Warning : Politics Ahead (jokes here, Other)

Yet Another Warning : Amateurish thoughts, Severe lack of data too

Would anybody be interested in asking what ails the CPIM in Kerala OR is there an ailment.
There should be something pretty serious happening within the party, otherwise the media wouldn’t be making so much of noise OR Would the bourgeoise media make noises even when the party is as strong as ever?

The inherent problem with the questions below is,you can’t have a conversation about this with the mammoth majority of the people you meet. One half wonders why you would spent time on this, while the other half beleieves you don’t have the revoltionary frame of mind. (Whatever that means, from past experiences I gather it means eternal cynicism, a know all halo around you and a constant state of anger against everything).

As Aldous Huxley put it “The patience of the common humanity is the most important, and almost surprising fact in history. Most men and women are prepared to tolerate the intolerable. the reasons for this extraordinary state of things are many and various. There is ignorance first of all. Those who know of no state of affairs other than the intolerable are unaware that their lot might be improved. Then there is fear”

But you have to ask questions when you have to ask questions. I don’t have the data nor a complete picture of the state of affairs within the party, so most of my thoughts would be results of conversations or occasional sightings of ‘light and a little sky’ in the offline media. I hope this one will be interactive, otherwise this whole exercise will be incomplete.

The questions :

1. Is Kerala that important?
2. Is the CPIM dispensable, is it important?
a) If it is not, what is the future of leftist politics in kerala?
b) What will replace the CPIM?
c) What transformations will happen in the Polity/Politics of Kerala in the near future (10-15 years)

2. Is the CPIM dispensable, is it important?
a) If it is! then, is there an issue which will make or break?
b) Is there any ideological struggle happening within the organisation or is it merely a race for power?

i) What ideologies?
ii) Should one of them win over the other or can both co-exist?
iii) Is there an ideological leadership, which can manage the chaos of thoughts?

b) Is there any ideological struggle happening within the organisation or is it merely a race for power?

i) Are there ‘Groups’?
ii) Is there one ‘Group’ which will emerge sooner than later?
iii) Fun games – Predict politics of the near future.

Pretty much, what comes to mind?

I could answer the first question now – It is.

In a rambling mail of mine to a group of young men, who are out there to topple everything that stands, I had asked this

“can anyone post on the issues within CPIM (objectively) …is it really ideology and stuff ? …”

and this was a reply that came – a primer perhaps,

R. wrote :

Regarding your question, I debated internally for a long time before I
decided to finally write down my thoughts. Some debates are over even
before they start, right? No matter, what position one may take in such
a debate – by the very act of taking part in it – we are dragging the
larger discourse down to the opponents’ language. But, of course, this
has to be weighed against the risk of losing the democratic ethos. The
latter won.

– There is no “VS paksham” and “Pinarayi paksham” – there is an
official paksham and in some cases, dissenters.

– I don’t think the absolute amount of dissent has changed – in fact it
may have come down a little from the past (for examples of genuine
principled “struggle” – I guess the last one would be the Silent valley
issue in 80s)

– This presence of “dissent” is to me a very positive sign – CPM is
probably the only large political party that practices true democracy
inside. It is a tribute to the party leadership of yesteryears and
today that they have been able to steer this organization from
classical ML moorings into the present state where electoral democracy
is practiced at all levels. It is a sad state of affairs where even
after 60 years of independent india, the only party that recognizes
democracy as a fundamental principle is CPM. It does not take much for
a Advani or Sonia to become a Pervez and lead back us into the stone

– The formula for “Ul-party janathipathyam”(inside-party democracy) is very simple. It is about
people sitting together as a committee, participating in a healthy
debate, sharing ideas and opinions with an implicit assurance of
confidentiality, democratically deciding the next steps and presenting
a united step forward. It is a simple, elegant idea that has been the
lifeblood of this prasthanam for decades now. That is the reason why,
every branch member gets to debate and decide on what the party says 5
years down the line. If any one says, that the party conference has
been hijacked – it is more than likely that they themselves are trying
to subvert democratic decision making.

– The nature of dissent has probably changed – there is more of
careerism and petty politicking than differences on matters of policy.
Your question “is it ideology and stuff” – the ones that are coming out
now in the media is mostly about “stuff”. In fact, there is a sustained
campaign by a small coterie of dissidents to take up “ideological” high
ground and give the veneer of respectability for their naked thirst
for power. Otherwise, why should “nalaam lokam” be raked up before
Malappuram conference or in this case, Munnar demolition before the
party conference.

– “Ideology” in classical marxist thought is characterized as “false
consciousness”. But then, we do recognize that there is fundamental
difference between situations where one person says “the tianmen
square repression was wrong” and when another says “i should be made
the CM nominee/party secretary”. Let us call the former “matter of
principle” dissenters.

– The “matter of principle” dissenters like PG and MP have on several
occasions been chastised by “official” party – I do not believe that
they had taken up a dissenting position out of selfish interests. If at
all anything, it would have been to the contrary. But they were all
dignified enough to keep the debate rational and maintain decorum. Even
“dissenters” of arguably a different nature like KN Raveendranath and
MM Lawrence were disciplined enough not to engage in public mud
slinging (in fact, I still remember MM Lawrence’s tearful interview to
Asianet after being demoted to LC in Palakkad conference).

– Of course, there have been exceptions – MVR, Gauriamma et al I need
not elaborate on their ideological positions they have taken up
afterwards. This probably is an indicator of what their true moorings

– What has definitely changed from yesteryears is the lack of respect
for basic cadre-ship maryada (condoned in a never seen before manner by
the official wing – anybody remembers Anjalose who was shown the door
for reportedly having come to the polling booth in a lungi!),
deliberate use of corporate controlled media and party controlled
institutions for sectarian purposes and a never seen before
glorification of personality politics. All of this has led to
tremendous confusion in the larger society and even the larger cadre.
Some brands gained currency more than others – brands that brought
together the likes of Chennithala and TVR Shenoy to cheer on in

Some of the people who have been working overtime to portray themselves
as “VS paksham” are people with a shocking lack of credentials to
claim a ideological high ground. What are their “ideological”
positions? That of Janakeeyasoothranam being a ‘world bank agenda”?
Accusing Thomas Isaac of being an American agent because he had
presented a paper in Columbia? Accusing MP of being a CIA-charan
because he dared to initiate a conversation on alternative development
models? Not only that, what is more appalling is that, they have been
systematically trying to use “shock and awe” tactics to subvert a
democratically elected party leadership.These people have played
themselves right into the hands of detractors who have been trying to
discredit the movement. Yes, the very same people who used to portray
VS as “vikasana virodhi” and ‘anti-smart city”. I personally see
pro-Achuthanandan demonstrations in certain parts of Kerala (and JNU of
course!) as roughly the equivalent of, say a u coup or a vimochana
samaram. They have been portrayed as if such actions indicate a
“genuine support” for whomsover they were supposed to support. If the
ability to bring together a 25-30 member group in major nerve centres
in Kerala is an indicator of “janakeeyatha”, MVR should have been the
party secretary a long, long time back.

Any way, to sum it up, I feel that the PB’s action was a long overdue
one. Hopefully some of these key actors will correct themselves after
realizing the setback the left in Kerala has collectively received from
an organizational stand point. From a longer term point of view, this
is a good opportunity for CPM to come together and reaffirm its
commitment to internal democracy and its cherished organizational
values. This by itself, will go a long way in making the party’s agenda
more inclusive and relevant.

End of mail.

Open House……………………….