Day 20 – Q 5.What is your perception of left wing politics? Do you think left wing politics is dying a natural death today? Discuss.
5. What is your perception of left wing politics? Do you think left wing politics is dying a natural death today? Discuss.
वामपंथी राजनीति के बारे में आपकी क्या धारणा है? क्या आपको लगता है कि वामपंथी राजनीति आज एक स्वाभाविक मौत मर रही है? चर्चा करें।
Political parties are voluntary associations or organized groups of individuals who share the same political views and who try to gain political power through constitutional means and who desire to work for promoting the national integration. On the basis of ideologies the radical parties, which aims at establishing a new order by overthrowing the existing institution, are the left wing parties eg, CPI ,CPM in India.
- When compared to other democracies, India has had a large number of political parties during its history under democratic governance. It has been estimated that over 200 parties were formed after India became independent in 1947. Leadership of political parties in India is commonly interwoven with well-known families whose dynastic leaders actively play the dominant role in a party.
- The Left movement had and still has two strands: the social democratic or socialist stream, and the communist stream. This is the same whether in Europe or India or America. The Communist parties of China, India, Europe, Cuba, Vietnam etc were all inspired by the Soviet revolution led by Lenin. On the other hand, the Social democratic party of Germany, Labour party of Britain, Socialist parties in Europe, Indian National Congress in India etc come under the Socialist camp.
- Left-wing politics supports social equality and egalitarianism, often in opposition to social hierarchy. It typically involves a concern for those in society whom its adherents perceive as disadvantaged relative to others as well as a belief that there are unjustified inequalities that need to be reduced or abolished.
Left wing politics is dying a natural death today
- In the Indian context, in 1952, in the first general election after Independence, the undivided CPI had 22 seats. The CPI won 33 seats in 1957 as well as in 1962.
- But in the just-concluded 2019 polls, the CPI(M) won three seats, while the Communist Party of India (CPI) bagged two.
- The Left’s early electoral success was very much due to the land reforms it undertook in the states of Kerela, West Bengal, Tripura which put an end to feudal practices in agriculture. The reforms were indeed widely popular among the general public, especially peasants, but they didn’t reach everyone that they should have.
- The Naxalbari uprising was a harbinger of what was to come: the parties within the Left Front led by the CPI(M) steadily moved away from the political ideals they purported to espouse and embraced electoral politics for the sake of staying in power.
- Example: CPI(M) leaders, such as former Chief Minister of West Bengal Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, increasingly grew friendly towards big corporations, changing tax policies in their favour and welcoming the implementation of anti-worker legislation such as the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) Act introduced by the central government.
- On matters of national importance, the Left Front has also failed to live up to its own ideological standards. In 2006-2007, it publicly opposed the US-India nuclear deal, arguing that it went against India’s national interests; yet leaked cables published by WikiLeaks showed that CPI(M) members told US officials that the party would not oppose a related bill in parliament.
- On the Kashmir issue, the Left Front has also displayed remarkable hypocrisy; rhetorically, it has criticised brutal crackdowns on civilians, but in effect, it has not recognised Kashmiris’ aspirations for self-determination.
Left wing politics is not dying
- As for the CPI(M), after several years’ hesitation, it opted to further its ideological agenda by playing the game of reformism and parliamentary democracy. It won the 1977 elections and went on to govern West Bengal continuously within a Left Front whose greatest political achievements were substantial land reform and strong decentralization.
- In Kerala, where power alternated between the Left Front and a Congress-dominated coalition, the CPI(M)’s main victory was high human development in the state.
- In the global context, the classic example of the Left getting strengthened against the Right is in the United States, where Republican (Left wing in US)Donald Trump defeated its main opponent in the US Hilary Clinton, a Democrat.
- Despite the losses, Though the CPI and the CPI(M) — and their smaller partners, the Forward Bloc and the Revolutionary Socialist Party — were nowhere close to the ruling parties when it came to numbers in Parliament, they were largely treated with respect.
The left-wing politics is imperative in Indian politics today, as this alone will help balance the right-wing offensive which has posed a serious threat to the secular, democratic order. If the Indian left is to come back on the political scene, it would have to come from the grassroots, particularly from landless peasants, tribals and lower castes. They are the most oppressed classes in the Indian context and yet the most resilient and rebellious as well.