Like the French Bourbon dynasty (1589-1793) which forgot nothing and learned nothing, at its 23rd party congress convened in Kannur (Kerala) on April 6-10, leaders and delegates of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) indulged in familiar anti-business and privatisation rhetoric reminiscent of the 1960-70s when the comrades were a force to reckon with in Indian politics.
At the recent party congress, the CPM passed ringing resolutions against the BJP government’s National Assets Monetisation Pipeline, i.e, privatisation programme, denounced crony capitalism and expressed solidarity with the Palestinian people. Within the party’s leadership and delegates, there was no evidence of awareness that during the past half century, the Soviet Union has collapsed, communist China has taken the capitalist road, that the CPM itself which ruled West Bengal uninterruptedly for 34 years (1977-2011), was routed in the recent West Bengal legislative assembly election, or that whereas it won 66 seats to the Lok Sabha in 2004, that tally has been reduced to three after General Election 2019. Yet despite being totally marginalised, the party line has hardly changed from the heyday of the CPM when it played a major role in pushing the Congress party ruinously left in the 1960-70s.
Just as well the party’s 23rd congress was held in Kerala. Although highly rated on all development indices by left-liberals, Kerala in which the CPM has headed several — including the incumbent — coalition governments, is a hollow shell. Its much lauded K-12 education system is mainly driven by Christian missionary private schools arm-twisted into low-fees ‘aided’ schools. Moreover because of CPM encouraged labour militancy, Kerala (pop.32 million) has for long been blighted by investment famine. Instead under CPM-Left rule, it has transformed into a human trafficker of low-cost labour. For several decades, Kerala has remained heavily dependent upon hard currency remittances of natives of the state forced to emigrate to oil-rich Middle East satrapies, where they suffer continuous humiliation and degradation because there are no opportunities and jobs in their own state owing to unchecked labour militancy.
Meanwhile, CPM delegates continue to pass ringing resolutions on esoteric subjects, unmindful that the world has moved on.