Article from People's Democracy of September 12, 2010
Campaign to Defend CPI(M) and Left in West Bengal
The Extended Meeting of the Central Committee held in Vijayawada had given a call for a countrywide week-long campaign against the attacks on the Party and the Left Front in West Bengal. This campaign will be held from September 12 to 18. The entire Party should go amongst the people to expose the nature of the violent attacks on the CPI(M) and the Left Front in West Bengal and to mobilise the people to express solidarity with the Left and democratic movement in the state.
For more than two years, there has been a concerted attack on the CPI(M) and the Left in West Bengal. After the electoral reverses in the Lok Sabha election in May 2009, this attack has been intensified. All the rightwing and anti-Communist forces have united under the leadership of the Trinamul Congress to weaken the Party and the Left. They are doing so by resorting to continuous violence and attacks designed to sever the links of the Party and the Left Front with the people.
Till August 31, 270 members and supporters of the CPI(M) and the Left have been killed. The toll continues to rise daily. There is a two-pronged attack – one is led by the TMC combine and the other by the Maoists. The TMC-Maoist collaboration is an open fact. The Congress party acts as a junior partner of the TMC and its ministers in the Union Cabinet seek to cover-up the TMC leaders’ pro-Maoist stance.
Why is there such an attack on West Bengal? West Bengal is the strongest base of the CPI(M) and the Left in the country. The Left Front government has existed for 33 years after winning seven successive assembly elections. The distribution of surplus land under land reforms in West Bengal constitute 22 per cent of the total land distributed in the country. The gains made by the working class over the last three decades due to their organized movement are substantial. The Left Front government has stood with the working people and sought to protect their livelihood and living standards in the face of the neo-liberal policies pursued by successive governments in the last two decades. The attack on West Bengal represents an effort to weaken the Left Front which will help the ruling classes to consolidate their neo-liberal project.
On top of this, the role played by the CPI(M) and the Left in national politics in the last few years has been marked by two specific features. Firstly, the Left’s consistent opposition to the neo-liberal policies. This is seen as an obstacle to the realization of the goals set out by big business and the ruling classes. Secondly, the Left is the only force which opposes the strategic alliance with the United States which has been unfolding in the last one decade. It is this role of the Left which has invited the attack on its strongest base in West Bengal. Weakening the CPI(M) and the Left Front in West Bengal would mean weakening the fight against the neo-liberal policies which are being promoted under the aegis of the strategic tie up with the United States.
In West Bengal, the aim of the anti-Communist combine is to oust the Left Front government and reverse the progressive measures which have been taken over the last three decades. The old landed interests wish to rollback the land reforms and get their power restored.
West Bengal has an exemplary record of defending secularism and isolating the communal forces. Weakening the Left will be the precursor for the rise of the communal and sectarian politics. Already we have seen how the divisive forces and identity politics are being fostered by the anti-Left gang up – whether it be the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha or the Kamatapuri movement.
The targeting of the CPI(M) by the Maoists is part of the overall gameplan. The brutal killings of the CPI(M) members by the Maoist gangs are intended to cripple the Party in some of its strongest base – in West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia. Those killed are Party members and supporters from the adivasis, school teachers, agricultural workers and poor peasants. In a recent incident on September 4, a school teacher who was a member of the CPI(M) local committee was dragged out of a class room in Salboni primary school where he was teaching children and shot dead. Even those who do not belong to the CPI(M) but refuse to cooperate with the Maoists are killed.
It is necessary to expose this brutality and vicious character of the Maoists – how they have become the instrument of the most reactionary and rightwing forces in West Bengal. The rally held in Lalgarh by Mamata Banerjee and the Maoists jointly on August 7 was a public display of this nefarious partnership.
The campaign to be conducted should expose those intellectuals, social activists and so-called civil libertarians who are supporting this murderous partnership. The likes of Swami Agnivesh and Medha Patkar are condoning the inhuman killings indulged in by the Maoist gangs by extending support to the Trinamul-Maoist gang-up. Many dubious NGOs are involved in this anti-Left enterprise. This is a common tactic of the rightwing forces, they enlist the support of the ultra-Left to provide a cover for their reactionary platform.
The campaign should highlight how the Party and the Left are fighting back this anti-Communist offensive in West Bengal. The CPI(M) is going amongst the people and is taking up their issues by launching movements and struggles. The Left Front government has initiated a number of measures to provide relief to the people suffering from price rise, unemployment and the agrarian crisis. Special attention is being paid to the poorest sections. In the areas affected by the Maoist violence, the people are mobilizing and resisting the Maoist depredations and intimidation. Thousands of people are now coming out in rallies and processions against the Maoists in the affected areas.
Though the Party and the Left have paid a heavy price with the loss of so many valuable comrades, their sacrifices will not go in vain. The CPI(M) and the Left in West Bengal cannot be suppressed by killings and violent repression. The defence of the Left in West Bengal is the defence of the gains made by the working people.
It is incumbent upon the entire Party to go amongst the people and rally them against the attacks on the Party and the Left in West Bengal. We should explain how for the working class, the peasantry and all democratic sections of the people throughout the country, the defence of the West Bengal movement will be a defence of their own rights and movements.