Right-Commies like Buddha will split CPM
Debabrata Bandopadhyay | General secretary, RSP (Pioneer, April 5, 2008)
When a Communist party decides to discard the socialist dream the inevitable happens -- a split. Thanks to Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, that's a distinct possibility in the post-Coimbatore era
While waiting for a factual report on what exactly happened at the CPI(M) party congress, we can only speculate from media reports on what happened there. It's clear from the reports that the CPI(M) is in the throes of a great dilemma over dialectics. Actually, many would say it's more than just a dilemma. The very foundations of the party have been devastated in the public's perception. Henceforth the party will only be fuelled by duplicity because it has dumped everything that was ideal in the Left movement.
The current Marxist debate is all about 'greater evil versus lesser evil'. This is based on a theory circulated by some of its leaders whose sole motivation is to stay close to power in New Delhi. There are many in the party who have serious doubts about this theory, but cannot speak openly about it. In Stalinist Russia, many leaders were compelled to believe that American imperialism was preferable to fascism. The Marxists here are of the same mould. They have been told to believe that the Congress party is a lesser evil than the BJP. This totally ignores the evidence that there is no basic difference between the economic policies of the two parties.
The current Marxist dichotomy becomes more evident when talk about 'third alternative' explodes on the public discourse. One wonders how the Marxists propose to stay tuned to the 'lesser evil', that is the Congress, and simultaneously dream of forming this 'third alternative'. It is clear that the Bengal axis, led by Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Mr Biman Bose, dominates the Marxist political outreach on a national scale. The party today gives more importance to what Mr Bhattacharjee and Mr Bose think than what Mr Prakash Karat and Mr Sitaram Yechury say. Similarly, the CPI(M)'s labour arm, Citu, is divided between leaders like Mr MK Pandhe and Mr Shyamal Chakrabarty. While Mr Pandhe has openly expressed reservations against the capitalist tilt of the Marxist forces, Mr Chakrabarty has preferred to toe the Buddha line.
Today, Indian Marxists are confronted by a post-Soviet unipolar world dominated by the US. And the likes of Mr Bhattacharjee feel an urgent need to toe the US line. This is bizarre as even a few years back they despised Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and depicted the US as the biggest enemy of the proletariat. But now, they have started backing limited FDI even if that means the ruination of the small traders. It is clear that in the name of pragmatism, the Buddha lobby is only trying to subvert the essence of Marxism.
It will not be an exaggeration to say that the current leadership was trying to endorse the Congress-preached ideology to derive political mileage. Special Economic Zones (SEZ) is one area where the Marxists have made a huge compromise. Irrespective of what Mr Bhattacharjee feels about SEZs, there is no doubt that these would only lead to food shortages and promote the real estate business.
Though the Marxist leadership tried its best to paper over these differences, the Coimbatore party congress only brought out the cracks it in a bigger way. There was a big round of orchestrated applause for Mr Bhattacharjee, who is seen as a man who has struck a golden mean between labour and capital. But, in reality, the endorsement of the Buddha line has only given the impetus to parallel thought in that party.
There are still many leaders who do not subscribe to the views of right-wing, anti-socialist Leftists like Mr Bhattacharjee. Their new logic is: Since revolution cannot take place in a backward country, capitalism has to be developed fully. A revolution will then be born in the womb of capitalism only after it develops to the fullest. This is a fatal deviation from the Marxist-Leninist theory.
Such a mindset was common in the Soviet Union when a lot of people held the view that a socialist revolution could not take place on the plinth of backwardness. But then, Lenin blasted Pravda saying 'what nonsense are you writing?' He said Russia must fight the capitalist bourgeoisie, which followed the Czars to power. Mr Bhattacharjee seems to have taken his party along with him in his designs to install a deviated right-wing Marxist culture if we may say so. The part congress is a proof of that. But in this congress is embedded the seeds of a future break-up as there are many Marxist leaders who will accept his line after much grumbling.
This disenchantment would surely lead to a split some day. Traditionally, Communist parties have always been breeding grounds of conflict. They are prone to remain divided on ideological lines for years. It is this ideological division which led to the split of the 1960s, giving birth to the CPI(M),which again split up to form the CPI(ML) and subsequently Maoist and other extreme Leftist forces. The predominance of Buddha-like Right-wingers would one day be the nemesis of the CPI(M).
-- As told to Saugar Sengupta