The days of Communism/ Marxism in India are over 08/06/2011 23:25:22
Sri K P Joseph is a former Civil Servant and a consultant to the United Nations who had served in India and abroad in many positions. He is the Director of INSIST (Institute of Studies in Social Transformation) and the author of a number of books including ‘Gospel of Guru Sree Narayana’. He has published widely his articles on religion, spirituality, politics, development etc in leading dailies and magazines including in Malayala Manorama, Times of India, The Hindu, Indian Express, Patriot, Gulf News, etc. He is also a bilingual poet. He spends his time in India and abroad. His recently published book in Malayalam titled ‘Marxisathinte Kanappurangal’ won many accolade from several corners. He spoke at length to Haindava Keralam special correspondent, Pradeep Krishnan about Communism, Marxism, etc. Excerpts from the exclusive interview:
Sir, you had done an extensive study of ‘Marxism and emancipation of the underclass in Kerala’. Could you please share some of your thoughts with us?
I am happy that you raised this question. The Kerala experience shows that the rise of the underclass can be brought about by education rather than by militant Marxist activism. Sri Narayana Guru who attained Samadhi after a decade of the October revolution focused only on education to emancipate the poor and under privileged. He had no good word on Marxist Revolution as a tool to emancipate the underclass. Chattambi Swamigal, Ayyan Kali, Vakkom Maulavi ,Shunbhananda Guru and many other social reformers also emphasized the role of education in emancipation rather than violent revolution. In Kerala, Marxism provided opportunity to the scions of feudal families to extend exploitation and domination of the underclass feeding the latter with visions of Utopia. Instead of seeking emancipation through education, large numbers of youth of the underclass became followers of Marxist upper crust feudal leaders and the perished in the flames of Calcutta thesis uprisings. It took fifty years for the Marxist parties in Kerala to put an avarna in the chair of the Chief Minister (VS Achuthanandan ). It is not known how many years will it take for West Bengal to do so. Feudalism in Kerala would have crumbled without Marxism and feudal scions would have been compelled to work hard for a living but for Marxist politics. Leaders like Jyoti Basu to EMS to Nayanar to AK Gopalan to Prakash Karat ( the Marxist supreme leaders ) rose from the upper crust of feudal society . Much of their stories show that they used ideology to ride and cling to power, rather than for emancipation of the oppressed from poverty and backwardness. If the Marxists leaders were indeed , different from the normal run of leaders , they would not have been Chief Minister for life ( like Jyothi Basu ) or assumed chief minister ship again and yet again (like EMS and Nayanar ). In 1957, EMS was working for the party in New Delhi and TV Thomas was the elected leader in the Kerala Assembly. TV Thomas was a capable leader. EMS had therefore, no business to come down to Kerala to take up Chief Minister Ship. Afterwards also , there were occasions to yield chief minister ship to Suseela Gopalan, VS Achuthanandan etc , but the upper caste leaders clung to power. The record of the leaders proved that the secret agenda of the Marxist leaders was always power and not emancipation as is the case with other political leaders. In 1947, the Marxist had labeled Jawaharlal Nehru a Kerensky in the hope that there will be an Indian Lenin who would establish proletarian dictatorship in New Delhi. However in the first decade of the third millennium they are quoting Nehru to oppose globalization and liberalization (embraced by China) forgetting that had Nehru been alive this would have been his policy too. In your book ‘Marxisathinte Kanappurangal’ you are severely criticizing Communism/Marxism. Don’t you think Communism at least brought in the concept of equality, fraternity and socialism among the masses?
To think that the concept of equality and fraternity was brought by Communists is absurd .The equality and fraternity concept had been given to Kerala much earlier by Sree Narayana Guru , Chattambi Swamigal, Ayyankali and other social reformers .We also know that the
concept of socialism is embedded in the concept of equality and fraternity. But let us think of the concept of socialism. Can we give the credit to the Communists? Here also, the answer is in the negative. No credit can be given to the Communists, followers of Marx for
inventing ‘socialism’Socialism which is an English word derived from socialisme a French word In fact, the originator of the concept of socialsme was not Karl Marx (1818-1883) but Saint Simon ( 1760-1825) ; Robert Owen (1771-1858) of England , Charles Fourier (1772-1837) of France ; David Ricardo (1772-1823) of England ; Charles Hall ( 1740-1825) Proudhon (1809-1865) of France; Louis Blanc ( 1811-1882) and many others.
Was the socialism preached by Marx different?
Of course, yes. The Socialism his predecessors preached was derided by Karl Marx as Utopian Socialism. He gave his product the brand name of “scientific socialism” . There was very little scientific about it. He tried to ‘simplify’ the ‘complex’ socio- economic progress and
history, belittling the role of human consciousness. He conceived human consciousness as the product of material conditions, although his consciousness itself was not formed by his material conditions. He belonged to the Newtonian School of Science which thought that the key to the running of the universe could be discovered by scientists and the future could be predicted in precise terms. The Uncertainty Principle of Werner Heisenberg was known only in 1927. Strangely the uncertainty principle in human affairs was at the core of poetry of Kumaran Asan (1873-1924).The uncertainty principle in human affairs was known to poets , philosophers and common people through out history .On the other hand the certainty
principle in human affairs was the product of Newtonian Science that boasted that science had all the answers to all the questions up its sleeve and Marxism was a child of this world view. The immateriality of matter (that can be linked to Indian Maya concept,Christian bubble concept of life) also blasts the materialistic foundation of Marxism.
Is it not clear as crystal that concepts of equality ,fraternity ,socialism are not of Marxist origin whether in Kerala , India or the world . It is only the clever Goebelsian propaganda has contributed to this mistaken belief. does not the average Malayali still believe that the holocaust of Hitler ( 2.5 crore human victims ) was more than the victims ( 12.5 crores ) of
Stalin , Mao and other Marxist rulers . Noam Chomsky critic of US policies was paraded some years ago in Kerala by the Marxist Party as its supporter although he was the man who was as happy when Soviet Union collapsed as he was when Nazism collapsed
Communists, the world over, had always claimed that their ideology is the only one that is ‘scientific’ and progressive. Your comments.
All fundamentalist religions claim each religion is the only true religion. Communists belong to the Fundamentalist religion of Marxism- Leninism. The religious belief of Communists is Godless, but all the same a religion. There is nothing scientific about it . If there was anything scientific, they would have been able to deliver the goods they promised .They promised paradise but created hell for people in Soviet Union and elsewhere. China is progressing in economic terms only after dumping Marxism ( Maoism ) Marx predicted proletarian revolution in countries where Capitalism matured viz Germany , Britain etc. No proletarian revolution came up in these countries. In fact no proletarian revolution has ever taken place in any country as predicted by MARX
What about the October revolution in Russia?
The October Revolution in the Soviet Union was not Marxist, but Leninist .It was grabbing of power in a feudal system that had been collapsed and ruled not by the Czar , but by a democratic socialist government Remember , Indian Communists called Nehru Kerensky ( who was head of the socialist government after abdication of power by Czar ) of
India If Kerensky was allowed to rule, there would not have been any October Revolution which was not revolution at all , but a coup or grabbing of power. Lenin had contracted Syphilis (Times of India, October 24, 2009) He knew that he did not have a long life and would have wanted to grab power while he was still alive. Was he not incapacitated
in few years after grabbing power? Madame Fanya Kaplan was a member of the Revolutionary Socialist Party and was against Lenin grabbing power when the duly elected Constituent Assembly did not give Bolsheviks a majority. She shot Lenin on August 30, 1918 and became a martyr of Socialism. In three days she was killed by the Bolsheviks. Her statue in Moscow erected after the collapse of the Soviet Union is today a place political pilgrimage for Socialists
Incidentally the RSP of Kerala has not yet discovered their very own great martyr figure , for if they had they would have erected a statue of Fanya Kaplan in Kerala to taunt the CPM elders who constantly treat them with condescension
To repeat , Marxism –Leninism is only one variety of Socialism which has collapsed in the world , although the idea of socialism has a great presence the world over today including in its Gandhi an form. There is therefore nothing progressive or scientific about Marxism –
Leninism followed by the CPM .
In Kerala, in spite of heavy in-fighting, the party (CPM) has a wide mass base. In fact, the party had been instrumental in bringing in land reforms, and is also involved in various struggles. Because of these initiatives, the party has become popular. Can you not acknowledge the good work done by the Marxists of Kerala?
The land reforms in Kerala and West Bengal is not Marxian, but Congress policy implemented by CPM . Private landed property is anathema to Marxism. In Kerala/Bengal the CPM were implementing the congress policy believing that a time will come when all the land will belong to government headed by the Party on successful completion of the dictatorship of the Proletariat ( read CPM Constitution). Marxist / Maoist policy was for collective farms where the farm hands did not have private ownership. The CPM was out of power and the non CPI/CPM governments had only taken further steps to deepen the impact of the land reforms on the poor. One has also to remember that EMS had retained control over his
landed property by creation of trust in the name of the Party over which he had control. This he did before the land reforms to take optimum advantage to himself and his family so his lands were not distributed to his tenants/ tillers. In West Bengal CPM implemented the land reforms in a dubious manner so that the ownership records were all kept by the CPM offices. The farm workers would lose their land ownership records through party manipulation if they ever voted against the CPM. This is how the Left could manipulate to continue in power in West
Bengal. In Kerala this did not happen for obvious reasons. So land reforms would have occurred willy-nilly, if CPI would not have been voted to power in 1957.What is the basis of your argument that Communism/Marxism is responsible for retarding the progress of Kerala?
The party was against all types of mechanization and application of technology to lighten labor increase productivity. In every field viz in coir production , cashew industry, rice cultivation , abolition of manual rickshaw pulling and use of computer. The party acted as if it had a vested interest in poverty. They were afraid of improvement of the standard of living of the common man lest they lose support. Use of new technology is the driving force of productivity in every field and therefore of economic development. They could not understand this simple truth or having understood it, opposed the move to serve the primitive interest of the Party. Thirty years of rule in West Bengal has impoverished West Bengal is proved by the migration of the Bengali youth to Kerala to do manual work for the educated Kerala people. The Smart city project was delayed for 5 years resulting in a revenue loss of over Rs 10000 crores. But for the CPM, Kerala’s development would have been in double digit terms. The CPM introduced politics in campuses and tried as much to destroy standards of school and college education. Thus in every possible way the CPM has contributed to slower development of Kerala.
Among the many Indian states, Kerala tops in highest literacy rate, lowest in infant mortality, high standard of living, etc. Communists claim that the State could achieve such high standards because of their policies and programmes. Do you agree with such a view?
The claim is preposterous. If it were due to CPM policies, West Bengal ruled by them for thirty years continuously would have had the lowest infant mortality, high standard living etc. Our garden work is done by a boy from West Bengal. There are thousands of West Bengal youth migrating to Kerala in search of manual and menial jobs. Hence it is clear that it was not the Communist rule that brought prosperity to Kerala.All know that there is acute factionalism within the State CPM. Where will this feud lead the party?
Sree Narayana Guru believed that there is a subjective element in the belief held by men .Thus there are 6000 million (600 crores) belief systems on the globe .The Guru held that what was important was not the creed in which one believed but the deed . He said
MATHAMETHAAYALUM MANUSHYAN NANNAYAAL MATHI. What is important is the goodness of the individual irrespective of the religious group to which he/she belonged. Marxism is a fundamentalist religious creed (their religion happens to be materialism) which demands blind faith in its creed from its followers. It teaches that the followers can do all in- human deeds of violence (kill, pillage, cheat, enslave, murder, persecute, inflict pain on adversaries and enemies) to support party goals. Goodness of the followers was not important to the Party. This resulted in the criminals supporting the Bolsheviks as it is happening in Kerala.(Criminal elements joining the Bolsheviks -CPM - of Kerala )
Stalin got killed his friend Sergei Kirov (Confirmed by Nikita Khrushchev) because Kirov was popular and appeared smarter as an orator . Stalin was afraid he could be a threat to his position in the Bolshevik Party. Similar inter-personal relations exist in the CPM
today (between VS, Pinarayi Vijayan, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, MA Baby, etc.) and some of them would have ambition to be the party boss himself But physical elimination cannot happen in Kerala because it is a state in the Indian Union and not a state where the Bolshevik Party
has seized power . However the position was different before independence when the Vayalar Punnapra revolts were engendered by the Party in Kerala and similar revolts in Telengana, etc. The Party had at that time believed in India also was going to be another Bolshevik state . And believe a similar physical elimination was accomplished by EMS , the Lenin- Stalin equivalent in Kerala party .P Krishna Pillai had expressed reservation against the
Punnapra Vayalar revolt and wanted to save the lives of his followers. EMS engineered the poisoning of P Krishna Pillai. EMS possessed Stalin’s thirst for power and his smartness to eliminate persons blocking the way. He was also smart in self preservation. While the illiterate peasant workers armed with arecnut tree stumps were being fed to the machine guns of the autocratic Diwan, he was having a good time addressing Namboodiri Yoga Kshema Sabha outside. The factionalism in CPM will result in its collapse as a political force as it happened to the largest communist parties in France and Italy. CPM, if it wants to continue to exist as a political force has to wallow what it had been saying in the past and line up with
the progressive forces of socialism and democracy and secularism. We all know that CPM had been opposing globalization and I was surprised to read in the paper today my good friend Dr. KK George making the discovery that globalization had benefited Kerala. Right now CPM is like a snake pushing its tail and eating itself to death.
What is the basis of you argument that Communism/Marxism is outdated and redundant?
Proletarian revolution as predicted by Karl Marx and Engels never ever took place any where in the world as hoped by the communists. Russian and Chinese revolutions were caesarian
Operations on feudal societies. What came out were foetal socialist embryos, i.e. undeveloped embryos of the social womb proving Marxism was a myth as science. Marxism adulterated by Leninism ( Marxism –Leninism failed in t he Soviet Union and in China ) giving hell to the majority of the people. In Cambodia it became a medieval and primitively feudal slave
system under Pol Pot. In Cuba after achieving good HDI the citizens under Communist rule could not sustain the authoritarian governance and today Cuba has become the metropolis for cheapest prostitution. Cuba has already forsaken Marxism from its constitution. In North Korea Communism has become the prototype of a fusion of the worst features of feudalism fascism and slave society. Handicapped persons are not allowed to get married .In North Korean Gulags women slaves are subjected to forcible abortion if they got pregnant. If abortion failed the new born babes are beheaded by the State. Rebellious women are subjected to unmentionable devilish treatment.
DC books published book NOOTTANDINTE MANASAKSHI (The Conscience of the Century ) by MA Baby on Noam Chomsky US professor when he was invited by the LDF (2001). Among others the book contained articles on Noam Chomsky by P Govinda Pillay, N.Ram, Prof. Ninan Koshy and MA Baby. MA Baby’s article title was Noam Chomsky; Noottandinte Manasakshi. Noam Chomsky was compared to Bertrand
Russel. Karl Marx was called, the Conscience of the Second Millennium SAHASRABDATHINTE MANASAKSHI by MA Baby .Perusing the book , specially article by MA Baby , the reader would think that Noam Chomsky was a critic of the American system but an admirer of Marxism. The article SOVIET UNION AND SOCIALISM by Noam Chomsky was written in 1986 and one would expect MA Baby would have read this article. The views of Noam Chomsky are as follows:
“When the world's two great propaganda systems agree on some doctrine, it requires some intellectual effort to escape its shackles. One such doctrine is that the society created by Lenin and Trotsky and molded further by Stalin and his successors has some relation to socialism in
some meaningful or historically accurate sense of this concept. In fact, if there is a relation, it is the relation of contradiction” “……..Since its origins, the Soviet State has attempted to harness the energies of its own population and oppressed people elsewhere in the service of the men who took advantage of the popular ferment in Russia in 1917 to seize State power. One major ideological weapon employed to this end has been the claim that the State managers are leading their own society and the world towards the socialist ideal; an
impossibility, as any socialist -- surely any serious Marxist --should have understood at once (many did), and a lie of mammoth proportions as history has revealed since the earliest days of the Bolshevik regime. The taskmasters have attempted to gain legitimacy and support by exploiting the aura of socialist ideals and the respect that is rightly accorded them, to conceal their own ritual practice as they destroyed every vestige of socialism.”
“…..The Soviet leadership thus portrays itself as socialist to protect its right to wield the club, and Western ideologists adopt the same pretense in order to forestall the threat of a more free and just society.”
“……….the 'Red Bureaucracy,' the 'new class,'………………………. become the
'State priests,' When the Soviet Union collapsed Chomsky said that he was as happy as he was when he heard the news about the collapse of Nazism.
Is not the smartness of Baby and CPM to parade Noam Chomsky the derider of Soviet Union as the supporter of CPM, admirable? Similar was the propaganda about Saddam Hussein, the killer and enemy of Iraqi Communist Party, when he was sentenced to death by the pro American Iraqi government in which the Iraqi Communists were part.In spite of poor human rights records, Communist China is heralding a new path in development. They advocate modernization and liberalization. Because of the strong hold of the party, they are able to bring in reforms without much opposition unlike in the case of India. There is continuity in governance. Were these not positive aspects of Communist rule?
I agree. China is heralding a new path in economic development with poor human right record. But India cannot copy China. India is a democratic socialist state India has sustained economic growth and very soon will achieve double digit economic growth and catch up with China. In the long run India will catch up with China in all sectors of economic growth, avoiding many of its pitfalls. But the point to catch is that the CPM has no comment on the 115 Chinese billionaires of mainland China while they are furious at the 50 Indian billionaires. Only by dropping Marxism – Leninism China is progressing; they are blind to this truth of China. What is important is not the growth of billionaires, but how their billions can be tapped for helping the poor. We will only wish China grow economically faster but improve on human rights record. The CPM is the unashamed agents of China in India China border
(Chin’s claim for Arunachal Pradesh) dispute even as they turn a blind eye to the economic part of the Chinese development strategy. In Kerala CPM have stood against infrastructure development without learning from China that modern nobility infrastructure development ( wider roads , hassle free highways ) are important for economic development , employment opportunities and faster economic growth . To understand China, the recently published book 'The Party' by Richard McGregor (Penguin) can be good readCommunists, like the adherents of Semitic religions, believe in one God, One book and one prophet. But Communists ridicule followers of religion as superstitious. What are your views?
Very true that Communism is a 19th century derivative of fundamentalist Semitic religion. They believe in One God (Godless Party or Party supplanting God), One book (Communist Manifesto) and one Prophet (Karl Marx, who was a Jew-Christian ). The modern idea of duality of politics and religious faith is alien to them. The Communists are superstitious in the sense they blindly believe in their creed despite history annulling its assumptions
How do you view the career of Marxism in Kerala in a historic perspective?
It can be seen that the movement and its leaders had blocked progress of the state in many ways. What progress that Kerala has achieved is indeed in spite of Marxism. West Bengal was ruled by Communists for over a quarter of a century. It has today (2005) 28 % of its population under poverty line in place of 12% of population in Kerala. A party that opposed introduction of auto rickshaw to supplant manual rickshaws, that opposed modernization of coir, cashew production and mechanization of agriculture and finally introduction of computer deserve a place in museum but it is active in Kerala because of Goebellsian propaganda. Individual empowerment through education is anathema to Marxist mass politics. Because of this, Marxist see education as their greatest enemy. Just as the Marxists have a stake in poverty, they have a stake in backwardness in education also. This is because they believe that poverty and backwardness provide the best soil for proletarian revolution Torpedoing of quality education has been (and is) the main agenda of the Marxist leaders in Kerala. They know well that education will empower the poor through better employment opportunities. The Marxists cannot visualize a Kerala where they will not have enough uneducated and unemployed followers to shout slogans and block production and development. They do not want a Kerala where they will not have enough numbers of blind and uneducated and unemployed followers to shout slogans and block production and development. Prosperity in a democracy is the enemy of Marxism (all over the world Marxism has waned when the countries got prosperous). Marxist activity has also been responsible for bringing down the quality of education in government run schools and colleges. Mass education and higher education is indeed the greatest threat that the Marxists are facing today. But for the Marxists, education would have had faster growth and better standard in Kerala. Marxists has been particularly responsible for bringing down the quality of education in government run schools and colleges mainly used by the poor. The leaders have seen to it that their wards are sent to the best private institution in or outside the state.
What is the future of Communism/Marxism in India? As you are aware, Communists were the main opposition during the fifties. But the party has hold only in 3 states (out of the 25 odd states). What could be the reason for Marxists not getting any support in the rest of India?
The days of Communism / Marxism in India are numbered. Even if they get few seats in the current elections, their impact on the masses in elections will continue to decline. But because of the huge corporate funds that the Party has been able to accumulate through good and bad means (parallel government like compulsory levy on contractors/ businessmen, Lavlin contract funds etc) the Party has enough funds . But all the same the growing Indian economy will provide alternative attractions. John Britta’s walk out from party media is an example. VS Achuthanandan could only gasp for breath to comment on John Brittas. ‘Therolikal’ , by S Jayachandran Nair of Malayalam weekly (Olive Books ) is yet another example of old affiliations crumbling down.
What will be the future of Communism in the rest of the world?
Decline leading to collapse , caving in , disintegration , even of its last ramparts Cuba ( paradise for prostitution )and North Korea( 21st century slave society )
What could be the reason for Communist leaders becoming intolerant towards persons who hold a different view, their blatant abuse of leaders of other parties and faiths?
As pointed out the CPM is not a political party that can freely function in modern civil society , but a medieval fundamentalist religion ( irreligion ) cum political party likethe Catholic Church in middle ages. The Catholic Church has moved with the times , but not the CPM
In Kerala, in spite of Communist leaders becoming intolerant and follow out dated ideological theories a large number of intellectuals, literary persons, artists, etc are blindly support them. What could be the reasons for this?
The intellectuals, literary persons, artists etc were brainwashed while they were young and most of them have been given comfortable posts/positions in party/party controlled net- work . If they don’t support the party blindly they will lose the positions that provide them with high living and limelight in party controlled media . But times are changing. The walk out of John Brittas will not be an exception. Soon more Conscience stricken intellectuals, literary persons, artists will follow.You say that the opposition to globalization by CPM is only a replication of their past blunders. Could you please elaborate?
Many CPM intellectuals now sing the benefits of globalization. It is easy to see that the opposition to globalization by CPM is only a replication of their past blunders. Had not CPM opposed even the introduction of auto rickshaw in the past? Had they not opposed mechanization of agriculture, modernization of manufacture of coir and coir products, cashew industry, traditional weaving, handicrafts etc etc? Are they not responsible for the ruin of agriculture in Kerala and the migration of coir and cashew nut activities to neighboring states? But for the opposition to computerization by the CPM, Kerala would also have been home to Silicon Valley type development like Karanataka (Bangalore) or Andhra Pradesh (Hyderabad). The opposition to globalization and liberalization of the economy is made by CPM in the name of their opposition to US imperialism forgetting that it is the US which will lose out finally in globalization. After globalization, jobs are moving to India and not from India to US.Marxist ideologues day in and day out say that Chinese Globalization is different from that followed in India, because China is ruled by Communists. Is this not true?
Globalization is the culmination of the process started from the time of Solomon who imported teak from India to build the Temple. Only few countries like India and Japan had rules against globalization at different times. Mahatma Gandhi going for higher education to Britain was opposed by his caste leaders.
Globalaization can be defined as the idea of one world, a world beyond nation states boundaries. It can be defined as a visa less world for all members of humanity. It is technology that has pushed the frontiers of globalization (the global mobile talking facility
and parallel internet world) When globalization reaches its perfection , it should be possible for a young man/ woman in Kerala to apply and land in job arising in an office in Peking/ Washington DC / Cairo / Singapore / Tokyo / Toronto/ Rio de Janeiro or elsewhere .
Only globalization together with the education revolution ( unleashed by Sree Narayana Guru , Mahatma Ayyankali, Chattambi Swamigal , Fr. Chavara Kuriakose and others ) has taken Keralites to different countries to serve each of them and India ( Example
Joy Cherian first cabinet position holder in US Government ( Pravasi award winner) , the present Australian High Commissioner to India Peter Varghese of Kerala , Jerry Kalarickal new Vice Consul in US Embassy New Delhi etc . ) There are many more like this
Gl;obalization implemented by each country is country specific in its details. Chinese globalization is acceptable to CPM because it is implemented by former Communists who have thrown away Marxism Leninism. The communists in India have no logic when it comes to their opposition to globalization in general and acceptance of Chinese Globalization. Marxist ideologues are literally crazy and mad because the ground under their feet is cracking like Japan under Tsunami
Website of Sri KP Joseph: http://www.kpjoseph.com/