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Mainstream, VOL LX No 20, New Delhi, May 7, 2022

Will The Indian Communist Leadership Read Dimitrov? A Reminder to Comrades Sitaram Yechury and D. Raja | Ajayakumar Kodoth

Friday 6 May 2022

by Dr Ajayakumar Kodoth *

“Only by a united struggle, carried on step by step, day by day, only by tirelessly extending the anti-fascist movement of the masses and thoroughly strengthening the people’s front will the working people in town and country cut the claws of fascist beast and carry the struggle against fascism to a victorious conclusion.” – Georgi Dimitrov

These words were written by Georgi Dimitrov (1882-1949), the Bulgarian Communist leader and General Secretary of the Communist International, who was at the forefront of efforts to create a people’s resistance front, including international working class movements, to fight German Nazism and Italian Fascism during the 1940s.

In the present-day context, when communal fascism has begun to initiate the process of assuming absolute control in India, the anti-Fascist struggle that was brought into being by Dimitrov in the 1940s will serve as a model to the Indian Communist parties for creating a people’s resistance movement in the country.

The party congresses of the CPI and the CPM

The CPM party congress has just concluded in Kannur, Kerala, and the CPI congress will be held in Vijayawada in October this year. Naturally, the main subject of discussion at the forums was and will be the strategies to be adopted to confront communal fascism.
How can we create a national alternative to fascism? Are the CPI and the CPM in complete harmony regarding this issue? Considering the fact that the Communist parties alone cannot put up an effective fight against fascism, the idea of a broad united front, in the lines of the model created by Dimitrov in the 1940s against world fascism, gains greater relevance in today’s India.

Both Communist parties are at the lowest point in their respective histories. But neither of them has succeeded in bringing about any substantial change in the pathetic condition. The combined vote share garnered by the Communist parties in the 2019 general elections was just above two percent whereas the Congress Party attracted 20 % vote share. The sole consolation for the Communist parties was a serendipitous victory in the legislative assembly elections of 2021 that gave them a spell of continued governance in Kerala, a state where only two-and-a-half percent of the Indian population reside. And, the Kerala unit of the CPM that pulled it off is now shrinking into the mindset of a mere regional party. It does not want the co-operation of the Congress Party in order to confront fascism, and continues to view the Congress Party as its main enemy in Kerala! The CPM leaders of Kerala say that the two-percenters have no need for help from the twenty-percenters in their anti-fascist struggle! This group is interested only in maintaining their monopoly of power within the tiny state of Kerala. What is the CPI’s stand on the issue?

Time for Gandhism and Marxism to join hands

A long-standing anti-Congress sectarian mindset within a group in the undivided Communist Party was what caused the split in 1964, and gave birth to the CPM. Blind antipathy towards the Congress is the distinguishing mark of the CPM. But such a kind of politics has become totally irrelevant today. As a matter of fact, in the context of contemporary Indian political circumstances, the time has come for Gandhism and Marxism to join hands in order to fight communal fascism.

There remains no doubt whatsoever that the state units of both the CPI and the CPM will do everything in their power to torpedo this possibility. Such is the intensity of their greed for power in Kerala. If truth be told, the national democratic revolution line that was abandoned by the CPI at Bhatinda in 1978 is the right substitute for the anti-Congress, people’s democratic revolution line espoused by the CPM. In fact, it is the need of the hour. Shouldn’t at least the CPI acknowledge this point and take corrective measures in the forthcoming Vijayawada party congress? If that is accomplished, the CPI will be able to infuse some vibrancy in the nation, following in the footsteps of Dimitrov’s model of the 1940s.

The Looming Threat in 2024

It is an incontrovertible fact that the results of the recent elections in five states have strengthened the BJP’s confidence to face the 2024 general elections. Precisely for that reason, anxieties regarding the future of secular, democratic India have risen proportionately. Unless a miracle happens, the elections of 2024 will witness the two Communist parties losing their national stature as well as their election symbols. It is astonishing that even as a dark future stares at them in the face, the Kerala units of the CPI and the CPM do not feel the necessity to discard their opposition towards the Congress. No one can be faulted for doubting their sincerity towards the anti-fascist struggle that secular, democratic India demands today. It is high time the Communist leadership of Kerala properly read and internalized Dimitrov.

Needless to say, if the Sangh Parivar consolidates power and earns continuance of governance in 2024, we will be compelled to stand witness to many inauspicious events. Perhaps, the centenary year celebrations of the RSS in 2025 will see the beginning of the transformation of secular, democratic India into a theocratic Hindu state.

Reference: Georgi Dimitrov. The United Front: The Struggle against Fascism and War. London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1938.

* (The author is the son of the late K. Madhavan, the veteran Communist leader of North Kerala)

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