them in power. In the present scenario where BJP was so badly discredited by the recent exposure of a chain of financial scams, fresh in the memory of common people, there was a big void left open for exploitation by the opposition. Stalinists however failed to mobilize any real opposition to it and lost the chance.

Engaged for long in class conciliation, Stalinists, on their part, had refrained from making any class appeals to the working class and mobilizing it on a crass community basis, as a pivot of the election campaign against the rightwing parties. Stalinists also failed to unite the indigenous communities, tribals and immigrant labour on a class basis. As they failed to infuse a class divide, the saffron BJP succeeded in appealing and drawing a wedge on communal basis.

Stalinists had been shy in supporting the cause of the immigrant workers, most of whom are of Bangladeshi origin. Themselves tied firmly to nationalist approach, Stalinists never raised their voice in favour of these poor and deprived workers and their rights.

Alongside their abysmal failures, Stalinists have a dark past saturated with anti-worker and anti-toiler misdeeds that include among others- the forced seizure of lands from farmers in Singur and Nandigram in favour of big corporate and the brutal suppression of resistance against it, banning of strikes in IT sector, their role in savage repression upon peasant uprising of Naxalbari, apart from their opposition to freedom movement and their support to a series of bourgeois parties and leaders since 1947. Especially after 1989, the Stalinists had adhered them to a series of rightwing bourgeois parties to form governments at the centre and in states. In 2004, they supported the minority Congress enabling it to form a government at the centre in reversal of a political crisis.

The Stalinists have supported these rightwing parties and the governments under them, on the pretext of keeping the BJP out of the power. However, the end result of this policy of capitulation to the so-called democratic sections of the bourgeoisie, was the capture of power by the BJP. By taking to the tail of the democratic bourgeois parties and binding their followers to them, the Stalinists have left open the ground in opposition, for free play of the fascists.

Stalinists have not only supported the bourgeois-led governments and their pro-big business policies shamelessly, but in the states like West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura, where they themselves held the reigns of power in their hands, have put in place the very same neo-liberal regime of capitalism. Despite this, the states like Tripura, under their protracted rule, reeled under extreme economic backwardness. Tripura, alongside West Bengal, is home to poorest of the poor with lowest industrial growth, per-capita income and highest rate of unemployment in the country. 

Instead of working to undermine and destroy the bourgeois state and capitalist regime overseen by it, the Stalinists, had attempted to reinforce it by imparting a red mask to it to fool the workers and toilers. The welfare state that they boast of promoting in the three states under them, is based upon the illusion of transforming capitalism into ‘saint capitalism’ and substituting it for socialism.

Hostile to socialism, revolution and any independent action of the working class, the Stalinists have long ago turned their backs upon the rank and file workers and instead have based themselves upon thin bureaucratic layers in the trade unions. Their role among the working class has for long been limited to broker the bargains between the workers and the employers, often aided by the bourgeois state. They have been instrumental in substituting the class struggle with appeals to maintain the industrial peace through the brokered deals.

On political plane, the CPM Government and its leader Manik Sarkar, far from being any different from other bourgeois governments, shared the same nationally oriented and bureaucratic views about the state, law and governance. They were instrumental in promulgating the repressive black laws like AFSPA in the state for most of the time of their two and a half decade rule.

The reactionary repressive regime of black laws under the stalinists, was primarily directed against the movements rooted in tribal and indigenous communities that comprise around one third of the total population in Tripura. In doing this, the CPM has founded itself upon the great Bengali chauvinism, officially forcing upon the state a Bengali way of life, that not only prevented cultural assimilation among different communities inside the state but isolated the state from rest of the world. Domination of Bengali language in Tripura, has warded off Hindi and English from becoming popular among the youth, contributing further to its cultural and economic backwardness and isolation inside its own cocoon. 

While Tripura topped the list in the gender based crime against women and farmer suicides, often hushed up by the stalinists through manipulation of statistics, the government under them continued to draw political mileage from cultural and economic backwardness of the state.

To cover up their abysmal failures based on their counterrevolutionary politics and their criminal role for which these false lefties are known among the class conscious workers and toilers, the Stalinists have resorted to apolitical maneuvers like projection of saintly image of their top leader, Manik Sarkar, to appeal to the backward consciousness of the mass. 
This parochial resort to personality cult, however backfired as it served only to eclipse the role of the rest of the candidates of CPM itself. This fragile projection, was contained by bigger protrusion of cult by saffron boss Narendra Modi that more intimately communicated with backward consciousness of the mass due to its religion based appeal.   
Political opportunism can take us nowhere and notorious maneuvers have no place in revolutionary politics as no manipulations can substitute the class struggle that constitutes the core factor in realpolitik as chief driving force of history. However, the Stalinists have least regard for the same. From Maruti to Foxconn and Pricol, in all major working class struggles across the country, Stalinists have appeared as strike breakers and peace brokers for the bourgeoisie.

For decades together, Stalinist leaders have absented themselves from all serious struggles of workers and toilers confining themselves to parliamentary cretinism to hobnob with bourgeois leaders and parties to their advantage. They have assisted the capitalist state in keeping the workers under check for decades. However, the new saffron regime has no place for them in its scheme of governance based upon outright stifling of labour struggles instead of manipulations through pseudo-lefts.

Before a whopping drop of more than five percent in its vote share, the support for the stalinist left had started waning among the youth much earlier as CPM cadres and leaders among the youth had continued to join the rightwing ABVP affiliated to BJP, months before the elections. This was the offshoot of nationally oriented and reactionary rightwing politics of Stalinists themselves, that they had vigorously pursued for decades.

Stalinists are followers of the Menshevik ‘two stage theory’ of revolution that implies that dictatorship of the working class is not on the agenda of today, rather the task is to assist the capitalism to get mature enough to deliver socialism in distant future. The immediate task, they argue, is to defend the bourgeois democracy, obviously in conjunction with democratic sections of the national bourgeoisie.

This class conciliationist Menshevik policy of Stalinists, that was so decisively rejected by the Russian revolution, lessons of which have been ratified, albeit in the negative, again and again during the last century, is pivotal to the bogus political programs of Stalinist Communist Parties in all countries.

Applying this flawed policy, based on false assumption of a democratic stage of revolution, separate than and before the socialist one, the Stalinists have kept their backs turned upon the working class and have continued to cling to the tails of various bourgeois parties and leaders, to complete the democratic stage of revolution, decade after decade.

Instead of mobilizing the workers and the youth and toilers around them to pose a direct challenge to the regime of capitalism, the Stalinists have turned themselves into lifeguards for bourgeois democracy. Reducing themselves to parties of social democracy, the Stalinists have become politically bankrupt and have nothing to offer more than a welfare state. In this, they stand no match to bourgeois leaders and parties.

For long, Stalinists have not done any mass mobilization against the bourgeois state and governments either on economic or political issues. Despite the fact that there existed huge mass unrest against the policies and actions of the rightwing governments when it had imposed the demonetization and GST and a whole series of financial and banking scams had appeared, Stalinist leaders kept completely inert giving long rope to the government.

For their false policies and their subordination to the bourgeois parties, Stalinists were routed earlier in West Bengal. Now after their shameful exit from Tripura, they are squeezed to single state of Kerala where their ouster in the coming polls, is written on the wall.

While the corporate media is jubilant to pose this defeat of Stalinists as defeat of the idea of Socialism, it must be understood loud and clear that this defeat marks the decline of the anti-marxist and counterrevolutionary Stalinism and not Socialism. On the contrary, this decline was overdue and long awaited to clear the road for emergence of the revolutionary marxism. The suffocating stranglehold of Stalinism around the neck of the working class and the revolutionary movement in general, has prevented it from mounting a decisive offensive against capitalism and taking to the road of revolution.

The seminal decline of Stalinists, however, has created a void that would either be filled by the rightwing forces that are impatient to do so or the true and genuine revolutionary forces would lead the working class to fill it through a revolutionary surge.

This resurge of the left is however impossible on the basis of the same Stalinist-Menshevik program which the old parties had been toeing to. The new road has to be fought for in direct and head-on struggle against the Stalinist degeneration of Marxism and October Revolution. It has to base itself upon the essential strategic lessons from the great victory of October and their ratifications in the negative by all subsequent innumerable defeats in the last century. The task thus is not to resurrect the old and decomposed left, but to carry out a full fledged insurrection against it and reorient the working class and the youth to the program of 'Permanent Revolution', upon which is based the road to October conquest.

The fight for a program oriented to revolutionary Marxism and Red October and the organization of the advanced elements among the workers and youth around it, is the core task before the revolution today that the WSP is addressing to. 

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