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The UF regime needs Marxist participation - Indian Express

Avijit Pathak ()
5 July 1996


Title : The UF regime needs Marxist participation
Author : Avijit Pathak
Publication : Indian Express
Date : July 5, 1996

THE communists have finally joined the Union Government.
And this unambiguous Merger with the 'system' is unlikely
to be appreciated by the puritans-the militant
adherents, of the philosophy of revolution. Or, as the
CPI(M)s refusal has already indicated, even the moderates
can argue that this is not yet the right time; with their
limited strength the Marxists cannot make their presence

Yet, the CPI's somewhat bold decision to join the
Government is of great significance. This means the
party's willingness to respect the specificity of Indian
social reality. The fact is that the process of
democratisation our society is passing through con no
longer be negated. Democracy may have many
but it is certainly riot an illusion. No struggle for
liberation is possible without democracy. Barring some
militant groups, the Marxists have already accepted the
potency of Indian democracy. What the Indrajit Guptas and
the Chaturanan Mishras are doing today is the logical
culmination of this realisation.

Moreover, there is no immediate escape from tile
coalition Government. And a meaningful coalition ought to
have a wider social base. By joining the government the
Marxists have made the coalition more representative;
they have given some legitimacy to its professed secular

The Marxists are not wrong in arguing that the mandate
indicates the desirability of a secular Government But
then, the mandate is also against economic
liberalisation. Not every partner of the United Front is,
however, willing to accept this particular meaning of the
mandate. And herein lies the challenge. What one expects
from the Marxists is to make the Front (particularly, its
Chidambarams) realise the hidden meaning of economic
liberaligation - how it is yet another hegemonic effort
on the part of the world capitalist system, how its
inherent elitism further hierarchies the already
stratified society like ours, how its consumerism
pollutes the cultural space, how its 'globalisation'
threatens the sovereignty of the nation state. The new
Government needs an appropriate socioeconomic
- an imagination that the Marxists are gifted with.

Again, there are many partners in the Front not
particularly known for a universal agenda. Instead, their
visions are limited; their politics relies on fragmented
identities like caste and language, ethnicity and region.
In a plural society these identities are not Unimportant.
Yet, no exercise of humane goverloance will remain
complete without a pan-Indian vision: a vision that sees
beyond these identities, relates the local to the
universal and locates human experiences in the context of
the political economy. At a time when there is either
pan-Indian Hindutva (which is potentially fascist) or
extreme regionalism (which is narrow and limiting), the
Marxists, one hopes, will try to create an ultimate
consensus - an authentic pan-Indian Vision capable, of
uniting the oppressed, (irrespective of their `cultural'

identities) and giving them the agency needed to create a
stable, democratic polity.

Moreover, it is becoming increasingly difficulty imagine
a government without corruption. Perhaps the marxists may
try to enable us to overcome this crisis of faith. After
all, Marxism is also a moral philosophy. Even today the
Marxists are known for their simplicity, their organic
bond with the people. The presence of the Marxists in the
Government is the beginning of a new journey.

Perhaps the Marxists, their limited strength
notwithstanding, are aware of this historic
responsibility. If they wish to fulfil this
responsibility, they have to assert and, at times,
articulate their differences with the conservative
partners of the Front. But, then, as the spectra of the
BJP haunts the Front, the Marxists may not like to assert
this boldness and Articulate their differences in the
name of the unity of the Front. And, paradoxically, this
strategic silence would rob them of their specific
identity, their mission. Perhaps the Marxists would be
careful enough to retain the balance: keeping the United
Front alive, yet not losing their zeal for radical social

There is another problem. A look at the political history
of contemporary Bengal suggests that, even for the
Marxists, it is not easy to remain in power without being
affected by its aberrations and pathologies. Indeed, the
real challenge before the Marxists is to give a new
meaning to power - the power that fulfils itself in the
empowerment of the collective.

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