People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 07

February 12, 2012

Resist Further Onslaughts



IT is only natural that the ongoing elections to the state assembly in Uttar Pradesh should evoke so much passion and acrimony. Such crescendo is only bound to rise in the coming fortnight. The reasons are manifold. Dust rises from the sharply polarised four cornered contest between the ruling BSP facing anti-incumbency, the desperately contending SP, a BJP in disarray seeking to regain some degree of semblance of its past glory (sic) that led to the demolition of the Babri Masjid and the publicity of sound and fury of the Congress campaign led by home grown younger generation.


Importantly, UP’s results have always had a bearing on national politics. It remains the largest populous state in the country. Its numbers in the Lok Sabha often decides the composition of the central government and its leadership. It has given India the largest number of prime ministers.


Further, in the current situation, in the case of a hung assembly, post results, the combinations and manipulations that follow for establishing a majority will significantly influence the balance of coalition at the centre. Hence, it is no surprise that these elections are causing such a campaign flutter.


Parliament’s budget session will now have to wait for these results, along with those of Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa. While along with the country we shall also wait, it must be noted that in recent memory, we have not witnessed a government such as this Manmohan Singh led UPA-II which appears to be totally bereft of any direction, apart from being besieged by a wide range of scams, scandals and controversies.


The Supreme Court has cancelled the 2G licenses, thus, negating the telecom minister’s claim that there is no scam as there is “zero loss to the exchequer” and that nothing “irregular” happened.  New areas of conflict have arisen over the age controversy of the Army Chief, with ISRO scientists refuting the government claims over the Antrax scam and IAS officers in Andhra Pradesh protesting against CBI action against them on charges of corruption, leaving the ruling politicians alone.  Price rise continues to burden the people, distress suicides of the farmers continues unabated.  The PM himself admitted that the nutritional status of our children is a “national shame”. He also bemoaned the sorry state of affairs in developing scientific research in the country that is bound to adversely affect our future.  Problems with allies in the UPA keep mounting with relentless shedding of ‘crocodile tears’ for the common man and throwing of tantrums by the Trinamool Congress. 


The confidence that the government is displaying to brazen out these developments appears to arise from the comfort it seems to be drawing from the hope that the results of the current elections in some states would be in its favour. It hopes to wrest Uttarakhand and Punjab from the opposition, succeed in numerical manipulations in Goa and Manipur and emerge as a ‘king maker’ in Uttar Pradesh.  The visible discomfort and disarray in the main opposition – BJP – and the materialisation of these hopes, the UPA feels will allow it to ‘ride the storm’.


On this basis, the UPA is preparing to launch a more aggressive offensive of liberalisation in the current budget.  Even otherwise, under the pretext of containing the burgeoning fiscal deficit such an agenda  seems to be on the anvil.


While we said above that this government is in the grips of a directionless drift on all counts, on this score of relentlessly pursuing neo-liberal economic reforms it has a single minded dedication.


The UPA-II government appears all set to bring in crucial financial reforms in the budget, legislations that the Left parties had prevented from being made into law for the last seven years.  It refuses to learn from our own experience that the prevention of such opening up of our financial sector is what helped India in resisting the devastating impact of the global meltdown, in the first place. 


The hopes in India that further financial liberalisation will attract an inflow of foreign funds providing an impetus for our growth also appear remote with the World Bank warning that the rich countries had little monetary or fiscal ammunition available to stem any vicious cycle of continuing recession. 


Making capital available more freely and less expensively alone cannot spur economic growth. This can bolster profits for international finance capital and Indian big business. However unless the purchasing power in the hands of the people rises, sustainable economic growth would not be possible.   


Repeatedly we had been suggesting that instead of giving staggering amounts of tax concessions to the rich (nearly Rs 15 lakh crore during the last three years), these amounts should be collected and used for  public investments to build our much needed social and economic infrastructure while generating large-scale employment.  The consequent growth of domestic demand in India is what that can sustain a healthy economic growth which would be more inclusive as well. 


Despite the growing worldwide struggles against the ongoing capitalist crisis as seen in the Occupy Wall Street movement, and the snowballing strikes and protests in almost all European countries, capitalism has a tendency to even ignore the boldest of writings on the wall.  Marx had once said that capitalism “has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, it is like the sorcerer who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells.”  This global capitalist crisis is systemic.  It is not because of the greed or avarice of individuals. Therefore, as repeatedly stated in these columns, socialism alone is the answer to achieve human emancipation and liberation.


However, while this larger struggle continues in India, at this moment, it is necessary that popular pressures are mounted to change this neo-liberal policy direction and heavily invest in public spending for building our much needed infrastructure and generating large-scale employment. This is the direction that the forthcoming budget must be made to give.


   (February 8, 2012)