An Imperialist Agent in Pro-people Garb

Globalization and ‘Left’ Front Government — A Fact-sheet



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Ruination of Agriculture

It is a very much known fact that Goebels, comrade in arms of Hitler used to lie. He lied to dupe the people and build up faith in the facts that Goebels himself propagated. The CPI(M) brand of the communist party is aware of this and as such has taken lessons from Goebels. They propagate their myth of ‘achievements’ relentlessly among the masses. In this list of achievements, the agrarian question is a top priority. They are creatively applying Marxism to implement the imperialist agenda in the agricultural scenario.

In recent times the CPI(M) is on the offensive to implement it’s new agricultural policy. The then central agricultural minister Nitish Kumar stated the objectives behind the implementation of the agricultural policy in explicit terms. He stated that "this policy is promulgated to fulfill the responsibility of increasing private investment in the agricultural sector in tune with the commitments to the world trade organisation." Before going into details of the left front’s agricultural policy, let us discuss in brief the perspective of the West Bengal agrarian scenario.

Though the West Bengal left front government carried on Goebelsian propaganda regarding their ‘success’ in land reform, the statistics put forward tell a different story.

Distribution of vested land :

Congress Government (upto ‘67 election)

 3.76 lakh acres

United front government (9 months + 13 months)

 2.50 lakh acres

In ’77 and after

 4.26 lakh acres


 10.52 lakh acres50

It should be noted that 10.52 lakh acres is only 7.5% of the total agricultural land of the state. Above all the left front government’s much orchestrated distribution of vested land is only 4.26lakh acres, much less than the previously distributed 6.26 lakh acres of land. This ‘success’ also can be attributed to the social pressure of the turbulent last half of the 60s and 70s, which made the ruling classes panic. Tremours ran down the spine of the ruling classes when the Communist Party of India (Marxist Leninist) led by comrade Charu Mazumder gave the clarion call of seizure of power with armed agrarian revolution as its axis. The party also raised the call to confiscate land of the landlords without compensation and go ahead for implementing land to the tillers. It had a deep imprint on the toiling mass. The state and its agents like the CPI(M) wanted to appease the common people with a drama of distribution of vested land, besides their much hyped unique programme of ‘Operation Barga’.

Operation Barga is the programme to ‘ensure the right of the share croppers’. In this regard, necessary amendments were made by the most reactionary Congress government led by the infamous Siddhartha Shankar Roy. The Left Front, after assuming power, implemented the amended act. The change that the front government made was that, to eject a share cropper the landowner would have to substantiate his claim, and not the share cropper (bargadar). Till now 14.95 lakhs of share croppers have been recorded and usufructory right was conferred to them on 11.06 lakh of the land, which is 7.9% of total agricultural land.(Economic Survey 2001-02) Thereby the Front government has rendered a new lease of life to the feudalistic sharecropping system

Moreover, through CPI(M)-style land reform the distribution of vest lands to landless and poor peasants and conferring usufructory right to share croppers constitute only 15.4% (vestland distributed 7.5%+operation barga 7.9%) of total agricultural land.51 In economical terms it is true that communists do not assess their gains or losses through economical parameters. On the contrary the communists are concerned about the development of political consciousness against the status-quo. Let us go through the CPI(M)s’ understanding regarding this question!

The West Bengal government’s much advertised and ‘respected’ programme of vested land distribution accounts for 25.44 lakh of landless and poor peasants. The amount of land distributed is 0.41 acres per head.(Economic survey 2001-02) This small plot of land is economically non-viable and of inferior quality in general. Still, the motive can be best understood through a government report. The report stated that "It is perfectly understandable that if we want to maintain the status-quo we should try to involve as many people as possible in it so that at least a majority of the population acquire a stake in the status-quo or the system in question. Keeping this view, it is perfectly reasonable to distribute small bits of land however uneconomic to land hungry peasants and/or agricultural labourers so that they never look for any radical alternative to the present property system and be eager to acquire some property. However to call it socialism is a sad travesty of truth."[West Bengal Board of Revenue, statistics cell, Land Reforms in West Bengal: Statistical Report VII (Calcutta : 82)]

This ideology of subversion of revolutionary politics can also be noticed in the case of operation Barga. In this regard the left Front government seemed to be less progressive than the colonial Floud Commission which, in 1940, opined for conferring ownership right to peasants instead of usufructory rights. On the contrary the CPI(M) opposed any step that can hit the rich peasants, zamindars etc. A demand was raised that all land belonging to zamindars be acquired and distributed to landless and poor peasants. It was also demanded to lower the ceiling. The former demand was set aside as the "slogan was pure phrase mongering" by Pramode Dasgupta.(Ref — Link January 26, 83) The later was not implemented for the same character of licking of the boots of the zamindars and rural elites. The Indian Supreme Court, also endorsed the fact by stating, that, "the ceiling limit of 6.18 acres in the case of an individual and 12.35 to 17.29 acres of irrigated land in the case of a family in the Gangetic plains of West Bengal, is not small by any standard."(Land reform in Eastern India, edited by Manjula Bose Page 185)

Hence it is clear that the CPI(M)-led Left Front has implemented the land reform in its own unique style. The landless and poor peasants are to bear the vagaries of the movement of market forces. The small plots of land distributed to landless and poor peasants are economically non viable. They are compelled to depend on rural credit.

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