UF Government And The Role Of "Marxists"

[What follows is the full text of the second editorial of Liberation, November 1967 issue.  The CPI (M)'s professed "non-class outlook" in matters of governance is here subjected to a rigorous Marxist-Leninist critique to show that in a class society it can only mean taking the class stand of the exploiters and oppressors.  Readers will notice that the dramatis personae have changed but the same sordid play of betrayal is going on before our very eyes: restraining, suppressing and murdering workers and peasants on the move as well as their revolutionary representatives, spreading reformist and constitutional illusions and treading the parliamentary path under the banner of coalition politics.]

IT IS worth recalling a formulation of this treacherous clique. After they had joined the coalition government in West Bengal and Kerala, the West Bengal Committee of the CPI(M) made the following declaration in a communique entitled “W.B. State Committee Reviews Elections, Charts Immediate Tasks” (People's Democracy , April 16, 1967) :

“Further the [UF] Ministry is formed on the basis of a conglomeration of fourteen parties with different politics and ideologies and they are united with the aim of serving the people's interests. It has to function on the basis of a non-class outlook” (Italics ours). What a gem of a Marxist formulation! Can there be any “non-class outlook” in a class-ridden society? In the name of “a non-class outlook” the treacherous leaders of the party of the working class surrendered the proletarian outlook, proletarian politics, to the outlook and politics of the exploiting classes represented by the Bangla Congress and the like. So they never hesitate to join hands with other reactionaries to hunt and shoot down brave peasants and peasant women trying to break the shackles of feudal exploitation and throw hundreds of others into prison. They even outdo other counter-revolutionaries in vilifying the revolutionaries of the Party who are leading the struggle of the peasants. They share responsibility for a food policy which denies food to the people and enables the jotedars and blackmarketeers to reap a harvest of gold out of the misery and suffering of the people. They have not also hesitated to fire upon and murder workers.

After October 2, the vile surrender has become more and more glaring though the renegades seek to cover it up with militant slogans. “‘We do not want strikes and lock-out. We seek an amicable settlement of labour disputes,' commented the Deputy Chief Minister Mr. Jyoti Basu (CPI-M) after the cabinet meeting.” (The Statesman, October 6, 1967). More than 60 thousand workers lost their jobs in West Bengal during the first six months of the coalition government; there is lock-out in several large factories and industrialists are insisting on more retrenchment of workers, but the “Marxists”, who have done little to defend the workers, go on prating about conciliation, arbitration and industrial peace. Their policy has encouraged G.D. Birla to praise Namboodiripad and to declare, “I am very happy in Kerala. I do not mind the Communists running the government there” (The Statesman, October 24, 1967). In answer to a question Jyoti Basu, Polit Bureau member, CPI(M), said: “The West Bengal Government acknowledged the fact that efforts should be made to harmonize relations in industry. It had therefore decided to meet industrialists and trade union leaders soon.” “Mr. Jyoti Basu,” The Statesman's Staff Reporter added, “felt the trade union leaders were partly responsible for the present state of affairs. While recession played its part, in ‘a few cases' labour might have demanded ‘too much' and ‘in many cases employers wanted to teach labour a lesson'” ( The Statesman, October 24, 1967). Is this the voice of a Marxist or of a flunkey of the bourgeoisie?

“Mr. Harekrishna Konar, CPI-M Minister for Land and Land Revenue, told reporters informally after the meeting that in the struggle between jotedars and bargadars on the land front, there would in future be much less of the ‘impatience and childishness' displayed by certain sections of the peasantry from time to time in the past... He also said that he would urge the Cabinet to utilize military personnel in the coming procurement drive if such a need arose.” (The Statesman, October 6, 1967). On the one hand, the Government of Jyoti Basu and Harekrishna Konar are bringing units of the Central Reserve Police, setting up police camps in the villages and perfecting the state machine to drown in blood any struggle of the share-croppers and landless agricultural labourers for food and land; on the other hand, Mr. Konar and his men are trying to sabotage the struggle from within in the face of attacks from the jotedars and their Government. “As Secretary of the Krishak Sabha”, reported the Statesman on October 20, 1967, “Mr. Konar had also issued circulars to his organization's units asking Sabha workers to impress upon the bargadars the need for avoiding clashes with jotedars who might try to use force to take away paddy from the fields. The Sabha should organize its workers so that bargadars could deposit their produce at panchayat khamars. Thereupon BDOs and JLROs should be requested to distribute paddy, after thrashing, among bargadars and jotedars.” To quote Lenin, “Revolutionary-democratic phrases to gull the rural Simple Simons, bureaucracy and red tape for the ‘benefit' of the capitalists – that is the essence of the ‘honest' coalition” (The State and Revolution).

These lackeys of the big landlords and the bourgeoisie claim that by continuing in the UF Governments they are strengthening the Party, building mass organizations and extending the party's mass-base, and thus preparing for the Revolution to come. That the claim is hollow is not difficult to prove. How can you strengthen a Communist Party by repudiating Marxism-Leninism, making fascist attacks on the revolutionaries within the Party and by preaching bourgeois ideology? How can you build mass organizations by siding with the reactionary classes in class-battles and firing upon workers and peasants? How can you prepare for the Revolution by opposing class struggles and destroying and disrupting the Party and mass organizations? Naxalbari has torn the mask off them and made it possible for a genuine Communist Party, rid of their influence, to emerge.

These neo-revisionists contend that by clinging to office they are providing relief to the people. It is utter revisionism to hold that in this era of rapid disintegration and decay of the capitalist system it is possible to offer relief to the basic masses in a semi-colonial country like India without bringing about any changes in the relations of production and the character of the State. They deliberately ignore what Lenin said :

“The entire history of the bourgeois-parliamentary, and also, to a considerable extent, of the bourgeois-constitutional, countries shows that a change of ministers means very little, for the real work of administration is in the hands of an enormous army of officials. This army, however, is undemocratic through and through, it is connected by thousands and millions of threads with the landowners and the bourgeoisie and is completely dependent on them. This army is surrounded by an atmosphere of bourgeois relations, and breathes nothing but this atmosphere. It is set in its ways, petrified, stagnant, and is powerless to break free of this atmosphere. It can only think, feel or act in the old way. This army is bound by servility to rank, by certain privileges of ‘Civil' service, the upper ranks of this army are, through the medium of shares and banks, entirely enslaved by the finance capital, being to a certain extent its agent and a vehicle of its interests and influence.

“It is the greatest delusion, the greatest self-deception of the people, to attempt, by means of this state apparatus, to carry out such reforms as the abolition of landed estates without compensation, or the grain monopoly etc. This apparatus can serve a republican bourgeoisie creating a republic in the shape of a ‘monarchy without a monarch', like the French Third Republic, but it is absolutely incapable of carrying out reforms which would seriously curtail or limit the rights of capital, the rights of ‘sacred private property', much less abolish those rights. That is why it always happens, under all sorts of ‘Coalition' cabinets that include ‘socialists' that these socialists, even when individuals among them are perfectly honest, in reality turn out to be either a useless ornament or a screen to divert the people's indignation from the government, a tool for the government to deceive the people. This was the case with Louis Blanc in 1848, and dozens of times in Britain and France , when socialists participated in Cabinets. This is also the case with the Chernovs and Tseretelis in 1917. So it has been and so it will be as long as the bourgeois system exists and as long as the old bourgeois, bureaucratic state apparatus remains intact.” (Lenin: “One of the Fundamental Questions of Revolution,” Collected Works, Vol. 25, PP. 367-368.)