The Party congresses of CPI (M) and CPI, still known in Indian politics as big left parties, were held recently in the second half of April last. The parties presented their respective approaches and views on issues at national and international planes, which they had picked up as important. Significance of those in the contemporary scenario was laid out enthusiastically also by a section of columnists and experts in print and electronic media. Considering the gravity of the situation arising out of the menacing growth of the RSS- BJP, endangering unity and amity of oppressed people, it requires a brief observation on how these party congresses took on the most vital issue presently confronting people of the country, namely the rule of the RSS-BJP combine at the Centre and in many states.
The backdrop of the two party congresses
These party congresses of CPI(M) and CPI were held at a time when the entire country is in the grip of a suffocating grave situation. The rule of the RSS-BJP combine turns out every minute to be serving the prevailing capitalist system in the best possible way. Ever-deepening crisis of the system embracing all fronts of societal activities, namely economic-political- social and cultural, is coming down heavily upon people, with no sign of respite. Amidst that, while monopolists and their corporate houses are rejoicing at each and every policy and step of the BJP-led governments, common people face yawning gap between rich and poor, unemployment crossing all limits, prices sky-rocketing and the government adding fuel to the fire. Hard-earned trade union and democratic rights of working people are snatched away. Farmers commit suicide under pressure of debts, face bullets of government and police when they protest. Women and children are trafficked- brutally raped and then murdered. Protesting voices are gagged by killing radical thinkers, by branding protestors as anti-national. Even judiciary is not being spared. And surpassing all these, the ruling RSS-BJP combine has unleashed a vicious campaign of most communal posture, Hindutwavadi in its brand, which entails a spectre of ominous agenda including rabid anti-minority communalism, anti-Dalit casteist hate campaign, creation of a cultural-educational ambience through rewriting history in subjective distorted way and through shattering whatever extent of scientific, secular and democratic education is there as well as through vitiation of the mass-mind with obscurantist, superstitious, blind faith-based views and opinions. Last, but not the least, there is relentless attempts at bringing national cultural-educational institutions even government offices of the rank of governor of states and president of the country under total control by placing yes-men of the ruling RSS-BJP combine at their heads. All this, add up to vertically cleavage common people thus breaking any united movement to grow up against the government.
Naturally such a situation, such a menacing growth of the RSS-BJP cannot but cause grave concern among people, all over the country. All sections of people with a minimum sense of concern for the land and its people, anxiously look out for a political line to forestall further growth of this venomous force. The left-leaning people with an annoyed mindset, including the rank and file of leftist political parties and forces also yearn for a correct line. This is the context upon which the two party congresses stand. And what lines do they leave out for people to consume?
What do the congresses say?
The political resolution of the CPI(M) party congress warns people of a vicious attack, through ‘aggressive neo-liberal economic policies’, the ‘onset of a right-wing authoritarian-communal regime coming down on parliamentary democracy and institutions’ and ‘cementing India to the status of a junior strategic partner of USA and imperialism’. Elsewhere it says of a ‘concerted effort to implement the RSS’s Hindutva agenda which threatens the secular democratic framework of the State, attacks on minorities and dalits and the emergence of fascistic trends’, the rule proving itself as ‘blueprint of the RSS utilising State power to infiltrate RSS personnel’. So , people are warned of the reality, they identify. Then comes, what to do. ‘We must intervene in the situation to take forward the various struggles of the working people’. A general statement no leftist would disagree. And next, it identifies the system as ‘dominated by the big bourgeois-landlord classes’, so‘Our tactics must be directed towards weakening the big bourgeois-landlord domination’. The old wine in the same old bottle. The one side of reality, the attack, is outlined, the other side is blurred. What about the Indian monopolists and their corporate houses which have now grown their economy to among the topmost fast growing economies with themselves grown among some of the most powerful finance capital owners of the world! They are no longer satisfied even with their status of a junior partner of the imperialist camp, but aspire to become a regional super-power with the tentacles of their finance capital spreading out not just to the neighbourhood, but even among remote continents of Europe, Africa, Latin America, for example and with their military might carving out military alliances with imperialist forces like the USA, Israel, Japan, etc. with an eye to containing other contestant imperialist powers around. Inside the country, from where do the RSS-BJP combine acquire their strength and venom other than without playing efficient subservient to the ruling monopolists and thus being ensured of the power and pelf they enjoy? What does the big phrase of the CPI(M) political resolution viz., “big bourgeois-landlord” signify in class angularity? Are they anything but the all-powerful capitalists- monopolists of the country? Then what is the system prevailing other than a well-consolidated capitalist system, ferociously armed with evident administrative fascist trend? Both the congresses, however, never mention about the ruling monopolists, nor about the capitalist system which breeds all evils and the necessary mass and class struggles on people’s problems making them conducive to the ultimate anti-capitalist revolutionary struggle.
What line the congresses suggest for fight against RSS-BJP ?
And how do they propose to weaken even the system ‘dominated by big bourgeois-landlord classes’ as they call it ?The resolution says : ‘The Congress party has the same class character as that of the BJP….. The Congress professes to be secular but it has proved to be incapable of consistently fighting the communal forces …., there cannot be a line of treating both the BJP and the Congress as equal dangers’. Sitaram Yechury, the CPI(M) General Secretary, elaborates this further saying that the challenge posed by BJP has to be faced by not having any political alliance with the Congress party. However, there can be an understanding with all secular parties including the Congress.
The CPI, in its turn, identifies the danger of fascism looming large over the nation, hung on a single horse-hair of the RSS ideology. Calling for a broader Left unity it concluded that the CPI was open to forming an alliance with the Congress party in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. To them also, the Congress is a secular party which has a role to play in the struggle against the RSS and BJP.
As mentioned, right-thinking people with a minimum sense of democratic norms and values are horror-struck with the menacing rise of the RSS-BJP and are helplessly craving for immediate efforts to forestall its further ramification and growth. Even a section of the media has been focussing it as a burning issue, virtually dominant among the many the country is facing. On this backdrop, the two parties, known as big lefts, spill out bundles of venomous words only to come down to the above prescription. Is it what the people was looking for? Does it fit the reality? Is it at all adequate to meet the demands of time?
After all the words on fascist danger of RSS, struggle for working people and so on, both the party congresses boil down to the real intent. The BJP is to be defeated. But where and how? In the coming election by ‘an understanding with all secular parties including the Congress’ (CPIM) or by ‘forming an alliance with the Congress party’ (CPI).
Was Congress ever secular?
So crux of the matter is, as outlined in the party congresses of CPI(M) and CPI, hinges on premise that the RSS- BJP being arch-communal a fight against them should include Congress which is ‘secular’ though CPI(M) took a guard by inserting a qualification ‘not consistently’. To be truthful, CPI(M) took much strain to decide whether it should be an ‘alliance’ or an ‘electoral understanding’ with the Congress. But the crux remained the same in identifying Congress as ‘secular’ with which leftists can safely join hands. Naturally the first point to judge how far this claim about the Congress party is tenable. Needless to say that the Congress evolved as the party of the Indian national bourgeoisie, that is the Indian capitalists, which was initially at the forefront of the anti-British imperialist freedom struggle. However, it was the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution and like the bourgeoisie of other countries, the Indian national bourgeoisie suffered from the fear-complex of that revolution. Hence they compromised with imperialism, feudalism, feudal ideas, practices and ways of life so that after attaining power they could exploit these divisiveness to perpetuate their rule. As a result of these, though politically India emerged as an independent nation, it remained divided on religion, caste, ethnicity, and what not. Thus even during the independence movement, the Congress did not grow into a secular force; rather the nationalism it stood for was largely Hindu-religion oriented. At that time forces trumpeting for Hindutwa like the Hindu Mahasabha or the RSS could not find much ground in the masses; in fact, they went against the anti- British imperialist independence movement, their leaders, like Golwalkar, designating it as reactionary. In fact, forces upholding secularism had become powerful under the leadership of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, particularly in the later part of the independence movement.
Finally the Congress formed the government in independent India and ruled continuously for decades over the country, serving the ruling Indian capitalist class in their best possible way. As the pro-capitalist policies of the Congress made it more and more unpopular, the RSS took advantage of people’s resentment against the Congress and silently spread out its network. The Congress, in its turn, did not disturb the RSS much. Once it banned the RSS, but soon afterwards it lifted the ban. As the RSS continued fomenting communal feelings that could and did lead to communal flare-ups against the minority community, the Congress used those in the interest of its own vote bank politics, either by tacitly looking the other way to gain dominant majority community support or, in cases where it suited otherwise, posing saviour of the minorities. It even engineered communal clashes as and when it suited its needs. In summation, the Congress instead of dealing with the RSS threat firmly, even connived with its communal design cunningly. Both the Congress and the RSS or the Jansangh, its political outfit or the RSS-BJP combine after the latter was formed replacing Jansangh in the later parts of the last century, served the ruling capitalist class well particularly whenever in power, by driving the wedge between exploited people on religious community feelings and thus preventing them from standing united against the capitalist rule. How can such a party be called secular, that too by parties which claim themselves as leftists? This is the biggest question that emerges after the party congresses of the CPI(M) and CPI conclude with their proceedings.
But even this big question is shrouded with several other more dangerous aspects. As mentioned above, in the political resolutions of the CPI(M) party congress, as also that of the CPI, fairly strong words are used against the vicious ‘neo-liberal’ attacks or ‘fascist’ attack of the RSS. But nowhere does it care to point out the capitalist system of the country bringing down all attacks, nor does it spell out that the attack of the RSS-BJP is really serving the interest of the ruling capitalist class by creating disunity among the toiling masses. They speak of ‘intervening in the situation to take forward the various struggles of the working people’. Innocuous words, but they conceal a motive, otherwise. Do not they suggest that intervention relates to dislodging the BJP government, so that struggles may be ‘taken forward’? And for that, even though “ the Congress party has the same class character as that of the BJP” , both being major representatives of the monopolists and major contestants for power, the CPI(M) holds that, they cannot be treated at par with each other. So, the Congress is identified by the CPI(M) – CPI as ‘secular’. It is shown above that during its long history, the Congress never emerged as a secular party. Then what is this all about. Are not these words simple trickeries and deceptions to confuse people and even their own rank and file who are craving for a genuine leftist struggle against the BJP? Serving the capitalist class in the most faithful way as the Congress became an extremely unpopular force, its image was totally whitewashed. Do not these words refurbish that, adding freshness to the blurred image of the Congress? Why do parties known as lefts are taking it upon themselves to refurbish the image of a bourgeois party rejected by people?
Can RSS-BJP really be isolated from people merely through election battles?
Besides, while the RSS-BJP unleash a virulent campaign on their rabid communal thoughts to capture the imaginations of and make a dent into the mass-mind, were not the people eagerly expecting the genuine leftists to come out with a formidable ideological battle to free the mass-mind from the crippling toxicity of RSS-BJP thoughts? Even increasingly larger sections of people were coming to realize that the main plank in confronting the RSS-BJP is to develop ideological struggle and in course of that to evolve a correct approach which will help unite all sections of toiling people to forestall the danger of growth and sustenance of the RSS-BJP. And obviously this approach cannot be evolved without recognizing the reality of capitalist rule and exploitation, because in the ultimate analysis, it was the ruling capitalists and their system , which the RSS-BJP have been serving enthusiastically and fiercely. The resolutions speak so many words on the attacks of RSS. Why do not they contain a single effective mention of this immensely important ideological struggle? What they say in the resolutions are about the elections to come and how the forces are to be aligned. Then do they take it that, simply through elections, the RSS-BJP threat will be wiped out? Do they think, the vitiating effects of the RSS-BJP campaign will be wiped out simply through electoral slogans? Can that ever be? Do they really believe that? Or, is it that they play with the words on RSS attacks, alliance or understanding with secular Congress in election etc., simply to enliven people’s parliamentary illusion on which they thrive? If it be so, is it not a blunt treachery towards people? Is it not a fact that absence of democratic movement of people centring round the burning problems of life embracing of all sections of oppressed people, irrespective of religion , caste, ethnicity, etc., is the basic cause to provide the fertile ground on which the RSS-BJP could grow to reach their present menacing form? Do not the CPI(M)- CPI realize that now without developing powerful united movement of all sections of people in every corner of the country, the RSS-BJP will remain unscathed? It is only such powerful united movement guided and directed, that is led by the leftists, which can lead also to the required powerful ideological battle to combat the obnoxious RSS-BJP thoughts, free people from the vicious influence of those and thus bring focus upon the path for people to follow instead. It needs no reiteration that in developing such a movement against communalism the leadership must rest with the genuine leftists, as only the leftists can strengthen struggle not only in the extra-parliamentary fields, also within the arena of election and parliamentary forum, making both conducive to each other, though people’s movement remains the prior. In no way, election and parliamentary battles can be considered the only means to fight the RSS- BJP. Only when massive united movements led by the leftists can be organized in every corner of the country those can also help regain their courage and zeal for movement and thus build up the organizational strength of people to overcome the dangerous set-up of the RSS-BJP that is relentlessly trying to spread their tentacles. It may be a difficult and arduous task. But any line without these, taken up on whatever pretext there may be, will only add fillip to the growing menace, will strengthen the hands of the RSS-BJP, the force every right minded person wants to thwart back. People will only be caught again in the whirlwind of fruitless election politics. Democratic minded people and the rank and file of the two parties will need to ponder over these seriously.