Conversion of Parliamentarism to

Social Fascism:

An Indian Experience


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Revisionism never places the proletariat in a vanguard role

Let us now take a look at the real state of West Bengal under the L.F Government. Industrial stagnation and rather deindustrialisation have gripped the state. The trend of migration shows that the number of agricultural workers has increased, and the working people from industries are increasingly crowding the agricultural sector.

From 1980-81 to 1998-99 the number of factories was reduced by 13.15 percent, the number of workers reduced by 27.12 percent, the number of workers on a factory basis has come down by 15.97 percent, total employment slid downwards to 28.02 percent. In the organized sector (from 1991 to 2001) the working population has come down by 3.98%, 21.62% and 9.42% in the primary, secondary and tertiary sector respectively. (Labour in West Bengal 1991, 2001) The total registered unemployed in West Bengal was 50.81 lakh in 1991 and increased to 62.13 lakh according to the Economic Survey 2001-02 of the West Bengal Govt. A good number of workers committed suicide in West Bengal owing to the large-scale closure of factories.

The L.F is eloquent about increasing small scale industries with investment within one crore rupees. Though legal sanction was approved for a large number, however, there is no visible existence of 75% of such industries. Upto last March 31 sanction was accorded to about 3 lakh and 15 thousand out of which 75% have not been set up; and those started are about to wind up.102 Upto July 2002 the number of closed and sick industrial units stood at 55/56 thousand pushing to the brink of death thousands of workers.103

The State Government has miserably failed to clear money for the Providend Fund and gratuity of workers, teachers and government staff 104 Pollution level in cities is rising alarmingly. Kolkata itself is choking under the collective smog of 15,000 potentially polluting industrial units, according to KMDA report.105

From the comparison of Annual Survey of Industries it is clearly found that between 1980-81 and 1998-99 the industrial position in the L.F-ruled West Bengal in comparison to India has dropped: the number of factories as a percentage of the total has dropped from 6.6% to 4.2%, the fixed capital dropped from 7.17% to 2.1%; total invested capital dropped from 8.9% to 3.2%... This comparitive picture glaringly points to the downward journey of West Bengal’s industrial sector vis a vis the country as a whole. If India as a whole itself presents a dismal picture, West Bengal provides a glaring downturn with every passing year.106

With the excruciating burden on the working people, what the CPM policy makers of the so-called More improved "Left" Front Government state may be cited here. At the 20th State Conference of the CPM in February 2002 came out the policy "Left Front Government and our Task". In point 12 it is directed in clear terms: "…The movement for safeguarding the rights of the working class will be an indulgence to weaving out a dream if within the present structure we do not lay sufficient stress to industrial expansion in our state. That the contradiction between our call for countrywide struggle against liberalism and the flexible position in setting up industries in our state stems from the uneven development of workers’ and democratic movements. With this understanding the party has to get united…."107

What a puzzling logic! In other states where the CPM led workers’ movement is weak the party will fight rigid movements against liberalization, and in the ‘advanced’ state of the workers’ movement under the "More-improved Left Front Government" the workers have to have the CPM prescribed "flexible" position. In other words workers have to willingly accept liberalization or feeble "protest" as MNCs pour into the state, and the World Bank, IMF imposed liberalization policies play havoc with the lives of the workers and other toiling people. The prominent policy maker and CC member Mr. Nirupam Sen imparted this lesson to the workers at that conference: "…. We have to resort to various measures to attract capital. It is not possible to set aside from our discussion what industrialists demand. Why should the industrialists be eager to invest in this state if it is not known what they demand and if some measures are not taken accordingly…."108[emphasis ours]

When the anti-war protesters welded to Naxalbari politics attacked the US-brand outlets in Kolkata policemen in plain cloths were assigned the job to save the American-brand showrooms. The Hindustan Times reporter writes "… some showrooms (very few of them, in fact), didn’t have any security at all. It wasn’t bravado. A little digging revealed that all such showrooms came under CPI(M) areas and the owners believe, a word to the local councilor was better security than the armed guards of the Kolkata Police."

(Saptarshi Banerjee, Kolkata April 3, Business as usual, watched over by cops, Hindustan Times, 4 April, 2003)

This is the way how the CPM has been the trusted agent of imperialism through its so-called Left rule in West Bengal. Already the CPI(M) general secretary Harkishen Singh Surjeet had given thumbs up to Coca-Cola. While inaugurating a hospital he said with reference to Coca-Cola that he was not against MNCs coming with investment."

(Hindustan Times, February 10, 2003)

Mr. Satyabrata Sen, another leader, assailed the people stressing working class militancy with such a threatening voice: "this notion that under the Left Front this state has no place for mass movement is wrong. Demonstration over scarcity and complaints shall exist and that should be given organized form as part of a country-wide class struggle. On the other hand, what happens is to try to kick off movements over some demands of the middle class only to strike at the Left Front…."109

What in the first part Mr. Sen suggests is the earlier call and goes directly against the bewildering argument of the above-mentioned CPM state conference selling the pretentious theory of "unevenness". The second part is the rejection of any struggle in the name of middle class outburst against the "Left" Front or branding all just struggles of the people in West Bengal as a subversive effort against such model government. Now let us hear the voice of ‘Marxist’ bhadralok C.M. of West Bengal, Mr. Bhattacharya. He raised the rod of office in that CPM policy making 20th state conference against trade union militancy. He said threateningly:

"I do clearly say one or two words on the question which has come up (I have heard it in the past as well) over what do we mean by militant movement? We think in our vocabulary, in our language of the communists the words militant movement comes as positive words. Militant movement. A member of our party is militant …….. But what is the meaning of militant movement, etc. What Jyoti babu is saying. In no circumstances workers shall let go out of their hands this right……..

But when just in a similar fashion Jyoti babu says, keep it in mind that we resorted to gheraoing during 67-69, we made a mistake. The path of gherao is not the path of working class movement. I am also saying this. This gherao can not be the path of the working class movement. So also fisticuffs can not be the path. However, democratic trade union movement – demonstrations, processions, gatherings, strikes – is a just right. Who can take away that right?…"110

Buddhadeb like Jyoti Babu and other power hungry CPM leaders has gone crazy. In order to discipline, or in other words, to police the trade union movement in the CPM-ruled West Bengal not only do they condemn the weapon of ‘gherao’ which grew out of the workers’ militant movement in West Bengal during the first United Front government, they actually try to turn the workers’ movement into something toothless, strictly within the bounds of legalism. They cannot just erase the much-used words ‘militant movement’ but stubbornly try and practise to make the words appear capitalist-friendly, giving assuring signals to the MNCs and Indian big-bourgeoisie to do business in West Bengal smoothly and comfortably. ‘Labour problem’, the clitched words had deeply entered into the psyche of the industrialists in reference to the glorious struggles of the workers in Bengal and the then West Bengal. Now the CPM-led govt. of Buddhavev has been overactive to exorcise the industrialists of the "bogey" of labour militancy in West Bengal.

The hypocrat anti-Marxist CPM has for so many years now remained busy with dispelling the fear of the capitalists about the workers over here. Simultaneously like the Labour Party of England or such other social democratic party the CPM sermonizes the workers to be strictly non-violent, within the very limited perspective taking care of labour discipline and obviously "productivity"111

One should not be oblivious of the stark fact that the CPM emerged to the center stage of West Bengal politics capitalizing on the bursting forth of militant struggles of the workers and other toiling people. The above sermons of the aristrocratic, careerist, double-dealing CPM leaders speak volumes against the Left-Front role vis a vis the working class movements. Sjt. babu Satyabrata Sen makes himself ludicrous, like all other CPM leaders, when he announces a brazen dirty lie that under Left Front rule, "As a whole the political consciousness of the toiling classes has boosted up a lot. As a consequence the number of party cadres, the membership of the mass organization of workers, peasants, students, youth, women workers, etc. have gone up…."112

Even the CPM 17th Party Congress in 2002 admitted "…. A considerable number of Party members do not carry out the basic tasks expected from them.", "they will go to the masses when there is an important activity or election", "The recruitment process is liberal and sometimes anarchic …. The new recruits are not given elementary education in Party organization, Party programme and Party policies. Due to this, their political organizational level is very low" etc.113

It is daydreaming to imagine that the CPM party or trade union leaders will lead and fight even against the growing attacks of capital. All talk of progress on the labour front in 26 years of ‘Left’ Front rule is nonsense. Hard facts exist of CITU leaders being discarded with hatred by the workers in one factory after another like IISCO, Hind Motors, Texmaco, Dunlop and so on for their opportunism and role as capitalists’ men obviously in the ‘noble’ interest of saving capital and the Left Front.


102. Ananda Bazar Patrika, March 10, 2003.

103. Sanbad Pratidin June, 21, 2002 and July 5, 2002.

104. Sanbad Pratidin, June 6, 2002.

105. Hindustan Times, April 4, 2003.

106. Source: Paschim Banga Anya Chokhe (Bengali), Nagarik Manch, p. 62

107. In More improved Left front and our thinking, Ibid. p. 19.

108. Nirupam Sen, Prastaber pariprekhit" (The perspective Behind Proposal) In Ibid. p. 28.

109. Satyabrata Sen, Duti Lekha (Two writings) National Book Agency, April 1999. p. 15.

110. Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, "Sanmelane Alochonar Prekhhite Amader Siddhanta", Our Decision in the light of Deliberations in the Conference In More improved Left Front and Our Thinking, Ibid. p. 50

111. Ibid. p. 54

112. Satyabrata Sen, Ibid. p. 15]

113. Communist Party of India (Marxist) Political Organisational Report, Adopted at the 17th Congress, Hydrabad, March 19 – 24, 2002, pp. 71-72.


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