September 25, 2008

Left has to rally other parties for third alternative, says Karat

Kolkata, 24th September: The Left parties have to rally other political parties in the country to counter the “anti-people and anti-national policies of bourgeoisie” national parties like the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and raise a “third alternative political platform,” said Prakash Karat, general secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), here on Wednesday.

Mr. Karat was speaking on the “Future of National Politics: A Left View,” at a seminar organised by the Students Federation of India — the student wing of the CPI (M).

The third alternative will pursue an alternative economic policy, a foreign policy that ensures national sovereignty and will struggle for a better federal structure.

“The global economy is on a path of long-term recession and in spite of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government’s assurances that adopting the United States of America-sponsored Wall Street model of economic reform will not affect India’s economy, the fact remains that we cannot escape the repercussions of the U.S. market crash,” he said.

Mr. Karat said the UPA government was jeopardising the country’s national sovereignty by establishing strategic alliances with the “imperialist” United States.

Speaking of the growing incidence of terrorism and communal violence, he said, “These are not isolated incidents as the vast gap between promises made in the post-Independence period and the reality have led people to seek fragmented identities for themselves.”

He said the Congress, in spite being a secular force, had time and again proved that it was unable to stand up to communal forces and terrorist activities.

“The Hindutva agenda of the BJP is fuelling the anti-national sentiments of separatist forces in the country as are other various external agencies.”

“The Left parties are strong defenders of secularism and we have to ensure that it is not diluted in the manner Congress has done, as it is a question of securing national unity,” he said.

KOLKATA,25th September(INN):This was the crucible in which CPI (M) general secretary Prakash Karat ripened his arguments, while in Kolkata during the evening of 24 September. Prakash was addressing a packed meeting at the Town Hall (beautifully renovated to pristine standards by the Kolkata Municipal Corporation), and the occasion was a seminar that connected with the organisation of the all-India conference of the SFI in Kolkata at the Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre at Salt Lake.

Pointing with facts at his command how the source of the anti-people and antinational conspiracy, nationally and internationally emanated from the forces of US imperialism, Prakash was quick to note that the struggle and movements against neo-liberalisation and religious fundamentalism could never be separated from one another. The maintenance of the secular structure of India would also mean the continuity and development of national integrity and national sovereignty.

Much in a similar vein, stressed the senior CPI (M) leader, imperialism must be dealt a blow if one desired to resist, contain, and defeat the dark forces of religious fundamentalism—of both kinds. The rise of religious fundamentalism Prakash traced to the unevenness of human developmental index since the country gained its political independence in 1947. Since then, too, the disparity and disproportion was created because of the crass failure on the part of the ruling classes and the political parties they represented to fulfil the developmental promises that were announced with fanfare.

The discrepancies have given birth to – some times in violent form – to religious fundamentalism, casteism, provincialism, and sectarianism in diverse varieties and forms. The anguish and angst that pre-existed were fuelled by the advent of neo-liberalism fuelled by the forces of imperialism the world over. The other fall-out of recent times has been the sway away from an independent foreign policy and use of the US as a lean-to by the Manmohan Singh régime.

The glorious role emoted by the Left against these developments would be maintained, expanded and deepened unwaveringly among the masses countrywide through struggles, movements, and campaigns. Contrasting this to the vacillator character of the Congress-run central government Prakash underlined that for the past four years, the Left and the CPI (M) gad dedicated themselves to the task of resisting and rolling back (wherever possible) the steps emanating out of the policy of neo-liberalisation followed by the Congress government. Further attempts at liberalisation would surely result in the kind of supply-side crisis that the US and indeed the so-called ‘developed’ world has been experiencing of late to the peril of the common men and women.

There was need to build a third alternative based on consensus on an independent foreign policy, democracy, secularism, national unity and integrity, national sovereignty, and the restructuring of the existing structure of centre-state relationship. The alternative would not be just an electoral alliance but a people’s alternative to both the political parties of the big bourgeois-land ruling classes of the country, the Congress and the BJP.

Prakash also spoke on the heinous attacks being brought down on the Left-led state governments of Kerala, Tripura, and Bengal. The cause of the attack was this: these three governments were working for the interest of the people, especially the poor, despite having to operate within a national scenario where neo-liberalisation was a revered deity.

Prakash welcomed the industrial policy of the Bengal LF government standing as the policy did on a strengthened and augmented agrarian base. The industrialisation was aimed correctly at the generation of employment as jobloss growth overtook the country. All conspiracies against the Left-led government must be made nought through political movements and struggles, concluded the CPI (M) general secretary.

Other speakers at the convention included the former SFI leader Nilotpal Basu and the all-India SFI leader Ritabrata Banerjee. Another former SFI leader Somnath Bhattacharya acted as the facilitator of the convention.

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