TSC | Editorial | On the Issue of Tactics in the Face of Fascism

At its 22nd Party Congress, the CPM made history by amending its Draft Political Resolution, where it states its Party Line for next three years at every Congress. The beleaguered party, which lost Tripura earlier this year to the BJP, decided to not preclude the possibility of an Understanding with the Congress in the Parliament and in an electoral sense. The political resolution adopted by the 22nd party Congress also added a new clause that clarified the party’s political position, going forward. It said, ‘There can be an understanding with all secular Opposition parties, including the Congress in Parliament on agreed issues. Outside parliament, we should cooperate with all secular opposition forces for a broad mobilisation of people against communalism. We should foster joint actions of class and mass organisations, in such a manner that can draw in the masses following the Congress and other bourgeois parties.’” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/cpm-open-to-understanding-with-congress-to-fight-bjp/articleshow/63852434.cms
This has caused consternation among the intelligentsia which follows the CPM’s political activities closely, although the masses probably do not care so much about what appears to be prima facie a semantic quibble, which some would say is typical of Marxists. (The party has shown its mettle, to be fair, recently in mobilising thousands of farmers in different parts of the country – especially with the Farmers’ protest in Mumbai. It did the same earlier in Rajasthan. Is this a turning point for CPM after the debacle of Nandigram-Singur? It is still early to say that, in my view.) 
Meanwhile, there is indeed more to it than just a semantic quibble. The CPM needs to get back on its feet, as soon as possible, since it is staring into the abyss of political oblivion for quite a while now. The party has faced rout after rout in elections for almost a decade now, with the exception of Kerala, a small state electorally. It has still not been fully analysed, in the view of this correspondent, what initiated this process, since it was only in 2004 that the party won its highest number of seats ever in Parliament, the total crossing sixty, including seats won by partners in the CPM-led combine. Of course, Nandigram-Singur played a very important part in it but was that all?
The additional explanation appears to be that the CPM’s hardline position on the Nuclear Deal, in light of information that has now become available, spooked the middle-classes who did not like the CPM asserting its authority too much. Marxist movements have always had a terse relationship with the middle-classes who have grown substantially in India over the years, to become a decisive political force, in the electoral arena. An opinion piece in a leading daily recently surmised that it was primarily the surge of middle-class vote, along with youth, which brought Modi to power in 2014. It is quite likely that the same demographic dividend which found the CPM’s assertive dominance over the UPA-I’s policies unpalatable was further scared by the 2008 Economic Depression, and chose Modi who, like Fascist politicians throughout history made use of a phenomenon of despair exacerbated by threat to National Security, which followed the Mumbai terror attacks in India particularly. In his seminal work the Destruction of Reason, George Lukacs, (first published in 1951 as a ‘grim warning’ to all individuals and nations,) the Hungarian Marxist philosopher cited the mass feeling of despair to be the chief cause for the takeover of the Weimar Republic, by Hitler. Like The UPA rule, the Weimar Republic was also a liberal bourgeois regime whose prospects of survival were weakened tremendously after the Economic Depression of 1929. Germany itself however had done well economically in the period between the two World-Wars which had made it naturally consider imperialist policies to sustain the Capitalistic growth. India too in this period has done well by world-standards and the shift to Modi echoes the choice made by the German middle-class of the time which favoured more of the same capitalistic policies, implemented in a no-holds-barred way, possible only in a Fascist regime or Imperialist regime as Lenin has shown in his book Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism.  (Early signs of Fascism are quite evident now, in the systematic targeting of Communists and Muslims as anti-nationals, for example, and discriminatory legislation on beef, emphasis on the persona of a strong leader, a 'doer', anti-intellectualism, and reliance on the ' genius favoured by God' - as Luckacs puts it - who would solve problems facing the country through  'creative intuition.' Growing reverence of the military can be added to the list of symptoms. The killings of Muslims are of course its most gross manifestation. Al ot more can be added)
To come back to India and CPM of present times, the party does not have too many options left and its decision to ride two boats at the same time speaks of its desperation to stay relevant; in a normal circumstance, the stance of the Party would be considered a form of political chicanery. Electorally, it seems to believe that the middle-classes will return to the Congress eventually and a repeat of the 2004 scenario can be attempted. This is more optimism that  an objective analysis of concrete conditions. The Congress exists in only one major state currently – Punjab. It may win in Karnataka but we can’t say for sure, as the BJP is contesting the elections after having managed to bring back Yedyurappa who played the spoiler last time. Even if some of the middle-classes do realise their mistake and return to the Congress it is unlikely that they would abandon Modi wholesale. A Faustian pact that it is, it would not be unraveled so easily.  And in the final analysis, the middle-classes will not allow CPM to assume a dominant role, as they do fear that the Party secretly harbours  a desire to install a Dictatorship of the Proletariat ultimately, no matter the revisionism of the party over the years.   
The only road left to the Left is the path of mass struggle and Karat, the former general secretary appears to be quite sanguine about it. Whether the party has the wherewithal to do this for a long period of time without breaking away into smaller factions or withering away totally, as seems to be happening in West Bengal still remains to be seen. The CPM should of course participate in the democratic process but it should focus more now on building the mass solidarity on the ground that it has spoken of in the Draft Political Resolution, with much greater urgency. If they do win a few elections in the process and lose most, they should still soldier on because Fascism activates all the fault-lines of a Capitalist society, as Trotsky wrote in his History of the Russian Revolution (Vol. 1). We see some of it happening already and the Left, due to its organisational model and ideology, is best-suited to make use of these fissures in the body-politic and push its own agenda forward.
 - AK

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