Bourgeois politics is weakening Left: Karat | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Bourgeois politics is weakening Left: Karat

Cites the impact of globalised finance capital, failure to connect with people as key challenges.

delhi Updated: Aug 09, 2012 01:45 IST
Zia Haq
Zia Haq
Hindustan Times

CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat on Wednesday said an election system awash in industry-financed money had considerably weakened the Left, virtually “squeezing” it out —rare comments that reveal how the once-powerful Marxists view their slide.

“It is virtually squeezing us out now,” Karat said, referring to “neo-liberalism”, a term commonly used, sometimes pejoratively, to describe India’s market-driven economic model.

Karat sought not to just highlight a less-talked-about aspect of political corruption, untouched by the now-disbanded Team Anna protests, but also singled it out as a key challenge for Left politics.

Non-Left analysts often cite the Left’s inability to change “statist” and dated policies, marked by hostility to industry, breakdown of business institutions and capital flight as reasons for its decline.

“Neo-liberalism is not just about economics. It has corroded our political system. With business being so intertwined with politics, it takes huge sums of money to even become a sarpanch (an elected village-level politician),” Karat said at a brainstorm held by the Council for Social Development.

Speaking to over a dozen influential economists and historians, Karat identified the impact of globalised finance capital, caste-based mobilisation of “bourgeois parties” and failure to connect with people through popular culture as key challenges.

In India, Left artistes, musicians and playwrights are often credited with strengthening Marxism.

“We are getting marginsalised and except in some states like Tripura, we are not in a position to intervene because of neoliberal politics,” Karat said.

The Left has seen its Parliament tally fall by more than half — from 61 during the previous term to 24 now.

In Kerala, the Left parties ruled for 28 of the past 54 years, while they ran Bengal non-stop since 1977 until the widely predicted 2011 defeat.

Yet, while in many European nations, Communism has been reduced to “signboards”, as Karat put it, the Left in India still has mass following.

Karat also counted a newly forged unity among various central trade unions and rising participation of women as encouraging trends.

However, numerous Leftist critics, including Sumanta Banerjee, said the Marxists had a far more basic job at hand — that of restoring their moral fibre.

First Published: Aug 08, 2012 23:51 IST