Elections in West Bengal: Bengal needs change of system

West Bengal is going to the polls in April – May in a six phase election. The CPI(M) led Left front has governed Bengal for nearly 35 years. Various sections of the bourgeois media are calling for "change". According to them, "change" will come about by the TMC-Congress combine replacing the CPI(M) led Left Front in power.

Bengal definitely needs change. The issue is this. Will replacing the Left Front government by a TMC Congress government address the problems of workers and peasants of Bengal? Or the entire political and economic system needs radical transformation? The Communist Ghadar Party of India firmly believes that the entire political and economic system needs radical transformation, a Navnirman of the Indian state and society. The line pursued by the CPI(M) and the Left Front it leads have been a biggest block to this Navnirman.

The Left Front government of Bengal led by CPI(M) is not a government of workers and peasants. It is a bourgeois government, which has been implementing the overall strategy of the bourgeoisie in the conditions of Bengal. The track record of CPI(M) is anti communist. It collaborated with the Congress Party at the centre to crush the Naxalbari peasant uprising led by communist revolutionaries in the sixties.

In the mid sixties, a situation arose all over the country that the ruling class was not able to rule in the old way, and the working masses were not willing to accept their conditions. It was a revolutionary crisis, demanding the leadership by a revolutionary communist party. However, the CPI and CPI(M) betrayed the revolution, and began vigorously participating in parliamentary games to come to power within the system. To stabilize its rule, the bourgeoisie needed help. It found this assistance in the form of the CPI(M) and CPI in Bengal, Kerala, Tripura and all over the country.

The Left Front rule in West Bengal for the past 35 years is thus a result of the bourgeoisie's need to stabilize its rule. CPI(M) pledged to the ruling class that it would control the class struggle of the workers and peasants within bounds that did not threaten the system.

The Left Front Government propagated amongst the workers and peasants that without revolution, without a change of the system, it could address their problems. It carried out limited land reforms to wean away the peasants from revolution and tie them to their small plots of lands, which could not guarantee their livelihood in the long run. The militant struggles of the workers were deliberately kept confined to economic demands, for which the CPI(M) led trade union CITU would negotiate with the capitalists for a ‘better deal’ to quell the anger of the workers and at the same time protect the profits of the capitalists. CPI(M) told the workers they must not fight too much, otherwise “capital will flee to other states” and this will retard the "development" of West Bengal. The workers and peasants were effectively disarmed and disoriented.

For the past two decades, the Left Front government of Bengal has been implementing the capitalist program of globalization through liberalisation and privatization pursued by other capitalist governments at the Center and in the states. It has run roughshod over the rights of workers and peasants. It has declared that workers in the IT sector are highly paid and need not enjoy the right to form unions, let alone strike. It promised Indian and foreign multinationals land at highly subsidized rates, and unleashed brute force to deprive the peasants of their land, first in Singur and then in Nandigram. The Left Front government unleashed state terror against the tribal people in the Lalgarh area, in collaboration with the Central Government, to assist the Jindal monopoly group. For three whole years, police forces and unofficial military force of the CPI(M) have unleashed rape and terror against the peasants and tribal people of West Bengal in the interests of monopoly capitalist investors.

CPI(M) is a fierce defender of the Indian state and its Constitution. It is a fierce defender of the multi party representative democracy through which the bourgeoisie legitimizes its dictatorship. When the peasants of Nandigram rose in revolt against forcible land acquisition, the CPI(M) led left Front government declared this opposition "illegal" because allegedly it had the mandate to do what it wanted, as it has been elected to power. This is the same logic used by other bourgeois governments at the center and in the states.

CPI(M) declared that the Left Front would be an instrument of class struggle. In practice, the Left Front government has acted as an instrument to reconcile class contradictions in favor of the bourgeoisie, and as an instrument to forcible crush the resistance struggles of workers and peasants.

The Left Front government has consistently attacked the right to conscience of people. All those who dissent with the line of CPI(M) have faced savage persecution.

CPI(M) has consistently tried to mobilize the workers and peasants all over the country behind the bourgeoisie and its imperialist aims with slogans such as defence of the 'secular fabric", defense of "national unity and territorial integrity", of "parliamentary institutions", of "independent foreign policy", etc. It has consistently supported the bourgeoisie's hegemonic ambition towards the neighbouring countries including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

The shamelessness of the CPI(M) in defending this system is revealed in an editorial of Peoples Democracy. In this editorial, the CPI(M) Leader Sitaram Yechury expresses sadness that “The Congress party which heads the government at the center and the Trinamul which is a constituent of the UPA should align with the “Maoists”, who openly declare war against the system of parliamentary democracy in India”. He also alludes to the commonality of the CPI(M) and Congress commitment to secular democratic republic. In other words, CPI(M) is appealing to the ruling class and the Congress Party that it is committed to parliamentary democracy, to the secular democratic republic which is nothing other than the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.

This has been the method of operation of the CPI(M) since its founding. The space it has found for itself in West Bengal and elsewhere is on the basis of proving to the ruling class its loyalty to the Indian state and its institutions.

The CPI(M) has assisted the capitalist class to keep the revolutionary potential of the working class under lock and key. It has assisted the ruling class to stabilize its rule in times of governmental crises and indecisive electoral outcomes. The working class cannot march on the revolutionary road until and unless its most conscious and active elements reject and break with the line of the CPI(M).

The TMC Congress combine which is challenging the Left Front in Bengal is another capitalist front, just like the left Front.

The Congress Party is the party of the big bourgeoisie which is leading the anti worker anti peasant anti national imperialist offensive of the bourgeoisie. It has been the architect of the program of the bourgeoisie of globalization through liberalization and privatization. It has been the architect of the SEZ policy by which the land of the peasants is seized and handed over to the biggest corporates. It has supervised the attack on the rights of workers, and it is pushing through a program to ensure the domination of agriculture by the agricultural trading monopolies.

In these conditions, various groups calling themselves communist including the CPI (Maoist) are openly supporting the Congress TMC alliance in its bid to come to power. This is a betrayal of Marxism Leninism, and of the interests of the workers and peasants.

The CPI Maoist claims to officially have no faith in parliamentary democracy and has a line of permanent boycott. Its complete opportunism is revealed by its support for the TMC- Congress combine in West Bengal, allegedly to defeat the "main enemy", the CPI(M). The CPI Maoist has no explanation as to how the workers and peasants of Bengal are going to benefit by the Congress TMC coming to power in place of the Left Front.

Neither the CPI(M) nor the Maoists want to address the fundamental question — that the present system must be changed and this change will not come about by replacing one front by another through elections in a multiparty representative democracy.

The CPI Maoist claims to be waging an armed struggle against the Indian state. Those waging armed struggle, in the absence of mass support, actually become terrorist gangs sooner or later. In West Bengal, CPI Maoist has been carrying out terrorist killings of cadre of CPI(M) and other parties, in the name of eliminating police informers. All those who do not agree with its line, are considered "class enemies" who deserve to be eliminated. The terrorist actions of the CPI Maoist do not have the support of the workers and peasants of Bengal. Communism is being disgraced today by the violent warfare between the CPI(M) and CPI (Maoist) in West Bengal. The use of force to settle ideological and political differences is not communism.

The bourgeoisie will decide whether the Left Front or the TMC Congress front should come to power. Whichever front wins the elections, will push through the imperialist program of the bourgeoisie, claiming that it has the "people's mandate". The Communist Ghadar Party of India calls upon the workers and peasants of West Bengal to reject both these fronts.

Our Party is organizing the working class and peasantry for a change of the system. Our Party never creates the illusion that the problems of working masses will be addressed if this or that party or coalition comes to power. We do not create illusions either about the capitalist system, or about the multi party representative democracy which is the vehicle through which the capitalist class legitimizes its rule.

Our Party utilizes elections to expose the capitalist system and is democracy, and rallies the broad masses of people around the program of vesting sovereignty in the people. People must have the right to select those who have proven their worth, and the right to recall those who have failed to fulfill the peoples mandate. The powers of all elected bodies must be strictly defined and people must have the residual powers. People must have the right to initiate legislation. Our Party fights for the defence of these rights which are being violated by the party system of governance today. The inviolability of rights of the people could become a reality if such a renewal of political process is brought into being. At the same time, this struggle prepares the working class and toiling masses for the battle to build socialism through the revolution.

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