Conversion of Parliamentarism to

Social Fascism:

An Indian Experience


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West Bengal Government’s Capitulation To Imperialism

Introducing "More improved Left Front, Our Thinking" the big boss of the CPM Central body and West Bengal State Secretary Mr. Biman Bose goes ecstatic and extols the "Left" Front in West Bengal. He claims with pride. "The Left Front of West Bengal has created a new history in the world of politics" and that, "The Left Front Government has set unprecedented example of working in the people’s interest."90

Mr. Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, the Bengal baboo chief Minister, went a step further, reminding, lest the critics and people with love and respect for Marxism-Leninism accuse him of practising unsullied parliamentarism, that "Have we not developed class struggle, people’s struggle in West Bengal in the whole of West Bengal in the past twenty five years? The correlation of class forces in the village areas that we have altered; the development of working people in the cities, that are the results, of class struggles, placing the government in the front, using the government as provider of assistance. That is the way we like to move on…. We have progressed with that aim in view and we have been able to sharpen and spread our class power in these twenty five years."91

Such heroics and lofty views poured out from Mr. Bhattacharya’s mouth. He also reminded like a good actor that it is their ultimate aim to attain People’s Democracy but did not forget to repeat like a clown in a tear-jerking drama his new mantra for a ‘more-advanced Left Front government’ necessitating some unintentional compromises on all fronts to match the present situation.

Actually it is palpaply-nauseating revisionism coming out from the CPM press to halt class struggle, to accept the back-breaking economic policies in the higher interest of saving the Left Front and also chant the names of Lenin and Deng Tsiao Ping conjointly as the situation demands.

We take up the grave reality under the rule of the ‘Left" Front in a nut shell to show where this CPM led government is at, and the growing burden of the financial crisis the people have been facing along with the chiselled revisionist policy of stabbing people’s movement openly under the shining sun and bringing about demoralization, degeneration and sedating the.Bengal people known for perpetual militancy. Who gains In the process? Pretty obviously the state of the ruling classes and the World Bank, IMF and other MNCs. Credit goes to Jyoti-Buddha and their accomplices in killing the revolutionaries, in firing on the agitating workers and peasants, in assisting the Central Governments of the Congress and the BJP in exchanging information on the Marxist rebels in India, Nepal, etc. in order to crush them, and most of all, through political prostitution and treachery pushing a good number of workers, peasants and also middle class people to commit suicide due to excruciating financial burdens, and also a good number of our young women to resort to selling their flesh out of extreme economic distress — all in twenty six years of misrule and oppression by a rotten CPI(M)-led governament in West Bengal.

Privatization and corporatisation are a well-thought-out policy to capture the market of the developing countries by the sick G-8 countries. The New Economic Policy adopted in consonance with imperialist globalization, has been incorporated in the W.B govt.’s new industrial policy. The closures or sickness of the industries one after another, and the appropriation of Provident Fund and E.S.I. funds, are now well known in W.B. Many of the prominent factories on Hyde Road, Gardenreach, Barrackpore, Durgapur, and Assansol etc. are either closed or sick. Tea, cotton, Jute and engineering factories are in permanent crisis. The ‘Left’ Front wants to wriggle out of this crisis by means of stretching its hands to the MNCs or big industries.

The Buddhadeb ministry is now all set to massively develop information technology while the industrial scenario as such gets increasingly dismal. This ministry thinks that the jute industry is obsolete, while lakhs of workers in the jute industries are living a life in chronic destitution and with 15 lakh of W.B peasants cultivating jute. One example will suffice to show what is happening in the trade union front. On 5th January 2002 a tripartite agreement had been reached with the CITU, AITUC, INTUC, and the Left Front government. This agreement not only lent legitimacy to all the illegal acts of the mill owners, it has thoroughly destroyed the wage structure of the jute mills. Section iii and iv of the agreement were as under :

iii) ‘That the question of productivity-linked wages has been discussed with the parties in detail. After discussion it is however agreed that for this purpose 33.33% of the total wages payable in a month will be linked to production which may be adjusted proportionately for non-fulfilment of the prevailing agreed norms of production in each mill.

iv) That the wages of new entrants, such as workmen who are paid through vouchers, and popularly known as zero number, other than retired person or who are paid less wages than the rate payable as per industry-wise wage settlement, etc. and whose names are not borne on the master rolls of workers of mills, will get a sum of Rs. 100.00 per day as wages plus usual fringe benefit, thereon."91a

The ‘Left’ Front has now adopted the new agricultural policy after additions and alteraterations of three earlier drafts after protests from different quarters. This policy is endorsed by the government having its orientation to commercialization of agriculture instead of productivity. It is interesting to note the discrepancy in date on several issues. In the first and third draft it was stated that between 1999 and 2000 the total food production was 148.46 lakh ton i.e. there was a deficit of 7.30 lakh ton while in the accepted policy paper it was declared that by 2001-2002 there is a surplus of 8 lakh ton. It is clear misrepresentation of facts to force a switch over to exportable crops. In the whole of 25 years of ‘Left’ Front rule production of food increased by 91 lakh ton and now the govt. would have us belive that 18% of that amount was increased in only one year. Regarding fertiliser the finance minister stated that its use per hectre in West Bengal will be more than 150 kg. by 2002-2003. But in the first, second and third drafts of the agricultural policy this amount was shown as 134, 129 and 145 kg per hectre.

In the second draft it was stated that for the cultivation of 1 kg. Boro paddy 3800 liter of water is required. So in one hectre land the required water for boro cultivation can fulfil the water needs of 6700 people in a village. In the new agricultural policy as accepted there is no precautionary measures suggested against the emerging serious problem from the lowering of water level. Following Mckensey the new agricultural policy document has declared that in 17 lakh hectre of the cultivable land commercial crops would be grown. Besides that it is stated that 10% of the cultivable land will be transformed into ponds or such water bodies. So, the above two decisions, they claim, will transform the character of West Bengal rural land. The shortage of essential foods or in other words the steady need for food crops produced outside the land earmarked for commercial crops and water bodies shall automatically be forced to depend of HYV, pesticides, and other implements of ‘Green Revolution’. This agricultural policy deliberately ignored the fact that about 15 lakh peasants grow jute on 6 lakh hectre land. And that the survival of 2 lakh workers in 59 jute factories in West Bengal depends on that jute. Already the jute industry is crippling and this new agricultural policy must have serious adverse effects on the jute workers’ survival.                                               (Kalyan Rudra’s artice in Ananda Bazar Patrika 29 April, 2003)

It is notable that in the jute industry in West Bengal workers are forced to work at the rate of Rs. 40.00 to Rs. 100.00 per day. This is practised through various evil ways, categorizing the workers as ‘bhaga’, ‘voucher’, ‘zero number’, ‘temporary’, etc. The normal wage of a permanent jute worker is now above Rs. 200 per day. Through such dishonest means workers remain perpetually at the receiving end through underpayment. The above tripartite agreement clearly and unequivocally legalizes such maneuvers. The CPM – led Govt. completely toes the dictates of the WTO by abolishing the system of permanent workers, introducing contract service, reduction in wages, etc.


90. Anil Biswas, Introduction, written on 24, April, 2002, Unnatataro Bamfront Aamader Bhabna More Advanced Left Front Our Thinking, National Book Agency Private Limited, May 2002, p. 5

91. Buddhadeb Bhattacharyee’s speech at the Party’s 20th State Conference on "Left Front Government and Our Task, In Ibid. p. 43

91a. Kushal Debnath, West Bengal: The Neo-Liberal Offensive In Industry And The Workers’ Resistance, In Revolutionary Democracy, April 2003, p. 33


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