Defeat Communalism, Yes. But what should be the Alternative?
The democracy machine has gone into production again, this time the camp site is Karnataka. We are so used to the products of this great invention that we don’t care to examine whether the goods churned out of this sixty year old instrument is worthy of our loyalty or not. Increasingly we are finding that our alienation with the goods of democracy has more to do with the operators wielding the remote control and less with the employees on the job. As the change of employees, has not brought about any tangible increase in the quality of goods that we suffer without any respite. It is high time that we need to look into changing the machine lock, stock and barrel!
In the past two decades of India’s political history “defeating” communalism has been the main focus of all the so-called secular parties including the left. But if one examines this worthy initiative little more deeply, you can come across the startling fact that the rise of communalism is in direct corollary with neo-liberalism, which has become more strident in the last two decades or so. As all parties in the fray stand in support of neo-liberal policies to one degree or the other, we need to question their credentials as to whether they really want to defeat communalism as they profess.
Can one even consider congress as an alternative? Who will answer for the 60 years of misrule, the continuing farmers suicides in the past two decades, (150,000 – 200,000) unabated exploitation & the misery of the masses (836 million living on Rs. 20 a day)? Who says congress is not communal or casteist? Who was responsible for the criminal partition of India, Anti-Sikh riots, opening the controversial gates of Babri Masjid? It is needless to say that, while BJP is actively and unabashedly communal, the Congress has a history of using communalism to its advantage.
Moreover the Congress was rejected in Karnataka decisively in 2004 exactly for its elitist approach under the leadership of S M Krishna, his return to state politics shows that congress is bent upon serving the interests of corporate capitalism which is the ugliest face of neo-liberalism world over. It is political bankruptcy on the part of the CPI (M) and other sundries to tag the Congress as secular & democratic.
We urge the working people of Karnataka not to be carried by the development and growth rhetoric of the Congress which has invariably benefited only the rich and powerful. Congress and its policies have only brought misery of continued unemployment, high inflation and price rise to us. Reject the anti worker and anti peasant Congress
These days the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) tries playing the skit of ‘wolf in sheep’s clothes’, though pretty imperfectly. There is hardly any new analysis to be done about the nature of this party, which is nothing but a communal outfit of the capitalists who have no compunction to try it out if it serves their purpose of profit making. It is worthy to remind ourselves that how the media driven by the big baron interests, brain washed the entire country about the virtues of Vajpayee led NDA regime at the centre. To a great extent it succeeded in somehow absolving the BJP of its murderous acts in various communal conflagrations initiated by itself.
But hardly anybody is fooled by the antics of the BJP, thanks to its mascot Mr.Modi of Gujarat, who in a microcosm has showed the entire world as to what would be at dispensation if the BJP comes on its own without any strings attached or allied baggage to carry. Is there anything to choose between the Congress and the BJP, on the disastrous economic policies that they both pursue and execute with all the gusto to the detriment of we the working people of this country.
Is not the BJP chanting the same mantra of unbridled capitalism with aggressive communal overtones? BJP’s ‘holier than thou ‘attitude has no takers what so ever. It is now everybody’s knowledge that the magnitude of corruption and mafia links that this party is involved in is unparalleled, the example in Karnataka is the grip of the mining mafia on this party.
Working people of this country out rightly reject the concept of Hindu majority that BJP claims to represent. It is ridiculous that a party such as BJP, which stands for a hierarchical gradation of society as envisaged by infamously fictitious – “Manu Smruthi” (possibly spewed out during the barbaric times of medievalism) tries to project itself as the new champion of the Daliths and the other dispossessed.
Without any credence to any caste based political party or philosophy one needs to challenge the BJP on its claims to stand for the dignity of Hindus? Which Hindus are they taking about – elite, privileged, upper caste Hindus or the mainly dispossessed, lower caste Hindus? Have not the lower class/caste Hindus grossly affected in BJP ruled states by the so called “developmental” projects like the Sardar Sarovar project in Narmada river valley, SEZ’s by driving away the peasants, slum evictions to make way for malls & 5-star hotels for Narendra Modi’s vibrant Gujarat?
Is this what the BJP means when it talks of Hindu nationalism: elite, upper class/caste pro-capitalist Hindu nationalism jointly in collaboration with imperialism to collectively exploit & oppress working class & peasant Hindus, Muslims, Christians & others?
Did not the BJP play the caste card in Rajasthan & antagonized the Gujjars & the Meenas against each other? Besides who is playing the lingayat card in Karnataka politics today?
Do the people of Karnataka want to fall a victim of BJP’s upper class/caste pro-capitalist Hindu nationalism? Do we want another Ayodhya to repeat in Bababudangiri of Karnataka? Do we want to see a state led communal violence as we witnessed in Gujarat-2002?
More than the immediate electoral gains of the BJP that we need to stall outright, it is the polarisation of our class on narrow & vicious communal lines that the BJP and the “Sangh Parivar” are causing in the society, that we have to be worried about and build effective strategies against it.
Historically BJP and its predecessor Jana Sangh have been the battering ram of the finance capital of this country, this wing of the bourgeois world over, have been insidious enough to finance and promote fascistic formations with an ulterior motive to break the unity of the working people, which would otherwise inevitably will advance in the road of challenging the system of capitalism as a whole.
BJP is no alternative at all for the working people, we reject it, to protect the unity of our class, be it Hindu, Muslim or Christian. We reject BJP on a double score for its servitude to neo-liberalism which is nothing but more misery for the vast masses of this country. We reject BJP on a triple score precisely because of its obscurantist, fundamentalist approach towards the issues of race, gender- sexuality and caste. We urge the working class voters of Karnataka “Do not vote BJP”
The ghost of India’s politics of the 70’s still walks! The Gowda’s, Lalu’s, Yadav’s and the Subramanian Swamy’s still walk with this phantom for historical reasons. While Lalu and Mulayam have managed to be still relevant, the other two have been reduced to foot notes. It was a parody of a political accident that sprung up Deve Gowda to become the Prime Minister of India, thanks to blunder driven CPI(M) which lodged him there. Janata Dal of Deve Gowda is no secular party as the suffix of that party goes; a popular political joke is Janata Dal (Sons). Does the Gowda’s family party have anything at all politically to stand for?
While one has to recognise the fact that it is no longer appropriate to tag the “Communist” parties especially the CPI (M) as left parties. According to their own admission, their agenda is Social Democracy. In recent times the leadership of these parties have repeatedly asserted that there is no alternative to capitalism and their programme is not for socialism, as many used to believe.
The left parties particularly the CPI (M) are under the illusion that a centre-left govt. or a weak congress govt. is the best alternative for Karnataka. But what has been the price people of India have been paying for a Congress–left coalition (UPA)? Price rise, continuing farmers’ suicides, land eviction for SEZ, exploitation of the masses & much more. Can the left actually absolve themselves from all these in the name of fighting communalism?
What is CPI (M)’s own role in promoting capitalism in West Bengal & Kerala? Who is responsible for the atrocious Singur & Nandigram, Kerala’s Smart city?
We are forced to reject these parties once considered as working class parties, their courting capitalist and landlord parties has had a reverse Midas touch on them.
While we recognise that there are many thousands of youth and workers who are genuinely longing for a road to socialism and they did believe that these communist parties were the vehicles in that road to achieve socialism, but there is a fundamental shift in the perceptions of these parties in relation socialism. At the most they are only capable of managing capitalism better than capitalists, which is what social democracy is. These apologists for capitalism must be rejected.
Usually one does not consider the Naxalite groupings when it comes to electoral politics as they always advocate a boycott which is far removed from the consciousness of the masses in general. The recent events in the region of South Asia especially Nepal has put many Maoist outfits in disarray. It is welcoming that some of the former groups of Naxalite movement in Karnataka have had a rethink on the methods and strategies as for as the “power grows out of the barrel of a gun”, the famous dictum of Mao. While many on the left are trying to father the “Nepal Revolution” it was the mass class action that brought Gyanendra (Once the King) to his knees. The success of the April revolution was a classic refutation of the theories of guerillarism as the only method to fight landlordism & capitalism in the under developed countries. It was only the spontaneous response and bravery of the Nepalese working class youth who sieged the royal palace which forced the Maoists of Nepal led by Prachanda to overhaul their strategy in relation to seizing power. If the gunshot happy Maoists had armed youth then, it would have been a different course of history altogether. Indian bourgeois and the western imperialists should be extremely thankful for the role of CPI (M) in derailing a revolution next door. The declaration of Prachanda, that it would be a capitalist Nepal and he would implement a West Bengal model has reassured both New Delhi and the White House. While it is not appropriate here to detailly analyse the events in Nepal, yet it is very important to draw the lessons from it. The newly coined word “Prachandism” is no new theory as such, it is the same old Menshevist theory now perfected by the Stalinists and Maoists of India and Nepal.
While we do not for a second give any concession to the chauvinist sloganeering of some of the opportunistic outfits of the petty bourgeoisie claiming to represent Kannadigas, we share the genuine concerns of working class, Kannada speaking youth, who feel discriminated in education, jobs, services & housing. Karnataka, the much touted IT hub of India is no doubt investor friendly but has become the enemy of the working masses. While it attracts the wealthy to its prime cities such as Bangalore, Mangalore and Mysore it drives away the ordinary people from their dwellings. As the MNC’s and local investors stream-in in thousands there is an artificial “growth” resulting in the astronomical costs of living in these cities which is a nightmare for the working people. While the already hefty salaries of the top executives and CEO’s is going up by 20 to 30% per annum, the real wages of the workers has remained stagnant at appallingly low levels. The local youth of Karnataka feel completely alienated from this unfair boom, which has given room to some chauvinist organisations to take advantage and target the working people of other languages and states.
We reject these chauvinist organisations and individuals standing in the name of Kannada who are on the pay roles of the big business and are doing the dirty work of breaking class unity.
It is indeed no doubt that the emergence of BSP has put a check on the advance of BJP and eroded the base of Congress in many states of the north of India. But what is the BSP? Is it a Dalit party, then why did it abandon the exclusivist Dalithism and has harped on the Dalit-Brahman-Muslim formula in the name of social engineering. This is no new slogan, in the early days of Congress led by Nehru this formula was successfully practiced to the hilt; this was a way of apportioning power among the petty bourgeoisie in different communities. In fact it was this way that Nehru’s Congress built islands of power centres in various states and strengthened its position. In the historical juncture of post war boom a relative cushion was available for the bourgeois to hand out some reforms to quell the mass discontent, but we are experiencing neo-liberalism now, it is a period of counter reforms let alone new reforms.
What was a sectional programme of the Congress has been made the exclusive party programme of the BSP.
BSP has no alternate programme for neo- liberalism or capitalism; it is another party which says that Capitalism could be humane if managed by right individuals. In Uttar Pradesh where it is enjoying power it has no alternative to Privatisation which has pushed lakhs of workers including Dalits out of jobs from the Public Sector industries.
Reservation has remained a hollow slogan as for as the vast majority of the Dalits and other dispossessed are concerned. Reservation as a reform has some meaning when the assets of the society are under the control of the state, though capitalist. Through the struggle of the masses some gains can be made in the areas of education and state sector jobs. But Privatisation being the mantra of all governments, increasingly reservation has turned out to be a mockery of justice and fairness for the disadvantaged. Now it is only a reservation of poverty and misery according to the proportion of one’s caste and might.
In finality during any elections the question posed is, who do we vote? It is easy to ask this question but quiet difficult answer, unfortunately we consider that our class has been conspiratorially disenfranchised, we can not choose between these capitalist, communal and casteist parties and the name sake communists are no good to vote for.
Let us not face the same dilemma yet again in the future, let us build a genuine working class alternative from now on.
Let’s build an alternative to the opportunistic policies of these parties. Let’s stand for: