Home > Archives (2006 on) > 2007 > June 22, 2007 > On P.C. Joshi and Communist Unity : A Response

Mainstream, Vol XLV, No 27

On P.C. Joshi and Communist Unity : A Response

Monday 25 June 2007, by Satyapal Dang

The article “Let Us be Sincere about PCJ’s Centenary” by Com Diwan Singh Bajeli (Mainstream, April 14, 2007) criticising my article “CPI-M and P.C. Joshi: A Rejoinder” (Mainstream, September 23, 2006) was seen and read by me only on April 23, 2007 as I received the issue by post only on that day and noticed the article late in the evening. Unfortunately I cannot find the issue dated September 23, 2006 and the copy of my handwritten article will take long to trace. I, therefore, have to send my response on the basis of my memory about my article.

I am much surprised at the tone as well as the contradictory nature of Com Bajeli’s article. Obviously he is a great admirer of PCJ but so am I and I had made that clear in my article by referring to his great contribution towards the building of the communist movement in India and his close contacts with the rank and file of the party.

His article makes it amply clear as to why my article annoyed and even provoked him. I had stated that the CPI split in 1964. Com Bajeli did not go into the question as to who was to be blamed and even more to be blamed for the split. For the leaders of the CPI minus the part which had become the CPI-M, it is not necessary to go into the reasons for the split especially now when the two have come much closer and when the interests of communist unity will not be helped by apportioning blame when the vital interests of the country require communist unity and a united Communist Party. Com Bajeli has also not dared to put the entire blame on the CPI-M for the split. He has enumerated many real or imaginary or perhaps negative points in an exaggerated manner. “Every sincere Communist would like to see the unification of the entire communist movement but the reality is something different. Some of them, their leaders live a life-style beyond their means. Marx must be turning in his grave.” Surely all this is not in very good taste and it does amount to mean that communist unity may be desirable but is impossible in view of what the CPI-M leaders, or at least some of them, are doing and it is a waste of time to work for it. I am sure that few, if any at all, would agre with this view. And why forget the great contribution of the CPI-M led Left Front Government in West Bengal with Jyoti Basu as the Chief Minister in the field of agrarian reform and the great impact this made in the country as a whole?

I have been reiterating whenever the occasion arises the wisdom of the following saying whosoever might have said it (I think it was Stalin or Lenin): “There can neither be any party nor any leader who will never make a mistake. Wise is he who soon realises the mistake and corrects the same.” This applies to the CPI as well as the CPI-M. However, this can prove to be counter-productive for the end that is being sought to be achieved.

I am, however, happy that notwithstanding all the anger against, if not contempt and hatred for, the CPI-M on the part of Com Bajeli, he cannot but help recognise the necessity of unity. This would be obvious from what he has said. “ Every sincere Communist would like to see the unification of the entire communist movement.” I am sure no well-wisher of the communist movement of India would dare to say that such unification is undesirable. Bajeli saheb too does not say so, howsoever much he seems to think that it is impossible.

It is my conviction that it is possible and desirable. Let us look at some relevant facts.

I had said that the split took place in 1964 when the CPI-M was formed. Com Bajeli says it started in 1948, that is, when B.T. Ranadive replaced P.C. Joshi as the General Secretary of the CPI as it existed before the split. Ranadive was no doubt Left sectarian and even in an adventurist way perhaps. However, how can this change at the level of the party leadership be characterised as a split? This has been said to provide an argument for the contention that the CPI-M does not and will not agree to unification. How wrong this contentio is can be seen from the following.

When the split took place in 1964 (16 years after 1948), the CPI leaders characterised the CPI-M leaders as not only splitters but also Trotskyites. They themselves were called revisionists (by the CPI-M leaders). Both ruled out even any joint actions. The change that has taken place since then is indeed remarkable. Both now act jointly on mutually agreed issues against the policies of the Central Government and certain State governments which are anti-people. They are often able to forge united electoral fronts consisting of the CPI and CPI-M and not infrequently in some States with other parties too. True, the CPI stands for communist unity on a principled basis while the CPI-M leadership still thinks that the CPI is only a Left party but not a Communist Party. However, they are no longer very vocal about it. Have we not made progress and why cannot the interests of the toilers force both the parties to make further progress in this direction? After all, the CPI-M, according to Bajeli saheb, is being forced to follow “a kind of Joshiite policy at present” (or forced by circumstances to follow). Circumstances can force further progress on this score—conscientous and persuasive efforts will also help speed up the progress towards more or less complete unification, that is, merger of the two parties.

COM BAJELI has called upon Satyapal Dang to give up his obsession with communisr or CPI-CPM merger or unity. I can assure him that I have no obsession. However, I am of the firm conviction that the interests of our people and, above all, our toilers demand everything that would expedite progress towards merger/unification and formation of a united Communist Party. For instance, apart from joint mass actions there can be debates, discussions, seminars that would help further narrowing of differences. These will help if they are held under such auspices as will draw the ranks of both the parties. Moreover discussions at even individual levels can play a positive role. No one has suggested ‘immediate’ merger here and now but it needs to be realised that neglecting the task and not making efforts, taking steps that would help go forward towards the aim of unification would harm the cause of radical transformation which India’s economy and public direly need.

There is another point made by Com Bajeli. He writes: “I fail to understand what is wrong in talking about varieties of Marxism.” I regret to say that this assertion shows lack of knowledge of almost the entire basis of the fundamentals of Marxism, like dialectical and historical materialism. There are social laws, that is, laws which govern the development of human society from primitive communism to slavery, feudalism, capitalism and socialism which will ultimately lead to communism. There was no exploitation of man by man under primitive communist society. There will be no exploitation of man by man in socialist and communist society. The difference between the two is that in socialist society everyone will get according to the work done by her/him while in communist society everyone will get according to her/his needs. Socialism is already existing and developing in certain countries of Latin America and also Eastern Europe. In Asia, China is already building a socialist society and Mongolia too. There maybe some other countries on the same road. The transition period maybe long in some countries like China while it may not be long as has happened in Cuba and is happening in some countries of Latin America.

It is clear that the only alternative to capitalism is either socialism or barbarism. Imperialist rulers of the USA lead the path to barbarism while the socialist countries prove the possibility of a just society bereft of exploitation of man by man all over the world. Of course, the road from socialism to communism would be very long—not even some decades but even longer. Socialism, however, is an attainable objective in the not-very-long and even near future depending upon the concrete situation in a country. In India today, one precondition for that is Left unity. Let all Left and other pro-Left patriots work for that.

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