It’s been nearly a month since Communist Party of India (CPI) activists including Muvattupuzha MLA Eldo Abraham and Ernakulam District Secretary P Raju got thrashed by the Kerala Police during a march to the Commissioner’s Office in Kochi. As a punishment, sub-Inspector Vipin Das has been suspended citing his failure to “recognize” the MLA but the CPI is pressing for action against the Njarakkal Circle Inspector and hasn’t been pacified by the token action. While CPI State Secretary Kanam Rajendran’s recent soft stance on the CPI (M) is being chiefly attributed to a setting of stage for a reunification of Communist parties, octogenarian academic and ideologue K Aravindakshan, whose association with the Left movement dates back to the 1950s, has his reservations. His guest column for The Kochi Post below
The oft-repeated slogan of Communist reunification or Communist unity has once again gained currency as a subject of political debate, particularly since the recently concluded National Council meeting of the Communist Party of India (CPI). The newly elected CPI General Secretary, D Raja, told the media that CPI has always stood for and still stands for Communist reunification as the first step for forging and strengthening Left unity.
But strangely enough, the statement has not received any response, either positive or negative, from the Communist Party of India (Marxist). Maybe they have yet to learn a lesson from bitter experiences from their rout, first in West Bengal, followed by the humiliating defeat in Tripura where the former Chief Minister Manik Sarkar enjoyed a clean image. Kerala is the only state in the country today which has a Left Front Government, led by the CPI (M), with CPI as the second largest partner.
At the national level, the CPI is much likely to lose its status as a national party. Very soon, the CPI (M) may follow suit. The two Communist Parties, along with their allies like RSP and Forward Bloc had a total strength of 65 members in the Lok Sabha during the first run of the UPA government under Dr Manmohan Singh. But in the 17th Lok Sabha, the number has been reduced to just five members, of which only one member is from Kerala representing the CPI (M), none from West Bengal and Tripura, two each from the CPI and the CPI (M) from Tamil Nadu, gained under the generosity of the DMK.
In this situation, it is interesting to examine the statements of Kanam Rajendran, the CPI State Secretary of Kerala, that all those who belong to the Communist movement must learn a lesson from the successful experiment of Communist reunification in Nepal, that the time is ripe for such a reunification process in India as well.
He appealed to his cadres that the ideological reunification of the Communist parties in the country has become imperative today, (Of course, including Kerala which, however, he wisely did not state explicitly, for reasons that are obvious). While nobody would question the wisdom to call for a move towards Communist reunification, there still remain a few big questions. That is, who will take the initiative and who has the moral right to do so? What will be the ideological plank for reunification: socialism or crony capitalism? Can we rule out Nandigrams and Singurs in Kerala too?
At the national level there are sixty one Communist parties in all, including the CPI and the CPI (M). Let there be reunification of the CPI and the CPI (M) to begin with. Let the other Communist parties be roped in at the second stage. Only after these two processes are over can we think of forging Left unity, and then of course, Left democratic unity of all secular forms in the country opposed to the dominating fascist-ideology oriented government at the Centre.
In conclusion, it must be pointed out that people like me, who are in their eighties, who started associating with the undivided Communist party ever since our school days, feel totally disillusioned with the prospects of Communist reunification, an objective repeated ad nauseum over the years.
In Kerala, the CPI has been subjected to all sorts of humiliation by the CPI (M). The student and youth wings of the CPI are looked at by their counterparts in the CPI (M) not as allies but as enemies. As a college professor and principal for over three decades, I can vouch for a number of instances which have sown the seeds of unrest and tension in the campuses all over the state.
Now things have come to such a pass that the police force in the state, which has been running amok in many places and is accused of custodial deaths and use of third degree methods, deliberately beat up a CPI MLA, Eldo Abraham, along with the district secretary of the CPI, P Raju and, a number of well-known CPI leaders in the District.
It’s rather an irony of fate that these police atrocities took place just a couple of days before Kanam Rajendran was to begin a tour across the state spreading the message of reunification of the Communist parties. The CPI State Secretary had to face the dilemma of not condemning the police action, which has now been described as unwarranted by the magisterial enquiry conducted by the Ernakulam District Collector.
Now the question that haunts my mind: Is this the way forward for Reunification?