Monday, May 23, 2011

Democratic Centralism In India

“Democratic centralism” is a phrase that has been doing the rounds for quite some time now specially amongst the Indian Communists. The CPIM have been tested with staunch criticism on this specific ground for a long time now and these criticisms rose to prominence after the 2009 Lok Sabha defeat of the Indian Marxists. The vigour of these internal debates prompted the General Secretary to write an explanation to ease his comrades but the question survived and while I pen down the words for this article the tension around this topic resurrects!

In this Article we will first try to understand what Democratic Centralism is at the first place and trace its history finally leading way to Mr Karat’s Explanation published in MARXIST  in 2010. I will try to end this write up with What is to be done now. Its ironic when I use the phrase “What is to be done” as the same phrase titled on Lenin’s publication in 1902 is seen as the basic tenet which further facilitated the development of the concept of “Democratic Centralism”

The concept can be majorly divided on two parameters as propounded by Lenin in “ What is to be Done” (1902) and the 6th party congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party in 1917. The two parameters are:
The Democratic Aspect-Which would be total freedom of the comrades to debate over all internal policy regulations and election of final resolutions as well as all committees by simple majority

The Centralism Aspect- Where a final resolution is passed by a simple majority, such majority must be accepted by one and all irrespective of their dissents and facilitate unity of action.

Now this theory does not seem to be much problematic unless distorted which is what we see within the factions of the Indian Communists. Let us start by problematising the very first aspect. The flip side of the term democracy itself is very controversial. Democracy would be the majority mandate of the people which depends on the peoples access to true information and where the people are wrongly informed the majority mandate would also result into flawed finalities. The best way to keep people (in this case the comrades and the cadre base of the party) informed is by imparting knowledge of Marxist education amongst all ranks. This is exactly where CPIM in India is lacking because the cadre base has been rendered politically illiterate by little initiatives taken in that regard. So if the Cadre base and the comrades in majority have been rendered in a state where acceptance is the only option available to them, then this democracy can be questioned at the very face value of it. Moreover going a little technical into it by practice CPIM have glorified Stalin and his policies and the cadre base have been spared deliberating on these lines. Many of us would not have the luxury to evaluate Stalinism at par with Marx as we do not see them merging on any front at all. So now we see that the people entrusted with democratic rights are either not prepared to exercise it or prepared wrongly to yield results which would not conform to any working class agenda.

When we come to the second aspect that is the aspect of centralism the problem exacerbates. In his article Mr Karat clearly takes the line that the necessity of strictness is guided by the necessity of discipline and in this case the only indiscipline is to hold a dissent in public forum against an established party stand. But the very need of this strictness can be questioned at the very outset. We all know and revere Marxism for its scientific perorations. And science is known for delivering a specific result for a specific problem and this outcome is achieved by a specific application. For example who ever learns mathematics correctly does not have to be an Einstein to know that 2+2=4. So if everybody is taught the same Marxism correctly then why should there be any difference of opinions and this can be argued strongly in this case because Marxism as we all know it to be does not depend on variables. It is as scientific as (2+2=4) is. I know my previous statements would be attacked by people for simplification but then again this very language has been necessitated because pursuing the technicalities cannot be an option for this write up whose reader base would consist of people consciously barred from Marxist enlightenment. After all Das Capital should hold similar explanations to me or anybody else irrespective of which party we may belong to. In fact the very significance of a Marxist party is to play the role of a vanguard and mobilise people on issues of ruling class oppression. But the CPIM in its organisation gives tickets to people with little or no knowledge of Marxism at all and all sorts of petty bourgeois forces that potentially fake any bit of left mindedness. The results are as devastating as “LAKSHMAN SETH”. 

Also again in his article the General Secretary tries to defend this Indian experiment on the grounds of dialectics but then again upfront concedes the point that the CPIM has always evolved and believed within the ambit of a stagiest structure, which in itself is a Stalinist perspective of Socialism which is a product of elitism and petty bourgeois politics. There cannot be any stagiest politics in Socialism as the very fundamental call is to the workers of the world to unite under one common struggle to proclaim socialism universally in unity. This is exactly where the Stalinist idea of unity and Marxist interpretation of unity does not coincide. 

1 comment:

  1. whom u hav counterd!!! cpm's practice of democratic centralism or over all stalinist practice?
    settng cpm's practice as parameter to counter stalinist practice is a shallow initiative i thnk..