National

'Confused And Contradictory'

That is how the CPI (M) General Secretary dismissed the media reports on the remarks by Com. Jyoti Basu.

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'Confused And Contradictory'
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Text of the statement issued by General Secretary, Communist Party ofIndia (Marxist) on January 7

The remarks made by Com. Jyoti Basu on the nature of capitalist developmentin West Bengal and the role of the Left Front government in this regard has beenreported in a confused and contradictory manner in the media. On the basis ofthese reports, some political leaders have also come out with equally confusedand misplaced reactions.

Com. Jyoti Basu has explained the economic development in West Bengal and therole of the Left Front government on the basis of the perspective of the CPI(M).Only those ignorant of the programme of the CPI(M) can talk of the Party saying³goodbye to socialism and welcome to capitalism².

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It is necessary to instruct such critics as to what the CPI(M) programme setsout:

(i) Based on its programmatic direction, the CPI(M) joins state governmentsknowing fully well that it has limited powers within the Constitution. Utilisingthese limited powers, Left-led governments work to protect the interests of theworking people, initiate welfare measures and within the limited spheres whereit has some powers, put in place policies which are different from that of stategovernments run by bourgeois parties. The CPI(M) knows fully well that in thestates where the Left is in government they cannot build socialism, butundertake some alternative policies within the capitalist system. Land reformswithin the constitutional limits was one such step undertaken in West Bengal,Kerala and Tripura.

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(ii) Even though the Left Front has been in office for thirty years in WestBengal, capitalist development has been taking place there as in the rest ofIndia. What the state governments can do is to help strengthen the struggle foralternative policies advocated by the Left and democratic platform at the allIndia level.

(iii) The CPI(M)¹s goal is for the setting up of a people¹s democracy,which is a step towards the eventual goal towards socialism. This, as Jyoti Basusaid, cannot be done by the three state governments ruled by the Left. Theadvance to socialism will be realisable only after the Left and democraticforces are strong enough to build an alternative at the national level.

(iv) Till then, in the states like West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura, theLeft-led governments will strive to put in place policies, which benefit theworking class, peasantry and other sections of the working people. Workingwithin the capitalist system, facing a situation where the central governmentimposes neo-liberal policies, the Left-led governments have to undertakeindustrialisation and economic development in such a manner where the interestsof the workers and the poorer sections are protected.

It is amusing to see some leaders of the BJP and the Congress portray thisapproach of the CPI(M) in simplistic terms of socialism versus capitalism. Forthem socialism only denotes a slogan to be used as a smokescreen for promotingthe interests of big capitalists and foreign finance capital. Joining them inthe criticism is the Revolutionary Socialist Party. Unlike the CPI(M), the RSPhas declared socialism to be its immediate goal. But one may ask why the RSP hasbeen, in all these years of being in Left-led state governments, working toimplement some reforms and welfare measures within the capitalist system?

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The record of the Left-led governments in West Bengal, Kerala and Tripurastand testimony to the fact that the Left and democratic alternative advocatedby the CPI(M) and the struggle to ensure a degree of social justice within theframework of an all India capitalist model of development has found increasingsupport among the people. That is why the three states are today considered tobe the bastions of the Left.

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