Communism – a utopian dream( From Ashutosh Space)

Left in India is very powerful for the time being but Leftism at the international map is a marginal force . I still remember my one of the professors, who was a commited Marxist and doyen of Marxist theories , said from a public platform just after the disintegration of USSR , that it is no longer fashionable to call oneself a Marxist . Another professor who happened to be Dalit ,in one of his most frustrating moments, admitted he wasted his life chasing an utopian dream in the shadow of Marxism.
Both these gentlemen were still convinced that Marxism as a philosophical argument was a very effective tool for social change but its practitioners have been responsible for its demise. They were honest people and commanded enormous respect from their students and pear group and were willing to internally introspect practical dimension of Marxism . They were intellectually restless to understand what went wrong with Left ideology .
But unlike these professors, the problem with the mainstream Indian Left is that though they are honest and committed bunch of politicians but are unwilling to look inward , to find out what is wrong with Marxism in theory and in practice.
That is the fundamental reason for their unambiguious approach towards Nuclear deal, the consequent of which might result in instability at the centre and lead to early elections . For me this is very surprising as the Indian Left were the only communists apart from Chairman Mao who realised the ground realities and accordingly experimented with Marxism .
Mao knew that communism in its classical form will not gel into agrarian Chinese society . Hence he redefined Marxism which would be in sync with local needs and practiced in a way which suits Chinese needs . After Mao when his successors realised that even Mao’s dictum is no longer valid they did not even hesitate to flirt with market forces in the Communist garb . No body can be more candid than Deng Xio Pheng who openly used to say that it does not matter if cat is black or white as long as it catches mice . It was due to this pragmatic approach to Marxism that China suddenly took a dramatic turn and moved on to a capitalist path thereby becoming future super power without destroying their old power structure .
Indian communists were also very pragmatic . They had no problem in becoming part of a feudal society with ultra modern state structure . Despite being ideologically convinced that Indian state is semi-capitalist in nature, democracy a facade they joined mainstream politics , did not go underground to launch a movement to overthrow anti-working-class-state- apparatus as Marxists did in Nepal . I am not talking about the fringe players like Naxals or Maoists who call CPM and others as Sarkari Marxists . In fact they were so successful in their approach that in 1957 they created a history when they formed the first democratically elected communist government in Kerala. And E M S Namboodaripad became their first leader to become Chief Minister . It’s a different thing that in the implementation of their government policies at the state level they became so radical that central government dismissed their government .
Despite being dismissed they did not waver from their path , they did not leave mainstream politics , they continued taking part in democratic set up , remained a powerful block , kept occupying opposition space , contested elections , and as they got opportunity formed communist governments in West Bengal , Kerala and Tripura . And gradually they become so glued to the system that CPM even accepted having functional relationship with ultra conservative forces like Jansangh in mid seventies and with BJP in late 80s .
But as success has a self destructive logic . CPM in its pursuit to power lost its revolutionary fervor and became a conservative force which did not try to redefine its ideology with a pragmatic approach to Indian society and accordingly did not re-strategise its vision and policies . It got trapped in it own Jurassic park . So when BJP discovered aggressive Hinduism and backward leaders radicalised caste politics, CPM did not have an answer to it rather they continued indulging in rhetorics . They were not even willing to understand that caste is a reality in Indian society . They were still caught in the class web . For them Ayodhya movement was only a by product of nationalism and an urban phenomena . They failed to understand that Ram Mandir movement could also be a search for a militant identity for a section of Hindus.
When congress got disillusioned with its brand of socialism and drifted towards market economy, CPM could not give a convincing alternate ideological response.
They only had words which lost its meaning with the death of communism . When momentous changes were taking place old Comminists guards, who had their grounding in freedom struggle , were at the helms of affairs while the next level of leadership was trained in JNU where only two class existed – an English speaking upper class and language speaking lower class. No caste , no community , no religion and even no nationalism only internationalism .
This was the JNU in 70s when Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechuri were doing political internship . Yechuri was so away from reality or was so naive that when pro democarcy students were massacred in 1989 at Tianmen square , Yachuri had the guts and courage to lie to the students of JNU in Pereyar Hostel mess that ‘NOT A DROP OF BLOOD WAS SHED AT TIANANMEN SQUAR ‘. But after coming back from Rumania he reported to party politburo that every thing is hunky dory in Rumania. And he realised in a weeks time that PEOPLE of Rumania had revolted against then communist ruler Chausesku who was shot dead .
Now when all three new militant reflexes of Indian society i.e assertive-caste-identities, aggressive-hinduism and liberal – market-forces-creating-ultra-confident-class are consolidating their political grounds Prakash Karat is still speaking a language which is alien to them and so in direct disconnect with these aspiring sentiments.
I don’t buy this argument that Karat is opposing nuke deal because he has been told to do so by China .
His problem is that at the ideological level he is convinced by old Marxistdogma that it’s a trap laid by Imperialist America to colonise strategic Indian interest and at the political front he believes that Muslims will not vote for CPM if it is seen favouring nuke deal meaning perceived anti-Muslim America. This dual logic has two inherent contradictions . One , America is no longer the same Capitalist nation and world is no longer captive to communism vs capitalism logical divide . At the normative level communism can no longer boast of the final victory for the struggling working class which was the single most inspirational motivating factor in their fight against oppressive capitalism . Communist models all over the world have proved to be equally repressive and anti -freedom to common man . And at the empirical level world has seen disappearance of communist states one after another without any resistance in late 80s and early 90s .
Iraq war has made America realise that powerful economy and military might can not win a war . In modern times, defined by interdependent-global-economy and inter-linked-virtual-web-world, winning of minds are more important than winning a strategic battle . America first time in history is defensive and vulnerable as it has lost the moral battle after the attack on Iraq . Emergence of economically and startegically growing China and slowing down of American economy has created more cracks in its armour .
Two, Indian Muslim is now a changed lot . Al-Qaeda style of terrorism has made them a suspect globally and Modi brand of Hinduism has forced them to strategise their political understanding . They have realised that minoritism and secularism is no guarantee for their physical security . So there is no point in living dangerously . It is more important to have a strategic alliance under the gab of silence and surrender with pro-Hindu forces with the intention to extract better benefits for their physical needs and their families .
Unless Prakash Karat realises these new trends, sheds his old mind set, tries to rediscover new ideological moorings he will remain prisoner of the past and keep the country hostage to his whims thereby confining CPM as a party of only three states . I am sure Karat will not like to lament like my professors that they wasted their lives chasing an utopian dream in the age of virtual world.
Posted by Ashutosh
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