How far is CPM from withering away as Marxist entity?

published on April 2, 2012

The biggest problem the CPI(M) is facing as it is set to begin its 20th national congress – which is almost certain to become historic for all the wrong reasons – is its inability to fulfill its own duty of remaining as a Marxism-based party just when its leaders are convinced that “Marx alone is right” in the modern world where capitalism is going through unprecedented disasters.

Independent Marxist intellectuals in Kerala and elsewhere are being bold enough to predict that the 20th congress, to be held from April 4 to 9 in Kerala’s northern Kozhikode city, could set in motion the process of the withering away of the CPI(M) as a Marxism-based entity if it continues with its present political, ideological theories and social perspective.

“They (the Marxists) are going to Kozhikode with a huge burden of confusions on their back: political, ideological and organizational,” says Left-leaning journalist Satheesan Warrier. “The political and ideological resolutions they have drafted for the congress are horoscopes of communist idiocy,” he says.

Marxist thinkers say that the CPI(M)’s readiness to approve private property and a new notion called “public ownership” is sure to lead them away from their declared platform and goal of people’s democratic revolution and into social democracy. “This congress will decide whether this will be the last congress of the CPI(M) as a ‘communist’ outfit,” says Warrier.

In the organizational level, the CPI(M) is going through its worst-ever period since the Emergency. The electoral disaster in West Bengal, the loss of power in Kerala, the failure of de-facto power-sharing in the Centre, unprecedented desertions and expulsions from the party, increase of parliamentary whims among leaders and workers, etc have all affected it adversely.

If the collapse in West Bengal showed how its entire edifice had become corrupt and repressive and how alienated it was from the masses it should represent, recent Kerala experiences prove how ill-conceived its experiments with caste and community politics are. In Kerala, the party is in such a pathetic state that it has set up units to spy on is parliamentarians to avert defections.

Thinkers like K Venu point out that one of the biggest problems with the CPI(M) is its aversion to accepting the Indian social and political reality. The party is still not realistic enough to grant the reality of identity politics of Adivasis, Dalits and others in its urge to hold fast to the Western model of class theory, they say.

“They still believe in a hundred-per-cent black-and-white world where human beings are divided on the basis class. They don’t see the colour zones or grey areas. It seems they are afraid of taking a relook at the world and of subjecting Marxism to a rethinking which Marx himself would have advised them to do,” said senior journalist and Marxist thinker Jacob T.

The Marxists are also criticized for their inability to take up people’s causes and launching struggles.  “Can you tell me of a single struggle they have carried out since 2005? Their revolutions are limited to conducting conferences every three years. What that means is that revolution for them is capturing power in the party and keeping it,” says Jacob.

As Kozhikode is preparing to welcome the 804 CPI(M) delegates, the difference between this congress and the one held in Coimbatore four years ago is unmistakable. Despite the exhibitions and seminars associated with it and the flood of posters across Kozhikode, there is a marked lack of enthusiasm within the party and outside about the 20th congress.

The celebration of the event by the media as seen in 2008 is missing this time. The journey of the Red Flag for the congress started at the Martyrs’ Memorial in Alappuzha on Friday but it failed to get much media attention. “That is what happens when you are out of power. The CPI(M) will have to learn to live with that reality too,” said Warrier.

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