The Poverty of Philosophy

CPM and its tailist loyalists can't find the ground beneath their feet. They are fast losing the ABC of Dialectical Materialism
Amit Sengupta Delhi

Clearly, Big Brother CPM and its tailist loyalists, can't find the ground beneath their feet. Indeed, the ground is so rapidly shifting, that they are fast losing the ABC of Dialectical Materialism - their body language, tactics, doublespeak, lies, faltering rhetoric, shallow bravery prove it.

The Communist Party of China was formed in 1921. Officially, the undivided Communist Party of India, too, was formed in 1925. The Chinese fought a protracted guerrilla war, went on a long march, made huge sacrifices and captured power with a peasant revolution, defying established 'working class as vanguard' Marxist-Leninist theory. They committed mistakes, rectified them, went for the great leap forward, a botched up, anarchic cultural revolution with its multitude of injustices with hundred flowers and hundred schools of thought, finally, the end of ideology. Now, having dumped Mao and the revolution, with the Deng bottles as their cracked mirrors, and bottled memories of Tiananmen Square, they are a highly efficient totalitarian capitalist regime, where dissent is crushed ruthlessly, competing with advanced capitalism's profit machines, consolidating military/nuclear/economic might, backing every rogue regime and brutish junta in the world, with huge rich and poor divide. More than 25 million people have lost jobs in China: can you hear one sound of protest?

And look at the undivided CPI, which split into CPM in 1964, the latter still supporting the Tiananmen Square massacre. Restricted to four 'states', they are pathetically stuck in their fragmented bastions of Bengal, Kerala, Tripura - and all of them are crumbling, including their fourth, JNU, where the CPM's students' wing just can't make out whom to choose as role models: Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and Mao? Or, Bengal capitalism's renaissance prophet - the 'Buddha', mud-in-the-stick 'mass leader' Prakash Karat, or prime-time TV revolutionaries - Sitaram Yechury and D Raja?

This perverse dilemma is itself the dialectic turned upside down the umpteenth time, as Marx turned the Hegelian dialectic before he discovered the "rational kernel" of class struggle and the poverty of philosophy. Three decades plus of part success, total failure; part pro-poor land reforms, total betrayal of the poor and stagnation; part politeness, total arrogance; part integrity, total corruption of mind, money, body, soul, thought, ideology, theory, praxis, back door political economy of greed, of contractors, cadre and promoters; front door totalitarian muscle power; and unilateral, one-dimensional power establishment.

From local CPM goons to those illustrious ministers who behave like warlords of China, this was the carnivorous flower of distorted communism which bloomed in the fertile and beautiful landscape of Bengal - now being marked as territory by contractors, corporates and sold out communists, with overt and tacit help from the neo-liberal regime in Delhi, and its armed forces, and of course, Cobra and Grey Hound special units.

So what happens where there are no Maoists? Ban the Maoists! Eliminate the people's movement in Lalgarh! Destroy the resistance!

But will it take away the history of the CPM's betrayals and bastardisation of Marxism? Will it take away the litany of atrocities and big bully injustices in village after village, town after town, para after para - and their many compromises with the status quo in the contemporary era? And their abject failure to create even a semblance of an alternative society which is just, egalitarian, pro-poor, culturally, intellectually resplendent, with full freedom of expression and dissent - even after 32 years in power? So is it all merely a case of epical failure or is it cold-blooded design?

So who were campaigning for Lal Salem and Tata zindabad in Nandigram and Singur? So why did that belligerent CPM leader threaten that women will show  their 'backsides' to Medha Patkar during the Nandigram massacre? And which Marxist soul-searching principle compelled Brinda Karat to cajole the cadre to teach the protestors the infamous "Dumdum Dawai" - in local metaphor, smash the hell out of them! Did Marx and Lenin teach them that?

That is why, when the ground shifts beneath the feet, you can't even hear your own voice. You can only shout and scream. Often tape-recorded in fast forward rewind. That's what the CPM is doing again, repeating their own (anti)-history, like the Maoists are repeating their own - both born from the umbilical chords of the festering wounds of the undivided and divided CPI.

 

This story is from the print issue of Hardnews: JULY 2009