By Arun Srivastava
The electoral prospect of the Indian left is not so bad as it is being projected. In 2014 the left might have suffered the severe jolt ever since its electoral debut, but the 2019 is all set to witness resurgence of the left. This is not presumptuous; instead the optimism is based on the prevailing ground realities.
Indian left is a polemical democratic force. It is not stationary and static. The massive November 30 rally of farmers at the Ram Lila ground in Delhi and a joint of pledge of the central trade unions to hold two day general strike on January 8 and 9 point to the resurrecting left forces. The Delhi march of the farmers has been the biggest ever rally organised by the left in independent India.
There is no denying the fact that the left has been suffering due to its own inner political contradictions than any impish machination of the BJP or Narendra Modi. Even Sitaram Yechury, the CPM GS has been scared to assert his authority in a convincing manner and style.
Dipankar, the general secretary of the CPI(ML) said “communists must devise a strategy of effective intervention in the electoral arena to challenge and defeat the fascist forces wherever possible. The challenge of defeating fascism cannot and must not however be reduced to an electoral challenge, and within the electoral arena, it must not be reduced to the task of joining or supporting any so-called grand alliance to keep the BJP out.”
Some left leaders compare BJP with the Congress. I wonder and it is really beyond comprehension how a fascist organisation could be equated with a nationalist bourgeoisie party. It was this state of mind that made the communists give space to the BJP in 2014. The same mistake must not happen during 2019 elections. In an informal chat Dipankar revealed that he has been in constant touch with other left parties and has been striving to provide ideological aptitude to the democratic and secular forces. This has become quite imperative and essential in the existing situation. Without this it would be a difficult proposition to fight saffron brigade.
Dipankar feels “the Constitution and the vote clearly remain two potent weapons in the hands of the people to resist and defeat the fascist forces. The leftist committed to Revolutionary line must devise a strategy of effective intervention in the electoral arena to challenge and defeat the fascist forces wherever possible. Left should make a distinction between the fascists and non-fascist forces. The challenge of defeating fascism cannot and must not however be reduced to an electoral challenge.”
He has already initiated the process of bringing all democratic, secular and left parties on a single platform. He however is emphatic, “must never lose sight of the real task of building a powerful ideological-political counterpoint against fascism”.
So far the issue of floating an alliance was the exclusive domain of the big parties. It is quite encouraging that this time the CPI(ML) has taken the initiative. Dipankar said that he already had a preliminary round of discussion with the RJD leader Tejashvi.
The main focus of the CPI(ML) is on the challenges of resisting the rise of fascism in India. Dipankar said, “We held the Tenth Congress in the face of an unmistakable rise of fascism in India. The BJP today spearheading a neo-liberal policy offensive in every sphere, while simultaneously thoroughly polarising the society on communal lines and subverting and capturing the entire range of state and non-state institutions in furtherance of the RSS agenda. The manipulation of parliamentary procedures and subversion of institutions and constitutional offices has almost acquired the proportions of a parliamentary coup.
The party had in fact passed resolutions condemning the communalization of festivals and the communal violence unleashed in West Bengal and Bihar by the Sangh Parivar in the name of Ram Navami; expressing solidarity with University students and teachers protesting privatization in the name of ‘autonomy’ and protesting sexual harassment of students by a teacher in JNU.
India has witnessed a massive political shift in the last four years with the BJP replacing the Congress as the dominant political representative of the ruling classes. For the first time in India’s parliamentary history, the BJP has not only secured absolute majority on its own at the Centre but it has also emerged as the ruling party, whether singly or in coalition with other parties, in all but a few states. The rise of the BJP as the predominant ruling party of India at both central and provincial levels has enabled the entire Sangh Parivar to unleash its fascist agenda with unprecedented speed and aggression.
The State has become increasingly authoritarian and intrusive, even as it overtly or covertly patronises the Sangh brigade in enforcing the communal-casteist-patriarchal code through mob lynchings, targeted killings of dissenting intellectuals and activists, and a relentless campaign of virulent hate-mongering. From the terms of citizenship to the nature of the republic, the Modi government is trying to subvert the very foundation of constitutional democracy in India.
Dipankar says, ‘The concentration of powers in the Prime Minister’s hands and the undermining of the parliamentary conventions and procedures have facilitated a ruthless pursuit of the economic agenda of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation. Soon after coming to power, Narendra Modi tried to undo the safeguards and improved terms of compensation and rehabilitation won by land- and livelihood-losers in the 2013 Land Acquisition Act. In the face of stiff resistance, his government could not however convert the Land Acquisition Ordinance into law. But that has not stopped the government from brazenly pursuing its agenda and promoting corporate interests by all means.”
Accompanying this aggressive pursuit of pro-corporate economic agenda is a shrill rhetoric of hyper-nationalism. While Muslims are being targeted as a community, the aggression of the Sangh brigade is equally directed against Dalits. The rise of the Sangh brigade to various positions and institutions of power has quite characteristically resulted in a widespread intensification of oppression on Dalits.
Dipankar emphasises; “From Gujarat to Uttar Pradesh, and Maharashtra to Bihar, we have seen inspiring instances of Dalit resistance and new potential of radical political mobilisation on the basic issues of land, education, jobs and dignity. In the face of the intensified RSS-backed offensive against Dalits, a new generation of Dalit movements led by young Dalit leaders has emerged. A welcome feature has been the determination of the Dalit movement to stand firm by the vulnerable Muslim community as well as resist attempts to co-opt Dalits to commit communal violence”.
The challenge of defeating fascism cannot and must not however be reduced to an electoral challenge. We must therefore never lose sight of the basic task of building a powerful ideological-political counterpoint against fascism. Dipankar called upon the left parties and secular forces to not let the fascists get away with their twin weapons of hate propaganda and hate crimes. (IPA Service)