Challenges before Left
The CPI (M) central committee meeting concludes in Hyderabad paving the way for a comprehensive discussion within the party and the outside political circles on the challenges before the Left in general and the CPI(M) in particular as it is the principal left force in the country.
The CPI (M) central committee meeting concludes in Hyderabad paving the way for a comprehensive discussion within the party and the outside political circles on the challenges before the Left in general and the CPI(M) in particular as it is the principal left force in the country. Even the bitter critics of the Left would agree that issues like poverty, inequalities, etc., would not have been in the nation’s political agenda with the similar force at least if the Left voice is not heard in the democratic polity. Even the critics would also agree that despite many vacillations and aberrations, the Left constitute an alternate political culture free from money power. The Left has a tradition of championing the cause of the people in struggles even if they have irritated the middle class at times. But, still it fails to catch the imagination of the exploited whom they militantly represent. Its failure is much more pronounced in the electoral arena which witnessed a terminal decline in the recent past after reaching a record level in 2004. The UPA government’s pro-poor and social legislations like NREGA, domestic violence act were enacted greatly due to the sustained pressure the Left has exerted in a context of government depending on the Left for its oxygen. The dubious record of the UPA-2 both in the economic front and corruption further reinforces the significance of Left support to the UPA-1. But, the Congress benefited from the social legislations in 2009 while the Left that withdrew support to the UPA-1 government over the nuclear deal suffered electoral erosion. The Congress thus appropriated the surplus value from the Left labour. This reflects the Left failure than the Congress success.
Given this backdrop, what really challenges the Left? Crude anti-imperialist rhetoric fails to convince the middle class, especially the youth which finds a hope in American dream. The market reform which the Left opposes stridently also brought a lot of cheer to the middle class who form an opinion leadership in the Indian society today than ever before. The dismantling of the license Raj has led to the spurt of goods and services in the market, much to the liking of the average middle class. On the other hand, the neo-liberal economic model has not only crippled the poor, but has even disarmed them from getting organised, much to the discomfiture of the Left.
The more than 85 percent of the workforce is unorganised. The recent past has seen further casualisation and contractualisation of the labour, which is detrimental to the Left strategy of organised trade union movement. The fragmentation of the Centrist political spectrum coupled with lack of cohesive position in them on crucial political and economic questions left the Left without any credible ally. The Left’s obsession with political management at the cost of political, ideological mobilisation has cost it dearly. It has to reinvent itself.