Failed Marxist Model of Kerala Development

published on April 6, 2007

Failed Marxist Model of Kerala Development

Pradeep Krishnan


The Marxists have a vested interest in the poor who constitute their main vote bank. A decline in the number of the poor will lead to a decline in their power and a diminution of their vote bank. In other words, there is a reverse correlation between the Marxist party and development. If the development process speeds up, the Marxist party declines and if the development process slows down the Marxist party grows.

The Marxists are celebrating the Golden jubilee of the first Kerala ministry with euphoria. The often claim that the ministry headed by E M Sankaran Namboothiripad which assumed power through the ballot box in 1957 is responsible for Kerala’s “progress”. Actually the Marxists have taken the State to such a level that it has to depend on all its neighbouring States for everything like essential commodities, textiles, etc.

An open opposition to development will make them unpopular. So one should not be surprised if they pay lip service to development while trying to sabotage it through political action. The CPM in Kerala has been playing this game very well. If the Kerala model of development-high literacy and quality of life built on low-income base-stands discredited to day for having failed to achieve economic growth, the Marxists are to be blamed.

According to Karl Marx, economic growth is the result of application of new technology to work i.e. modernization of production methods. But the Marxists have consistently opposed the modernization process in Kerala. They justified it in the name of conserving employment opportunities for the poor. It never occurred to them that if they believed in progress, they should have worked for social protection of labour rendered jobless due to new technology rather than for retention of antiquated production methods.

Realising that education provided the basis for overall development of society the Marxist worked hard to bring down educational standards. For this, they injected party politics into schools and colleges, which brought down educational standards. This went on from early sixties to 1997 when the Kerala High Court decreed a ban on such politics on a writ filed by parents and concerned citizens. The Marxist has approached the Supreme Court against the decree.

In the guise of opposition to private sector participation in education, they had been preventing growth of professional higher education facilities in Kerala. They insisted that the government alone should fund higher education. But while in power they had no funds to do so. Today Kerala may be them most literate state but in higher education. It is a poor cousin to many Indian states thanks to the Marxists.

Kerala had stopped attracting investment long ago mainly because they have been successful in creating and maintaining a hostile climate for industry. Devious methods have been used by the CPM to drive away industry from Kerala. The head load workers’ movement, initially promoted by them, had seen to it that new investors were given enough headaches in trade union leaders have also grabbed the workers. Which investor will come to a place where he has no freedom to appoint his workers?

 No wonder that even Keralite businessmen have made it a habit to invest outside rather than inside the state.

The behaviour of Marxist mind to bring the theory of the German sociologist, Robert Michaels (1876-1936), who said that whose sole purpose would be to protect their interests rather than pursue the goals of the organization. Apply the principle to the Marxist oligarchy in Kerala and see what happens.

In 1957 the Marxists were voted to power in Kerala, probably the first instance of Marxists seizing power through the ballot box in the world. But having seized and tasted power in a parliamentary democracy the oligarchy realized that it has stumbled into the best of all the worlds they could hope of in Indian polity. Whether they are in power or in opposition they realized that they could enjoy the fruits of office and positions of power without the fear of a Big Brother as in proletarian dictatorships elsewhere.

Sustained economic growth has wiped out communist parties in Western Europe. (According to Marxist theory, they should have grown in strength due to intensification of exploitation of the proletarian mass. Instead, the workers’ living standards went up and the Marxist influence declined.) No wonder that the Marxists are asking themselves what would happen to them if the society in Kerala also were to move up to levels of Western development?

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